Friday, December 16, 2011

Barleywine Classics

I intended to post some reviews of my favorite Barleywines back in the fall, but never got around to it.  This weekend I've got a little extra time on my hands, so I figured I would share some reviews of brews from one of my favorite styles, a style that doesn't seem to get as much love as others, especially here in Oklahoma.   While I realize that the Barelywine is seen as a seasonal release from many brewers, thus doesn't lend itself to being as readily available as many other styles, the consistent paucity of Barleywines on Oklahoma Liquor store shelves never ceases to amaze me, and I always feel lucky if I can even find one (usually the Old Ruffian).  Inexcusable.

Rogue Old Crustacean

While the Barleywine is one of my favorite styles, I've put off getting to this one because of the price, and a bad experience with the XS IPA. That being said, Rogue is also one of my favorite breweries, and I just couldn't see passing this one up any longer. This is the 2007 Vintage. Pours a chocolaty brown into a snifter. A huge, bubbly dark tan and brown head sits atop and fades slowly leaving a thin, but consistent lace around the glass.

Smells of sweet and dark chocolates, dark fruits (prunes and plums) yeast, big sweet malts and bread. Tastes rich and creamy, chocolaty and sweet, with an unexpected but very welcome hop hit at the end. Alcohol is fairly well hidden by the complex tastes which also include the big malts and caramel candy finish.

Mouth-feel is full bodied, but goes down pretty easy. The carbonation explodes after a slight swirl. This is redemption in a glass, and I can't believe I waited this long to enjoy this first class Barleywine.

Great Divide Old Ruffian

The absolute first Barleywine I ever tried, and what a fucking home run of a beer to turn me on to the style.  I mean where the hell do you go from here?  It was like losing your virginity to a supermodel . . . well, not really, but. . .

Pours a dirty brown into a tulip. Nice fluffy two finger tan head with adequate retention and spotty lacing left behind. Smells of big citrus hops, caramel, raisins and some furtive alcohol in the background. Tastes sweet with a good balance of hops that aren't as huge as the smell would have you think, mixed in with malts and ends with some alcohol heat at the top. Has a piny aftertaste.

Being my first Barleywine Style Ale, I would have to say I'm a little surprised that it isn't as complex as I was anticipating, and that is not to say I don't greatly enjoy this beer. I will age my next one for a bit longer. All in all I am very satisfied with this brew and will return to the style, coming back to this one after I've tried a few others.

Nøgne ø 100

Here's what I had to say about this one back in June of 09.

My first Nogne brew, and highly anticipated. Very deep brown, bordering on black in color. A flurry of carbonation results in a bubbly, medium-sized tan head that has great retention. When it finally fades, a constellation of little dots surround the middle of the snifter, and a few clumps of bubbles are left on top of the brew.

Smells pleasant with deep chocolates and ripe red cherries easing into some piny hops. Subtle sweet malts and dark dried fruits flow across the palate and are followed by a big hit of more piny hops, distant dark chocolates and fairly sharp and lingering alcohol heat.

Mouth-feel is medium to heavy, and it initially goes down smooth and creamy, but a certain crispness forms around the edges after a few drinks, making things interesting. I can see where aging one of these would make a big difference in rounding off some of the sharp edges, but it's still good to go as is, and very satisfying.

Live Oak Old Tree Hugger.

Big bad bearded behemoth of a brew here, which suits me just fine, because I like a gnarly beer from time to time. 

March 10, 2011 review.  On tap at the Gingerman in Austin.

Ruby red in color with a slim tan head at the rim.  Has an aroma of black licorice, caramel malts and burnt hickory. Tastes of pine, bubblegum and sour cherries with a vein of sweet malts, a very faint spice and a medicinal tinge at the edges.

Medium to heavy and a bit syrupy with a lingering alcohol heat. Fair carbonation.

Nice and big drinkin' on a spring-like Austin eve.

Well I guess that wraps it all up for now.  I highly recommend you go out and support the plight of the Barleywine as soon as possible.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ommegang Aphrodite: Mission Accomplished?

Beer Advocate categorizes this as a Fruit/Vegetable Beer, and t is no secret that I have rarely met a Fruit/Vegetable beer that I've liked.  Furthermore, I've never ran across a pure "vegetable beer, and hope I never do, so for all intents and purposes, we're just going to call this a "fruit beer", and leave the vegetables for the dinner plate where they should stay.

Now fruit and beer are two words, when taken separately, evoke images of sweetness and sunshine, good times and fine living.  Place them together, and well, let's just say ring the warning bells loudly, because there is no telling what surprises may lay waiting for you.  You may say I have a bias against fruit beer, and that would be true, albeit oversimplified.  I prefer to think that I have a healthy sense of Pavlovian caution.  In the immortal words of the ever-eloquent George W. Bush " fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

The Aphrodite does have a couple of things going for it though.  One being that it comes from Ommegang, a quite consistent brewery.  The second is that the flavors are touted to be natural, and it looks like we have a little added Belgian yeast touch that is promising.  As I've said before though, all the fancy naming, marketing bullshit and labeling amounts to jack, so I'm popping the cork to see for myself.

The tan head scrams quickly, as if it has done something wrong, and doesn't want to get caught.  It leaves no trace behind.  Pure brown in color, and the only characteristic that distinguished this brew from a cup of tea was the froth.  Sour fruits (soured fruits?), yeast and a little burnt sugar float languid from the goblet.  Tastes tangy and cloying up front with apricots, apples and white grapes.  Small amounts of spice and taffy come into play. Has a soured, vinegary aftertaste that does not suit me in any form or fashion.  A few sips in and things begging to calm down, but this one still has some serious issues with balance.  Medium bodied.

The Aprhrodite is not a drain pour, mostly due to the price, and I really don't have any inclination to write any more in regards to this one as it completely misses the deck.     

So call me biased or whatever, I'm just not a fruit/vegetable beer kinda guy, and I make no apologies.  As a matter of fact, I'm proud of it.  I think I'm going to need a Three Philosophers to fix this issue.   

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nøgne Ø Imperial IPA (#500)

What a cruddy day.  It's rainy and cold and I just can't get up the motivation to break out the road bike, so I guess I'll have to crack open the Nogne IIPA and throw on some tunes to keep me busy until Bedlam.  ...I must remind myself, things could be a helluva lot worse.

I haven't had a new (to me) IIPA in a while, so this one is highly anticipated.  A hazy dark brown pour is completed by a finely bubbled and abundant tan head that creeps down the glass slowly, leaving a thick collar of froth behind. 

Has a nose of piquant floral and oily hops that are followed by a caramel sweetness for centering.  On the palate the hops and sweet malts fight it out for a quick second before being broken up by some grapefruit and distant light fruity notes; then back at it again, with the sweet overpowering the bitter, albeit slightly. 

Mouth-feel lies on the lighter side of medium.  Alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms, but never knocks you out.    

A finely tuned IIPA whose sweetness might deter some hopheads, but works fairly well for me. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mikkeller It's Alive! And It's in Oklahoma!

Oklahoma saw two very exciting and highly respectable brewery additions to its beer lineup this week.

Nogne O hails from Grimstad, Norway, and not only will their beer surely give Oklahoma beer lovers a lot to talk about for months to come, it also promises to produce an abundance of laughable and embarrassing pronunciation gaffs.  I suggest you beef up on your Norwegian, or at least do a quick Google search so you can keep an aura of sophistication and not butcher the name too badly. 

Mikkeller is a one dude peripatetic beer making machine who creates at various breweries in Denmark, Europe and the United States.  This once home brewer turned international beer superstar didn't start producing his beers until the summer of 2007, and now it appears that he is about to take over the world with his genre pushing beer blitzkrieg.

Through trade and travel I've had the pleasure of drinking the Mikkeller Big Worse and Monk's Elixir, as well as the Nogne O #100 and Imperial Stout. I have not been disappointed. Today I am going to review the Mikkeller It's Alive, an American Wild Ale, a style that I haven't always seen eye to eye with.  I will get to some Nogne brews soon.

Sparkling reddish orange in color with a long lasting, thick, off-white head that bursts to the rim of the tulip.  I've witnessed few beers with a residual lacing as big and gnarly.

The aroma puts the "f" in funk; a virtual wild yeast orgy that flows freely and loudly throughout the room.  Notes of dark fruit, grain, straw and herbal mint are later realized.  Sweet and minty to the tongue with a phenomenal funk wrapping that goes on and on.  Lighter fruits, allspice, nougat and caramel eventually orchestrate to provide balance and complexity.

This one is quite easy to drink.  Mouth-feel is medium, and it has a pleasing creamy core.

A fantastic brew that goes a long way in repressing any Wild Ale issues I've had in the past.  

The fact that these two heralded breweries now distribute to our fine state is confirmation that Oklahoma beer lovers are turning some heads.  So keep raising the good pints and keep spreading the word my friends.  

I think I would be terribly remiss if I didn't take this golden opportunity to throw in a little knee spankin', toe tappin', down home Norwegian Black Metal for good measure.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2007 Deschutes Abyss

This is definitely becoming the season for the Russian Imperial Stout boys and girls, and I can think of no better way to toast, or flip the bird to (if your a summer person as is yours truly) the coming of the dark months, than with the legendary Deschutes Abyss.  This has been the week of popping the aged ones, as I've dug into a Boulevard Imperial Stout that's been down for a couple of years, now this one, and a couple more lined up for the holiday weekend. 

This is a 2007 Vintage I obtained in a trade about three years ago (released January 2008 [approx 350 BBL]).  A bit hesitant to pop the cap, but here goes...

Splendid carbonation despite its age.  The dark mocha head stands proud, but eventually yields, leaving a choppy ring of froth around the glass.  Black through and through with no light penetration. 

Aromatically complex with profound sweet and dark chocolate notes that fuse with dark cherries, black licorice, peat, and a profound barrel-aged smokiness that has A+ stamped all over it.

Flavor is precise with more sweet chocolates, cocoa nibs, roasted coffee beans and a nice smack of smokiness.  As it warms a few plum and raisin notes appear, as well as the molasses (as noted on the label), that adds new and welcomed elements to the palate.

The Abyss is not as hefty as one might think; lying somewhere between medium and heavy.  Smooth as silk with that smoky edge that keeps everything interesting, and with a near total lack of alcohol heat that is astonishing because of the 11% of ABV hidden inside.

A stylistically perfect, flavorful, highly drinkable, and no worse for the wear beer for the ages.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marshall El Cucuy No Estrellarse y Arder.

Once again the El Cucuy is haunting the land, and while slowly sipping this monster, I'm realizing that it tastes better than ever.  The Cucuy's fusion of bitter and sweet is worthy of the Wallendas highly entertaining balancing act, but also walks the death-defying fine line between excess and perfection ala' Philippe Petit. 

Here's my 12-11-10 review:

A medium pour results in a prolific and serried tan head. The froth melts slowly, leaving a thick and rolling covering with an almost unbroken sheet of lace. Black in color and impervious to light.

Sharp oily and resinous hops immediately to the nose. Very distant caramel malts and subtle pine notes exist. Not a lot going on aroma wise. After my first sip I can tell this is a Black IPA (ABA) of a different color. Smooth and creamy with a sweet malty and dark chocolate core which is wrapped nicely with hops. A little dark fruitiness appears for a second. Medium to full bodied and has a bit of lingering alcohol heat which is in no way a distraction.

It's easy to tell a lot of care and attention to detail went into the creation of this beer. The near perfect mix between sweet and bitter makes this, without a doubt, the best beer of this style I have had, and one of the best beers overall I've tried in quite a while. Congratulations to Marshall for upping the ante on excellent Oklahoma brews with this one.

....Ok, I will admit that life doesn't hang in the balance with this brew, although a few too many might cause you to crash and burn .  Nevertheless, it's really damn good, and like Mr. Petit, it gives the finger to convention with the utmost style.  Try one, but don't try this. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Boulevard Nommo Dubbel

I think it is fair to say that Boulevard is a brewing powerhouse.  With an ever expanding lineup that covers a lot of territory style-wise, a staple brew (Unfiltered Wheat) that approaches sales stats in the SA Boston Lager/ SN Pale Ale range, and with some fine experimental brews thrown in for good measure, it becomes hard to find fault with these Kansas City beer giants, and that is why my fridge is consistently stocked with a sixer of a year round standard, a Smokestack or two, and often a Limited release ready and waiting. 

The head on this one isn't as unruly as many of the other Smokestack brews, but still has a substantial and slowly disappearing, froth.  The dark brown body is penetrated by some red coming in from the edges.  The aroma floating from the goblet consists of banana, clove, licorice, a hint of rum booziness, and spice cake.   Tastes of sweet bread, grapes, banana, grain and a hint of hops with an aftershock of fusel alcohol.  Fairly satisfying, but a little thin in body.  Has a dry finish.

While I realize the Dubbel is often overshadowed by it's bigger brethren, due to no discernible stylistic faults of its own, I still have to say this is one of the weaker of the Belgian Smokestack brews.  However, you must keep in mind, even a status quo Smokestack runs right in the middle of the "craft" pack, always biting at the heels of the big dogs.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jumping Jesus on a pogo's Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet!

Living in Oklahoma going on four decades has given me the opportunity to realize the best this state has to offer, as well as the worst this state has to offer.  The cost of living is so low that you could sink it in the middle of Lake Hefner and not see its peak, and the economic downturn has not been as disastrous here as in many other places.  On the other hand, the state of our health care system (mental health included) is abysmal, and despite being the buckle of the Bible belt, we have one of the highest divorce rates in the country.  We also suffer from an epidemic of political ignorance, a fact that is most apparent when you realize a majority of our population has been brainwashed into voting against its own interests (this political paradox and lack of education on issues only adds to the issue I am about to disccus regarding our archaic beer laws).

As far as entertainment goes, my beloved home OKC now has the Thunder, and an exciting restaurant scene is beginning to thrive (despite the efforts of ABLE) along with a growing entertainment district.  We have a number of good beer bars in the metro that really try to keep local beer geeks happy, but the more discerning and educated that group of geeks become, and the more that group grows, the more challenging it is going to be to keep them satiated, because let's just face the facts folks, Oklahoma's beer selection is abominable, bordering on embarrassing.  If it weren't for the local breweries that have come to the rescue in the last few years, this would definitley be a beer wasteland.   

You are probably wondering where I am going with all of this, and what got me on this soap box.  Well, today I am reviewing the last beer of my most recent Texas haul, and lamenting the fact that it is back to the waiting game for a new brewery to come in-state or an existing brewery to expand its offerings here if I want to experience something different.  Sometimes I think it could be worse, (can you say Alabama or Mississippi), but when I travel out of state it really brings home the fact of how Oklahoma's beer selection is stagnating, and one could easily argue, diminishing.  With those thoughts in mind I'm going to pop the cap on this ABA, hopefully thoroughly enjoy it, and leave all the BS behind for a bit.

Hoppy Feet has a big fluffy and airy tan head that dissipates slightly then chills in place with one finger of froth on top and a thick swath of lace left clinging.  Black in color with thin crimson edges at the light.  Smells of malts, some melon, herbal hops, and a distant mintiness.  Tastes a bit grainy and sweet with more melon goodnees (quite subdued), distant black licorice sweetness, and oily hops.  Mouth-feel is medium and thinner than expected but not to the point of weakness.  Dry and slightly rough going down but drinkability does not suffer.  Not the best ABA I've tried, but a damn fine example that I would revisit often if it were readily available. 

Well I guess it could all be worse. I could be content to sit back, maybe watch a little Mork and Mindy on channel 57, maybe kick back a cool Coors 16-ouncer, but I'm stoked that I've developed a taste for the good stuff and this one is making me realize how a good brew can really change perceptions to the positive.

The El Cucuy is back on the scene and chilling in the fridge, keeping a magnum of Boulevard Nommo company... but not for long, and I'm realizing that just because the beer selection here sucks, it could always be worse, and we should be thankful for what we have.

....That being said, don't become overly content because trouble is just around the bend as I'm getting word that Sally Kern has found the true reason behind this weekend's earthquakes.  There is definitely something wrong with the soil, and it sure ain't fracking!  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Redbud Arbor Imperial Stout

Over the past year or so Chase Healey has been kicking it unique with his nano-brewery approach, and by offering his brews exclusively via magnum, he's set himself further apart from the pack.  He's brought to Oklahoma the rarely experienced barrel aging Cuvee style, and has been bucking the trend of the keg to sixer/bomber business model that we see most often.  It is hard to argue with the success he is having with this strategy, as evidenced by the loyal following he has gathered in-state.

It is also evident, with each successive offering, that Chase is getting better and better at his craft.  So if that trend holds true, what I have in my hand here will be a truly fabulous beer.  A trusted clerk at the store where I grabbed this one said it's better than last years Coop Barrel Aged offering, and while taste is obviously subjective, (and I am in no way trying to start a war, and yes I know the history here) that is one helluva statement and compliment.

Now that I've hyped this brew beyond reproach, thus setting it up for complete failure, let us get to it.

Gunmetal black in color with a proud, airy and resilient dark tan head.  The froth clings in a layered pattern all around the glass. 

Deep, rich malts give off the aroma of fresh baked chocolate cake; all bready and sweet.  An underlying dark fruitiness leaves notes of mincemeat and an accompanying tartness.  A bit of licorice and a fleeting hoppiness result in a complexly fragrant background.

Dark chocolaty malts, some vinegar, more licorice sweetness and subdued herbal notes greet the tongue; playing off plums, grapes and raisins, and ending in a noticeable, but not detracting tartness.  There exists a certain metallic aftertaste that becomes slightly off-putting. 

Arbor has a medium to heavy mouth-feel, and is drier than expected, but soft at the edges with no alcohol to speak of, a fact that makes me wonder if we need a little recalibration of our testing apparatus.  I'm completely joking about that of course. 

I must say the trend of exceptional beer from Redbud continues with the Arbor RIS, and I hope some of this batch made it into some oak or whiskey barrels, because that is about the only thing that could make this brew much better.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

The American Black Ale has seriously grown on me over the past year.  I absolutely love the unique marriage of malts and hops this particular style has.

This one pours a deep black with dark brown edges.  A near fill to the rim leaves a tan head that only jets after its had a few of it's own.  Has a striking earthy, oily hop aroma that is held in place by some sweet malts and sweet dark fruits.  Earthy, piny and sweet to the tongue with some plums and raisins also being noticed.    Aftertaste has an initial welcomed charred woodiness to it and a lingering tartness. Medium to heavy bodied and a definite sipper. 

A superbly well-balanced brew that not only demands respect, but gives it in return, and that sounds like a recipe for a long lasting relationship. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Classics Revisited: Rochefort 10. It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

It's so easy to get carried away with the latest and greatest, but always important to take a step back and appreciate the roots of good beer.

Consistently haunting the top tiers of the BA top 100, this widely available brew is about as close as you can get to the Westy 12 without selling a kidney, being bilked on eBay or actually getting off your broke ass and traveling to Belgium. 

This beer is what the wine aficionados fear most, because it entails many vinous qualities, but tastes like a beer, with the accompanying complexity, and for a price that absolutely can not be beat.

This beer proves that there's really no reason to beg borrow and steal to get the best of the best.

8/9/08 Review:

A dark brown pour is topped with a hearty two finger rolling, dark tan head. Head retention is average and leaves behind an uneven lacing all around the glass. Sediment chunks float throughout and there's a dark swirly spot of something or the other in the middle of the head*. Smells sweet with some licorice, chocolate and malts being most evident. A biscuity base is also apparent. A panoply of chocolate, caramel and licorice candies light up the taste buds in the front, with some grapes and apples in the middle, all followed by some invigorating spice and hops. Mouth-feel is medium to full bodied and well carbonated, while the alcohol is almost nondescript. This brew exudes quality, but there's a little something missing that keep it's from attaining godliness.**

* I have no idea wtf I was thinking when I wrote about this, b/c I have seen nothing like that since.

** I wonder if I was subconsciously wondering about the Westy 12 when I said that?   

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rahr & Sons Pecker Wrecker

Froth imitates life.
. . . has some serious head on it. 

Pecker Wrecker's fluffy tan head bursts out of the pils glass off a medium pour. As much as the pale orange brew begs, the damn thing nearly refuses to go away.  After a long standoff the froth relents, but leaves a sticky, thick and milkish lacing behind

Light fruits, lemon, malts and hops all to the nose as expected. Tangy on the tongue up front with sweet malts, lemon, grass and spice all loving it up without a care.

A bit creamy, but with a residual edge.

Drinkable and tasty, although the "Imperial" could be easily lost without detriment, and I deny all double entendre you may take from this post.

Jester King Black Metal Freaks Rejoice

A sinister and powerful style of music matched with an ominous and potent style of beer is pure marketing genius.  Add to the equation the exceptional cover art, and you have yourself a potential match made in, well, choose your preferential other side of this mortal coil. 

Now, as well all know, in the beer world all the marketing or sweet labeling doesn't amount to a hill of human sacrifices, and many times it's a good sign somebody is trying to make up for some sort of inadequacy (insert little guy in a big truck joke here), so let us gather round and partake in this dark symphony and decide for ourselves if this brew lives up to the (in)auspiciousness of its moniker. 

A multi-hued tan head sits upon a pitch-black throne before succumbing and leaving no evidence of its reign behind.  The aromas of sweet malts, dark chocolates, and a myriad of dark fruits waft furtive across the battlefield with trailing shadows of hops darting in and out of the charred oaken remains and among the corpse multitude*

Sweet and even slightly tart up front with a piquant dark fruit bombardment, big piney hops, black licorice, subtle vinegar notes, a certain nuttiness and more oak to feed the flames of complexity and depth.  Viscous and creamy all the way down with a little tingle left behind, although the alcohol is cloaked in near invisibility. 

After the smoke clears and the graves are sealed it is very apparent that Texas hill country's neo-black metal horde (slash brewery) took a lot of names when making this behemoth, and to finish the cliche', they ended up kicking a lot of ass.  This one is highly recommended and should pair well with some finely aged Peste Noire or Ash Pool.


* Tell me Corpse Multitude is not the ultimate fucking band name, or has it been taken already?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brew Dog Paradox Smokehead Takes Command And Enjoys The Spoils

Brew Dog, makers of, at one time at least, the biggest beer on earth at 55% abv, present another monster of a brew with this whisky barrel aged Imperial Stout.  While the Smokehead isn't quite as outrageously potent as some of their other brews, 10% is nothing to laugh at, and the promise of prolific whisky notes adds to the gnarly factor. 

Black, black and black in color with a weak tan head that disappears without warning, leaving a thin layer of lace on top. 

Smoky, peaty, boozy, piny and earthy notes assault the nose in the first wave.  A second push throws down some dark, bitter chocolates, cherries, plums, raisins and vinegar. 

Has an initial sapid, and sweeter than expected character to the tongue, with a quick rush of scotch notes, charred wood, dark chocolates and hops.  I poured this one a bit chilled, but after it warmed some candied sweetness (licorice, bubblegum) presented itself, and the whisky character truly began to take over, although the balancing sweetness and bitterness never strayed too far. 

Mouth-feel lies on the heavy side of medium; a bit thinner than expected, but still substantial.     

There seems to be a debate flourishing (and in my opinion infecting Beer Advocate) about session vs. extreme beer.  My take is that there is plenty of room and need for both.  I've always been enamored by boundary pushing, whether it be in music, literature, art or yes, these days, beer.

While I admit I dig the fact that Brew Dog unashamedly flip the finger to convention, I realize they at times do so by sacrificing consistency.  That being said, their brews are always interesting, flavorful and thought-provoking, and I can find nothing particularly wrong with that.  

In conclusion, the Paradox Smokehead is a brilliantly bold and flavorful beer that makes no apologies.  This is definitely not a beer to drink while strategizing your next move, but a beer to be sipped and enjoyed in triumph after you have vanquished your enemies.    
Speaking of smoke and head (yes, there is a marijuana reference there)...for your listening enjoyment I present a couple more British exports that ostensibly tend to enjoy life on the heavier side.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp and Coporate Rock Still Sucks

With a name like Tramp Stamp you might think the Clown Shoes guys would be getting paid the corporate beer big bucks marketing Keystone Light or some other much less than kick ass hickoid beer, but you would be wrong.  They are bringing to the table no less than a Belgian Style IPA.  While not my favorite style by a long shot, from time to time I do enjoy the nuanced leaning the Belgian Style IPA tends to have as compared to the souped up American IPA. 
And yes, I have every right to call cheap beer out for what it is, because I grew up suffering the shit, and it's not my fault the aforementioned beer manufacturer uses a redneck to promote their beer, even if they are ironically trying to do so, which just makes it worse in my opinion.   

Ok, for now all beer politics aside, let's pop the cap on this interesting and lasciviously labeled beer so we can see what's under the hood.  No pun intended. 

Wait one second...did you say something about contract brewing?...Oh hell no, you're not luring me into that debate! 

Pours a murky reddish brown with diminutive orange hues at the light.  The off-white head looms large and fades with the patience of a Saint.  Wide sheets of lace are left behind. 

Earthy, oily hops strike the nose, followed by a slight fruitiness, some herbal notes, sweet butterscotch candy and distant roasted grain.  The big sweet malts are perfectly balanced with more big hops but leave plenty of room for some subtle citrus (orange and grapefruit), a slight sour twang, phenols and pine. 

Medium mouth-feel and creamy through and through.  Despite the boldness of each individual note, this one is a full on drinker due to the consummate fusion of all its elements. 

All thoughts about the politics of contract brewing and beer marketing are quickly pushed to the wayside because the character of this beer speaks for itself.  I consume a lot of different beers of varying styles, and I will admit my palate becomes jaded at times.  However, thanks to exceptional beers like this one, I know that lurking somewhere around the corner, when I might least expect it, a top shelf brew might be waiting.  That never ending search and payoff is one my favorite good beer qualities; one that keeps me coming back for more.

Goodby for now good friends.  I'm going to pour another glass of this sweet nectar and Jam the Fuck Econo.  Cheers!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

John John Hazelnut (Rum Barrel Aged)

The proprietor at Mayfair liquor pointed this beer out to me, and said if I liked the Hazelnut Brown, I wold love this one.  I love the Hazelnut Brown, and would venture to say it's my favorite Brown Ale, but this one just doesn't have the body and complexity of taste as that fine beer. 

That being said, there is nothing about the John John that particularly stands out as bad, it's just an average beer, and an average beer is better than no beer at all.

A minimal tan head disintegrates quickly with no residual lace to speak of.  The color is a murky, reddish-brown. 

Aroma consists of chocolate malts, caramel, a little nutmeg and a faint earthiness.  Tastes of caramel malty sweetness up front with cherries, some red hots candied sweetness, and a light hop backbone. 

Has a bit of a light fruity aftertaste with some faint boozy notes from the barreling peeking in from time to time.  Dry at the edges, medium bodied and smooth overall.    

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Round Or Two With The Choc Gose

I just want to say up front that I'm thankful to Choc for putting the pronunciation of this beer on the label, because I am the king of Belgian beer name butchering, and I need all the help I can get.  Perhaps breweries should start putting pronunciation guides on the labels like they do glassware suggestions, but then again, we don't want to dumb good beer down too much, because we sure have spent a lot of time making it so damn sophisticated. 

Uncorks with a promising pop and pours murky brown with golden hues threaded throughout.  The off-white head settles slowly.  Aroma is of fresh baked beer bread, a panoply of light fruits, coriander, and lemon.  Wow.  Salty as fuck to the tongue.  Going to let that element sink in a bit before I go back for another try.  Ok, here goes.  The second round reveals some more light fruits (apple and melon) and malt.  A lemony tartness moves in all aggressive like toward the end, slaps me around a little, and makes we wonder why I re-entered the ring.  Light to medium bodied and dry, which is according to style, but I'm still wondering if I'm in the wrong weight class.

Since this is the first Gose I've tried, I really don't have anything to compare it to.  I will say it seems to be in line with the style guide, and I have decided not to throw the towel in on the style, but I have to admit the bottling in a magnum demands sharing with friends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Martin Brune

The Belgian Dubbel is a style that does not seem to get a lot love, but is a style that can really hit the right spot when done well, and when paired with the right moment.

This is one of the few Belgian beers available in Oklahoma that I haven't tried, and I will admit that there's nothing about it that just jumps off the shelf at me, but I'm still looking forward to seeing how it pans out, because drinking extraordinary beer all the time makes jack a dull and very complacent boy. 

Ok, enough about jack (pun intended).

This beer looks as good as any beer I've seen, and the fluffy tan head is quite promising, but we need to delve a little further to see if there are some brains behind the pretty face.

Dark brown with cherry streaks where the light hits.  When fully settled the head lingers soft and rolling atop the brew.  Has an involving aroma with a nice blend of bubblegum, cotton candy and dark fruits.  To the tongue I get more bubblegum, a little grain and grass, and a distant bitterness.  Has a slightly syrupy finish.  After a few sips the bubblegum breaks into pure sugar, but the beer is never cloying.

A little thin in the mouth, with a light to medium body, and dry going down.  I never get even a hint of alcohol, although some mention a certain booziness with this one. 

An attractive beer that reveals a slightly simpler side when you get to know it, but never lets you down.  This one keeps you content the entire time you are together, and that is something you really cannot find too much fault with.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marshall Oktoberfest To Win.

Marshall make the most consistent brews in Oklahoma.  That is not to say they make the best brews in Oklahoma (I sure as hell don't want to start that debate) just the most consistent.  It is a great thing that many Oklahoma brewers are putting their own unique signature on the Sooner State's beer-scape, and it is becoming apparent Marshall has a monopoly on quality and consistency. 

Let's see if the Oktoberfest continues the tradition.

Has a fleeting and minimal off-white head from a medium pour.  A few swollen fingers of lace jut here and there.  Orange on color with some streaks of light brown threaded throughout.

Earthy and grainy with some light fruits to the nose.  Tastes of more light fruits (apples, faint oranges) and spice up front, with a perfectly timed caramel malt backbone that flirts with beervana.  I reach for some hop bitterness, and  get a handful, which is just enough to add, rather than detract.   

Medium mouth-feel; smooth and delicious.  Initially crisp, and becomes slightly creamy as it warms, which works well.

Slow out of the gate, but ends with a bang.  This beer rivals some of the better true German Marzens I've tried, and is further proof (as if you needed any) that Eric Marshall is aiming for quality in every beer he puts on the shelf.  The comfort of knowing you are going to get your moneys worth when you grab a Marshall brew is priceless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead . . . Finks Don't Talk

Accidentally deleted my photo, but this one is a helluva lot better than I could do anyway.  Stolen from  Sue me. 

The old reliable Left Hand Brewery.  They never seem to knock home runs, but are good for consistent singles, which works out just as well sometimes.  

This one has a thick and resilient tan head that leaves behind a few ramdon fingers of lace.  Flat black in color.

Has aromas of sweet malts, caramel and pine upon initial inspection.  A second take reveals some medicinal aspects as well as some burnt sugar and licorice.  Piney and grainy to the tongue with dark chocolates and an expected woodiness.

As it warms cherry notes and some candy begin to take shape, adding a much needed complexity without unbalancing or cloying the brew.   Body is a little thin for the style, but not watery.  Slight notes of fusel alcohol linger.

I really wasn't expecting much from this one, but was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Duchesse De Bourgogne

Been a week or so, and I am fully aware that I'm slacking off, but never fear, because a beer is never too far away from these lips, and a review is never too far away from this mind.  Going to be honest up front about this one.  It just doesn't compute for me.  The BA crew give it an A minus, which goes to show there is no accounting for taste.  You might want to accompany this one with a glass of chilled water. 

The off white head flutters away with an afterthought of thin and scattered lace.  Dark brown in color with dark red hues at the edges.  Powerful sweet and sour fruit aroma; including prunes, ripe grapes, figs and raisins, along with burnt sugar and freshly baked brown bread and phenols.  Vinous, grainy and tart to the tongue with a prolific amount of sour grapes and figs and a hammer-to-the-face vinegar character that never relents.

Not my thing at all, but that does not mean you won't like it, and certainly does not mean that I am "right", because one of the most wonderful things about exploring and talking about beer is that everybody has a different opinion and a right to express it.  That right there my friends, is the arch enemy of banality.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Wanna Be Your Dog Days Of Summer No More - Amadeus Biere Blanche

It's pretty sad when you can tell summer is winding down because the highs are in the low 100's instead of hovering around 110.  What isn't sad is when you start to smell and feel that very subtle hint of fall in the air. With dreams of long bike rides and low electric bills dancing in my head, I'm here to tell you, I'm loving that feeling more than usual this year. 

Since my palate, to some extent, seems to change along with the seasons (this is not to say I can not, and do not many times enjoy a Hefe in December or a Impy Stout in August), and maybe because I'm just really looking forward to fall more than usual, I'm going to review one final summer beer as a somewhat premature goodbye to a season that I usually love (but this year simply tolerated), and begin to prepare my taste buds for the heftier outings.

On to the beer at hand.  For me the Amadeus Biere Blanche is a perpetual passover beer; not in the religious sense, but in the sense that I always see it on the shelf, but seem to walk by and never really give it a second thought.  I do suppose that there is a certain spirituality to beer choosing, and if so, then this one is definitely not the prodigal son as far as appearances go.

I'm not completely for sure why I've never purchased this beer.  Perhaps it's because it is a French beer, and I've never been overly stoked on French beer.  Maybe it's because the movie Amadeus annoyed the absolute hell out of me (there's no way Mozart was that fucking obstreperous), but who knows?  What I do know is that the French can make good wine, write good books and race bikes like nobodies business, but as far as good beer goes, they definitely have some catching up to do.  Let's see if this one helps them down that path.

A pale yellow-orange pour puts out a boisterous white head that diminishes slowly, and ultimately ending in a thick, cumulus cloud-like covering.  A few wide swathes of lace linger around the glass. 

Smells lemony and malty with a nice sweet bread backbone along with some clove and candied sugar floating around.  Very complex.  Let's hope the palate experiences the same.  Tastes grainy with a squirt of lemon and not much spice.  Tanginess is just right.

Body is weaker and drier than I was hoping for, especially considering the depth of the bouquet.  Subsequent pulls do however open things up and reveal a bit of welcomed spice and a lemon cookie yeast.

This one is off the charts easy drinking, although the body and taste suffer a bit secondarily.  Overall there is nothing to be ashamed of with this brew, and it serves as a fine bookend to a summer full of great lighter-bodied beers.   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter

We are getting a lot more seasonal, special run, and one-off beers here in Oklahoma, and that tells me more people are buying good beer and making it worthwhile for brewers to ship their goods to our fair state.  I hope the momentum continues, and I see no reason why it shouldn't.  That being said, the market for beer is in a transitional period, so nothing should be taken for granted, which means now you have a good excuse for having a beer right now! 

Black at the middle and lightening up to a dark reddish brown at the edges.  The foamy tan head breaks apart slowly, and unselfishly leaves a lot of its sticky self behind.  An initial whiff brings to the nose some molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa and a very distant wood pit charred smokiness.  Sweet and dark chocolates mix with dark fruits, black licorice, cocoa, more molasses and a huge hit of smokiness that envelops it all.  Creamy in the middle, and a thinner than expected body leads to a straight medium mouth-feel.  Has a woody edge on the throat, plenty of candy stickiness to the lips, and the alcohol is well-concealed. 

Good showing from one of my favorite breweries, but could use a bit more body to substantiate the complexities of aroma and taste. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cuvee 3 . . . And The Beat Goes On

Lots of positive news surrounding this one, so without further adieu, let's pop the cap and dig it. 

Oh my god will you take a look at that huge, thick, off-white head! Just sits there like meringue on a coconut cream pie (my absolute favorite dessert), slowly crumbling, and leaving magnificent waves and big whirls of lace that cling for dear life.

Color is burnt orange with light red hues. Aroma is a complex and bold fusion of Belgian barnyard funk, sweet malts, big light fruits (apples, pears, white grapes), spice, candied sugar, taffy and and a subtle bitterness that fits in for a consummate symphony of smells. Tastes fruity and grainy up front with a dryness that was a bit unexpected, but not completely unwelcome, and quite appropriate for the style.

Body is a bit flay, comparatively speaking, and the aroma doesn't seem to be substantiated by the taste as much as the olfactory senses were led to believe. That being said, as it warms, more fruitiness begins to be felt on the tongue, as well as some spice and phenols that add complexity and help alleviate a near drabness.

I'm loving this beer, however, as with the Cuvee 2, a few tweaks here and there are in order.  Then again, that could be said for anything worthwhile ever created.

Also looks like we have some more Redbud goodness coming up soon, and there is absolutely no reason to think Chase won't keep improving on previous efforts and making damn good beers to keep us wanting more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collaboration Number 2 - White IPA

Boulevard and Deschutes combine forces to bring us more whacked out beermania with this concoction that fuses a Witbier and an IPA; two of my favorite styles, and two that I never even conceived would be blended.  Call me a bit skeptical, but also open minded, because I know that these breweries rarely lead a good beer man down the wrong path. 

This one has the standard and magnificent Boulevard signature head that defies death for as long as possible, then settles into pure white chunks of quilted lace.  Color is golden orange with yellow hues where the light strikes. 

To the nose I get some expected coriander, light fruits, a little yeast and light hops.  Tastes a lot like the Two Jokers Double-Wit, but has a definite hop presence, that does, however, take a backseat to the spices, complex fruitiness (oranges, apples, grapefruit) and yeast. 

Medium mouth-feel, and where you really get the hops is the edginess going down the throat, which becomes more prominent as the beer warms.  Overall this beer is superbly balanced, especially considering the disparate characteristics of these two styles.   

I don't find any radical differences with this one as compared to the Two-Jokers, but the nuances that exist, make for some very interesting drinking, and I highly recommend this one to anybody wanting to expand their palate and who want to enjoy a finely crafted and tasty beer from two well established and highly regarded breweries.   

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Discreet Charm Of The Belgian Style Yeti

Things just keep getting more and more surreal in beer land, and I love it.  Bunuel, one of my favorite auters of all time, if he were a beer drinker (and I admit he probably wasn't), and if he were alive (which he definitely isn't), would be proud, as there are so many styles blending and working together to form more new and exciting styles.  I beseech you hearty beer men, what is there not to like about that!

Ok, let's explore one of my favorite impy stouts, which in this incarnation, has a unique twist.   A firm dark tan head abates in its own good time, leaving a panoply of stranded lace around the glass.  Has the color of profound darkness.  Aromas of chocolate, mocha and candied fruit are present, along with the anticipated notes of sour fruits and Belgian yeast.  An exceptionally open mouth-feel is obvious up front, then I get some dark chocolate, light fruits, phenols and hops to the tongue.  No alcohol heat to speak of, and has a medium mouth-feel with a certain unique dryness.

Definitely an interesting take on the style, and leaves something to be desired in the complexity and character departments, but still a fine result from out-there experimentation on an already fairly extreme style, which just goes to show this American brewery isn't going to be satisfied with the status quo.

I'm sure some stuffy British Real beer proponents or die hard Reinheitsgebot advocates could find a million things wrong with the myriad  frontiers opening up for beer in this day and age, but you see, here in America we like pushing boundaries, and because of that sensibility, we're finding that some really fine fermented specimens are emergingSo its kind of like how I (excuse the politics) feel about the tea-baggers.  That is, if you want to live like it's a few hundred years ago, build yourself a time machine, and get the fuck outta my day and age.  Just be prepared to wipe your ass with a corncob.  And yes, if you were wondering, which I know you were, there is in fact a google result for "what did people wipe their butt with in the 1800's".   

So, on that note, I will bid you a fair adieu.  Cheers good beer lovers!  And thanks to Great Divide for pushing the boundaries. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild Brew Revisited.

Second go of the Wild Brew with a new recipe, so let's enjoy the evening and dig in and compare the two. 

The first Wild Brew poured a hazy grapefruit pink with edges of orange and a fluffy white head that stuck for a good while, eventually leaving a thin lace behind. Smelled rich with a big fruitiness and Belgian yeastiness and an afterthought of sweet malts. Tasted fruity and a bit sour with a nice enveloping of citrusy hop bitterness and a nice malt backbone. Had a slightly sweet edge with an earthy ending, and a medium body that went down smooth and a bit dry with a creamy core. Alcohol was well concealed and ostensibly leaned toward the Belgian strong-pale territory, and as I recall, a bit stronger in the hops area than most Belgian IPA's.

Fast forward a year and we still get a pinkish pour with the orange hues.  A large and resilient off-white head abates slowly in stop-motion fashion.   A bit of Belgian barnyard and citrus is noted.  You may ask yourself what is the difference in a Belgian barnyard and an American barnyard, or even an Italian barnyard, and I would tell you I have no fucking idea, so try it for yerself and see you lazy bastards.  Has less of a bitter enveloping than last years outing.  Mostly well-balanced, though a little more alcohol heat is noticed toward the end, but it still makes for some very easy sippin'.

Paired with sweet and spicy grilled pork chops, and a winning evening with great company was to be had.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hopheads Ball! IPA Day Reviews

After a long day of work, and temps back in the 105-110 range, as opposed to the 100 to 105 range (do you see a theme here?), the IPA day festivities at Tapwerk's were a very welcomed respite.  Beer-geek hopcentrics were in full force, as I noticed a ton of people enjoying the casked IPA's, as well as some damn good hop-inspired and infused food; a great sign the collective beer-geek palates of OKC are finally arriving.

Marshall Dry-Hopped Atlas IPA
First up was the Marshall Dry Hopped Atlas IPA, a beer that knocks a solid double regular style, but nearly grand slams firkin-like.  Saw a murky brown pour this time with a fine lace all around. I nooticed apricot to the nose and a chalkier mouth-feel. The sweetness was still there. A little hoppier and hotter than I remember, but smooth as hell. Excellent change up here.

My second choice was the Choc Double "ABA", an exclusive new release from our Krebs pals.  This one poured dark brown; bordering on black.  A thick tan head faded to a thick and consistent lace all around.  Smelled of earthy hops and sweet chocolate as a bonus.  Complex to the tongue with a little grain, tree bark, treacle, discreet dark fruits (plums, raisins) and big earthy hops to the tongue.  The 9.5% ABV heated things up nicely.

Had an open mouthfeel which became very edgy secondary to the alcohol and hops, although there was a cask smoothness underneath that helped even things out.  Became sticky after a while.  This one laid it all on the line and attacked with full force right up the middle, overtaking enemy lines, and leaving no dearth of casualties.  

Last but assuredly not least was one of my all time OKC on-tap faves, the Coop F-5, all dry hopped and cask conditioned as well.

Had a striking, prolific and pleasant grapefruit hop aroma for pure olfactory awesomeness.  Big citrus hops to the tongue with an open mouth-feel that I didn't recall from my past experiences.  Earthiness and a few sour notes work into the equation.  Sharp in the initial moments, but smoothed out at the end for a wonderful all around experience.   

Free T-shirts, abundantly flowing hops, and a bunch of very cool people leaves just one question to be answered (as a fellow Beer Advocate pointed out); when the hell is Barleywine day! 

Art of the Playlist: Paired with Brasserie Dupont Saison

skitter skitter skitter . adderall canyonly
aries . franco battiato
elbow grease . helms alee
no other way . white hills
please rain fall . the sea urchins
fabulous friend . the field mice
my secret world . the golden dawn
patterns . noah howard
manimal . the germs
another schizoid ambelism . godheadSilo
peace offering . growing
kpf und bauch . gorilla aktiv
captain caveman . lightning bolt
shot in the head . rusted shut
farewell . black motor
paper hats . this heat
to the sky . the cure
dancing naked ladied . the jesus lizard
two trains running . paul butterfield blues band
too many people . far out 
into another doom's pain . incapacitants

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Napa Smith Lost Dog

The fancy, noble looking Napa Smith labels have been staring at me for a few months, so I figured it was high time to give this new to Oklahoma brewery a shot.  Not sure why I've avoided Napa Smith brews far.  I wonder if it's that they might be too pedestrian in appearance?  I mean there's no satanic imagery, lusty provocation or end-of-the world artistry going on here.  Is it that there are just too damn many new but marginal breweries on the shelves these days?  Perhaps it's the fact that most of the styles of theirs I see are, let's say, less awe-inspiring as say a big phat ass hop-bomb with 356 IBU's and 25% ABV.

Who knows?  And I guess it doesn't really matter, because the proof is in the bomber, and there's only one way to find out if my reservations were unfounded.  Now I know exactly what you scumbags are thinking; time to go to Beer Advocate and find out it's overall rating, but that's the wrong answer!  It's time to buy the damn thing and drink it so you can decide for yourself. 

Swampy reddish brown with a strong tan head that melts slowly into a layer or rolling and undying froth.  A patchwork of lace streams down the glass as the brew lowers.

Has complex and inviting aromas of burnt sugar, caramel malts, spice, and sweet and sour fruits; all presented in a refined manner.  Upon a first taste a  big creamy middle is the most obvious characteristic of this brew that I notice.  Beyond that I get some expected caramel maltiness, a bit of grain, an earthy bitterness, and passion fruit covered with sugar.  The palate is not as excited as the nose on this one, and actually goes to bed crying like it lost it's puppy...oh, shit, I guess it did!

Medium bodied and open at the end, but with that noted creamy middle.  Smooth with a little grain edge going down.  A tiny alcohol heat is felt going down the throat.  Feels a bit watery at times, but nothing to weep about.

The Red Ale is a style that I really have to be in the mood to drink.  And while The Lost Dog is not its best representation, it is a fine beer that makes up in balance what it lacks in overall depth. 

Next up: IPA Day reviews!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Redbud Redemption

I've been letting this one set for a few weeks hoping for some carbonation buildup, since early reports had this one suffering from the same malady as the Cuvee 1.  I really wish Chase the best, as I've been following him for a long time, and I know there's a lot of talent there, so let's see how this one pans out.   

Hard pour straight down the middle and no froth.  Here we go again?  Surely not.  Slightly hazy reddish orange in color.  A few bubbles hang lonely on the side. 

Aroma is a different story with bold sweet bready notes, cinnamon bread, and complex fruits such as apple, orange and pear abound.  Subtle phenols are noticed before certain, near-striking fusel alcohol wafts up and through the bouquet. 

More flavorful big fresh- baked sweet bread and more complex fruitiness abound.  Some noticeable oakiness and a little chalkiness move through the middle.  Some notes of bubblegum and taffy work themselves into the mix as the beer warms. 

A bit hot at the end, and as the session progresses it becomes a little sweeter than I generally like.  Creamy and a bit weighted down at times with a medium to heavy mouth-feel.   

Overall this is a damn fine sipper.  A handful of tweaks here and there and some rounding off of a few rough edges and you've got yourself the future of Redbud Brewing, a future which many will agree is very bright. I'm seriously looking forward to some more Redbud goodness.  Can anybody say Cuvee 3! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Juniper Black Ale

Had this beer a couple of months ago, and just now getting around to putting my notes together for review.  Yeah, I know, I'm a slacker!   

The American Black Ale is a style that has slowly but surely grown on me, and SN is a bastion of consistency, so needless to say, I greatly anticipated this one.

A very promising thick and dark tan head tops out quickly at the rim of the pint glass, making a waste a time sitting still before turning rocky and slowly crumbling while leaving a fluffy quilt of covering and a prominent lace.

Complex and invigorating aroma consists of malts, a bit of green tea leaves, burnt sugar and distant hops. Thick, malty and syrupy taste up front with an quick infusion of oily hops and a nice hit of caramel with more burnt sugar working into the fold after a couple of sips.

Striking but not too hot down the throat with a creamy middle that keeps things from going completely wild-fire on your ass, but just enough to keep the belly warm. Sticky and somewhat airy. This beer being well carbonated goes without saying.

Anxiously awaiting my next American Black Ale excursion, and already missing beer camp. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Art of the playlist: Paired with Brasserie d'Achouffe La Chouffe

cut hands . shut up and bleed
quark . art fluery
i wasted my youth . k roukonas
tree in the valley . jack rose
lovegirls precinct . oneohtrix point never
laser to laser . oneohtrix point never
giggy smile . faust
the beheaded motorbiker's smile . gunslingers
my time to live . chrome
korromda peimm . sax ruins
glen prevails . dan melchior und das menace
when extreme dogs go wrong . shit and shine
from innercity to infinity . innercity
sunrise . hoyt axton
you look like a lady . lee hazlewood
for one moment . lee hazlewood
freeway . kurt vile
house of knowledge . steve gunn
don, aman . slint 
six strings that drew blood . the birthday party
untitled 1 . renato rinaldi
running blade . umberto
365 is my number/the message . king sunny ade'
nubala (nubiana) . hamza el din
safe as milk (take 5) . captain beefheart & his magic band
beginning is night . oneida
glass museum . tortoise
start to dreaming . wooden shjips
orbiter dicta . jonas reinhardt
invade lapse leave in triumph . child's wife

Mr. Jack Rose @ The Conservatory OKC 9.19.09

Saturday, July 30, 2011

For those about to bake, we salute you.

Not so hypothetical situation:  it's brutal hot and there is no sign of relief in sight.  Your AC is defunct, and  the ten day forecast shows 5 days of +105 degree highs.  What do you do?  A: Pray for rain, B :get naked and run through the neighbors sprinklers yelling "all your base are belong to us", or C: pop the cap on a cold SA Noble Pils and see what the fuck is cookin', beside myself?  Btw, I personally choose a lot of C with a bit of B to keep life interesting, but if you're a bit more on your rocker than I am, then you can still have a helluva lot of fun engaging in some quality time with the SA Noble Pils, and without getting arrested. 

Pours yellow with a few hints of orange in an impenetrable chill haze. A rush of bubbles result in a mid-sized white head that stays around for quite a while as the bubble activity goes on and on. Eventually things settle down slightly, and I take a whiff and get a some notes of straw, some floral activity, and a bit of sugary sweetness. Perfectly crisp and malty with a good hop bite in the middle and a slight yeasty funk at the end. Light-bodied and smooth like a good Pils should be, but without a sacrificing of taste. Best Pils I've had in a while, and a welcome succor to the relentless summer of 2011.

Now I will just keep hoping the electricity quits cutting off.  Don't know what I would do if the fridge went out.  OMG, I don't even want to think about it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop your (word that rhymes with stocks) and grab your hops, it's Tapwerks International IPA day celebration!

Bitter beers, for many, are an acquired taste.  If you ever get the jones however, it's all over, and someday you may very well find yourself in the darkened basement of an abandoned building drooling over a dirty tulip glass with a bunch of other hop-heads; so don't say you haven't been warned.

I've been a self-professed hop-head for a few years now, and have found that there is nothing (except for maybe napalm in the morning) that is quite like that citrus/piney goodness you find in a good IPA, DIPA or even ABA.  It seems though, that the chief obstacle for all prospective hop heads, is that initial wall of bitterness. 

Hops beautiful hops
If you can work your way beyond that, you will find a panoply of nuances and characteristics that will most assuredly make the bitterness less overwhelming, and the entire experience more welcoming.  You see, one of the most gratifying aspects of good beer (beyond the buzz) are the layers of complexity that await exploration.

So if you're wanting to know what all the commotion is about, just testing the bitter but tantalizing IPA waters, or even if you're a seasoned IPA veteran, get your butts out to the IPA day festivities and enjoy the good deals Tapwerks is offering, which include some mighty promising cask offerings from three of our favorite local breweries.   

The Thirsty Beagle dude has it all lined out for ya' here

Cheers, and hope to see you there!

Random thoughts on slow food and session beer

Was reading the most recent issue of Beer Connoisseur and it got me to thinking about two terms that don't seem to make a whole lot of sense for me right now.  That being said, I realize my thoughts on issues of import like these (screw the debt ceiling talks) are constantly in flux, so I can't deny that I may feel differently tomorrow. 

The term Slow Food is misleading in my opinion.  It legitimizes fast food, and creates an unnecessary dichotomy between the two.  There are two kinds of food, fast food, and simply, food.  End of story... well, maybe. 

Beers in the 5% abv and under range are considered session beers.  Right now my idea of a session beers is in the 5-7% range, but I will admit that my sensibilities on this are probably skewed by the trend toward the extreme.  I'm sure I will come come around, an I'm sure my liver is counting on it.

Any opinions?  Anybody there? 

Hello. . . .

Ok, I will go back to talking to myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

California Common

This is the last of the Beer Camp brews for me this year, and I will say I've been very pleased with the overall consistency and quality of each and every one of them.

The moniker "California Common" pretty much sums up Steam Beer.  Coming from a long-time fan of the standard bearer Anchor Steam, this is by no means a knock to the style, it just is what it is.  So however you choose to look at it, let it suffice to say, I'm looking forward to comparing the two. 

Color is golden and clear.  Head thins out quickly off a medium pour, however, some streaky lace sticks as the beer lowers in the glass.  I get some sweet malts, musty grass and ripe fruits to the nose.  Tastes involves more grainy malts, some light citrus hops, and a nice fruit basket of green apples, oranges, and even bananas.

Has a light mouth-feel with an airy, clean and open body.  One person's "thin" is another person's "drinkable", and a Steam Beer is what it is.  Nothing fancy, just some straight-forward, simple and fun drinkin', and this one ranks side by side, if not just a bit ahead its older brethren.

Friday, July 22, 2011

now for the noise . . . Art of the playlist; Pairing with Boulevard Sixth Glass

progress . the human quena orchestra
steps . cecil taylor
high on the mountain of love . yellow swans
heavy water / i'd rather be sleeping . grouper
requiem for john sex . cave
dagdad . ruins
sound guardians . lightning bolt
untitled . billy bao
forgetting to suppress it . no balls
death cramps . cro-mags 
ancient temple light . eternal tapestry
besvarjelse-rota . joakim skogsberg
drop city blues . ghq
some of none . ilyas ahmed
return to zanzibar . chrome
forsaken dawn . umberto
tune q . albert ayler quartet
god nor devil . naked on the vague
the voices . ford & lopatin 
pulse . agitation free
invade lapse leave in triumph . child's wife
quark . art fleury
independence . this heat
two-ages . rst
sarin sound . robedoor
air mail . don cherry/latif khan