Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stone - Sublimely Self Righteous

Stone Brewing is based in San Diego and is one of my favorite brewers.  Stone is known for pushing the limits and challenging ones concepts of what makes a good beer and Sublimely Self Righteous (8.9% ABV and 90 IBU) fits the image of Stone very well.  Sublimely Self Righteous is an American Style India Black Ale and this is one of the standard-bearers for this style, although it should probably be considered a double or imperial version the style.  Sublimely Self Righteous pours black with a very large head that takes some time to recede.  Just let it recede and let the beer warm a bit, as you do not want to taste this one fridge cold.  This is a nice hoppy beer and if you do not like IPAs, do not even bother trying this beer – you have been warned.  If you like IPAs, this is one to try and it is very tasty.
Notes from the Stone website - We're brewers whose substantial mettle and idiomatic approach to brewing allows us to consistently create works of art such as this justifiably self-righteous ale. Its bitterness hits our sweet spot. Its blackness lightens our hearts. Its liquid dichotomy pulls it all together in this sublimely sacrosanct ale. Yes, we damn well know our stuff here at Stone, and it would be irresponsible of us not to acknowledge how remarkable this heavenly creation of ours is. Thus the name we are compelled to give it --- Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale --- serves as a reminder of just how good we are, in both liquid and verbal form.

We're certainly not perfect. Too often, we allow our modesty to get the best of us as we're simply not inclined towards senseless braggadocio. When you're good, you're good. And when you do something great, the least you can do is acknowledge it. Others benefit from knowing. In this case, we find that we are compelled to point out how amazing this ale is that we rightly call the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.

First brewed in 2007 as the Stone 11th Anniversary Ale, this ale was an instant hit. With us. Other folks with great taste loved it too, but we were focused on how much we liked it, and we felt it was truly sublime. That euphoria didn't last long though, as it was soon replaced with the grim reality that when we sold out of it there wouldn't be any more. For us. And that was simply unacceptable. So, we are now blessing ourselves, and you the enlightened, with this ale. Thusly, you may now revel in your own self-righteousness as you see fit with this glorious example of ours. You are genuinely welcome, as it is our pleasure.

Elysian - Night Owl

Elysian Brewing is based in Seattle and one of their seasonal offerings is Night Owl (5.9% ABV and 18 IBU), a pumpkin ale.  Night Owl pours and orangey tan with a large head – be careful pouring.  One gets a distinct aroma of spices (each batch is spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice) and pumpkin (seven and half pounds per barrel).  There is very little bitterness with Night Owl and it does taste like pumpkin that reminds one of pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin seeds are also used in brewing this beer and per the brewer, “Both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are in the mash, with pumpkin added to the mash, kettle and fermenter.”  This is one of the best pumpkin beers I have tried, if you get a chance to try get some before it goes away. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Avery - Salvation

Avery is my favorite brewer and Salvation (9% ABV and 25 IBU) is a Belgian Style Golden Ale that is part of the Holy Trinity of Ales that also includes Hog Heaven and The Reverend.  All of these beers are very good and Avery does a great job with this series.  Salvation pours clear and is golden orange with a small head.  This is a sweet tasty ale and has a nice fruity and spicy taste notes.  This is a really nice one for people who do not like hoppy beers and I think they would be really surprised by the taste of Salvation.
From the Avery website – “The success of Hog Heaven and The Reverend clearly demonstrates that beer drinkers are willing to embrace "BIGGER" beers. In the fall of 2001, we decided that a lighter BIG BEER would complement its darker colored predecessors. Salvation has luscious apricot and peach aromas delicately interwoven with spicy suggestions of nutmeg and cinnamon. This heavenly soft, champagne-like elixer is cellarable for 3 years.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stone - 15th Anniversary - Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

If you know anything about Stone Brewing and about Stone beers, you know they push the boundaries and challenge people to trying something beyond the normal.  While Stone is unabashedly forthright with “in your face” labeling and text, they back up everything by brewing excellent beer.  The 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA (India Pale Ale) – 10.8% ABV is a great example of Stone bravado and another wonderful beer.  Stone is poking fun at the debate over the style that is classified by the Brewer’s Association as American Style India Black Ale.  There was a big debate over the name, Black IPA to Cascadian Dark Ale, and the people from the NW were not happy about the decision by the Brewer’s Association.  What a great opportunity for Stone to have some fun.  15th pours black with a large frothy tan head that does not quickly reside.  This is a hoppy beer and you can smell the fruity hops and dark malts.  The taste is excellent and it is a wonderfully bitter and dark malty beer.  This is what you expect from Stone – they do not disappoint and I wish Stone a Happy Anniversary.  Just keep doing what you do - you are one of the best brewers in the U.S.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Breckenridge – Autumn Ale

I bought some Breckenridge Autumn Ale (6.7% ABV and 21 IBU) when I saw it at the local store and I think Breckenridge brews some tasty beverages.  Autumn Ale pours a dark brown with some amber hints when held up to the light that the brewer describes as deep mahogany.  The head is small and recedes quickly.  This is a malt forward beer with little bitterness.  I really enjoyed this one and it went well with grilled pork chops.  I like the label too with the little suggestion of “After Rak’n” and concise descriptors of the use of Munich Malt and Bavarian Hops (Perle and Hallertau).  This is a very easy drinking beer and if you like a malty Oktoberfest-inspired brew, Autumn Ale is a great on to try.  Is available September through October and then it is gone – as quickly as autumn can disappear in the Rockies.

Brewer's Description -  Looking for a fresh take on Oktoberfest beer?  Breckenridge Brewery's fall seasonal combines the malty goodness of a German lager with the clean crispness of an American ale. Brewed with Munich malts and a delicate blend of Bavarian hops, our Autumn Ale is a full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains. A pre-winter winner.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three Pumpkin Beers

I picked up a few singles the other day and I choose three different pumpkin beers; Buffalo Bill’s – America’s Original Pumpkin Ale (5.2% ABV & 11 IBU), Uinta – Punk’n (4% ABV & 10 IBU), and Lakefront Brewing – Pumpkin Lager (6% ABV).  Pumpkin Beers are classified as a Fruit / Vegetable Beer per the BJCP guidelines.  Supposedly, these were brewed by our founding fathers and I thought I would try a few.  I have tried Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon and thought it was a tasty one.  These all poured orange / tan with a small head and had an aroma of pumpkin and spice.  There was little to no bitterness on these beers and our favorite was Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale and it definitely tasted like pumpkin pie.  Even Lori liked this one and she is not a beer drinker.  Pictures and descriptions from the brewers are below.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale - "From Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is one of the most sought after seasonal beers.  It is believed that George Washington brewed beer using this bright orange squash.  In modern times, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is a true original microbrew that uses baked and roasted pumpkins.  Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are added to create what has been described as “pumpkin pie in a bottle”."
Uinta Punk'n - "Harvest the flavors of fall with a bottle opener and a stroll down the craft-brewed beer aisle. Four+ Punk’n Ale is the pick of the crop with notes of roasted pumpkin and seasonal spices. Savory. Crisp. The sweetness is in the celebration, not on the palate."

Lakefront Brewing Pumpkin Lager - "In 1989, Lakefront Brewery owner, Russ Klisch was reading dusty brewing tome, tipping one of our fine lagers and came across a beer recipe that Thomas Jefferson had brewed with pumpkin at his home in Monticello.  Pours a light orange with an off-white head. Flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves meld well with a slightly sweet background that actually does taste a bit like pumpkin. Caramel and Munich malts reinforce this beer's mouthfeel and lend to the malty sweetness.  Serve our Pumpkin Lager with holiday meals the spice characters really bring out the depth of full-flavored meats and vegetables."