Archive | July, 2011

Brew Review: Forgotten Flem

29 Jul

Brew: Forgotten Flem Farmhouse Ale

Brewed By: Brau Brothers Brewing Co. (Lucan, MN)

Style: Farmhouse/Saison Ale (5.3% ABV)

 

The spring seasonal of the Brau Brother’s down there in Lucan. Within the last 6 months or so I have seen them roll out a couple new and different brews than the original year rounders and I have tried only a couple, with this being one. I am excited to try these as I have thought the year-round brews are really solid beers and I am hoping that they can take their game to the next level with these select new ones.

The Flem poured out a darker amber color, sort of copper-like. A little darker than I expected for the style. It has a great aroma, great Belgian yeasts in there that mix with some earthy, grassy hops to give this a clean farmhouse feel.

On tasting this one the yeasts jumped out more at me. There were some definite peppery notes and some sour Belgian yeasts in there. There is a lot going on, slighty hop nuances, pepper, sour, some fruits, mostly because of the particular yeast strains and probably a little to do with the choice of hops. There is a little sweetness from the malts but its a faint trace that fades into the background. At the end there is the bitter/sour notes that linger.

Overall, this isn’t a beer that will jump out at you with any big or bold flavors or aromas but if you get deeper into it there some great complexity. It has a cool, calm farmhouse aura to it with a little sour mixed in there. A somewhat different sampling of a saison but nonetheless a quality beer.

 

Final Grade: B+

Brew Review: Ruination IPA

28 Jul

Brew: Ruination IPA

Brewed by: Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, CA)

Style: American Double IPA (7.7% ABV)

“A liquid poem to the glory of the hop.” That’s basically it. I don’t really need to say much more, this could be my shortest blog ever. However, I do want to dote on this great beer. Stone has given me great beers in the few that I have tried. Self-Righteous was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed the Bastard every time I have had it. Ruination steps up to the plate an delivers another home run from this power packed line up that Stone has going for it.

It poured out a clear golden color, a little hazy from the fact that its not filtered, not complaining though. A decent head came out with it, left some pretty good lace down to the end.

The smell: Boom, hops. Glory of the hops indeed. There are tons of hops in the aroma, pine, grapefruit, bitterness, everything. This is an amazing smelling brew. You barely have to drink this one to appreciate it.

The taste is bitter to say the least, there are 100+ IBU’s in this bad boy. However, there are some malts present in there to balance it out. To say the least the hops are the main attraction and they do not disappoint. They are balanced a little bit and just enough by the malts to make this a sensational beer. This is a huge hop bomb.

For those who like hops, you have your soul mate. This one blows your taste buds. Like it says it will ruin your taste for other beers. Basically you have to either drink this one at the end of the night or only have it for the whole night as you can barely taste anything else after words. The bitterness dominates but for those who love hop bombs, like me, this isn’t off-putting at all. At a somewhat surprisingly low 7.7% for how strong it tastes this beer is amazing. Go find yourself a bottle now.

Overall Grade: A

Brew Review: Hop in the Dark

27 Jul

Brew: Hop in the Dark

Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)

Style: “Cascade dark ale”, American black ale (6.9% ABV)

 

Part of Deschutes “Bond Street Series,” this brew explores the Cascade hop in a black IPA form. Needless to say, after trying Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale I was very excited about this one. Could only keep it in the fridge for a week and part of that week I was out of town so I really only waited about 3 days with this bad boy waiting to be consumed.

This beauty poured out a deep thick dark black. Like a glass full of oil. There was a very nice looking deep tan head, probably 1 inch right off the pour, that settled down to coat the glass perfectly as I finished the pint.

The aroma of this is spicy Cascades all the way. There are the bitterness of the hops but in the background there are some definite roasted malts that have their fair share. The roasted malts smell like coffee with some chocolate mixed in there. Overall, a tremendous aroma, I would have been happy smelling this all day if I wasn’t so excited to actually taste it.

The taste follows suit with the aroma. I find that its not as thick as I was expecting, I guess the color is just about how much you roast your malts and nothing else as the color shouldn’t be indicative of how thick and chewy the brew is. I enjoyed the fact that this one went down a lot lighter than its color would suggest as it is summer and I didn’t need a heavy rock sitting in my stomach on a Friday night. There are oily bitter hops throughout the taste. The spicy Cascades are present all over this beer, they have definitely left their mark. The roasted malts balance the bitterness nicely and make this beer a great one.

The bitterness isn’t overpowering and the spiciness of the hops are wonderfully pleasing in this brew. I don’t think I would give it as good of a rating as the Self-Righteous, but its close. A great beer.

 

Overall Grade: A-

 

Brew Review: Moon Man

26 Jul

Brew: Moon Man

Brewed by: New Glarus (New Glarus, WI)

Style: “No coast Pale Ale” (5.0% ABV)

 

On a trip across the boarder I finally decided to give New Glarus a try. I have had friends from Madison tell me that this brewery knows whats going on and they are doing it right. I picked up a 6 pack sampler of their beers and brought them back to the better side of the St. Croix. Thankfully WI does sell beer, real beer that is, in their grocery stores and gas stations so all I had to do was pull off the road and there was great stuff waiting for me.

The Moon Man poured out a bright golden yellow, kind of reminded me of all the straw that I saw laying around in WI, just waiting to get munched on by some cows. There was a decent sized head with big foamy bubbles on the top of the glass that settled down after a minute or two.

The aroma of this beer was unique, it didn’t come off as super hoppy but there wasn’t really any sweet maltiness to back up the hops. I think thats where they get the ‘no coast’ ale part, its neither a big hoppy bomb from the west coast and doesn’t really abide by the traditional rules of a pale ale.

The taste was refreshing. There was a good blend of hops and malts to go along with a crisp easy finish. For the most part there were grassy earthy hops that I could taste.

Overall this is a really good decent beer. It would be a great summer brew as its light enough to enjoy when its hot but still has enough flavor and complexity to satisfy. Its unique in that it doesn’t conform to an either hoppy or malty ale. It sort of dances the line and probably depending on the brewers feelings the day of brewing you could get a different sense each time you tried it. This one goes down smooth, its a super easy beer to drink. If I lived in WI this would be the beer I choose when I had a free evening on the lake or around the fire with some friends.

 

Overall Grade: B

 

Brew Review: Matacabras

7 Jul

Brew: Matacabras

Brewed by: Dave’s Brew Farm (Wilson, WI)

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale (8.0% ABV)

This was one I picked out randomly, I have never heard of Dave’s Brew Farm over there in WI, even though I am really only about 30-45 mins away from the border. There is a nice little goat on there. Matacabaras is described as “Spain’s famed ‘goat-killing’ northerly wind.” Which as I think about really has no bearing on the flavor or style of the beer at all, maybe the high ABV kills goats as well? Either way, its also described as ‘a curious ale’ right on the front, so that made me a little curious.

It poured out a deep amber color. A good looking reddish tint of a dark ale. It was a little murky which I guess leads to the curiosity of the ale as you cant really see whats in there lurking in the depths. The smell is full of malty sweetness. The label tells me that the beer is brewed with rye and that definitely shows up. There is a little bitter/spicy hop presence that tones down the malts just enough to make this smell a nice complex and interesting one.

The taste is somewhat similar to the Trois Pistoles, its a thick brew, on the chewy side. You can taste the booze in there a little bit right up front but that dies down a little once it gets down into your belly. There are some Belgian yeasts in there that give it a unique character. This beer feels a lot heavier than it is. It does have a high ABV at 8% but I think the low carbonation makes it seem heavier than it is there are no bubbles in there to liven the brew up. Its not flat by any means its just not a very carbonated beer. Its not terribly unique, its a strong Belgian ale, all the right characteristics of the style are present, the added rye gives it a little kick which is nice, but doesn’t push it into the realm of a really must try beer.

Overall, its a solid brew, especially considering I had never heard of the brewery before this. They made a good impression and I will probably look for a couple others by Dave and his brew farm in the future. Dont worry no goats were harmed in the making of the beer.

Final Grade: B+

Brew Review: Trois Pistoles

7 Jul

Brew: Trois Pistoles

Brewed by: Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec Canada)

Style: Belgian strong/dark ale (9.0% ABV)

 

Its been a while since the last review came up so I apologize for that, figured I would come back in style and with a bang. Trois Pistoles, actually has nothing to do with guns. Its some sort of church reference up there in the great white north of Canada. But once again Unibroue has come up with a beer that I will come back to a few times. This one has actually been recommended to me by a few others, so I figured it was about time that I got a hold of one and took ‘er down.

This one poured out a luscious dark brown. One that looked like you would have to chew your way through. There was a little red/purple around the edges, so not totally black but a deep rich color. Definitely a ‘dark ale.’ It had a sweet smell, you could easily tell the caramel was a big player. There were a couple of hops in the aroma, just enough to keep it interesting.

This brew has a big taste. It was also a mouthful, it was thick. It felt about as thick as it looked. There were spicy creamy malts that brought up the sweetness of the flavor. There was so much going on its hard to just pick out a few things to really settle on to define the brew. It was tangy, sweet, thick, very chewy, there were lots of fruity flavors. Overall the Belgian part shone through with the complex blending of yeasts, malts and hops.

I had let this one sit in my basement for a while, which probably means any other time I try this the taste will come out a little different which makes me want to try it again and again. This is a beer that is probably better in the winter/fall months as its pretty heavy and the dark fruits and high ABV will make you feel warm and cozy.

A great beer, one I would definitely recommend for any beer drinker/lover.

 

Final Grade: A-