Friday, April 30, 2010

JAVA STOUT! - Bell's Brewery

OK, this Friday I have another beer I have been craving to try since my uncle gave me a mix six packer last weekend. I love coffee almost as much as I love beer so if you combine the two, well I think I might feel complete bliss, nirvana, and utopia, yes, all at the same time. BAM! This beer is also from one of my favorite breweries, Bell’s, which happens to be located in Michigan, home to the Detroit Tigers, my second favorite baseball team behind the ailing Atlanta Braves. The only out-of-state college I applied to was also Michigan State, the only time I’ve been out of the country was when I was in Detroit and went south to Winsor, Canada so maybe I just have an unconscious love for Michigan, oh well, it could be worse, I could love Alabama or Mississippi.

Now, the beer, JAVA STOUT, stout brewed with coffee, man why didn’t I think of that. Wonder if I could get away with this in the mornings in place of my normal cup of joe.

It pours nice and dark like any good stout should, it has that cool bubbling effect just like Guinness that produces a nice thick, creamy head. It definitely smells like a good cup of coffee with a slight alcohol scent. The taste is amazing, starts of like a nice roasty stout but then the sweetness of a mocha hits and hides the 7.5% ABV unbelievably well. It truly is the marriage of coffee and stout. It is heavy like a stout but I still believe I could drink a handful of these at one sitting, it is just so smooth and creamy. Now, I’ve never had Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee but if it is anything like this I may just have to start. Wow, just wow.

So now I must get back to my favorite thing to do, grilling, and grilling my favorite thing, chicken leg quarters. Slow cook them for an hour than move them directly over the heat for another 45 minutes, um um, fall of the bone chicken. So I hope your Friday night has as much enjoyment as mine has in store, if not sorry brother, you can always grab a Java Stout and turn it around. Cheers beer nuts!

You can also check out 365beers’ review of this same beer, I think now that I have tried it I’ll do the same. This is also someone who has inspired me to take more creative pictures. I check his site almost daily and have found several beers that I have on my ‘to do list’ so had to close the page before I started reading this one as not to taint my opinion.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

O'Dempsey's - Big Red Ale

Once again I give you a mid-week bonus review, mainly due to my selfishness but you still benefit right? Ok, I’ve been wanting to try this since my uncle gave it to me this past weekend but been a little short on time so I made time this evening. This is the kind of story you like to hear about as a craft beer geek/nut/fan. Now if I could just get enough people to like my beer I could be in the same boat right, ok maybe not but it’s still a cool story. Very similar to New Belgium Brewery or even Sweetwater Brewery and probably a lot of other small craft breweries to be honest. Very cool times for the craft beer world. Before I even try this beer I have a small complaint, the brewery name on the label is very hard to see much less read but I guess if its good I’ll just remember the beer name and label instead of the brewery. However I do like that it tells you the IBU’s (30) and the Original Gravity (1.058) and the ALC/VOL (6.0%).

So here we go with Big Red Ale by O’dempsey’s (Beer to die for) – Brewed and bottled by Atlanta Brewing Co via contract brewing. Again, probably like must small craft brewers, this is an easier way to start out. You get a brewery that has extra space, brewmasters, and equipment to brew your recipe, bottle you beer and both parties win. You get quality beer for your start-up brewery and the brewing brewery doesn’t see their equipment sitting idle.

It pours a deep ruby red almost brown and has a nice thick head but it doesn’t stick around too long. I’m guessing it is an ‘Irish Red’ and has a little more hoppy smell than most Irish Reds. The taste however is not nearly as hoppy and has good balance between the malt and hops. I even has a slight ‘homebrew’ taste to it, not sure if that is real or if I am just imagining that due to him being a lifelong homebrewer turned ‘pro’ and this being his first beer in production. Very drinkable, normal Irish Red, if and when this hits my market I will occasionally pick it up when in the mood for this style.

So enjoy this rare mid-week treat and pour one for me friend cause it will be Friday before we know it and we will all be right back here for another round. Cheers!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Oatmeal Porter - Highland Brewing Co

This week’s entry is one of the main reasons I started my blog. Not necessarily this beer or style but rather what it represents. I don’t know or remember having this beer or this style of beer but also can’t believe I haven’t had it. If I did have it I have no idea what it was like or even if I liked it. So, BAM! I thought writing my thoughts down would help me with these situations. Well, I tried that and never really kept up with it. But, creating a blog and hopefully having readers would force me to keep up with it, so far so good ha.

So here we go with the style I have been wanting to try for a some time now (even if I have tried it before I don’t recall it). So, Oatmeal Porter – Highland Brewing Co it is.

It pours very dark as expected for a porter with a nice thick dense beige head that sticks around for a while. You can smell the roasted malts and a hint of some rich coffee tones. The taste gives you a medium mouthfeel with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate bitterness but finishing very smooth. Not as silky smooth as a Guinness but very close. Overall I’m sad that I don’t remember this beer/style as I like it a lot, maybe I haven’t ever had it, who knows. So with this effectively being my first oatmeal porter, I have nothing to compare it with but I will definitely try other oatmeal porters/stouts. Very easy to drink with a lot of flavors going on.

The Georgia glass is in tribute to the fact that the Dawgs released their dept chart yesterday for the 2010 Football season and to be honest I’ll use any excuse to talk UGA football. Only 133 more days till kick off baby. But right now it’s time for America’s past time, Baseball, tee-ball to be exact with my middle son having a game tonight, go #16 and go WhiteSox.

Bonus Link! Warning…not safe for the minors out there or the too easily offended! There is now way I could allow this link to go unmentioned. (H/T to JF for this one).Don’t know if this beer is any good but this commercial is, too bad it will never be aired on anything other than YouTube. Have fun with that one friends.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Wild Blue Lager

Whoa what a week. I started a running program a few weeks ago and my knees have officially waged war against the rest of my body, they refuse to work and are trying to sabotage my brain, it sure isn’t easy getting old. On a better note, my boss treated me to a round of golf Wednesday afternoon, which didn’t help the knee war but was better than the running. He also provided me with this week’s beer review. Now, before I get to the review let me first say I will try just about any beer, no matter what it is made with or from, peaches, cherries, blueberries, rice, wheat, etc… But I have a hard time trying anything from AB/Inbev but decided to take my boss’ advice and try…

Wild Blue Lager – Blue Dawg Brewing**, Baldwinsville, NY

** Two things wrong with this –

1. DAWG is to be used only by us southerners, not them D@MN Yankees (I married one so I can say that).

2. Blue Dawg Brewing is a group within Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (says so right on the website).

Ok, so here I go, kicking, screaming, scratching, and clawing, nah it isn’t really that hard to get me to try a beer.

Well, as you hopefully can see by the picture, it pours a, um, how shall I say, oh, purple rose color and has a thin pinkish head. Really, purple beer, now I’ve heard of green beer on St Patrick’s Day, but purple, hmm I’m kind of scared. It smells very similar to a cheap wine you used to drink in high school; you know the one from somebody’s farm or something. Well the first taste is about the same, pretty much just like a cheap fruity wine that my wife would like. Hey, there’s an idea, let’s see what the wife thinks. Ok, she likes it and doesn’t really like beer but says, and I quote “this is probably the worst beer you have ever had isn’t it”. You get a slight taste of alcohol, once again similar to what wine gives you. Well what else can I say; this ain’t any beer that a self respecting beer connoisseur would like. Man how am I going to break it to my boss, hmm, I know, I’ll just tell him I couldn’t find any. Nah, he isn’t the best judge of beers anyway as his last recommended beer was almost just as bad and I rag him about it every chance I get, this will just add to the ammunition.

On a better side of things, I got to see some high school baseball this evening and even saw my nephew hit his first ever homerun. So even if your boss recommends you try a really bad beer, life is still good, just let the wife finish it and grab yourself a real beer my friend.

Speaking of baseball, check out this link to see where your favorite team got it’s mascot from, or go here to see some really good beers. I’m not sure how much faith I have in some of these judges though. I brew my own beer every blue moon or two and had a bad batch. For the life of me couldn’t figure out what was wrong. “Hey, enter that skunky beer in one of those contest” says my buddy, “they will tell you what is wrong”. Well, not exactly, they kind of liked it and gave me a good score. Oh well, I can always ship them the remaining case and they can have a party on me. Cheers my friend.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Peachtree Pale Ale

So with my beer review stock reduced to just two choices thanks to my brother-in-law from last Friday, I find this(which was to be reviewed tonight) yesterday at one of my many daily blogs I follow, so now I have only one beer to choose from. Not much of a choice is it? Oh well, kind of fitting that I review a Georgia beer since it is Masters Week and all, Yeah you know that big golf tournament they hold every spring in Augusta GA., the one that every single human should attend at least once in their lifetime, not necessarily for the golf but the sheer beauty of the entire facility over there. I have had the pleasure of going about a dozen times and I find myself in awe every time I step inside those gates. I even tried like heck to name my third son Robert Jones Kimball, ‘cause you know Robert (Bobby) Jones was the man behind the Masters. My first two sons were named after Georgia sports figures so it would fit right in; but the wife put the axe on that. Although he still got a cool name and it was still after a Georgia athlete, an Atlanta Brave nicknamed Maddog to be exact, kind of cool when the wife lets you name your kids, thanks Red. I have even been to Augusta National in the fall and winter (unfortunately for work not to play) when the golf tournament was long gone or far from starting and it was still just as perfect, perfect I tell you. But enough of that, this isn’t a golf blog (I’ll save those stories for my book) it’s a beer blog. So I give you beer fans –

Red Brick Peachtree Pale Ale – American Style Pale Ale from Atlanta Brewing Co.

Interesting tid-bit on the name, when I first started brewing beer 3-4 years ago, the first batch of red ale I brewed I called Red Brick Ale, then I saw that Atlanta Brewing Co had that name for themselves, oh well, it’s not like I was going to be the next Jim Koch or anything, (he is the founder of Sam Adams for those not as geeky about beer as moi).

The first scent through me for a loop, at first I thought it might be a bad batch cause it smelled slightly ruined. Then I remembered that I cleaned my beer fridge the other day and the glass my still smell of cleaner. Grab a fresh glass and transfer beer and ahh, that’s better. Nice floral hop tones but not over powering, almost no malt but that is to be expected in an American Pale Ale. The pour is a cloudy orange with a nice thick head, kind of odd to have a pale ale be cloudy but whatever. Very light mouthfeel and very refreshing with a good bit of hops kicking in right at the end, really crisp for an ale. All in all a standard American pale ale, not too much malt mixed with a good dose of hops. Fairly easy to drink, especially when it is as nice outside as it is right now, mid 70’s and not a cloud in the sky. Might have to make this a regular in the beer fridge, or at least rotate them in every few months. So go have a beer for me, or better yet, if you’re in the Greenville SC area, check out Top of the Hops beer festival this weekend. Cheers my friend.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Highland Brewing Co - Gaelic Ale

So it’s Good Friday….well I don’t know about you but I thought all Friday’s were good. I made the best of my day off, I went hiking at Sprewell Bluff on the Flint River in Thomaston GA today and it was awesome. Then to finish my day off I grilled some chicken quarters and drank some beer, Yuengling to be exact. If only these people would realize to joy of beer, they might be a little less angry.

Today on this Friday I bring you a beer from another great hiking spot, Ashville, NC. and Highland Brewing Co’s Gaelic Ale.

It pours a very nice ruby brown with a thick beige head. It smells of roasted malts with just a hint of hops, very well balanced I must say. The taste is also very well balanced, malty sweetness at the beginning followed by some light hop flavors, which is also why I prefer amber ale over pale ale any day, not a big fan of big hops in my beer. To me, malts and how they are roasted and used is what makes a beer, anybody can add tons of hops. I like my beer just a little on the malty side and this fits that bill perfect.

So, I hope everyone else had a Good Friday and will also have a Happy Easter. Cheers and relax, springtime is here and the Masters and the Braves start next week, life is good is I don’t say so myself.