Sometimes while standing in the beer aisle and contemplating life, I cannot decide what style of beer will be on my menu for the evening. With more and more quality beers showing up at my local grocer, it is starting to become a little overwhelming. When those beer panic attacks happen, I usually grab the nearest company sampler pack to cover all of the necessary beer bases. That was last night, and my choice came from the very respectable Sierra Nevada.
The Beer Camp sampler is quite amazing. Sure, a little early in the review, but let’s just get that out of the way. This sampler is in a whole different class of sampler, as the company runs a contest to bring in different home brewers to help make some interesting beers. Great concept, and even better execution. Let’s start part 1 with the Oatmeal Stout:
The beer pours pitch black, with a larger than normal tan head. The smells off of the top are of nice bitter chocolate, mixed with roasted malts. Tasting, this beer hits you with those familiar favors, but also with hints of coffee, and a small but noticeable hint of hops. Maybe it is just my mind playing tricks on me, but I always expect that familiar Sierra Nevada hop flavor with all of their products. I can taste a bit of hops though, and it makes this beer very smooth. To say that this beer is smooth and easy to drink would be an understatement. I would almost describe it as silky.
As per the norm, this beer ranks high for me. I love Sierra Nevada’s products, and this beer is no different. This is the quintessential stout in my house now. Yes, I just said that about Founders Breakfast Stout a couple weeks ago. This beer tops it. Hands down. My new favorite stout, and now placed into my top 5.
Well done Sierra Nevada, now put this beer in a six pack. Or at least a single big bottle.
If you have read this blog before, you probably have realized by now that I love Ohio. I feel that it is the best state in our great country, or at least that is what the politicians are saying. Anyway, every time I see an Ohio beer, I feel that it is my civic duty to try it out. That said, enter The Brew Kettle…
Based out of Strongsville Ohio, Then Brew Kettle has a unique twist to a micro brew. You have the option to show up, make your own beer, eat dinner, show up two weeks later or so, and bottle your own beer to take home. Very cool concept in a brewery! They also pump out a variety of bottles year round, like the Ruddy Rye. Let’s see how this one goes…
Once opened, the beer smells nice, with that familiar rye scent hitting your nose. Poured into my glass, it was all carbonation. Uh oh. This is not going to end well. As I had feared, the beer is bad. Not just a bad flavor, but bad fountain soda bad. All carbonation. Maybe that was just a bad bottle right? Nope. Bottle number two was the exact same. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that they are all bunk, but I will try them all just to be sure.
I am intrigued by this brand, but I will probably leave them alone for a while, to get their quality control in check. With the intense competition for my money in the craft beer game, I am amazed that this problem even exists on the shelf. Nothing pisses me off more than to watch $10 go down the drain.
Congratulations Brew Kettle, you are now the 3rd beer that I have ever poured out.
For most beer lovers, Samuel Adams is a household name. Their beers have been around for quite some time, and some might argue that they put craft beers on the map. One of the great things about them, since they are a larger craft brewer, is that they can put their money where their mouth is, and develop newer beer styles, and experiment with different flavors. Case in point would be their “Barrel Room Collection.” Lets take a look at one of the beers that came from experimentation in their barrel room. Enter the Thirteenth Hour:
This beer pours into your glass like a nice, normal stout. Oil black appearance, with a nice, very pronounced khaki colored head. The carbonation is very lively with this one, almost like a soda, which might give you the wrong impression of this beer. This beer smells very nice once the cork is popped, with flavors of darker sweet fruits taking the stage. Taste-wise, this beer hits you at once with a rush of those darker fruits, but then rides out with some familiar stout flavors, and even has a slight sour touch. The sourness mixed with the heavier than normal carbonation reminded me of a Kriek, but my experience of that style is very limited. The Belgian flavors do come out in this beer, and you can also slightly taste the oak of the aging process. Overall, this beer is very interesting, and very easy to drink. The flavors are a great compliment to each other, and I found myself wanting to drink more of it. Top that off with a catchy looking bottle and that would be a winner in my book.
Whether you like Samuel Adams or not is a moot point, this beer is interesting enough to give a try. I found myself enjoying it the more I drank it, and was quite sad once the huge bottle was empty. I plan on trying out the other three styles of the Barrel Room collection before they disappear. Well done Sam Adams!
Fall has really arrived here in Southwestern Ohio, and with that comes darker style beers. That said, starting earlier this month, Founders Brewing, out of the state up North, released bottles of their fabled Breakfast Stout. With the draft release being today, it is only fitting that I tackle this one on a Friday night. Breakfast for dinner? Yes please. Enter the Breakfast Stout:
To get this started, let’s have a story: I have wanted to try this beer for some time. My first experience with it happened at a friends wedding. After one or two too many rum and cokes, a friend handed me a bottle of this and proclaimed, “This is one of the greatest beers that I have ever had!” Instantly, I was intrigued. At this point in the evening, the wedding reception had moved into the hotel bar. In my rum clouded vision, I insisted that the bartender should open this beer for me, as I did not have an opener. He politely told me to take my drunk ass back to my room. I then, when he was not looking, proceeded to try to open this beer on the fancy marble counter top. After a few tries, much to my dismay the bottle was still intact, and now in the hands of my wife after she caught me in the act of trying to open the bottle. Fast forward to the next morning, and the bottle had disappeared, but my interest in this one was still hanging on. To this day, I am not really sure what happened to that bottle.
Enter today. After securing a 4 pack of this beer, it was finally go time. The beer pours nice and dark, like a good stout should. This one however, has a very pronounced head. Aroma wise, nice notes of coffee and roasted malts hit your nose. When the beer hits your taste buds, you will be hit with flavors of coffee, malts, bitter chocolate, some oatmeal flavor, and more coffee at the finish. Carbonation is spot on, this beer feels good in your mouth. It basically makes you want to have another. Careful with this beer though, as it clocks in at 8.3% ABV, which is heavy duty for a stout. It blows my mind that this beer is so high in ABV, as you cannot taste the alcohol at all. This one is very enjoyable, and it sets the new standard in my household for a stout!
When you think of stouts, if the first beer that pops into your head is a Guinness, you NEED to drink this beer. It will completely re-write your opinion of the darker craft. I will even go on to say that I enjoy it above and beyond my favorite stout, Sam Smith’s Oatmeal stout. This beer delivers, so go give it a shot! It pains me that it has taken so long to finally drink one of these amazing beers, but boy am I glad that I did. Once again, Michigan delivers the good stuff. I really need to look more into property up there…
Well done Founders!
As I have stated before, dopplebocks are a favorite of mine, and usually I drink quite a few during this time of the year. Even though this is one of my favorite styles, a lot of times the different varieties start to blend together, and the fall months are a giant blend of bock beer, where one is indistinguishable from the next. Dark Horse Brewing Company must feel the same way, so they took a popular style, and added coffee. Coffee? Yes… Enter the Perkulator:
This dopplebock pours a good looking dark brown, with a medium sized off white head. Right from the pour, you can start to smell the coffee. Roasted coffee hits your nose, and it is a delight. Keep in mind, this is coming from a coffee lover. The coffee is there in the beginning of your first sip, with overpowering flavors that almost cover everything else in the beer. I say almost, because a little bit of maltiness hits mixed with a lager style yeast flavor, that you will usually find in a dopplebock. Overall, the coffee consumes the taste, which is good. This beer is supposed to taste like coffee. And that it does. This is the best coffee flavor that I have had in a beer. Ever.
If you are in the market for a different dopplebock, give this one a try. I would suggest however, if you don’t care much for coffee, I would leave it on the shelf. This beer is a keeper for me…
Well done Dark Horse!
I am not going to lie, I am excited. If you have read this blog before, you know that I like random, craft beers. Bonus points if they are local. Anyway, I caught wind of a new up and coming brewery based out of Listermann Brewing Co. a while ago, and I have been looking for some of their products to sample. For some reason, maybe it’s my ADD when it comes to beer purchases, but I would get side tracked by another brand. Triple Digit was always in the back of my mind though, with the thought that if I ever saw a bottle, it was mine. Luckily, while out at a craft beer store in Kenwood, I laid my eyes on a bottle and the rest is history. Or at least just this review. Enter Triple Digit Brewing’s Aftermath:
The Aftermath pours a good looking dark copper brown, with a race car style head. I say that due to the head blasting out of the bottle, and receding quite quickly down to nothing in your glass. This all happens in a matter of seconds, which is a little odd in my opinion. The scents off of this one hit you like a strong Scottish style ale, sweet but with touches of alcohol in there too. For taste, this beer is interesting. I am picking up a bit of bitterness in the beginning, which fades to a nice malt sweetness. Rounding out the flavors is that high alcohol burn that finishes this beer in a great way. Who doesn’t like high alcohol content right? The carbonation level is pretty high, a little more than I expected. Not that it ruins the beer, the flavors shine though and make this one very enjoyable.
One thing to note; after my first glass, I noticed a recommended serving temperature of 50 degrees is written on the side of the bottle. For my second glass out of the 22oz bottle, I left the beer out of the fridge to give it a chance to warm up. This slowed the head on the pour quite a bit, turning it from a race car style head to more of a cheetah. Big difference in speed there. The flavors, once warmed kicked the carbonation back just a tad, and made this beer even more enjoyable. My suggestion would be to take this one out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before you plan on drinking it, just to let it warm up.
Overall, this is a solid representation of the style. A little high on the carbonation when it is too cold, once warmed a tad it is the bee’s knees for a Scottish style ale. As I stated earlier, I am really excited for this brand, and I cant wait to try more from them. Especially since I drive by their home base everyday on my way to and from work. Well done Triple Digit, cant wait to try some more!
In the Cincinnati area, we are blessed with quite a few local breweries that are producing a great amount of high quality beers. My favorite of the bunch though comes from Mt. Carmel. For me, I have not had a bad beer out of their lineup, and a few of their beers are classics in my opinion. One of which that I have not had until now is their Harvest Ale, and it is quickly joining the ranks of one of my favorite beers ever. Yes… ever. That said, enter the Harvest Ale:
The Harvest Ale pours a nice dark copperish amber, with a very well pronounced head. It takes a while for it to retreat, but not so much to be annoying. The smells that come off of my pint glass remind me of fall, with a bit of earthy scents. Taste wise, you get quite a few malt flavors, some of which are mildly sweet, and finish with a slight hop hit. The hops make this fall seasonal very enjoyable, almost as it is the last hurrah for hops before their amazing Winter Ale hits the shelves. The flavors blend so well with this beer that I found myself drinking a few at each sitting. Now that I have finished my last one, I will definitely be picking up another sixer tomorrow!
If you are looking for a great fall seasonal brew, definitely look for this one. Well worth the money, and I would place it just behind their Winter Ale as my favorite Mt. Carmel product. Well done!