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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thick White Freeks (Three Floyds)

This white ale was another one that I had to write about after stealing several healthy sips.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This hazy-straw brew had a rich white head. It smelled of wheat. It had great lacing as we drank it down.

Taste: I tasted creamy fruit. The orange taste was clear, but I also got apples. It had a creamy aftertaste. A wheaty flavor carried through.

From the menu:
This massive thick freek of a white ale is brewed with a hint of fresh ginger, coriander, white pepper, orange peel, and orange juice concentrate. The yeast was donated by our friend Urbain from De Struise.

Shark Pants (Three Floyds)

These are notes from quite a few wonderful stolen sips of this collaboration IPA from the at Three Floyds. When this was released I was looking forward to it, but I never made it down to the pub. Luckily, they still had some on tap!

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This was amber with a thick head. It had lots of lacing as we drank it down. I could smell a spice and hops. It was earthy.

Taste: This was so remarkably creamy. I could taste wood...pine. It was sappy and sticky. Very tasty.

From the menu:
A collaboration/dedication ale brewed with our friend Urbain from the Belgian brewery DeStruise, this intense Belgian-style double IPA was fermented with Urbain's special yeast and then an amazing amount of hops were added. This beer was brewed in loving memory of a former employee, Rich Sheppard, who recently passed away. A portion of the proceeds from this beer will go to his family. Try this beer and enjoy a Rich Life. 

Eben-Emael (Three Floyds)

This visit to Three Floyds was all about the new brews crafted for summer. This Belgian pale ale was a tasty summer brew.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This straw-colored brew had a thick foamy white head. It had great lacing as it settled. I could smell floral hops.

Taste: Citrusy taste at every point. Floral hops. Divine! I really enjoyed this one.

From the menu:
A hoppy and refreshing Belgian-style pale ale brewed with yeast from our friend Urbain DeStruise Brouwers in Belgium.

I ♥ Deesko (Three Floyds)

When I found out FFF brewed a sour, I was thrilled! When I got to the pub and they were offering syrup to go in it, I was much less thrilled. Strawberry, watermelon, and peach were options, so were lychee and chipotle pineapple. I asked a bartender (that I didn't recognize) what the scoop was with the syrup. He said it was because it was very sour. Cheers to that! Ordered one sans syrup.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This beer had absolutely no head. On a second order I notice the fastest vanishing head in the history of head. It was straw colored. It smelled of lemon. 

Taste: It was sour, as promised. It was not as sour as I was expecting. It was a bit wheaty. The sour doesn't linger like a Monk's Cafe. It was very good. Enough to order two. It was refreshing and light.

From the menu:
A Munster-style Berliner Weiss. Tart, refreshing, and perfect for summer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alimony Ale (Buffalo Bill's)

I picked up a six pack of this IPA to enjoy by the campfire.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: Not much to look at or smell, I drank it from the bottle.

Taste: It was malty with really light hops. I was surprised how light it was for an IPA. It was kind of sticky and earthy, but I may have been reading too much into it. It was an ale, not sure how IP it was. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but I wouldn't turn it down.

From the Buffalo Bill's site:
It's Irreconcilably Different! Buffalo Bill's Alimony Ale was originally brewed back in 1987 for a customer going through a divorce. It has gained a reputation as one of the most eccentric brews, from reports in the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. No longer one of the bitterest beers in America, just one of the best.

Old Blarney (Moylan's)

I found this in my fridge left over from my barleywine string.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brew had reverse off-white head made up of tiny bubbles. It smelled like malted grain and booze. I could smell the earthy hops too.

Taste:The grain was the main taste, but there was a sweetness to it that balanced it out. It had a light hop flavor. It didn't cover up the boozy taste.

From the Moylan's site:
Our Barleywine Style Ale is a rich and heavy ale brewed to a high gravity. Massive body, mouthfeel and hoppiness. Barleywines are the "brandy" of the ale world. A great sipping ale, and a perfect finish to any meal.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (Lagunitas Brewing Company)

I had this ale on tap at Sheffield's. I'm still on my quest to try more Lagunitas beers. This was one that I had ordered and was out, so when I saw it on tap it was a must-try beer.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: It was gold with a white frothy head. I couldn't smell much over the crowded bar.

Taste: I think there was something wrong with this beer. From the description it was supposed to be a wheat, but it tasted really sour. It wasn't skunky; I drank it. It just wasn't as described. I let my friend try it, and he said that it tasted about right. He had tried it a few times before, and it always tasted off. I finished the pint. Not was I was expecting. I need to try it again.

From the Lagunitas site:
Sneaky Smooth with a Touch of What We Call Wheatly-esque-ish-ness. Crispy Wheat and Pale Malt flavors with a Big Round & Juicy Hop Finish. Everyone Needs A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Sometimes.

If anyone has tried this before, please feel free to comment or let me know! I really want to know what was up with this.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Green Line (Goose Island)

This Pale Ale was a good switch from the Oatmeal Stout. I had a pint from the tap of the Wrigleyville GI pub.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This was a gold beer with no head. The smell was very light hops.

Taste: It was sweeter than I was expecting. The aftertaste was bitter. Not much to this, but definitely drinkable.

From the GI site:
Green Line Pale Ale is a honey-colored, immensely sessionable American pale ale with a pronounced, bright, American hop aroma and citrus flavor. Notes of biscuit and lightly toasted malt create the backbone for Green Line’s pleasant, crisp bitterness.

Oatmeal Stout (Goose Island)

I had a couple of pints of the GI Oatmeal Stout from the tap at the Wrigleyville pub. My expectations for GI are never high, but their beers are drinkable, and I like their pubs.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: It was black with little head. I could smell the malt.

Taste: It was creamy with a bitter roast. It had a Malta aftertaste...pure wort. A heavy beer for a summer day.

Nothing on their main website; the pub lists it with just the ABV.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reserve Porter (Firestone Walker)

I enjoyed the Firestone Walker Double Jake IPA so much, I had to try the Robust Porter. I've had it in my booze lair for a while now, but it seemed like the perfect day to sample it.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brew was jet black. It had an off-white head that was bubbly and lingered. I could smell the roasted malt and a sweetness. It left a bit of lacing. I drank it on one side just to look at it.

Taste: It was creamy and roasted. The roast was smooth though. It was a bitter chocolaty roast. It wasn't as sweet as it smelled.  The aftertaste was very smooth with a light bitter. It was rich and nice, like a porter should be.

From the Firestone Walker site:
A singularly distinctive beer that represents our finest brewing efforts, Walker’s Reserve is a elegant dark ale featuring robust flavors of toffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate. This brew employs five specialty malts, as well as oat and barley flakes, for added complexity and flavor.

Selectively fermented in the Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system.

Premium Two-Row, Maris Otter, Crystal 77, Crystal 120, DH Carafa, Chocolate, Wheat, Oat Flakes.

Bittering—U.S. Goldings; Late Kettle—East Kent Golding; Whirlpool Hops—Cascade

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rillo Rye (Shoreline)

I had this Imperial Rye on tap at Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: It had a light bubbly head and was served very cold. It was a reddish-brown. I could smell malt and grain. It had light lacing as I drank it.

Taste: The grain was strong up-front and nice. It had a sweetness to it too though. Very grainy, then after a while I got the hops.  It was pretty smooth for the 12.5% ABV. Decent beer.

From the menu:
Imperial Rye PA, using over 30 pounds of Amarillo hops. One pound of Amarillo hops added to the boil every 7 minutes, combined with over 20 pounds of dry hops added after fermentation. A huge malt backbone supports the large doses of the citrusy hops, as well as adding rye to the mash. Very complex in flavor and aroma, full bodied, with a hint of sweet malt to balance the high alcohol content.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant

Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant
208 Wabash St. | Michigan City, IN

I have visited Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant in Michigan City, IN many times over the past two  years. It is near a main outlet shopping area and close enough to a beach of sorts.

Full listing of my posts on their beers.

This is actually one of the first brewpubs I wanted to write about, so that I don't echo the same comments in every post. I think the beer is generally served too cold, is generally pretty flat, and seems a bit hit-or-miss for complexity and balance of flavor. I will say though, that the carbonation has improved in recent visits.

That said, I'll talk about the whole spot. It definitely fills a need in the area.

ShoreLine is an old brick building covered in peeling pinkish paint. It almost has an endearing quality to it. When you walk in, you can see the whole beach theme (like the light-colored, wood-paneled walls). It is a big, wide-open space with seating at the bar, high tables supported by barrels, and standard low tables. It also has a room near the back surrounded by glass, I'm guessing it is for underage patrons or people who may want to avoid the cigarette and sometimes cigar smoke (it's Indiana). The main room has high ceilings and is very well lit. It is also very clean inside.

Harp (Guinness-Diageo)

This is one of the best lagers, and it has a large enough distribution to make it a good option almost anywhere. I had a pint from the tap at a local pub.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This gold lager had a frothy white head. The head hung on for a while, leaving lacing as I drank it down.

Taste: This is the lager standard for me. It's a like beer with little aftertaste. It's refreshing with light malty character, but not too complex.

From the Diageo site:
Harp, the best selling Irish lager, with its sparkling colour makes it a distinctive, yet approachable import.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Newcastle Brown Ale (Newcastle Breweries)

I enjoyed a pint of this standard brown ale from the tap at a standard American bar. This is a classic brew, but I realized that I never wrote about it. This was originally brewed by Newcastle Breweries. After a couple of brewers/owners, in 2008 it was bought by Heineken (with Carlsberg).

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brown ale has a frothy off-white head. I could smell the malt clearly.

Taste: I could taste light malt and light hops. It's clean, it's balanced, it's the standard brown ale.

The Newcastle site is a gigantic pitch, with video and interactive graphics. Not great to find any info on. Then again, I don't need it, I'm a Newcastle kid and know the scoop.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Irish Ale (Failte)

On a very, very, hot NYC day, we ducked into this very dark pub to recover from the sweltering heat. Failte had one of their own label on tap, so I could order nothing else.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This gold-colored Irish ale had a light malt aroma. The head was thin and bubbly.

Taste: I got the light malt. The overall lightness of this beer was great to beat the heat. Very refreshing. The aftertaste didn't stick. Standard ale goodness.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hop Angel (Chelsea Brewing Company)

I tried this local American IPA at House of Brews in Manhattan (theater district). Terrible food, decent selection of brews.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This was straw-colored with an orange tint. It had a light head in thickness and color.

Taste: The hop taste was light. Malts were there to balance it out. It was pretty refreshing.

No info on the Chelsea site and the menu didn't have descriptions.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Small Beer (Shipyard Brewing Company)

I shared a pint of this Portland IPA at the Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen. The description on the menu was quite intriguing.

From the menu:
This beer is fermented from the second runnings of the Pugsley Signature Series XXXX Imperial IPA.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This was a gold-red....amber? It had plenty of lacing. I could smell earthy-floral-piney hops.

Taste: It was really smooth upfront then it was an explosion of hop flavor. It had a bitter and dry aftertaste. Very tasty. Made me want to try more Shipyard brews.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Merry Monks (Weyerbacher)

I enjoyed a half pint of this (shared) from the tap at the Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen. This beer was powerful...and banana-y.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: I could smell the sugar of a Belgian, yeast and grain. It was a nice straw color.

Taste: It was creamy and tasted of that banana ester that I'm not too fond of. Not sure why I'm just noticing it this year, but it's everywhere! I think it hides it's 9.3% ABV very well.

From the Weyerbacher site:
When you try this beer you’re in for a unique treat. The special effervescence and creaminess are immediately apparent when pouring. The pilsner malts combined with the Belgian yeast strains yield a remarkable and complex flavor- perhaps you’ll note subtle hints of banana and cookie dough. The flavor is nicely balanced and the finish moderate to dry, begging for the next sip. This 9.3% brew is available year-round.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Undercover Investigation Shut-Down (Lagunitas Brewing Company)

Shared a half pint of this Imperial Mild with my drinking buddy. This was another brew enjoyed at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen. Imperial Mild? Sounded interesting to me. Not a local beer, but I couldn't pass up a try of a Lagunitas beer. This beer has alluded me for years. Every time I thought of it, it was either tapped out, or I didn't realize it was on the menu until it was too late. This was worth the chase.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brown ale had a very frothy white head. Through all the sensory noise, I smelled the malt.

Taste: This was a very smooth drink that hid the high alcohol content well. I could taste the malts with light hops. It had a creaminess that I wasn't expecting.

From the Lagunitas site:
Our oxymoronic 'Imperial Mild' - A redux to remember the '05 St. Paddy's Day Massacre. Defiant as to style ... We Can say for sure it is unforgiven and unrepentant. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bengali Tiger (Sixpoint Craft Ales)

I enjoyed a pint of this IPA at the Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen. Sixpoint Craft Ales are brewed in Brooklyn, NY. I was excited to try something out of Brooklyn that wasn't Brooklyn Brewery.

This was the first beer I wanted to try that night. We had just seen The Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo the night before, so it was a perfect carry-through for the weekend. Plus...I love IPAs.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This amber brew had a thick, white, bubbly head. I could smell the malt over my allergies and the bar.

Taste: The hops were great, earthy hops. The malt was earthy too. The hops and malt were well-balanced in this IPA. A very nice brew. Must try again.

From the Sixpoint site:
The resurgence of the India Pale Ale as a popular style has only accelerated in recent years. The American palate has rediscovered the abundant and diverse range of flavors contributed by the brewers' spice, hops, and subsequently has demanded beers with more hop character.

But we at Sixpoint wholeheartedly believe a well-crafted IPA should not flaunt its hop; it should present them with grave. Underneath the aggressive bitter hop flavor there should be comforting, sweet malt foundation that cradles the palate.

The Bengali Tiger entices you with an aroma of citrus, pine and spice and unleashes a wave of bitterness upfront. Yet it strides forward at a steady pace, smooth as a tiger's gait, and finishes balanced.

Notice the lacing of the stripes around the glass as you finish your pint--it's the mark of the Bengali Tiger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Flight at Heartland Brewery (Part 2)

I visited the South Street Seaport location for Heartland Brewery. Since this was the first time I was trying their beer, I went with a flight. The six beers they had on the flight sounded tasty. These are my notes from the last three (darker) beers.

Red Rooster Ale
Look and Smell: This red-colored brew had a tan head and smelled of grain. It had light lacing as I drank it down.

Taste: Very grainy like an Irish Red. The malt balanced it out a little. The aftertaste was malty. It was a decent beer.

From the Menu: Caramel and Munich malts give our flavorful red ale a rich toffee and roasted nut character. We top of this beer with a healthy addition of American hops for perfect balance.

Indiana Pale Ale
Look and Smell: This dark gold beer had a bubbly white head. It had a lot of lacing as I drank it. I could smell light hops.

Taste: I could taste floral hops. It had a sharp bitterness to it. I really enjoyed this one.

From the Menu: IPAs are popular for their zesty hop spice and rich malt character. Ours does not disappoint! With a deep golden color, full malt flavor, and aggressive bittering hops.

Farmer Jon's Oatmeal Stout
Look and Smell: This dark brown beer had a creamy head that stuck on the whole time I was drinking the other tasters. It smelled like rich, roasted coffee.

Taste: It was lighter than I thought it would be. It was like watered-down coffee, that's it.

From the Menu: This hearty, creamy stout has hints of espresso and elegant dark chocolate sweetness.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Flight at Heartland Brewery (Part 1)

I visited the South Street Seaport location for Heartland Brewery. Since this was the first time I was trying their beer, I went with a flight. The six beers they had on the flight sounded tasty. These are my notes from the first three beers.

Indian River Light
Look and Smell: Spiced scent with orange. I could smell the yeast. It had light lacing as I drank it down.

Taste: It was absolutely the beer for such a hot day. It was cold, it was light, it was citrusy. The spice was very light. You could taste the malt. It was a light beer with a nice flavor. It was complex for a light beer, but not much going on compared to some of my favorites.

From the Menu: With accents of fresh orange this refreshing light pale ale is clean and smooth. A subtle hint of coriander enhances the crisp finish.

Corn Husker Lager
Look and Smell: This gold-colored brew had a very light scent. A little lacing as I drank it down.

Taste: Not much going on. A very light lager without much taste.

From the Menu: Crisp and smooth, our golden lagers is crafted from Midwestern malts and flaked sweet corn. this is our most refreshing beer, with a mellow maltiness and a light, clean finish.

Harvest Wheat
Look and Smell: Gold-ish yellow with a wheat smell. Cloudy. Garnished with a huge slice of lemon.

Taste: Standard wheat. Not great. Pretty plain. Doesn't stand alone very well, but might be good with food. It might have been better if I squeezed the lemon into it.

From the Menu: A straw-colored traditional American wheat beer made with malted red wheat and 2-row barley, unfiltered, and served with a lemon wedge for a light citrus finish. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lighthouse Ale (Fire Island Beer Company)

I bought a bottle of this NY brew to accompany my slice of Famous Original Ray's.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: The bottle had interesting art, a New England feel with the lighthouse. It smelled like a standard ale.

Taste: I could taste the malt, that's about it. It isn't anything I'd go out of my way for.

From the Fire Island site:
Fire Island is known for being easy going with a lot of character, so Fire Island Lighthouse Ale has been crafted the exact same way. A soft carbonation and light caramel finish make Fire Island Lighthouse Ale easy to drink, yet it has the toasty round body of a classic American Ale to give it real substance. It's a beer for all seasons, all foods and all friends. Or as we like to say, the kind of beer you want to have a beer with.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mother's Milk (Keegan Ales)

I had this stout from the tap at Stout NYC. It's a great spot. How can you beat a place called Stout? This beer was brewed in Kingston, NY.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This black brew had thinner head than I was expecting. I could smell the roast and sweet malts over the crowded bar.

Taste: It had a thinner consistency than I was expecting, but it was rich. The malty sweetness carried all the way through.

From the Keegan site:

As the name implies, Mother’s Milk is a dark and creamy milk stout. Hints of oatmeal, chocolate and of course, milk make this brew have a remarkably smooth and silky finish, a classic example of the style.
  • (2003) Awarded a gold medal at The Hudson Valley Microbrew Festival (our first festival ever attended!) (2010) Declared one of the top ten stouts in New York State by The New York Times.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pig 'N Whistle Ale (Pig 'N Whistle)

I enjoyed this ale on tap upstairs at the Pig 'N Whistle. It was nice to duck in there on that very warm day. I couldn't sit there and not try the only brew that seemed to be their special brew.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This gold-colored ale had a light white head. I could smell the malt and hops.

Taste: Malt with light hops. Malt aftertaste. A standard ale. Great to beat the heat. Not much too it, but nothing bad about it.