Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Glarus Fat Squirrel Review

Name: New Glarus Fat Squirrel Nut Brown
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%

I mentioned in a previous review that New Glarus brought back a couple of their beers which were previously regulars. The first being their Uff-Da Bock and the other, which I have here tonight, Fat Squirrel which is their Brown Ale. I recall having this a couple years back while vacationing in Wisconsin Dells but at the time reviewing it wasn't exactly high on my priorities list. However since it is now (at the time of writing) 28 Degrees and snowy instead of 82 Degrees and sunny, now's a good time to take a look at it.

Fat Squirrel pours a hazy orange color with a slight crimson tint. The head is off-white that starts out foamy but settles to a thin yet semi-foamy look which leaves behind some good lacing. The visible carbonation is also pretty mild in appearance.

The nose starts out with a strong roasted barley scent with chocolate, nuts, and some mild floral hoppiness.

The flavor is also quite roasty with chocolate, hazelnuts, roasted barley, roasted malts and floral hops. Not too different from the nose but still pretty good.

The body is also fairly light in weight with some pretty strong carbonation.

Fat Squirrel doesn't do anything too special to set itself apart from other brown ales out there but it's still a good, enjoyable beer. Anyone who's a fan of brown ales and happen to find themselves in Wisconsin should definitely check it out.

New Glarus Fat Squirrel - 8/10

Friday, November 29, 2013

Horny Goat Exposed Review

Name: Horny Goat Exposed
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 4.9%

I recently got a bottle of beer from a co-worker of mine to try out to see if I like it. It's from a company called Horny Goat Brewing but it's owned by a company called Rex Beverage Holdings. From what I have gathered, their primary beers are the Horny Goat Brand but I could be mistaken.

I recall seeing Horny Goat in a few stores while I was in college. A couple years ago when I was still in school, I remember it being on sale at Zipp's Liquor near the back of the store right next to the malt liquor cooler and thought nothing of it.

Now thanks to my Co-worker, I now have the opportunity to try out their Exposed Cream Ale. From what I understand, alot of beer made by Horny Goat rely heavily on double entandrés and if you need to look up what that means, you're probably not old enough to read this blog.

Exposed pours a hazy yellow color with a fizzy white head and high amount of visible carbonation. Since there's no lacing, it has a very clean finish.

The nose starts things off with some pale malts and grassy notes.In the back are barley and cereal grains with a cardboard like quality.

Flavor has a maltier grassy taste but is otherwise the same as the nose with a less pronounced cardboard flavor.

Body is light and moderately carbonationed, and it comes across as rather crisp and refreshing.

If you were to take Spotted Cow and mix it with a Budweiser, this would be pretty close to that. It's not as bad as it could've been, but I wouldn't buy this. The good thing about this? I got this for free.

Horny Goat Exposed - 5/10

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anchor Old Foghorn Review

Name: Anchor Old Foghorn
Style: Barleywine
ABV 8.8%

Anchor Brewing is most well known for their Anchor Steam Beer to most beer drinkers out there but many people seem to forget that they make other beers besides just Steam. Last year, Anchor Brewing announced they were going to bring back Old Foghorn, their barleywine, after an extended absence. Up until recently finding it has been somewhat of a chore, but here it is!

Old Foghorn pours a clear crimson color with some high carbonation and a filmy head. There's no lacing here so it finishes clean.

The nose starts things off with caramel malts, plum, and dark fruity notes along with some mild citrus hops. It's got an almost ”Dubbel” like quality to it.

The flavor is pretty malt forward with strong caramel malts, plums,light spice and mild citrus hop notes. The aftertaste is a sweet caramel and grapefruit taste. The Dubbel-like quality is present here as well.

The body is fairly light in weight and carbonation is moderate, so it gives some character to the flavor.

For a barleywine, it's rather tame considering it's flavor and ABV. However it's still a great beer and an approachable one at that. Anyone curious about the style should definitely check this one out!

Anchor Old Foghorn - 8.5/10

Monday, November 25, 2013

Castle Danger Local Fresh Hop IPA Review

Name: Castle Danger Local Fresh Hop IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%

Earlier this year when I was visiting Duluth, I did a review of Castle Danger Brewing's George Hunter Stout and found it to be quite good. Well now that I'm living in Duluth, I think I'll be going back there more, just like I did last weekend! It was a cold windy and rainy afternoon that was reminiscent of a Nor'Easter we had just a few weeks ago. We were north of Two Harbors when it started picking up and we could feel the wind push on the car. But lo and behold we had made it.

While I was at the brewery (you can find the pictures in my George Hunter Review), I had the chance to talk with Clint MacFarlane and his plans for the new brewery that's scheduled to be open for business in Spring 2014. During this time, we talked about the Fresh Hop IPA he had made with Cascade Hops and Brewer's Gold hops made locally from Brule, WI. Since I've been craving a good Wet Hop IPA, and a local one nonetheless, I decided to make it my growler of choice for the visit.

Local Fresh Hop IPA pours a nice clear orange color with a soapy filmy head, sparse lacing and high amount of visible carbonation.

The aroma gives off a fairly pungent caramel malt and citrus hop scent with some grapefruit and grassy notes. While not particularly complex, each component is vibrant in it's own way.

Citrus hops, caramel malts and grapefruits are fairly prominent in the flavor with a bittersweet resiny aftertaste. Much like the aroma, it's not what I'd call complex but still very vibrant for what it is. On top of that, it actually has that wet hop taste that has been eluding me for a while!

The body itself is pretty lightweight but contrary to my earlier observations, the carbonation is actually quite mild. On top of that, it's got a very smooth & creamy texture, giving it extra points in terms of drinkability.

Local Fresh Hop IPA is an incredibly smooth & well-balanced wet hop IPA. At the same time, it isn't overwhelming either like others in the same category. I would consider this to be a very approachable wet hop IPA and I could definitely see this being a regular visitor in my fridge. Make the trip up to the brewery, grab a growler and see for yourself.

Castle Danger Local Fresh Hop IPA - 9/10

Surly Abrasive Ale Review

Name: Surly Abrasive Ale
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9%

Around the last two months of each year, Surly Brewing likes to pay homage to what it was before it became a brewery. You see the parents of Omar Ansari, owner of Surly, ran an abrasives facility in the current building for 35 years before Omar took over and converted the building into a brewery. Hence the name!

When Abrasive was first released a few years ago, it was originally called 16-Grit (another type of Abrasive) and was made to comemmerate the end of Growler sales but it has since been renamed and is released as a Fall/Winter seasonal.

Abrasive pours a clear orange color with a thin foamy head and mild carbonation. There's also some good lacing along the sides of the glass.

Nose is fairly mango & apricots forward with grapefruits, tangerines, citrus & piney hop notes. Very fruity smelling and reminds me of Dreadnaught.

Strong citra-piney hops and mango fruitness take the lead in the flavor with grapefruits and a caramel malty backbone. The aftertaste is equally malty & resiny in flavor.

It's got a fairly heavy body and some mild to moderate carbonation so in terms of texture, it's pretty manageable if you're used to it.

Simply put, this is an outstanding Imperial IPA! It's got a nice mixture of hops, malts, and fruity sweetness & quality that rivals that of 3 Floyds Dreadnaught. Anyone looking for a showcase of what the Imperial IPA can do should seriously look into this.

Surly Abrasive Ale - 9.5/10

Sunday, November 24, 2013

O'so Lupulin Maximus IPA Review

Name: O'so Lupulin Maximus IPA
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
ABV: 9%

It's not often that I buy a beer that has something so unusual about it that I buy it on the spot without having any prior knowledge about the beer. Save, of course, for Rogue Voodoo Maple Bacon.

Yet somehow O'so Brewing had managed to do just that with their Lupulin Maximus IPA. What's so unusual about this beer you ask? In each bottle there is at least one hop cone. I say ”at least” because in the pictured above, there were two inside. The label even has a warning on it advising potential drinkers that there may be hop cones contained within the bottle. It is worth mentioning however that the two of the other bottles in the 4-pack only had one hop in them while another had none in it.

Eat your heart out, Hoptimum!

Lupulin pours a nice hazy orange color with a filmy head, good lacing retention and low amount of visible carbonation.

The Aroma consists of some pretty pungent citrus hops, apricots, mango, and mild caramel notes.

Citrus hops and mangos are very strong upfront in the flavor. This is followed by some caramel malts, piney hops, and some mild grapefruit notes. The aftertaste is a strong bitter citra-hop flavor.

It's got a fairly heavy body and some moderate carbonation so it's got a slight bite to it.

The name ”Lupulin Maximus” translates roughly to Bitter Hop Superior. While it's certainly not what I would call bitter with the exception of the aftertaste, this is still a bold and excellent Imperial IPA. The flavor may very slighty depending on the hop cones (or lack thereof) contained, but this is one Imperial IPA that is worthy of the name Maximus.

Oso Lupulin Maximus IPA - 9.5/10

Fitger's Big Boat Oatmeal Stout Review

Name: Fitger's Big Boat Oatmeal Stout
Style: Sweet Stout
ABV: 6.6%

I ought to review something from Duluth for a change and what better place to start than Fitger's Brewhouse. The original brewery was established in 1857 and continued to operate for 115 years before shutting down in 1972. At it's peak, they made over 100,000 barrels of beer in a year, which even by today's craft brew standards is alot!

Then in 1995, the old brewery complex was bought by it's current owners and now houses a hotel, fitness center, bookstore, 2 nightclubs, and a few clothing stores; As well as a couple other places I may have missed. But Fitger's Brewhouse is probably the biggest draw out of all business at the complex because they are known around the country for making some quality beer. On top of that, it's very close to where I live!

For my first in-depth Fitger's Brewhouse review, I decided to review a beer that is on their tapline pretty much year-round and that is their Big Boat Oatmeal Stout.

Big Boat is pitch black with a thin brown head, with light carbonation and no lacing; Giving it a very clean finish.

Roasted barley & oatmeal permeate the nose upfront in addition to some chocolate malts and some mild hoppiness. The flavor is alot more sweeter than roasty with oatmeal, chocolate malts, caramel-toffee sweetness and some mild, but noticeable, hops.

The body is moderate in weight and somewhat thick but the carbonation is very mild which gives it a very nice creamy texture and easy drinkability.

Big Boat Oatmeal Stout is an easy drinking stout with enough vibrancy to make this a very enjoyable beer. If you're ever in Duluth and happen to come upon Fitger's, this is a great beer to get yourself started on.

Fitger's Big Boat Oatmeal Stout - 9/10

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon Review

Name: Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.5%

It's high time I did a Clown Shoes beer review. I believe they started popping up late last year in stores when I was still living in Minneapolis. While I have had Clown Shoes quite a few times, I've never done a proper review. Right now, it's availability in Minnesota is limited to Minneapolis/St. Paul as it's currently not available up here in Duluth....but it IS available right across the bridge over in Superior, Wisconsin (Keyport Liquor for those wondering!)

Tonight we're having their Blaecorn Unidragon Russian Imperial Stout. The name is a portmanteau of the phrases "Soul Dragon" & "Black Unicorn" though I think that Blaecorn Unidragon sounds like a monster you would fight in a Final Fantasy video game. Also the artwork looks like something Boris Vallejo would paint after watching an episode of Game of Thrones.

Blaecorn Unidragon pours a black opaque color with a filmy brown head. The lacing on the sides of the glass is pretty good and it has a small amount of carbonation visible.

The aroma is fairly mild by Imperial Stout standards with roasted malts, chocolate, barley and cocoa nibs. Subdued but still quite noticeable.

The flavor starts out with a strong chocolate molasses taste, followed by roasted malts, some strong piney hops, and a slight vanilla flavor. The aftertaste is a weird one with both chocolate AND bitter piney hoppiness.

Both the body weight and carbonation are moderately leveled and there's also a slight thickness to the overall mouthfeel.

While some may not like the higher-than-normal hoppiness here, it's still a fairly rich & robust Imperial Stout that tastes great and is not afraid to be a little different. Check this one out if it's available in your area.

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon - 9/10    

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Glarus Uff-Da Review

Name: New Glarus Uff-Da
Style: Bock
ABV: 7.3%

New Glarus Brewing recently brought Uff-Da & Fat Squirrel out of cryogenic suspension much to the delight of New Glarus fans everywhere. As you can probably already guess, we're taking a look at Uff-Da!

Every once in a while, I'll see a beer label and think to myself "Why on Earth would they call it that?" and this is no exception to that rule. Uff-Da is a term used by some residents of the upper Midwest and primarily those of Scandinavian/Norwegian descent. It's a slang term used when you hear something that's rather unpleasant or discomforting. To better illustrate my point, I've created this dialogue for your reading pleasure:

Sven: Hey did you hear about what happened to Ollie down at his farm?
Olaf: No, what happened?
Sven: He was tending to his cows when one of the horses got startled and kicked him right in the...well, you know....
Olaf: Uff-Da, that must've hurt!

Well, hopefully this beer won't put me in the Emergency Room, so let's take a look!

Uff-Da pours a clear crimson red color with a filmy-looking head with some decent lacing and some mild visible carbonation.

Caramel Malts are the first thing noticeable in the aroma along with yeasts, some floral hop notes and some roasted barley. Pretty basic smelling, even for a bock beer.

Likewise, the flavor isn't too different. You have caramel & pale malts, yeasts, floral hops and roasted barley. The roasted aspect is a alot stronger here along with some mild pale malts and hoppiness in the aftertaste.

It's pretty heavy in terms of weight on the palate and the carbonation is fairly moderate and not too overwhelming. It's enough to help one enjoy what this beer has to offer.

As much as I like New Glarus, I wasn't too impressed with this. Keep in mind that while it's certainly not a bad beer, it's a bit too roasty and not malty enough to even things out. I say if you're gonna buy this, buy it as part of a mix-a-six and decide for yourself

New Glarus Uff-Da - 7/10

Milwaukee's Best Premium Review

Name: Milwaukee's Best Premium
Brewed By: Miller Brewing Company
Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 4.3%

The name of the beer is Milwaukee's Best Premium.....or as we called it in college: The Beast.  Yes, I recall many times with The Beast. Every once in a great while we would tire of Miller Lite and Natural Light and seek out some Milwaukee's Best. You see to a 21 year old college student, Milwaukee's Best was considered ”high end” due to the price we would have to pay at the various University of Minnesota campus liquor stores.

Of course, all of that changed when my old roommate from Wisconsin introduced me to New Glarus Spotted Cow. Now that I'm a few years older, I've decided to take a look at the beer that helped shape my college experience.

Milwaukee's Best Premium pours a very pale yellow color with a high amount of carbonation and a foamy head. There's also no lacing to be had here.

The aroma is mainly cereal grains, pale malts, grassiness and cooked corn. With that said, the taste is also pretty much the same but with a more pronounced barley flavor.

The body is pretty light but it's very heavily carbonated, but crisp at least.

For an adjunct lager, it’s not too bad and it's higher in quality compared to other beers of the same style. With that said, I really can't say that'd go out of my way to try this but I can say that it's tolerable at least.

Milwaukee's Best Premium - 5/10

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sprecher Pipers Scotch Ale Review

Name: Sprecher Pipers Scotch Ale
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 8.27%

Been a long week for myself so I figured it's time to review one of my favorite offerings from Sprecher Brewing. Now as you may recall from my last Sprecher review of their Belgian-Style Dubbel Ale, I pointed out that I wasn't too crazy about it.

Pipers Scotch pours a dark brown color with a fairly strong hazy appearance with a fizzy 2 finger head, a high amount of visible carbonation and only has a sparse amount of lacing.

The nose has strong caramel, oak, and smoke notes. There's also a pronounced butter rum and vanilla/bourbon aroma to it.

The flavor has a more pronounced oak/bourbon/smoke taste with hints of caramel malts, hops, and peated scotch. There's a slight booziness but it's very minor compared to everything else. The aftertaste is an oaked vanilla flavor that sticks around for a couple of minutes.

The body as a whole is reasonably light but the carbonation is a bit heavy for what it is and I feel it could be toned down just a bit.

While the body could use a little work, the flavor is fantastic even if you take into consideration the booziness. Anyone who loves Scotch Ales should definitely check this out as I think this is one beer that shows off just how vibrant and robust a scotch ale can be.

Sprecher Pipers Scotch Ale - 9/10

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Review

Name: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.2%

It's been a fairly hectic week on my end so I'll try to make this one nice and quick. Tonight I will be having Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Extra IPA.

With many of Sierra Nevada's labels, the name usually coincides with the portrait in the center. So why does the artwork in the center show off a prairie landscape and yet calls itself "Torpedo?" Instead it should be a picture of Marko Ramius in his snappy outfit; Just saying!

Torpedo pours a mildly hazy orange color with a slightly orange tinted foamy head. The carbonation visible is fairly mild.

The nose gives off a fairly strong piney and citrus hops aroma with some mild mango-grapefruit notes with some slight caramel maltiness.

Flavor-wise it's pretty much with piney & citrus hops, grapefruit, caramel, and a slight resiny aftertaste that comes off as surprisingly dry.

The body has a moderate weight to it but the carbonation is very mild, giving it an almost creamy feel. With that said, it goes down pretty easy.

Despite the lack of Marko Ramius, this is a great IPA! It doesn't have all the bells and whistle of other IPAs out there, but each flavor is very robust which makes for an enjoyable IPA!

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA - 8.5/10

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Deschutes Chasin' Freshies Review

Name: Deschutes Chasin' Freshies
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.4%

Note: This is the 2013 Release

Deschutes Brewing seems to have a thing for wet hop IPAs this year much like Summit Brewing has a thing for IPAs in general. Chasin' Freshies is the second wet hop IPA released this year after their Fresh Squeezed IPA. From what I understand, last year (2012) was the first time it was released and was brewed with Cascade hops. This year it's brewed with Amarillo hops and since I can't compare and contrast like I did with Surly Wet, this'll be a first for myself.

Before I start this review, I'd like to ask a question: Now is it just me or does the name "Chasin' Freshies" sound like the movie title of a stoner comedy?

Chasin' Freshies pours a pale hazy yellow color with a low amount of visible carbonation, semi-foamy head and good lacing.

In the aroma, it starts out with a grapefruit and citrus hop profile with some caramel malt, apricot and resin notes. The hops at large don't really give off a "wet hop" smell like Fresh Squeezed did.

With that said, the wet hops are quite noticeable flavor-wise with mango and apricot fruitness, toffee, piney & floral hops with a bitter resin finish. Now this is more like it. Permitting it's not quite as hoppy as say Fresh Squeezed, but the wet hops are present here.

It's got a moderate weighted feel to it but the carbonation is a bit too strong for my liking, and that is probably my biggest gripe and a relatively small one at that.

All and all, it's a very good wet hop IPA.......but I still prefer Fresh Squeezed over this. Sure it's got one of the better wet hop profiles that I've seen this year, but Fresh Squeezed just came off as more vibrant and satisfying. However I would still recommend checking this out because it's still a great IPA!

Deschutes Chasin' Freshies - 8.5/10

Monday, November 11, 2013

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Review

Name: Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale
Style: Wheat Beer
ABV: 4.2%

Goose Island Brewing loves to make it known that they are a Chicago-based brewery, despite contract brewing some of their highest selling beers out of state though they still continue to operate in Chicago and continue to make beers in their original location.

For those who are not familiar with Chicago, 312 is the area code which the city uses and is used by the majority of residents in Cook County. It's either that or 773, which is used primarily in the surrounding suburbs and/or counties.

While it bears the area code in which I once resided, it doesn't remind me of Chicago as much as Honker's Ale does. In any case, let's take a look.

It starts off with a hazy yellow color with a soapy head, with a high amount of carbonation and decent lacing along the sides of the glass.

The aroma has a strong cereal grain scent with wheat, pale malts, grassiness, slight floral hop notes and some mild skunkiness.

The taste is mostly cereal grains, pale malts, some slight wheat notes and mild earthiness. The hops present in the nose are nowhere to be seen here. Aftertaste is a mixture of grains and pale malt sweetness. Tastes more like an adjunct lager than a wheat beer, in my opinion.

Body feels a bit heavy with some rather strong carbonation. Doesn't feel all that good considering the flavor.

If you're looking for a good wheat, this one will disappoint you in almost every way because it tastes more like a Bud than a Wheat Beer.

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat - 4/10

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA Review

Name: Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

This weekend is a lightning round in terms of reviews; Meaning that I have a few reviews that are in the pipeline that I'm gonna get out of the way.

The first lightning round review on the list is from Central Waters Brewing with their Glacial Trail IPA. If there's one thing thats not short supply here in the Twin Ports, it's Central Waters amongst other things.

Glacial Trail pours a hazy orange color with a foamy head and some mild carbonation. The lacing left behind is also pretty good.

The aroma has a strong bread/yeastiness quality up front and some mild citrus hop notes along with some toffee malts.

The strong yeastiness also carries over to the flavor, which is also fairly malt forward with toffee, caramel and mild citrus hop notes before finishing with a mild bitter piney hoppiness.

The body is moderate in weight but light in carbonation; Giving it a mildly creamy mouthfeel.

Even though it calls itself an IPA, I feel more inclined to classify this as an English Pale Ale and unbalanced one at that because of the relatively strong yeast and malty characteristics and mild hoppiness. With that said, it's still a decent beer but an unremarkable one at that.

Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA - 7/10

Canal Park Dawn Treader Review

Name: Canal Park Dawn Treader
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9.2%

Around a year ago, a new brewpub opened it's doors here in Duluth much to the delight of beer geeks, locals and tourists alike. It's name is Canal Park Brewing Company and it gets it's name from the Canal Park area of Duluth which is where it's located. It's also a frequent tourist destination year round here in Duluth so it's usually packed whenever there's something going on here in town, which is almost every weekend.

To celebrate their 1 year in business, I've decided to honor this occasion by reviewing the first beer that I ever had from this brewpub: Dawn Treader Tripel. It's not too often you see a brewpub with a year round Tripel offering, but Canal Park has just that.

Dawn Treader pours a clear golden color with a foamy head and a good amount of lacing. The carbonation visible is moderate in appearance.

The nose has some strong spicy, clove, banana and fruity notes paired with some pale malts and mild citrus hops.

Flavor-wise, the maltiness has a bit more of an obvious presence with caramel, cloves, bananas, citrus hops and yeast/biscuits. The aftertaste is a mixture of banana-cloves and spiciness.

It's got a medium weighted feel to it and the carbonation is just a notch below moderate, which is perfect for allowing the flavors to settle in.

This is the perfect beer to try out if you're a seasoned beer aficionado looking to get acquainted with Canal Park for the first time. It's rich, robust and it's available all-year round!

Canal Park Dawn Treader - 9.25/10

Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter Review

Name: Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.5%

The next beer in my lightning round review session is yet another beer by Central Waters Brewing, this time it's their Mud Puppy Porter.

Contrary to what the name suggests, it is NOT named after an adorable beagle which has been frolicking around in the mud. In fact, it is named after something that is the total opposite of adorable: A salamander that lives at the bottom of muddy river streams.

All I want is a hug!
Mud Puppy pours a Clear Dark Red color with a filmy head with an abundant amount of lacing and a high amount of carbonation.

The aroma is very roasty with roasted barley & malt notes, paired up with chocolate and some floral hoppiness, unusual for a porter to say the least.

The hoppiness is even more prevalent in the flavor with some roasted barley, coffee and chocolate notes. Aftertaste is a bittersweet dark chocolate flavor.

The body is a bit on the heavier side with some mild to moderate carbonation. Not ideal, but at least it allows you to savor the flavors which this has to offer.

It's not perfect but it's roasty, malty and surprisingly hoppy for a porter. Overall I say give this one a shot and decide for yourself; I enjoyed this and I hope you do as well.

Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter - 8/10

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Review

Name: Oskar Blues Ten FIDY
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%

In honor of World Stout Day, I'm reviewing Oskar Blues very own Imperial Stout offering. That's right, I'm talking about Ten FIDY and yes, the FIDY is capitalized. In case you were wondering, the name comes from it's 10.5% ABV; Were you expecting someone else.....?

To my knowledge, this is the only Imperial Stout I know of that comes in a can, though if I'm wrong please feel free to correct me. I know craft beer in cans is becoming more of a commonplace, but it's quite unusual to see this style of beer in a can. Then again, this is Oskar Blues we're talking here.

Ten FIDY pours a opaque black color with a dark brown foamy head and a large amount of lacing. The carbonation which is visible is mild in appearance.

The nose starts off with strong chocolate malts, caramel, roasted barley and toffee. There's even some noticeable hoppiness thrown in for good measure.

The roasty and malty aroma is amplified in the taste with chocolate, roasted barley, vanilla, peasted scotch smoked malts and oak. The hoppiness isn't quite as noticeable here as the nose but you can taste it if you allow it to sit on your palate long enough. Speaking of which....

The body is fairly heavy and somewhat thick and the carbonation starts out moderate but tapers off into a more mild feel.

For an Imperial Stout, it draws heavily from Scotch Ales in terms of Smokiness but it's thankfully an asset in this case.  While the smokiness may deter some people from enjoying this, it's still got a very nice mix of flavors to make this worth checking out. As for me, I loved it and look forward to having it again.

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY - 9/10

Friday, November 8, 2013

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale Review

Name: Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

Dale's Pale Ale, one of the staples of my beer fridge while I was living in Chicago! What I lacked in Surly, it was made up for in Dale's Pale Ale. Now that I'm back in Minnesota and right across the bridge from Superior, I now have both. It's like karma has rewarded my good deeds with beer and now both Surly & Oskar Blues are now regulars in my fridge.

Oskar Blues is a brewery based out of Colorado and are available in several states, though I've heard whisperings and rumors on Beer Advocate that they will distributing here to Minnesota sooner than expected on account of Oskar Blues being a guest tap down in Minneapolis. We shall see for the time being.

Anyways, let's take a look at Dale's Pale Ale!

Dale's Pale Ale pours a mildy hazy orange color with a fairly foamy head, good lacing and some mild carbonation visible on the sides of the glass.

The nose has a fairly prevalent not overly strong floral and piney hoppiness up front to go along with the caramel malts and grassy scent. There's also some mild apricot fruitiness in the aroma as well.

There is a sudden citrus hoppiness in the flavor complimented by grapefruit, apricot, floral hops, and caramel malts. The grassy/earthiness that was in the nose is nowhere to be seen here. There is a fairly strong resin & malty aftertaste that is surprisingly balanced.

It terms of weight, it's a couple sets above moderate and has a slight thickness to it, but the carbonation is very light here so you're able to take in all the flavors without having to worry about irritating your palate.

To me, having this again is like hanging out with an old friend, spending the afternoon together, having lots of fun and realizing why you guys used to hang out together so much in the first place.

It's a very well rounded and balanced pale ale. It's well balanced profile of malts, fruitness and hops make this an extremely easy beer to recommend. It's not "Zombie Dust" caliber by any means, but it's good enough to keep me coming back for more. It's also decently priced so that also works!

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale - 8.5/10

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

AleSmith Speedway Stout Review

Name: AleSmith Speedway Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 12%

At the risk of sounding smug, we Duluth (And Superior, Wisconsin) residents have gotten some access to some pretty sweet beers recently. While the selection isn't quite as bountiful as say....Chicago, Colorado or the West Coast, I feel it is safe to say that we got quite alot on our hands.

Recently, AleSmith Brewing started distributing to Wisconsin and have brought their beers to our neighbors over in Superior, WI. I've been reading about this brewery in particular online and have seen their Speedway Stout at the top of many "Must-have" beer lists. They are also a very highly regarded California Brewery and joins Ballast Point in terms of availability in our area.

I don't know if I should consider myself lucky it is! My review of AleSmith Speedway Stout!

Speedway Stout pours a pitch black color with a creamy-looking filmy brown head. The lacing has some good retention and the carbonation visible is mild.

The nose has a sweet chocolate nib and coffee aroma, with some licorice, vanilla, chocolate malts and roasted barley.

Flavor-wise, it's got a very strong coffee taste upfront with rich some chocolate, roasted barley, and malty notes. There's some minor but noticeable booziness in the flavor throughout. Aftertaste is a bitter coffee and malty flavor

The body is very heavy in weight and carbonation-wise, it lands in between mild & moderate; So it's quite manageable.

The flavor, while robust, isn't quite as complex as the aroma and it tastes somewhat boozy. With that said, it's still an excellent Imperial Stout that is worth checking out. Since they have brought multiple offerings to our area, I'll be sure to check all of them out.

AleSmith Speedway Stout - 8.5/10

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Molson XXX Review

Name: Molson XXX
Style: Malt Liquor
ABV: 7.3%

When I picked this up as part of a mix-a-six, I wasn't really sure what to expect. On the front it says "Super Premium Beer" with a fairly high ABV of 7.3%. I figured it was Molson's answer to Bud Light Platinum. Upon looking this up, I discovered that I had purchased a Malt Liquor. You really don't see them in 12 oz. bottles much with the slight exception of Mickey's, which come in those 8 oz. ”Grenade” bottles.

Aside from the name & information above, I really don't have other information about this beer, so let's dive right in shall we?

Molson XXX pours a clear pale yellow color with a filmy head and a high amount of visible carbonation. In terms of lacing, there isn't anything here.

The nose starts off with a very powerful boozy smell with some cereal grains, pale malts, cardboard, grassiness and some skunk. Well, it for sure smells like a malt liquor!

The flavor is a cross between burnt cardboard, pale malts, booziness, grassiness and skunkiness (If it wasn't a word before, it is now!). Oh dear god, it's like they took the boozy & skunky scents and made it into a flavor!

The body is fairly light and crisp but the carbonation is very strong and it really doesn't matter much at this point.

If there is a beer underworld, then this deserves to be cast down into the furthest depths. This is probably the worst thing to come out of Canada since Justin Bieber and that's saying alot.  I've came up with a motto for Molson XXX in the event it is horrible and it is very much so. So here it is:

Molson XXX, it SuXXX.

Molson XXX - 1/10

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale Review

Name: Rogue Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale
Style: Smoked Beer/Rauchbier
ABV: 6.5%

Last year, Rogue Ales started doing collaborations with Portland-Based Voodoo Doughnuts to bring about some rather....interesting beers. For starters, in an attempt to draw attention,the bottle itself is  a Pepto-Bismol Pink and you can tell it was sprayed on because there's some pink opacity (fading away for you non-Photoshop users) near the mouth of the bottle.

The second thing you'll notice is the flavor: Maple Syrup & Bacon. Now I'm no stranger to Smoked/Rauchbiers in general and I'm familiar with the bonfire/smoked bacon flavor that comes along with it but this is supposedly made with actual bacon. I've actually had a maple-bacon donut before (not from Rogue) and found it to be rather good but that may just be my own messed-up palate.

So Bacon and Beer together at last, two of my favorite things in one package, there is no possible way this could suck.....

The beer pours a dark hazy brown color with a pretty foamy head. The amount of carbonation is pretty mild and the lacing retention here is pretty lacking.

The nose smells like a Perkins Breakfast Platter....No seriously, it's like they took the Perkins 55 Plus Breakfast menu and made a beer from it! I'm getting some bacon, maple syrup, some yeastiness that may as well be pancakes and a very light hoppiness.

The flavor thankfully remembers that it's still a smoked beer.....sort of. To start, it's got a smoked/sweet malty backbone, bacon and and a very sweet maple syrup taste. There's also some slight oakiness to the flavor as well as some bready/yeastiness. I still say it tastes like breakfast!

The body is moderate in weight with some pretty light carbonation. It's got a fairly creamy mouthfeel so it's a pretty easy beer to drink.

I love Rauchbiers & Smoked Beers but this really didn't cut it for me. It's a bit too sweet for this style of beer and there are cheaper alternatives of the same style that taste so much better than this.

Rogue Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale - 6/10

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Surly Furious Review

Name: Surly Furious
Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
ABV: 6.6%

For all the reviews I've done over the years, I've never done a review of Surly Furious, despite the numerous times I've had it over the years. The reason for this is because whenever I'm out and about, Furious is one of the beers that I usually have at social events and I'm never able to sit down to review it properly.

Surly Furious is also the first IPA that I ever had and it was at Pizza Lucé in South Minneapolis. At the time I was having dinner with a friend of mine when she swore to me that Furious was the best beer that she ever had. Up until that point, my beers of choice were mainly Grain Belt and Natural Light so I took her advice and ordered a pint of Furious. Upon drinking it, I spat out the contents and told her it tasted like Pine-Sol; After which the mustached hipster who was taking our order called me crazy for hating Furious and fetched me a Grain Belt tallboy instead.

Fast forward 2 years and I try out Furious again. By that point, my palate was a bit more refined and used to different beers styles. When I tried it again, I fell in love with it; Funny how things change!

Considered by most to be the flagship beer of Surly Brewing, this hugely popular and highly sought after IPA has quite an interesting origin story. A couple years ago, I was on a tour of the brewery when our tour guide mentioned that while the brewery was in it's early stages, Furious was not originally marketed to retailers as their primary beer. In fact, Surly had underestimated how popular Furious would be because back in 2005/2006, the craft beer scene in Minnesota was in it's infancy stages. Fast forward 7 years, Furious is now one of the most highly sought after IPAs in the country and it's only available in Minnesota. It was available in Chicago and parts of Wisconsin in 2009, but they did had to pull back distribution to Minnesota because the demand here was too great.

Yes, Minnesota finally had an IPA it could proudly call it's own....

To honor Surly's groundbreaking ceremony for their new destination brewery, now is the perfect time to review their iconic beer.

Surly Furious pours a dark orange/ruby red color with a foamy head. The visible carbonation activity is light and the lacing retention is quite good!

The nose and flavor are very malt forward with some caramel & toffee notes followed by a strong piney & citrus hop profile. The finish consists of a bitter citrus/resiny hoppiness.

For an IPA, the body is quite heavy but the carbonation is reasonably light, leading to a fairly easy drinking IPA....that is if you don't factor in the sheer hoppiness.

It may seem a bit sweeter and maltier than other IPAs out there but if you know and love the IPA style, then this beer is for you. Even with it's very strong malty backbone it's still got a nice amount of hops to keep everything mostly in balance.

Surly Furious - 9.25/10