The Good, The Better, and The Strange: More Florida Beers!

September 19, 2012

The Good:

Tequesta Brewing Co. American Farmhouse Ale – Tequesta Brewing Company does not appear to have a website, although they do have a Facebook page and some reviews on Yelp, so they are not wholly ignorant of this thing called the internet.  While they may not have much of an internet presence, I can say that they know how to make beer based on the pint of their American Farmhouse Ale that I knocked back recently. This American Saison was delicious. It had the funky farmhouse yeast aroma, pale yellow and cloudy color, and hay like flavors that I associate with saisons. I call it an ‘American’ Saison as it had a nice dose of hops added to it, which to me tasted like Chinook hops from the Pacific Northwest. This was not as hoppy as an IPA, but the hops were a prominent feature of the beer. This was a fine tasting beer, 7.5/10.

The Better:

Cigar City White Oak IPA: I enjoyed Cigar City’s White Oak IPA in a bottle, so I jumped on it when I saw it on tap recently. All the good parts of the bottled beer (the vanilla and oak notes, the complex fruitiness of the hops, the creamy texture) were amplified in the draft version. This beer was simply outstanding, 9/10.

Let’s have a brief musical interlude with my favorite Rock and Roll band from Florida, Charlie Pickett and the Eggs!

The Strange:

Holy Mackerel Panic Attack: Billed as a Trippel/Saison fusion, this tastes as odd as that sounds. This is overloaded with sweet fruit flavors, canned peaches, pineapples, mangoes. It is treacly sweet without any hop bitterness to offset that sweetness. Rather, this beer relies on the 10% ABV as a counterbalance to that sweetness, and 10% is not nearly alcohol to cut it. You also get that cotton candy bubblegum flavor that I find so cloying in trippels. The only saison notes I could find were in a slight funky yeast aroma and flavor. It also had a strange mustiness to it. I know it sounds like I hated this beer, but I actually found it kind of interesting, although I am not quite sure if I actually liked it, 6.5/10.

Hello D’ere!


Real Ale Devil’s Backbone

May 15, 2012

That is my favorite scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I love Nicholson’s reaction when he realizes that Chief is not crazy, and that he has an ally in his war with Nurse Ratchet, or at least a non-insane ally. Nicholson has been in so many great movies, and has had great roles in some lesser films, but I maintain that Cuckoo’s Nest is his finest moment, when a great actor, one at the top of his game, found the right character, the right script, the right director, and  a brilliant supporting cast as well. Any one thing can go wrong to make a movie a failure, but Cuckoo’s Nest is just about perfect.

Real Ale takes a stab at brewing a Tripel, and do a fine job of it. The Devil’s Backbone pours a cloudy yellow with a meringue like head. This has a sweet banana and tangerine aroma, with some herbal notes in the background. The flavor is sweet and herbal, with some clove and cardamon, and the candy sugar gives it a juicy fruit gum flavor. This is a smooth drinking beer, and like most tripels it has a deceptively high ABV (8.1%), so you need to be careful or you will be D-R-U-N-K Drunk before you realize it. You cannot drink many of these in a session, but it is a nice treat, 7.5/10.


Flying Fish Exit 4 American Trippel

May 7, 2010

Back for another round with my Jersey guys, Flying Fish.  The Exit 4 American Trippel is the first of the Turnpike Exit Series to be sold in six packs, which makes some sense as the Exit 4 probably has the widest appeal to the masses, although I could see the Exit 16 having a similar commercial appeal to the general public.  This pours a hazy golden orange, with lots of fruity malts in the aroma and a creamy thick head.  Lots of yeast in the flavor, along with some fruity sweetness (banana and pear) and the hops bitterness is in the background, along with a hint of clovelike spiciness.  This drinks very easily, and at 9.7% ABV, that can be dangerous.  The Exit 4 American Trippel gets a 7.5/10, and if Flying Fish keeps this up, they will soon be part of the list of the elite American brewers, if they are not there already.


Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

May 6, 2010

I may get some arguments on this, but if you are a beer drinker, there is no better place to be than the United States of America.  Right now, this country is producing more great beers and, just as importantly, more interesting beers than any other country, and is doing so in as many different styles as can be imagined.  I am not saying that we have the brewing tradition of England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium or Germany, though our brewing tradition is underrated as it was largely dormant in the decades after prohibition.  The difference is that German brewers stick to making German styles, the English brew ales, porters, and stouts, and so on.  We in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave can get great Belgian style beers that are brewed right here, and there are fantastic English style beers that are American made, and the list goes on.  Our brewers have also crossed styles, making IPAs with Belgian yeasts, for example.  As American brewers do not have to adhere to any particular brewing tradition, nor do we have to follow the Reinheitsgebot, we have also created new styles, like Imperial IPAs, seemingly out of whole cloth.

After years of being dismissed by European brewers as second rate, and rightly so I might add, American brewers are now influencing their Continental counterparts, and the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel is an example of that influence.  A double IPA brewed in Europe?  Not until we showed the Europeans the way.

More Tripel than Double IPA, this pours a pale and cloudy yellow with a meringue pie head that is retained to the bottom and which leaves sticky traces on the inside of the glass.  The aroma is lemony and herbal, with some hops aroma.  The flavor is more lemongrass than lemon, with some peppery notes, and the hops jump up a bit.  There seems to be some apple and pear in the aftertaste.  This is a refreshing beer, and would probably pair up with well Asian food.  7.5/10.


Boulevard Brewing Long Strange Tripel

March 7, 2010

Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company’ beers usually get great reviews, and they are not widely available in the Northeast, so when I saw some of their beers when I was visiting my sister and her family in Texas, I jumped on the opportunity to try as many as I could.  The Long Strange Tripel is part of their SmokeHouse Series of limited edition beers.  It is a dead certainty that one of the brewers is a Deadhead, and as you have probably guessed, this beer is a Belgian Tripel.  Not being well versed in Belgian beers, I do not know if it is a faithful representation of the style.  I do know that it was pale gold and cloudy, with a gorgeous foamy head that lasted to the bottom of the glass.  The beer had a sweet and fruity aroma, mostly banana and apple.  It had a pleasant malt and yeast flavor, with almost no hops bitterness.  I generally like my beers hoppy, but this was an exception to that rule.  The Long Strange Tripel grades out at a 7/10, and I have some other Boulevard beers coming up to be graded.


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