Archive | January 2012

Boulder Beer Company – Mojo IPA

Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.20%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

Let me point something out right off the bat here…. even though I have this beer rated as “bad” it is far from one of the worst beers I’ve ever had.  In fact I spent weeks upon weeks debating if this should be “bad” or “average”. I lost sleep, friends, and precious “alone” time trying to decide. In the end I went with bad for the fact that I probably won’t drink this any time soon if I have other options. Let me explain my thought process though.

The beer started pretty unimpressive right off the bat to be honest.  It was a hazy golden color with maybe a half finger of off-white head that died down faster than my childhood dreams of being a T-Rex when I grew up. It left some clear lacing behind, but even that didn’t really stick very well. I will say the smell somewhat made up for the poor start however. It had a pretty big nose of oranges and grapefruits which I think provided me with my recommended dose of Vitamin C just by smelling it.

The taste of this beer is hops. That’s all really and it’s the reason behind why I rated this brew somewhat lower. Here’s my thing… it seems like lots of breweries are trying to one up each other in the hops department, while seemingly forgetting that beer should be somewhat balanced and not just make you feel like you swallowed a pine cone .  I’m fully aware this is an IPA and I’m also aware that I’m not a diehard of the style. But gimmie a break! In my opinion the malt profile in this beer is more elusive than Waldo! Not quite as elusive as Carmen Sandiego though.

If I enjoyed the taste more I would say that the drinkability was pretty good. It was a light to medium body and had pretty good carbonation.  With that said, I poured the last quarter of it out. Again, not because it was that bad… I just didn’t feel the need to finish it. I think it worked better on unclogging my kitchen drain anyway.

Overall: 2.25/5 – Where’d the malt go?!

Boulder Beer Company

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Three Floyds – Zombie Dust

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.20%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

It’s that time again folks!

What time you ask?

That time when Chicagoland beer nerds start salivating and shuffling to Munster, Indiana like hungry zombies for what many consider the beer equivalent of tasty, tasty brains. Here they find Three Floyds Brewery where they dish out the highly acclaimed Zombie Dust to the masses in very limited quantities. I, myself made the pilgrimage recently to pick up a couple sixers of this frighteningly delicious brew so that I could spread word to the masses like some monkey-infected rage virus.

Sick of terrible zombie puns? No? Good, me neither! I got a lots of them and they get worse.

I cracked open a bottle and poured the contents into my nicest pint glass. Only the finest for the finest is what I always say! Actually I lied, I never say that. Anywho, the beer pours a magnificent translucent golden color with light bubbles and a full finger of sticky white head. The head leaves some nice clear lacing on the glass and makes me want to take romantic pictures of it all day long. I don’t usually make such a fuss over label artwork, but this is easily one of the most bad-ass labels I’ve ever seen. It’s one of those labels that if this beer were ever to be found on a store shelf, you may buy it just because of the badass zombie-king sported on the front. It’s only fitting that this beer be awesome inside and out.

Put simply, this beer has big character. Not the kind of character you hope your ugly child develops; but big grapefruit citrus and pine character. It’s got Blake Griffin sized hops yo. It certainly beats rotting flesh smell. After I took my first sip, I noticed this beer had a nice bite to it. The taste is actually pretty similar to smell with great upfront bitterness of grapefruit hops and pine with somewhat of a dill quality. It’s a shotgun blast of flavor to your face. The beer goes down smooth and has pretty good carbonation to it. I’d say this one is good for a summer day, although with it’s mid-winter release, I doubt many bottles make it long enough to see nice weather.

Overall I have to say this beer is pretty awesome. Am I being swept up by the Zombie Dust mania that has taken over the country? A good possibility. But an even better possibility is that this is a delicious beer that I wouldn’t hesitate to drink anywhere, anytime… especially in my bunker after the imminent zombie apocalypse.

Overall: 4.50/5 – Scary Good!

Three Floyds Brewing Company

Central Waters – Bourbon Barrel Stout

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.50%
Serving type: Bottle into tulip glass

Welcome to the big leagues boys! American doubles (especially bourbon aged ones such as this) are not for the faint of heart and can make a lesser man weep into their brew just to water it down some. Luckily for me, my favorite sipping beverage behind beer is bourbon! So naturally this was going to be fun. Many beers on my “Want” list are bourbon aged beers and I was happy to finally try one to see what I’ve been missing. Big shout out to my girlfriend for picking up two bottles of this for me for our anniversary! One is to drink and review now and the other one is aging nicely in my beer cellar – aka behind my bar. Love you babe!

So this beer starts off super dark brown with a small tan head and minimal lacing. My instincts are to look for a great head and superb lacing, but with this style, it’s not of huge importance to me. (Note that this may be the only time in the history of man that “great head” didn’t matter). It did look somewhat thin for how big these beers are supposed to be, but I have nothing to really compare it to, so I’m not too worried about that.

The nose starts off with a strong chocolate aroma and is then followed up by a big blast of bourbon and maybe some black licorice. It’s basically grandma’s favorite desert wrapped up in beer form. Nevermind grandma likes to “eat desert” at 10am and pass out while forgetting your birthday every year. But enough about your weird grandma issues, I needed to drink this beer ASAP!

My first sip I was all like, “Whoa!”

And then I was all like “Awwww shit!”

Basically it was exactly what was expected and I shall not bore you with details but I was a better person for drinking this beer. It had a huge bourbon kick to it right away that I don’t think I could have ever expected in beer form. In a blind taste test, I might think you poured bourbon straight into my drink. It did have some nice vanilla and coffee accents to it that really helped balance the palate beating the bourbon delivers. I honestly thought it was too bourbon-y at first, but as I let it warm up I quickly got used to it and couldn’t stop sipping it. I just don’t know how many I could drink in a night considering it’s high ABV. Like Barney Stinson – challenge accepted!

Now again, I’ve never had this style before so everything I’m describing is new to me akin to the first time getting laid. Much like sex, I don’t know if this is a good interpretation of the style but I sure as hell like it. The mouthfeel is somewhat light and there’s almost no carbonation to speak of, but screw it! It’s damn tasty beer that makes me nervous about what unspeakable things I’d do to obtain more of its kind.

Overall: 4.50/5 – Better than go-karts and laser tag combined!

Central Waters Brewing Company

Lagunitas – PILS

Style: Czech Pilsener
ABV: 6.20%
Serving type: Bottle into pilsner glass

I will admit this upfront:  I’m somewhat biased against pilsner beers and I always brace myself for the worst. My mind automatically plays doomsday scenarios involving Miller Lite taste and sheet metal smells. When drinking Lite I sometimes feel like I’m eating a tin can and get weird headaches (which I found out is an extremely mild allergic reaction). So when I decided to give this beer a shot, to say I was less than ecstatic would be quite the understatement. But Lagunitas deserves better than that and I was willing to let them try to change my mind.

To my chagrin, this beer started off like a Miller Lite commercial. Just look at that picture and tell me that’s not what they aspire the beer to look like.  Clear golden color with a finger of white head that sits strong. I’ll only take partial credit for the perfect pour. There’s lots of carbonation bubbles which gives the beer lots of character.

Here’s where the beer’s character starts to turn to what I don’t like about the style.  The smell is malty, grainy, and has that Lite beer metallic smell that I dread more than the results of a Muary paternity test. It makes me not want to even begin sipping the beer. Am I biased because for the style, since this is probably how the beer should smell? Yes. But I can at least admit it. I just don’t dig the smell of super light semi-floral hops.

So after finally manning up and drinking this beer I felt like a complete idiot. I was dreading a taste that matched its smell and I was instead surprised with a beer that had refreshingly crisp grain, malt, and hops characters. Much like Owen Wilson, I somewhat enjoyed this beer after I got past the nose. The brew had a light-medium body with a great amount of carbonation which makes them easy to put a few of these back.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste enough to finish drinking this one. I could easily drink this one again, but I doubt I’ll be picking up a six pack of it any time soon.

Overall: 2.75/5 – Miller Lite One-Upper

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Great Lakes – Burning River

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.00%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

I’ve seen this beer around a few times but I never really thought much of it until I saw it’s continually rave reviews on BeerAdvocate.  So when I finally had an opportunity to pick one up, I decided I’d see what the hype was all about. And not to be cynical, but like usual I feel like people get caught up in so much hype they begin overrating beers. This by no means is me saying this isn’t a solid beer, but I just don’t see what everyone is raving about. Best APA? I don’t know about that…especially since I’m still coming off my high from reviewing Founders Pale Ale.

I will say this beer looked phenomenal out of the bottle. It had a translucent gold color with a small white head that stuck around for a little bit. The beer left nice patches of lacing behind with every sip that clung to the glass.   One of the better looking beers I’ve seen, though looks don’t account for much overall.

The smell was mostly citrusy hops with some subtle malty tones to it. The fist taste I took I accidentally swallowed too quickly, so the hops really punched me in the face. Once I regained my composure, I noticed some grassy, citrus, and pine hops. It had a nice bitterness to it that was stronger than most pale ales I’ve had.

The beer is pretty mild with a medium body and low, but acceptable amounts of carbonation to it. The finish is pretty dry so if you’re not a fan of that in beer, you probably won’t appreciate this one very much. It’s almost borderline IPA in my opinion. I wonder what the IBU is on this one, but I’m too lazy to even do a basic Google search for it.

Overall: 3.50/5 – Better bitter beer

Great Lakes Brewing Company