Monday, April 29, 2013

Appalachian Brewing Company Kipona Fest

The Brewers:
Company: Appalachian Brewing Company
[Main] Location: 50 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Beer:
Style: Marzen Lager
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 20
Served: 22oz. bomber purchased at ABC of Collegeville, PA

The Drink:
Drank out of a 16oz. British dimpled pub glass

Beer poured deep coppery brown with a thin, off-white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a "spotty" lace.

Beer starts with a decent buzz, full body and very slight hop bitter.  Middle is smooth, with creamy caramel malt, full-body and a good malty mouthfeel.  Finishes moderately dry, with a smooth, grainy-floury flavor.    

This is very similar to a traditional Oktoberfest, but with a much fuller mouthfeel.  Hops were minimal, and I couldn't pick up any hop aroma at all, but there was some subtle bitter presence.  The carbonation was perfect, and the malty flavor of the beer make it very drinkable and very refreshing.  This beer is perfect for any beer drinker, and I'd recommend this beer, along with any other ABC beer, which is by far my personal favorite brewpub.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet

The Brewers:
Company:  Mercury Brewing Co., Clown Shoes
Location: 23 Hayward St., Ipswich, Massachusettes 

The Beer:
Style: [Black] India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
IBU: 80
Brewed with: Columbus and Amarillo hops
Served: 22oz. bomber, purchased in Newport, RI

The Drink:
Drank out of a 12oz. Ommegang Pokel

Beer poured deep black, with a deep crimson hue when held to light.  Creamy, tan, one-finger head that hung around for a while and laced just like an IPA should.  

Powerful aromas of earthy and spicey hops with subtle roasted chocolate tones.  

Starts with a moderately-low carbonation and upfront hop bitter with a thick, creamy body and very full mouthfeel.  Middle is creamy and roasty, as the chocolate/roasted malts really take center stage.  As the beer finishes the aromatic hops really come back through, lending a heavy earthy aroma to a relatively dry and bitter finish.  

This is truly an excellent beer, and a perfect example of the relatively new style of the Black IPAs.  Wholly an American creation, BIPAs generally use a good dose of roasted wheat to lend good color without the bitter, astringent character of traditional roasted barley malt.  This BIPA utilizes Amarillo and Columbus hops to bring an American hop earthy/spicey flavor to balance and compliment the roasted malt backbone, and does so perfectly.  At 80 IBUs I was really surprised at how well-balanced this beer is; I find it's pretty tricky to get a good malt presence in a beer with such a high bitterness number.  This is really close to something like a hoppy Dry Irish Stout (think Guinness); creamy, full-bodied, hopped up and bitter and extremely flavorful.  Definitely a beer that is sure to please any professing hop-head and dark beer enthusiast, though if you aren't someone who appreciates a real hop bite, I'd steer clear.  If you're willing to go on my recommendation alone, definitely pick this one up.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hofbrau Maibock

Photo Credit: D.J. Yannessa
The Brewers:
Company: Staatliches Hofbrauhaus
Location: Hofbrau-Festzelt, Innere Weiner Str. 19, D-81667 Munich, Germany

The Beer:
Style: Maibock
ABV: 7.20%
Served: On draft at Mountain Brauhaus of Gardiner (

The Drink:
Drank out of a 22oz. tall German beer mug

Beer poured clear, coppery-brown with a white, one-finger head that dissipated quickly, leaving some lace.

Aromas of heavy German malt and some subtle fruitiness.  Some subtle hop comes through, mostly spicey and fruity. 

Beer starts with a good buzz and an upfront malt, with a strong hop bitter.  Body is moderate and smooth, with good mouthfeel.  Bitterness fades as malty sweet character builds with a smooth, fruity and floury finish.  

This is a very simple beer, but the flavors are full and complex.  Beers like this are made with a good deal of German caramel malts and traditional German Noble hops and with a good focus on the flavors of the basic ingredients.  Because of the Reinheitsgebot, Germans don't go crazy with funky additions to their beers.  Basically, this is a stronger version of a traditional Oktoberfest beer; malty, hoppy and smooth but with almost double the ABV.  Not overwhelming in body and flavor, and very drinkable considering its ~7% ABV, it's hard to go wrong with this beer, especially considering the warm turn the weather has taken.       

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

The Brewers:
Brewmasters: Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski
Company: Victory Brewing Company
Location: 420 Acorn Lane, Downington, Pennsylvania

The Beer:
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.1%
Served: 12oz. bottle purchased at Halftime of Poughkeepsie

The Drink:
Drank out of a 12oz. Peroni pilsner flute

Beer poured clear amber with a one-finger white head that hung around and left a little lace.  

Crisp, resinous, earthy hops on the nose with some toasted malt.  

Beer starts bitter with good carbonation, and a light body.  Middle is malty and hoppy, with some good nutty and hoppy floral aromas.  Finish is very smooth and bitter, and hangs around for a little bit. 

This is an excellently balanced pale ale, and is very crisp and refreshing.  The hops are earthly and present in just the right amount to make this a very drinkable beer.  I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't like hoppy stuff, but it isn't overpoweringly bitter so most people would be able to handle it.  Given the warm weather ahead, this beer would be a great addition to your inventory.   

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flying Dog Wildeman

The Brewers:
Brewmaster: Ben Clark
Company: Flying Dog Brewery
Location: 4607 Wedgewood Blvd., Frederick, MD

The Beer:
Style: Farmhouse IPA
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 75
Brewed With: Rye, Munich and Wheat Malts and a "secret blend" of hops
Served: Out of my ABC growler, filled at Halftime of Poughkeepsie

The Drink:
Drank out of a 12 oz. Belgian tulip

Beer poured crystal clear and straw yellow.  Head was thick and lingering, and laced very well.  

Aromas of Brettanomyces "funk" and some subtle grain "husk."  Far and away the spicy/earthy hop notes dominate the nose.  

Beer starts with a vigorous carbonation and a crisp, light body.  Start to middle is very slightly tart, with a good hop aroma and bitter.  Finish is long and dry, with a good dose of Brett-style funk and hop character.  A slight grainy "flouriness" also comes through in the finish.  

This is a very interesting take on a "done-to-death" style (IPAs, that is).  I'm always a fan of traditional Saisons and Farmhouse ales as well as IPAs, so what could be better than a bit of all 3 in one beer?  Hop presence is big, especially in bitterness (more than aroma in my book), but is complemented very well by the barnyard-esque yeast twang.  An excellently refreshing IPA, I'm glad I had a whole growler, and I would recommend to any hop-head, but if you aren't a big fan of bitter, the yeast zest and huskiness of the beer can really take the edge off that hop pinch.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chimay Premiere

The Brewers:
"Company:" Notre-Dame de Scourmont Abbey
Brewing Order:  Cistercian Monks
Location: Route Charlemagne 8, 6464 Baileux, Belgium

The Beer:
Style:  Belgian Dubbel
ABV: 7%
Served: 11.2 oz. bottle purchased at Halftime of Poughkeepsie

The Drink:
Drank out of a 12 oz. Ommegang Flute/Pokal

Beer pours deep crimson/brown with some yeast haze.  Two finger off white head that hangs around.  Laces pretty well.

Aromas of heavy malt, caramel, raisin and some nutty/bready character.  There is also a slight presence of fruity yeast esters.

Beer starts with moderate carbonation and a full, sweet malt body.  Middle is thick and sweet with a healthy dose of Belgian caramel/raisin.  Finish is incredibly flavorful and long, with some fruity aromas and more malty sweetness, accompanied by some dryness.  Very full body makes this beer more like a food-item than a beer-item.  

As embarrassing as this is, I don't have a whole lot of description for this one, but don't let that deceive you, this is a complex beer.  Beers like this always impress me with a very "rum-raisin" type flavor and a body that makes the beer almost "chewy."  This is one of Belgium's few remaining true Trappist ales, meaning it was made in a genuine Trappist monastery, with the lion's share of the revenue funding the Belgian monk's charitable operations.  This is also Chimay's oldest beer, which has been brewed, in one form or another, since 1862.  This is definitely among the best examples of a traditional Belgian abbey ale around, and required for any beer enthusiasts repertoire.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tortilla Gold

Photo Credit: C.J Wacker
The Liquor:
Company: Sazerac Co.
Location: 2001 E. 4th Street, Owensboro, Kentucky
Style: Mezcal
ABV: 40%

The Drink:
Drank out of a 1.5 oz. fratdog (Pink Floyd) American shotglass

Boozy aroma with subtle peppery spice and oaky tannins.  

This tequila drinks very well, and is very smooth.  The taste is very peppery and spicy, and the alcohol burn is pretty subtle, and doesn't come through in the finish like a lot of liquors.  There is a bit of a repeat on this drink though.  

This is actually a pretty good drink.  Be warned though, it isn't actually Tequila, as tequila has to be >51% blue agave, but this is made from the Maguey plant ( a variety of Agave).  If you need a cheap drink, this is definitely the right way to go, a diamond in the rough, or a gold in the rough as Sam Stortz would say.