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Archive for July, 2011

Kilty Pleasure by Philadelphia Brewing Company

It as been a while since I have had a brew from beer #245’s brewer, Philadelphia Brewing Company.  That beer was #64, Fleur De Lehigh and it was a bad experience being the beer was actually spoiled.  Lets hope today’s beer, and I’m sure I won’t have a repeat experience, is better.

Kilty Pleasure is today’s beer of choice and it brewed in the style of a Scotch Ale or  Wee Heavy.  The ABV of this traditional Scottish brew comes in at a hefty 8%.

The color was a dark brown with a nice red tint to it when it was held up to the light.  It had a nice sized mocha colored head.  The nose was slightly sweet with caramel malts, brown sugar, and  molasses.  At times I thought I got an aroma similar to the raw dough from chocolate chip cookies.  This was a malty flavored brew with a hint of smoke.  Caramel and a bit of vanilla lead off in the taste being just slightly sweet.   That slight smokiness and a raisin-like flavor come in to play near the back end of the mouthful.  There was just a hint of bitterness in the medium bodied beer.  The carbonation was on the lower side.  The ABV was hidden well here.

This was a solid beer from the city of brotherly love…unless you are a Cowboys fan.  Cheers!

Rating: B

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TNT by Left Hand Brewing Company

Beer #244 is TNT by Left Hand Brewing Company from Longmont, Colorado.  This Weizenbock is brewed with lapsang souchong tea with an ABV of 7.9%.  Lapsang souchong tea is Chinese tea where the leaves are smoked over a pinewood fires.  Sounds interesting to me, but I like smoky things.

The color of this brew was a very deep, dark brown.  The head was awesome, huge, fluffy, and light brown.  The nose was smoky and burnt smelling.  Those qualities really took over the aroma in a way that I couldn’t get anything else out of it.  The taste was heavy on the roasted malts with flavors like chocolate and nuts.  There is a sweetness here also, quite like dark fruits.  The smokiness is present in the flavor throughout but not like a Rauchbier, which to me has flavors like smoked meats.  The smoky flavor here is what I think charred wood would taste like if I ever had actually tasted it.  The aftertaste was dominated by those smoky flavors.  The carbonation was quite low in this medium bodied brew giving it a creamy feeling.  The alcohol was hidden very nicely here but that sweetness, almost sickening at times, made it a slower drinking brew for me.

This was a nice beer and I was digging the smoky quality the lapsang souchong tea provided.  Try if you like smoky stuff…stay away if you hate smoky stuff.  It is as simple as that.

Rating: B

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HopBack Amber Ale by Troegs Brewing Company

Tonight’s beer is one that really got me addicted to craft brew.  I first had it from my local beer store via a six pack and was like wow…this is so much better than the stuff I was drinking at the time…mostly Miller Lite and other various macro brews.  I remember being in Hershey, Pennsylvania attending a Rush concert (my favorite band BTW…front row tickets…rocking with Geddy, Alex & Neil), I realized that Harrisburg was a hop, skip, and a jump from Hershey so off to Troegs I went to get myself a growler (my first of many) of that awesome, fresh brew and a case of that same beer.  What beer is that you ask?  I think the post title may have given it away but just in case it didn’t…HopBack Amber Ale is beer #243.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is where Troegs Brewing Company brews this American Amber Ale or Red Ale is brewed.  It has an ABV of 6%.

HopBack Amber Ale is a clear amber in color.  The head was small and white.  The nose is awesome…sweet caramel malts, hoppy citrus grapefruity thing, some grass, a bit of floral and bread.  It smelled like a subdued Nugget Nectar, also by Troegs and my favorite by them.  It was also very similar in taste to Nugget Nectar with some nice bread flavors mixed with the hops, where more of the pine came through than the grapefruit.  The sweet caramel malts were a bit stronger here and tended to dominate the the hops…until the end of the sip.  Then the nice bitterness and pine flavors took over well into the aftertaste.  The body was medium with a nice coating, creamy sensation and a decent amount of carbonation.  It seemed stronger than the ABV suggested but I did finish it kind of quickly so maybe that had something to do with it.

An excellent brew from Troegs.  It is like Nugget Nectar-lite…and that is a good thing.  Yum!

Rating: A

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Hop-A-Lot-Amus by River Horse Brewing Company

Why is it that an HP Proliant DL380 G3 server has to way like 100 pounds?  OK, it may not actually weigh that much but it sure seems that way after moving and installing one today.  I’m quite proud of it as it is my “baby”.  It is the first one I have built and tweaked to my work places standards.  I think I will celebrate…with a beer of course.

Beer #242 is Hop-A-Lot-Amus by River Horse Brewing Company from Lambertville, New Jersey.  They brew this American Double IPA with an ABV of 8.5%.  River Horse just might be the closest craft brewer to me…check that…it may be Triumph in Princeton.  Oh well…lets get tasting.

Into my River Horse pint glass this went and it had a nice hazy orange amber color to it with a nice thick off white head (fantastic lacing did it leave behind).  The nose was a bit muted with a grapefruit juice type aroma being the most noticeable.  Couple that with a bit of grass and a faint hint of pine and you have the workings of an American Double IPA but I wasn’t getting a whole lot of malty goodness that I thought I would be picking up on.  It was pretty solid taste wise with the pine hop flavors up front and then mid drink the sweetness of the caramel malts took over. It had a nice bitterness, it wasn’t in your face over the top bitter, just very pleasant.  The body was bordering on being heavy, almost sticky, with a moderate amount of carbonation.  It had a creaminess to it that I really like…and it coated the mouth.  The ABV snuck up on me and before I knew it, I was feeling quite happy.  🙂

Very nice beer and I think one of the better ones from River Horse, if not their best that I have tasted.  Shame it couldn’t reach that Kingly promised land but the nose for me knocked it down a peg or two.  Either way, if you dig Double IPAs, I think you would like this.

Rating: B+

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Java Head by Troegs Brewing Company

Onwards we roll to 365 and in that pursuit I would like to introduce beer #241, Java Head by Troegs Brewing Company.  Troegs brews in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  This Oatmeal Stout has an ABV of 7.5%.  Of note on the bottle it mentions this is brewed with coffee beans…hence the Java in the name.

I had a Troegs pint glass, so into it went this black brew with a nice light brown head that left beautiful lacing on the glass.  The nose reminded me of a iced-coffee with a nice smoky earthy thing going on.  There was a bit of a distant cocoa aroma along with some vanilla.  I love coffee, so this smelled nice to me.  I took a sip and got those dark roasted coffee flavors up front…there was no mistaking that.  Towards the back end of this was a nice hoppy pine like flavor.  I didn’t get any chocolate in the taste but there was a vanilla sweetness here which complimented the dark roastiness of the coffee.  It had a medium body with lower amounts of carbonation.  It was smooth and creamy and very drinkable.  Alcohol?  Hidden nicely.

I liked it quite a bit, I wished I had another.  Good stuff from Troegs, especially if you dig coffee.  I must say, it is so nice to have good beer again.

Rating: B+

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Red Vixen by Horny Goat Brewing Company

All good thing must come to an end.  OK…maybe not everything that comes to an end was good.  Take for instance this Horny Goat fest.  This was down right bad.  So lets finish this fest and move back on to real beer.

Beer #240 is Red Vixen by Horny Goat Brewing Company.  This Vienna Lager brewed once more in Wisconsin, has an ABV of 5.4%.

No red to be found at all in the appearance, nothing but amber and that amber was a bit on the dark side.  Very little head to speak of…so I won’t speak of it.  I should have known, another Horny Goat with next to nothing in the nose department.  OK, maybe just the slightest aroma of bread crust but I’m thinking I might have imagined that.  It had a watery, bread-like flavor and not a good bread at that.  It was much too thin in the body and had a bit of stinging carbonation.  Crap…

Nothing to see here folks…move along.  This was a horrible beer from a horrible craft brewer.  I am happy that the Horny Goat fest is finally over.  With an average somewhere between a D and an F, it would be wise to spend your money elsewhere.

Rating: F

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Stacked Milk Stout by Horny Goat Brewing Company

Are you ready for the football?  Well you better be for they are back and the Cowboys will be ripping it up this year…ripping it up in a good or bad way is yet to be determined though.  Oh well..go Cowboys!

Beer #239 is another Horny Goat Brewing Company product, day 5 of the Horny Goat fest, from Wisconsin.  Stacked Milk Stout is a Milk Stout, who would have thunk it?  The ABV of this fine brew (really?) is 4%.

Well it looked like a stout, it was a deep dark brown or quite possibly black.  It also had the nicest head of any of the Horny Goat beers yet, a nice thick tan topped this Stacked Goat.  This was another Horny Goat with a very light aroma of roasted coffee…it also has a bit of a sweet caramel malt thing going on in the nose.  The sweet caramel malts show up first in the taste and then morph into a bit o’ coffee & chocolate.  It was quite thin in the body with little in the way of carbonation.  It was trying to be smooth and creamy but it didn’t quite get there.  No alcohol presence whatsoever and the lightness of this make it super easy to drink.

This was the best Horny Goat I have had so far (and that’s not saying much)…it actually reminded me of…get this…beer or a Milk Stout in this case.  Amazing, a craft brewer actually making something akin to beer.  I’m going to rate it higher than I probably should only because it was the best Horny Goat I have had, I’m feeling generous, I’m very happy today, and it is my blog after all and I am a King…KingBob that is.  So there…

Rating: C

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