Porkslap Pale Ale

February 19, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

porkslap beer can imageWell, I drank this beer a few days ago at Mezze, in Williamstown and Im just now sitting down to write about it.  I first thought, “Porkslap?, Seriously?” Then I figured, “awe, heck, why not?”  So Matt cracked open a can for me and poured it.  This beer had little to no aroma.  The colour and head looked ok (lighter in person, the light is crap for photos at the bar).  I gave it a sip and it is not like anything I have ever had.

The Butternut Beer and Ale website says “Porkslap Pale Ale is brewed with 2 row North American barley and English crystal malt. The beer is flavored with crystal hop and a touch of fresh ginger to create a distinct flavor only a porkslapper can love. At 4.3% abv this beer is designed to have a good ale flavor and a crisp mild finish.”  Too bad it does not really taste like a “pale ale” to me.  This is a malty odd little brew.

I wouldn’t drink it again but for $3 I’d try their other beers.

60 min IPA

February 19, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

60 min IPA Dogfish HeadI know you have been waiting for this. Well, I know I have.

What are you waiting for? ….  The 60min, 90mn, and 120min reviews.

The next 3 night that’s what I’m drinking. Thanks Jon, at The Spirit Shop for supporting this site. Jon took time out of his evening of renovating the shop to talk beer with me. The Spirit Shop stocks many of my favorite brews and, if they don’t have it, they try to get it for me. Without them this whole project would not be possible.

So, tonight I start with Dogfish Head’s 60min IPA. Dogfish Head is known for its extreme brews. This one is no different. It is continuously hopped with more than 60 hop additions over a 60 minute boil. Dogfish lists this as a session IPA and this hop-head agrees. If you are not a fan of my buddy the beautiful hop, then stay clear of this beer. In the video you see below from Sam at Dogfish, he says that this beer is balanced. I’m not sure that is the word I would use. The hops are balanced together but I think the word is overused in the beer community. This is a hop lovers beer. Yes, there is a hint of the malt but this beer is dominated by the hop flower. Taste and smell the citrusy grass hops of the Pacific Northwest, we are talking my favorite hops, Willamette, Cascade, and Centennial. The Centennial shines through with the citrus strength and the floral tones.

The aroma is not just the clear hops but within the hops sent I pick up citrus, more of a lemon than orange, pineapple, and a light grass aroma (lawn grass not weed grass).

The flavour, as you might expect, is bitter. Not too dry and just bitter enough. I could keep drinking this one, so that might give you a hint that it is not over the top.

The pour is orangeish , not crystal clear but slightly cloudy from the yeast in the bottle.  The head is off-white with continuous lace down the side of the shaker pint glass.

Drink this beer and join me tomorrow for the 90min IPA from Dogfish Head!

Victory Donnybrook Stout

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Victory Donnybrook Stout ImageThe Victory Donnybrook Stout was my second beer of the night.  The nitro poured beer had a nice creamy head.  I actually was so eager I took a big sip and foamed up my stash.

Named after the infamous Donnybrook Fair in Donnybrook Ireland.  According to Wikipedia’s article on the town of Donnybrook, “Donnybrook Fair, a fair held from the time of King John onwards, which became notorious for drunkenness and violent disorder. This gave rise to the term a donnybrook, meaning a brawl or fracas. The fair was banned in 1855 and there is little trace of the village’s disreputable past; the only reminder of its raucous history is a supermarket called Donnybrook Fair on the main street.”  So the humor of this is that the beer itself has a fairly low ABV, 3.7%.

This is a nice smooth malty brew.  Hints of chocolate, oats, and fennel(?)  This beer is slightly sweet but the finish is dry.  97 Bottles has a great description of an interesting earthiness that I noted as well, “The subtle earthiness of European hops harmonize with the roasted barley to offer a whiff of peat.”  As many have mentioned around the interwebs (see Barleytalk, Beer Advocate, RateBeer), this beer is very drinkable and with the low ABV, you can drink away on this one.

Drink this on March 17th!

Erdinger Dark Hefeweizen (Weissbier Dunkel)

February 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

So tonight I was the king of multi-tasking, not very Buddhist now is it?  I had a meeting at Ye Olde Forge, in Lanesborough, drank 2 great beers and had a great and productive meeting. Wow. This is an amazing looking Hefe.  Not a big hefe fan here but this dark wheat beer intrigued me. I am assuming that the beer I had was a Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel  I had this beer on tap and the beer board said, “Erdinger Dark Hefeweizen” but as I look up this beer I think the correct name is Weissbier Dunkel.  The dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer from southern Germany, similar to the Hefeweizen, but different.

As you can see in the picture the head was big! The beer was crisp in taste clean and lighter than I expected, very drinkable.  There were hints of cloves and it was nice and yeasty.  Mild caramel and hops are here too.  I slushed this beer around my mouth and the carbonation bubbled on my tongue, Everyday Beers noticed this as well.  I recommend this beer and would drink it again.

After my dinner I had a Victory Donny Brook Stout.  It is late and I am tired so I will write the review for it in the morning, something for you to look forward to!

Allagash Dubbel Reserve

February 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Allagash Dubbel Reserve imageYeah, I’m feeling better!  Sitting here watching Rachel Maddow and sipping the amazing Allagash Dubbel Reserve (Batch #86) my friend gave me as a late “Christmas gift” today.  Thanks my portland friend!  By the way she is the first person to support this site, by giving me a beer she was hoping I would review.  You can support this site to.  Go to the “Support this site” page to find out more.

When I got home, I set my Dubbel on the porch while I shoveled the snow, for my as yet unseen postal worker.  Then I drove off for an afternoon of meetings.  You can imagine my surprise when I returned and my beer was still on the porch!  Yes, the postal worker left it there.  And… it was the perfect temperature, way to go mother nature.

Pop the cork, yes the famous Allagash reserve cork, and the wizz noise and herbal sweet malty aroma exploded on my now clearer sinuses.  The big dense head stands tall in my goblet, and the lacing is just beautiful. (watch a great video, mentioning the cork, here on “Here for the Beer!“)

On Simply Beer, Peter reviewed batch #77 and thought it was a bit bitter.  I’m drinking this at probably 42 degrees and I’m not noting any real bitterness to speak of.  I am a hop head, as readers have probably noted, which might be the difference.  Dubbels are supposed to have some bitterness to them.  This ale is a great example of the style (see a Belgian Dubbel style definition here) By the way, check out Peters beer cellar, you go beer geek dude.

Like most of the Allagash beers this one is smooth and very drinakable, seriously I could sit and drink this all day. Off to another meeting, good thing all of my beer is inside as it is cold out there.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

February 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

So I stayed home all day in an attempt to get better. This afternoon I thought, “what would Tim Ferris do?” and guess what? He has a post on his blog about 4 anti-common cold cocktails. Tim Ferris is a “life hacker” who I greatly respect. His suggestion… an ancient ginger and orange mixture. So as I sat here and watched Michael Jackson’s This is It, I drank my ginger orange mixture. I actually feel better. Placebo? maybe, but who cares right?

Now that my sinuses are clear, at least temporarily, my sweet tooth kicked in something fierce. I picked up some yummy looking cinnamon rolls at the store so I warm one up to go with my Imperial Russian Stout, from Stone Brewery in my hometown, the hop head capital of the worlds, San Diego. Go North County!!

The slightly bitter yet malty sweet and dry stout is perfect with the over the top sweetness of the cinnamon bun. The cinnamon bun is buttery and the stout is dry.  WOW, what a combo.  The stout is soft and chocolaty, in a slightly bitter way, good bitter.  There is a reason that this is one of the top beers of the decade, cause it rocks!  After last nights shit-storm of a beer, this is a blissful happy beer night for me.

The nutty aroma meets the chocolate roasted malt and yeast all together.  The key in this beer is “all together”.  That is what sets this beer apart from the rest, all of the amazingness is done “together”, in balance and harmony.  This is a great beer, and an awesome stout, I am not alone in this opinion.  The Hedonist thinks so, and so does the Beer Critic (though he is no longer reviewing beer).

God bless the ales!

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

February 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Another night sick. My sinuses are so stuffed up. This really is awful cause I bought some really nice brews for the weekend. Since I can’t smell anything I’m drinking a beer I have left from Halloween. Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead Ale.  I also chose this because the aromas and flavours are so strong that it does not matter how stuffed up I am I can still smell the nutmeg, cinnamon and other items you might think of putting in a pumpkin pie.  This headless beer has been the least favorite at my last two Halloween Ale Tastings, next year I am dropping it from the list because I always get stuck with the leftover beer, typically a good thing, not so much in this case.

I have been known to say that I dont like food in my beer.  As a rule of thumb, though I am the first to admit that their are many exceptions to this rule, I don’t like fruit, oatmeal, coffee, or pumpkin pie spices in my beer.  I want my beer to taste like beer (same goes for coffee by the way.  Leave your hazelnuts and peppermint out of my morning brew).  Some people like their beer to taste like pie spices, see Barley Vine Blog. However, it seems most do not, see Beer Advocate’s rating of Pumpkinhead and Rate Beer’s rating of this Shipyard beer.

The Pumpkinhead fizzles a lot and then nothing, dead, like a head rolling down the street.  The colour is light copper and the texture of the beer is watery.  I take a sip and there is apple cider with all of those pie spices, take this away from me!  Shipyard’s other beers are much better, compared to this one (ok on their own in the big beer world) so avoid the pumpkinhead and try something else.  Extreme beer gone bad.

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

February 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Ye Old Engine Oil.  Since as of today, my new truck now is in 2 recalls I figured a vehicle themed beer was a good idea.  Yes, I have 2 things to get repaired on the truck and it is still 4,336 miles till it needs its first oil change (if you do the 5,000 mile changes instead of the previously recommended 3,000).  On top of the truck concerns, I am sick… I wondered how the beer thing would go if I got sick and now I get to see.  I have some head cold and with that I am assuming that my feelings about the brew tonight might be a bit off. Your feedback would be appreciated.

Pouring this beer gave me high hopes.  I was in the mood for something dark and malty and this Scottish beer promised to do the trick.  Beautiful full tan head and, as the name implies, you can not see through this one.  So I stick my nose in my glass and huh? What is going on with this beer? It is complex and I smell some fruit and smoke and chocolate and the malt is there for sure, all toasty.  I take a sip, at first I am not the biggest fan.  It seemed a bit cidery to me.  But as I keep drinking it, this one grows on me.

Tonight I came home and made some cinnamon and raisin flavoured mochi.  This beer goes great with the not overly sweet warm puffed rice squares.  They do seem to complement each other.  I determine that cider is probably just the alcohol (only 6% ABV though).

Overall, I’m not totally impressed.  People on Beer Advocate and even the late great Michael Jackson, loved this beer.  I think it is fine but nothing incredibly special.  The hash bite at the end is what Im not a huge fan of.  There is a chance that the bottle I picked up is a bit old and off?  Who knows.

Tell me what you think.

Old Curmudgeon Ale

February 13, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

This morning I stopped by West Liquors in North Adams and grabed a few beers for the weekend. Tonight I decided to try one that I have never tried before, in fact all of the brews I gathered this morning are new to me. This ale from Founders Brewing Company intrigued me because of the beautiful label. Yes, I am a graphic designer at heart and, design grabs my attention, and yours too if you are honest.

According to Belching Monkey Curmudgeon means old crusty man. That name is used here as it is an “old ale”.

If the label didn’t grab you the strong aroma will. As the small head quickly disappears in my snifter I notice the malt and bourbon aromas as they hit my nose like nobodies business. And dried fruit is there too.

If the aroma didn’t grab you than the smooth creamy flavour will. The fruity notes of plumb and raisin. And sweetness of caramel and molasses. Then the mouthfeel hits you all tingly and warm in the end.

If the flavour didn’t grab you then the 9.8%ABV will at last grab you.

Tonight was my first pairing failure. I had to grab a quick bite for dinner and looked forward to the leftovers. I had turkey in a massala sauce with raw cashews and dried cranberries. The dinner was great! The slight spiciness of the dish did not go so well with this beer. Good thing I had a few sips as my leftovers warmed on the stove so I could really soak in the flavours and aroma. This is a dessert beer, like a fine scotch it needs to be consumed on its own slowly with a cigar and nice bite of dessert, not too sweet on the dessert though just something that will add to the smoothness. I should have read what Marika Josephson said about it first. Marika was spot on.

This is a beer I am adding to my list of favorites.

Sixpoint Sweet Action Cream Ale

February 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Well I left my practice and went to Mezze Bar and Bistro in Williamstown for a beer, and I just had to have their amazing mac’n'cheese, I just can’t resist their mac’n'cheese it just rocks.  I mean I’d already had a fine and filling dinner but their mac’n'cheese so great that I could not resist.  The noodles are perfectly cooked and the cheese is creamy but not milky and the bread crumbs, ohhhh the bread crumbs, they are small and crispy and coat the whole dish.  This is one of the best mac’n'chesses I’ve had.  My favorite mac’n'cheese is a lobster one in Plymouth, MA at Bert’s Cove.  But alas, Plymouth is hours away, Mezze is down the street.

The Sixpoint beer was on tap and went well with the mac’n'cheese.  It had a great hop aroma and biscuits.  The medium head stuck around for a while and the lacing was beautiful.  The flavour was ok, not the best, kinda your standard IPA flavour (I know that it is a Blonde but tastes more like an IPA to me) with an alcohol bite at end. I’m not as down with it as the Alstrom Bros. Pub Princess has a good review. There was a hint of flowers (hibiscus??)in the aroma and flavour. Not great but swell.