Friday, December 28, 2012

Double Daddy

This is a double IPA from Speakeasy Brewery. It's a coppery brown color with a fruity bitter nose. The taste is very nectary with a late fruity burst before a dry finish. It is also not overly carbonated, which might be because it was poured into a warm glass.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This is a holiday beer purchased because its a holiday ale and because it has a cool label (elves pouring beers for a bear and a reindeer). I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of this imperial stout. Not too strong to knock my socks off. But not a watery stout that was too weak to catch my attention. Nice chocolatey nose. Thick dark pour with a creamy tan head. Love these holiday ales.

Hop hog

I have bought beer for a number of reasons -- label, brewery, recommendation -- and this falls in the "label" category. I like the hop hog on this label. The beer, well, it wasn't too bad. With a name like hop hog, I expected a high IBU that would blow my socks off. It didn't. And, it was bitter, but not with a citrusy or floral hops taste. I will look up what hops they used, for my own edification, but I'm not sure I'd brew with them. If I brewed.

Coffee stout

When I left Chicago, Lagunitas was preparing to open a brewery outside the city. I thought that was pretty cool because I like a Little Sumpin Sumpin, if you know what I mean. Although I don't drink coffee, I like coffee ice cream and beer. This is no exception. If a beer bills itself as a pumpkin, coffee, smoked or chocolate ale, I expect to taste it. Not just subtle undertones of flavor. I want to be bit over the head. Knocked out. This did not knock me out, but it had substantial cappuccino flavor. Laudable.

Sly fox

I've tried a number of Sly Fox ales (pre-blog), but I don't think I've tried this one before because I'm relatively new to the IPA world. I liked this -- thought it was pretty citrusy, and it reminded me of a Six Point Resin, which I also like. I have three saved in the fridge and I'm pretty sure I will make good use of them!

New picture, new blog entry

I remember the first time I tried Mad Elf - circa 2006, center city, on tap, pre-Flyers game. Well, a lot has changed. First, no hockey this year. (Boo.) Second, I'm no longer living in Philadelphia. (Neutral.) Third, this one is in a bottle rather than on tap. It is labeled as an ale brewed with honey and cherries. It tastes a little like a trippel with some extra spices. At 11% abv, it's pretty enjoyable. Of the Troegs offerings, I think it's my favorite.


I may have blogged about this beer before, but this picture is worth another entry. I still enjoy the beer as much as the name and label. Although its called flower power, it has a nice citrusy hoppy taste. This is a light enjoyable hoppy IPA. I really liked this and I was happy to get up to NY to pick up another six-pack.

Still more pumpkin

Out in the stix for 36 hours, I was able to pick up a four-pack of this Allentown ale. It had a pretty good pumpkin nose, but right past the first taste, it had a funny bitter taste--almost like someone forgot to wash the suds out of the bottle before they poured in the ale. If they remove that weird sharp bitterness (which seems out of place in a pumpkin ale), then I think I would like this ale.

More pumpkin ales

This is a Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale. I abandoned my quest for a pumpkin ale after Thanksgiving (and finding Elysian), but could not resist this bottle at the Wegman's over the holiday weekend. The bar was low and this exceeded it, by quite a bit. I liked the pumpkin taste, but could have used a bit more. I got a good blast of the spices, though, so overall, I found this pretty good. Glad I picked up a spare bomber.

Yards IPA

Yards brews two of my favorite ales (Brawler and TJ Tavern Ale) plus a rising favorite (Ben Franklin Spruce Ale). When I last tried the Yards IPA, I was in my trippel phase, so I did not enjoy it. Now that I've been expanding my palette, I thought I'd give it another shot. This IPA seems like a British style IPA--not as overly hopped and citrusy as a west coast IPA, but more like a slightly over-hopped ESB. I liked it, but not if I were looking for a high IBU ale.


Before you leap to any conclusions, the toasted describes the beer, not the drinker. I like smoked beers, which is how this was described to me, but I like really toasted beers. This had a mild smoky taste on top of what seemed to me to be a non-offensive lager. I found it acceptable, but not something I would seek out on my own.


This is my first Alesmith, as far as I can remember. It's a brewery from California, but southern Cali (San Diego). This has a sharp bitterness on the nose and the taste. It seems pretty balanced by the malts, but the bitterness persisted throughout the taste. I think this wasn't bad, but the $4.99 per bomber bottle seemed too cheap for a real beer?


After a lengthy break from blogging, but not from sampling, I'm back in action. I picked this beer based on the simple label. I was fooled. This is a Widmer Bros. beer. Confession, I've never been a Widmer fan. But I found this not too objectionable. It has the nose of an English bitter and the taste, too. Nice malty profile with a hefty bitterness on the front followed by a sweet mellow finish. The color is a deep amber. I wouldn't seek it out, but it beats the macros, in my opinion.

Friday, October 26, 2012

More pumpkin ales!

Ok, this might be the best pumpkin ale I've had this year. I think the brewery is Elysian, but the bartender pronounced it- el-uh-shun. I always thought it was like Elysian Fields, but I don't have a dog in that fight. The Schay glass was a surprise, and included for a friend.

I have been on a quest for a pumpkiny pumpkin ale. I think I've found it. This is brewed with a massive amount of actual pumpkin (according to the label) and tons of spices. I really liked this ale. It had a malty base, but not too heavy to drown out the wonderful chorus of spices. I'm going to look for this one again. I don't think I've heard of this brewery before.

More pumpkin ale

This is a Crooked line oak aged imperial pumpkin. I managed to pour it with an oversized head, as I usually do. It had a mild pumpkin smell, but a more overwhelming imperial (alcohol) taste, which, at 10.x abv, does not seem necessary. This pumpkin was ok, but there was a better pumpkin ale at the table.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Namaste, bit€#e$

The subject for this post is a line from a tv show, one of my guilty pleasures. If you know it, I'll buy you a beer. Now on to my thoughts about the beer. I not so carefully poured a glass and the light foamy head erupted like a volcano. After cleaning up the mess, I sat down to taste it. This is a witbier, brewed with coriander and orange. I don't know what type of yeast they use, but it tastes a little Bretty to me. It's fairly crisp for a witbier, but, despite the coriander and orange, I thought it was missing something. The only way I can think to describe it is hollow. Maybe the taste escaped when it overflowed my glass.

Burton Baton

I'm an occasional fan of Dogfish head--I think some of their ales are pretty good, but I think some others have too many different flavors and/or too high an alcohol content. This oak-aged ipa was pretty good. It has a reddish brown color and an oaky taste that balances the bitter hops. The 75-minute oak aged ipa that I had at the brewery last December is still my favorite DFH ipa, but I also enjoyed this.

Pumpkin fest 2012

Fall is here and I have been in search of a good pumpkin ale or lager. This is a Starr Hill Boxcar porter. Before I comment any further, I have a disclaimer--I like pumpkin (except pie, but thats another story). And, if I'm having something pumpkin, I'd like to taste the pumpkin. Having said that, this pumpkin porter was pretty good. I got a good scent of pumpkin on the nose, but slightly less on the taste. It had a creamy rich head topping a deep chocolate color. I liked this, but I'm not ending my quest just yet.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

German blonde

After a week on the cruise ship, we discovered that one of the bars had this German blonde lager. So we tried it. Verdict - mediocre. It was a little too sweet for my taste. And it did not have a lager taste to it. I assumed it was an ale, until I read the label.

Alaskan Oatmeal Stout

I'm a new fan of Alaskan Brewing. And this oatmeal stout did not disappoint. It poured with a creamy but thin head. I'm too congested to tell what it smelled like, but I think I got a good taste. It started with a high octane type of taste, which I'm not sure how to describe, and finished with a smooth, sweet mocha taste. Two thumbs up for this oatmeal stout.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Alaskan IPA

I had this Alaskan IPA at a touristy fish and chips place. I knew what I was getting with the IPA, but was not sure about the fish and chips. Both were great! I like this Alaskan IPA. I think it has a nice hoppy taste that satisfies a hop lover without burning off any taste buds. It has a strong citrus nose which is balanced with the bitterness of the hops. If you have a chance, check it out. They distribute in 15 or so states.

As for the fish and chips--the chips were actually fries (boo), but the fish was very good. The fish was substantial, almost like fish steak, and not overly breaded. Yum. No pictures of the fish, I ate it too fast!

Alaska, home of the spruce beer

This is an Alaskan Winter Ale - a spruce ale. The Skagway spruce blonde is still my favorite spruce. I found this one to be under-spruced and overly sweet, comparatively. Sorry to report that I was a little disappointed. Have no fear, I still love the Alaskan Smoked Porter!


This is a Denali Brewing Red Ale. One quick disclaimer, I have a bit of a cold, so my taste buds might be a little dull.

We were nearing the end of our shore visit in Ketchikan when we got a tip about a "new" Alaskan beer we had not tried -- Denali Brewing Company. We hiked over to a cute little Irish pub and ordered this red ale. I usually don't like reds, but I enjoyed this one. I found it well balanced and rich with a smooth finish. It has a deep red color. If you're ever in Ketchikan, check it out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This is a mini sampler from Haymarket in Chicago. From left to right: defender double American stout; black sox robust porter; last chance Belgian IPA; and rubber monkey Belgian wheat. I am writing about this a few (long) weeks after the fact, and, honestly, the only things I can remember are: (1) the double American stout did not kick my a$$; (2) the wheat beer was ok; and (3) the Last Chance was good enough to order a full pint. Check it out.

More from Pipeworks

I am starting this entry with a general statement of approval for Pipeworks. I have tried about five or six of their ales and liked them all. This is a "double stout." It has a nice malty overtone but, as advertised, it is balanced by a hoppy citrusy finish. And, you have to love the label, which is one of many locally designed labels. Now, if I could only find your brewery, which I think is only about 3/4 of a mile from my house ...

Alaskan Baltic porter

Ok, so I love the smoked porter and that might affect my review of the Baltic Porter. This beer was ok. It had a funky bitter smell on the nose, but not really on the taste. It had a nice malty taste, but wasn't that complex. Between the Baltic and the smoked, it's smoked, hands down.

Alaskan brewing company

While on a stopover in Juneau, we toured the Alaskan brewing company. We had been drinking Alaskan brewing company beer on our cruise (and have had it before in Oregon), so we decided to check it out. The tour was interesting. The brewery is about 20 minutes outside Juneau. We took a shuttle there from the company store in downtown Juneau (population 30,000, and no roads in or out). We learned about the history of the brewery and how they choose the ales they will brew. They have a 1 barrel experimental set up for local brewers to showcase their recipes. If the folks at the brewery like it, it goes to a slightly larger production - a "rough draft" production which is sent to local bars. If the locals like it, it is chosen for a seasonal production and sent to the roughly 16 states to which they distribute. If its well received, it may become a fixture of their production. For example, their Alaskan White started on the single barrel system.

The ale in the picture, the smoked porter, is a regular in their lineup. It is a very good smoked porter. I like a smoky beer, or scotch, and I frequently complain that a beer is not smoky enough. This beer, however, has a nice amount of smoke, but it doesn't overwhelm you. It has a thick, but minimal, head of a chocolate color. There is smoke on the nose and the tongue, with a balanced dose of malt. I hope they sell this in the lower 48 soon.

Skagway Sampler

Left to right: prospector pale, chilkoot trail IPA, red star amber and blue top porter. The prospector pale was a nice American pale ale--well balanced, smooth with a slight citrus finish. The IPA had a bitterness that I didn't recognize or appreciate. Maybe it's a strain of hops I did not recognize, but I did not choose that as my full pint. The red star amber was pretty good. The blue top porter was more like a brown ale. Of all the offerings, the spruce was my favorite. This was a fun brew pub and I'm glad we went!

Spruce blonde

This is My favorite spruce beer. Ok, it's only my second spruce ale, but it was pretty darned good! This is a Skagway Brewing Company spruce blonde. It's smooth with a hint of spruce on the nose, a nice blonde taste and a spruce finish that is well-balanced, not overpowering. I liked this a lot. The official name: spruce tip blonde. Try it next time you're in Skagway!

Midnight Sun Brewing

This is a Sockeye Red IPA from Anchorage, Alaska. It pours with a thick creamy head that doesn't quit. This ale has a rich coppery color and a citrusy nose. On the first taste, I swear I get a little salmon on the back end. For real. And the second. It's pretty interesting.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Granville Island - Saison

I fondly remembered the Maple Cream Ale, but I really enjoyed this seasonal Saison. As I occasionally describe it, a Saison is a combo of a Belgian trippel and a wheat beer. This is also known as a farmhouse ale. And this is a particularly good one. It has a pleasant citrusy nose with a hint of cilantro. This is an enjoyable Saison. Yummy.

Oskar blues Glubna

This is an imperial IPA. I really enjoyed it. It poured with a nice thick head and had a bold 9% abv taste. Great citrus notes and a smooth taste. Yum.

Oyster beer

This is the second oyster stout I have tried in the last couple years. This had a nice dry stout taste with a hint of oyster on the nose and, as the beer warmed up, a little more oyster in the taste. This was not nearly as oyster-y as the last one. I wish it could have had a little more oyster in the taste.

Dark Horse

Dark horse homo sapien cherry bomb. My friend ordered this beer at a favorite local eatery. It had a nice reddish tint and a hint of cherry. I really enjoyed this, but I think it's good for one beer a night, no more (it's a little sweet).

Granville Island - sampler

This is the sampler we tried. We remembered, very favorably, the maple cream ale, so we decided to hit the brewery. We chose three samples each -left to right - heffeweizen, Pale ale, maple ale, honey ale, IPA, and saison. My favorite? The saison. It has a nice citrus taste with herbs galore! Second favorite? The maple cream ale. A nice malty balance with a smooth maple finish. Yum.

Whistler pale ale

This is a Whistler Pale Ale. I think the Whistler brewery is related to the Yaletown Brewery, but I'm not sure. This is a nice pale ale - a nice blend of malt and hops, not too much of either, but enough to know its a pale ale! The color is a very rich amber, reflecting the malt.

Granville Island - Ginger beer

I last visited Vancouver in about 2006. We picked up a couple micro brews at a store and enjoyed them on a picnic. Today, we went back to Vancouver and decided to go to the Granville Island brewery. We were not disappointed. This is a ginger beer. It has a very strong ginger smell and taste. If you like ginger, as I do, then you will enjoy this beer. And, the label is pretty cool, too.

Friday, August 31, 2012


On a recent trip to Cincinnati, a friend recommended that we stop at Mt. Carmel brewery. This is a relatively recent brewery and it's still pretty small. Perfect time to visit. They just opened a small tasting room which is very comfortable. They have a number of taps (photos to follow) and offer some regular selections as well as seasonal and rotating taps. I bought a 12-pack of assorted beer and I've been pleased with all but one (post to follow). This, the stout, is my favorite. I saved this one in my fridge for as long as possible--about three weeks. It has a nice coffee nose and a hint of chocolate on the taste. It's not overdone but pretty darn near perfect, as far as I'm concerned. It you are ever in Ohio, look 'em up. And the staff was very friendly and helpful.

East coast IPA

I'm way back logged on entries to the blog, so I'll work backwards to try to catch up. This is a Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA. I've had this before but I don't think I was close to appreciating IPAs then, so I'll give it another go. I like this IPA. I think it has a nice citrus hoppy flavor that leaves an appropriately bitter taste in my mouth. I drank it out of the bottle, so I'm not sure how it pours. This is probably my favorite Heavy Seas, although their triple is pretty good, too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

IPA from New Glarus

This is a black IPA from New Glarus. As I understand it, New Glarus only recently started offering IPAs. This is the third I've tried and it's pretty good. I don't think it's quite as good as Big Black Van or Back in Black, but it's pretty good. I get a balanced citrus up front with a pine hops middle and a chocolatey / piney finish, with a little bit of heat.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Metrolius Amber Ale

I'm not usually an amber fan, but this was pretty good. It smelled, and tasted, a bit like a lager (not sure how to explain it). It poured with a moderate head, which left a lot of lace. My only complaint, it's a little sweet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No comment required

Thought I'd try it ...

This is a Sam AdAms Chocolate Bock. The Boston Brewery has a bunch of specialty beers and we don't get to try many of them out here. I was excited to have a taste of this. I thought if lacked a little on the chocolate (was pretty malty, but I didn't pick up as much actual chocolate), but was fairly representative as a bock. In my mind, I'd compare this with the Kostitzer I had on the Rhine, bit the Kostritzer was much better.

Devil's Tower

Ok, right up front, the beer was not that great. However, the national landmark was very cool. Devil's Tower was the first national landmark, designated as such in 1906 by Teddy Roosevelt. It rises up out of the plains with nothing else around it for miles. The rocks formed into hexigon shapes underground (as molten magma) and then fractured into columns as it cooled. Over the following centuries, the sedentary rock eroded and left the Devil's tower. This is a case of label > contents. But worth it!

Crow's Peak - SD

After an amazing day hiking in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota, we settled in at Crow's Peak brewery. This place was really cool. From the outside, it looked a bit like a ski lodge. They had a flat bed truck parked outside with a band playing. Very cool. And the beer was pretty good, too!

I ordered the double sampler in 3 ounce little mugs. They had a lot of hoppy ales and a couple stouts, but no lagers. I liked the Pile O' Dirt Porter quite a bit. If you're ever out there, like for a bike rally at Sturgis, check this place out.

The last of my birthday beers

This is the third of three beers I received for my birthday. It's a German weizenbock. I'm always amazed how the Germans can get such a malty flavor in such a medium-toned beer. This was amber on the pour, with a nice head and mellow, balanced nose. But the taste had a malty balance and a faint tint of hops. It's a complex beer that is worthy of being your first beer of the evening. If you find it on tap, let me know.

Brett yeast

I get it now. Brett yeast has a very distinctive taste. In general, I like the Boulevard Smokestack series, especially the Tank 7, so I tried the Brett Saison. I am partial to farmhouses. Not the generic Saison DuPont farmhouses. But complex and interesting saisons. This is interesting, and slightly over done, in my opinion, with the Brett yeast. My first sip took me back to the Ommegang Ommegeddon, which also has a heavy dose of Brett yeast. The Boulevard was a little more mild, a little more accessible to those of us who are not total beer snobs. I liked this. I'm glad I had it. I'll reach for some tank 7 on a regular basis, but I'll save the Saison Brett for a special occasion.

Pipeworks - IPA

Ok, so I've raved about Pipeworks before. Even though I know their address but can't navigate their real world (or electronic world) site. Their beer is good, real good. This is their single IPA. It has a nice amount of hops at a weekday level of abv. Plenty of flavor but doesn't kick your ass. Try one.

Dancing? Usually not for me ...

This is a Founder's Triple IPA -- devil dancer. I expected this to be like a hopslam, but more. It was not. This was a nice double IPA - plenty hoppy, but with some balance on the finish. The abv was not too high, so you can have more than one. I'd have a second.

Double jack!

I've had the Firestone Jack Walker, but this is the Double Jack. It's sweet and hoppy. Nicely balanced, even out of the bottle. I like a double IPA, unless it has an overly strong nectar taste. This does not. I would definitely have another. And then have more to write about it!