Archive for the ‘beers’ Category

Hair of the Dog “Adam”

April 29th, 2010

Tonight’s beer is Hair of the Dog’s “Adam” out of Portland, Oregon. The Adam was brewed by Hair of the Dog as a tribute to a fellow brewer who evidently had a very fine nose for excellent beer. I selected this beer as the voters choice based on input collected throughout the past month – you chose it, and I’m drinking it! I actually drank this a couple of weeks ago, but in the midst of sampling a cavalcade of other craft beers from a variety of sources, I hope you aren’t terribly upset that I sat on it. Without further adieu, meet Adam!

Hair of the Dog's "Adam"

Hair of the Dog's "Adam"

The Adam poured out a brilliant blood red, almost sanguinated with light bubbles coursing through it, and looks exactly like someone drained a rare steak into a glass. It has a very tall head, and plenty of yeast to drive the fermentation. Some settled into the bottom of my glass, but there was a thick coating of it on the bottom of the bottle. The nose on it was typical for a beer like this, imparting a strong aroma of cherries with the pungent nip of furniture varnish and gasoline. Where this beer truly excels, however, was in the flavor profile – the flavor is intense and almost romantic, offering strong tinges of alcohol and Cuban cigars with further intimations of dark chocolate and saddle leather. It has a chewy texture to it, but it goes down smoothly with enough alcohol to warm you up on a cold night. The beer is quite sticky, with a soothing aftertaste that will leave you licking your lips for more.

Reactions to this beer around my usual tasting circle were very positive, and several people actually proclaimed “I’d put that in my mouth again!” This was an exceptionally tasty stout and very comparable to Bell’s Expedition Stout from a couple of weeks ago, but it’s going to take something truly extraordinary to beat that one! This was odd beer, but very well done – you all have excellent tastes! It is a bit pricey at $4.50 for a 12 ounce bottle, but definitely worth it if you’re looking for a truly fantastic stout.

Don’t forget to keep voting! I don’t follow any particular schedule with them – I just drink the winner whenever I feel like drinking it. Until next time, happy drinking!

Of Hops and Hefs

December 10th, 2009

It’s been a very tasty week here in the Beersurfing office*, and Treehorn and I have both been busy finding some delightfully tasty beers to sample, and I believe that for tonight’s Thirsty Thursday, we have some winners!  These are three of the tastiest beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. Lots of Twittering and Googling led to an hour-long trip to my local bottle shop to pick out specifics, along with some utter randomness. The result -  two IPA’s, a hefeweizen, and four other bottles of beer whose contents are still a mystery to me five days later.  Without further adieu, I give you tonight’s beers!

First, allow me to say that I haven’t met a Dogfish Head beer that I didn’t like. They make a fantastic series of IPA’s, and the amazing things they do with hops are the epitome of what IPA’s ought to be. I am well aware that no beer is the same as the next one, but DFH’s IPA’s are quite exemplary.  Tonight’s first IPA is the 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head.  I’ve been told by various sources that the DFH120 is a fairly rare beer and is only brewed by Dogfish Head a couple of times per year.  They have one fermenting tank dedicated to it, and it’s brewed with the help of a specialized hopping machine lovingly christened “Sir Hops-A-Lot”.  The brewer himself can explain his masterpiece much better than I ever could, so here he is:

dfh120The Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is absolutely loaded with alcohol (20% by most counts, and it varies by the batch), so don’t think you’re going to have more than one of these and walk away from it easily.  Since I had a friend that was equally as curious and amazed about the prospect of this beer as I was, I agreed to share it with him.  We split the 12oz bottle and poured it equally into two glasses.  The beer is a brilliant orange-amber and has the consistency of a melted popsicle – it’s very syrupy, and the 120IBU’s worth of hops brewed into it make it smell absolutely heavenly. In addition to the hops, it reminded me of a gummy bear and smelled like grape Jello, while my partner-in-crime claimed to have caught a whiff of some woody, oaken aromas. This beer has so much flavor you almost want to cry with joy when it hits your taste buds – it is extremely hoppy to the point of fruitiness, and reminded me of a cask-conditioned beer with just the right amount of bubbles. It is almost too rich to swallow – it goes down like a well-done bourbon and hits you about as strongly.  Suffice to say, this beer is incredible – I would drink it all day if I could, but that’s the rub – few people could! As tasty and flavorful as this beer is, it is best enjoyed as a treat on a special occasion, like a nice bottle of tequila or a fine scotch on the top shelf.  Indeed, this beer reportedly ages very well under the correct conditions, so if you find some, pick up a few extra bottles and savor them on special occasions. No liver could tolerate it as a daily driver, at least not for very long.

Stone's Ruination

Stone's Ruination

I found it difficult to follow up the 120 Minute IPA properly with anything worthy – I thought my tastebuds would be forever ruined, but then I was reminded of this beer – Stone’s Ruination IPA, which claims and almost brags about doing exactly that. I mentioned Ruination in a previous entry but noted that I did not properly review it, despite picking up six bottles from my local grocery store and drinking them all. Disappointed at this revelation, I picked up another 22oz bottle on my last beer run to give it a proper introduction. While pouring myself a glass, I almost learned the hard way that my usual pint glass would not be large enough to contain this beer, and the overflow nearly caused a tasty calamity. This beer has the appearance of orange-juice and a wimpy head, and smells nearly identical to the Dogfish Head 120 that came before it. Despite having 20 fewer IBU’s, the Ruination initially smelled and tasted more bitter than the DFH. This baffled me, until I recalled a fact from the DFH brewer’s video and some advice from Dogfish’s Twitter feed that the DFH120 is best enjoyed “Cool, not cold”. That in mind, I let the beer set for a few minutes and came back to find that it tasted much sweeter, and almost syrupy like the DFH was.  However, this flavor was shortlasted, and since I did not imbibe it quickly enough, it quickly devolved to another bitter state. Basically, unless the temperature is correct (55F, according to the bottle), you’re doomed to consume 22oz of extremely hoppy beer, which sounds like a dream to hopheads but turns into a chore as the temperature increases. That, really, is the Achille’s heel of the Ruination – it’s a fantastic beer with citrus tones and hoppy aromas at 55F, but if you can’t keep it within a few degrees at that temperature, it’s just another overhopped IPA. This was my 9th Ruination, and I’ve only enjoyed that magical flavor twice!

2009-12-09 19.45.00Finally, we come to the last beer of the evening, which surprisingly is not an IPA.  I pulled a Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat out of my fridge randomly and decided to pour myself a glass.  It came out of the bottle golden and nearly clear, more like an ale than a hefeweizen, and smelled fruity and distinctively hef-like; it reminded me of a cool summer breeze.  The real treat, though, was the smell – this has to be one of the tastiest hefeweizens that ever hit my tongue! I reminded me a bit of a cocktail with some peach overtones to it, which is a nice touch above the usual banana-and-clove theme that accompany most hefs.  Unlike the others, this one is very thin and watery, and the extra carbonation in this beer tickles your throat on its way down.  Alcohol content is 4.7% ABV, which is a nice number for a fun beer like this.  It really hits the spot regardless of your mood, and my only disappointment with this beer was that there was not more of it when I finished my bottle.

2009-12-09 19.47.53I came into this review thinking that Ruination was the finest IPA I had ever consumed in my relatively young adult life, but then Dogfish Head came and wrecked the curve with their elite IPA. I had the 120 Minute pegged as being similar to the 60 or 90 minute versions, but I was vastly (and pleasantly!) mistaken.  My hat gets tipped to you, Dogfish Head, for creating such a masterpiece – I can’t wait to try your other beers!  And now a question for my fellow readers – what is your favorite IPA?  Do any stand out as “legendary”, and if so, where can we find some?

*: We are not actually located here, but it is one of my favorite places

Thirsty Thursday – Samuel Adams Winter Classics Part 2

December 3rd, 2009

This week Beersurfing returns to the Samuel Adams Winter Classics pack, which packed 6 different beers into a 12-pack case. We here at Beersurfing appreciate variety, and decided to stretch the goodness out over two weeks. At this time, we have only drank half of the winter classics pack, but after this week we will have sampled one of each! What we’ll do with the leftovers is anybody’s guess – I wonder if I can donate them. Is that even legal?

The Holiday Porter

The Holiday Porter

Anyways, on to the beer! First up is the Holiday Porter – naturally, the first thing I noticed about this beer was the taste. The flavor of chocolate and coffee in this beer is extremely evident, though the slight nip reminds you that you’re drinking a Sam Adams, not a Starbucks latte! The aroma reminds me slightly of prune juice and chocolate with a stronger hint of coffee. Flavor-wise, it really isn’t that strong, especially compared to the Yeti from a couple of weeks ago. In my opinion, the alcohol content is way below normal; 5.8% alcohol by volume is pretty weak for a porter. Not being much of a coffee (or a porter) drinker, I initially found myself struggling to swallow a 12 oz bottle of this, and without an overwhelming amount of flavor or alcohol, what’s the point? Sam, this beer leaves me conflicted – if you’re going to make me swallow a whole bottle of porter, at least give it some kick to warm me up on a cold night, like any dark beer should! Fortunately, since I live in Phoenix, cold nights are hard to come by, so I’ll let you know when I get one. Some parting words and saving grace before moving along – the Holiday Porter starts tasting a lot better after about 6 ounces. Either I’m a lightweight, or the good stuff sinks to the bottom!

More Cranberry Lambic

Is it just me, or is it glowing?

Next up is the Cranberry Lambic, which is a wheat beer brewed with cranberry juice and a hint of maple syrup. I found myself scratching my head in amazement that the Lambic passes as a beer at all, but I will admit that it sure is tasty and works well as an after dinner treat! This beer reminds me a LOT of Sam’s Cherry Wheat usually sold during the American summer; in fact, I suspect that this is the very same wheat beer only brewed with cranberries. Unlike the siblings found in the Winter Classics pack, this beer is incredibly easy to swallow, very easy on the palate, and foregoes leaving that sour taste in your mouth. It almost glides down your throat, and whatever alcohol is actually in the drink is completely masked by the aroma and the flavor. If I didn’t enjoy beer so much, I would almost call this a wine and never drink it again. Hell, the alcohol in this is hidden so well I would almost feed it to children after school if I didn’t know better, but the label clearly indicates that this is a strong drink, especially by fruit-juice standards! I was surprised to note that the Cranberry Lambic actually has slightly more alcohol in it than the Holiday Porter, which one would expect to be loaded with booze. Of the entire bundle, this one is among my favorites, and in terms of enjoyment I would rank it just below our next beer – the Winter Lager!

The Samuel Adams Winter Lager

The Samuel Adams Winter Lager

I actually did some tasty research on the Winter Lager while writing my last review, but alas, I misplaced my notes from that night so I begrudingly started over. This is far from a bad thing, as I had another bottle of the Winter Lager just begging to be consumed. I am not one to deny a beer a shelter in my warm belly, so I poured myself another glass for, um, safekeeping. A darker lager, this beer offers peppermint and gingerbread tastes to it when it first enters your mouth, and it will actually numb your taste buds a little if you’re enjoying a gulp. In sips, this beer has a LOT of flavor to it; it’s very sweet and is very enjoyable on its way down. I found myself savoring this beer slowly by the sip, rather than quickly by the gulp. The alcohol content of this lager is unknown, though there doesn’t seem to be much alcohol in it; regardless of the amount, it is hidden very well by the full-bodied flavor offered by this beer. Of all six beers found in the Winter Classics pack, this one is by far my favorite.

And that does it for the Samuel Adams Winter Classics! Beersurfing will be updating a little more frequently over the next week – my birthday is on Sunday, and after shopping around for some utter randomness at one of the local beer stores, I found myself a tasty beer brewed only a couple times per year that can only be best enjoyed in good company.  See you soon and thanks for reading!

Three Siblings

(from left) - The Cranberry Lambic, Holiday Porter, and Winter Lager

Thirsty Thursday – Samuel Adams Winter Classics

November 29th, 2009
Old Fezziwig

Old Fezziwig

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is a bit late, but better late than never!  The next two weeks will be a two-part series featuring the Samuel Adam’s Winter Classics pack, which contains 6 different beers from the Boston Brewing Company.  To kick off the review, we start with Old Fezziwig, which according to Sam is an “ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and oranges”. I was trying to determine just exactly what this beer smelled like.  It’s definitely wintery, and has a vague hint of gingersnaps and candycanes.  Once it actually gets in your mouth, however, you get none of these – the beer definitely contains sweetness indicated on the bottle, but it’s somewhat acidic and burns on its way down.  It has a strong alcohol taste on its way down that’s very offputting, and the aftertaste has a hint of cloves in it. Old Fezziwig certainly will warm you up on a cold winter night; however, living in Phoenix I don’t know the meaning of a cold winter night!

The Boston Lager

The Boston Lager

Next on the list is the Boston Lager – an oldie but goodie that got both founding members of Beersurfing through college with nary a brain cell lost for it.  This beer, being mass-produced and available in most grocery stores, isn’t something I’d normally review, but it was included with the Winter Classics pack and it came out of the fridge at random, so what the hell – I’m not one to let beer go to waste!  I like this one more than the Fezziwig, if only because it’s familiar and it really does taste better. It’s smooth and easy to swallow, but like the Fezziwig, it has a strong alcohol taste on its way down that you can definitely taste for a few minutes afterwards.

Coastal Wheat

Coastal Wheat

Finally, we come to the Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat, which is apparently a new hefeweizen created by the American brewer. After the first couple of drinks, I have to ask myself how this passes as a hefeweizen? It’s kind of sweet in a way that only a hefeweisen can be, but it’s far from great.  It is a very weak hef without much of that hef flavor, and it leaves a very subtle lemon flavor to it.  On the other hand, that’s almost exactly what it says on the bottle, so I guess I can’t be terribly disappointed with it. This reminds me more of lemonade and sunshine than anything wintery, so I leave myself wondering why this is included with the Winter Classics pack. This is a good beer, but if you like hefeweisens, stay away from it – much better hefs can be had, though for the price you get what you pay for.

I’ll see you all again next week to wrap up the Winter Classics pack.  Stay tuned for the Holiday Porter, the Winter Lager, and the Cranberry Lambic from the Boston Beer Company.  Thanks for reading! (Update: This article is the first of two reviews on the Samuel Adams Winter Classics pack. Continue reading the rest of it here.)

Samuel Adams Winter Classics - Part 1

Samuel Adams Winter Classics - Part 1

Thirsty Thursday – Snake Dog, Electric Beer, and The Yeti

November 19th, 2009

First, a shoutout – I had the opportunity to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary with a good chunk of my family this past weekend: congratulations, Dean and Edna! Let’s hope you have some more parties in you – you have a beautiful thing going!

In more bittersweet news, I’ve been working overtime all week – suffice to say, it’s been a great week for beer and I’ll try not to disappoint! First up on the list is Snake Dog IPA, from the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. According to their website, “Snake Dog India Pale Ale is a Colorado-style IPA, power hopped with specialty hops from the Pacific Northwest. This is the brewery’s hop monster, and the citrus fruit aroma will hypnotize the senses of the most hardcore craft beer drinkers.” If you like IPA’s this one certainly doesn’t disappoint – it’s bitter in that way that only hops can be, but I’ve certainly had hoppier stuff (such as Two Brother’s Hop Juice or Stone’s Ruination), and you can definitely taste the citrus mentioned in the description. In true IPA style, the 7.1% alcohol-by-volume provides a bit of a bite, so don’t go too nuts! A bottle of this beer can be yours for $1.29 at Total Wine.

The Yeti

The Yeti

Next on the list is “The Yeti”, from Great Divide Brewing. I picked this one up for my dad.  Dad doesn’t just like dark beers – he loves them. Dad seeks the darkest beers that he can possibly find, and then scrapes it off the bottom of the cask. I took this as a personal challenge, and sought out the darkest beer that I could find. The Yeti was a winner – described as “viscous” and “inky”, the Yeti “opens with a massive roasted, almost chocolate, coffee malt that gives way to rich toffee and caramel notes.” It goes on to mention that it’s packed with American hops, but trust me – you won’t even notice it. This beer is loaded with flavors galore – there’s coffee, toffee, chocolate, and caramel, with a little bit of hoppiness to throw you off.  This beer may well change my opinion of other dark beers – if only they tasted like this one!  The downside (or perhaps the upside?) is that the Yeti comes in a 22 oz bottle and is packed with 9.6% ABV. Even sharing the bottle someone else generated a pleasant buzz – this beer should be savored, slowly and lovingly.  This one is a bit on the pricey side, and will run you $6.99 at your local Total Wine.

Snake Dog IPA and The Yeti

Snake Dog IPA and The Yeti

To finish off the evening, I met up with a group of friends this evening to sample one of our fine local drinking establishments.  Dave’s Electric Brewpub recently opened in Tempe, AZ and serves craft beers brewed in Bisbee. Dave has four beers on tap – Dave’s Electric Lager, Industrial IPA, OK Ale, and Oatmeal Stout; he also brews seasonal beer in-house. Alas, OK Ale and Oatmeal Stout were not available, so I got one pint each of the Electric Lager and the Industrial IPA.  Dave’s Electric Brew is 4.9% ABV; it’s light, tasty, cold and refreshing after a long day at work.  It was less flavorful than I expected, but the hint of hops that hit you on the way down was a nice touch.  The IPA fared much better – it was quite a bit more flavorful and tastefully more bitter than the Electric, and harsher going down – exactly what I expect from an IPA.  The IPA has a bit of a bite to it alcohol-wise, but still on the lighter side compared to the others.

That does it for Beersurfing’s second Thirsty Thursday.  We’ll see you next week!

Thirsty Thursday – Spanish Peaks Variety Pack

November 13th, 2009

Alas, the Beersurfing blog is being painfully neglected.  To spice things up a little bit, Beersurfing is going to try something new! On Thirsty Thursday, we will be reviewing at least one new beer each week.  On tonight’s menu, we have the Spanish Peaks Brewing Company Variety Pack, which I purchased for about $12 at my local Bevmo.  12 bottles of beer – 4 bottles each of 3 different brews.  Not a bad deal, but was it worth it?  Keep on reading to find out how we fared!

Black Dog Crystal Weiss

Billed as “The World’s Best Wheat Beer”, it sure doesn’t taste like a wheat beer.  It sort of smells like overripe fruit but has a hint of a fruity taste to it.  I’m not complaining, as it goes down fairly smoothly but feels harsh on the tongue. I probably wouldn’t like the Crystal Weiss very much if I was after a true hef, but being the first beer of the evening, it sure hits the spot after a long day at work. I’m going to enjoy the other three!

Black Dog Ale

Billed as an “English Style Amber Ale”. This tastes more like a weak porter than an amber. I’m not big on porters, especially when I’m expecting something else.  It’s like eating an M&M when expecting a Skittle. Black Dog Ale has a burnt, smoky, and almost woodsy taste to it. I didn’t believe it was actually an amber because the bottle was so dark so I poured it into a glass to confirm.

The Black Dog Ale

The Black Dog Ale

You win this round, Spanish Peaks, but I’m on to you! This is a pretty stiff drink, and the alcohol content is making it difficult to type.

Honey Raspberry Ale

This beer is much more about the raspberry than the honey.  It tastes almost like cough syrup on its way in and almost as appetizing on its way down.  It has a harsh feel on the tongue and a horrible aftertaste.  Honey Raspberry Ale smells decent, but if I wanted to drink rancid Koolaid, I would drink a cheap red wine before I chose this beer. It gets worse as it gets warmer; I don’t know if I can drink three more of these.

The Honey Raspberry

The Honey Raspberry

All in all, this selection of Spanish Peaks was decent, but at $1 a beer you definitely get what you pay for. I look forward to trying some of their other brews, but sadly I think I will be disappointed. If their website is any indication, I drank all that they had to offer and then some. I guess if I ever find myself in Montana again (perhaps during my next 27-hour drive to Calgary?), I’ll hit up the brewery and see what else they have!

Aside from Bevmo, you can find Spanish Peaks beer throughout Montana and most of the Pacific Northwest. See their website for more info.

Got a beer we have to try?  Beersurfing will feature a new beer or brewer every Thursday – if you know of one that we absolutely have to try, we’d be happy to hear about it! Send me an email at elliot@beersurfing.com.

Programming Fuel

June 28th, 2009

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I was just at the grocery store and decided to pick up something new to drink. I discovered an extra large bottle of a beer lovingly named Hop Juice, by the Left Coast Brewing Company. As one can imagine, it’s completely and utterly saturated with hoppy goodness, and is quite bitter for those of you who are fans of such a taste. At 9.4% ABV, it’s almost like wine and hits you like one too. Don’t try it on an empty stomach! A casual beersurfer in the store, who had sampled this marvel of brewing mastery in the past, said it was the gravy of hoppy beers and would recommend it to anybody.

What kind of hoppy beers do you like?