I have been in Texas for a few weeks now, and the one thing I cannot adjust to is the heat. T.E. Lawrence and his band of Merry Arab Pranksters may have crossed the Sun’s Anvil to attack Aqaba by land, but the Mexicans who work construction here in the summer think A’Lawrence and those Arabs are a bunch of candy asses for hiding from the sun during the day. It is the end of September, shortly after 10 a.m., and it is over 90 degrees, and no one here thinks that is odd. It is just the way it is. Read the rest of this entry »
Laughing Dog, the finest brewery in Idaho, at least that I know of, have scored another winner with the Dogzilla Black IPA. This poured with a nice frothy head that lasted to the bottom of the glass and probably would have lasted all night if I left the glass on the countertop. It was as black as advertised, and had a good blast of hops bitterness, balanced by some toasted malt flavors, with a hint of mocha and raisin, but without any real malt sweetness. This seemed to be more of a hoppy porter than a dark IPA, but I can live with their characterization. 7.5/10.
Normally I am a fan of Stone Brewing’s beer, and I heard good things about the Levitation Ale, but Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, this was awful. It was astringent and bitter, not in the good way, and was just plain nasty. It was so bad and so off the mark for Stone that I wonder if I got a bad bottle. I finished it, because I am a cheap bastard and don’t like wasting beer, but I will not be going back anytime soon. 3/10.
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.
New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company is one of the more adventurous brewers out there. They have had a few misses (Their Cherry Saison was neither cherry nor a saison) but overall their beers are top notch. I am a big fan of their Krampus Imperial Helles Lager, one of my favorite Christmas Beers, and their Unearthly Imperial IPA. Southern Tier also releases “blends’ of their beers. For example, the Mokah Stout is a blend of the Choklat Stout and the Jahva Stout. More on this concept later.
Southern Tier’s Cuvee Series are a group of ales aged in Oak Barrels. I tried the Series One several months ago. I enjoyed it but do not remember much about it.
I recently tried the Cuvee Series Two. The Series Two pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy head. I noticed caramel and maple syrup flavors, and some hoppy bitterness. It had a wonderfully creamy mouth feel. This beer clocks in at 11% ABV so it is not one to chug but rather a beer to savor slowly. I am going to grade it a 9/10.
The Cuvee Series are packaged in boxes (similar to the boxes some nice scotches come in) and are limited releases. Put out a beer as “limited release” with some cool packaging and I will fall for it every single time.
The Series Three is a blend of the Series One and the Series Two. I will keep my eye out for that one.