Monthly Archives: December 2012

Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout

Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout

Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout

I am always curious when I have a beer from a new brewery. Not only will I like it, but when I visit their website, follow them on Facebook, things like that, will I like them? Going to start my journey with Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Hinterland with their Luna Coffee Stout.

Coffee and bitter chocolate escape as soon as the bottle is opened. Coffee is, indeed, the dominant flavor here. Plenty of bitter chocolate to go with it, as well. The hops kick in at the back end for a little more bitterness.

Not much else to say. Loads of coffee with enough other flavors going on to make it interesting. I’d do this again.

Grade: B

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Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

Lagunitas is not exactly known for timid brews. Brown Shugga is, as they say, the result of a failed experiment with a batch of Barley Wine.

Pours a slightly hazy copper. Brown sugar and piney hops in the aroma. The brown sugar comes out even more after a sip. Very sweet, but the aggressive, pungent hops cut through to tame it. Big and very tasty, if not complex. Great balance between the hops and sugar, each keeping the other from overpowering. And checking in at 9.9% ABV, you’d never guess it’s close to that strong while drinking it.

Grade: A

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Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Here is another season I look forward to every year, Left Hand Fade to Black. A different recipe every year, this fourth version is a “Rocky Mountain Black Ale”. Could fit into the Black IPA category as well.

Color certainly matches the title. Thin, creamy head floats atop a pitch black body. Very strong pine hops are noticed first. Charred wood comes through next, followed by sweet malt. Bitterness from the hops really linger. More than 60 IBUs almost make you pucker. Chocolate comes through as it warms.

The balance is what makes this so good. There is enough going on with the sweetness, bitterness, texture, and char to give it great flavor. This is why Fade to Black is so good!

Grade: A

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Hoppin’ Frog Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

Hoppin' Frog Frosted Frog

Hoppin’ Frog Frosted Frog

With outstanding Christmas Ales such as the offerings from Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog already coming out of Northeast Ohio, how will Hoppin’ Frog Frosted Frog stand up?

Nearly no head on this. Pours on the brown side of amber. Warm pumpkin pie spices in the aroma. Tastes of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange peel. Enough malt that the spices don’t get too wild. Body might be a little light. As it warms, the cinnamon become the most prevalent spice, but there are enough of the others to balance. Hefty booze at 8.6% ABV

Another amazing Winter Warmer from Ohio here. Wonderful!

Grade: A

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New Holland The Poet

New Holland The PoetI love the imagery of New Holland The Poet. Deep and dark with the image of a raven adorn the label. A not-so-subtle reference to a certain Mr. Poe (I’m going to ignore a football team with similar imagery. I’m a Browns fan).

Aroma is a pleasant mix of oatmeal and loads of bitter chocolate. Chocolate continues into the flavor and the oatmeal becomes more assertive in both the flavor and the ultra-creamy texture. It’s almost like velvet in a glass. Hops come in at the back end and linger. Phenomenal balance with sweetness from the oats and charred malt.

Just wonderful.

Grade: A

You may want to watch this video while you enjoy this treasure.

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Moerlein Barbarossa

Moerlein Barbarossa

Moerlein Barbarossa

Northeast Ohio seems to get most of the attention when it comes to craft beers, but there are plenty of great ones from other parts of the state. Including Cincinnati’s Christian Moerlein Barbarossa.

A double dark lager, also could be categorized as a Dunkel, it pours a deep brown with ruby edges. Sweet caramel and roasted malt dominate the aroma. Smooth and creamy, with caramel, roasted malt, and a bit of bittersweet chocolate. Perhaps a touch of smoke, too, but definitely not enough to make this a Schwarzbier.

Tasty and balanced, and with just 5% ABV, you can enjoy Barabarossa all day.

Grade: A

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Crabbie’s Ginger Beer Debuts in the US

crabbiesKINGSTON, MA – The United Kingdom’s number one selling bottled beer, Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer has recently made its debut in the United States.  Now available in 18 states, famed Crabbie’s (4.8%) is fermented with the finest imported ginger and steeped for up to eight weeks to allow the complex natural flavors to fully develop, creating a smooth ginger beer with deep, deliciously spicy flavor and a sparkling finish.  Crabbie’s is a refreshing ginger beer – only for grown-ups – that is ideal served chilled over ice with a slice of lemon or lime.

 “Crabbie’s is a great alternative for people who like to drink beer or cider, with no equal in today’s American market,” says Phil Clarke, general manager of St. Killian, the exclusive US importer of Crabbie’s.  “With the current U.S. explosion of beers brewed with herbs and spices, we can’t imagine a better time to introduce Crabbie’s to America’s discerning drinkers.”

Scottish merchant-adventurer John Crabbie first imported ginger from the Far East into the ancient port of Leith, Edinburgh in 1801.  Today, more than 200 years later, John Crabbie’s still uses the same ginger to develop the one-of-a-kind flavor of their ginger beer.

Crabbie’s is available for purchase in two formats:  a four-pack of 11 ounce bottles and a larger 16.9 ounce bottle.  Ideal for sipping, it can also be blended into a variety of ginger beer cocktails, such as the classic Dark and Stormy and the Moscow Mule.

Crabbie’s can currently be found at fine retailers, restaurants and bars in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

For more information about Crabbie’s, please visit them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @CrabbiesUSA.

Personally, I’ve never heard of this. But I do enjoy Ginger beer, so I’ll keep an eye out.

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Eudora Brewing Coming to Kettering, Ohio

Read this article about Eudora Brewing coming soon to Kettering, Ohio, just outside Dayton. Looks like it’ll be a brewpub and will also be offering brew-on premise, which I think is a great idea. I’ll be planning a trip to Kettering once it’s open!

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Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

This is one I have actually enjoyed several times, but am just now getting around to enjoying.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is a big, punishing IPA. Interestingly, the only hops used in this are Centennial. Light orange color with a massive, rocky head. Aroma is overloaded with the Centennial hops. Surprisingly light body. Flavors of orange, grapefruit, and caramel. Super hoppy brew. Almost makes you pucker. Hops stick around for a long time in both flavor and bitterness.

Nothing to hide here. Just a ton of Centennial hops and 7% ABV. Hop heads will love it!

Grade: A

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