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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hatter Madness: Part 2 (New Holland)

This continuation of my Hatter experience has a pair just as delicious as the last. I will have to say that I preferred the Imperial over the Farmhouse Hatter.

Imperial Mad Hatter (Left)
"A robust renovation of the India Pale Ale. Assertive dry-hoppying provides an aromatic telltale nose, indicative of the bitter symphony to follow. Bold hop character with lively grapefruit and citrus notes."

Look and Smell: This amber brew left heavy lacing as I drank it down. Smelled...shocker...hoppy. All kinds of hops. Citrus, pine, floral, fruit.

Taste: Light booziness. Smooth. Fruity hops.

ABV: 9.4% 

Farmhouse Hatter (Right)

"Wheat and Pilsner malts were used to lighten up the body of this Mad Hatter version. It was also fermented hot with a strain of Belgian Saison yeast to develop flavors of green apple, pepper and fresh cut hay."

Look and Smell: This hazy, dark straw-colored brew had a head of tiny bubbles. It left thick lacing. It smelled like a Belgian, that sugary sweetness.

Taste: It was sweeeeet. Good, but I felt it needed a little something bitter to balance it out. For a Hatter, I was expecting more hops.

ABV: 5.8% | IBU: 54

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hatter Madness: Part 1 (New Holland)

I visited a new-to-me pub, and it just so happens that just a few hours before they had tapped 6 New Holland brews. 5 of them happened to be Mad Hatter and couple of rare variations. Mr. K and I split pints of four of them.

Black Mad Hatter (Left)
"A blackened version of Mad Hatter brewed with black malt for a dark, roasty sweetness to the base of the flavor profile. Finishes with a strong Centennial hop character from."

Look and Smell: It was a very dark brown (black) brew. I smelled a roast intermingled with pine. It had a thick off-white head. The brew left medium lacing on the glass (from both hop acid and malt).

Taste: It had a coffee medium roast. The aftertaste was slightly bitter, and not too clingy. The sweet creaminess is cut by the hoppy acids. Interesting mix.

ABV: 5.56% | IBU: 67

Rye Mad Hatter (Right)

"This beer showcases it’s grain-bill, made up of rye and barley malt. The rye adds a slight spiciness to the caramel-malt base, while also creating a creamy texture. Dry-hopping contributes a fresh citrus finish."

Look and Smell: This amber-ish brew had a really bubbly/frothy head. It had moderate lacing. I smelled rye spice and a little pine.

Taste: It tasted as is smelled. It was bitter sweet. It was a good, bitter, spicy, rye.

ABV: 6.12% | IBU: 60

Saturday, June 23, 2012

F8 Brewpub: NWI's Newest Destination

Figure Eight Brewing
150 South Washington Street | Valparaiso, IN

For the past several months I'd been hearing about Figure Eight expanding. The taproom was often a stop after a hearty brunch at Pikk's Tavern. It was a small spot, with their mainstays and new brews pouring. Pretzel rods were sitting on the table as a small snack in case you needed it. We'd sit on stools and watch the traffic go by, both on the road and at the order window. I could see part of the brewing operations from my stool. It was a pure taproom. It was clean, as well lit as a small spot could be, and sometimes had that soothing aroma of brewing. The staff was personable. The rock climbing theme was subtly infused into the atmosphere. It was always super clean.

When I had the chance to visit the new brew pub, on it's first Friday open, I was pleased to find those good qualities brought over.

First Impressions
I walked up to the door, right off of the main square in Valparaiso, and could see the tables packed with patrons and beer. It looked sleek and modern.

I walked in and the place was abuzz with opening week excitement. I heard the booming sounds of people having a blast. It could benefit from some soft dampening surfaces, but that's an easy fix.

We were lucky to get a seat right away. It was the last seat available, and people had to wait. It would have been worth a wait...with a cold F8 brew in hand.

The decor was a mix of wood and stone. The vibrant burnt orange walls reflected the subtle rock climbing decor. The light fixtures were a sandy yellow. On the ceiling were hanging "rocks" with light fixtures in between. The bar was clean with the brightly lit refrigeration unit showcasing the wide selection of beers in growlers and bombers. The taps were right up front so you could see everything going on. Two registers on either side provided a convenient spot for beer-to-go pick up.

The big wide windows are what really made this spot a new favorite of mine. I don't have to feel guilty about wasting time in dark, borderline dive, pubs on the weekend. I can feel like I'm still enjoying the environment around me! It's amazing the affect of bright natural light on energy levels too.

The menu was solid. It had some of everything, while still fitting on a single page. I was expecting a very limited menu, but this had appetizers, main dishes, and even a choice of dessert. The prices were great, ranging from $4-$9.

I was totally impressed. This wasn't just a step up from the tap room, this was a giant leap. It was so well done. It was more than worth the time it took for them to work through the delays in opening.

Billy Bock (Minhas)

I had some Wisconson brews hiding in my basement. It's time to drink them all up. This was was better left in the fridge....they can't all be winners. It was part of a sampler pack. I don't remember being too impressed with the others.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: Brown brew with an off-white and creamy head.

Taste: Saccharine sweet. I drank half the bottle, if that and Mr. K polished it off. Not sure if it's that it was old....but it wasn't an off flavor. It was like licking the malt extract scraper when you're brewing...not in a good way. I had to drink a Wee Mac to get that taste out of my mouth.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Farmgal (Bier)

Bier Brewery has a long list of brews that they have shared with the public in the short time they've been open. They have 100 brews listed on Untappd that people have checked into and 106 on their site. Summertime filled the taps. Pilsner, wheat, pale, light lager, and this saison. I had tried the Dirty Farmgirl last time, this not-so-dirty variation was just as good.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This straw-colored brew had a foamy head with tiny bubbles. It smelled like a bready granny smith.

Taste: It tasted just as it smelled. Yeasty with a crisp tartness. The tart was both that green apple and a little lemon. Very nice summer brew. It was still very effervescent after being in that bullet for 4 days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

PDG (Bier)

Last October, I had the pleasure of visiting Bier Brewery in Indianapolis. It was so good I added it to my Indy brew trail. I had walked away with three bullets from that trip. I hung on to the the empties, because I knew I'd be back. It only took eight months!

This was a quick visit after a wonderful lunch and lambic at Brugge. We tasted across the taps and came home with a Saison and this Pale Ale. It turns out that we had brought back the PDG last time! I found the notes in my archive.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This gold brew was very effervescent. It had a frothy white head after a standard pour. It smelled like smooth hops and light malt.

Taste: It was very smoother than my last notes indicated. Slight woodiness and light fruit hops. Well-balanced hop profile. A little citrus oil stays on the tongue. The malt sweetness rounded it out. A very good pale. I'd recommend it for people who are unsure if they like the hop-strong brews. It's a good representation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Experimental Beer #7 (Brugge)

On a whim, Mr. K and I drove down to Indy for a weekend. A friend had an art booth at a strawberry festival and it was time to kick of the summer...before it officially starts. A trip to Indy isn't complete without a stop a Brugge Brasserie for some great brews and of course a crepe, moules frites, or a delicious mitraillette.

I stopped in and had this deliciously sour raspberry brew with a grilled artichoke, portobello mushroom, roasted tomato, and truffle oil crepe. Not sure why the crepe wasn't folded...others were. It was very full. Mr. K shared some deliciously tender duck confit and a couple of frites (of course).

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This pink-ish brew had a very thin, white, bubbly head. It smelled of the fruit, both tart and sweet.

Taste: The night before I had been tasting some very rare, very sour, kriek and standard lambics, so this to me was not exceptionally sour. That said, it was undeniably a sour. It really tasted of fresh raspberries. So fresh, I was waiting to get a seed stuck in my teeth! The sharp acidity hides the booziness of this brew. I sipped it waiting for my food to come out, and it didn't change too much as it warmed. The flavors were intense from the start.

From the Brugge site:
Brewed using pure agave nectar & fresh raspberries. Very sour.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ballpark Brews: Not Just for Big Breweries Anymore

This season Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins, announced that the would start offering locally-crafted brews to fans. The line up includes four small breweries that provide a great representation for the industry.
  • Surly—a legislation-changing giant in the craft beer world
  • Fulton Beer—a newer operation that all began out of the founders' garages in 2006
  • Summit Brewing—a small operation focused on traditional brewing methods
  • Finnegans—a non-profit brewing operation that donates all profits to Minnesota charities
This April the Kansas City Royals announced a partnership with the local favorite, Boulevard Brewing Company. This partnership goes beyond standard beer sales. They opened up The Boulevard Pub and two Boulevard Bar & Grill stands in the stadium.

While some stadiums are finally realizing the appeal and profitability of these craft brews some stadiums have been offering craft brews for years. One of these is near the park in the very city that our Founding Fathers brewed in, the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park. While I don't know when they started selling the local brews, I found a blog post from back in 2009 from the Philadelphia Beer Enthusiast raving about their brew list. When I was at the park earlier this month, I saw Victory, Flying Fish, and Yards at the concession stands. I had the opportunity to share two of the brews with Mr. K while enjoying a great game.

Flying Fish Summertime
FF says: A tribute to the highly drinkable "every day" beers from French-speaking Belgium. Contains Belgian two-row pale malt and 7% wheat. This beer is lightly filtered with an earthy, spicy hop character from imported Styrian Goldings hops and a beautiful rich creamy head from the wheat.

Look and Smell: This gold-colored brew had a very lemony smell. The head was bubbly and white. It stuck around.

Taste: The lemon taste is very noticeable, but refreshing. I also tasted the pale maltiness, a little toast, a little sweet. Light and refreshing. Perfect for a summertime game.

ABV: 4.9% | IBU: 15.1

Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale
Yards says: Not to be boastful, but we honestly believe that all other ales pale in comparison to this one. Brewed with pilsner malt, Philadelphia Pale Ale is crisp and hoppy, bursting with citrus flavors and aromas.

Look and Smell: This gold-colored brew smelled really orangy. Summer is the time for all of these citrus flavors. The light head lingered.

Taste: Lots of pine, lots of orange (juice and pith).  Not too bad. Not your typical ballpark brew!

ABV: 4.6% 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Knock on Wood (Sierra Nevada)

After the ridiculously delicious Exportation, Mr. K and I moved on to another Sierra Nevada brew. From the description, we were saving this chili stout aged in Heaven Hill barrels for dessert. It really made a perfect dessert too.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This black brew had a coffee-colored head. I could smell the chili, vanilla, and oak right off.

Taste: It gave that chili burn, it wasn't a light, nearly non-detectable taste. The chocolate and caramel flavors in this creamy stout balanced out that spice. The bourbon aftertaste (vanilla and caramel) with bitter chocolate really rounded it out. No flavors were hidden, no hunting or searching. This was what it was, and it was phenomenal. That bourbon added another dimension to your typical spiced mole-type stouts, and I do love bourbon. All the flavors went exceptionally well together. Well done Sierra Nevada!

From the menu:
Their Hell Raiser (chocolate, chili, imperial stout) aged in Heaven Hill barrels for 18 months. Hints of vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, and chili peppers. complex and yummy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exportation (Russian River & Sierra Nevada)

Keeping along with these Russian River brews, Mr. K and I ordered a small pour of this porter. It was especially made for Philly Beer week, and with the description we just couldn't resist.

Menu Description:
Made by 12 beer-centric Philadelphians, including Tom & Fergie, in Chico, CA especially for Philly Beer Week. A light-bodied, slightly smokey porter with a good depth of flavor. This version was aged in DuMol Pinot Noir barrels at Russian River with some added funk: brettanomyces, lacto & pedio. Stupid good.

And it was stupid good...

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This black brew had a stiff, frothy, tan head. It left thick lacing on the glass. I could smell so much over all the food around me! Dark fruits, vanilla, light smoke.

Taste: The flavor was as complex as promised. We sipped and tracked the changing flavors as it warmed up. I tasted a muted smokiness that added to, not overpowered, the dark fruit. From the smoke it went straight to a tart wine grape finish. I was surprised how much that wine flavor came through. Next to Stone's 10-10-10 (that was actually fermented with the grapes), I'm hard-pressed to think of another brew with such a wine infusion. It seemed to pick up the flavor like a good bourbon barrel-aged brew.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Defenestration & Row 2/Hill 56 (Russian River)

In honor of craft beer week, Monk's Cafe lined the taps with Russian River brews. Mr. K and I shared tastes of all of the one available. We ordered this Belgian-style saison (Defenestration) and hoppy simcoe ale (Row 2/Hill 56—The Story of Simcoe) together. The tastes were so wildly, powerfully different, that we had to drink them one-bye-one instead of side-by-side.

Belgian-style saison that has a subtle, mineral finish. really dry finish.

Look and Smell: This gold-colored brew had a bubbly head that settled to a single layer of bubbles that stayed with it. I smelled slightly sweet over all the bar and mussels with frites.

Taste: This saison had a light bitterness and a warming dryness to it. It was barely sweet. It had a light sour apple flavor to it. Great for the summer heat.
ABV: 7.25%

Row 2/Hill 56—The Story of Simcoe
Vinnie uses Simcoe hops from all three Simcoe growers in Yakima. Each batch uses Simcoe from each farm at specific stages of the brewing process.

Look and Smell: This copper-colored brew had a more frothy head. I could smell the pine over it all.

Taste: Simcoe is a great hop for bitter wood-flavors. I used it in my IPA. Sixpoint has a version of an all simcoe brew too. This was a lighter consistency, making it very drinkable for a bitter brew. The pine and bitter pith were the main flavors, but they were smoothed out by the malt (caramel?). For people who don't like IPAs, it's mostly this piney type...exactly the flavors that IPA-drinkers adore. This showcased the hop beautifully. I wonder if they do a cascade brew....
ABV: 5.8%

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wookey Jack (Firestone Walker)

After I finished my Monk's Cafe at Monk's Cafe, I went on to a series of shared pints, snifters, and half pints. I had to take advantage of the fantastic tap lineup while being responsible. Limited imbibing, maximum enjoyment.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: It was black with an off-while bubbly head. It left light lacing on the glass as we drank it down. It smelled like a spiced malt (rye) and smooth hop.

Taste: There was something in the taste that I couldn't place. It was grassy? Spicy greens, like an arugula. It was odd and delicious. That, with the rye, really made this brew special. The hops were smoothed out by the creamy malt sweetness.

From the FW site:
Wookey Jack is our first foray into the dark outer world of black IPAs. Rich dark malts and spicy rye careen into bold citrus laden hops creating a new dimension in IPA flavor. This brew has been left unfiltered and unfined to retain all of its texture and character. At 60 IBUs, Wookey Jack is gnarly on the outside yet complex and refined on the inside.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monk's Cafe (Brouwerij Van Steenberg)

If you did a search through this blog, you'd find many, many references to this Flemish sour. It is my standard for comparison. I dare to say, this is one of my favorite brews. I had the great opportunity to go to Philly, and it just so happened to be craft beer week. I couldn't go to Philly and not visit Monk's Cafe, the spot that this beer is brewed for. They had an amazing tap lineup, but I wasn't going to pass up the chance to have Monk's Cafe IN Monk's Cafe!

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This ruby-colored brew had an off-white bubbly head that stuck around. It smelled...sour. It had a sweetness to the aroma too.

Taste: The malt smooths out the sharp sour flavors. Drinking this next to the Wookey Jack Black IPA really brought out the sweetness of this brew. It's a clean sour flavor. It's a standard.

From the Monk's Cafe site:
That's right, our own private label brewed for us by the family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, just outside Ghent, Belgium. Medium body, red color, somewhat fruity nose, malt flavor with a slight lactic taste. Great Stuff! A real thirst quencher and palate cleanser.

Surprises in Philly

This year was a big year for a very important year for someone special in my life. To celebrate, we took a trip. I told him that we could go anywhere in the states he wanted to go. He picked Philadelphia. He said it was the rich history. I think it was the Phillies baseball team. Well, we enjoyed both!

It was the perfect time of year to go. The weather was in the high 70s-low 80s as the high. The tourist crowds were thin. The extended summer hours were in effect. Good timing.

I let my special guy plan the trip. It was the first trip he'd ever planned. I got him the DK travel guide and set him up for my typical planning madness. I booked airfare and hotel. The thing is....Philadelphia was never really on my travel list. I'll go anywhere, believe me, but I didn't know much about Philly past the Liberty Bell. Was the city still vibrant, or was it deteriorating? Was the public transportation effective and well-maintained? How safe was it?

When I got there, all of my questions were answered. It was a very comfortable, very reasonably priced, very well-maintained city. It had statues, murals, and memorials at every turn. The historical significance of this town was enough to make me think the whole trip.

Since Mr. F was planning the whole trip, I went in blind....almost. I did read a travel magazine on the way in.

In my typical travel fashion, when I have time, the first stop is the visitors' center. I was getting there ahead of time, so I gathered some brochures for places I knew he wanted to go. I also booked a special surprise: a night tour of the city. These tours are always a great way to get the lay of the land and learn some trivial tidbits. I like to do a night tour or ghost tour to best use my time. They are usually less expensive too. They are especially useful on short trips. In the day time you want to see the sites, but at night when everything is closed, a good use of time is a tour.

I walked around the town that evening with Mr. K, grabbing dinner at Monk's Cafe. I got a good idea of the area and surroundings. I was ready to cram as much as I could into this short trip, and I did! The next morning, with all of us together at last, we officially started our trip. We were moving every second. From 8 A.M. to 9 P.M. we were doing something. Eating, seeing, enjoying.

I was really amazed at how much Philly has to offer. The guides at the historic sites are top notch. They keep it interesting and informative. They gave us facts that kept us talking all trip. We pushed on when we were tired. We used the Phillies-Marlins game as a way to relax after a long walk for the perfect Philly Cheesesteak and before a walk out to Penn's Landing. Instead of heading back to the room most nights, we tried to cram one more sight in (inevitably seeing a few more along the way). 

It was productive, it was fun, it was a learning experience. We have the pictures to prove it.

One little trick that helps me absorb my fast-paced trips is a favorites game. What was your favorite part of yesterday? What was your favorite part of today so far? What was the best thing you've learned? No better time to enjoy your trip than when you're on it!

My favorites....
The perfect Philly Cheesesteak at Geno's Steaks. Four simple ingredients, done so right. Onions caramelized to perfection. The bread was firm enough to prevent sogginess while still being chewy and soft. The meat was so tender and flavorful. The cheez whiz....yes cheez whiz....added a balance with the meat and complemented the sweetness of the onion. Couldn't have it any other way.

Independence Hall was more interesting than expected. It made me respect the Founding Fathers decision in a way I didn't know I could. It made me really think about our freedoms and what it had taken to get them. Ranger Gus Rylander was extremely knowledgeable about the historic site and American history in general. He was answering any and all questions.

The night tour was fun, even in the rain. I had pictures of most of the sights from earlier in the day, so it was perfect to sit down and hear the stories about areas I saw and learn about areas I had yet to see. The guide was entertaining and informative. 

Random Facts:
  • Did you know that Ben Franklin requested the recipe for tofu and shared it in 1770?
  • Early surgeries (read amputations) offered three types of anesthesia: drinking whiskey until you passed out, smoking opium until you passed out, or getting hit on the back of the head with a mallet until you passed out. Which would you choose?
  • Free Quakers are Quakers who were compelled to bare arms during the revolution. They were expelled from the Philadelphia Meeting of Friends because of this decision.
  • Did you realize that the steps Rocky Balboa ran up in the training sequence of the first movie was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art? I wonder how many visitors they get based on the steps and the Rocky statue at the foot of the stairs.
  • The silver stars you see on some buildings indicate that the building has been reinforced against earthquake damage (stars are the ends of the beams). 
Google is a powerful tool for information about this wonderful city. Some other good resources are listed below:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ales of the Revolution (Yards)

In honor of one of the biggest craft beer weeks in the nation, I felt it necessary to quickly post my notes of four quite interesting ales that I had the opportunity to sample at City Tavern in Old Town Philly. These ales were brewed using documented recipes from our Founding Fathers.

Notes are from brews right to left.
Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Ale
In the style of the common man's ale, this pale ale is brewed with Pilsner malt. Crisp & hoppy with citrus flavors & aromas.

Look and Smell: This pale yellow brew had a frothy white head. It had light lacing as I drank it. I smelled light citrus bitterness.
Taste: This was a very crisp brew. It had that light lemony hop taste. It was a very light beer. It was the hoppiest of the four.
ABV: 4.5%

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce
Initially brewed to commemorate Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday—not to mention his affinity for fine ales—Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce™ is based on Franklin’s original recipe. It uses spruce tips and molasses as barley and hops were not readily available at the time.

Look and Smell: This brown ale left heavy lacing. The head was whitish and bubbly. It smelled spiced.
Taste: This was very interesting. I don't think I'd go out of my way to order it, but it was definitely worth trying. It tasted like...well....spruce. It was like a tea or a ginger ale. It had a very dry finish. It was very herbal.
ABV: 5%

Thomas Jefferson's 1774 Tavern Ale
Thomas Jefferson only made beer twice a year. While Jefferson vehemently opposed a strong central federal government, he apparently had nothing against strong ales like this one. Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale is a golden ale with dried fruits and toffee aromas inspired by Jefferson’s original recipe that called for wheat, honey, and rye from his Virginia estate.

Look and Smell: This gold-brown ale left heavy lacing. The head white head was made up of thick layers of tiny bubbles. The smell was very light, slightly sweet caramel.
Taste: It was sweet with a bitter spike. I'm guessing it was that earthy honey paired with the rye. It had a smooth light flavor. I didn't expect it to have an 8% ABV when I looked it up!
ABV: 8%

General Washington's Tavern Porter
Brewed from a genuine recipe on file in the Rare Manuscripts Room of the New York Public Library. A rich, dark brew loaded with flavor.

Look and Smell: This was a very dark brown. The head was a thin coffee-colored ring. It smelled very malty and sweet.
Taste: It was a good porter. It was slightly sweet with a bitter roast aftertaste. More on the coffee side than the chocolate side, but I could still detect slight chocolate flavor. The clinging bitterness was all coffee roast though. It was a thicker, rich brew perfect to end the tasting with.
ABV: 7%

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pale Ale (Boulevard)

I couldn't have a Beer 101 class without throwing in a Boulevard as a standard comparison. While their wheat is a top seller, I had two good ones in my line up. The pale was their next in line. Boulevard is a micro/craft brew operation that makes some likable standards. They've branched out with their Smokestack Series, but the standards are more consistent.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This caramel-colored brew had frothy off-white. It smelled musky and citrusy.

Taste: The caramel malts came through with a very light citrus (juice not pith). It's an earthy taste.

The flavors of this and the Doggie Style were probably the most similar in all of the pairs. There are still some noted differences in hops flavors. This one also had a little more complexity in malt (caramel and grainy).

From the Boulevard site:
A crisp, amber colored, light- to medium-bodied beer with a mellow caramel malt character and prominent hop flavor and bitterness.

Doggie Style (Flying Dog)

This classic Pale Ale was one of my contrasting pales in Beer 101. It was set with the Boulevard in the tasting set. While both have the caramel flavors and colors, this has a different hop profile.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This amber-colored brew had a a thick foamy off-white head. Bitter hops and caramel malt were the main smells.

Taste: It was a little pithy hoppy, that sort of flat (yet acid) bitter. It had a clean sweetness. It's not a wild pale ale, but it has the flavors that push it into a different class than your standard brews. It's a solid pale.

From the Flying Dog site:
The alpha of the pack, Doggie Style complements a wide range of foods. Flavor notes: Grassy, citrus, and slight perfume hop aromas with subtlety sweet malt body.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Archangel (North Peak)

I was a little afraid when I cracked open this summer brew. Not because it was a cherry wheat beer, but because this was given to me a year ago, not sure how old it was, and wheat beers aren't know to age exceptionally well from my understanding. Those fears were unfounded. I believe I have the magic booze lair or a forgiving palate, because my beers always seem to stay deliciously fresh. This Traverse City brew was no exception.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This beer had unrelenting head and carbonation. It had a light pink tint. It smelled wheaty and musky (earthy). It was cloudy from the wheat.

Taste: Tart cherry and earthy tastes. It was light, yet bready. It was a surprise, not a bad one. I'd drink this one again. It was still fruity, but distinctly beer.

Cheers Roger, thanks for sharing!

Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Blue Sunday (New Holland)

I'm shelving the winter warmers for the sours, pales, and lighter variety. Summer weather is here (for real this time)!

So this sour is part of their cellar series....but I couldn't help trying it now. Michigan blue berries are some of the best. Thinking of this blueberry sour ale sitting down there was just too much for me.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brown brew smelled very sour and grape-y. The head was a thin ring of bubbles.

Taste: It was a hard sour that hits the roof of your mouth. It was an earthy blueberry. Fresh and a little twiggy. As fresh as the blueberries in my morning yogurt. I really enjoyed this juicy brew.

From the NH site:
This unique anniversary libation, heritage-blended from our library of barrel-soured beers, exhibits deeply layered flavors of malt and oak, with a tart finish.

Pairings: wild game,poultry & charcuterie.