Archive for July, 2009

53 – Bells Pale Ale Infused with Juniper Berries

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You won’t find this anywhere else besides at Bocktown in Pittsburgh. I say this because they use their own infuser (aptly named “BREWSER the Infuser”) to make some of the most interesting twists on draft beers. Bocktown has quickly become one of my favorite places to go to for a beer in Pittsburgh. Check out Should I Drink That Episode 53 where we recorded live at the Beer Dependence Day celebration!

Bells Pale Ale Infused
brewery:
Bells Brewery – bellsbeer.com
style: American Pale Ale
abv: 5%
serving size: draft
glass used: pint
price: $4

Overview
A refreshing, blond colored pale ale. Bell’s pale ale is made almost exclusively from pale malt. It expresses a spicy floral hop aroma and taste.

What I think
Most of my friends know that I’m a big gin fan so on our first trip to Bocktown I find that they have Bell’s Pale Ale INFUSED with Juniper… oh sweet Jesus YES! Sickpuppy joined me and added “I’m not drinking a beer that tastes like a Christmas tree.” *sigh* some people just don’t understand.

The aroma of Juniper is mild and noticeable but not punching me in my sniffer. The infusion had no impact on the appearance of the beer so it retained a golden hue. The bartender Kris knew exactly how to pour and delivered a foamy 2 finger head that would have been perfect to rest a hop leaf on if you’re going for aesthetics.  The flavor was glorious for a gin fan who also happens to love pale ales. What I’m getting at is this was unbe-freakin-lievable!  Crisp with a strong wheat and hop presence followed up with some Juniper twang to finish it off.

Chris Dilla and the team at Bocktown really have delivered a quality product and experience. To cap off your trip you need to order from what I call the unbutton you pants delicious menu. Bocktown Burger will leave you in awe. Don’t believe me? Check out the report WTAE did.

Spoon’s rating: A

Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

Comments

52 – Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

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*This week’s review comes from my good friend Phil at My Life As A Foodie. I’ve been sick with laryngitis the past couple of weeks so instead of ruining a beer with a funked palate I called in the big guns. Thanks Phil!*

The old adage “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” has served as a lifelong proverb for everyone to simply give things a chance, no matter what your first inclination is. To not try something simply because of its appearance at first glance is short-sighted, and can sometimes cheat you of an incredible experience. That’s exactly the case with Ten Fidy, an Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. Ten Fidy, like all of the beers from Oskar Blues, comes packaged in 12 ounce cans.  And I’m here to tell you that canned craft beer is here to stay.

In 2002, Oskar Blues became the first US microbrewery to brew and can its own beer, destroying the myth that cans impart flavor to it. These days, aluminum cans are lined with a water-based coating, so the beer goes untouched. There are many advantages to canning craft beer. Among them, it allows you to chill the beer more quickly, and it keeps light from striking it. So beers loaded with hops (such as IPAs, and Imperial Stouts) won’t be victim to skunking if exposed to light for long periods of time.

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
brewery:
Oskar Blues Brewery – oskarblues.com
beer website: www.oskarblues.com/brew/
style: Imperial Stout
abv: 9.5%
serving size: 12 oz cans (yes, cans!)
glass used: snifter
price: $10 (4 pack)

Overview
It’s the beer equivalent of decadently rich milkshake made with malted-milk balls and Heaven’s best chocolate ice cream. Ten FIDY is about 10% ABV and is made with enormous amounts of two-row malts, chocolate malts, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Its huge-but-comforting flavors hide a whopping 98 IBUs that are deftly tucked underneath the beer’s mountains of malty goodness.

What I think
Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.

Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

Phil’s rating: A

Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.

Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

Comments

51 – Stone Brewing 13th Anniversary Ale

hdh51_Stone13AnnivAle
I apologize for this being late. I picked up a contract to work on yesterday so my blogging has been delayed all over the place but notice its YOU I’m taking care of first. That’s right, because there is beer involved.

I had this last Friday on tap at the Bocktown Beer Dependence Day Celebration which we recorded at and published as Episode 53 of Should I Drink That.  Give it a listen but not until you’re done reading this of course 🙂

Stone Brewing 13th Anniversary Ale
brewery: Stone Brewing – stonebrew.com
beer website: www.stonebrew.com/13th/ale/
style: American Strong Ale
abv:
9.5%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: snifter
price:
$8

Overview
Stone 13th Anniversary Ale pours brilliant deep red with a light tan foam. Up front, the aroma is all piney, resinous and citrus hops. Upon tasting, the hops are still on the front, and they are balanced with the malty, toffee like flavors contributed from the blend of crystal and amber malts used in the brewhouse. The finish is deliciously bitter, with a touch of warmth provided by the 9.5% alcohol. Bitterness comes in at 90+ IBU.

What I think
Deep red? Understatement. Hop bomb? absolutely. The flavor profile is completely different from when I had this on tap. I love hops and this isn’t mouth puckering but I’m having a difficult time getting into this. The aroma is medium to strong hops with a punch of citrus. Appearance is very dark red and closing in on a deep brown. I’m guessing if you can get the lighting right this would be some kickass beer porn. The taste is dry to start with a medium carbonated body that refuses to carry past the front and finishes rough and tough (hence the high IBU’s). The lingering chinook hops are really beating this up for me. I took a little break and enjoyed sipping this for a few while watching TV and as it warmed up a bit more the bite from the hops wasnt as bad and this became one smooth ass beverage.

This is a one time buy for me out of the bottle but a must if I find it on tap.

Spoon’s rating: C+

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