Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hammerheart Thor's Porter

Hammerheart Thor's Porter, Hot Pepper Porter, 9.5% ABV. 750 ml growler.

Another of Hammerheart's beers named for Norse mythology, this one after the lord of lightning and thunder, the hammer man himself, Thor Odinson.

Appearance: dark as darkness itself, with a strong, creamy head as rich as richness, brown and cocoa-toned, looking great.

Aroma: dark and rich make a return appearance in the nose, deep chocolate and intense espresso. Pepper's playing it cool, so far, it seems.

Taste: Once on the palate, this one starts blazing. Hot and getting hotter. Pepper heat rises up, lighting up the tongue, spreading like wildfire. But it's, shall we say, a controlled blaze.  Full-bodied, long malty finish. Warming. But not harsh. I can't believe it's nearly 10%. Really nice, this one, not too anything, just right. Not punishing, just very full, malty, rich and peppery. Like it a lot.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hammerheart Barrel-aged Peat-Smoked Dublin Raid Irish Red Ale

There's a signpost ahead...Hammerheart is here!

Hammerheart Barrel-aged Dublin Raid, Bourbon Barrel-aged Peat Smpoked Irish Red Ale, 7.5% ABV. Hammerheart Brewing, Lino Lakes, MN.

So, the other day I had my first Thursday night off since I started my new job, and was looking for something to do. I also hadn't been to Hammerheart in all that time, so I called Dave and we made plans. If you've read some of my previous posts, you might have come across my desire to diminish the number of growlers from different breweries that I'm hanging on to. Dave, though, has tried even harder, discovering exactly which breweries will take a growler back, give a refund for the return, trade them out for their own, or whatever their policy might be. I checked with Dave, and he told me that Hammerheart will take back their growlers, as well as fill anyone else's with their own beer.

I took my three Hammerheart growlers into the taproom with the intention of swapping them out for the credit on two of them, taking one of their beers home. This is always a hard decision. So many great beers. One determining factor would be the cost. They range from $15 to $30, and the more expensive ones are those I want to drink the most. It's hard to justify spending the money, but somehow I did it.

Then, Nathaniel Chapman, co-owner, reminded me that they had 750 ml growlers. And they're beautiful and perfect. These are most appropriate for Hammerheart, more than for any other local brewery. The prices are right, too.And I can finish those big beers in the small growlers in only one night. Right on.

Just for fun, a peek at the menu this weekend.
And Dave poked fun at me, because I was going to reduce my number of growlers, and I was trading in 3 for 2. Well, I am reducing the number by one, and those 2 will take up less space, and also, how can I only choose one beer, among all those great ones? If I were to do it his way, I'd return all the Hammerhearts and have them fill a different one that can't be exchanged. But I don't want to drastically reduce my collection that much. He's down to 4 growlers, by the way, and this reduction brings me down to 40. I don't think that he started at 52, though.

Now, it's time to drink some Barrel-aged Dublin's Raid.

Appearance: dark, fully opaque, with a slender tan head above.

Aroma: Bourbon spills out. Vanilla, coconut, some leather, cherries, chocolate, with hints of smoke down below.

My partially finished flight at Hammerheart.
Clockwise from top left: Skol Och Hati smoked chocolate stout,
Thor's Porter, BA Dublin Raid, and Surtur's Flame.
Taste: Sweetness first, the big bourbon factor, which I am highly susceptible to, chimes in the loudest. The sweet stuff first, the whiskey, vanilla, fruit, etc., and then the smoke rises up just enough. I can't really get a handle on the base beer, but I don't think one could expect an Irish Red to really stand apart from the bourbon in this barrel-aging.

Okay, wait a minute. Now, it's coming through, I can taste a sweetish and malty Irish Red somewhere down there, down underneath the peat smoked, and way below the bourbon barrel. Complexity, thy name is BA DR. Mmm. Yum. Just about right on the money. Full-bodied, rich, long finish, and highly enjoyable.

I am liking this, every lovable layer of it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dogfish Head Aprihop

Another trip to Dave's BrewFarm means another visit to Hudson, WI for beers I can't get here in Minnesota, which means Dogfish Head. I forgot that I'd already entered Namaste here, and bought a $11 6-pack I "didn't need", oh, well, boo-hoo, worse things have happened in the world. But, hey, I also picked up some Aprihop, a 7% American IPA with apricot juice added,  for the first time in forever. It seems that I first found a bottle via a trade with an Illinoisian, back 11 years ago. Let's look at those notes, then, shall we? From April, 2004:

Color's a clear, amber tint, and the head is a blessed thing, rich, thick, lush, creamy.

Aroma,:deep, heady, hoppy, there's the pine-sap and the pineapple, the soft apricots.

Taste: ah, happily boards the palate, spilling some hops, but with nearly no bitterness to speak of,
very bright and fruity, with a great dose of malt to stand behind and hold it all up, toasty and crisp. There's a warmth here, too, and a caramely essence in the taste. Gonna be honest with you all, I like this one, it's a bit mild from the makers of over-the-top IPAs, but the apricot flavor matches really well with this English-style IPA that stands as the base, and makes for one tasty, easily drunk brew. Alcohol creeps in a bit, and only adds to the pleasure. Very nice!

So that's what I said eleven years ago. I'll stick with it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Summit Hopvale Organic Ale

Summit Hopvale Organic. Proudly brewed in St. Paul, Minnesota. Session Ale brewed with Lemon Peel. Brewed with organic hops, organic malt, and organic lemon peel. Alc. 4.7% by Volume.

Appearance: mostly clear, with some chill haze, golden hued, white head with lacing.

Aroma: big citrus zest nose screams out of the glass, some floral and spice notes, too. Lively, lovely stuff.

Taste: Nice, tidy hop bite at the fore, then all is smooth and mellow. Lean, crisp malt body. Sweet malt character is soon subsumed by bittersweet hop attack. Nice refreshing light ale, sure to be a hit this summer. (Though it's a year-round.) Long, pleasant bitter hop finish. It's not amazing or anything, but not everything has to be. Good beer. You can drink it.

Here's a little more about this beer.

Dave's BrewFarm Life Hands U Lemons

Dave's BrewFarm Life Hands U Lemons. (KISSEd by Orange was Dave's tribute to Kiss, so I can only guess that using the letter U instead of the word "You" is his special nod to Prince.)
6.9% ABV. Other info to come.

This is one that I never saw on tap, but was able to get a growler on my last visit. Let's just open it up and dig on in.

Appearance: clear-ish, with a slight chill haze, bright golden hued, nearly amber, generous white head settles to a modest height.

Aroma: Citrus-y from the start, with hints of spices on the side. Very likable.

Taste: Kiss of the hops from the start, with the lemon twist coming in soon after. Malt side is light, lean, and supportive. I forgot to mention delicious. Oh, so tasty. Brisk and refreshing, terrifically consumable. The lemon grows bigger and louder the more we drink, but it's nicely balanced by the malt. Delicious. I said that twice now. To mix things up, I'll next call it "super good."

"Of course, you brew beer! (the answer to the question posed, sort of, by the name) Pale malt, Bramling Cross, Brewer's Gold and Select hops, brown sugar, and a late addition of lemon peels. Fermented with a French Saison yeast."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Oliphant Teenage Muten Ninja Roshi Double IPA

Somerset, Wisconsin is a small town situated by a big river, the Apple River, which has long been home to inner-tubing tourism. Oliphant Brewing sits inauspiciously behind a liquor store, with a few signposts pointing out it's existence. Their stark logo is signal enough. Any curious onlookers are sure to blink and zero in on it's oddness. "What the heck is that? There's a brewery there? Pull over, pull over!"

Based on my two visits to the brewery, it's abundantly clear that the brewers are serious about making great beer, and unserious about every thing else. It's a pop culture playground. VHS tapes and video games for the big screen TV, board games and such for people who don't care to stare at the giant box (on this visit, I read questions from the Simpsons trivia game, which Jason excelled at, and Steve howled at the both of us: "How do you know that?"), and various curios abound, some directly referencing the beers, which reference the pop culture that the objects reference. A trucker hat with the "Wayne's World" logo in honor of the beers called "Party on Wayne" and "Party on Garth". A toy of the dancing bud of the regenerating Groot from "Guardians of the Galaxy" for the beer called Groot, a gruit. (Who makes those?Nobody.) I'm sure I've missed some, and I'm also sure there's more to come.

It would seem like silliness, if the ales weren't so altogether excellent. I'm going to want to visit this place as often as I can, that's for sure.
The first half of my flight from last Sunday: Lenny Leonardson, Zaphod Branigan, and Commander Ryeker. 

And now, on to a double  india pale ale from Oliphant, who attempts to reference the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in it's name, but goes awry. "Muten" instead of "mutant", "roshi" in place of "turtles". I don't know why. Maybe someday I'll learn the reason. For now, I'm going to drink it. All that I know right now is that it's 8.8% alcohol by volume. The rest is yet to be discovered.

Appearance: I'd want to call it "golden" if it wasn't so murky. A dull, yellow amber, under a prodigious head of chalk-white foam, leaving gracious lacing. Wouldn't call it pretty, but I like it none-the-less.

Aroma: Muted pine and citrus. "Dank" is a good descriptor. Wild, wooly, weird, and funky, but not that kind of funky. Just a little unruly, shall we say. Vibrant fruit lies just below the muck.

Taste: Pow! The hop bitterness comes pouncing on the palate right out of the starting gate, but with it comes creamy, and fruity. Delicious. I don't know what yeast they use in this unfiltered ale, but it is, how you say, scrumptious. Sweet, at times, creamy, yes, it's true, but unmistakably and resiliently bitter. Medium-bodied, with a long, lovely hoppy finish. Beautiful.

A bit rough around the edges, a little unrefined, but still, beautiful.
This is a picture I did not take, it was stolen from...I forget where, the internet, I think. While I was there last week, someone was always sitting in front of it, and I didn't want to be the weird guy who pestered someone to move while he takes a picture of the chalkboard. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dave's BrewFarm KISSed by Orange

You may have noticed, if noticing is your thing, that when I began including the Eastlake beers here at the Nib, I started scanning the descriptions from the menu and posting them here, rather than transcribing them, as I must do when they are affixed to curved surfaces, such as bottles or cans. Why don't I do that with the BrewFarm beers? Why not, indeed? And you get an added dimension when you see the Farmer Dave description straight from the LaBrewaTory menu. You learn of his love of the comicsans font. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Enough of that, let's drink a beer.

 It's a murky brownish-red coloring, under a sturdy, 1/2" creamy. tanned head. Looking great.

Aroma: malty and rich, with orange fruit tones shining through. Malty, orange, sweet, mmm.

Taste: This is interesting stuff, and another amalgamated mix-em-up from the BrewFarm. Hops and malts that don't normally go together, mashed up for something different. Dark malts, brown sugar, light malts, hops from all over, and brown sugar, plus orange peels. Terrific balance, wonderful blend. No real reason that it was inspired by the rock band Kiss. I think it went like this: Let's call it Kissed by Orange, a la Sunkist. Wait, says Farmer Dave, I love KISS! So, therefore…

It's a tasty beer, for sure. Little bit of orange, lots of tasty malt, just a kiss of the hops. Somehow, it works. Mmm.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Uinta Hop Nosh India Pale Ale

Uinta Brewing Hop Nosh India Pale Ale, 7.3% ABV. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Appearance: lightly hazed, bright golden/amber coloring, with a beautiful, blooming white head.

Aroma: Bold and lively citric & floral notes. Gorgeous.

Taste: Bittersweet hop flavor grabs the palate at first, and never lets go. Medium-bodied, lean and easy. Long bitter finish, with just a pinch of malt sweetness.

The can is refreshingly free of gobbledygook. Just a straight up and down decent IPA. Good beer and you can drink it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lucid Duce' The Imperial Red Ale

Lucid Duce', the Imperial Red Ale. Oak Aged! 8% ABV. Brewed and bottled by Lucid Brewing, Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Appearance: clear, crimson colored, slim white head.

Aroma: Malt is raging, hops are quiet. A little fruity, a bit mineral-y, earthy, a trifle flinty. Just stopping short of sweet. Or maybe just a little over the line.

Taste: Mild and mellow in the mouth. Largely malty, just enough hops for balance. Full-bodied, at first, starting bold, and rounding out, ultimately. I wish it were bolder, still, though. Tasty stuff, though, but I keep wanting it to be bigger. As it is, it's a drinker, though strong. The oak-aging is adding some complexity, and tamping down some sweetness.

No gobbledygook. It is what it is.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Perennial Dual Artisanship Belgian-style ale with Brettanomyces

Perennial Dual Artisanship, Belgian-style Ale fermented with Brettanomyces. 6.9% Alc. by Vol. Brewed and bottled by Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, MO.

Appearance: clear and bright golden-hued, with a lush, blooming ivory head.

Aroma: Brett's up in there from the get-go, bold and sour, wicked and wild, wild and crazy. Cra-zay. Lemon-y. Sour. Funky.

Taste: Starts out bitter, bright, brash, even alarming. Much malt, smooth and slightly sweet. I'm getting the feeling of a Belgian golden ale, or even a saison, where the malt is more in charge, the hops lay low, and funk is in full effect.

I'm going to take a break and read the label: "With equal parts Belgian farmhouse and West Coast hoppy, Dual Artisanship is a red saison fermented with a blend of ale yeast and Brettanomyces and dry-hopped with Centennial and Simcoe. Bursting with tropical fruit and citrus, it evokes both old and new world brewing traditions, while remaining wholly it's own. We brewed this in collaboration with our friends at Prairie Artisan Ales." Bottled 10/2014.

Simcoe makes sense. Big time cat pee. And I'm not just saying that because I just changed the litter box.

Damned delicious, and ridiculously easy to drink. This is the first Perennial brew I've purchased locally. There's no reason why I should stop here. Drink 'em up, people.

Steel Toe Blood From The Barrel

One of the beer adventures that I had last summer that never found it's way on this blog was a trip through some of the suburbs with my ol' pal Jason B, last June. We visited Steel Toe Brewing, my first time by bike, then the Four Firkins store, a quick lunch at a Pizza Luce, and next the just- opened LTD Brewing in Hopkins, then the Cedar Lake Parkway trail all the way back to Minneapolis, then to Fulton, and finally Day Block. What a fun day that was. The greatest revelation to me that day was how easy and quick it is to travel to Steel Toe from where I live, just doing the Greenway all the way to St. Louis Park, a mere 25 minute bike ride. I vowed to return and pick up a growler of the pale ale I had that day, the Size 4, but I never did.

When Steel Toe opened in 2012, they had some odd hours of business, and often their beers were only available when I couldn't get there. I relied on the kindness of friends for some of their earliest releases, in bottles and growlers. Today, I was at a coffee shop, online, reading through Facebook and saw a friend posting about some new bottles on sale today at the taproom, one of which had already sold out. I had hours to go until I had to work, why not get on that Greenway and get me some? And so I did, purchasing two bottles of this beer, which is only available at the taproom (not on tap, just the bottle sales). The other one was sent out to a lucky few stores, and there's the possibility I can still find one, if I don't wait too long.

The takeaway, once more, is that it's so incredibly easy to get to by bike that I can't believe that I don't do it more often.

Before I get to this beer, there was a thought that occurred to me. Could I count this trip among the Biking to Beers occasional journey? Well, it was only one brewery visited, not three or four, or even two. And it wasn't on my day off, and also the battery on my iPod died, so I couldn't snap any shots. Later. Next time. Maybe Wednesday? Sometime soon, in any case.

As for right now, I'm gonna drink some beer.

Blood From The Barrel. Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale, 90% Aged in French Oak Wine Barrels. 9.0% Alc./Vol., bottle conditioned.

Appearance: Dark. Dusky. Murky burgundy, under a thin ring of head.

Aroma: sweetness. malt. yeast. dark fruits, raisins, plums, dates and cherries. Blueberry? Richness abounds, and the Belgian character is peeking through.

Taste: Boom. Thick and rich and full, bursting with flavor. Damn. Big, fat malt, lush fruitiness, ultimately ending on a long, dry note. Warm and wonderful.  

Steel Toe is not known for doing Belgian-style beers. I'm glad they've branched out into this new territory. Not too much of anything, just enough of everything else. Lots of wine barrel flavors in here…and I'm scanning the brainpan, trying to think of what else is left to say…did I mention Yum?

No "gobbledygook" at all, as usual, just the necessary information, government warnings, etcetera. No need, the proof is in the bottle. And the barrel surely did bleed through on this one. I'd want to try the base beer, to see how far it is far this barrel-blessed version. Until that lucky day, this is damned fine stuff.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Goose Island 312 Pale Ale

Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale. Brewed and canned by Goose Island Beer Company, Baldwinsville, NY, and Fort Collins, CO. {Sigh. Whatever happened to Chicago, IL?} 5.4% Alc/Vol. IBU 30. Contains: Wheat. 16 oz. can.

Appearance: clear, bright golden hue, beautiful, big white head, leaving lace.

Aroma: bright floral and spicy hop notes, citrus, too, orange and lemon and lime.

Taste: There it is, on the tongue, all the hops you want in a pale ale. A fresh slice of citrus in an easy-drinking, refreshing ale. Lean-bodied, clean, zesty, and just a little bit sweet…if a trifle simple. Yeah, it is what it is, …it's easy to drink with a likable flavor, but there's not much more going on.

I picked this up because it was only $4.99 for a 4-pack of 16 ounce cans. I probably wouldn't have forked over $8 or more for a 6-pack of 12 ounce bottles. I'd have waited for a deal on it. I'm not writing back home to mama about this one. But it's an alright beer, and you can, in fact, drink it.

Gobbledygook: "We are from the city that invented the skyscraper. We constructed our Urban Pale Ale on a balanced malt backbone, so the citrus hop aroma and crisp flavor can stand tall."

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Evil Twin I Love You With My Stout Imperial Stout

Evil Twin I Love You With My Stout Imperial Stout, 12 fl. oz., 12% ALC BY VOL. Brewed by Evil Twin Brewing, Stanford, CT.

Appearance: full-on ebony, under a tight ring of cocoa-tan head, Looking good.

Aroma: espresso and chocolate greet the nose first, then rich, dark malt, dried fruits,  hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

Taste: Richness and depth. Dark chocolate, raisins, molasses. Full-bodied, long, bittersweet malty finish. A little bit of black pepper, a portion of plums, and a lot of rich roastiness. Flash flood on the palate of roasted malt, struck with sweetness.

I like this. Don't love it, though. Could definitely be drier. I paid $12.99 for a 4-pack. If I'd went for the tried and true familiar favorites like Old Rasputin or Sierra Nevada Narwhal, I'd have saved four dollars. But, you know me, I've got to try them all.

Let's read the label, shall we? "When I copied the famous Even More Jesus, I had to ask myself as an artist, why am I doing this? I didn't honestly know, it was just an instinct about beer as pure form…in a sense this stout is a metaphor for freedom. The sum of all the beauty that surrounds me and my perfect contemporary existence."--Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, brewer and founder, Evil Twin Brewing.

What? (Seriously, if you know what any of that means, let me know.)

Sierra Nevada Barrel-aged Bigfoot Barley-wine

Sierra Nevada Barrel-aged Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale, Ale aged in Whiskey Barrels. Alc. 11.9% by Vol.

Appearance: Clear, bright and beautiful crimson coloring, lush, creamy off-white head, lazily leaving lace. Just about perfect.

Aroma: Caramel and vanilla caress the nose….no, that's not right, but I didn't want to say "assault" either. What's right? It's a passionate flowering, how about that? A gentle invasion of whiskey flavors flooding the senses. Deep and powerful, the barrel affects are pounding on the gates, and letting loose, with the proper Bigfoot Barley-wine lagging a little behind.

Taste, now: In the mouth, the bourbon blares on through once more, the caramel, vanilla, char and oak associations sound off the loudest on the tongue. And now the Bigfoot comes crawling from his cave, here comes all the flavors we've known all the rich malt, the brandy notes, the toffee and the dried fruit and the leather. And as we go on, it's growing and showing it's full flower. Increasing intensity. While Remaining mellow.

This ale moves back and forth. Now, the heat increases, now the alcohol rises. The barley-wine flavor peeks through, then the whiskey tones return. It's a complicated thing, this. Cool and hot, incredibly complex. Now, it's showing rich fruit, with high alcohol presence. Then, caramel malt resurfaces….the flavor is as full as it gets, the finish is ever-lasting.

This one goes beyond what I like to pay for a bottle of beer ($20), but it's worth every penny. It even feels cheap for quality of this magnitude. In fact, it seems necessary to buy more just to keep and cellar.

The more I drink it in, the more ridiculously drinkable it is, despite the richness, despite the high ABV. It's just damned well-done is what it is.

Time to read the bottle: "2015 Expedition. Our Bigfoot Barley-wine-style ale is a craft beer legend. Each winter, this beast of a beer appears to ambush unsuspecting palates with it's intense bittersweet flavors. We matured this special barrel-aged version in oak Kentucky bourbon casks for nearly a year before unleashing it into the wild. The result is an incredibly complex version of the classic beer. Bigfoot's notorious assault of resinous hops has mellowed and the wood's influence shifts your focus toward the malt, rich burnt sugar flavors and notes of vanilla, toasted coconut, and raisins. Grab this elusive beast while you can, it won't be around for long."

You may notice that this time I did not refer to the copy on the back of the bottle as "gobbledygook." Because it isn't. (Also notice that they weren't so shy about using the word "assault.")

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Abita Wrought Iron India Pale Ale

Abita Wrought Iron IPA, alc. 6.9% by vol. India Pale Ale, brewed and bottled by Abita Brewing Company, Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Appearance: slightly hazed, golden/amber coloring, large and lovely, white as the driven snow head. Beautiful.

Aroma: Mango. Passion fruit. Guava. Pineapple. It's a tropical fruit salad in the nose.

Taste: a bitter hop assault from the start, a barrage on the palate. Hop bitterness pounds, mellows, and moves on. Lean bodied, medium fruity finish. With each fresh sip, another bitter blast, cool refreshment…ah, that's the stuff.

Simply put, that's where it's at. Go drink one, I say.

What's the label tell us? "Abita Wrought Iron IPA embodies the resilient, indestructible nature of New Orleans. This India Pale Ale is forged with the intensity of Apollo, Equinox and Mosaic hops. Brewed with pale ale malt for a golden color as light as iron from a fiery forge."

Ale Asylum Demento Session Pale Ale

Ale Asylum Demento Session Pale Ale. alc. 4.7% by vol. Ale Asylum, Madison, WI.

Appearance: highly hazed, both chill and unfiltered yeast, bright golden hue, slim white head.

Aroma: Bold citrus bomb, tropical notes, too, with traces of pine. Gorgeous hoppy nose.

Taste: Bomb-diddy-bomb. Citric hop attack on the palate, then all is mellow and cool. Cleans out in a hurry. Lean-bodied, light and easy.

Unfortunately, it's a bit too limp, too flaccid in it's effort to become a session ale. I'd rather have more long-lasting flavor than save on a few alcohol points here and there.

One interesting element of this bottle is that a large snaking strand of yeast that fell into the glass when I emptied it. I did not expect it, but don't mind it, either. It settled eventually, and blended in beautifully, leaving the glass a foggy haze. It certainly added to the flavor dimensions.

What's the gobbledygook on this one? "A symphony of Cascade and Centennial hops give this refreshing session pale ale a bright hop presence with a touch of bitterness."

Lucette Slow Hand Stout

Slow Hand Stout, Brewed and Packaged Only {"Only"?} by Lucette Brewing Company, LLC. Menomonie, Wisconsin.

On one side the slogan reads on top of the can, "Craft beer, hand-crafted", and on the other side "Friendly with a glass." Huh? The label art seems to depict a naked, nubile young lady in profile, wading in a lake. I'm guessing.
1 pint/16 fl. oz., 5.2% ABV.

Appearance: solid darkness, rich, creamy, coffee-toned head, looking very good.

Aroma: softly roasted and toasted, dry and slightly bitter, a whiff of dried fruit.

Taste: Enters the palate creamy, smooth, and tasting faintly of peanut butter. That's probably just me. Roasty-toasty, medium-bodied, with a fast, forgettable finish. This one needs more more. Just does. It's alright. But, anything can be alright.

This stout does have it's merits. There's character here, but not enough of it. Not enough to care.

What's the gobbledygook say? Well, it's in all-caps, but I'll edit that: "time passes at a constant. Much like the changing of the seasons. Euphoria and heartbreak/jubilation and despair/Camaraderie and solitude/ From our darkest hour to our greatest accomplishments we share a common bond towards one another living for instances of simple enjoyment. We made Lucette for each and every one of these moments."

So, question, Lucette: was this one made for the heartbreak, the despair and the solitude?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Xingu Black Beer

Xingu Black  Beer, Brazil. Not much English on this label, not much information. I'm going to remember that this is a schwarzbier (black lager). I haven't had it a long time, and the first time I had it was a long, long time ago. Maybe I wrote notes on it, long, long ago? Let's try in anew, once more.

Appearance: Deep black, with a slim, tan-tinted head, looking nice.

Aroma: cola nuts, a little vanilla, minor roast, low hops, dark malts. This hits on everything schwarzbier, so far.

Taste: Sweetness, then dry. Once more the malt, the darkness and the sweet malt, then ending dry, once more. Full-bodied, smooth, lean and tasty. This tastes exactly as I remember it, from so long ago. Sweet and dry, cool, calm and collected. The very measure of a schwarzbier.

Apparently, I had this beer 12 years ago. Here's what I wrote back then:

Black as a piranha's heart, with a frothy cream-colored head. Aroma is simple, vegetal, tiny hints of cocoa, butter, and-?-corn? Palate: extraordinarily smooth. but with a very brief finish. Sure and powerful malt, and very little in the way of hops. Tasty, though, if simple. Very sweet, with some coffee and toffee flavors peeking into the flavor profile, but just a little. Quite smooth, and easy to drink.
This was once available in my area, and I visited it often in the dawn of my beer exploration. I thought it exotic then, with the label and locale, but forgot that it is rather rudimentary.

Town Hall Masala Mama IPA

I'm still scratching my head over what took me so long to visit the Town Hall Brewery. It had been in business five full years before I...