Ska Brewing Co.

November 10, 2010

I was a huge Specials fan when I was a kid.  Still am in fact, and I still love all of those old Two Tone Bands so when I came across Ska Brewing Co.’s beers, with their obvious homage to the iconography of the record label, I had to give them a try.  It was the marketing that made me pull their beer off the shelf the first time, and while it worked with me, how many middle aged beer dorks are there who are also music geeks specializing in British Post-Punk Music of the Thatcher Years? In any event, while it was the packaging that first caught my eye, it is the quality of their brew that keeps me going back to them.

The Modus Hoperandi (Great name!) is a hop bomb extraordinaire with massive amounts of piney hops in the nose and the taste, a rich amber color with a white head, 6.8% ABV and a thick chewy mouthfeel to boot.  I love this beer, 8.5/10.

The Decadent Imperial IPA is a boozier version of the Modus Hoperandi with some spice and sweetness added to it.  I noticed the 10.0 % ABV immediately upon opening the bottle.  The alcohol is that strong on this one, but it is tempered by the flowery hops, both of which carry over to the flavor.  I liked it, but not as much as the Modus Hoperandi, 7/10


Great Divide Colette Farmhouse Ale

May 27, 2010

I have not been a fan of the French, generally adopting Groundskeeper Willie’s view of them, but I am starting to rethink my stance.  They do wonderful things with cheese, and French cooking is the gold standard against which all other cuisines are measured.  French movies are great, as are French actresses. And while French wines are world renowned, French beers are often overlooked.  They can be great, even if they owe more to Belgian traditions than French ones.  The Colette Farmhouse Ale by Great Divide is classic French Farmhouse Ale. Pale yellow and cloudy, with a fluffy meringue head, this is grassy, yeasty and herbal, slightly peppery, and light and refreshing.  I enjoyed the hell out of this beer, 7.5/10, so much so that I am thinking about making this the summer of saisons.


Oskar Ten Fidy Stout

May 3, 2010

YOWZA!  This is a Stout’s Stout.  Great espresso aroma and taste, with a chewy mouth feel, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Russian Imperial Stout is one of the top beers that Tilting Suds has come across in a lifetime of beer drinking.  The pour is a beautiful, deep, deep black with a long lasting cappuccino colored head, and the bouquet from the malts and the hops in this beer is outstanding.  The overwhelming flavor profile is of roasted grains and dark coffee, but there is enough hoppy bitterness to provide balance to any sweetness from the malts.  The 10.5% ABV is nicely warming.  With the weather as warm as it is here in North Jersey, I do not think I will be revisiting this beer any time soon, but when the leaves change and the weather cools, this will be a regular part of the stout rotation, 9.5/10.


Left Hand Warrior IPA

April 29, 2010

The picture is probably not clear enough to see this, but the label reads “Brewed Only Once A Year With Colorado Fresh Hops.”  Limited brewing schedule? Check! Unique hops profile? Check! Less than six bucks for the bomber bottle? Check!  There was no way I was going to pass over this one.  Put a cork on this bottle and one of those wire thingamajigs to keep it in place, and I would have bought out the store’s supply.

And it is a good thing I did not skip this one.  The Left Hand Brewing Warrior IPA is excellent.  It poured amber and clear.  The caramel malts are prominent in the nose and the taste, and the piney and orange zest hops are somewhat muted for an IPA, but this comes together nicely, and the hops amp up on the aftertaste.  The Warrior IPA has a creamy mouth feel to it.  I am going to grab  another bottle of this for the weekend, and if you see any, I suggest you do the same, 7.5/10.


More Beer in Cans

April 28, 2010

After my recent dipshittery concerning canned beer, I have made an effort to seek out other examples of craft beer in cans as a sort of penance.*  I have picked up a few over the past couple of weeks, and give them the once over here.

The Phoenix Pale Ale from Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox was a tasty concoction.  The toffee malts are balanced by the mild hops, with the hops a bit stronger on the tongue than in the aroma.  This poured a beautiful clear amber, with a frothy but quickly dissipating head.  There is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is smooth and flavorful, and at 5.1% ABV, you can knock back a few.  It has earned a spot at the back of the rotation, 6.5/10.

SF Beer, JC Backdrop

San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing Company is not well known on the East Coast, but that should change soon as I am seeing their beers pop up in stores here more frequently.  The Brew Free or Die IPA is smooth and mild, not too hoppy for a West Coast IPA, and the smoothness masks the 7.0% ABV.  The hoppiness has a fruity aftertaste.  Again, there is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is another good one, 6.5/10.

Sweet Jeebus, this one knocked me on my ass.  This was my last beer of the recent session with Mr. JK, and knocking back a beer with an 8.7% ABV when you are already pickled is not a smart idea.  Drinking this was like getting cold cocked by Mike Tyson in his prime.  I had another one for review purposes a few days later, and can report that the Oskar Gordon Ale is a fine beer.  Hoppy and malty at the same time, the aroma and the taste are resinous, with a chewy mouth feel.  You cannot drink many of these in a sitting, but the ones you do drink are enjoyable, 7.5/10.

*-Bless me, Father, for I have sinned

What are your sins, my son?

-I made a misleading statement on the internet about canned beer

Say three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys, and drink three canned beers


Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

March 27, 2010

When I started drinking good beer, someone told me that bottles were better containers for beer because they did not impart any metallic taste to the beer in the way that cans did.  There is a certain logic to that.  Coke from a bottle tastes different from Coke from a can.  The Coke in the can has a tinny flavor.  However, storing beer in bottles has  limitations.  Light is the enemy of hops, and even dark glass bottles let some light in, leading to a deterioration of taste.  It may not matter with a beer like Corona which has no taste anyway, hell, they sell that stuff in clear glass bottles, but better beers are usually sold in brown glass bottles to limit the impact of light on the flavor.  Some craft brewers use six pack carriers with high sides to further reduce light exposure. In terms of reducing light deterioration, cans are superior to bottles.

It was only a matter of time before a craft brewer started using cans instead of bottles, and Colorado’s Oskar Blues is the first that I am aware of to do so.  I thought “marketing gimmick” the first time I saw their cans, thinking they were appealing to the hipster crowd who ironically drink Pabst Blue Ribbon from a can, but it does make some sense from a brewer’s point of view. Brief Sidenote: Is there anything that can be done to the thin the hipster herd a bit?  I had such high hopes for the various Middle East Wars, hoping that a draft would be instituted and take some of those mopey bastards off the streets, but no such luck.

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale pours a nice deep copper color with a medium.  It is hoppy on the nose and the taste, mostly citrus, balanced by a bready malt flavor.  Was there any metallic flavor?  Yeah, I thought I noticed a slight aluminum taste, but I drank this with the bottle can in front of me, so it may have been entirely in my head. (That’s right, I wrote bottle at first, and posted it that way even after proofreading).  I would like to either try this in a blind taste test or side by side with a draft to see if I still detect that aluminum6.5/10.

UPDATE: After getting some emails and a comment on the subject, I did some research and found that Oskar Blues uses a special coating on the inside of the cans which prevents any metallic flavors being imparted into the beer, so that “aluminum” I tasted was a complete figment of my imagination.  I found this information by poking around the Oskar Blues website for all of about fifteen seconds.  The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.


%d bloggers like this: