Meh on this one, a rare misstep from the usually excellent Oskar Blues. Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA pours a deep amber with a resinous and vegetal aroma. There are lots of hops, lots of sweet malts, and lots of alcohol, but there is no balance whatsoever. It just whomps you in the mouth, and there is something weird in the flavor that I have never experienced in a beer before, like a fermented vidalia onion, plus a soapy astringency which I have had before, sad to say. I finished it, but only just, 5/10.
It is remarkable the extent to which craft beers have become mainstreamed. Even just a few years ago, I would have looked at a barrel aged beer as akin to Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster: I had heard of them, and would have been open to their actual existence, but I would have demanded strict proof before being convinced. Now, they are so normal, that if a bar does not have at least one barrel aged beer on the menu, I scoff at their puny selection, and when my brother in law showed me this bottle, I shrugged and said “looks good, let’s give it a try”.
I should not be so blasé about these beers. The Great Divide Eighteenth Anniversary Oak Aged Double India Pale Ale might be a mouthful to say, but it also has a mouthful of flavor. Lots of caramel malts, with woody vanilla flavors from the oak, and tons of floral and orange peel hops, all of which are needed to stand up to the 10% ABV. This is a remarkably smooth beer considering how much is going on the flavor profile. It is a sipping beer, and a fine one at that, 7.5/10.
Beer Festival Rules:
1. Pace yourself so that you can enjoy all the beers that you will be sampling.
2. Drink plenty of water.
3. Take regular food breaks. Read the rest of this entry »
Time for a couple of IPAs from the usually excellent Laughing Dog Brewery out of Idaho: First up is the Rocket Dog Rye IPA. This looked beautiful in the glass, with a robust color and head like a lemon meringue pie from the the Tick Tock Diner. The aroma was great too, with lots of hops and rye wafting through the room. Sadly, my excitement was tempered by my first sip. It had a strange oily consistency and an off-putting metallic aftertaste. I finished the bottle, hoping against hope it would improve as it breathed, but it was not to be. I suspect this may have been a bad bottle, so I may give this another shot in the future, 4/10.
The Devil Dog Imperial IPA, on the other hand, is what I have come to expect from Laughing Dog. It pours a cloudy golden orange, with a big head that settled down some, but with enough tight lacing on the side of the glass to keep it going. The hops were zesty orange and lemony, with some faint coriander in the background. The malty sweetness balanced the whopping 10% ABV. I enjoyed this immensely, 8/10.
I had never even heard South Carolina’s Thomas Creek Brewery before I saw some of their beers while visiting Dad in Florida, so being the Beer Dork that I am, I was eager to sample some. India Pale Ales are my favorite style of beer, and a good Imperial IPA usually gets me to ring the brass bell, so I ordered the Up The Creek Imperial IPA while out with Dad recently.The label and the brewer’s website claim this beer has 12.5% ABV. That high ABV is well hidden by the complex flavors and balance of this beer, although it is plainly evident when you stand up from your barstool to take a leak, and if it is not evident then, the next morning’s railroad spike throughout the middle of your forehead let’s you know you were drinking a whopper. It pours a dark brown, with a dark head as well. This is not as hop forward as you would expect from an Imperial IPA. There is brown sugar, coffee and caramel in the malt profile. This is a good beer, but don’t have more than one, especially if you re driving, 7/10.
There are great beasts wandering the wilderness, not all of whom have been photographed, catalogued, vivisected, dissected, DNA mapped and whatever else it is that scientists do with animals. There is so much we do not know. Oh, sure, the aliens who visit regularly have probably gleaned all sorts of information from the anal probes performed on these undiscovered creatures (Do you really believe that the aliens only perform anal probes on Harvard Professors? I think not) but the aliens rarely, if ever, share the results of their experiments with us. We have much to learn.
As a rugged outdoorsman*, extreme adventurer**, and acolyte of Teddy Roosevelt***, I have spent months at a time in the wild unmapped corners of the globe, and have had close encounters with a variety of cryptozoological phenomenon. There was the time I was fly fishing on Lake Champlain and hooked Champ but was unable to land the beast. Growing up in New Jersey, the Jersey Devil was a regular visitor to our backyard, stopping to swim in our pool, before taking off for the flight to the Pine Barrens. I have had several recent encounters with the Chupacabra while out walking my dogs, and the less said about my experience with the Mothman, the better.
It is in the field of Sasquatch studies that I have been most successful. On a recent trip to the Himalayas, I encountered the Yeti. More importantly, I encountered two distinct kinds of Yeti. Read the rest of this entry »