Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 16: Listen Here Punk

1. Bells Two Hearted Ale
2. Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
3. Boxcar Brewing Co. Original Ale
4. Brew Dog Punk IPA
5. Allentown Brew Works Hop Explosion
6. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA
7. 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Gumballhead

These bad boys were a pretty nice mix of hops and malts this week. After a couple of days I thought all the brewing companies that I drank were going to start with the letter B, but I regressed back to A and then numbers.

Well, out of this whole list the only beer that I have ever had was, of course, Bells Two Hearted. It's a top 5 favorite for me, and when I see it on draft it's a no brainer. And I don't know if it's top 5 worthy, but the Anderson Valley was pretty amazing as well. This California brew is exactly what you would expect from a delicious west coast IPA, a flowery/ grapefruit nose with a blast of fresh hops. It reminds me of a Green Flash West Coast, but a bit more balanced.

Brew Dog Brewing has been getting some press lately for their Tactical Nuclear Penguin (yes, the world's strongest beer with an ABV of 32%). Until hearing about that beer, I never knew too much about them. They are Scottish, which means something different than all american hops for once. The description on the bottle was reason enough to give it a whirl, "A Postmodern Classic Pale Ale." I had no idea what that can mean in terms of beer, and I think that I wanted to leave my Literary Theory class out of the tavern that night. It was simply to me a lighter IPA, more like an actual pale, with some interesting hops (Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin and Chinook and Simcoe). It was shared and poured from a 22oz bottle at Olde Eagle Tavern in Manayunk. It was very drinkable with a nice medium body. It's something to drink if you are looking for an end of the night IPA, especially one to talk about to see if you can pick up all the subtle notes lingering throughout.

Lastly, I want to talk about 3 Floyds Gumballhead. I have been seeking out their Dreadnaught and my search has ended. A reliable source mentioned that it is not distributed in PA and whether it makes it out of Indiana is another story that I have to check on. My Gumballhead was a gift. Fortunately, it was around 90 degrees in Philadelphia that night. Appropriately, Lana drank a Boulder Sweaty Betty, and when we arrived back a home, a hoppy wheat was perfect to cure my sweats. It had a nose of an IPA with a mouth of subtle hops, but not the wheat that you thought you were going to have. It was pretty unique with its lemony/ grassy taste with just enough hop. All in all, refreshing.

Cheers for now. The countdown has begun for Beer Week. Six more days and counting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Week 15: Time to Celebrate

1. 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die
2. Victory Helos
3. Union Barrel Works Bruges Baastard
4. Springhouse Brewing Robot Bastard Belgian IPA
5. Victory Donnybrook Stout
6. Caldera Brewing Co. IPA
7. Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale

With a post very delayed and tired of not documenting what I have been drinking, I am now going to do my very best to deliver these weekly posts like I did all winter.

Where to even begin. The current motley crew listed above is more like 2 weeks of brews that made their way into my belly. It was very exciting to revisit the beautiful Oley Valley and hit up Union Jacks on the Manatawny this weekend. They have a nice selection of rotating drafts and this week the roulette wheel landed on two bastards. Yes, coincidentally, they had two brews with the name bastard in the title (one with two a's). I'm a big fan of Springhouse Brewing Co. They are out in Conestoga, PA, and I have never once been disappointed with what they have put out. Belgian IPAs are always a bit iffy for me. But they tempt me. The Robot Bastard was a bit more floral than hoppy with a pretty unusual taste that I still can't put my finger on. Very sweet to say the least though. It would have been worth a second tulip glass to be able to match the taste.

A couple canning breweries are in this list as well. 21st Amendment was pretty decent, textbook IPA. It is nothing to seek out. I'm hoping for some improvements in the future. I must say though that Caldera Brewing is right on the money. Their IPA was citrusy, piney and well balanced with a full-bodied mouth.

I was fortunate enough to get one of Sierra's 30th anniversary ales last month for my, yes, 3oth birthday. It was sitting for almost a month waiting to be uncorked. It made its way from California to Trenton, NJ, to my refrigerator in Philadelphia. Titled Fritz and Ken's ale, this brew is a collaboration with Fritz of Anchor Brewing. The 22 oz. stout poured a beautiful black color. Very rich and malty. A lip smacker to say the least with its carmel undertones. There are still a few more of these beers left in the series. Seek them out and share.

Cheers for now. Philly Beer Week is only two weeks away!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Week 14: Simcoe and Cascade and Centennial, Oh My!

After a long hiatus of home renovation I think that we are officially back in business here at Brews of Our Lives. I wish that I can say that over the past month I was able to indulge in some amazing beer, but it was nearly impossible. I never made it to a tavern, and the long days of ripping out old flooring and pipes ended each night with whatever I tucked away in the fridge.

I did have a surprise birthday party thrown for me though. A nice theme of bring a delicious six pack. I wish I got to enjoy one of each, but I also wish that I was able to see what everyone brought. All that I remember was that it was the best birthday that I could have had.

But back to the beer. Here are some that I can remember.

Manayunk Brewing Co. California Dreamin IPA
Philadelphia Brewing Co. Fleur de Lehigh
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Greenbriar Artisan Ales Fear Not the Big Hop (Three Floyds Dreadnaught cloan)
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Sly Fox Rt. 113 IPA (finally part of their canning line)

As usual the IPAs were my choice brew style. Each of these (minus Fleur de Lehigh) were so incredibly different. I am not a huge fan of Manayunk Brewing Co., but California Dreamin is quite perfect. It doesn’t taste like an Imperial IPA, and maybe that is where this beer succeeds. It has an amazing hop/malt balance, but probably not on purpose. It pours a delectable hazy orange with an aroma that will make any hophead swoon.

Dark Horse Brewing finally made it to Pennsylvania this past year and lucky for us they have an IPA worth waiting for. Citrusy smooth is all I have to say for these Michigan brewers. Think clementines and hops with a sweet malt backbone and you will find your balance on this crooked tree limb. This also comes in a double.

This week I will attempt to seek out a Three Floyds Dreadnaught and see how The Greenbriar measures up.

Cheers for now. Drink up..summertime is almost here.