Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beers of the Week Pt. 3: Isn't it Ironic How Every Revision Brings George Lucas One Step Closer To Being Emperor Palpatine?

Jack's Abby-Framinghammer Baltic Porter
It's sort of amazing how fast this tasty beast of a beer can get you Framinghammered. Nicely malty, luxuriously smooth. Only reason I don't fill all three of my growlers with this is the astounding quality of the rest of their lineup.

Jack's Abby-Hoponious Union
Discussion of this beer reminds me why I write a blog and don't post on review sites. It would be better if it was a true Dortmunder! It's not an IPA! Only bright side of that gum flapping is there's more of this near perfectly hopped lager for me to quaff.

Jack's Abby-Naughty or Spice Holiday Lager
This one proved to me how silly many "pumpkin" beers were. As the name suggests, it's a lager with spices. My first impression was "geeze it's like that stuff my friend made me try around Halloween but with traces of honey and a better balance between the spices and you know... Beer." If this were a cup of tea, it wouldn't be mine but it's still a decent beer.

Joseph's Brau-Winterfest
Of all the Trader Joe's contract brews I have tried, this is the only one I'm considering rebuying for myself. Most of their stuff falls into the "good value for money but not really noteworthy in any way" realm of beer. I don't like doppelbocks very much and my guess is this one's bordering on crap for the style because I find its bitterish brown bread semi-fruity vague sweetness quite appealing.

Blue Hills Brewery-Black Hops
The name of this one seems to be a point of contention for some. It's dark enough to justify the "black" bit but the roasty malts pretty thoroughly overshadow the "hops." It has less of that odd, sometimes cloying sweetness of some of the Blue Hills line and is honestly quite tasty. Stop focusing on what isn't there and start frickin' drinkin' hipster scum!

Blue Hills Brewery-12 oz. IPA
I avoided visiting the brewery for six months due to how bleh this contract brew was. While their real or "Pub Draft" IPA is a nicely hopped, go-to down around my old apartment the smaller sized packie version wasn't much of anything. It bordered on Bud levels of hop stinginess and the resulting beer didn't strike me as worthy of five minutes worth of gas to scope out HQ. This mess is an argument for sitting on whomever you contract out to.

Pretty Things-Jack D'Or
Ever wonder why so many hipsters grow big staches? This beer is so wicked pissah that it can't merely be enjoyed by strategically visible ironic sipping; they must become the bottle mascot! Cold-medicine induced "hey it seemed funny at the time and it's not like anyone reads this pablum anyhow so I'll indulge myself" humor aside, this is the sort of stuff which I'd brave the emotional anguish and drive to Westport to retrieve growlers of if it was sold where it was brewed. If unicorns heal wounds with their horns and poop life affirming rainbows when they gallop, then Jack D'or is their cure-all sweat that could stop the tensions in Iran.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beers of the Week Pt. II: HAN SOLO FUCKING SHOT FIRST; deal with it!

Cambridge Brewing Company-Bannatyne's Scotch Ale
In a fair world, this beer would be in 5% ABV range. That way, I could drink a half gallon of it before stumbling set in and I really, really want to. So damned smooth and tasty.

Cambridge Brewing Company-Tripel Threat
I really dig it when part of my purchase goes to charity. My wife is way too intelligent to buy the "I AM DRINKING TO HELP SAVE SOCIETY" argument but it's a great damn line. This one wasn't my favorite beer ever but I think that has to do with my being iffy on Belgian yeast. Blame my grasp of intergalactic languages. Douglas Adams FTW.

Cambridge Brewing Company-Audacity of Hops
That iffiness with yeast apparently doesn't apply if it's balanced against hops. I honestly preferred Backlash's Declaration to this particular Belgian IPA but it's still one of the few beers so tasty the wife heard me saying "NICE" from across the house on the first sip.

New England Brewing Company-Sea Hag IPA
Someone recently told me that IPAs age poorly and rarely survive transit in glass. I had to wonder if this was a way to rub in the fact I can't safely drive out to the Alchemist cannery for some Heady Topper due to my disability or more of the usual "hey let's all agree on something stupid/random" beer geek bullshit. What I concluded was I couldn't reach a conclusion reliably because this particular IPA is so good I would forsake the vast majority of competitors.

Founder's Dirty Bastard
Part of me was wondering if my fondness for this brew stemmed from it being my first Scotch ale. A couple bottles soon convinced me it had more to do with the fact I can never stick strictly to my region's breweries so long as Founder's exists.

Mission St. Brown Ale
This is a Trader Joe's beer. It sells for somewhere around $2.29 for 22oz. Amazingly, it's drinkable. I won't say you're dealing with a reinvention of the style but for the money, not bad.

Alesmith Speedway Stout
I hate coffee. This beer won't change that but damn... wow. It's full of stars.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beers of the week
(meaning beers I feel like talking about this week not the most amazing beers)

I semi-dread Belgian IPAs. My first few threw in Belgian yeast to make up for the fact the IPA part was kind of crap. Thankfully, Declaration wasn't made by a douche out for a quick buck from the "BELGIANS IST KRIEG" school of beer geekery. Here, the yeast and hops engage in a fun little dance on the palate that's positively delightful. As a bonus, you really need to roll the 22s around to stir up the yeast so around the third consecutive you can start singing a variant of that old polka about rolling a barrel and having a barrel of fun.

Wormtown-Sweet Tats
Coffee has been attempting to piss me off most of my life. It gets stale, gross and sneaks into the iced tea container in the fridge at my parent's house. The members of its cult sneer at me for making a nice cuppa. Dunkin Donuts opts to run Punkin Chunkin themed commercials the year my annual Birthday weekend event gets cancelled. However, I also like Wormtown's bottle art and burn candles in my shrine to the lords of tea. So I opted to give Sweet Tats a try. All I could taste in here was alcohol and coffee. Turns out that my old nemesis isn't completely terrible with a hint of booze. That said, fuck you coffee.

Hill Farmstead-Edward
Wow. Simply . . . wow. I tend to dig my beers balanced and this S. O. B. was so hoppy it kinda hurt. However, it was one of those "good hurt" deals. Fresh liquid hops? Magic hop juice? Edward... I dub you Sir Edward of Hoppy Awesome Sauce.

Pioneer-Path of the Unknown
Something I always dug about Pioneer was their "salt of the earth" vibe. Their beers are always awesome and draw you in through flavor, not goofy names or art. So when I saw they had  something that sounded like a bad melodic Death Metal song, the dread rose within. It turned out to be more discovering a $20.00 bill in your old coat pocket than reaching for your wallet and being sucked into an abyss of torment and made to kneel at the throne of Azeroth. This is one delightful, balanced, strong brown ale.

Founders-Imperial Stout
Looks like motor oil; tastes like malty heaven. MMMMM FOUNDERS!

Ridgeway Brewing-Seriously Bad Elf
Maybe it's the English major in me, but the name of this beer pisses me off more than its general mediocrity. "Seriously" implies it's noteworthy in some way. This thing is so lackluster I almost took a nap in the middle. Makes me wish they actually did market towards children like some liquor commissions have claimed in the past so import could be banned.

Gouden Carolus-Noel
Let me preface this by stating I am aware that there's an umlaut over the "o" in "Noel." Truth be told, that might be my favorite accent ever. Thing is this beer is so vile it's not worthy of such fine, upstanding punctuation. Alcoholic licorice is vile in all forms.