Oh Beeradvocate…..

I recently picked up a bottle of The Bruery Rueuze from a local liquor establishment.  I bought this without having had it or reading anything about it.  I feel confident enough in The Bruery’s sours at this point to do such a thing.  I did however decided to hop on the ole BeerAdvocate.com and see what people had to say about this brew for fun.  The following are quotes from various reviews.

"all I am finding it waves of lactic acid with no funk"

"Wooden and funky"

"The funk doesn’t come through as well as in the nose"

" smells funky"

" with medium to low carbonation"

"This beer has a good level of carbonation"

"The carbonation was pretty high and a bit bubbly"

"no head at all"

"I get a nice 3/4 of a finger of white head that’s dissipates nicley"

"moderately sour"

"Very tart and sour"

"Will be better later"

"I could see this become undrinkable in about a year"

Well now I know what to expect from this beer.  No funk in the aroma with funk in the aroma.  Lightly carbonated with high carbonation.  No head with a 3/4 finger white head.  A moderately sour very sour tasting beer that will age great and be undrinkable with age.  Thanks Beeradvocate!  Cheers!

Top 5 Non-Barrel Aged Stouts

Like the title says, this will be a list of my top five non-barrel aged stouts.  I would love to hear from other people with their lists too.  The only criteria being obvious enough, so I won’t be repeating for a third time.  Making this made me realize how many barrel aged stouts I love.  That list will happen at some point and probably be a top ten.  Enough Jibba Jabba, on with the great American tradition of ranking things!

1.  Founder’s - Breakfast Stout

2.  Cigar City - Marshal Zhukov

3.  Half Acre - Big Hugs

4.  Dark horse - Plead The Fifth

5.  Pipeworks - Abduction 

Don’t forget November 8th is Stout Day!  www.stoutday.com

Ska Brewing - Autumnal Mole Stout

image    Ska Brewing’s Autumnal Mole Stout is the first in their series of seasonal stouts being released this year.  The new beers will be released near each seasons equinox and solstice. If the other three turn out to be as good as this one we are in for a treat. As par the course for Ska Brewing all the seasonal stouts will be canned six packs.

     The Autumnal Mole Stout pours a tad thinner than I prefer in my stouts, especially one containing a mole flavor profile. (pepper, cinnamon, spices, etc.) To go along with the thin look it’s not a very dark stout and pours a two finger head that rapidly dissipates down to almost nothing. So all in all not the best looking beer, but looks can be deceiving and the taste is most important after all. The aroma of the mole stout is much more enticing. You get some of those pepper notes and more cinnamon than I expected. With little to no roasted notes, this is all Mole deliciousness on the nose.  The initial flavor of the Mole Stout is cinnamon and sugar ala horchata. I did get a hint of chile pepper on the finish as well. Mostly though, this was a horchata stout, which I love. I still feel a thicker mouth feel would help carry these flavors to a more distinct level, especially the pepper notes. I prefer to not only taste pepper in my peppered beers, but to feel some heat spice as well. I will admit though after warming up a bit there was a slight tingle on the back end aftertaste. Having that flavor and spice pop a bit more would make this a world class beer in my opinion. I do like how Ska used the stout style to deliver these flavors without detracting from the overall profile. In other words I don’t get an abundance of roasted malts or the type of sweetness associated with certain stouts. I’m impressed with this beer, it’s easy to drink and for around 12 dollars a six pack there is no reason not to have a few on hand throughout the fall. Mole is the perfect style for this time of year. Cheers!

Evil Twin - Ron and the Beast Ryan

image     I’m not sure if most people know this but Evil Twin’s head brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is the brother of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø from Mikkeller fame.  If you think Mikkeller brews some off the chart styles check out Evil Twin.  I love a few of their beers (Soft Dookie, Soft X-Mas) and disdain others (Before During and After Christmas beer).  Evil Twin is a gypsy brewery just like Mikkeller but they refer to themselves as a “phantom” brewer.  While this style of brewing has a certain romantic quality I find it can hinder quality control and lead to some less that desirable beers being released.  This isn’t the end of the world mind you. It’s just that these being imported from over seas and getting the dreaded double tax, they are not cheap beers.  I was feeling frisky the day I bought Ron and the Beast Ryan, which like most Evil Twin beers the label tells you little to nothing about the beer.  This can become a big annoyance when they have so many different releases.  That being said, lets get into the review!

      Ron and the Beast Ryan is a 7% Saison/Farmhouse Ale brewed with brettanomyces.  This is basically their hoppy Saison Ryan and the Beaster Bunny with the Brett addition.  Sadly I have never had Beaster Bunny so i can’t compare the differences between the two.  Ron and the Beast Ryan pours a sparkling light yellowish color with a good amount of head, which being a funked up Saison is expected.  The aroma of this beer is fantastic.  It makes me think of summer and sipping brews on the deck in the warm sun of the afternoon.  I got a lot of lemon zest in the nose off this beer and some traditional Saison spice notes.  I was expecting more barnyard funk aroma than was present.  I don’t mind that this wasn’t there because I don’t particularly enjoy that part of a Brett beer.  

     Ron and the Beast Ryan drinks super light and crisp, but does have some alcohol kick that gets in the way of the great flavors.  Being 7% abv this is hard to forgive.  At the front of the tongue I tasted that delicious lemon that I smelled, mixed with a traditional Belgian yeast/Saison spice flavor.  The spice notes were subtle and not overwhelming like some Saisons can be.  The middle brings in an almost sweetness as the lemon fades out and leads into the amazing back end of Brett goodness.  The balance of Brett was handled very well on this brew as all those Saison spices and lemon tastes in the front finish off with a delicious slightly tart, slightly funky aftertaste.  This beer will not last long in your glass because if you are like me you will want to revisit what just washed over your palate again immediately.  I have two main gripes with Ron and the Beast Ryan. First, for it having a  light crisp taste Ron and the Beast has a much thicker mouth feel than I think it should.  I prefer this type of mouthfeel in my stouts not from a Saison.  Secondly, a acetone alcohol taste does creep in and mar the wonderful way the brettanomyces play off the base beer.  I had sat on this bottle for a few months before opening after having heard from a friend that it was drinking really hot and kind of a mess fresh.  I’m glad I did, but probably should have given it a little longer.  I drank this about a month ago and didn’t get around to writing this till now so if you have one I would say open it up soon and enjoy!  Cheers!

Hoppin’ Frog Nake Evil and Sweet Evil

image  This is going to be quick.  I paid over 20 dollars for this beer and a little less for the Sweet Evil version (not pictured).  As with all Hoppin Frog beers this was too much to pay but sometimes you bite the bullet and do it.  These beers are awful, especially the Sweet Evil.  They both poured a light colored thin mess that looked like cough syrup.  The Naked Evil is aged in whiskey barrels and this shows in the ridiculous bad whiskey taste on the back end.  Both of these beers, especially Sweet Evil, are cloyingly sweet in the worst way.  I understand one being called Sweet Evil I should expect sweetness in the flavor; however, this was beyond any sweetness that should ever be in a beer.  Both of these just smell, feel, and taste like a mess of gross. Everyone I shared this with ended up drain pouring with me.  I would not recommend this beer or anything by Hoppin’ Frog to be honest.  They have some decent stouts but for the price I can’t recommend them.  These two Barley Wines were a joke in my opinion.  

Goose Island 312 Urban Block Party

image      I have not posted to the blog in awhile and have some catching up to do.  I was working crazy overtime for a bit and then just got lazy.  As you can tell by the title and picture of this post I was lucky enough to attend the 312 Urban Block Party put on by Goose Island.  This event was free, but one had to win or acquire tickets somehow.  They did not sell tickets to this event.  I was lucky enough to come upon a guest list pass from @MarisaVictoria on twitter.  The ticket was provided to her through @brokehipster and @do312.  I can’t thank her enough for the generosity on this.  For those who don’t know this event featured music, food, and rare Goose beers.  We all know what rare Goose Island beers means.  I shall get into what they poured in a minute.  It was truly epic.

     My friends Mike and Ashley had previously won VIP tickets so I hitched a ride with them to the event.  Us being nerds and especially Bourbon County nerds we were the first people in line.  Initially the whole thing seemed moderately unorganized and under planned for how many people may be showing up.  It was  a bad weather day with some drizzle and chances of storms which aided in keeping the crowd size manageable.  The event was held outside Goose Island’s new barrel warehouse on Fulton.(thanks In-Bev money) The setup led us through the warehouse to get to the event.  This was truly special seeing rows upon rows of Juliet, Lolita, and of course Bourbon County stacked up.  I immediately went on the hunt for the “rare” beers they had promised to be pouring.  Initially I came up empty and snagged a Matilda while figuring out the lay of the land.  Eventually I noticed a young chap standing in front of a few barrels with taps coming out of them.  I knew this was the spot I was looking for.  They had a few selections from their Fulton and Wood line and yes of course a huge Bourbon County barrel!  This wasn’t just regular Bourbon County either, it was a special barrel just for the event, Raspberry Bourbon County!  After some issues with the initial pours because of raspberry seeds clogging the tapper I was finally standing with a solid 10oz pour of Raspberry Bourbon Count that only cost me $3 U.S. dollars.  I could tell this was going to be a good night.  The Raspberry Bourbon County, aged in a Rye barrel by the way, was delicious.  It was basically the Bramble Rye without the blackberries, which made it much less cloying  as far as sweetness.  I could still taste the base beer which Bramble is almost all fruit and no Bourbon County taste.  

     As I stated before this event also featured music.  The headliner being the incredible St. Vincent.  This being a free event there was a great mix of people there for music, flagship lineup brews, and Bourbon County fans.  You could easily pick out the beer geeks in the crowd because we all huddled around the barrel pours and had our various beer company shirts on to proclaim our allegiance to the sweet nectar of hops, malt and barley.  As far as the beers being poured it kept getting more interesting.  Goose obviously had their staple beers throughout the grounds but the barrel area kept ramping up quality throughout the night.  Perhaps my favorite beer of the night was a wild ale version of 312.  I wish they would bottle this beer, it was incredible the way the Brett interacted with the wheat forwardness of 312.  My least favorite experimental beer was a sour version of their Belgian Style beer Demolition.  This did not work at all for me.  To me it just tasted like rotten pears and stale beer.  Just before St. Vincent went on the event  staff decided to kick it up and pour some fresh Intelligentsia coffee into the Raspberry Bourbon County to create a truly one of a kind brew.  The flavors, while being all over the board and kind overwhelming, were fantastic.  I wouldn’t want a lot of this by any means but being able to try it was a treat.  Next up on the tapping list was another barrel of Bourbon County, this time with Ancho Chile.  Honestly I wish I was a tad more sober at this point, the beer was delicious no doubt but I know I was missing out some of the nuance going on with it.  I love chile beers and would love another shot at this one.  After having a semi overwhelmed palate and sobriety this beer shined just as you would imagine it would though.  I would have hoped for more spice in the finish, I know they make a Ghost Pepper version for special events from time to time and would love to have a go at that.  At this point I wandered over to St. Vincent, had my mind blown by her amazing and then headed home.  There were other beers drank, food eaten, amazing butts on waitresses, and people from the Facebook event page met as well.  I think this was already long enough without going into all that though.  Thank you to Goose Island for putting on a fantastic event for your fans and thanks again to @MarisaVictoria for making it possible for me to attend.  Cheers!

Those who know me in real life know that I have a few tattoos.  It has been years since I have got one and I decided awhile back that I wanted beer related tattoo.  Initially I went to the most obvious choice being 3 Floyds.  After thinking about this more though I decided I wanted to keep it local and get a Chicago Brewery.  I picked Pipeworks for a few reasons.  I love how they got started, I love their brewing model, and I love their beers.  Cheers!

Those who know me in real life know that I have a few tattoos.  It has been years since I have got one and I decided awhile back that I wanted beer related tattoo.  Initially I went to the most obvious choice being 3 Floyds.  After thinking about this more though I decided I wanted to keep it local and get a Chicago Brewery.  I picked Pipeworks for a few reasons.  I love how they got started, I love their brewing model, and I love their beers.  Cheers!