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12-18-00

Beer Review #311 G-Thing

12-18-03The good folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their winter beers. The first was a return to the line-up in Heart of Darkness. I still really enjoy that beer and I’ve actually gone to seek out more on my own accord. Today’s beer is named G-Thing. When I read the label my first thought was “that’s an awesome gingerbread man” and my second though, well more of a song, was Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t Nothing But A G Thang. Yup, I went there.

G-Thing pours a nice deep dark brown that I half expected in a winter beer. There is a slight tan-ish head, but not a ton going on. The note of this beer is really interesting. You obviously get some ginger, and a good dose of it. Being the ginger there are some really nice bready notes. This beer surprised me in it’s ability to capture as much malt as it did. I wasn’t expecting that much malt to come through when compared to the ginger.

On the first taste I was very open to the malt flavors. They flowed in nicely and exhibited some nice dark caramels and bread notes. The ginger spice comes in about halfway through the drink and makes for a wonderful addition. I will full admit that I’m not much of a ginger fan, but this beer stays in balance. I didn’t get much in the way of hops but the beer finishes dry. It reminds me of an English style beer in that the malt and body are there until the end.

It was pretty easy to drink this beer quickly. It was refreshing and had a nice mix of flavors to stay interesting as it warmed. With the holidays quickly approaching this beer would make for a nice drinker during a holiday party. With the cold weather that we have had here on the east coast, I have found myself turning to this style of beer. I think it fits the season nicely and fulfills the goals of a seasonal beer.

To Koozie or not to koozie

I’m always looking for a way to keep my homebrew at an optimal temperature while fermenting, but I’ve never given a ton of consideration to the drinking temperature. I usually pull a beer out of the fridge and let it warm over time. The problem is that different beers will greatly suffer from getting too warm. The same goes for beers getting too cold.

There are a lot of solutions to this problem but I keep coming back to the beer koozie. A koozie is basically an insulator for your beer that keeps the heat of your hand out, and the temperature of your beer in. There are some fun definitions that can be found about it here. There was even a study about it, really. I’ve recently started using these to keep my beers at a consistent temperature for reviews but I’m suck with a problem. Most beer koozies are branded with logos and products that I don’t support or believe in. I once received a Bud Light koozie for purchasing a few 750 ml bottles of Belgian beer. Odd, it was.

So I’ve been on the search for craft koozies and I think I found one. Expressimprint.com offers blank koozies that you can place your own designs and text on. I did one for this site as seen below while wasting time not doing grad work.

11-13-01The nice thing about Express Imprint is that they have a very low minimum quantity for orders. Usually custom printing places require company sized orders, not personal sized ones. I plan on ordering a few for our annual family picnic. My family will dig it and I get to keep their cheap beer from getting warm and undrinkable. It’s a win-win.

11-05-05

Beer Review #310 Coffee Ale

11-05-05I’m not a coffee drinker in the slightest, but I love coffee beer. Odd right? Some say that coffee is an acquired tasted, like beer, but I often find it to be to harshly bitter and not suitable to my palate. When I saw Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale on the shelves I knew that I had to try it. This beer is part of their Smokestack Series and the label proudly reads, “malt beverage brewed with coffee.” It also comes in at 9.3% for a bit of an extra kick.

The coffee ale pours a dark brown and has a nice tan head. I was expecting a black colored beer, but brown is okay with me. The beer pours very creamy and the head sits solid, but only goes to a medium thickness in the glass. The nose is rocked with strong coffee odors. I didn’t get any hops or heat in the aroma but a touch of sweetness can be found.

The taste, like the nose, is packed with coffee. It’s strong, in charge, and yells “Coffee BEER!” Outside of the dominating coffee there is a slight caramel sweetness but nothing else to make note of. Instead of hop bitterness, this beer relies on the coffee to do the job. And it does it well.

The mouthfeel is very light and not nearly as creamy as the pour suggested. As far as coffee beers go, this is one of the stronger coffee flavors that I have found. I still found it very drinkable and packed with flavor. I’m no coffee nut, but there is a nice bouquet of coffee flavors that really add interest to this one. I’m not versed in coffee enough to explain the flavors, but I found them enjoyable and not over the top. This is a good one to try if you like coffee beers. (more…)

10-06-02

Beer Review #309 Double D IPA

10-06-02I have yet another Double IPA up for review today. Don’t kill me, I just can’t help that I like big beers. As James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio says, “I like big beers and I cannot lie.” Today’s beer comes from the Old Dominion Brewing Company. I first had this beer several years ago at the Good Beer Festival but at the time, they did not bottle it. I’m happy to report that they now bottle it and I am better for it. This Double IPA comes in at a nice round 9% ABV.

Double D IPA pours a nice orange color and has an off-white head. Unlike some DIPAs, this one is perfectly clear and looks beautiful in the glass. The nose is rich in hops. There are a lot of hop aromas a beer can have and this beer sits firmly in the grapefruit/tropical hop world. I didn’t get any pine on the nose in this one. In my book, any good DIPA should have a nice malt body to balance out the hops and the malt even comes out in the aroma for this beer.

On the first taste you get hit with two things:

  1. A great malt flavor that has some nice bread/toast components
  2. HOPS

The malt is nicely balanced but the start of the show is the hops. The hops are bright, fresh, and crisp. There is a really good citrus flavor that follows through the entire beer. A slight pine flavor comes in at the end and helps dry everything out nicely. Unlike some hoppy beers that feature bitterness, this beer really has a lot of hop flavor. It just sings through the beer and provides some great flavor notes for your tongue to enjoy.

This is hands down one of my favorite DIPAs. I’m so glad that they started bottling this beer. There is a great balance to this one. The malt is present and flavorful and the hops are clean and bold. There really isn’t a thing to dislike on this beer. Dominion has three different beers featuring pin-ups and this is by far my favorite. (more…)

09-25-03

Beer Review #308 Shipwrecked Double IPA

09-25-02I’ve been on an IPA swing recently and I came across a new beer and a new brewery while at the beer store the other day, so I had to grab a bottle or two to try. The beer is Shipwrecked Double IPA and the brewery is the Mission Brewery out of San Diego, California. This bad boy comes in at 9.25%.

Shipwrecked Double IPA pours a nice burnt orange color and looked mostly clear but might have had some haze. It was hard to tell if it was clear or hazy as the glass got coated in condensation pretty quickly after the pour. There was a medium off-white head that stuck around longer than most double IPAs. The nose is super unique, unlike any nose that I’ve smelled before. You have the normal hop citrus and slight pine but the main hop odor is kind of stinky. It’s almost like a foot smell. I don’t know if I just got a weird batch but the nose, while not unpleasant, wasn’t overly outstanding either.

On the first taste I was thrilled to find that the malt bill on this beer is top notch. There are some great caramel notes along with some nice bready notes as well. The malt by itself is very nice and well brewed. When the hops hit, they hit quickly. They are very clean and leave your mouth as fast as they came in. There is a slightly grassy feeling to this one while drinking but it doesn’t end on a grassy note or even a bitter note, it just leaves.

The mouthfeel is full but it seemed a little under-carbonated for my tastes. I wonder if the feet smell could be associated with an improperly crimped cap. This isn’t a bad double IPA but it is far from my favorite. I really wanted more assertive hops out of a double IPA but this beer left me with memories of a great malt flavor. It’s not a bad thing for a beer, but not a good thing for a double IPA. (more…)