Monday, February 28, 2011

February Resolution Check-in!

Alright, time for the monthly check-in on how I'm doing on my beer-related New Year's Resolutions.  Here is the January check-in, and now time for February!

1.  Visit more breweries: Still at two down, four to go.  I went by Tin Roof and Parish Brewing in January but failed to make any more visits in February.  I think a trip to Saint Arnold needs to happen soon, and probably NOLA and/or Abita as well!

2.  Get published somewhere other than my own blog: Nothing new here either... damn.

3.  Keep home-brewing:  Still going strong on this one!  We have a noble pilsener fermenting right now as beer #4.

4.  Enter a home-brew contest: Nothing on this one yet, but there are talks about creating a home-brew competition partnering with Jay over at Bite And Booze and withVisit Baton Rouge to host a home-brewing competition for South Louisiana this fall.  Hard to say, but I think hosting a competition and judging might count for this one?

5.  Drink a beer stronger than I ever have before: CHECK!  I found the BrewDog Tokyo* Imperial Stout at Martin Wine Cellar in BR.  You can check out the review here!

6.  Continue to get in better shape as I drink more beer: Still only minimally effective here... I've lost one pound since the new year, but hey, it's a lot better than gaining!  Hopefully some warmer weather and the time change will help get the ball rolling.

7.  Drink 365 new beers in 2011:  We are on day 59 right now, and I'm at 54, so I'm not far off of pace, but I am a little behind.  I'll have to drink a few beers tonight to help catch up!  I still have another dozen or so from Gainesville and 14 or 15 from Houston waiting to be drank.  After I put in an hour on the elliptical of course.  Gotta remember resolution #6.

So... I still think I'm doing pretty well.  March is going to be mostly about #6 and #7 I believe, but I won't let the others slide.  I hope everyone else is still kicking ass on their goals for 2011!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quickie Review: Slaapmutske Dry-Hopped Lager

Just a quick review of the Dry-Hopped Lager from Brouwerij Slaapmutske out of Belgium.  Do you know what that translates to?  Because I don't... other than the 'brewery' part!  I picked this one up as a single pretty cheap at Martin Wine Cellar, it was something new, so might as well give it a try!

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass.  It just says "Lager" in the beer name but this one is a Czech Pilsener to get more specific.

It's a faint yellow color... hazy with an enormous bubbly white head. Insane retention and lacing. Took a few pours to get the entire contents into the glass... which is saying a lot for an 11.2 oz. bottle and a 16 oz. pint glass!   

It smells crisp with an earthy sweetness to it and a nice hop aroma on top.

The taste is a little more hoppy than the aroma... still crisp, still a little grassy, but very nice and refreshing.

It's starting to warm up in South Louisiana, so it's a perfect beer and style for the coming of Spring.

My Rating: B
BeerAdvocate: B

Pilsener on FoodistaPilsener

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Victory Brewing HopDevil & Golden Monkey

Time for a review of a couple of beers from Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, PA.  This is another brewery that I had heard of and read about, but until I hit up the bottle shop in Gainesville, I'd never seen their beers available.  They claim on their site to distribute to Texas, but I don't ever remember seeing their beers available in Houston.  Maybe I just overlooked them?  Anyway... in true beer nerd fashion I grabbed a couple, and now a month or so later finally got around to drinking them!  

The first one I tried was the HopDevil IPA, one I'd read about and was really looking forward to trying!  For this one, I poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

It's a dark caramel color, clear with a finger worth of white head. There is a little creamy lacing and the retention is alright.  It's hoppy as it should be... more of a citrus hop flavor as opposed to a piney west coast IPA.  Makes sense considering this is coming from a Northeastern brewery.  One of the things I've really learned since I've gotten into craft beer is how different regions of the USA regard the same style. 

The flavor is similar... a little malt balance in there too almost like an APA. It's a good beer, an easy drinking IPA for sure.  It's not as bold as I was hoping for something called HopDevil, but I'm still a fan.  I think my tastes are just more geared towards West coast IPAs than East coast. 
My Rating: B

Up next was the Golden Monkey tripel.  I've always been a big fan of Belgian ales, so I'm always excited to see an American take on them.  For this brew I poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet... always a goblet for a dubbel, tripel, quad, or strong Belgian ale.  It's a cloudy beer with a gold color, befitting the "Golden Monkey" moniker, and a small white head. Not much lacing or retention to it, which would usually be present in this style.

It has a floral and honey smell to it, hints of coriander... pretty tasty. Typical for the style but right on point with how a good tripel should smell. In my opinion at least.  The taste is a great reflection on the smell... maybe a little more floral and slightly bitter with a little hop hit in there. I'm really enjoying this one, for an American brewed tripel it's one of the best I've had in recent memory.

The mouthfeel is a little harsh, with a slight hint of the alcohol content in the aftertaste.  This one is a pretty robust 9.5% alcohol so a little flavor from that isn't unusual at all. 

I'd still go for another one of these... if it was available in Louisiana I could see some Golden Monkey finding its way into my regular rotation.

My Rating: B+

So, check a new brewery off the list... that wasn't one of my resolutions but it's still nice to try new beers from new people! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some Local Beer Links...

First off, be sure to check out The Beer Buddha's Top Of The Hops ticket give away!   The give away is in particular for the North Shore edition of the Top Of The Hops beer festival. The breweries for 2011 haven't been announced yet, but there were a lot of good beers to try last year!  Unforunately this one is March 19th so I'll be busy with the St. Patrick's Day parade, but there is also the Top Of The Hops in Lafayette on April 9th so maybe I'll see some people there!

If anyone is planning on hitting up the North Shore tasting you might want to consider taking the bus to and from via The Avenue Pub on St. Charles Street.  Details can be found on Facebook here:!/AvenuePubNOLA  but it's a good way to minimize driving, parking, and maximize the beer! 

Also... another post from The Beer Buddha, about a Schmaltz Brewing beer dinner hosted by the Martin Wine Cellar location in Metairie.  Looks delicious, and should be some pretty good beer that hasn't proliferated the BR market yet.  Maybe the Martin Wine Cellar in Baton Rouge will be hosting similar beer dinners in the future?  We can only hope!

Enjoy, and happy drinking!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA

Another brew day beer!  Last week Dustin and I, with the help of our friend Kyle, set out to brew a noble pilsener.  While picking up a few ingredients from Marcello's on Perkins we also picked up one of the key components to brewing... some beers to drink during the process.  One that surprisingly neither Dustin or I had tried before was the Latitude 48 IPA from Sam Adams.  I've tried plenty of beers from the Boston Beer Company before, even a variety pack around Christmas time, but I guess their IPA had always slipped under my radar.  No longer!

As always, proper glassware is important to enjoying a beer... this one was poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.  It's an amber color, very clear with a bubbly off-white head.

It's got a hoppy aroma, but not powerful. Grapefruit seems to be the dominant flavor with a little caramel note to it.  There is definitely a nice malt balance on the front of the sip. The hops come through stronger at the end. It's good, with a bitter aftertaste but drinks really smooth for an IPA.

A pretty good beer, but I'm not blown away.  It's not up there with the Stones and Racer 5s of the IPA world, but it's definitely another good one for someone trying to get into craft beer.  But then, I think a lot of what Sam Adams is about, at least as far as their flagship brews are concerned, is getting people into craft beer.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that, the move converts the better!

My Rating: B-

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Hoppy Brewing Trio!

Time for another 3-in-1 review... this time three brews from the Hoppy Brewing Company out of Sacramento, CA.  I picked up three bombers of their brews at Tipple's Brews in Gainesville way back in January, but it turns out 30 new beers goes a decent way!  I had never heard of Hoppy Brewing Co. before... certainly never seen them in Louisiana and I don't ever remember seeing them in Houston either so they made an easy choice as a few to add to the beer run.  

I started off with the Stony Face Red Ale, a5.6% alcohol American amber/red ale that I poured from the 22 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.  It's a bubbly deep copper color, no haze at all, with a creamy light head. Not a big head, but good retention and lacing.  Wine has "legs" and beer has the lacing of the head on the sides of the glass to add to that visual effect.

The smell is malty, a little metallic, not much hop presence. Unfortunately there's not a lot going on in the nose.  The taste is even more metallic to me... malt flavor dominates as it should for the style but it's a little rough around the edges. The balance is way off to me... just not very good.

Unfortunately I don't have another one of these on hand to see if this was just a bad bottle... I do have two more from Hoppy Brewing so I guess I'll see if I like them any better.  Not a good start, but we'll see where these CA guys go from here.

My Rating: C-
BeerAdvocate: B  (but the last 5 are all in the C range...)

Up next was the Hoppy Claus Holiday Ale... okay, this one should be better as I'm generally a fan of the Winter Warmer style of beer.  And it might be warm outside now but it was a lot cooler last week when I drank this one!  As usual... poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

This one pours a deep orange color... hazy with a two-finger or so head. It has good retention and lacing. Definitely a good looking beer, but the Stony Face Red Ale looked good but tasted pretty bad. Don't want to get my hopes up yet.  There's not a very strong aroma... what is there is the typical winter warmer spice bouquet. Ginger and nutmeg and a little malt and hops but nothing is too powerful.

Fortunately the flavor is a lot more full... the spices come through, with a hint of floral hops and honey malts. Very good, certainly a step up from the weak aroma.  I really like the creamy thicker mouthfeel... just a hint of bitter aftertaste leaves it a mark or so down. I'd definitely give this beer another try, a very nice winter warmer.  A definite step up from the last beer.

My Rating: A-

Last up in this threesome of brews was the Total Eclipse Black Ale... an American stout with a pretty badass label in my opinion.  Guess what... I poured it from a 22 oz. bottle into a imperial pint glass to drink and review.

It's a dark brown beer, fairly impenetrable with a light brown bubble head. Good retention and lacing. All the Hoppy Brewing beers I've tried have been pretty good looking beers, that's for sure.

The smell is faint of chocolate and roasted malts... a little metallic twinge to it. The taste is a little subdued too... mostly a roasted flavor to it, like charred malts. There is a charred aftertaste and really no hops to speak of. It's alright, but nothing special.

It's kinda thin, not much body to speak of... I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't hunt it down.  
My Rating:  C+

All in all I was left a little disappointed with the Hoppy Brewing Company.  Also a little surprised that they didn't focus more on pale ales with a name like Hoppy!  Still, part of this 365 in 2011 goal was to expand my horizons to new breweries and new styles.  I knew they weren't all going to be my new favorites, but as much as I'll know which breweries and style to seek out when I'm done, I'll know a few to avoid as well!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Terrapin So Fresh & So Green Green

This is another from the beer run to Gainesville a while back... turns out 30 beers goes a long way!  Terrapin Beer Company is a brewery out of Athens, Georgia that has a pretty loyal following.  I first had their beers after a trip to Alabama a few years back, and try to grab a few whenever I'm towards the East and can find them. 
This one came in a bomber... poured into an imperial pint glass. It's a deep orange color, darker than a typical IPA. There's an impressive head with good retention and lacing.  Very appetizing looking beer!
The aroma is hoppy... very hoppy. It's a more floral hop note with a little bit of sweetness to it. It's got a pretty good aroma really.  The flavor is just more of the same... hoppy, but not a lot of balance. It's good but not great on the flavor, I'd really like to see a little more balance in the hop profile or a little malt sweetness to mellow the beer out.

The mouthfeel is good, despite the dominant hops there really isn't a bad aftertaste at all.  It's not a bad IPA, but not one I'd reach for again with other IPAs on the shelf.  This one might be a better choice for a real hop-head but I'm more about a little balance in my beers.

My Rating: B

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Braustolz GmbH Black Art Premium Beer

As the name Braustolz GmbH indicates, what we have here is definitely a German beer!  I had never heard of this brewery or beer before, but while on a recent run to Martin Wine Cellar it caught my attention because it was something I'd never tried... and it was pretty cheap.  I don't remember the exact price and don't have the receipt on me, but I think it was under $2 for the bottle.  Can't beat that for a good one to check out and tick off the list!

By style, this one is a schwarzbier, which translates to "black beer" and is basically considered to be a dark lager.  They aren't strong in alcohol content or thick in body like an imperial stout, but malty, sessionable beers.  Popular examples include Sam Adams Black Lager, Shiner Black Lager, and Köstritzer Schwarzbier. 

I poured this one from an 11.2 ounce bottle into an imperial pint glass.  It's a deep red color with a ridiculous tan head... great retention and good lacing.  So far I'm impressed.  It has a good malt aroma with a slight metallic tinge to it. Smells like some black patent malt, and not much hops at all.

The taste is the same profile as the aroma... dark chocolate flavors come through, not bad at all. This one certainly tastes better than I expected. It's a little thin, but no bad aftertastes or funny things going on.

Easy to drink, a great price, definitely a pleasant surprise.  I'd recommend this one to anyone looking to try some good new beers without spending a lot of money on bombers that you aren't even sure you'll like.

My Rating: B+
BeerAdvocate: B

Schwarzbier on FoodistaSchwarzbier

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: BrewDog Tokio* Imperial Stout

I picked this one up at Martin Wine Cellar a week or so back thanks to a tip from a friend about a beer available in Baton Rouge that clocked in at over 14% alcohol.  I still don't know why this BrewDog offering is spelled "Tokyo" in some places but "Tokio" in others, but either way, at $15 per bottle it had better be good!  Since it's final count in 18.2% alcohol, I invited Dustin over and we proceeded to give this one a taste. 

For tasting, I poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith's snifter. It's dark brown, you can tell it's not black when held up to the light. There's a small tan head, not much retention or lacing, but I wouldn't expect too much head from a beer this strong.

Whoa, the aroma is complex and boozy. It has hints of dark fruits, caramel, boozy spice, tingles the nostrils a bit with the alcohol kick. It's good but it makes me a little nervous of trying this one!  I've never had a beer be so overwhelming on the alcohol, even the ones I've tried that came close to this one in the 13 to 14% range.

The taste is similarly complex but not so boozy that I don't enjoy it. It has the same flavor profile as the aroma. Dark fruits from the cranberries and the jasmine is there too. There is still a caramel note but I don't get the chocolate roasted flavors of a typical imperial stout.

It has a good mouthfeel despite the high abv that is unmistakable. I'd definitely drink another at some point but this isn't meant to be a session beer. It's hard to score the drinkability when I consider the price as well. Still, I'm liking this brew and I'm damn glad I've tried it.  It's certainly not for everyone, but it fulfilled one of my resolutions, counted towards the 365 in 2011, and was certainly an interesting beer to have experienced.

My Rating: B+

Friday, February 11, 2011

Reviews: Two Beers From Florida Breweries

Two more from the beer run to Gainesville... a Key West Southernmost Wheat from the Florida Beer Company, and a Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Gordash Brewing Company.  One of the things I always try to do when traveling is check out the local beers.  The only one I found on tap while I was out in Gainesville was the Swamp Head Stumpknocker Pale Ale but I did find these two at the bottle shop, so let's dive in.

Up first, the Key West Southernmost Wheat.  It's a pale yellow beer, bubbly with a small white head.  An earthy, grassy aroma with a little spice to it.  A definite orange citrus flavor as well.  
The flavor is more orange citrus than earthy, creamy on the tongue even, and very carbonated.  All in all, this is really just an average witbier as far as I can tell.  It's not bad, but nothing I would seek out again.

My Rating: C+

The second one is the Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from the Gordash Brewing Company.  It's considered a Belgian Strong Pale Ale... interesting, and not really what I was expecting from a little brewery in Florida.  I poured it from a 12 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet... it's a hazy orange color with a really small white head.

Smell strong of wheat, with a little hint of apples. No real Belgian spices that I'd associate with a Belgian ale.  The taste is better, with spicy, fruity, floral notes... pretty good actually. Certainly better than expected after the aroma.  Pretty solid mouthfeel too, bubbly, carbonated, not too thin... good. 

This one is really easy to drink, the alcohol (8.5% abv) doesn't come through strong at all. Ended up being a pretty decent beer I think.  I'd definitely get more from this small brewery if I saw them. 

My Rating: B-

And with that... a little closer to 365 in 2011.  As of writing this, I'm one behind pace, so I guess tonight will need to involve a beer or two!  Good news though, it's my birthday and I'm about to head to the Chimes to celebrate!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Newcastle "Walk The Dog" T-Shirt Giveaway - by The Beer Buddha

Just in case some of you don't read his blog as well, Jeremy (AKA The Beer Buddha) is giving away a handful of Newcastle shirts through his blog, The Beer Buddha.  I know telling all of my readers (yeah, all 4 of you) about this might hurt my chances, but whatever, he's a good dude and helping promote other local beer bloggers is sure to bring me some good karma in the future.  Or something.

So... check out his blog, e-mail him to win a t-shirt if you want, and good luck!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Brasserie Caracloe Troublette Witbier

And now for a review of an import, the first one in February, and #34 on my New Years' Resolution goal.  This one is from Brasserie Caracole, a small Belgian brewery that really needs to work on their website.  I've always been a huge fan of Belgian beers, but we can get most imports in Louisiana, so when I was browsing the bottle shop in Gainesville I was sticking mostly to the domestic microbrews.  One of the other shoppers, noticing my increasing stock of beers, recommended this one to me, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  She was also an LSU grad, so I figured her recommendation would be worth a little more than usual.
For this witbier, I poured it from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a stange glass, the one that was complimentary in the Slinky's beer tasting last month!  It's a clear pale yellow color, with a ridiculous head that has some great retention. It took at least two pours to top off even with a small bottle.

The aroma is sweet and floral with hints of honey and earthy tones.  Pretty damn good.  The flavor isn't as bold as the aroma... still floral honey tones, clove, a little bitterness from some minimal hops but the floral notes come through the most.  It has good carbonation, feels great to swish around on the palate.  This one is really super easy to drink, and a damn fine witbier.  I've never seen it around Baton Rouge, but I'll be on the lookout and report back if I do find it.
My Rating: A-

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: SweetWater Happy Ending Imperial Stout

I picked up this one on the recent beer run to Gainesville... I've had SweetWater beers before while visiting friends in Alabama but at the time the laws prevented anything stronger than 6 (or 8) percent alcohol from being sold, so this one was off the table.  Fortunately the laws in Alabama have been changed, so it's a little easier to get good beer there, but they still have some work to do.  SweetWater Brewing is a pretty sizeble micro-brewery out of Atlanta, Georgia.  If you're ever there, check them out.
I had this one poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.  It's a pretty impenetrable dark brown color, nearly black, with a bubbly light brown head. Great looking brew, just what you'd expect from an imperial stout.

The smell is chocolate malt and a little metallic tinge to it. Just alright on the nose... nothing special.  The taste, on the other hand... yum. It's rich, chocolatey, a little roasted bitterness on the end. Very little booziness mucking it up, just a well done imperial stout.  The mouthfeel is a little thin, but not bad... really easy to drink for a 9% abv stout.

Solid beer, wish I had another in the fridge!  One thing about this 365 in 2011 trip I'm on, I'll know which beers I want to stock up on next time around, and which ones I can skip!

My Rating: B+

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Moylan's Moylander Double IPA

Rewinding a bit for a review of one I tried last week... Moylan's Moylander Double IPA.  I picked this one up at Calandro's on Government St. a while back when I was grabbing some Abita Strawberry and a few other brews, and it was time to give it a try!  Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet... it's a copper color, a little hazy, with a huge creamy white head. There is great retention and lacing. It's a heady beer, that's for sure.

The aroma is sweeter than I expected, a delicious blend of molasses, pine hops, and a little citrus as well. Very well done and an excellently blended hop profile.  The taste hits hoppier than the aroma... whoo this one is a more than a little bitter! The piney and floral flavors come through the strongest, but there's still a little molasses kick on the end and then back to the piney hops on the aftertaste. 

Great mouthfeel, creamy, thick, again a pleasure to drink. This double IPA exceeded my expectations, and I'd absolutely drink it again.  If you're a hop head, check it out for sure... if you don't like the hoppy beers, I'd start out a little slower than this double IPA.  Maybe try the NOLA Hopitoulas IPA, Fort Collins Rocky Mountain IPA, or if you can find it, the Bell's Two-Hearted Ale.  (And if you find some, bring me a few!)

My Rating: A
BeerAdvocate: A-

India Pale Ale (IPA) on FoodistaIndia Pale Ale (IPA)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Beer #3 - Clipper City Loose Cannon

Now that that abomination of a halftime show is over, it's on to another beer. I had a few Bud American Ales (thanks to Brent) and a Sierra Nevada Kellerweis (thanks to Dustin) in the first half. 

Now it's time for Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA from Clipper City Brewing. I picked this one up on that beer run to Gainesville a few weeks ago.  This is a tasty hop forward IPA. Strong flavors of grapefruit and a little pine. Yum! Now, here's hoping the Packers can hold on!

My Rating:  B+
BeerAdvocate: A-

India Pale Ale (IPA) on FoodistaIndia Pale Ale (IPA)