Saturday, May 26, 2012

2 Tasty IPAs – Palate Wrecker and Hoptimum

Yesterday evening, my friend Roger called and asked I wanted to join him and his wife Kristina at Parry’s for a couple of pints and a pizza.  I promptly headed to Parry’s and they had a glass of Green Flash – Palate Wrecker (9.5% ABV and +100 IBUs) waiting for me.  It was interesting because I took a sip and then Kristina had me try Odell’s Myrcenary, which is not a small beer, but I should have tasted it first because Palate Wrecker dominated the taste buds. 

Kristina ordered some fried pickles that were excellent and we ordered a Summer of 2010 pizza with pepperoni, spicy sausage, jalapenos, and pepperoncini – it was spicy and tasty.  For round two, I enjoyed Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum  (10.4% ABV and 100 IBU) and it went great with the pizza.  I have had Hoptimum before and it was one of my favorite beers that I tried last year. The 2012 version was excellent two.  If you like IPAs or Double IPAs, both of these beers are fantastic and I highly recommend them.

Double / Imperial IPA - BeerAdvocate
Parry’s Pizzeria & Pub -

Anderson Valley – Summer Solstice

Anderson Valley has been brewing since 1987 in Anderson Valley, CA and they make a number of tasty beers.  One very unique aspect of Anderson Valley is the people speak a mix of English and Boontling – a mix of words that developed in the Anderson Valley.  The brewing company uses a number of Boontling words to describe their beers.  Summer Solstice (5% ABV and 4 IBU) is a seasonal Cream Ale offering.  So, Bahl Hornin’!, or good drinking.

Cream Ale - BeerAdvocate

Appearance – This beer pours a copper color with a nice two-finger head.
Aroma – Sweetness with a touch of vanilla – no hop presence noted.
Taste – If you like a sweeter, malty beer – this is a good choice. 
Overall – B – Very easy to drink and I have not had many cream ales to compare it too.  I would have it again and I think this would be a great beer to take to a BBQ to enjoy with friends.
Website description – “Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is not just your average summer seasonal. This unique copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May Beer Dinner = Wheat Beers

There are many different styles of wheat beers and wheat beer was very popular in the U.S. before “the great experiment” of prohibition.  I recall sampling American Hefeweizens while I lived in the Pacific NW and these were; and still are, a very popular summertime beverage.  The primary wheat styles that I have tried are Hefeweizen and Belgian Wit.  A classic Hefeweizen has hints of clove and banana due to the yeast and a Belgian Wit usually contains spices (coriander) and fruit (curacao orange rind) that coupled with the Belgian yeast, provide a distinct taste.

Tibor and Nicole prepared excellent food selections of watermelon and deviled eggs for appetizers and dinner of brats steamed in beer, corn on the cob, asparagus, and pretzel rolls.  Dennis brought over a turtle cake and I brought over baked beans.  Everything was very tasty and it was an excellent meal with friends.  The brats were Johnsonville brats and the steeping in Twisted Pine’s Ghost Face Killah (a chili beer) transformed them to another level.  Tibor also grilled some buffalo jalapeno cheddar brats from Continental Sausage located here in Denver and they were fantastic. The pretzel rolls were a recent addition to the Costco lineup and these were very tasty.  Again, everything served was very good.

The beer lineup is as follows:
1)     Horton’s Homebrew – After Midnight Porter (not a wheat beer - covered in a previous  post)
2)     Twisted Pine – Ghost Face Killah (not a wheat beer – a chili beer)

3)     Odell – Easy Street Wheat

4)     Dry Dock – Hefeweizen (a favorite and a previous medal winner)

5)     Tommyknocker – Jack Whacker (fermented with lemongrass)

6)     Sam Adams – Cherry Wheat

7)     Shock Top – Pumpkin Wheat

8)     Shock Top – Lemon Shandy

9)     Shock Top – Belgian White

10)   Avery – White Rascal

11)  Widmer Brothers – Hefeweizen

12)  Boulder Beer – Sweaty Betty

Probably needless to say, but we did not drink full pours of these beers as we wanted to be able to do things the next day.  The other helpful factor is these wheat beers are typically lower in ABV than many other beer styles.  The take away is there are a number of really good wheat beers.  None of these were bad and there were a wide variety of flavors – everyone had ones they liked.  On a side conversation with Tibor, we agreed that the Dry Dock Hefeweizen was our favorite – it is just a fantastic beer and brewed to style perfection.  I can understand why they have won awards for this beer. 

Next month we focus on Amber Ales.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bridgeport – Dark Rain

When I selected this beer, it brought up memories of the Pacific NW and there is probably not a better description of the rain in that regional area than Dark Rain.  I thought of my friends in the Seattle area who suffer through the dark and rainy winter and thought they would probably enjoy Dark Rain – shout out to George and Michael.  Bridgeport is based in Portland, has been around for some time and has earned a number of awards over the years.  Bridgeport is the oldest craft brewer in Oregon.  Dark Rain (5.6% ABV and 60 IBU) is winter seasonal ale that the brewery describes as a Black Pale Ale.

American Black Ale - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – It is black and pours with a large head.  I had to let the head reside before I could pour the remainder in a 16 oz. pint glass.  Very little light will get through the glass and the light gives a dark brown / reddish hue.
Aroma – Pacific NW hops are the focus and you can detect the a combination of citrus and piney.  The malts also step up to the plate with an aroma of coffee and just a hint of dark fruit.
Taste – I thought the hops used would taste a little more bitter than it tastes.  Don’t get me wrong, it is hop-forward but the bitterness is not overwhelming and there is the taste of citrus and pine that one expects with the hop selection.  The roasted malts also provide a nice roasty taste and I detect hints of coffee.  A very good mix for this area of the country.
OverallA- - This is a nice beer from Bridgeport and some will really like and some will not.  I think they did a great job highlighting regional ingredients and making a beer that is great for the dark and rainy time of the year.
 PDF description – “Black Wheat and Dark Crystal Malt add dense color and mild smooth flavors to this intensely hopped Black Ale. This ale has a very drinkable, mid-level alcohol and bitterness that starts with roasted and hoppy aromatic notes and finishes with the dry hop character of the Nugget hop varietal. A Chinook, Crystal, Centennial and Cascade blend is used in our hopjack to provide full flavored background hoppiness.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sierra Nevada – Red-oric

I know very little about Red-oric.  I went to Parry’s Pizzeria with Roger, friend and martial arts training partner, a few weeks ago and I spoke with Scott, the local Sierra Nevada Market Rep.  Scott informed me that Parry’s would soon have a very limited offering named Red-oric and that Parry’s was the only establishment in the Denver area that would receive a keg.  

When Lori finished up her classes and we decided to go to Parry’s on Saturday.  When I saw Red-oric Imperial IPA (8% ABV) on the list, I wanted to try it and I was not disappointed.  If you can find, try it, especially if you like IPAs.

Double / Imperial IPA Beeradvocate
Appearance – Red with a nice one-finger head served in a New Belgium glass.
Aroma – Resiny / piney hops and a touch / hint of caramel malt.
Taste – This is a hop forward beer and is a great example of a West Coast IPA.  I enjoyed this with the green bean appetizer and chicken parmesan.  Red-oric is a very tasty beer.
OverallA – A very nice beer and I was very impressed with this limited release.  I saw another Sierra Nevada limited release on the “to be tapped soon” soon – looks like I’ll need to go back to Parry’s soon. 

Parry’s Pizzeria and Pub -

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breckenridge – 72 Imperial

I have tried a number of Breckenridge beers and when I saw 72 Imperial (7.2% ABV and 11 IBU) that is a specialty stout, I wanted to try to try it.  I had tried Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout in late March and it was excellent.  I wondered how Breckenridge would do with this similar style and adding a touch of chocolate.

Milk / Sweet Stout Beeradvocate

Appearance – It is dark with a dirty two-finger head. 
Aroma – Coffee, chocolate perhaps a hint of molasses and dark fruits.
Taste – Very good, with a rich taste and it tastes just like it smells with a nice chocolate coffee overtone and the dark fruit is in the background.  There is no bitterness with this beer and I can detect the alcohol in it.
OverallB+ – Nice job by Breckenridge and this is a nice specialty ale. 

Website description – “Just sit back and enjoy the ride.” 
The malts are – Pale, Munich, Caramel and Victory.   The hop is Fuggle.
The chocolate is Dark Chocolate from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Horton’s Homebrew - After Midnight Porter

For my next batch, I decided to brew a porter and used a slightly modified recipe from John Palmer’s book How to Brew - just buy the book.  The recipe is called Port O’ Palmer in the book and is similar to Sierra Nevada’s Porter.  The changes I made were to hops and the hop schedule.  This is my best batch to date, it turned out really good and should only improve with a bit of age.  The name is in tribute to Eric Clatpton’s song After Midnight.  The ingredients were obtained from The Brew Hut in Aurora, CO and I have enough specialty grains remaining to brew another batch and I plan to add cocoa to the next batch. 
The grain bill all from Briess Malting is as follows:
7# Pale Liquid Malt Extract
0.5 # Briess Caramel 60 L
0.5# Briess Chocolate
0.25# Black Patent Malt

The hop additions were:
0.25 oz. Nugget (14.8% AA) at 60 minutes
0.25 oz. Nugget (14.8% AA) at 40 minutes
0.25 oz. Williamete (7.5% AA) at 40 minutes
0.25 oz. Williamete (7.5% AA) at 20 minutes

I made a 2L starter with Wyeast 1056 – American Ale yeast and 200 g of Munton’s Pale Dry Malt Extract.  The beer sat in the fermenter for 2 weeks at 68 degrees and then was bottle conditioned for 2 weeks at 74 degrees. 

Beer specifications:
Target OG – 1.053
Actual OG – 1.052
Target FG – 1.013
Actual FG – 1.012
ABV – 5.24%
IBU – 40 (using the Rager formula)

American Porter - Beeradvocate

The Brew Hut
John PalmerHow to Brew -