Archive for the ‘Beer Rating’ Category

The Beers of PitCon '09

September 30, 2009

Had some good ones.

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel – I’ve mentioned this in passing before.  This is an excellent utility beer.  Goes good at any time.  Highest Darkside of the Moon, probably a Time or Money.

Bell’s Octoberfest – Last year this was growing on me.  This year I’m appreciating it more.  There’s still the occasional bottle that just doesn’t hit it, but overall this is pretty good.  Rank it as a high Darkside of the Moon.

Bell’s Oberon – What I would consider as probably the signature beer from Bell’s.  Even though it’s supposed to be a summer seasonal, it seems like I’ve found it available year round.  It’s good and from a mini keg it’s even better.  This would be probably a mid Darkside of the Moon.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – This is such a _great_ beer.  This rivals my love for Bell’s HopSlam as my favorite all over beer.  The 60 minute version of this is a big step down with nothing special about it.  But the 90 minute is amazing.  I need to try the 120 minute version, but at $7.99 a bottle, I won’t make a habit of it.  I had the 120 on draft years ago, but that was before I became such a hop-head.  The 90 minute gets an Animals Sheep rating.

Widmer Bros Drifter Pale Ale – A delightful pale ale brought as a tribute to Pit Champion Zion’s Hope from the honorable Toolbox stable.  This was quite a treat that had a slight fruity surprise that I’ve not had in a pale ale.  I’d need to do some more research to be sure, but we’ll give this a preliminary rating of a low Darkside of the Moon.

Looking forward to having some more this weekend when #4 comes back for a second go of A Victory Denied.  Write up for that will follow before Friday.  Hopefully.



February 3, 2009

Last weekend provided me with a very spiritual experience.  I’ve been a beer snob since probably late 1997.  It was then that I discovered a whole subculture where quality was more important than quantity.  It’s probably a small part of the reason why I’m still here, as the mass produced stuff was going down far too easily back then.  I’ve slowly switched over to preferring one hearty porter or flavorful pale ale over to the self destructive behavior of my youth.  Not that relapses haven’t occurred.

For years, Rogue has been my favorite brewery.  Their Dead Guy Ale or Left Hand Brewing Company’s Black Jack Porter have been the beers I’d count as my favorite.  As years passed, I’ve probably moved more to the hop loving side of the spectrum as opposed to the more malty beers.  Pennsylvian high hop beers became the beers I’d haul back from my frequent treks to Pittsburgh.

But the weekend before last, I found the one true beer to rule them all.  I was so utterly blown away by the perfectness of this beer, I can’t even give it a proper review.  You have to experience it.  As most can probably tell, I’ve become a big fanboy of Bell’s Brewery since moving north of the border.  I’ve not tried one of their beers that I wouldn’t have again.  So it happened last Saturday that I saw two new selections at Flick’s that I hadn’t tried yet.  The Hopslam Ale and the Third Coast Old Ale.  Being the hophead that I am, the Hopslam was the obvious choice.

And it’s changed my world.  The smell of those sweet hops fills your nose and begins filling your now floating head with an explosion of endorphins.  It really is almost enough to just sit there with your nose in the glass.  Once you realize that you’ve had this stupid grin on your face and your nose nearly touching the golden liquid for the last five minutes, you decide it’s time to actually taste it.

That’s when there’s no turning back.  The hops explode all over your tongue.  The grin turns into a big smile.  The eyes close.  And you know what a viking in Valhalla must feel like.  The flavor takes an IPA and moves beyond it.  I’ve had the 60/90/120 minute versions of Dogfish Head IPA.  The 120 goes over the reasonable limit of what extreme hops should be and becomes too sweet.  The 90 is probably close and the 60 isn’t as far.  While those are all good, the Hopslam achieves utter hop perfection.  I found myself not wanting to have another sip each time because I didn’t want to finish it.  I wanted it to sit and maintain this perfection forever.  But of course I continued.  I find myself with this same feeling when thinking of drinking one of the six pack I picked up this weekend.  That feeling of not wanting a good thing to end.

But this good thing will end.  Soon.  Checking out their site, I found that this is one of their seasonal specialty beers.  It’s only available in January and part of February.  If this stuff was available year round, I’d probably never give another beer review here again (which would probably make most of you happy).  There would be no reason to ever buy a different brew again.

So once it’s gone, and the depression passes, the quest for a substitute to tied me over until next January will begin.  But in the mean time, this beer gets a rating of Meddle – Echoes.  This is the highest honor I can bestow in my scale.

Word of warning:
This is a potent piece of liquid bread.  The alcohol by volume (ABV) in HopSlam is 10%.  I realized this after getting about halfway through that first bottle.  It was quite a surprise to be feeling something so soon.  So keep this in mind.  Carve out a lot of time and don’t drink too many.

Blogged in accordance with the German Beer Purity Law of 1516

January 22, 2009

I gave the Warsteiner Premium Verum a spin.  I love it’s Dunkel brother (who I once spent a week at a hotel in Columbus writing Pit code with) so I had high hopes.  This pilsner didn’t dissappoint.  It’s easy drinking and another excellent choice for the “bred on Bud” man.  I’m still more a fan of the Dunkel, but partaking of both would be an enjoyable evening.  I just don’t know if I can find it easily around here.

I’m giving this a low to mid Darkside rating.

I think I’ve found the new tag line for this blog.

A year removed from the beginning

January 21, 2009

Today is an anniversary of sorts.  It was a year ago that I started the Part-Time Developer series.  I believe it made it 6 in length before things started moving in a hurry for me.  I’m in the process of lining things up for some similiar home work.  Yes I’ve been hinting at it for a while now, but it is coming together.

The year since that post was pretty hectic but I came home with a smile on my face today.  Why?  I had a good productive day at work and it just put me in a good mood.  It’s so nice to have those days.

I had the Indiana Amber from Oaken Barrel Brewing Company the other night.  It was very tasty.  If you like Killian’s Red, which it seems like most beer drinkers do, I think this would be an excellent choice to start coming over to the darkside of craft brews.  This is one I’d love to find a 6-pack of for a proper review.  I’m giving it a mini rating of a strong Darkside of the Moon.

Mini-reviews: Founders Brews

January 18, 2009

Founder’s Dirty Bastard is a Scotch style ale.  In the glass it looked like murky dark water.  I didn’t give it the in depth light bulb test, I just held it up to the lamp.  It had a nice taste.  These Scotch ales usually fall into the I love or hate category, no in-betweens.  But this one falls right in the middle at the moment.  Worth a second look and a possible six pack in the future.  It’s a mini rating of a high On An Island.

Since we’re on the topic of Founders Brewery, I had their Pale Ale late summer last year.  I made a note of it but never gave it a proper review.  I’ll only give it a mini rating now since it’s been so long and I made no documentation other than the name.  I know I really enjoyed it and thought it represented what a nice pale ale should be.  It will be one to try again and give a full review.  It gets a mini-rating of mid Darkside of the Moon.

Mini review: Spaten Premium

January 12, 2009

I’m currently sipping on a Spaten Premium from Spaten.  Even before opening it (and confirmed upon), this reminds me of Grolsch and other lagers of that ilk.  Green bottle, a somewhat skunky smell, and a bity taste.  I was into Grolsch for a while, though that may have been because of the cool stoppered bottle.

This lager’s got a okay taste, very light.  But that little bit of skunky bite is still there.  I think I’d pass this one up.  I’m gonna have to give this a mini-rating of a low On An Island.  I wouldn’t seek this one out.

I am interested in trying the Spaten Optimator.  I’ve always enjoyed Dopple Bock’s.

Mini review: Santa's Butt Winter Porter

January 11, 2009

Santa’s Butt has a rear view of Santa looking over a list and holding a mug of brew while sitting on a beer barrel.  The label explains that “butt” refers to a very large barrel used to hold beer.  This beer was banned for a short time in Maine because they worried it would appeal to children.

As porters go, this one is pretty unremarkable.  I’m a big lover of porters and I’ve got no complaints with this one.  It went down easy last night as a reward for blowing the driveway out again.  But it was just your normal porter.

So I’d have to give it a mini-rating of On An Island.  It was good, no complaints, but I wouldn’t actively seek it out again.

Woman: That's the answer

December 26, 2008

Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury… Ale

I think you know that beers that have entertaining labels bring me immense pleasure. Nothing like the brewery putting some thought into the label as much as the brew. This one has a small funny looking devil, replete with horns and pointy tail. He has a very tentative smile and worried eyes looking up at a lady, hands on hips, looking at him with an unhappy look on her face. Very fitting given the name of the beer.

The description from the back reads “A brew that gives you either sympathy for the devil or the courage to face him. Goes especially well with your favorite lost my girl/truck/dog/trailer song.” Not present on the bottle, but the six pack carrier shows is as an American Dubbel Dark Ale.

Pours out black as tar in the glass with a creamy brown head. No seeing any light through this. Initial reaction to this would make me think of a porter. Smells of roasted or burnt malts. It really makes you question the ale name.

First sip – WOW! It’s definitely not what you’d expect. Flavor explodes in your mouth. The liquid flows with a creamy thick smoothness across your tongue. It’s such a surprise that you just want to keep sipping it to allay your disbelief. That could be bad as the 7.5% alc. by volume gives it a kick that sneaks up on you. I can speak from experience that this is a heavy beer. Even having just one or two in an evening, you wake up knowing you drank something of quality.

Time for my ruling, start the drum roll please. Bell’s Brewery continues to amaze me. I’ve still not found one of their beers that I wouldn’t drink again. This isn’t a beer that you’d want to sit down and drink a whole six pack in one sitting. This is the sort that you sip by the fire or as you gaze out on the snow falling. As far as rating, this is a strong Animals. I’m going to give it my favorite song off that album, Dogs. This would be a great beer to sit and listen to all 17 minutes of Dogs and reflect on its meaning.

A hoot of an ale

November 23, 2008

It’s amazing how many of the different beers I’ve tried since moving north of the border are made right here in Michigan. It could be some preference of Flick’s to carry more local brews or maybe luck of the draw. I know I wouldn’t mind if they’d bring some Pennsylvania brews in also. I’ve had many a hoppy brew from there in the past.

Today’s selection is from Bell’s Brewery and is a seasonal that is just coming online. It’s their Best Brown Ale.

It’s got a soft brown color and not a lot of head with the pour. My sniffer isn’t working very well at the moment so I can’t comment on the smell. It’s got a nice malty taste. Smooth as silk as it glides over the tongue. It then finishes with some some sweetness at the back of the tongue. At times, I almost get a slight porter-type taste, which is a real treat for me. This is a wonderful introduction to the cold weather before moving on to the hearty porter and stouts that are great to sip by the fire.

Ah, which reminds me of the bottle which shows an owl sitting on a snow kissed fence post.

According to the FloydWing scale, this one makes a strong midrange Darkside of the Moon showing.

All Jacked Up

October 22, 2008

I had bought the Jaw-Jacker Ale from Arcadia Brewing Company back on the weekend when I missed the Octobeerfest.  I thought I’d have my own tastings of a variety of brews.  It didn’t work out that way and I had brews in the fridge for quite a while.  I bought it thinking it was a pumpkin ale.  Now I’m one that doesn’t get into the fruit and other girly crap some breweries throw in their brews, but after having an amazingly tasty Pumpkin Ale that tasted like Thanksgiving pumpkin pie at the 2007 Octobeerfest (which I discovered I never blogged about), and a tasty blueberry ale I had in South Haven, MI, I’m more up to try such things.  Turns out this wasn’t really a pumpkin ale.

Arcadia Brewing Company is out of Battle Creek, Michigan, so it continues my kick of Michigan breweries.

First off, I love the label.  It’s got a scarecrow with a pumpkin head.  The head is looking to the side with a big mouth full of shark type teeth.  A fogginess looks to be coming out of the mouth.  It describes itself as an ale with spices added (Cinnamon, Allspice, and Nutmeg).  Yeah, I didn’t read the label when I bought it.  Never got by the picture.

The beer has a brownish-red color when held up to light.  It has very little head on the pour, bubbling away quickly.  My handicapped snout found it to smell of nutmeg.  It has a wonderful spicy flavor that gives a nice little extra taste on both sides of the back of the tongue.

To me, this is a cheaper, local version of La Chouffe.  But I must say that it makes a very nice substitute for it and is made right here in the US, Michigan specifically.  One thing I did happen upon, after getting sidetracked after pouring a glass, is that it gets better as you let it get a little warmer.  This is a big plus in my book, as most of the mass produced dross becomes nearly undrinkable if not at fridge temp.

I’m ranking this in the middle area of Darkside of the Moon.  I will definitely buy this again if it’s still available and try other Arcadia beers.