That Time of Year Again: I Don’t Like Pumpkin Beer and I Don’t Care Who Knows It

September 30, 2012

Ugh, I will never learn. I don’t like pumpkin beers that try to taste like a liquid pumpkin pie. I never have and I never will, yet every year someone tempts me with their pumpkin offering, and like the beer sucker that I am, I try it, and then throw my hands up in disgust and say “I don’t like pumpkin beers that try to taste like liquid pumpkin beer.”

This year it is Sam Adams with their Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Beer. Not just a single pumpkin, but DOUBLE pumpkin…what the hell was I thinking?

As soon as I opened this bottle, and got hit with that allspice and cinnamon and nutmeg and brown sugar aroma, I knew this was not going to end well for me. The flavor was similar to the aroma, just a bit more muddled. On the plus side, it was sort of bland and thin tasting for a beer with ‘double’ in the name, but that is about all I can say for it. Those of you who like pumpkin pie beers may like this, but for those who do not, stay away, 4.5/10.

I will be back next year, with another installment of The Pumpkin Beer Chronicles.

The label is sort of cool at least

What’s the Difference Between a Porter and a Black IPA? Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA vs. Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter

May 9, 2012

Not much, as far as I can tell. I tried a porter and a black IPA side by side, and while the black IPA was a bit hoppier, it was only just a touch so, certainly not so much that I would necessarily be able to tell them apart in a blind taste test. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive study, but I have now tried enough to think that black IPAs are just a marketing tag and not much more. That does not mean they are not good beers. Some of them are excellent. I just don’t know that they deserve their own classification. I also recognize that no one else cares about this distinction, so I will shut up and get to the beers.

The Dark Depths is quite a tasty offering from Sam Adams

The Black IPA: I sampled the Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA. This poured a dark brown with a creamy cola like head. Roasted malts are immediately apparent in the aroma, along with some flowery and fruity hops. The flavor followed the aroma with the addition of some mild dark chocolate notes. I enjoyed this beer and tt is certainly a bit different from the standard brews from Sam Adams. Would I have another? Sure, with a grade of 6.5/10, I would definitely have it again. Would I say “no way can this be described as a porter”? Absolutely not.

The Porter: The always excellent Ska Brewing was represented by their Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter. Pouring a an opaque black, with a hint of molasses in the aroma, along with some earthy hops, this had a creamy tan head which quickly dissipated. It had a mild coffee flavor and a noticeable alcohol warmth. The hops are less prominent than in the Dark Depths, but they are present, and become more prominent as the glass warms. This is an excellent porter, 7.5/10, and I’d give it the same grade if Ska called it a Black IPA.

In the Porter vs. Black IPA Battle Royal, the Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter came out on top!

My All Time Shittiest Beers

August 11, 2011

Put ten beer geeks into a room, and at least one of them will be wearing a t-shirt with a Ben Franklin quote: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.Ten seconds of googling leads to the conclusion that Ben Franklin said that about wine, not beer, but in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Let’s not let historical accuracy get in the way of a good t-shirt slogan, Bro.”

Even though Ben Franklin did not say it, I have certainly had some beers that were divine experiences, beers that if not establishing the existence of God, at least show some evidence of intelligent design.  On the other side of the spectrum, in my 45 years, a solid 2/3rds of which I have spent drinking beer, sometimes quite heavily, I have had some truly shitty beers.  I present to you the beers that are proof that if God exists, he loathes us and wants us to be miserable.

Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer: I had this about nineteen years ago at Cooter Browns in New Orleans.  It was July.  It was so fucking bad that I remember where and when I had it.  There was a chili pepper in the bottle to give it a dose of heat.  It also gave this beer a heaping tablespoon of shittiness. Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer remains to this day one of a small handful of beers that I was unable to finish due to the sheer awfulness. I was a student at the time, and extremely broke.  If I could not choke down a beer, it had to be awful. I am still pissed off at that bartender because after I told him I was not going to finish it, he said “Yeah, nobody ever finishes that one.”  Granted, I should have known better, there was chili pepper in the bottle for fuck’s sake, but all the same, thanks for the warning, Asshole.  I thought, and had fervently hoped, that Ed had stopped brewing this crap, but I came across a case of it recently so somebody is drinking this shit. I weep for my country.

Sam Adams Hazelnut Brown Ale: Sam Adams used to have a homebrew contest, and the winning beers would be brewed and distributed by Sam Adams for a short time.  I don’t know if they still do that, but after drinking this, I fucking hope not.  This smelled worse than hazelnut coffee, which smells worse than day old cat piss, and managed to taste like burnt hazelnuts while being cloyingly sweet.  It was so rancid tasting that I gagged trying to drink it.  If this was the contest winner, I don’t want to imagine what the losers tasted like.

Shiner Ruby Redbird: Shiner brews this with fresh Texas grapefruit and fresh ginger.  There was a 1% chance this would be decent and a 99% chance it would be lousy.  Guess what?  It was fucking awful.  The only part of grapefruit that I could taste was the bitter pith of the peel, which is not the good kind of bitterness you want in a beer, and the ginger just added a nasty burning sensation.  Just a vile liquid.  Shiner beers are very much hit and miss, and this is the biggest miss of all.

*Yes, I had one of those shirts.  Once I discovered that the quote was fraudulent, I burnt it in a ritual cleansing fire.**

**This is a lie.  I wore it until it was threadbare.

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