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Lagunitas – Hop Stoopid

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.0%
Serving type: Bottle into tulip glass

IT’S HAPPENING!!! RUN AWAY!!!

Let me explain…

When I began this daunting beer journey, I was just a man. A simple man at that. A very simple man some would say. (Screw them.)

I had a very distinct preference for sweet, malty, dark brews that warmed me up on the inside on a cold winter night. Life was easy and things made sense dammit!

But as I continue exploring new beer territory, I’m coming across so many new hops and malts that I’d never experienced. I never thought I could enjoy them the way I do my old faithfuls; especially DIPAs that smack you in the face with IBUs, just to let you know that you’re it’s prison bitch.

I fear this beer is the beginning of the end for me folks! I may be becoming…. A HOP HEAD!

I picture myself going through a Michael Jackson type transformation (the scary werewolf one in Thriller, not the scary one in real life), as I’m slowly changing my preferences and now craving big hop bombs. I had a feeling this was going to happen, I just didn’t know it would be so soon! I was just a boy getting curious cravings. And just as my curiousity hits its peak…. I drink a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid.

I am now a man. Or a hop-loving werewolf? You get the point.

Hop Stoopid is a beautifully translucent gold color with extremely fluffy white top. It had about two fingers worth of it and it stuck around like a creep caught by a classic Chris Hansen “take a seat” routine. Sorry to say Lagunitas, but we have your chat logs and you brought the sticky lacing like you were asked.

The scent is UH-MAY-ZING! Big citrus hops aroma waft in naturally and let you know everything is right in the world at this very moment. If you like grapefruits, you will appreciate this one. It also features some pine character mixed in for good measure. I could easily smell this from over six inches away, so nose deep was just intoxicating!

The taste is a little more piney than the nose had led me to expect. But it’s still amazing and hits every taste bud with its hoppy greatness.  It had a pleasant bitterness in the finish that keeps you from just straight chugging it down. Good thing, because I was prepared to. A perfect medium body and some good carbonation to it.The hoppy oils are pretty dry and may leave you wishing you had some water nearby to wet you’re whistle.

Overall this is just an all around great beer at an equally great price. With my hop-loving, werewolf-man transformation complete, I’ll be looking far and wide for new Imperial IPA’s to leave my mouth scorched. This is such a delicious beer, I don’t know if I’ll be able to replicate this experience again.

Overall: 4.5/5 – I’m a better person for drinking this beer.

Lagunitas Brewing Company

 

Samuel Smith – Oatmeal Stout

Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 5.00%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

Move over Ellie Goulding! I think I have a new main obsession out of England!

As one of the most recognizable beers coming out of England, I had some pretty high expectations for this. I usually try to downplay any hype I hear about beers online or from friends in order to keep my ratings fair and balanced. I tried my best though I was pretty excited to get my hands on this and I may have ended being as fair and balanced as Fox News.

This beer pours the darkest of dark brown with nearly four fingers of fluffy light brown head. The head probably would have lasted through two showings of Avatar if I hadn’t started drinking it.  The retention on this was amazing and there was some really great lacing left on the glass from each sip. Couldn’t believe how great this looked!

The smell of the beer was good though unfortunately it was somewhat mild and hard to pick up.  I was definitely able to make out some chocolate, bread, coffee, and malty grain in the mix. I basically dipped my nose into this beer to get a good whiff of it and after I wiped off the foam I decided it was time to take my first taste….

BIG roasted coffee backbone to this one. I’m not a huge coffee fan, but for some reason I really enjoy coffee flavors in my beer. I’m also able to pick up a bunch of other complimentary flavors in this beer including chocolate, malt, oats, molasses, and maybe even smoky tobacco? I’m not sure what the last few things I was picking up were, but they all worked together and formed a super group of amazing flavors. Very nice balance with nothing overpowering the beer. This may be the Beatles of oatmeal stouts!

The mouthfeel is yet another aspect which this beer impressed me with. It has a medium body to it and it’s exceptionally smooth and creamy. Borderline milkshake qualities to be honest. It had the perfect amount of bubbly carbonation to it.

To be honest, this was my first real experience with an non-American oatmeal stout and I was definitely impressed. I’ll probably be using this as the highest of standards when tasting others in the future.

Overall: 4.5/5 – British invasion! (of my mouth)

Samuel Smith Brewery

Sierra Nevada – Kellerweis Hefeweizen

Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 4.80%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

I honestly wish I could bake a cake out of this and eat it on my birthday.

It’s not fair this early in the blog to proclaim any beer as my favorite just yet. But if you held a gun or bazooka to my head, I would say this is damn near close!  I obviously love Hefe style beers and I don’t think I’ve come across one that represents the style better than Sierra Nevada’s Kellerweis.

The pour is a really great hazy golden color with a little over one finger of creamy white head that stayed for quite a while. Hefes are unfiltered so you get all the nice yeasty particles and their subsequent flavors in full force.  This beer couldn’t look more fitting of a beer commercial if you put a bunch of hot coeds and a funny dog next to it.

The smell is so delicious that I want an air freshener in this scent for my car. It’s got some ripe bananas and great lemons and clove to it. It instantly makes me happy and daydream about frolicking in warm weather. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the taste of this beer. “Wow!” would be my closest descriptor. But my second attempt would be ripe bananas with some lemon and clove. It’s perfectly balanced and it doesn’t have one thing wrong with it that I can say. This review is pretty short and sweet.

Overall I’d say this beer drinks clean, crisp, smooth, and refreshing. Sort of like a beer version of 7UP. It’s got the perfect amount of carbonation to it. Sort of like 7UP. At under 5% alcohol, it makes the perfect beer for drinking all day long.  Not unlike… well know where this joke is going.

Overall: 4.75/5 – Es ist so gut Sie nachschlagen möchten die deutsche Übersetzung für genial auf Google.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

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