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.
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.
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.
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.
I was out on my usual Friday after-lunch beer browsing when I came across the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA. Like most, I’ve had the 60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs, but I’d never seen the 75 before. I heard this was a brew that typically stayed at the brew pubs. Naturally, I had to give it a try.
Without even looking a the description I paid for it and went on my merry way. Once I got home I took a look and saw that it is a blend of the 90 Minute and 60 Minute with maple syrup added. Maple syrup in an IPA? I was worried.
It poured, as a typical IPA would, with a slight amber color. As you can see from the picture, it had quite a head on the pour (no it was not a bad pour by me!!). I attribute this to being naturally carbonated in the bottle.
The aroma was hoppy, similar to the 90 minute, but there was a slight sweet maple finish that blended quite well. My worries started to fade with the aroma, so I took a sip. Overall a mellow hop flavor started sweet, then progressed to a slightly bitter hop and back to the sweet maple flavor. The flavors melted together perfectly and could barely tell this was 7.5% beer.
This beer is very solid, but in limited supply, so if you see it get it! Dogfish sells it on their website, but make sure they deliver to your state before ordering.
Friday is supposed to be Big Bottle Breakdown day, but it’s been a while since we did one, so we’ve got three in store for today: Duclaw’s Double-Spice 31 Munich-Style Dunkel, He’Brew’s Hop Manna IPA, and Southern Tier’s Gemini Imperial Blended Ale.
DuClaw Double Spiced 31 Munich Style Dunkel
A beer brewed with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, & All Spice isn’t exactly a typical spring offering, which is exactly why I picked it up. It poured a nice dark amber with luxurious off-white head. On the nose: Nutmeg. A little Cinnamon and clove, but I mainly picked up nutmeg. It overwhelmed any and all other smells. For taste, well, you can guess where this is going: Nutmeg. There’s a solid, slightly sweet malty backbone, but the spices are really what shine through. But they shine through in a good way. DuClaw has done a really nice job of providing a spiced beer that didn’t have me grasping for a glass of water after every sip (like the Hoppin’ Frog Christmas). It still drank really smooth and finished without too much lingering taste from the spices. If you don’t think cinnamon or nutmeg belong in beer, you will not like this beer. If you enjoy something a little different every now and then, or maybe a new winter option, this is a solid bet.
He’Brew Hop Manna IPA
An IPA dry hopped with Citra, Cascade, and Centennial? Amarillo during the boil? It’s gotta be good, right? Nope. Pours a clear copper color with no head. There’s a piney/grassy aroma aroma on the nose, but nothing too strong. There’s some sweetness up front in the palate and then a light bitter taste with a really bland finish. At the end of the day, it was just really blah. All the hops combined to produce absolutely nothing. No good spiciness or complexity from the Citra, no great bitterness from the Amarillo or Cascade. Just eh. I really can’t find anything that redeeming about this beer.
Take a great beer like Southern Tier’s Unearthly and combine it with another great beer like Southern Tier’s Hoppe and what do you get: a REALLY great beer. This beer pours a cloudy yellow gold clearly indicating its unfiltered format and a small white head. There’s a great spicy piney/citrus aroma on the nose that I could smell despite seasonal allergies. There are just an incredible spicy hop notes with good fruity characteristics. Tangy with some notes of orange/pine. A slight bitter finish on the tongue, but just what you’d expect from a beer like this. Overall a phenomenal effort.
Well, well, well. I am finally able to review Anchor Brewing’s Spring seasonal, Anchor Bock. I originally heard about this beer while touring their facilities last Summer, but it was too late to sample or find it. Then I found it on tap somewhere, but I was too far into the night to take coherent notes. Then I went to Wagner’s on Wisconsin to use my four-cases of personally selected-singles for the price of two Groupon Between that load, my trip to Total Wine, and Tonzi’s care packages, I should have a lot of material.
Anyways, on to the review. I was looking forward to trying this beer since it had the word ‘Bock’ in it and that is half the name of my favorite beer. Heck, they both have goats on them
Color/Pour: No surprise: it pours a dark brown with a small tan head that is maybe .2 inch high but dissipated quickly, like 10 seconds quickly. The color is right, but how quickly the head disappeared is a tad unusual for a traditional bock, so I feel comfortable comparing this to American-made bock beers.
Smell: Sweet malty smell which is too be expected; however, it is sweeter than my beloved Shiner Bock. Panic has not set in just yet, but the goat herd is getting antsy.
Taste: Sweeter and heavier than Shiner Bock. Whereas the Eye of the Hawk toed the line between an Ale and Barleywine; this one seems to close to a porter, which is not a bad thing. Shiner aside, most bock beers tend to this spectrum.
Body: True to bock form, it has a lighter body than you’d expect from a beer with this dark of the color. It does not finish super clean though and instead lingers in that last bit of your jaw.
All in all, I have had better crafted bock beers, and I’m not just counting Shiner Bock. The beer completely lost me once I started consuming it. It was not bad, but I found it too sweet and did not like the aftertaste it left, so in my very biased opinion, I say ‘Meh’ to this beer. It’s worth a try, but I don’t think I’ll be having it again anytime soon.
I have this issue with driving somewhere in Virginia where no matter what, I get lost the first time I go there. Typically, this only leads to cursing in the car and apologizing when I show up 15 minutes late. Honestly, it’s never gone well for me until a couple of weeks ago when I came finally came across Total Wine while trying to find a bowling alley (stupid google maps). Since moving to the area, I had heard all about this magical store out in Virginia but never really found the time to go out there, so once I saw it, I had to go. When I turned the corner to start walking up the beer aisle, I knew that getting lost this time was divine intervention. They had all sorts of great stuff, but this beer, Mendocino Brewing Co.’s Eye of the Hawk, stood out since I had just had it on tap near their Ukiah brewery. I thought it was pretty good then but was unable to do notes on the fly, so thanks to Total Wine for making this review happen.
Color/Pour: The beer pours very easily and with very little head or carbonation. It comes out a milky red/brown color that reminds me of store-bought ice tea in jugs.
Aroma: The beer has a heavy fruity sweetness. The smell is a lot like the one you get from a dried bag of banana chips. Thus, I’m starting to think I might have been wrong about this beer when I got it in CA…
Taste: …until now. The beer does not really have the sweetness or taste that I would associate with the aroma. Yes, it tastes a sweet on the back-end, but the front-end has an incredibly balanced flavor given the aroma. Nothing really sticks out — not malty sweet or hoppy bitter. Very well done.
Body: The texture of the beer reminds me of a slightly diluted barley wine. It’s heavy and seems to try to coat your mouth but doesn’t succeed. It clears with just a little reminder of the dried banana on the first inhale after drinking.
All in all, I think this is a solid American Strong Ale and recommend keeping an eye out for it. I’m not a massive fan of barley wines, and this beer seems to be toeing the line right below that style, and I like it.
As you may or may not have been aware of Fairgrounds has replaced the Bullpen and Das Bullpen as the pre-game spot to grab beer around Nationals Park. Fairgrounds has taken over the whole area along half street which makes this place humungous! With this added space the typical beer stands, stage for a band, and corn hole remain as in years past. This year there are also little shops inside the shipping containers surrounding the Fairgrounds selling various clothing and knickknacks. The food trucks made their way to the additional space as well for the opening day game, I hope this will be a recurring event because additional food is always welcome. Now onto the beer.
The District Beer Hunt is back! Last year’s event was a huge success and we hope this year will be as well. Our friends over at DC Beer have taken over the organization of this year’s Hunt. Don’t worry, many of us at J Street have been a part of the planning and will be judges again.