Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anchor Bock Beer

I like the label on this beer so I got it (When I say "I got it," I just took it from my dads stash). It is some farm animal, perhaps a goat eating a branch with hops on both ends (kind of like a dumbell...lets call it a hopumbell). I also wanted to try a different style beer from my typical hop blasters that I love, so I got this. It may be from San Fransicko, but that is not stopping me from trying bottom fermenting lager.

Appearance: 1 fat finger of head after a bittersweet pour into my snifter. Dense and thick as it pours out like a stout, but the color is a mahogany farmhouse brown.

Smell: Very little hop aromas. Sweet malts that remind me of a red wine.

Taste: Sweet flavor with some fresh brewed coffee roast-y-ness going on. I even taste some kind of fruit (raspberry or red grape).

Mouthfeel: Thick and definitely creamy like a stout, but not overwhelming. Slight bitter but sweet after bite. It makes me want to drink more.

Drinkability: Raging at 5.5%, this beer exceeded my expectations. I am glad I gave this a try, I am sure the beer gods would approve my open taste to all kinds of beer (except Bud Light lime). Wouldn't mind having another for a day, but not more than two. I would keep this towards the beginning to middle of a beer cycle. 7/10 on the Jimbo scale.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mishawaka Brewing Founder's Stout

The Darkness gave this classic dry irish-style stout from Indiana to me back in April and it has been sitting in my fridge ever since. Yes I am a slacker for not drinking it sooner. I am sure this Silver GABF'05 and Gold WBC'96 winner is disappointed in me.

Appearance: Watery pour with barely any head, even when I poured it fast. Black bear brown with some blood red glare when held up against a light. Despite the low density look, you still can't see through it.

Smell: Inviting scent coming from the nine types of malts and 3 hop varieties. Burnt-bitterness with some roasted chocolate whiffs.

Taste: Nothing like the smell at all. Roasted malt presence dominates my taste buds with no hops. Dry coffee taste with a lactic acid presence as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Watery like the appearance. Goes down quite smooth. Awful acidic aftertaste, probably due to it being unfiltered and unpasteurized.

Drinkability: This bomber bottle was too much for me to handle. I am glad I gave this style a try however. Perhaps my bottle was skunked and deterred my taste buds from its true being. 5/10.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Blind Tiger Alehouse, Greenwich Village, NYC

Ah, the Blind Tiger. Where to begin. My love affair with this bar began after a buddy of mine had heard good things on BeerAdvocate. We went before a show his buddy's band was playing around the corner and while we could only stay for two beers, it was an awesome tease. I've since returned with another friend or two or three, including fellow Hopheads-in-Training Jimmy and Mike. Almost every time I've made it up to the city and I'm in the lower west side in any shape or form, I've been lured there.

The bar features 28 delicious craft brews on tap as well as a few others featured on cask and gravity. Selection is therefore great and in constant rotation. They keep an updated draught list on their website, though if its close to a week old, it is probably half out-of-date. Good beer comes and goes quickly I suppose.

The Blind Tiger has a great atmosphere, especially in the spring/summer when they open the windows. Awesome for an afternoon stop before dinner. Its got a nice look to it, wooden and homely. It was fairly crowded at popular drinking times on the weekend, but I never had a problem finding standing room. Wait around long enough and a table or seats at the bar will open up. The customer base seem to be a lively bunch who all love beer, as is true of the staff, who are knowledgeable, at least enough to explain what each of the beers on the board are, no matter how obscure they might be.

They also feature a huge selection of bottles, but with the tap selection, I haven't felt the need to dabble there. They also have a kitchen serving up hot food. Jimmy and I each took down one of their Chipoltle Chicken Quesadillas, which was quite delicious, especially after a few potent brews.

All in all, the Blind Tiger did not disappoint. If you're anywhere near the corner of Bleecker and Jones in New York City, do yourself a favor and stop in.

Blind Tiger Website

Picture by Richard Moross

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two Brothers: Cane & Ebel Hopped-up Red Rye Ale

On a warm Summer's night in June, three of my friends and I decided to pay a visit to Saint Stephen's Green. Located at 17th and Green in Philadelphia, it's literally a stone's throw away from my new apartment. With terrific food and a vast beer selection to boot, this is the perfect place to have just around the corner.

After a quick talk with the tender about the place, I gathered that the owners take great pride in their beer selection. I was told they try to rotate in new craft beers on tap from across the US as kegs are finished week to week. The couple times I've been there, they've had brews from the likes Lagunitas, Southern Tier, and Bell's to name a few. To accompany their 10 or so beers on tap, they have a list of upwards of 30 bottled craft beers to choose from. They range in company and style, making sure there's something for everyone.

On this particular night, I was in the mood for a red ale. When I saw the name "Hopped-Up Red Rye Ale", I had a winner:

Looks: As I held the beer up, a deep, dark red came through. Since the waitress poured the beer, there was very little head involved, but judging by the makeup of this brew, it would have been very slight anyway. It most likely would have formed and subsided rather quickly. Some stats: 17.0ยบ Plato / 68 IBU / 7.0% ABV.

Smell: The hops led the parade, giving me both flowery and piny aromas. With rye and malts working as the sideshow, this brew treated me to a very refreshing and exhilerating aroma.

Taste: There was a rush of hop flavor. The rye taste, as it was with the smell, compliments the hop flavors, while not being too overwhelmingly obvious (which I like). The finish is pleasantly sweet and smooth with very little bitter aftertaste, leaving me refreshed and wanting more. All in all, this was a very full flavored beer that lived up to the name.

Mouthfeel: A very low carbonated but zippy feel. It coats the mouth nicely, tingling as it moves along. Goes down smooth.

Drinkability: The Two Brothers truly impressed me, and have me looking to try more of their brews. Cane & Ebel is certainly one beer I will be coming back to, and I can only hope that the Two Brothers' other brews are on the same level. At 7%, you're fine with one, but could easily reach for another. 4.25/5