Breweries "Visited"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Censible.

Day #599 V Cense / Brasserie de Jandrain-Jandrenouille, Jandrain-Jandrenouille, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: IV Saison, which was just ok.

Hard to believe it's Wednesday again.  Today's review comes from another beer poured at Moeder Lambic pre-cycling.  I chose a big bottle of V Cense, a farmhouse ale from Jandrain-Jandrenouille.  This beer was totally a "roll the dice" beer, as I had ordered something else that was out of stock, and told the waiter (who certainly knew his stuff) to bring me whatever he thought might be close to what I wanted.  It arrived nestled into a wicker basket, and we'd find that many big bottle purchases (750ml) arrived with such fanfare. To show them off? To keep them cool?  Don't know.  Didn't ask.

In the glass, there was a bright amber color and monstrous fluffy white had.  There were aromas of malt, bread, and spice, and when you take a sip you get more of the same.  A dry beer with some malt sweetness, a bit of peppery spice, touches of lemony citrus and hints of tartness.  Solid choice, although not a world class offering in my book.
Wow, this picture SUCKS
Their website is so bad it's actually kind of funny.  Click here, and see why.  Okay, fine, I'll just tell you in case you're lazy.  It's just a picture of the label from their IV Saison.  Nothing else.  Why?  No idea.  Why do they number their beers?  No idea.  I do know that this brewery is in a town smack dab in the middle of Belgium, so there's that.

Thing to Think About Today:
So obviously that website needs some work.  Wait... did I just say work?  Let's think about combining work with my bottle of V and let Dolly Parton close out with her rendition of 9 to 5 from a recent episode of The Today Show.  Congrats for getting through another day of work... one day closer to retirement!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 598: Fort Lapin Quad

Since I wrote all about Fort Lapin in my last post, I'm just going to leave this here for y'all. Lapin means bunny! Whoa, bunny!
Yee-haw!
The other beer that I had from Fort Lapin was the Quadrupel.

It poured a deep, chocolatey brown color with a loose tan head. It smelled fantastic and almost reminded me of cotton candy. The flavor was good but slightly unexpected for a quad. There was much more spice in there than I anticipated. Coriander, cinnamon, cloves. Then there was lots of big malt flavor, some dark fruit. It had a very rich, complex flavor.

Beer stats
Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 10%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Fort Lapin
My review of the Tripel
Mr. Blog Named Brew's review of the same 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hail to the Lion

Day #597 Vlaamsche Leeuw Donker / Brouwerij van Vlaanderen, Oostkamp, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: N/A, this beer is the first out the limo!

I know, I know.  You're already sick of hearing about Belgium, and reading about Belgium, and seeing pictures of Belgium.  I do apologize, but if I flew halfway around the planet to visit the beer capital of the world, I'm going to continue boring you until I run out.

Tonight's selection is a bottle of Vlaamsche Leeuw, from Brouwerij van Vlaanderen.  It came in a bottle during a visit to the town of Kortrijk, a short bike ride away from the French border.  This is the donker, which means dark beer in Flemish, but like all breweries in Belgium they also make a blonde.  In the glass, you see a rich, dark brown color with a lingering fluffy head.  Your nose finds caramel and apples, and when you take a sip you get delicious, caramel malt sweetness with touches of dark fruits.  For most of the trip, I stayed with lighter beers and tended to not choose donkers, but this one was a great call - and one I'm not likely to find in America any time soon!!!
The say what now?
For those of you who want a super brief international diplomacy lesson, Belgium was at one time part of several other countries, including France.  It's not any longer, but people in the Flanders region in the northern part of the country, which speaks Flemish (a variation of Dutch), don't always see eye to eye with the predominately French speaking part of the country in the south.  The phrase Vlaamsche Leeuw translates to Flemish Lion, and is actually the name of the national anthem of the Flemish people.  The lion symbol on the glass and bottle can be found on many flags flown over Flanders, and the bad blood between France and Belgium goes back to 1300 or so.  These guys can hold a grudge!

Looks like this beer is contract brewed at de Proef, a large brewer where smaller guys come to brew beer rather than investing in the bricks and mortar needed to start up their own production facilities.  I'm more or less okay with this practice, as long as the brewery in question participates in the brewing and not just mails in a recipe.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of all things Flanders and anyone smart enough to pick a lion as your mascot, I present to you some Mumford and Sons, with the always awesome Little Lion Man.  Which of course would be Beetje Leeuw Man in Flemish (I think), which doesn't really roll off the tongue.  Going with a live version from Red Rocks, where I will eventually see a concert in person.  Eventually.  Have a good night all... I regret to inform you more Belgium is on the way when I write again next.

"Take all the courage you have left / And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 596: Fort Lapin Tripel

I need some Sunday Funday plans stat! All this reminiscing about the Great Beercycling vacation of 2013 is making me long for more adventure. And right now the only adventure in my future is some shoe shopping later today.

You know who's on one heck of an adventure? Kristof, owner and brewer at Brouwerij Fort Lapin. He cashed in his day job and started a tiny little brewery in Bruges where he makes two beers--a tripel and a quad.
Kristof proving that beer makes you happy.
He shared with our tour group that he just wants to make beer and be happy. He's got the beer covered and I can honestly say that he certainly seemed happy when we met him. The name Fort Lapin references a fort that used to exist nearby and supposedly lapin means bunny in French--thus the cute little ears on the logo.

Clearly beer makes Mr. Blog Named Brew happy! That
goofy grin was plastered on his face for the entire ten days!
Today I'm reviewing the tripel.


It pours a bright yet hazy straw color with a full bright white head. It has a very soft beer aroma. The flavor is full and round. There's a little spice in there along with green grass and lemon. The ABV is hidden very well.

Beer stats
Style: Tripel
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Fort Lapin
Another take on the tripel

Saturday, July 27, 2013

She Works Hard for the Money

Day #595 Fruits Des Bois / Brasserie St. Feuillien, Le Roeulx, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: the Saison and La Blanche

Welcome to the weekend!  Keeping with the recent theme and just recapping a beer from Belgium rather than boring you with the details of my day (Hint: I'm making pickles today).

Today's beer is a Fruits Des Bois, a grisette beer from St. Feuillien, a brewery in the southern part of Belgium.  This beer is brewed with fruit, and poured a Kool-Aid sort of raspberry color with a somewhat pink fluffy head.  When you take a sip, you get a tart flavor of black cherries and raspberries, with a very, very mild salinity.  While this beer does have a clear sweetness, it's thankfully nowhere as sweet as it looks. Rather light and refreshing (only 3.5% ABV), this beer is quite tasty and comes in a fun glass, as seen in this picture below.
Thankfully, not Kool-Aid
I found this one on draft at Moeder Lambic, a superb beer bar in Brussels we hit before the biking officially commenced.  One thing I noticed was that despite Belgium being the beer capital of the world, many restaurants kept their beer lists small (perhaps due to the fact each different beer they serve gets a set of unique glasses that need to be kept somewhere) and stuck to the very well known brand names - Duvel, Leffe Blonde, etc.  That isn't to say there aren't fantastic beer bars or unique finds, but you just can't expect to walk in to any restaurant, bar, or cafe and expect to find something as unique as this grisette.

As a reminder, grisette is a style of beer that originated in France and was named for the plain clothed working women would bring beer to the miners and workers.  The name of this beer translates roughly to "fruits of the forest."  Now you know.

Things to Think About Today:
If grisettes were working class women, we leave you today with The Rolling Stones and their rollicking ode to hard working ladies, Factory Girl.  It's about as close to country as I'm ever going to get.... so enjoy!

"Waiting for a girl, we get drunk on Friday nights"

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 594: Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar

I think today's beer review is of one that was the first post-Beercycling ride beer that I had on the trip. It was consumed in the town of Kortrijk, but I have no idea what the name of the place was. It seems that my Day 1 itinerary has gone missing! Eek!

You'll note that the beer photo is also missing. It's currently trapped in Mr. Blog Named Brew's phone so hopefully he'll get my email soon and send it along. Keep your fingers crossed.

In lieu of a beer photo for the moment, Even though the photo has arrived, please enjoy some scenery from Day 1 of the great Beercycling adventure...
Me and my bike in France! It was a brief sojourn...maybe 3 minutes. 
Lots of churches and religious icons on this trip.
Luckily none of them crumbled when my non-churchgoing self was nearby!

Now that's how you build a bridge.
Teeny archways around your building? Why not!
So what about that beer? The L'Enfant Terrible is brewed at Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar. Curious about the translation, I learned that it means "the daughter of the ear of corn" and that's synonymous with the word beer. From old records, it appears that Emperor Charles V around 1550 preferred the "juice of the daughter of the ear of corn" better than the "blood of grapes." In other words, Charles preferred beer over wine. Me too, Charles, me too.

L'Enfant Terrible is a gueuze style beer. It poured a sort of wet straw color with a big white head. The flavor is crisp and clean. Lots of spice and lemon with a fair amount of funk. Very refreshing and just was the dochter ordered. (Pun intended. Ha!)

Beer stats
Style: Gueuze
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from De Dochter van de Korenaar
A look at Belle Fleur

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zot!

Day #593 Brugse Zot / Brouwerij de Halve Maan, Brugse, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: Straffe Hendrick Tripel and more Straffe Hendrick Tripel

Today's a hustle day, so not much commentary on Belgium, but today's beer is a the lovely Brugse Zot, a blonde ale from de Halve Maan, a brewery in the also lovely town of Brugse - also spelled Brugge. This multiple spelling depends on whether you're applying the Flemish or French spelling, as all things in Belgium are spelled in both languages.  Confusing?  At times.

While this picture is from a bar near the Friday Market, a square in the center of town, our group did tour the brewery, although we didn't get a VIP tour.  The "gen pop" tour was interesting, even if you could tell the jokes from the guide get recycled more than an empty beer bottle.  We did get to go on the roof and catch this view, which was pretty awesome:
Nice view
Anyway, on to the beer.  In the glass, you see a dark gold color with a light aroma of citrus, floral hops and grain. This beer is brewed with four kinds of malt, and it shows with a nice balance of flavors and some decent sweetness.  Very good summertime beer, which checks in at a manageable 6% ABV.  If you see this one, you should try this one!
Smile for the camera, Zot
According to our tour guide, Zot is a phrase for joker or idiot, or someone who lives within the walls of Brugge (or Brugse).  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
Is Vampire Weekend awesome?  Yes.  Do you love song of the summer Blurred Lines?  Yes.  Do you want Vampire Weekend covering Blurred Lines?  OF COURSE YOU DO!  Yes, you can click on the embedded video below, but to see video of this performance, click here for some awesomeness.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 592: Brouwerij De Ranke

I always have a little pang of guilt when I post a photo of a beer in another brewery's glass. After visiting Belgium, that guilt has been ratcheted up by a factor of 100!

Everywhere we went, no matter the size of the bar or restaurant, the beer always was served in a properly shaped and branded glass. In fact, many of the soft drinks were served in branded glassware. That will make me think twice about what glass I grab out of the cupboard at home.

We're heading back to La Trappiste in Brugge for tonight's review.
This is the Cuvée De Ranke from Brouwerij De Ranke. It poured a cloudy apricot color with a thin white head. It smells minerally...like damp rocks. The flavor is tart. Reminds me of acidic fruit but not quite lemony. There's a little grassiness to it along with some woodiness.

Lucky for me, De Ranke does export to the United States. Now I just need to figure out where exactly!

Beer stats
Style: Belgian pale ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from De Ranke
As is the case for many of the beers being reviewed this week, Cuvée De Ranke is first out the limo.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All Things Quint

Day #591 Quintine Blonde / Brasserie Ellezelloise, Ellezelles, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: N/A, this beer is the first out the limo!

Next up on the parade of Belgian beers is Quintine Blonde, which comes from one of the hardest breweries I've had to spell, Brasserie Ellezelloise (pronounced "Ell-zell-woz").  This beer was one of the hundreds available on the menu at Cambrinus, a great restaurant in Brugge.  In the goblet, this beer has a light amber hue with a fluffy white head - a very common feature of Belgian beers.  There's a light aroma of yeast and grain and sweet malt, and the taste brings an excellent malt flavor, with just a hint of bitterness on the finish. This beer is easy to drink and tasty, and hides an ABV of 8% rather well.  It paired particularly well with the seriously giant pot of mussels I had for dinner, which were both plentiful and delicious in a broth made with the house beer.

One of the nice parts of the trip were that there were no germaphobes in the group; whenever someone ordered a new beer, it would almost immediately get passed around so everyone could have a sip and render an opinion. The Quintine Blonde was a new beer for everyone at the table, and was universally regarded as an excellent Belgian Tripel.
Another good logo
This brewery, located in the French speaking Wallonia region of Belgium south of Brussels, has been in business since 1993, and this beer and their witch on a broomstick logo come from a local folk tale. Works for me!

Thing to Think About Today:
Drinking a Quintine, eating shellfish..... makes me think of Quint, the salty fisherman/shark expert from the movie Jaws.  Great movie from Steven Spielberg that made just about everyone afraid to go in the water - with very, very good reason.  Headed to the beach this summer?  Stick to eating mussels and drinking beer.. it's safer.  Consider this mini-Shark Week here in my corner of the blog, and have a great night!

"You're gonna need a bigger boat..."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 590: Urthel Saisonniere

Day 2 of the Beercycling trip took us from Kortrijk to Zwalm (roughly 32 miles) with a stop in Oudenaarde. The schedule was ride through the morning, find a great picnic spot for lunch, head off on another leg of the journey to a brewery (Liefman's on this particular day) and then finally a few more miles to the hotel.


This looks pretty ok for a picnic!
What I particularly enjoyed about this trip was the variety of towns we encountered along the way. I feel like I got a great sense of what life in Belgium is like. Accommodations for the night were at Hotel De Brouwerij (translation The Brewery Hotel) in the town of Zwalm, which I'm pretty sure had cows outnumbering humans at a ratio of four to one. But despite the very rural surroundings, we had an excellent meal at De Brouwerij that was accompanied by an impressive beer list.

B&B in an old brewery? Why, yes, I will.
Unfortunately for me as I begin to piece all my notes and photos back together post-trip, I'm realizing I did not take the greatest notes. The tasting notes are workable. It goes off the rails when I try to figure out from blurry backgrounds of photographs where the beer was consumed during the trip. I know I took notes on something I drank this day, but I can't quite put my hands on the right photo.

Instead I'll fast forward a few nights to a new bar in Brugge named La Trappiste. It's in a super cool underground space that I was told was about 800 years old. Not bad. Not bad at all. That's the scene where I drank an Urthel Saisonniere brewed by De Leyerth Brouwerijen.

Urthel Saisonniere is a unique combination of saison and white beer. The description from the brewery's website calls it a sparkling golden, slightly cloudy, refreshing, easy drinking beer with a nice bite. I can assure you that this description is spot on. In addition to a slightly cloudy blond color ale, it had a dense white head. The flavor is bright and a little grassy with lots of clean hop flavor. At this point on the trip, my allergies were going bonkers and I couldn't get a good read on it's aroma. Let's go with delicious beer for the smell.

Beer stats
Style: Saison
ABV: 6%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Urthel/De Leyerth
A now impossible-to-find tripel Hibernus Quentum

Sunday, July 21, 2013

King Me!

Day #589 Tripel 8 / Brouwerij Fort Lapin, Bruges, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: n/a... this beer is the first out the limo!

As some of you may have read yesterday, this blog has just returned from a 13 day trip to Belgium, which included an awesome ten day bike tour through the Flanders region of the country.  For those of you who like cycling, travel, and drinking amazing beers, I cannot recommend the good people at beercycling.com enough!  Evan and Henk, our guides, did a fantastic job of putting together itineraries for each day, getting us behind the scenes access at world class breweries, feeding us, and making sure we had a great time.

I don't intend to review every beer I drank in Belgium (sometimes, taking notes is way less fun than just enjoying a beer), I don't intend to review every beer in the order they were drank (not that I even remember what order they came in), and I won't recap every minute of every day spent across the pond (do you really care what I had for lunch in Ghent?).  I will, however, highlight a few key points, mention some of the cool things I saw, and OF COURSE review many of the incredible beers I drank.  Don't expect the reviews to be overly lengthy; like I said, I had more fun drinking them than I did writing about them.

First up was a visit we paid to Brouwerij Fort Lapin, a newcomer on the Belgian brewing scene.  Housed in an old chocolate factory, this brewery was started by Kristof Vandenbussche - a former HVAC specialist who loved brewing beer.  Named for the local fort (and Lapin means 'rabbit' in French, in case you were wondering about the logo), this brewery only produces two beers, and doesn't ship outside of their local area.  Why?  Because Kristof only wants to brew enough beer to pay the bills and be happy.  He's not trying to be beer giant InBev.  Smart thinking, and I'm sure one that affords him much happiness.

I sampled both of the beers there, and today's review is for the Tripel 8, which poured a hazy gold color with a nice, white, fluffy head.  The taste was dry, with promintent notes of grain, and a balance of malt and mild bitterness.  A typical but tasty Belgian blonde beer - and refreshing after our ride from Ghent over to Brugge. One interesting thing I noticed; Americans are quick to categorize their beers and create new "unique" styles. In Belgium, unless you're talking lambics or gueuze, you pretty much get blonde and bruin as your styles.   They keep it simple, and I like that.
Nice glass....
How's this for good timing?  As I write this review, it's Belgian National Day!  Basically, that's like their 4th of July, as it commemorates the day Leopold I swore his allegiance, becoming the first "King of the Belgians".  Special meaning this year, as King Albert II is abdicating the throne, and his son, Crown Prince Phillipe, is taking over.

Thing to Think About Today:
In honor of King Phillipe's ascendance to the throne, I present America's version of The King, Elvis Presley, in tribute.  Long live the new King, the seventh Belgium has ever known.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 588: Beercycling to De Plukker

From July 5 to July 17, Mr. Blog Named Brew and I were off on an adventure of a lifetime--nearly two weeks spent exploring Belgium and Luxembourg. Ten of those days were spent with a group from Beercycling. What's Beercycling? Only the greatest way ever to experience Belgium! Evan and Henk are fantastic guides and I can't begin to express how much I appreciated Henk hanging with me at the back of the pack while we were tackling hills. Hills are not part of my regular rides and they gave me plenty of grief in Belgium. Lucky for me, Henk has the patience of a saint.
Evan, Mr. Blog Named Brew, me and Henk celebrating
the finish (victory?) at Cantillon.
The Beer Cycling Gang!
I honestly can't recommend this trip enough. If you like cycling even a little bit and if you like amazing Belgian beer, you need to start saving your pennies and make this trip happen. We enjoyed it so much, we're already talking about doing it again in a couple of years. Here's some highlights from the trip. I hope to recap in a bit more detail during the next several days. I'm still having a hard time believing I actually did this!
Location of our first beer of the trip
What was it like? We saw towns and cities of all sizes...from sleepy Zwalm to bustling Bruges to historic Ghent. Most of the brewery tours were incredibly personal as in a sixth generation family brewer came to hang out with our group and open a magnum of Gulden Draak that's been aging since 2009. Yeah, that happened.
Seriously. The entire country looks like a damn postcard.
Those experiences were contrasted nicely with a couple of "standard" tours like the one at De Halve Maan.
More history, less brewery in action. Loved the Bruges Zot!
It was peaceful. It was hot--evidently I can't flee far enough to get away from the heat. It even finds me halfway around the world! I learned so much about beer and about Belgium. I also learned that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. The nine miles of hills on Tuesday morning proved that. Pedaling 220+ miles in broiling temperatures also provided some evidence.

Typical lunch setting. Park the bikes, set up a picnic,
pinch myself to prove it's really real.
It wasn't all biking, beer and goofing off. This is the Last Post
ceremony--conducted every day to honor the war dead. Poignant.
After the tour ended, we were off to Luxemburg City for about 30 hours. I think I'm going to let the photos do the talking. 
Memorial celebrating Luxembourg's freedom
Luxemburg City. A city divided by a massive ravine. 
As we do here in the States, Luxemburg City had an art installation
involving tons of these fun little elephant statues. This one
reminded me of Belgium with the giant wind turbines!

I wasn't kidding about that ravine!
One of the highlights of this trip--and there were many--was the chance to meet the owners/brewers of such a variety of breweries. Take for example, De Plukker. We met Joris Cambie, who is one of the two owners of what's best described as a nanobrewery. He comes from a long line of hop farmers and a couple of years ago with a good friend decided to start brewing with his own hops.

Sadly I won't be drinking these hops next year.
I don't think De Plukker will be distributing to the U.S. for awhile.
One of the highlights of this trip--and there were many--was the chance to meet the owner/brewer of such a variety of breweries. Take for example, De Plukker. We met Joris Cambie one of the two owners of what's best described as a nanobrewery. He comes from a long line of hop farmers and a couple of years ago with a good friend decided to start brewing with his own hops. The result? De Plukker blond. An amazingly refreshing blond ale that hit the spot during one of the hottest days on the tour. Coolest part about this stop on the tour? Sitting drinking a beer brewed with hops that were grown right outside the brewery's door.


The Keikoppen bier (blond) poured a hazy deep straw color with a huge craggy white head. It had a great--and very refreshing--citrus aroma. The flavor is well balanced with the hops having just a bit of an edge. Lots of good beer flavor, a hint of pepper, good amount of citrus. Very smooth. Maybe it was the heat or exhaustion influencing my notes, but I thought this was an excellent beer.

Beer stats
Style: Blond
ABV: 6.1%
IBUs: 32
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from De Plukker
This is the first!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Damn (Dang?)

Day #587  / Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
Previously from this brewery: All sorts of Russian River goodness from my favorite brewery on earth

Can you believe Friday is here already?  I am seriously glad that I have a Saturday and Sunday in front of me to relax, unwind, and get back to a normal groove.  I'm jumping right into a beer review, because seriously: it's a Friday, and you're too busy having fun to read this.  Not too much fun, though.  There's a whole weekend ahead of you!

Tonight is a bottle of Damnation from Russian River, another bottle that was in a birthday gift from a friend. This golden ale pours with a clear, bright gold and thin head.  There are tons of bready aromas of yeast, with an almost nutty quality as well.  The taste has more of a biscuit quality, with fruity notes of apple and some faint banana in there as well.  There's an earthy vibe, too.  This beer is fantastic - definitely not their best work ever, but considering that their best work is absolutely the best beers in the world, even their more "average" work is still pretty damn good.
Damn, yo.
Thing to Think About Today:
Damnation sounds a bit more depressing than I care to think about (even if I don't believe in the afterlife versions of heaven and hell that everyone seems to cling to), but I can appreciate the word 'damn.'  Who doesn't love a well placed yet mild curse word?  Let's go back to 1992 and let Sophie B. Hawkins close things out with her always awesome and sex mix-ready Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover.  Enjoy your night, friends....

"You're the only shoe that fits / I can't imagine I'll grow out of it"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Get your Head Right

Day #586 Headwaters Pale Ale / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: So much easier to just click this link rather than have me list them all

Thursday... I think that means it's time for a beer review.  I had a bottle of this in my fridge from a Friday night Phillies game tailgate a few weeks back.  Ah, tailgates with good friends... always fun.  ALWAYS.

You know what else is fun?  Beer reviews, such as this one for a bottle of Headwaters from Victory.  You see a clear dark gold hue with a thin, lingering white head.  Your nose picks up aromas of citrus and light caramel, and when you drink it down you get a mellow bitterness throughout, with a nice mix of pine and lemon, with bready notes from the malt.  At a rather manageable 5.1% ABV, this pale ale is a very good, easy drinking beer - but you shouldn't expect anything less than great beers from Victory!
Get your head right.
Thing to Think About Today:
This song doesn't have much to do with anything I wrote today, but I've realized that it's been ages since I dropped some Sublime into this space.  With their mellow vibe, Sublime is always appropriate for a summer day, don't you agree?  Coming straight out of the summer of '97, let's all relax with some Santeria.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Can Brown Do for You?

Day #585 Brekle's Brown / Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA
Previously from this brewery: Anchor Steam (a Top 25 beer) and Liberty Ale

Keeping things moving today, and getting right down to business with another beer review.  Hopefully your day is treating you well!  Today your beer review is  bottle of Brekle's Brown from Anchor Brewing, in San Francisco.  This brown ale pours with a light brown color and just a hint of head around the edge.  There are aromas of sweet malt, and when you take a sip you get flavors of toffee and citrus, with big doses of malt which give a nice sweetness and touch of roasted flavor to the beer.  There's a touch of chocolate at the finish, too which gives it a nice, rich finish.  Good beer, but I wouldn't expect anything else from a legendary American brewery. Curious about the name of the beer?  It's a homage to the original brewer who opened the brewery... keep reading to learn more.
Soooo handsome
About that name.... from their website: "Anchor Brewing’s roots date back to the early 1850s and the California gold rush, when pioneer brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco from Germany. In 1871, he purchased an old beer-and-billiards saloon near Russian Hill and transformed it into the little brewery that—twenty-five years later—would be renamed Anchor."

Thing to Think About Today:
You know that a brown ale is likely to bring some Bobby Brown!  Let's all get down to some Every Little Step to close things out here.  What's not to love about spandex shorts and suspenders?  I totally need to bring that look back, along with the blazer with shoulder pads but no shirt.  Fashion, yo!

"A girl like you is like a dream come true / a real life fantasy"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hands Up!

Day #584 Caskette / Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
Previously from this brewery:  Is it lazy that I just link you to the Tired Hands tag rather than listing out all of the TH beers?  Maybe.  Or maybe I'm just efficient.

Keeping things brief, as it's been a busy week.  But you're not here to hear about me and my problems, you're here to learn about beer.  I don't know, I guess that's why you're here.  Maybe you're here to feel better about yourself after reading about my problems.  Either way, I'm fine with it.  I do appreciate you reading, regardless of your motivation.

If today is Tuesday, then I'm making one more back in time review from an old visit to Tired Hands.  Up to bat is a glass of Caskette, a "hoppy golden ale."  In a pint glass, this beer is an orange amber color, with a fluffy white head that lingers.  The aroma is of bread and citrus, and when you take your first sip you pick up flavors of cracker, lemon, flowers, and earthy pine.  This beer is light and refreshing - I ended up ordering two.  Sue me.
Fuzzy.  Deal with it.
Thing to Think About Today
I suppose if I'm drinking Tired Hands, I'll close things out with Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional. Enjoy your evening, dear friends.  Be good.  I miss you all.

"My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me / So won't you kill me, so I die happy"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Five Alive

Day #583 5 Out Of 5 / Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
Previously from this brewery: Um, many beers.  Easier to just click this link and read about them.

And another Monday comes and goes.  Hopefully you all survived intact.  For today's review I'm going in the Wayback Machine and pulling out an old review from Tired Hands that has been hiding in the back. Today's beer is the 5 Out Of 5, an Imperial Stout.  This beer was touted as a "must drink," and based on how quickly they were going through kegs of this stout, I figured it was worth a try.  In the glass, you seee a dark black color and thin tan head (just like every other stout ever, but I still feel the need to describe the appearance of every beer I drink).  When you inhale, you get..... a lot.  Espresso, nutty, malt.  When you take a sip, there's a crazy mix of maple syrup, peanut, slightly toasted malt, and a big dose of sweetness. Considering this beer was brewed with marshmallow and maple syrup, that sweetness is of no surprise. Stouts aren't usually my cup of tea, but there's so many good things going on in this beer, I would gladly have another.  In fact, I'd like to have this beer with breakfast, if possible.
The always fun window art
Tired Hands changes beers frequently, so I guess I can give them a pass on having a website that never seems to be updated.  I guess.....

Thing to Think About Today:
Okay, so we have a beer called 5 Out of 5, and I drank it in the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore.  Which of course means it's time to think about Ben Folds (he of the Ben Folds Five) and the catchy Rockin' the Suburbs.  Enjoy your Monday, dear friends.  I sincerely hope you kicked some ass today.

"Let me tell you what it's like / being male, middle class, and white"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Goodnight, Readers

Beer #582 La Petroleuse / The Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD
Previously from this brewery: Resurrection, more Resurrection, Green Peppercorn Tripel, Le Canard

Happy Sunday!  Keeping that hustle going, so tonight it's another review coming up from The Brewer's Art in Baltimore, this time a bottle of La Petroleuse, a Biere de Garde.  This one pours with a light amber hue and a lingering white head.  There are aromas of faint citrus and bread, and you find flavors of biscuit, lemon, apple, and peppery spice, with a dry finish.  You definitely notice the alcohol, but it's not an unpleasant sensation. This is an excellent beer for summer weather, and definitely a great example of the Biere de Garde style.  Find a bottle and buy it if you can.
Doesn't that look nice? It does.
A portion of the proceeds for this beer go to causes that support women's entrepreneurship.  Once again, beer drinkers are saving the world!

Thing to Think About Today:
Can I write a post about Baltimore that doesn't reference The Wire, greatest television show ever?  I can, but why on Earth would I want to?  Baltimore and The Wire are downright inseparable in my mind.  I'll let Detective Kima Greggs send us home for the night with her rendition of Goodnight Moon.  Bal'mer style.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Russian Roulette

Beer #581 Consecration / Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
Previously from this brewery: Look at a sampler, another sampler (and a reminder, this is THE greatest sampler of all time), some ultra-white whale & Top 25 Pliny the Younger, a Pliny the Elder, and a vertical tasting of Supplication

Today's review is a bottle of Consecration from Russian River, which came as part of a birthday gift from a friend a few months back.  This sour ale has a reddish mahogany color, and your nose quickly finds a tart aroma of stone fruit and vinegar.  You pick up flavors of barely there hints of leather, cherries, and grapes, with an oak dryness on the finish.  But mostly you notice the lovely sour quality from the yeasts.  At 10% ABV, this is one of the strongest beers Russian River produces, but you barely notice the alcohol.  Just delicious, this beer would pair well with cheese.  Although, most everything pairs well with cheese, really.
Don't let the knife scare you.
A friendly reminder that Russian River won my Brewery of the Year Award during the initial year of this blog.  High praise, indeed, as I'm kind of a big deal.

Thing to Think About Today:
If the supreme song of the summer is Blurred Lines, then this is the song that you'll hear 1,000 times and eventually wonder why it was popular to begin with.  But you WILL hear it at least 1,000 more times this summer.  So therefore I give you Icona Pop and their one-hit wonder, I Love It.  Please note: crashing your car into a bridge is NOT a good idea, regardless of how much fun this song makes it sound.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 580: La Choulette Ambree

Yesterday's post wiped out my supply of reviews from Troegs so we're now switching gears and heading across the pond to France.
Brasserie La Choulette Ambree is a biere de garde--a traditional French ale--brewed in France. It pours a ruby-hued brown ale with a light tan head. It smells of earthy honey, marmalade and pepper. The flavor is on the sweeter side with notes of caramel apples. It has a bite that is peppery at the finish. The mouthfeel is full and the finish is refreshing.

This biere de garde is definitely at the bolder, fuller end of the spectrum and it actually reminds me of an abbey ale.

Beer stats
Style: Biere de garde
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from La Choulette
Mr. Blog Named Brew's review of La Choulette
Sans Culottes reviews from me and Mr.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 579: Troegs Flying Mouflan

I'm sad to write these words, but this is the final installment in my Troegs Beer Week. But on the upside, I guess it also means another trek out to Hershey to see what's new in their tasting room!
This is Troegs's barleywine--the Flying Mouflan. It pours a hazy brown colored ale with a pale tan head. I swear it smells slightly of Parmesan. The flavor is sharp and quite good. It's very much wine-like and there is a lot of fig in the flavor. There's hints of chocolate. It's spicy and not just peppery spice. As it warmed up a bit, I thought I tasted golden raisins. In my notes, I underlined golden raisins quite emphatically. So be warned, it doesn't just taste like any old raisins. It's the golden raisins.

The fine folks at Troegs suggest cellaring the Flying Mouflan in a cool dark place at 50 degrees for a minimum of four months. That will mellow out the hops and wash away the heat--noting that if one can resist the temptation to drink it all immediately, one would be rewarded with two memorable beers in a single bottle.

Sadly I didn't think to buy a bottle when they were around. Maybe next year I'll succeed.

And in case you're also wondering what a "Flying Mouflan" is, I have no idea. I know I like saying it aloud. Try it. Flying Mouflan! Fun, right? Since I had this one on draft at Troegs' tasting room, I don't have a photo of the bottle. The label depicts a winged, furry bottle cap with a devil's tail. OK. Sure. I suppose after drinking more than one of these--noting they weigh in at 9.3% ABV--that will make sense. I stopped at one. Maybe next year I'll try a second and see if it gives me any clarity.

Until then...FLYING MOUFLAN!

Beer stats
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: 100-ish (that's from Troegs website)
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from TroegsPreviously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine PilsAlso check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 578: Troegs Perpetual IPA

And then there was one...
...one sample of Troegs Perpetual IPA. It poured a crystal clear golden ale with a very white head. It had a super hoppy, pungent aroma. The flavor was bright and bold. Lots of hop flavor. Citrus pith, grapefruit, a little lemon in the finish. If you like hoppy beers, this is one for you.

Upon a bit of research, I learned this beer has ALL THE HOPS! It's brewed with Bravo, Chinook, Mt. Hood, and Nugget. Then it's dry-hopped with Citra and Cascade. So there's a little flavor for you!

Beer stats
Style: Imperial pale ale
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 85
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from TroegsPreviously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine PilsAlso check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 577: Troegs Javahead Stout

Random facts about me:

1. I could eat pizza every day of the week. Cheese pizza, why are you so good?

2. I wish I was shinier and happier. Faking it is really exhausting sometimes.

3. I love the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I love it to an embarrassing degree.


While I was at Troegs, I'm pretty sure I heard this beer sing, "I know you want it" to me. 

It's the Troegs Javahead stout. And hot damn! It is an excellent beer. It pours black as night with a tan head. It has a strong coffee aroma. The flavor is mildly bitter. Lots of coffee. Lots of hop. There's some undertones of cola flavor. It drinks with a thin mouthfeel.

Man, I'm a sucker for a good coffee stout.

Beer stats
Style: Stout
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 60
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from TroegsPreviously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine PilsAlso check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 576: The Troegenator

Day 4 of Troegs Beer Week brings us the Troegenator!

It's a doublebock or alternately a doppelbock. What's that, you ask?

Bocks are relatively strong German lagers. Doppel- or doublebocks are even stronger. Double the bock. Get it? Generally they have a full body and are darker than a regular bock and have a higher ABV. Color ranges from dark amber to nearly black.

So why is there always a goat on the label? Based on a little Internet research...the bock style was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the town of Einbeck. The style was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced "Einbeck" as "ein Bock" ("a billy goat"), and thus the beer became known as "bock". To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.

Now you know. So how was the Troegenator? It poured a beautiful mahogany color with a tan head. It smells boozy and resinous. It has a thick mouthfeel. The flavor is very malty...lots of caramel. I didn't think it tasted overly alcoholic but it definitely gave me that warm, fuzzy feel inside.

Beer stats
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 25
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from TroegsPreviously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine PilsAlso check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 575: Troegs Hopback Amber

Taking this look back at all the great beer I had from Troegs makes me want to road trip to Hershey all over again!
This one is the Hopback amber ale--a flagship beer from Troegs. It's advertised as being packed full of whole hop flowers. Let me tell you that those whole hop flowers certainly do wonders for this beer. It has a fresh hoppy aroma. There's a great spiciness to the flavor and rich caramel notes throughout. It's everything it's advertised to be! I also noted a bit of black tea in it as well.

Beer stats
Style: Amber ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 55
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine PilsAlso check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 574: Troegs Pale Ale

Is it weird that my first instinct when seeing a beautiful flight of beers like this is to paint a room a new color? OK, I lie. My first instinct is nomz, nomz, nomz! Then I think about how pretty they are.
Honestly. Look at the one in the middle. Gorgeous!
Troegs Beer Week continues with a Pale Ale review. It poured a very crisp golden color with a minimal white head. It has a peppery hop aroma. The flavor is spicy and smooth. There's a full mouthfeel. After it sat for a bit, I picked up some grapefruit in the nose and noted it had a nice buttery feel.

A note on Troegs facility in Hershey (Pennsylvania). It is a fantastic place to hang out and imbibe. If you've ever been to Green Flash in San Diego, it's a lot like that. Just a chill vibe and a ton of great beer. Don't let Troegs claim to just have a "snack bar" deter you either. There's a great variety of food and it's quite good. The beer flights include six 4.5oz pours so you get a really solid sense of their beer.

Beer stats
Style: American pale ale
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 45
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from TroegsPreviously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 * (kolsch), pale aleNugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine Pils. Also check out posts from this week on a number of Troegs beers. Why? Because it's Troegs Beer Week on Blog Named Brew!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 573: Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat

Odd fact about me: I love a good Rube Goldberg machine. And this one is amazing!


I'm not sure what part is the best. The angry nerd domino effect? The chomping fish? Golf balls playing percussion? The entire thing is totally amazing. Seriously.

You know what else is amazing? Troegs beer. It's so amazing that I'm declaring it Troegs Beer Week on a Blog Named Brew!

Let's start with DreamWeaver Wheat.
So pretty.
DreamWeaver Wheat pours a hazy wet straw color with a thin white head. It didn't have a powerful aroma, which was a bit surprising. The flavor is creamy banana, peppery with a mild hop finish. It's brewed with wheat, Munich and Pilsner malts, German Northern Brewer hops and uses an open top fermentation. There's also a yeast strain that imparts a peppery, clove taste with a slight hint of banana. Dear Troegs, you got this one right!

I noted that it didn't have much of a head. Per Troegs' website, they recommend "rousing the yeast" at the bottom of the bottle and pouring it into the glass for a big frothy head. I guess that doesn't work when it's on draught.

Beer stats
Style: Wheat ale
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 15
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Troegs
His review of Scratch 95 * (kolsch), pale ale, Nugget Nectar and Scratch 57 (weizenbock)
My review of Sunshine Pils

* The Scratch Series is Troegs experimental line of beers. My advice to you is to try them out whenever you see them. I've had some amazing beers that were part of the Scratch Series. Unfortunately for you, I was drinking for fun and not stressing about reviews when I had them. I'll try to do better for you in the future!