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Idiot Proof

November 21st, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

You'll get foolhardy over Old Numbskull

San Diego based brewery AleSmith has crafted an impressive list of world class ales. So it was a no brainer to try their offering of my favorite style of beer.

AleSmith Old Numbskull (AleSmith Brewing Co.; San Diego, CA; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.0) is a classic West Coast barley wine. It pours a deep amber color and you’re hit with substantial notes of citrusy hops in the nose and initial taste. The notes are perfectly balanced by sweet caramel malt, molasses, and peppery spices with a bourbon like warming at the end. The alcohol presence is noticeable, but in a subtle way that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the beer. The complexity and silky smoothness of Old Numbskull makes it a superior barley wine.

You’d be a knucklehead not to give Old Numbskull a try.

Bourbon County Brew

October 23rd, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

The bourbon presence is very apparent in Bardstown

While in Asheville two months ago, we stopped by Bruisin’ Ales and purchased a highly recommended barley wine from one of the local breweries. So I decided to share it with the class at Mr. Beery’s Beer Nerd Show & Tell this past week.

Olde Hickory Bardstown Brand Ale (Olde Hickory Brewery; Hickory, NC; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0) is aged in oak bourbon barrels from the heart of Kentucky’s Bourbon County. For obvious reasons, there are considerable bourbon notes throughout this ruby colored barley wine, complimented by caramel malt and vanilla spices with a hint of grassy hops at the finish. Bardstown is mildly sweet and the alcohol is definitely noticeable, but not overpowering. The bourbon backbone is what truly makes this ale.

Bardstown is listed as retired by Beer Advocate, but I believe that Olde Hickory has started to brew this barley wine again. I strongly suggest giving it a try, especially if you have an appreciation for bourbon.

While at Show & Tell, I sampled a couple of other beers for the first time that caught my attention.

Anderson Valley Brother David’s Triple; Anderson Valley Brewing Co.; Boonville, CA; Tripel; ABV: 10.0. Presented by Josh, this Abbey style ale is amber in color with notes of dark fruit and brown sugar complimented by sweet caramel and cinnamon spices. Incredibly smooth and the alcohol content isn’t too noticeable.

Captain Lawrence Barrel Select; Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.; Pleasantville, NY; American Wild Ale; ABV: 6.0. Presented by Mark, this sour ale is barrel aged to capture the unique flavor. Murky amber in color, it has big notes of tart fruit, particularly dark cherries and green apples, complimented by caramel malt and vanilla spices with an oaky backbone from the aging process. Highly enjoyable from start to finish.

99 Bottles of Beer: Part Deux

October 10th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Unplugged Cherry Stout was one of the evening's highlights

As was the Troegenator

Anne and I attended 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall Part 2 at Mr. Beery’s on Friday night. We were on vacation when the first one took place, and were fortunate enough to catch this one. For $20 apiece, we each received some nice glassware and participated in sampling beers 51-99.

In addition to trying some old favorites, I had the opportunity to sample many new beers for the first time. Some that truly stood out are listed below.

Bullfrog Double Coffee Stout; Bullfrog Brewery; Williamsport, PA; American Stout; ABV: 7.3. This stout was actually brought in as a growler by Dave, and was the first beer sampled. A rich mocha color, with sublime notes of Expresso coffee complimented by dark chocolate and roasted malt. Very creamy and delicious, DCS has the feel of an imperial stout to it.

New Belgium Lips of Faith – Eric’s Ale; New Belgium Brewing Co.; Fort Collins, CO; American Wild Ale; ABV: 7.0. A superb sour ale. Amber in color, with big notes of tart fruit such as cherries and green apples with a crisp clean finish.

New Glarus Unplugged Cherry Stout; New Glarus Brewing Co.; New Glarus, WI; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 6.5. A delicious, full-bodied cherry stout. Chocolate in color with big notes of Wisconsin Montmorency cherries complimented by chocolate and sweet malt. This stout would make an excellent dessert beer.

New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red; New Glarus Brewing Co.; New Glarus, WI; Fruit / Vegetable Beer; ABV: 5.1. One of the brewery’s signature beers. This deep red ale has outrageous notes of Wisconsin Montmorency cherries complimented by an oaky backbone and a tart finish similar to a sour ale. Like drinking a black cherry soda with a kick!

Port Brewing Older Viscosity; Port Brewing Co.; San Marcos, CA; American Strong Ale; ABV: 12.0. This jet black strong ale is aged in bourbon barrels, and the substantial notes of bourbon are very apparent throughout the beer, with a very nice oakiness in the background from the aging process. There’s hints of chocolate and vanilla spices as well, and the potency of this ale is very apparent. Older Viscosity reminds me of Ola Dubh on steroids!

Real Ale Sisyphus; Real Ale Brewing Co.; Blanco, TX; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.5. A smooth, full-bodied barley wine. There were three vintage bottles on hand (2007, 2008, 2009), with the 2008 offering being the best. Sisyphus is copper in color and the notes of honey, caramel malt, and piny hops are perfectly balanced.

Sixpoint Grand Crue; Sixpoint Craft Ales; Brooklyn, NY; Belgian Strong Dark Ale; ABV: 12.4. A rich, oak aged strong ale. Big notes of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit with a bourbon feel in the backbone. Quite smooth for a beer of its potency.

SKA Modus Hoperandi IPA; SKA Brewing; Durango, CO; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.8. Continuing a trend in the craft beer industry, this IPA comes in a can. Amber in color with generous notes of Cascade and floral hops complimented by caramel malt. Very crisp and refreshing.

Surly Brutal Bitter; Surly Brewing Co.; Brooklyn Center, MN; Premium Bitter/ESB; ABV: 4.2. Another excellent canned beer, this is a very creamy and malty ESB. Light amber in color with the rich malty presence balanced by sweet caramel and floral hops.

Surly Furious; Surly Brewing Co.; Brooklyn Center, MN; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.2. Continuing the trend of superb canned beers, this is an absolute hop bomb. The huge notes of citrusy and piny hops are apparent throughout this ale, with a slight bitterness at the end. Furious has the feel of an Imperial IPA to it.

Tröegs Trogenator; Tröegs Brewing Co.; Harrisburg, PA; Dopplebock; ABV: 8.2. A truly outstanding dopplebock. Deep mahogany in color and tasty as hell, with big notes of sweet caramel complimented by dark fruit and cinnamon spices.

Wachusett Green Monsta; Wachusett Brewing Co.; Westminster, MA; American Pale Ale; ABV: 7.3. Named after the famed wall at Fenway Park, this complex APA is like a strong ale mixed with an IPA. Light copper in color with notes of sweet malt balanced by caramel and citrusy hops.

Kudos to Mark for his generosity and for putting together such a wonderful evening.

Take Flight – Part 2

August 6th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

I just had to go for seconds

I enjoyed the initial flight with the cheese pairing so much, that I ordered a second one featuring the following beers:

Blue Point Double Blonde Ale; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; American Blonde Ale; ABV: 7.4. A delicious blonde ale with notes of floral hops complimented by sweet caramel and toasted malt. Very easy to drink as the alcohol content of nearly 7 1/2% is well hidden.

Blue Point Old Howling Bastard; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. One of the the best barley wines that I’ve had this year. Amber in color, with big notes of sweet caramel well balanced by bready malt, citrusy fruit, and piny hops. Old Howling Bastard goes down smoothly, and the 10% alcohol content is well hidden.

Blue Point 10th Anniversary IPA; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.0. A truly outstanding IPA. Copper in color, with big notes of citrusy and piny hops complimented by sweet caramel malt and a slight bitterness at the finish. Very easy to drink, 10th Anniversary Ale makes an excellent session beer.

Blue Point Rastafa Rye Ale; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Rye Beer; ABV: 7.5. A well balanced rye beer with the feel of an IPA. Deep amber in color, Rastafa Rye Ale is an array of grassy hops, citrusy fruit, and caramel malt with a nice rye presence in the backbone. This IPA is silky smooth with a nice clean finish.

I talked shop with Rob later in the evening, and was pleased to learn that one of my favorite all-time IPAs will be coming out of retirement. Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) will once again be brewed in the coming months. This amber colored DIPA is an absolute hop bomb, with the substantial notes of earthy hops balanced by caramel malt and dark fruit.

Nothing Soothes Like A Barley Wine

July 26th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

From left to right: Pugsley, Back Burner, Old Howling Bastard, & Hog Heaven

The quote above was uttered by the late beer guru Michael Jackson, and I couldn’t agree more. I can’t get enough of barley wines. So it was a no-brainer that Anne and I attended the Ultimate F# You to Summer and Summer Beer Styles Barley Wine Fest, at Willard’s Tap House in Largo, this past Saturday. There were eight barley wines in all on tap, including heavy hitters such as Anchor Old Foghorn, Brooklyn Monster Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, and Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot. As I’ve enjoyed these beers and reviewed them in the past, I decided to sample several barley wines that were new to me.

Shipyard Barley Wine Style Ale (Pugsley Signature Series); Shipyard Brewing Co.; Portland, ME; Barley Wine; ABV: 8.5. A chocolate colored barley wine with intense notes of roasted malt complimented by sweet caramel, dark fruit, and spicy hops with a woody finish. Definitely an ale to be sipped.

Southern Tier Back Burner; Southern Tier Brewing Co.; Lakewood, NY; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. I was curious to try this barley wine as it’s from one of my favorite breweries. Back Burner is mahogany in color and has big notes of roasted barley and sweet caramel, balanced by floral hops and dark fruit. The alcohol content of 10% is noticeable, so it’s definitely a sipping beer. I enjoyed Back Burner, but was expecting something more.

Blue Point Old Howling Bastard; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. The best barley wine that I sampled at the Barley Wine Fest. Amber in color and well balanced. Big notes of sweet caramel are complimented by bready malt, citrusy fruit, and piny hops. Old Howling Bastard goes down smoothly, and the 10% alcohol content is well hidden. In many ways, it reminds me of a West Coast barley wine. Willard’s currently has the only keg of Old Howling Bastard in Florida.

Avery Hog Heaven; Avery Brewing Co.; Boulder, CO; Barley Wine; ABV: 9.2. An exceptional barley wine and my second favorite of the beers sampled. Ruby in color with lots of piny hops in the notes, balanced by caramel malt and citrusy fruit with a nice dry finish. This is a hop head’s barley wine, and the alcohol content of over 9% isn’t too noticeable.

Needless to say, I recommend each of these barley wines and thank Willard’s for putting this event together.

Hair Of The Dog That Bit Me

June 28th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

You could go rabid for Adam and Doggie Claws

“Hair of the Dog That Bit Me” is a saying that goes back to olden times. There was a belief that a shot or two of alcohol could cure just about anything, from rabies (along with hair from the rabid dog) to hangovers. There’s actually been some scientific studies to support the latter. In any event, there are several beers from the outstanding brewery Hair of the Dog that have left many a good beer aficionado wagging his/her tail!

Hair of the Dog Adam; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Old Ale; ABV: 10.0. Brewed in the historic Adambier style of Germany, Adam is a superb full-bodied old ale. The first beer brewed by Hair of the Dog, it’s jet black in color and has notes of chocolate and tart fruit in the nose and taste, with the latter complimented by caramel malt, spices, and light hops, with a woody feeling in the backbone. Adam is velvety smooth, but also quite robust, so the 10% ABV isn’t going to sneak up on you. It reminds me a little of a more potent version of the Ola Dubh Reserve Series from Harviestoun.

Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.5. A big tasting, traditional West Coast barley wine. Deep mahogany in color, there’s ample notes of Simcoe and Amarillo hops in the nose and taste, balanced by sweet malt, dark fruit, and cinnamon spices with a hint of honey as well. Doggie Claws has a sherry like feeling to it, and is quite warming as well. This is a sipping beer for sure, in order to fully appreciate its wonderful complexity.

Hair of the Dog Fred; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. Another exceptional barley wine, Fred was brewed to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. Deep amber in color, Fred has notes of sweet caramel and Cascade hops in the nose and taste. The latter is backed up by dark fruit, vanilla spices, and a wine like oakiness at the finish. This beer is quite sweet and easy to drink, and I agree with several of my friends that it reminds one of a kinder, gentler version of Dogfish 120 Minute IPA.

Each of these ales are as enjoyable as they are complex, and highly recommended.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

June 17th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Who is the fairest brew of all

While I’m a big fan of Belgians, IPAs, and Olde Ales, I would have to say that a great barley wine is still my favorite style of beer. And one that I brought to Beer Nerd Night at Mr. Beery’s may have been the fairest one of all.

Deschutes Mirror Mirror Barleywine Vintage 2009 (Deschutes Brewery; Bend, OR; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.0) is quite simply an outstanding barley wine and part of Deschutes Reserve Series. Aged in oak barrels, Mirror Mirror is actually a doubled up version of their Mirror Pond Pale Ale. It pours a dark amber color and there’s notes of sweet caramel and vanilla in the nose. There’s a lot going on in the taste, as the sweet caramel and vanilla are complimented by dark fruit and Cascade hops, with a bourbon like backbone from the oak barrels. Mirror Mirror has a warming, almost candy like feel to it as well, and goes down quite smoothly for a beer with an 11% alcohol content. Even patrons who aren’t normally barley wine drinkers were enchanted by it!

Needless to say, this is my new favorite barley wine and I highly recommend it.

Insanity Plea

April 25th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

You'll go cuckoo over Insanity

I’m a huge fan of barley wines, so when I heard that Weyerbacher brews an oak aged version of their Blithering Idiot, I was definitely eager to try it.

Weyerbacher Insanity (Weyerbacher Brewing Co.; Easton, PA; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.1) is a wonderfully eclectic ale and my new favorite barley wine. It pours a hazy amber color and the nose is a complexity of caramel, oakiness, and peppermint spices. The peppermint spices hit you right off the bat in the taste, followed by sweet caramel, dark fruit, creamy vanilla, and a slight bourbon oakiness at the finish. The alcohol presence is somewhat noticeable from the onset, so this is not a beer that will sneak up on you. Nevertheless, Insanity is silky smooth considering its potency.

Insanity is so good it’s maddening, and highly recommended!

Making My Case

February 20th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Green Flash Imperial IPA makes a strong case

Another year, another Best Beers list. I decided to do a new slant on this year’s All-Time Favorites post, and create my dream case. The criteria is as follows:

a. Retired beers have been omitted. Ales such as DuClaw Repent, Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA, and Thomas Hardy’s Ale were among my favorites, but I want to list beers that are currently available to everyone.

b. Extreme beers, e.g. ABV of 20% or more, have been omitted as well. Samuel Adams Utopias and BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin have more in common with a liquor than a conventional beer.

c. I’ve limited the list to one beer per brewery. This not only prevents the list from getting too top heavy with certain breweries, e.g. St. Bernardus, DFH, Stone, etc., but also allows me to feature some excellent regional brews as well. Although one beer on this list, Life & Limb, is a collaboration between DFH & Sierra Nevada, it’s technically considered to be brewed from the latter and will be listed under that brewery.

And now, without further adieu, is my Ultimate Case, 2010 Edition:

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen; Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla; Bamberg, Germany; Rauchbier; ABV: 5.4. Brewed in the classic rauchbier tradition, this marzen has an incredible smoky nose and taste to match. The big hickory smoke bite reminds me of smoked bacon, sausage, etc., and there’s a hint of malt and light hops as well.

Anchor Old Foghorn; Anchor Brewing Co.; San Francisco, CA; Barley Wine; ABV: 8.8. An exceptional barley wine from Anchor Brewing. The toffee and sweet caramel malt is balanced by dark fruit, citrusy hops, & spices. This ale has the taste and feel of a classic English barley wine.

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock; Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying; Aying, Germany; Doppelbock; ABV: 6.7. This is an absolutely superb doppelbock. The rich malty taste is complimented by hints of sweet chocolate & spicy hops. Wunderbar!

Bell’s HopSlam Ale; Bell’s Brewery, Inc.; Kalamazoo, MI; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0. An absolute hop bomb! The uber hoppy presence is well balanced by sweet malt and a taste of honey. Truly one of the best IPAs out there.

Brewer’s Art Ozzy Ale; Brewer’s Art; Baltimore, MD; Belgian Strong Pale Ale; ABV: 7.3. A smooth & crisp tasting Belgian style ale. There’s a nice array of floral hops and Belgian spices, with a slight peppery finish at the end.

Brooklyn Black OPS; Brooklyn Brewery; Brooklyn, NY; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 11.0. A truly outstanding Russian Imperial stout from Brooklyn. A wonderfully complex mix of chocolate, roasted malt, and spices. Like a chocolate milkshake with a kick!

Cigar City Warmer Winter Winter Warmer; Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Old Ale; ABV: 10.0. An excellent old ale from the outstanding brewery Cigar City. There’s a hint of tobacco up front, followed by an array of chocolate, caramel malt, sweet fruit, and cinnamon spices with a slightly bitter finish.

Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA; Deschutes Brewery; Bend, OR; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.8. A big, bold hop bomb. The citrusy hops hit you up front, and are balanced by sweet caramel & a piney finish.

Dogfish Squall IPA; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Milton, DE; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 9.0. An unfiltered, bottle conditioned, and dry-hopped version of their 90 Minute IPA. The taste is bold and complex. There’s a gust of citrusy, piney, and spicy hops up front, complimented by sweet caramel and a malty presence at the end.

Green Flash Imperial IPA; Green Flash Brewing Co.; Vista, CA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 9.0. Smooth, nutty, & spicy. A crisp citrusy burst up front, complimented by sweet malt and a piney hops finish. Another of the classic West Coast IPAs.

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 16 Reserve; Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.; Alva Clackmannanshire, Scotland (UK); Old Ale; ABV: 8.0. A superior ale aged in a 16 year old whiskey cask. The hint of whiskey is complimented by chocolate, dark malt, and vanilla spices. Similar to an Imperial Porter, it’s very smooth and robust with an exceptional finish.

La Caracole Saxo; Brasserie Caracole; Farmignoul, Belgium; Belgian Strong Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. An incredibly smooth Belgian strong pale ale. The 8% ABV isn’t noticeable, and the sweet malt taste is complimented by citrusy hops, light fruit, and spices. Saxo finishes crisp and clean, and I could drink this ale all day.

New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale; New Belgium Brewing Inc.; Fort Collins, CO; Belgian Dark Ale; ABV: 5.5. While their excellent Fat Tire is better known, this is actually the best beer crafted by New Belgium. This would easily be my session beer if I could get it here in Florida. The nutty taste is well balanced by subtle hints of sweet caramel, roasted coffee, & cocoa chocolate.

Ommegang Ommegeddon; Brewery Ommegang; Cooperstown, NY; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 8.0. Another outstanding Belgian style ale from Ommegang. This saison is very crisp and refreshing. There’s a nice bite of tart and citrusy fruit up front, balanced by Brettanomyces yeast, sweet malt, and grassy hops with a clean dry finish.

Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale; Rogue Ales Brewery; Newport, OR; American Strong Ale; ABV: 9.5. While the alcohol is a bit more noticeable than their original Dead Guy Ale, it still compliments the sweet malt, caramel, & cascade hops to deliver a rich & smooth tasting beer. In short, as enjoyable as the original maibock, but more complex & certainly with more of a kick.

Russian River Pliny The Elder; Russian River Brewing Co.; Santa Rosa, CA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. Another big & bold IPA with a surprisingly smooth taste. The grapefruit flavor up front highlights the array of citrusy hops, and is complimented by roasted malt & caramel. The finish is crisp & clean.

Samuel Smith’s The Famous Taddy Porter; Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery; Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom; English Porter; ABV: 5.0. The quintessential English porter. A creamy, coffee tasting beer balanced by hints of chocolate & malt.

Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Life & Limb; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Chico, CA; American Strong Ale; ABV: 10.2. A collaboration between Dogfish and Sierra Nevada, it took a lot of effort to find this beer, but the hunt was definitely worth it! This is a very complex beer to say the least. I noticed a smoky, almost tobacco like taste up front, followed by chocolate, sweet molasses, dark fruit, and possibly a little vanilla as well. There’s even a woody feel to Life & Limb that reminds me of Dogfish’s own Palo Santo Marron, albeit a slightly lighter version.

Southern Tier Pumking; Southern Tier Brewing Co.; Lakewood, NY; Pumpkin Ale; ABV: 9.0. This pick surprised me, as I’m always singing the praises of their Southern Tier Unearthly (Southern Tier Brewing Company; Lakewood, NY; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 11.0). Pumking, however, is quite simply the best of the pumpkin ales and deserves to be on this list. It’s bold & spicy with a wonderful pumpkin taste from start to finish. There’s even a hint of pie crust in the flavor! For my hop-head moments, I would substitute this choice for Unearthly, which is quite possibly the best IPA around. A wonderful full bodied ale, the citrusy hops taste is well balanced by sweet malt. It’s very smooth for a hop bomb!

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale; Stone Brewing Co.; Escondido, CA; Belgian Strong Dark Ale; ABV: 8.6. An absolutely outstanding Belgian strong ale. Brewed on a limited basis annually, Epic is both smooth and complex. The rich chocolate taste is complimented by roasted malt, vanilla, orange peel, and spices.

St. Bernardus Abt 12; Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV; Watou, Belgium; Quadrupel; ABV: 10.5. A wonderfully complex balance of spices, ripe fruit, & sweet malt. The gold standard of Belgium quads, and one of the world’s best beers period.

Terminal Gravity IPA; Terminal Gravity Brewing Co.; Enterprise, OR; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.9. This IPA has a big reputation in the Northwest, and it’s well deserved. The big citrusy hops up front are complimented by hints of caramel & a sweet malt finish.

Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine; Three Floyds Brewing Co.; Munster, ID; Barley Wine; ABV: 12.5. An superb offering from the acclaimed Three Floyds Brewery. Behemoth has a sweet caramel taste up front, which is complimented by hints of tart fruit, raisins, roasted malt, and piny hops with a slightly bitter finish.

Tripel Karmeliet; Brouwerij Bosteels; Buggenhout, Belgium; Tripel; ABV: 8.4. An absolutely outstanding abbey ale. The taste is quite smooth, with a nice array of citrus fruit up front complimented by sweet malt. flowery hops, and spices.

Honorable Mention 6-Pack:

Boundary Bay Imperial IPA; Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro; Bellingham, WA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.5. This IPA is an absolute hop bomb, with the big Cascade hops taste well balanced by roasted malt & a piney finish.

BrewDog Dogma; BrewDog Ltd.; Fraserburgh, Scotland (UK); Herbed / Spiced Beer; ABV: 7.8. A very crisp and drinkable beer. The taste is well balanced between the sweet malt, honey, kola nut, poppy seed, guarana, and spices with a nice clean finish. Its alcohol content of nearly 8% isn’t noticeable, so Dogma has the feel of a session beer.

DuClaw Devil’s Milk; DuClaw Brewing Co.; Bel Air, MD; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.0. A very potent barley wine. The sweet caramel malt is well balanced by dark fruit and citrusy hops.

Ellicott Mills Bock of the Bat; Ellicott Mills Brewing Co.; Ellicott Mills, MD; Maibock; ABV: 7.0. Brewed in the classic Alpenhof style of beer. An excellent bock with a roasted, malty taste balanced with dark fruit.

Ninkasi Total Domination IPA; Ninkasi Brewing Co.; Eugene, OR; India Pale Ale; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.7. This is a crisp, smooth tasting IPA. The citrusy hops, particularly grapefruit, is noticable up front, and is well balanced by biscuity malt & a dry finish.

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY; Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery; Lyons, CO; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 10.0. This is an excellent Russian imperial stout, with the rich milk chocolate taste complimented by coffee, dark fruit, and roasted malt. Ten FIDY packs a punch at 10% ABV, so it’s definitely a beer to be savored!

Fat Tuesday

February 17th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Behemoth is one big mama

As mentioned in previous posts, the Internet is a good thing. It allows one to order beers that aren’t available locally. In honor of Fat Tuesday, which annually kicks off Mardi Gras, I decided to try a robust beer that I’d ordered online called Behemoth.

Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine (Three Floyds Brewing Co.; Munster, ID; Barley Wine; ABV: 12.5) is another excellent offering from the acclaimed Three Floyds Brewery. I’d previously tried their Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale, so I was really looking forward to sampling their barley wine. It was everything that I’d hoped for and more.

Behemoth has a sweet caramel taste up front, which is complimented by hints of tart fruit, raisins, roasted malt, and piney hops with a slightly bitter finish. Surprisingly, the alcohol content isn’t very noticeable, so this is a very deceptive beer. You really need to be savor this beer, as it could sneak up on you in a hurry!

Behemoth is an excellent barley wine, and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates this style of beer.