Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yippee Rye Aye and Pere Jacques

After a Mountain Bike ride and yard work, I grabbed a quick shower and went to Parry’s Pizzeria and Pub for lunch.  I ordered a meat calzone and enjoyed two beers, Sierra Nevada Yippee Rye Aye Beer Camp #51 (5.9% ABV) an ale with black peppercorns and Goose Island – Pere Jacques (8% ABV and 26 IBU) a Belgian Dubbel.  There was very little information on Yippee Rye Aye and I admit that I liked Red-oric better.  The Pere Jacques was excellent and I hope to try more Goose Island beers in the future.
Pere Jacques website description – “Brewed with loads of malt and Belgian yeast, Pere Jacques is a wonderfully fruity, malty ale. Pere Jacques’ complex flavors stand shoulder to shoulder with the Belgian Dubbels enjoyed in the world’s finest beer bars. At the dining table it’s the perfect alternative to a glass of vintage port."

Note - photo below is from the Goose Island website
Goose Island –
Parry’s Pizzeria and Bar -

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Russian River – Pliny the Elder

I have wanted to try Pliny the Elder (8% ABV and HIGH IBU) for sometime now because Pliny is regarded as the best Double IPA produced today.  When I saw a bottle of Pliny at the local store, I immediately grabbed a bottle.  I had only seen it once before and regretted not purchasing a bottle then.  Vinnie Cilurzro and his wife Natalie bought the NorCal brewery when Korbel offered to sell it to them.  Vinnie Cilurzo is considered one of the best brewers in the country and there is limited distribution of Russian River to the West Coast, Colorado and Philadelphia. Pliny the Elder is distributed in 500 ml bottles.  Note - this beer and this style is not to be stored / aged.  It should be consumed soon after bottling the bottle I purchased had a bottled on date of 31 May.

American Double / Imperial IPA - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – A straw / copper color that is clear with a fluffy two – three finger head poured into a New Belgium globe glass.
Aroma – This is a very aromatic beer with floral, citrus, and perhaps a hint of pine.
Taste – Wow – I was expecting a hop bomb, but this is not the case.  The hops are present, but the beer is very nicely balanced and this is one smooth beer for the amount of hops and the ABV.
OverallA+ - Pliny the Elder is a really great Double IPA.  I can understand why it is touted as being the best of style.  It is the highest rated Double IPA on the Beer Advocate site.  I paid $5.49 for the 500 ml bottle and it is worth every penny.  I will purchase it again, the next time I see it.  Try it, if you get the opportunity.  Try other Russian River beers too - I will.
Website description  Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!

Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with "Pliny the Elder". Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!

Pliny the Elder was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who wrote about his uncle succumbing to ash and smoke during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. while rescuing people. Cheers to the scholar, historian, officer, writer, and Roman Naturalist- Pliny the Elder!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stone at Parry's Pizzeria

Stone is currently conducting a contest called “The Most Bitter Bars – 2012 Challenge” and Parry’s Pizzeria and Bar is hosting a number of Stone beers on tap.  I have tried a number of Stone beers and I have enjoyed everyone they brew.  I decided to try Cali-Belgique (6.9% ABV and 77 IBU), a Belgian IPA and Double Dry Hopped Ruination IPA (7.7% ABV and 100+ IBU), an Imperial IPA.  Both of these beers were just fantastic and I think I liked the Cali-Belgique the best.  They went great with the NY Cheese steak Sandwich.  The contest is running through Father’s day and I think I will need to try a couple of more tomorrow.  I have tried all the other before and I will have to select one of my favs – Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (8.7% ABV and 90 IBU) and probably Stone Ruination IPA (6.9% ABV and 100+ IBU).  If you have one of these events in your area, attend it and try some really good beer from Stone.
Parry’s Pizzeria and Bar -

Nectar Ales – Humboldt Brown

I picked up a bottle of Nectar Ales Humboldt Brown (5.7% IBU and 40 IBU) as part of a mixed 6 pack a couple of weeks ago.  This is an ale made with Hemp seeds and was originally title Hemp Ale.  The Hemp seeds supposedly give the ale more of an herb flavor.  I like brown ales and I was looking forward to Humboldt Brown.   

American Brown Ale - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Humboldt Brown pours brown / dark amber and is clear – you can see through it – with a nice two-finger head.
Aroma –Roast malt and nutty – very little hop influence detected.
Taste – Tastes like a brown ale with some nuttiness and a touch of bitterness and herbs at the end.
Overall B- - Humboldt Brown is not a bad beer, but it is not a great beer.  I am a big fan of Avery’s Ellie’s Brown Ale and for me this is the standard to compare other brown ales. 
Website description – “Affiliated with Nectar Ales experience through shared origins at Humboldt Brewing Company, Hemp Ale is a one-of-a-kind brew that boasts and incredibly rich profile and unique herb-accented flavor that is attributable to the incorporation of hemp seeds into the brewing process.  A wonderful brown ale full of complexity Hemp Ale is great with food or by itself.  American hops create a perfect balance to the darker malts used in this brew.  This brown ale is the Gold medal winner for first place in its category at both the 1999 and 2000 California State Fair Craft Brewing Competitions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Horton's Homebrew - Nectar of the Gods

I had wanted to try adding chocolate to a beer and with the ingredients I had left over from After Midnight Porter, I decided to try adding chocolate to the recipe.  I came up with the name from a recollection of chocolate being referred to as “nectar of the gods”.  Nectar of the Gods (5.63% ABV and 40 IBU) looks just like After Midnight and the chocolate addition added very little flavor to the beer.  Nectar of the Gods tastes almost exact like After Midnight.  Lori could not detect any chocolate influence in the beer.  I just bottled two amber ales and I think I will try a wheat beer next.  
The recipe is as follows:

Malts -
7# Briess Pale Liquid Malt Extract
8 oz. Briess Caramel 60 L
8 oz. Briess Chocolate Malt
4 oz. Black Patent Malt
8 oz. Unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate added at the start of the boil.

Hops -
.25 oz. Nugget – 60 Minutes
.25 oz. Nugget – 40 Minutes
.25 oz. Williamette – 40 Minutes
.25 oz. Williamette – 20 minutes

Yeast – Wyeast 1056 American Ale

American Porter - – BeerAdvocate
The Brew Hut -

Shipyard – Export Ale

I recently picked up Shipyard – Export Ale (5.1% ABV), an American Blonde Ale , as part of a mixed 6 pack to try some different beers from various brewers.  I have heard of Shipyard – they are in the top 20 of craft brewers by size – and they are based in Portland, Maine.  Shipyard also produces soda.

American Blonde Ale - BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Export Ale poured a gold and light copper color with a two-finger head in an imperial pint glass.
Aroma – Bread and perhaps a hint of biscuit and honey, with very little hop influence.
Taste – Very easy to drink and focused on the malt sweetness at the start and then a touch of hop bitterness from balance. 
OverallB – I would like to try more products from Shipyard and Export Ale is an easy drinking ale.
Website description – “Shipyard Export Ale, the flagship brand of Shipyard Brewing Co., is a full-bodied ale, with a hint of sweetness upfront, a subtle and distinctive hop taste, and a very clean finish.”

Shipyard Brewing

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sam Adams - Hop-ology

Last year, the Boston Beer Co. release a special Deconstructed series of their Latitude 48 IPA where batches were brewed using only one hop variety with the same recipe for Latitude 48.  It enabled the taster to compare and contrast the different hops used in Latitude 48.  This year, Hop-ology was released that featured 6 different IPAs and it is available in 12-packs.  The IPAs are as follows and note the various colors from the various styles:

Latitude 48 (6% ABV and 60 IBU) – an IPA

Whitewater IPA (5.8% AVB and 60 IBU) – a wheat IPA

Third Voyage (8% ABV and 80 IBU) – a Double IPA

Tasman Red (6.75% ABV and 60 IBU) – a Red Ale

Dark Depths (7.6% ABV and 55 IBU) – a Baltic IPA

Grumpy Monk (5.7% ABV and 55 IBU) – a Belgian IPA

These were all tasty and I think my favorite is Dark Depths, which is not surprising; it’s dark with nice hop bitterness.  I appreciate the Boston Beer Co. for releasing a mixed 12-pack like this as it give the taster a great opportunity to try a number of different Sam Adams beers.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Best Beer I Have Ever Had

I really enjoy the beers of Oskar Blues in Lyons, CO and you cannot go wrong with picking something up that is brewed by Oskar Blues.  I had ridden a nice 20 mile mountain bike ride and I was ready for a nice lunch and a beer.  I went to Parry’s Pizzeria and Bar that was hosting a Oskar Blues Tap Takeover and the first round was to a favorite – Dale’s Pale Ale (6.5% ABV and 65 IBU), that is easily one of the best Pale Ales in the country.  I ordered a Meat Calzone and round two – Cabernet Barrel Aged G’Knight (8.1% ABV and 60 IBU) – that is an Imperial Red / Double IPA that was just incredible.  I detected notes of oak and the presence of the cabernet just enhanced the beer, the hops were very subdued from the aging process.  This was one that I just savored and I informed the Oskar Blues rep that this was the best beer I had ever tasted.  Round three was Buffalo Trace Whiskey Barrel Aged Ten Fidy (9.3% ABV and 98 IBU) that is an Imperial Stout.  I really enjoy Ten Fidy – there is always some in my fridge that is aging and I was interested in trying this one.  I needed to let it warm up and it was excellent too.  The barrel-aged beers were just fantastic and I will try more in the future.  The Cabernet Barrel Aged G’Knight was the best beer I have ever had.
Parry’s Pizzeria and Bar -

Bear Republic – Hop Rod Rye

I have tried a few beers from Bear Republic and I have enjoyed them.  I decided to try Hop Rod Rye (8% ABV and 80 IBU) is a Rye beer that is available in 22 oz. bombers. Bear Republic is based in Healdsburg, CA. 

Rye Beer - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Pours a deep amber with a two-finger head.
Aroma – Piney / resin with some caramel sweetness and spicy.
Taste – One taste spice and sweetness, then breadiness, then hop bitterness – but not too much bitterness. It is very well-balanced.
Overall – B+ - This is one of the best Rye beer I have tried. 
Website description – “A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt.  Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.”

Abbey Beverage Co. – Monk’s Ale

I knew nothing about this beer when I added to a mix 6 pack the other day to sample a few different beers.  Monks' Ale (5.2% ABV and 27 IBU), a Belgian pale ale, is actually brewed by Benedictine Monks in New Mexico at the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert.  Brewed with care and prayer is the tagline on the bottle.

Belgian Pale Ale - – BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Pours a medium brown / amber with virtually no head.
Aroma – Bubblegum / Juicy Fruit with a hint of caramel / malt sweetness.
Taste – The Monks used a Belgian style yeast and one can pick up the spicy and bubblegum with a touch of banana.  Very little bitterness with the sweetness coming  through, but it is not cloying.
Overall B – Not a bad beer and the Monks is the Desert did a good job with Monk’s Ale.
Website description – “Monks’ Ale is an excellent session ale that is distinctively spicy with moderate fruity esters (particularly stone fruits).  The yeast lends a note of clove and in combination with the malts, hints of plum and apricot.  The malts provide a distinct honeyish quality up front and round full middle.  The malts and yeast provide a clean, crisp, dry, finish to Monks’ Ale