Image

I know it’s been awhile since I posted a new review, but life has a way of making things difficult.  On a positive note, I just got back from a trip to Texas where I was able to sample some of the regional beers I don’t get in NorCal.  There were two from Jester King that were especially interesting. Jester King’s a small brewery in Austin that actually won an important case against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that allowed them to actually label their beers correctly.  For example: they were able to label their pale ales as such rather than as “pale beer.”  Their next move looks like challenging the state law requiring the breweries to make all sales through a distributor.

The first I tried was the Black Metal Imperial Stout.  It poured an inky black with a thick brown head.  The smell was sweet, chocolatey, and boozy.  It tasted like earthy chocolate with some roasted coffee.  The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.  Less boozy than expected.  I shared this with a couple of friends and the adventurous beer drinker enjoyed it while the beer newb was not impressed.

I’d drink it again if I had someone to share with.

Advertisements

Blackened Voodoo

Posted: October 29, 2011 in schwarzbier
Tags: , , ,

Tonight I’m drinking some Blackened Voodoo Lager, a schwarzbier by the Dixie Brewing Company of New Orleans, LA.  The brewery was severely damaged and heavily looted during Katrina and during the ongoing renovations, the beer released under the Dixie label is brewed through contracting to other breweries.

This beer pours a really muddy brown with two fingers of cream-colored foam with a roasted nut and malty aroma.  The malt carries over to the taste, but a bit of hops start to show up with it.  Not overpowering hops.  Just enough hops.  It’s a bit watery compared to some of the more serious beers I’ve had, but for this beer it’s not a bad thing.  This is a beer I could sit and drink all evening.  So, my Louisiana friends take note and have some on hand when I come to visit.  I’m almost done with my glass already and am starting to wish I’d picked up more than the single bottle.  This is definitely going on the list of favorite beers to sit and drink in a bar with some friends.

Blackened Voodoo is a solid beer.  There’s nothing weird or gimmicky about this beer, but that’s what makes it good.  Drink some.

Alimony Ale

Posted: October 28, 2011 in American IPA
Tags: , , ,

Tonight I’m drinking Alimony Ale by Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, CA.  The bottle and web site both tout this beer as different and eccentric.  We’ll see about that…

This is an IPA and pours a dark hazy amber with a two finger head and tons of carbonation.  So that’s different from most IPA’s…one point to the beer.  The scent is very citrusy and grassy with the hoppiness that comes standard with an IPA.  Exactly what I’d expect from this beer type…one point for me.  The taste hits you with a ton of hops up front with some caramel and malt sneaking in around the edges.  One point to the beer for the caramel and one for me for the hopsplosion.  As it warms, it’s starting to taste like an American Amber up front with the hops only coming through on the finish. That’s a bit odd…one point to the beer.  I find it more enjoyable than other IPA’s I had simply because as it warms it tastes less like an IPA.

If you’re new to craft beers and are still in the Shiner Bock/Yuengling/Firestone DBA/Fat Tire phase of beer drinking, this might be a good intro into other beer types.  Also if you typically prefer Ambers, Barleywines, or ESBs, this would make a good intro to IPA beer.

I’m a couple of tasting evenings behind in my beer reviews.  It turns out I like drinking beer much more than writing about it.  And I just got a new beer haul that’s begging to be drunk.  So it looks like I really need to get moving on the writing part or I’ll just wind up with piles of notebooks like some kind of OCD hoarder.

Anyway, let me tell you about Anchor Steam Beer.  The Anchor Brewing Company’s been brewing beer in San Francisco since 1896.  Historically, steam beer referred to West Coast lagers brewed in primitive conditions without ice or refrigeration, but the term has since been trademarked by the Anchor Brewing Co. and the style is now called “California Common.”

It pours a clear dark amber with a creamy head and a hoppy bitterness/mildly malty scent.  The taste really reminds me of unsweetened iced tea…kind of citrus and caramel.  Really interesting and easy to drink.  Not overly carbonated and only 4.9% abv make this very nice for sitting around drinking with friends when you just want a nice beer you don’t need to think about too much.  There’s nothing exciting about it, but that’s good sometimes.

Another beer from my last beer tasting is Samuel Smith Taddy Porter.  I got the bottle from a friend for my birthday, so we drank it together at my last beer evening.  It was very nearly black with a creamy tan head.  Something about the scent reminded me of being outside, but I couldn’t quite place it.  Perhaps “woody” is what I was searching for…I’ll have to revisit it later.  The taste was sweet and smooth, like an iced coffee.  This was very smooth and light for a porter.  I really enjoyed this beer, but I’d like to try it again after reading a few reviews by other people.  I really just want to place that outdoorsy scent.

I initially picked up a bottle of this at my local chain liquor store, but before trying it I actually went back for another to age for awhile before drinking.  I’m just going to stick it away somewhere and let it gather dust for awhile.  Eventually I’ll run across it again and remember my plan and open it with a friend.

I’ve had other beers from the Fuller’s Brewery before and quite enjoyed them so I have high expectations for this one.  This is a bottle conditioned Old Ale and a limited edition; only 95K are made each year.

I had a friend over for a beer tasting evening last week and this was our opener.  It poured a beautiful hazy red amber with a very yeasty smell.  The taste was kind of like a really good loaf of sourdough with some bitterness.  It had a pretty strong alcohol taste, but felt really creamy.

I really enjoyed this beer and look forward to trying the other in a few years.  I think the alcohol taste might mellow out a bit by then.

Little Sumpin’ Wild is a limited release from Lagunitas, a brewery that I’m sure regular readers will know I tend to favor.  It’s a clear orange/gold beer with a pale off-white head.  The smell pops you in the nose with citrus, pineapples, and spices but the hops come out more in the taste.  It really seems more like an American IPA than a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, but not obnoxiously hoppy.  It’s 9.2% abv but doesn’t taste like it and the overall feel is pretty smooth.

I actually took some of this to a coworker’s 21st birthday party last night with the instructions that he is not to drink this after an evening of Bud Lights.  I explained that he’s a big boy now and needs to learn to drink real beer, but if he really needs to drink Bud Light he should start with the Lagunitas and finish with the Bud Light.  He was impressed with the sexy lady on the bottle.  And the 9.2% abv.

This past Friday I flew from Sacramento to LA and was running a bit behind.  After two hours of rush hour traffic and a too long wait for the shuttle from economy parking, I made it to the gate about 15 minutes before boarding.  I looked around and right across from the gate was an airport bar featuring the beers of Pyramid Breweries.  Surely this must be a sign, I thought to myself and went over and ordered an Alehouse Amber.

It was a very hazy brownish orange.  The scant foam was likely a result of an indifferent airport employee who cares very little about a proper pour.  It smelled kind of fresh and spicy with a bit of fruitiness.  The spice continued into the taste with a good amount of malt and very subtle hops. It was a very drinkable brew.  I find it especially nice for pounding rapidly in an airport bar.

Today I’m drinking a Fat Tire Amber Ale from the New Belgium Brewery in Colorado.  It’s a translucent honey-gold with an off-white head that quickly fades but leaves quite a bit of lacing.  The scent’s an earthy malt with some hops thrown in.  The flavor’s on the mild side but has a pleasant caramel and malt tastes.  The hops are refreshingly light. (I live in California where the breweries seem to be in constant competition to get the most hops into their beer.)  The mouthfeel was fairly thin and watery, which is fine for a beer I’m trying to drink all night, but not very interesting.  Ultimately, if I were drinking several beers in a sitting, I’d choose this, but if I’m drinking to have an interesting beer experience, I’ll pass.  It’s not bad, but it’s really nothing special either.

I recently missed an appearance of Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA at a beer pub, so I’ll have to make due with the 90 Minute IPA I found in my local supermarket (which really has a great beer selection).  It’s an Imperial IPA (or American Double IPA, your call) which means that I should expect all the hoppiness of an IPA, but more aggressive and in your face.

It’s a clear copper/gold color in the glass with a yellowish cream-colored head that slowly fades and leave substantial lacing on the glass.  The smell is more citrusy than hoppy with a bit of malt coming through.  It’s not nearly as hoppy as I expected.  I can certainly taste hops, but they’re not kicking my teeth in or anything.  The taste really mirrors the scent with the addition of just a hint of pine on the back end.  It’s a pretty smooth drink, not too boozy or too carbonated.  Despite not particularly liking IPA’s, I quite enjoyed this.  I’ll definitely have to track down some of the other IPA’s Dogfish Head makes.  This is a good beer to try if you’re attempting to ease yourself into hops.  I’d drink it again.  (And the brewery has a steampunk treehouse!)