Archive | March, 2011

Keep ’em comin’, Minneapolis!

28 Mar

A nice little Monday morning pick-me-up

Also, check out Fulton’s website at

Too Much Motion In The Ocean?

28 Mar

A well-written and thought-provoking article. On beer. Of course.

Brew Review: Odell Red Ale

25 Mar

Brew: Red Ale

Brewery: Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)

Style: American-Syle Red Ale (6.5% ABV)

Another red ale for the books, but this one seems unique before even opening it up.  This is a seasonal for Odell, says it right on the cap.  The label compares this beer to the Rocky Mountain goat. The Rocky Mountain goat is different from all other goats and as this red ale is different from all other American red ales out there, which is a metaphor I go along with.

I poured it out and it looked pretty normal for a red ale: a darker, reddish nectar of the gods that I couldn’t wait to try.  The first thing I noticed about the Red Ale was how fruity it was.  You could say that the mountain goat was a bit fruitier than its pastoral ancestor, but that might be taking the metaphor a little far.  This ale is definitely unique for the style since it really brings forward the fruity flavors and aromas of the hops where usually in American reds you get a malty presence long before the hops kick in.

In no way is this fruitiness a turn off.  It is a refreshing take on a style that some might shy away from on a warmer day.  This is a beer I can see myself taking down to the dock in the summer and enjoying in the sun.  Its got the backbone of the classic red ale to keep you warm long after the sun goes down, but its lighter, more refreshing, side is something that you can enjoy during the time when the shadows are the smallest.  Overall, Odell’s Red Ale is a fresh new look at a classic American brew.

Final Grade: B

Brew Review: Cane and Ebel

25 Mar

Brew: Cane and Ebel

Brewery: Two Brothers Brewing Co. (Warrenville, IL)

Style: Red Rye Ale (7.0% ABV)

Cane and Ebel sparked my interest the moment I saw it on the shelf at the store.  Right below the name it says it’s a “Hopped-Up Red Rye Ale.”  We all know I like red ales and brews with some hop punch to them.  Let’s just say that this one did not disappoint.

It came out of the bottle a dark red, rich ruby color.  I took the first sip and I knew that this was what I was looking for in my search for a tremendous red ale.  This hit the spot.  It had the perfect amount of hops, balanced flawlessly with the malt presence of a classic red ale.  The Two Brothers that came up with this should be given two awards, one for each of them.  They created a brew that could please any beer drinker.  They brewed this baby with rye and Thai palm sugar, giving it a malty personality underneath its sweet, yet bitter, hop exterior.

When they say that it is a “hopped-up” ale they weren’t kidding. This brew packs a blast from the hops. However, the hoppy character is not overpowering in any way.  It blends with the sweet, malty backbone thrown in there by the rye and creates a beer that seems to touch on all the right notes.

Cane and Ebel is one of my favorites. I could enjoy this by itself, with a solid dinner, with company, or by myself.  It seems like it has everything to offer, it just needs to be tried two times or so in order to truly understand what the drinker likes the best and then another two times to decide that there is something else that might make another couple worthwhile.  One of my favorite brews of all time, this beer never fails to disappoint.

Final Grade: A

Brew Review: Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy

24 Mar

Brew: Big Eddy

Brewed By: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery Co. (Chippewa Falls, WI)

Style:  Russian Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV)

When I first ordered a Big Eddy at my local gastropub I was a little wary. Most of the Leinie’s brews I have tried in the past have been merely a better version of a Bud or a mediocre attempt at some other more interesting style.  They really have just all fallen short of what I would have hoped for.  Needless to say, when they brought out this heavy, tar-lookin’ brew I was expecting a hollow beer that slid down my throat like a bock or a lighter ale with a deceptively dark profile.

Big Eddy turned out to be something totally different. It is not only unique in that Leinenkugel’s finally made a pretty good beer for once, the style itself was an exception to the rule.  It is unlike anything I had had before from this Chippewa Falls-based brewery.  Out there in the backwoods of Wisconsin they have created something that was unprecedented to my taste buds.  This black beast packs a fruity, bitter, tart punch that puckers my lips when I took a sip.  It is a big beer with a big taste.  This unique quality caught me off guard in a good way.  I like the fact that this pitch-black pint threw me a curve and made me really think about what I was trying.  It is enjoyably complex with a lot going on and the bitterness starts to mellow out as the beer warms up, which it inevitably did, as I took my time; this was not a brew that was to be thrown back like a Silver Bullet.  After letting the brew mellow, the fruity, sweet flavors jumped out and took me for a ride.

On the whole, I am pleasantly surprised and happy with the brew that Leinie’s came up with.  The name fits nicely as this is a BIG beer with a lot to offer. Good for a cold winter night by the fire when you need something to warm up your insides.

Final Grade: B+

Quote of the Week

22 Mar

“For every wound, a balm.
For every sorrow, cheer.
For every storm, a calm.
For every thirst, a beer.”

-Old Irish saying

Quote of the Week

13 Mar

“The government will fall that raises the price of beer.”

-Czech proverb

Periodic Table of Beer

13 Mar


Click to enlarge

Where was this thing in high school chemistry? And who knew that imperial stouts had 36 protons in their nucleus?

Quote of the Week

2 Mar

Steal from the rich, drink with the poor

“This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about… BEER.”

-Friar Tuck, “Robin Hood: Prince of Theives”

Brew Review: Big Sky Moose Drool

2 Mar

Brew: Moose Drool

Brewed By: Big Sky (Missoula, MT)

Style: American Brown Ale (5.3% ABV)

At the risk of setting myself up for more than one “that’s what she said,” the big, brown, nuttiness of Big Sky’s Moose Drool satisfies and keeps you coming back for more. The Montana brewery’s staple brown ale leaves nothing to chance and puts all its cards on the table with robust result.

My buddy, Colin, who used to go to school out at Montana State in Missoula (GO GRIZZ!) turned me on to Moose Drool and I’m sure happy he did. It doesn’t beg for attention or try too hard. There’s no fancy catchphrase or lengthy explanation of the beer on the bottle. The brew speaks for itself.

It’s a boldly malted concoction, evened out with a pinch each of Kent Goldings, Liberty, and Willamette hops, giving it some subtle, yet necessary, spice. Imagine a thicker, stronger, more well-rounded Newcastle with the added grit and elbow grease that the Wild West entails.

Moose Drool is not a “WOW!” beer. It’s not the first thing that pops to mind when my friends ask what my favorite brew is, yet, that lack of show and pizzazz – a expertly executed simplicity – is precisely what makes it tasty. It doesn’t creep into A- or A territory – due to a slight alcohol aftertaste that this style of beer shouldn’t really have (see: imperial stouts, bocks, etc.) – but hey, few do.

Good with a burger(s) or by itself, Moose Drool is as solid as they come.

Final Grade: B+