Living on the east coast I don’t get to try many Alaskan Brewing Co. beers, so I was excited to see a big bottle of it when I was in Seattle. I am generally a big fan of imperial IPAs and even better – this was a pilot series beer. The Alaskan Imperial IPA was brewed in the American Imperial IPA style, which “was developed and made popular by west coast American brewers. The style is most often characterized by a gold or copper color, citrus hop character, big malt body and lingering bitterness.” Let’s see how it stands up to their characterization.
This 8.5% brew poured a very dark brown with a toasty white head, solid start, but that ended with the aroma. It was quite lacking, with mostly a caramel malt with a very slight hint of citrus hops. The taste followed suit with a malt that overpowered any hops that could be found. It finished with refreshing bitterness. They seemed to hit on all the points of the style but appeared to miss the ratios.
I had high expectations for this Imperial IPA, but it was quite a let down. It’s an odd recommendation for an Imperial IPA to have less malt and more hops, but that is what this beer needed. Normally, for a rare beer like this I would recommend trying it, but not this time.
The Alaskan Summer caught my eye with its orca tap handle; being a beautiful summer day didn’t hurt either. This particular summer brew is based on the Kölsch style. Seemed like a great light summer beer.
The pour was a clear golden-light color with a slight white head. The aroma was not very strong but had mild scents of grass and just a little bit of citrus. The taste was a very slight barley malt start that transitioned into some sweet citrus flavor. The finish was crisp and refreshing, but something was a bit off. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but it left a bad taste in my mouth (figuratively and literally). At 5.3% this beer would be a great refreshing light beer if it wasn’t for the finish.
Now I’m not sure if maybe the keg that I had it from was bad, but based on my tasting, I thought it was decent. Definitely some room for improvement. Having an east coast bias I’d recommend trying it.
On our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, Boardwalk and I ventured up to Vancouver. This happened to correspond to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. We decided to head out to experience hockey in Canada and I figured this would be a good opportunity to try some of the beer offerings.
Earlier this month, I ventured out again to the West to visit Squirrel, who surprised me with an Anchor Brewery tour. Even though the free tours happen twice each weekday, they often have to book several months in advance — during these summer months, they’re taking reservations for six months down the road. Thankfully, Squirrel has some amazing connections throughout San Francisco, including a friend of a friend who managed to get us and two of her friends on a tour.
As with most brewery tours, our guide led our group through the brewery explaining the processes and machines they use, but what made Anchor Brewery really different was the amount of history and random trivia thrown out at you. For instance…
I recently went to Jamaica with Boardwalk for a friend’s wedding. I didn’t know much about Jamaica in general and never mind the beer. Probably like most people, the only thing I think of when I hear “Jamaican beer” is Red Stripe. So on this trip I made it two goals: first to find out if there is other Jamaican beer and second to test a few Red Stripes on the beach.
Sitting at a bar at 3pm on a Friday, I started looking down the bottle list for and saw one bottle that looked interesting and new. Tempete’ Corps Mort. Part of the interest was that I’d never even heard of Tempete. I asked Tonzi and he hadn’t either. So the solution, of course, was to try the beer.
I asked the bartender for the beer – was told it was a good decision – and upon getting the beer, quickly realized why I’d never heard of them. They’re a g*d damn French Canadian brewery. The label is written in both French and English, and includes a warning that the beer may contain traces of smoked hearing. I rather wish I hadn’t know that. The label of course, doesn’t actually include a translation for the name of the beer. I had to look that one up: It means “Dead Body.” Definitely glad I didn’t know that while I was drinking it.
I’m pretty sure it’s a Barley Wine style beer. At least that’s what it was billed as on the bar’s English menu. It poured a very dark, near black colour, just a touch cloudy, and no real head. No real aromas on the nose, just a very, very faint hint of smokiness. It certainly has a lot of smoky malt taste, but almost tastes a bit well, watery. It comes off very thin, with no real alcohol taste, for a 9%+ beer. I guess you could look at that as good or bad. I didn’t mind drinking the beer, but probably wouldn’t shell out the $18 again any time soon.
While visiting Colorado over the winter holidays, I picked up a sampler 12-pack from Breckenridge Brewery. One of the larger CO craft brewers that doesn’t get much distribution out east (with a new recent appearance at RFD), I thought it would make a good break from a lot of what I’ve been drinking recently, and a good opportunity to review some beers rarely seen on the East Coast. Breckenridge is actually really widely drunk in Colorado, largely due to their staple beer: Avalanche Ale. In addition to the Avalanche, this mixed case contained the Oatmeal Stout, Lucky U IPA, and Christmas Ale. I was lazy and mainly drank these straight out of the bottle, so the reviews are only going to mention the taste.
Pours a cloudy golden orange. Little head and good lacing. Good hoppy citrus smell. Fruit flavors of grapefruit (Cascade hops) and tangerines hit first when tasting, but are balanced out by a solid biscuit/cracker malt backing. Some pine hop flavor. Nice mouthfeel for an APA. Very drinkable.
Don Von Matterhorn
About a month ago I took a strip to Saint Louis. While there I had time to stop by the Schlafly Bottleworks, St. Louis’s first new production brewery since the end of Prohibition. It was finished in early 2003 so it was about damn time. The Bottleworks has a nice yet casual sit down restaurant where you can sample or buy all their brews with your meal or to go. The restaurant often has live music in the evenings. The evening I was there had an acoustic/blues/folk duo outside and a bluegrass/slamgrass/indie band inside. Both bands were talented and played to the crowd well so I assume the manager or whomever books the music knows what they are doing. I’m not just saying that because one of my college friends happened to be part of the duo. Along with some tasty food, I managed to sample three of their beers. The saison and oktoberfest were on tap, while the tripel was bottle conditioned. My waiter thankfully knew his stuff.
All this week I’m out in Rockville, Maryland for training. It’s at a location that’s pretty hidden away, about a mile from Shady Grove metro station.
For those of you that don’t know the metro system, Shady Grove is the farthest you can get out of the city on the red line in the northwest direction. It’s so infrequently traveled to, that the metro actually alternates trains traveling out that far. So, every train going northwest goes at least to Grosvenor. If you want to go to the last 4 stops on the line, only half the trains go out there. I like to call them the red-headed step-children of the metro system.
Since I’m all the way out here in no-man’s-land, and we often get nice long breaks for lunch, I decided to wander a bit.
I had the good fortune to visit the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee a few years back, and I have been a casual supporter of theirs ever since. It’s a great tour if you’re in “the Good Land” (and trying to kick a nasty hangover from Summerfest). Unfortunately, Lakefront brews are hard to find in the DC area, so I usually pick some up when I am traveling. I cannot say where in case the man is reading this, but it’s a place that rhymes with brew dork witty. I hear Philly liquor merchants carry them as well. Anyways, on to the beer…
I was in Pennsylvania for Labor Day weekend and my friend decided to show me some of the scenes of Pittsburgh. Having been there a few times I was skeptical he would show me anything new. However, he told me that we were going to a bar in a church. I had never heard of such a bar so I was intrigued. We had to make one stop for a Pittsburgh mainstay:
Butternuts Beer and Ale is a fun and focused brewery in upstate New York. They only offer four different brewing styles and they only come in cans, which is definitely unusual for a craft brewing outfit. I like this touch because the cans don’t really look like beer cans. They look more like fancy sodas, so I can drink this beer when I walk my dog in the neighborhood. Hooray for looking less creepy! (more…)
Many of you had heard the rumors, “Bear Republic is pulling out of the DC beer scene.” It was a frightening thought. One of the big players from the California market would no longer be available out here on the East Coast? What did we do to deserve this slighting?!?
Was it going to be a mad rush to grab what was left?
Mad Fox Brewing Company has only been open for about a week. It appears to be a small place on the corner of Rt. 7 and W Broad St. out in Falls Church. But inside, it’s quite spacious. And on it’s first Friday night, the spacious area was packed with people eager to try out all the new things the Mad Fox had to offer.
Most of the contributors to this site can verify, I’m not the most adventuresome beer drinker. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll peruse beer menus and look for something new to try, but if either nothing grabs me or I’m being lazy, my drink of choice is Shiner Bock, which is readily available at most beer-oriented bars in the District.
Unfortunately for me, this is not true for Gainesville, FL – home of the University of Florida, Shintern’s Mom, and, until this past weekend, most of Shintern’s furniture and possessions. Without my fallback favorite beer being served, my epic-sized moving weekend was not looking good, but then I had dinner at Satchel’s Pizza, a local Communist structured restaurant (it is owned by the employees) that served the following draft beers: Sam Adams Seasonal, Widmer Bros Hefe, Stella Artois, and Swamphead Big Nose IPA, a locally brewed beer.