Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ale Smith Yule Smith Holiday Ale

This is a seasonal that Ale Smith brews twice a year. The summer is a DIPA, which is what we have here, and the Winter is a double red.

This brew comes by way of she who was once called, "The Jew, or The Vegan," but who forever more will now be called, "The Cheegan." Cheese is her achilles heel on her quest to keep all little animals happy and breathing. I can always count on her for a new IPA and one day she MIGHT do a guest review. I'm thinking she is dodging me. It IS hard to compete with such a literary master such as myself. Riiiight. It's beer, and words. As long as you don't have too much beer before writing words it usually works out ok.

Check the head out on that monster. "It's so fluffy!" A strong golden color this had some pine, and some citrus like most IPA's and Cheegan said she smelled something else she couldn't define. Could it be, beer? It's usually me that's saying I smell something weird but I didn't get it this time.

Not too bitter with pine, citrus, pear, and a little breadiness too.

It's a DIPA. It was chewy, love it. Not too many bubbles, fantastic. 9.5 ABV? Really? Couldn't tell, balanced.

Nice solid selection although I can't wait till the winter double red! I've really been on a maltier kick lately and the double reds I've had have been killer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Great Basin Brewing Reno, NV

Great Basin Brewing has been around for a while apparently but I'd never heard of it. There new brewpub opened up just recently so my mom and I took the opportunity to try out some of their beer(love my mom) and see what all the fuss was over this "Icky."

I grew up making the trek to Reno once every couple months because for the most part Susanville doesn't have ANYthing except for fast food and grocery stores. Oh and about 50 Mexican restaurants, go figure.

Allright so the brewery looks almost exactly like BJ's Pizza from the outside, not a good sign seeing as I think BJ's is pretty awful. Typical brewpub interior. I liked the signs for the brews of the day hanging from chains in the middle of the room.

Mom and I sat down and ordered tasters of the porter, red and their IPA called "Ichthyosaur." I actually wasn't real excited with any of them. The porter was the best of the bunch but my mom is a dark beer fan and I knew she would order it so I went with the "icky" Why anyone would name a beer something that: A) I had to look up to spell right and B) shorten it to an adjective for something gross? The saving grace of Great Basin is that they have short pours of 10 oz for cheap. Perfect for lunch time.

I was excited about what I was going to order for food too. I love sausage. Get your mind out of the gutter people. And Great basin had a sausage sampler of smoked bratwurst, sweet Italian, Cajun
andouille and German Mike’s Thuringer. I've never heard of Thuringer but of course Wikipedia has.

Only finely minced pork, beef, or sometimes veal, is used in production. In addition to salt and pepper, caraway, marjoram, and garlic are used. The specific spice mixtures can vary according to traditional recipes or regional tastes. At least 51% of the ingredients must come from the state of Thuringia. Apparently it's German, is weird because it has marjoram in it, and its very lowfat compared to most German sausages.

Well, I liked that sausage but the other ones were somewhat of a disappointment. Are we noticing a trend about this place yet? The best thing about this whole place was that I got to spend time with my mom. Yes, ladies and gentleman I AM a family guy. Love my dad love my mom. So any time is quality time.

I'll leave you with this sign which was over the bathroom entrance.

Monday, August 23, 2010

18 Beers "On Tap" at Our Reception

I wish I had a better picture of this sign from our reception but I pulled it from Facebook. I wasn't taking pictures the day of our reception. Though we didn't have taps, I felt like I did my duty as a "beer guy" to bring a little bit of variety to the party, to get people out of their Coors, Bud, Miller, etc. etc. shells. It's hard to see but we had 18 different options for beer + wine at our reception. Our bartender, AKA Boomer, AKA Awesome, made the sign and also brought 2 of his homebrews to share.

I know that the beer wasn't WAY out there on the craft beer side but we had a representation from nearly every style in a cooler. Chocolate Porter to Pale Ale. IPA to a sweet Amber Ale I found, and nearly everywhere in between. The only non-representative(aside from brews like lambics, geuze, etc.) I can think of was a Scotch Ale.

Boomer's homebrew is always great and I took home a case each of 22's of Chocolate Porter and his stout. I also found an amber ale from a brewing company called Trouble based out of Rochester, NY that is really good. Lost, if you're reading this, I know you like it on the sweet side so if you can get this one it's a great, cheap, mowing the lawn beer. Little bit of pear(odd), some hops(minor), good bubbles, and low ABV. It won't blow you away but I could drink a few of them.

Thank you everyone for coming out! Thanks especially to my parents for hosting and D's family for making the trek from Maui to LA to Susanville. It was a looooong one but it was so great to have the whole family under one roof. Not only did we have MY new in-laws there but my brother's wife and in-laws were there too! It was a great time. Just wish we had more of it to spend sitting on the deck talking story and watching the deer.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bayhawk Chocolate Porter

Bayhawk is in an interesting brewery, operating out of rented space in a McCormick & Schmick's restaurant they have lots of hurdles, including not being able to store their raw materials on site. Despite all that they manage to brew some superior beer.

Bayhawk is actually the brewer behind beers served in many namebrand restaurants including: Lucille's, Claim Jumper, Outback Steakhouse, Lazy Dog Cafe, and Wood Ranch BBQ. They also brew under the Tommy Bahama name and under Capistrano in Arizona.

Now I've had some porters that have claimed to be all kinds of flavors. Cappuccino, mocha(Rogue), coconut(Maui), even chai. This is the second chocolate offering I've reviewed, though Young's double chocolate is a stout most people won't argue in that stouts and porters carry many of the same characteristics. Aside from the coconut porter I have been largely disappointed in the flavored offerings. Until now.

Most porters are too thin for my liking. I like a little body to my beer as is evidenced by most of my reviews. Bayhawk manages to give this a little bit of substance without making it a breakfast beer. The aroma lacks punch but the taste doesn't. Though there is not a whole lot of chocolate nor roasty toasty on the nose there is just the right amount on the tongue to allow you to appreciate both without being overwhelmed. There is a little bit of hops on the backend. Easy drinking and at 5.4% you can have the whole 22 guilt free

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

I distinctly remember trying this beer for the first time from a cooler on our porch when I was in high school. First thought ever of Sierra Nevada? Bleh! Bitter. It took me a long time to come back to it.

Sierra Nevada is one of the first craft brewing companies. Their omnipresent pale ale though is one of the few beers you will find in grocery stores though despite how large they've become. I've seen their Torpedo which I reviewed. They have their Summerfest which I will be reviewing, and strangely I've seen their Bigfoot once, it's a barleywine. Aside from stores IN Chico, Ca where they are based you are pretty much left with the choice between Pale Ale, and, Pale Ale. Which, in the end, is not a bad choice. In fact, of the commercially available Pales I have tried and can get at a regular grocery store I would rank it third behind Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Kona Brewing's Fire Rock.

Coming off the top of the glass is boiler plate Pale, a teeny bit of pine and then, beer. It pours a golden amber color. Not quite as coppery as the Torpedo(IPA) but a nice color.
It's quite a bit more bitter than many Pale's which is good and bad. If I'm going off of strictly style then I don't think it fits as well but it's a very solid offering just going off of taste alone. It's a clean, crisp, pale that won't blow you away but will leave you wanting another one. Just ask my NorCal friends who seem to own stock in Sierra the way it goes down.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Deschutes Hop in the Dark

Deschutes always impresses me I've had so many of their beers and so much of their food. They are constantly pushing the envelope while keeping their quality consistent. Case in point this beer.

Deschutes is calling it a Cascadian Dark Ale and it is that. Using cascade hops along with traditional porter malts and even some oats to provide body Deschutes has created something of a hybrid. A dark IPA.

Essentially that's what this is. A mishmash of a roasty toasty stout or porter mixed with low grade IPA bitterness. The aroma is roast and a hint of pine while the taste is the opposite.

I appreciated this for what it was. A distinct departure from style and an experimental beer, but I wasn't really that enamored with it. The roast just didn't fit well with the pine and a hint of citrus. I think that's what ruined it for me, that hint of citrus. Most stouts have that back-end bitterness and it works, but this one just doesn't seem to meld well. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kona Brewing Fire Rock Pale Ale

It's been 1 month and 3 days since Danielle and I were married in Hawaii. I just wanted to share two of many favorite pictures from the trip. Both of these are from the top of Haleakala volcano while we were waiting for the sunset. My wife and I to the right and my brother and I below. Haleakala is one of Danielle and I's favorite spots and we come here for the sunset ever time we make it to Maui to see her family. Next time we are hoping to hike into the crater and camp which would be awesome!

Ok well since this is supposed to be about beer of course I'll review a beer from Hawaii. Kona Brewing Fire Rock Pale Ale. We drank quite a few of these over the course of the week leading up to the wedding. I have to say I prefer them over the staple Sierra Nevada Pale Ale too. They are both good but Fire Rock has got a subtle sweetness to it that makes it that much more nuanced. Not quite as bitter and definitely a good choice if you can get the variety pack at Costco with their Longboard Lager.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Moylan's Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

My top three styles would have to be Double IPA, Belgian strong ale, and Scotch Ale in no particular order.
They all have very unique characteristics and are very different from each other. 

The vegan was over the other night and she had brought some beers over, an IPA and a DIPA. I thought it would be fun to see if she could figure out what I had poured her. I've got a representative of nearly every style in my fridge right now so it wasn't THAT easy.

First guess, porter. Not a bad guess. It has that toasted character from the smoked peat that a lot of Scotch ales have. I told her to look at the color. Too amber for a porter.

Second guess. Well, there wasn't a second guess but she couldn't figure it out so I told her.

This beer is a BIG beer. Double Scotch ale? 8% ABV and thick. I'd call this one chewy which is a big reason I really liked it. I love beers with body. Too thin is not the way to go. The aroma on this one had a HUGE malt profile, a little spice, a little smoke, and a little BBQ.

The taste had that malt profile screaming sweet while there were enough bittering hops to tone it down. Finally, there was that touch of smoke and Scotch on the back end to remind you of this beer's roots.

Good Beer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rabbit's Foot Meadery Biere De Miele

Bleh....that's what this tasted like. Ok so that's not too scientific or helpful so here's a more in depth description.

Pouring this into my new lager glasses(getting married has some perks aside from the obvious) I almost thought it was pouring out clear. It was THAT pale. The picture makes it seam darker than it was. There was a nice head and the aroma was interesting, and by interesting I mean weird. First there was some honey, good right considering this was fermented with honey. Second whiff? Apple cider and rotting vegetation. Hmmm, that's a pretty auspicious start. The taste? High class Miller Light. Yes, Miller Light, not just any crappy macro brew. I know my crappy macro brews and this was definitely Miller Light +1.

This actually got poured down the drain.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BrewDog Riptide Imperial Stout

I have loved everything from BrewDog except Bashah. Their IPA's Punk and Hardcore are each great in their own way. This blows them all out of the water if you like stout.

Deep, dark flavor. Toasty without being burnt, chocolatey without being sweet. Thick without being syrupy. Really, really good.

Really, really good with a cigar too. I tend to smoke a lot of cigars when I am with my dad. It's bonding time and shooting the proverbial doo-doo time. Stout, cigars, summer, and a deck. It can't get much better than that.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lagunitas IPA and Kiteboarding

Good solid IPA made even better by the scenery around me and the fact that I got to be with my parents. My dad is learning how to kite board so we went out to Eagle Lake to catch some wind.

I went up a week ahead of D so that I could help my parents set up for our reception in Susanville. It was really relaxing and I love the labor. I don't get to do as much of that stuff in SoCal and it just feels good to be wielding a shovel and getting blisters. Weird the things I miss.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ninkasi Tricerahops

I love, love, love, me some Double IPA's. The thick body, the low bubble factor, and just look at that color! I picked this one up for two reasons: 1)It was cheap 2) It's called TRICERAHOPS! The triceratops has been my favorite dinosaur since I was a little kid. It's pretty much the coolest dino ever. Not 1 but 3, count em 3 horns. Awesome!

Ninkasi is up in Eugene, Oregon and they've got a great lineup. Lost in the Beer Aisle recently reviewed their Total Domination IPA and enjoyed it so I think I will be picking that one up once I manage to mow through my CASES of homebrew. More on that later.

This beer was as cool as the dino it takes it's name after. Totally balanced, thick body, not too many bubbles. It wasn't your typical West Coast IPA Nuclear Pinecone. There was a good amount of citrus and a ton of malty sweetness to round out the bitter. I finished the whole 22 in one night which I don't normally do especially considering that this beer clocks in at 8.8% ABV. This is a great DIPA.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale

Deschutes Brewing is probably my favorite brewery of all time simply because I grew up around it. We have a communal house there between three families and I've been skiing at Mt. Bachelor since I was 3 years old. I've reviewed some of the beers here on the blog( The Abyss, Hoptrip, Hop Henge) and over the years I've had just about everything they have to offer short of the seasonals that were one shot wonders when I wasn't old enough to drink. I probably had some of those too although it was long before I actually appreciated it. 

This beer was a gift from my mom. Love you Mom! There were 6 of these beauties waiting for D and I when we got to our INCREDIBLE house in the mountains of Maui. We stayed at a spa where we had the ENTIRE house to ourselves. What a view. We watched storms roll in, the fog and mist that D and I love so much, and stood out on the balcony overlooking the island as warm rain come down on the lights below.

After that description of the setting this beer couldn't help but be good. It was! Crisp, bright, without being to acidic. A little lime, orange, citrus. Not too many bubbles. A perfect summer ale. This would definitely be my go to light beer if I could get it year round but alas it is a summer seasonal.