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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Dude's Rug by B. Nektar Meadery

The Dude's Rug - B. Nektar Meadery
The Dude must abide! That little piece of wisdom was ground into a generation of us by Jeffrey Lebowski in "The Big Lebowski" some 18 years ago and for some of us, it still rings true. So when a drink appears on the market that brings about a stir of the same movie, it not only deserved notice, but simply, we must abide and check it out.

Not going into copious detail, but The Dude's Rug by B. Nektar Meadery (Ferndale, MI) really comes across as a total divorce from the standard cidar. Yes, this is cidar, but not like a cidar you have ever really tasted before. Cidar is usually light and the flavor is equally light. Heavy cider is a little more intense, but in the grand scheme of things, its not all that significant. 

The Dude's Rug is different. Way different. This cider is more like winter time candy with intriguing levels that engross you. It has black tea, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Not an apple, peach or pear in the bunch, though it is listed as an apple cider. The manufacturer lays it out this way:

Hard cider with tea and Chai spices

Essential Elements - Apple cider, chai tea (tea with cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla).

Appearance - Dark amber and clear with a foamy white head that dissipates into a thin white rim.

Aroma - Sweet, fresh apples with notes of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger and raisin.

Experience - Sweet, baked apples followed by a vivid blend of clove and cardamom. Black tea rounds out the flavor and leaves little to no tannin. Medium-bodied with a crisp, red apple skin aftertaste.
The color is dark and the resulting drink is nothing short of spectacular. It tastes like dark, wintery port, or even porter if it had a little more body to it. It was one of those bottles that you wish you had an extra couple of ounces that you could wring out of it. It is 5.5% ABV, which is nice because you are going to come back to this one repeatedly - this could be the cider of the season.

I gave it a rating of 4 1/2 stars in Untappd. The Dude abides and this cider is keeping in that tradition.

Skal!
Brian


Monday, October 17, 2016

Dwarf Invasion! by B. Nektar Meadery

Dwarf Invasion! by B. Nektar Meadery
You know, I like mead. Maybe its my sweet tooth. Mead goes places in the taste realm that beer can't go.  However, mead is kind of limited in where it can take you and that is unfortunate because I could see a number of areas where mead could influence the taste of certain food.  The honey sweet grapey taste of the beverage uniquely places along the beer spectrum.

Enter Dwarf Invasion by B. Nektar Meadery of Ferndale, MI. One of the primary meaderies in the US, the products that come out of B. Nektar Meadery are really on the upside and deservedly so.  Superior grapes, just the right level of sweetness from their honey, and the flavors that surround them make B. Nektar Meadery the places that one has to be beat.

And then their is the Dwarf Invasion.  First off, it is a mead, pure and simple, with water, honey and wine its first three ingredients. But that is where the break occurs, because Dwarf Invasion tastes more like a fruit beer than a mead. As a matter of fact, its taste and texture make it impossible to tell it apart from a fruit beer despite the fact that it has none of the beer ingredients.

Dwarf Invasion is 6% ABV and is made with tart Balaton cherries and Styrian Golden hops to gain a taste that rivals some Belgian cherry beers. The tart cherries and the slightly bitter hops really make this a smooth and supple drinking beer.

The taste if mesmerizing. You know this is mead, but it doesn't look like mead and it certain does not taste that way.  The tart cherries and the slightly bitter hops really make this a smooth and supple drinking beer rather than a mead. It doesn't not slam you back, but rather it lures you into a enchantment and lets you wander out of it. It is just really gentle with you and has no lingering effect, which some meads have in store for you.

Dwarf Invasion is one of several new meads coming from B. Nektar Meadery and I will be on the lookout for the others. Kudos!

Untappd: 4 1/2 stars.

Skal!
Brian

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Off to Meridian Pint!

It is Thursday, and I am off to Merdian Pint for an exploration of their beer listings. So come on down and join me! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Brookland Pint!

It is Tuesday night and I am on my way to Brookland Pint. I will have to see what they have in store for me!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Remember...

to change your address for the Jolly Good Fellows blog (www.beerfellows.com) to:

Brian.Smith@JGFellows.com

by 1 May 2016. Before it is too late!

The Triple Lindy by Old Ox Brewery

Triple Lindy at Old Ox Brewery
The ol' Triple Lindy. Made famous initially by Rodney Dangerfield, I really hadn't heard mention made of it until I walked into the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, VA. Naturally, I had to order it, along with a spicy chicken sandwich and salad. Man, did I make the right choice!

What sells the Triple Lindy is its creamy base. The hops are good for the short term, but the base is what is selling this beer. It holds the Triple Lindy together no matter what you may have with it. (If the spicy chicken sandwich didn't put it through it paces, nothing will!)  It comes with a nice light semi-transparent color and a good head, but it is the taste of the cream base that holds its place.  Definitely a beer you can sip or hit hard.

Old Ox Brewery is a family owned and operated brewery. They put out beers that really hold their own.  They produce a total of ten beers according to their menu and these are spread across seasonal, core, and experimental.

The Triple Lindy is a one-off beer. It is not listed in Old Ox's list of seasonal, core or experimental beers, but I think a nice worded note might see it return.  It does not have an ABV or IBU numbers.

Though the Triple Lindy is no longer on offer (it sold out that night!), many of the Old Ox beers are excellent for drinking. Start with Alpha Ox and work your way down - you won't be disappointed!

Skal!
Brian

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wild West by Brouwerij Alvinne

Wild West
The Wild West brings us connotations of cowboys, wrestling cattle and long beautiful sunsets as they set across the plains.  The raw smell of the men, unbathed for days, doing the gritty work that we have dreamed of but have avoided because it wasn't really our "thing." Not the stuff of Field of Dreams.

Well, this Wild West is entirely different. It is brewed by Brouwerij Alvinne and has the flavor of plums in it to create a unique sour ale. Yes, that is right, I said plums, the forerunner of prunes, and have wrapped them in a sour ale.

The result is a great sour ale that is smooth and wickedly alive at the same time. They take oak aged barrels and add about 15 kg of wild plums to each barrel. The taste really begins in the nose of the beer. You just get a feeling that the beer is waiting for you to get busy. It is a lot less sour than the standard ale because the plums have been used to absorb that standard sour ale taste. The taste is really a mix of different flavors over the top of a distinct plum base. Nice to the tongue!

Brouwerij Alvinne is located in Moen, Belgium and was founded in 2004 and moved to a new building in 2011. The Wild West with plum is set for 2015, but the 2014 beer sold out. Grapes and Blackthorn were planned for last year and a Kriek is on for this year. If they have half the luck that Brouwerij Alvinne had with plums, they should be looking to sell out as well.

Wild West comes with a 6% ABV and no IBUs.

This beer and others from Brouwerij Alvinne are sure to rank up there when debating great sour ales. Get a bottle and try it out. I think you will find it pretty delicious too.

Skal!
Brian

Sunday, April 24, 2016

To Get in Touch with Me...

I know that most of you are thinking, "I know how to get in touch with this guy," but I will be switching email addresses as of 1 May 2016. After that, you can reach me at:

Brian.Smith@JGFellows.com

Mark your email (or your spam folders) accordingly.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Vanilla Bean - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Raspberry Stout with Vanilla Beans
























Raspberry stout is an excellent flavor. When you ferment it in bourbon barrels, you really get a bonus. But what did Hardywood Park Craft Brewery expect when they put vanilla beans in with it? Well, I found out when I tested this brew at Alexandria's Rustico that Thursday night.

I had tried the Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout right here, as some of you might have remembered and it rated pretty high in my estimation, so I figured that this stout would be good, but a definite second place.

Man, was I wrong. This raspberry stout is a completely different, though excellent tasting beer.  The difference came in the way it handled the vanilla beans. It presented the vanilla beans rather than mixing them with the raspberries and the stout. Rather than being a raspberry stout with a vanilla beans chaser, it was actually a vanilla bean stout with a subtle yet substantial raspberry chaser. When you go and taste it, don't expect the raspberries to be a really strong flavor, but expect to taste the vanilla beans up front. This is very much as raspberry swirl in vanilla ice cream rather than a taste of vanilla in a strong raspberry sorbet, if I can extend the ice cream analogy. The result is a very tasty, yet different, raspberry and vanilla bean variant.

The Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Stout with Vanilla Beans by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is a 12.4% ABV and a 50 IBU beverage. It is a Barrel Series Beer and is available in the Spring.

Oh so good!

Skal!
Brian

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yeah, It is Going to be Portland, Portland, Oregon!

Portland, OR
It has been a long time in coming and it wasn't what I thought it would be but I am going to Portland, OR. It will be May 15-17. Well actually it is Astoria, OR and I am going with 46 other craft brewers and their guests on a three day view into how craft beer is brewed. It should be really cool. (And yes, Eric Stone, I am making time for you, though it may not be very much by your own reckoning.) Stay tuned as we get closer to the date.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Happy National Beer Day!

Today is the day! April 7, 1933 was the day that Prohibition ended and we could return to producing beer. Lots of beer! But when you consider the effects of two world wars, Prohibition and the Great Depression in 30 years, it's amazing we had an industry we could bring back at all. Cheers!

Procrastinator Batch #3 - Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes

Procrastinator Batch #3
Sour, but oh so good! That is what is going through your head after drinking Procrastinator Batch #3 by Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes of Switzerland. What is really weird is that this drink is of a rare type called an eisbach. The eisbach is a brew that has been left past it point of maturation and is considered overdone. But it is served so cold that it actually has an extension to its life. So it turns out to be really sour rather than hoppy. It makes for a really interesting drink because the strength of the sour is present through out the drink.

Procrastinator does just the same thing and it is sour noticeable throughout the beer. But this drink has a lot of flavor from a mixture of fruits and berries. At first the taste is rather confused because there is so much going on, but then is starts to straighten itself out. It rights itself about half way through and then it is like liquid gold before finishing with a sour end. It is a total beverage.

Now this is when I layout the particulars for the Procrastinator Batch #3, like ABV and IBU, but these don't appear to have been any calculated for the beer. Strange, but I can accept that these will remain a mystery.

But if your brewery will carry this brand, go ahead and get a pour. If you like sours, you will not be disappointed. Think I will go back for a second one...

Skal!
Brian

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rocky Road by Smuttynose Brewers

Rocky Road by Smuttynose Brewery
Chocolate ice cream, marshmallows and walnuts. Can't ask anything more from Rocky Road ice cream manufactured by Dreyers Ice Cream of Oakland, CA since 1928. Yep, those brown and white striped containers (Edy's is the brand name on the East Coast of Dreyers) have had magical ice cream goodness in them. As a native son of Oakland, I have to say that Dreyers is a thing of beauty. Smooth, creamy, and crunchy all at the same time, Rocky Road has become one of those flavors that stands up and says "I am here. Come and get me!"

So I am going over the bill of fare at Birch & Barley preparing to order my dinner, and there it is - Rocky Road from Smuttynose Brewer of Hampton, NH. This is the first dessert stout from Smuttynose and they have picked a thing of beauty. (Still not sure that they have permission, but we will leave that one for the lawyers.) With a chocolate nib over a stout body, marshmallows and amaretto among the malt and hops, this comes pretty close to a perfect combination.

Rocky Road is a 7.3% ABV and a 25 IBU. Malt consists of North American 2-Row, Munich 10L, Carahell, C-120, Carastan, Brown Malt, Chocolate Malt, and Roasted Barley. The hops consist of Magnum (bittering) and Bravo and Sterling (flavoring). Yeast is American Ale and other flavors are cacao nibs, Fluff, and Amaretto soaked oak chips.

So glad to see Smuttynose Brewers reaching across the aisle and grabbing Rocky Road. It may be their first dessert stout, but I don't think it will be their last.

Skal!
Brian

Thursday, March 31, 2016

When Things Go Badly - Creme Brulee by Southern Tier Brewing Company

Sometimes a perfectly good idea seems wonderful on paper, but in reality it just blow chunks. It seems like such a perfect combination. Creme brulee, one of the very hearts of a Parisian dessert, is a staple of life. Not just in Paris, but everywhere one goes and expects a dessert, creme brulee is surely on the menu. So it would make sense to create a beer to duplicate the taste. Hmm, it starts the mind to thinking...

Creme Brulee
It should start with "Are you nuts?" Creme brulee tastes nothing like beer. Not a milky sweet stout to say the least, where you are fending off bold malts from the hearts of creams that are at center of creme brulee. But Southern Tier Brewing Company said "ah, we know how to do it" and set about creating a chemical bath that would simulate creme brulee in a beer mug.  Now Southern Tier Brewing Company has done some tough brews in the past and has made them sing - Anyone remember Mokah? - but there was something wrong with the Creme Brulee.

The deficient batch that they came up with is only half of the story to creating creme brulee. It actually smells like it in the glass, which is impressive, but it all goes down hill from there. The second part is just a mish-mash and turns the mix wickedly disappointing. The end is symptomatic of the whole experience - crashing and burning - as the drinker is gulping their way through the sourly tainted end. The best feeling is when the last bit is imbibed and the glass is empty.

The question becomes did Southern Tier Brewing do something by intention or was it the way the way it was prepared in the bar? Southern Tier has been serving this mixture since 2008 and that should be enough time to work the bugs out of it. The bar was Del Rey Pizza and they have served plenty of beer with success on their watch. But there were plenty of termites in this batch for everyone. Southern Tier Brewing Company or Del Rey Pizza - whom do we point the finger?

Creme Brulee by Southern Tier Brewing Company is a 10% ABV and has a serving temperature of 48 degrees.  The yeast is ale yeast, four malts, two hops, vanilla and lactose sugar.

Skal!
Brian

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

And Without Further Adieu...a Message from Our Sponsor!

video

Cold Press Coffee Porter Nitro by Flying Dog

Just when you think you have seen everything, these guys from Flying Dog come up with something new. Something new and oh so good. Brewhouse Rarities Cold Press Coffee Porter Nitro is what it is called and it has something nice and tasty in each syllable of its name.

Cold Press Coffee Porter Nitro
Lets start with cold press coffee. Though beer is supposed to be cold, the idea of cold coffee and beer have been slow to take off. But here, cold beer and coffee have finally found their coming together. You can actually taste the coffee in the beer, though there appears to be none of the ingredients on the list. Porter is a natural uptake of this brand of beer, but has been a second tier to stout in that category. However, stout is too strong in this mix and porter is a better natural alternative. Finally, nitro is a fine alternative to carbon dioxide and warrants the extra expense for employing it here.

When the three are put together, you get dark, rich, cold coffee, a nice employment of porter, and with the all the fineries of nitro. It is actually calling you to take a second cup (there probably should be a discussion of whether it should be served in beer sized tastings) and that is always good. Yes, it is as good as the last cup.

Brewhouse Rarities Cold Press Coffee Porter Nitro is 6% ABV and hop bitterness 15 IBU. Specialty hops include roasted barley, chocolate, and black barley. Hops are Perle and yeast is American Ale.

Skal!
Brian

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Too Many Cooks by South Street, Wild Wolf Devils Backbone, Starr Hill and Blue Mountain

Too Many Cooks
Too Many Cooks by South Street, Wild Wolf, Devils Backbone, Starr Hill, and Blue Mountain is just that - too many cooks. The result is it is carrying too much junk (like water) and too little flavor. Maybe a few less cooks could find a way to decrease what it is carrying, but until they do, this will be continue to be sub-par.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Peaches! Acres of Peaches! Peche Mel Scaldis by Brasserie Dubuisson

Peche Mel Scaldis
Peaches are a sign that Spring is just around the corner and that Summer is not far behind. This past Saturday, we (Linda and I) had a chance to have dinner at a new place in Baltimore called La Cuchara. After having had a Melchior (a strong Belgian ale by Brouwerij Alvinne) and having reported back favorably, the owner offered me a taste of Peche Mel Scaldis by Brasserie Dubuisson.

Now peaches are nothing new to me and I am a little bit leery of them because they are one of the fruits that can have a great taste or can have a poor taste depending on how they are handled during the flavoring process. Cherries and raspberries are OK, but peaches are kind of an "iffy" fruit.

So, I tried a sip of Peche Mel Scaldis. Peaches! Acres of peaches! Wow! This was certainly a fruit beer that was not to be believed. It tasted like a pure peaches with just a little alcohol and it continued to taste like peaches throughout. It was so good I could not believe I was drinking anything but a peach drink. Right down to the last drop, it was a peach.

I thanked the owner and made a note that Peche Mel Scaldis will be on my list for the summer and it should be on your list as well. Peaches! Acres of peaches!

Skal!
Brian




Monday, March 21, 2016

Oh So Good! Mocha Obscuro by Peabody Heights Brewery

Mocha Obscuro
There is a lot to be thankful for when the gods shine down and have St. Patrick's Day fall on a weekend. (Yes, Thursdays count as a weekend!) One of those extra goodies, of course, is two days of extra sampling of beer and this year I got to try Mocha Obscuro by Peabody Heights Brewing of Baltimore, MD in Woodbury Kitchens.

Mocha Obscuro is attempting to become one of the few beers that is to achieve an Imperial or Double Stout classification. This is akin to a Russian Imperial stout and it is very rare to get this right. The malt and the hops have to be roasted to near perfection and sorry to say, it just does not happen very easily. A bit over-roasted and the whole beer tastes burned. But Mocha Obscuro is done just right. The malt and the hops are both done to perfection and it feels good going down. But as a double stout, it is about how it goes down slow, and that is when is goes down oh so good! Try it out and you won't be disappointed!

Skal!
Brian

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance by 3 Star Brewing

Cognitive Dissonance
Now this is what a Berliner Weissbier is supposed to taste like. It is warm with the season, there to remind you that Spring is coming. It tastes like a group of citrus fruit: oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit.  Sweet and growing steadily in the warm sunshine. It has a German name but it better reflects a warm Mediterranean afternoon. It continues growing warm with the season and then just melts away. Perfect time to reintroduce this wonderful beer because its time is so fleeting. Yep, Spring is here and we are here to greet it.

Cognitive Dissonance by 3 Star Brewing has a 3.6% ABV.

Skal!
Brian

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BeerCycling: Your Tour is Scheduled!

For you BeerCycling folks who may be following us, you can now rejoice - your Summer 2016 schedule is now posted and the tour dates are up! If you are planning to take one of these tours, and I encourage you to do so, you should connect to the www.BeerCycling.com page for further details.

10-Day Flanders Adventure Tour
10-Day Flanders Discovery Tour
9-Day Ardennes Challenge Tour
7-Day Italian Passion Tour
5-Day Flanders Sampler Tour
5-Day Flanders Tulip Tour

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Smuttlabs: Rouge de Shire

Smuttlabs Rouge De Shire
Last night, I started venturing back out to local brew houses with a vengeance. One week was spent in Utah and the spectacular Powder Mountain Resort and the second week was a real surprise - New York City (thank you, Linda!) and a preliminary celebration of my birthday. Now that things have simmered down a bit, I can begin to synthesize all that has gone on.

Now you might have noticed I shifted from three reviews down to one and even that one is more succinct. Well, I noticed that it was taking me three times long to write a longer review and it was taking me 1 1/2 times to write one review as it was three, so I am trying to write a quick review to get the word out and then perhaps go back to do a longer one. I will get this worked out somehow, but I am experimenting!

Smuttynose Brewing Company (Hampton, NH) came out with a special label some time ago call Smuttlabs. Smuttlabs took it upon themselves to experiment with different mixes and concoctions that deviated from the traditional Smuttynose Brewing Company. Rouge De Shire is one of those concoctions and it is a triumph. This is beautiful beer. Brewed with raspberries over oak chips, this has a nice subtle taste that lingers for a while. It has a long and graceful conclusion. If you are looking for a way to introduce and excuse your beer, this is the way to do it. It is really good.

Route De Shire is 4.9% ABV and no IBUs.

Skal!
Brian

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Brewer's Art - Resurrection

On Charles Street in Baltimore, you will find a wide range of ethnic food shops. Afghan, Nepalis, and Indian to name just a few. But in an old bank building, there stand the classic American staple - the beer bar.

The Brewer's Art (has been in the same location for a number of years, but you would never know it. Kind of a modern, run down decor, the Brewer's Art features a somewhat well kept forward beer area, a fine dining establishment and an absolutely weird basement. All three contribute to the Brewer's Art post-industrial art layout.

The Brewer's Art - Baltimore
The headline of The Brewer's Art is the number and diversity of its own beer. Running about 12-15 types, the quality of the beer is exceptional for restaurant draft beer. (I did just try The Brewer's Art in another restaurant as well.) I tried two beers on the night in question with Linda and both were very good. The one that gets the nod tonight is the Resurrection. A 7% ABV, Abbey-styled dubbel, the yeast "died" and was "resurrected." It comes with five types of barley malt and lots of sugar. The beer is quite strong and flavorful. The body has a distant taste of caramel, but it is not too distinct. This a wonderful sipping beer at one of the The Brewer's Arts underground tables - dark, poorly lit, and full of ambiance.

Skal!
Brian

 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy National Margarita Day!

You may prefer tequila to beer, but that doesn't mean we can reach out the hand of congratulations! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Caribbean Chocolate Cake

Caribbean Chocolate Cake
Sampled at ChurchKey, Washington, DC. Nicely poured and sampled beer. Not a Devils Food, but a rich German chocolate, minus the nuts and stuff. Really good.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Sample Rustico - Alexandria. While in the title this is listed as bitter, it is listed as unsweetened chocolate in other areas. It should be bitter chocolate because that is the flavor that is running throughout beer. The oats make in odd digestive track, almost as if they were selected for another purpose. It may be a 12th anniversary selection, but there needs to be more accurate labeling to start.

Ryan and His Gosling

Sampled at Rustico. It had some taste, but this was quickly covered by at taste from the base. Successive taste were just the same - it would start to have some taste, but quickly overridden.

Well It is Sticke - Uerige Sticke

Uerige Sticke
The Sticke is a pretty normal beer. A nice taste, but nothing extraordinary. The body is nice, but again, it is normal. A solid, normal beer. A little taste from the entry, but that is taken down, to you guessed it, normal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Meridian Pint lives up to the billing!

Meridian Pint lived up to its billing for another week. Pivo Pils, Christmas Morning and Seduction all lived to their reputations for another week. Christmas Morning and Seduction really stood out from the masses, especially Christmas Morning. Kudos, Meridian Pint, you came through in spades.

Moonlight Meadery Seduction

Usually, mead comes as a strong flavored sweet wine. Good in limited batches. But this mead is a different case. Chocolate, vanilla, and coffee is hitting all the right flavor pallets backed by a sweet wine base. The result is a sweet wine is multiple with flavors. Really close to a perfect wine as you are going to find.

Hardywood Park Christmas Morning

This imperial stout really took me by surprise. This is Hardywood Park Gingerbread Stout, which was already good, combined with Mexican Chiapas coffee beans. The taste is just fantastic, with the coffee beans sitting on top. Really blows the gingerbread stout away!

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

Just sat down at Meridian Pint and ordered a Firestone Walker Pivo Pils. It a good beer, not to hoppy, and really very drinkable. Imagine a summer day, you have been working in the yard, and you are ready for that initial Pilsner. That is what you asking for with Pivo Pils.

Wednesday and it's Meridian Pint

Well, the plan last night fell through with far too much time taken up at DRP, so tonight I am going exclusively to Meridian Pint. They managed to serve up a pretty good steak last time, so it is time to trust them again with my appetite. Cmon, Meridian Pint, make a believer out of me again!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Heir Apparent is Apparent

Chocolate is in everything now a days. You blink and another product boasts chocolate. Beer is no exception and it covers the range of chocolate anointed little goodies. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate across the range of tastes, real and imaginary. Where will it all stop? Well, it won't with the Heir Apparent and that is an odd thing because this is the one that is tastes like chocolate has none in it.

Lickinghole Creek's Heir Apparent

The Heir Apparent brewed by Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (4100 Knolls Point Dr, Goochland, VA 23063 V: (804) 314-4380) is actually Mexican spiced rather than chocolate, but you would not know it. As a matter of fact, it tastes like it is flavored  with milk chocolate, but there is not a bit of milk or chocolate in the batch. I went back to the webpage to get the recipe because I did not believe it and that is when I was taken aback. But in addition to the lack a milk chocolate, is that the Heir Apparent is also an Imperial stout. Most Imperial stouts come mixed with the dark chocolate or a heavy dose of milk, but this one coming with a Mexican spice adds to the unique flavor.

Yes, it is sitting with an 11.3% ABV, its an Imperial stout, it taste like it has milk chocolate in it and yet it is light, bubbly and does not have an ounce chocolate in it. It has all of the Imperial stout characteristics too without some of the laborious tasks I take for granted drinking stout. This glass of Imperial stout comes as close as anything to being a perfect glass of beer, but it is the initial mouthful that will sell you on it.

My Untappd rating:  4.5 stars

Skal!
Brian 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Perfect Nose is the Perfect Wine

Barley wine has always been one of the feast or famine areas in brewing. I think the problem is that the right taste regimen is hard to hit. A lot of times barley wine comes in with a high barley count and I don't like it. Very rarely does it come in with a low barely count and a higher hops (I assume that this is the factor which flavors barely wine) but to do this takes a steady hand on the tiller. So, what are you supposed to do? Cognac.

Cognac gathers together the sugars that are in wine and concentrates over time. While wine picks up the flavors that are around it, cognac gets the deeper flavors and it concentrates them. This is why cognac comes across as a deeper set of tastes. Now what happens when we concentrate cognac and barely wine in the same process? Yeah, its a wholly new set of tastes for barley wine, ones we had written off as not possible in the barley wine barrel. Cognac seems to be the solution for barley wine!

Westbrook Brewing Company (510 Ridge Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464 V: (843) 654-9114 www.westbrookbrewing.com) and Evil Twin (446 Kent Avenue, apt 14A Brooklyn, NY 11249 USA, www.eviltwin.dk) are responsible to The Perfect Nose, a barley wine fermented in cognac barrels. Yeah, Evil Twin, who is responsible for several of these high end beer distilleries, has their hand in it, and Westbrook Brewing Company is their partner in crime. This has 10.2% ABV and no IBUs.

This is a beautiful example of what you can do with a barley wine and cognac barrels. The barley wine is transported past its normal critiques and moved onto a whole other level. No more complaints about the deep barley tastes. This is moved onto how the cognac mellows out the barley wine, prompting a discussion of whether it is even appropriate to be calling it a barley wine at all.  Yeah, it is that good.

Untappd rating: 3.8
My Untappd rating: 4.75

Skal!
Brian

Monday, January 4, 2016

BeerCycling.com - From Pint A to Pint B Hits the Washington Post

Evan Cohan must be running with a lucky star - and we can only hope he is doing just that. BeerCycling.com, the Portland, OR based bicycling based Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy touring company has hit the Washington Post. If you are curious to read in more depth about BeerCycling.com catch up with a review by Diane Daniel (bydianedaniel.com)

The article can be found here in the Washington Post Travel Section: A Self-Propelled Belgium Brewery Tour Through Belgium Let You Bike to Pints

(I wish that this article was found by me, but is brought to my attention by Becki Chall, Development Director, Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science in Portland, OR.)

Skal!
Brian

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy 2016! We're Back!!

Hope you all had a rip roaring Christmas and New Year! We certainly did at Jolly Good Fellows and now we are back to bring you some of the beer markets new offerings and well as few surprises along the way. So hang on, it is going to be a wild ride!