Archive for March, 2008

13 – East End Big Hop IPA

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For the record I have had this beer before but never a WHOLE beer. The only time I’ve had this previously was at a beer festival so technically I’m still living up to trying something new. In fact the last time I had this was 2006 at the All American Beer Festival during the 2006 MLB All Star Weekend in Pittsburgh.

East End is not only Pittsburgh’s best kept secret but also PA’s. Brewmaster/owner/washer/buyer/marketer/label guy/pimp/anything else for the brewery is Scott Smith. That’s right, it’s a one man show with many volunteers. What holds dear to me is that his brewing system is from the once home of myself, Foundry Ale Works. If you ever get the chance to say hi to Scott I highly suggest you do so. He’s a great guy who loves great beer. Or as his slogan says “Buy a good friend a good beer.”

Big Hop IPA is a super hopped up beer and is the first that came down the lines at East End. This time I’m drinking from a growler (1/2 gallon or 64oz) that was filled during Growler Hours this past weekend so it’s pretty fresh. If you’re following along, I was in Erie last weekend so sickpuppy from Should I Brew That (and my co-host from SIDT) picked one up for me.

The IPA pours a slightly hazy amber hue with little head (remember this is from a growler). After my 2nd and 3rd though I had a nice 2 finger head which died rather fast. Unlike most IPA’s I’ve had before this one has a faint aroma of hops which didn’t bode well with me at first since I like a balance of both aroma and flavor but this beer was packed with hop goodness. You’ll have a nice linger of hops on the back of your tongue so even when you finish a pint you’ll still have the taste to remind you of why this is a quality brew.

All good things said, the only downfall I found was that it seemed to be too carbonated. Not soda drink bubbly but noticeable but it won’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the IPA. When you’re in the area or see East End Brewing at a  beer festival it is a must that you check them, err him, out. Thumbs up Scott!

ABV: 5.4%
IUB: 70
Hops: Centennial, Cascade

East End Brewing website

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12 – Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale

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Ever since I started into craft beers I’ve heard nothing but good hype about Bear Republic and as of a few weeks ago PA finally made it to the distribution list. I did some research and found this listed as a strong ale, red ale and a Scottish ale soooooooo we’re gonna see what I think.

It has a hint of tea that’s close to a red and but is super hopped up. Your mouth is left with a nice pucker and hoppy aftertaste while sits a tad heavy on the tongue. It pours as a dark amber and leaves a new pillow fluffy tan head. The aroma is pretty tight as it’s packed with hops and a faint hint of citrus. If you’re a lacing nut you’re gonna LOVE the beer porn lace this leaves behind.

Overall it’s a delicious red ale but I’m not sold that it’s the cream of the crop as you’d read on Rate Beer or Beer Advocate. It ranks in my top 10 but not numero uno. If you’d like to pick one of these up I was able to purchase this for $6.50 at 3 Sons in a bomber bottle.

Bear Republic website

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11 – Samuel Adams Utopias MMII

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Don’t rub your eyes, it’s not a mirage. That right there is the holy grail of beer. The rarest of rare (IMO at least). I present to you the 2002 Sam Adams Utopias. Currently on ebay this is going for $400 a bottle. Yeah, 1 bottle. This limited edition beverage was supposed to be a one time deal and each bottle is numbered.

I need to thank Drew for this one. He bought it when it was first released and while on his way here to visit me last week said “there’s no one else I’d rather drink it with who would appreciate it.” Imagine my amazement. Drew and I lived across the hall from each other at Pitt so we have a long history of beverages together.

from samueladams.com
“Truly the epitome of brewing’s two thousand year evolution, Samuel Adams Utopias® offers a flavor not just unlike any other beer but unlike any other beverage in the world. Its warm, sweet flavor is richly highlighted with hints of vanilla, oak and caramel. With an alcohol content of 27% by volume, its complexity and sweet, malty flavor is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage Port, fine Cognac or aged sherry while being surprisingly light on the palate. And like the world’s finest after-dinner drinks, Samuel Adams Utopias is not carbonated and should be served at room temperature.”

Normally i’d type my review but guess what? Oh we’re not done, there’s VIDEO!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbBJEJ3eXlk[/youtube]

This is posted on the You Tube page for the SIDT podcast since we’re releasing it through the show. It’s almost 10 minutes long so crack open a beverage and enjoy!

OH! Also check out Episode 33 – Kiss our Blarney Stones which was just released also!

Links
Sam Adams website
Beer Advocate profile
Rate Beer profile

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10 – Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

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from dogfish.com
“An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means “holy tree” and it’s wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

This beer is a 12% abv, highly roasty, and malty brown ale aged on the Palo Santo wood. It was a huge hit at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub when first released in November of 2006, so it’s coming back… into full production.

At 10,000 gallons each, these are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition. It’s all very exciting. We have wood. Now you do too.”

We’ll see about that…

When a new DFH is available in my area, I try it. It’s like a new style of Pepsi, gotta try at least once. I got word from the weekly 3 Sons mailing list that the Palo Santo Marron was in. The what? I’ve never heard of this one? I have been lax on my DFH 2008 Release calendar so eh, my bad.

The pour was exciting. As soon as I finished emptying the last drop into my pint glass, the head on this beer went from a stagnant tan line and exploded into a nice 2 finger head. Didn’t last very long but it was cool to watch. Props for effects.

The aroma caught me off guard. Vanilla? *sniff* Banana? *sniff* fruity? wtf is going on here? According to the bottle and website this is an American Brown style beer. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a brown ale and I must say that I have NEVER had one like this. I like that, a style that surprises me.

First off this is 12% ABV. I’m not kidding, 12%! The max you would normally see is 8% so really it shouldn’t shock me that DFH kicked it up. I’d wager to say that most browns I’ve tasted have been pretty much the same. A little nutty, malty and slightly hoppy. The Palo Santo(Holy Tree) Marron was de-friggin-licious. Here’s why…

First off, I can’t taste the alcohol. When you see 12% ABV you face the risk of a strong alcohol taste. Must be the holy wood that fools you. Vanilla! Vanilla! Vanilla! Oh sweet Jesus it’s not overpowering but you know it’s there. *taste* mmm That would be a little fruit and nuts. Anyone who’s a freak about lacing though won’t like that it’s non-existent. Should you care? I really don’t. It doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a fine beverage.

Price I paid was $5 for a 12 oz bottle and $17-$18 for a 4 pack. That may seem pricey but for the Bud/Coors/Miler drinkers that would be equivalent to 12 of your beers… in 4 bottles. Crack one open and say hello to Wonderland, bitches!

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