Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Sorry for the lack of posts party people. I'm takin' a little time off from the blog to catch up on some music I've been waiting to get down on tape.

I've got a bunch of planting to do for the spring/summer season and a few other things I want to get into as well. I'll probably post in a week or two and get things rolling again, but for now, keep on drinkin' the good stuff, enjoy opening days around the country.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 64 - Sunshine and Shiner Hefeweizen

It's Friday. It's sunny and warm outside. It's time to drink cold beer!

This week we start with something from the lighter side of the beer spectrum. A wheat beer from Texas by the name of Shiner Hefeweizen. The Shiner Brewery, probably best know for its flagship brew, the Shiner Bock, has been producing great beer since 1909. The Hefeweizen is a perfect choice for a sunny Friday after work with it's easy drinkin' light-bodied goodness. Let's give the Shiner Hefe a go!

The beer pours a light gold into the glass and features clouds of yeast and an angel soft head on top. The head disappears quickly and aromas of orange, lemon and clove bounce from the glass. Oh man that smells amazing! And now we taste ...

Ahhhhh. A well-balanced and refreshing beer filled with citrus flavors and a touch of sweetness from the malt as well as the honey added in the brewing process.

This beer is the perfect beverage for a barbecue with friends. My neighbors are making a ton of noise right now with their damn loud car and stupid kids, so for now, I'm enjoying this beverage indoors. However, once they shut the hell up, I'll be outside, soaking up the last few minutes of sun, and watching it set below the rooftops and into the bay. Not a bad Friday at all.

I've got a few other beers to write about tonight, so stay tuned. In the meantime, go find some Shiner Hefeweizen and welcome in the beauty of springtime.


Overall Score of the Shiner Hefeweizen: 3.75 out 5.0

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 63 - Full Sail Slipknot

It's Friday and you know what that means ... beer! It's another Weekend Brews Report. This week we look north to our friends in Oregon and sample another beverage from the folks at the Full Sail Brewing Company. The beer is called Slipknot, and it's an Imperial IPA from the Brewmaster's Reserve.

Throughout the year, brewmaster John Harris brews up some limited edition beers, and the Slipknot Imperial IPA is one of those beauties. I'm hoping this is a great start to a wonderful weekend with some tasty beer and the Florida Gators playing in the SEC tourney.

So, lets see what we've got in this 22oz. bottle ...

The beer pours a light copper color into the glass and forms a light whipped cream-like head. Mmmm ... whipped cream. Aromas of pine trees, brown sugar and grapefruit fill the nose. Oooo weeee! Smells like a Carolina pine forest up in here! I've got to get myself a taste of this mofo.

The first sip ... whoa! This is a "slap yo mama" kind of beer! A smack of bitterness right off the bat, some sweetness follows and a dry and crisp finish. There's that familiar aftertaste of fresh cut grass that you encounter from many strong IPAs, but it dissipates quickly. There's a touch of citrus in their, but most of the flavor features the bitter hop oils up front.

Man, if you like the mouth puckering goodness of a massive amount of hops, this beer is for you! It's not my favorite Imperial IPA as I like a bit more sweetness from the malt to give the beer some balance, but what little malt flavor there is, this is still a good beer.

We're almost to Spring people, so get your fill of the strong beers now because once the heat starts to hit, big beers like this tend to get left on the shelves as we turn to the lighter-bodied beers.

Grab a bottle of this Slipknot Imperial IPA, and let me know what you think.


Overall Score of the Full Sail Slipknot Imperial IPA: 3.25 out 5.0

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 62 - The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout

Holy crap, Friday could not have come sooner! From my car shitting the bed to my broken glasses, I'm ready for a muthaf#@kin' beer! I decided upon something strong to start my weekend. That strong beer is none other than The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout. An 11% ABV monster with my name on it.

The Lost Abbey is the beer family brought to you by Port Brewing Company in San Marcos, California. Born from the legendary Pizza Port, The Lost Abbey was created to allow the folks from Pizza Port to bring their love of Belgian-style beers to a larger audience. Let's take a look at the Serpent's Stout.

The beer pours a thick, dark brown into the glass with a light and fizzy mocha-colored head on top. Aromas of chocolate and caramel jump out of the glass. This beer smells wonderful. I touch the glass to my lips and tilt ...

... oh good lord that's tasty! Flavors of chocolate, coffee and dark cherries are abundant in this syrupy thick beer. There's some strong alcohol aftertaste and a pleasant warming effect that follows. Wow. On a cold night with a fire going, this beer is perfect.

The Serpent's Stout comes in a large bottle, so I recommend sharing it with some friends. At 11% ABV there's enough for two ... three if you've got a few other beers around. ha ha.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I'm always interested to read reactions to the stronger beers.

Happy Friday everyone!


Overall Score of the The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout: 4.0 out 5.0

Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 61 - Russian River Blind Pig

Flip flash flow flash it's Friday y'all! Hell yeah. It's time to kick back, pop tops and get happy.

It's another Weekend Brews Report, and this weekend I say drink from the Russian River ... Brewing Company. This brewery offers up some of the finest beers around. Tonight we sample the Blind Pig. It's an American IPA that has character ... I mean, there's an illustration of a damn blind pig on the front of the bottle, so yeah, there's a character.

Get on with it! Okay. Let's open this sumbitch and see what's up.

The beer pours a light amber into the glass and forms a foamy head reminiscent of the innards of a cheap hotel pillow. The foam hangs on and waits for me to take a whiff ... aromas of grapefruit, brown sugar, pine and lime zest fill the nose. And now we drink ...

Oh damn. That's bittery goodness in a glass with a foamy sweet smile to boot. That's a nice beverage. The Blind Pig is surprisingly light bodied for an IPA, but finishes with that classic dry, "I have a sock on my tongue" finish. Well done.

It's tasty folks. It is. The Russian River Blind Pig will slap you in the face with his cane, but satisfy you with some sweet bacon when it's all over. At least that's how I see it.

Check out Russian River Brewing Company for yourself. They take pride in their hand-crafted beers and it shows.

Get some when you're near some.

Overall Score for the Russian River Blind Pig: 3.75 out 5.0

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brooklyn Black Ops - A Covert Hoperation

Okay, that headline is just awful. ha ha. So yeah, as a special delivery from the east coast courtesy of my friend Adrian, I finally had the pleasure to crack open a bottle of the infamous Brooklyn Black Ops.

This special brew from Brooklyn Brewery is only available in single bottles, and rumor has it, they've only released about 900 cases. If you can find it, get it now! This beer is a stout aged for four months in bourbon barrels, then bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle using a champagne yeast. Wow.

Let's get to it ...

The beer is a deep, dark brown with an ample amount of carbonation and tiny bubbles a la champagne. The head is reminiscent of champagne with its light appearance and the way it sticks on the side of the glass.

Aromas of chocolate, toffee, coffee and alcohol are abundant. There's even a hint of what smells like Bailey's Irish Cream in there!

The first sip goes down super smooth. Good god y'all!

The velvety mouthfeel is finished with a burst of effervescence from that champagne yeast. Awesome. Delicious flavors of dark, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, toffee and a touch of vanilla. This beer is the shit!

There's a slight warming from the alcohol as the beer goes down and a light tingle on the tongue as I put down the glass.

Garrett Oliver, you are the man!

Okay, the beer is expensive. I think it goes for $20-$25 a bottle depending on where you are, but I will tell you this, it's worth every damn cent! Ditch the fancy wine, and share a bottle of this with your friends. Better throw in some chocolate cake, fresh cream and some raspberries. Oh man.

If you have this beer in your neck of the woods, go and buy it now. Who knows how long it will be around.


Overall Score of the Brooklyn Black Ops: 5.0 out 5.0

Saturday, February 21, 2009

William Brand, Bay Area Beer Writer Passes Away

I didn't know Bill Brand at all, but I've read his "What's on Tap" blog, and it's always sad to lose a great writer and beer lover. He died on Friday from injuries suffered after being hit by a Muni train in San Francisco.

Here's some links to thoughtful blog posts and articles about his passing.

Brewed For Thought

Inside Bay Area

Beer News


Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 60 - Sierra Nevada ESB 2009

The weekend is here and it's time for beer! I had been planning on writing about a special beer from Brooklyn Brewery tonight, but alas, I left my photos at work, and I didn't want to post about it without the photos. SO, tonight let's talk about Sierra Nevada's 2009 ESB (Early Spring Beer) release. Hooray!

To quote the label, the ESB offers, "A blend of malts featuring British-grown Marris Otter ... balanced with the earthy spiciness of hand-selected English and US hops." Sounds good to me!

The beer pours a light copper into the glass and comes with a full and frothy head that floats atop the brew. Aromas of apricot, grapefruit and lemon fill the nose. Ahhhhh. Smells like springtime!

The first sip is light and refreshing. There's a solid bitterness from the hops (as is expected from a Sierra Nevada ale), with a smooth and modest malt flavor for that balance they spoke of. This is a well-rounded spring and summer beer.

If the rain and snow has stopped in your neck of the woods and that grill is calling your name from the backyard, go pick up a sixer of the 2009 edition of Sierra Nevada's ESB. I'd recommend trying it with some spicy grilled chicken, or even some ribs. You can't lose.

That's it for now folks. I'll post about that Brooklyn beer on Monday after work once I get those photos.

Enjoy your weekend and go out and drink!


Overall Score of the Sierra Nevada 2009 ESB: 3.25 out of 5.0

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SF Beer Week Fun

Well folks, SF Beer Week is now over, but I have to say, it was a great experience. Unfortunately I could not attend the expensive beer dinners, but I did get to visit a few brewpubs, attend a Double IPA Fest and enjoy a bevy of amazing beers ... and with friends too!

My friend Adrian was visiting from Florida, so it was great to see him and get a chance to introduce him to some local favorites. Erin and Dave also joined the festivities, and together we all drank to our hearts content.

We started out Beer Week at the 21st Amendment Brewery. We sampled several of their Strong Beer Month selections ... all of which were outstanding. I still have my punch ticket to earn a free glass, so I'll be finding a seat at the bar over there in the next few days to try and gain a few more ticks toward my goal. You can read more about that night using this link for Weekend Brews Week 58 entry.

Next up was an early morning to roll over to San Francisco Giants Fan Fest. Now, I'm a Mets fan, so this idea wasn't mine, but I have to admit, getting to walk around the field, sit in the press box and check out the clubhouse was pretty damn cool. It was a perfect way to start off a long Saturday of beer. Oh yeah, we tailgated in the parking lot beforehand. ha ha.

We then trekked to Hayward, CA to attend the The Bistro's 9th Annual Double IPA Festival. Now this was awesome! The Bistro had 46 different strong IPAs on tap, and we did our best to try them all. (Okay, we probably wound up trying around 20 or so as a group, but we did have a hell of a time.)

So what beers were there? Here's the list:
21st Amendment Brewery - Double Trouble
Alpine Beer Co. - Pure Hoppiness
Anderson Valley - Imperial IPA
Auburn Alehouse - Isotope PU240
Avery - Ale to the Chief
Ballast Point - Dorado
Beach Chalet - The Baron
Bear Republic - Mach 10, APEX
Big Dogs - Hop Harvest Ale
Blue Frog - The Big DIPA
Deschutes - Hop Henge Experimental IPA
Dogfish Head - 90 and 120 Minute IPAs
Drakes -Denogginizer
Fifty Fifty - Landslide
Flying Dog - Double Dog
Green Flash - Imperial IPA
Iron Springs - Casey Jones Double
Jupiter - Quasar
Lagunitas - Hop Stoopid
Mad River Brewing - Steelhead Double
Magnolia - Promise Land Imperial IPA
Marin Brewing Co. - White Knuckle
Mendocino - Imperial IPA
Moylans - Hopsickle Imperial IPA, Moylander Double IPA
Napa Smith - Original Albion Ale Pale Ale
Oskar Blues - Gordon
Pizza Port - Lou P. Lin, Poormans IPA, Hop 15
Rogue - XSIPA
Rubicon - REX IPA
Russian River - Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger
Seabright - Hopnoxious
Shmaltz - Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA
Sonoma Chicken Coop - Jersey Giant
Sierra Nevada - Hop Secret 393, Torpedo Ale, Firkin Chico IPA
Speakeasy - Double Daddy
Stone - Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, Ruination
Triple Rock - IIMAXX Imperial IPA

And there it is! The master list. My favorite pick of the day was the Alpine Beer Company's Pure Hoppiness. Oh my god! That beer was so good it'll make you jump out of moving car and strangle a goat!

After a long day at the Double IPA Festival we went on to sample several other tasty beverages throughout the night, and eventually faded out.

Later on in the week we sampled beers from Jupiter brewpub and Triple Rock in Berkeley, CA. Both have great selections of house-brewed beers, and some tasty food as well. The Hefeweizen, XPA and Quasar were favorites at Jupiter, with the Black Rock Porter being my top selection at Triple Rock.

There were events all over the Bay Area, and I wish I didn't have to work at all, had a pocket full of cash, and a titanium liver. Alas, I did my best, and my best was just enough for this happy drinker.

I can't wait for next year. I'll be better prepared, and will probably need to take off the entire week to truly absorb the full experience.

A special thanks to all of the people who brewed the beer and put on the events. Hats off to you for a week of great memories.


Tax the rich, not my beer.

There's one thing that does not help small businesses, and that's more taxes. With the economy taking a dive, the state of Oregon is trying to make up for some of their past mistakes by taxing brewers on their beer. I vote for keeping the taxes where they are, and cutting the salaries of politicians. Who's with me?

I think we can all get behind a cut in pay for lawmakers in every state, as well as the federal government. They certainly haven't earned their pay thus far.

My friend Eric forwarded me this report from CNN. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. Cheers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 59 - Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Another Friday is upon us, and even though it's pouring here in the Bay Area, there's still plenty of beer to be celebrated! This week I'd like to spotlight a special treat my friend Adrian brought me from the east coast. Well, the beer isn't from the east coast, it's from Michigan. That beer is the Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery. Huzzah!

It's an American India Pale Ale and I'm damn glad to have it in front of me right now.

The beer pours a luscious orange into the glass and features a head thicker than that of our fair governor here in California. A dip of the nose into the glass and aromas of orange, cream and sugar. Holy crap! This beer smells like a Creamsicle! Must drink now!

Oh yeah! The Two Hearted Ale is bursting with flavors of citrus, caramel and a hint of pine. This Bell's beer is super smooth with a perfect little bite in the end. I could definitely drink a bunch of these ... and so should you!

It's Friday man, go out and get your drink on. If you have beers from Bell's Brewery in your neighborhood, go grab some! Go!


Overall Score of the Bell's Brewery Two Hearted Ale: 4.75 out 5.0

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 58 - SF Beer Week at 21st Amendment Brewery

It's Friday and it's SF Beer Week! Holy crap! How can my weekend get any better than that?

To kick off my SF Beer Week, I met up with my friends over at the 21st Amendment Brewery ... just a few feet from where I spend most of my week working. The 21st Amendment Brewery is celebrating strong beer month as they brew and put on tap various high-alcohol brews. Wow. So who wants to try some of those?!! I do!

I met up with my friends Dave, Erin and Adrian (a special visitor all the way from the FLA) and dove right in.

First up was the Double Tripel. It's the 21A's double IPA brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. Hooray! It came to the table in a beautiful glass and featured a fruity aroma with some spicy undertones. Upon first sip, you could taste the strong alcohol, but it was smooth and well-balanced by a hefty malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness. A fantastic offering for sure.

Beer number two was the Lost Sailor Imperial Pilsner. An imperial pilsner? What?!! That's right, a pilsner chock full of malt to add a strong kick in the ass! The color was a light copper and the nose was filled with crisp hop character and a a healthy dose of fruity esthers . The beer was clean and finished dry, and somewhere in there I actually tasted a touch of dark cherry. Weird! This beer gets points for creativity alone. This is the first imperial pilsner I have ever tasted. Well done sirs!

My last beer of the evening ... well, at least at the 21A, was the the Ripple Imperial Chocolate Porter. Oh ... my ... gad! This beer came in another fantastic glass and filled the table with aromas of deep, rich, dark chocolate. Wow. Holy crap this beer smells good! A giant gulp and ...
this beer rules! Rich chocolate flavor, malt sweetness and a nice touch of bitterness to round it out. It leaves a little aftertaste like a well-brewed espresso. Fan-fucking-tastic!

Look, the fact is, SF Beer Week is filled with amazing events for everyone. There are tastings, dinners, festivals, etc. However, if you want a treat to remember, get yourself to the 21st Amendment Brewery on 2nd street in San Francisco, and get a hold of their strong beers during the month of February.

I promise, you will not be disappointed.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

San Francisco Beer Week - Who's Ready?

For someone like me who just moved to the Bay Area last Fall, the idea of an entire week of Bay Area beer events is amazing! All the way back in Florida, the only week long beer events we had were when my friends and I would drink every night for a week. ha ha.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the event listings, please visit for all of the glorious details.

Unfortunately for me, most of the beer dinners are out of my price range, but I will be attending the Bistro Double IPA Festival on Saturday, February 7th, and then I'll hop around to whatever other events I can get to. There's so much fantastic stuff going on, it will be difficult to choose.

If you live in the Bay Area, or are visiting like my friend Adrian will be, do yourself a favor and click over to and find an event or two for yourself.

Cheers to beers and a community that supports them.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 57 - Stone Cali-Belgie IPA ... Say What?

Happy Friday! It's time for another Weekend Brews Report, and because I'm packing for my move to Oakland tomorrow, I'll make this quick. I've got a great weekend beer to tell you about and it is called the Cali-Belgie IPA from Stone Brewing Company.

What the hell is it?

Well, the Cali-Belgie IPA is essentially the Stone IPA brewed with a special Belgian yeast strain. Now that sounds like an interesting beer to me. Before I go further, let me apologize for the lack of photos. The camera got packed in a box by mistake, so I'll have to upload some images after the move. Sorry! The logo above is from Okay, let's get to it.

It pours a light copper color into the glass and creates a light and fizzy head that disappears quickly. Aromas of clove, nutmeg and coriander are plentiful in the nose. The yeast has certainly added the classic spicy notes often found in Belgian beers. What could it possibly taste like? Well, why don't we drink this sumbitch?

Ahhhhhhh. The Cali-Belgie IPA is a crisp and refreshing beverage with some smooth malt character followed up by a nice bite of bitterness from the hops. Upon the second sip as the beer warms up, there's more sweetness followed by the taste of black pepper. Very nice. This beer is most definitely more complex than their standard IPA. I dig this beer in a big way.

It looks like this beer is going to be a limited release, year-round addition to the Stone Brewing line up, but you should go out and grab some now just in case they change their minds.

Happy drinking y'all. Enjoy the big game on Sunday.

Go Cards!


Overall Score of the Stone Brewing Company Cali-Belgie IPA: 4.0 out 5.0

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Damn the Torpedos ... Extra IPA

Every now and then a beautiful thing happens in the world of beer. That beautiful thing today is the release of a new, year-round selection from Sierra Nevada called Torpedo Extra IPA. Praise the gods! (After living in Gainesville, Florida for six years, I had to throw in a little Tom Petty reference in the title.)

Okay, so first off, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company uses what they call the "Hop Torpedo." Wow. That sounds incredible. What the hell is it? Well, to quote the press release as read on
Beer Advocate:

The Hop Torpedo is a cylindrical stainless steel vessel that was developed to harness the essential oils and resins in hops, without extracting bitterness. The device essentially works like an espresso machine. A stainless filter basket is packed full of whole cone hops loaded into the vessel and sealed against pressure. The device is then placed in the fermentation cellars where beer from the cylindroconical fermenters is pushed down from the tanks, through the pressurized column of hops and back into the fermenting tank. The flow of beer out of the tanks, into the Torpedo and back into the fermenter can be controlled to extract different levels of flavor, aroma and bitterness. Essentially, it is a new way of dry-hopping that extracts all of the oily resin without the residual bitterness of the traditional method.

Holy crap! Who doesn't want one of those?

Okay, let's get a look at, and taste of this Torpedo Extra IPA shall we?

The amber glow of the liquid makes the Sierra Nevada pint glass light up like the face of an airline CEO after collecting checked baggage fees over a holiday travel weekend. A light and foamy head sits comfortably on top and slowly creates moon-like craters as it dips down into the beer. Alluring aromas of citrus, pine and sugary sweetness bound from the glass. Oh man, this looks and smells amazing! How's it taste?

Good god y'all! Help me! Somebody slap me in the face! I've just been torpedoed!

Flavors of citrus, sweet malty goodness and smooth as a mofo. Now that's what I call an American IPA!

I'll be honest, Dogfish 90 minute IPA still has a leg up on this beer if ya ask me, but Sierra Nevada has certainly made the right choice in adding this brew to its regular line up. Hooray for another quality IPA!

If the store near you hasn't stocked this yet, demand they do! If you dig the IPAs, you will not be disappointed.


Overall Score of the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA: 4.5 out 5.0

Oh yeah, and here's your Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hopsickle Time!

First off, let me say that naming a beer, Hopsickle Imperial Ale is guaranteed to make me want one. The idea of a Popsicle made with a hoppy beer is one I fully support. Alas, this is no frozen desert, but it is a beer, and beer is good. Hooray for beer!

The Hopsickle Imperial Ale is brought to you by Moylan's Brewing Company in Novato, California. Let's open this sucker and see what's up ...

The beer is a beautiful translucent amber color with a light and creamy head that likes to stick around. As the head begins to sink, it leaves a thick coating on the inside of the glass. Aromas of tangerine, lemon and grapefruit coming screaming out the brew and jump right up my nose. Whoa! This thing smells like the citrus fruit section of a Florida farmer's market. The bottle claims this beer is, "triple hoppy," so I'm guessing we're going to encounter some extreme bitterness once we taste.

Okay, let's see what happens ...

Ahhhhhhhhh! Holy bitterness! The beer is more bitter than Brit Hume after hearing about the Obama victory. Jebus man! There's a serious punch of pine flavor and a strong amount of alcohol. This beer comes in at 9.2% ABV, and you can taste it. Unfortunately, there isn't enough malt sweetness to balance out this hop bomb. In fact, there's more mouth puckering going on here than anything else. The Hopsickle actually starts off smooth, but within a few seconds it goes straight to a tart bite in the mouth.

Well, just when I thought there wasn't much chance of me ever finding a hoppy beer I didn't like, here it is. I normally don't write about beers I don't care for, but I feel it's important to warn you about this one. Why this one, you ask? Because it was $9.50 for the 22oz. bottle! WTF?!!

Strangely enough, this beer has a "A-" rating on Beer Advocate. I just don't get it. Perhaps I've encountered a bad bottle, but at almost 10 bucks a pop, there shouldn't be any chance of getting a bad bottle. Damn!

Okay, if anyone has tried this and can tell me they found some malt character hiding in this beer, let me know. All I get is a bitter, astringent and disappointing beverage. I love hoppy beers that make you pucker, but this one lacks serious flavor.


Overall Score for the Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial Ale: 2.0 out 5.0

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 56 - He'Brew Jewbelation 12

Happy Friday everyone! It's another Weekend Brews Report, and this week we turn to our friends at the Schmaltz Brewing Company, and tip our hats in their direction. They are celebrating their 12th anniversary, and have released Jewbelation 12. That's 12 different malts and 12 different hops ready to say, "How YOU doin'?" all up in yo face! Speaking of 12, it's about time I got a song stuck in your heads:

Schmaltz Brewing Company always has something fantastic hidden in those big brown bottles, so let's get to it.

A pop of the cap and a tip of the bottle ... the dark opaque beer coats the inside of the glass and forms a fluffy light brown head that I'm sure will make a fantastic foam mustache upon first sip. Scents of raisins, prunes, caramel, toffee and fresh bread emanate from the brew. It certainly smells like those 12 malts are going to be out in front of the 12 different hops. And now we taste ...

Whoa! Flavors of fig, caramel, and dark cherries mix with a smooth, but strong rum and bourbon backbone. The Jewbelation 12 is thick and rich, and finishes slightly dry with some help from all of those hops. This beer is crazy! Honestly, this beer is so complex it's difficult to describe. Level after level of flavor appear the longer the beer sits in front of me.

Look, they only make this beer once. Any accomplished brewer that makes a single offering like this deserves your attention. Please go and get one of these bottles and let me know what you think. I have a feeling there's even more flavors and aromas then what I've been able to write about here. This beer is one adventure you need to embark upon.

Go on and get it!

Overall Score of the He'Brew Jewbelation 12: 4.0 out 5.0

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Trip to the Hop Yard with Deschutes Brewery

I hope your weekend has been filled with delicious beer so far. I just sampled a fine seasonal offering from Deschutes Brewery I thought you should know about. It's the Hop Trip fresh hop pale ale from the brewery's Bond Street Series. Hooray for hops!

As the bottle explains, this beer celebrates the Fall hop harvest. One brewer gets the kettle going in Bend, Oregon, "as another rushes back from the Willamette Valley," with a truckload of hops. Man, I wish I had a truckload of hops. Talk about a perfect way to stuff your mattress!

So, to the beer ...

It features a sunset-like amber color with a super-soft and creamy head. The hypnotizing hop aroma gives off scents of citrus groves and fresh cut grass. This beer is screaming, "drink me now!" So I shall.

The first gulp offers a blast of heavenly hop goodness as the bite comes quick and settles into a smooth and malty finish. The texture of this beer almost reminds me of a Boddington's Pub Draft. Weird. The malt gives off an amazing flavor of rich brown sugar-coated sweet rolls fresh out of the oven. I'm not talking over-the-top sweetness, as I normally don't like that sort of thing, rahter this sugary vibe I speak of is perfectly balanced by the bittering hops. In a word, this beer is superb.

The Deschutes Brewery is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I can't say I've had a single beer from them that I didn't like. One of these days I need to take a trip up to Oregon and say hello.

Well, that's it for now. If you can get your hands on a bottle of Deschutes Brewery's Hop Trip, I highly recommend it.


Overall Score of the Deschutes Brewery Hop Trip Fresh Hop Ale: 4.5 out 5.0

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 55 - Chocolate Beer!

Every now and then you come across a beer that features ingredients that just sound right. Tonight that beer is from Cooperstown, New York. The magic ingredient is Belgian chocolate. The beer is Ommegang's Chocolate Indulgence.

See? I told you. Doesn't that beer just sound amazing? Well, luckily I'm hear to drink it for you, and make sure the beer lives up to it's name.

I pop the cork on the big brown bottle and slowly pour the liquid into a glass. A breathtaking blackness stares me in the eyes, and I marvel at the impressive milk chocolate-like pillow-soft head. The foam has no interest in leaving the scene and waits for me to enjoy the sight for awhile before it sinks back down. This beer looks like someone liquefied a slice of German chocolate cake, it just has to be good!

Aromas of dark bitter chocolate leap forth backed by notes of clove and a hint of banana. Oh man, I'm getting hungry ... I mean thirsty.

The first sip ... lordamercy! The chocolate hits you right in the mouth. It goes down incredibly smooth and leaves a happy little tingle on the tongue. There's a nice bitter balance in there, so don't think you're getting a sweetened Hershey's bar here. There's a friendly warming aftertaste from the alcohol in this 7% ABV beast to let you know of its power.

Well, if you're looking for a dessert wine, stop! Put down the wine list, and find yourself a bottle of the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. This beer would be fantastic with some tiramisu or a Belgian waffle covered in fresh strawberries, whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce. Just sayin'.

That's it for now. Give this one a try and let me know what you think.


Overall Score of the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence: 4.0 out 5.0

Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 54 - California Beer and Pizza

Pizza played an important role in my life growing up on Long Island. It's what you ate at the end of the soccer season. It's what you ate on Fridays during Lent if you grew up Catholic. The pizzeria was where you went with your friends because it was close enough to ride your bike to, and the price was right for the few bucks you had in your pocket. And, on any given weekend night, you'd be grabbing a slice on the "late night" after drinking a few beers and running around town because one of your friends decided to be the designated driver. Thank you driver.

Pizza is a New York point of pride
, and I'm glad I grew up around it. (Okay ... hold on, give me a minute as I wipe the tears from my face.)

Speaking of beer, I'm pretty sure that pizza and beer is the best food combination on earth.

Okay, so now that we know pizza is on the menu, what type of beer do you think is a good match? A lager? Lagers are a good choice. But for me, it's better if the beer has plenty of hops.

So tonight let's celebrate California beer and pizza! Whatdaya say?

The pizza is from Rocco's. The beer is from the Firestone Walker Brewery.

It's the Union Jack India Pale Ale!

It pours a sunrise orange and amber into the glass and creates a fluffy head fit for taking a nap. Strong aromas of orange, grapefruit, pineapple, and pine combine with a hint of fresh bread. Lordamercy, this beer smells amazing!

And now to sip this fine beverage after I grab a bite.

Did I say bite? Wow! That's exactly what you get from the Union Jack I.P.A. A tight bitterness balanced well with a medium-bodied malt flavor. Rounded out with a classic quick and dry finish ... an excellent example of the American I.P.A.

I have to say, starting your weekend with some tasty beer and pizza gets my full recommendation. Go out there and order up a pie, grab a sixer of your favorite brew and go to town! You won't regret it.


Overall score of the Firestone Walker Union Jack I.P.A. 4.0 out of 5.0

Psssssst! Although Rocco's makes a good California pie, it doesn't compare to my beloved New York pizza. I miss you New York pizza. A slice of grandma pizza from Rosa's in Huntington haunts my dreams at night. Oh man!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Weekend Brews - Week 53 - Happy New Beer!

Hey it's Friday again, and even though I didn't have to work this week, it still feels good.

Friday means it's time for another Weekend Brews Report, and tonight I'd like to talk about a beer from New Belgium Brewing. If this doesn't improve your weekend, I don't know what will ...

The beer? 1554. It's what they call an "enlightened black ale." This beer represents a story of resilience. In 1997 the New Belgium Brewery lost the recipe for this beer due to a flood. Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert and researcher Phil Benstein took the challenge to find another. They traveled to Belgium and dug through books from hundreds of years ago, and rediscovered the ingredients and brewing techniques that would soon become the 1554 black ale.

Let's pop the top and get going.

Hellooooo darkness! A beautiful black liquid slides into the glass and creates a lush, foamy head. It leaves behind some delicate lacing, and a few small circular bubbles on top. Notes of chocolate and toffee are abundant. Wowsers! The first sip goes down faster than Glass Joe!

Oh man that is gooooooood! Silky smooth with flavors of dark chocolate cake and a shot of espresso, this beer is perfect for a cold January evening. It finishes dry and leaves behind hints of bittersweet cocoa to keep you happy until the next sip. I could get used to drinking this as my after dinner beer of choice.

If you haven't tried the 1554 from New Belgium, I highly recommend it. The smart folks from Fort Collins, Colorado have done it again.


Overall Score for the New Belgium 1554: 4.5 out 5.0