Monday, August 8, 2016

Lagunitas - The Waldo's Special Ale

A while back I stopped at my local bottle shop that just happens to be a grocery store.  As I've mentioned in the past Pittsburgh has some funky liquor laws.  Thankfully Giant Eagle (our large local chain of grocery stores) has found a nifty little loophole.  They became bars.  Not entirely, but added a section where you can drink and eat inside the store and this allows them to sell six packs, singles, growlers, and twelve packs.  Thankfully Giant Eagle has a ton of buying power and has allowed lots of stuff to come into the area and has lowered prices city wide.  As you can imagine I'm quite pleased with this scenario.

Like I was saying I went by looking for my dear friend Flying Dog' The Truth.  No surprise they didn't have any.  Sadly a tough find.  The staff at these are pretty good.  they usually know their stuff. So I checked with them just incase they had some in the back of the cooler or something.  The guy suggested this to me instead.  Imperial IPA, high alcohol content, and Lagunitas has a good reputation , so I figured, why not.

I popped it in the freezer, got it nice and cold, and poured it out into a nice tulip glass I had.  Nice deep golden color with a small head on it.  Gave it a sniff, sweet and dark.  The flavor is heavy, and as the label says dank.  It's incredibly resiny, and very sweet.  It's tasty but not what I was looking for, not very well balanced and a bit overpowering, an odd thing for me to say as many of my favorite beers are incredibly overpowering, and unbalanced.  (See my review of Gonzo Imperial Porter)  I got about three quarters of the way through and lost interest.  I had another one a few days later with similar results.  Recently I had another and I was able to get through the full thing without pause.  Maybe I wasn't in the mood for something like this those other times, but this beer sure has it's place.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Flying Dog - The Truth

Last year I went to my favorite beer festival in the Pittsburgh area, the Big Pour it's an annual thing that gets sold out in minutes.  They host this event in a unique kind of resale space.  The take in stuff from buildings getting renovated or demolished and sell them to the public.  This event helps keep this unique recycling opportunity running and I fully support that.  Also they have the greatest selection of food and beer in the city for you to enjoy for a couple hours.  During this event there are  almost 50 different brewers available including TRASH a local home-brew group.  So suffice to say there are lots of different beers to try, but there was only one I went back for seconds on.  The Truth brewed by my personal favorite brewery right now, Flying Dog.  I chose to try this beer because, quite honestly I hadn't heard of it before.  The Truth has a Ralph Steadman illustration of a man with close cropped hair in a black suit, white shirt, and black tie.  Is he with a government agency, a lawyer, or a generic suit?  who knows, but he does promise to solemnly tell the truth.  It's listed as an Imperial IPA, I get it, yeah that's what this style fits under, but I tell you that this is a West Cost IPA if I've ever tasted one.  When I think Imperial IPA I think something like Lagunitas Waldo's Special IPA.  Incredibly resiny and thick.  This however is a different breed.  It's much lighter than the Waldo with bright crisp citrus notes.  The bittering of the hops is there, but subtle.  The fruity flavors cut through much more, but with a solid malt backbone.  Isn't it funny how the best west coast style IPA I've had comes from Maryland?

Brooklyn Brewery - Sorachi Ace

It's hot out.  I need something refreshing.  Let's talk about this light golden brew that mages to quench my thirst starting with the name.  Sorachi Ace is a name that seems very strange, almost nonsensical at first glance.  Doesn't really tell you much about the beer at first glance right?  Wrong, Sorachi Ace is the name of the hops used in this saison that really helps you though the summer months.  Developed for Sapporo in japan the Sorachi Ace hop is a hybrid of Brewer's gold, Saaz, and Beikei Male #2 varietals that produce a very unique taste that reminds me of lemongrass and dill.  The saison is a fine summer style, it's light, flavorful, and smooth.  The Sorachi Ace is like character actress Margo Martindale.  Every time I hear about it, I'm in.  As soon as I hear the name I say yes, but at the same time, I don't really push myself to find something with her in it.  This beer is so perfect, flavorful, and heck relatively cheap, but when I'm out and about and hear about something else.... I kinda forget about it.  It's worth it though.  If you haven't tried the Ace, grab yourself a bomber, sit on the porch, and relax.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Flying dog - Gonzo Imperial Porter

A perennial favorite of mine, Gonzo Imperial Porter.  To give you a little background... Flying dog brewery is out of Frederick MD and is pretty well known for it's interesting labels.  These interesting labels come from a man known as Ralph Stedman.  Mr. Stedman was made famous as Hunter S. Thompson's personal illustrator ever since being assigned to Hunter on his article on the Kentucky Derby.  Hunter and Ralph worked closely together for about 35 years.  As fans of Hunter's work Flying Dog decided to dedicate a brew to him and I cannot find a beer more fitting.  Gonzo journalism is what Hunter is well know for, it's described as "a style of Journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative*" this style was defined by Hunter and his well, for lack of a better word, unique take on the world.  This beer is Gonzo distilled, or well, at least brewed.  

Gonzo Imperial Porter is a liquid kick in the head.  It's brash, bold, and unapologetic.  I've once described it as tasting like chocolate and hate, and even after sobering up I cannot think of a better way to put it.  This beer does not coddle you, it doesn't hold you hand, it doesn't want you to like it, it just is what it is.  To be frank that is all I want from this beer.  The people at Flying Dog knew that many people wouldn't like this beer for what is is, brutally hoppy, chocolately, hints of coffee, and a harsh alcoholic bite, but the people that do like it will sing it's praises from on high.  I am one of those people.  When I buy this beer I think very critically about who I am drinking with as they tend to ask if they can have a taste of what I'm drinking.  Usually I feel pretty good about saying yeah, have a taste, see what you think, but with the Gonzo... Well I'll warn them beforehand if I don't think it's their style.  For good reason too.  With my latest sixer I gave a taste to someone with the aforementioned description of chocolate and hate, her response was "well, I taste the hate."

Gonzo will never appeal to the mainstream, either the beer or style of journalism, and I can't imagine a world where they did.  It's the weird kid in a trench coat who you think is planning on bringing a gun to school, it's that guy who is in his 40's that still loves LSD, and it's that guy that installs security cameras to cover every inch of their house.  Gonzo is edgy, unsettling, dangerous, paranoid, and charming in it's own way, and if you don't like it you can go fuck yourself, because it isn't trying to win you over.  If you spend some time with it you will realize it's good qualities, you will see that it's a great friend that your significant other doesn't like you hanging out with because they are a bad influence, but it wants to just go out and have a great time with you, and it's not going to change to make your SO happy.

So, buy yourself a sixer, and hold on because this beer is about to make you sing The Song of the Sausage Creature.  If you survive, you might just thank it for taking you on such a wild ride.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chatoe Rogue: Single Malt

Chatoe Rogue is the name if Rogue brewing's new line of GYO certified first growth ales made with hops and badly grown on their own hop yard and barley bench out in Portland Oregon. This beer is made with Rogue's special Dare malt and Revolution hops. I like this idea, you grow the hops, you grow the barley, you control the yeast (Rogue has been cultivating their famous Pacman yeast for quite a while now) as well as every step in the brewing process. Every part of the process in under your control, if there is a delay there is no one to pass the buck to and you have the benefit of being able to ensure your product lives up to your standards from start to finish.

On to the beer itself. Single malt is a very simple beer one kind of malt one kind of hops. The flavor is light and crisp with plenty of citrus and and a tad grassy. This reminds me a bit of a saison or farmhouse in a way. I'd love to drink this on a nice hot day sitting on the porch after a hard day of work.

Schneider Aventinus

This weekend I went out and picked up some beer for my girlfriend and I for the new year, sadly they did not last that long. I got myself a Chatoe Rogue Single Malt and my girlfriend her favorite a Schneider Aventinus. When we first started dating she kept searching for this beer everywhere we went. She had been drinking it while she lived in Ohio and couldn't find it now that she had moved back to PA. We had finally found it at the Market District in Robinson and she was thrilled We quickly ran back to my apartment and cracked the bottle open. We poured it out into a nice tall pilsner glass. It was a nice dark slightly creamy brown with a light creme head on it. The smell was was not terribly strong but some nice hints of banana and raisin. The flavor mimicked the smell quite a bit, reminded me of a good banana bread a little spicy with raisin and clove.

Next up the Chatoe Rogue Single Malt.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hebrew Jewbilation 14

Let me tell you a short story about my introduction to Hebrew. I was staying down in Raleigh North Carolina at my Uncle's house. He had invited his brother, my father, and I down to join him for Beer Magazine's World Beer Festival. This point in my life the largest beer festival I had been to was the microbrewery festival at Penn Brewery. I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. In the center of downtown Raleigh a large park was lined with tents. The eight foot tables were lined up butt up against each other two rows in each tent one brewer at each table. Brewers from each corner of the world US, Belgium, Japan, Germany, and back to the US again, not to mention damn near every place in between. Where to begin? I stepped up to the first table I saw. On it hung a simple banner for Schmaltz Brewery out of New York. They had samples of Hebrew, a sub band of theirs. I had my first sample of the day, Origin pomegranate ale. I must say that this small brewery with a penchant for Semitic jokes was a wonderful start to the day.

Schmaltz has released Jewbilation their chosen beer. It's somewhat similar to a barlywine in that it's a big beer, 14%ABV brig, and lots of strong flavor. This beer could almost be treated like a cask strength bourbon, but I would not want to water this down I want to taste the grandeur of this fine brew. This fine brew is made with 14 different kind of hops and 14 kinds of barley. Complex is an oversimplification. Upon first ease you get hit with chocolate, coffee, and molasses malt like you wouldn't believe and a nice alcohol burn on the sides of the tounge. As you feel it pass across the rest of your ease buds you pick up plum, butterscotch, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and slight hints of citrus mainly lemon. I could spend days describing the flavors that come through but I need to stop for a moment to describe the look. I have stated before I don't generally go on about the look of a beer, but I'll be damned if this didn't look just like someone pulled a giant shot of espresso. Lots of lacing is left on the glass after each sip.

I must say that this is one beer that you must be on the lookout for. Not just because it's a great drink, but because every year the formula changes. Each year the number increments and the recipe changes. Pick up a couple bottles of this. One to drink now, and the rest to seller until you can compare it to the future incarnations.