Thursday, December 27, 2012

Full Pint Brewing Company - Festivus

"A Festivus For the Rest Of Us"

My love of Seinfeld drools over this beer. The label boasts an Aluminum Festivus pole, a dumbbell for the feats for strength and a megaphone for the airing of grievances, I dono what more you can ask for visually, although the artwork is sub par, its cool they even incorporated it in this thing.

So this beer is made by Full Pint outside of Pittsburgh, and in my mind, a really good winter beer. This one is so seasonal they dont even put it on the website, so dont even try lookin. Not much info on the actual brewery out there, but one of the guys was the assistant brewer at North Country in Slippery Rock PA, and now head brewer for Full Pint, and North Country puts out fantastic products, so I'll be trying others from Full Pint.

This is a spiced brown ale, with the typical Christmas spices, slight cinnamon, clove, maybe some ginger, and a pine/mint hop presence. It is well balanced with a strong malt flavor. The flavor was malty with a hint of spice and very good aroma It was 6%, but only a few in a sitting would do it, then I think I'd move to a different taste.

All in all it does justice to being represented with the best tv show in the history of time. For those of you who know the Festivus episode, let me remind you how many things are actually going on in 30 minutes.

1. Festivus
2. H&H bagel Strike
3. Jerry dates a two face
4. Elaine and the denim vest guy
5. The two horse betting gentleman
6. Human Fund donation

...and probably many more

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Caledonian Brewery Company's Newcastle Winter IPA

That kind of jerks haven't reviewed Newcastle products yet? The kind of jerks whose incessant babbling you are currently reading.

Newcastle Brewery is owned by Heineken and the beer itself started around the late 1920's. it merged with someone you probably never heard of (because we haven't heard of them) and their shit is brewed in North Yorkshire in John Smith's Brewery (not Pocahontas' boyfriend; but what a babe, hubba hubba). But it was brewed in a few places beforehand and was originally marketed as the blue-collar man's beer; but could you imagine the Boss drinking this? Heck No! In the U.S. is marketed as a pretty trendy beer that jerks and men with popped collars enjoy on a frequent basis as they hit on babes at bars and talk about their mutual funds.

It originally was starter by Willie Younger (who isn't younger anymore) in 1749, which actually makes him older than shit. It was bought by Heineken in 2007 and Willie prompted turned in his grave.

The Winter IPA is available in November through January, like anyone could have guessed. It's got an ABV of 5.2% which is as strong as you were after taking a nap when you were eleven years old. The recipe is as classified as nude pictures of Amelia Earhart. Shooting from the hip, we'll say it has an IBU count in the low 50's. You can definitely taste some hops in there but it is quite mild to say the least. It tastes more like an English bitter or just a traditional winter ale. It has a bitter aftertaste so if you are some bro at the bar talking about your Mutual Funds, you might wanna pop a Breathsaver before feeling up some dame in the back of your Audi. I'd also play a little Steve Winwood. Shit's smoooooth.

The taste is malty enough going down; you not going to be able to necessarily slam these. It has a dry, bitter finish (see above) with a mildly frothy head on it, for an IPA. It's a pretty clean pour with a light amber tone and has some pretty decent carbonation action. It has a bittersweet scent with a touch of caramel.

I paid $17 for 12 of these which is a far cry from cheap or expensive. You can definitely find something better for the price. As far as IPAs are concerned, I would not pick this up if you are looking for a hoppy beer. It shines as far as a bitter aftertaste but the initial taste leaves something to be desired. It's dry finish with guarantee than you are going to want to slam like 15 burritos after a night of these puppies or you'll wake up drier fill in the blank, pervert.

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

Overall: 4.0/10

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Love The Sauce Presents: Eye Patch, A Black I.P.A.

So folks, we are now gonna break for a second from our normal beer review routine. Here at I Love The Sauce we love beer (and scotch I may add), as well as anything about beer; the conversation,  the atmosphere, the laughs, the tears, the bowling, and the hangovers. For those of you who do not know us personally, we have a wide range of personalities, a vast knowledge of useless information, and interests that greatly differ from person to person, as well as living geographically all across this great nation. But we are brought together by the brotherhood of beer, and we hope these differences can relate to every aspect of you, the consumer.

Anyways, as stated in my heartfelt intro, we love beer, and well, some of us even make beer. Now let me start out by saying I am novice at best, but learning more and more each day.  I figure if a product is made that tastes good, why not let you all know about it, to make myself feel good.

So this is a Black IPA, it has the same light mouth feel and characteristics of a standard IPA, but a deceiving a dark appearance. This bad boy is hoppy, and leaves you with a nice bitter burn long through the finish until the next sip. It is overly hopped and dry hopped in the fermenter.  I went a little crazy on the specialty grains, and used some black patent, carafa, and crystal, but the blend came out pretty good if I don’t say so myself. 

I am more than willing to share the recipe if there are any other brewers out there interested, all I ask is you say hey, I Love the Sauce sent ya.

Oh yea, this is 7.7% ABV, so slug til the Pirates break .500

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 6/10 (ingredients-time/effort)
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.75/10

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Floyd Brewing Company's Pride and Joy American Ale

American Ale, anything less would an abomination. You like America, don't you? You cuss!

So we reviewed Three Floyds here.  I always like reviewing beers from a brewery we've already reviewed because it's way easier and usually a LOT more nonsense. So if you don't like nonsense, go back to reading your sister's diary and let the grown ups talk. And drink your Yoo Hoo.

So you wanna hear about the beer, grandma? Alright. It's an American Ale, which is a fancy way to say "we dunno what it is". Essentially, its a sweet Pale Ale. And when I say "sweet" I don't mean "totally badical". It's pretty good. I can chug the crap out of it and it has a relatively light head to it, like Jack Balloonhead. Remember him? Yeah, well, I made him up, but you get the idea.

So the biggest problem I have with this beer is the label. As you can clearly see it's a picture of Freakazoid's meth addict cousin in his pajamas with a stick! Now, that sounds good, but it fails upon execution. I respect the 20 sided die on it, along with the grenade and skull. But it looks like something a high school senior would design after listening to White Zombie and playing pogs all night. moooree hummaannn than hummaannn. Whoever let that guy do movies should be shot. I wouldn't trust Rob Zombie shine my shoes. C'mon.

Stuff is 5.0% ABV which is the equivalent to PBR; so it's not winning any awards there. I mean if you can't beat PBR, who ARE you? It's got a little hop in its step, 52 IBUs.

Overall, the beer taste pretty good. Light enough to chug and tasty enough to have a backpack full, but it's a pretty bad label. I'd be embarrassed to be seen with it. Like if I was at the local watering hole, what am I gonna say to a nice lass? "Oh hey, don't mind this beer but do you wanna make out while listening to the Deftones?" I mean, you just can't be taken serious; and I'm all about being serious, f'real.

In hind site, would I get it again? Sure, if it was on tap. Would I shoot the $10 on a 6-pack? If I wanted to die a virgin, definitely. Listen. If I'm gonna die a virgin, it's gonna be on MY terms. Not the jerk on the label, the jerk. And your a jerk if you like the label, you jerk. Jerk.

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 4/10
Curb Appeal: 2/10

Overall: 5.0/10

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yuengling Brewery's Light Lager

So this is Yuengling Brewery's Light Lager. I know what you're thinking: "Yuengling makes a light beer?" They sure as heck do!  If you want to know a little bit about Yuengling, the oldest brewery in the United States, click right here.

The can claims its 99 calories and the website says 98 calories; so someone is a dirty liar and, for all intensive purposes, a real piece of crap.  Yuengling Light is pretty underrated. I mean you can drink a million of these and never gain a pound. I said a million monsignor! Plus, it's only .1 grams of fat; would I lie to you? About THIS?

Well you wanna talk about the beer? Ok, let's go! It goes down faster than a Australian grad student at a Silverchair concert. If you had to slam a beer, like really slam. Like King Midas had you by your collar? Yeah, this is your choice. Now, all beer has a downfall, well most beers. And this one is its ABV, but no shellac, Sherlock. This has a great great taste and is lighter than a drowning rat. The ABV is 3.4% which is as pathetic as watching a senior citizen trying to do a pull-up. Even an old navy seaman. This is a great beer to the kids, you stuff a few of these in your backpack and take em to a football game and the coppers are after ya, well you can chug these bad bastards and take off through the woods to your buddy's house. Well, he's not your buddy, just a guy who let's you drink at his house when his parents are out of town.

The government will tell you without a doubt that beer is bad for you, but what do they know? I think even pregnant women can slug this guy; I mean its 3.4%, it doesn't take a total turkey to tell you 6 or 7 of these will be safe. I want a dozen.

The can, well, is pretty typical by Yuengling standards; eagle and all that. But it's got a distinct color which will make people be like "what the heck is that?". And you can be all coy and say "Oh, this, yeah its Yuengling, the light one, no big deal. What do you got there? Lager, yeah that's alright, I drank that last year."

But I wouldn't say I'd pick this over Lager or Black and Tan, I mean I rarely have to drink on the run these days, especially with my bad knees. And its ridiculously cold this time of year. As far as light beers go, this is a big winner. It runs about $18 bucks a case, which, at that ABV is as smart as smart as buying a Smashmouth CD. There are definitely better beers for the price, but its a great beer nonetheless. I recommend it for chugging in parking lots, alleys, bathrooms, on porch's at family events where you are too young to drink.

So there's that.

Other Yuengling Reviews:
Yuengling Porter
Yuengling Lager
Yuengling Black and Tan
Yuengling Bock

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

Overall: 6.5/10

Friday, November 2, 2012

21st Amendment Brewery - Monk's Blood

I've done some 21'st Amendment reviews before, and you can check out some company info on a past review here.

It's really hard for me to pass up any of the 21'st lineup. I haven't been disappointed yet, and  the can artwork really draws the eye. For this brew the founders traveled to Belgium to research and develop a recipe, but we all know how the internet works, so my guess is it was an excuse to go and drink in a foreign land, that's why Canada exists for me, but it was worth it!

This beer is dark in color, I'd say about the same color as the can, and has a very complex flavor. Those boys from San Fran really hit the mark in Belgian style. Its thick and creamy, like drinking actual blood, hence the name I guess, the Monk part comes from where they were visiting in the Trappist area of Belgium, where a buncha Monk's use to live and brew.

It's a hearty beer, would pair well while eating cheese, or some sort of thick jambalaya type stew,or while watching some medieval games. Definitely couldn't drink more that 2 of these in a sitting, it has very strong overpowering flavors, brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, figs, and aged with oak.

It put me back around 5 bucks, which doesn't break the bank, and it was 8.3% ABV which is right up my alley.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 7/10 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Brouwerij Palm - Palm Speciale

Please rock out to this while reading...

So Palm was a new beer on tap at my local bar, and I'm always a sucker for a beer that comes in the appropriate glass, so I went for it.

Palm is a Belgium beer and they brew in four different locations across Belgium. The website doesn't give much info on them at all, pretty secretive. I don't know what they are trying to hide, because this bad boy is pretty bland. I feel most Belgium's are more complex but I guess some sway from the norm.

The taste is a little flat, and a two finger head that fell immediately, but the visual is crystal clear amber. The smell is malty, grainy, and a little metallic, but ended with a skunky old attic smell. First taste was watery and not much flavor. Second taste was the same, and didn't change throughout.

They market this as "A great alternative to traditional pilsners and lagers for the beer drinker looking for something a little different". I say is tastes like a watered down Yuengling, with a bad smell.

All in all, I say pass this up, its only 5.4 ABV, so its not breaking any records, and $5 for a glass is a rip.

Drinkability: 4/10
Taste: 3/10
Value: 2/10
Curb Appeal: 3/10

Overall: 3/10

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Red Dog Beer

A long, long time ago I was at the great Canfield Fair in Canfield, Ohio with my aunt and uncle. I may have been five or six or seven but I was probably five. I recall coming up victorious in one of the many carney games over there, yes that is right, I was single handily winning carny games at age five. WELL, anyways, for a prize I received a framed picture of the red dog off the Red Dog Beer label with "Red Dog Beer" in the background. I decided right there that when I grew up I would drink Red Dog. Then I grew up.

It took me too long to find this beer. Butala kind of sent me on an assignment back in May to review this stuff and I wanted it to be my return to the review game. I went up and down the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, to every state store with barred windows and fat dudes behind the counter, but no Red Dog to be found. I gave up until I moved back to my home away from home; Happy Valley, State College, Pennsylvania.

So, onto the beer I guess. At first sip I was definitely surprised at flavor of this beer. Instead of tasting like absolute garbage it actually didn't taste much like anything at all, but I liked it. I knew right then that I found a new party beer. "Uncommonly Smooth" is printed across the label and they weren't lyin'. This beer goes down like water for something recording at 5% on the ABV scale. The initial watery flavor is followed up with a random hoppy bitter taste. It's a bonging beer, if you're into that.

I picked up a twelve pack at the local bottle shop for 10$. You do the math, stranger. It's cheaper than DIRT. So, if you're looking for a beer to get twisted off quickly, say at a tailgate or pre-gaming, this is the brew 4 u. This ain't a classy beer, except maybe at Michigan International Raceway.

Drinkability: 10/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 10/10
Curb Appeal: 2/10

Overall: 7.5

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Left Hand Brewery's Sawtooth Ale

As Abebroham Lincoln once said, "Crank this shit and let's RAGE!" Smart man.

So this is the uh, Left Hand Brewery's Sawtooth Ale and the first thing that sticks out is the label. It was actually designed by Moxie Sozo and the artist was Charles Bloom; probably both nice folks. But on a gay scale between Mogwai from Jungle Book and Gary Glitter, this ranks around "Elton John in drag". I never liked suns, also one of my least favorite stars, but I feel this crap should be in the liner notes of a Sublime cover band; perhaps I'm overly critical.

Left Hand is a pretty nice outfit though. They hail from the rocky terrains of Longmont, Colorado and got started smack dab in the middle of George H.W. Bush administration, or as I call him, Herb.  Dick Doore, just about the worst doors you can come across, co-founded it with his pal Eric Wallace when we were all phallus deep in Clinton.  They called themselves Indian Peaks but later changed their name due some turkeys already had that name for a beer so, trivia time, they changed their name to Left Hand in respect to Chief Niwot who Magellan-ed the living shit out that area.  Niwot is arapahoe-ian for "left hand"; duhhh.  So, whatever, they launched and here they are, kicking ass and taking names since the late 2000's.  They have about 8 regular, all season beers, and another dozen seasonals or "special-time" brews and collaborations.

I remember my first experience with Left Hand... like it was yesterday, if yesterday was 2006 or so. I got a sampler in Massachusetts and it was bacon-on-potato loaded with dark stouts and shit; "wicked awesome". And they tasted pretty dang good; pardon my french.

This is their Sawtooth Ale, which is an American Style bitter Ale; which typically tend to be a touch higher than your traditional ales.  This hits the charts at 5.3% and 27 IBUs. I mean yeah, you could probably slam 6 of these guys and knock out a high school baseball player AND get away with it. I mean you COULD.  It's got a full flavored bitter taste (on purpose), with a dry, bittersweet aftertaste.  It has a sweet, malty aroma, which is good considering they use Cascade, Munich, Crystal and Wheat malts.  They use Black Malt also; which I've never heard of, so I'm not totally sold on that they exist.  As far as hops go, they use Goldings (U.S), Willamette (Chicago; or should be), Cascade and Magnum; which makes it weird consider the amount of hops and the low IBU.  They certainly make it dry though. It's like the hop sock is in your mouth. And by "hop sock" I mean "gym sock". But seriously, it tastes pretty good.

I like that their website doesn't have a food pairing for this beer so I'll help you out with this. This beer is good with cookies, more beer, Ramen noodles, glasses of scotch, checking the mail, brisket, watching television and day dreaming. This does not go well with hanging out with your personal banker. Got it?

Its an amber color and a little cloudy but like I said before, have a smooth, dry taste that is good for grandparents of 102 and toddlers of 2. I dunno how much it costs because my buddy brought it over.

In summation, this beer is okay. I like ESBs, but I've had better but this is by no means a slouch.  I've definitely pick up another sampler of Left Hand's stuff. I could toss 6 or so of these back if I had to (which should run you around $7-$8) but variety is the spice of life and any bitter beer should be limited to numbers you can count on one hand.

Drinkability: 6.0/10
Taste: 6.0/10
Value: 5.0/10
Curb Appeal: 3.0/10

>Overall: 5.0/10

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pittsburgh Brewing Company - Iron City Beer

The name says it all, its a Pittsburgh beer, and I'm pretty sure its only consumed inside the city limits. I only drink this stuff on 3 occasions; Steeler games, Pirate games, and Penguin games. I know what your thinking, why don't I drink it during Pittsburgh Power games, well because that's just dumb.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company has been around since the 1860's by two German guys, and then passed on to two other German guys. Its actually brewed outside Pittsburgh in Latrobe, but corporate headquarters are in the Strip District just outside of downtown. They make a variety of beers, including the always glorious American, American Light, and Old German. Apparently German's make good beer, but apparently its not Iron City

The beer tastes like beer. Thats really all there is. If you think what beer tastes like, its this. If you went to someone who doesn't really drink beer, and said taste this beer, they would say, yeah that tastes like beer. The first few go down a little rough, but then the flood gates open to an all night bender, and a pending hangover that will make you butthurt in the morning.

All in all give it a shot. It's a good tailgate beer and a good Pittsburgh beer. Not complex, not hoppy, and nothing to think about. Oh yea, and its cheap, like 2 bucks a bottle at a bar, and 4.5% ABV.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 4/10
Value: 8/10
Curb Appeal: 5/10

Overall: 6/10

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Goose Island Brewery's 312 Urban Wheat Hefeweisen

It's Goose Island Brewery y'all.  If you don't remember it, you probably got rocks for brains, but hey, no ones perfect.  If you need a little refresher, check out this and you'll be all caught up to speed.

So here's a little Chicago history, did I mention this is made in Chicago? It is.  So Goose Island, the actually island, was sort of a big deal; not that it isn't now.  But it's an island in Chicago.  The north end of the island reaches, North Avenue.  The south end end intersects Chicago Avenue; makes sense.  So what the heck divides the island in half? Yeah! YEAH! Division Street.  It's not rocket science you dummy, it's all right here.

This is a real mild wheat beer, not a strong wheaty smell or taste.  You can literally slam one million of these and run the Boston marathon; do they have one of those here?  I put in one of those lemon slices the kids are talking about and it really adds some zing to this, almost too much; it's that mild.  It's cloudy like any wheat beer.  The use Cascade hops with a little Liberty in there.  The IBUs are 20, which makes it as bitter as a kid in a candy store.  The ABV isn't great, 4.2%; so you're better off going to the grocery store and mixing NyQuil and bitters in a red Solo cup and drink it in a dugout in a park in your hometown and maybe feel up a girl that you sort of had the hots for.  Summer lovin'; happens to fast.  Sidenote: NyQuil and bitters will get you LAID.  Try it and report back.

So this stuff is a great day drinking beer so two reasons.  It's light and not that full of booze; so you can slug these at 11:00AM in the morning while watching TeenWolf Too and still make the Rocky marathon that starts at 6:00PM.

312 is the area code of Chicago's south loop; so maybe you learned two things today; congratulations.  And it's an Urban beer which means Jay-Z probably drinks it and it'll make you gangster as shit! I feel like a straight up thug! Makes me wanna loiter at a 7-Eleven parking lot and maybe play the music in the 1991 Toyota Celica real loud in a McDonald's parking lot. So cool.

This stuff runs about $14.00 for a 12 pack, so it's pretty economical; though you can get a case of PBR for the same price which isn't a bad deal either.

I'd certainly get this again, though, since variety is the spice of life, I might lean towards a variety pack because, although you can drink this all day and all night, I'm not sure if I want to.  Easy to drink and fairly classy, sure.  Best wheat I've had, not a chance.  It might be your mom's favorite beer though.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weihenstephaner's Vitus Weizenbock

Anyone who knows me knows that Weihenstephaner is my favorite German brewing company; that's just booze 101 as far as I'm concerned.  I initially reviewed the brewery here.  So when I went to a German beer hall and saw three beers from them on tap I says to myself, I says, "Hey, why don't I get me one of those."  Spoiler alert: I did.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so I ordered a liter of this stuff; costed $20. If you aren't a mathemagican that breaks down to around $6 for 12 ounces; depending on the strength of the yen.  In accordance to reference every single Broken Lizard movie, I also ordered a boot later on. And yes, I did get  some on me.

So this is a weizenbock, right?  So that means its wheaty and a stepkid of the lager family.  They typically have a sweet flavor, like myself, and cloudier than your head after a solid day of binge drinking.  This is a nice full bodied brew that will certainly fill you up, even if you don't order a liter of it. Though I still suggest you do.

It's got an IBU of 17, which makes it have a relatively low bitterness.  And it also has an ABV of 7.7% which could cripple a dolphin!  The general taste is a wheaty, full bodies, sweet, citrusy suckerpunch to the kisser; in a good way.  It's surprisingly easy to drink and, earmuffs mom, I slammed this in no time.  The cloudiness might imply that its heavy, but its slammable and full bodied, which is a treat if you ask me.

One of the best things about this beer is that it makes you drunk, like so many other beers before it.  These three douchebags wanted to fight our table for some reason and I still know why, but, if you drink enough of these you'll be in a wrestling mood and it won't slow you down when you kick people in the ribs.  This is hands down the best fighting beer I've had in a while.  I think Rocky drank this in Rocky III, but not when he fought Mr. T, but when he fought Thunderlips. Remember that? Man, that movie rocked.  I really like the montage with Apollo Creed too.  It was just unfortunate that Thalia Shire ruined the entire series.  She was pretty smoking in Rocky I though; what a babe! But I digress.

So, to sum this up, Rocky II is my favorite Rocky movie and this beer is great.  I wouldn't necessarily buy it all the time because, contrary to what my wife thinks, I'm not made of money! But it's definitely a treat.  I think even Hitler drank this stuff, and that dude was pretty clueless. Napoleon probably would have drank it if he wasn't busy inventing ice cream. 

Drinkability: 9/10
Taste: 9/10
Value: 3/10
Curb Appeal: 5/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Great Lakes Brewing Company – Lake Erie Monster

Check out some brewery and past review info on great lakes here and here.

I will have to say that Great Lakes is in my top 5 breweries worldwide. They produce a nice variety of beers and never seem to disappoint. All are pretty complex flavors, and you can throw back any of their flavors throughout the whole night without feeling too shitty the next day.  Not to mention, from my experience, their employees are cordial and like to have a good time.

I first tried Lake Erie Monster at 2012 Philly Beer Week, a comrade of mine got me into a private Great Lakes event at the Waterworks, behind the art history museum. Pretty rad event, only about 30 people, and 6 beers on tap, all you can eat and drink. They tried to throw some water conservation crap at me, but I was 8 beers in or so, and didn’t feel like a lecture.  But that was some museum employee, so I won’t knock Great lakes for it.

Please see below for me and Benjamin Franklin.  Ben Franklin has a haircut I may pursue in the near future, and he let me hold his cane. Even if he did nothing else, those 2 facts make him ok in my book

I first must say something about beer week. I highly recommend everyone who is interested in alcohol make a trip out. Philly Beer week has over 650+ events all around the city in a week span.  I read some facts, and I vaguely remember San Diego being the closest to compare for just over 350+ events for their beer week. It’s a beer drinking city and it’s awesome.  That being said, breweries need to take it easy on the hops.  It seems like the new thing is to hop the shit out of a beer just for hops sake. Now, I am a hop fan, but it is my conclusion that some sub par breweries just add the bitterness because they can’t make a superb beer, and hops can mask the taste. I dono, prove to me that you a reputable and make an all malt beer taste good, and then I’ll give you some credit.

Ok, Lake Erie Monster is real good. Not to mention the label looks like the Luck Dragon from Never Ending Story got bit by a zombie.  It’s an unfiltered, hazy double IPA with a huge hop presence. Bitter but smooth, and you can drink em all night long. Great Lakes doesn’t disappoint again. They use Harrington and Caramel malts, as well as Simcoe and Fuggle hops. The combination boast an ABV of 9.1%, so maybe drinking them all night is even a better idea now. 

Price wise, mine was free, at the museum event and another Great Lakes event I caught out there. But I bought a draft recently for 5 bones.
Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 8/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Goose Island's Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale

Beer Reviews 101: When you pay $7.00 for a beer - you review it.

So we've reviewed a few brews from Goose Island; we covered the brewery right here. Makes sense than InBev made a Belgian style ale.

This beer is brewed the traditional Belgian sense, giving it a bitter and dry flavor.  Let the record state that I do not like Belgian style beers, but as far as Belgians go, this one tastes pretty mild.  I've had plenty that essentially taste like Italian dressing; but not this one.  So I know what you're asking "Why the heck did I buy this beer?" Well, truth be told, I focused too much on the "farmhouse" part, and not at all on the "Belgian" part.  As King Herod once said in the New Testament, "My Bad".

This particular beer has an IBU of 25 and an ABV of 6.5%; both of which appeal to me.  They use Amarillo hops in conjunction with Pilsner (Pilsnerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!) and wheat malts.

But Goose Island has a few different types of beer, along with styles.  They have the classics and the vintage (all Belgian style); which is a fancy way to say "expensive".  Do I think these vintage beers are worth the 2x price? Hell no! Does it make it look like you roll Big Willie Style in a phat Benzo? Uh, YES! These beers shit class.  If some broad sees you drinking this she will think you have style and class.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't see any noteworthy girls in the opium den I was drinking this in.

I find it never unlikely I'd ever get this again unless I fall for the same trick that duped me into getting it in the first place.  For a Belgian I really enjoyed it; but they aren't my thing and if you've seen my paychecks you'll soon realize I am not on the $7.00 beer tier.  To put in in perspective, the beer I have before this was a PBR and the beer I had afterwards was an Old Style.  If I was going to get another expensive Goose Island beer, I'd probably head towards the ones brewed in the bourbon barrels.

I know a lot of the kids are into the Belgian thing and that's cool. You'll look cooler than Strider when he was rolling deep with all those hobbits; ya know, by contrast.  He wasn't cool for hanging out with them although I suppose it worked out for him in the end.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 3/10
Curb Appeal: 9/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Other Goose Island Reviews:
Goose Island India Pale Ale
Goose Island Mild Winter Ale
Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Hefeweisen
Goose Island Kilgubbin Irish Red Ale

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kompania Piwowarska Brewery's Lech Pale Lager

So my commute from work ranges from 45 minutes to 2 and a half hours.  During these 2.5 hour commutes, I will occasionally stroll on into a bar to wet my proverbial whistle.  So me and my pal go into this log cabin bar outside of the Chicago city limits and it had an abnormally large selection of Polish beers.

Lech is actually owned by SABMiller, which you might know from Miller Genuine Draft.  Those guys actually own a ton of beers that I'm not going to get into.  The plant itself was erected (insert joke) [insert additional joke] in the late 1970s. They made beer there, go figure, and Miller bought them out in the mid 90's when everyone was rocking out to Evil Empire; remember that album?

Poles are known for their booze consumption, so it wasn't a coincidence that in 2007, they made the worlds largest beer mug inside of the brewery. It held 4250 liters of beer and 10,625 people enjoyed it.  Obviously, my invitation got lost in the mail.

Kompania Piwowarska itself translates to "Brewing Company" controls 45% of the Polish beer market, the largest being Tyskie.

The thing about polish beers are some of them are great.  Some of them taste like Slip and Slide water from Daniel Stern's birthday party.  This is the good one (though they both sound pretty good when you put it like that).  It has a similar taste to Lomza.

It has a nice clear look to it, as most pale lagers do.  It is complimented by a flowery, crisp flavor with a sharp finish.  This may be a bold statement, but it also smells like beer.  I feel this is a great beer to slam when you are watching sports at a bar because you can drink a hell of a lot of them and it comes in half liter bottles that any fool knows can knock out any hooligan.  It's got such a light taste also, that if you don't knock out that hooligan, you can certainly outrun him.

I paid $5 for this 500mL rascal and it has an ABV of 5.2% which is nothing to bite your thumb at.  This is one of my favorite Polish beers and would definitely get it again. The worst thing I could say is the label is not nearly as appealing as Lomza. Becks called; they want their label back.

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

Overall: 5.75/10

Monday, June 4, 2012

Asia Pacific Brewery's Tiger Pale Lager


Put yourself in this situation if you will. Your minding you own business in Shanghai with a guy named "Slim" and you end up in some bar.  This is specializes in getting you "the wasted".  Now, me being the responsible man that I am, I limit myself to two servings.  Thing is, they sell beer by the dozen.  How awesome is that?  And on the menu? Tiger.

It was trivia night there also; so get this.  Instead of being solely based on knowledge, they took an intermission and gave everyone a free beer from each team and sent us up in the rafters to a chug contest.  Well, I explained that it was safe for me to climb up these old stairs to a mezzanine-esqe shady ass rafters.  So after I went up there, I vowed not to do it again until I had another dozen Tigers.

Bad stuff happens there, man.

Tiger is brewed by Asia Pacific Brewery; real original name.  Tiger is their main beer and dates back to the Ming Dynasty of 1934, the Ming Dynasty obviously led by Joe DeMaggio and other men of the caliber.  I bet Joltin' Joe slammed a buncha these beers back in the day; bitching about the Reds.  The redcoats that is.  Revolutionary War was around that time right?

So this brewery opened her doors in '31 (sorta like your grandma) and was the first local beer to come out of Singapore, or as I call it (as of today) Sing-A-Pour.  It tallies a 5.0% ABV; average.

What isn't average is the taste of this stuff.  Unless you drink a dozen of these suckers you won't approve of the taste.  That being said, if you drink them by the dozen, you will be happy, then real sad.  And if Steve Martin taught me anything I've learned everything is cheaper by the dozen.  So yeah, it starts off regular enough and whatnot, but then you get a catapult of jack crap and staleness down your gullet.  I thought I had Kurt Rambis' dirty sweatsocks in my mouth.

The label you can't beat; cuz it looks awesome.  I always liked tigers because they sorta played second fiddle to the lion in a jungle setting; but I still feel a real upset tiger can beat a lions ass ANY DAY! Remember Bengaled tigers? Did they go extinct?

So the worst thing about this stuff, worse than the taste, is the price.  I mean in China it's practically free; especially by the dozen (Thank you Steve Martin) but here in the old U.S. of A, it was like $5.00 at a bar and/or speakeasy.  I mean you can get a real beer for that much.  And lord knows you don't want just six of these bad boys.  The smell is simple enough but if you are going for a pale lager, you might want to try these.  I will say this: If you are drinking by train tracks or under a bring and you pull one of these guys out, you'll be the hippest bum in town.  And I know a thing of two about hip bums.

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 3/10
Value: 3/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 4.75/10

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Peak Organic Brewing Company Summer Session Ale

Well it's Memorial Day weekend, and that means its the unofficial start of summer (f*** you, summer solstice). That means its time for BBQing, crappy summer movies, and here in Chapel Hill, senseless murder and violence in front of elementary schools. Since Chapel Hill has the most crime, hobos, and top-siders per capita in the US, I guess this is just par for the course. But seriously, people WTF has happened to our country? If we all just had a snog or two of Peak's Summer Session Ale we'd be living in Utopia-ville by Labor Day.

I've covered Peak Organic Brewing Company extensively on this here fine blog (use that snazzy search bar up yonder to check out past reviews), so I won't spend too much time singing their praises in this column. They rarely make a bad beer (I'm looking at you Pomegranate Wheat), and the Summer Session Ale is another fine product to come pouring out of Peak's sterling beer tubes. Peak claims that this beer is a hybrid between a west coast  pale ale and a traditional summer wheat beer, and I totally buy that marketing statement. It's kind of hoppy like a pale ale with a nice citrus taste (a floral bouquet if you will), but it also has that unfiltered character of a wheat beer. It has a pretty despicable 5.0% ABV, and even I, Mr. super light-weight, was able to have 2 of these last night and nary feel a buzz. At $8.99 a six-pack, its not a steal, but it's not a deal either.

The hype around this beer was pretty high, as I have been waiting for it for quite a while (~2 weeks) in order to add to my proud display of Peak six-pack boxes on top of my kitchen cupboards. Wait, what's that? I'm not in college anymore and it's not 2003? Whaddya mean I'm almost 30 years old? And what's this about I got a girl (wife) pregnant and I have a 14 month old baby to take care of? Hahaha, that's totally funny. You're such a jokester, you totally had me for a second. I'm gonna go eat a Totinos pizza, listen to Taking Back Sunday, and play NHL 94 now. Lates.

Drinkability: 9/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lebatt Blue Light Lime

Stop laughing. I mean it. I'm using this "review" as an opportunity to talk about the glory of big cans and lawnmower beers and sunburns. I'm one of the few American males that don't completely discount the recent surge in lime flavored bullshit as "for girls" or "stupid". (Iron City Mango is a different story altogether.) I'm a giant fan of session beers in giant cans, because you really can't turn your nose up at an over-sized novelty item. Hulk Hands were sweet, right? So are foot long hot dogs, 6 pound cheeseburgers, monster trucks. See the trend? ALL OVER SIZED AND NOVEL. Let's set the scene, shall we? It's late June and you, as an adult, have lawn care responsibilities*. These aren't necessarily difficult tasks, but a pain nevertheless. You glance out the window and realize that maybe those funny looks the neighbors were shooting you probably had something to do with the fact your lawn looks similiar to this:
With a heavy sigh, you check weatherbug and see that it's a soul crushing 88 degrees outside. Cloudless, blue sky. With disdain, you man (or woman) up and do your suburban duty. You battle sweat in your eyes, pissed off bees and other unknown insects. You manuever your mower with utmost precision around poorly thought out shrubs and flower beds. You even get a little crazy and try to re-create the famous center field vag in your back yard. As you sweep up the driveway, you admire your job well done. You struggled through oppressive conditions. You deserve a reward. A token to show yourself how great you really are. You go into the fridge. Purple stuff, water, Sunny D. None of these will quench your mansized thirst. There, in the back, you notice something. No, not the leftover olives from pizza night, dumbass. The shiny, ice cold can of domestic goodness. The lawnmower beer. The gold medal you deserve after completing the Olympic event that is lawn care. The lawnmower beer is the male equivalent of the girl's bubble bath wine. The adult equivalent of the collegiate shower beer. Just a little something to reward yourself for a job well done. A damn good excuse to hear a pop top open while it's still light out. No one, has beef with this tradition. You did your chores, treat yo self. But why stop at a mere 12 ounces, my friend? You got the green light, drive like you mean it. Stock your fridge with big cans for moments like these.

 The big can is a tradition unlike any other. Presumably made popular by the homeless, the big can is for the man who doesn't want just one beer, but does not want to be attached to the stigma of actually being a homeless person and knocking back a 40oz of Olde E at noon on a Saturday. The glory of the big can is the affordability and variety available basically everywhere cigarettes are sold (unless you live in Pennsylvania. Then you actually have to seek out the holy grail of day drinking). You can go as scummy as colt 45 or as classy as Heineken. Flawless planning by alcohol companies ensure that every big can is a watery, chuggable session beer you rarely pay more than a buck fitty for. Characteristics that are synonymous with lawnmower beers.

 For my first foray into mower beers in 2012, I shopped around. I considered my options. Tecate big cans are a fridge staple from May until August, but recent developments in the Mexican sociopolitical world forced me to consider other options (The gas station was out). But then, I saw a sign. Literally. A sign that any flag waving American male will never pass by. "Beer blowout!" I put my skepticism aside and looked into this claim. And, an offer unlike any other presented to me. 12 BIG CANS OF LEBATT BLUELIGHT LIME FOR 8 DOLLARS. 2 cases purchased, no questions asked. Already cold, loaded into my trunk by a human other than myself. Nary a finger lifted. Since this is a review, and not really storytime, I shall delve into the characteristics of this beer with no hesitation. It tastes like sunburn. Light and limey without a trace of salt like those communists over at Bud Lite force you to indulge in. It's from Lebatt, which is Canadian and somewhat respectable there. Why our neighbors in the great white north would decide making a beach beer is a good idea is beyond me, but i'm damn glad they did it. I'm not making a bold statement and saying this is the best beer you can keep in your fridge. Far from it. But for a stinking dollar per can, you're an idiot to choose anything else to use as the go to lawnmower beer.

*Those living in cities with pavement and traffic and noise and stupid things, just throw back to the memory of shitty chores you had as a child

Drinkability: 9/10
Taste: 5/10
Value: 10/10
Curb Appeal: 10/10 - Rappers rap a lot about big cans now instead of 40s. Seems like an endorsement to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wychwood Brewery – Hobgoblin

First off, a pretty kick ass website for Wychwood.  Wychwood is located in Witney, Oxfordshire UK, sounds pretty prestigious, but history will tell you the city’s claim to fame is bread, blankets, and beer. It must be a pretty cozy town.  The brewery was started in 1983 named ‘Eagle Brewery’, then changed its name to ‘Glenny Brewery’, then finally ‘Wychwood Brewery’ in 1990. In 1988 Hobgoblin was first brewed by request from a local landlord who wanted celebratory ale for his daughter’s wedding.  The guests were so giddy and drunk, Wychwood knew they had something good on their hands, fast forward a few years and they started bottling it in 1996.

Not to slam the beer in any way, because it’s pretty damn good, but when I ordered it, on the menu it was titled ‘HoPgoblin’, so I expected a very hoppy IPA. Then when it was poured I realized it was a typo. Talk about your snaffoos.  But no harm, I love brown ales, and I’m not one to turn down a beer of any sort at any time.

The color is a nice deep brown, and very sparkly. It’s like the Reunite Lambrusco of wines, if it was a beer, if that makes any sense.  Not very much head, like pouring a Cherokee Red, just fizzed out in a few seconds, but that’s ok.  It’s not hoppy at all, I’m guessing all that was used they added at the end for aroma, because there is definitely no bitterness and it’s very crisp and clean. I’d drink this anytime of year, some good malty, toffee, chocolate notes, and not heavy at all. I’m gonna search for some more Wychwood’s out there.

Did I mention the sweet witch on the bottle? 

ABV: 5.2%
Hops: Fuggles, Styrians
Malts: Pale, Crystal, Chocolate

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.75/10