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2012: The Year of 366 Beers — 20 June Edition

This past weekend, Squirrel and I went on a beer tour organized by North Bay Brewery Tours. Of course, it involved a social coupon (when you drink as much beer as I do, every little bit helps) that made it two for one, and it was worth every penny. The tour guides know their stuff and will make sure that you get to try a lot of local beers that you can’t find out here. Plus, you’re essentially on a beer bus with a lot of people who like beer. Really hard to go wrong with that in any situation.

The tour started off at Lagunitas before moving onto HopMonk Tavern (brewpub), a homebrew store, and Third Street Aleworks (brewpub in Santa Rosa). Consequently, this update is going to be California heavy, and most of the beers can’t be found here, but perhaps it’ll give you some insight into beers to look for if you’re ever in the Bay Area.

Widmer Bros Dark Saison (found at Wagner’s; reviewed here)
Auburn Alehouse Gold Digger IPA
Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager
Magnolia Proving Ground IPA
Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale (aka The Kronic)
Lagunitas Lucky 13.alt
Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale
HopMonk Tavern Dunkelweizen
HopMonk Tavern Tavern Ale
Third Street Aleworks Hedrick & Hagen
Third Street Aleworks Puddle Jumper
Third Street Aleworks Armstrong
Southern Pacific Amber Ale
Southern Pacific Helles Lager
Caldera Brewing IPA

Those weren’t all the beers that I had, just the ones that count towards my 366. Lagunitas’ tasting included their Czech Pilsner, IPA, and Pale Ale, and HopMonk served us Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Moonlight’s Death and Taxes. If you do go to SF anytime before I finally finish a SF bar guide, try to hit up Southern Pacific’s brewpub in the Mission; they brew some pretty great beers and carry some of the other awesome West Coast brews.

 

— Shintern

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Brew Review: Widmer Brothers Dark Saison

Widmer Bros W’12 Dark Saison, 5.5% ABV

I have had a couple of Widmer Brothers beers since moving back to States in 2009, and, to be honest, the jury is still out for me. I’ve had a couple that I find delicious (usually the styles that are not cheap to make but easy to get right like barrel aged stouts) and a few (say, the lemongrass that was unique but not my mug of beer) that finished with the same “only a little bit more to go, just gut it out” facial expression as I have during that last mile of run. Consequently, I have decided to try and stick to their darker style beers for the time being.

Now, I picked up the Widmer Brothers Dark Saison as one of the 24 that I grabbed in the olio (means “mixture” and is a word that gets as much use in crosswords as a Miller Lite tap in a college bar) made possible by a Groupon.  Let’s see how it shook out:

Pour: Came out a rich brown color with traces of red. The little white head disappeared in about 10 seconds, and it had loads of carbonation at beginning but then nothing aside from very small bubbles coming up through the middle of the glass..

Aroma: It came off a little sweet with hints of dark fruit (like prunes), but there was a little spice towards the end of a deep inhale, too.

Taste: The Dark Saison was sweet for an instant at the beginning but finished with a mild tartness. The sweetness reminded me of banana chips.

Body: The beer has a nice thin body that has a surprising bit of carbonation, which I wouldn’t expect based on not seeing more bubbles in the beer, but maybe it’s quantity and not quality — lots of wee little bubbles.

In the end, Meh. I’ve had better saisons.

 

 

 

 

 

— Shintern

2012: The Year of 366 New Beers — 9 June 2012 Update

Going into Savor Week, I had hoped to really blow the lid off this whole 366 beers. Unfortunately, I was a bit tied up with various activities, and then I realized that Savor only poured 2 oz samples (probably a good idea with three and half hours of drinking…)

Anyways, I didn’t let the 2 oz thing from keeping me going for seconds on some of the beers I can’t find here (for instance, Cigar City, and I’m pretty sure I did it with Summit’s IPA, too but can’t remember). Additionally, I did manage to meet up J Street’s other bloggers at District of Pi for the Schlafly take-over, which was fantastic! You really can’t beat a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.

This week’s star beer would be Cigar City Tocobaga (so damn good), but (1) it didn’t even make it on the list since I only managed to get one sample, and (2) the star beer should be something you can get easily here. As a result, I would recommend picking up a bottle of Boulevard’s Double-Wide IPA. Despite the hop-bomb smell, I found the taste to be extremely well balanced. Welcome to DC, Boulevard!!!

6/2/2012 5 Rabbit Cerveceria 5Vulture
6/3/2012 DC Brau Ground Wolf Session IPA
6/6/2012 Schlafly Pi Common
6/6/2012 Schlafly Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale (APA)
6/6/2012 Schlafly Maibock
6/6/2012 Schlafly Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
6/7/2012 Heavy Seas Sea Nymph
6/7/2012 Sam Adams Grumpy Monk
6/7/2012 Boulevard Double-Wide IPA
6/7/2012 Ommegang Art of Darkness
6/8/2012 Boulevard Rye on Rye
6/8/2012 Revival Double Black IPA
6/8/2012 Cigar City Kalevipoeg
6/8/2012 Maui/Jolly Pumpkin Sobrehumano Palena ‘ole

 

This next week has me heading out to the West Coast where Squirrel and I are visiting the Lagunitas’ and Bear Republic breweries. Going to be a good weekend!

— Shintern1909

Lupulin Reunilin RFD Beer Tasting – Fast Reaction

Last year turned into a roast of an absent Sam.  This year Sam showed up (less the material he forgot in a cab), and it was just as funny.  Full details of the East Coast v. West Coast throw-down when I recover.

2012: The Year of 366 New Beers — 1 June 2012 Update

Some of our readers might remember that at the beginning of the year, Tonzi talked me into trying 365 (then Leap Day happened) 366 new brews this year. I’ve been doing pretty well (a full month ahead of schedule) but thought that as I try new beers, some of y’all may be interested in knowing where I found them. Consequently, I’m going to try to update our readers on Friday/Saturday with my weekly beers. Why Friday/Saturday? Well, those are the days that most people drink, and I get most of my new beers on Thursday. That said, if I do find some awesome stash of new beers, I’ll do my best to get those up the day after. Just trying to do my best to help y’all find new beers to try.

On to this past week, 25 May – 2 June 2012

5/25/2012 Independence Pale Ale  —  Austin, TX
5/25/2012 Real Ale Full Moon Pale Rye Ale — Austin, TX
5/25/2012 Real Ale Devil’s Backbone — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 “(512)” IPA — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Thirsty Planet Thirsty Goat Amber — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Thirsty Planet Buckethead IPA — Austin, TX
5/26/2012 Live Oak Liberation Ale — Austin, TX
5/27/2012 Spotzel Shiner Blonde Light — Guadalupe River, TX
5/30/2012 Redhook Pilsner — Bought at Wagner’s on Wisconsin, Washington, DC
5/31/2012 Aying Franz Ayinger Celebrator — RFD, Washington, DC
5/31/2012 Firestone Walker Robust Porter — RFD, Washington, DC
6/1/2012 Long Trail Long Trail Ale — Justin’s Cafe, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Half Acre Cipher — Santa Tonzi’s Care Package, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Boston Beer Infinium — Pzyocha’s beer fridge, Washington, DC
6/2/2012 Half Acre Double Daisy Cutter — Santa Tonzi’s Care Package, Washington, DC

So, yea, I spent some time last weekend in Austin, and the beers reflect that; however, there are some good ones that were found here in DC. I would recommend trying to find the Firestone Walker Robust Porter.

This next week should provide a nice boost to my numbers with all the Savor events, in particular, the Schlafly take-over at District of Pi, Sierra Nevada at Churchkey, or the Savor Our Suds at Scion. We’ll just have to see how it turns out. Hopefully my liver survives.

— Shintern1909

Brew Review: Florida Beer Swamp Ape IPA

I hadn’t tried any beers from Florida Beer so when I saw this pretty big (10%) IPA I figured I’d give it a try.

As you can see from the picture, it poured to a clear-ish light amber color with little to no head.  I gave it a smell…almost nothing, slight malt and even less bitter hop aroma.  I figured my nose was just playing tricks on me because there was no way a high percentage IPA would have this little aroma.  So I gave it to a friend to smell and he didn’t get anything either.  Not a good start.

The taste followed suit with the aroma and was a bit of a let down.  It started with a decently sweet hop flavor that progressed into a bland malt middle and a slightly bitter hop finish.

I was not very impressed with the first beer from Florida Beer.  The only thing I can say that it had going for it is that when it was cold it hid the alcohol well, but even that left once it started to warm up.

This is at best a mediocre IPA, but I’ll give it one hop out of three because it’s strong…I like strong beers.

-pyzocha

3XB: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale

"Aging" another way of saying "Forgot about"

Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ale, 6.7% and 1 pt 8oz bottle; circa 2011.

I picked up this beer sometime last year on a trip with Squirrel to D’vines on 14th and Irving NW. The Northern Hemisphere came highly recommended when I tried it and didn’t let me down, so picking up it’s little brother was an easy decision. The beer is an American-style IPA from the west coast brewery (re: I’m expecting hops), Sierra Nevada (re: I’m expecting more hops). On top of all that, Sierra Nevada flies three types of hops from New Zealand that are used to fresh-hop the beer (re: This could easily be a hop-bomb).

Sadly, this big bottle made it’s way to the back of my fridge until a couple of weeks ago. Letting a fresh-hopped beer go that long without drinking was bush league but does allow for an unique tasting of this beer. Let’s get this show on the road!

Pour: The beer comes out a cloudy/creamy amber brown color. Head starts off strong and slowly goes down. You can see the bubbles  rise through the cloudy and continue to do so, at least, for as long it took me to down this brew.

Aroma: The scent is actually not as biting/pine-y/grassy/citrus-y as I expected; instead, it has a bit of sweetness from the malt, which helps to mute the fresh hop smell (bit of grassy) that is evident.

Taste: It’s mellow at the beginning then goes into a nice little bit of bitter and ends mellow again. Aging may have mellowed it out a bit but can’t really say for sure since I haven’t had it fresh. You can taste the bitter fresh hops in the middle that were in the aroma. It’s almost like having a mild pine-cone in your mouth.

Body: This beer comes with a full body that seems to fill your mouth. It doesn’t finish clean but with such a balanced/mild last taste, that’s perfectly fine.

Overall, I look forward to trying this one again when it’s re-released, which should be soon, and recommend that you do the same. Now, I need to look in my fridge and make sure there aren’t any other ‘aging aka forgotten’ beers in the back.

Good

— Shintern1909