Thursday, May 31, 2012

New England Brewing Company - Ghandi Bot

The second IPA is Gandhi-Bot which is brewed by New England Brewing Company (see my other NEBC review).

Gandhi-Bot is a heavy hitter as far as IPA's go . . . it's an Imperial style double IPA.  It packs quite a wallup in both flavor and alcohol content (8.8% ABV)

Gandhi-bot pours an amber color.  The full, long-lasting head grabs the glass.  Layer after layer of lacing appears sip after sip.  It looked like a strip mine excavation in my beer glass.

The aroma is OMG hoppy with the flavor to back it up.  My first reaction to the first taste of this beer was "WOW!"  and then "wow!".  Then I settled back and very much enjoyed this brew.

The very piney, very grapefruity, slightly sweet flavor was incredibly well balanced and smooth.  The intense of flavors . . . not for the light weight IPA drinker . . . finish with a lingering hoppy bitterness that begs for another sip.  And then another.

A seriously good IPA.  NEBC has out-done themselves with this one and I'll be keeping a few on hand for an IPA emergency.

I really, really like this one!  Grab yourself a pack and prepare to be wowed!

For more information check out NEBC's website or visit their Facebook page.

Goose Island IPA

The first IPA is Goose Island IPA . . . It's served on tap at our Wednesday wings-n-beer hangout and it's a good honkin' beer.  

This is my second Goose Island review (see other review).  Goose Island was once a little upstart company but is now Anheuser-Busch.  A downside in my book but I still like the brews.

Goose Island’s IPA is an English-style IPA. Although this is an English IPA it is brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops along with a pair of English style hops, four varieties total. It's the Centennial and Cascade hops that give Goose Island IPA a distinctly American flavor.  

The beer is a rich golden color with a white head that hugs the side of the glass leaving very nice lacing behind.   This is an earthy tasting beer with piney, floral, almost grassy flavor with a kind of citrussy pineapple finish.  

It's a pleasant beer to drink, it's perfectly carbonated, medium bodied and refreshing.  Goose Island has very good IPA taste with out being overpowering; not bitter and nicely balance.  

Overall, a good IPA and fits the bill when I'm looking for a little extra flavor.  5.9% ABV

Visit the Goose Island website for more information on this or their other offerings.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page, as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Laughing Dog Tripleheader

Whilst out searching for new brews, I came across this trio of pups.  I couldn't decide which of these I wanted take home so I took all three . . . which is exactly the reason I never go into a pet shop.  

The canine inspired labels are what drew me to the bottles, the hoppy contents are what put them in my basket . . . I felt a need to quench my IPA thirst.  And, these puppies did the trick.

The Laughing Dog Brewery is located in Ponderay, Idaho . . . the land of potatoes and beer.

Inspired by Ben the dog and a love for good beer, the brewers aim for simplicity in their beers . . . in nearly all the Laughing Dog brews water, barley, hops and yeast are the only ingredients.

Their motto: "Fetchingly Good Beer"!

As we sat down to enjoy this trio of India Pale Ales we decided to go in order from lightest to strongest.

We started with Rocket Dog Rye IPA.  I'd never had a rye IPA, so I didn't know what to expect.  It poured a light golden color that was fairly cloudy with a decent amount of head.    Reading other reviews of this same beer, I expected it to smell of rye bread and a hint of orange . . . it did not . . . not at all.   Frankly, it smelled awful and it was tough to get past that.  But, I held my nose and took a sip.  

Of the three this was my least favorite, but at least it tasted better than it smelled.  It was hoppy but not overly so, citrusy and a little bitter with another flavor I couldn't quite identify . . . perhaps the rye.  

Again, other reviews I've read rate this beer much higher and describe a much better flavor than I experienced.  I'm thinking that maybe I got a bum bottle.  I'll have to try it again sometime.    

Rocket Dog . . . 6.9% ABV

Next up was the Dogzilla Black IPA . . . this was one way better from the get go.

As its name would imply, it is pretty dark for a pale ale.  This beer poured a dark reddish brown color with a seriously big rootbeer-like head.  It smelled citrussy, piney . . . mouthwateringly hoppy.  It was an interesting mix of grapefruit, bitter chocolate and roasted malt . . . balanced and delicious. 

If you like a bitter, hoppy beer you won't be disappointed . . . I wasn't.

Dogzilla Black IPA . . . 6.9% ABV

Last but not least, my favorite of the group . . . Alpha Dog Imperial IPA.  Strong and hoppy  goodly amount of head.  I drool just thinking about it.

It pours a bright gold fluffy head that diminishes quickly leaving a nice amount of lacing behind.   Citrus, pineapple, and pine infuse the aroma.  The taste hops, hops and more hops . . . wow.   From the nose to the palate . . . lots of grapefruity goodness, lemon and a touch of sweetness to finish it off.

 I could definately taste the alcohol but it didn't detract from the overall flavor of this beer.  Nicely carbonated, lightly sweet and smooth.  


Alpha Dog Imperial IPA . . . 8.7% ABV

Visit the Laughing Dog at their website or on Facebook.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Imperial Stout Trooper - New England Brewing Company

I admit it . . . I am a fan of the Star Wars movies.  So, too, must be the maker of Imperial Stout Trooper.

I've been drinking New England Brewing Company's owner/brewmaster Rob Leonards's beer for many years . . . way before he acquired NEB in 2001;  I first sampled his brews in the 1990's when he was making beer for John Harvards Brew House in Westport, Connecticut and the Brewhouse Restaurant in Norwalk, Connecticut.

I love and support local breweries and this one is no exception.   The New England Brewing Company  is located Woodbridge Connecticut . . . just a hop, skip and a jump from where I live.  

When Imperial Stout Trooper was first released in limited quantities in 2010 I quickly snatched up a few bottles . . . they were hard to come by and I paid a hefty $14.99 per bottle.   The label portrayed an image very similar to a Star Wars Imperial Storm Trooper.  George Lucas was none too flattered . . . he issued a cease and desist order to get his Star Wars imagery removed from the the Stout Trooper label.

Those first year bottles have become something of a collectors item.  My husband saw a bottle listed on Ebay that was going for over $100.

The following year Imperial Stout Trooper was once again issued in limited edition . . . this time with an amusing new label . . . Groucho Marx glasses and 'stache to disguise the trooper beneath.  

A few weeks ago I picked up a few bottles of the 2012 edition.  So limited is the distribution of this beer, my local booze store would only let me buy two.  Of course, I went back and got more . . . two is certainly not enough.

This a truly amazing hand crafted brew.  It pours dark as  night with a light tannish head that quickly dissipates but clings to the sides of the glass.  It has a caramelly, smoky, coffee aroma and the flavors to back up the nose tease.  

The taste is everything I've come to expect from an imperial stout . . . a complex combination of very slightly sweet dark chocolate, caramel and molasses perfectly balanced with coffee, smoke, licorice and malt.
Stout Trooper is not a heavy beer nor as heavy as is to be expected from a Russian imperial stout BUT very enjoyable.  It is medium bodied and medium carbonated which equates to a pleasant mouth feel. 

As good as this beer tastes, you kind of have to put the brakes on due to its high 8.5% ABV.   Share a bottle or two with friends . . . sip, relax, enjoy. And then wait another year to grab a couple bottles of this limited edition brew.

Drink it, it's good . . . indeed.

For more information check out NEB's website or visit them on Facebook.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Marston's Oyster Stout

I recently ventured into a new realm of stouts . . . an oyster stout.  

Oyster stouts . . . are they actually made with oysters?  Yeah, some actually are . . . not all, but some.  Some brewers will chuck a handful of oysters in to the batch, some will used crushed oyster shells in the brewing process.   

There is a 300 year long history of pairing oysters with beer.  Why?  They taste good when you consume them together . . . much like red wine and dark chocolate.  Brewers didn't start adding oysters to beer until the 1920's; the added proteins add body to the finished product but most of the mollusky essence is cooked out. You don't see a lot of true oyster stouts these days.  Many oyster stouts are so-called because they pair well with the slimy buggers.    Read the label if the thought of oysters in your beer turns you off.

Marston's Oyster Stout . . . 

Marston's  Beer Company has several breweries across the pond in merry ol' England. And is considered Britain’s largest premium ale brewer.

Marston's is one of those not made with oysters oyster stouts.  But is touted as being a beer that goes well oysters.

This is a very dark stout . . . nearly black with a quickly dissipating tan head.  It has a creamy, smooth texture that should be expected with this style of beer.  It tastes of chocolate, coffee and hints of fruit and finishes with a mildly hoppy bitterness; overall, a nice balance of flavors.

This stout is rather light, due to it's low carbonation and low alcohol content, which makes it very drinkable (4.5% ABV).

I liked it . . . but didn't love it.  I can't say I'd run out and grab a few but I certainly wouldn't turn one down, either.  

Check out Marston's other offerings at their website or on Facebook.

Southern Tier 2X Stout

I recently ventured into a new realm of stouts . . . a milk stout.

Milk stout are not made with milk, per se.  They are called milk stouts (AKA sweet or cream stout) because they contain lactose, which is the sugar that is extracted from milk whey.  The yeast used to make beer is lactose intolerant . . . which is to say that the yeast cannot ferment this sugar . . . and because this sugar is left unmolested by the brewing process milk stouts are sweeter in tasted and creamier in texture.    

I enjoyed a Southern Tier 2X Stout at one of my favorite restaurants for beer, Plan B.  

Southern Tier Brewing Company is a smallish brewery in Lakewood, New York.  They make several varieties of craft beers that are sold in most of the United States and exported to several other countries, as well.

2X is a double milk stout.  It is dark and rich with a creamy mouth feel.   The  thick tannish head holds out for a little while and grabs the sides of the glass for some nice lacing effects.  It is sweeter than a typical stout but not sweet-sweet, if you know what I mean.  

2X has notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and malt with a mildly bitter finish.  A light boozy burn is evident due to the high alcohol content; 7.50% ABV.

This is a big . . . but not huge  . . . beer.  2X has lots of flavor and body with a smooth clean aftertaste but it's not gut-busting heavy.   Simply put . . . it's a good beer.

Check out Southern Tiers other offerings at their website or on Facebook.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dogfish Head Black & Blue

This Dogfish Head beer was a surprise.  The first surprise was that it was on tap then second was a flavor that was entirely unexpected.  I knew nothing about this beer other than that it bore the Dogfish Head name and thus was willing to give it a try.

I ordered the Black & Blue and when my beer arrived at the table the first thing I noticed was the color . . . a berry red color.  The first sip was was . . . well, it was a surprise.  Again with the berriness.  

At this point I whipped out my handy dandy tablet to find out exactly what it was I was drinking.  Ahh . . . now I get it . . . black and blue.  Black and blue berries.  

Black & Blue is a Belgian-style golden ale fermented with blackberries and blueberries. Real berries give this beer a very real berry flavor.  This is a fruit beer but it's not overly sweet.  The sweetness is nicely balanced the hoppy bitterness.

This is a strong full flavored, full bodied ale.  Sip it and enjoy.  (10% ABV)

Visit Dogfish Head at their website  or on Facebook 

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

As I was browsing my favorite beer store I spotted a lonely bottle of Dogfish Head beer.  Not knowing a thing about this particular brew but liking the Dogfish Head beers I have had in the past it was a no brainer . . . I popped that little $10 a 12 ounce bottle into my basket and went on my merry way.

What I ended up with was World Wide Stout and was nothing short of WOW.

Here's the low-down . . . the label declares it to be a very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley.  First brewed in 1999 it was, at the time, the world's strongest dark beer.  This Dogfish Head beer comes in at an astounding 18% ABV!

This is a seriously BIG beer . . . strong, rich and very intense.  Definitely NOT for the casual beer drinker.

WWS pours an inky blackness with a only a swirl of foam. Don't expect a lot of bubbles; the low carbonation creates a creamy, smooth mouth feel.  The heady aroma is a pleasant combination of chocolate, coffee and fruit.  The first sip was incredible;  dark malt, rich molasses, bitter chocolate and a nice boozy warmth.  Very interesting for a beer and not at all unpleasant.

Swirl it in the glass like a fine cognac . . . allowing it to warm only intensifies the already amazing flavors.

Don't be put off by the high price tag or the high alcohol content.  This is truly an excellent beer.

Visit Dogfish Head at their website  or on Facebook