Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I don't get to travel all that much so whenever I do it's usually a well thought out vacation planned months in advance. However this Sunday I received a phone call from my brother that kind of threw me for a loop. He had a grand vacation in mind that was anything but planned out. "Let's go to Chicago" he said. I've only been to Chicago once, and it was threw a connecting flight to God knows where. Since I've never explored the city and I have a friend who I haven't seen in ages that lives there I decided to dive head first into this idea. Sometimes you just gotta go with it.

I've gotten to travel to some amazing beer destinations in the US over the past 2 years (Colorado, California, Asheville, and Maine) mostly family vacations, but this will be the first time I'll be going with the strict intentions of having fun with just the guys and just enjoying beer. A "beer-cation" if you will.

With this "beer-cation" happening in just  a mere two weeks it  got me thinking about about beer destinations I'd like to check off the list. I did a little research and found a few cities that are packed with beer goodies, from bars to breweries/brewpubs. Here's a short list

1. San Diego, CA.
Bar that is a must visit : 1. Toronado
Brewery/Brewpub that is a must visit : 1. Ballast Point 2. Alesmith

2. New York City
Bar that is a must visit : 1. Rattle N' Hum
Brewery/Brewpub that is a must visit : 1. Brooklyn Brewery

3. Portland, OR
Bar that is a must  visit : 1. Bailey's Taproom
Brewery/Brewpub that is a must visit : 1. Hair of the  Dog Brewing Company 2. Cascade Brewing

Hopefully when I get back from Chicago I'll have a ton of stories to share. Cheers everyone.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Terrapin Hoptaneous Combustion

Brewer : Terrapin Beer Company (Georgia)
Style : Double IPA
ABV : 9.3%

Before I begin today's review I'd like to share some good news with everyone. I was just recently chosen to write about craft beer in the Ft. Lauderdale area for www.examiner.com I'm pretty jazzed about it and hopefully I can hash out a few good articles here and there. Hopefully by next week I'll have my first article up for viewing. I'll keep everyone posted on the links and such. 

Well today's beer is from our neighbors up in Georgia, the one and only Terrapin. I was walking around Knightly Spirits in Orlando a few weeks ago making my final selections and saw this one standing alone in a box. Knowing that Terrapin can make a fine beer I whipped out the old iphone and did a little research. This one is a smoked double IPA. Sounds like quite a trip in a glass if  you ask me. Smoky beers have never been my favorite style but I decided to take a leap of faith and give it a shot. 

This is quite an intriguing beer and not for the faint of heart. It's got all the hopiness one might expect from a DIPA but with the smokiness of a small forest fire, not to mention the malts that backed everything up. The hoppiness and malty flavors were great, no problem there, but it was a little  hard for me to get past all the  smoky flavors. This is just another prime example of a beer that demands acquired taste buds. I love stepping outside my comfort zone and trying different beers as much as I can but this one just had too much smoky flavor and it somehow reminded me of eating burnt wood chips. Oh well, maybe in time I'll develop a more in tune palate to handle a beast like this.

Grade C

 Song of the Day : Explosions in the Sky --Your Hand In Mine

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Short's The Woodmaster

Brewer : Short's Brewing Co. (Michigan)
Style : American Strong Ale
ABV : 9.5%

Well in my post yesterday I mentioned that my day started off pretty bad with a ticket in the early morning hours. I  figured that the worst was probably behind me at that point, but I was wrong yet again. Later on that day my car decided to overheat, but lucky for me I was stranded at a gas station and was able to acquire the help of the service technician there. I thought my day was about to be shot down in flames before it could even begin but thankfully I made all my lessons and nothing was lost. 

Now that I've vented a little let's move on to this wonderful beer from Short's.

I bring up another beer from Short's for two reasons. One, because I read about this beer a while back and saw that Short's has not brewed it in a few years, but the customer demand wanted it back so they went ahead and brewed some more. Second, I enjoyed this past Saturday pool side with my buddy Shook (his last name but everyone refers to him as if it was is first) from NY who vacations in Lake Ann, Michigan often, well his parents do at least. After many cocktails and a few hours in the  blistering sun, we got on the topic of Short's in Michigan. I was mainly trying to talk about craft beer at the time but since they are in Michigan quite a bit I asked if they had heard of Short's. My question was answered with an emphatic "yes!" We talked about Short's a little bit, but my big point here is that Short's must be doing something right when people who aren't even into craft beer know about them and/or their company. 

Well just a short story to lead into this review, so here we go. 

This one was described by Short's has having a pecan, maple flavor to it. Sounds like breakfast in my house on a Saturday morning as a kid. I'm not much a sweet's guy but maple seems to grab my attention on my styles of beers. This one definitely delivered the goods.
The aroma is pretty damn boozy for only 9.5%, but is swiftly complimented by the maple pecan flavor. It also had some brown sugar qualities to it as well. The flavor is was boozy and buttery with hints of pecan and maple. Much like a pancake minus the booze, but hey, if you like booze on your pancakes, then you may just fall in love with this beer. 

I'd love to see how this one ages. I'd give it about a year to let it mellow out and see how the taste is then, but still a treat of a beer. 

Grade A

Song of the  Day : AFI -- End Transmission

Monday, February 28, 2011

Founders Breakfast Stout

Brewer : Founders Brewing Co. (Michigan)
Style : Imperial Stout
ABV : 8.3%

Well today started off incredibly wrong. I got up to head to the gym and got caught for making an illegal left hand turn. There is something incredibly humbling about getting caught for something that made you think "I know this is illegal, but I'm gonna do it anyway". We can never beat the system, no matter how hard we try it always catches up with us in the end. That being said, this beer makes me happy beyond belief. 

I had this bad boy from Founders about a year or so ago, before I got into blogging, but I just recently acquired this one as an extra in a trade. This could be one of my favorite dark beers to date (as of now that title is held by the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter by the guys at The Funky Buddha). 

The pour is extremely dark with a big big fluffy head. The aroma is full of coffee beans, chocolate, and malts, needless to say, it's very inviting. The flavors mixed together are just a match made in heaven. Beside the coffee and chocolate flavors I got a little bit of milky lactose and possibly a little bit of vanilla. The ABV is masked incredibly well, but I probably wouldn't want to drink more then 2 of these. It will fill you up to the brim, so enjoy it after dinner. 

Grade  A+

Song of the Day : Bright Eyes -- Bowl of Oranges

Friday, February 25, 2011

Troegs Scratch 27

Brewer : Troegs Brewing Co. (Pennsylvania)
Style : Sweet Stout
ABV : 6.7%

Friday is finally here people. What a glorious day to kick back and enjoy a good craft beer, after all the hard work is done and the clock strikes 5pm of course. This Friday, for me, feels like I have the day off, for one reason. I didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn at 5:45am to hit the gym before class, which lasts for close to 4 hours. What was I thinking signing up for an oceanography class that early in the morning. But any who, I'm rested and ready to tackle the day. 

This beer from Troegs was one that I didn't know anything about. I did a little bit of research on Beer Advocate and found out that it was a sweet stout, so I figured it would be right up my alley. 

The pour was extremely black and thick. It had a tiny little brown head to it, with a just a wee bit of carbonation. The aroma was pretty sweet with hints of chocolate and brown sugar. The flavor was on the sweet side as well, definitely an after dinner drink. Sort of a milky lactose taste to it, but with a nice malt backing. Sort of reminded me a little bit of milk chocolate I use to make as a kid. 

Overall the taste was great, but I've had plenty of sweet stouts in my time with plenty more to offer in the character department. Not to trash this one at all, but it didn't really wow me out of my seat. But it's definitely worth a try if you get a chance to try it.

Grade B


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Short's Soft Parade

Brewer : Short's Brewing Co. (Michigan)
Style : Fruit Beer
ABV : 9%

Gotta love Short's from Michigan. Everything that I've tasted from them, with the exception of maybe one beer, has pretty much blown me away. So how does this one match up?

Well this one was pretty much brewed for the ladies, but as a craft beer drinker, and a lover a everything Short's, I fall into the demographic and can proudly consume every drop of this beer. 
This would be a great beer for any female who is curious about trying craft beer but is still enjoys sipping her wine. 

This beer has a good amount of fruitiness to it. I can't pin point one exact type of fruit, but if I had to name a few I'd go out on a limb here and say a mix between orange,cherry, and apple. I couldn't believe the ABV was clocked in at 9% because this son of a gun drank like nothing. It went down very easy and had a dry finish, very much like a wine. The color, which was a little reddish, even looked like a fruit wine. Just pour this into a glass and don't tell her what it is, I'm sure she'll love it. 

Grade B

Song of the Day : MetallicA --- Orion Live in Korea

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

Brewer : Goose Island (Chicago)
Style : Imperial Stout
ABV : 13%

I had the  pleasure  of having two great beers over the weekend. One was Funky Buddha's Last Snow, which will be reviewed by my good buddy The Ferm , and the other was this beauty of a beer from Goose Island called Bourbon County Coffee Stout, which came curtsy of The Ferm.

Not only was this beer amazing but it happened to be my #900 rated beer. Yet again another feather in my proverbial drinking cap. I have a feeling though that reaching #1000 will be pretty easy within the next few weeks because Cigar City's Hunaphu release, which is happening on March 12, and from what I've been told it is a straight up shit show. I'll be sure to have a full report on that after me and my liver recover. 

This baby has a dark dark pour, engine oil dark, if you know what I mean. It had a little brown head to it, which always makes me happy, because I know there is still some carbonation happening in this beer. The aroma was straight up coffee and booze. A good amount of bourbon boozieness going on here. Lucky for me I had the help of my brother and buddy Pat to share the bottle with. The aromas carried over a lot into the flavors, boozy and coffee, with hints of dark bitter chocolate and malts. I  could have sipped  on this baby all night, if only my liver were made of cast iron. A man can dream though. 

Thanks again to the Ferm for being so generous and supplying me with this bottle. Hunaphu should be killer my friend. One for the  books. 

Grade A+

Song of the Day : Avenged Sevenfold -- Dear God