Category Archives: Drink This Beer

Drink This Beer: 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout

What surprise awaited me at my in-laws’ in their garage fridge but an intriguing Big Beer that some careless brother-in-law had left behind. Behold the 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout.

MOO!

MOO!

As a lover of chocolate milk and beer I didn’t pay for, what was there to lose? Time to crack this bossie and pour.

Not my glassware

Not my glassware

The smell of the beer in the bottle is pure stout without much of a hint of chocolate. When poured into the rising body of the beer, I was met with a thick lustrous head. As the beer breathed, the head settled into a thicker-than-Guiness landscape of froth.

Looking at the beer, it’s 100% non-translucent. The rich dark color shows it’s brownness only at the edges of the curvature of the bottom of the beer glass. The aroma once poured has traveled from stout to chocolatey stout.

Drinking this beer, it’s kind of luxurious. There’s a definite chocolate finish, but it’s purely dark chocolate with zero sweetness. Rather than competing with it, the chocolate flavors complement the strong toasted malt stout flavors.

Texturally, I’m really wowed. There’s almost a true milky sensation of the beer rolling around in the back of my mouth, though it’s definitely a beer. At a mere 5.5%, I could easily handle the Big Beer.

Perfect pairing

Perfect pairing

Unfortunately the beer doesn’t suggest pairing with ice cream, except perhaps chocolate ice cream? Could this be the perfect ice cream float beer? (Unfortunately my in-laws had no ice cream but for some rainbow sherbert… that would have been disgusting.) I was between meals, so no beef either.

How about pairing it with a Cardinals shellacking of the Brewers?

Pow. Down goes Bernie!

Pow. Down goes Bernie!

Super smooth. Easy to drink. Great flavors that are well-balanced. Nice job.

My applause to the people at 4 Hands. They know what they’re doing in dessert beers for sure. I’m always looking for more local beers, and 4 Hands is on my radar going forward. My recommendation for this decadent dessert of a brew: Drink This Beer

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Drink This Super Cheap Beer: Simpler Times

Sometimes cheap beer is nothing more than pale effluvia water, minimally-effervescent and even less flavorful. In fact, most of the uber-cheap swill at the short end of the beer aisle that’s typically loved by hobos and fraternity boys is generally unsuitable for human consumption. Clever marketing has convinced America that some bottled dreck (looking at you, Bud Light) is worthy of some serious coin. Let’s talk instead about an exception to those rules: Simpler Times.

Disclaimer: Can not actually cross-stitched

Disclaimer: Can not actually cross-stitched

Yes, I remember simpler times. I was a broke-as-shit college student who squandered his work study checks down at the liquor store on horrific gutter beer. Why? Because, dammit, that was cheap. Six really amazing beers for $8, or thirty deplorable beers for $14. Simple math for simpler times.

Thanks to the miracle that’s Trader Joe’s, I can relive those simpler times with… (wait for it) Simpler Times. Yes, at a mere $3.49 per sixer, you too can reminisce about your impoverished days (or continue to live in your current destitution) and enjoy a pretty decent beer.

Like many other similarly-budget-conscious beers, this one is pale yellow and exceptionally fizzy when poured. Once poured, all but minimal effervescence remains. It’s as if the carbonation can’t wait to get the hell out of this budget beer.

Using the countertop to add color is deceiving. It's far paler.

Using the countertop to add color is deceiving. It’s far paler.

Instead of a biting acidity or just plain blandness, however, I found this beer to have a mild, smooth, mellow flavor. It wasn’t bad… kind of, uh, good. It was strange and unexpected.

Having sampled a few (at 6.2% ABV, by the way) it tastes better out of an unfrozen beer glass than it does the can. I actually chose the Lager because of it’s higher ABV. The Pilsner is sub-5%, so why even bother with empty calories if you can’t even get to an altered state.

Yes, it smells like the floor of the fraternity house basement the morning after the initiation stag party, but it doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste. I taste cheap-o beer, but probably one of the best cheap-o beers money can buy. I’m shocked and impressed. Honestly, I thought this would be some kind of self-flagellation in the name of beer reviews, but I kind of enjoyed it and I wasn’t even cutting the grass or drafting a fantasy baseball team. I was sitting on my butt watching Seinfeld (the Doodle episode, to be specific).

Cover of GQ

Cover of GQ

So, if you’re short on money and live near a Trader Joe’s, then perhaps you should take yourself back to Simpler Times. I encourage your impoverished ass to: Drink This Beer.

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Drink This Beer: Kirkwood Station 51

No, I’m not dead. A month and a half absence from posting about beer and pork doesn’t necessarily speak to my doom… I’ve just been busy. How about a beer review?

What with all the rush to file before the America Invents Act takes effect, I’ve hardly had time to snag some new beer. Today’s brief detour to the new beer section at Friar Tuck’s redmediated that problem. After my successful beer flight at Kirkwood Station Brewery, I was pleased (if not a little surprised) to see Kirkwood Station 51.

KS51 A

Surrounded by (inanimate) admiring onlookers

 

What exactly is a “wine barrel aged Belgian style saison with Brettanomyces ale aged in wine barrels” besides hyper-descriptive? I’m familiar with Belgian style saison beers, and I can make an educated guess about wine barrel aging (even if they strangely printed it twice on the same label). But… Brettanomyces?

Wikipedia tells me that Brettanomyces is a common wine yeast, often viewed as a contaminant in beer unless you are talking about certain Belgian or Lambic style beers. I learned something today!

Atop the beer is a neat wax cap, a la Maker’s Mark, adding a little style to the beer. Cool!

This shouldn't be a challenge, right?

This shouldn’t be a challenge, right?

(several minutes later…) So it took a razor blade and a putty knife to get this wax off the bottle. I’m not joking. Put in a pull tab or something fellas. I shouldn’t be risking yet another finger injury just trying to open a beer. It went from neato to huge hassle in 10 seconds.

Once I FINALLY opened the damned beer, I had moved from optimistic and thirsty to slightly annoyed and thirsty. Pouring the beer, it sure smells good. Very fruity and flowery smell (perhaps due to the Brett yeast?). At 8.5% ABV and aromatic, this is yet another one of them sippin’ beers.

Okay so the kid has too many Legos

Okay so the kid has too many Legos

The first sip was extremely flavorful. I was taken aback by the overwhelming sweetness, sourness, and slight bitterness all mingled together. Sure, my palate was messed up from a few thousand calories of Girl Scout cookies and some lesser beers that I had consumed within the past hour, but this would have been surprising to anyone at any level of palate cleanliness.

As the sips progressed, I began to appreciate the layers in this beer. Minimal effervescence, wonderful cloudy amber color. It’s been reviewed as good-but-perhaps-not-great during its brief release time. Really a persistently strong Belgian flavor that erred on the sour side, though I’m not typically a sour beer fan.

Despite the need for a hacksaw to remove the superfluous wax ornamentation and the extremely troubling double mention of wine barrel aging in the beer label description, I found that the overall character and flavor of the beer made up for the perhaps-too-strong bite that accompanied the early sips. I’d buy it again, and that’s a good first step.

My recommendation for Kirkwood Station 51 is Drink This Beer.

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Drink These Beers: Bat Creek Brewery

Over the holidays, I made a bunch of impulse beer purchases. One of my favorites was the Pike County Pale Ale from Bat Creek Brewery in Bowling Green, MO. When I have one good beer from a new (to me) brewery, I go back for more. Today I sample a couple more beers from Bat Creek Brewery.

First, I return to Pike County Pale Ale, the beer that introduced me to this new brewer.

Finally a legal PCP we can all enjoy!

Finally a legal PCP we can all enjoy!

PCP has a robust color that matches it’s serious malt and hop flavor. Balance is really the best way to describe this beer. So many pale ales seem to embrace hops a little too much and turn into APAs or IPAs. Not Pike County, which gives a nice bitter hop bite to pair with the rich maltiness. It smells hoppier than it tastes, and it tastes damn good. A nice frothiness accompanies with each sip.

That first bottle wasn’t a fluke. This is a really good beer.

Next in line is Midwest Farmer’s Daughter Blonde Ale. Knowing no actual Midwest Farmers’ Daughters, I suppose that this is as close as I can get to sampling that old movie cliche.

How else would you keep warm on a snowy winter's day? Find yourself a midwest farmer's daughter, of course!

How else would you keep warm on a snowy winter’s day? Find yourself a midwest farmer’s daughter, of course!

It has an inviting smell and an understated effervescence. In fact, there’s nearly no head and next to no bubbling coming up through the beer body. I pick up a nice wheat flavor with minimal hop notes. Very rich over your tongue. I’m beginning to appreciate the restraint of this brewery, which in turn makes wonderful beers. Can we go three-for-three?

My final sampling is Heartland Wheat, which I have to say is one of the most unique beers I’ve ever tasted.

Citrus-free

Citrus-free

What a beautiful color. No cloudiness, wonderful yellow, subtle carbonation. I can’t put my finger on it, but the flavors are very nice. Hell, I just drank three 22 oz. beers in short order, give me a break.

This is not an unfiltered beer, though the flavors are strong and pleasant. A rich malty wheat flavor overwhelms. I really enjoy this beer. Many wheat beers need a lemon, but this one requires no citrus assistance.

Bat Creek makes other beers, but I only bought three. I have to say that this is one of the more impressive initial triumvirates of beer that I’ve sampled in recent memory.

So, whichever of their many beers you might come across, my suggestion for Bat Creek Brewery’s beverages is: Drink These Beers

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Drink This Beer, WTF Edition: Ghost Face Killah

Yet another very special edition of Drink This Beer is upon us. I’m inspired to abuse my stomach lining with beer made with Ghost Chilies: Ghost Face Killah.

I have no idea if the Wu Tang Clan was paid any royalties for the naming rights by Twisted Pine Brewing out of Boulder, CO. In fact, I have no idea why anyone would get the idea to make a beer from “Anaheim, Fresno, Jalapeno, Serrano, Habanero and Bhut Jolokia – Otherwise known as the Ghost Pepper”. The logic of it escapes me. Nonetheless, I bought some.

You, too, can have a sophisticated beer photo studio with an iPhone and some printer paper

You, too, can have a sophisticated beer photo studio with an iPhone and some printer paper

First and foremost, the initial smell is wild. Spicy spicy spicy, but not burning your nostrils. When you normally sniff a super-spicy dish, it is almost always hot. This is a cold beer, so no nostril sensation other than spice flavor… not spicy feeling. It’s difficult to articulate.

Pouring the beer is also a little unique. For me, pouring it into a room temperature glass beer stein, the beer gave off a powerfully effervescent head that dissipated quickly. As that head fizzed away, that’s when the spiciness went to my eyes. It bubbled aggressively in the glass, easily visible with it’s slightly opaque yellow hue.

Do not let Ghost Face Killah get near your eyes, nose, or genitals. Pregnant and nursing women should not handle Ghost Face Killah. Do not taunt Ghost Face Killah.

Do not let Ghost Face Killah get near your eyes, nose, or genitals. Pregnant and nursing women should not handle Ghost Face Killah. Do not taunt Ghost Face Killah.

Sweet Jebus, don’t go in close for a sniff. The active bubbling will send some beer into your nose, clear your sinus, and maybe even water your eyes a little. Yowza.

I don’t know why I wasn’t prepared for it, but the first sip was a literal eye-opener. Surprising spice. You won’t notice the IBU of 10 or ABV of 5%. You will notice only one thing – some pain.

For fire beer, it had a surprisingly interesting flavor. Yes, you taste the chilies. But, you can also get a little malt flavor. Strong spice aftertaste, like you chugged some hot salsa, but without the tomato carrier.

And, damn, don’t gulp it. Burning throat! It takes some effort, but you can drink a whole 12 oz beer in one sitting. Your stomach will be messed up, but you can do it. Halfway through my GFK, I needed a chaser of some O’Dell Easy Street Wheat (a wonderful brew) to soothe my abused palate.

Being so effervescent and spicy, any belches are hell. Be warned.

How does it taste, Ralph? Good?

How does it taste, Ralph? Good?

My father, he of the Iron Stomach, was the only person who “really liked” the beer. Dad asked me to bring over any other GFKs and leave them at his house. I guess you have a strong stomach if you’re a lifelong Cubs fan! Hi-yo!

I checked Wikipedia for some more information on Naga Bhut Jolokia. Yes, it has been weaponized! (I wonder if this violates the Geneva Convention.) Yes, they smear it on fence posts in India to keep wild elephants away. If these peppers keep Colonel Hathi from marching though your town, should you really be ingesting them?

Anyway, if you are feeling adventurous and want to try this novelty beer that pairs with either a chaser beer, pepto, or ice cream, then: Drink This Beer At Your Own Peril

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Drink These Beers: Happy Holidays 2012

Despite my exceptionally high workload right now, I’ve found time to drink some superior beers, though not the time to blog about each individually. Needless to say, you should drink each of these beers.

In no particular order:

2nd Shift Hibiscus Wit:

Thank you, law firm!

Thank you, law firm!

A local law firm sent me a gift basket, and this beer was among the goodies. Very light and flowery aroma with an extremely satisfying flavor and finish. I drank this watching Star Trek IV while my wife was out Christmas shopping.

Leffe Blond:

Monks know their beer

Monks know their beer

After being skunked out of some Westy XII, I have been on a little bit of a consolatory Belgian beer kick. Leffe Blond is a very balanced, restrained Belgian abbey ale with great flavor, color, taste. Easy to drink, but each sip is quite enjoyable. I’ve been drinking these… often.

Pike County Pale Ale:

Liquid PCP

Liquid PCP

Pike County in northeastern Missouri is known for… well, I have no idea. I have a friend from Louisiana, MO, but can’t otherwise tell you anything else about the region. But apparently they make a damned good beer: Pike County Ale, by the Bat Creek Brewery.

This was an impulse buy, but well worth the try. Rich flavors and color, minimal head, smooth drinking, restrained hoppiness. Seriously worth a repeat purchase. Drank this while watching a little college basketball and eating pizza – wonderfully paired.

Schlafly 21st Anniversary Single Malt Scottish Ale:

Already 21 years?!

Already 21 years?!

If you believe local beer bloggers, this is a hard-to-find beer, so I bought several. It’s taken some effort and many samplings, but I am coming around to Scottish Ales – this is a good one.

No, I didn’t drink it out of a tulip glass or snifter. Maybe I’ll get a few more bottles and give it a try in the right glassware.

You really pick up on the whiskey flavors, the slight smokiness of the barrels came through. Rich, slightly cloudy color, minimal hop notes. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the people sharing the beer with me pointed me in the right direction – strong peat flavors accompany the smooth tongue sensation. Really good beer.

Woodcut No. 6:

Like drinking a log?

Like drinking a log?

The other half of the aforementioned law firm beer gift basket was the Woodcut No. 6 from the Odell Brewing Company.

Hyperpowerful wood flavors. The color is very deep and cloudy brown, with a lively head. The aroma – strong. Taste – strong as hell. My wife sipped it and grimaced. This is a sippin’ beer. I sipped it whilst my fantasy football team shat the bed in the semifinals (damn you Victor Cruz!).

Merry Christmas

From Simpson BBQ, hopefully you had a wonderful Christmas or whatever you celebrate by drinking beers and eating hearty meals with friends and family. Robo-Dino-Santa sends his kind regards, next to a palm tree, atop my parents’ front door:

All kinds of blasphemy here

All kinds of blasphemy here

To steal a line from The Simpsons, Jesus must be spinning in his grave.

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Drink These Beers: Oskar Blues Brewery

True, my quest to sample and write about good beers is both noble and important. The magnanimity can be overwhelming, but I do my best.

A rare roadblock has been overcome, and I’m thrilled to share the fruits of my labor: Oskar Blues Brewery. Yes, this is a very special edition of Drink This Beer; Not one, not two, but three spectacular beers from a single brewery.

First, though, a little back story:

In the summer of 2010, the family took a trip to suburban Atlanta, where I first came across Dale’s Pale Ale.

A very positive first impression

Having a lust for Pale Ales, it was an easy buy. Impressive from the start, with rich ale flavors and a wonderful hop finish. Who knew something so good came in a can? I couldn’t find it in St. Louis with minimal effort, but no matter – many other beers to try.

Fast forward to August 2012 and our biennial extended family vacation in the Florida panhandle. Glass bottles are a no-no on the beach, so how fortunate was I to find a glut of Dale’s in the overpriced beer bodega attached to the Winn-Dixie! Many were drank and good times were had.

Upon my return to St. Louis, I talked with the local beer store clerk who had some unfortunate news for me: Oskar Blues beer is not available in STL. I’m no beer distributor expert, but that’s goddamned silly. Saint Louis is practically on the way from Colorado to freaking Atlanta and Florida. Can’t they drop off a few cases? I promise to buy some.

So I went to the Oskar Blues website and emailed both the owner (Dale himself) and the sales director with just that sentiment:

Help me out here… I promise to buy a few six packs a month of this fine beer with an epic national reputation if you can just drop off a skid or two locally. I will avidly spread the word if you can distribute here. If you already distribute here, please let me know where I can go to buy some quality canned beer. Thanks!

They actually responded:

Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately they are right, we still have not started distribution to St. Louis but it is on our list! We have started the process of opening a new brewery in North Carolina and this will help with our distribution on the east coast allowing us to expand to new markets! We wish we could, but we can’t ship beer from our brewery. … Thanks for your support and stayed tuned for Dale’s Pale Ale in St. Louis!

No lie, either. The website says I’m S.O.L. (it’s hard to read without clicking, but it says no Oskar Blues within 100 miles of STL):

Too bad, so sad. Times are tough in ABInBev country.

What’s a beer drinker to do? Then, just this past weekend, we drove to a family funeral in northeast suburban Cincinnati. On the eve of the funeral mass, I planned to knock a few back and watch Sunday Night Football. Then I saw this in the local beer and liquor store:

What great fortune!

New to Cincinnati but known and elusive to me. I bought three six packs to bring home: Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and Old Chub Scotch Ale. I’ll review each in turn.

Mama’s Little Yella Pils:

Briefly, I know that these are canned beers. I’ve only ever drank them from a can. But, for the sake of showing the full beer experience, I poured one of each into an non-frosty mug to understand the color, effervescence, and flavor more completely.

Nothing crushes bills and files like cold beer in a mug

As you can (kind of) see from the photo, Mama’s Little Yella Pils is an opaque yellow with a hint of brown, having a minimal head. It’s a crisp, refreshing beer with a hearty malt flavor and very mild hop/grain aftertaste. One of the more refreshing pilsners I’ve ever had. The grain flavors are full and smooth, and the 5.3% ABV is right in line with pilsners.

Why import some green bottle nonsense from Europe when you can get something better here? I consider myself a pilsner fan, but typically only the ubiquitous imports – Stella, Heineken, Amstel, etc. This, however, is superior to all of them.

Delicious, drinkable beer. As a BBQ man, I can see a cooler full of these resting comfortably next to some chicken wings and ribs on the grill.
Old Chub Scotch Ale:

Scotch Ales have been hit or miss for me. Each of Schlafly, McEwan’s, Sam Adams are good in their own rights, but I don’t reach for them amongst other beer styles. Snagging some Old Chub Scotch Ale is a little bit of a reach for me.

Holding down the penske file

Right away the deep brown color and thick head jump out of the can with the very mild Scotch Ale aromas. Compared to the aforementioned Scotch Ales, Old Chub has a restrained aroma, though the flavors are deep and strong. Whatever grain they use provides a strong smokiness and super-subtle caramel flavor, without any noticeable sweetness. I can’t place the extremely satisfying aftertaste, but it coats and lingers on the top of my palate and the back of my tongue.

I’m both pleasantly surprised and kind of impressed how much I enjoy this beer. Better take it easy, though – 8% ABV. I honestly didn’t expect this beer to be this good. Wow.

Dale’s Pale Ale:

My white whale Dale; The Oskar Blues beer that started my journey to this blog post.

Among the many benefits of a home office – the paperweights get interesting late in the afternoon

Ten years of making great beers. I’m excited to open a can of this in Missouri. Did I break some interstate commerce law or violate a union contract importing this stuff across a few state lines? Who cares. Time to drink.

The color is amber but with an orangeish hue, with a frothy, thick foam head that clings to the edges of the glass. I got a little sloppy with my pour.

Classic hop aroma, something a little heavy-handed for a pale ale instead of an APA or IPA. Really, the most predominant note is the hops. They are present in a big way, but not overwhelming. It tastes like literally adding one more hop cone makes this an IPA. It’s a remarkably refreshing beer that I have enjoyed on the beach and at pork-laden BBQs. A canned beer for people who like good bottled beer. A pale ale for people who prefer IPAs.

This was a wonderful beer drinking experience that will continue into the evening. I doubt many remain tomorrow.

Unfortunately it seems that my next chance to experience Oskar Blues will be some kind of road trip, but, until that time, I will recommend that you Drink These Beers.

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Drink This Beer: Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

Lagunitas makes good beer, as I’ve discussed twice before. Today I sample yet another of their creations: Brown Shugga’.

A college friend on Facebook mentioned that he was “thankful” for Lagunitas Brown Shugga’, which checks in at a whopping 9.9% ABV. I’m excited to pair this with some Thursday Night Football,

Quick Aside: This friend is competent in few things, though I tend to trust his taste in beer. Like me, he has the portly physique of a beer-drinking pork lover. As a Kansas resident and KU fan, his taste is inherently questionable. “Wait,” you’re undoubtedly thinking, “KU fans have both the palate and cognitive capacity of fruit flies.” Yes, you would be right most of the time; Many do have a brain stem resembling a drought-stricken string bean. However, despite being mired in a rectangular wheat plot commonly known for bigoted “churches”, the curious absence of evolution, a 6,000 year old planet, the most obnoxious college sports fans in the world, an inferiority complex, and the Wizard of Oz, some people there have grown (dare I say… evolved?!) to appreciate fine craft beers. My dear, dear friend is one of them.

As we prepared to sail off into the sunset together…

Thank you, Bryan, my precious darling, for this recommendation. (He’s the short guy in the absurd camo shirt with the awful facial hair and very heterosexual thingy in his right ear.)

Back to the beer…

The local grocer didn’t have any, and when I called Friar Tuck the guy on the phone said they didn’t have any. Dammit!

I still went by to get some other beers and wound up putting my name in a drawing to win a Magic Hat electric guitar of all things. Next to the entry box, completely by chance, I saw a display case of Brown Shugga’. Sadly it was at room temperature so I had to tide myself over with Trout Slayer Ale whilst the Lagunitas chilled. Would it be worth the wait?

Lots of talk leading to this moment. Will it deliver?

The inhales you take after your sip, while you roll the flavors around your tongue, definitely give the high alcohol hints. Sugary and hoppy/bitter at once. Almost no malt or grain flavor at all, though the sweetness is much more of a hint than a star. Hops, which control the palate here, are very lightly floral and fruity. It’s a unique sweet / bitter that I’m not used to, though the sweetness is almost subtle. I found that inhaling deeply as I sipped provided a very enriching flavor.

What a wonderful creation!

As to the color, it’s a wonderfully rich brown color. Not a brown ale, mind you, but that of a proper English strong ale. I really find the color, head, mild effervescence all very appealing and inviting.

The story apparently goes that this seasonal beer wasn’t made in 2011 due to some capacity or other issues, and the true Lagunitas lovers have waited an extra 12 months to get another taste. In my opinion, it’s worth the wait. I’m quite impressed by this beer, though more than two in a short period of time (especially after a couple other beers) would have most people on their ass.

If you find yourself looking for something unique with a kick and high ABV, then get yourself some Brown Shugga’. Definitely Drink This Beer.

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Drink This Beer: Schlafly Tasmanian Style IPA

People don’t come here for beer recommendations, at least according to my search term metrics. Nonetheless, I have been drinking a lot of different beers lately with an eye towards reviewing them. Usually something catches my eye in the store and I snag it. In the case of Schlafly Tasmanian Style IPA, I heard of and sought out this beer.

At a pricer-than-many-other-sixers-but-still-reasonable $8.99, Schlafly priced this one right. I bought a six pack and gave it a shot.

The much-ballyhooed TIPA

I’ve heard a lot about the TIPA: I’ve seen many Twitter posts discussing it; Rate Beer .com gave it a freaking 95!; and Beer Advocate followed up with a very respectable 89. Let’s see if this is worth the fuss.

In a rookie jackass move, I poured some into a frosty frozen mug. Yes, I’m sure a tulip glass is probably the more appropriate vessel, but I like my beer in the mug or right out of the glass bottle.

TIPA in a mug… should have gone for the tulip glass

The aroma is very inviting. Not a strong hop blast like so many IPAs, even though it has a 7.2% ABV. It has a restrained bitterness in the smell, with a fruity… basically citrusy hop note. Grapefruit notes are strong in these hops, at least on my amateur palate.

Poured aggressively into the wrong frozen glass, it gets a huge head. Later samples straight from the long neck bottle give a more reserved frothiness. Again, I am making a rookie mistake. The first few sips are off… perhaps it’s the uber-cold mug. Trying it from the bottle lets me enjoy the truer flavors.

This is a cliche term when it comes to beers, so I hesitate to use it, but this is a very well-balanced beer. It has the right amount of hoppiness, the right crisp ale sensation across the back and sides of my tongue, a wonderful finish. I have to say that Schlafly really knocked it out of the park on this one.

The relatively higher ABV is kind of… sneaky. You don’t expect it with the hop profile.

Hard to imagine, but this is my new favorite IPA from Schlafly, overtaking the APA. You can really appreciate the craft of making craft beers with the Tasmanian IPA, so named for the Australian hops used in the beer’s making.

Yet again Schlafly fails to disappoint. My recommendation for Schlafly’s Tasmanian Indian Pale Ale: Drink This Beer

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Drink This Beer: Green Flash’s Rayon Vert

Google Translator confirms what my six years of French tutelage told me – Rayon Vert means Green Ray. No, I’m not talking about a Jules Verne novel. I’m referring to the fabulous Belgian Ale by the Greenflash Brewery, Rayon Vert.

Their IPA came across my radar a few months ago in this blog’s infancy, and now like a green laser beam the Rayon Vert greets me whilst out for a birthday dinner with my family at Tavolo V in the St. Louis Loop.

Hey, the mayor’s here!

How about a picture?

What a nice photogr… dammit.

My dad thought it would be oh so hilarious to “Fork Bomb” my photo of the beer and it’s glass just as the iPhone camera clicked. Thanks, Pop.

Take 2:

 

Ah, much better

At a hearty 7.0%, this is a perfect follow up to my  Goose Island Matilda Belgian Ale, of equally potent ABV.

I picked up on some very fruity hoppy flavors, reminiscent of a classic Belgian Ale. I dare say that I prefer this to the Matilda, but that might be considered heresy. The flavor is very distinct and enjoyable, with a crisp bubbly palate. More aromatic and flavorful than hoppy, but the hops shine though and provide flowery fruity tastes that complement the robust flavors of the grains. Complex yet simple… a damned fine beer.

What did I have for dinner? It was so friggin’ good that I forgot to take a picture until it was half gone. I present the bistro filet (a tenderloin of beef shoulder), atop a medley of sauteed potatoes, brussels sprouts, pork belly, garlic, and onions. Butter was also present, I believe.

Hey, who likes beef?

Medium rare, of course. A spectacular meal accompanied by wonderful beers in the presence of my loving and caring family, including my father, who picked up the tab.

My recommendation for Greenflash Brewery’s Rayon Vert beer, especially when someone else is paying: Drink This Beer

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