Archive for May, 2009

47 – Great Lakes Blackout Stout

hdh47_glblackoutstout

I have 2 6-packs of this aging in my basement. This time I had it fresh from the tap at Mad Mex in Cranberry.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout
brewery:
Great Lakes – greatlakesbrewing.com
beer webpage:
http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beerProfile.php?beer_id=00000010
style: Russian Imperial Stout
abv:
9%
glass used:
snifter
awards: Gold Medal, 2008 World Beer Cup | Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Championships | Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup | Gold Medal, 2003 World Beer Championships | Gold Medal, 2003 World Beer Championships (as Emmett’s Imperial Stout) | Silver Medal, 1996 World Beer Championships (as Emmett’s Imperial Stout)
price:
$6

Overview
Named after the infamous “Blackout of 2003” that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and down-home fun.

What I think
Since I wasn’t the one who poured this I can’t tell you what that was like but when it arrived there was beer porn in my presence.  Aroma was slight chocolate, stronger on the coffee and that first drink was deep, thick, and rich deliciousness in the form of chocolate with a hint of vanilla. This was velvety on the palate and finished smoother than Billy Dee Williams.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments (4)

46 – Dogfish Head Burton Baton

hdh46_dfhburtonbaton

Either you love it or hate it when Dogfish Head experiments with flavors. Me, I love it. Correction, I luuuuuurve it. They won’t release a beer for the sake of saying they brewed something new if it didn’t pass a rigorous tasting first. My palate rests in their brewing.

Dogfish Head Burton Baton
brewery:
Dogfish Head – dogfish.com
beer webpage:
http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occassional-rarities/burton-baton.htm
style:
Imperial IPA
abv:
10%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
snifter
price: $5

Overview
A blend of oak-aged English strong ale and our 90 Minute I.P.A.. Citrus notes from Northwestern hops meld with vanilla notes from the oak.

What I think
I was blessed with a perfect night to cook on the grill some dead cows so it was only fitting I hit my collection of IPA’s. I’ve eyed up this bottle for awhile and finally bit the bullet when I was at the store last week. The pour could only be best described as beer porn. Creamy 2 finger head and crisp amber body glistening in the sun. The aroma was mild floral and faint citrus. The taste was… OK here I was worried because many Imperial IPA’s I’ve had lately would punch me in the palate with strong alcohol flavor. For a 10% ABV beer it was extremely balanced. I picked up mediocre maltiness which was a huge plus because it didn’t overpower the hops nor succumb to high alcohol. The finish was smooth and malty. Savor this one, don’t slam it.

If you’re a fan of the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA there is a 99.9% chance you’ll love this. If you don’t like the 90, shut up and drink it anyways 🙂

Spoon’s rating: A-

Comments (3)

45 – Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique IPA

hdh45_stonecalibelgique

As you can see from the picture above I had some fun with this week’s selection. I’m always up for cooking with beer and since this past Sunday was Mother’s Day I figured it was my best chance to show mom the versatility of beer. Thanks to Tim at The Size of Life for sending me this bottle. It’s not available in PA so I let out an extra “squeeee”. Yes, you read that correctly.

The photo gallery of Mother’s Day Dinner I made with Stone can be found here.

Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique IPA
brewery:
Stone Brewing – stonebrew.com
beer webpage:
http://www.stonebrew.com/cali/index.php
style:
Belgian IPA
abv:
6.9%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
snifter
price: n/a

Overview
When reading the name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA”, “Cali” hints that it is a California style IPA, and this brew has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population says the word “Belgian”; the Dutch speaking Belgians say “Belgie”). We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the beer that is otherwise quite simply Stone IPA.

The result is both completely new and different, while still being recognizable as a Stone Brew – and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

What I think
Based on looks alone this poured like a typical Belgian instead of an IPA. The hue was hazy yellow but a creamy beaut of a head. The aroma was strong with hops, floral and spices. At this point IPA wasn’t even on the radar for me which was starting to be a concern knowing Stone’s history for brewing a muscular IPA. The taste caught me off guard.  Piny, fruity, sweet then hoppy and finished not as bitter as I was anticipating. To say it was complex is putting it lightly and why I stress that you can’t appreciate a beer in a 6oz sample.

Spoon’s rating: B

Comments (4)

44 – Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout

hdh44_guinness250uc

I’m sharing the spotlight this week. Please welcome to the stage fellow Yinz Team softball all star, Uncle Crappy. Crappy stood out at Podcamp Pittsburgh 2 during our SIDT/WMS session on grassroots podcasting as the only person to applaud and cheer as if the Stanley Cup was brought into the room. We broke his heart shortly afterward when he found out there wasn’t any free beer.

UC is a die hard Ohio State fan, fellow craft beer enthusiast, a great friend and helluva model American. If you see one of us at a craft beer festival there is a good chance the other isn’t far behind. You can follow Uncle Crappy on his blog at unclecrappy.com

Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout
brewery:
St. James Gate – guinness.com
style:
Irish Dry Stout
abv:
5%
serving size:
12oz
glass used:
Spoon said “I used a Guinness pint glass that mysteriously appeared one night after a trip to Mad Mex.” Uncle Crappy sighed “I don’t know what the hell it’s called; Mrs. Crappy picked it up at Penn when we thought the place was closing down. It’s a pretty good approximation of an imperial pint glass, though.”
price: Spoon paid $3.25 at 3 Sons Dogs and Suds in Wexford, PA. Uncle Crappy paid $10 for the six. God bless the State of Ohio. Purchased at the Andersons general store, Dublin, Ohio. If you’re in Columbus and you’re thirsty, this is the first place you should stop.

What Uncle Crappy thinks
Uncle Crappy

I’m a Guinness fan. Yeah, I know — it’s sort of like the Irish Budweiser, but it’s always a reliable choice when the pickings are slim. And you can’t beat the history; I mean, it’s been around for, like, 250 years or something.
Oh. Right. The name.

I knew I wanted to bring some home from our last trip to Columbus, and I was pleased to see it was pretty easy to find. I sat down with a couple bottles the other night; here’s what I came up with.

You see a difference right away. The 250 is carbonated differently than the nitrogen carbonation Guinness uses for the draught bottles or cans we have here, and it shows. You don’t see that beautiful cascade; you get something closer to a traditional beer pour with this one, setting up a half-inch head that dissipated pretty quickly. The aroma is also a bit different; the roasted malts are more prominent than in the Guinness I’m accustomed to.

That carries over to the taste, as well. Roasted coffee is right up front, followed by a hints of bread and, uh, not much else. My biggest gripe, though, is the mouthfeel; the more traditional carbonation naturally leads to a more traditional kind of feel; it’s not bad, but I really missed the silky Guinness texture.

Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a bad beer. But if you’ve had a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout, you already have a pretty good idea of what the 250 is all about, and I was hoping for a little more.

Uncle Crappy’s rating: C+

What spoon thinks
hdh44_sppb

This isn’t your typical Guinness so before you open it remember that not all are created equal. The pour was disappointing as the head was weak and vanished fast. I looked at it for a second and though “this looks like really cheap root beer from Aldi.” The aroma and taste, it turned out, was better than the appearance. I could smell a roasted coffee in the glass and the taste followed suit with a dry finish. I found it kinda light and watery as it seriously lacked body. That was it? That was what Guinness wasted a 250th anniversary on? Serious let down but better than some I’ve had.

This is a dry stout and lives up to the style but isn’t anything special besides a name.

Spoon’s rating: C-

Comments (4)