Thursday, December 26, 2013

Central Water's Brewhouse Coffee Stout

Picture this you nimrod: You're walking aimlessly in northern Wisconsin in the winter. It's dark out and hella cold. The snow is coming on thick and you think you'll never make it to "where ever the hell you're going" and all you have is your wit and a brown sack. In your mind, this song is on repeat and you are pretty sure you are losing it, and losing it fast. You split your sack open and pull out a double deuce of this yea out. You wedge the cap of with a stick you found next to that fence and in your last hours you slug this down with no fear. Then a pick-up truck beams its lights down the road and as much as you hate Wisconsin-folk this guy is a real gem and drops you off at the party you were headed to. The party was awesome and you tell that story and everyone thinks you are a real mountain man. Did I mention there are mountains? There's mountains.

Central Waters is a brewery in Amhurst, Wisconsin (originally in Junction City, WI). It started in 1996 by these two dudes (Mike McElwain and Jerry Ebel) in an old Model A factory. They hired local jag Paul "Moonlight" Graham as their head brewer. Three years later the company tanked and was sold to Clint Schultz and with Moonlight, they got imperial on everyone's ass and that's when the brewery really tool off (in 1999).

In 2001 they moved to Amhurst. Five years after that Schultz said adios and Moonlight and his pal Anello Mollica took the reigns; following all this? They currently have 18 beers in their rotation. It is said that the original brewers, McElwain and Ebel, are now pumping gas in Jersey.

These guys are all about solar energy and use photo cells to ensure lighting is not wasted (unlike you after slugging a few of these down). Long story short. Energy conservation and smaller carbon footprint. Sounds more like California than Wisconsin.

I mentioned beer; remember beers? They got 7 in their normal rotation, 4 for their seasonals, 8 in their reserve series (like this one) and another three in the cellar sessions (which requires your left arm and your first born to receive). Worth it by the way.

This is their Brewhouse Coffee Stout. Emy J is responsible for the coffee and Moonlight and his pal are responsible for the rest. As the picture suggests, this has a dark tan head and is darker than Tony Goldwyn's soul. Don't get that reference? Have you ever seen Ghost ingrate? Demi Moore was pretty hot in that movie. And the Swayze. But when isn't he a looker. (RIP).

So how does this taste? Like the aforementioned story suggests; this stuff is thick, heavy and ready for your mouth (like your high school prom date). It has a sweet scent (unlike your prom date) with some chocolatey hints and coffee overtones.  It's quite sweet and malty. Thick, creamy and smooth. There isn't much head to it which might deter some people but trust me, this is a very nice, full bodied stout.

So flavor? Yeah. Solid. So that prolly means its more expensive than a Danish Hooker, right? P'Shaw mudderflutter! I picked this up for under $6 for a double deuce so this has a lot going for it. So here's the catch, probably not very strong. Well listen up Hercules, if you think 8.2% ABV is weak then go back to Hades with Sir Loins-A-Lot and benchpress school buses.

You aren't going to be able to slug a million of these before the 100m hurdles, however, for a stout these are quite potable. I wish totally get this again and I think anyone who doesn't is downright silly in the head. I don't like to be negative, but it's the truth. Cheap, delicious, strong. This is Wisconsin (the good parts) stuffed in a bottle. Really, REALLY good stout. Oh-Em-Gee.

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

Overall: 8.25/10

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Blackout Stout

Back in 2003 something went wrong up in the Northeastern United States and all the electricity stopped working. Some guys fixed it after a while but it was still kinda creepy with all that darkness. Darkness can be creepy but darkness can also be very good. 

The Great Lakes Brewing Co. named this imperial stout after that infamous blackout in 2003. Now let us talk about it. 

The Great Lakes Brewing Co. is based in Cleveland, Ohio, across the Hope Memorial Bridge from downtown. I spent a beautiful early autumn afternoon in the pub downstairs watching the Indians whoop on the Twins. 

Ok, back to business. The imperial stout originated from recipes British brewers created for Russia's czars and czarinas before the Bolsheviks chopped all their heads off. So, now all of us get to enjoy 'em. A variety of malts and hops help contribute to this stout's flavor. Roasted barley and black malt help develop the stout's dark Pennzoil color at 50 IBUs. Northern brewer and Simcoe hops blend together to create a characteristically bold-hoppy flavor. 

I've only recently gotten into the stout game thanks to my good brother Adam Gregory. The extra hops and alcohol content of the blackout stout don't go down as smooth as the many Lancaster Milk Stouts we be sluggin' down on the regular but it still maintains a robust yet smooth flavor. A strong, coffee like aroma fills your mouth after every sip. Glorious. 

This beer recommends a 50 degree serving temperature, so be sure to have your meat thermometers ready. 

Where I start to get interested is the stout's 9% abv. Now, boy do those Russians love their booze! I reckon that's approximately the alcohol content of three Pennsylvania style lagers. Which you can pick up for like eleven dollars a case at your local Pennsylvania ugly beer distributor. 

Great Lakes packages these stouts in 4-packs rather than 6-packs, probably for your own safety. After four of these you'll be feeling crisp. After twelve of these you'll be pissing your pants and telling people your name is "Sally Draper". 

Merry Christmas

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

Overall: 7.25/10

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Boston Brewing Company's Winter Lager

Those scumbags in Boston are back at it again with this winter lager. If you wanna read about Boston Brewing Company you can read about it in this review with one major update: Boston Brewing Company is no longer the largest American Owned Brewery in the world. It got beat out to our friends at Yuengling. Huzzah to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So let's get to the beer, why don't we? First and foremost I think winter ales and lagers are for the birds. I might get into pumpkin beers and I'll toss back some nog when the time's right but winter beers? Not my steeze. What is my steeze? NBA Jam, raspberry jam and the Jam. All things JAM! Delicious. I'll say this about this winter lager....I've had worse. It's got a dark tan head and a nice amber color; it's like the Samoset of beer; one of the more underrated native Americans. Speaking of, I bet those dude brewed some pretty gnar brews. And man, weren't they ripped? I bet those guys would totally clean up in MMA. Like that Indian in Ernest Goes to Camp; when the blade and gun and tomahawk or whatever the shit it was couldn't hurt em. Then Ernest was all like, "Hey Vern...these boys are keeping their camp" and those dudes had that food shooting machine. Third world problems.

So we agree it looks good. The price wasn't too bad. I picked up a twelver for 14 bones which, let's face it, ain't too shab. It's 5.6% ABV so you won't be driving any school buses after a kegstand or four. And the label is the same bullshit label their Boston Lager uses (pretty much) which I'm a little more than "sick of". Still, it's no Juju.

It's got a sweet scent; with some citrus and ginger undertones. It's a lager so it isn't too malty. They do use a decent amount of malts. Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Caramel 60, malted wheat, Weyermann Carafa Malt, and Munich 10 is your are keeping score. They also use a couple of hops I never heard of which immediately makes me think they are made up. Whatever though, I'm not judging.

All things considered, this tastes less than a fart than most winter brews. Would I get it again? Uhm. Probably not. The taste isn't as overwhelming as most winter hooch. I picked this up for a party just in case other booze ran out. Spoiler alert; it didn't. So now I'm stuck with a handful of these. I can probably power through them...after chugging cough syrup. Again, not a winter beer fan, but as far as winter brews go; it's way more tolerable than some jerks out there.

Drinkability: 6.0/10
Taste: 6.0/10
Value: 5.0/10
Curb Appeal: 4.0/10

Overall: 5.25/10

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale

Just when you thought a triple ale was enough. Ommegang rolls in like Hulk Hogan through a brick wall saying "Damn NOOOO!!!!!". This review is all about their Three Philosopher Quadruple Ale in a quintuple faceted examination. Brewery review neatly filed here.

Facet #1 - This shit is 9.7% and any decent student at a state school fondly calls it "blackout juice". I'm not a mathematician, however, I think this magnum equates to an easy sixer of Rolling Rock. Because no matter how much Rolling Rock you drink, you never get drunk. Did you ever notice that? Or did you just dry heave after your first one and vow to never drink Rolling Rock again. Remember when Rolling Rock wasn't bad when it was brewed in Latrobe and the only downside was that Latrobe smelled like Gary, Indiana after a spring shower? God Gary stinks to high-hell.

Facet #2 - New York beer pretty much stinks. For as much volume as they put out in NY, it also tastes a little too "New York" for me. This is a Belgian style ale so it doesn't taste like your run of the mill New York swill.

Facet #3 - Cool bottle; works a a weapon. Works good for the average female boozehound walking the streets at night. The cork top makes people know your not a jag-bag; a jag perhaps.

Facet #4 - Reasonably priced. You can get this for about $12 at your local party store. You DO like to party; don't you? After a few of these you won't be able to say "party", you animal.

Facet #5 - Bittersweet aroma, bold, pungent taste. Stings the nostrils. Malty as the dickens with chocolate hints mixed with a piney goodness with spice.

They use a handful of malts; notably Pils, Amber, Caramel, Munich and my favorite "Special"...Xtra. Their hops are limited to Spalt Select and Stryrian Golding. The IBU is a mere 19, which is surprisingly low. Go figure, and you thought you knew everything about beer you dummy.

I picked this bastard up in a triple threat pack for a song...the set was about $25. I don't care for Belgium or New York but this is a palatable Belgian. Heavy, malty, filling. These are a few of my favorite things. If you can drink more than 3 in a sitting you are the king. Don't pass up this at your local boozehole.

Other Ommegang Reviews:
Chocolate Indulgence
Hennepin Farmhouse

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

Overall: 7.0/10

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Deschutes Brewery's Jubelale Winter Ale

This is a great brewery and quite frankly it's surprising this is the first brew review from them.

This brewery is located in Bend, Oregon right off the Deschutes River and is one of my favorite breweries. I have the utmost respect for ex-brewmaster Larry Sidor (now working at Crux Fermentation Project) and he helped to get a hell of a line-up at Deschutes. Their line-up are usually solid as hell and wicked cool.

This beer is darker than the heart of Saruman and just as cold. It's got a dark tan head on it so you know this stuff is gonna be full bodied. It's like saying "hey man, come and get it". Oh, you're gonna get it Buster Brown. And at 6.7% ABV gonna gonna really get it. The label is alright. It was designed by Avlis Leumas who painted a picture of the local owl celebrity. Yeah. I said local owl celebrity, dodo brain. You can buy his stupid crap online. Look it up if you want. I'm not gonna send ya there. Still a nice label. You can get a sixer for a 10-spot.

Okay. You can see Avlis Leuman stuff here.

The taste is a cool, bitter consistency with a mulchy spice with a hint of fruit. They use pale, crystal, roasted barley and carapils malts and nugget, cascade, willamette, styrian, tettnang, and east kent golding hops. Also known as "all the left over stuff mixed together". This shit yields 60 IBU's so if you think this shit isn't as bitter an ex-highschool girlfriend you dumped at the roller skating rink; you'd be wrong.

It gives off a sweet aroma and a heavier scent of fruit than the taste would suggest.

I don't typically like winter ales and this one is no different. These are great because they are strong, heavy and bitter. I suggest if you are trying to substitute a meal for a beer, this will do. It has a gravy-like aftertaste to help. So it has it's good points. This would be a good beer to warm you up at a bar as you snack on some peanuts. It's so bitter you don't really wanna slug a dozen of these down and wrestle your dad on Christmas morning in your underwear. I mean what are you gonna do? Wrestle best of 3? Until someone taps out? I mean just stick to getting it at a bar. Though it would be a nice Christmas memory. Pretty good for a winter ale but it's still a winter ale.

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

Overall: 6.5/10