Archive | November, 2011

Beer Event: Stein Hoisting

12 Nov

Beer event: Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Competition 9/26/2011

 

A friend of mine found this event online somewhere, saw that it had free beer so we decided we couldn’t pass something like that up. Never having been to a stein hoisting competition, I did a little research. Found out that its basically an event where you hold a ‘stein’ of beer our in front of you with one hand for as long as you can. Rules being that you can’t spill anything, have to have a straight arm and the beer has to be full. Pretty simple. I saw on the Sam Adams website that this was a comp that was just a prelim round and that the winner had a chance to go on to Munich for next years Oktoberfest. Needless to say I was pretty excited about that. I also saw that the leader as of the day we went had hoisted his stein for a whopping 9 minutes and some change. I figured it couldn’t be that hard so I gave myself a 5 minute expectation to go for, I was off by a lot.

On to the comp, had all 4 housemates there, they gave us each a liter stein filled with water, nobody wanted to spill any precious beer after all and we were set to go. Ready, set, GO. And we were off. It didn’t take long for little Nick to drop his arm at like 2:15 and not long after at 2:30 I had to drop out as well. Zach and Andrew held on for a little longer with Andrew pulling it out in the end. I think he ended up getting a time of around 3:15. A lot harder than expected.

In the end we got a free round of Sam Adams Oktoberfest beers, which wasn’t too bad and went down smooth after all that exercise. We also each got a 0.5 liter mug that had the Oktoberfest logo on it as well. So walking away with a bad score in front of people I will never see again with a free mug and free beer was pretty alright in my book. We also found a new drinking game to play and it was a great live sporting event even though each ‘heat’ only lasted a max of about 4 minutes.

Free beer and glassware= good times.

 

Final Grade:B+

Brew Review: Simcoe Single IPA

12 Nov

Brew: Simcoe Single Hop IPA

Brewed by:Mikkeller (DeProef Brouwerji, Belgium)

Style American Style IPA (6.9% ABV)

 

This is one installment in Mikkellers series of single-hop IPA’s. Basically he is using one hop variety and using only that variety to make an IPA. This whole series was brewed with the same yeast, malts, grains everything except the type of hop. It was basically a way to see each individual hop as its own being and to see what it could offer in terms of aroma, bitterness and flavors. The Simcoe hop is the focus in this brew, I was very excited to try it, first off that it was a Belgian based brewery attempting and American style IPA and second just because of the idea behind the series of single hop beers. The $7 price tag for the 12 oz bottle was a little much but in the end I think it was worth it.

On to the beer, it poured out a murky orangish brown color. There was some yellow that mixed in there as well, sort of a fall day all rolled into one. There was also some yeast sediment that as present but not a ton which was nice. The greatest part about how this beer looked was that it had a tremendously thick and rich looking head. It was a solid ½ inch tall but very thick with small tightly packed bubbles.

The smell was very unique, from most American IPA’s you get the hops right up front right away. This brew you could tell had a Belgian influence as there was sweet Belgian smells in there that reminded me of Duvel or some other Belgian staple. There were light fruits like apples and pears that permeated the scent followed by some light hops. The hops were very floral fresh and fruity smelling. There was also a noticeable Belgian yeast aroma that was present as well.

The taste of the brew was also unique, like the aroma. There was bitterness up front, the Simcoe shining through, but those apples and pears also started to show up again as well. This beer was trying to be a big hoppy American IPA but it just never really got there. I think the Belgian craftsmanship was able to balance out the hops that were loaded into the beer and use their exceptional malt practices and yeast strains to blend this beer into a well balanced not overly powerful affair.

I think it was a very fun and quesiton raising beer to drink. It was fun to see a style that was to a point started here in America, the hopped up pale ale, done by another style of brewer. It was also very thought-provoking to experience a beer that was not born on the other side of the pond but brought there from over here. Basically backwards from almost every other beer style out there. It usually goes the other way with American’s copying the Europeans but this time it was the other way around and it really was a fun thing to think about as I drifted through this beer.

 

Final Grade: A-

Brew Review: Crooked Tree IPA

1 Nov

Brew: Crooked Tree IPA

Brewed by: Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, MI)

Style: IPA (6.0% ABV)

 

The Crooked Tree IPA, once again I have had the ‘Double’ version of this beer before I had the single. I was given the double so that’s probably the reason why I drank it first, not even thinking that I hadn’t tried the original single version previously. If you remember I was not totally impressed by the Double, it was too bitter and the hops didn’t really shine through on the aromatics the way I was looking for. I wanted more floral and fruit notes to show up but never got them. I am hoping that the tones down version of that beer an highlight some of the better notes of the hops.

The beer pours out a orange/yellow color. It was somewhat murky and hazy with some brown thrown in there to darken the beer a little bit. There was a decently thick white head that appeared that died down to eventually rest on the top of the beer like a hat.

The aroma was more of what I was looking for in the Crooked Tree line of beers from Dark Horse. There were good hops qualities that shined through. There were some floral and light bouncy hops that showcased some grapefruits as well as some citrus oranges and lemons. There was a hint of bitterness that was then erased by the sweet malts that were alive and well in this beer as to balance out the fair amount of hops present.

The bitter hops show up right away on the first sip, but the more pleasant side of the hops also come through as well, there are some light floral notes that aren’t totally dominated by the bitterness. The malts and need to be in this brew are also there balancing out with their sweetness. There are then light grassy/earthy hops tones on the end or finish of the beer.

In the end this beer didn’t really impress me much either. It was another hoppy west coast IPA that most breweries are doing at this point. There were some good aromas that came from the hops but the bitterness seemed to dominate the scene. There was really nothing unusual or extraordinary about this beer. It was solid American IPA, which it seems like everyone is craving these days. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.

 

Final Grade: B

Brew Review: Rush River UberAlt

1 Nov

Brew: Uber Alt

Brewed By: Rush River Brewing Co. (River Falls, WI)

Style: Altbier (8.5% ABV)

 

Rush River, the close neighbor to the great state of MN. This beer intrigued me because it was starting to get colder and this altbier was just what my soul was needing to warm it up as the fall and winter set in upon us here in the upper-midwest. A hearty beer weighing in at 8.5% it had what it takes to warm a person up in the cold times and for that reason alone I picked this beer off of the shelf. I have been impressed with Rush River in the past (the unforgiven) but also somewhat disappointed (double bubble), I was hoping this beer, being that it was a German style, would come out on the better side of things. Especially considering how many Germans there are in the not-so-awesome state of WI and the much better near-by state of MN.

Cracking this German delight open it poured out a murky amber, reddish brown color. There was a night small light tan head that also appeared but faded quickly. The malts of this beer dominate the smell, its hard to get anything else. Caramel and sweet toffee, smells like a candy shop minus the popcorn and chocolate.

This beer was a thick one. A bready meal in a glass, it definitely warmed me up. The sweet malts still dominated the scene but in a very nice way that is traditional for the style. This is a beer that football fans can take out the tailgate parties and not get cold with, its that thick. Not syrup-like but it was a bready malty affair that made you feel like a proud German while drinking it. The booze is well masked and only a hint shows up on the end pairing with a tint of bitterness.

This is a great heavy, malty beer. It stays true to the style and presents a very drinkable thick tasty treat. A great warmer as the seasons begin to change to the frigid side of things. A solid effort all around from Rush River.

 

Final Grade: B