December 25, 2011

Underlig Jul (Peculiar Yule)

This time of year Christmas and winter beers abound. You canít walk into a store without finding at least one specialty six pack. Iíve picked up many this year and I wanted to share this one as it is a rarer find. I present you with Underlig Jul (Peculiar Yule in the States) from Nogne O in Grimstad, Norway.

peculiar yule.jpg

It poured a rich dark brown color with a touch of a ruddy orange color to it. It was dark enough that light only passed through at the edge of the glass. When held up to a gentle back light, it appears to be slightly hazy. As it was pouring a thick, tan foamy head consisting of a mixed size of bubbles formed. The head faded slowly and lasted through most of the beer. There was some beautiful complex lacing on the side of the glass.

This smells unlike most bears Iíve had. It had a spiciness mixed with a slight floral and citrus hop scent. I was able to detect hints of cinnamon, cardamom cloves, orange zest and chocolate malts. Itís very complex and some of the scents may be just various others mixing together to give the allusion to others. The flavor starts with a citrus hops and chocolate malt flavor that moves rapidly to the spices you can detect in the scent. There is a touch of ginger in the finish. As the beer warms up to room temperature the flavors really start becoming more individually detectable.

It is a medium bodied beer with a moderate level of carbonation. There is almost no coating in the mouth.

According to the bottle this beer was inspired by Glogg, a traditionally Scandinavian spiced wine drank in the winter. As not only an avid glogg snob, but also as a maker of it, I can detect the influence, especially in the scent. Now as there are many different types of Glogg, this is a particular spicy version. I really enjoyed this beer and am fortunate to have been able to enjoy one, and enjoy it I did on this fine Christmas day. If you even get a chance to try one, I would recommend it. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2011

Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale XV

Each Year for the last five years Firestone Walker Brewing Company has released and Anniversary Ale. This year I was finally able to get my hands on a bottle of this rare blended beer. I canít compare this to the past years version of the Anniversary Ale because Iíve never had it, so if you are looking for a comparison from me, I canít help you out. This yearís Anniversary Ale is a blend of the following bears in what percentage (per the packaging).

18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3 ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.

firesetone walker 15.png

It pours a dark brown coffee color. There is a slight garnet or dark ruby coloring to it. Light passes through at the edges and there doesnít appear to be any haziness to it at all. A thick tan head consisting of tiny bubbles forms and fades very slowly. There is good lacing on the side of the glass that lasts until the beer is finished.

The smell is a complex blend of the various scents from the multitude of beers that went together into the construction of this ale. First off there is a noticeable coconut scent followed by bourbon and brandy. You can easily pull out tones of vanilla as well as chocolate malts. There is a hint of oak and dark fruits that bring all of the scents together pleasantly. Surprisingly you donít get a strong Alcohol scent with this being a 12.5 ABV beer.

The flavor is almost as complex as the scent and the beer mixture combination itself. The various beers blend together to create a tantalizing flavor combination of Vanilla, Coconut, Bourbon, Molasses, dark fruits and brown sugar. There noticeable chocolate and caramel malt accents that help solidify the flavor combinations. Unlike the scent you can pick up just a touch of the alcohol taste to it. The finish is a pleasant sweetness on the back of the tongue.

This is a full bodied beer. There is some creamy coating to the mouth, but not a lot. It has a light carbonation that makes it easy to drink.

I really enjoyed this beer and I was pleasantly surprised by its complex taste. Based on the fact that it is a combination of 8 different beers, I figured it would be so busy that it would be difficult to enjoy. That isnít the case. I enjoyed all 22 ounces of the beer and it was just as delicious all the way to the last drop. I will say that I did prefer it when it warmed up closer to room temperature than when I pulled it out of the refrigerator. If you get a chance to get this limited edition beer, I would suggest trying it. Itís well worth it. I give it 8.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 19, 2011

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale.

My friend Dennis gave me this beer to try. Weíve been on a Pumpkin beer kick and earlier this year we found one that we both really liked. He said that this one was even better, and said I had to try it. Iíll be reviewing the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale by The Saint Lewis Brewing Company.

schlafly pumpkin ale.jpg

When poured into a glass it has a dark amber color to it. Light passed through easily; there is no cloudiness to the beer at all. A quarter inch head formed, but it faded rapidly to a ring around the edge of the glass. There was minimal lacing.

It smells almost exactly like pumpkin pie. You get that strong pumpkin scent with cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a touch of caramel malts to it that ties all of the pumpkin pie scents together.

The taste is almost exactly like how it smells; you get this pumpkin pie taste with the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. The caramel malts just add a little something to it that brings it to the next level.

It is a medium bodied beer that has a creamy feel to it, but does not coat the mouth. The carbonation is a little heavier than I would like for the style of beer, but itís not distracting. Itís easy to drink.

This has to be the best pumpkin beer Iíve had to date. Itís like Schlaflyís brewers found a way to perfect the pumpkin beer. Itís sweet, but not too sweet. Itís smooth, but not so smooth that you are going to drink an entire bottle and not realize that you just finished 12 ounces in record time. This is a pumpkin beer that in the fall, I would go out of my way to find. I could see friends and myself sitting around at a Halloween party or backyard bonfire drinking these. I give this 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trappistes Rochefort 10

This beer has been sitting in my fridge for a while looking for a perfect time to drink it. That time has arrived. It was bought for me by my friends Joe and Rachel on a trip to Oklahoma. Thanks guys!

trappistes-rochefort-10.jpg

It has a hazy dark brown coloring to it. Light passes through only at the edges of the glass. There is a slight reddish/orange coloring to it. When poured a half inch tan head forms. Itís a thick head made up mostly of tiny bubbles and it fades slowly to a film on the top of the beer. There was some nice lacing in the glass.

The smell starts off with a noticeably appetizing strong fruit scent. It consists mostly of dark fruits, but I detected a hint of pear or apple. Itís followed with some spicy hop scent and touch of anise, especially as it warms to room temperature. Surprisingly the smells cover the scent of alcohol for the most part.

The flavor is an amazing combination of dark fruits and molasses that mixes with a caramel malt taste that is absolutely incredible. The finish brings out some of that anise taste along with figs and a touch of oak. The flavor combination completely masks any taste of alcohol. It finishes clean with a smooth mild sweetness.

This is a medium bodied beer with a creaminess to it that coats the mouth. It has the perfect amount of carbonation, some bite on the tongue, but not enough to be distracting. This is a very easy to drink beer. One needs to be careful because of the high 11.3 ABV it could be easy for someone to over indulge accidently.

This beer has risen to the top ten favorite beers Iíve ever drank. This is so delicious and easy to drink that I could see myself going out of my way to find bottles of it. I wouldnít recommend more than one or two in a night. If you have a chance to get your hands on one, do yourself a favor and buy it. I can easily see myself sitting back on a chilly Fall, Winter or Spring night enjoying one by a fire with friends. I give this 9 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2011

Miner's Treasure.

Iím sure someone is asking, ďWhy donít he write?Ē Well let me tell you, Iíve been visiting breweries, tastings and food pairings a lot of late. That and Iíve been lazy as all get out. Thatís neither the point of why Iím writing this nor why you are reading it. Why we are here is for the beer, so letís get to it.

Back in February I had the pleasure of attending the Galena Brewing Company in Galena, IL. While there, we were treated to a Valentines food and beer pairing that was absolutely fantastic. If you get a chance to go one of their food and beer pairings, Iíd highly recommend it. After leaving there I picked up a couple of six packs from them, one being the Minerís Treasure Late Amber ale.

Miners Treasure.jpg

Appearance: It pours a dirty copper color. There is cloudiness to it that light passes through and you can make out some images, but you canít clearly see through it at all. Poured into a pub pint glass with the last quarter of the bottle being poured aggressively, a 3/8 inch white head formed that faded to a film on top of the beer. The film lasted until the beer was completely drunk. Little to no lacing formed on the side of the glass.

Smell: Right off I could smell a rich caramel malt aroma. Itís followed with a hint of cereal grains. On a second sniff I could detect a slight nuttiness to it that helped bring the smells together into a pleasant and appetizing blend. As the beer approached room temperature there is a touch of alcohol to the aroma.

Taste: I really wish I could say this had a very discernable flavor, but it was rather mild. No flavors really jumped out, they all blended together to become hard to detect. A lightly roasted malt flavor is the only thing I could really pull out of it. I could barely detect any hops. This is very inoffensive and is one of those beers that would be drinkable by most beer drinkers. Not great, not bad, but just middle of the road. The finish is very mild and fades quickly. It is a beer that would compliment any meal you are eating without affecting the flavors of the food too much.

Body: Itís a light bodied beer, which is not surprising as it is a late amber ale. The carbonation bites the tongue, but isnít so strong that itís distracting or making you bloated as you drink it.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 19, 2011

B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Okay, itís been a long, long time since Iíve done a review. I kind of got burned out so I took a break from reviewingÖ not drinking beer, just reviewing them. During that time I cleaned out a surplus of beer before it went bad. Of course, I also went on a rampage finding other beers I really wanted to try and kept buying them. I also hit a couple of breweries and brew pubs. Iíve expanded my tastes during my hiatus, even found a couple of IPAs that I like. Yea, thatís right, I found some IPAs I actually like. Youíll also notice that Iím changing my reviewing style a little bit. As Iíve reflected and read some of my past reviews, I decided to go into a little bit a different direction, this includes not describing the container the beer came inÖ for Peteís sake, I attach a picture, why am I describing it? Now letís get down to business. My grand return is with B.O.R.I.S. The crusher Oatmeal-Imperial stout by Hoppin'Frog brewing company in Akron, Ohio.

Boris the Crusher.jpg

Appearance: It poured a dark black, with a touch of brown. There was no sign of light passing through at all, even around the edges. With an aggressive pour I was able to get a good half inch head to form. It was dark tan in color, and consisted mainly of large bubbles. It faded to a ring around the edge of the mug. There was some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: The first thing I noticed was a strong dark roasted coffee and chocolate malt scent. I could detect a touch of molasses. As it warms more of a smoky scent was in the background. A touch of citrusy hops was detectable as well. As the beer warmed up you could also start to get an alcohol smell from it.

Taste: The tongue is treated to a rich dark roasted malts, mostly coffee with a touch of chocolate. Dark fruit and molasses flavors help to enhance the flavors tremendously. There is a good hop finish to it that helps bring all the flavors together. The aftertaste is a lingering mild bitterness on the back of the tongue that fades slowly. The beer has a slight alcohol taste, which isnít surprising based on the 9.4% ABV.

Body: This is a medium bodied beer, which I did find a little disappointing because I personally would like a more full bodied beer for an imperial stout. I personally would have liked a bit more of a creaminess that coats the mouth. It has a mild carbonation that is barely noticeable.

Posted by Contagion at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 04, 2010

Gonzo Imperial Porter

I know I usually only do reviews on Wednesdays or Thursdays, but I havenít done one in a while and since it is Labor Day weekend, what better way to celebrate the working man than reviewing some beers? For this special Labor Day Edition, I will be reviewing Gonzo Imperial Porter by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD. This beer was donated by Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks.

gonzo-imperial-porter.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. The label is light blue at the top and blends to a dark yellow at the bottom. There is a badly hand drawn picture of some kind of skull faced man wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a cigarette. There is a voice bubble that says ďOk! Letís Party!Ē In typical Flying Dog style is the scrawled name Gonzo with imperial porter in block letters under it. There is a quote on the bottom, ďGood people drink good beer. ď ĖHunter S. Thompson. There is a brief description of the beer on the side of the label. It states that it is a 7.8% ABV and vintage 09.

When poured it has a dark, almost black coloring to it. The only time light passes through is at the edges. And then it is a very dark walnut coloring. A thin tan head forms, but fades quickly. By the time I finished the beer there wasnít even a ring around the edge. I poured this beer rather aggressively at the end in order to try to form more head, but it didnít help.

The smell starts with a rich molasses and cocoa scent. Roasted malts finish off the scent. There is a touch of citrus to the scent as well as a hint of alcohol. The taste starts off with a bitter chocolate flavor and finishes with a hint of coffee as the beer warms. There is a slight burnt malt taste to it. A slight generic fruit flavor is noticed either. When the beer reaches closer to room temperature the taste of alcohol becomes more discernable. The after taste is a little bitter.

This is a medium bodied beer, a little heavy on the carbonation. There is a slight coating to the mouth.

I enjoyed this beer. It isnít one I would want to drink too quickly. Itís a nice sipping beer to be enjoyed over a long period of time. It is a standard porter taste, nothing too special. I donít know if I would go out of my way for it, but I did enjoy it while I had it. I give it 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2010

Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night.

Yar, Iím starting to feel like a pirate. This is the third beer of the Heavy Seas line from the Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD. Tonight Iíll be reviewing the Red Sky At Night Saison Ale. This is the next beer in line as donated Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks.

Red Sky At Night.JPG

It came in the standard 12 fl. Oz. brown bottle. The label is red on the top half with the name of the beer in white. The bottom half the label is yellowish with a picture of a pirate and his parrot sleeping in a hammock. There is a notched drink by date on it. This beer is labeled best by Sept, 2010. There is a neck label that has the High Seas logo on it and a brief description of the beer on it.

This beer has a nice golden honey coloring to it. There is a slight cloudiness to it, but light passes through easily as well as you can make out the shapes of objects on the other side. When I poured it into a glass, a thin white head formed, but it faded rapidly to nothing. There was no film, ring or lacing on the glass by the time I was a quarter of the way through it.

The first thing I noticed when smelling the beer is a rich mixture of cloves and coriander. There is a grainy wheat malt scent that is reminiscent of bread. A thin citrusy hoppy scent rounds it off. Upon tasting the beer, I noticed a yeast flavor. There was a thin wheat taste that helps balance the yeast. Cloves and coriander takes a prominent flavor. There is a nice citrus and hop combination that rounds the whole taste out.

It has a light body with a crisp feel in the mouth. There is a mild carbonation to it that makes it easy to drink.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer. I enjoyed drinking this beer. It had a nice flavor that was mellow and would go with a lot of foods. This is a beer I would drink while having a burger with the guys, or just enjoying some cheese and sausage during a game. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2010

Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale

Tonight is another beer donated by Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks. He is determined to get his enabler glass this year. Tonight we continue with beers from the High Seas line of beers from the Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD. Weíll be reviewing Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA. Now, as a disclaimer, I will be rating this beer twice. I am not a fan of IPAs and generally try to avoid reviewing them due to my predisposition of not liking the style. I do try them on a regular basis in case my tastes change or I find an IPA I actually like. The first rating I give it will be my opinion of the beer as an IPA; the second will be my opinion of it as a beer according to my tastes. Please keep that in mind while reading this review.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale.jpg

We still have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. IT has a purple label with the wording ďLoose CannonĒ in white on the top half. The bottom has a picture of a peg legged pirate firing a cannon that is knocking a pirate over the edge of the ship. The bottom of the label has a notched drink by date. This one indicates September, 2010. There is a purple neck label with the Heavy Seas logo on it. There is a brief description of the beer which brags, ďLoose Cannon Hop3 Ale is opulently hopped 3 times in the brewing process.

It pours a transparent golden amber color. Images pass through the body easily. A quarter inch pure white head composed of tiny foamy bubbles. The head fades to a thick film on top of the beer and a lot of lacing on the glass. The head and lacing lasted until the beer was finished.

There is a strong, pungent scent consisting of floral hops that almost overpowers all other scents. A hint of citrus is noticeable that gives the beer a slight pineapple scent. As the beer warms to room temperature a slight cereal scent is noticeable. The first thing you notice on tasting is a strong bitter citrus taste. Itís supported by a balanced combination of floral hops and a touch of orange peel. What malt flavors there are in the beer donít come out until it warms up to just below room temp.

This is a medium bodied beer. Itís a little heavy in the carbonation for my tastes. It bites the tongue and leaves a tingly sensation even after youíve swallowed.

For an IPA, especially one that is supposed to be triple hopped IPA, it doesnít have as strong of a flavor as one would expect. I donít think I would consider this even a double IPA. As an IPA, I give it 6 out of 10. That being said, I really did not enjoy this beer. I would not be going out of my way to pick this up again. If you like IPAs, then I would suggest giving it a try. If you are like me and donít like IPAs, avoid this beer. Personally I give it 2.5 out of 10. Now excuse me while I try to go scrape the aftertaste off my tongue.

Posted by Contagion at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 04, 2010

Small Craft Warning

This week we have a beer donated to me by Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks. Iím not sure where he found this beer, but itís not one Iíve found locally. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils by Clipper City Brewing Company LP in Baltimore, MD.

Small Craft Warning.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. The label is broken into two distinctive different parts. The top half is a greenish color with the Small Craft Warning in it, the warning is written sideways on the vertical. The bottom has a cartoonish picture of a pirate (?) on a raft holding onto a mast and looking through a spy glass. There is a parrot on the raft with him. At the bottom of the label it has a notch marking system to give a best by date. This one was labeled Sept, 2010.

The beer has a nice golden amber coloring to it. Itís opaque, no sign of haziness or distortion. Light passes through easily and you can make out objects on the other side while looking through the beer. When I poured it into a glass, a quarter inch white head formed. It faded to a film on the top of the beer. There is minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent of the beer starts with a citrus and floral hop smell. Itís followed with a cereal like grain scent. There is some breadiness as well as a hint of lemon grass. On first taste the first thing I noticed was a cereal malt flavor. Itís followed by the citrus and floral hop blend. There is a touch of yeast to it that helps round out the flavor and provide a balance to the hops and malts.

This a medium bodied beer. There is a good amount of carbonation to the beer, some bite on the tongue but not a lot.

Iím a fan of pilsners, Iím not exactly sure what an ďUber PilsĒ is, but itís not like most pilsners Iíve drank. Itís light and crisp and with a 7.0 ABV you really canít taste the alcohol. I could see kicking back and enjoying one with friends. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 04:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2010

Bell's Batch 9,000

Tonightís beer is one I picked up a while back; I just havenít gotten around to trying it. I decided that tonight was going to be the night. Tonight Iím trying Batch 9,000 Ale by Bellís Brewery in Comstock, MI.

Batch 9000.jpg

The method of delivery was a 12 oz brown bottle. There is light yellow label with a yellow border. At the top is the Bellís logo. Taking up most of the middle is a square with the name ďBatch 9,000 aleĒ in it. It also states that this is a commemorative brew and that it is brewed with molasses and brewerís licorice.

When I poured it into a glass, it had a dark brown coloring to it. There was just a hint of a ruby or garnet tint. This is a very dark and thick looking beer. Itís so opaque that as some light passes through, but only at the edges. A beige head formed consisting of tiny, dense bubbles. IT fades slowly to a film at the top of the beer and a ring around the edge of the beer. There is some lacing on the glass.

There is a strong and intense aroma to this beer. Mostly it is of dark fruits, molasses, cherries and bourbon. You can also detect the noticeable smell of alcohol. The flavor is very complex. You can make out a distinct combination of plums, dates, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, some spice and alcohol. The flavor opens up more as the beer warms closer to room temperature. Itís hard to pin point any single taste that over powers the others, they mix together in a strong, but pleasant style.

This is a medium to heavy bodied beer. There is some coating in the mouth. There is some burning from the high 12.5% ABV when swallowed, and a warming in the stomach.

I was really impressed with this beer. It tasted fantastic; however, drinking it on a day where the temps reached the 90ís probably wasnít the best idea. This is more of a cold/cooler weather beer. The burning sensation coupled with a hot summer day really distracts from the beer. The high ABV, while noticeable, really does not distract from the overall taste of the beer. This is a limited edition beer, so if you can get your hands on it, I would recommend picking one up. If you do, I would put it in a cool and dark pace to store for a cool fall or winter night to enjoy. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 04:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 07, 2010

Key West Sunset Ale

This weekís beer was bought for me by one of the best bartenders in the world while he was on Vacation, how cool is that? I guess I frequent his bar so much that he just felt obligated to serve me even while on vacation. Tonightís beer is sponsored by Honorary Enabler, Drake of the Hope and Anchor in Loves Park, Illinois. The beer he picked was Key West Sunset Ale by the Florida beer company in Melbourne, Florida.

Key West Sunset Ale.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. The label starts as orange at the top and fades to a yellow at the bottom. There is a black boarder with yellow wheat grains on it. It says Key West at the upper half. There is a picture of a sunset through palm trees on it and the name Sunset Ale in white script under it. The neck label has a picture of a conch shell in a black circle. In the circle it says, ďThe Original Beer of the Conch Republic.Ē

The beer itself has an orangish amber color. There is no cloudiness to it at all, light passes through easily. You can make out images easily looking through the beer. A thin white head formed when it was poured into the glass. It faded quickly to nothing. There is no lacing on the glass or a ring around the edge.

The first thing you notice when you smell it is a citrus hops scent. Feint grainy malt finishes off the scent of the beer. The smell itself isnít very strong and until it warms up almost to room temperature and then a caramel malt scent becomes more noticeable. The flavor is much like a scent. There is a thin malt flavor with a grapefruit and floral hops. The flavor really opens up, much like the scent, as it warms. The caramel malt flavor becomes more noticeable.

This is a light bodied beer with mild carbonation. There is no coating or creaminess to it.

This beer is pretty unassuming. The scent and flavor isnít all that impressive. What it has going for it is that it is an easy to drink beer. It doesnít sit heavy in the stomach. I reviewed this beer on a hot summer day, and this seems to be a perfect beer for just that, hanging with friends at the beach or lounging around a pool on a hot day. After I finished the first one, I wished I had a second one in the fridge to help fight off the heat of the day. Itís not a great beer, but it isnít bad either, I give it 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2010

Sand Creek English Style Special Ale.

Itís been a couple of weeks, and I have a ton of beers to review. I canít believe Iím slacking as badly as I am. Actually, yes I can, Iíve been lazy and spending a lot of free times in bars drinking beer there. Itís summer, so Iím trying to avoid the heat! Yea, thatís it! Tonightís beer is a first time donation by someone. Someone that wizened up and left Okla-farookiní-Homa. So tonight Iím reviewing Sand Creekís English Style Special as donated by Rave. Sand Creek Brewing is in Black River Falls, WI.

English Style special ale.jpg

Sand Creek uses a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The body label is a dark brownish red color. The company logo is at the top in yellow, the name of the beer is under it in a slightly orangish banner. There is a matching neck label that has the company logo on it as well.

The beer itself is a rich dark amber color with bronze highlights. There appears to be no haziness to it. Light passes through easily, however it is dark enough that you canít see clearly through to the other side. When poured into the glass, an inch thick tan foamy head formed. It faded slowly and a good film and ring on the top of the beer was present until I finished what was in my glass.

The smell starts with a nice roasted malt scent. Caramel and Toffee is the most prominent malt scent that comes out. There is just a hint of nuttiness to it that should be present in an English Style ale, not as much as I would have expected, but it was still there. The taste was rather mild and unassuming. Mostly of caramel malts, a mild nuttiness, a faint hint of cocoa is what you notice at first. There is a slight hop backbone to it that rounds the flavor out.

This is a medium bodied beer; there is a good level of carbonation to it that is standard with the style.

Over all for an English Style ale, I was little disappointed. The flavor wasnít as prominent as one would expect. Itís very unassuming. It is very easy to drink, and is something that I could see drinking on a hot summer night, Possibly while sitting around a campfire with some friends or even while playing a game at the local bar. I could also see someone sitting down and enjoying a nice platter of fish and chips while sipping on one. Overall I found it a decent beer to drink. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2010

New Glarus Unplugged Cherry Stout

At the third annual Miasmatic Review Beer Tasting, Harvey of Bad Example brought me a bottle of Unplugged Cherry Stout by the New Glarus Brewing Co in New Glarus, WI for me to review. It had been a while since Iíd seen Harvey; it was good seeing him again. It was nicer that he brought me Beer!

New Glarus Cherry Stout.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a red foil covering over the cap and a neck label that states it is a Cherry Stout. The tan body label had the name of the beer at the top and, I kid you not, a picture that looks like Harvey holding a beer stein. In a red box is the word Unplugged. On the side of the label is a short story about how this is a limited edition beer.

It pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint to it. Light passes through easily enough, but the beer is dark enough that you canít make out images through it. It reminds me of a cola when looking at it in the glass. As it is labeled a stout, I figured it would be a bit thicker and darker in than it was. A light tan head formed and faded rather quickly. There was barely a film on the top by the time I took my first sip. There is minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is an almost over powering scent of cherries, both sweet and tart. The cherry scent pretty much overpowers the rest of the scents. If you concentrate you can make out dark roasted malt and a hint of oak. The combination gives the hint of a vanilla scent. The scent is almost soft drink sweet. The taste is pretty much like the scent. The near overpowering flavor of both sweet candied cherries as well as the more tart pie cherries almost masks the rest of the flavors. As the beer warms closer to room temperature you can taste some chocolate malts and a hint of the oak barrel it was aged in.

This is a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation.

I really donít know if I can call this beer a stout. Its body is too light and the flavors too sweet. The standard roasted malt flavor that is synonymous with stouts is lost behind the fruit flavor of this beer. Itís more of a light porter or a black ale. Really drinking this is like someone made a beer flavored cherry cola. Iíll be honest that it is a little bit sweeter than I normally prefer, but it isnít bad. I donít know if I could handle drinking more than one or two of them at a time, but they do go down easy. I donít think itís a good stout, but as a beer in general itís okay. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 20, 2010

Belhaven Scottish Stout

Ktreva is trying to be the first double Enabler. She saw tonightís beer at the store and had to get it for me to review. She picked out BelhavenĎs Scottish Stout by the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland.

belhavenscottishstout.png

Belhaven uses a 500ml (16.9 fl.oz.) brown bottle with the company logo cast into the bottle just below the base of the neck. The front label is a grey scale label with some gold highlights of what I believe is two men digging peat. The name of the beer is proudly at the top 1/3 of the label, with the company logo just above it. Below the picture is description of the beer. There is a back label that has some more information about the beer on it and a small neck label with the name of the beer on it.

In a pint glass it has a dark mahogany coloring with a touch of ruby to it. Itís so dark that light doesnít pass through. A thick foamy tan head formed when poured. It lasted for quite a while before it faded to a film on the top of the beer. There was little to no lacing on the glass.

The beer has a sweet dark fruit scent to it, like prunes or dates. There are undertones of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. A nice roasted malt scent permeates the beer as well as a hint of peat. The flavor starts with a nice malt and cream with chocolate and molasses. There is a touch of peat smoke to it. The aftertaste has a slight coffee and cream flavor to it.

This is a full bodied beer that leaves a creamy coating in the mouth. There is not a lot of carbonation in the beer making it easy to drink.

This is the first Scottish Stout that Iíve had. Iím a huge fan of Scotch Ales so when my wife found this one for me, I was intrigued. Needless to say I was most impressed with what I had. This is a great evening beer to sit back and enjoy while letting the day unwind. The 7% Alcohol by Volume gives it just enough kick that you donít want to drink it too fast. I give this 8.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 13, 2010

Kalamazoo Stout

Tonight Iím reviewing Bellís Kalamazoo Stout by Bellís Brewery in Comstock, MI. This is one of the beers that I brought back from my trip to Kalamazoo where I was able to spend some good quality time sitting in their Eccentric Cafť in Kalamzoo, MI.

kalamazoo stout.jpg

Bellís uses the standard 12 oz bottle. There is an off white label with a blue boarder around it. At the top of the label is Bellís logo. Below the logo in a line box is a picture of a guy, Iím not sure who that is, but it does almost look like a cartoon zombie. Below the box it states ďStout brewed with brewerís licorice.Ē

There is a dark ebony color to it in the glass. Light doesnít pass through at all. A thick viscous foam head forms when poured. The head fades slowly as the beer is drunk. Along the sides of the glass is a light lacing.

The beer starts with a rich coffee smell. Roasted chocolate malts are quick to follow along with a hint of caramel. The scent is strong, but not over powering. Itís the smell that makes the drinker eager with anticipation to take the first sip. The flavor is a delicious combination of coffee and chocolate malts. The roasted malts present a combination of sweet and bitterness on the tongue. There is a slight bitter burnt taste. If one savors the flavor you can pick up the faint hints of sweet licorice. Not enough to overwhelm the taste, but just a touch to enhance to flavor.
This is a medium to full bodied beer. There is a creaminess to it that coats the mouth and helps hold the flavor in.

This is by far one of the best American Stouts that Iíve had the pleasure of drinking. This is a great beer to sit down with friends and enjoy with friends. Iíve had some really good stouts, but this is by far going to be one of my favorites. I give it 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 27, 2010

Bell's Sparkling Ale

Tonightís beer is one that I picked out myself when I was at Bellís Eccentric Cafť In Kalamazoo Michigan. One of the beers I chose was Bellís Sparkling Ale by Bellís Brewery in Comstock, MI.

Sparkling Ale.jpg

It comes in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a white label with a bluish/green border. There is a symbol in the middle that looks like a golden S with wheat and hops wrapped around it. The back label explains a little bit about the beer and states the beer has a 9% ABV.

It pours a nice golden amber color. Light passes through, but there is some haziness to it. A quarter inch white foamy head formed, but it faded quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass. There is some very minimal lacing. .

The smell starts off with a yeast scent that is quickly overcome with a strong sweet fruit scent. Citrus, pear mix to form a kind of pineapple smell. There is a touch of spicy hops to it. The flavor echoes the scent. A fruit flavor of pear and grapes. There is a nice touch of coriander and cloves. A slight grassiness rounds out the flavor. For having such a high ABV, you canít taste the alcohol.

This is a medium bodied beer with strong carbonation. There is a slight creaminess to it that coats the mouth.

I enjoyed this beer. I donít know that I would drink too many of them in one sitting, but I could see enjoying one or two with friends. I think this is definitely a good outdoor beer, sitting on the porch or around a campfire. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Third Annual Miasmatic Review Beer Tasting

I meant to put this up a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot. In case any of you where wondering, the Third Annual Miasmatic Review beer tasting will be happening on Saturday, May 29th. If you are interested in attending either leave a comment on here or send me an e-mail to Contagion_1 At Yahoo Dot Com.

Iím not sure what the beers will be this year, but this is what I do know. I will be following last yearís format. We will be sampling ten beers. It will be broken into three flights of three similar or related beers. The tenth beer will be a mystery beer and the person that comes closest to identifying it will win a Miasmatic Review Enabler glass.

There will also be bacon explosions and other meat products for post tasting enjoyment.

I hope to see you there!

Posted by Contagion at 12:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 14, 2010

Beer 30 Light

Tonight we get our next full enabler! My Blogless buddy Wil has donated his twelfth beer, hence earning him an enabler glass! This means I have two enabler ceremonies I have to conductÖ. or a double one! This is a beer he found last weekend while picking up provisions for our Fort De Chartres re-enactment. Of course when he saw this beer he just had to buy it for the name. So tonight, we are getting back to the roots of my beer reviews as we review Beer 30 Light brewed by the Melanie Brewing Co.

beer30.jpg

It comes in a purple 12 oz can with the name in cursive writing in an oval the zero in the 30 is a clock. Under the ďlightĒ it states ďPremium LagerĒ. To be honest, the can lies! The first warning should have been is that the can is purple.

It pours a golden straw color. It is opaque, light passes through easily and you can make out objects on the other side without any difficulty. It poured a good finger inch thick head, but it faded rapidly to nothing, not even a film on the top or a ring around the edge. There is absolutely no lacing at all.

The first then you notice when you smell the beer is a mix of cheap malts of the corn and cereal variety. There is a touch of alcohol to the scent. To be honest the scent reminds me of my dorm room when I was in collegeÖ at the end of the year after all the spilled beer has had a time to go stale. The taste is much like the scent, Corn, cereal grains and a slight metallic taste. The metallic taste Iím pretty sure is a result of it coming in an aluminum can, at least I hope so. It reminds me of a beer thatís gone stale. The aftertaste also has a metallic taste to it.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a slight carbonation.

This beer was purchased just for the name of it, kind of like a novelty? We always joke that we think its beer thirty. Of course it didnít hurt we got a 30 pack for under $12.00. When we first tried this beer we had already had a couple of other beers first and didnít think it tasted too bad. Now today as I sit here drinking it on its own without any thing altering the pallet and I have a completely different opinion of this beer. This beer reminds me of something I would have bought in college because itís all I could afford. As a grown man, I donít think Iíd buy this beer again, no matter how cheap it was. I give it a 2.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2010

Consecrator Doppelbock

Tonight we have our third official Enabler. Ktreva, my wife, has donated her twelfth beer for review. Having done so, she has earned herself an enabler party which will be held at a future date. Keep your eyes peeled for invites. For her tenth and final beer we have one that has become one of her favorites, Consecrator Doppelbock by Bellís Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

consecrator doppelbock.jpg

I originally had this at the brewery on tap, and then Ktreva wanted me to review it as she really liked it and bought a six pack of their standard 12 brown bottles. There is an off-white label with two goats that appear to be about to bump heads. The name of the beer is under the goats, the company logo is above.

It pours a rich ruby red and brown color. A thick frothy head formed that faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer and then to nothing. There is no lacing. The beer itself is clear. Light and images have no problem passing through.

The first thing I noticed when smelling it is that it has a very sweet smell. Itís almost like a barleywine like scent. The sweetness contains a fruity scent or raisins, prunes and tart cherries. A caramel malt scent balances it out. There is also a hint of alcohol that can be detected. The flavor is very much like the scent. Caramel malts with a touch of tart cherries. There is also an earthiness to it that that helps round out the flavor, making it more palatable. There is a slight alcohol taste to it, but not bad based on the fact it is 8% ABV.

This is a medium bodied beer with a touch of creaminess to it. There is a good level of carbonation so that it keeps fresh, but is also easy to drink.

Overall this is a nice doppelbock. Itís a little sweeter than what I prefer, but not bad. With an 8% ABV I donít know that I would want to drink too many of them, but it is a good one to sit back on a hot summer night and enjoy one with some friends. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 26, 2010

Henry Weinhard's Blonde

Tonightís beer is a first time submission from my friend Tina, AKA Wilís Wife. She gave this to me when she came up for a pre-St. Patís celebration. The beer she chose for her initial donation is Henry Weinhardís Blonde by the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company in Hood River, OR.

Henry Weinhard blonde.jpg

It comes in a customized 12 fl oz. brown bottle. It has the company logo and ďSince 1856Ē cast into the bottle itself. The label is an off white with a gold border. The company logo is at the top, the name of the company below it. The word BLONDE is in a yellow stripe about two thirds of the way down. At the very bottom is the image of a mountain.

There is a clear, golden wheat coloring to it. You can see through the beer rather easily, not a hint of cloudiness at al. A quarter inch head formed on the top of the beer that faded to a film at the top. The film stayed in place until the beer was finished. There was no lacing on the side of the glass.

The first thing I noticed when taking a whiff of the beer is a roasted malt and corn scent. A citrus scent was also noticeable. There was also a slight grassy hop scent. The flavor was rather unassuming. Toasted malts and corn basically made up most of the flavor. I really canít detect anything else, itís not very impressive. There is a cornflake like aftertaste.

This is a light bodied beer. Itís a little heavier on the carbonation than one would expect with a light bodied beer. It has a good bite on the tongue.

This beer is less than impressive. Itís not bad, but itís only a step up from your standard mass produced beers in America. I was less than impressed with it, and wouldnít go out of my way to recommend it, nor purchase one. On the other hand, I wouldnít turn one down if offered to me. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 03, 2010

O'Fallon Smoke

For the first time in a year I finally get to buy and try a beer Iíve wanted to try for a while. Iíve made it through all of the donated beers. I went to the store and found a six-pack of Oífallon Smoke by OíFallon Brewery in Stevens Point, WI. This brings me up to my third Enabler Glass!

smoke.jpg

They use the standard 12 fl oz brown bottle. There is a grey label with a smoke design on it. In the middle is a picture in shades of grey and red of a guy sitting by a campfire producing a lot of smoke. OíFallon is at the top of the design. The word smoke is at the bottom. Under the smoke it says ďSmoked PorterĒ. There is a ribbon on it to show it won a 2004 gold medal winner for best smoked beer in America.

It has a dark walnut color with a garnet highlight. The beer is mostly opaque; however some light passes through the edges without having to hold it up to a light source. When poured into a glass, a quarter inch tan head forms. It fades slowly to a film at the top. There is no lacing at all.

The smell is a rich hickory and peat smoke scent that is the most noticeable. Subtle undertones of coffee and cocoa roasted malts can be detected. The flavor starts off with a good smoked meat flavor, not the meat flavor as the smoke flavor of smoked meat. Dark fruits and roasted coffee malts finish it off. There is a very mild aftertaste.

This is a medium to light bodied beer. The carbonation is very mild; there is no bite to the tongue.

The smokiness isnít over powering, but real pleasant. Itís not like a Rauchbeir where the smokiness is so strong and ever present that you almost canít get past it. This is more of a subtle, well blended smokiness. The beer drinks easy. I can see myself craving this beer later on, or getting a six pack to give to a friend. I really enjoyed this beer and give it 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 24, 2010

Pig's Ass Porter

This weekís beer of choice was brought to me all the way from Montana by my Blogless buddy Wil. He brought me Pig's Ass Porter by Harvest Moon Brewing Company in Belt, Montana.

Pigs ass porter.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a yellow label with a picture of pigs in a bear wearing suit coats and hats drinking mugs of beer. The name of the beer is above it, and the name of the brewing company below. At the very bottom of the label it states it is ďAn original London-style PorterĒ. The label on the side states to serve at 46 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also a yellow neck label with the name of the brewing company on it.

There is a dark, almost opaque coffee color to it with just a touch of ruby highlights. When poured into a glass, a very thin light tan head forms. It fades quickly to a film at the top of the glass. There is no lacing what so ever on the side of the glass.

The scent is a complex mixture of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts. There is a slight smoky scent that rounds it out. The taste is much like the flavor. Dark chocolate malts and a bitter burnt roasted coffee flavor are most prominent. There is also some smokiness to that rounds it off. There is barely a discernable aftertaste. It has a well balance flavor.

This is a light bodied beer, lighter than what Iím used to in a Porter. Itís also has a heavier carbonation that I would expect.

This is a good porter. I really enjoyed it. It is very easy to drink and if it is drank at the suggested temperatures of 46 to 48 degrees. I could see myself actually seeking this porter out, itís probably one of the better ones Iíve had in a while. I give it 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 17, 2010

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Trying to get caught up with all the beers, I may end up doing an extra review this month; it also makes up for all of the ones I lost. Iím a little distracted by the Olympics too, which is why I remembered to do a beer review after the Menís curling team lost their third match in a row. I needed a beer. Tonight Iím reviewing Samuel Smithís Imperial Stout by Samuel Smith Old Brewery in Tadcaster N. Yorkshire, England. It was donated by Bruce of Back to the Batcave.

Imperial Stout.jpg

It comes in a specialized 355 ml (12 Fl oz) brown bottle. The label is an off white that is very busy. There is a lot of awards and writing on it. The name of the beer is emblazoned in gold letter on the lower third of the label. The name of the brewery is in the top third. The flower logo of Samuel Smithís is at the top center. There is also a gold foil neck label that covers the cap.

The first thing that is noticeable when smelling this beer is a strong dark coffee malt scent and molasses. There is a hint of chocolate malts that rounds out the scent. Due to the 7% ABV you can also notice a touch of alcohol in the scent. The taste starts off with a rich coffee and chocolate malt, followed by molasses and dark fruit like raisins, dates or prunes. There is a bitter floral hop taste that lingers into the aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a good creamy coating in the mouth. The carbonation level is mild like one would expect of a stout.

This is a very easy beer to drink. Itís actually a beer I would love to see my local English Pub put on tap. I could see myself ordering one of these after a rough day at work. The 7% Alcohol By Volume is barely noticeable in the taste, you almost have to be looking for it to find it. This is an excellent example of an n Imperial Stout; I give it 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 10, 2010

Sprecher Mai Bock

Hell, itís been over a month since my last review, Iíve been slacking. Tonight, Iím going to review a beer given to me by Bruce of Back to the Batcave. I will be reviewing Mai Bock by Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, WI.

Mai Bock.jpg

Sprecher has specially made 16 oz brown bottles with the company name cast on it. There is a black label with a coat of arms on it. The name of the brewery is above the label and the name of the beer is below it. The neck label is green with the same lay out as the body label.

There is a hazy copper color to the body. Light passes through, but you canít see clearly through it. It has a slight ruby tint. A quarter inch white head formed when poured into the glass. It faded quickly to a film at the top of the beer.

The scent is a pleasant combination of caramel malts and floral hops. A hint of citrus can be detected as well. As it warms, the scent of alcohol starts to be noticed. The flavor starts with a good biscuity malt flavor, with a good hop background. As the beer warms to room temperature the flavors become more balanced. The aftertaste is minimal and barely noticeable.

This is a medium bodied beer. Itís lightly carbonated and a slight coating to the mouth.

Overall this is a pretty good beer. A little hoppier than one expects from a bock, but not unenjoyably so. With a 6% ABV, Iím surprised that the scent and taste of alcohol isnít as noticeable as it is. I wouldnít pass one up if offered to me. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 06, 2010

Bell's Christmas Ale.

This review is a couple of weeks late. I meant to do it on Christmas day, but time got away from me. So Iíll be doing it tonight. Bruce donated this beer. He, like Petey, is trying to get a second enabler glass. Tonight I review Bellís Christmas Ale from Bellís Brewery Inc in Comstock, MI.

Christmas_Ale.jpg

It came in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has a picture of a field with a lone Christmas tree on it. The companyís logo is above the tree. On the back label there is a brief description of the beer.

The color is a nice rich amber. It has haziness to it of an unfiltered beer. After a while the beer starts to become clearer. Light passes through easily. When poured into a glass a thin off-white head forms. It fades quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There is some lacing.

Roasted malts give the scent a slight biscuity hint. There is an indiscernible fruit scent. The scent is pretty week and makes identifying the individual components that bring the nose together. The taste starts off with caramel malt and a hint of bread flavor. There is a good level of citrus hops that compliment the rest of the flavors. Due to the nature of the beer, there is also a slight yeastiness to it.

This is a medium bodied beer with a nice level of carbonation. Very easy to drink.

I found this to be a pleasant beer to drink. Itís supposed to be a Scottish Style ale, but it doesnít have a lot of the characteristics associated with one. I enjoyed it, but it isnít something Iíd go out of my way to get. Then again I could see this being a good anytime beer. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 23, 2009

Lion Stout

Tonight Iím reviewing a beer that I bought, but was highly recommended by Anthony Artale of Artale Wine Co. Those of you that were at the Beer Tasting may recall Artale Donated some beers to the tasting. It is Lion Stout by the Ceylon / Lion Brewery in Sri Lanka.

Lion Stout.JPG

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a black label with gold trim. There is a picture of a lion on it, with the name ďLionĒ in silver lettering and ďStoutĒ under that in red. There is a neck label that boasts three quality awards. On the back label there is a quote from Michael Jackson the beer hunter, not the singer, ďÖthe stout was soft, fresh and quite delicious. This was the top-fermenting Lion Stout Ö it was bottle-conditioned and had an extraordinary chocolaty, mocha Ö character.Ē

The beer itself is a rich dark brown color that is almost black. No light passes through at all. When I poured it a thick, foamy head about ĺ inch formed. It was a dark tan in color and slowly faded. A spider web of lacing formed on the glass. Overall it has an absolutely beautiful appearance that is both enticing and inviting.

The first thing you notice is a chocolate malt smell. Some coffee malts and a touch of mocha is detectable. A molasses scent is noticeable in the background that rounds out its very appetizing scent. The flavor sets up a well balanced flavor. It starts off with a sweet flavor of coffee and chocolate malts. Molasses accents the flavor and brings the malts as well as a slightly mocha flavor and a hint of hops. AT 8% Alcohol By Volume, you can only slightly note the taste of alcohol

This is a full bodied beer; there is a creaminess to it that coats the mouth. The carbonation is a little heavier than what I normally expect in a stout, but not unpleasantly so.

This beer surprised me. I wasnít expecting an Asian stout to be this pleasant to drink. It wasnít as dry as an Irish stout, but not as strong as a lot of American Stouts. I found myself really enjoying drinking this beer. I give it 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 17, 2009

Moose Drool

Sorry, itís been a while since my last beer review. No excuses, just lazy and busy. The beer I will be reviewing tonight is from Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. He donated Moose Drool Brown Ale by the Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula, Montana.

Moose Drool.jpg

It came in the standard brown bottle with a label that shows a moose wading in a lake with what looks like a waterfall of drool coming out of its mouth. Presumably it was drinking from the lank it was standing in. There is a forest background to it. The name of the beer is in the middle in a cursive style script.

The beer has a nice chocolate malt scent to it. A mild nut flavor is detectable and there is a slight biscuit scent. The smell is kind of mild and a little on the week side. For a brown ale I was expecting something a little stronger scented. The flavor is a mixture of roasted chocolate malts with a hint of nuts and a nice hop finish. It tastes almost like an English brown, but not quite as flavorful. The aftertaste is barely noticeable.

It is a medium bodied beer. There is a slight creaminess to it that coats the mouth.

This is a nice beer. Itís nothing fancy or all that impressive, but it was nice to drink. Itís something that I wouldnít pass up, but I wouldnít go out of my way for. The flavor could have been more impressive. I give it 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 24, 2009

St. Peter's Old Style Porter

Iím doing this weekís review a night early, it was either that or not do one, and Iím not going three weeks in a row without a review. This beer has been donated by established enabler, Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. Tonight Iíll be reviewing St. Peterís Old Style Porter by the St. Peterís Brewery in Bungay Suffolk, England.

St Peter Porter.jpg

The beer was in a 1 pint 0.9 fl oz green bottle. The breweryís logo is cast into the glass. The design of the bottle dates back to the 18th century. A blue oval label with a gold border is on the front. The name of the beer is written in black letters. There is a matching rectangular with a description of the beer and the bottle on it.

The coloring is dark brown with a crimson highlights. Light barely passes through. It appears to have no cloudiness from what can be seen when held to a light. A thin off white head formed that faded quickly to a ring around the glass. There is some lacing, but not a lot.

The smell is a mild combination of dark roasted chocolate and coffee malts. There is a touch of dark fruits, like raisins, dates or prunes. Itís very subtle, but noticeable. Like the scent, the taste is mostly roasted coffee and chocolate malts. There is also a slight nut flavor. Itís finished with a bitter backbone that rounded out the flavors. Itís not as strong flavored as an American Porter; it is, as the name states, and old style porter done in the English style.

This is a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation.

This is a pleasant beer to drink. Something for a chilled or rainy evening or even just to enjoy with a good traditional fish and chips. I found it rather enjoyable and could see myself partaking of another sometime in the near future. I give it 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 04, 2009

Beastie Barrel Porter

Ktreva is tired of everyone else getting an Enabler glass and feels she should have one herself, especially since she was one of the first donators. This will be her ninth. I, being the arsehole that I am, will not give her one unless she earns it. She also wants to be the one to find my next favorite beer. This will be her ninth. Using insider information on what is my favorite she went out and found Beastie Barrel Porter by the Barley Island Brewing Company in Noblesville, IN.

Beastie Barrel Porter.JPG

It came in a brown glass bottle with a brownish label. There is a picture of a mountain man riding a buffalo. The name of the beer is in light brown lettering on it. Under the name of the beer is the following, ďPorter aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels. Donít let its smooth and creamy nature fool you. This porter is a wild ride and buffy-bucking deliciousĒ.

This beer has a dark, black coffee like color to it, with a hint of ruby coloring to it. It is so dark that light barely passes through it. When poured into the glass, a creamy tan head. The head fades slowly leaving a good thick lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is an enticing combination of chocolate and caramel malts followed by the scent of the oak barrel. The scent sets up the flavor. The taste consists of chocolate malts backed by oak. Some caramel malts are noticeable as the beer washes over the tongue. A good hop finish on it rounds off the beer. There is a smooth aftertaste, just a hint of coffee malt that is pleasant.

This is a medium bodied beer with a nice creaminess to it that coats the mouth. The carbonation is mild and unobtrusive.

This is a very easy to drink beer. A nice flavor, low carbonation, creaminess; it has a complete mouthfeel that makes this a great beer to drink with friends. I could see myself sitting down and sharing a couple with some friends, especially during the winter months. I give this 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 21, 2009

In-Heat Wheat.

Tonight I will be reviewing a beer by first time donator, Wes of Bodhran Roll, Please. He actually gave it to me a couple of months ago; Iím just now getting around to being able to review it. Tonightís beer is In-heat Wheat Hefeweizen Ale by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD.

inheat wheat.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a yellow label with a cartoonish picture of what appears to be a mildly retarded dog. The name of the beer is in some kind of scrawl next to the dog. On the neck label is the flowing dog logo. At the bottom of the main label it has the quote, ďGood people drink good beer. ď ĖHunter S. Thompson.

It has a nice golden honey color to it. There is a haziness to it that is so thick that you canít see through the beer. Light passes through, giving it a nice glow. Almost no head formed when poured. I even added a bit of an aggressive pour towards the last quarter of the bottle. What head formed was white and faded quickly to nothing. There is no lacing on the glass.

When you take a whiff of the beer, you get a combination of wheat and grains. There is a banana undertone with just a hint of citrus. The scent is less than pleasant. The taste mainly consists of bananas, cloves, wheat and a slight bitter hop finish. The after taste reminds me of eating Cheerios with green, unripe bananas on it.

It is a medium bodied beer; there is no coating to the mouth. The carbonation is a little heavy for my tastes and bites on the tongue.

This is a standard American Wheat beer done in the Bavarian Hefeweizen style. It isnít something I would go out of my for, and to be honest, it took drinking half of the beer before the flavor got to something that didnít bother me. This is definitely not a beer I would recommend to friends or even to a stranger at a bar. I give it 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 14, 2009

Saratoga Lager

Tonight we will be resuming our beer reviews. I know you all missed me, but hey, Iím back! Okay, letís get this going right. This beer has been waiting for me to review it since early August. It was donated to me by my friend Wil. Heís decided he wants to be an enabler too. The first beer Iíve drank in almost two months and the beer we are reviewing tonight is Saratoga Lager by the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co in Rochester, NY.

Saratoga Lager.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is an olde style series of pictures on it that depict various scenes of horse racing. The name of the beer is in red letters across the top of the bottle, with the word lager in red on a banner in the middle. There is a matching neck label.

It pours a dark copper penny color. When the light hits it, you can see amber flashes. Light passes through it easily, but there is a haziness to it that prevents you from seeing objects on the other side clearly. A ĺ inch head formed. It was off white in color and faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There was minimal lacing.

The smell was of rich toasted caramel malts. A touch of biscuity sweetness can also be detected to fully enhance to scent. There is a dry, roasted malt flavor that is balanced by the taste of floral hops evenly. It finishes smoothly. The after taste is a mix of citrus and grains.

It is a medium bodied beer, and is a little bit heavy on the carbonation.

This is a good sipping beer. Sit back, crack one open and chat with friends. It is a good representation of a Marzen-style lager. I enjoyed this beer and could see myself drinking another. I give it 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 16, 2009

The Perfect Beer Head.

Last week I talked about the importance of glassware. Tonight, Iím going to step it up a notch and explain why a good head on a beer is important and how to pour beer to get a proper head.

Iíve had multiple conversations with people that involve around how much head should a beer have? A beer being poured into a glass should have about a 1 to 1.5 inch head. Of course what usually follows is, ďwhy?Ē There is a twofold reason as to why you want the beer to have a head. One is that it directly impacts the scent and flavor, the second is just aesthetics.

Head forms on a beer when air and turbulence is introduced into the body as it is being poured. It releases the Carbon Dioxide, or in the cases of beers such as Guinness Nitrogen, causing the beer to foam up. The head releases the natural aromatics of the beer, helping you to smell them better. These scents then, in turn have an effect on the taste. Also the head washing across the tongue has a direct impact on the mouthfeel of the beer. Is it creamy, effervescent, does it bite the tongue? These all have a direct impact on how much you, the drinker, enjoy the beer.

The secondary impact of the head is the aesthetics. Think about all the beer commercials you see on TV, they show the beer being poured into a glass, with just a touch running down the side of the glass. It looks cool, crisp and refreshing. Most people do not want to see a beer that has no head on it, it looks flat and unappealing. If it has too much head it looks like it is over carbonated or that you are going to be drinking foam before you get to the beer. Marketing companies have spent a lot of time researching to figure out what looks most appealingÖ just think on it.

So how do you get ďthe perfect headĒ? First you have to start with your glassware. See, I told you it was important. Try to get the best glass for the type of beer youíre drinking. Make sure it is clean. You donít want any residue of anything inside the glass that can alter the flavor. This includes detergent, oils, food particles, dust, residue of previous beers, ETC. Whether you are pouring from a tapper or a bottle the rest remains true:

1) Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle.
2) Pour the beer aiming for the middle of the glass.
3) When the beer gets to about the halfway point, return the glass to the upright position, continuing to pour in the center of the glass.

4) Keep an eye on the head. If you are getting too much, decrease the rate of the pouring. If you are getting too little, donít be afraid to be more aggressive and pour harder. Some beers, like lambics and English bitters have difficulty forming head and need to be poured more aggressively. On the other hand, your standard American Pilsners (Miller, Budweiser, Busch, Coors, Etc) can create too much head of agitated, so you may need to pour slowly.

As a word of warning, if you are drinking a beer that is known for its yeast, you may want to pay attention to your pour so that you donít accidently pour the active yeast into the glass. Unless you like it that way, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Viola! Itís as easy as that.

Hereís to a perfectly chilled beer in your future!

Posted by Contagion at 05:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 09, 2009

Sam Adams Perfect Pint

I may not be able to do the beer reviews right now, but they will return, probably sometime mid to late October. No date guaranteed! Until then to keep up with my beer street cred Iím going to keep up with beer related posts on Wednesday. Starting with this one which was actually sent to me originally by frequent commenter Mark back in July. I sent him a response at that time, but now Iím doing a post for all to see.

His question to me was: What is your take on (the Sam Adams specialty glass).

Sam Adams Glass.jpg

I actually own one of these glasses. Iíve had it since June 11th those of you that know me, know how I got it, but Iím not saying. Iíve used this glass on multiple occasions and after seeing all the brewha (lol sorry, pun intended) that the Boston Beer Company was making over these glasses, I really feel the need to pipe in on it.

First off, I take glassware for beer very seriously. Anyone that has been to one of my parties, a bar or to my home will vouch for that. I have an extensive collection of glass ware. I have everything from different styles of glasses to pint glasses with different logos on it. At my New Years Eve party I always give out complimentary glassware every year for the visitors to keep. Each year itís a different style. At the beer tasting, I give out a packet of information Iíve put together regarding beer, one of the sections is glassware. Which I took from Beer Advocateís Beer 101 section Glassware for Beer (Best glassware reference section Iíve found)

Iím not going to double up and repeat a lot of their work. Go read what they have to say about glassware. I will, however, throw in my opinion. Glassware is important to your beer experience. Beer is much more than just drinking it for the alcohol effect. If that is what you are doing, go get a case of Natural Light in cans and enjoy. If you want to truly enjoy a new beer, you need to drink it from a glass. A glass will let you see the color, pouring it forms a head which opens up the flavor and scents enhancing the taste. The proper glass for the style of beer you are drinking can have an effect. If you are drinking a beer from a bottle, you are not getting the full experience.

With all that being said, let us get back to the subject on hand, The Samuel Adamsí ďPerfect Pint GlassĒ. The glass holds 16 fl oz. This is fine if you are pouring your beer from a 12 oz bottle. It gives you a good four ounces for a proper head. However, if you are drinking from a tap or a pint bottle, you need an empirical pint glass of 20 fl oz. Since Sam Adams obviously wants you to drink their beer, and they only bottle in 12 oz, they made the glass the appropriate size for them and the majority of other beers on the market.

The shape of the glass is like a combination of a standard pub glass (like the Miasmatic Review Enabler glass, itís a type of pint glass) and a tulip glass. According to the informational website they have all kinds of information as to why the glass is shaped the way it is. Iíll be honest; Iím not sure how much accuracy is in what they say. Itís almost like two execs for the company were talking up their favorite glassware and decided to come up with their own based on non-scientific opinion. I know they claim to use Sensory Experts to help design the glass, Iím just not sure how accurate what they claim is true. Itís not my area of expertise.

With that being said, I did what all good beer drinkers do, I ran some experimentsÖ. By drinking beer (back in July).

I drank three different types of beer out of this glass to see if there was a noticeable difference. I compared these three to the same out of a regular pint. I did one beer a night with a pallet cleanser between the Sam Adamsí glass and the standard pint. The beers used for the experiment were Miller Lite (shut it!), Sam Adamsí Blackberry Wheat and St. Peterís Cream Stout.

I came to the following conclusion. There was no noticeable difference between the Sam Adamsí glass and my Miasmatic Review Enabler Glass. The scents, flavor and overall drinking experience was not enhanced or diminished by drinking from the special glass.

Overall, in my opinion, if you just wanted the glass to add to your collection like I did, go for it. It is a unique looking glass and is a conversation piece. If you were planning to buy one, or already did because you thought it would enhance your beer drinking experience, I think you will be sadly disappointed.

Mark, I hope that answers your questionÖ and then some.

If you have an beer related questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Hereís to a perfectly chilled beer in your future.

Posted by Contagion at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 05, 2009

Magic Hat #9

Since Petey and Bruce both have their twelve beers, I can finally move onto beers donated by other people. Otherís want their glasses as well. This evening I will be reviewing #9 by Magic Hat Brewing Company in South Burlington, VT. Blogless friend Wil brought this beer all the way back just for me to review on one of his many trips across the country.

magic-hat-9.jpg

It came in the standard brown bottle. According to the label, it is ĺ pint bottle, apparently some math genius at the brewery thought that was funnier than putting 12 fl oz. on the bottle. The label is some kind of psychedelic red and orange color round label. The center of the label has #9 mixed into the swirls and whorls. In green on the label it states ďNot quite pale ale.Ē

The color is golden amber with a slight orange tint. When poured into a pint glass, a quarter inch thick head consisting of tiny densely packed bubbles formed at the top of the beer that faded slowly. There was some lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent of apricots is so overpowering you can barely detect anything else. What can be found is a slight bit of hops and maybe grain, but itís hard to tell because of the strength of the apricot scent. The flavor is surprisingly mild compared to the scent. Apricots are primarily what you taste. Hops and grains can be tasted, but they are very weak and washed out that you can barely taste them. However, they all combine together so that when the beer washes over the taste buds at the back of the tongue, it gives the beer a soap like flavor. The taste isnít strong enough to leave an aftertaste.

This beer confuses me. It might be ďnot quite pale aleĒ, but itís also not quite much of anything. The apricot flavor, where overpowering compared to the rest of the flavors, really isnít strong enough for a fruit beer. The grains and hops really arenít present enough to really be able to adequately classify this beer as anything else. I guess it falls under fruit beer by process of elimination. Itís really not a bad beer. I donít know if I would go out of my way for it, but I wouldnít pass one up if given to me. I give this 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2009

Samual Adams Blackberry Witbier

Queue theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Also Sprach Zarathustra - 2001: Space Odyssey

Tonight, Bruce of Back to the Batcave has finished his quest for the glass. For tonight I review his 12th beer to give him full enabler status. Congratulations Bruce, I will announce a special presentation time (Iím thinking FridayÖ at the pub!) The final beer is Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier by the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams).

Blackberry Witbier.JPG

It comes in the standard Sam Adams brown bottle. You have their standard label with Samuel Adams prominent in the middle. Blackberry Witbier is in a purple banner. There is a picture of Sam Adams at the bottom hoisting a frothy mug of beer. At the top of the label it boasts this is part of their Brewmasterís Collection.

There is a beautiful golden honey color with just a touch of orange to it. Itís clear with just a touch of cloudiness to it, which is unusual for a witbier in my experience. The head that formed was thin and white. It faded quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass and there was no lacing.

The scent was kind of weak, but was dominated by the scent of blackberries. A faint yeast and floral hop smell was detectable. There was no citrus or spiciness that is normally associated with a witbier. The flavor was mostly that of blackberries, that tasted almost like artificial flavoring. There was almost no wheat flavor and there wasnít any spiciness at all. There was a slight bitter hop finish to it.

This is light bodied beer, with a nice carbonation level. There is no coating of the mouth.

Iím not a fan of fruit beers, and in all reality that is what this is. Most of the characteristics one associates with a witbier are missing from it. As a fruit beer, it was kind of lacking as well. The berry taste wasnít as dominant as it should have been. It wasnít a bad beer; I wouldnít go out of my way for it. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 15, 2009

Cerise

Bruce of Back to the Batcave donated tonightís beer. That makes number 11 in his quest for a glass. Number twelve is sitting in the fridge. If everything goes as planned, heíll earn it next week! I just need to get to deliver the other glasses that have already been awarded. The beer being reviewed tonight is Cerise by Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, MI.

Cerise.jpg

We have the standard 12 fl oz brown bottle. The label is a pinkish label with a picture of cherries on it. The name of the beer is in a fancy handwritten looking script under it. In a red banner it states Cherry Fermented ale.

When poured into a glass, there is a pink, ruby grapefruit like color to it. The beer is clear, with no signs of floaters or cloudiness to it at all. You can see right through it, albeit with a pink tint. The head that forms is a light cotton candy like pink color that fades to a film on the top. There is some lacing on the side of the glass. Did I mention itís pink?

The scent is a strong tart cherry scent. There is a mild malt scent to the background that gives the beer a slight musty smell. The taste is much like the smell, cherries and malts. The cherries have both the tartness of real cherries and a bit of a sweetness of cocktail cherries. The flavor is very mild with almost no bitterness to it at all. The aftertaste is barely noticeable. At 6.5% ABV you couldnít taste the alcohol.

This is a light bodied beer, with a mild carbonation. There is no coating to the mouth.

Fruit beers are not normally my forte, yet this one I actually found pleasant to drink. The cherry flavor wasnít overpowering like in some other cherry flavored drinks Iíve had. Also for 6.5% ABV, this was very easy to drink, almost too easy. In fact I could see myself accidently drinking a six pack of this way too fast. I give this 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2009

Old Rasputin

The enabler glasses that I announced at the beer tasting have finally arrived! Steve, Petey you will get yours the next time I see you! Tonight Iím taking Bruce of Back to the Batcave one step closer to his 12th beer reviewed. Tonight we are reviewing Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout by the North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg California

Enabler Glass.jpg
The Glass!

Old Rasputin.jpg

It comes in a 12 fl. Oz. brown bottle with a black and gold label. In the center of the label there is what looks to be a hand drawn picture of Rasputin. It looks like heís either blessing or cursing you for drinking his beer. The picture is inside a gold circle with the name of the beer at the top, and something in Russian along the bottom. The logo of the brewery is at the bottom center of the label.

This beer is black in color, and appears to be very dense. Light doesnít pass through at all. An inch thick head formed when poured into the glass. The headed faded into a film at the top of the beer, and left some nice lacing on the side of the glass as it was drank.

The smell is of roasted malts and bitter black coffee. There are some flowery hops that combine with the malts to give it a mild soapy scent. The taste starts with a strong citrus hop flavor uncharacteristic of most stouts. There are bitter chocolate and coffee roasted malts undertones. The bitterness bites on the sides of the tongue, but as the beer warms to room temperature it becomes less noticeable. The after taste coats the mouth with a hoppy flavor.

This is a full bodied beer that has some creaminess to it. Carbonation is pleasant.

This is not what I was expecting in a stout. I never thought it would be this hoppy, this is kind of like a stout for someone that likes IPAs. It has the bitterness of the IPA and the thickness of a stout. This is not my style of beer. I really donít see myself going for another one of these. Itís not a bad beer, just not to my tastes. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2009

Black Douglas Ale

This is the last of the beers donated by Petey in that box he gave me. I have a couple more heís given me since, but there are others that have donated beers that need reviewing, and Iím tired of hearing about favoritism. BTW Petey, I havenít received the glasses yetÖ. When I get them Iíll have to drive down and deliver yours in person. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Black Douglas Ale by Broughton Ales Limited of Scotland. Yes, Wil, this is the $10.90 beer we had in Kalamazoo.

Black Douglas.jpg

Sorry about the picture quality, cell phone.

The beer comes in a 1 pint, .9 fl oz brown bottle with a hops motif blown into the glass. The label has an oval on it with a picture of a ban wearing medieval armor with a black mustache and beard. The back of the label has a brief description of the beer as well as a short description of who Black Douglas was.

There is a dark crimson color to it with a dark walnut hint. A thick, tan head formed when poured. It was made up of a combination of large and tiny bubbles. It lasted for most of the life of the beer. There is a good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is a combination of molasses, nuts, caramel malts with a touch of yeast. Itís very aromatic, but not as strong as one would expect from a Scottish ale. The flavor is a mix of Molasses, malts, a hint of dark fruit with a slight smokiness. They blend together to make the beer very appetizing. The aftertaste is a pleasant hint of bitterness on the tongue with a mild sweetness.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a gentle carbonation level.

This beer is very easy to drink. It has a good flavor and I could see myself grabbing one if it was available or if the mood strikes me just right. I donít know if I would pay $10.90 for it in a theme bar like I did in Kalamazoo, MI. Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 03, 2009

Belhaven Wee Heavy

(Que Fanfair) Tonight marks Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn twelfth donated beer that has been reviewed. That means he is the first to earn Full Enabler status, which earns him all the rights and privileges that goes along with the status*. I would present him with his complimentary glass; unfortunately I have not received them yet from the manufacturer. The twelfth beer is Belhaven Wee Heavy Scottish Ale by the Belhaven Brewery Company of Scotland.

wee_heavy.jpg

It comes in a large 500 ml (16.9 fl oz) brown bottle. The label is an oval label. There is a scarlet label on it. There is a gold border and in the middle is the rampant lion of Scotland. The name of the beer crosses the middle of the label, with the name of the Brewery arched over the lion. There is also a matching neck label.

When poured into a pint glass, there is a dark brown color with a rich ruby accent. Light passes through easily, but the beer is dark enough that you cannot clearly see through it. It appears to be clear, with no floating bits in it at all. An inch thick tan head formed. It was made of mostly tiny bubbles with the occasionally larger bubbles mixed throughout. There was some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is a subtle combination of Butterscotch, roasted malts, prunes, raisons with a slight brown sugar scent. The scent reminds me of Glogg (a traditional Scandinavian winter drink). The taste is a complex mixtures of roasted malts, dark fruit and peat smokiness often associated with Scotch Ales. The flavor opens up more as the beer warms toward room temperature. The aftertaste is mild and pleasant

It is a medium bodied beer. There is a decent level or carbonation.

This is an excellent Scottish Ale. A delightful combination of scents and flavors that makes it a pleasure to drink. The 6.5% ABV isnít noticeable in the taste, but one should be aware of it. I could see myself sitting down with friends on a cool summer night and drinking a bottle or two with them. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 27, 2009

O'Hara's Irish Stout

Tonight we hit one more beer towards Petey reaching the mythical Full Enabler status. For tonight we review OíHaraís Irish Stout by the Carlow Brewing Company, Stanton Road, Carlow, Ireland.

OharasIrishStout.jpg

The delivery method was an 11.2 fl. Oz./330 ml brown bottle. The label is black with golden Celtic designs on the edge of the labels. The name of the beer is in a Celtic style font in the middle. Under the name it states, ďA full bodied and luxuriously smooth stout with a discernible roast bite.Ē Across the top it proudly proclaims ďimported from Ireland.Ē

It is black, like a dark coffee. Light barely passes through the beer, and when it does there is a crimson tint to it. A thick tan head forms when the beer is poured. It fades slowly to a film on the top of the beer. There is some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a rich blend of a dark roasted coffee with cream. There is a touch of a chocolate undertone to it. The scent reminded me of a Starbuckís Frapuccino. The scent was so inviting I could hardly wait to taste it. When I took my first sip, I was kind of disappointed. It didnít live up to the smell. The taste was a dry mixture of roasted coffee and chocolate malts. There is a mild bitterness to the finish. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the flavors open up even more.

In contrast to what the label claims, this is a medium bodied beer. There is barely any creaminess to it that is normally associated with stouts.

When I took my first smell of this beer, I was greeted with such a phenomenal scent that I was sure this was going to be one of the best stouts Iíve had in a long, long time. However, the taste did not match the scent and I was disappointed. There is a good taste to it, but it just didnít live up to the smell. With a 4.3% ABV, I could see sitting with friends and drinking this in an evening at the pub. I give it 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 22, 2009

Beer Tasting is almost here!

The beer and food has been purchased, we just have to hope for a nice day on Sunday. I've decided not to give away what the exact beers are for the tasting, but I will give you this information.

There are 10 beers, separated into 4 mini-flights.

The First is 3 Czech Pilsners.
The Second is 3 Beers by Bell's Brewery
The Third is 3 American Porters.
The tenth beer is a surprise beer to test your beer knowledge. I'll explain more when it comes time to review the beer.

The food of course will be a Bacon Explosion, Pork Chops and Hot Dogs. There will be Chips and vegetables as well.

There are also some random beers that have been given to me or left over from past reviews if you would like to try them. They are limited, so first come, first serve on those.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 20, 2009

Traquair Jacobite

Tonight is a first for the beer reviews. Tonight we hit a special landmark. Tonight I will review the tenth beer donated by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. Thus he is the first reader and enabler to break into double digits! I also have three more beers of his to review in the fridge. Petey hand selected this beer in honor of my re-enacting persona, Seamus MacPhail. Tonight, we cross the pond and drink to the king over the water! For tonight we drink Traquair Jacobite by the Traquair House Brewery in Innerleithen, Peebleshire, Scotland!

Petey, this review is dedicated to you.

TraquairJacobite.jpg

It came in an 11.2 FL. OZ. brown bottle. The label is black with white lettering on it. The picture is done in the 18th century style of two thistles and what I am assuming is supposed to be Bonnie Prince Charlie between them. The name of the beer is above the label and states, ďTraquair Jacobite flavored ale, Ale flavored with coriander.Ē On the back under a picture of a crown it states, ďThe famous Bear Gates guarding the approach to Traquair House near Peebles have been closed since 1745~ when the last person to pass through them was Bonnie Prince Charlie.Ē

The color is a dark chocolate brown, what light that passes through it has a ruby hue to it. Itís thick enough that you canít tell if itís cloudy or not. A thin tan head formed, and faded quickly to nothing. There is no lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is an exciting combination of Toffee, molasses and coriander. They combine to give the beer a scent reminiscent of a ginger bread cookie. As the beer warms up closer to room temperature the scent opens up and releases touch of a chocolate malt scent. The taste is much like the scent. The coriander, molasses and toffee flavors combine to make the main flavors of the beer. There is a subtle dark fruit flavor, such as prunes that accent the flavor and really boosts the taste. As the beer warms, the chocolate malts are more noticeable. This is definitely a beer you do not want to drink too cold, as the beer has a better flavor at just cooler than room temperature. At 8% Alcohol by volume, you canít taste the alcohol at all.

It is a medium bodied beer with a smooth and creaminess to it that coats the mouth. It is very easy to drink. There is a pleasant level of carbonation to the beer that is just strong enough to bite on the tongue.

This is an excellent beer. Itís a nice beer to sit around with friends and enjoy slowly with conversation. In fact the beer itself may be the topic of conversation. Especially if you are with people that donít know what a Jacobite is. I found myself really enjoying this beer as I reviewed it. If you can get your hands on a bottle of this beer, I would recommend it. I give it 9 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 17, 2009

Another surprise

I have a big surprise coming. Some of my readers know what it is, just because I couldn't keep the secret to myself. So I will give all of you a hint too. Let's just say, this is a bout a year in the making and long overdue.

Miasmatic Review Enabler Logo.jpg

Now this was just the rough art, not the final, you'll have to wait to see that.

Posted by Contagion at 07:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 14, 2009

Ola Dubh.

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a local grocery store that I frequent for their beer selection. I hadnít been in there for a while and was surprised to see they revamped their entire beer section by almost doubling it. While perusing the greatly expanded selection I found a box sitting on a shelf that stood out, Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 30 reserve by the Harviestoun Brewery. Itís an ale matured in a whisky cask. In this case ďAged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Parkís Rich and Complex 30 year old Single Malt Scotch WhiskyĒ Beer and single malt Scotch Whisky, yea I had to buy this one.

Ola Dubh 30.jpg

First it was in a black box, It states ďThis limited edition ale is brewed in very small batches. In keeping with the artisanal way we do things at Harviestoun, every bottle of Ola Dubh special reserve 30 is labeled by hand and individually numbered.Ē Pretty impressive huh? There is a lot of information on the box, so Iím only going to quote a little more from the side. ďOla Dubh (or ďBlack OilĒ is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This ales is a result of a unique collaboration between Scotlandísí most innovative micro-brewery and the worldís most respected single malt.Ē All emphasis is theirs! The bottle is a dark brown 11.2 fl oz bottle the label is silk screened on in white and gold lettering. It is signed by the Head Brewer and Master of Wood. According to the label this is bottle 22691 and bottled in Sept 2007. There is a black foil seal over the bottle cap. Around the neck is a bronze medallion with the logo of Harviestoun on one side and the Highland Park label on the other.

The coloring is a dark black, like the Gaelic name given it; itís very much reminiscent of black oil. No light passes through, but there is a slight reddish color at the edges. This beer is darker than most that I have experienced. In fact Iím going to say this is the darkest beer that I can recall seeing. A thin tan head formed and slowly faded. It left a nice ring around the edge of the beer and the glass.

The smell was a heavenly mix of rich chocolate malts enhanced with the woody and smoky peat scent of a proper Scotch in the back ground. As it warms a mild caramel scent opens up and compliments the beer even more so. The flavor is much like the scent. A rich roasted chocolate malt flavor and smoky peat flavors mix to a delightful flavor that makes one want to go back for more. There is a gentle bitterness in the finishes that rounds of each sip. Caramel and coffee malts become more noticeable as the beer reaches room temperature. The 8% ABV isnít noticed in the flavor at all.

This is a smooth, full bodied beer. A touch of a viscousness that coats the tongue and mouth locking the flavor. It is definitely a sipping beer.

This has to be the most flavorful and enticing beer Iíve ever drank. The flavor combinations mixed with the perfect blend of smells really makes this beer something that I could find myself craving. However, at $14.99 a bottle, I think this would be a special occasion beer and definitely not one you buy in bulk for a party. If you can get your hands on a bottle of Ola Dubh, Iíd recommend giving it a try. Iím kind of sentimental over finishing the glass. I give it 9.5 out of 10. This is my new favorite beer!

Posted by Contagion at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 05, 2009

2nd Annual Miasmatic Review Beer Tasting

Just a reminder to everyone that the Beer tasting is coming up on Sunday, May 24th. That's just over two weeks away. So far I only have a handful of people that have RSVPed that they are coming.

So far the guest list is as follows:

Shadoglare
Graumagus
Bruce
Harvey
Petey
Wil
Red
Ktreva

I also have a couple of maybes. If I missed you on the list, or if you can make it, please let me know ASAP. I need to be able to order the beer soon. Either leave me a comment or if that doesn't work, send an e-mail to Contagion_1 AT Yahoo Dot Com. Make sure the subject line has Beer Tasting in it.

Remember, you don't have to bring anything, but yourself!

Posted by Contagion at 08:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 22, 2009

Hook & Ladder Golden Ale

Tonight Iíll be reviewing a beer that Iíve had suggested to me by multiple individuals. The beer of choice is a Golden Ale by Hook & Ladder Brewing Company in Rochester, NY. As a bonus for this brewing company, they donate money from their sales to a local burn foundation. In fact they proudly state they donate a penny for every pint, a quarter for every case that they sell. It makes me wonder if I can start drinking this beer and using it as a tax deduction.

hookandladderbeer_big.jpg

They use a standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a tan label with a red fire fighter style Maltese cross. The name of the beer company is in the cross in a two tone white and gold lettering. Under the cross is the name of the beer with two crossed axes under it. The neck label states, ďFor every barrel we sell, we make a donation to a local burn foundationĒ and ďA penny for every pint.Ē

There is a nice golden straw coloring to the beer. It is clear, with no signs of cloudiness of floaters to it. When I poured it into a pint glass, almost no head formed. What head there was consisted of tiny white bubbles and faded quickly to nothing, not even a ring around the edge of the glass. There was no lacing at all.

The scent is a mainly a dray caramel malt with a slight graininess to it. There were some floral hops in the background that helped enrich the overall scent. The flavor is a subtle and a little week. Itís mainly of malted grains and a very mild hop finish. The combination of ingredients gives the beer a very mild pear flavor in the background.

This is a light bodied beer. Almost no coating to the mouth and it passes over the tongue very easily. The carbonation is a little strong and bites on the tongue and lips.

Overall this is a nice, gentle beer. I think this would be a good one for a hot summer day. The thought of sitting out on the front porch kicking back a couple of ice cold ales or even sitting around a campfire on a cool summer night with friends. I enjoyed it, and could see myself picking up another six pack sometime in the future, especially since each purchase helps a burn foundation. I give it 5.5 out of ten. (An extra half point for the generosity.)

Posted by Contagion at 08:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 16, 2009

SkullSplitter

Tonight I hand picked a beer from the Isles of Scootland. My new beer connection has had it on stock for a while and I wanted to try it. When I was in Kalamazoo last month, I tried to get it at the Irish pub, but they were out. So tonight Iím reviewing SkullSplitter by the Orkney Brewery in the Orkneys, Scotland.

SkullSplitter.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle with a red foil seal over the bottle cap. The label shows a picture of a Viking on a beach. The name of the beer is at the top, and Orkney Ale on either side of the Viking. The back label says ďOrkney - a small group of islands off the northern tip of Scotland, shrouded in magic and mystery, was the home of Thorfinn Hausakluff (SkullSplitter) 7th Viking earl of Orkney around 1,000 AD.Ē The front label also states the beer has a 8.5% Alcohol by Volume.

There is a dark nut brown color to the beer with copper accents. There is a slight haziness to it, not enough to impede light passing through. When poured a quarter inch, off white head formed. It dissipated quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass and a slight film at top. There was no lacing at all.

The scent was almost overly sweet. Toasted malts, molasses and caramel are most notable. There was also just a slight hint of alcohol. The flavor was a combination of caramel malts, dark fruit, brown sugar, and touch of acrid alcohol. There was also a slight bitterness to the finish. The aftertaste was almost buttery.

This is a medium bodied beer. A slight creamy coating forms in the mouth.

This was not exactly what I was expecting from a Scottish Ale. It was a bit sweeter than I expected, however I was surprised that the 8.5% ABV wasnít as noticeable as one would think. As it warmed towards room temperature, the flavor opened up more, and the body seemed to gain a thickness to it. Towards the end it was almost like I was drinking beer flavored melted butter. The butter analogy comes from the buttery taste to it. Iím not sure that I would want to drink a lot of this beer in one sitting, but a bottle every now and then definitely would be nice. Thankfully the name had nothing to do with how your head feels after drinking it. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 08, 2009

Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer

No, you didn't read that wrong.

At least once a year a ďfriendĒ finds a beer that looks like it would be absolutely nasty. A beer that looks so vile, so nasty, so evil that the only way you would drink this is out of extreme curiosity or on a bet. Of course that ďfriendĒ buys said beer and gives it to me to review because THEY want to know how it tastes and is afraid to try it themselves. Well the recently revived Graumagus has done just that. He found a bottle of Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer. Itís a contract beer made by the Sprecher Brewing Company for the Pizza Beer Company.

Pizza Beer.jpg

The label is red white and green. In the white part is a hand drawn picture of a male and a female wearing chefs hats. There is a signature on each person. The guy is Chef Tom and the Lady is Chef Athena. At the top of the label it says ďoriginals Seefurth FamilyĒ. Above the picture in red letters it says Mamma Mia! Under it is Pizza Beer. At the bottom it plainly states, ďAle brewed with oregano, basil, tomato and GarlicĒ. The neck label claims, ďBeer so good it DeservesÖ A wine glass!Ē Is your fight or flight center of your brain sending signals yet? Well mine was screaming, ďNOOOOOooooooo. This may be the beer that turns you off of beer completely!Ē

There is a nice honey gold coloring to it. It is cloudy, but not so cloudy you canít see through it. Almost no head formed when I poured it. What did was thin and white. It faded quickly leaving nothing on the top of the beer. There is also no lacing on the side of the glass at all.

The smell was something I had never experience in a beer before in my life. They did a decent job of capturing the smell of pizza. Unfortunately it smells like a cheap frozen pizza that someone sprinkled an Italian Seasoning blend on, but still Pizza. The Tomato, basil, oregano and Garlic really does overpower any other scent in the beer. What malts that can be detected blends with the other scents to give it kind of a doughy/crust scent. Now this may just be my imagination because of the type of beer it is and that was missing from the scent was pizza crust.

The taste is much like the scent. All you can really taste is the Tomato, Garlic and herbs that are added to it. There is also a bit of saltiness to it. Realistically this tastes like someone took a piece of the above cheap frozen pizza and let it soak in a keystone light for a while. The pizza tastes about washes out any standard ale flavors one would get. The aftertaste is a bit salty and overpower. Honestly, I couldnít imagine drinking this beer with anything other than maybe pizza.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a light carbonation to it, but nothing biting.

Honestly, I canít believe I drank this whole beer. Iíve drank beers that are much worse than this, but not in a long time. Iím not sure if the people that make this novelty honestly think this is a good beer or if they make it as more for entertainment. IE, in college I had a friend that used to make the most god awful punch for parties; nobody liked it, not even him. Yet he made it for every party because inevitably it would get drank in its entirety because people would bet each other they couldnít drink it, or do the olí switcharoo and give it to some unsuspecting individual. The fact that I drank this willingly just speaks volumes to how far Iíll go to review a beer. Overall I give it 1.5 out of 10.

Now if youíll excuse me, Iím going to go gargle with Everclear.

Posted by Contagion at 07:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 01, 2009

The Czar Imperial Stout

Finally I am able to review a beer that Petey gave me that didnít go bad. Iíve heard of this beer before and it is made in different batches, each year a little different from the last. So tonight Iím reviewing The Czar Imperial Stout by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder Co bottled in 2008.

The Czar.jpg

It came in a large 1 pint 6 oz brown bottle. The label is orange with an imperial seal on it with the picture of what I am assuming is three Czars. In the top of the seal in the brim of the crown it states bottled in 2008. The name of the beer is at the top, and in a banner under the seal is the name of the brewing company. The bottle also states 1.103 original gravity, 70 IBUs and Alcohol 10.77% by vol. The bottle has some other information about the beer in it and recommends cellaring it as ďThe Czar will continue to mature and become denser and more complex with age.Ē

The beer pours a thick dark brown color like a dark coffee. There is a ruby tint to it that is brought out as the light catches it along the edges. Itís thick enough that light doesnít pass through easily. A tan head formed but rapidly disappeared into just a small ring around the edge of the glass. There was some lacing, but not much.

The initial scent after pouring had an acrid scent of alcohol. The following scents, if taken mildly, were much more pleasant. There was creaminess to the smell like one gets with a cream liqueur. It opened the way for the gentle smells of caramel and coffee malts. There was also a hint of dark fruit (raisins, dates, prunes etc) to it. No matter what, the scent of alcohol was always present. The first taste was a biting alcohol taste, but subsequent sips revealed a nice caramel malt taste with a chocolate malt follow up. There is a slight molasses finish to it. As the beer warmed, the taste of alcohol became more and more present.

This is a full bodied beer that has a more watery than creamy feel to it. Itís thick while in the mouth, but after swallowing, there is no coating.

This is not a beer I would suggest drinking in any great quantity. This would be something that you drink one bottle at a time, probably on a special occasion. This beer also gave me the impression that you have to be in the mood to drink it. I could see where if you were not expecting this beer, one would not like it, where as if you were anticipating it, it would be really good. I donít know if Iíd classify this as an excellent beer, but it is pretty good. Iíd be interested to buy a bottle and cellar it for a year or so and see how it ages. I may have to pick up an extra bottle and do a re-review in a couple of years. Right now as a fresh beer I give it 5.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 07:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2009

2nd Annual Beer Tasting

Alright folks, it is time to mark your calendars for the second annual Miasmatic Review Beer Tasting. This year we will be hosting the Beer tasting on Sunday May 24th Memorial Day weekend.

Having learned from my mistakes last year, this year will be run a bit different, and more organized. I will be supplying the beers for tasting. Any other beer you want for after the tasting you will need to bring your own. There will also be good provided by myself.

Before the beer tasting I will again offer a quick lesson on how to review beer for those that are interested. For those of you that were at last years, yes I will have the text book for you to take home again.

More details will be coming later.

If you are interested in attending, please let me know by May 17th.

Posted by Contagion at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Morimoto Soba Ale

Tonightís beer is one that I picked up at a local beer tasting. I was going to try another beer that Petey gave me. It, like last weeks, had gone bad. Again there was some kind of slimy sediment to it. Fortunately, I still had a back up beer. This week I am reviewing Morimoto Soba Ale by the Rogue Ales Brewing. This is one of Rogueís signature beers developed by Chef Masahura Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame.

Morimoto.jpg

The beer came in a 1 pint, 6 fl oz brown bottle. The label is silk screened on and is a blue circle with white oriental writing on it and Morimotoís signature I assume. Bellow the art is the name of the beer in white lettering.

When poured into a glass, there is a nice golden orange color to the beer. There is a mild haziness to it, light passes through without difficulty. You can see carbonation bubbles flow up through the beer itself. It poured a thick white head made of a mixture of large and small bubbles. There was a nice thick lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is different. I can detect malts and grains, but there is a scent that I am not familiar with. Iím assuming this is the Soba (Buckwheat). The smell is very pleasant, unlike any other beer Iíve ever had. The taste is malts and again something Iím not familiar with (probably the soba/buckwheat). A slight breadiness is also present. There is a touch of lemon zest to the finish. The aftertaste is pleasant and non-distracting.

It is a light bodied beer. Almost no coating to the mouth and the carbonation is a present if not mild.

When I first had this beer at a tasting, I didnít know what to make of it. It was unusual, different and something I knew I had to try. I just couldnít tell if it was good or bad after just 2 ounces of beer. Iím rather glad I picked up a bottle to do a full review on. Iíve found the taste to be surprisingly pleasant. I bet this beer would go really well with a lot of different meals. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2009

Bell's Cherry Stout

I was going to review another beer tonight, but when I poured it into a glass, there was some kind of unreasonable floating bits in it. When I say bits, I mean chunks! I went online before drinking the beer to make sure that wasnít normal. (Iíve had beers that were supposed to have floater) After confirming that no, it was wrong on so many levels I had to dump the beer down the drain. (Sorry Petey, it was one of yours) Fortunately last week Bruce and I went to a Beer tasting here in town and I happened to pick up a six pack of beer to do a review on based on the tasting. So tonight Iím reviewing Bellís Cherry Stout by Bellís Brewery in Comstock, MI.

Cherry Stout.jpg

Mine came in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a tan paper label that has a picture of a cherry tree with three huge cherries under it. The company logo is at the top, the beer name is at the bottom. They have a brief description of the beer, ďStout brewed with cherry juice.Ē

The color is a nice dark ebony. There is a slight reddish tint to it. Itís so dark and thick that light doesnít pass through the beer. Even when held to the light you can barely see light passing through the edge of the beer. Almost no head formed when poured into the glass. What head formed was thin and tan. It faded quickly to nothing. There was some very minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a combination of Chocolate and rich Coffee malts. A mild cherry mild scent enhances the malt scent. The flavor was much like the scent. The main flavor is a strong coffee and chocolate malt combination that is common with stouts. A slight tart cherry flavor rounds the flavor out. The cherry flavor really does enhance the rest of the beer. The aftertaste is very pleasant and fades quickly.

This is a full bodied beer. There is some creaminess, but for a stout there could be a bit more to it. Still there is more than what you get in most American stouts.

Anyone that has been drinking with me has heard me say, ďFruit does not belong in beersĒ or ďIf you have to add fruit to a beer to make it drinkable, then it is not a good beer.Ē This, however, is the exception to the case. The cherry flavor is so mild, that it just enhances the richness of the malts. It opens up the taste buds to really appreciate the total experience. Even if you are like me and am not a fan of fruit beers, I would recommend at least giving this one a chance. Overall I give it 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 27, 2009

1888 Bock.

Okay, I know I normally do the beer reviews on Wednesday, but that didnít happen, and I wasnít about to let it go three weeks without one. This is a beer that was given to me by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. He really wants to be the first enabler to hit 24 beers donated! HAHAHA! He had given me a box filled with various beers to try. The reason I selected this one tonight was because at Winter Camp Petey and the rest of the gang from his neck of the woods showed up with cases of it. I did a quick evaluation of it up there, but I held off on a full review until I got home. Tonight Iím reviewing the 1888 Bock by the Leinenkugelís Brewery in Chippewa Falls, WI.

1888 bock.jpg

It came in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is green and yellow and itís hard to tell, but it appears to be a stream running along the edge of a forest, or in a clearing, or something. Itís hard to tell because the name of the brewery and the beer take up most of the label.

There is a nice dark reddish brown/burnt amber coloring to it. Itís clear and light passes through it easily. Yet it is dark enough that you canít make out images on the other side. The head poured was about a quarter inch thick. It was made up of fine white bubbles, and faded to a film on the top of the beer. Minimal lacing formed on the edge of the glass.

The smell is a basic combination of caramel roasted malts with a slight toasted nut scent. A very mild fruit scent can also be detected. The taste has a thin taste of roasted caramel malts with a hint of a hop bitterness. You can also detect a bit of a grape like fruitiness to it in the finish. The aftertaste is a bit of a week bitter fruit combination.

Itís got a thin body to it. There is no coating to the mouth. There is a mild carbonation that fits this style of beer.

Overall, Iím less than impressed with this Leinieís creation. A lot of their beers are pretty good, and this one is not bad, but itís not what I would expect from them. Itís a sub-par beer for them. Itís not a bad beer, but I just donít think Iíd go out of my way to grab one. If you are a leinieís fan, then I would recommend trying one, if notÖ Iíd avoid this one. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 25, 2009

Three weeks in a row!

The beer review has to be postponed for one night, I forgot to put it in the fridge to cool it off! I don't want to review a warm beer. So stay tuned and tomorrow we'll have a good one!

Posted by Contagion at 07:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2009

Iron City Beer

Since the Steelers won the Super Bowl, and Bruce is a big Pittsburgh fan, he gave me this beer to review. Now to be fair, I have a ton of other beers that need to be reviewing that were given to me first, but if the rules donít apply to the Steelers in the Super Bowl, why should they on here. (HAHAHAHAHA!) Anyway, tonightís beer is Iron City Beer by Iron City Brewing Co in Pittsburgh, PA.

Iron City.jpg

We have our normal 12 oz brown bottle. There is a clear label that has a red oval with the name of the beer on it. Below that in white lettering it claims, ďOfficial Beer of the Pittsburg NationĒ It also claims to be a Premium Lager.

It has a clear yellow gold color to it. When I poured it into a pint glass, little to no head formed. What head formed was very thin and faded rather quickly to just a ring around the edge of the glass. The ring lasted until I finished the beer. No lacing formed at all.

The smell was a mildly unpleasant combination of under roasted malts and flowery hops. The scent is almost enough to turn away even the most stout of beer drinkers. The flavor is very mild. It was a hollow and kind of bland. There is a slight lemony flavor to it that masks what might be a malt flavor.

This is a light bodied beer, which has mild carbonation to it. There is no coating and is kind of watery.

Honestly this beer is not very appealing. I wouldnít go out of my way for it, and I would probably pass it over if there was just about anything else on the shelf. Instead of buying this, I would recommend getting anyone of your mass produced major beers that are on the market. If you are looking for just a beer to drink and you could get this on sale, okay, but itís nothing special. Overall I was less than impressed with this beer. I give it 3 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 28, 2009

Saison Dupont

Tonightís beer is Saison Dupont brewed by Brasserie Dupont, Tourpes, Belgium. This is another beer that was donated by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. Itís a Belgian Farmhouse Ale. Unlike most American beers itís unfiltered and bottle conditioned.

SaisonDupont-SaisonDupont-75cl_1.jpg

This is bottled in an 11.2 Fl. Oz. bottle. It has a black label with a yellow and off white checkerboard pattern that is on a tilt across the label. In black letters in the middle of the checkerboard pattern is the name of the beer. The label boasts a 6.5% alcohol by volume. . On the back label there is a bit of a story about the beer and what exactly a Belgium Farmhouse Ale is exactly. ďThis increasingly rare specialty originated before the age of refrigeration as a beer to be brewed in winter for summer drinking. The style required a beer sturdy enough to age in the bottle but refreshing enough to be enjoyed in warm weather. ďThereís a bit more to it, but youíll have to buy a bottle to read it!

There is a hazy pale straw color to it. Light passes through easily enough, but the cloudiness makes seeing through it near to impossible. When poured into a pint glass a dense off-white head forms about half an inch thick. It fades slowly and even at the end a nice ring is still around the edge of the glass, with a film over the top. A creamy lacing forms on the side of the glass.

When brought to the nose, the first thing you notice is a spicy mixture of clove and coriander. There is a sweet banana-like scent. A touch of yeast carries the rest of the scents and there is a slight white pepper accent to it that brings it all together. The flavor is spiciness with a mellow fruit and hop flavor. The fruit sweetness is balanced by hop bitterness that combines for a beer that isnít too sweet nor is it too bitter. The taste is rather refreshing with a mild aftertaste that lingers gently.

This is a light bodied beer. The carbonation provides a crisp bite. There is a creaminess to it that is pleasant on the tongue, but isnít thick or coating.

This is a pleasant beer to drink. Itís light, flavorful and easy to drink. The sediment is a little disconcerting. This is an enjoyable beer to drink, and I would enjoy drinking this more on a hot summer day than on a gold winters evening. I give this beer 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 10:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 21, 2009

Bell's Lager Beer

Tonight Iím reviewing another beer donated by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. Right now heís down in Florida enjoying himself at the same event I was supposed to go to. Oíwell, it was worth the trade. The beer this week is Bellís Lager Beer by Bellís Brewery.

Bell's Lager Beer

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. There is a tan label with an old fashioned style map of the Great Lakes. Around the map are 8 icons. (Clockwise from top right) Water-skier, bridge, leaf, snow shoes, sailboat, pine tree, trout, paddle. At the top is the name of the beer flanked by a map compass and an anchor. Under the map it states ďLager of the LakesĒ.

When I poured it into a pint glass, a half inch white head. It faded after five minutes into a film on the top. The color is of golden straw. There is a slight haziness to it. Light passes through easily enough.

The smell is dominated up front by grainy malts. There is a hint of hops to it that balances the scent out. A slight grassiness also is noticeable. The beer starts off with a nice crisp malt and follows through with a grassy hop taste. The flavor is very light, itís reminiscent of a pilsner. A little bland for a lager, but more flavor than a pilsner.

This is a medium bodied beer, with a light carbonation.

This was an enjoyable beer, which was easy to drink. Nothing overly rememberable about it, it tastes good, but it really is a run of the mill lager. The flavor is kind of like a pilsner, but it has a medium body to it. Realistically itís a good meal beer; you can drink this with a burger because the flavor wonít affect the flavor of the food. I give it 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 09, 2009

booze

damn you liver... it's time to turn you to stone!

Bad week at work, it's time to make my brain and liver pay for it.

Posted by Contagion at 08:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 07, 2009

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Last weekend at Fort Obie, Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn decided that he wanted to jump up on the enablers list and gifted me a box full of beers to review. Thanks Petey! I started with the first beer in the box that I had been chomping at the bit to review. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock by Samuel Adams in Boston, MA.

Samuel Adams Choclate Bock.jpg

It comes in an impressive 1 pint, 9.4 fl oz brown bottle, aka 25.4 fluid ounces. The label looks like cast pewter, texture and all. The name of the beer takes up most of it. What looks like hops are flowing around the edge to the bottom where it kind of resembles tilled fields. The bottle cap is covered with a plastic wrapper, which reminded me of how wine is sealed.

There is a nice dark brown coloring to it with a touch of crimson to it. Light passes through with much difficulty. When I initially poured it, an inch thick tan head formed. The head was made up of tiny bubbles. The head fades to a ring around the top of the beer. There is no lacing at all.

The smell is very simply that of chocolate and cocoa. You can make out the feint scent of malts as it warms. The taste is very simple as well; itís mostly chocolate with a touch of coffee malts. There is a bit of bitterness to it that one associates with coffee and dark chocolate. The aftertaste is reminiscent of chocolate milk.

This is a medium bodied beer, based on the appearance I was figuring it would be a bit more full bodied.

This beer costs about $14.99 a bottle locally (Thanks again Petey!); to be honest I was expecting a lot more from it. Itís not a bad beer, but for the price itís really not worth it. Based on the price, the bottle and the marketing, Iím going to say this is one of those beers that is drunk by people being pretentious. I enjoyed the beer, but it was lacking in its simplicity. Overall I give it a 5.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 08:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 18, 2008

Give Shiner Holiday Cheer!

Due to all the fun activity around the house this last week, Iím a day behind in my beer review. To make up for it I promise that Iíll do another next weekÖ Okay, so I do one most weeks, but thatís the best you are going to get out of me. Tonight Iím reviewing Shiner Holiday Cheer by Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX. I found a six pack of this hidden in a Christmas display at the local grocery store stuffed between a cases of domestic mass brewed beer.

Shiner Holiday Cheer.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz bottle. The label is a festive red, white and green. The label has a white oval that has ďGive Shiner Holiday CheerĒ; of course Shiner is the largest name in red. On the back label states the following, ďíTis the season for cheer. Happy holidays from the ďLittle BreweryĒ in Shiner, TX. We hope you enjoy your shiner cheer, an old world dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The malty flavor of this dark wheat ale are enhance through the use of malted barley and wheat. And Krausening ensures a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all the more satisfying. May your days be merry and bright and your Shiner be cold* Prosit!Ē

When poured into a glass, an inch thick tan head forms over the dark brown with ruby accented body. The head fades slowly to a ring around the edge of the beer. A nice lacing forms in the glass and lasts all the way until the beer is finished.

The smell is an interesting combination of peaches, pears and nuts. There is a nice hop background to it, which really brings out the sweetness to the scent. Itís not so sweet that it deters an avid beer drinker from wanting to drink it. The smell sets up the taste. A smooth combination of Malts, peaches and apricots crosses the tongue. A nice nutty finish of pecans rounds off the flavor. The flavor lingers after youíve finished drinking.

This is a medium bodied beer that is light on the carbonation. Itís smooth and very easy to drink.

Normally Iím not a fan of fruit beers, but this one was really enjoyable, surprisingly so actually. When I first smelled the beer and the sweetness to it, I figured it would be like drinking fruit juice mixed with beer. It was nothing like that. I found this rather enjoyable to drink. Overall I give this 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 10, 2008

Red Bock Winter Ale

I picked this beer up a couple of days ago at the local grocery store. It was another winter seasonal beer. This time itís a local brew, Red Bock Winter Ale by Berghoff (The Joseph Huber Brewing Co. Aka Minhas Brewing Company) in Monroe, WI.

Red Bock Winter Ale.JPG

It came in the normal 12 Fl oz. bottle. The label is the normal Berghoff shape, what appears to be a barrel with an oval through it. The coloring is crimson and in the middle is a white snowflake. Berghoff in a red script is across the middle with the name of the beer in a smile like arch at the bottom.

The coloring is a beautiful dark amber color with crimson shading. There is no sign of cloudiness to it, light passes through with some difficulty. When you look through you can make out objects on the other side. A thin tan head forms when poured into a glass. The head fades quickly to nothing and there is no lacing on the glass.

The smell is an exquisite caramel and chocolate malt combination with a fruit undertone. The fruit smelled like strawberry or raspberry, but that might the combination of the malts mixing with the fruit to alter the scent. There is a mild sweetness to the smell that is pleasing. The taste is much like the scent, a sweet, but not overly sweet, combination of caramel malts and berries. The flavor is a little weak.

Itís a smooth, light bodied beer that is very easy to drink.

This is not like most of the winter ales Iíve drank. The flavor isnít in your face. Itís mild and soothing. Something that you can drink just about any time you want. This is one of those beers that I could see myself picking up a six pack of on a whim. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2008

Winterhook

Tonight Iím reviewing a beer I found at the store and wanted to try. Itís a seasonal beer by the Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, NH called Winterhook Winter Ale. I figured since we are in the Christmas season, I might as well try to do some winter season beers.

Winterhook.JPG

Mine came from a 12 oz brown bottle, the label is kind of plain. The top half is blue and the bottom half silver. Then name of the beer is in white letters in the blue and silver letters in the blue portion and the logo of the company in blue and white in the silver portion. Next to the name of the beer is a picture of Old man winter, Jack Frost or some winter spirit blowing a cold breeze onto the name of the beer.

When poured into the glass, it has a nice chestnut brown with garnet highlights. There is no cloudiness to it that can be detected. Light passes through the beer, but it is dark enough that you canít make out what is seen on the other side. When poured a thin tan head formed that turned into a film that lasted until I was finished with the beer. There was some lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is mainly of dried dark fruits like prunes and raisins. A touch of citrus and the spicy bitterness of hops rounds off the smell. The first sip mainly consists of the taste combination of caramel malts and hops. There is a citrus hint and a touch of cloves to the finish. The flavor is kind of thin and watery.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a nice carbonation level to it.

Itís pretty easy to drink. I wouldnít recommend it as a compliment to a meal. This is definitely a beer that one drinks by itself, preferably while sitting next to a warm fire in the accompaniment of friends. Itís definitely one I would drink again, most likely on a special occasion. I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2008

Berghoff Solstice Wit Beer

Tonight I will be reviewing Berghoff Solstice Wit Beer by the Berghoff Brewing company, AKA The Minhas Craft Brewery AKA Joseph Huber Brewing Company in Monroe, WI. This was a beer that was left at my house sometime over the last couple of months, and I really canít remember who left it for me, but I know they did. So if you are the one that donated the beer, Iím sorry.

berghoffsolsticewit.jpg

The beer came in a 12 oz brown bottle. The label is a metallic silver and orange. The center of the label center has a sun on it; the name of the beer in orange lettering is played across it. The name of the beer is on a semi-circle under the name of the company. The label is in the shape of a barrel with an oval spread across it.

It has a slightly hazy pale gold color. Carbonation bubbles could easily be seen rising through the beer. Light passes through the body easily enough. When I poured it, no real head formed. A slight white head formed and almost instantly faded into a film on the top of the beer and then to nothing. There is no lacing on the side of the glass at all.

The scent has been very mid. You can make out a faint combination of malts and orange zest. There is none of the spiciness that is normally associated with Wit beers. The scent is much like the flavor. There is a thing wheat flavor with a touch of orange and a slight hop finish. As it warms to room temperature you get more of the coriander flavor that is common in wit beers.

Itís a light bodied beer that is a little heavy on the carbonation. The carbonation bites on the tongue. Itís still easy to drink, but the carbonation does keep it a sipping beer.

Overall this is a decent beer. I found it pleasant enough, but not something I would go out of the way to get. There was just something about it that really didnít impress me. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2008

Fireside Nut Brown

Tonightís beer review is sponsored by my blogless friend Wil. He brought this one up to the Colonial Ball for me to review. Some of you may remember Wil from previous infamous reviews of Yuengling. This time he provided me with Fireside Nut Brown by Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, WI.

leiniesfireside_w.jpg

The label on the bottle had a picture of a hearth with a fire blazing in it. The Leinenkugelís name is center, with the name of the beer in a golden banner under it. The label is rather busy and itís hard to describe in full all of the detail on it as there is a lot of writing. The neck label has the Leinenkugelís logo.

When poured into the glass it forms a quarter inch thick creamy tan head made of tiny bubbles. There is a nice dark brown color with an orange tint to it. Light passes through easily enough and there is no cloudiness to the beer itself. Yet it is dark enough that you canít see through it clearly.

The smell is a sweet combination of maple and caramel with a slight nuttiness to it. The flavor is a mild and unobtrusive combination of Hazelnuts, maple and sweet malts. There is almost no bitterness of hops at all. There really isnít much of an aftertaste, but there is a slightly sweet one. Itís not syrupy sweet (mmm tastes a little sappy), but gentle sweetness that is pleasant.

It is a light bodied beer with a medium carbonation level. It is very easy to drink and it slides past the mouth easy.

Over all this is a pretty good beer. Itís sweet enough to tickle the taste buds, but not so sweet as to be distracting. I found this to be a very pleasant beer to drink. Overall I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

Beamis Irish Stout

This weekís review is sponsored by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. He donated a can of Beamish Irish Stout by Beamish & Crawford in Cork, Ireland. Thank you Petey!

Beamish.jpg

It came in a 14.9 fl oz nitro can. Yes, this is one of those beers that have the widget that when the can is opened it injects nitrogen into the beer making it creamier and have a thicker head. The can is black with a cream colored ban at the top, which may be trying to emulate what the beer looks like. In bold read letters running the length of the can is the name beamish. The company logo, a red B in a red circle, is in the middle with the worlds Genuine Draught Irish Stout.

There is a nice dark mahogany color to it with ruby highlights. Itís almost black like a cup of coffee. When the can is first opened and poured into a proper pint glass the bubbles flow on the inside of the glass as the head forms. It gives the look of waves flowing down the inner part of the glass. The head is a thick and creamy tan color. It leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

The smell is a faint combination of Cocoa, Coffee and nuts. There is also a nice undertone of roasted malts. The flavor is mild for a stout. There are subtle notes of roasted coffee and chocolate malts. A mild bitterness is noticeable in the finish. As well as a very slight nuttiness. There is not much of an aftertaste to it at all.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a nice creaminess to it that coats the mouth and throat and helps to keep the flavor fresh. Even though it is creamy, Iím surprised that it isnít heavier bodied. I like my malts to be a touch thicker.

This is a pretty good stout, itís very easy to drink and goes down smoothly. It wouldnít be my first choice of stouts, but I definitely wouldnít pass one up. I could also see myself picking up a four pack when I was in the mood. Itís pretty good. I give it 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2008

Explaining politics to kids.

ATT03190[1].jpg

Yea, it's about like that.

Posted by Contagion at 04:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale

Bruce of Back to the Batcave donated tonightís beer for review. He actually gave this to me about a month ago, and Iím just now getting around to reviewing it. Tonight beer is Americaís Original Pumpkin Ale by Buffalo Billís Brewery in Haywood, CA.

Buffalo Bill's pumpkin Ale.jpg

It came in a 12 oz shortneck brown bottle; the label has a black background with a picture of a pumpkin on it. The name of the beer is at the top and the name of the brewery is at the bottom. Under the name of the beer it claims, ďAle brewed with real pumpkin and spices.Ē

There is an orangish/amber color to the beer. Itís clear and light passes through easily. I was unable to detect any haziness or cloudiness at all. There was no head when poured into a glass. As it poured it fizzed like a carbonated soft drink, but nothing lasted more than a couple of seconds. Almost as soon as I finished pouring the beer the head disappeared to nothing. As it sat in the glass it almost looked like I had a glass of some kind of dark apple juice instead of beer.

The smell is an overpowering combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. It gives the beer a scent of pumpkin pie or my friendís wifeís pumpkin squares. I was unable to detect the scent of malts, hops or any normal beer scents. The taste is almost like the scent. A very strong combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a strange slightly bitter aftertaste.

It is a light bodied beer that is kind of watery. Itís very easy to drink. There is no coating to the mouth or throat, which helps the aftertaste to fade even quicker.

I really did not find this beer to be very pleasurable to drink. The flavor, while fine if eating a desert, is not really something I look for in a beer. It was overly sweet and really not much of any beer taste. Seriously, it was almost like drinking a pumpkin pie smoothie. Yet, it didn't taste too bad with Apple Cider Doughnuts. Honestly I think Bruce bought this for me because heís on a personal quest to find the nastiest, most horrible beer for me to drink. He must take some kind of sadistic pleasure in having me drink some really god awful swill. Heck, this isnít even the first pumpkin ale heís given me to review. With that being said, Iím sure it takes no one by surprise that Iím giving this beer a rating of 2 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 15, 2008

Belhaven Scottish Ale

This weekís beer is brought to us by Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn. He gave me a can of Belhaven Scottish Ale Draught by the Belhaven Brewery Company LTD. In Dunbar, Scotland.

belhavenscottish.jpeg

It came in a 14.9 fl oz nitro can. You know, the can with the widget in it that injects nitro into the beer making it extra creamy. The can is two tone with the upper half a tan color and the bottom a dark brown, which may be in homage to the way the beer looks in a glass. On the front of the can there is a picture of an old Scottish village. In a half circle above the picture is the name Belhaven. Below the image it says Scottish Ale in gold outlined boxes.

When poured into a glass it has a dark reddish copper color. Itís clear with no cloudiness to it at all. Itís too dark to make out whatís on the other side of the glass, but light still passes through. The head is thick and creamy. It has a nice tan color to it and it lasts for a long time. There is a very minimal amount of lacing on the side.

The scent is grainy and cereal like, almost like a whole grain or bran cereal. The gentle scent of hops follows along with a touch of fruit. The taste is much like the taste. There is a sweetness of toasted malts with a mild hop follow up. There is a fruit flavor that is reminiscent of apples or pears. A slight nuttiness is also present. The aftertaste is mild and fades quickly.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a creamy coating that washes through the mouth as it is drank. It helps to lock in the flavor. Itís easy to drink and is refreshing.

Iím a huge fan of Scottish Ales. Iíve drank many of them, and this is a pretty good one. Itís a little light in the color and flavor, but still not bad. The smokiness and dark roasted malt flavor is not present like in most Scottish ales. Overall I like this beer; Iím giving it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 09, 2008

Blue MArble Organic Pilsner

Itís been a couple of weeks since Iíve done a beer review. Last week I was busy with stuff and the review suffered, sorry. This week Iím reviewing a beer that Blogspawn Bruce of Back to the Batcave donated. Itís Blue Marble Organic Pilsner by the Blue Marble Brewery in Chico, CA (subsidiary of Butte Creek Brewing Company). Why he decided to get me a hippy beer I donít know.

Blue Marble.jpg

IT comes in a standard 12 oz brown bottle with a tan label. There is a picture of the earth in the upper right corner and the name of the beer takes up most of the label. Below the name of the beer it claims, ďAn Earth-friendly beer with an out of this world taste.Ē

It has a pale yellow color, like lemonade. There is cloudiness to it with floating bits. Light passes through easily, but you canít make out images on the other side of the glass. It poured a thick foamy head that fades really slowly. When I poured it into the glass, I poured it gently, but it produced more head on a beer than Iíve ever seen before. It took three pours before I could pour all of the beer into the pilsner glass. The head was so thick that on the second attempt it actually extended out of the glass.

The smell is mainly of bitter hops. There is a hint of lemon grass, corn and sweet malts. It has a very mild taste that starts with sweet malts and finishes with a bitter hop flavor. As the beer warms to room temperature it takes on a biscuit finish.

Itís a light bodied beer without much mouthfeel to it. There is no coating which could be good because the unpleasant aftertaste would last longer than anticipated. The carbonation is at a nice level, but is inconsistent with the amount of head that formed.

This isnít a bad beer, but it really is bitterer than I would prefer, especially in a pilsner that is supposed to be mild and maltier. It was pretty easy to drink, but the taste kind of haunts you and not necessarily in a good way. I really did not enjoy this beer, but I can see how some people would. Overall I give the hippy beer 3 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2008

Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Iím sorry that this weekís Beer Review is a night late. Yesterday was, uh, interesting. But thatís a post for a different day. Tonight Iím review another donated beer. Tonightís beer is Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, CA as donated by Shadoglare.

bigfoot barleywine.jpg

It came in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a white label on it. The Sierra Nevada logo is on the top in a yellow banner. The name of the beer is in the middle in green lettering. Between the name of the beer and the company logo is a small picture I canít make out. There is a description of the beer on it. They also note that this is the 25th release of the Bigfoot barely wine style ale.


Itís dark brown in color with a nice rich ruby highlights. It poured a thin tan head that faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. It is cloudy, light passes through easily enough, but you canít see any clear images. There was some lacing.


The smell is of dark fruit with a hint of vanilla. The scent of bourbon from being aged in a bourbon barrel. The bitter scent of hops is present, almost overpowering. The taste is a mixture of roasted malts, vanilla bean and hops. The bitterness from the hops overpowers the scent and the taste of the beer, and leaves a very IPA like aftertaste to it. Iím not sure if this beer is just a little skunky or if it should taste like this as it doesnít taste like any other barleywine style ale that Iíve ever tasted. Although I will say that you canít taste the alcohol in this 9.6% Alcohol by Volume beer.

This is medium bodied beer that is light on the carbonation. There is some coating to it, which may be why the aftertaste sticks around for a long time.

This beer has been sitting in my fridge since June; Iím really thinking that it may have turned. I had two of them and in the non-traditional style of beer, the second one was worse than the first one. Overall I was not impressed and Iím currently giving it a 2 out of 10. Due to the circumstances Iíd be willing to re-review this beer.

Mental note, cleaning out any beer in the fridge that has been in there from before I left for Oklahoma.

Posted by Contagion at 07:59 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 27, 2008

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Iím back in the state of Oklahoma, so I was out trying to find an Oklahoma beer. While looking I found a beer that, although isnít from Oklahoma, looks like something different from any beer that Iíve ever had. Tonight Iím reviewing Breckenridge Breweryís Remarkable Vanilla Porter by the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, CO. Iíd never had a vanilla porter before, so I thought Iíd try one.

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter.jpg

It came in a 12 oz brown bottle. There is an orangish neck label with the name of the brewery on it. The main label is tan/off white with the beerís name taking up the upper half. The bottom half has the breweries logo flanked by two flowers. It has a slight old fashioned look.

It has a dark mahogany coloring to it that matches the woodwork in my hotel room. Light passes through with some difficulty around the edges. When poured into a glass a dense quarter inch thick head formed. It was tan in color and made up of tiny bubbles. It slowly faded to a ring around the edge of the glass. There is some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a combination that reminded me of fresh, unprocessed ginger. There was a hint of vanilla, toffee and chocolate malts. The scent was enticing and pleasant. The taste had a nice roasted malt flavor with a touch of vanilla and chocolate to it. There was a touch of biscuity taste to it. As it warms the scents and tastes opens up and are more noticeable.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a nice creaminess to it that coats the mouth and throat. Itís easy to drink, but itís rather filling.

I was rather surprised by this beer. I figured it would be one of those overly sweet flavored beers, but this really wasnít. I give this a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 20, 2008

Wernesgruner

Tonight is a beer I brought back from Wilís Beer, Burgers, Blue Grass and Butt Juice party on the Fourth of July. I canít remember who supplied the beer; I just know that it survived the trip home. Tonight Iím reviewing Wernesgruner by Wernesgruener Brauerei in Germany.

wernesgruner.jpg

It comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is a golden color and is set at an angle. There is the company logo off centered at the top. The neck as a gold foil label on it also with the name of the beer.

There is a pale yellow color to it. Itís clear with no cloudiness to it at all. The carbonation bubbles that float gently to the top can clearly be seen. The stark white head is thick and made up of tiny bubbles. After a while the head fades to just a film on the top of the glass. There is no lacing on the glass at all.

To the nose it has a slight aroma of spicy hops and sweet grass. There is also a touch of grass that can be detected. As the beer warms up you get a more noticeable and enticing aroma. On the tongue it is slightly sweet. A combination of that starts with mild malts is followed by spicy hops. Like most pilsners the flavor is mild and unobtrusive. Just like the scent as the beer warms it tends to open up the flavors making them more noticeable.

This is a light bodied beer with a mild carbonation to it. Itís very easy to drink. This is a good anytime beer or something that you could eat with a meal. The flavor would enhance the flavors of the food without being completely overpowered by the flavor of the meal.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. The only thing that I truly remember about it is that whoever brought it picked it up at an Aldi store. Where itís not a great beer, itís not one that I would pass on if offered one. Iíd give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Millstream Hefe Weissen

Ktreva stopped by the Millstream Brewing Company in Amana, IA (One of my favorites) on her way back from Kansas. While there she noticed they had a new beer, Hefe Weissen, so she picked up a six pack for me to review. Thatís my wife for you, always thinking of me and beer!

Millstream Hefe Weissen.JPG

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has a checker pattern background with a shield style logo on it. The name of the brewery is across the top and the name of the beer in a banner across the bottom. In the middle of the shield is picture of a mill.

There is a nice golden honey color to it. It is cloudy, light passes through it easily enough, you just canít see through it clearly. When poured there is a good half inch white head that rapidly dissipates to a thin head and then to nothing.

The smell is a very discernable combination of banana and cloves like most hefe weissens. There are some other subtle scents to it, but I wasnít able to accurately identify any of them. However the combination is reminiscent of pear. The taste is a pleasant mix of banana and cloves. Itís not overpowering like Iíve tasted in other hefe weissens. This is a very pleasant combination that is pleasing to the tongue.

It is a light bodied beer that slips past the tongue, there is no mouth coating at all. It is very easily drunk. This is a perfect hot summer day beer. Itís easy to drink and palatable.

This really is a nice beer to drink. Itís got a good flavor, nice scent and not heavy at all. There isnít a high Alcohol content, so you can spend a long time drinking it without it going to your head. I was really pleased with this beer and it is one of the better Hefe Weissens Iíve had in a while. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2008

Not tonight, I have a headache.

I tried to get a new oklahoma beer for tonight, but I couldn't find any other than the two that I always reviewed. I went to three different places I could find, and none of them had anything new. After getting that frustrated, I just decided not to do one tonight. Sorry, I promise you one or two next week.

Posted by Contagion at 08:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Kudu Premium Lager

Tonight I was able to find another beer brewed here in Oklahoma. It is Kudu Premium Lager Beer by the Huebert Brewing Company in Oklahoma City, OK.

Kudu.jpg
Sorry for the picture quality, it was taken with my webcam.

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a dark green label with KUDU in bold white letters at the top. In the middle there is a picture of a KUDU. I only know what it is because right below the picture there is a little history, ďKudu Premium lager is named after the shy, but handsomest and second largest African antelope, the Kudu. Kudu Premium lager is a smooth naturally dry and full-bodied lager beer. After you have had kudu lager you will not be as shy as a kudu!Ē

There is a pale golden yellow/straw coloring to it. Light passes through easily. There is no cloudiness to it. You can watch as carbonation bubbles flow up through the beer as the develop into columns. When poured I received a quarter inch thick head that quickly dissipated into a film on the top of the glass. There is some lacing, but not a lot.

The smell is an interesting combination of floral hops, a wine-like grape scent and something that gave it the smell of melted butter. The scent reminded me of melted butter used for baking cookies. The taste was of a mild spicy hop. There is a ginger like flavor to it. Maybe it was the melted butter scent, but it reminded me of ginger snaps. Itís not a bad taste, just kind of interesting. Itís unlike anything Iíve had in a beer in the past. Just like the label suggests there is a dry finish to it. The aftertaste is interesting and difficult to describe, but itís not bad.

IT is a light bodied beer with a heavier than average carbonation to it. The carbonation bites on the tongue, but doesnít make it hard to drink. Honestly this is a very smooth beer that is easy to drink and goes down easy.

Iím not sure if this is something I would go out of my way for, but it is definitely not bad. The taste is unusual and I may have to ship a six pack of this home with me just to let some of my loyal and devoted readers try it. It really is not a bad beer and Iím rather enjoying it tonight. Iím giving it a 5.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 08:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Miner Mishap

Since Iím in Oklahoma Iím going out of my way to find beers that are brewed either here in the OK or ones in the surrounding states (Texas, Arkansas, Kansas) that I canít find at home. It took me four stops in two days to find one, and then I ended up having to ask a local that Iím training in order to find a place that sold something other than big brands. Finally I found a pretty good store that had a decent selection. Tonight Iím going to be reviewing Miner Mishap by the Choc Beer Company in Krebs, Oklahoma.

Miner Mishap.jpg
Sorry for the crappy photo, I had to use my webcam on the laptop to take it.

We have our normal brown 12 oz bottle. There is a two tone picture of two miners carrying another miner between them in what appears to be a... mine. The name of the beer is in that late Eighteenth century western script. At the bottom they state this is a black lager.

There is a dark brown color to it. Light passes through it, but you canít see what is on the other side of the glass clearly. Itís dark enough that I canít tell if there is any cloudiness to it. The head was about quarter of an inch thick and consisted of tiny tan bubbles that gave it a thick and creamy appearance. It slowly faded to a thin film on the top of the beer. There is a bit of lacing on the side of the glass, but not much.

It has a nice roasted chocolate and caramel malt sent to it, just as the label describes. There is a touch of a coffee scent to it as well. You can also detect just a hint of hops. The smell is a pretty good indicator of the taste. The chocolate and roasted malts really come through. There is a slight mineral water taste to it. It finishes with a mild hoppiness. As the beer starts to warm, the hop flavors start to be more noticeable.

This is a medium bodied beer. The carbonation bites a little on the tongue.

They advertise this as schwarzbier, but it almost has more of a porter taste to it. Over all it isnít a bad beer. I found it rather pleasant to drink. I give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:04 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 17, 2008

Blue Goat Doppelbock

Itís time for another random beer review. Tonight Iím reviewing a beer that I found next to Dragonís Milk at the store. Itís Blue Goat Doppelbock by the New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Michigan. This is the same company that makes Dragonís Milk.

Blue Goat Doppelbock.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint, 6 oz brown bottle, thatís 22 oz for those of you that donít want to do the math. In blue ink silk screened on the bottle is the name of the beer at the top and a picture of a goatís head. There is a long story about the beer on it. There is nothing on the bottle that tells you what the Alcohol By Volume is, but after some research I discovered it is 7.5%, which is rather respectable.

When poured into a pilsner glass it has a nice dark brown color to it. There are some orange highlights when held up. Light passed through it, but you couldnít make out images on the other side. A nice, thick tan head formed. It faded into a film on the top of the glass after a couple of minutes. There was some lacing on the side of the glass.

The scent is a combination of caramel and toffee. There were some nutty undertones to it. The smell was pleasant and inviting. It enticed the drinker to take a sip. There was not a hint of alcohol to it, which is kind of surprising with a 7.5% ABV. The taste was a pleasantly mild combination of caramel and toffee malts. It didnít have as strong of a malt flavor that you normally get with a doppelbock. There is a slight grainy/bread like finish to it. Surprisingly you canít taste the alcohol. The aftertaste is pleasant and unobtrusive.

This is a medium bodied beer with some strong characteristics. There is a silkiness to it that coats the tongue, mouth and throat. The carbonation is on the lighter side of beer, but it fits the beer perfectly. It drinks very easily and could be dangerous on a hot summer day.

Overall this is a really good beer. Easy to drink, but watch out for drinking too much too quickly. I donít know if I would actually call it a doppelbock, it seems to be a bit light for one. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer, I give it an 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

1554 Enlightend Black Ale

Tonight Iím reviewing the last surviving beer of the beer tasting. There were others but we didnít have any left overs. Iím reviewing 1554 enlightened Black Ale by the New Belgium Brewing Company at Fort Collins, CO. This was brought by Labgirl, Shadoglareís date.

1554 black ale.jpg

The bottle is a 12 oz brown bottle. This one however is specially cast with a neck band that has the name of the brewing company on it. The label is red with a blue square that has green ivy on it. There is a picture of a snifter of beer sitting on a barrel. The name of the beer is in black lettering toward the bottom of the picture.

This beer has a beautiful dark brown color with a reddish background to it. It poured a thin tan head that dissipated into a film. There was some lacing that stayed on the side of the glass, but not much.

There is a nice roasted malt scent to it. You can also detect a slight a dark dried fruit scent, like raisins and molasses. A slight earthy undertone is also noticed. The taste is a mix of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. There is a hint of nut to the taste. It has a slightly bitter finish and aftertaste.

It is a medium bodied beer. There is some creaminess to it that coats the mouth, but not a lot. The carbonation level is decent.

At the beer tasting this was one of the beers that no one hated, and a couple of people really liked. Over all itís a pretty good beer, but I could see how drinking it could get filling after a while. At the beer tasting I gave it a 4.5, and Iím going to stick with that rating, 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2008

Dirty Helen

I chose tonightís beer because not only was it brought to my Beer Tasting, but it was brought to the Four B Party at Wilís. (Beer, Brats, Blue Grass and Butt JuiceÖ Donít ask). Noah brought this to my beer tasting, it is Dirty Helen Brown Ale by the Barley Island Brewing Company in Noblesville, IN.

Dirty Helen.jpg

It came a 12 oz brown bottle. The label is brown with a 1920ís style drawing of a lady on it, assumable Dirty Helen.The name of the beer is across the bottom of the label in yellow letters.

It pours a lovely dark reddish brown color. There is a very thin tan head on it that fades quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There is no lacing on the side of the glass.

The aroma is a combination of nuts and caramel malts. There is a slight sweetness to it that is rather interesting. The smell and flavor are about the same. It tastes like a combination of nuts and caramel malts. There is a bitter finish to it and a slight taste of floral hops. The bitterness lasts into the aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied beer that is easy to drink. There is a decent amount of carbonation in it.

This was a beer that didnít do too well at the Beer Tasting. A lot of people scored this one really low. It actually isnít that bad, Iíve had worse, much worse. Itís not something I would go out of the way for, but honestly if you drink it on a fresh pallet, itís not bad at all. I give it 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2008

Badger Porter

This eveningís beer is another left over from the Beer Tasting. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Badger Porter by the Sand Creek Brewing Company in Black River Falls, WI. The funny thing about this beer is that three people brought a six-pack of it. Wes, Graumagus and I each brought a six-pack of Badger Porter to the tasting.

Badger Porter 002.jpg

It comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a brown label on it that has the picture of a badgerís head right in the middle of it. Across the top of the label it says ďBadger PorterĒ and at the bottom it has the information about the brewing company.

When poured into a glass it has a nice deep brown color with a ruby highlight to it. There was a half inch tan head that faded slowly to a film on top. There was very minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a mix of roasted malts with a touch of nuts. There is a soft undertone of cocoa that is also noticeable. It has a taste of coffee malts with a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate. There isnít much else to it. I really could not make out any hop flavors in it.

It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. There is a silkiness that coats the mouth and tongue and makes it pleasurable to drink.

At the beer tasting it wasnít rated bad, but we all thought it was really bitter for a porter. In all actuality when drank alone it is just fine. Itís not too bitter, and itís much more palatable. At the Beer Tasting I gave it a 5. Tonight on a clean pallet Iím giving it a 6.5

Posted by Contagion at 07:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

Celis Grand Cru

Spontaneous beer review night has struck again! Tonight Iím finishing off a bottle of Celis Grand Cru by the Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville, MI. This was one of the beers that Graumagus brought to the beer tasting.

CelisGrandCru.jpg

It came in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. It has a green label with the name in white letters across the top. In the middle of the label is a wood carvingesque picture of men making beer. . There are laurels around the picture and pictures of hops in the bottom corners.

There was a beautiful honey coloring to this beer. It was clear and light passed through easily. The thin white head faded quickly to nothing more than a ring around the glass. There was no lacing what so ever.

The smell is not overly pleasant. It was a mixture of Coriander, hops, citrus and yeast. Combined they actually give off a slight liver scent to the beer. In fact it was very reminiscent of liverwurst. The taste was much like the scent. It had a mix of coriander, yeast and malts that gave it liver-like flavor. There was a little burn to the finish of the beer.

This is a light bodied beer, and it was a little heavy on the carbonation for my tastes.
This is the second Belgian-style ale Iíve reviewed and Iíve come to the conclusion that maybe I just do not like that style of beer. Over all I did not find this pleasurable to drink.

I know at the beer tasting it garnered a lot of similar reactions. It was the lowest scoring beer at the beer tasting with a group average of 1.5. At the beer tasting I gave it a 2. Iím going to stick with my rating of a 2 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2008

Pioneer Black River Red

Lets get this party started! Itís been a rough day and Iíve been daydreaming about this review since 9:00 AM. I started work at 8:45 AM. Yea, itís that kind of day. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Pioneer Black River Red by the Sand Creek Brewery in Black River Falls Wisconsin. This beer was brought to the beer tasting by Ktreva.

Black River Red 002.jpg

It comes in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a light brown label with the word ďPioneerĒ most boldly in yell across it. A small black circle with a picture of a guy holding a hoe(?) has the words ďBlack RiverĒ at the top of the circle. A banner goes across the bottom of the circle with the word ďRedĒ in red letters on it.

When poured into a glass it has a nice copperish orange color to it. There is a little bit of cloudiness to it. Light passes through easily enough but images are rather fuzzy. It had a nice off-white head about a half-inch thick that slowly faded into a thin layer on top. There was no real lacing to speak of.

There is a nice roasted malt smell to it. You can also detect a hint of a biscuity smell along with some spicy hops. The taste is a combination of caramel malts and a hint of spicy hops. The flavor is very mild and unobtrusive. What aftertaste there is fades quickly and doesnít last long.

It is a medium bodied beer. It is a little heavier on the carbonation that I prefer, but itís not bad.

At the beer tasting this one scored decently, about average. Some people really liked it, others said it was drinkable; I thought it was better than your standard. The flavor on it is very mild, but again this goes as yet another example of why not to do a beer review at a beer tasting. Everyone, including myself, thought it had a very week, almost no flavor to it. Today I can taste it much better. At the beer tasting I gave it a 4. Honestly itís more like a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Tonight I was in the mood for a little something darker, so I actually dug through the stock pile and pulled out Oscarís Chocolate Oatmeal Stout by the Sand Creek Brewing Company in Black River Falls, WI (Hey Company guys, this is up by winter camp!) This is another Beer Tasting left over. Graumagus of the now defunct Frizzen Sparks provided us with this beer, this also is his first donation and puts him up on the Enablers list. He is now part of an elite few.

Oscar's Stout

This beer comes in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The lable is brown with a picture of a bears head in an oval. Oscarís Stout is prominent across the center. In the top of the oval are the words Chocolate Oatmeal. At the very bottom is the picture of bearís footprint.

There is a nice dark brown color to the beer, light passes through with difficulties around the edge of the glass. Even though you canít see through it, it is thin enough that you can see that it appears to be clear. There was a nice inch thick tan head when I poured it. It was dense and made up of tiny bubbles. It slowly faded, but there was still some head when I finished the beer 15 minutes after pouring it. Lacing did form on the side of the glass that lasted for a while.

The smell is a mix of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and oatmeal. It has a taste that starts off as a mix of dark chocolate with a coffee finish. There is a touch of bitterness that enhances the flavors and really opens it up to the pallet. The flavor leaves a mild aftertaste that isnít distracting.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a creaminess to it that coats the mouth. However, for a stout this is a bit on the light and watery side. It is still heavier than your average beer.

This is one of the beers that scored really well at the tasting. At that time I gave it a 7 and Iím going to stick with that rating. Itís a solid stout, good for drinking by itself or with a sandwich. Definitely a 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy

Itís time for our first extra-curricular beer review! Tonight we have Summer Shandy (Not shanty as the ladies like to yell at us drunks when we miss pronounced it at the Beer Tasting!) by the Leinenkugelís brewery in Chippewa Falls, WI. This beer(?) was provided by blogspawn Bruce. Why am I questioning calling this a beer? Because it is ďBeer with natural lemonade flavorĒ. Yea, itís beer and lemonade.

summer shandy.jpg

We have the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a yellow label on it that has the standard Leinieís design. You can see a lake with a boat on it in the background. There are lemons in the upper right corner and on the bottom ribbon there is a lemon flanked by wheat stalks.

It pours a murky pale yellow color. Itís cloudy enough you canít see through it, yet it still lets light pass through. There was a half-inch head on it that faded to a ring around the edge of the glass. There is some lacing, but not very much.

The smell is a combination of overly sweet lemonade and cereal grains. Mostly what you smell is the lemonade. Fortunately the taste isnít as strong as the smell; in fact the taste is rather weak. What you do taste is lemonade and cereal. Itís almost like someone spilled lemonade in a wheat beer.

Itís hard to describe the body of the beer, because it is a mix, but Iíd say its light bodied. For the body it has, the carbonation was a bit on the heavy side.

Overall this is going in my ďnot a beerĒ category. In and of itself itís not horribly bad; Iíve had much worse. Yet at the same time if you are looking for a beer with beer flavor, you are not going to be pleasantly surprised by this.

As a beer Iím giving this a 2.5 out of 10. As an alcoholic beverage I give it a 4 out of 10. At the Beer Tasting I rated it a 3 out of 10.

By the way, Bruce... the next beer you donate better be at least a 5 you son of a beaotch! out of the seven beers you've donated you're average score is a 3! You're damn lucky I'm not giving you credit for the Chelada!

Posted by Contagion at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

Extra Beer reviews.

After tonight Iím starting a twice a week beer review. I have a backlog of beers to review and with it being summer, I want to drink them before they start to skunk on me. Iím going to keep with my standard Wednesday beer review, but Iím going to throw an extra one in sometime during the week. It will fit in whenever I decide to do one.

Posted by Contagion at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rogue Mocha Porter

Tonight we have another beer from the Beer Tasting. It is Mocha Porter by the Rogue Brewing Company in Newport, Oregon. Shadoglare gets credit for providing tonightís beer.

rogue-mocha-porter.jpg

It comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a black label with the word Rogue in large red letters across it. In the top in a slight arch in blue is ďMocha PorterĒ. The bottom center of the picture is a guy in a blue shirt holding up a clinched fist and holding a mug of beer. There is also a star with a yellow border in the middle of the O on rogue.

When poured into the glass, it has a nice dark brown color to it. Itís almost black. Light barely passes through and itís so dark you canít tell if there is any cloudiness to it at all. . It poured a three quarter inch tan head that faded to a film on the top of the glass. No lacing was noticeable.

The first thing you smell is a strong scent of hops. It is followed by a kind of sweet chocolate. The first thing you taste is bitter hops, but it turns to a dark chocolate flavor. There is a roasted malt accent that comes through as your drink it as well. It has a very dry finish. The after taste is a bit bitter.

This is a nice medium bodied beer. There is some creaminess to it. The carbonation isnít over done.

I liked this beer at the tasting. Itís not too bitter for a beer, but in my opinion it is too bitter for a porter. Porter should be a bit maltier and less hops. Easily drank with just a very mild hint of bitterness. At the beer review I gave this a 5.5. It was the seventh overall beer of the event. After giving it a proper review, Iím giving this 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2008

Headless Man Amber Alt

Since the left over Beer Tasting beers are taking up space in the fridge, Ktreva gave me an option. Either skip the beers I have waiting and start doing reviews on thoseÖ or sheís going to give them away. (She knows better than to dump it out, it was part of our wedding vows). To decide which one to review, I just opened the door and grabbed one. The winner was Headless Man Amber Alt by Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, Wi. This beer was provided by Harvey of Bad Example, which gives him enabler status.

Headless man amber alt 002.jpg

The beer came from a squat 12 fl oz. brown bottle. There is a maroon label. With the name of the brewing company on top and the city/state on the bottom. In the middle appears to be some kind of prehistoric design with the name of the beer center left.

There is a nice golden amber color to the beer. The body itself is clear and light passes through it easily. It formed a quarter inch head made of tiny bubbles that fades to a film on the top of the beer. There is no lacing on the glass at all.

The smell is a combination of malts and a hint of caramel. There is also a slight biscuit scent to it. You can also get a slight hint of hops. The taste is a mix of caramel malts and a slight burnt bread taste. A hint of grassy hops is also noticeable. The body is bitter and lives the same lingering bitter aftertaste after youíve finished.

This is a medium to light bodied beer. There is a good level of carbonation that gives a little bite to the tongue.

At the beer tasting this was one of the worst beers reviewed. This gives credit to a point I tried to make a couple of times during the tasting; tastings and reviews are not the same thing. Reviews you drink one beer and review it. Tastings you sample many beers and pick your favorite. At the tasting I gave this beer a 3, this was the sixth beer overall. With a clean pallet and actually drinking all 12 ounces, this beer isnít as bad. Realistically Iíd rate it a 4. Itís drinkable, just not great

Posted by Contagion at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2008

Beer Tasting successfull.

This last weekend I hosted my first ever Beer Tasting. Iíve attended Beer Tastings, but Iíve never hosted one. The ones I attended were always a formal event. An attendant or host would serve 4-6 fluid ounces of beer in a sampler glass and weíd all sit at a table and discuss what we liked and didnít like about the beer. Each person would have a scorecard and we would discuss the beer to death. I liked these tastings because I was able to sample beers I had never had before, but to be honest I really didnít like the atmosphere. So for my tasting I decided to go with something a whole lot less formal.

We were all in my back yard. Most of the time we sat around a portable fire pit Ktreva and I had as we reviewed the beer. I had grilled up burgers, brats, hot dogs and Chicken Asiago Cheese Bratwursts. We had potato salad, barbeque baked beans, chips and other food. Of course there were saltines and pretzels to clean the pallet before the tasting. So as people arrived, everyone could eat and make sure they werenít drinking on an empty stomach.

I did print out some interesting beer facts I had found online and gave each participant a copy, which I was made fun of for doing. Honestly, I really didnít care. I think two or three people actually liked the information in there and took the packet home. Others burned them or threw them away. Either way I was okay with it.

During one of the breaks in the tasting we did some brief tomahawk throwing. Apparently my hawk block had seen too many days outside and one too many tomahawks. It started cracking and coming apart until finally it shattered when Wes of Bodhran Roll, Please sunk a hawk into it at 7 paces. Thus ending the Ďhawk games.

Overall the ďskilledĒ group of tasters was Shadoglare, Labgirl (Shadoglareís new GF), Wes, Harvey, Ktreva, Noah, Bruce, Wil, Tina and myself. Graumagus showed up right at the end with two more beers and only really was able to review 2 beersÖ the two he brought.

Now you have to keep in mind, this was not a beer review. It was a beer tasting. Basically itís to decide whether or not you like a beer. We did rate the beer, but that was more for fun than anything else. Plus by the time we hit the 10th beer, our taste buds were pretty much broken, even after cleansing the pallet. Below is a list of beers I order tasted along with the average rating, including highest and lowest scores.

Dragonís Milk: Average: 8.5. Highest: 9.5(twice) Lowest: 7.5
Dirty Helen: Average: 3.5 Highest: 5 Lowest: 0 (Yes, someone gave it a zero)
Dragonís Gold: Average: 4 Highest: 7.5 Lowest: 2
Badger Porter: Average: 5 Highest: 8 Lowest: 2
1554 Brussels style Black Ale: Average: 6 Highest: 8 Lowest: 4
Headless Man Amber Ale: Average: 1.5 Highest: 3 Lowest 0 (Twice)
Mocha Porter (Rogue): Average: 4 Highest: 7 Lowest .5
Bully Porter: Average: 4.5 Highest: 6.5 (Twice) Lowest:0
Black River Red (Pioneer) Average: 5 Highest: 7 Lowest: 4
SummerShandy: Average: 3.5 Highest: 7.5 Lowest 0
Oscars Stout: Average: 7 Highest: 8 Lowest: 6
Celis Grand Cru Average: 1.5 Highest: 2 Lowest: 1

The best beer of the weekend was Dragonís Milk provided by myself with an average rating of 8.5. The lowest is actually a toss up between Headless Man provided by Harvey and Celis Grand Cru provided by Graumagus. Honestly if you want to be fair, Celis Grand Cru was the worst of the two. If you subtract the highest and the lowest rating Celis scores a 1.5; Headless Man scores a 2.

Now we did rinse and dry the glassware between beers, but by the end of the night the rinse water and the standard American Lager we drank the rest of the night looked the same. Can you guess which one is the beer?

beer tasting 08 021 (2).jpg
sorry about the crappy quality of the pic, but you get the idea.

Sunday was more of the same for those that wanted to come back. We really didn't drink different kinds of beers, but we did drink a lot of beer. approximately 4 cases to be exact.

Overall it was a good time. The feedback I received was very positive, including multiple recommendations that I do this every year. Which, Ktreva and I discussed it and decided that we are going to host a Beer Tasting every year. It is going to be an annual event every Memorial Day weekend. Including possibly a second one in the fall, possibly coinciding the Blogcrawl.

So if you are interested in getting on the invite list, let me know.

Posted by Contagion at 07:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 14, 2008

Smithwick's

Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn was the sponsor for tonightís beer review. Tonight Iíll be reviewing Smithwickís by Diageo in Ireland. Diageo is the same brewers that make Guinness. This is one of the rare beers that I can remember the very first time I had one. I was sitting at Fadoís Irish Pub in Chicago and they had a beer rep there. I had ordered a Guinness and he came over and asked if I wanted to take a survey. He was with the brewing companyís marketing department and offered to buy me one. So much like tonightís beer, my first Smithwickís was free!

Smithwicks.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz. brown bottle. There is a green front label with the picture of a golden castle towner on it. The name crosses the tower. At the top of the tower is the year 1710. At the bottom of the label it states ďFrom the Brewers of GuinnessĒ.

There is a nice dark brown color to it, much like a cola. Light passes through with some difficulty. If you hold a flashlight up to it you can see floating particles. An inch thick tan head formed when poured. It consisted of a mix of large and small bubbles. It faded slowly and by the time I was done with the beer there was still a good foam on the top of the beer. There was some lacing on the side of the glass as well.

The smell was mostly of sweet malts. There was a touch of a bread scent to it as well. Roasted malts makes up the majority of the taste, there is a hint of caramel to it and a slight bitter finish. The aftertaste is mild and unobtrusive.

This is a medium bodied beer. It is a little heavy on the carbonation for my tastes. Itís an easy to drink beer.

This is a good beer and I could drink one of these most of the time. I donít even need to be in the mood of it. It really does taste like a Guinness light. Itís got most of the flavor and none of the heaviness. I give this a 7 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 10, 2008

Thats some bad beer.

Shadoglare of Refractional Darkness sent me a link to a St. Petersburg Time's article on The World's10 most disgusting beers. I've actually drank some of these. In fact just this last weeks review of Cave Creek Chili Beer is listed as number 7 on there list.

7. Cave Creek Chili Beer This is the perfect beer for people who hate themselves and desire punishment. This unholy union of a whole chili pepper and a fiendishly nasty pale lager will get medieval on your tongue.

I don't know if I'd go that far, but it isn't good. Again with all beer reviews there are beers on this list I wouldn't have put there as I've had worse. Yes, they have the Camo Genuine Ale, but really the Camo Ice Silver is even worse. In fact that is the beer that started the Beer Reviews on here as a warning to others not to drink it. Also I would have added Bud Light Chelada and Four.

Posted by Contagion at 06:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2008

Cave Creek Chili Beer

Bruce of Back to the Batcave supplied tonightís brew. He gave this to me a while back, but I was saving it for the Cinco De Mayo beer review. Why, because tonight Iím reviewing the original Cave Creek Chili Beer by the Black Mountain Brewing Company in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.

Cave Creek Chili Beer 002.jpg

It comes in a clear 12 oz bottle, which means if it sits on the shelf too long or is exposed to light itís going to skunk up on you pretty darn fast. It has a gold label with a green Chili pepper on it outlined in a red dripping sauce. The words Chili Beer are in bright red underneath it.

There is actually a nice golden lager color to it. No head formed at all when it poured and it leaves no lacing or ring on the glass. The only remarkable thing about this beers appearance is the green chili pepper floating in it.

The smell is an over powering scent of pickled peppers. If you take a long hard smell to it, you can get a hint of beer in the background. The taste is pretty much nothing but peppers. If there is any malts or hops to the flavor, they canít penetrate the overpowering flavor of peppers. This reminds me of a prank that was played on me when I was in college. A friend of mine poured about a quarter of a bottle of Daveís Insanity sauce into a can of Keystone Light. The flavor is much like that, only not has hot. The aftertaste is that of a mild hot sauce.

This is a light bodied beer. Actually I didnít keep it in my mouth long enough to get a good feel for it.

First off, let me just say Bruce is a dick. This really is one of the more vile beers Iíve had the displeasure of drinking. If you have any type of stomach or gastro problems, Iíd avoid this beer like a snail avoids salt. If you ask, I did not eat the whole pepper, I did take a nibble, but that was just to see what it tasted like. The beer and the pepper werenít too hot; itís just not a good taste for beer. I give this beer One out of Ten.

I also give Bruce the finger.

Posted by Contagion at 05:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale.

Back to the beer reviews. Repeat enabler Bruce of Back to the Bat Cave sponsors tonightís review. His contribution this week was Samuel Smithís Winter Welcome Ale by the Samuel Smith old Brewery in Tadcaster, England.

Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint 2.7 FL OZ brown bottle. The bottle has the name of the brewery molded into the glass. There is a gold foil wrapping around the neck. The label has a purple background and is very busy. In the middle is a picture of an old merchants ship.

There is a nice dark copper color to it. It is clear with no hints of cloudiness to it at all. When poured a half inch white head with a combination of bubbles formed. The head slowly faded into a film and ring on top the beer that lasted until the finish.

When smelled you can detect a mixture of malts and grains. It almost smells like a bran cereal. There is a touch of citrus to it as well as a hint of spice. The taste is a combination of malts and some spices. I had a difficult time singling any out. They mixed fairly well together.

This is a medium bodied beer. The carbonation level is comparable with most beers Iíve had. Itís very easy to drink.

Bruce usually goes out of his way to find some of the most jacked up beers Iíve ever had. In fact heís rather good at finding beers that no normal person would ever want to drink. This time he actually found something really nice. Itís pleasant and easy to drink. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 11:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

Great Northern Porter

Shadoglare again sponsored tonightís beer. He was over a couple of weeks ago and left me a Great Northern Porter by the Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul, MN to review.

Great Northern Porter.jpg

It came in a customized 12 oz brown bottle. The bottle had the summit logo with grain stalks on it cast into the glass. The label is brown with the summit logo on it and the name of the beer below. Along with a seal that states it was established in 1986.

The beer pours a nice dark brown color with ruby accents. A nice tan quarter inch head formed as it was being poured. The head faded to a nice film on the top of the beer that seems to last. There is some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is an overpowering combination of Coffee and Chocolate. You can also detect a faint scent of dark roasted grain. I donít know if it was the actual alcohol content or the combination of smells described, but there was a faint smell of alcohol. The taste starts with a bitter bakerís chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee. There is a slight bitter hop finish to it. The aftertaste is bitter, but not over powering.

It is a medium bodied beer. The combination level seems a little high for a porter, but itís nothing to complain about.

This is a decent beer, itís a little bitter for a porter, but not bitter enough I wouldnít drink more of it. Overall I give this a 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

No GHT here!

Since tomorrow night Iím going to be packing and getting ready to head to Fort Des Chartres, I thought I should do my beer review tonight. That and with Ktreva being out of town and the boys running rampant all over me, I figured I could use a beerÖ or twelve. Tonightís brew is one that many people have been waiting for me to do. Itís a beer that anyone that has been drinking with me knows is probably one of my favorite beers to drink. Plus Ktreva sponsored this one before she left. She knew I was going to have a hard time with her gone and she left me an emergency sixer. Tonight I review Miller Lite by the Miller Brewing Company.

Miller Lite.jpg

Miller Lite Girls and me.jpg
Some Miller Lite Girls, Litey and me at a Packer game.

The method of delivery this time was a 12 oz aluminum can. Itís blue in color with the Miller Lite logo in an oval tilted sideways. The can boasts all kinds of awards it has won, including the World Beer Cup Gold Award for Best American-style Light Lager in 2006,2002,1998 and 1996. None of the other beers Iíve review can claim this!

In the glass itís a light straw yellow color. Light passes through it easily; there isnít a hint of cloudiness or impurities to it. When it was poured it formed an inch thick white head that faded quickly to a patching film on top. There was some lacing, but really not much to speak of.

The aroma has a slight metallic hint to it. Itís not because it came from a can. Iíve drunk enough of this to know that itís like this from a bottle too. The main sent is a mix of grains and bread. The taste is Mild and unoffending. You can taste some malts, but not much. Itís pretty watery. There really is no after taste, in fact if you eat anything while drinking this beer that pretty much becomes the flavor and aftertaste of it.

This is a light bodied beer. There isnít much to it. The mouthfeel is like you are drinking a glass of carbonated water.

Overall I think this has to be one of the greatest beers on the market. It goes with everything. You can enjoy one with a lobster or a microwave burrito. There really is nothing that Miller Lite doesnít go with. Because of that I give this a 9 out of 10. Itís a damn good beerÖ at a damn good price.

Okay, yes April Fools. I actually give this beer a 3.5 out of 10. It really is one of my favorite beers to drink. Mainly because 90% of the time I can get one in any bar or any stadium that I go to. That and I can still get a case of it for under $15.00. And even though this was partially an April foolís joke, the review above is accurate. Over the years Iíve had friends make fun of me over my dedication to Miller Lite. Such comments as, ďHow can you be such a beer snob and still drink Miller Lite?Ē or ďFor someone with a distinguished beer pallet why do you drink Miller Lite all the time?Ē The answer folks is simple. Yes, I love beer. I love really good beer. But sometimes I donít feel like spending $20.00 for two six packs when I can get 24 for $15.00 and I really donít like spending $100.00 in a bar tabs when I can spend $35.00. Special occasions, beer tastings and when Iím in the mood is when I prefer a higher quality beer. Sitting around the house watching the game and shooting the shit with the friends, give me a Miller Lite. Plus itís the official beer of Lambeau Field.

Posted by Contagion at 05:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 27, 2008

Black Dog Ale.

Shadoglare of Refractional Darkness sponsors this weekís review. Thank you sir for being an enabler! He donated a bottle of Black Dog Ale by the Spanish Peaks Brewing Company.

Black Dog Ale 002.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has a picture of ďChugĒ the owners black lab on the label with the name of the beer around it. In the background is a picture of a mountain range. The neck label has a brief story about the brewery and the beer itself on it.

It has a dark brown color, kind of like an old penny. Light passes through it easily; I didnít see any cloudiness at all. It is dark enough that you canít see through it clearly. When I poured it there was no real head. It formed a thin tan head that faded quickly to a crown around the glass. There was no lacing at all.

The scent was of roasted caramel malts and citrus hops. It has a nice and enticing aroma, not overwhelming at all. The taste starts out with a strong hop flavor. There are some malts that follow, but nothing specific. For the hop flavor, itís not very bitter at all. The aftertaste is mild.

This is a medium bodied beer. It is a little heavy on the carbonation.

Overall I liked this beer. Itís not all that special, but itís not bad. It really is something that one could drink and enjoy. I give it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 20, 2008

Barbary Coast Gold Rush Style.

We finally hit the last beer of the gift pack my father gave me for Christmas. Honestly, I appreciate my father buying this for me, he was trying to get me something Iíd like and appreciate. He put thought and effort behind the gift and I really appreciate it With that being said, if you are going to buy beer for a beer drinking fan in your life, donít get them this gift set. The beer isnít bad, but there really isnít much to it, most of it is just a bland rehash of mass produced American beers with names added to it. There isnít much flavor to any of them. However, the book is kind of nice. Tonightís beer is The Barbary Coast Brand Gold Rush Style Beer by the ever so mysterious MDII of Rochester, NY.

Barbary Coast.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a cream label on it with a green bar across the middle with the name Barbary Coast on it. There is a red Circle with a picture of a mountain on it just above the green bar. The lettering is all done in that old fashioned late 1800ís style.

It pours a nice amber color. Light passes easily through it as there is no sediment floating. When I poured it into the glass it formed a nice inch thick white head that slowly faded to a film on the top of the beer. There was some very minor lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is weak. First you smell the fruity citrus of the hops. Roasted malts can be detected as well. There is a slight metallic scent to it. The flavor was meager taste of malts with a slight sweetness. There really isnít much else to it. The aftertaste is even milder and really canít be described.

This is a light bodied beer that is kind of watery. There is a nice level of carbonation, but not much else to it.

If you had a friend that isnít a beer fan but wanted to drink on, this is a very inoffensive beer to let them try. The flavor isnít that much stronger than beer flavored water. Overall I give this a rating of 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

Rock River Lager

Tonight is another from the gift pack my father gave me for Christmas. Iím actually looking forward to this one, because itís not the Bud Light Chelada from last week. BTW, just so you all know I havenít been able to get the memory of the taste of that crap out of my mouth. BLECH! Anyways, back to tonightís, Tonight Iím reviewing the Rock River Lager Beer by MDII of Rochester NY. The apparently fictitious pseudonym of a larger brewery.

Rock River Lager.jpg

The deliver method was the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is off white with the words Rock River crossing it at an upward angle. There is a picture of a river on it, presumably the Rock River. (ED. Note. Iíve lived along the mighty Rock River and have traveled up and down the whole length of it through out my life. Iíve done this by car, canoe and boat. I donít know for sure itís the same river this is named after, but it adds just a bit more of coolness to the beer for me.)

There is a light golden yellow coloring to it. It poured a half inch thick head made of up of large bubbles. In less than 30 seconds the head faded into a film on top of the beer. There was some lacing, but not very much of it.

The scent was weak. What could be detected was malts and what can be described best as a freshly mowed field. Much like the scent, the taste was very weak. All that I could really pick out was a very mild malt flavor. Itís not much different that the mass-produced American light lagers that are on the market. Almost no aftertaste is left after your done drinking

It is a light bodied beer. There is some carbonation that bites on the tongue, but not much else. There is no coating and really nothing that lingers in the mouth.

If you are looking for a nice beer to go with a meal, this would be it. There is not enough flavor to it to alter the taste of the food. It went really well with the gumbo I had for dinner tonight. Overall I give this a 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

Bud Light Chelada.

I was called out recently over my beer reviews. As many of you that have been around since the origin of the review, I started doing this to review beers so that you were forewarned. After a while I started reviewing more and more microbrews and I started finding some really good ones. Back in December a new beer was brought to my attention, and I quickly told everyone, ďI will never drink it.Ē T1G and Bruce have both heard me say this. I even came close to violating my rule that I would drink any beer bought for me. Fortunately the arsehole gentlemen that was going to purchase it for me changed his mind. Finally a couple of ďfriendsĒ told me I ďhadĒ to review this beer, they had been waiting for it. So here I am tonight reviewing the only beer Iíve ever, EVER condemned before tasting. Tonight Iím reviewing Bud Light Chelada, AKA Bud Light & Clamato juice (Clam and Tomato juice) by Anheuser-Busch. May the beer gods have mercy on my soul.

Bud Light Chelada.jpg
Sorry T1G, It was the first beer glass I grabbed.

IT came in 1 pint 8 fluid oz (22 ounce) silver can. It proudly advertises that it is Bud Light and Clamato (with salt and lime the perfect combination) Below that it shows a beer goblet with limes in the rim and Chelada across the front of it. On the side it has a box that has both Spanish and English writing in it. The English says, ďEnjoy the best of two worlds: a refreshing Bud Light and the unique flavor of Clamato. Drink a Red One, ready to go, or use your favorite ingredients to make it yours Ė wherever, whenever!Ē Ed note: Never

The color is like that of a dark pink grapefruit juice. There is a distinct red color to it. Itís thick; light passes through, but barely. It just looks thick. When Ktreva walked into the room she said it looked like chum. There is no head at all and no lacing on the glass. There is a film, but it isnít pleasant looking. Itís like floating bits of stuff have stuck to it.

The smell is mainly tomatoes, salt and only what can be described as wharf. You know, that scent you smell along piers that are in large bodies of water. There is a hint of lime and I think you might smell stale beer. Iím not sure if it was there or just my nose wishing it was. Unless you really like the scent of fish and bloody marys, donít smell this. The taste is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. In 20 years from now Iím going to wake up screaming while I have a nightmare remembering this review. First off, this does NOT taste like beer. Tomatoes, salt, clams with a slight stale beer backwash is what it tastes like. BTW, there are floaty bits in there. Not many, but there are someÖ and yes they are chewy. Fortunately they are few, far between and small.

Iíd love to tell you what the mouthfeel is like on this beer, but honestly I didnít want it in my mouth long enough to find out. I will tell you that for the brief milliseconds I had it in my mouth it reminded me of drinking tomato sauce and vomit.

Bud Light Chelada is proof that the gods of beer have a dark and mean sense of humor. This has to be the vilest and nastiest beer Iíve drank in my life. Itís not pleasant in any way or shape. It actually brought tears to my eyes at the thought of having to drink the whole 22 ounces and made me do the ďitís ickyĒ dance. Any of you with young kids knows what Iím talking about. Iím not joking when I warn you, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, DO NOT DRINK THIS BEER. I give it .5 out of 10. Yes, point five out of ten.

Now if youíll excuse me Iím going to go gargle with Everclear.

Posted by Contagion at 06:21 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

February 27, 2008

Piedmont Porter.

Three down and three to go in ďThe History of Beer in AmericaĒ collection my father gave me for Christmas. Tonight I thought Iíd be a little wild and go for the porter. I was tired of the lighter beers and wanted something that was a little heftier. Tonight Iím reviewing the Piedmont Porter by MDII in Rochester, NY. Sorry, I still donít have any reputable information about this alleged brewery.

piedmont porter.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle with a yellowed label made to look like paper from the 1860s. There is a lot of information on the label; the main thing is that there is a logo of an eagle at the top with the name of the beer under it.

When poured into a glass it has a very nice dark brown color with rich garnet highlights. A half in thick tan head consisting of a mix of fine and large bubbles formed that faded slowly into a film on the top of the beer. There was some lacing on the side of the glass that lasted for the duration.

The smell was a little weak. What was detectable was a combination of malts, coffee and a touch of sweet molasses. There were other aromas mixed in, but they were too weak to be able to discern. The taste was mostly coffee malts. There was a slight bitterness to it of burnt grains that really wasnít all that flattering. This really didnít taste like a porter.

This is a medium bodied beer. It really didnít have the typical coating or mouth feel one would think of in a porter.

If Miller or Anheuser-Busch made a porter, it probably would be like this. Nothing all that special, itís darker in color and has a slight porter taste. Over all I give this beer a 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2008

Hole in the Rock

Weíre back to beer from ďThe History of Beer in AmericaĒ collection that my father gave me for Christmas. This eveningís selection is Hole in the Rock by MDII in Rochester, NY. I gave up trying to find out who this actually is. After doing some research Iím pretty sure itís a pseudonym. It appears that different breweries are contracted to make the beer for Samís Club.

Hole in the Rock.jpg

It came in a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is shaded and made to look like aged paper. There is a picture of a steamship heading down a river with a cave in the background. The name of the beer is at the top. The bottom of the label claims ďMarzen Style Lager BeerĒ.

It is a copper colored beer. Itís clear with no signs of sediment of cloudiness. There was a thin head when poured that faded to nothing. No lacing formed on the side of the glass.

There is a slight malty scent to the beer. If you concentrate you smell breads and a sweetness that reminded me of grapes. The flavor was weak and not very notable. It tasted like a standard lager, mostly malts with a touch of citrus hops.

This is a light bodied beer. It was watery and left no coating at all. It drinks easy enough, but itís very nondescript.

This is just your standard generic beer. Itís nothing special to write about, but it is drinkable. Iím not sure exactly how they figure itís a Marzen style beer, as you really canít taste it. I give it 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2008

Midas Touch

Iím very excited about tonightís beer review. Itís a very historic moment here at Miasmatic Review as far as my beer reviews go; this one is 3,000 years in the making! After much anticipation I will be reviewing Midas Touch by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. This beer is made using a recipe that is based on the residue at the bottom of excavated drinking vessels.

This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! Our recipe showcases the known ingredients of barley, white Muscat grapes, honey & saffron found in the drinking vessels in King Midas' tomb!Ö

Ö.Under a huge mound at the capital of Gordion, a University of Pennsylvania Museum expedition in 1957 excavated an intact burial chamber which likely belonged to King Midas himself. The body of a 60-year-old male was laid out in state on a thick pile of purple and blue-dyed textiles inside a unique log coffin.

Most remarkably, the tomb held the largest Iron Age drinking set ever found--157 vessels, including a ram-headed and lion-headed situla--for preparing, serving, drinking and libating a special beverage at the funerary feast of the king. The secrets of the beverage were revealed by the new methods of Molecular Archaeology. Dr. Patrick McGovern of the Museum discovered that the residues inside the vessels belonged to a "Phrygian cocktail," which combined grape wine, barley beer and honey mead. Starting with the ancient chemical evidence, Dogfish Head Brewery "re-created" a marvelous golden elixir, truly touched by King Midas.

The first time I heard about this beer was on the History Channel as they talked about the history of brewing. At that time I had difficulty trying to find some, as it is a limited production base. Fortunately for me a local store received a shipment and I was able to pick up a four pack of it.

Midas Touch.jpg

It comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is purple label with a golden fingerprint on it. The name of the beer is imposed over the fingerprint. At the bottom of the label it states, ďHandcrafted Ancient Ale. With Barley, honey, White Muscate Grapes and Saffron.Ē It also proudly claims itís 9% Alcohol by Volume.

There is a nice golden amber color to it. Itís clear, with no cloudiness or sediment detectable at all. Light passes through easily. When itís poured it formed a quarter inch white head that fades quickly. There is no lacing or film on the top of the beer after a couple of minutes.

The scent to this beer is like none Iíve experienced before. Itís a fruity mix of grapes (like wine), a touch of honey, some malts and a hint of alcohol. The taste is a very complex mix. Itís sweet beer/wine/mead combination. You can taste the grapes, honey and malts. There is no bitterness, but there is a strong spice taste and at 9% ABV it shouldnít be a surprise you can just taste the alcohol. The taste makes me think of a parody of the old Reeseís Peanut Butter cup commercials. ďYou got your wine in my mead! No you got your mead in my wine! (Takes a drink) HEY!Ē

This is a medium body beer. There is a nice tingly carbonation to it that really opens up the flavor. It is very smooth to drink, which with the high ABV, could lead to problems.

Iím happy to say this beer did not let me down. It wasnít exactly what I was expecting, but then again I wasnít sure what to expect. I found it to be a very satisfying beer. I donít know how much of it I could drink in one sitting, but itís pretty damn good. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 06, 2008

Samuel Adam's Black Lager

My latest blogspawn, Petey of Peteyís Powderhorn, sponsored tonightís selection. He gave it to me at Winter Camp a month ago, and I wanted to wait until he started his blog so I could give him proper credit. Tonightís brew is Samuel Adamís Black Lager.

Samuel Adams Black Lager.jpg

Sam Adamís uses a 12 oz brown bottle, but theirs is custom with the/a signature of Samual Adams molded into the glass. It has a black and gold label with the name of the beer in the middle and a picture of Sam Adams at the bottom.

This is a very dark beer, almost stout like with its very dark brown coloring. What light that passes through has a garnet red coloring to it. There is no floating or impurities; itís just a thick beer. Almost no head formed when I poured it into the glass. What there was had a tan color with very fine bubbles. It left no lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is mainly of caramel and chocolate malts. A touch of smokiness and a hint of coffee are also detectable. Chocolate and caramel malts is the main flavor of the beer, a slight hop spice puts a nice finish to it. The aftertaste is mild and fades quickly. What bitterness there is doesnít last long.

This is a medium to heavy bodied beer. There is a slight creaminess to it that coats the mouth when you drink it. Itís not as thick as your typical stouts, but this isnít a stout. Itís probably one of the more full-bodied lagers Iíve tasted.

Iím generally not a big Samuel Adamís fan, but Petey kept telling me to try this one. To be honest, itís a pretty good beer. I was more than pleasantly surprised with it. Itís almost like itís trying to be a stout, but fell just short. I really enjoyed this beer and owe Petey one for introducing it to me; I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 30, 2008

Tejas

We have another beer from ďThe History of Beer in AmericaĒ collection that my father gave me for Christmas. Tonight Iíll be doing the Tejas by MDII in Rochester, NY. I still have no definite information regarding this brewery. I know that one of the subsidiary breweries for Berghoff in Monroe, WI made the same beer under this name for Samís club in the past. But now we are in Rochester, NY and Iím not sure.

Tejas.jpg

Against we have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. It has a tan label on it with a map of Texas on it. The name of the beer is prominent across the front of the label. There is a description on it of the beer, ď A fine bock beer with a creamy texture and malty body.

It has a nice dark amber coloring to it. It is clear that light passes through easily and you canít see any cloudiness at all in it. The head was a nice inch thick made of large bubbles that lasted for a while. It faded after 15 minute3s to a film on top of the beer. There is no lacing at all.

The scent was weak. A slightly sweet malt aroma mixed with a hint of roasted nuts. Nothing really stood out about the scent. Roasted malts with caramel tones made up the flavor. It was very simple and kind of weak. There really is not much taste to it at all. There is a week aftertaste that fades to nothing quickly.

The mouthfeel is very light. There is a slight creaminess you donít normally get with a light-bodied beer like this. Itís very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

Tejas is a pretty generic beer. Nothing fancy, no frills and I really wouldnít go out of my way to grab one. However it is easy to drink and again would be a good meal beer, as the flavor wonít taint the taste of the food. Iíll give it 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Berkshire Springs Stock Ale

My father sponsored tonightís beer review. For Christmas he bought me a case of beer labeled, ďThe History of Beer in AmericaĒ. It came with a book and 8 different kinds of beers. When given a gift like that, itís hard not to crack into it right away. After drinking the backlog of beer given to me by readers, I decided it was time to crack it open. The first one Berkshire Springs Stock Ale by MDII in Rochester, NY. I canít find anything on them, so I think itís a cover name for a larger brewery that seems to have made this beer for Samís Club.

Berkshire springs.jpg

The standard 12oz brown bottle once again makes itís appearance. There is a maroon label with an oval logo on it. The name of the beer is on the top of the oval and the type cuts the oval in the middle. The bottom of the oval claims ďMade from best malt & hopsĒ There is a brief description of the beer in the middle.

The color is a clear golden yellow. It poured a finger width white head with large bubbles that faded quickly to a film and then nothing. There is no lacing on the side of the glass.

A very simple mix of hops and citrus is the first thing I noticed when smelling it. There is a hint of malts to it, but itís barely detectable. As you sip this beer you get a balanced mix of hops and malts. Itís not very complex, but a good taste. There is a slight bitterness that fades away quickly. After a couple of drinks you can get a hint of butterscotch on the tongue.

This is a medium bodied beer. It is pleasant and easy to drink.

This isnít the fanciest beer Iíve ever drank and it definitely isnít the plainest. Itís a good drink and would probably go well with a sandwich or a pizza. Iíll give it 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Caffrey's

T1G of Drunken Wisdom brings this weekís review to you; he gave me this beer to review while he was home over the holidays. Let no one say he is anything but a generous man, and with a blog name Drunken Wisdom, you have to figure he knows a thing or two about beer. Tonight Iím reviewing Caffreyís by the Thomas Caffrey Brewing Company.

Caffrey's Irish Ale

Like a lot of beers from the UK, this came in a 16 oz nitro can. Itís mainly green with a gold ring at the top. There is a modern stylish Celtic knotwork symbol on the can with the signature of Thomas Caffrey in red under it. The name of the beer is on a black banner on the top third of the can. It was the color scheme that inspired me to drink it out of a Lambeau Field glass from Curlyís pub. Donít ask how I got the glass.

As is typical of nitro can beers, this one has a nice thick creamy white head. When itís poured into the glass the nitrogen bubbles put on a cascading effect that is rather impressive. The head leaves a thick creamy lacing on the glass that lasts as long as the head does. It is considered an Irish Red and has about the typical reddish-copper coloring to it. To be honest I was expecting a slightly more reddish hue to it, but it looks just like a proper beer should.

The smell is a very meek combination of sweet malts and floral hops. There is a slight fruity hint, but I am unable to make out what kind of fruit. It has a mild taste, mostly of malts. One really canít detect the hop taste at all. With almost no aftertaste, itís easy to see why someone would drink quite a few of these.

It is a full-bodied beer with a silky and smooth feel to it. It is much thicker than the looks lead you to believe.

I know T1G really likes this beer as was talking about it a lot while he was home. Itís not a bad beer, I could see ordering a couple dozen in a pub, especially if I was eating a meal. However, I really wasnít all that impressed. The weak taste left me wanting more of something else that had more flavor to it. It really could use some more hops to balance it out. Overall itís not a bad beer, but nothing I would go out of my way for. Iím giving it a 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 09, 2008

Mendocino Autumn Seasonal Oktoberfest Lager

Bruce of Back to the Batcave sponsors this weekís beer. He gave it to me a while back, but since I was doing themed beers in December, I hadnít touched this one. Since it was one he wanted me to review, I saved it until now. Tonight I will be reviewing Mendocino Autumn Seasonal Oktoberfest by Mendocino Brewing Company.

Mendocino Oktoberfest.jpg

The delivery package was the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has the name across the top with Oktoberfest in a decorative oval. The bottom of the label has a picture of the sun rising over a villa with a giant hawk sitting on top of it to one side. A limited edition lager logo is in the right lower corner. The neck label has a brief description of the beer on it.

It pours a dark amber/orange color. There is a clearness to it that lets light pass through it easily with out any sign of impurities. The thing white head that formed while pouring disappears quickly into nothing. Not even lacing is left on the side of the glass.

The smell is a mix of hops, toasted grains and caramel malts. Itís not something one would think of when smelling an Oktoberfest. Caramel malts and a good hop backbone combine to make the flavor. The taste is light and unassuming. What aftertaste there is goes away quickly.

This is a light bodied beer. It is a bit heavy on the carbonation side, yet it is still smooth to drink.

Overall this beer was more of an amber ale than an Oktoberfest. I prefer a bit more flavor to my beers, but this isnít bad. Iíd have no problem drinking another couple. Overall I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 02, 2008

St. Benedict's Winter Ale.

I was originally going to review this beer last week, but I was so busy being anti-sober that I forgot to do my beer review. When I asked Ktreva if I should do it at 8:00 AM on Thursday she told me no. She lost 5 points off of her enabler card. Tonightís beer is the last in the winter themed beers I was doing in December. Shadoglare of Refractional Darkness was kind enough to sponsor tonightís review by providing me with St. Benedictís Winter Ale By Stevens Point Brewery.

St. Benedict's Winter Ale

The delivery method was a 12oz brown bottle. The neck label has the breweryís logo on it. The main body label has a picture of a Monk (St. Benedict I assume) sitting in a monastery reading a book by candlelight. The name of the beer is on a blue banner across the middle of the picture.

The ale has a nice dark brown color with slight copper tones to it. It poured a quarter inch tan head made up of a mix of small to large bubbles that rapidly dissipated into a ring around the glass. There was very minimal lacing.

When held to the nose you get an aroma of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and roasted malts. A hint of alcohol can also be detected. The taste is much like the smell. You have all the spices and malts that combine to give it slight biscuit undertone. There is enough alcohol in this beer that you can feel it warm on the way down.

This is a light bodied beer; there really isnít much to it.

This beer pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting something kind of awful, but it really turned out pleasant. I could see someone sitting next to a fire on a cold winterís evening drinking one of these. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2007

Samuel Adams Winter Lager.

Tonight Iím reviewing a beer by another company Iíve never reviewed before, Samuel Adams. Iíve never been a huge Sam Adams fan, but when I went to the store they were the only winter beer they had that I hadnít already sampled. Thus leaving us Samuel Adams Winter Lager as the choice.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager.jpg

It comes in a 12 oz brown bottle. This one has the signature of Samuel Adams cast on the bottle where it starts to narrow into the neck. The main label is done in blue and white with the name of the beer taking up much of the label. There is a small picture of Samuel Adams hoisting a stein at the bottom. Four snowflakes also grace the label.

When poured into a glass you can appreciate the nice dark amber color. Light passes through the body easily; there is no cloudiness at all. It poured almost no head at all. I even tried to pour it so as to create more head just so I could discern the color. What filmy head that did form quickly faded to nothing. There isnít even a ring around the edge of the glass.

There is a nice caramel malt scent to the beer. Itís not very strong, but it is the only prominent scent you can get. If you concentrate you get a hint of prunes or plums. The scent of alcohol can also be detected. When drank, the flavor is much like the scent. Caramel malts are the primary flavor with just a touch of prunes and a slight hop bitterness that finishes well. The aftertaste is very mild and doesnít last very long.

It is a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation to it. Itís very easy to drink and would probably go well with most holiday meals. At 5.8% alcohol by volume itís surprising at how mellow it really is.

Overall this beer pleasantly surprised me. I thought it was well worth the drink and wouldnít mind drinking another. Overall Iím giving this a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 12, 2007

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

To continue with the Winter Themed beers, tonight I tried Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Iíve never reviewed a beer by this company; in fact Iím not sure Iíve ever had a beer brewed by them in the past.

Sierra nevada celebration ale 002.jpg

A very festively dressed 12 oz brown bottle is the delivery method. The label has a nice winter scene of a cabin with red flowers around it. The label just screams, ďHAPPY HOLIDAYS!Ē The neck label, also very festiveÖ has the year of the beer on it as well as a little story about making winter brews.

The beer has a nice copper and orange color to it. There isnít a hint of cloudiness to it at all. The only thing that obstructs the view is the carbonation bubbles. A thin off-white head is produced that fades quickly to a film on top of the beer. There is some lacing, but not much.

On the first scent the nose is assaulted with the scent of hops. A slight citrus and spice scent can also be detected. The combination almost gives the beer a pine scent. The taste is much like the smell. The bitterness of the hops overpowers the rest of the flavors. You can barely taste anything else. The aftertaste is much of that of pine. Itís so bitter itís difficult to drink.

It is a medium bodied beer with a normal carbonation level. There is a nice smoothness in the mouth. It coats the mouth and throat; unfortunately that coating helps the taste to linger.

I was really hoping for a nice somewhat spicy winter or Christmas ale, this however is more like a bitter IPA than anything else. The scent is overpowering and the taste is almost overwhelming. Over all I have to give this a 1.5 out of 10.

Now if you excuse me I'm going to go gargle with Jack Daniels to get the taste out of my mouth.

Posted by Contagion at 07:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 05, 2007

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

As Christmas Season is upon us and it was my Grandmotherís favorite time of the year, Iíve decided that Iím dedicating tonightís review to her memory. Actually Iím going to stick with the theme all month and do nothing but Christmas style beers for the next three weeks. Tonight we are starting off with Christmas Ale by the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Christmas Ale.jpg

The standard 12 oz brown bottle once again graces us with its presence. The label is black. In white lettering at the top is the name of the brewing company and at the bottom is the name of the beer. In the middle in a gray square is a green toy train car holding red Christmas ornaments. There is short description of the beer on the label as well. It brags a sturdy 7.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

It has a nice dark copper color with a slight amber hue. The body is clear with no sign of cloudiness. A quarter inch off white head formed when poured into the glass. The head faded into a film on the top of the beer. It left some lacing on the side of the glass, but not a lot.

Cinnamon is the first scent you notice to this beer. There is a mixture of raisins, ginger and honey also noticeable. A touch of coffee malts can also be smelt. The taste starts off with a strong cinnamon flavor that is followed by ginger, honey and coffee malts. The flavor covers the higher 7.5% ABV. The combination leaves no doubt in your mind that this is a Christmas beer.

Itís a medium bodied beer. The carbonation gives a little bite to the tongue, but not much. With the higher ABV, one would think it would affect the drinkability of this beer, but it really doesnít.

Itís a little sweeter then I normally like, but itís not a bad beer. I donít know if I would go out of my way to buy it for anything other than maybe a Holiday party, but I definitely wouldnít turn one down if it were offered to me. Iím going to rate this a 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 28, 2007

Jaw-Jacker

Again tonightís beer is sponsored by Bruce of Back to the BatcaveÖ whom seems to have started posting again. However, some of them are complete lies! Last Friday, after being blamed for his ďconditionĒ due to festivities the day before, he gave me a bottle of Jaw-Jacker by Aracadia Ales.

Jaw-Jacker 001.jpg

This comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The main label has the name of the Brewery at the top. There is a picture of a funky pumpkin headed scarecrow on it with a mouth full of sharp teeth. It looks like itís trying to growl at the moon. Behind that it appears to be a door on an old building. The name of the beer is closer to the bottom. It has a quick blurb that says, ďAle with spices added. (Cinnamon, Allspice and Nutmeg).

It has a ruddy orange color to it. There is some cloudiness, but light does pass through easily. It poured almost no head. What film there was faded quickly to a film and then nothing. There is no lacing at all.

An overpowering scent of pumpkin, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon is noticeable. Caramel malts can also be detected if one concentrates. Though not as strong as the scent, the flavor is again a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and pumpkin. Floral hops finish it off with a bitterness. The aftertaste actually worsens before it starts to fade. Itís a bitter combination of beer and pumpkin pie. Actually this almost tastes like an IPA that had a slice of pumpkin pie dissolved in the bottle.

Itís a medium bodied beer. There is some prickly carbonation on the tongue.

This was an unpleasant beer to drink. The flavor was vile, the aftertaste disconcerting and the thought of drinking another will wake me up in the middle of the night screaming. In fact after the first sip I made such a hideous noise that the entire family came running to see what was happening. If I never drink this beer again, Iíll be a happy man. I may just have to kick Bruce in the dick the next time I see him for giving this to me. I give it 1.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 21, 2007

Schlafly Summer Kolsch Ale

Tonightís beer is review is sponsored by Bruce of Back To The Batcave (My latest blogspawn to abort itself with out warning) On his journey down state last month he brought back a beer for me to review. Schlafly Summer Kolsch Ale by The Saint Louis Brewery, INC. in St. Louis, MO. With a might THANKS to Bruce for his patronage, sponsorship and encouragement of my drinking habits, lets get this review started.

schlafly.jpg

Like most beers this came in your standard 12 oz brown bottle. The body label is green with the brand name in a white oval with ďBrewed in Saint LouisĒ on a black background spread above and below it. Only on the neck label to you get the type of beer, Summer kolsch ale. On the neck label there is some information about the beer itself. According to the date on the bottom of the main label this beer was ďbottled with love onĒ April 12, 2007.

A nice thick white head forms when poured into a glass. I had an inch thick head with nice large bubbles on it. The head slowly dissipates. After 15 minuets I still have about an 1/8 inch head on the beer. There is some lacing on the side of the glass. There is a pale yellow color to the beer. A cloudiness can be seen when one tries to look through it. If it is held up to a light source you can really see how cloudy this beer really is. You can make out objects on the other side, but not much detail.

The scent is a strong citrus hop scent with a touch of sweet grass. There is also a slight bread aroma to it. The flavor is mainly of bread malts and citrus hops. There is a lemon accent to it that can probably be linked to the slight bitterness. The aftertaste fades quickly. Overall the taste is kind of weak and unimpressive.

This is a medium bodied beer with a nice crispness to it. The carbonation is at a good level for the overall body and taste of the beer.

I enjoyed drinking this beer. It wasnít anything I would brag about, but I enjoyed it. This is a nice hot day or drink with pizza beer. The flavor acts as more of an accent than as the center of attention. I give this beer 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 14, 2007

Eliot Ness

Geez, I donít do a beer review in two weeks and Shadoglare decides heís going to take over for me. Iím just kidding, itís nice to see others taking an appreciation of beer. Tonight Iím going to be reviewing Eliot Ness by the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, OH.

eliot ness.jpg

Again we have the standard 12 oz brown bottle. It has a shadowy picture of what appears to be a man standing at a beer drinking a beer in the 20s. I doubt this was Ness as he was the big prohibition enforcer in Chicago. Then again after 1933 when prohibition was lifted he did move to Cleveland as the director of public safety and according the Great Lakes Brewing Company, he was a frequent visitor of their brewpubÖ so maybe it is. Also on the label is a brief description of the beer, including the fact that Ness frequented their bar. It also states that it has 6.3% Alcohol by Volume.

There is a nice dark copper coloring to the beer with a touch of amber. It poured a thin tan head that quickly faded into a film on the top. There is no lacing at all on the side of the glass.

Your standard lager scent is present. A strong malt aroma with a slight hint of hops. Itís not very complex, yet at the same time it is appealing. The flavor isnít much more complex. There is a nice malty flavor with roasted grains and a grassy accent. A slight citrus hop flavor is also present. The aftertaste is a little bitter, but it doesnít last very long.

This is a light bodied beer. There is a normal level of carbonation to it and it is pretty easy to drink. It doesnít sit heavy and would probably go well with a sandwich.

I thought this was a pretty good beer. Itís nothing too fancy, but itís not bad. I donít know if I would go out of my way to buy it, but I definitely would drink it if one was given to me or if I saw a six-pack at the store. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

Carlyle Scottish Ale

Tonightís beer is more of a teaser then anything else. Only a select few of my readers are able to get their hands on this beer and a handful more have actually been lucky enough for me to bring a growler with someplace so they can try it. Tonight Iím going outside my norm and reviewing a beer a drink on a regular basis. Mainly because, despite what I said, I can not bring myself to dump out a full un-opened growler of beer. Tonight Iím reviewing the Scottish Ale by Carlyle Brewing Company.

Carlyle Scottish Ale.jpg

There is only one way you can get any beer from Carlyle right now and thatís in a 64 oz brown glass bottle they call a growler. (Someday Iíll do a post about what real growlers are.)On the front in white screening is the name of the company. There is a white circle with a picture of a foaming mug in the center of it. Across the bottom it says ďBlessed is he who drinks beer.Ē It also has their address and phone number on it.

While one could attempt to drink this from the bottle, I highly recommend pouring it into a pint glass, just for the ease of handling. For this special occasion I used my Drunken Wisdom Pint. There is a dark brown coloring to the beer that passes through with difficulty. When poured you get a nice half inch tan head. The bubbles are small and it fades slowly to a film on top. There is some nice thick lacing on the side of the glass.

When first smelled you get a strong scent of roasted malts. An earthy undertone is noticeable if you take a second sniff. A slight chocolate accent is also detectable. The flavor is a good mix of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. There is a pleasant hop finish to it. The aftertaste has a slight bitterness to it that is not present in the beer itself.

This is a medium to full bodied beer. It has a great mouth feel that coats. There is only a slight carbonation to the beer. Itís a beer that is easy to drink when itís either warm or cold out.

This is a favorite beer of mine. Not only do I enjoy drinking it, but I will buy growlers full of it to share with others. Unfortunately unless you are visiting Rockford, Illinois or have someone bring you a growler, you canít try this beer at this time. Iíve been talking trying to talk them into starting to bottle it for years, but they just wonít do it. If you like a dark beer that isnít as thick as a stout or porter, youíll love this beer. I give it 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 17, 2007

Yuengling Black and Tan

Last weekend at Fort Obie my friend Will brought me another beer by Yuengling to review. This time itís Yuengling Black and Tan.

Black and Tan.jpg

He made sure to get me a nice 12 oz brown bottle so I didnít have to review on a can after all of you complained. It has a black oval label with the name of the company and the beer on it. There is the Eagle logo for the company at the top center of the circle. In a gold ribbon at the bottom it says Americaís Oldest Brewery. The label says this is a combination of the Dark Brewed Porter and Premium beer.

There wasnít much to the smell. After much consideration I figured it had a scent of roasted malts with a fruit undertone. Nothing that was very complex like one would expect from a Black and Tan. The taste was a very mild malt flavor. There was not much depth at all, it was very simple. Again with a Black and Tan there should be a bit more to it.

It is a very smooth beer. Itís light bodied and very easy to drink. However it was almost like drinking water. The body didnít really hold any mouth feel at all.

Okay, first off I have to pick this beer apart. This really isnít a black and tan, this is a half and half. A Black and Tan generally is Stout or Porter and Ale. A Half and Half is a Stout or Porter over a lager. A proper black and tan or half and half are layered. Generally they pour the lighter beer (ale or lager) first and then using a spoon pour the darker beer (stout or porter) over it in a pint glass. When you look at the glass you should be able to see the two different layers of the beer, the dark on top and the light on the bottom. When this poured into the glass it looked much like their Porter only slightly lighter in color. This is just Yuengling mixing their Porter and Premium lager together in hopes of marketing on a pub trend. If you want to know what a real Black and Tan is like I suggest going to a reputable pub and ordering one. Iíd suggest Guinness over Bass.

As much as I know Iím about to bring the wrath of many loyal readers upon myself, Iím not overly impressed with this beer at all. I can see where it would be good with pizza or pub food, but nothing that makes me want to go out of my way for it. Itís really a dark beer for people that donít like dark beers. I give it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

Ichabod

Since it is the Halloween season I figured I should do some Halloween themed beers. Iím starting going with a beer from one of my favorite Microbreweries, New Holland Brewing Company. They have a seasonal ale brewed with pumpkin they named Ichabod.

Ichabod 003.jpg

They used a standard 12 oz brown bottle. The body label has a picture of the headless horseman in the middle of an oval. The name of the beer is in old style white script lettering below the horse. On the neck label they have the name of the beer again with a Jack-o-lantern on it.

Into a bar style pint glass this ale poured a hazy copper color. Light passes through, but there is a lot of sediment that prevents you from being able to see through properly. There was a very thin white head that quickly faded to nothing leaving only a ring around the edge of the glass. There is some lacing, but not a lot.

A strong scent combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg compliment the malt backbone. It reminded me a bit of pumpkin bread. On the first taste one gets a strong spice and caramel malt flavoring. It is followed by a light pumpkin taste. It almost tasted like I was eating pumpkin bread while drinking a beer.

There is a nice medium body to it that gives a slight coating to the mouth. It is slightly high in carbonation, a bit more than I generally enjoy.

This beer pleasantly surprised me. Normally I donít like pumpkin beers as they have an over powering pumpkin taste to it that really kills the flavor. This one has more of a pumpkin accent that really enhances the flavor. Iím still not overly fond of fruit beers, but this one was pretty good. I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 06, 2007

Sounds like some good beer

Shadoglare sent me a link to an article over at Inventorspot, 10 Best Beers With Balls of 2007.

I don't know if I agree with that list, I've had a couple of the beers on there. And there are ones I've never heard of. But as the author states, "With that in mind, we here at Inventor Spot bring you 10 of the ballsiest beers we could find." Which means some of the ones I've had, they may not have. Overall there are some interesting beers on that list.

Bilk anyone?

Posted by Contagion at 10:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007

Honker's Ale.

Oh my heck! With the BlogCrawl and all I forgot today was Wednesday until I was driving home. It was that long four-day weekend that threw me off. As I was driving home, I stopped at a local liquor store to pick up a beer to review this week. Unfortunately since I didnít want to review a warm beer, I was limited in my selection. Thus I ended up choosing a beer that others have said was pretty good. Tonightís beer is Honkerís Ale by Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago, IL.

Honker's Ale.jpg

It came in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. It had a bright red label with a black oval that had the name of the brewery on it and a smaller red oval in the middle of the black one with a goose head. A red banner with white lettering had the name of the beer on it. There is a little history about the beer on the label.

When poured into an Ale pint, it has a hazy copper/amber coloring to it. Light passes through, but you have a difficult time making out shapes. The quarter inch head faded quickly to a ring on the edge of the glass, there is no lacing at all.

My first sniff of the beer was a mix of citrus and malts. The strong citrus scent almost drowns out the rest. You can smell a touch of coriander as well. The taste is much like the smell. A taste combination of malts and biscuits, but with a strong citrus finish to it. Surprisingly there was a slight alcohol tinge to it that one doesnít expect from an ale. There is also a bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste.

This was a thin-bodied beer. It was very light with almost no coating at all. There was a decent bit of carbonation to the bottle. Itís very easy to drink.

I canít say I was overly impressed with this beer. In fact everyone Iíve talked to totes this as the jewel in the Goose Island crown. To be honest this beer didnít impress me much. Iím giving it 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2007

Point Oktoberfest

This week I happened to stumble across a beer I hadnít seen before. During the football season opener a friend, Scroatie, had a six-pack of beer from the same company, but not this exact type. Since I hadnít done an Oktoberfest beer review yet, I thought it would be a good time to do one, even if it is a little late. This weekís beer is Point Oktoberfest by Stevens Point Brewery.

Point Oktoberfest 001.jpg

Like most beers, this comes in your standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is really busy. There is a blue and white checkerboard background with the scene of people celebrating Oktoberfest. The bar maid is actually quite stunning.

The color is a nice amber/copper. Light passes easily through the beer, and there is no cloudiness at all to it. It poured a thing white head that faded quickly to a film. The film faded into a ring around the glass that eventually disappeared. There was no lacing on the glass at all.

The scent was a bit surprising, I was expecting a much stronger, more German beer scent, instead it smelled of Malts, slightly sweet and a hint of hops. The taste was much the same a slightly malt sweetness with a hint of hop bitterness. You could also taste a slight nuttiness to it.

It is a smooth medium bodied beer, light on the carbonation. Itís very easy to drink and has a nice feel to it.

This was pretty good, I was figuring on a slightly different style, but still pretty good. I could see myself drinking this during a game or while eating a big plate of brats with sauerkraut. I give this beer a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

Fat Tire

Tonight I decided to review a beer that Iíve had many people ask me if I had tried one. Iíve seen it around for a while now, but just never tried it. This week I decided due to the fact I kept meaning to review it and I was asked 5 times in the last two weeks about it, that I was going to do a review of Fat Tire Amber Ale by the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins CO.

Fat Tire.jpg

Even though it comes in a 12 oz brown bottle, this one has a different shape to it. Along the base of the neck there is a band blown into the glass with the name of the brewing company on it. The label is blue and red with a picture of a red bicycle on it and the name of the beer under the bike. There are hops in the blue border framing the bike. On the side there is a story of how Fat Tire got itís name.

When poured into a glass it forms about a quarter inch white head with large bubbles. The head fades fast leaving a film on the top of the beer and some lacing on the side of the glass. There is a deep clear amber color to it. Light passes through easily with no problems.

I had difficulty making out the full scent of the beer initially. The scent was not weak, just very subtle. There was a pleasant combination of malts with a citrus accent. The taste was very mild. It had a light malt flavor with a mild hop backbone. There was just a hint of bitterness that enhanced the flavor. There is almost no aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation to it. Itís very easy to drink and leaves almost no coating in the mouth.

This is another beer that I had heard a lot of people say was a great beer, and it is very good. The flavor was a little mild and the nose was kind of weak. Over all I thought this was a good beer. I could see someone sitting down on a hot summer day drinking a six-pack of this with some friends while they grilled. Iím going to rate this a 5.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 06:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

Demolition

This weekís beer was donated to the cause by my blog spawn Bruce. He gave me a bottle for tonightís review because he was tired of me pouring the remaining 5 bottles of a six-pack down the drain. That and I have the sneaky suspicion he just didnít want to drink it. Todayís brew is Demolition by Goose Island Beer Co.

Goose Island Demolition.jpg

Again we have the standard 12 oz bottle brown bottle that we see most beers come in. The label is tan and looks like a bad photocopy job, but I think it was meant to be like that. In the middle of a long story about the beer is the name, ďDEMOLITIONĒ in bigger bold lettering. On the back label it states that this beer was bottle on 042006 and states (Flavor will continue to develop over fiver years.) That list bit may be important later on.

It has a nice golden honey coloring to it. It is very cloudy. Light will pas through, but you arenít able to actually see through the beer to the other side of the glass. When poured it produced a quarter inch white head, but it faded quickly to just a film on top and then a ring around the edge of the glass. There is no lacing at all.

The beer has a scent of citrus and grass. A slight hint of honey is also noticeable. An underlying aroma of hops is also present. The taste is bitter, bitterer than an IPA. In fact itís so bitter that it overpowers most of the other flavors. The best I can give you is a hint of citrus. You can also taste the alcohol in it, this beer is 8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV), and itís noticeable in that slight grain alcohol taste to it. And not good grain alcohol, but run through the radiator flavor kind of grain alcohol.

The beer itself is medium bodied and has a nice silky mouth feel to it. It is a little heavy on the carbonation, but not too bad.

Ben Franklin has the famous quote, ďBeer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.Ē Well after drinking this I can say, ďThe fact that Bruce gave me this beer to drink is proof that he hates me and wants me to live in gastric pain for the rest of the week.Ē This is a seriously unpleasant beer to drink. In fact this will be in the running for the worst beer Iíve drank in the last 5 years. Now, maybe I should have let it sit the five years in my fridge as the label suggests, but it already had a year aging and it tastes god awfully bad. To be honest I had this beer for the first time a year ago (Same six pack) and itís been kept refrigerated since. It tastes worse than it did then. Iíve got to give this a 2 out of 10, and I may be being generous with that score.

Posted by Contagion at 05:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 05, 2007

Arcadia Ales Scotch Ale

Tonightís beer I had seen in the stores for a while, but something about it made me not want to try it. Iím not sure what it was, but it was almost like maybe the display or packaging was trying too hard to get my attention. Finally I caved in and bought it to try. Youíll see why thatís surprising. Tonight I tried Arcadia Alesí Scotch Ale by the Arcadia Brewing Co in Battle Creek MI.

Arcadia Scotch Ale.jpg

It came in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The neck label had the brewery name on it and some Celtic knotwork. The body label was the Cross of Saint Andrewís with a pair of two-handed claymores crossing and a thistle in the middle. The name of the beer was in purple under center.

The coloring was a rich dark brown with a ruby tint. Light passed through it with some difficulty, but was able to pass through. It poured no head. The best I got was a ring around the edge of the glass. It left no lacing and after a couple of minutes the thin, barely noticeable ring had faded to nothing.

The beer smelled of a nice smoky peat you get with a good Scottish ale. A mixture of sweet spices and molasses helped round off the scent. The first sip revealed a taste that was a combination of smoked grains, caramel and a slight raisin accent. It had a rich malty flavor. There were some hop accents, but not much, almost no bitterness at all.

It had a good medium body to it. A slight creaminess helped coat the tongue and mouth. There was a nice level of carbonation that gave a slight bite to the tongue.

Iím a huge fan of Scottish Ales; they are of my top three favorite beers. (Can any of you guess what the other two are?) This is not a bad Scottish ale. Unfortunately itís not one of the best out there either. I found this to be appealing, yet still there was something about it that made me feel like it was trying to hard to cater to the ďScottishĒ crowd. Over all Iím rating this a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

Yungling Porter

This week I have another submitted beer. My friend Will brought back for me a bottle (after the stink you all made over the fact he gave me cans last time) of Yuengling Porter by G.G. Yuengling & Son Inc in Pottsville, PA. Now I will admit this beer tasted exceptionally good tonight, because itís the first beer I had in a week. However, I am devoted to my craft and refuse to let my situation taint my review.

Yuengling porter 001.jpg

As indicated above, it came in a bottle, the standard 12 oz brown bottle. It has a red neck and body label. The body label is oval in shape, has the eagle symbol that the brewery uses as its logo and the name of the beer on it. It also proclaims that it came from Americaís Oldest Brewery.

This was a nice dark beer. With a strong dark brown coloring and slight hint of garnet to the coloring, it has your standard porter look to it. Light had difficulty passing through the body. It poured a nice thick half-inch tan head. However, it faded quickly to just a film on the top of the beer. It left no lacing on the glass at all.

The nose was a mix of roasted malts and sweet caramel grains. There was a hint of chocolate to the scent as well that helped make the scent that much more enticing. The taste was a mix of roasted malts with a touch of coffee. A slightly bitter hop tasted finished it off. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste to it. The flavor is a little on the thin side and very simple for a porter. There is a weak bitter aftertaste to it.

For a porter the body was too light. It should have had more of a medium body to it, but the mouth feel reminded me of the lager. There is a slight creaminess to it, but nothing that left a good coating in the mouth, as one would expect.

I enjoyed this beer, and again I think I was hyping it up since Iíve heard so many good things about Yuengling. Again this is a good beer, but I can think of a couple dozen porters and stouts I would go out of my way for before this. Iím giving it 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 22, 2007

Colony Oatmeal Stout

Tonight I have another beer brought back from vacation, Colony Oatmeal Stout by the Millstream Brewing Company in Amana, IA. Technically Iíve had this beer before. The first time I drank it was two years ago in the Amana Colonies. It left a lasting impression on me; unfortunately you canít purchase it here in Rockford.

Colony Oatmeal Stout.jpg

It came in a brown 1-liter bottle with a ceramic Grolsch style stopper. There is a large green label with a picture of a red mill on it. In large red letters at the top is the name of the brewery; the name of the beer is incorporated in the bottom of the picture. There is a picture of a wheat stalk on each side of the mill.

It poured a dark obsidian color that was opaque; light did not pass through at all. A nice 3/4 inch tan head formed. The bubbles were large and dissipated quickly leaving only a ring around the edge of the glass and very minimal lacing.

There is a fragrant combination of chocolate, coffee and oat malts. The scent is almost that of a specialty coffee one would get at Starbucks. The scent is very appealing. It has a full flavored mix of oats and mocha with a hint of coffee accents. With a slight bitterness to the aftertaste, itís very appealing.

It has a creamy mouth feel that one should get with a stout. The body is somewhere between medium and full. Itís thicker than a medium bodied beer, but not quite a full bodied one. There is a perfect amount of carbonation for a stout.

Overall I really like this beer. Iíve been craving it off and on for the last two years. Iíve bragged about it to people and have gone out of my way to bring samples of it to those that I think would like it. Unfortunately it doesnít come in 12 oz bottles, at least not in the last couple of years. So after doing my review it pained me, but I had to dump the extra out. Itís not going to last in the container once the seal is broken. I truly love this beer and would recommend trying it if you ever get a chance.

Iím giving it a 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Boulevard Dry Stout

This review is a day late due to all of my recent travels. In fact tonightís beer is a result of my recent travels. Tonight I review Boulevard Dry Stout by the Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, MO (AKA Hellís Hubcap. KC, not the brewery).

Boulevard Stout.jpg

Once again we have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is black with the name of the beer inside a red circle. There is a little blurb on the neck label that they add yeast to the beer just prior to bottling to start a secondary fermentation.

There is a nice dark brown, almost black color to it. Light just barely passes through it. The head pours an inch thick tan with very fine bubbles. You get the nice cascading factor down the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Unfortunately the head fades to almost nothing quickly, not even leaving a ring around the edge of the glass.

The scent is a mix of roasted grains, chocolate and coffee. There is a slight after scent of hay as the beer starts to settle. The flavor of the beer is mainly coffee malts with a touch of bitter cooking chocolate to it. There is also a nice roasted malt backbone that really brings the flavor to the tongue.

It is a medium bodied beer. A little water for a stout, there is none of that creamy mouth feel one generally associates with a good thick stout such as Guinness or Murphyís. Itís lightly carbonated and slides past the tongue easily.

Overall this was not a bad beer. I was expecting a bit thicker than it was, being a stout and all. Iím going to give this beer a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

Flying Monkey amber Ale

Wow, itís been three weeks since my last beer review. Between sensitivity class and vacation I just havenít been around to do one, sorry. Anyway this weekís beer was brought back from vacation all the way from Wichita, Kansas. Itís Flying Monkey Amber Ale by EME Squared Brewing and Bottling Company in Olathe, KS. I picked this beer because of its name. I keep telling the boys theyíre flying monkeys.

Flying Monkey Amber Ale.jpg

It came in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is a tan color with an evil looking winged monkey on it. Above the monkey in red letters is the name ďFlying MonkeyĒ and under the winged monkey on a red banner is ďAmber AleĒ There is a diamond checkered pattern on the lower third of the label.

When poured it barely forms a head. What head that is produced quickly fades to almost nothing quickly. The only thing that remains of the head is a slight ring around the edge of the glass. There is no lacing on the glass. It has an amber color to it that is clear. There is no cloudiness at all.

It has an aromatic smell of malts with a slight floral hop accent. There is a taste of roasted caramel malts with a slight citrus finish. A mild bitterness from hops rounds of the flavor. There is almost no aftertaste. What aftertaste there is doesnít distract from the beer.

There is a crisp, dryness to it. Itís light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Not so little to make it flat, but not enough to bite the tongue.

This was a decent beer. I had higher hopes for it, but itís not bad. I donít know if Iíd go out of my way to find it, but I wouldnít pass it up the store I was in had a six-pack of it. Over all Iíll give it a 5.5.

Posted by Contagion at 04:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 18, 2007

Yuengling Traditional Lager

My buddy Will brings tonightís beer review to you. He gifted me tonightís beer last weekend at Theatiki. He kept trying to get me to drink one out there, but I wanted to wait until I was home and able to do the review in order to drink it. I didnít want to make my review biased. Tonight I review Yuengling Traditional Lager by G.G Yuengling & Son Inc in Pottsville, PA.

Yuengling Lager 002.jpg

Tonightís beer came in an off white 12 oz can. On the front with an old fashion style looks is the logo inside an oval. There is an Eagle in the center. There is a story on the side of the can, ďD.G. Yuengling & Son is officially recognized as Americaís oldest brewery. With over 178 years of brewing tradition and fiver generations of Yuengling Family ownership, D.G. Yuengling & Son holds the American Brewing industry record for the longest, continuously operated breweryÖĒ Thereís more, but Iím not typing it.

It has a dark amber color with a hint of red to it. There doesnít appear to be a hint of cloudiness to it and light passes through easily. . It pours a three quarter inch head that fades quickly to nothing. There is no lacing or even ring around the edge of the glass.

The scent is that of floral hops and caramel malts. If you smell it long enough, you can get a hint of corn. You can taste a mixture of caramel malts with a touch of hops. There is almost a pear-like flavor to the aftertaste that fades quickly. There is almost no bitterness to the beer.

It is a light bodied beer. There is a lot of carbonation to it that is almost distracting. Itís very smooth and easy to drink.

I have heard a lot about this beer, but never had one until tonight. The anticipation of drinking it was probably better then the act itself. To be honest to every one that has said so many good things about this beer, I think you built my anticipation up only to be let down. I really didnít think it was that impressive. Itís like your standard American lager. There really isnít anything all that special about it. I think this is just another beer that gets hyped due to a reputation, a reputation for being the oldest beer in America. It is easy to drink, this is one of those get drunk quick types of beers. I had the first one down in three ďsipsĒ.

Overall, I did enjoy the beer, I was expecting more, but it just didnít deliver. Overall this is not a bad beer; in fact itís a good beer. Why anyone would call this their favorite, I donít know. I give it 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:19 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Bully! Porter

This weeks review is courtesy of Bloodspite. He personally brought this beer to me all the way from Southwest Missouri. What a great man. He said there was another beer he wanted me to review, but they were out so he picked this one up instead. What he choose was Bully! Porter by the Boulevard Brewing Co from Kansas City, MO.

Bully Porter.jpg

It comes in the squat 12 oz brown bottle. The main label has a picture of a bulldog with a monocle holding a pint in his left hand. In big red letters above the pictures is the word BULLY! In the same script below is read PORTER. On the red neck label there is a little blurb about the beer itself as well as the breweryís logo. I do believe they are trying to give this beer an English look.

There is a dark coffee color to the beer with a hint of dark red. Light reluctantly passes through it, and itís too dark to tell if there is any cloudiness to it at all. It pours a very thick tan head that is long lasting. Heck Iím almost done with the pint and there is still a head on the beer. It leaves some lacing on the side of the glass.

You can smell a combination of roasted coffee and chocolate malts easily. There is a citrus and floral hop background to the scent that is almost completely overpowered by the scent of the malts. The taste is a nice combination of coffee and chocolate roasted malts. There is a slight hop bitterness to the finish, but it helps add to the flavor and isnít distracting. It has a mildly bitter aftertaste, but it isnít lingering or unpleasant.

It is a medium bodied beer with a high level of carbonation. To be honest the carbonation is a little on the strong side for my likes, but not unpleasantly so.

Iím very pleased with this beer. I should not be surprised since after the last couple of times sharing a pint with Bloodspite, I know he has a good taste in beer. Iím going to be heading through KC in a couple of weeks, I may have to stop and pick me up another six-pack of it. Overall Iím going to give this a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

They called it beer.

A couple of months back I caught wind that another brewery was opening up at Cherryvale Mall. At that time no one knew exactly when it was going to open for business. Earlier today Bruce asked me if I wanted to head to Granite City Brewery to check it out. There had been no advertising that they were open. Or if there had been, I completely missed it.

After work we met there to check it out and see what itís like. The place was packed. We just wanted to sit at the bar, but there was no room. We ended up having to get a table in the dining area. The place was filled with your yuppie suburbanite crowd. Sadly enough since I had just come from work, I kind of fit in wearing my shirt and tie. Yea, itís that kind of crowd. To make matters worse, the atmosphere was crap. This is your standard cookie cutter, Chicago chain restaurant in the mall look and feel. I guess it's fitting since it is a chain brewery. The only thing different was the big stainless fermenting silos in a glass-partitioned section of the building. Really, they could take those out, add more tables and slap a ďPanera Bread CompanyĒ sign out front and you wouldnít know the difference. Anyone that lives in the Chicago area knows EXACTLY what Iím talking about.

We kept telling the serving staff we didnít want food, we just came to sample some of the beer, yet they kept trying to sell us food. I guess itís their job, but it was annoying. Then AFTER we ordered our first pint and are discussing which one of the four brews they had we wanted to try next the waitress advised us that they have a ďsamplerĒ tray. Yea, that would have been nice to know prior to half way through the first pint. But itís new, so Iím going to cut it some slack. However, you think they would advertise it on their beer menu, but they donít.

But lets get down to the nitty gritty of the whole thing. What was the beer like? These arenít going to be my normal reviews, as I didnít bring a note pad, and Iím pulling it from memory, so youíre just going to get the basics here. BTW, I may screw up the names a little, remember, no note pad.

American Light Lager: As I read their description I told Bruce it was going to be like a Miller Lite, Bud Light, or Coors light. When they brought the samplers they described this one almost EXACTLY like that. It was very light bodied and watery. There was almost no taste to it, and the scent was minimal. It was like a watered down Miller Lite. It was weak, lacking, and very disappointing.

Benedictine Bock: This was one I was going to choose for my second pint before we found out about the sampler. Again there was almost no scent to it. In fact with all the background smells, I really couldnít single out this beer, and it was right under my nose, literally. It was also light bodied and watery, but it had a darker richer color. The flavor was rather disappointing. It was weak and they described it as having a hint of chocolate to the flavor, but one couldnít really taste it. It was better then the American Light Lager, but not by much.

Double Pull:
Itís half American Light Lager and half Benedictine Bock. Iím going to sum this up by quoting that old anecdote, ďTwo wrongs donít make a right.Ē

Dukeís IPA: They described this one of having a grapefruit flavor to it. They werenít wrong. It smelled like grapefruit, it tasted like grapefruit, and if they jammed any more hops into it, I think the bitterness would have caused my face to implode from the pucker. Now, I will invalidate my review of this beer up front. I do not like IPAs, so itís hard for me to review them honestly. Iím pretty much set at hating them. But from what the staff said, no one has liked it. I about fell out of my chair laughing when Bruce suggested they hook up a hose to the tank itís in and wash down the parking lot with it. I donít know what the parking lot did to him, but damn, thatís just harsh.

Bad Axe Stout: This was the pint I ordered first. I like stouts, Iím fonder of the European stouts over the American ones, but I still like all of them. Rarely do I find one that I donít like. Well, I canít say I didnít like this one, but Iíve had many more that were better then worse. It was a light-medium body. There was a good creamy feel to it, but the overall body was again watery. It was way too bitter for a stout, they went too heavy on the hops. There was something amiss with the malts as well, and Bruce nailed it on the head; it tasted burnt. I think they were trying for a good roasted malt flavor, and over did it. It really was not a complimentary flavor to the beer.

That was it for their beer on tap. They have some others coming up in the following months and they have some seasonal ones as well. Overall I was not impressed at all with the quality of beer. I found it to be rather disappointing. Yet, I am going to give them another chance. In October Iím going to head back and see if maybe a couple months of practice might help out the brewmaster. Then I can also check out the quality of their seasonals. At this time Iím just not holding my breath.

The worst part is that after leaving I felt like a bad man. Not because I didnít like the place or their beer, but because I went to a brewery other than Carlyle. The urge to drive down there and drink a couple of pints to plead for atonement (and wash the bad flavor out of my mouth) was over whelming.

People if you are in the Rockford Area and want a good locally brewed beer. Do yourself a favor and go to Carlyle. What do you expect from a brewery in a mall?

Oh and Bruce has a much shorter and more to the point version of this post.

Posted by Contagion at 08:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale.

Ktreva is really becoming an enabler with this whole beer-tasting thing. She again picked out tonightís brew oí sampliní. This is becoming a weekly ritual. Donít get me wrong; I donít mind it at all. Whatís better than a beautiful woman bringing you beer? This week she picked out Robert he Bruce Scottish Style Ale by Three Floyds of Munster, IN. I believe this is the first Indiana beer Iíve reviewed.

Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale.jpg

It comes in your standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is yellow that has a cartoonish picture of what I suppose is Robert the Bruce. In the oval around the picture you have the name of the beer in the top half, and the name of the brewery in the bottom. It also has the tag line, ďItís not normalĒ. To be honest the smile on Robert in the picture is kind of scary and if I had to look at it all the time, I think I would get creeped out.

It has a nice dark brown color to it. Light barely paces through, and itís hard to tell if there is any cloudiness to it or not. There was a very thin tan head when poured. It quickly faded into a fine film on the top of the beer and a slight ring around the edge of the glass. There is some lacing, but not much.

The scent is of roasted caramel malts. There are other malts that act as subtle undertones, but nothing distinct. We also have a nice touch of wood smoke to the scent that really brings the smell dancing into the nose. There is a nice richly roasted caramel malt flavor to this beer. The malts are primarily what you taste. It has a nice hop accent to it. The after taste is slightly bitter, and fades quickly leaving you to want to drink more.

This is a nice medium bodied beer with a creamy feel to it. It coats the mouth and throat that is rather pleasant.

This is a very nice beer. It reminds me a lot of the Scotch Ale at Carlisle Brewery here in Rockford, only not as flavorful. I really found myself liking this one a lot. Considering itís 6.4% by volume Iím surprised that it drinks as easily as it does. Overall I like this beer. Iím giving this one 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2007

Sweaty Betty Blonde

Yesterday at the store, Ktreva joined me on my weekly trip to pick out a beer. Normally she doesnít come with, but after talking about how they had expanded their beer selection she wanted to see. Now my fine contaminants it should be a testimony to the expansion of the beer aisle when I say that even Ktreva was taken back by the new size and selection, almost doubled! Since she was with me, I let her pick out the beer. Well actually it was because she looked really good in her tight pants and I was really distracted. She suggested numerous beers, but she really was pushing tonightís beer on me. The name of it made her think I should try it. So because of darling Ktreva, I will be reviewing Sweaty Betty Blonde by Boulder Beer Company of Boulder, CO. (I just want to point out that the other six-pack she bought that day was Dirty Bastard. What a combination that is.) I donít know if she thought Iíd like it, or just really wanted me to have a Sweaty Betty in my mouth. As long as Betty makes me happy, itís all good.

Sweaty Betty Blonde.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz Brown bottle. With a bright yellow label. There is an anime looking blue eyed, blonde haired girl on the front with the name of the beer in blue over it. There is a lot of information on the label about the beer, but the opening paragraph (yes paragraph) starts with, ďIrresistible, flirtatious, aromatic, soft, supple, unavoidable, smooth, exuberant, glistening, wild, firm, rare, succulent, luscious, ripe, natural, glowing, curvaceous, magical, wheatÖ and the 5th release in our looking glass series of beers.Ē Well if they are describing a beer, Iím kind of worried. If they are describing a woman named Betty they knowÖ ummm Iím not sure about the wheat part, but the rest has my attention.

It has a weak pour. There was almost no head and no lacing on the glass. What head there was faded really quickly leaving nothing at the top of the beer. Needless to say Betty doesnít give good head. (Sorry, there went my PG rating.) It is very pale yellow in color, and there is some cloudiness to it, which is typical of wheat beers.

The aroma is an overpowering combination of wheat and yeast. There are some spice undertones, but itís hard to discern what they are. Like the scent, the taste is mainly wheat and yeast. There is a citric accent to it, maybe lemon. Again itís hard to get past the wheat and yeast flavor.

This is a light bodied beer. There is a crispness to it that is pleasant. The carbonation was a bit strong, but not unpleasantly so. Itís also a little on the dry side.

This isnít a bad beer. Like most wheat beers they do tend to lack a little something. At least this wheat beer didnít make me think of cereal while I drank it. Iím going to give this a 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Monday this week I stopped in a local grocery store on lunch just to look for a beer. They had greatly expanded their beer selection, I mean by almost double. I stood there in stunned awe for a good 10 minutes. As I looked at the 50 new beers I wanted to try, Iím not kidding, a brand stuck out, Great Lakes Brewing Company. Mainly because each of their beers are named for historical figures or events on the Great Lakes, such as Elliot Ness, the Voyagers, the burning river and the beer I choose, The Edmund Fitzgerald. The Fitz was a freighter that sank on Lake Superior November 10, 1975 with a loss of all 29 crew. It was later immortalized in Goron Lightfootís song ďThe Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.Ē

Edmund Fitzgereald.jpg


She comes in a standard brown 12 oz bottle. The label is black with a picture of the Edmund Fitzgerald sailing in a storm. The name of the brewing company takes the top of the label, with the name of the beer underneath the picture. There is a story on the side, ďNamed after the ship that frequently docked in Cleveland and sunk in Lake Superior in 1975, this porter combines a complex, roasty aroma with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste. In keeping with the Vavarion purity law of 1516, this beer is traditionally brewed from all natural ingredients: Barley, hops, yeast and water. ď It also advises that itís 5.8% alcohol by volume. (oh yeah!)

When poured into a glass, it almost looks like a stout. The color is rich and dark like black coffee. There is a slight red hue to it. It poured a quarter inch tan head that faded into a nice film. There was some lacing on the glass even after it was finished.

This porter had a very distinct aroma to it. A strong scent of chocolate and coffee mixed with the roasted malts and nuts. There was a slight floral hop scent as an accent. When I say this smelled like chocolate and coffee, I mean actual chocolate and coffee and not chocolate and coffee malts. There is a difference. The flavor was of coffee with a good malt backbone and hops for a nice bitterness. It really did taste like coffee flavored beer. Real rich and flavorful, excellent!

It had a nice light and creamy mouth feel to it. Itís not thick like a stout, but slightly thicker then your average porter. Itís very easy to drink. Just remember, this is a porter and not a stout. If you are in the wrong mindset youíll find yourself wanting a stout.

I really liked this beer. This is one I could see buying for a possible beer tasting coming up. Overall I give it 6.5 out of 10.

OH, btw, enjoy the song.

Posted by Contagion at 05:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

Krusovice Cerne

Last week when Kteva picked out the beer, she bought a second by the same company, but a different style. This week Iíll be reviewing Krusovice Cerne from the Czech Republic.

Krusovice_Cerne.jpg

It also comes in a 1 pint .9 fluid oz brown bottle, with gold foil at the neck. The label black with the name of the beer in a red square. This time I can see the other writing on the label, unfortunately itís not in English so I have no idea what it says.

It has a nice dark garnet coloring to it. It appears to be clear, but itís dark enough that you canít see through to the other side of the glass. Light does pass through, but with some difficulty.

There is a nice scent that reminds me of aged firewood. Itís a combination of roasted nuts with chocolate and coffee malts. The smell is very tantalizing. The flavor is of roasted chocolate malts with a nice hop finish. Itís not too bitter, but enough to enhance the flavor. The aftertaste is pleasant and doesnít linger.

The body is thin and a bit watery. For as dark as it is, I would have though it would have been a bit thicker or at least leave a nice coating in the mouth. It is also a bit heavy on the carbonation.

The flavor and scent are nice, I could see myself drinking this on a cool spring evening or even late in the fall while sitting on the porch. Itís not too heavy, so it doesnít sit on the stomach. Itís a 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2007

Krusovice Imperial

Ktreva picked out this weeks beer. She found one that I had never seen before, in fact Iím not even sure where she got it. The label isnít in English, and the alphabet it is in has letters the standard English alphabet doesnít have. As far as I can tell from the label the name of the beer is Krusovice Imperial and is from the Czech Republic.

Krusovice Imperial.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint .9 fluid oz brown bottle, with gold foil at the neck. The label is a golden color with the name of the beer in a red square. There is other writing on the label below the brand type, but the lettering is almost the same color as the label and can not be read.

It pours a crystal clear golden yellow with an orange tint. There is a decent white head, about three quarters of an inch that fades quickly. There is some lacing on the side of the glass, but it mainly disappears with in moments of appearing.

The sent is a mixture of grass, floral hops and various earth tones. It reminds me of smelling a beer while standing in a freshly plowed field. There is a nice malt flavoring blended with floral hops that makes the beer very palatable. There is a slight bitterness to it, and the true flavor of the beer starts to come forth as it warms.

This is a medium bodied beer. There is a decent level of carbonation that is pleasing to the tongue, but doesnít make it sit heavily.

Surprisingly this is not like most European lagers Iíve had of late. It isnít a weak watery flavor with no body. It isnít something Iíd really want to drink a lot of on a hot summer day, but itís worth a try. Iíll rate this 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2007

Beer Tasting and Blogcrawl.

After having some bloggers and friends make a suggestion, Iíve been kicking around an idea. Iím just curious that if I hosted a beer tasting, would any of you be interested in attending? Iíve done quite a few reviews and I have my favorites. Some of them I would like to share. It would also be nice to get together with some of my readers for a good sit down visit. If everyone that attended brought a six pack or two of their favorite beers, we could sit back sample them and see which ones we like best. Or we could go to Old Chicago that has over 100 beers in house that way we donít have to bring anything with. But those are details we can work out later. If you are interested, please respond below by clicking yes or no.


slots online

Also this might be a good way to bring back the Blogcrawl. Itís been two years.

Posted by Contagion at 07:00 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Tennents of Scotland.

I was gifted a six-pack of Tennentís of Scotland last week. Since I was gifted it, I felt I was obligated to review it. Especially since it came from a readerÖ one that never commentsÖ BASTICH! So if you really want me to review a beer, give me a six-packÖ hint hint hint. What? So Iím an Alcowhore! Tonight I shall review Tennentís of Scotland Lager by the Tennent Caledonian Breweries.

tennent's.jpg

The lager comes in a green bottle 11.2 FL OZ, which means you need to keep it out of sunlight while storing or transporting or the beer will go bad. IT has an oval body label with the name of the beer in a black circle with two thistles on either side. There is a big red T in the middle. It claims to be ďScotlandís Finest LagerĒ.

There is a golden yellow color to the beer. It is clear with no hint of cloudiness and light passes through easily. It pours a nice thick white head that lasts for a while. It slowly dissipates into a film on the top of the beer and a ring around the edge of the glass. There is a nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very faint and hard to discern. If you try really hard you can get a whiff of sweet malts with a very week hop undertone. The combination almost gives it a good bread smell. The taste is week. Mainly one can taste malts. If there are any hops to the flavor, I couldnít find it. There is not a touch of bitterness to it. There is also almost no aftertaste. From my experience this is typical of the European lagers.

It is a light bodied beer. There is a crispness to it that is refreshing. The carbonation is a little on the heavy side and it does bite the tongue.

Overall this is a decent beer. Nothing Iíd go out of my way for. It is a hot day here, and itís rather enjoyable. Itís not so heavy that after one or two in the heat you just donít want to drink anymore. Iíd rate this about a 4.

Posted by Contagion at 06:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

VooDoo Vator!

Earlier this week I picked up a six-pack of beer to review tonight, but Iíll be saving that for next week. Monday while I was doing grocery shopping, something compelled me to check out the beer section. Yea, I knowÖ Moth to a flame, etc. They have a beer selection that is rather lacking, and the last two times I was there they had nothing I really wanted to review. So Iím not sure why I decided to check them out, especially when I had a six pack at home in the fridge. While walking down the aisle I saw a four pack that caught my eye; VooDoo Vator by the Atwater Block Brewery. Itís a high Gravity lager and is 9.5% alcohol by volume.

Voodoo Vator 002.jpg

It comes in our normal 12 oz brown bottle. The label is dark purple with a picture of a skull wearing a hat with a white feather sticking out of it. In that ďvoodooĒ script is the name of the beer.

There is a nice dark brown color to it. Light passes through with some difficulty and as far as I can tell it is pretty clear, but the darkness of the beer makes this hard to tell. It has a nice thick tan head that lasts for a while. As you drink, it leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass.

You can smell a nice roasted malt sweetness to the beer with some wood accents. There is just a hint of alcohol to the scent. The flavor is a combination of roasted coffee, chocolate and Carmel malts. There is a slight hop bitterness to the finish. Surprisingly there is not a hint of alcohol to the flavor, especially with the ABV.

This really is a smooth beer. Itís very easy to drink. If it were just a tad thicker it would be a full-bodied beer. The carbonation level is a little on the heavy side.

I really enjoyed this beer. It has a great taste and a smooth finish. It was very pleasant for a High-Gravity lager. Iím going to rate this a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

Nastro Azzurro

Iím still on the quest for Shadoglare to find a great Italian Beer. This week at the store I found a sixer of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. That makes two different Italian beers Iíve tried. So far Iím pretty whelmed by the quality.

Peroni.jpg

It has a green bottle with the name of the company cast into the glass. The label is white with the name of the company in large red letters and the name over the beer just underneath it. There are some blue banners with Italian writing on it. Really there is nothing all that special about the label.

This is another beer with a very pale gold/straw coloring to it. Itís clear; light passes easily through it with out any problems. It poured a white head, but it disappeared in less then 30 seconds leaving no lacing or film on the top of the beer.

The scent is very faint and hard to discern from other scents in the air. After concentrating you can make out a faint floral hops scent with a touch of malt and citrus. The flavor is week with a slight malt sweetness. There is a nice hop bitterness to the finish that leaves little to no aftertaste.

This is a light bodied beer. There is a strong carbonation at the beginning, but that fades quickly to almost nothing. There is almost no mouth feel to the beer and I liken it to drinking water.

To be honest this beer tasted like a knock off of a standard American lite beer. I know they say they have been around since 1846, but Iíd swear I taste a mix of Miller and Bud in this one. Itís not a bad hot day beer. While grilling tonight I enjoyed one. Itís a beer that you can drink if you donít want to be overwhelmed with flavor or your standard beer fillingness. Yea, thatís a word now! Iím going to give this beer 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 02, 2007

Dirty Bastard. Yea, I'm talking to you!

Since this weekend is Cinco de Mayo, I decided to go with an ethnic styled beer. No, itís not Mexican, every Mexican beer I found Iíve tried and sucks. If any of you bring up Corona, just shut up now. Any beer you have to add fruit to it in order to make it drinkable is not a good beer. Please Corona is the Keystone Light of Mexican beer. Why do you think they pawn it off on us Americans? Nope, this weekís beer is Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale by Founders Brewery.

Dirty Bastard.jpg

This beer came in a squat 12 ounce bottle The label had a plaid background with a white line drawing of a pissed off Highlander and the name of the beer on it. The neck label says, ďAuch! Yehíve nary had such a bonnie taste of heavín since pulliní yer mouth off yer mammyís teet. With more highland bitties, and flavours than yer grandmammyís haggis, Dirty Bastard Ale ainít fer the wee lads. And if itís too strong fer yer silk-weariní, poodle-walkiní arse. Then itís back to the lock with you, Nessy!Ē (That is EXACTLY how it is on the label. I think we may have found the official beer of Miasmatic Review.

When poured in the glass there is a nice thick tan head that very slowly dissipates. It leaves a nice lacing on the glass, and by the time you finish, there is still about an eighth inch head. The color is of a dark brown with ruby tints. Itís a clear beer, with no floating bits, but is thick enough that light has difficulty passing through.

The scent is a mix of sweet fruits and toasted malts. There is a toffee undertone, but a definite hint of Scotch that wafts to the nose. The scent is very pleasing. The taste is a glorious combination of beer and Scotch. There is a scotch like smoked peat flavor. You can almost taste a good oak charcoal to it. With a chocolate accent and touch of good roasted malts it brings a wonderful finish to the beer. The aftertaste is slightly bitter, but fades quickly.

Dirty Bastard Ale is a full-bodied beer. There is a nice creaminess to it. The carbonation is at a good level. Itís not biting on the tongue, but keeps the beer drinkable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Ktreva told me I should get it because she felt it fit my perfectly, Auch, back to the loch with you, Nessy! I found this to be a good combination beer. A mix of scotch and beer that is just too good to pass up. Iím giving this beer a 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

Stella Artois

Tonightís beer is one that I had been meaning to try for a while now, and just hadnít done it yet. Iíve seen it around at various bars and restaurants, but there was always something else Iíd rather try. This time while I was at the store, I figured what the hell. Letís stick with an imported beer. I picked up a six-pack of Stella Artois by the Stella Artois Brewery in Belgium.

Stella Artois 003.jpg

It comes in an 11.2 ounce green bottle that has a horn design molded into the base of the neck. The label is white with a gold border and the name of the beer on a red banner in the middle of it. The next label covers up over the bottle cap.

There is a nice clean yellow gold color to the beer. It is clear with absolutely no hint of impurity or haze to it. It pours a quarter inch white head that fades into a film on the top of the beer. There is minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

To the nose there is a pleasant scent of sweet malts with an earthy undertone. It has a nice pleasant aroma that is pleasing. The taste is a mix of subtle malts with mild hop notes. Nothing that is over powering, but definitely pleasant on the palate. There is a slight bitter after taste that fades.

It is a light bodied beer with an almost perfect amount of carbonation. It makes this a beer that is very easy to drink. I could see myself drinking one on a hot summer day or while watching a game.

I was pleasantly surprised by Stella Artois. It really is a good beer. I guess I figured that it would be a weak, unpleasant one. Iím going to give this 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 18, 2007

Summer Time

Ktreva picked this weeks beer. She decided she wanted to do the grocery shopping this week instead of me, that meant she had to pick up a beer for me to review. After much deliberation she choose the Summertime German-style Kolsch Bier by Goose Island Beer Co.

Summertime.jpg

Summertime comes in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is brightly colored with the Goose Island logo and the name of the beer on the front. The background looks like a beach, and behind the logo I think itís suppose to look like sun rays shining out.

It is a pale gold/straw colored beer with orange highlights. Itís clear with no sign of any cloudiness or impurities. It poured an inch thick head with large bubbles. There is very minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The aroma is very weak and hard to detect. Itís a fruity combination of citrus and grains. The taste of it is of dry malts with a grassy hop finish. There is a slight bitterness to it that gets stronger as the beer warms. It leaves an interesting aftertaste that does slowly fade away.

This is a light to medium bodied beer with a light carbonation. There is no bite to the tongue, but if drank quickly it does produce a gassy after effect.

Summertime is not a bad beer, but it really wouldnít be something I would go out of my way for either. To be honest I thought it was lacking in character. It seemed kind of weak, like something you would drink if you wanted to drink a beer, but didnít really want the full beer effect. Iím going to give this a 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 11, 2007

Beer Italiana

Tonightís beer review is dedicated to my good buddy Shadoglare of Refractional Darkness. About a month ago we went to Old Chicago. While there he said that he hadnít found an Italian Beer that was worth drinking. When I was at the store looking for this week's pick, I saw Birra Moretti by the Heineken Italia S.P.A in Comun Nuovo, Italy. Hey, maybe I can find a good Italian Beer for my pal. So now Iím on a missionÖ oh and suggestions would be welcomed.

Birra Moretti.jpg

We have the standard 12 oz bottle; this one is cast with the name Moretti at the base of the neck. The label has an old world look to it with a guy sipping on a stein of beer. The name of the beer is under the picture.

This is a very pale yellow beer. Itís clear; light passes through it easily. There is not a hint of cloudiness to it. It poured a one-inch head that quickly fades into a film at the top. There is a very minimal lacing on the glass.

There is a week scent of barley malts and clean water to the beer. The combination of which reminds me of a cave spring, clean but kind of musty. Itís not unpleasant, but only because itís not very strong. The flavor is weak and watery. One can taste the malts, but barely anything else.

It is a thin, light bodied beer. There is a crisp smoothness to it that makes it very easy to drink. There is a slight bubbliness to it that helps enhance the experience with out making the drinker gassy.

Overall this is not a bad beer. Itís not something I would normally drink, as itís kind of pricey for what you get. However, if I was at an Italian restaurant or someone gave me one, I wouldnít pass it up. Iím going to rate this 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

Sunset Wheat

Tonightís beer is one Iíve had before. In fact many of my friends will know what Iím going to say about it just from the name. Tonight I review Leinenkugelís Sunset Wheat by the Leinenkugelís brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. BTW folks if you are ever up there, itís well worth taking the tour of the brewery, the samples are great and if you play your cards right you can get thrown out too. But, uh, thatís a story for another time.

Sunset Wheat 001.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The neck and body label are rather quite busy. Itís blue with the name of the beer predominate across the front. There is a lot of information about the brewery and the brewery logo on it as well.

The Sunset Wheat is a pale yellow with just a hint of orange. Itís very cloudy. There is almost a graininess to the look. It poured a thin white head that quickly turned into a film on the top of the beer and finally just a ring along the edge of the glass. There was some lacing, but not a lot.

The first time I smelled this beer, I thought it smelled familiar. There was a mixture of Blueberries with citric accents. There is a subtle undertone of malted wheat. I couldnít quite place the scent, and then I tasted it. It had a strong orange and blueberry taste with a good wheat backbone. Again it tasted very familiar. After a while it finally came to me, people this beer tastes like beer flavored Fruity PebblesÖ but not in a bad way. Most folks Iíve talked to agree with my observation.

Itís a medium bodied beer. There is a strong carbonation to it that bites the tongue. There is a bit more carbonation to it then I generally like.

This is a sweeter beer then I normally like, but it does have a good flavor to it. This would be more of a desert style beer, one I would want to drink if I wanted something a little more sweet, but not too sweet. Iím going to give this 5.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 29, 2007

Harp

I made a mistake this week. It wasnít until late last night that I realized that I it was Wednesday. That meant I had a beer review to do. It was too late for my deadline yesterday, so Iím doing it a day late. Hope no one is too upset, especially since I ended up not doing one last week. This is the last review for the month of March, which means the last Irish beer for a while, this week I did Harp Lager by the Guinness Brewing Company.

Harp.jpg

We have a standard 12 oz brown bottle with a front, back and neck label. The labels arenít all that fancy, a cream oval on a dark blue background. It has the name of the beer and the picture of a harp on it. Along the bottom it tells you that itís ďFrom the brewers of Guinness.Ē

When poured into a standard pint glass, the beer itself has a nice golden to straw yellow coloring. Itís clear with no distortion or cloudiness at all. It formed a nice half-inch head that dissipated very slowly. As the head disappeared, it left a good, thick lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was kind of week. There was a nice floral scent of hops with a touch of malts to it. There was a citrus undertone like that of lemon that helped enhance the hops and malts. The flavor was that of malted grains with just a touch of hop bitterness. The flavor wasnít very strong. Iím even going to say it was a little on the week side.

This is a light bodied beer. There is a nice level of carbonation that makes it easy to drink. Itís very crisp and refreshing.

This is not a bad beer; Iíve had it before and was never overly impressed with it. Since it is an import, Iím not sure itís actually worth the price for the quality. Iím going to give Harp 5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 06:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 15, 2007

Murphy's Irish Stout

To keep with this monthís theme of Irish inspired beers, Iíve chosen one that actually comes from Ireland. Itís a beer that some have had the pleasure of trying, while others may not have heard of it. This week I review Murphyís Irish Stout by Murphyís Brewery.

Murphy's Irish Stout 001.jpg

Murphyís Irish Stout comes in a 1 pint Nitro Can. ďThe ingenious floating Draughtflow system in the can enables you to enjoy the creamy head of draught style Murphyís from a can.Ē Iím pretty sure this is very similar to, if not the same, as Guinnessí floating widget. The can is tan in color with a shield insignia over the name of the beer.

We have another beer that is a drink and a show. Itís a very thick beer and the nitro system infuses the beer with gas making a beautiful display of bubbles rising to form a thick tan head that lasts. It leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass. The beer is black like coffee in color. Light doesnít really pass through the beer at all.

The tantalizing smell of dark roasted malts enhanced with a touch of cocoa and hint of coffee tickle the nose. The smell is light and not overpowering, itís an enhancing side to the main course that is the taste. Upon taking the first sip, the mouth is awakened with blend of flavors. Roasted barely malts dominates the taste with underlying flavors of coffee and chocolate malts. There is a touch of hopps to it that makes a good finish that isnít too bitter.

This is a nice medium to heavy bodied beer. There is a nice creamy texture to it that coats the mouth and throat. The nitrogen infusion from the can gives it a good ďcarbonationĒ that keeps the beer from being too heavy.

This happens to be a beer I truly love. I would rather drink this then Guinness any day. Unfortunately itís not as common as Guinness is. This beer is an 8.0 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

Kilgubbin Red Ale

May the luck of the Irish be upon ya! Since it is March and St. Patrickís Day is celebrated in March, all the beers I review this month are going to be Irish. Well okay, some are going to be Irish influenced or as I like to call them, ďI canít believe itís supposed to be Irish.Ē If there is one thing the Irish can do right, thatís make some damn good beer. If there is something American Beer companies can doÖ is pass of a piss poor imitation of Irish Beer as being ďIrishĒ. Iím not saying these arenít good beers, just that they really arenít Irish. That brings us to this weekís Faux Irish beer, Kilgubbin Red Ale by Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, IL.

Kilgubbin Red Ale 001.jpg

They really want you to believe this is an Irish inspired beer. The label has all kinds of Celtic knot work all over it. It even has the name of the beer on a red banner in the ďold IrishĒ script right over three shamrocks. If they really wanted to do it right, they would have had a pint-sized bottle instead of your standard 12 oz brown bottle. Any beer drinker worth their hops knows that the Irish drink by the bloody pint.

Besides being 4 oz short when poured into a pint glass, there is a dark brownish red color to the beer. Itís darker in color, but light still passes through. There is no haziness to it at all. There is a nice quarter inch white head that slowly fades into a film on top of the beer. There is virtually no lacing on the side of the glass.

There is a good earthy scent of roasted malts, both of the barley and chocolate variety. The floral scent of hops can be detected as well as a nice citric accent. There is a nice malty sweetness with a burnt hop bitter finish to the beer. There is a touch of smokiness to it that enhances the flavor. To be honest, the flavor is a little on the week side. There is a mild aftertaste that isnít pleasant, but does make you want to drink more.

This is a thin beer, itís almost watery. It wants to have a creamy texture to it, but the body of the beer is just too thin. It is very easy to drink.

As faux Irish beers go, this is not bad. Iíve had much better, but I wouldnít be upset if someone gave me a six-pack of this. Iím going to give it a 4.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2007

The Poet... Evermore.

The New Holland brewing company is starting to become a favorite brewery of mine. So far I have not had a beer from them that I did not like, and this weekís beer is no exception. Tonight Iím reviewing The Poet Oatmeal Stout.

The Poet 001.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label has a picture of a Raven sitting on a branch in front of a full moon with the name of the beer in old script underneath it. There is also a story about the beer next to the picture. It is kind of lengthy so Iím not going to repost the whole thing, but it basically says this beer can go with just about any occasion.

It has a nice dark brown, almost black, color to it. Light barely passes through. Itís almost like a really dark fresh coffee color. The head has a nice tan color to it. There is minimal lacing on the glass. After a while the head fades to a tan ring around the edge and a slight film on the top.

There is a nice earthy aroma to it. A mixture of roasted oats and malts with a touch of chocolate and hint of coffee tickle the nose. The scent isnít too strong, but strong enough to really enhance the experience. The flavor is of robust malts with chocolate and coffee accents. There is a touch of hops that adds just a touch of bitterness that really livens up the flavor.

This is a full-bodied beer. It has a creamy and smooth mouth feel to it. There is not a lot of carbonation to it.

This is probably going to be one of my favorites. I could see myself craving this beer and drinking it on a regular basis. Definitely, going to make my top 20 list. I give it 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

Special Pilsner

It took me a long time to find a Pilsner to review when originally requested. Now Iím finding them all over the place. This week Iím reviewing the Special Pilsner by Capital Brewery from Middleton, Wisconsin. Thatís right for all my local readers, this is a brew made not far from home.

Special Pilsner 001.jpg

It comes in your standard 12 oz brown bottle. There is a red oval label with a picture of a capital rotunda. The name of the beer is above it in white lettering, and the name of the brewery below in black lettering on a white field. I could be mistaken, but I think the rotunda is the Wisconsin State Capital building in Madison. Iím sure one of you Wisconsinites out there will correct me if Iím wrong.

It pours a nice light yellow color. There is a vary feint cloudiness to it. One can still see clearly through the beer glass to whatever is on the other side. It pours a nice half-inch white head with good-sized bubbles. The head slowly disappears into a good white film on the tope of the beer. There is barely any lacing on the side of the glass.

The aroma is wonderfully inviting. Itís not overpowering in any way. This is what a good beer should smell like. There is a combination of grains and yeast that makes it almost smell like some kind of bread. There is a slight straw undertone to it. The initial taste is almost disappointing in that itís kind of weak. It has a mixture of malts with a slight hop spiciness to it with a hint of sweet grass. The aftertaste is barely noticeable.

This Pilsner is a thing, light bodied beer. Itís clean and has a good carbonation to it, nothing that is over powering, only enhancing. There is a dry finish to it.

I could actually see myself craving this beer. At first I wasnít sure about it, but after finishing the first beer I really wanted to have a second one. This is a good hot summer day beer. Iím giving this beer a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Sundog

This weeks beer is Sundog Amber ale by the New Holland Brewing company of Michigan. Yea, I didnít know Michigan made beer either. Yes, that was a joke, feel free to laugh.

Sundog 001.jpg

We have our standard 12 oz brown bottle with a orange and black label showing the sillouette of a dog in the setting sun. The label states, ďDelicious beer delivered with painstaking consistency, thatís our philosophy. Weíll give you a while to drink it in.Ē Well, if you drink anything like I do, this beer wonít last a while.

There is a nice dark amber color with some red to it. When poured into a glass there is a good quarter inch white head with nice thick bubbles. The head is long lasting and leaves a good lacing on the side of the glass.

To the nose one gets an inviting scent of malts with a nice hop accent. There is a touch of pine to the scent that makes this beer appealing. It has a lightly toasted malt and spicy hop flavor to it. There is a bitterness to it, itís almost as bitter as an IPA. The bitterness isnít overpowering and has a nice tang on the tongue. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste to it that fades quickly.

This is a medium bodies beer with a slightly creamy mouth-feel to it. There is just the right amount of carbonation to really open up the flavor, but not overpower the beer.

Iím going to give this a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

Redbridge

This weekís beer goes out to all of my readers with Celiac disease. I canít fathom what it would be like to not be able to eat or drink the wheat, rye and barley. So for you, I review this beer! A couple of weeks ago I was walking through the store when I saw a sixer of Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch on the shelves. What caught my attention was the display they had that stated the beer was made from Sorghum instead of Wheat or Barley and was completely gluten free. Folks Iíll be honest, this beer worried me. I did not want to try to drink this. My only experience with Sorghum has been in a sweet syrup form used on biscuits. In the end I figured Iíd take one for the team.

Redbridge 001.jpg

The label on this 12 oz brown bottle has a picture of a red bridge on a maroon background. The name of the beer is on it, and it proudly states, ďBeer Made From Sorghum. Made Without Wheat Or BarleyĒ.

There is a nice clear amber color to the beer. Light passes cleanly through and there is no sign of fogginess or impurities. There was a half-inch head the quickly disappeared to a sparse layer of large bubble floating on the top. There was no lacing.

Folks, Iím going to be honest in that itís hard to describe this beers scent and taste. I really have no references for it. The scent was strange; I couldnít place it so Iím assuming its sorghum. There was the familiar hint of hops, but the main scent was unusual. It was a sweet fresh scent, like a crisp winter morning. It was pleasant. The taste was very thin and unobtrusive. There is an interesting sweetness that Iíve never tasted in a beer before; again Iím assuming this is the sorghum. There is a slight bitterness of the hops. When I say there is sweetness, itís not too sweet or overpowering. Itís very complimentary. However, it does remind me of many light beers on the market.

This is a light bodied beer. There was a heavy carbonation to it that had a slight bite to the tongue and would cause massive bubbles on the side of the glass.

My fine readers, Iím finding it hard to rate this beer. Since it is such a specially made beer, itís hard to compare it to the other beers Iíve reviewed. Yet at the same time, it has many of the same characteristics. Iím going to give this beer a 3.5 out of 10. I wouldnít go out of my way to buy another six-pack of it, but Iím not going to turn one down.

Posted by Contagion at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 31, 2007

Black Hawk Stout

Despite a couple of ďfriendsĒ trying to get me to sample a new beer, I decided to go with something that isnít for the dogs. This weeks choice was difficult in that I found 4 six packs that I thought would be either worth a try or I should take one for the team and review for all of you. This week I decided to be a little selfish and try one I thought I might enjoy, Black Hawk Stout by Mendocino Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs NY.

black hawk stout 001.jpg

It comes in a 12 oz brown bottle; on the label you have the picture of a black hawk along with the name of the beer on it. The neck label has a description of the beer along with the name of the brewing company. There really is nothing all that eye catching about the label. It does have a nice older look/design to it.

This beer pours a dark coffee color that light doesnít pass through. Itís not as dark as Guinness, but itís pretty close. There was a one-inch thick tan head that slowly turned into a ring around the glass. There is some lacing, but not a lot of it. The look of this beer is very enticing.

The smell is very appealing. It is a mixture of deep roasted chocolate malts, a touch of coffee, a dash of hops with a very mild and almost unnoticeable hint of cherry. The first whiff makes the taste buds stand up in anticipation. The taste is nothing less then spectacular. You can taste dry roasted malts with a coffee and chocolate blended accents. There is a good mix of hops that awaken the taste buds and makes this an exceptional beer.

It is a medium bodied beer with a nice dry finish. There is a slight creaminess to it. For Stout it was a little thin, itís not as thick as one would get from an Irish Stout. Still there is a nice texture to it.

I truly enjoyed this beer. Itís one of those that I can see myself craving or requesting if I go to a bar that stocks microbrews. Definitely worth a drink if you can find it. Iím going to rate this 7 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 24, 2007

Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale.

This week I was all excited about writing this review. I was walking down the isle of the liquor store looking for a good beer when a six-pack caught my eye, Winterís Bourbon Cask Ale. What? Another beer aged in a bourbon barrel? I didnít think it would be as good as a Dragonís Milk, but I figured it had to be decent. It wasnít until I got home with it that I noticed that it was made by Anheuser-Busch. Dammit! If there is one thing that Anheuser-Busch can do, itís taking something good and watering it down. This is one of their limited edition seasonal brews.

Cask Ale 001.jpg

Standard 12 oz brown bottle with a white and blue label. There is a snowman holding a pint on it, and the name of the beer. Along with the tag line, ďAle aged on Bourbon barrel oak and Vanilla beans.Ē Which I misread when I bought it, thinking it was aged IN a bourbon barrel, and I completely missed the part about vanilla beans. The neck label states, ďBrewed with all-imported hops and aged on bourbon oak casks and whole Madagascar vanilla beans for a smooth, robust taste.Ē So they bottle the beer and lay it on top of a bourbon barrel filled with beans? Yes, I know they probably mean that the bottom of the tank they aged it in had floaty bits of barrel and vanilla beans in it.

When poured into a pint glass there is almost no head. What head that does form disappears quickly into a ring around the edge of the glass. There is no visible lacing. The color is a nice ruby color. It is a good-looking beer, very enticing.

It has a very sweet smell to it. It was a mix of Vanilla, bourbon and beer. The vanilla was so overpowering that it reminded me of a beer and vanilla ice cream milkshake. It was too sweet for a beer. The taste was overpowering vanilla. There were bourbon, oak and malt under tones to the vanilla, but it was difficult to separate. What bourbon flavor there was seemed almost artificial, like it was a chemical extract. The aftertaste is almost completely non-existent.

This is a light bodied beer. There is an above average amount of carbonation to it. Very typical of Anheuser-Buschís Budweiser line of beers.

I was very disappointed in this beer. People who want to drink beer, but want something sweet will like this. Itís just too sweet for my tastes. I like oak aged and malty beers, and this one did not live up to my expectations at all. Iím going to give it a 3.5 out 10.

Posted by Contagion at 09:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 17, 2007

PranQster, not just a clever name.

While walking through the store I saw a four (four?) pack of beer that caught my eye. It had an old Dutch style picture on the box, and I figured it would be interesting to try. The name gave me a moment of hesitation, but I figured I needed to try this beer. I placed the four (four? Who the hell sells in four?) pack of PranQster by the North Coast Brewing Co. in the cart.

PranQster 001.jpg

It is in the standard 12 oz brown bottle. The label is quite interesting in that itís based on a Dutch wood carving of the 1800ís. Other then that the label has the standard information on it, nothing to really make me sit up and take notice.

Pouring the beer into a pint glass, it gives a nice inch thick head that fades at a decent rate. There really is no lacing on the glass to describe. The color is a cloudy golden yellow. You canít see through the glass, but light passes through easily enough.

Up until this point the beer seemed promising. Then I took a whiff, the first thing I smelled was liver. Folks, I kid you not; I thought I smelled liver. It was so predominant that I thought I might have some kind of liver residue from a liver dip my wife made, that I pulled out a virgin, untouched by anything other then sterile water glass and poured a new beer. The same thing happened. Even Ktreva smelled liver. After further examination, the scent is a mix of yeast, cloves and coriander. Due to the lambic style of the beer, it gives it a slightly musty scent as well. The beer tasted much like the scent, there were some malts, cloves and coriander, but it tasted like liverwurst. This is not a selling point in beers to me. I spent 15 minutes scouring the label and the box looking for the disclaimer. ďPranQster is named that way as a joke because it tastes like liver! Itís great at parties and to unsuspecting friends to get them to drink this and see their reaction.Ē Unfortunately, they really want it to taste like this legitimately.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a slight carbonation bite. There is a coating of the mouth that makes the liver taste stick around for a while. It also is kind of unpleasant in the aftertaste.

If you couldnít tell, I did not like this beer. I like liver, I like beerÖ but the two should never meet in one product. Just because Iím slightly nauseated by the fact that I drank three bottles of it to give this review, Iím going to have to give it a 2 out of 10.

This really is a joke waiting to happen.

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

Pilsner Urquell

This weeks review is for Dr. Phat Tony. Heís been asking for a while now that I review a pilsner. Heís been so distraught over me not reviewing one, that he quit posting back on December 12th as a protest. Well, either that or he is doing some ďquality checkingĒ of submitted materials. Folks let me tell you something. Iíve had one hell of a time finding a pilsner. Ktreva and I hit many different stores in the area looking for one to no avail. Finally I was able to find a (A as in singular) six-pack of a pilsner, so I bought it. Tonightís brew is Pilsner Urquell brewed in Plzen Czech. So Dr. Phat Tony, this review is for you!

Pilsner Urquell.jpg

Sadly enough it comes in a green glass bottle. That means it allows light through and can damage the beer on the inside if itís over exposed. The bottle has the name of the beer cast into it. There is a foil neck label. The front label has the name of the beer, where itís brewed and a faux wax seal that says something in what Iím assuming is Czech. On the back label it has all the normal information as well as a story about the beer, ďPilsner Urquell is truly original. Before 1842 beers were often dark and cloudy, until our visionary brewmaster in Pilsen, Czech created the worldís first golden beer. This revolutionary breakthrough delivered an intensely rewarding taste and the original golden pilsner beer.Ē Hey, if they say so, who am I to argue?

True to the description this is a clear golden yellow beer. When originally poured there was a one-inch head on it that quickly disappeared. There is no lacing on the glass to note.

It has a very enticing aroma to it. A mixture of mild malts and hops. There is a sweet grassy scent with a nice accent of bread. (Not yeast). On the tongue it has a light malt flavor mixed with a pleasant hoppy bitterness that isnít distracting. The taste is crisp and clean.

This is a light bodied beer. There is a slight bite on the tongue and a nice level of carbonation. Very pleasant to drink.

This beer pleasantly surprised me. I didnít think I would like it, but itís really not bad. It does have a light beer taste and feel to it, but not a bad light beer. Iím going to give this beer a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 03, 2007

You need a stomach of steel to drink it.

After the last two weeks cop-outs I decided I needed to go and get a beer to make all of my beer review fans happy. (Yes Dr. Phat Tony, I know you wanted a pilsner. Iíve been searching for one at the local stores with no luck) While shopping in the store I found a can of Steel Reserve 211 High Gravity Lager by the Steel Brewing Company. It was only $.99 and I had never seen it before. I figured this beer would be a good one to do a review on for all of you. Remember, I put my gastric tract in harms way so that you donít have to.

steel reserve.jpg

It came in a 24 ounce silver can. On the front it has the name in black on a white back ground along with many other things. It advertises that it is 8.1% alcohol by volume. This can is so busy itís hard to describe. It has information all over it telling about the beer and the meaning of the name. Realistically, if someone was going to honestly buy this beer for anything other then to either try it or play a prank on someone else, they are not going to read that much on the label.

The color is a golden amber color. Itís clear, with no sign of cloudiness or distortion. To be honest it looks like urine. You can see light and images through it easily. It pours a thick one-inch white head that quickly disappears. There is no lacing and it barely has a film on it.

The stink of this beer reminds me of some friends from college apartment, a strong scent of stale beer and rot. Not as much the rot as the stale beer. You can smell some malts, but not a hint of hops. There is also a hint of rancidness to it. Unfortunately the smell was setting up the taste. I could taste stale malts and alcohol. At 8.1% Alcohol by Volume, that doesnít surprise me. There was a hint of sweetness to it, but the alcohol overpowered it. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not let this beer get warm. Once it gets warm, itís probably one of the vilest things you can drink.

It is a light bodied beer. There is a very thin feel in the mouth, not that you want it to linger there to long. There is too much carbonation. It bites the tongue and causes you to continuously burp, which makes you taste it again.

Iím not sure at what point my brain decided it hated me, but the fact it let me buy this beer pretty much tells me it does. Lets look at the signs; 24 ounces of beer for under a buck, itís a high gravity lager, 8.1% alcohol by volume and finally the fact that it was 24 ounces of beer for under a dollar! It was absolutely horrible I give it a 2 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:31 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Rating Beer.

Some people have asked me questions on my beer ratings. First you have to understand that my 1-10 scale is broken down by quality.

0-3: Swill that should not be consumed by man or beast. This is the type of beer one uses for making beer brats, or in the case of energy beers, water the lawn. If someone gifts you a beer that ranks a 0-3 on my scale, you are allowed to not drink it and pour it down the drain after the gifter leaves. However, you are obligated to gift them a 0-3 scale beer. Of course that is unless they were returning said beer to you.

3.5 to 6.5: These tend to be your standard beers. They have a decent quality, but nothing all that outstanding. Most beers fall into this category. IE any of your standard American beers; Miller, Budweiser, Coors, etc as well as many of your micro-brews and imports. These tend to be the beers that most people drink on a daily basis.

7.0 to 9.5: Beers that are exceptional. These are the beers that when you taste one, you tell all of your friends about with the caveat ďYou HAVE to try this.Ē These are the beers that a person savors and enjoys. These are the beers that brewmasters strive to make. One that if you have a six pack, that last beer will sit in the fridge longer because you donít know when youíll get more. These are the beers that when I find one, I like to buy a six-pack to share with friends so that they can sample it as well.

10: The Perfect Beer. There cannot be a perfect beer, nothing is perfect, there can always be better. You may think you have the perfect beer, and then 10 years down the road someone brews one even better. I highly doubt I will ever bestow a 10 on a beer. If I do, it will be the day I stop sampling new beers.

So there you have it, my rating scale. Maybe itís a little harsh, maybe itís too broad, but thatís how I tend to rate everything on a scale of ten. 3.5-6.5 being average.

You can see all my beer reviews in the Alcohol Archives.

Posted by Contagion at 10:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

My Goodness, my Guinness!

I know this is kind of cheating, but one of my favoritest bloggers, Richmond, gave me a four pack of Guinness Draught. It would be extremely rude of my to not do a review on it. Plus, itís the only beer in the house. My wife says itís because of my 6-day drinking binge Iíve been on. I say itís because she wonít get off her butt and go buy me more beer. So tonight I dedicate this review to Richmond, the woman that will do the one thing for me that my wife wonít, bring me beer!

Guinness Draught.jpg

Guinness Draught comes in a 14.9 fluid ounce Nitro Can! ďHear something? Thatís the Guinness floating widget delivering you the great taste of Guinness DraughtĒ. I donít know if Guinness invented that little widget, and I know there are other beers out there that have it in them, but dang it. The damn thing is, well, Brilliant! The can is black, with the Guinness harp and the name of the beer on the front.

This is probably one of the best beers to pour into a glass. Itís a drink AND a show all together in one. The beer is a dark brown, so dark one probably could call it black and no one would question it. Itís so dark, light barely passes through it. The head is a thick and creamy tan color that pours thick and lasts long after the beer is gone. Right after the beer is poured the rising of the head and the flowing of the beer downward through it is mesmerizing. The head leaves a good lacing all over the glass.

When the scent of sweet malts, dark roasts and a tantalizing hint of coffee hits the nose, ones mouth will start to water in anticipation. The taste is a near perfect blend of barley malts, a touch of bitter hops and touch of oak. There is a mild aftertaste that has a slight nuttiness to it that is satisfying.

Surprisingly, and some of my readers may disagree, this is a medium bodied beer. There is a creamy mouth feel to it, but there is a slight wateriness to the texture. There is almost no carbonation to the beer, but it doesnít need it with the widget adding the nitro goodness to the beer.

This is one of my favorite beers. I truly enjoy drinking it. With itís lower then average alcohol by volume, one can drink this all day and not end up as impaired. I rate this beer a 7.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:16 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Drinking Glögg

Well hell, its Wednesday and time for my weekly beer review. Well unfortunately I didnít realize until just now that I donít have any beer this week. So in the spirit of the season, Iím going to do a Glogg review. Hey, itís alcoholic and dammit, itís either that orÖ well Diet Coke.

Glogg 001.jpg

Really, the packaging is quite unassuming. Iím poured mine from a green glass gallon jug. These look awfully familiar, like something Iíd see at a re-enactment. Most likely at one time it held homemade root beer. Thereís not even a label or instructions on it to tell you what the alcohol content is. Fortunately I know from experience you need to warm this. I also know to keep it away from a heat source. Which makes warming it very difficult.

When poured into a glass it has a cloudy maroon color to it, almost like cranberry juice. It has a cloudiness to it that is typical of any type of mulled spirit. Really, if you didnít know what you had in your hand, it might pass as some kind of warm Cran-apple cider.

How to explain the scent, letís start by my suggesting not to take a huge whiff off the bottle. After uncrossing my eyes I could smell a distinct mixture of raisons, apricots, prunes, cloves, cinnamon a hint of grape and a smidgeon of almonds. That was once I cut through the power of pure grain alcohol. Whew! The taste can best be described as happiness. Itís a fruity mixture with a hint of alcohol to it. Despite the scent, one really canít taste the alcohol. There is a tantalizing mixture of fruits and spices that really tingle the tongue. With about a 65-70 % alcohol by volume, itís surprising how one really canít taste it.

We have here a medium bodied drink. It took a couple of mugs to make sure that I had the right texture to it. As Iím typing, my fingers are starting to go numb. Maybe I should have eaten first.

Iím going to give Glogg a rating of 8 out of 10. Sure, maybe I made it thus I am biased toward it, but dammit! Itís my review and Iíll give it what I want!

Posted by Contagion at 05:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

Glögg

Yesterday I did something I had wanted to do for a long time. I made glogg. What is glogg you ask? Glogg is a traditional Scandinavian winter drink. Itís like a mulled wine that generally has raisons, almonds, prunes and apricots in it along with spices. Itís served warm, and tends to socially lubricate a person. Traditionally Glogg has a high alcohol content to it, but now a day more people make it weaker or even non-alcoholic so as to just enjoy the flavor.

Me? Nope, I made it in a fashion that only someone with my resources can. (wink, wink; nudge, nudge) Graumagus will be happy to know that my garage wasnít involved at all; it was all made in my kitchen. I started making it yesterday morning and finished bottling it around 5:00 PM last night. In the planning stages I figured on making at least a gallon of glogg. Somehow I went from making a gallon, to making almost two gallons of this winter delight. Of course I ended up drinking a quart of it last night. Quality control and all, I canít just go giving this to people if it tastes bad. If you havenít figured out, mine didnít taste bad.

Oh and is this stuff strong. I set a match to it to burn off any excess fumes. It went up in the biggest ball of blue flame Iíve seen. Ktreva and Clone heard the whoomp when it lit all the way in the living room. So as to not burn off all the alcohol, I quickly put the lid back on the pot to extinguish the flames. Clone wanted me to do it again, Ktreva was just upset I didnít tell her I was doing it so she could see me do the, ďI set my sleeve on fire danceĒ. I didnít really set my sleeve on fire, but it did get singed a little.

Now I know some of you may want the recipe or have one. What Iíve learned over the years is that there really is no recipe. Sure you can find one, I know because I have at least 20 different ones. And thatís the thing. Glogg is made to taste by the person making it. Each persons taste is different then the next. There really is no standard recipe. Heck you can even go to stores and by pre-packaged spices to add to other alcohol to make glogg. There is even a liquid extract you can add to other alcohol to get a glogg flavor. Me personally, I made mine from scratch. I figure if Iím going to make glogg, Iím going to MAKE glogg. If you have a recipe, and you follow it to the letter, look at other recipes. See what they do, you might want to add a little something to yours. Experiment a little. You may be pleasantly surprised.

So Iím not sharing my recipe at this time. I think this is one that Iím going to keep in the family.

Posted by Contagion at 08:38 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

Pick Axe Pale Ale

Tonight we are on the last of the Tommyknocker beers. Luck of the draw had me saving the worst for the last. Tonight we had the Pick Axe Pale Ale. As many of you may remember, Iím not a huge fan of Pale Ales.

Pick Axe Pale Ale 001.jpg

The standard brown bottle is once again the delivery system of choice. On the front we have two Tommyknocker elves mining with a really over sized pickaxe. The back label has a brief description of the beer again with the history of Tommyknockers and the dating system. According to the date, this beer goes skunky tomorrow. Iím really cutting it close.

When poured into the glass you have a healthy looking beer with a nice cloudy bronze color to it. There was about a quarter inch of a head that lasted until the beer was gone and left lacing all up and down the side of the glass. The Pick Axe was the first Tommyknocker beer to actually pour a decent head and have it last.

The aroma was an almost overpowering scent of green hops. Very bitter to the nose and almost drowned out the underlying hint of citrus and pine. To be honest the pine scent may be coming from the tree sitting next to the computer desk. Nope, took the beer outside and it still has a hint oí pine. The taste was bitter mix of hops with some malts. Occasionally I thought I could taste a subtle hint of oranges, but Iím not sure. There is a very strong and bitter aftertaste to it.

This is a medium bodied beer with a strong carbonation to it. There is a bite on the tongue and a slight coating action to the mouth and throat. When drinking something bitter, this is not a good thing.

I really did not enjoy this beer, probably because I donít like most pale ales. Iím going to have to give this a rating of 3.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2006

Like a Glacial Stream.

I almost forgot it is Beer Wednesday! Thatís the second most unforgivable sin I could have done. The first being actually forgetting it is Beer Wednesday! Let me start off by saying that Iím ready to finish these Tommyknocker beers so I can get onto something completely different. Yes, all the beers have a different flavor to them, but they are pretty similar in quality. That being said, tonightís beer is the Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Lager.

Alpine Glacier Lager 001.jpg

Once again we have the traditional brown bottle with front and back labels. The front has one oí the Tommyknocker elves climbing a glacier as a ram looks on. The back label has a brief description of the beer and the history of Tommyknockers as well as a dating system. This beer will go bad on December 9, 2006. Boy, Iím cutting this cone close arenít I?

Upon pouring into a glass the first thing I noticed is that this lager actually has cloudiness to it. Light passes through its golden yellow body, but you canít clearly see whatís on the other side. The head is very thin and turns filmy after a couple of minutes. There actually is some lacing on the side of the glass.

I could smell an enticing combination of corn and other grains. There is a hint of sweetness to it that comes from the malts used in the brew. With a hint of sweet malts, the flavor is that of various grains. The flavor fades into a very mild grassy aftertaste that surprisingly isnít unpleasant.

Like most of the other beers made by Tommyknocker, it is a light bodied beer that is very smooth to drink. The 12 ounces disappeared before I got to the second paragraph. There is a good level of carbonation. The feel off this beer is veryÖ inoffensive.

I may be ranking this beer a little harsh because Iím not in the mood for this type of beer, but Iím going to give it a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

Maple Nut Brown Ale

Iím getting around to trying one of the beers in the sample case I thought I would hate, the Tommy knocker Maple Nut Brown Ale.

Maple Nut Brown Ale 001.jpg

The same brown bottle with front and back labels. On the front we have a Tommyknocker pouring maple syrup into an ale barrel. We have the standard back label with a short story about what a Tommyknocker is and a description of the beer. It also tells me that I should drink this beer before December 11 or it will taste bad. I guess Iím cutting this one close.

When poured into a glass, it has a dark cola-like coloring to it. Light passes through, but you really canít see whatís on the other side of the glass. There is very little head that quickly dissipates. Even with trying to make as large of a head as possible, it just wouldnít form. The only thing I accomplished was large bubbles.

The smell is very sweet. You have a scent of chocolate malts with maple syrup. In fact it almost smelled like I was drinking some kind of flavored pop. The taste was nutty with just a hint of maple syrup. Surprisingly it wasnít very sweet. It had a mild sweetness to it; there is no bitterness at all.

This ale is very smooth with a light body. There isnít much to the weight, and it has a velvety texture on the tongue. It drinks too easily. I finished off this drink in less than ten minutes, and that was with typing this review.

Itís an okay beer. This would be a good beer to give to someone that isnít much of a beer fan. My wife liked the taste, and she isnít a beer drinker. Itís a little on the wimpy side for me, so Iím going to give it a 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

At least it's not grumpy.

We work on to the next of the TommyKnocker beer from the sample pack. Tonightís choice is the Ornery Amber Lager.

Ornery Amber 001.jpg

Again we have the brown bottle with front and back labels. The front label has the TommyKnockers playing pranks on a human. They are tying his shoelaces together, lighting matches in his boot and putting a mouse in his lunchbox. We have a standard back label, again with a dating system and a little story about the beer.

The Ornery Amber has a clear amber color to it. There isnít a hint of cloudiness or sediment to it. When poured into the glass there is a filmy white head that dissipates quickly leaving a ring and some lacing on the side of the glass.

You can smell the fruity yeasts with a very mild hint of malts when it is brought to the note. The scent is very faint and after the first couple of sips is almost indiscernible. On the first sip you could taste a slight caramel malt flavor with a hint of nuttiness. There is a tangy aftertaste with a mild, but pleasant bitterness to it.

Ornery Amber is light bodied ale with a good carbonation mix. Itís easy in the mouth and goes down smoothly. This is one of those beers you would empty the bottle before you realized it leaving you wanting more.

This is a decent beer. Itís nothing to brag about, but I could see myself drinking a six-pack of this in a night, or maybe during a football game on Sunday. This beer ranks a 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 09, 2006

It's not a euphemism

I am a bad, bad man. It has been a month since my last beer review. Since Iím pretty sure none of you want to hear my lame excuse, Iím going to spare you the horrible lie. After Tommyknocker Butthead beer I reviewed last time, I picked up a sample back of all their brews. Sure, maybe thatís cheating, but hey Iím the one drinking it! Tonight I had the Jack Whacker Wheat Ale by the Tommyknocker brewery and pub.

Jack Whacker 001.jpg

The bottle is your standard brown bottle with a front and back label. The front label has a miner getting kicked in the arse by a mule. On the back label there is a description of what a Jack Whacker is, ďThe Jack Whackerís role was to whip the last mule to keep the supply train moving along.Ē Gee, and this whole time I always thought it was the teenager that locks himself in the bathroom. Again we have a date system that tells me that this beer was bottled August 28, 2006. I have just until after Christmas to drink the beer in the recommended time frame.

Jack Whacker has a cloudy straw color to it. You can see sediment in it that after a while settles to the bottom of the beer. Fortunately even after sitting for a while, the sediment doesnít alter the flavor any. There is a thin filmy head, if you can call it that. There was no lacing and only a slight ring around the glass after a couple of minutes.

The smell is of wheat, citrus and lemon grass. Itís actually a pleasant scent that is different from what Iím used to. The taste is a combined mix of wheat, spices and lemon grass. It is a bit of sweetness to it, but not too sweet. There is a slightly tart aftertaste that fades quickly in the mouth.

This is light bodied ale with a medium carbonation and a crispness that excites the tongue. Itís easy to drink and is satisfying. Itís a perfect beer for this unseasonably warm (54 Degree) November night. It embodies the sensations associated with good Autumnal ale.

Surprisingly to me I actually liked this beer. Iíve found most wheat beers to be hit or miss. Iím giving this ale a rating of 5.5 out of ten.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

Boobie beer

Well as we all know two weeks ago I had a birthday. One of my blog fathers, Graumagus of Frizzensparks (Whom is getting put into a low rent old folks home for old bloggers where they will use him for geriatric gay pr0n when he gets older) gave me a six-pack of beer for my birthday (bastard!). He said, ďI saw this and instantly thought of youĒ when he handed it to me. Itís Tommyknocker Butthead Doppelbock by the Tommyknocker brewery & pub. After trying to ignore it, I finally decided to try it. He also told me he wanted me to review it. I thought long and hard about just drinking it and not writing a review, but I couldnít do that.

Butthead 001.jpg

It comes in a standard brown bottle with a front label that has two Tommyknockers riding rams; the rams are butting heads. On the back label it has the following, ďTommyknockers were mischievous elves who slipped into mining camps with the Cornish miners in the 1800ís.Ē (I always though Tommyknockers were boobs) a brief description of the beer and then ďWhy Butt Head? Try one. Youíll enjoy ďbig brewĒ flavor with the intensity of a `head buttingí bighorn ram ď On the back label there is also a date system telling me that this beer was bottled July 28, 2006. It recommends that you drink the beer with in 4 months of it being bottled.

The color is of a dark tea and is slightly cloudy. It pours a sand colored head that dissolves quickly leaving a ring around the edge. There is some lacing, but it also disappears rather quickly.

To the nose it has a very week scent of malts and molasses. I could barely smell it and it took a couple of tries to get a good whiff in order to describe it. It tastes of caramel malts with a hint of plums and a very slight taste of alcohol. The aftertaste is very mild and not at all distracting.

This medium body lager is smooth and easy to drink. There is just the right amount of carbonation. At 7.9% alcohol by volume this beer is surprisingly easy to drink.

Iíve seen this beer in the stores a couple of times, but you can only but it in a six-pack or in a large sample pack of other beers this company makes. I was going to buy a sample pack later on, but Grauís gift sped up the review. At first sight I thought this was just a novelty beer, but itís actually pretty good. Iíd have to give this a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 05:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

Scots and pumpkins.

On Saturday night Ktreva and I went to the Fox River Brewing Company in Appleton, WI for dinner. Actually it was Ktrevaís idea. Since it was our anniversary, and I had pretty planned every place else we had gone, I figured I could at least let her pick where we went to dinner. Surprisingly enough she chose a brewery.

The food was pretty good, but lets just get down to it. How was the beer? I only sampled two beers, mainly because of my stomach, but I made sure to get some descriptions on each of them.

The first Beer I had was Caber Tossing Scottish Ale. It was a dark amber color with a thin, but persistent head. The ale was clear, no cloudiness what so ever. There was a decent amount of lacing on the pint glass. Yea, I know, I shouldnít have ordered the sample size.

This Scotch Ale had a very hoppy scent to it. It was bitter to the nose with a slight sweetness. Upon first taste there is a good sweet and caramel malt flavor. That was quickly replaced with the bitterness of hops. This had to be the bitterest Scotch Ale Iíve ever had. I was rather disappointed in the flavor. The more you drank, the bitterer it became. It had a bitter aftertaste, which left me not wanting to drink it.

The brewery describes this as full-bodied ale. I thought it was more of a medium body. It was a little heavy on the carbonation that bit the tongue.

I like Scotch Ales, and was really looking forward to trying this one. After tasting it, I wasnít impressed at all. It rates 3 out of 10.

After dinner and I tried one of their seasonal beers, a pumpkin ale. Normally Iím not fond of fruit beers, but this was good.

It poured a light amber with a hint of orange. There was a slight cloudiness to it that you get with a lot of microbrews. The head was almost non-existent, but there was a ring around the end of the glass. What lacing, if any, was minimal and quickly disappeared.

The scent reminded me of those pumpkin spice scented candles or fresh pumpkin pie. There was a slight alcohol scent that enhanced the malt undertones. The flavor was that of sweet malts and I kid you not, pumpkin pie. It wasnít too sweet, just sweet enough. I found myself enjoying the uniqueness of this beer immensely. What aftertaste there was, was a pleasant combination of pumpkins and malts.

It was a medium bodied beer that left a pleasant coating in the mouth. It had a pleasant texture on the tongue and was very easy to drink. Sipping or gulping this beer went down easily. I could see myself actually craving this beer.

Since I donít normally like fruit beers I was surprised at just how much I really enjoyed this creation. The only problem is that itís seasonal, so the next time I head up to Green Bay, they may not have it. I rate this beer 7 out of 10.

Since I robbed you all of a review last week I thought I would surprise you with two this week.

Posted by Contagion at 05:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

Samuel Smiths India Ale

All right, tonight's beer of choice is Samuel Smith's India Ale by Samuel Smith old Brewery in (Tadcaster) N. Yorks, England. This is another beer I've seen on the shelves for a long time and just never tried. When I was out looking for a new beer, it just didn't catch my eye like others have in the past.

Samuel Smith's India Ale

This ale came in a 1 pint 2.7 fluid oz brown bottle that had the Samuel Smith logo molded into the glass. On a blue and white label it had the name of the beer with a little back-story into the ale. It also is very proud of its English origin as it has product of England on it as well as an English flag.

The copper color is very enticing. There is a slight cloudiness to it that gives it thick appearance. When I poured it, there was almost no head, and it dissipated to a thin frosting on the top that lasted until the beer was finished. Some lacing formed on the side of the glass, but nothing impressive.

Like most India Ales its aroma is earthy. There is a mixture of yeast and sweet malts to it. The taste is a dry combination of spicy hops and malts. There is a bitter finish that isn't bad. The after taste is bitter and lingers. After a while it becomes almost distracting.

Another medium bodied beer that has a creamy texture in the mouth. It's a dry finish that I don't find all that appealing. It also leaves a fine coating in the mouth, which is probably why the aftertaste is distracting.

I don't like IPAs, and this one I didn't care for that much. It's not a bad beer, but not something I think I would find myself buying again just to have one. It rates a 4 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:00 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

It tilted my head towards the toilet.

I'm doing my beer review a night early this week because I'm pretty sure tomorrow night I'm not going to be up to drinking a beer. This week's vile swill didn't help my stomach any. After about three sips my stomach flew into an acidy revolution that even the strongest prescription meds couldn't calm. Tonight I tried Tilt by Anheuser-Busch. Let me just say that whom ever decided that the hybrid of beer and energy drinks was a good idea should be forced into slavery cleaning outhouses in third world countries with their tongues. This is the third one I've tried and all of them are so nasty that I want to puke just so the taste of stomach bile would banish the flavor of this unholy concoction from my mouth.

Tilt 002.jpg

It comes in a sliver can with an orange T on it along with the name of the beer. In a black bar on the bottom it says, "Premium (HA!) malt beverage with caffeine, ginseng, and guarana (Which I'm sure is anglicized for guano) extracts, Natural flavors and certified color." Certified color? What the hell is that? I can certify that it's farking nasty!

First off the beer is orange. Not orange like in color, but actually orange. It's like they mixed orange crush with any light beer. The head is pinkish in color and dissipates rapidly. There is no noticeable head after a couple of minutes.

The aroma is that of oranges and chalk. Yes, I said chalk. It's like sniffing oranges that are sitting on the railing of an old school chalkboard. The flavor reminds me of baby aspirin. Again that orange and chalk combination. There is a slight bitterness on the tongue that fades into an aftertaste that is almost medicinal. I'm not sure if it was the flavor or other health problems I'm having but it sparked off my gag reflex.

Drinking this beer was just like drinking an energy drink, except it was 6.6% alcohol by volume. (Excuse me, I burped and I thought I was going to evacuate all that I'd eaten in the last week. It made my nose burn.) Oh for the love of all that is good and right in the world don't drink this. Seriously, this stuff is a practical joke waiting to happen.

I'm going to give this "beer" a 1.5 out of ten. Now excuse me while I go gargle with some sterno to get this taste out of my mouth.

Yes, I drank the whole pint.

Posted by Contagion at 07:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 13, 2006

It's German for Hot Dog.

Tonight I tried a Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse by Spaten-Brau in Munich, Germany. I've seen this beer around for a while, but I've never tried one. There was just something about it that made me a little apprehensive about sampling one. Half the fun of doing my weekly review is trying beers I wouldn't normally purchase. Since it was for my, and your, amusement I figured it wouldn't hurt.

Franziskaner Hefe-weisse 001.jpg

There's something about the bottle that gave me the impression that this is a beer that has been sitting on the shelf since the 1930s. It's a brown bottle, with a gold foil seal around the cap. On a gold label there is a picture of a monk looking into a tankard. On the back it has directions on how to store and pour it. Interestingly you are to rinse a glass, fill it three quarters full, swirl, and pour the yeast. Since it comes in a 1 pint .9 fl oz bottle, you really do need to use the proper 26 ounce Weiss Glass.

While pouring a thick foamy head forms that doesn't seem to dissipate. It is very dense. There is minimal lacing on the glass. The coloring is that of straw with an orange tint. It is very cloudy. You can't make out the other side of the glass through it.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle is that it had the scent of hot dogs. I'm not kidding, I called Ktreva into the room to smell it to make sure it wasn't just me. She confirmed that she thought the beer had a hot dog like aroma to it. After getting a couple of good whiffs I realized that it was a mixture of yeast and cloves that give it that hot dog like scent. The flavor has a subtle yeastiness to it, with a hint of clove. There is a hint of banana undertones to it. The after taste is mildly bitter with a hint of citrus.

The beer itself has a medium body. There is a moderate carbonation that gives it a little bight on the tongue. Towards the end of the beer there is a slightly grainy texture.

At first I thought I was going to hate this beer, but the more I drank it, the more it grew on me. I actually found myself rather pleased with it. It's easy to drink and as it warms it doesn't lose any flavor. I'm going to give it 6 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 06, 2006

Boddingtons Pub Ale

This week I decided to try a Boddingtons Pub Ale. Since I have never tried this beer before, I wasn't sure how it would drink. Mainly I picked it because it was on the shelf next to Guinness and Murphy's. Since Guinness and Murphy's are two of my favorite beers, I figured this couldn't be too bad.

Boddingtons.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint yellow can with the name of the beer on it in black letters. There is a picture of a barrel that has two bees overlapped on it. On the back of the can there is a little history of the beer as well as a description of it. They also go into the superiority of the draughtflow system they use in the can. They also have directions on how to serve the beer. Guys, do you ever read the directions on how to serve a beer? Neither did I. Guess what, it's the same as any other beer that comes in a can with any Nitro-can. True beer drinkers don't need directions on how to pour a beer.

The beer pours a straw yellow/pale gold color. Light has no problem passing through. Upon first pouring it, the beer is mainly head, but it settles quickly. The head is a nice creamy white that settles like Guinness. There was minimal lacing on the side of the glass, but the last of head sticks around for a while.

Upon opening the can you can smell hops. There is also a slight grassy scent to it. It's not unappealing, just kind of surprising. The taste is of your Standard English Ale, malts and hops. There is a slight sweet taste to it. It's just enough to enhance the beer and not overpower it. There is a very slight aftertaste at the beginning, but as the beer warms it becomes more bitter and there is more of an aftertaste to it.

It has a light body to it. The texture is very smooth and creamy. It's probably one of the easiest beers to drink I've ever had. The pint glass disappeared in less then 10 minutes with a desire for a second. I can see walking into a pub and ordering a couple of pints of this while speaking with friends. Five hours later you've downed a good 10 pints and are still drinking the same beer. This is a good anytime beer.

It's not amazing, but it is slightly above average. I'm going to rate this a 6.

Posted by Contagion at 06:22 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

I just hope it's not an ingredient.

Okay, I'll admit this is not the first time I've had this beer. The first time was about 9 years ago and it was awful. Figuring I've had a rash of good beers, and I know some of my readers love it when I drink something that is utter crap, I figured I'd give it a second chance. This week's beer is Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales Brewery in Newport, Oregon.

Dead Guy Ale.jpg

It comes in a 1 pint 6 oz bottle. The painted on label has a picture of a skeleton holding a mug sitting on a barrel with the brewery name on it. In an old English type script it has the name of the beer on a scrolling across the top. On the back there is a brief description of the beer.

This beer pours a slightly cloudy honey color. Light passes through it, but you can't clearly make out objects on the other side of a standard pint glass. When poured there is a 2-inch ivory colored head that quickly dissipates with decent lacing that fades after about 10 minutes.

It smells of both roasted and sweet malt with a slight scent of fruity hops. There is just a hint of alcohol to it. To be honest the smell is not the most enticing, but it doesn't turn one away. The flavor has a strong malt backbone to it with a nice hop finish. As the beer warms up it becomes kind of dry and the hops are more present. It tasted much better when it was cold right out of the fridge, as it warms up it looses it pleasantness. The after taste also gets stronger as the beer warms. When I started drinking it, it wasn't bad, I have about 4 ounces left and I'm not as anxious to take a sip.

It has a medium body that is a little rough in the mouth and sticky in the throat. It leaves a mild coating that can be distracting. It's a decent anytime beer, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. When I first had it, I hated this beer. I thought it was god-awful and it tasted like rubbing alcohol. I'm thinking I had a bad bottle the first time, it may have gone skunky. This is not as horrible of a beer as I had remembered it being.

I'm going to give this beer a rating of 5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 06:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Old Nick Barley Wine Style Ale

This week we have another case of me buying a beer due to the name and label. Today I sampled Young’s Old Nick Barley Wine Style Ale. If you remember last weeks beer was also manufactured by The Ram Brewery. This was on the shelf right next to ol' Dirty Dick's and I couldn't choose, so I bought one of each. I'm starting to really like this brewery.

Old Nick 002.jpg

The bottle appears to be the same 1 pint .9 oz. bottle that the Dirty Dick's Ale came in, in fact I'm pretty sure if I went out and bought another beer from this brewery it'll come in the same brown bottle. The only difference is the label. The label has a picture of Old Nick (AKA Lucifer, Satan, The prince of Darkness, The Devil) surrounded by flames. There is a description of the beer on the back and on the neck the tag line "Devilishly good".

When poured into the glass there was a dark brownish red color. Not so dark that light couldn't pass through it, but dark enough so you couldn't see through the glass. It wasn't cloudy, just dark. There was a good tan head on it that left a thick lacing on the side of the glass that lasts. There is still a hint of the lacing after 15 minutes.

There is a good toasted malt aroma to it with a touch of caramel and a hint of fruit. It's very enticing and welcoming to the nose. Upon the first sip I could taste a malt and nutty flavor with some hops, a touch of toffee and a very mild fruit flavor. This is not a fruit flavored beer; the fruitiness of it is more of an accent that enhances the other flavors. The aftertaste is mild and refreshing, just hint of bitterness that makes you want to take another sip.

It has a smooth medium to full bodied texture to it. It's pleasant with a slight tingle to the tongue. Very velvety that passes the mouth and throat easily. This is another beer I could see myself sitting around with friends and enjoying a good conversation.

This beer earns a rating of 7 out of 10. It's good enough that I could see myself buying more at the store just to spend an evening drinking on.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

Jackarita time!

I've received multiple hits on "How to make a Jackarita." I actually know how difficult it can be to find this recipe. To make it worse, there are two different ones. So as a service to all the devout drinkers out there. Here you go.

Jackarita (Official)

Per the Jack Daniel's Distillery

2 Oz. Jack Daniels.
2 Oz Triple Sec.
2 Oz. Lime Juice.
2 Oz Sweet and Sour.

OR

Jackarita (Cheater)

1 OZ Jack Daniels
1/2 OZ Triple Sec.
3 Oz. Margarita mix (your choice)


Rub rim of cocktail glass with lime juice, dip rim in salt. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into the salt-rimed glass and serve. Viola! Now if you are one of those types that like them blended. See above, but instead of shaking, put in blender.

I'm a huge Jack Daniel's fan. But to be honest, I don't like these. Then again, I don't like any margaritas. Ktreva has developed a taste for them, which is why I know how to make them. I hope you enjoy.

Posted by Contagion at 07:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Thankfully it's not the flavor.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought this beer mainly because of the name. As I strolled through the liquor department of a local grocery store I spied a bottle labeled, "Young's Dirty Dick's Ale" From the Ram Brewery in London England. I couldn't help but to purchase a bottle to review just because of the name. It was priced at $2.99 for a 1 pint .9 oz bottle. As I was telling a friend at work about my find, they made the observation, "Hopefully the name of the beer doesn't describe the flavor." Not that I would know what a dirty dick tastes like, I'll have to ask her.

Dirty Dick's Ale

It comes in your usual brown bottle with a maroon label on it that has the logo and a picture of a stereotypical British fellow wearing a top hat. On the neck label it gives a little information on the brewery along with the tag line, "The Cheeky Ale." Between my friends comment and that, I was starting to get worried. The most eye-catching thing about the label is the name of the ale itself.

It poured a dark copper color with a nice clear hue, not a touch of cloudiness at all. There was a good head on the beer that faded at a decent rate, not too quick, not too slow. I've been drinking on this beer for 20 minutes and there is still good lacing on the glass all the way to the rim.

I would like to comment on the aroma, but to be honest there really wasn't any. I went into three different rooms of the house with the beer trying to find one, and then went outside. I sat the beer down, walked away for a couple of minutes and came back and finally found a very faint smell of hops and dark malts. The taste is week with a hop and roasted malt flavor that fades quickly. There is a slight bitterness to it, but not bad. There is a mildly bitter aftertaste, but again it also fades rather quickly.

This is a smooth beer that is easy to drink. It has a very light body. This is a beer I could see myself sitting in a bar with some good friends sharing a pint or two early in the evening.

I'd have to give this beer a rating of 5.5 out of 10. It's an above average ale, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Posted by Contagion at 06:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

Dragon's milk? More like mother's milk.

This week's beer is Dragon's Milk Ale by the New Holland Brewing Company. My wife had seen this at the store a month back and wanted to buy me a bottle of it because of the name and the fact it has a picture of a dragon on it. For those of you that have not met my wife, she has a deep love of Dragons. When she originally was telling me about it, she couldn't remember the name; she just said it had a dragon on it. Dragon's Milk is a term from the 1600's that describes a beer that was mainly for royalty. It's a strong ale that is barrel aged and has similar qualities to whiskey. True to its name, this beer is aged in reclaimed bourbon barrels. When I was looking for this week's beer, I remembered her telling me about this beer and went to the store where she saw it.

Dragon's Milk

It comes in a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounce bottle. That's a total of 22 ounces for those of you that don't want to do the math themselves. It comes in a brown bottle with the name on it and the picture of a dragon over a barrel, very eye catching. There is also some informative writings about the beer on it.

The beer is a dark coffee color that light doesn't pass through. Very much like Guinness or Murphy's Irish Stout. When poured into the glass it forms a nice firm half-inch head tan in color. I've been drinking on this beer for 20 minutes and the residue of the head is still along the edge where the beer and glass meet.

The smell is heavenly. You can smell the oak of the barrel, a hint of bourbon and a hint of vanilla, coffee and malt. The smell itself was enough to make Ktreva want to take a sip, and she doesn't like dark beers. I don't think words can describe the taste, but that won't stop me from trying. The taste is like happiness. Roasted malts with a hint of vanilla and bourbon entice the tongue and mouth. There is a very slight bitterness to it that enhances the flavor. Even Ktreva liked the taste, and she doesn't like many beers. This is a beer to be savored and appreciated, not gulped down to get another. What is even more surprising is that it is High Gravity ale with 9% alcohol by volume. Tasting this beer you would not suspect that at all.

The texture in the mouth is very much like milk. It's extremely smooth and doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. It coats the mouth and throat as it easily passes by in a pleasant way.

I've never had a beer like this before. When I say it's unique, I truly mean it is a one of a kind. This is the type of beer that beer lovers hope to find, and then are disappointed, when after sampling it, they can't find it anymore. It is a bit pricey at $6.99 a bottle, but well worth the price. If you ever get a chance to sample one, you'd be a fool to pass it up. There are only a handful of beers that I've had the pleasure of tasting that goes into my, "Special guest" category, but this is one of them. If I know I'm going to have an avid beer drinker over, I'll make sure to have a couple of bottles of this fine elixir in the house. This would be the 30-year single malt of beers.

So for those of you that have been coming around to read my reviews of vile beers, I hate to disappoint you. This beer gets a 9.5 out of 10. My only regret right now is that I only bought one and it's now gone.

This beer is proof that my wife loves me. If she had not told me about it, I wouldn't have gone looking for it.

Posted by Contagion at 06:59 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

Four? I give it a two.

We had just returned home from vacation and I was doing a little grocery shopping. As I walked through the beer aisle, not looking for anything in particular, a bright yellow sticker caught my attention. "NOW AVAILABLE LEGALLY IN THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST 100 YEARS" At first glance I thought it was just another new energy drink (Our supermarket mixes energy drinks in with beer in the coolers), but upon closer examination I discovered it was beer. Well to quote the can a "Premium malt beverage with caffeine, wormwood oil, taurine, guarana, natural and artificial flavors and certified color (FD&C red #40)" WHAT?!?!?!??! I thought that nasty Budweiser B to E was the only caffeine and herbal enhanced beer. I guess I was wrong. Then I noticed it was on sale for $1.99; ah hell I know this is going to taste nasty, but I had to buy it.

Four 002.jpg
Four

Plain white 16 oz can with the name of the beer on it sideways. Other then the above mentioned phrase, the surgeon general warning, the only thing on this can that is interesting is the sticker the slapped on it. Oh, and it says it is 6.0% alc/vol.

The beer is pink in color, very reminiscent of Strawberry Crush. There isn't much head on it, and what there is dissipates to a film quickly. Then it leaves a slight ring around the edge of the glass. It looked more like I was drinking Strawberry Crush then a beer.

There is a fruity aroma to it of berries and stale light beer. The smell is very reminiscent of an energy drink that was poured into a glass that had previously held beer. Which, unless you like such things, is not appealing to me at all. The flavor was sweet. The taste of strawberry is most prominent. There is a hint of a beer flavor to it, again as if it was Strawberry Crush mixed with light beer. Way too fruity for my tastes. The strawberry is almost overpowering. I think I would rather just drink a strawberry pop with a beer chaser. The aftertaste is sweet and sugary; it left me wishing I had a Guinness to wash away the taste.

This is just another novelty beer that will only have a following in the club scene or in college towns. I can't see any serious beer drinker ever thinking they might want to buy a case of this for a weekend trip. It's made by the Four Brewing Company in Cold Springs, MN. The funniest thing about this is that after doing some research on their sight I find out that this company has been around since 1999. I'm not sure what then about this beer that has not been allowed in the US for almost 100 years. Except that it has wormwood oil in it, which is the active ingredient in Absinthe. So far, there are no pixies dancing in my house.

I'm going to give this "beer" a 2 out of 10. It's too sweet and fruity. I think I'd rather drink a Zima then one of these again.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

It's better then a flesh wound.

Commenter Petey suggested I try Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale by Black Sheep Bottled Beers. "If you ever see it, try "Monty Python's Holy Ail" from Black Sheep Brewery. It is rather interesting to drink, and just a fun name to say. Worth a try." Petey, what you consider worth a try and what I consider must be two different things.

Let's start with the bottle.

Holy Grail Ale.jpg


The label has cartoonish drawings on it reminiscent of the Monty Python's Flying Circus. The tag line is "Tempered over burning witches". Funny, but that would explain some things about this beer if it were true. The bottle itself has an interesting leaf and acorn(?) design on it.

I should have known better then trying this beer. I'm not a Monty Python fan, and I've only watched the Holy Grail when I've been drunk. In fact I pretty much dislike Monty Python. Which is a good way to start this review, "In fact I pretty much dislike Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale."

It has a hazy amber coloring to it. Light passes through it, but you can't see what's on the other side of the glass. (This is not necessarily a bad thing; I'm just letting you know what it looks like.) It pours a good head that seems to last. In fact I've been drinking on this beer for 40 minutes and there was still a head on it at the end.

There was a citrus-like aroma to it, with a hint of yeast and hops to it. There is actually a bitter smell to it. (And what the hell is up with all these bitter beers? This is three for three! I'm really getting tired of every beer I drink being a frickin bitter bastich!) Speaking of taste, weak. The first taste isn't bad; very light body to it and soft on the pallet. The original taste is not that bad, but it was weak. Where the bitter comes in is the after-taste. My mouth ended up tasting like it does in the morning after a night of drinking Miller Lite, except it was with in minutes of finishing about a quarter of the beer.

Overall I would rate this beer a 4. It wasn't so bad I won't drink it again, but I definitely won't shell out any of my hard earned cash for it.

Posted by Contagion at 05:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

I would have prefered the car.

This weeks beer o' testing was chosen by the lovely and talented Ktreva. While at the store she found a can of Jaguar High Gravity Lager and decided that I should sample this beast. Let me start off by introducing you to the beer. The can is rather interesting; it is an eye catcher.

Jaguar 002.jpg

The fact that it's 24oz of 8.3% alcohol by volume malt liquor that she purchased for $2.00 should be speaking volumes. According to the can the Jaguar Brewing Company in Lacrosse, WI makes this brew. Unfortunately, I am unable to find a website for the company. Unlike Camo High Gravity lager, this wasn't anywhere near as bad. Don't get me wrong, it was not good, but it didn't taste like I was drinking a petroleum product.

Pouring the beer into a glass, it had a pretty week head that dissipated rather quickly. The color had a slight orange tint to it. You could easily smell the alcohol in it. There was also the typical sweet malty smell you get with all malt liqueurs. It wasn't difficult to drink; the initial taste wasn't bad. On the third sip I had the urge to gag. After getting accustomed to it, it wasn't so bad. Again, with the relatively high alcohol content to it, the first thing you tasted was the alcohol. It was thin bodied, but still drinkable. It was the aftertaste that really killed this beer. It had one of those "you'll taste it for twenty minutes after finishing it" qualities to it, bitter and kind of stale.

I think the best thing I can say about this beer is, "If someone gave me another can, I would drink it." I can't say I would enjoy it, but I would drink it. There is also another problem to buying beer in cans this size. They tend to get warm quickly which leaves you with at least 10 OZ of warm cheap beer. And unlike many dark beers, this is not one that is still palatable when it's warm.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate this beer a 3.

Update: I've discovered that this is made by City Brewery (Melanie Brewing Co.) I'm taking it as a bad sign that they don't even claim to make Jaguar.

Posted by Contagion at 06:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

It's a goblin.

Last week at the store I saw a beer not only had I never had, but I had never heard of before. Of course this meant I must purchase one in order to sample it. I had placed it in the refrigerator to cool and promptly forgot about it. That is until today. I was supposed to have the power company come out so my electrician could do the last bit on the electrical. They where supposed to disconnect the power to the house so he could work on the external hook up before the city inspector comes. Originally ComEd was supposed to be here on Monday, they didn't show, so the electrician rescheduled for today, and again they didn't show. Sigh. I was rather frustrated and decided I needed something to drink, meaning water, not alcohol.

Once I opened the fridge I saw my bottle of Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale. I figured this would be as good of time as any to try it out.

Hobgoblin 002.jpg


According to the label it's a "Full bodied & well balanced with a chocolate toffee malt flavour, moderate bitterness & a distinctive fruity character with a ruby red glow" ~Jeremy Moss, Head Brewer.

It didn't take me long to realize this is a type of beer that I just don't like. It's not that it's bad; it's just got a bit of a flavor I don't care for. First off, it does have a slight fruity flavor that lingers on the tongue. Towards the end of the beer it does tend to be more malty, but not badly so. This is one of those beers that I think tastes better slightly warm as opposed to chilled. The aftertaste can be strong, but it doesn't last too long. If you don't like bitter beers stay away from this one, it's not overly bitter in my opinion, but it did have a bitter bite to it. Maybe it's because it's English, but I swear it really had a toffee flavor to it. I know the label says it does, but so do many others. This one however made me want to go get a Heath bar.

About now one of my few English readers that like this beer is about to blow a gasket and throw out the typical insult of, "Americans just don't have the sophisticated taste for European beer." Nah, that's not true. I like a lot of European beers. This, however, is not one of them. Again, it's not a horrible beer. It's just not the type of beer I like.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate this beer about a four.

Posted by Contagion at 07:28 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack