Archive for April, 2011

A couple evenings ago, I had been hanging out with a friend, talking about beer.  Her favorite beer is Great White and when she found out I hadn’t yet reviewed it, she suggested we stop by Billco’s on the way back to Napa to try one.  I walked in, fully planning on having one glass of Great White and then returning home.  As we waited at the bar, I scanned the wall of taps to see if anything jumped out and grabbed me.  Well, hanging out on the top row was a little inconspicuous round red logo…Pliny the Elder.

Pliny is brewed by the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA and is considered one of the best beers available.  Beer Advocate Magazine rates it A+ and calls it “One of the best DIPA’s on planet earth, ever.”  In beer circles, this is on everyone’s list of beers to drink before you die.  I would have been a bad Beer Chick indeed if I passed this up.

Before drinking this beer, I actually hadn’t read much about what to expect from it.  I kind of like to experience a beer without any preconceived notions of how it should taste.  It poured a beautifully clear orange/gold with a fluffy white head.  I was very surprised when I smelled this beer.  There was a strong hop scent and…something else…  The smell was so unfamiliar to me that I was a good ways into the actual tasting of it before I figured it out.  Pine!  I’ve never had that smell or taste in a beer before (or at least not as strong as this), so it was certainly unusual for me.  There was also some subtle citrusy notes to it.  Oddly, it wasn’t as bitter as I would expect from something so hoppy…and then I found out later that it’s rated at 100IBUs.  So the bitterness is masked quite well by everything else going on.  It’s moderately carbonated and has a slightly astringent mouthfeel.  Overall, while IPA’s aren’t my favorite style, this is a nice beer to drink.  For those of you who like hops, this is a very nice beer.  If you have the chance to try this one, do!

Just a side note:  I realize I’ve been drinking an awful lot of IPAs for someone who prefers other types of beers, but it seems IPAs are the unofficial state beer of California, so I guess I’m stuck for awhile. =)

Censored

Posted: April 23, 2011 in American Amber Ale
Tags: , , ,

I ran into this at the local Safeway recently and decided to pick up a 6-pack. Censored AKA The Kronik is an American Amber Ale from the Lagunitas Brewery.

It’s a clear copper with short-lived off-white foam and quite a bit of carbonation.  The smell is deep and malty with a bit of caramel sweetness, but nothing too overwhelming.  It tastes sweet and malt with a little hop bite at the end that kind of hangs around a bit.  I’m really enjoying this beer.  It’s good without being too complicated.  A good beer to sit around and drink with some friends.  This beer should really be more popular than it is.

The verdict:  If you have the chance, try this beer!

I went back to the Olde Sonoma Public House last night and after browsing their offerings make a plan to start the evening with Damnation, follow it up with some Delirium Tremens, and end the evening with Consecration.  Unfortunately I only made it as far as the Delirium Tremens and missed out on Consecration entirely.  There may be some kind of lesson or moral there; I’ll let you decide.

I was really expecting a much darker beer for something called “Damnation” but it turned out to be a slightly hazy golden yellow.  It smelled strongly fruity, especially banana.  Some slight fruity notes came out in the taste, but were overpowered by a spicy clovey taste.  Very little hops or malt to this one and just enough sweetness.  I was absolutely convinced this was a hefeweizen but the Russian River Brewery calls it a Strong Belgian Pale Ale.  This beer was smooth and crisp and very drinkable.  Even though I hate bananas, I’d drink this again and would suggest you try it if given the opportunity.

Now I just have to track down the Consecration to complete the set…

I just got back from a short business trip to Trinidad and while I was there, had the opportunity to sample a local beer.  The Carib Brewery brews both Carib and Stag lagers, with Stag being marketed as a “Men’s Beer.”  Interestingly, when I asked the bartender for a local beer, he didn’t give me an option and just gave me the Carib.  The men I was with were all given a choice.  Had I the opportunity for another beer, I would have asked for the Stag to see what response I got but as it was, I just went with the Carib.

It was served in the bottle without a glass and was bright, clear yellow.  The aroma wasn’t too distinct, but I did get some grains and a bit of hops which came through on tasting as well.  It had a pretty watery mouthfeel and was an easy, if uninteresting, drink.

If you like Corona, this is the beer for you.  My theory is that it’s so hot an humid in the tropics that most people don’t want a darker, heavier beer and prefer lighter, watery beers.  However, Guinness is one of the two most popular imports, so I’m not sure this theory holds up.

The verdict:  Next time, I’ll have a Mai Tai.

Today I opened up a bottle of Hop Stoopid by Lagunitas Brewery.  It’s on my list of breweries to tour while I’m in the Bay Area.  I’ve been told that the hops on this one tend to hang out for awhile after drinking.

Color-wise I was expecting something along the lines of an IPA, but this poured a real golden yellow with a thin white head that left some pretty good lacing.  The smell is overwhelmingly hoppy.  The hoppiest beer I think I’ve smelled.  Some background notes of citrus.  Holy crap.  I thought I’d had hoppy beers before, but this is just stoopid!  It has a bit of sweetness, but nothing can really compete with the hops.  The hops do linger for a bit, but they’re not homesteading or anything.  As much as I’m not a fan of IPAs in general, this wasn’t bad.  If you like a good IPA, you should definitely give this a try.  My cousin, an IPA fan, drank this beer with me and enjoyed it quite a bit.