Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gose (Westbrook Brewing Company)


You can always depend on, the kindness of strangers . . . . Or at least I was able to be cordial enough with a co-worker to receive the bad ass gift of this beer. If you aren't aware, I am not a big fan of the session IPA. I feel cheated by session IPAs. They are not as full in flavor and they are just as expensive as their full blown counter part. I racked my brain for what to drink this summer. I heard a podcast that reviewed Leipzig gose, the original from Germany. It just clicked, light, sour, salty and delicious at a extremely low serving temperature. I will hunt for the gose and try them all this summer. My next step was to figure out what was available in our market, so I did a search in total wine. Leipzig showed up, and Anderson Valley. No one had seen or taken delivery of these in years. . . . Shit!
After my revelation and disappointment, I returned to the warehouse determined to get a gose in my mouth. I cornered the unicorn and prodded him for information. I even suggested that maybe Strangeways or The Answer Brewpub make one. I found troublesome from pretty little things, then Anderson Valley released theirs, and a wine shop turned up some Leipzig bottles. Things were looking up, the pics of the Westbrook Gose began to assault my social media feeds. Then David Hetzel blessed me with a 6 pack which I shared. Shortly there after Stillwater released gose gone wild and Strangeways announced the release of wake me up before you gose. Westbrook was still my favorite, the fullest mouth feel, and flavor. I am still on the hunt for gose, if you have any not listed here send them on. 

To help with some of the dribble you may hear in regards to this beer.
Gueze = French word, Belgian beer, very tart and sour. Pronounced Gooooo-z
Gose = German word and beer, sour and salty. Pronounced Goes-A
It is an old German style brewed with salt water. It is a wheat beer with some lactic souring, and is spiced with coriander and hops. 
http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/Gose.html

Monday, July 14, 2014

HA$H (Sweetwater Brewing Company)


I am not trying to deny the fact that IPA's and any beer that gets the majority of its flavor profile from hops should be consumed immediately. I had heard about this beer but the distributor to the north that handles Sweet Water had a hard time getting this into the market in a timely fashion. I finally found it though. I had seen reviews about how dank and hoppy this beer was and I was drooling at the opportunity.  Sweet Water beers have not been on my radar since the first time I had one, but I was curious to try this project. It was definitely an east coast IPA, but it pushed the limits of taste and time. 

East Coast IPA: An India Pale Ale that reflects the taste of beer drinkers on the east coast. Nose is normally piny, citrus or floral yet the malt finish of the beer is usually sweet. West Coast IPA's are generally dry in finish, not as sweet. Why does the style differ coast to coast? You got me jack  . .

I have a friend with family ties in the brewery that knew more about what was going on with this series. Hash is a play on words, here it represents the hop shake and its similar appearance to the shake left in a bag of weed. Well maybe not directly that but they had to be smooth with the name for label approval. Apparently someone at Sweet Water went to the hop supplier and noticed the cast aside tiny particles of hops. These tiny bits are usually discarded as not being worth the trouble. The sprinklings are any number of hops in unknown amounts which potentially could create unrepeatable greatness. Sounds like a bunch of shit to me from a consumer end, but for the business of making profits and marketing beer, genius. Look out for the next rendition http://sweetwaterbrew.com/

Friday, June 27, 2014

Beer Geek Breakfast (Mikkeller)

When you used untapped like I do, you are constantly on a search for unique beers to try. I have logged more beers than I care to share in this public forum, but surprisingly I have never had this beer. My recent fling with gypsy brewery evil twin led me to this beer. This is the original breakfast stout, this beer has fairly basic tasting notes. There are no dominant notes of coffee, chocolate, or vanilla. This beer is dark, and achieves this with lots of dark roasted malt. Take that tiny seed and heat it to the point of combustion, then stop and make a beer, the darkest beer. When I close my eyes and sip this beer I can taste that malt. I can feel it in my mouth. Those candy flavors that breweries amp up in current breakfast stouts are subtle. This beer is hopped, to the point if you drank it in line with black IPA's you might even think it was one. On it's own I think the hops play well with the bitterness from the malts, and takes the flavor to a grassy place. This is the most in depth tasting notes I have ever typed, sorry. I love this beer
These gypsy brewers have a different way of distributing which can make it difficult to get these beers at times. I have been told that these beers have to be pre-ordered sometimes as far out as six months before the release. One retailer joked that often the case shows up and he completely forgot he ordered it. I was told this beer was coming by three separate accounts, and none of them wound up getting a case. My hidden gem of a bottle shop, Grape and Bean Rosemont, in Alexandria had half a case waiting for me. So if you see it buy it, and if you consider yourself a beer geek and haven't had it? Shame on you. Check out the other Mikkeller products at http://mikkeller.dk/. Yes they appear to sell their beers online, the 50/50 eclipse BA series 12 bottles is $445.55! beware the conversion. Birthday March 2nd by the way. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Barrel Aging (3 Brothers Brewing)

It is with much embarrassment that I have to say that when I often think of the greatest Virginia breweries I forget about these guys. When we launched this brand in Richmond, there was a pin crawl at four bars in the fan area, of which I attended. I met the owners but I have not yet been to the brewery. I sent some Hoptimization to California in a trade a while back, as an example of a powerful east coast IPA. Three brother has also received much acclaim for their barrel aged stout, resolute, which I was late to the party for.
I was excited to see this other barrel aged selection from three brothers available about a month after I got my hands on my first resolute. I picked this beer up in Northern Virginia. It is just easier for me to get these things while at work. This beer was a medal winner at GABF, and although I do not typically have much patience for the Belgian esters, I was sure the rum barrels would dead'n that flavor. The sweetness in the rum paired well with the spice of the dubbel. I would even go as far as to say it highlighted the fruit undertones, and rounded out the flavor. There was very little alcohol heat in my opinion. I would not age this one. I don't think it would add anything. 

Now for this big bastard. I was very excited to finally experience this beer and it didn't disappoint. This has become a style of beer that I have a hard time passing up. Three brothers was not afraid to build this up as a huge offering. After the initial release and chatter about this beer, people gobbled them up quickly. These beers are squirreled away into cellars far and near. It was brought to three brothers attention and they market their barrel aged beers to the fans of collecting and cellaring. So get on over to the website, http://threebrosbrew.com/ or better yet, lets make plans to get out to the brewery. 

I had recently listened to a podcast called the beerist. I rather enjoy the humor and production value of this show, but when the sampled 6 free three brothers beers. I got a little defensive especially when two of the beers were said to be infected. One of the little turds even scored resolute as his least favorite beer, due to the lack of body? You really should do a little research into the brewers intent before you bash a man on his rendition of a style. I have a hard time believing that all of those in the havoc of resolute are wrong in their opinion of this great beer. Due to the 9 months of heat it Texas, pilsner is one of the most popularized styles. Maybe that lack of body leaves a narrow opinion of these darker ales. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Triple Cross Brewing (Brewery opening)


Pictured above is the sweet stout, element 79, single hop saison, and the falcon smash. 
Well I shit the bed on this post. I would hope that one day I could write a post with in a week of the experience. This brewery opened mid April and was the first of the breweries in Richmond to venture into the city since the closing of Richbrau. I went there opening weekend by myself and had a follow up visit with my in laws. The location of this brewery probably frustrates the hell out of people who have no comfort parking in or around the fan and city. There is very little on site parking available which instantly makes me want to ride a motorcycle here. The building itself, although appears small, seems to be thoughtfully planned to create a comfortable experience for the traffic expected. There is nothing hidden, the open floor plan exposes the public to all aspects of what a brewery does. There is also a nice deck that puts you outside but there isn't much too look at. I like the feeling of the cold brick inside, puts my mind at ease against the backdrop of the college and highway. 
I have been to the brewery three times so far. The most recent trip was for the Nectar and Knife IPA, which was everything I wanted. The beers of opening day included the sweet stout, element 79, single hop saison, and the falcon smash which crosses the board as far as offering something for all tastes. I liked the falcon smash the most, and am developing a waining relationship with sweet stouts. Overall I very much enjoyed myself and like the different feel that this brewery provides. I still need to get a 64oz growler from there. I hope this place keeps it simple and becomes a hidden gem amongst the insanity of the VCU machine. Check them out at http://triplecrossingbeer.com/

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Even More Jesus (Evil Twin Brewing)

Like with wine, buying beer buy the label is normally a bad idea. I have been going back and forth about evil twin beers for quite some time. The price point is a little high for me, especially the bikini beer and hipster beers that I see in the market. I believe that the liquid is very good, but I am just not willing to pay 10-13 dollars for a 6 pack of a style designed to be pound able.  I had a friend on Untapped who had recently posted his Even More Jesus experience. I love stouts, and this was a beer that I was willing to spend a little more to get, even possibly have to trade for. I expected to have to trade for it, but then I found it at Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Va.
It was one of the more expensive weeks in beer in a long time.
Evil Twin is a brewery from Denmark that flies just below the radar. Most serious beer nerds have heard of them and maybe had some of their canned options, like bikini beer or hipster ale. The gypsy brewery has a completely different take on brewing recipes and normally abandons them after a production of beer. With one off beers, the success is either hit or miss. If you ask me the longer they try changing over and over, chances are pretty good the success rate will be high. Constant innovation causes brewer Jarnit-Bjergso to be inspired at the most random times in life. He once brewed another stout called soft dookie, the recipe idea came to him while changing diapers. I'm not sure I have the nose that can smell vanilla in do do. Eviltwin is what is known as a gypsy brewery, meaning they travel around and brew one off beers on other breweries equipment. Between 2006 and 2010 Mikkel Bjergso travels around the world brewing nearly 200 different one off beers.
It is a must to quickly photograph all cool purchases and send to friends.
As more and more people pursue their brewing dreams, innovation will continue with gypsy brewers who push the limits of brewing. It is a case of not feeling trapped by the business and getting tied down by a regular portfolio. These beers are usually sold before they are brewed, the owner and the shop I bought this from had committed to buying 6 months ago. He had forgotten he even ordered it, I asked him about it the week prior to it coming in. Check these guys and this movement out for yourself.  http://eviltwin.dk/

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. 

#caferacer
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 www.bellsbeer.com.