Jester King Wytchmaker Redux and WILD! (And A Bonus Review of the Farmhouse Black Metal Stout!)

May 16, 2012

Don’t see much difference between these two bottles, do you? The bottle on the left is the regular Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA (my 2011 Beer of the Year!). The bottle on the right is the Wytchmaker Farmhouse Rye IPA.

The only difference between the two is the Farmhouse Rye IPA uses farmhouse yeast in place of the regular ale yeast. This gives it a slightly sour and funky flavor. It pours a little cloudier, and the aroma is just a touch funkier, with a touch of sourness added to the flavor. The difference is subtle, but nice. I don’t think it makes it a better beer, and it is not substantially different either, but it is still damn good, 9.5/10.

The Farmhouse version is a little cloudier, a little funkier, but just as tasty.

BONUS REVIEW!: The Farmhouse Black Metal is an improvement over the already excellent Black Metal Stout. The sourness from the farmhouse yeasts adds another flavor dimension and rounds out the dark chocolate, dried fruit, anise and dark brown sugar flavors.  Again, any differences between the two beers is subtle, but liked the farmhouse version a touch more. I gave the regular Black Metal Stout a score of 8.5, but the farmhouse version gets a 9/10.


Boulevard Rye on Rye

May 14, 2012

This is a tasty mo’fo’.

The Boulevard Rye on Rye is part of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series. The ale is brewed with rye, and then partially aged in rye whiskey barrels, giving rise to the name, but I bet you all figured that out already. This poured a beautiful ruby color with amber highlights with a nice tannish head. The aroma was lovely, with spiciness from the rye offset by the vanilla from the barrel aging. Those aromas carried over to the flavor, along with some dark dried fruit notes, oak, dark malts and a nice boozy quality that to me tasted more like bourbon than rye whiskey. The Rye on Rye is a whopping 11% ABV, so this is a sipping beer, and a fine one at that, 8.5/10.


Laughing Dog Rocket Dog Rye IPA, Part II: The Reawakening

May 1, 2012

The Old Nasty Rocket Dog Rye IPA BOO! HISS!

I recently reviewed Laughing Dog’s Rocket Dog Rye IPA,and told all of you how disappointing it was.  This was quite a let down for me as I am usually impressed with Laughing Dog’s brews, and am especially happy with their IPAs. In fact, I was so unhappy with the beer that I said in my review that it may have been a bad bottle, either old or improperly stored or both. Someone commented that he had recently tried the Rocket Dog and loved it, but that his bottle had  a different label, lending some credence to my suspicion that I had the misfortune to get a bad bottle.

The New and Improved Rocket Dog Rye IPA!

I was in Whole Foods recently and came across a bottle of Rocket Dog with an entirely different label than the one I had, so I gave it a go. Now this is more like it. It had the same rye and hops aroma as the first bottle had, but this time the flavor was fantastic, with some mango, pineapple and other tropical fruit flavors and some caramel from the malt, and a nice dry finish. I could have used some more rye upfront in the flavor, but that is a minor quibble. All is forgiven, Laughing Dog, you are back in my good graces, 7/10.


Big Texas Beer Festival, Dallas, April 14

April 16, 2012

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 »


Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA

July 6, 2011

Having tried Jester King’s Wytchmaker Rye IPA on tap a few times, and being somewhat underwhelmed by it, I was not especially enthused to crack this bottle open.  Holy Crap was I wrong about that!  The bottled Wytchmaker Rye IPA was great, one of the better beers I have tried in some time.  It pours a cloudy burnt orange with a fluffy head and the mouthfeel is creamy and chewy and was complex with the pungent citrus, mango and piney hops offset by the rye and caramel malts.  This is a beer I would give to a wine snob who claims that beer is unsophisticated, as the interplay of flavors is fantastic.   Definitely a contender for Beer of the Year, 9.5/10.

In addition to making a kick ass beer, Jester King needs to be applauded for taking a stand against beer protectionism in Texas.  The full story is here, but the short story is that Texas law makes it difficult for out of state breweries to sell their beers here, particularly if the beer is a one-off beer.  Jester King understands that making good beer available to Texas beer drinkers, no matter where that beer is brewed, will only serve to increase the thirst for good and interesting beer in Texas.  Good for them for taking a stand against a bad law, even though the law may serve their interests in the short run.


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