Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser Light Lager

We all know in 1971 Bill Great invented Michaelsoft, but what you may not know is in 1876, after Colonel Rumbus sailed the ocean blue, Aldoph Busch, an aspiring DJ in Pittsburgh and his pal Carl "Air-In" Conrad made Budweiser after drinking some beers in current day Czech Republic, whom name beers with really original names. Like booze made in Pilsen are called Pilsners, booze made is Lag are Lagers, and beer brewed in Budweis was called....yes, Budweiser. This later got sold to InBev, a Brazilian-Belgium company.

So, yeah, they decided to make Budweiser, an already undrinkable sack of crap worse by taking out a lot of the booze. This stuff has an ABV of 4.2% which is actually higher for a light beer. This crap came out in 1982. I dunno. This is Bud Light. If you don't know what this tastes like you been living under rock, you dingus. It taste like water with with malts, hops, and yeast...like most beers. But yeah, I dunno man. Like it definitely taste better than Miller Light and Coors Light but there is little draw to buying this beer. I had to capitalize on this opportunity because there was a Bud Light in the fridge at this house I'm house sitting for so I was like "Hey, I'm gonna review this because who knows when I'm gonna be in a situation to cover (or want to cover) Bud Light." Most times I drink this I am on a mission to drink tons of beer quickly and with little damage to my stomach and the last thing I want to do is write about this stuff. I drank 21 Bud Lights on my 21st birthday. Man, I was pretty drunk. Like, real drunk, and full.

At a bar you can find this for around $2.50 a bottle, or about a dollar less than regular good beer, depending where you are at.

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 3/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 1/10

Overall: 4.0/10

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Loko





In April 2010, some shit went down. I suffered through Jury Duty. The world found out how much of a no talent ass-clown Bruno Mars was for the first time. Shit got fucking super real when some kind Armenians turned me on to some magic potion called Four Loko.

Trying to review Four Loko is a daunting task. There are very few words to adequately describe a substance so revolting, so amazing, so dangerous. This was one of the only things I know that went from rumor to banned substance in 9 weeks flat.

Four Loko was a malt-liquor that came packaged in bright, shiny, 24 ounce cans and was priced about 2.25 a pop. I tried it for the first time on complete blind trial without any prior knowledge that such a thing existed. Little did I know it was a 6 dollar thrill ride that would revolutionize self-injurious behavior for the next 9ish weeks in the summer of 2010.

Inside this 24 ounce can is a cocktail that tastes a little like gasoline, paint thinner, medical waste, and Hawaiian Punch. Hidden inside the inviting can is the fact that in each serving was about as much alcohol as 6 Icehouses, as much caffeine as a fucking Starbucks, various other "energy products" that probably are best suited for raising cattle, enough sugar to make a dentist pee with delight and about 2300 calories. To put it more simply, it was a 3 hour free happy hour followed by a coke binge all wrapped up for 2 bucks. And it was fucking amazing.

The fun didnt really start until there was no turning back, though. After one, you feel almost no effects, aside from being super pumped up. After all, you basically just chugged a few cups of coffee. Once the drunk hits you, you're ready to fucking roll. You feel no pain. You move onto the second can and drink it about twice as fast as the first due to being so fucking pumped. At this point, you are persuaded to go out to a bar and rip a million shots. THEN you feel drunk, but you arent tired, so you keep going and going and going until you leave your friend's basement only to see it's 7am and hey, you're pretty hungry and sheetz is like, 2 blocks away. So you crush a few schmuffins, go home and play some Call of Duty and realized you would be in prison if you got pulled over and go to bed. Only THEN is the party over, but the fun really starts when the Lokohangover kicks in and this is playing on loop in your head no matter how many tylenol you chew and how much water you drink.

After the Internet decided Four Loko was really awesome, moms everywhere threw a royal fit cause some idiot teenagers drank about 6 and wound up in the hospital after they wrapped their car around a tree. And when moms get pissed, they write letters to Congress. And instead of curing AIDS, Congress bans awesome shit to make moms happy. And that's exactly what happened around December 12th, 2010, when the FDA decided poor people and drunk kids were having entirely too much fun and demanded Loko be pulled from shelves. We, as a people, knew we would survive this. After all, we survived the ban on Sparks a few years ago. But without 2 dollar liquid coke binges, what would we use as inspiration for putting on kids Halloween costumes and riding skateboards like row boats past a church letting out? Probably real drugs we bought from illegal immigrants, FDA bros. That's what.

Of course there were loop holes to the ban. You could find a down ass bodega and casually ask for it amongst other taboo items, ala Homer Simpson. You could stockpile it yourself and just keep it around, like I did until I ran out. Or, you could go full on White Lightning and start making it in your bathtub and running it all over the place like some crazy West Virginian meth head, which I may or may not have tried as well. It should also be known all Loko that was not sold before the ban was turned into fuel. For CARS AND TRUCKS. Also, after being punked by the FDA, they decided to make a more mom friendly Four Loko with "all the taste" but "none of the fun", which, for any human who tried the original knows is a total load of bullshit. So if anyone tells you they have some, you can pretty much kick them in the face and remind them that they're 18 months late and their stupid jokes aren't funny anymore, not even in the nostalgic sense.

I'd also like to include these babes, just because:


As for actual ratings, I guess this will be posthumous, because I refuse to rate the new formula. I'd rather drink Infamil.

Drinkability: 2/10
Taste: 4/10
Value: 10/10
Curb Appeal: 10/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Magic Hat Brewery's Blind Faith IPA

You know what the best thing about "The Cleveland Show" is? It's so bad I chose to do beer reviews rather than watch it. So that works out for everyone I get.

This is South Burlington, Vermont's Magic Hat "Blind Faith" IPA. As you may know, I am not a fan of IPAs or Magic Hat. The last time I had Magic Hat beer I was at my buddy's wedding and I was using a bottle to open another bottle because we couldn't find a bottle opener. So I've done this tons of times before but on this particular time, the top of the whole bottle popped off, slicing my hand open in the hotel room. I hadn't known the severity of the cut (it was a wedding after all) and over the course of a few minutes I had inadvertently bled all over the hotel room. Awesome wedding though.

Justin has already covered Magic Hat #9 and their Wacko beers, so I took the liberty of completing the trifecta.

Magic Hat started up in 1994 in North Burlington, also known as "Burlington" and later moved to a new location in South Burlington in 1997. I know; very exciting. In 2010 it was purchased by North American Brewers, whjim you might know from their other "investments" Pyramid, Dundee (Honey Brown), and Genesee. There isn't too much information on Magic hat brewery. How or why it started and things of that nature. When a brewery doesn't advertise that it usually can be assumed it didn't have any good reason to start, which is unfortunate. One thing that stand out from Magic Hat if their "You are a Winner" caps. Now I'm used to seeing this phrase everywhere I go but if you pop your cap and it says that on the underside, mail it to Magic Hat and you get a bottle opener. That will shit street cred where ever you go. They are also pretty good about being involved in beer tastings and summer events. They also sell some pretty good art prints on their site if your really into their art.

My philosophy with Magic Hat is that the name has way more appeal than the actual beers. They've marketed it really well and it's curb appeal is real high but it isn't really that good of a beer. It's pretty overpriced for what it is. Whenever I see it at the store, I'm like, "Oh man, I should get that." But really, their stuff isn't anything too special.

So this is their IPA. I don't like a too bitter beer and this one is surprisingly smooth. The IBU is only 60 which is pretty low for an IBU. This is most likely do to the Apollo Hops the use in conjunction with the Cascade Hops. A lot of breweries may use Cascade Hops exclusively. Another thing that's pretty cool because the ABV is 6.2% which means a few of these will knock you on your damn lilly. It's got a bitter, floral scent. The malts used are Crystal and Pale, which is pretty typical. It actually is a little maltier, and smoother than a lot of IPAs.

I got this is a sampler pack for $15 bucks. There are better samplers out there but this one isn't horrible. It's better than getting a sampler of Sam Adams or something and the IPA is mellower than most IPAs I've had. The sampler also had #9, Wacko and Single Chair. I find the variety of beers...like, I don't like the Wacko either. So, I mean, maybe this isn't that good of a deal. If you can find someone who like Wacko and IPA's, maybe you could split it with them? I dunno. I probably wouldn't get this sampler again. The Blind Faith is pretty good though, for an IPA.

Drinkability: 6/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.0/10

Carolina Brewing Company IPA


Oh no, not another beer from Carolina Brewing Company! I swear that might sue us for libel soon if I give them another poor review. You can read my reviews of their not so fantastic Nut Brown Ale (5.3/10) and Pale Ale (4.0/10) elsewhere on the blog. But not to worry, I Love the Sauce necktie-wearing corporate executives and board of directors (yes we do have those!), I won't get us sued. I might actually get us some advertising, as the Carolina Brewing Company makes a fine and tasty IPA (the sound you just heard was the I Love the Sauce CEO making a very loud "PHEW!" noise and relaxing into his luxurious alligator skin recliner while lighting a cigarette with a $100 bill. Or that was the sound of him swearing after making another triple bogey on Tiger Woods PGA Tour and burying his head in frustration into his IKEA futon - one scenario is more likely than the other, I'll let you decide).

I've covered the Carolina Brewing Company before, but here is a new tidbit: one of their founder's is named "Zee." That's a pretty rad name. I wonder though if it is short for something, like Zallowishus, or Zelda even. I do like how the Brits and other Europeans say the letter "Z" as "Zed." It sounds so much tougher. Remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Lord Zedd was the baddie in that series. Look at his picture! That dude is fuckin scary! Especially to pre-teens and stoned college kids! In case you're interested, you can buy a Lord Zedd t-shirt here. You're welcome!

Alright, down to this IPA. It's really yummy. It has a very strong flavor, which I enjoy in IPAs. I was really surprised about how much it tasted like a good beer, given the history of me and the CBC, but I gotta say it was really good. It has a nice stays-in-your-mouth a while after taste, with a good combination of bitterness and a hint of fruit/citrus. As with any IPA, you don't want to do kegstands with it, or funnels even, unless you want to throw up immediately, you twisted person you. It's nice for sipping on a cool evening, or for enjoying during polite conversation about the history of people named Zed. It runs at 5.4% ABV, and costs about $8-9 a six-pack, so decent value overall. But it has the stink of the CBC on it, so the curb appeal might take a hit, but hopefully this review has restored your faith in the CBC.

So please CBC, don't hate us, sponsor us! Email me for our mailing address. Our CEO will be happy :)

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 5/10

Overall: 6.0/10

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saint Arnold Amber Ale



Sorry the picture is a bit dark, the lighting wasn't that great in the Houston, TX bohemian bar that I drank this Saint Arnold Brewing Company Amber Ale in earlier in the week.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company is located in Houston, TX, also known as a clusterf**k of concrete and heat (it was 85 degrees by 630am when I was there! balls hot!). SABC is Texas' oldest craft brewery, being founded in 1994. I guess Texans never drank craft beer before that, they were used to drinking swill and other nasty liquids. This brewery puts out 10 beers, five all the time and five seasonal, and they offer you the chance to rent the brewery. Now, when I saw that link, I thought "wow, we can rent the brewery and make popcorn flavored beer!" but sadly they don't let you near the actual brewing equipment. You just get to use the beer hall for parties and corporate get-togethers. That's not bad though, way better than Chuck-E-Cheese. Unless you're a pedophile.

Let me tell you how I came to find out about and enjoy SABC's Amber Ale. It was a Sunday night at about 10pm, and all of Houston's finest were out at this bohemian bar in Midtown. The bar was kind of dingy, poorly lit, and was the home of a white dog and a white cat. My friends Michael and Emerson were hanging out and this Peter Jackson-esque gay man named Ian started talking to us. After telling us about the NYC music and gay scenes, and asking "are y'all bears?" Michael told him that I have a baby. The exchange went like this:

Michael: "Justin has a kid"
Justin: "Yea, I have a three month old baby boy"
Ian: "Aw that's great. Did y'all adopt?"
Michael (whispering to Ian): "He's not gay. He has a wife"
Ian: "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

I guess I was gay by association that night.

During this evening, I was holding up by drinking SABC's Amber Ale (I forgot that this was a beer review for a minute...). The Amber Ale was pretty good, it had a nice strong malty flavor with some caramel notes, even a little bitterness. It wasn't one of those watery tasting beers, that's for sure, this one was full of flavor. And it was a good flavor, one that I would like to taste again. With that strong flavor comes a heavy fill, so one or two at a time will do. According to the website, it is made using a proprietary yeast strain. I love bioengineering!!! At 5.5% ABV, its no slouch, and it costs $4 a bottle at the bar (all of which goes towards the maintenance of the marijuana I'm assuming they grow in the back of the place).

If you ever find yourself balls hot in Houston, TX and deep in thirst, desperation, sadness, and insecurities, I recommend trying the SABC Amber Ale. It will help with the thirst at least.

Drinkability: 6/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Friday, June 24, 2011

Abita Brewing Company's Jockamo IPA

Another beer from Louisiana. Information Abita Brewing Company and their "Purple Haze" can be found here. Jockamo apparently is an Indian tribe in the New Orleans area that partake yearly in the Marti Gra parade. Where as most Indian smoke peace pipes, apparently these one get drunk and fight like hockey hooligans.

This is Abita Brewing Company's IPA known as Jockamo IPA, cousin to the arcade favorite Whackamole. I want to preface this whole review by stating this beer has an ABV of 6.5%, which, according to Webster, but not Merrian, is dope as shit.

These guys aren't holding back on the Willamette and Columbus hops, teetering the scales with an IBU of 52. I've seen higher but I don't typically enjoy higher as I am not an IPA fan. These was part of a sampler Abita sells. You can get 12 beers, 6 different ones, for $15 bucks which is a pretty rad deal.

This stuff is pretty bitter, some most of my ex-girlfriends, and a more bitter IPA than something you might find from Saranac. It has a spicy bite to it and a taste of sugary malt. The taste is a bit heavier than some IPAs so don;t think you can slam these guys like the Million Dollar Man in Wrestlemania 6. The smell is a floral, piney aroma and one whiff of this sucker and you know your in for a hoppy beer. If you picture yourself swallowing a maple syrup covered pine tree, in the early spring, right after it rained, you would be prepared for this bad boy.

The label has an Indian on it and I can respect that. In a battle of cowboys and Indians, I side with Indians but if you start throwing werewolves in there it's a different story. Werewolves with plutonium blood and lasers coming out of their eyes! But, other than that, just an Indian is pretty lame; no offense.

In conclusion, this is a bit more bitter than I like, but very typical of an IPA. If you are not an IPA fan, steer clear but, in a sampler, keep the mindset the sweet isn't as sweet without the sour. It's a well brewed IPA and I appreciate what she brings to the table and I would suggest it to any hardcore IPA fan. The taste will not leave your mouth any time soon so prepare yourself for hop-heaven....or hop-hell.

Other Abita Beers:
Restoration Pale Ale
Purple Haze IPA
Wheat Lager

Drinkability: 4/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Curb Appeal: 5/10

Overall: 5.5/10

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Southern Star Bombshell Blonde Ale


This is a Texas beer. They say that everything is better in Texas, and you know what, they might be right, as this blonde ale was one of the better blonde ales I have had before.

Southern Star Brewing Company is located in Conroe, TX, and if you are like me you have no f'ing clue where that is. Conroe is about 45 miles north of Houston. I was just visiting Houston these last few days, and it was hotter than a mother there, but I was fortunate to imbibe a few of SSBC's Bombshell Blondes to help cool me off. SSBC was started in March 2008 with 16 oz pounders of a Pale Ale. That followed with the blonde as well as a stout, all in cans. I'm not so sure that stouts in a can are a good idea. The possible metal taste with the stout would be pretty gross. But if it was a chocolate chip cookie flavored metal can, then we'd be in business. Apparently there is a law in Texas that prohibits breweries from giving out exact information on who sells there beers (i.e. they can say that they sell it in Dallas but not what bars/711s/high school concession stands sell it). I'm not sure why this law exists, and I am too lazy to look it up now, but I would have to think that this law pisses off breweries and their clientele. Imagine having a product for sale but you couldn't tell anyone where to buy it? I think the state of Texas needs to go to business school to figure out proper micro-economics.

The Bombshell Blonde Ale is one decent beer. I love everything about the can, the color scheme, the font (style, size, etc), and of course the blonde chick riding a red white and blue missile. Her pose on the missile is totally reminiscent of the scene from Dr. Strangelove, and if you haven't seen that movie, go do so immediately. Or sometime this weekend. Or sometime soon. Really. The Bombshell Blonde Ale has a nice smooth creamy taste to it that isn't very strong or overwhelming, so it would be easy to drink these all night long if you were at a party at the moontower. There isn't much to the taste at all, its pretty weak sauce really, which leaves something to be desired. You can't taste the 5.25% ABV much at all either, adding to its great drinkability. I don't know how much this beer costs, but I imagine it runs in the $8-10 per six-pack range for these new-fangled craft canned beers.

If you're in Texas and need to escape the heat, or just want to get drunk (which you gotta do in Texas to keep your sanity), then try the Bombshell Blonde Ale. Its worth your while, pilgrim.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 5/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 9/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Abita Brewing Company's Purple Haze

In 1986, Abita Brewing Company began production of their beer in Abita Springs; 30 miles north of New Orleans, or as I call it, Nawlins. Since then, they have increased production by 40 times and added root beer to their lists of delectable treats. They are an environmentally conscious brewery, whose efforts have lowered their carbon footprint in their brewing and paper saving efforts in their packaging. (Which makes the cases a bastard to carryout, but it's a small price to pay for Mother Earth, i guess) The brewery is currently owned by private shareholders who are probably rich as shit by now.

Abita Springs itself has some tricked out water. They even advertise they use "spring water" so I'm not too sure what kind of water they use the other 3 seasons. This water has actually been known to save lives. Some Indian broad was dying and shit and they straight up left her with a hammock and food and left her off by the river and, boom, cured. She later died of old age, because this was back in like the 1700's. So Abita was like, "Let's use this dang water in beer." Since then, I can only assume the water has been used to take more lives than it has saved.

They currently roll out eight regular beers and half a dozen seasonals. I picked up a sampler pack, 12 beers for $15, pretty good deal. I do this for two reasons. One is that it's economical as sin. The second is that I can do 6 beer reviews and one brewery review which allows me to drink beer faster when I don't have to look up a bunch of dangus facts about stuff that most people don't care about. I picked "Purple Haze" first because I will probably like it the least so I cracked her open and indulged. Now that "purple haze is all in my brain" and blood stream, I am ready to talk about it.

So first off, this has the whitest foam on a beer I HAVE EVER SEEN! Not necessarily a good thing, not a bad thing, but I HAD to talk about it. This 4.2% wheat beer has an IBU of 13, so it clearly does not have a hoppy taste to it. It is crisp and refreshing, don't get me wrong and it's like taking a rifle, filling it with raspberries and shooting yourself in the mouth, but in this case, it doesn't blow your brains out. It just taste like raspberries. I mean the taste is inescapable. It's a little tart, it's, its, it's just so much raspberry! The aroma is a wheaty, raspberry...dude. There's just so much raspberry! I mean, it isn't bad. It's just so much raspberry. I commend anyone who can stomach more than 2 or these in one sitting. I gotta talk to my friend Kerry and ask her what she thinks, because I mean, no man (if he calls himself a man) can drink this. It's acceptable as a "mix it up" in a sampler but, let's face it fellas, you're best off pawning these off on the ladies at a BBQ because you know how girls like their cider and Cosmos. So maybe they'll take this off our hands for us while he get into the more masculine beers, and talk about cars, sports, and babes!

Other Abita Beers:
Jockamo IPA
Restoration Pale Ale
Wheat Lager

Drinkability: 4/10
Taste: 4/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 3/10

Overall: 4.0/10

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ruddles Brewery's Ruddle County Ale


Ruddles Brewery was once set up by in Langham, Rutland; allegedly having more divots and holes than my parents' lane. George Ruddle bought it in 1912; obviously not called Ruddle Brewery prior to this purchase. It got sold off in 1986 where it was sold to a few other breweries, including Grolsh, but in 1997 it was sold to Greene King where it was moved to Abingdon (England's Binghampton) and later shut down. Local washerwomen and bitter neighborhood snoops been cracking wise on new Ruddles since leaving Langham arguing the well water in Langham gave the beer its great taste. Ruddles has been officially put on blast when it was labeled "Counterfeit" Ruddles by local beer snobs and dicks.

Sidenote: A commercial for Ruddles in 1994 featured the last appearance of Vivian Stanshall. If that doesn't tickle your pickle, it also included Mel Smith! Am I ready for a Ruddles? After seeing that, I'm not so sure.

Their website, which i have had open this whole time, is currently driving me insane with it's audible hooting and cawing. So, as my local beer snobs have already brought the hate to this guy and my growing frustration with these nature tracks on the website, I have already begun to pre-hate on these guys. However, to separate myself from my bear-snobby brethren, I gave these guys a second chance when I saw they had games on their website. My hopes and dreams were crushed as they were formed as the links we all busted. Just like Ruddles: Busted! They do seem to be advocates of games which I can easily respect but I find their website to be whack as shit.

Ruddles, themselves, brew four beers; Ruddles County, Ruddles Best, Ruddles Organic and Ruddles Rhubarb, and this is Ruddles County.

Ruddles County is a 4.7% ABV ale from England. The smell is a slightly hoppy, caramel aroma. The taste is complex floral and sweet hybrid that leaves a slight bitter, flowery taste in your mouth. It's crisp and refreshing, especially for a 4.7% beer with no overbearing strong alcohol taste you might get from a beer tasting this light. The bottle itself can be labeled as "weak sauce" and looks like a crappy horse saddle polish you might find at Wal-Mart. I picked it up for $4 for 500mL, which is the exact same cost a saddle polish at Wal-Mart.

The floral taste is a bit much for me but I can appreciate the taste. There are a lot of other ales I would go with instead of this. It kinda gives me the impression of what it tastes like after you walk through the perfume section at Macy's when you're Christmas Shopping and your mouth is open because your nose is stuffed up. i wouldn't get this again plus if all the other beer snobs in the world are going to hate on it since it moved, so will I. I'm a sheep.

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 4/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 3/10

Overall: 4.0/10

Friday, June 17, 2011

Matt Brewing Company's Saranac Amber Ale


This is another review of a Saranac Beer brewed by Matt Brewing Company. Details on their brewery and other facts and lies can be found here.

This amber ale hits the scales at a respectable 5.6% ABV, so if you start popping these suckers back around a campfire, sooner or later, you might end up in it like my friend Stinky. It's got a thick, malty taste like most ambers, which makes sense since they use two types of malts, honey and extra dark crystal. This amber ale is a little more bitter than I'm used to in an amber. Their chosen hops are Cascade (the same used in their IPA) and Fuggle, not to be confused with Fraggle. This gives it a pinier, more floral, citrus taste to the beer opposed to a thick, sweet malty beer. The aroma itself is a sweet as James Taylor; well, maybe not THAT sweet. Maybe more like Roy Orbison in his early years, which is still sweet. You can notice a caramel odor to it and a mild, medium bodied flavor.

Amber ales are some of my favorites and this one is a little too bitter for the likes of me. It was part of a six flavor sampler and it definitely compliments what Matt Brewery can do and contrasts the flavors of their other beers. For amber ales, I might look somewhere else but you can certainly say that for the price ($13.99 for a 12 pack) a couple amber beers in the bunch is a fantastic contrast to the rest of them. In conclusion, a great addition to the sampler, but not something I would want to drink a case of.

Drinkability: 4/10
Taste: 5/10
Value: 7/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 5.5/10

Other Saranac Brews:
Irish Stout
Pale Ale
Brown Ale
Irish Red
IPA

Rogue Ales Juniper Pale Ale



Rogue Ales is a brewery located in Newport, Oregon. They are 100% pure rogue and dedicate their beer to the rogue in each of us. Needless to say, they are a bunch of badasses that brew beer for us to consume in large amounts and cause trouble with. You know, breaking stuff, stealing cars, cursing loudly.

Juniper Pale Ale is one of the dozens of different beers that Rogue Ales puts out. It's brewed with a not so secret ingredient, the berries from the juniper plant. I'm not much of a pale ale guy, but, I kind of like it. It's got to be the berries or something. Rogue even dedicates this ale to the "turkey in each of us." The turkey being the national bird of Rogue Nation.

I don't sniff beer very often but I will from now on after getting a whiff of this one. Really, the smell of this ale alone is worth spending the $13.50 for a six-pack of it. Along with juniper berries, free range coastal water from the beautiful northern-Pacific is also included in its list of ingredients, which must have something to do with the smoothness of this ale.

This guy was known to drink this stuff. Rumor has it Poprocky was fed this stuff out of a bottle in his very early years. But that is just a rumor!!!

This beer is a champion, winning a gold medal in the World Beer Championships of 2010 and claiming the PNW champion belt in the US Beer Tasting Championship.

The bottle itself is a work of art. It's graced with an axe wielding tough guy decked out in a teal colored jacket and Rogue cap, clutching a mug of foaming beer and standing alongside the juniper itself.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste : 7/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 10/10

Overall: 7.5/10

LoneRider Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen


This is a story about a chick named Betty and her shotgun. No, I'm not talking about Betty Draper from Mad Men. I'm talking about Shotgun Betty from LoneRider Brewing Company out of Raleign, NC. This is the second beer reviewed from LRBC. Click here for a review of their pale ale, Peacemaker.

Shotgun Betty is brewed in the traditional German Hefeweizen style, meaning that it was made by brewers eating giant pretzels and wearing lederhosen. Sorry to stereotype. They were actually eating schnitzel. Hefeweizen is a wheat or white beer, meaning that instead of malted barley, they add wheat to the mix. Special strains of yeast are also used, which give overtones of bananas and cloves as by products of fermentation. For some reason though, all I ever taste is sausage when drinking hefeweizens, except for the one made by Pyramid. I'll have to try that experiment out - take a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash up two bananas, add one half a slice of wheat bread, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon of cloves. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Eat with said spoon and examine taste. Will it taste like sausage? Go do the experiment! Science!

Shotgun Betty does taste like sausage to me, but not totally in a bad way. And I actually could taste a hint of bananas after my first sip. The beer is kind-of-sort-of-medium heavy, so I would only drink one or two at a time (cuz I only have two hands you know). I enjoyed this hefeweizen more than others, I would put it in the top 25% or so, whatever the hell that means. You can find this stuff all over NC I assume, but here in the Chapel on the Hill it runs about $8-9 a six-pack, depending on what deal you find at Harris Teeter. It runs 5.8% ABV which is strong enough to give you a great buzz if you haven't eaten in a few hours. Plus, there is a chick holding a shotgun on the bottle! And she has a cowboy hat! And is drawn like a comic book character! This beer totally appeals to 15 year old boys that play the shit out of Red Dead Revolver. And people who like decent hefeweizens.


Drinkability: 5/10
Taste : 5/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 9/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Matt Brewing Company's Saranac IPA




First, I should mention that there is no Saranac Brewing Company, it's Matt Brewing Company; I didn't know this myself.

In 1888, right around the tip Jack the Ripper was ripping...on the guitar, Francis Xavier Matt, already a reputable brew master, emigrated Germany to found the Matt Brewing Company. Francis, possibly known to his raver friends as DJ F.X., passed the torch to his sons after prohibition as he was slowing dying of old age, the silent killer. Like people in West Virginia, the Matt's have been keeping it in the family, not in the same way as West Virginians do, or at least I hope not. There have been a lot of Matts in the business, something, like, five.

The Matt Brewing Company is located at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Utica, New York, the largest state park in the nation. The name is Iroquoian for "cluster of stars" and, consequently, Saranac beer can be found in a "cluster of bars", thus suggestively proving that Iroquois are a mean drunk. The water used for beers streams from the 'Rondacks and the grains are grown in their dirt.

The brewery itself is home to about 15 active beers (like 30 seasonals) and like six sodas. You can tour the brewery for five bones. During the summer they have a load of shitty bands that roll through there every Thursday and host some special concerts during the summer also with bigger bands that you couldn't pay me to see. I'd go for the beer though, ya know; whatever.

This is their IPA. I don't typically like IPAs warranted on the fact that they taste like a puss-filled scab or something from Jack-In-The-Box but this one isn't too bad. This upsets me because I typically like to be a grumpy, old man about everything. It's got a pretty medium taste to it, which is good considering it's 5.8% ABV. It very much has an IPA's bitterness taste to it, like me. It has a sweet, hoppy smell and an amber-golden look to it (if you can't see the picture above).

You can pick up a sixer of this for around $9. I picked up a 12 bottle sampler of Saranac for $13.99 which just might make it "Steal of the Week", if we did a "Steal of the Week" portion.

An unbiased opinion about this IPA: It's strong and mild as far as IPAs go. A great pick up if you are looking to split a case with a hellbent IPA fan when you don't really like IPAs but you don't wanna be the dick that says, "I don't want an IPA!" Plus this is economical and strong as shit; you won't care about the taste after three of 'em! I'm not sure why most IPA's label are green and this one is no different. I sorta dig the waterfall but I'd toss some bearded man with a flannel on the label for extra street credibility.

Drinkability: 6/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Other Saranac Brews:
Irish Stout
Pale Ale
Brown Ale
Irish Red
Amber Ale

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oskar Blues Brewery Mama's Little Yella Pils



Malt liquor, or not malt liquor? This is a sneaky can of beer.

This enigma is brewed in Colorado by Oskar Blues Brewery, most famous for its Dales Pale Ale, which is a great great hoppy beer. OBB doesn't bottle their beers; rather, they can them. They list a whole lot of reasons why its better to can beer than bottle it, which you can find here. I won't repeat all of them, but one that I like is that the new-fangled aluminum cans of the here-and-now have a water-based coating (KY jelly?) that does not allow beer and metal to touch, thereby abolishing any potential flavor swapping. I don't know if all beers use this new-futuristic aluminum, because some taste really metallic when you drink them. And I think that metal even adds to the taste of some beers, which might be why PBR is the only beer I prefer out of a can than a bottle (it makes me feel more hip when its in a can). OBB also lists a lot of environmental benefits to using aluminum over glass bottles, including using less packaging and reducing their carbon footprint through shipping costs. But you know the best way to drink beer and be green? That's right, keg stands!!! No harming the environment there!

But back to the sneakiness of Mama's Little Yella Pils. It is clearly a pilsner, both by name and by taste. It tastes like any old pilsner you might, something like a Heineken. But here is where the mystery comes in: in small vertical print, on the side of the can, are the words "MALT LIQUOR." It's as if this is a can of golden ML and they didn't want to let you know that. Its as if OBB is conspiring to turn the whole damned world into malt liquor drinkers without them knowing it, like the time when I was about 8 and I asked my mom what we were having for dinner, and she told me chicken, and I only found out afterwards that it was pork (I didn't like pork at the time, but now, my god is it good!). I don't think my mom wanted to make me like pork, she just wanted me to eat what she made for dinner that night. She won that small battle. 

Regardless of the nature of what is in the can, its pretty tasty and easy to drink. I'd say its better than Heineken and Colt 45 combined. Times fifty. Its a bit pricey in the $10 a six-pack range, and packs an average 5.3% ABV. I would definitely pick this up again for the novelty of having a craft brew in cans - people might actually think that I am cool. I imagine this is a trend that might pick up soon, as more and more people are trying to be green so they might want to can their beer instead of bottle it. 


Drinkability: 6/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 5.75/10

Big Boss Brewing Co. Angry Angel Ale


Big Boss Brewing Company makes four beers, and this is one of them. Here is a previous review of their Helle's Belle Ale. Which I guess is the natural antagonist to this here review of the Angry Angel Ale, both in beer label (devil vs angel) and overall beer quality (great vs not so hot).

The Angry Angel Ale is a Kolsch style ale, which is a variety that is brewed in Cologne, Germany. It is signified by a light, straw-yellow hue, and has a slight hoppy bitter taste to it. Traditionally, Kolsch style ales were served in tall thin 200 ml glasses, but seeing how that isn't enough for a large German man (or woman), some bars serve them in larger 300 - 400 ml glasses. I think thats a great idea, as the more beer the better. The 200 ml glasses are called "poles" in German. Can you imagine saying "I'm going to take down a couple poles?" or "Time to enjoy another pole?" Hehe.

The BBBC Angry Angel Ale falls in line as a Kolsch style ale, as it is light in color and has a slight hoppy taste to it. But the taste is very weak. My lovely bride said it tastes like water with hops. Which is true, as beers are made from water and hops, but she meant that it has little to no taste. Which it does. They should sell it as "beer-flavored" sparkling water at Wal-mart for $0.69 a liter. Which would be a helluva deal, which this beer ain't at $9 a six-pack and only 4.5% ABV. Despite its weak taste, it still tastes good, and you could pound these all day with the German Santa Claus

In the battle of the BBBC Helle's Belle vs the Angry Angel, go with the Helle's Belle. Evil always wins.

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 5/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 5.75/10


Magic Hat Wacko



Magic Hat is no slouch at making good beers. Click here for a review of their #9 beer as well as my thoughts on Vermont. So I wasn't surprised that I also really enjoyed their Wacko summer seasonal ale. Wacko is only available April 1 to July 31 (I'm not sure what calendar they are using, but it is clearly not summer until after Memorial Day weekend, duh), so get it while you can. I'm not sure if they pull it from the shelves on July 31, or if you'll be able to find it collecting dust at some dingy mini-mart on some dingy street corner in some dingy town somewhere come September, but I wouldn't wait to find out, because Wacko is a delicious beer that should be consumed if at all possible.

I really liked this beer for many reasons, one being because it tasted like something I would drink at breakfast. You know, like at a tailgate or if you are on vacation at the beach in the summer, and you need to start your day out right. It has a very light crisp taste and goes down really easy, so you could drink 50 of these in a day no problem, especially if you start at breakfast. I also liked this beer because it is pink. Yes it is pink it color. It looks almost like cherry 7-UP. The secret to the pink color is that Magic Hat adds beet juice to the beer. Don't like beet juice you say? Well, I only tolerate it myself, as it tastes like terra firma to me. But beet juice is a magical blend of nutrients and nitrates that could lower blood pressure. So even if adding beet juice to beer can make your blood pressure go down by 30-70 points, you won't taste it - the beet juice seems to be for color only and goes unnoticed by your taste buds. Wacko runs at a paltry 4.5% ABV, and at $9 a six-pack, you can do much better in the ABV/$ category. 

Magic Hat recently took a hit in the Curb Appeal department. If you've been watching the NBA Finals, you have been subjected to tons of TGI Fridays commercials advertising that they will give you a $10 gift certificate for your next visit (assuming you live to go to TGI Fridays again). During this commercial, they proudly declare that they serve Magic Hat beers. Now, I'm not totally against the idea that Magic Hat is served at TGI Fridays, but they totally sold out! Let's celebrate by watching and listening to some late 90s ska music.

To recap - this pink beer tastes great, is easy to drink, and may improve your cardiovascular health (this statement is not approved by the FDA). Buy it for its taste and drinkability, don't buy it for its value and its curb appeal. Pink beer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drinkability: 9/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 5/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ayinger Brewery's Altbairisch Dunkel Lager


Ayinger Brewery is located in Aying, Bavaria which is about 40 miles from Munich. It was originally founded in 1878 by some German dude who, by now, is probably dead. They built up a new brewery in 1999, which thus proves that Germans were not intimidated by the Y2K virus and frivolously invested in new equipment and buildings. These characters won a load of awards consisting of "World's Top 10 Best Breweries". I'm not one to actually brag about awards that beers get, but this beer itself has won the Gold Medal and World Championships in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. I figure they didn't win it in 2000 due to Y2K. This is also a pretty small operation, consisting of less than 100 people. Their chief exporting countries are Italy, Finland, and, my favorite, the United States. They also have a beer called "Lager Hell" which must be some sort of translation thing because the label suggests its a beer to drink around Easter Time.

You might be wondering what "Altbairisch Dunkel" means, unless you're German. In English it translates to "Old Bavarian Dark Beer". This is a traditional Old School style beer. Most villages in Germany, prior to WW2, had dark, flavorful beers until crap like Budweiser came out and convinced people, like my dad, that light, watery beers are the cat's pajamas; preferably in 10oz cans. Burn!

I like their merchant website because it says "first time beer drinkers are often shocked that this dark beer has such an inviting taste". First of all, I haven't met a first time beer drinker since the 3rd grade. And second of all, if they never had beer before, why would they be so surprised?

Now I'm all about reviewing beer; not as much as drinking it mind you. But I had, HAD, to quote a review on this beer. "A good example of its kind. Impenetrably dark with a golden-brown gleam when held up to the light, and with a warm aroma and malty taste, while summoning up coffee taste sensations on going down. It is brewed from five types of malt (two of which are torrified dark), and it is only lightly hopped." That was written by Michael Jackson himself! Not THE Michael Jackson, a Michael Jackson.

But now for my review. I'm not first time beer drinker but this 5.0% ABV lager goes down smoother than a hairless cat stuffed in a wool sock going down one of those yellow spiral slides they have at playgrounds. It isn't as flavorful as the darkness implies but a richer, tastier flavor than your traditional lagers. It has a nutty taste, mixed with a hint of toffee. I can smell more chocolate that I can taste and is certainly low on the hops. It's got hints of caramel but not really any overbearing tastes that overwork you tongue.

I picked this up for $4 for half a liter at the beer store. It's pretty good for a lager. It's sort of a middle ground between a lager and a darker beer, like a porter. I'm not exactly sure when you would buy a beer like this. It's good, don't get me wrong. I suppose if you were hot and wanted a darker lager this would be a good purchase, but not flavorful enough to replace a porter when you want one.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 6.0/10

Monday, June 6, 2011

Peak Organic Brewing Company IPA


I'm not a dirty hippie or anything, but I do like organic foods. I even like organic beer. Like this one here.

Peak Organic Brewing Company is a small craft brewery located in Portland, ME. No, not the one in Oregon. This Portland is in Maine, which is basically Canada. Starting back in the 90s, POBC wanted to make beer from sustainable goods, so they started shopping around at local farmers markets and used organic produce in his beers. I wonder if they made a zucchini flavored beer? Yuk. Well, the owners decided that beer actually tasted better if they used better products to make it (no duh), so they said fudge it, and went on using only tasty local organic goods in their beers. I like the idea of buying local goods, but what if this was your hometown? I don't think they had high quality local goods there. POBC makes a total of THIRTEEN brews, including one that tastes like espresso. So maybe I'm not far off with the zucchini beer.

The IPA from POBC is quite yummy, which goes to show you can do without the preservatives and have a great tasting brew. The IPA has a rich color and aroma, and tastes all around delicious with its hoppy-attitude. Even with the high hop content (76 IBUs), it goes down smooth and its easy to drink a few. I only had one, and that was enough to get me a bit tipsy, especially with its superhero-esque 7.2% ABV. I had this with a chicken enchilada, and that was a bad idea, as this IPA (and probably all of them) don't go with Mexican food. So what if I was out of Tecate, I needed a drink! At $9-10 a six-pack, its pretty standardly priced, and you'll be able to find it at your local Whole Foods or co-operative grocery store. Or anywhere else dirty hippies can be found.


UPDATE: 7/29/11 - I just had this beer again and totally need to redo my ratings. Maybe I'm coming off of a run of below-average beers, but this time around the Peak IPA was almost too good to be true. The taste is so rich and refreshing its unbelievable, probably the best IPA I've had outside of the Pacific NW. I had it this time while in Maine (it is brewed in Portland, ME) so maybe by being in the same state it was better, I dunno. I do know that a variety 12 pack of the Peak brews only cost $12.99, which is AWESOME. This beer is great and it gets a bump in each category, especially the value and taste.

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 9/10
Value: 8/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 8.25/10

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Berkshire Brewing Company's Drayman's Porter

First of all, do not confuse this with the Coffeehouse Porter.

BBC began with a chat with Chris Lalli and Gary Bogoff (who looks abnormally similar to "the Dude") when they said "Let's make beer ya dingus" in 1992. So they started a brewery in an old cigar factory in South Deerfield, MA. If the first thing you thought of when I said South Deerfield was Yankee Candle, you are two things; correct and as gay as Orlando Bloom. By 1994 these bros were in full swing. These guys got so popular so fast they had to add on more room 5 year later to keep with demand. In 2005, they actually were no longer a microbrewery and went to the status of regional brewery, as they ship out around half a million gallons a year to New England.

These guys make almost 20 different brews along with some liquor also.

This is their Drayman's Porter. A drayman is the driver of, like, a flatbed wagon, usually driven by horses as depicted on their bottles for the porter; the above picture is a generic growler. This brew has a blend of coffee and chocolate and unlike most porters, this has a very smooth operating system, like a Commadore 64. It is very full bodied and kicks like a mule at 6.2% ABV. The aroma is abnormally mild for a beer this flavorful; so don't let that distract you.

The IBU (International Bitterness Units) is a mere 36 so you know this baby won't leave you with a sour taste in your mouth. It's got a nice, dark head to it, like Magic Johnson, but don't pour this like some drunken hillbilly because it will foam up on you like a rabid Chiuaua in a graduated cylinder.

In short this beer is as legit as they come. It packs a punch like Soda Popinski and is economical at $9 a growler (.5 gallons); which is a little higher than a 6-pack and who doesn;t like to get drunk off of a jug? Next time your out buying candles, swing by BBC and do yourself a favor; get wasted drunk.


Other Berkshire Brewery Reviews:
Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale


Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 9/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 7.25/10

???? Brewing Company Fat Weasel Ale



These Trader Joe's beers are confusing as hell. The label for the Fat Weasel Ale says its made by Steinhaus Brewing Company, but a quick AskJeeves search doesn't yield any website for any such SBC. Clicking through a few links I found that it might be made by Firestone Brewing Company, but they don't list it on their website. Finally, on the bottle, it says that it is made in New Ulm, MN, famous for ice fishing and hockey, but an Altavista search says that it is made in Paso Robles, CA. On New Ulm's Geocities page, it says that it is home to the August Schell Brewing Company, but on the ASBC website there is no mention of Fat Weasel! Someone is playing tricks on me here!! And I bet it is him.

Despite the lack of proper origin of the Fat Weasel Ale, I will now go on to tell you about its ups and downs, and actually, its mostly ups. First and foremost, this is a total party beer. Check out the weasel on the label. He has a pseudo-Hawaiian-80s shirt on, a sunhat, and is holding a stein, probably full of booze. And he has a fat belly! How cute! This mustelidae knows how to party. I can imagine kids at the University of Minnesota knocking back hundreds of these a night, or having kegs of it and doing "weasel stands." Because there is probably nothing to do at UMinn in the winter with all that snow, so kids just drink, similar to my alma mater, Penn State. We drank for no good reason in the summer too, but thats just us - a drinking town with a football problem. The thing is, it would be easy to knock back an infinite number of Fat Weasel Ales, as it is very light and crisp and easy-going. It tastes like any old cheap ale, but I wouldn't buy it again for its taste. It's only $5.99 a six pack and packs 7.1% ABV! Weasel stand anyone??!!

If you are on the lookout for a cheap ale that tastes OK but all you really wanna do is get wasted and have a good time, pick up the Fat Weasel Ale. And while you're buying it at TJs, get a bag of the peanut butter pretzel bites. Holy shit are those good.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 4/10
Value: 8/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10
Overall: 6.25/10

Highland Brewing Company Oatmeal Porter


Oh Asheville, NC. I still want to visit you, because you are supposedly so pretty and awesome and have great bands, but your beer from Highland Brewing Company is now 0-for-2 with me. Click here for a previous review of HBC's Kashmir IPA.

This beer is an oatmeal porter. I've only been exposed to oatmeal stouts before, but in this case its an oatmeal porter. So it won't be as heavy and bitter and malty as a stout, its more like a porter. Which is why its called a porter. It is very black in color, similar to that of meconium, and has hints of chocolate and is a bit malty and nutty, due to the oatmeal name. The taste is very strong and long lasting, and would be nice to enjoy in the cold, not in the 95 degree heat like I stupidly did. At 5.8% ABV, its a little higher than average, and a six-pack runs about $9 or so.

This wasn't a terrible beer, I've definitely had worse, but I don't think I would pick it up again. HBC does offer 4 other beers, of which I've seen two around town, so I will have to give them a try too to try to up my overall HBC batting average. Hitting 0.290 might be great for baseball, but not in the world of beer tasting, my friends. And hitting 0.000, well that's just terrible in any walk of life. Unless it is your STD batting average, then that is perfect-o! 

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 5.75/10

Friday, June 3, 2011

Old Burnside Brewing Company's Dirty Penny Ale

I chose to turn on Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album during this review, which is, in my opinion, their second best work; you just can't compete with Zoso.

This is a hell of a beer. It was originally suggested to me from some tattooed broad at this liquor store in a one horse town. She was pretty hot and the fact she knew about this beer and suggested it to me made me think she was a huge alcoholic, aka hot. When I was grabbing it from the cooler some dude asked if I ever had it before. I replied "no" and he said it was really good which makes me wonder, "What's going down in East Hartford?".

What's going down (my throat) is nothing more than Dirty Penny Ale from Old Burnside Brewing Company. This is a mix of their stout (40%) and signature flagship brew, Ten Penny (the rest). I haven't had their Ten Penny but I respect anyone who adds a stout to their black and tans. Yuengling uses a porter, which is delicious, but this is a little smoother and heavier on the stomach. Old Burnside, not to be mistaken of Old Ironsides, is a sister company of their Ice business, yes ice, that was founded in 1911. The brewery itself didn't come to fruition until 1994 when Bob McClellan was selling water to some gypsies and asked why the heck they were buying so much dang water. At this point, the gypsie pulled out a magical cloth covering a crystal ball and the gypsie told him his water, in layman's terms, was damn good. Bob got it analyzed and the water scientist agreed with the gyppo. So he decided to start making beer.

The name itself spawn from Bob's grandfather was talking about how beer only cost a nickle (We've all heard that one). But how extra good beer cost 10 cents, or Ten Pennies. Did I just blow your mind?

On their labels you can still find Ice Pickers, paying homage to what got them where they are...in East Hartford. No ones perfect.

The beer itself is heavy. Like as heavy, if not heavier, than a porter but not as heavy as a full blown stout. It has heavy aromas of coffee and chocolate and a slightly bitter aftertaste; around the same bitterness you'd find in a porter. I picked up a half gallon for $9. I wouldn't try drinking this 5.2% ABV beast out in the sun because you'll most likely die of heat stroke. If you got AC, this is good for you. It's available all year long so do yourself a favor, grab Dirty Penny and "polish one off".

Drinkability: 6/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 4/10

Overall: 5.75/10