Monthly Archives: March 2013

Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale

Founders Curmudgeon

Founders Curmudgeon

Just from the label, you know you’re in for something interesting from Founders Curmudgeon. Art aside, an Old Ale with molasses and aged in oak, certainly lets the imagination run wild.

Pours a hazy orange that’s just on this side of brown. Virtually no head. Oak, raisins, and must in the aroma. The flavor is mostly oak and molasses. Bit of punch from the 9.8% ABV. A touch of bitterness from the hops at the end. It’s a sipper, but something different comes out with every sip, including maple syrup.

Spend a lot of time enjoying this one.

Grade: A

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New Albanian Hoptimus

New Albanian Hoptimus

New Albanian Hoptimus

This is the first I’ve ever heard of New Albanian Brewing Company, which is in New Albany, Indiana.

Hoptimus is their Imperial IPA. With a kickass robot  brandishing a red star and boasting 100 IBUs, Hoptimus seems to be saying “I will break your taste buds.”

Pours orange and surprisingly crisp and clear for an Imperial IPA. Thin layer of a white head floats atop. The aroma is all fresh, citrusy hops. The punch is not as big as expected from a 100 IBU beer, but you know it’s an IPA. Loads of citrus and grassy hops give it a very fresh, summery flavor. Enough sweetness from the malt to cut through. With no bottling date, there is no way to know how old it is. The flavor is great, but I’m wondering if the hops have lost some potency. Oh, and it clocks in pushing 11% ABV.

Even if this is a little old, it’s really tasty. Lots of hops, enough malt to give it some balance, and deceptively smooth for its ABV and IBU. I’ll definitely do this again!

Grade: A

 

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Nøgne ø and Terrapin Imperial Rye Porter

Nogne O Imperial Rye Porter

Nogne O Imperial Rye Porter

A collaboration brew here between Sweden’s Nøgne ø and Terrapin Beer in Georgia (not Maryland), this is the Imperial Rye Porter.

I love Porters as it is, so I’m curious how this amped up imperial version from the very highly respected Nøgne ø will turn out. Completely opaque with a dark, thin head. Rather inviting aroma of rye, chocolate, and dark fruit. Extremely smooth and complex. Layer upon layer of flavor. Rye and chocolate first, then figs, currants, charred wood, and burnt marshmallows. There is a hint of sweetness followed by a lasting chalky finish. Deceptive 9% ABV.

This is outstanding. Get it.

Grade: A

http://www.nogne-o.com/

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Samuel Smith Organic Best Ale

Samuel Smith Organic Best Ale

Samuel Smith Organic Best Aleuel

Samuel Smith actually boast a full line of organic beers, including chocolate stout, cherry, strawberry, and apricot. This the the Best Ale.

Very clear for an ale. Aroma is mostly toasted malt and butterscotch candy. The butterscotch flavor carries through, blending with grassy hops. Very smooth. There is a hint of lemon in the finish. And that classic English hard water, as well.

Overall, I thought this was fine. Definitely not bad, but I don’t think I’ll be getting a craving for it again. Just didn’t have enough flavor for me.

Grade: C

 

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St. Feuillien Tripel

St. Feuillien Tripel

St. Feuillien Tripel

Personally, I find the story of St. Feuillien fascinating.

Since 1873, the Friart family has been brewing various beers, among others, the St-Feuillien. But the history of this beer goes back even further.

In the 7th century, an Irish monk by the name of Feuillien came to the Continent to preach the Gospel. Unfortunately, in 655, while travelling through the charcoal forest, across the territory of what is now the town of Le Roeulx, Feuillien was martyred and beheaded. On the site of his martyrdom, Feuillien’s disciples erected a chapel which, in 1125 became the Abbey of Prémontrés, but later became known as the Abbaye St-Feuillien du Roeulx.
The Abbey prospered until the upheavals of the French Revolution. During these troubled times, it was condemned by the revolutionaries. For centuries, monks have brewed beer and this tradition has been preserved until this very day.

The Tripel itself pours just like you’d expect. Cloudy light orange with a fluffy and creamy white head. Inviting aroma of lemon, coriander, and yeast. Very aggressive and spicy hops come up first.  A punch from the carbonation, too. This initial kick gives way to the familiar banana and yeast of a tripel. Some of the best lacing I’ve ever seen. Lingering and dry finish.

Perhaps not the most amazing Tripel I’ve had, but it’s quite good.

Grade: B

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Great Black Swamp Brewing Expands Distribution

From The Beer Blog

By Rick Armon Published: March 18, 2013

Great Black Swamp Brewing Co. is expanding its distribution into Northeast Ohio and Columbus. In Northeast Ohio, the Toledo brewery is available now exclusively at West Point Market in Akron. The grocery started carrying the brewery last week.

“At some point this year, we’re hoping to move into the Cleveland area and Columbus,” co-owner and brewer Paul Traver said.

Great Black Swamp launched in 2010 in Toledo. It distributes its beer both on draft and bottles.

Toledo isn’t all that far from me, but I’ve never seen any of their beers down here. I’ll have to keep an eye out!

 

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North Coast Old Stock Ale 2012

North Coast Old Stock 2012

North Coast Old Stock 2012

I loved the 2010 version, so I’m hoping 2012 version of North Coast Old Stock Ale is also superb.

Trying the wine glass again, too. Color is a deep caramel. Aroma is full of butterscotch and yeast. Flavor is massive. Caramel, banana, clove, a jab of hops at the end and a very pleasing warmth from the considerable 11.7% ABV. Dangerously drinkable for its potency. The finish is similar to a merlot, but with hops.

It’s fantastic. I know these are supposed to get better with age, but it’s hard to imagine how.

Grade: A

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The Brew Kettle One Eyed Jack Robust Porter

The Brew Kettle One Eyed Jack

The Brew Kettle One Eyed Jack

It may not get the recognition as some of the other breweries in the area, such as Great Lakes and Thirsty Dog, but The Brew Kettle also makes some might fine beers in Northeast Ohio. Here is their porter, One Eyed Jack.

Color is nice. Almost no head. Very chocolatey aroma. Smooth and surprisingly light on the tongue. It’s got all the flavors you want in a porter. Bitter coffee, loads of chocolate, light smoke, some oak and vanilla.

The first couple sips didn’t do a lot for me, but now that it’s warmer, all the flavors are coming out more. Definitely give this some time to come up to temp. It’ll make a difference.

This is very good, but it’s a step below the elite porters I’ve had. But I couldn’t tell you what’s missing. Certainly not a disappointment.

Grade: B

 

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Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Real Ale

Laverstoke Park Farms Real Ale

Laverstoke Park Farms Real Ale

The more I’m reading about Laverstoke Park Farm and their Organic Real Ale, the more I’m intrigued. This isn’t necessarily a brewery, but all the ingredients are from their organic farm. Interesting stuff. I believe this is only the second organic beer I’ve had.

Pours a cloudy orange with a fluffy ecru head. Crisp, clean flavors of caramel, grassy hops, even a bit of apple. Very earthy and, well, organic.

It doesn’t exactly have big, bold flavors, but it’s not bad. At 5% ABV, this would be a very nice lawn mower beer. Or a gateway into craft beer for the uninitiated.

Grade: C

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Hoppin’ Frog Cafe Silk Porter

Hoppin' Frog Cafe Silk Porter

Hoppin’ Frog Cafe Silk Porter

I enjoyed Hoppin’ Frog’s Silk Porter quite a bit, even if I did find it a bit on the harsher and not silkier on the end of the porter spectrum, so I’m curious how the addition of more coffee will influence the flavor with Cafe Silk Porter.

From the first smell, the extra coffee is evident. In fact, that’s all I smell. Thankfully, there is enough going on in the flavor, including chocolate and toffee, to balance things out. The texture is quite smooth and creamy. Finishes dry and slightly bitter. I am surprised how much the other flavors come through considering how strong the coffee aroma is.

I actually like this better than the regular Silk Porter. The texture is smoother and the coffee flavor is wonderful.

Grade: A

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