Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week 8: Like a Kid in a Candy Store

1. Weyerbacher Fireside Ale
2. Manayunk Brewing Co. Yunker's Nocturnum
3. Founders Breakfast Stout
4. Russian River Pliney the Elder
5. Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale
6. Rogue Mogul Madness
7. Stone Arrogant Bastard
8. Earth, Bread and Brewery St. Arthur Stout
9. Pretty Things St. Botolphs Town
10. Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale

Where do I start? Since there really is no way to tell you what I enjoyed most this week, here are a couple words about each.

The Weyerbacher was downright fantastic. Smokey and malty, dark and sweet and very smooth throughout, this Dark Ale was perfect for a cold night. I believe that the Yunker's Nocturnum is done for the season. She was a Strong Belgian, definitely a bit fruity with some added spice.

OK, OK...Founders Breakfast Stout is a Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout. This is just flat out decadent. For a treat for the nose and palate, enjoy this in a snifter so that you can take in all the balanced abundance. I bought this in a four pack so that I can enjoy a few more before warmer weather starts to surface here.

Those three would have made a great week by themselves, BUT I just happened to pop into the Kyber and see that Pliney The Elder was on tap. Just three times this winter did I happen to come across what I feel is the best Imperial IPA. A woody aroma where the hops jump out at you. The grapefruit taste lingered on my palate while that piney taste resurfaced again and again. Amazingly well-balanced for any IPA lover.

The Sly Fox Pale Ale is a perfect Pale Ale from our canning friends from Royersford, PA. I would like to talk a bit more about the Rogue and Stone Ales from this week, but you already know how truly great these breweries are.

The last three brews on this list all tried to top each other. Earth, Bread and Brewery makes damn fine beers. St. Arthur was a chocolaty dry stout, light on the cocoa but big on taste. Pretty Things Brown Ale was just plain nutty. Probably more complex than I was able to notice -- there were hints of brown sugar, mild on the hops -- but something to reach for when you see it. That is my way of telling you to seek it out. Lastly, is the great dark beer brewers from Duck-Rabbit. A ruby dark ale, sweet and citrusy for a brown ale, I wasn't sure if she was loaded with fruit or caramel.

I truly felt like a kid in a candy store this week.
Cheers for now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week 7: I Never Met a Chocolate That I Didn't Like

1. Rogue Chocolate Stout
2. Triumph Love Potion
3. Yards Brawler
4. Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball
5. Victory Fest Bier
6. Dock Street Man Full of Troubles Porter
7. Dock Street Sexy Beast Chocolate Stout
8. Southampton Imperial Porter

Cupid's decadent treats were served as usual in the form of chocolate this week. I found no better way on Valentine's Day/Week to show my love than with a few dark brews and one "love elixir." With the white blanket covering the streets of Philadelphia, last weekend was filled with train rides from West Philly to Old City and up to where No Libs and Fishtown collide.

Initially I was very taken aback by Triumph's Love Potion. This Abbey Triple was a fruity and complex high alcohol treat whose sugars and yeast strain were indeed a potion.

However, "If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable" (Seneca). A beautiful quote that describes why Dock Street's Sexy Beast Chocolate Stout lured me in from a snowy sea. I enjoyed this brew one year ago when I believe it was known as "Sexual Chocolate." Possibly having gained some strength with a few more pounds of chocolate, she was indeed a beast. An Imperial Stout that is smooth and malty, nutty and decadent. Apparently boiled with 22 pounds of chocolate and no sugars, I say enjoy this as a dessert after a long week or grab a growler and enjoy the following week.

Cheers for now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week 6: Saintly Snow Days

1. Victory Hop Devil Ale
2. Victory Bottom’s Up Brown Ale
3. Victory St. Victorious Dobblebock
4. RJ Rockers Bell Ringer
5. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
6. Unibroue Trois Pistoles
7. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

Welcome to another Saturday morning. For those of you in warmer climates, this week was Philly Blizzard Week, or Blizzard of 2010, or Snowzilla, Snowmagedan and Snowverkill. What that means for me and this blog is what to drink during a snow storm. I wish that I would've had some Victory Storm King, and I will be sure to keep it in stock from here on out. If anyone knows of any other fitting beer titles for such an event (not Winter Warmers), let me know.

The week began with 28.5 inches of snow over two days. What that means for me is getting out of the house to enjoy a bit of winter blowing in my face. So for two days it was Victory Hop Devil as that was all that was served at the one tavern in walking distance. But once cleared and a few days passed, still jonesing for some Victory, I found myself in Downingtown, PA, home to Victory for some dinner and a drink. Of all the choices I went for their Bottoms Up Brown Ale, as I have never seen it before. And although it was a tasty Brown, it was still only average.

So once arriving home, knowing well that there was a Victory St. Victorious hiding in the fridge, I began to indulge. St. Victorious is a Dobblebock. Poured a nice dark brown, it had a decent head that wafted beautiful notes of smokey caramel and cocoa, with subtle fruit and appeared in its taste. Gravitating towards these smokey beers this winter, it was just what I was looking for to contend with "The Devils" hops from earlier in the week. It was a malty treat for those waiting for Spring.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beers of Tampa Bay - Introduction

When I first moved down here to the Tampa Bay area in 2005, I was shocked and disappointed. I had moved here from the very fine beer environment of Philadelphia, only to find that my options for beer were basically Yuengling, Guiness, and a handful of random European beers. The beer scene was not only barren, it was non-existent. Well five years later, a number of great beer haunts have opened and/or expanded. Some of my favorites include: Mr Dunderbak's, New World Brewery, Datz Deli, Cigar City Brewery, the Independent, and Peg's Cantina. This area went from practically no beer, to having a bunch of great beers from around the country, as well as one of the best new breweries in the country in Cigar City.
I won't go into a specific beer review in this post, but I will share with you an idea of the kind of great brews I've had in the last couple weeks at a few of the above haunts.
New World Brewery: Victory Hop Devil on draught from up in my home-town area!
Cigar City Brewery: Winter Warmer Warmer Winter aged in Apple Brandy Casks (sweet, but yummy); Oatmeal Raisin Cookie - a brown ale that actually tastes like a fresh-baked cookie; Blueberry Maduro - light on the blueberry, but the Maduro is such a yummy brown ale that it doesn't matter. It's so great to be able to have a few one-off pints in the brewery.
Peg's Cantina: Gulfport Original On Draft (GOOD Beer) brewed by Doug, the assistant brewer at Cigar City in small stove-top batches. Berliner Witbier - a light abv sour wheat that got great reactions and sold out quick; Nut Brown Porter - smooth, nutty, and nice; Imperial Stout - it's definitely an imperial, and a highly drinkable one at that!
Datz Deli: the Bruery (out of California) Rugbrod - a really tasty rye brown ale; Left Hand Fade to Black - one of my favorite porters of the year, super smooth, with just a hint of that porter smoke at the back end; Dogfish Head 90 Minute - an old favorite from one of the best breweries in the country, and always nice to find on draught.
Mr Dunderbak's - a great German deli that has a ton of beers on tap. One night right after new years, I enjoyed an Avery Collaboration not Litigation, a Bell's Two Hearted Ale, a Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm Imperial, and a Cigar City Jai Alai IPA. I love this place.

So there you have it - a little idea of what we're drinking down here. Besides the great beers and places I mentioned above, our bottled beer availability has grown tremendously as well, so I'll be sharing both what I drink in the bars as well as what I drink at home. I'll try to share some of my thoughts on the beers I'm drinking as well. Hopefully that will entice some of you to go find these beers out in your neck of the woods. I'll also conform to Kevin's format after this post so that there's some consistency here.

Keep drinkin....!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Week 5: It's a Rogue Nation My Friends

1. Troegs Mad Elf
2. Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale
3. Rogue Dead Guy
4. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
5. North Coast Old Rasputin
6. Rogue Chipotle Ale
7. River Horse Triple Horse

I went for 7 different brew styles this week. Troegs Mad Elf is the only beer that we have to wait until the winter for. Poured a beautiful red, she was a bit spicy, as well as sweet. For a strong belgian dark ale, I think it took having a second one to feel the winter warmth of that 11%, but the complexity to her taste kept me sipping and discovering new flavors. But hold up...I was about to talk about something else.

Rogue Chipotle Ale. I have never had this. I think that with such an extensive lineup that Rogue offers, I constantly reach for Shakespeare, Juniper, Mocca and Dead Guy. Chipotle is exactly what I expected. Malty and spicy. The peppers are quite evident in the aroma and each sip. It's got some smokey-breadiness to it and all the flavors plaster themselves to your palate. It's a sipping beer, very reminiscent to a Rauch. Kind of like a movie that you are not sure if you want to finish, I kept with it and found many nuances that I liked in the end.