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.
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!
Once again, I dig deep into the wonderful vault of Sierra Nevada. One of the early craft brewers, they consistently toss out beer after beer that ranks very high in my beer opinion. Very rarely do I have a drink from them that I do not enjoy. Their stout does come to mind though. Anyway, let’s pick the vine of Hoptimum, in their words, “the biggest whole cone IPA” that they have ever produced.
This beer pours like every IPA wishes they could, in a beautiful amber with an off white head that sticks to your glass. The aromas are what you would expect from a beer with 100 IBUs; hops, glorious hops. The smell is very flower like as well, with a touch of pine. Start to drink this, and you will be bombarded with the amazing hop flavors. This beer almost has a thick feeling, with the hops taking center stage, followed by an almost sweet grapefruit like taste. I am not one for grapefruit, but this I do enjoy. Another touch of pine at the end, and this beer goes down way smoother than you would expect. One thing that I was surprised that did not show up in the taste was the alcohol. This beer clocks in at 10.4% ABV, so I expected to taste that. However, it stays nicely hidden, with no noticeable alcohol burn. That is a nice touch.
This beer goes down smoothly, and I would say almost too smooth. This is the type of beer that gets me into trouble, as I finish one, and go straight for another. Next thing that I know, I am in the basement peeing on the floor, thinking that I am in the bathroom upstairs. Strange things happen with high quality beer. Anyway, this beer is a classic in my book, and I am now putting it in my group of favorites. Well done!
One amazing quality about craft beers, is that more and more, they are showing up in the most random of places. When I think of craft beers, one of the I places that I do not think of is Youngstown Ohio. More historically known for its former steel industry, I only think of it as the family lands of my wife’s side of the family. Now however, Youngstown has an up and coming brewery by the aptly named Rust Belt Brewing Company. Enter their Coke Oven stout:
The term “coke oven” refers to Youngstown’s steel heritage, not the world famous soda. As a history buff, this little historical nod makes me happy. So let’s see how this stout fares…
The beer pours a nice oil black in the glass, with barely if any head. Scents of bitter malts, and a tiny bit of coffee flavors. Taste wise, roasted malts hit you first thing, with a tiny hint of chocolate bitterness. Not much really jumps out at me with this beer, very average at best for a stout. The big downer for me with this brew however, is that it tastes like a soda. The carbonation is a little high for my tastes in a stout. Maybe instead of naming this beer after the steel heritage of the city, they are actually referring to Coca Cola. Just a thought…
I love supporting smaller scale breweries, and from their beer list I will try their products again. However, when it comes to stouts, I will be passing on the Coke Oven. Be sure to check out their website here to see what else they have to offer.
San Diego, also known as the whale’s vagina. Also home to around 50 or so craft breweries. During my recent two weeks out west, I tried to find some of the beers that I used to really enjoy and cannot find here in Ohio. I also tried to discover some new beers to lust after once my trip was over. That was accomplished thanks to some friends who live in the quiet little mountain town of Alpine, which is just around 30 miles east of the city. Little did I know that Alpine was the home to one of the finest little breweries that is known to man. You might think that is an exaggeration, but you would be wrong. Enter the Alpine Beer Company:
Located off of I-8, on the main strip of Alpine, you will find this little gem of San Diego county. The brewery is split into two sections, which oddly there is a book store in between the two sides. The book store did look interesting, but every time that I was by the brewery they were closed, which was a good thing since I like book stores. Anyway, the first area that my friend and I walked into was the brewery sales area, which had a variety of Alpine Beer company goods, and also sells their beer directly via growlers and 22oz bottles, no sixers here.
After spending some time chatting with their friendly staff, with me basically pestering them to ship beer to Ohio, (Which was responded with, “Yeaah, that’s not going to happen”) my friend and I walked to the other side of the beer company, their brewpub.
This is where the magic happens, when it comes to beer. Everything that I had from them was delightful. Sometimes I overuse that word, but drinking their beer was downright enjoyable. First up was a bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout by the name of Odin’s Raven.
Odin’s Raven was an amazing beer. What I remember: The bourbon alcohol flavor hits you at the first sip, but then you are overtaken by malty chocolate tones, but not too sweet, and finishes off like a stout should. It also clocked in at around 11% ABV, which makes it a very heavy hitter. Definitely a must have from a company that is more known for their hop varieties.
Next on my plate was their Chez Monieux, which was a Belgian style Kriek. I have not had too many of this style to give a great run down, but it was a sour, tart cherry carbonated blast that had a dry wine like finish, which makes sense, since it was aged in wine barrels. Good, but not normally my thing. I was glad that I had it though.
I finished off my tasting with their Alpine Ale, and also some of their Nelson IPA, both of which were again, delightful. Add these beers to the two that I have reviewed earlier in the week, and that equals one of my new favorite breweries. Be sure to check out their website here to learn more about this fantastic company, do not miss them if you are in the San Diego region. Big thanks to my friend Jimmy for taking me to the place (And letting me stay at your house!), and my friend Thom for the recommendation!
Well done Alpine!
Since tonight is the last night of my California trip, I thought I would finish it off with another walk with the Alpine beer company. With this selection, I feel that I have had enough of their products to make the call; this is one of my favorite brewers. Every single product that I have had from them has been stellar. But alas, I am getting the cart before the horses. Let’s talk about their Duet IPA.
Once you spend a little time at the Alpine Beer Company, you will get the impression that hops are a big deal there. And you would be correct. Hops play a huge part of their line up, especially when you think of beers with the name, “Pure Hoppiness.” Their Duet is no exception.
Once the beer is opened, hops punch you in the face. The smell of this beer is amazing, which I would imagine even makes hop masters like Stone blush a bit. Very fragrant citrusy hops, almost floral like, with a good touch of pine. Transfer that to your taste buds, and the favors remain. Only the taste is so much smoother. For an IPA clocking in at 7%, this is one of the easiest drinking beers that I have ever had. A beer like this would definitely get me into trouble. One of the best beers that I have had in a while.
This beer finishes up my two weeks in California with a great finish. If you have the chance to make it out to the small mountain town of Alpine, do not miss this brewery. And they have a nice brewpub to boot. Well done Alpine, now ship your products to Ohio!
During my time out here in the West Coast, I have found myself scanning and scanning the beer isles looking for brews that I have not seen before. There are so many regional beers on this side of the states, that this process can take quite a bit of time. Luckily, I am staying at a friends house out in the amazing mountain town of Alpine, which just so happens to have a brewery. What a sweet coincidence. While I have not been to the brewery itself, (coming soon I promise) I did happen to find this guy hanging out at the local beer store. Enter Alpine Beer Company’s Captain Stout.
This beer pours out of the 22 oz. bomber bottle like a good stout should, nice and black. A decent (for a stout) head comes with that, which is more sticky than one might expect, and leaves a nice lacing pattern on your glass. Smell wise, this is a straight up stout, with a good malt aroma. Taste wise, this beer delivers. It has a nice, smooth, creamy flavor, with notes of chocolate mixed in as well. Definitely one of the better stouts that I have found in my travels. I will be taking a bottle or two back to Ohio with me when that time comes!
Since I am staying in Alpine for the next few days, it is only fitting that I make a trip to the brewery to see what else is on tap with this brand. If everything else is a fine as their stout, then they have a new believer. Be sure to check out their website here.
Well done Alpine!