Friday, July 30, 2010

Dogfish Head Squall IPA

If you look over the right hand side of this blog and check out the categories you'll see one for Dogfish Head. They one of the few non Texas breweries that have their own category, and that's becuase for the most part I am a huge fan of their beers. Yes they have their misses, but I think they have a pretty amazing line up of beers, and love them or hate them many are thought provoking at least. One of the more highly anticipated releases from DFH of late has been their Squall IPA, a beer that we finally got in the Houston market a few months ago. Squall is basicallyh DFH's 90 minute IPA, bottle conditioned and dry hopped with Palisade, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade, CTZ, and Willamette hops, plus it weighs in at a robust 9.0% abv. I love 90 minute IPA and think its one of the best DIPA's around so I was excited to try this version bottled in a 750 ml bottle.
The Beer: Squall pours a golden orange color with a thick bubbly head. The nose is hopppy, grapefruity, citrusy, some yeasty notes as well. The mouthfeel is bubbly, effervescent, full bodied. Waves of grapefruity hops hit the palate. Bitterness slams the taste buds up front, then some slightly toasted malts, a little bit of sweetness shows up. However over and over its hops that take the main stage here. Grapefruit, all of it, rind, pith, nectar, fruit, all of it show up here. Some astringency is apparent, a note of yeasty bready warmth. Delecious, one of the best IPA's or DIPA's I've ever had. Finishing it kind of made me sad, becuase all the stores around here are sold out of it so I won't get any until next year. But this one is definetely worth seeking out. This one gets an A from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mikkeller Chipotle Porter

It's always nice to see local breweries do special things for their customers. Whether its making a special beer for an anniversary or special cask ales to tap at local bars it shows that they appreciate their loyal local fan base. However it's quite a different thing for a brewery that's not only not local, but one from a different country to make a special beer for a local community. However that's just what Mikkeller Brewer has done, creating a chipotle Porter that's just for Texas. Now how cool is that? The original name for the beer was going to be Texas Ranger, however for whatever reason (TABC guidelines??) the name was left off, but we have still been blessed with one amazing beer. Mikkeller wanted to brew a beer that represented Texas so they brought together smokiness and spiciness to create this brew.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 6.6% and pours a deep syrupy black with a thick head of frothy milk chocolate colored foam. The first scents of the nose is coco powder, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee. Then another whiff brings smokiness and raw green jalapeno's. The first sip is thick, chewy, viscous. Up front this beer is a great wonderful strongly intense porter. Full of roasty flavors. Then it finishes with smoke and spicy green chilies. Then as you continue to drink the smokiness gets stronger and more intense. The spiciness builds in the back of the throat. Not too intense, nothing over the top, but it balances well with the chocolate notes of the porter base. Reminding me of the chipotle chocolate bars I've had in the past. Lots of green flavors from the beer as well. This is such an usual beer and to me better than most other chipotle beers I have had. This one gets an A- from me. The folks at BA that have had it love it as well.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

German Beers

Man can not live by hoppy monster's, imperial stouts, or other high alcohol beers alone. Of course I love them, but there are times and places for more sessionable beers. I normally don't seek them out for one reason or another but a week or so ago I was paid a visit by some friends from Germany who came carrying gifts for me. Gifts of beer! These were good every day German beers, nothing extreme just extremely tasty! A wheat beer and a keller beer were included in my gift package!
Mönchshof Kellerbräu: Brewed by the Kulmbacher brewery, this is an unfiltered lager that weighs in at 5.4%. It pours a cloudy light brown with a thick dense head of foam. The nose is full of noble hop aroma fruity estersy, pale toasted malts. THe mouthfeel is full, much fuller than I expected. Caramel malts, noble hops, flavors of minerals, earth and floral notes as well. Toasted malts, delicious and easy drinking. Clean and crisp, this one gets a B from me.
Kapuziner Weisbier: Another beer brewed by Kulmbacher this one is of course a Hefeweizen that weighs in at 5.4%. THe beer pours a hazy straw yellow capped with a tone of frothy white foam. The nose is full of bannana, cloves, and citrus. This time around the mouthfeel is a little lighter than I expected. Flavors of bannana, spices, cloves, citrus including strong notes of lemon. Somewhat light, very refreshing, crisp. Smooth and very tasty. The lemony notes make this really refreshing. Drinking this beer makes me think of sitting in a German biergarden on a beautiful Summer day. An above average wheat beer that gets a B+ from me.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Charlie, Fred, and Ken's Helles

The second edition of Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary beers has been released. For more information on the first release as well as info on the upcoming releases check my previous post. This version is a Imperial Helles Bock brewed by Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman as well as two pioneers in craft brew: AHA Founder Charlie Papazian, and home brew icon and author Fred Eckhart. The three men came together to brew an Imperial Helles Bock.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 8.9% and pours a golden orange color with a thick head of slightly off white foam. Fruity esters, honey, roasted malts, peaches, and savory spices. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, a little more than slightly sweet on the palate. Honey, fruits, with a mild bitter hop finish. Peaches, sweet malts, caramel, maybe even a bit of butterscotch (which could be an off flavor of Diacetyl, not sure, its not unpleasant at all just pointing it out). A very easy drinking, but maybe too easy drinking. There's not a lot of complex flavors here, and its a little too sweet for my tastes, there isn't another flavor to counteract it. Its good, but its not great, the Frits and Ken Stout was much better in my opinion. This one gets a B- to me. The folks at BA like it a little more than I do, but agree that its not as good as the first.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday Quick Hits

The first Tuesday of the month, and the first day of the week for many after a wonderful 3 day weekend. Today also brings us some interesting news from the world of beer today, some of it local:

- In some of the coolest news to come out of Saint Arnold in quite some time, they have announced (as reported by Ronnie Crocker) that they will be doing a series of special yeast relases. Releasing beers that we are familiar with like Lawnmower, Elissa, Brown, etc but brewed with different yeasts. Check out Ronnie's post and article for more information, but here is the line up:
• Weedwacker: A variation of Saint Arnold's best-selling Fancy Lawnmower. All other ingredients remain the same, but the new beer will be fermented with a Bavarian hefeweizen yeast. Available Aug. 16.

• Altared Amber: The flagship beer will be made with Belgian Trappist yeast. Available mid-November.

• Bitter Belgian: Elissa IPA, also with Belgian Trappist yeast. Available mid-February.

• Brown Bitte: Brown Ale, with Alt yeast. Available mid-May.

- July 18th is Belgian Beer Week, and many local bars will be hosting special events. Flying Saucer has announced they'll be doing something (no details yet) while Gingerman has already been a little more forthcoming with their plans for an event on the 21st of July:
Come out and join us to celebrate the country that brews some of the finest beers in the world, Belgium! There will be a special glass giveaway in addition to the regular Wednesday glass. We will also be serving select draught and bottled winter ales to celebrate Christmas in July.
Doors open at 2pm

- Also Gingerman has announced a Belgian Beer and Food tasting on July 31:
Saturday, July 31st at 1:30pm
Enjoy some of the best beers Belgium has to offer paired with food items that complement the flavor of these brews.
Admission $2

Well that's all the beer news fit to print. If anyone knows of other events let me know and I'll add them to the calendar.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace Ale

One of my heroes in the beer business is Garret Oliver, brewmaster for Brooklyn brewer. I respect him for many reasons, he's a strong advocate for beer and food, the two times I've gotten to meet him and speak with him he was incredibly nice and willing to answer any questions, and lastly he makes some damn fine beer. Because of all these things I was ecstatic when I saw Brooklyn's newest beer on the shelves Sorachi Ace Ale. An usual name for a beer that is based off the hop used. Many beers are made with blends of hops, few though are made of the single hop variety, fewer even are made with rare and unique hops. Sorachi Ace was created in 1988 by a Japanese Brewer as a cross between British Brewer's Gold and Czech Saaz. The resulting hop variety was unique in that it gave off strong notes of lemon. I'm not sure how many brewer's use this hop in their beer, but I'm pretty sure Brooklyn is the only one to create a beer using only this hop. This beer is brewed with belgian yeast as well as a Champagne yeast strain to create a sort of Saison style brew with the Sorachi Ace hop.
The Beer: This beer weighs in at 7.6% and pours a pale straw yellow with a thick dense head of bright white foam. The nose is of lemons and citrus, bright and floral, yeasty. The mouth of lemony, lemon tarts, sourdough bread. Refreshing, and finishing with that classic Brooklyn Brewery dry finish. Its like fresh baked lemon poppy seed muffins. Notes of white pepper. Its lemony but not overpowering, refreshing, crisp. Very nice summer beer that gets a B+ from me. The folks at BA enjoy it as well.