Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Adam's Beer #10 - Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

The old rule is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but as I said it is an OLD rule.

Great Divide Brewing Company first came out with their Yeti Imperial Stout in the early 2000’s to rave reviews only to follow up a couple of years later with the Oak Aged Yeti...which was a nice upgrade, but unfortunately they only used oak chips instead of the barrel which limited the oaky goodness.

Now, in the last couple of years, Great Divide has fixed a big beer that made it even bigger by adding Espresso to the mix. I am not sure what I enjoyed more…the beer or the suggested food pairings on the bottle: Breakfast burrito, eggs Benedict, hash browns, cheesecake, and crème brulee.

The dark malts give this beer a taste of burnt sugar and a smokiness that makes this the perfect after dinner beer. The tastes are so big I can not imagine pairing this with any food – the mouthful would overpower any other flavors that I would be trying to enjoy.

Overall I gave this Imperial Stout 8 out of 10. I think if I had another bottle I would wait to open it until next winter…hoping that this mythological creature would take on a whole other form.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mike’s Beer #8—Dock Street Rye IPA

There are two major benefits to long airport layovers: 1) time to read a good book and 2) a chance to try new beers.

Living in Ithaca, NY, my chances of flying directly to any given destination are pretty low (by the way—how come “slim chance” and “fat chance” mean the same thing?). So when I flew alone to Florida last weekend, I had several decent chances to chill with a book and a brew. It turns out that one big beer was all I needed for a three-hour layover in Philly—Dock Street Rye IPA. I’d rate Dock Street pretty high as far as rye beers go—it had all the qualities I’d look for in this style: it was malty and sweet with a skunky undertone and it packed a serious wallop. I had to slow myself down and order a burger before the words in my book started spinning. The only downside was a slightly sour aftertaste, something that my taste buds seem to be especially sensitive to.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Adam's Beer #9 - Baird Dark Sky Imperial Stout

It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.” - Nigel Tufnel

I love purchasing unknown Stouts….Russian, Coffee, Milk, Oatmeal it does not matter, when you unlock the bottle it is unknown what is going to empty out. Will it be watery? Will it be more of a coffee color than black? Will it have a lot of carbonation? This was the fun I had tipping the bottle of Baird Dark Sky Imperial Stout.

Let me rewind for one second to explain that Baird Brewing is located in Japan. For this reason, and this logic only, the beer was purchased. The only beer I have ever had from Japan was Hitachino Nest White Ale, which I love. The Japanese have perfected the Belgian Ale, but can they compete when it comes to the world of Imperial Stouts?

Back to the Dark Sky – the stout poured a stunning black into my pint glass with a small amount of coffee colored head; the name of the beer fits perfectly. As I take in the nose I wonder if I am dreaming…is that a bouquet of hops? I had to run to my computer to find if it was true, and yes they dry hopped their stout with two different types of hops. A strong taste of tobacco and chocolate dominate the first taste while other wonderful flavors peak their head out to say hello as it works its way around my mouth.

Overall I have to give this beer a 9.5/10 – it is very hard for a stout to stand out among some of the best beers around, but the Japanese have seemed to figure it out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adam's Beer #8 - Fullers 2008 Vintage Ale

It seems that because of Take 52, my list of rules that I will try and not break is increasing weekly. This new rule is: if a beer is a numbered, limited edition it is a must have (baring it is not $50 for a bottle.)

The beer of choice this week was the Bottle Conditioned Fullers 2008 Vintage Ale - Bottle Number 116005. Just like the show LOST, there is a lot of mystery behind these numbers. Did this vintage get better in the later numbers, or was bottle 1573 where it’s at? Why are the numbers written on the wall by everyone's name...oops sorry that's Lost.

The oversight I made was locating this beer in the fridge. While reading up on this old ale I learned that it should be tasted at cellar temperatures. After work I ran home and tried to get the temperature up, but I also did not want to wait too long to open up this bad boy. I bet this one would be remarkable on cask.

I really enjoyed this English Strong Ale. The tastes of citrus and dark raisins backed up by very sweet malts were extremely evident mostly due to the low alcohol in each mouthful; any more alcohol and this would be considered an English Barleywine.

Overall I gave this old ale 7.5 out of 10, I really expected this beer to be more complex then it was though it was a very well-crafted beer. Perhaps with a bit more age it would move up in the rankings.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mike’s Beer #7—Yuengling Bock

And so Bock Month ends with a whimper. After sampling three very scrumptious examples of the style earlier in the month, I top it all off with an utterly forgettable concoction, a mainstream beer that I really had hopes for.

There were warning signs from the beginning. The beer poured thin and lifted soda pop bubbles to the top of the glass. The beer was the color of Coke when the ice has already melted. In other words: yuk! There was not much aroma—a feint hint of root beer was pretty much all I could pick up.

The beer itself was bitter with not enough sweet below it. It was a little maltier than your average beer, but not nearly enough to be considered a true bock. In all, I didn’t see much sensory evidence that screamed out “bock.” It was just a malty, bitter beer with a fancy label (complete with goat, chalice and retro font). If only they’d put as much effort into making the beer itself reflect the style. Overall, I’d put it a bit higher than some of their other brews, but still, I probably wouldn’t drink this again unless there was some serious scarcity.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mike’s Beer #6—Stone Levitation Ale

There’s not much to say about this one. I looked at the brewery and the price and falsely figured that I was getting a juiced-up version of what I love about Stone—a bounty of hop flavor and aroma. What I got was something pretty dry and tame, the first unmemorable brew that I’ve tasted for this column.

Levitation has a very dry, clean finish, bitter with just a bit of floral taste on the tongue. It’s an award winner, but not really for me… tastes like my homebrew did, which should make me feel good, but there’s a reason why I stopped brewing: my skill hit a plateau and the brew just wasn’t getting any better.