Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Three New Reviews!

Some more beer reviews from a recent beer run to Calandro's!  This time I grabbed a few packs of smaller bottles, and a handful of bombers... here's round one, the multiple beer packs!

The first one I tried was a Limited Series from Full Sail Brewing, this is their #3 recipe.  I've had the #1 a few years ago before I started writing the blog, but I totally missed #2.  This current version is a German Pilsner recipe, and is available at Calandro's for only $8.99 per 6-pack.  The aroma on this one is much bolder than the appearance lets on... good hops with a hint of caramel malts.  The taste is more of the same, very well balanced and super easy to drink.  At this price I could go back to this one plenty and enjoy every one.  For another good example of a German Pilsner, check out the Abita S.O.S. if you can still find it anywhere!

I also saw some Fischer Tradition Amber, and had to pick up a 6-pack.  I used to drink this stuff like crazy with my cousin Travis when they had it in the big flip-top bottles at the Chimes.  It disappeared from the local markets for a while, but apparently it's back, although now in smaller bottles in 6-packs.  Officially this one is a Euro Dark Lager, and it's definitely a darker amber color than a traditional lager would be.  Unfortunately on re-visit to this one there's just not much to it.  The smell is faint, and the flavor is undermalted and somewhat boring.  I know I used to really enjoy this stuff, but either the beer has changed or my palate has... probably the latter.  At $12.99 for a 6-pack, I don't think I'll be buying any more of these any time soon.

The last review for this post is the BrewDog Punk IPA.  BrewDog is a Scottish brewery that has a reputation for really extreme beers (like the 32% abv. Tactical Nuclear Penguin) but this is one of their relatively tame standard offerings.  The smell is hoppy with some really nice pine flavors and a subtle hint of malts.  The flavor is hop dominant as an IPA should be.. again a pine flavor to them and a hint of caramel at the back. Good blend for an IPA and I really like the way the malts compliment the hoppy hit. I'm a big fan of this one, really a top notch IPA in my opinion. Easy to drink, well balanced, but not mild at all on the hops.  It's a bit pricey at $12.99 for a 4-pack, but still one I'd consider going back for.  It's also about to be released in cans... interesting and I'll be curious to see how the bottles and cans compare as far as flavors go. 

That's it for now... I have four more bombers from this trip to review, but I've only drank one of them so far, so it's going to have to wait a few days at least!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New To Baton Rouge - Tin Roof Brewing

It has been several months in the works, but Tin Roof Brewing, located right here in Baton Rouge, rolled out their first two beers last night at the Bulldog.  The party officially started at 4, and Dustin and I were there within a few minutes of the opening pour.  We both started with a Voodoo Bengal Pale Ale, Tin Roof's version of an American Pale Ale.  It's a dark amber color, with a decent malt/hop balance to it.  A pretty good beer, and a good start to the evening.

After the pint of Voodoo it was on to the Perfect Tin Amber Ale.  This one poured pretty much an identical color to the Voodoo, and the guys at Tin Roof even talked about doing something to change the colors to distinguish the beers from each other.  I imagine the similarities caused a few bartenders problems through the night!  As for the beer itself, neither Dustin or I was too impressed with the Amber.  It had a good malt kick but really lacked body and balance.  Easy to drink for sure, but overall pretty weak.

After the Perfect Tin I went back for a few more pints of Voodoo Bengal, which was definitely my favorite of the two, and then called it an evening.  By 7 the place was packed and I think the Tin Roof beers were generally being very well received by the crowd.  Even though I wasn't blown away by the beers I have a huge appreciation for a new micro-brewery in town.  Converting the masses away from the big domestics and into trying craft beer is always a good thing, and Tin Roof seems to be a perfect way for people to try something new and hopefully really enjoy it.  

Props to them for making it happen, and I look forward to trying to the rest of their lineup once it rolls out!

For a change, these pictures are courtesy of Jay Ducote's Bite and Booze blog!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Latest Reviews!

I already talked a bit about the Hitachino Nest White Ale I picked up on the last beer run to Calandro's, but now that I've had a chance to go through that selection of brews, I figured it was time to share my thoughts, good and bad, on the other 4 different beers I picked up.
The first one I tried was a Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial Ale.   Moylan's is a brewery/restaurant out of Novato, California that has been highly awarded over its 15 year history.  I'm usually a fan of hoppy beers, so even with a hefty $10.99 price tag for a bomber, I figured I'd give it a try.

The beer has received high regards on BeerAdvocate, with an A- average rating, but I wasn't as impressed.  The citrusy grape-fruit-esque hops dominated too much for my liking, with not a lot of balance in the flavor.  If you're a big fan of super hoppy beers give this one a try, but for my palate there are better IPAs and IIPAs available for a better price. 

The next one I broke out was the Bacchus Red Ale from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck in Belgium.  The brewery does the traditional range of Belgian ales (tripel, quad, etc.) as well as a wide variety of fruit beers and lambics.  This particular beer was in the style of a Flanders Red Ale which is described as "infamous for their distinct sharp, fruity, sour and tart flavors which are created by special yeast strains."  This was my first taste of the style, and the sour and tart flavors are no joke.  In fact, they were so potent it really took away some of my enjoyment of the beer.  The aroma was absolutely fantastic, but the sour flavors were just too strong for me to really enjoy.  At only $5.79 for a 12.7 ounce bottle I'm glad I learned some more about a style I'd never tried before, but I don't feel the need to go stock up on these.

Next up was the only 6-pack I bought... the Eel River Organic IPA.  I had previously had both a great experience with the Eel River Raven's Eye Imperial Stout (fantastic stout) and a bad experience with the Eel River Acai Berry Wheat which left me a little underwhelmed.  Even still, at $11.79 for a 6-pack I was willing to give this one a try.  The aroma struck me as more of an APA than an IPA, with a good balance of malts and hops, with the caramel flavors coming out the most.  The taste was more hop-dominated, but not so bitter that it took away from the enjoyment of the beer.  I was impressed overall, and this is certainly one I'd consider picking up again. 

Last up was a beer from New Zealand, from a craft brewery I even mentioned in the New Zealand World Cup of Beer post back in the Summer!  It was from the MOA Brewing Company, their version of the Belgian ale, their St. Joseph's Tripel, and at $7.99 for a bomber it also made the cut as a beer to try.  Tripels are one of my favorite styles, and I've tried versions from all over the world, so I was excited to try this Kiwi take on the style.  On first glance, it had all the look of the Belgian counterparts... hazy amber color with a frothy white head.  The beer had a very floral aroma, and well balanced too with the hops and some malts and spices.  On the tongue the hops came out stronger, with the floral flavors and spices dominating the front of each sip and the caramel malts just lingering slightly on the aftertaste.  An above average attempt at a Belgian tripel, but not quite on par with the authentic products, as to be expected.  In New Zealand it's probably a real treat and quite affordable, but here it doesn't set itself apart from the Belgian ales and other North American attempts at the style. 

Another successful beer run for me... found a brewery (Eel River) that I want to explore further, and got my feet wet with the Flanders Red Ale style.  Unfortunately, my fridge is about empty... guess I need to get some more!