Friday, February 28, 2014

Jelly Belly Draft Beer Beans

I think it's fairly apparent that I like beer.

Ya think?

What is probably less known is that I don't overly like candy or sugary stuff in general. I'm already sweet enough with out any additives.

I especially don't like jelly beans. They get stuck in my teeth and threaten my cavity freeness.

But when I saw that Jelly Belly had come out with beer flavored jelly beans, naturally, I had to try them!

Jelly Belly has been working on the recipe for many years. They tried yeasty beans and hoppy beans but ended up with a kind of Hefeweizen flavored bean. Or so they claim. The Draft Beer Jelly Beans are alcohol free, so they are safe for the kiddies.

The shimmering beer colored bean is slightly reminiscent of an effervescent beer. Ever so slightly.

They have a beer like aroma. A sugary sweet beer. Weird but impressive considering the smell is coming from a jelly bean.

They have a distinctly beer like flavor as well. Beer with a definite jelly bean-ness.

The mouth feel is all jelly bean. Including the stick to the teeth quality that I hate.

No one will ever mistake these jelly beans for anything other than what they are. Candy.

If you like jelly beans, Jelly Belly has some fun recipes to try to get your beans to taste like different beer cocktails.

Overall Draft Beer Jelly Beans are pretty interesting. They're tasty in an odd kind of way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Now on tap at my weekly spot for hot wings and cold beer - Porky's Cafe - Sebago Bump.

Bump (5.30% ABV) is a American Black Ale. It's not a porter or a stout. It's not an IPA. It's something other.

It is a deep dark brown; pretty darned close to black. The head is very stoutish - big, fluffy and dense.

The aroma is kind of Russian Imperial Stout like. Notes of coffee, cocoa but with a mild twang of hops.

The taste is mostly roasty; coffee, cocoa dominate the palate but there, again, is the crisp bite of hops.  It's quite a pleasant taste experience. The finish is mildly bitter.

The mouth feel is light and effervescent.

Bump is a good brew. It has the characteristics of a dark roasted stout but easy drinking and refreshing.  I like it!

Overall: good

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chocolate Wheat

Date night is a weekly staple in my life with hubby. It's a great way to break away from everything - including computers and television - and just focus on cold beer, good food, and each other.

What girl doesn't like to receive chocolates on a date? Well, this girl for one. I like chocolate but I don't love it and I could definitely live without it.

So, when I saw the new beer on tap at Porky's (our date night hotspot) I was less than enthusiastic - Shock Top Chocolate Wheat. I haven't been a huge fan of Shock Top since they sold out to Anheuser-Busch and, frankly, chocolate wheat beer sounds yucky.

But, being an intrepid beer enthusiast, I had to at least give it a try. It was hard going into the whole thing with an open mind, but I did my darnedest.

I was not, however, brave enough to go for a full pint. So, I asked for a sample.

Chocolate Wheat was dark brown with a thin skim of foam on top.

It smelled like chocolate, it tasted like chocolate. But not much else. It certainly didn't taste like beer and no trace of wheat. It was very much like a thin chocolate soda.

Not much going on here but chocolate. Which is great, I guess, if you like chocolate.

Overall: meh

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gate Crusher

Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery is a great brew pub in North Conway, New Hampshire. It is a must stop for me when I'm in the area.

I go for the fantastic fresh brewed beer and creative food selections.

On my recent visit, I was rewarded with a new beer - Gate Crusher Belgian Strong Ale - the strongest ale they have ever brewed..

Gate Crusher (9.7% ABV) is served in a 16-oz shaker pint glass. It is a bright coppery amber with a small but clingy head.

My impression of this beer in smell and taste is think big, boozy hefeweizen.

Grain is front and center with sweet malty undertones and some hoppy bitterness. The alcohol in this brew is not in the least bit shy. It makes it's presence known in smell, taste and feel. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The finish is grain and booze and a hint of bitterness.

The mouth feel is fairly full with lots of carbonation and alcohol tingle.

Gate Crusher is a big beer, to be sure. A big, flavorful beer. Enjoy with caution.

Overall: very good

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cold Brews at the Red Parka Pub

One my favorite places to go to eat, drink, and be merry in the Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire is The Red Parka Pub.  They have great selection of beer, of course, but the food is fabulous and the staff is fun and courteous.  And they have bands and dancing every weekend.

I was in the area for three nights, two of those nights found me at the Red Parka. They have the bestest ribs and I always get them; sometimes even for dessert. Their hot wings are big and tasty so those are a must have, as well. If you want a steak there is no better place! THE best.

As great as the Red Parka is, that's not why you're reading my blog. So let's talk about the beer.

 Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) by Tuckerman Brewing Company is always a good call and is always on tap at the Red Parka. It is an American Pale Ale that is light and refreshing with citrus and bitter hops but not quite IPAish.  It's lightly carbonated and exceedingly drinkable!  So good!  Overall . . . nearly awesome!

Mint Chocolate Stout (9% ABV) by Shipyard Brewing Company. I so much wanted to like this. A mint chocolate stout sounds like it should work but it's the second one I've had. And this one is just as gawd-awful horrible as the one from Bootlegger. It tastes like someone squeezed toothpaste into a bottle of stout. I'm not a huge fan of the brewery and this brew did nothing whatsoever to endear me to them. Blech!

Single Chair (5% ABV) by Magic Hat Brewing Company. An appropriate beer to be on tap for this ski loving venue. Single Chair Ale is named after the famed chair lift at Mad River Glen. It is a very drinkable golden ale that is an easy drinking, refreshing brew that is malty sweet and gently hopped. Overall - good.

Monkey Fist IPA by Shipyard Brewing Company. Why do I torture myself, you ask. Because sometimes you hit paydirt. I'm a big-time fan of IPA's. While this one is not gawd-awful horrible, it's nothing fantabulous either. It's a drinkable IPA with a citrussy hop profile. The sweet malts balance out the bitterness. A refreshing brew. It doesn't suck. Overall: good

Vienna Amber Lager (5% ABV) by Trapp Family Lodge Brewery.  Yes, this beer is brewed by the Sound of Music von Trapps who just happen to own a lodge in Vermont and brew their own beer.  This brew is a rich golden color with a very malty aroma.  The flavor is as rich as the color with toasty and caramel malts, it's slightly sweet and very tasty.  Overall - very good.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vista Country Store

I went in to the Vista Country Store in North Conway, New Hampshire to grab some 1/2n1/2 and cream cheese. While I was in there I figured I check to see if they had the new beer from Woodstock Inn Brewery - Double Pig's Ear. Why would I look for a craft beer in a little country store? Because Vista Country Store has a remarkable selection of local and non-local craft beer! Apparently, they have the best pizza around, as well.

When I walked into the store I said, "I only want to get the one beer. Oh, and maybe if they have the one from White Birch that we can't get at home."

Yes, of course, they had the beers I specifically wanted. I also I walked out with a bottle each of those . . .  plus 11 others and a six pack of Mama's Yella Pils from Oskar Blues. I got the six pack to be entered into a contest to win a pair of custom Oskar Blues skis.

I have all of those wonderful brews to drink (and blog about) and maybe - just maybe - I'll win a cool pair of beer skis!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tilted Smile

The label on the bottle of Crooked Line Tilted Smile really appealed to me because I have, too, a tilted smile. It was like a personal connection to a bottle of beer.

The stalkers on the label kind of creep me out. But since the focus isn't on them, I can ignore them for the most part. But they are creepy.

Tilted Smile is an Imperial Pilsner. It is pretty big for a pilsner. Don't think light beer when you think imperial pilsner.

Tilted Smile (9% ABV)  pours a hazy honey gold with a big floof of bright white foam that leaves behind layers of glass gripping lacing.

The aroma is like fresh baked bread just pulled from the oven. Then a bright fruitiness pushes through adding mouth watering contrast.

The taste is fruity, yeasty, malty. The grassy hops make this beer pleasantly bitter. This is a full flavored, well balanced brew. The alcohol is well concealed. The finish is gently bitter.

The mouth feel is full with lively carbonation and some alcohol tingle.

Tilted Smile is a crisp, refreshing pilsner that's big and bold for the classic style.

Overall: good.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Deuce

I was at my favorite Trading Post in Woodbridge and so, since I was in the area, I decided to pop into New England Brewing Company to get a growler fill up.

While waiting for my fill up I sampled a few NEBCO brews - Coriolis, Fat-10-er #4, and Fat-10-er #5.

The growler was nearly topped off and samples consumed when Craig (bald/bearded dude) presented a can of The Deuce to me with a flourish and poured a sample. Wow! What a fantasmicly unexpected surprise!

The Deuce is a Canlaboration between Oskar Blues and Sun King Brewery. It is a limited edition American Brown Ale brewed with ingredients from each brewers home state - Colorado and Indiana, respectively - Colorado Malting Company’s Belgian Pale Malt and Riehle’s popcorn, respectively.

This is no ordinary American Brown Ale made with popcorn. Like that's ordinary. No. It is also hopped, hopped, then dry hopped with Galaxy Hops. So, what's in the can is a hopped up brown ale that truly does not suck.

The Deuce (7.00% ABV) pours a deep dark brown with an off white head that leaves behind a ring of foam that clings to the edge of the glass.

The aroma is burst of citrus hops, yeast, and malt.

The taste is hop forward - citrus and juicy tropical fruits.   Sweet chocolaty malts offset some of the bitterness and bready yeast adds character.

The mouth feel is medium and somewhat thin with good carbonation.

I like The Deuce. It's a flavorsum twist on a traditional brown ale. Yum!

Overall: very good

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The name of this beer is inspired by a Slavic legend and is thusly intriguing to me because of my heritage.  According to folklore, a Rusalka is a water spirit that are the souls of young women or girls who died an unnatural or violent death. Rusalki appear as beautiful young women who try to lure men into the water, where they will drown them.

Fear not, White Birch Rusalka will not drown you. However, I suspect you could drown if you fell into a vat of it.

Rusalka (7.00% ABV) is a multi-grain extra stout. Extra stouts are commonly sweeter stouts, much like a milk stout, with a fuller flavor profile, similar to a Russian Imperial Stout.

It pours a sable brown with deep red highlights. The thick tan head builds thickly and leaves behind clingy lace.

The aroma was clean with gentle smells of roasty malt that waft forth.

The taste is of roasted malt, cocoa, and char co-mingling with the sweeter flavors of biscuit, dark fruits, and burnt sugar/molasses. The finish is dry and bitter sweet.

The mouth feel was rather thin with tingly carbonation.

Rusalka is a rich flavorful stout. A good brew to snuggle up with on a cold winter night. Just don't go swimming after you've had one. You know, the water faeries and all that.

Overall: very good

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hibernation Ale

The wintry scene and cross country skier on the bottle inspired me to drink this brew by Great Divide on a cold winter night.

Hibernation Ale (8.70% ABV) is an English style old ale. Traditionally old ales are strong, dark malty beers brewed for the colder months.

It pours a mucky caramel color with a big, thick head of foam that leaves behind considerable lacing.

The aroma is roasty malts, molasses, dark fruits, and earthy hops.

The taste is big time malt forward. The roastiness brings forward flavors of cocoa and coffee. Other flavors of fruit and spice tease the palate but don't fully develop. Woodsy, peat like hops provide contrast and balance. The finish is mildly bitter and roasty.

The mouth feel is not quite full with active effervescence. There is some alcohol tingle and warmness.

A little roasty, a little hoppy, and a lot malty - Hibernation Ale is a nice cozy beer to enjoy on a cold day.

Overall: good