Monday, April 14, 2014

Black Note (Bells Brewing Company)

 Picture me sharing my 2 bottle score then giving
 you one.
Once upon a time in a far away place a small collection of drunks attempted to drink themselves into legendary stout status. Yeah, well I fell apart and did not survive when this beer was drank. Last year when this was released I had spent too much money on other already so I passed. I was getting stout burnt, what an amateur I was. The insanity was calm compared to the shit we went through for founders KBS. What if black note had come out first? I believe the same reaction. This stout is whiskey hot, thin sipper with a dense finish. Love it. 

I had a bunch of stuff to do Friday and would not be home in time to enjoy this per usual. So little Friday it was, with a fresh motorcycle mag I checked in with this heat. It taste like a stout with a whiskey float on top, which I enjoy. The float is so hot, boozy that is takes all the attention away from the thickness of the roasted malt finish. I hate your hopslam bells, but two hearted is a great utility IPA. This brewery from michigan has a very palatable image and only makes a few extreme beers. My mind is divided as to how I feel about these guys. I love me some Michigan breweries, Dark Horse brewing company. OK, Bells does make Kalamazoo stout, Expedition stout, and Espresso stout. I'm not a fan of Oberon, or the best brown (legend has that). Feel free to go check them out at 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

KBS (Founders Brewing)

The release of several limited beers has been a bit backed up thus far in 2014 which threw everything out of whack. We have received no reserve series beers from firestone walker since the start of 2014. It seemed like KBS was a late release, but I guess the April first release date for this was right on time. Why did they choose that date? I haven't a clue or care to look further into it. This dark treat is my personal #2 stout in the world, and once I find someone to write my beer app it will be official. You will find a 2013 and 2014 in my beer cellar. I quickly became worried this year that I would not be able to get any, but who am I kidding? 
There must have been buzz prior to April first. It was evident that the public knew ahead of time that this beer was coming in far more limited quantities this year. Why is that? Well, I don't work for founders but I do work for Brown Distributing and the Florida branch just began selling founders in the second half of 2013. I caught an interview from the owner of founders on you tube, and listened contently. The complete operation at founders stops to brew this beer. They make as much as they can in that week, but given the capacity for liquid in tanks and barrels, it is what it is. This year, what it was, was insane. Craft beer creepers waiting in parking lots, asking me as I walk into total wine if I worked there. People so concerned that this beer was being sold internally before being offered to the general public. I swear the old man had that crack head sweat going. Delightfully skipping with my single bottle back to the truck, I came across a scene that felt like something out of a after school special. First thing I saw was a women clutching her purse in front of her, her gaze directed to a man. A man trying to quietly attempting to give this women ten dollars to get him another bottle from this total wine. I wish he had really startled her and she had maced him. What a loser. I kick myself for not saying anything.
Founders KBS was the brain child of Engbers and Stevens, owners of founders brewing. The creation story begins in 2001, while working part time as a bartender. The earth, sun and the moon, or the chocolate covered espresso bean washed down with a bit of porter, and later a relationship with jack daniels snow balled into this. It is reported that KBS was not always an easy sell, and it was expensive to make. The extreme beer festival in Boston in 2005 was really the turning point for the legend and 100 point perfect KBS. Head over to to check out the well rounded portfolio these guys provide. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Southern Slice (Cigar City/Terrapin Collaboration)

If you could zoom out on this picture you could see a glorious family scene. Looking at this picture as I type makes me a bit sad. Sad that this back yard and the two people who are paying to own it will be gone soon. They will be shipped to the land of the rising sun, where my motorcycle came from. Sad that I paid thirty four dollars for this beer. I do feel some solace in saying that I don't buy beer with my phone out. I was guilty of impulse buying by the label tho. 
My general feelings about Terrapin has never been complimentary. The best beer I have had from them to date is wake and bake, none of the fancy ones, just regular wake and bake. I get a huge mouth of syrup with most beers from the turtle brewery. I want to enjoy their beers. I have a lot of family in Georgia and consider it to be the heartland. I have not completely closed the door on them yet, but it's getting close. I personally blame them for the syrup and sweetness of this beer, denying the fact that Cigar City could make a bad beer. The beer did have a nutty flavor with a hint of vanilla, the mouth feel just wasn't like what you expect from beer. The bottle is property of Cigar City, which I guess makes them more the guilty party. 

Falling in love with a collaboration is always a bad idea, a wise man once plead to me. So what you love it? It will probably never happen again, or the next joint project will be completely different. If you did happen to really dig it would you chase down every last bottle out of every cellar in existence? This too shall pass my son . . . We hunt for the next whale.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Despot Day! (Lickinghole Creek Brewing)

It was my birthday weekend and damn it, I was going to a brewery. I know I sound like a broken record, but it has occurred to me the older I get the less likely I am to have adventure buddies. No one can ever do an over night camping trip, or a quick day trip to a brewery in Virginia. My good pal, and craft beer distributor rival, James Rohr stepped up to the plate. We first had to make the drive all the way to the brewery in Goochland to buy bottles. Then we had to stop at Dover Hall on the way back into Richmond. The despot is a barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, those barrels came from pappy van winkle distillery. Pappy barrels have become very sough after for this process of aging. Rarity of barrel hopefully won't translate into expense with time.

The deer can't let go.
Lickinghole Creek craft brewery was a long anticipated brewery, that finally opened their doors on October first 2013. I was unable to attend the opening (first local opening I have missed) because of my anniversary party. The brewery had a few hiccups in construction that delayed opening, then the matter of road use. It appears that despite all of the legal paper work and mumbo jumbo required to open a brewery, there was still a legal matter to be considered. Apparently, despite having 221 acres of environmentally conscious brewery, brewery traffic on the nearly 1 mile shared road was an issue. I was even told that the first contractor, whose house you can see from the brewery, now has lost all love for the brewery that he helped build? This matter has even gone so far that I am hearing the side of the resistance at the dentist office. My dental assistant, a local gooch, gave me her two sense on the issue at last cleaning.

Here is to new old looking brick mansions.
The weather was fantastic, the rain never came. Come to find out, the rain met with some cold and shit snow all over us that Monday but whatever. The venue of Dover Hall is a great place for an event like this. Naturally we were early, but the parking was adequate. The interior and exterior space had lots of areas for pouring, and was broken up so that you only felt crowded if you wanted to. We fell in love with the horse shoe bar in the upstairs west wing. I also really enjoyed the two story 8 car garage, but was quickly escorted out. The beer was big boozy treat, and the mouth feel was that of a good sipping whiskey. Need I say more? The french fries were also out of this work, see below. 

french fry credit to station 2
I wish the best of luck to Sean and his team. I like the more remote breweries, as they make for great destinations for moderatemotorcycle rides out of RVA. Please look them up on Facebook, or visit their website at

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grapefruit Slam Ipa (Koochenvagner's Brewing Company)

 I have never heard of this brewery before, and to be honest when you first pick up the bottle it is not completely obvious who this beer is by. I have seen pictures and heard mention of this beer around the hopslam buzz this week. If you are not familiar with this buzz, is it like a tiny fly, a nat in your ear. I am just ready for it to go away. Something about the word project and grapefruit drew me to this beer plus the $9.99 price tag is the high end of retail for this beer. Stochasticity comes from the greek word to aim, so the project is aiming to make obvious choices in regards to what would be obvious to add to styles of beer? It is obvious to add grapefruit peel to this IPA, which is based on hop varieties from the great northwest. These hops from this area, Centennial, Chinook, and Magnum often best described as being big citrus, like a grape fruit. I hope the first project is well received so we can see what other obvious choices the brewers choose to execute. 
This beer was bottled 1/23/14, so it was a little over a month old. The nose is all citrus, with little to no floral hop presence.  The taste is dead on successful, big grapefruit in the back of my cheeks I can feel it. The underlying sweetness is nice, but the malt backbone is a little light. The bottle lists Koochenvagner's Brewing Company, Escondido, San Diego California as home. I tried to find more information about the brewery, but all signs point to this being a stone brewing company side project. The google search results don't turn up much, and the website is very vague. There is really no more information on the beer on the Internet than there is one the bottle. Koochenvagers? Greg Koch? the aim is to make obvious beers? Stone makes a lot of IPA's, what makes this one any different? The 22 ounce format and the screen printed bottle seem to familiar. Is this what the hiatus is for? This new project? Stone brewing marketing experts, they keep there brand fresh. This beer must have been months in the making, especially getting label approval for a phony brewery. It was a fun journey, and I cannot wait for what else is to come out of this project. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Top BA stouts bottle share

Surly Darkness 100/100 on BA
It was a share that seemed like it had been years in the making. The other half of the NOVA experiment and I share a cold, or sometimes room temperature beer after work occasionally. It would happen more often except he lives in Midlothian, south side, or the dirty if you will. I live barely a mile from our center of operation, BDC, or Tha Villa Park. Nathan does send me pictures of his beer mail, and we are constantly texting at work about various whales in the market. Things started to get heavy, and he mentioned he was collecting these beers for the most epic tasting. His dedication to chasing down all of these dark beauties is beyond what I could ever do. He spent a year mailing and negotiating for these beers far and wide. I had to get a little sip. 

We had kicked around dates for a while and finally, February first it was going down. The super bowl is the next day you say? This was our super bowl, plus Nathan was off the following Monday. It's amazing how when you finally get weekends off you manage to commit them so quickly to this and that. Well we started off with this Imperial Stout Trooper from New England brewing company, just a little 8.5% Russian imperial stout. When I got to his house we elected the best way to go through these beers was by level of intensity. We started in regular stouts, went through the coffees and ended up in the barrel aged insanity. The flavor of the first beer was perfect, the mouth feel and intensity of roasted grains put a solid baseline down for all that was to come.

The Abyss 100/96 on Beer Advocate
Then we got into beers I had only seen in pictures but never tried, the surley darkness, the speedway stout, and the abyss from deschutes. I had a chance to buy a speedway stout in New York but the price was insane and the dust was thick. I regret that decision to this day. Look at how dark the head on the abyss is compared to the previous beers. It was this intensity that spawned a little break for cigars. 

Black Tuesday 100/95 on Beer Advocate
I doubt I will have a chance to have most of these beers again, but the black Tuesday was probably one of the rarest we drank. The Bruery has a society, you pay dues, you get sick ass beer. This is one of those beers. Who gave it up for this tasting? I'm not sure but he was probably banished from California. I shouldn't make it sound like it was just two of us, there were four, thank god. I tried to call for back up once, and got denied. My mom dropped me off at said event. That is how serious I was about seeing this thing through and being safe.

BA plead the 5th 100/97 on Beer Advocate
Here is the money shot, the two OG's drunk as shit and still going. The picture doesn't show the true story. I had to tap out with in 30 minutes of this picture. These barrel aged plead the fifths rounds out my dark horse experience. We have been killing it selling their products for a little over a year, and I have drank nearly everything they make. I even have the aaron morse beard happening. My favorite stout remained bourbon county coffee but the abyss gave it a run for it's money. 

If I had stayed up and continued to drink the last beer it may have been fatal. 17 total stouts, and most of them at or above 10%. The last beer would have been my 700th check in on untapped. This was the aftermath the next morning. The marathon tasting went from 2P.M. to 2A.M. I don't think I will be going so hard if something like this pops up again. I have only had 3 beers since this sampling. I am getting to the point in my pursuit of beer where I need to take the cheap road. I really enjoy having beers with this guy, and he shares the same respect. The Biscotti Break share should be way easier, 4 beers?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fullsteam Brewing (Durham, NC.)

Hello friends, as I get older I get less patient for trying to schedule outings with friends. I have probably blogged about it before but life is demanding and sometimes you just gotta go. That is exactly what I did 1/17/14, when I went to Durham for a 24 hour experience. Up at 2:30 AM Friday morning I worked through all the shit with my job and finally got on the road at 4:30 PM. I arrived at 7 and despite the hunger pushed through the party until crashing at 1 AM. There was supposed to be a midnight ride to this brewery, but then again breakfast was there the next morning. It felt like cheating, a get away with scooters and new breweries!
I am no brewery freshman, and am of the opinion that to be successful you have to create a destination for your patrons. It is very important to your local home that the mecca is a place they can spend some relaxing time and lots of money. Distribution is only a measurable piece of the business that reflects long term growth and worth. If you can stay small, keep your locals happy, and sell plenty of beer without distribution, it appears you can be profitable. The head aches one can avoid keeping business in house would be something I would go after. The entry way to this brewery is perfect reflection of that beer mecca that calls out to the local drunkards. Behind this door opens to a large welcoming space with lots of natural light, via sky lights, a small stage for bands, and a room with arcade games. The bar itself is a separate space and features not only fullsteam beers, but a plethora of other local beers. The customer service was great, and they offered half pints which I enjoy. Fruitcake . . . The beer, a piece of pride for the brewery was hot a confusing. I enjoyed all of the dark beers that I had, the smoked porter pictured below was great for the weather. 

Being as close as Durham is I would say I will definitely have to go back to this brewery again for a more even keeled review. I was so tired, and malnourished that I wasn't myself. I was a shell of a man having this experience, although I'm glad I went. It's a place that is far enough away you feel like you went somewhere, but it is farther than the beach! I was able to unplug from work, other than going to a brewery, and relax for 20 minutes or so.