Thursday, January 8, 2009

Coffee in Beer

I can honestly say I haven't had many coffee beers, only three that I can think of. Kona Pipeline Porter, Redhook Double Black, and a homebrewed AG batch which was the only beer I ever dumped a portion of.

Both the commercial beers have been good in their own way. The Pipeline Porter has a more prounouced and sweeter coffee flavor, whereas the Double Black is definately more bitter and reminiscent of an espresso shot. I think the Pipeline Porter would be a coffee beer that would appeal to the majority, but in my opinion the Double Black is outstanding as well. For a larger brewery like Redhook, they did an excellent job on this one.

What other coffee beers are out there, and what did you think of them?

Kasteel Triple

From the Van Honsebrouck brewery, the beer is a dark blonde in color.

It retains it's head very well, and is big and bubbly when pouring.

It reminds me of pears to drink, but this beer is no slouch on the alcohol content at 11% abv, and it very quickly reminds you of that fact. It might be a little too strong for some, in that the alcohol grabs you almost quicker than the flavor. There's a sugary taste there too, and perhaps cloves.

Some like it hot, some don't. If you like it hot, you may like this.

For all that, it's not a heavy beer. It has good carbonation, and is smooth to drink.

Here, in SC, I got a four-pack for $17.60

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Coast HopArt IPA

HopArt IPA from Coast Brewing, who are situated in North Charleston, SC
is a fine brew indeed.

Walking a fine line of sweet malt and assertive hop character. A hop presence so enticing it truly is a work of art. (7.7% abv).

It is brewed year-round.

Ingredients: Two-barley*, Munich* and Caramel 20* malts, Nugget, Amarillo and Cascade hops, ale yeast and filtered water.

I sampled this at Sesame Burgers and Beers, in Spurril Avenue, North Charleston last weekend, and a really fine brew it is too.

It's unpasteurized too, which means it's had nothing taken away, and it's full of flavor, with jsut the right amount of bitterness balanced by the maltiness.

Heck, I'm getting thirsty just talking about it here!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mash House

Being the Good Beer Show's resident funny guy and full-time stand-up comedian, I get the opportunity to drink a lot of beer in a lot of different places... Last night it was at the Mash House, a local brewpoub in Fayetteville, NC.

The Mash House took a silver with their IPA in 2001 at the GABF, and it's a hop bomb. Not quite the punch of a Gumballhead or a Stone's Arrogant Bastard, but a fresh tasting palate-wrecker in its own right, and more than worth drinking.

There were a few other beers of note: their Hefeweisen, Blueberry Blonde, Stout, and "M"perial Stout.

The Hefeweisen was cloudy and damn near looked like orange juice in the glass. It had a floral nose, and a very spicy and slightly floral flavor. The tart spiciness reminded me a little of a saison. This was definitely the standout beer in the bunch, though not a session beer (at least not for me.)

The Blueberry Blonde would have rocked ass with a slice of cheesecake. The blueberry flavor was very strong and inordinately sweet. I'd bet it was done with a syrup rather than with the actual fruit, though I didn't get to talk with the brewer. I wouldn't drink a whole pint of it, at least not if there was something else around, but my wife would dig it.

The Stout was creamy and slightly sweet, with a thick, tan head that laced well and a definite dark fruit flavor. Very drinkable, if you fall on the sweeter side of stout fandom.

The "M"perial was a stout on a different level, though. Also thick and creamy, it wasn't as sweet and didn't have nearly the same dark fruit presence, but had a rich, satisfying chocolate flavor. It had nearly twice the ABV, and warmed the belly, but no obvious alcohol burn.

The food was good, too, but I really have to comment on the asparagus (I have become a fan of asparagus in the last couple of years.) My portion came with 6 or 7 spears, each about 5 inches long and about as thick as my thumb. Buttery, but not overly so, and seasoned simply but perfectly, they were wonderfully al dente, not woody or mushy.
The rest of the beers on offer (Irish Red, Blonde, Porter, and Nut Brown--which was their seasonal offering) weren't bad, but didn't really stand out to me. The bummer about this place is that, while the brewer owns the recipes, he works on a salary and doesn't share in the profits of the beers, so he has little reason--outside of festivals-- to innovate or market the beer beyond the restaurant. I wonder what North Carolina (and maybe the rest of the country) is missing out on...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sierra Nevada 2008 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale

Sierra Nevada 2008 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale

This post will be short and sweet. The Sierra Nevada 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale is an excellent beer. I drank one last night and it hit the "spot". I have had this one back in October and my initial thoughts were this is going to taste and smell like wet grass. I could not have been further from the truth. When poured the aroma is an explosion of hop goodness that gets up in the sinus' tickles the reptilian brain of all that is good in this world. This beer has a nice hint of malt sweetness that complements the serious thick hop "layers" that come through as you drink it. It finishes with a trailing bitterness that is very pleasant. If you can find this beer definitely give it a go.


Click, then select All Sizes:
Week 18 - 52 Beers: Sierra Nevada 2008 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale

Click, then select All Sizes::
Sierra Nevada 12th Release Harvest Wet Hop Ale

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My First Beer

January 1st has traditionally been the stepping stone for a new beginning. New year, new start and dreams of making life better. Before you can move forward you have to look back at what got you where you are. I thought it would only be fitting that my initial post on this site, also first of the new year, is the first beer I ever drank. I'm not kidding, that's the bottle I swiped from dad's stash 17 years ago.

I don't know why I saved it. Honestly, I think it was to impress some girl. I've moved many times since I first drank that glorious bottle of Golden Anniversary and always displayed it with pride through college and then in my 20's as a conversation piece. Now into my 30's it serves as a reminder of where I came from. It's a symbol of my birth into beer which has grown into a passion and obsession for the craft beer industry.

Next time you see a person partaking in beverages of a lower quality keep in mind that was once you and someone opened your eyes to a world beyond cheesy commercials, ads and hype. In 2009 I ask that you become the flavor savior and educators. It's time to show people the light.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

This was my "treat beer" while cooking dinner for New Years Eve. It was a really nice pale ale with good "fresh" or "wet" hopped characteristics. Nice and grassy and aromatic. Amber to copper in color. A thick persistent head persisted for the entire bottle and had to be rinsed out later. It was a well balanced beer and could be consumed as a session beer. I wasn't overwhelmed, but I wasn't disappointed either. It just left me wanting more.

Happy New Years hosers!