Tag Archives: California

Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle

Stone Smoked Porter with ChipotleWhat’s not to like? Stone, porter, smoke, chipotle. I’m hoping my expectations aren’t too high with Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.

Visually, it’s as expected. The aroma has more chipotle than smoke. That carries to the flavor, as well. This isn’t a sneaky hit, it hits you immediately. However, it’s not overpowering. After you get through the heat, there’s smoke, char, even a bit of chocolate. Lips still tinge for a bit, too.

This is truly outstanding. Everything in the title is there, and with phenomenal balance. Love it.

 

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T.W. Pitchers Snake Bite

TW Pitchers Snake Bite

TW Pitchers Snake Bite

I’m very excited to try T.W. Pitchers’ Snake Bite. A mix of cider and lager, this is currently only available in the San Francisco area. So how did I get it in Ohio? They actually found my blog and asked if they could add me to their mailing list. I think some free beer is definitely worth that! They also sent a very cool press kit and coaster. Now, onto the beer!

Pours a dark, crisp yellow. Apple Cider dominates the aroma. Very interesting flavor. Even though it’s a blend, it really tastes like two different drinks. The initial flavor is all apple cider, but the finish is all amber lager. There is none of the harsh after taste that some ciders can have.

Really tasty stuff. I’m glad they sent it to me! Now they just need to add it on Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, and the like.

Killer label, too.

Grade: B

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Knee Deep McCarthy’s Bane

Knee Deep McCarthys BaneWhen I see the word Imperial on a beer, I expect everything about it to be big. And since this is the first beer I have had from Knee Deep Brewing, McCarthy’s Bane has high standards to meet. Pours with a relentless, frothy head. Color is on the reddish side of brown. Pine, resin, and caramel in the aroma. Spicy rye comes through followed with a big hit from the piney hops. (Side note, pour carefully!) Hops really linger in this. The flavor and bitterness stick around almost longer than the head does!

Big with nice balance, but seeing as how it’s supposed to be 80 IBUs, I think I have an old bottle. Regardless, this is a very nice brew.

Grade: B

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Anchor Porter

Anchor Porter

Anchor Porter

I don’t know how I’ve never reviewed Anchor Porter before!

The San Francisco Brewery has been making this first modern American porter for 40 years. Color is black, as it should be, with a very fluffy beige head. The aroma is an inviting mix of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. Sweet malt comes through first in the flavor, with plenty of coffee and chocolate. Dry, oak finish.

Smooth texture, phenomenal balance and flavor, and at only 5.6% ABV, it’s not heavy handed. It’s beautifully crafted brews like this that make me love porters so much! Probably between this and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald for the best American porter I’ve had.

Grade: A

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Mission Blonde Ale

Mission Blonde AleThis is the first beer I’ve had from Mission out of San Diego, their Blonde Ale.

Pours remarkably clear and light. If not for the thicker white head, you might have trouble telling this from a macro lager just from the sight. The aroma is mostly grass and straw with some faint grape and peach in the background. Flavor isn’t particularly strong, but the grass and straw flavors and fruity notes come through. Finishes a little dry.

I don’t dislike this, but I don’t know if I’d have it again. The flavor isn’t bad, there just isn’t much there.

Grade: C

 

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Lagunitas Sucks

Lagunitas Sucks

Lagunitas Sucks

Their words, not mine. Also their words

Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip.

So here we have Lagunitas Sucks, a brew boasting a complex malt backbone and a whopping dose of hops to make it a double IPA.

Pours a bit lighter and crisper than expected. The frothy white head doesn’t stick around for long. Hops completely dominate the aroma. Yeah, a double IPA for sure. Hop oils assault the palate. Grapefruit and pine, mostly. Hint of heat from the 7.8% ABV. Rye comes through a bit in the finish. But this is all about the hops. Surprisingly, it’s only 65 IBUs. Thought this would push closer to 100.

Hop heads, get it!

Grade: A

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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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Stone Double Bastard

Stone Double Bastard

Stone Double Bastard

Stone Double Bastard is for masochists. Even at an arm’s length away, I can pick up on the obscene hops and substantial malt. It’s just so big. Complex doesn’t even begin to describe the flavor. Pine, toffee, coffee, citrus, toasted rye bread. And that’s all before the hops make you pucker. As expected from Stone, the 11% ABV makes you sit up and notice, too.

Just go get one. Or several.

Grade: A

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21st Amendment and Ninkasi Allies Win the War

21st Amendment Allies Win the War

21st Amendment Allies Win the War

A collaborative brew, this merger between 21st Amendment and Ninkasi is an English Stong Ale. Firmly between a Pale Ale and Barleywine. While it seems to be marketing more as a 21st Amendment brew, it’s not on their website. But it is on Ninkasi’s.

Color is an orange/brown, thin beige head. Malt is a bit on the sweet side with a big hit of hops. Nutty finish. Dates come through even more as it warms.

Busy and tasty. I’d be interested to see more collaborations between these two.

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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