Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head Brewery of Delaware.
I love these guys, and I'm so glad they're back in our market. I buy them in the stores when I know it's a beer that hasn't appeared here on the nib, yet. And if I get a new one in kegs at Acadia, I tend not to take notes from on tap at the pub. So, no Beer For Breakfast or Siracusa Nera, until I find bottles. And then, we got a keg of 120 minute IPA. I don't remember even asking for it, it just showed up. That's always nice, when you are found deserving. And so, 120 Minute IPA. Tapped last Sunday, and going so fast, that I had to take a pic, and not take notes, for I'd reviewed it from a bottle way back in ....November, 2003? Almost 14 years ago? Yes, for DFH had been here, and departed, and I traded for bottles back then.

So, instead of writing new notes on this beer from on tap at Acadia, I quick took a photo of the one I had this evening, and will share with you my notes from a bottle from back then, and I believe they are better than what I could scribbled down while sitting on a bar stool:

120 Minute IPA. 

Gorgeous bright ruby red color, very sizable, bubblingly creamy head...
Aroma...massive, intense, huge, towering, flowering, flowing over in the air, in the senses, in the soul, ...big, fat fruit, grapefruit, peach, apricot, mango, more...and not too bitter, surprisingly pleasant...
...and, to taste...Oh, my goo'niss! Ah, ah, ah!!!
INCREDIBLE occurence on the palate, prodigious, amazing, and highly flavorful...floods and gushes, uplifts, elevates, urges pleasure at the very instance lip meets cup and ale enters body...full-bodied to say the least, with a long, tantalizing finish, and additional candyish notes that linger on and on...
An IPA that lays me low, knocks me down a notch, and leaves me no recourse but to bow down and let it wash over...every subsequent taste provides further onslaughts of flavor...oh, yum, yummy, McYum-Yums...
During consumption of this ale, I had no idea of the ABV, for it's been carelessly omitted from the label...20%!?!?! damn!
Sticky, fruity, gummy, sweet, this surely transcends the boundaries of the India Pale Ale, and feels closer to a barleywine, or even a mead or brackett...but whatever the Hell it is, I love it!

Yeah, I think that one covers it. The current version is labeled as 16.5% ABV, not the 20% I talked of above, but who's to quibble. It's incredible, and it's dangerous. Don't ask, I just don't want to talk about it.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lakes & Legends Great Wit North

Lakes & Legends Brewing Company Great Wit North, Belgian Wit Brewed with Orange and Coriander. Brewed in Minnesota. 5.6% ABV. 23 IBU.

In the eye: Clear, bright golden color, sizable ivory head, lasting long.

In the nose: Sweet and fruity at first, a little spice, and a whiff of something unpleasant. Plastic-y phenols emerge, a touch of the bandaid. Not big, but there all the same. Further in, it's harder to detect, but it was there.

In the mouth: Fruit, spice, wheat, and those off-flavors are back. This style of beer should be clean, light-bodied, and ultra-consumable, with just enough orange and spice to keep it fun and refreshing. This one misses the mark, and is a bit heavier in the mouthfeel than we'd like. Also, the threat of those off-putting off flavors are still lurking about.

I've been to the taproom several times in the nearly two years since L & L set up shop near Loring Park. (I've checked in on Untappd on 3 separate occasions, but have probably stopped in once or twice more than that.) I've never encountered a bad beer while there, though I've heard stories from those who have. I thought they'd get the kinks out before sending bottles to market. The flaws are mostly masked as we continue through the bottle, but that I noticed them right away is troublesome.

I'm finishing this one, but it's not leaving me happy. A good wit does the things described above and leaves the drinker fairly contented. Draining the glass, the missed marks are less evident, but the memory of them remains. This a beer that could definitely be better.

Oliphant Bird Up! Saison with turmeric & lemongrass

Oliphant Bird Up! Saison brewed with turmeric and lemongrass. 5.3% ABV. Canned on 6/16/17, purchased at Liquor Depot, next to Oliphant, 7/23/17.

Clear, bright golden, slim head.

In the nose: nicely spicy, citrus hoppiness, yeast. Very nice.

In the mouth: Smooth and easy-breezy, hops tingle the tongue, yeast delivers deliciousness, spices pounce the palate. Light-bodied, good drinker. Just a fine ol' saison, and you can drink it.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Town Hall Chinook SMASH

Town Hall Chinook SMASH pale ale. 5.3% ABV.

Clear, amber-hued, prodigious gathering of bright white foam above.

In the nose: Big malt juiciness comes out first, followed by bitter hop melange.

In the mouth: Citrus-y hops maintain a dry presence on the palate. Malty mouthfeel, medium body, tasty, and quenchable. Hop bitterness never quits, malt flavor keeps it real. Single malt, single hop, delivering a tasty ale. Quite nice, and a mini-growler consumed with the greatest of ease.

The Town Hall website was no help (in fact, had no information about any beers), but I pulled this off of Untappd: Unfiltered American Pale Ale brewed with Golden Promise pale malt and Chinook hops.

Elysian Space Dust IPA.

Elysian Space Dust IPA. 8.2% ABV, 73 IBU. Seattle, WA and other places, I'm sure.

In the eye: slightly hazy, bright golden color, vast white head, looking good, leaving lace.

In the nose: fresh blasts and citrus and pine, not too fruity, nice and dry.

In the mouth: Bitter bite starts it off and slides all about the palate. Bone dry, this, stripping the tongue, ready for the new swallow. Medium body, light malt presence, holding down the fort just barely. Hops are shining in this one.

My kind of IPA. I can have a few of these and be happy.

The hopping is pure starglow energy, with Chinook to bitter and late and dry additions of Citra and Amarillo.

Great Western premium two-row, c-15 and Dextra-pils

Chinook, Citra and Amarillo

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel-aged Plead the fifth

DH BBA PtF RIS. Dark Horse Plead the Fifth Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Dark Horse Brewing, Marshall, MI. All. 11% Alc. by Vol.

Utterly black, thoroughly opaque, slim wicked, evil ring of brown foam above.

In the nose: Boom! It's all here. Chocolate, espresso, char, ...amazingly deep and intense.

In the mouth: More of that, and more. Thick, rich, intense, viscous and, when it all comes down to it, delicious. Much chocolate, mucho coffee, many, many riches of the malt. A decadent treat that can't be beat.

This was my first time having a full bottle to myself. Next time I see one, I won't hesitate to pick it up.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Barley John's Mango Gnome Mango Double Pale Ale

Barley John's Brewing Company Mango Gnome Double Pale Ale. Brewed and canned by Barley John's Brewing Company, New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Unfiltered. Best Kept Refrigerated. Unpasteurized. Please recycle.

Clear, amber/golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: Sweet fruit hits first, nice and mango as she goes. Minor hop presence, nothing but fruit.

In the mouth: Here they come. Hop bitterness hits, swiftly accompanied by the juice of the fruit. Mango has it going on in here. Big time. If you're here for the mango, you're in for a treat. How is it a double pale ale, though? 6% ABV, 45 IBU. Not sure what's double about it. Regular ol' pale ale? Yeah, that fits.

Aside from that, yum. Great taste, clean and lovely. Bring on the mango.

My Mango Double Pale Ale is a rich balance of hops and malt. It has a tropical aroma with notes of mango and a clean hop flavor. Dip your toes in the sand and gnome happiness. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Oliphant Milkman Manbaby

Lately, I have been re-visiting the Adult Swim program "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!", mostly due to the many references on Jeremy Hughes' chalkboard illustrations at Oliphant Brewing. Many of them make much more sense to me now, although I'd rather not re-live a few of them. Some of Heidecker and Wareheim's gross-out humor goes a bit too far for me, though I don't mind enduring the tasteless stuff to get to the inspired. Jeremy has chosen an image from a slightly disturbing Tim & Eric sketch for the latest Milkman Manbaby illustration, but given it a surrealistic twist. The name of the beer itself does not force us to consider man milk, the way the T & E sketch did. (oops. I gave it away.)

So, what is "Milkman Manbaby?" They alway call it a "German-style Milk Stout", which doesn't exist in reality. Germans don't brew stouts, and the milk stout is an English creation. Recently, the Oliphant Facebook book page called it a "Batman-style stout", for whatever reason, and when I asked them what this meant, they responded with a GIF of Adam West doing the Batusi, of course.

I like the mystery of Oliphant, and the surrealism, but I really like that the beers are well made and delicious. So, let's crack open a growler and contemplate their popular Milkman Manbaby beer for the first time.

6.8% ABV, 18 IBU.

Complete blackness, utterly ebon, under a creamy cocoa-toned head, looking luscious.

In the nose: Malty sweet, creamy, lactose, yum. Just about lovely. Very nice. Puts me in mind of a German schwarzbier. Interesting.

In the mouth: Smooth, creamy, malty, delicious. Very cool, very groovy. Some roast, a tiny toast. Just delicious. I'm getting it now. Milk stout meets black lager? And it's good. Very good. At the taproom, I was informed of it's popularity, but never got it. Who knows why. After having taken down this growler in it's entirety, I can see how this is such a pleaser.

There's nothing on this world like a German milk stout, just like we haven't seen a billionaire playboy philanthropist vigilante in real-life, either, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Or drink, as the case may be.

I do kind of wish my craving for specific recipe information were satiated, just a bit, but as I said, I respect the mystery just as much. Here's as much as they'll tell us on the website:

in collaboration with the narrative voice of robert stack, we are excited to present to you: this beer. german-style milk stout. 6.8% abc

P.S. You know what I'm doing now, right? Checking out what shows Robert Stack narrated. Trying to solve those mysteries...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Forager Twisted Zweig: Blue Fruit

Forager Twisted Zweig Blue Fruit. Berliner Weiss. 8% ABV. Forager Brewery, Rochester, MN.

Highly hazed, thoroughly pinked/magenta coloring...purplish, slim to soon-gone head.

In the nose: Sweet, tart, funky, fruity. Raspberries? Blackberries? Cherries? No, wait, of course, blueberries, or.....I'm totally wrong, as you'll read below.

In the mouth: Holy Tart! Whoa! Wow. Big time pucker. Intense fruit. Rich, ripe, and juicy. This puts so many other Berliner Weisses and fruity sour ales to shame, it's just got that much more going on. Wow follows wow. One of the most complex and playful brews I've put to my lips in quite some time. Holy Heck, they're doing it with this one.

Minnesota Weisse with blue fruit. Deep-purple, with a sangria/fruit punch aroma. Elderberries, Aronia berries, and Black Currants combine in this Twisted Zweig to create a complex interplay of overripe berry sweetness, with the tannin and acid structure reminiscent of red wine creating a beer with impressive drinkability considering depth of its character. These beautiful antioxidant rich organic fruits are grown by our friends at the Blue Fruit Farm near Winona, MN, Redefine what beer can be. Thanks, Jim!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss

Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss. Imperial Stout brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and whole vanilla beans, 100% aged in brandy barrels for 12 months. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR. 13.3% ABV.

Complete blackness in the glass, with a tight ring of toasted brown foam on top.

In the nose: Chocolate, caramel, smoke, ash, anise. Roots and bark. Molasses, tobacco and leather. Dirty boots and coffee and soot. Campfire cocoa. Whoa.

In the mouth: Starts dark, rich, chocolatey and dense, and only gets muckier from there. Sweet, boozy, complex as heck. So many things lurking on the palate, getting it messy. Almost an overload. Alcohol hangs high in this one, though I don't get this distinct flavor of brandy in it. All the incredible flavors keep coming back, sip after glorious sip.  Damn. That is to say, Day-yum. And, mmm, hmm.

Crazy indulgent, crazy delicious. Goes well beyond anything else. I'm gazing straight into that Abyss. It gazes back. We're cool.

To celebrate the 11th anniversary of The Abyss we’ve bottled a 100% Brandy barrel-aged version for you to enjoy. This is a remarkably limited release so if you see it, grab a snifter on tap and a bottle (or two)!

Released December 2016

I am glad that I grabbed it when I saw it, but not entirely if it was worth $30-some. Almost. The brandy character wasn't as commanding. Despite what the brewer said:

Warm, smooth, sweet dried fruit and vanilla complement a commanding Brandy character.