American Craft beer Week!

With my new job, I have had less and less time to type up these blogs let alone drink good craft beer on my free time. However with it being the end of American Craft Beer Week, I thought I would make an exception for the cause. With a lot of breweries offering up new session IPA’s for the masses, it is nice to know that some well-established breweries are taking it back to release beers other than the styles that are most hyped. Even though Firestone Walker did give into the hype of creating a session IPA, the Easy Jack, they also released a Saison not too long ago known as the Opal. Now if you have read my blogs in the past, I am not much for Saisons, but will always go out and try a new beer for the purposes of SCIENCE! So let’s see what this Saison from Firestone Walker Brewing has to offer.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Opal

OpalZe Beer? Opal
Ze Maker? Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Ze Style? Saison
Ze Content! 7.5% abv
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

Opal pours a very clean and clear golden yellow color into my glass leaving behind a very fizzy two inch head that retains for a minute before it fizz’s away to practically nothing. Definitely a grassy hay like aroma is present in this Saison as expected with subtle estery fruit like character giving off gentle tropical likes notes of guava and apricot  aromatics as well. A bit of spice is present throughout this beer as well but very soft and belgian yeast characteristics rounding out this beer. Essences of pepper are prominent on the palate followed behind with this grassy barnyard hay like flavors. Though you can pick up on the belgian yeast heavily on the aroma, it is not as strong on the palate as you would expect. Usually when i drink a Saison it is thick with that spicy belgian yeast characteristic. Though this Saison is quite spiced it isn’t nearly as thick with funk that one would expect from a typical farmhouse style, I thoroughly enjoy this. A nice crisp carbonation is held from beginning to end of this beer, and the more you allow this Saison to warm up the spicier it gets. Also, as the beer warms up you actually begin to taste the hoop character that you couldn’t really pick up earlier on. The back end of this Saison finishes bitter, the hops in the end pull through giving this a nice complexity.

This is definitely one of those beers that exhibit big differences in characteristics between allowing to warm up and drinking it cold. I wasn’t going to pick up this bottle due to my natural dislike for Saisons, but I am glad that I did. This beer didn’t have that big funky mouthfeel and flavor that I dislike in Saisons and for that simple reason this beer was actually enjoyable for me. Now this was still a slow sipper because it was still a Saison and Saisons are still toward the bottom of my list of enjoyable beers, but this was tasty. Firestone Walker is definitely one of my favorite breweries in California, this year is also the first time I will be attending the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival as well, so I hope to see a lot of you there! And remember, take a moment and make sure you enjoy a great American made Craft Beer before the week’s end!

Should YOU Buy This Beer? This is definitely one of those must have beers, especially if you are a Saison fan. Like I mentioned above, this particular Saison is super spicy giving it great flavor and characteristic. Even if you are not a Saison fan like myself, I do feel that this beer is worth trying out. Firestone Walker consistently knocks it out of the park with their beers, so really there is no reason why you shouldn’t give this a good shot, or really any of their beers. I don’t remember this beer being too expensive, so if you enjoy a good Saison, make sure you make the effort to try this one out, it really is worth it.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at ZeBeerGuy@Gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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The Messenger: A Citrusy IPA

So by now, if you live in Southern California you should know the name Noble Aleworks, known for their beers; the infamous Naughty Sauce and their Showers series. Winning awards left and right, Noble Aleworks is just coming out and blowing everything away. Who you might not know about is Three Weavers Brewing Co. Just this last Sunday they succeeded in fully funding their Kick Starter Project for they’re tasting room in Inglewood. Brewmaster Alexandra Nowell left Drake’s Brewing Company for Kinetic Brewing, and now is the Brewmaster for Three Weavers Brewing. Needless to say, I am looking froward to what Three Weavers will be bringing to the Los Angeles Craft Beer scene. Recently these two breweries got together and collaborated on an IPA, The Messenger; let’s see what happens when these two brewing masterminds collaborate together!

Noble Aleworks / Three Weavers Brewing Co. – The Messenger

The MessengerZe Beer? The Messenger
Ze Maker? Noble Aleworks / Three Weavers Brewing Co.
Ze Style? IPA
Ze Content! 7.3% abv
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

The Messenger pours a very bright golden yellow color that is very clear allowing to see my fingerprint on the other side of my glass, this is quite impressive. A nice two inch foamy head forms that retains for a few minutes before frothing away leaving behind plenty of sticky lacing to the sides of my glass. Right off the bat there are tons of citrus notes, a type of orange zest but with a subtle undertone of stone fruits. A bit of green piney character is present, but very faint on the aroma and on the back end; however there are tons of hoppy grapefruit rind aromas that poke through. They weren’t kidding when they wrote on the label that this was a Citrusy IPA. Soft but present lemon zest characteristics are present as well, offering just a slight touch of tart character. The hops pull through on the palate more so than they do on the aroma, a slight non lingering bitterness is very punctuated leaving a slight bit of a dusty character in your mouth; most likely from the amount of citrusy zest present in this IPA. Though still very crisp, this IPA has a body that is slightly bigger than most other IPA’s out there. The Messenger almost feels like it’s a European style IPA. Overall a very well made and finely crafted IPA

What can I say? This beer is fantastic! Albeit, you have to be able to enjoy a rather citrusy IPA, but that is exactly what The Messenger boasts, so really what would you expect? The Messenger is well balanced between the hops and the malts, this isn’t your typical west coast hop bomb. I am not one for the taste of a heavier malted IPA, but this one is well balanced that the malts. If this is what I can look forward to from Three Weavers Brewing Co. I cannot wait. I am sure that when things are all said and done with their tasting room, I will definitely be there

Should YOU Buy This Beer? I think while it’s still available, absolutely! Just remember, this is an IPA that is super citrusy. If you are looking more for that hoppy resiny, west coast green pine IPA, you will not find it with this beer. The grapefruit, lemon zests really make this beer easy to drink for 7.3% ABV. I have started seeing this distributed in local stores, but they do still have it at the Noble Aleworks in bottle form though I am not sure how long they will have it for. Get it while you can!

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at ZeBeerGuy@Gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Will You Take the Black?

Well, today is the day, Season 4 of Game of Thrones premieres in just a bit, will you be watching? With everyone getting ready to enjoy the premiere, hosting themed parties and even some breweries going as far as hosting events (Bottle Logic) I thought today would be a great time to crack into this beer finally. This, the second beer in the Game of Thrones beer series from Brewery Ommegang, Take the Black Stout. Now, if you are not a fan of the show, which I really don’t see why you shouldn’t be, this gives reference to the saying when one “Takes the Black”. This  basically means a person has made the commitment to joining a life long brotherhood known as ‘The Night’s Watch’. This is the second time I have drank this beer, so I am looking forward to seeing what has improved since the first time around, so let’s get to it!

DSC01443Ze Beer? Take the Black Stout
Ze Maker? Brewery Ommegang
Ze Style? Belgian Dark Ale
Ze Content! 7% abv
Serving Type: 750ml Bottle

Take The Black Stout pours just as you would guess, black. A nice thick mocha colored head forms form the pour of this beer that retains for several minutes before showing any signs if diminish. Not a lot of lacing on the glass, it slides down fairly quickly which is a bit disappointing from how big the beer pours. Big coffee notes are immediate on the aroma as soon as you take the chance to smell this beer. Roasted grains are very apparent in the aroma and the anisette used is a candied licorice, almost as if I have a sweet whip of black licorice, it doesn’t have that herbal anise presence. Just a hint of sweet red fruit is apparent, but very faint. Imagine bitting into a red licorice and a black licorice at the same time; you can pick up on the red fruit, but the only sugar present is that from the anise and even then, it is still very faint. A big dark chocolate is well presented though, but not much beyond that scope, overwhelmingly heavy on the big roasted burnt coffee grain aroma. The carbonation isn’t overdone for this Belgian Ale which is definitely a positive note and as a side note as the beer warms up (as most of your dark beers should be allowed to) more of the complexity comes through as well. Still nothing huge or mind-blowing, but the end result is a bit more promising than the immediate pour. The mouth feel is nice and mild perfect for this style, not for a bit confusing that it could be a stout; definitely a step in the right direction from the Iron Throne beer and with its age, has definitely rounded out a bit more.

Now as I mentioned above, this is the second release of the Game of Thrones series beers from Brewery Ommegang, these cheeky bastards are getting clever in the sense that this current release called ‘Fire & Blood’ comes three unique labels, one featuring each of Daenerys Targaryen’s Dragons. As such, of course I had to buy all three just to satisfy my needs of both a collector and fan of this show; and in reality, I bought a fourth one just so I would be able to drink it and leave the remaining three in tact, I swear, I don’t have a problem.
IMG_6356I can only imagine with the success of the show and the sales of these bottles, that Brewery Ommegang in collaboration with HBO will continue to do these bottles. If you have not yet picked one up and you are a serious fan, do yourself a favor and keep tabs on when the next one releases. Working in retail selling these very beers, I can tell you that they go fast. So enjoy the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones and do everyone else who doesn’t have HBO/HBO GO a favor, don’t post spoilers on social media, no ones likes you when you do, trust me… no one.

Should YOU Buy this Beer? Well, if you could, I would say yes, but this is no longer available; though you may get lucky and find a straggler or two out there. The first one fell short and seemingly gave reason to believe that this series of beers would be all hype and superficial. Take the Black Stout came back swinging giving actual hope that these series of beers would be more than just a gimmick. I can only hope that when I do pop open Fire & Blood; which will be in the near future, that it will be as good. A red ale with chilies?! C’mon, how could you not want that to taste good.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at ZeBeerGuy@Gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Sometimes You Just Need a Beer to Go To… IPA

My god, has it been a while since I have posted a blog on my website! Well every time I take a hiatus, I always say that I will be more on top of making these posts. With a little effort and a bit more motivation, I hope to be successful in this. As of late, more and more ‘session’ IPA’s seem to be popping up. 2014 seems to be the year of the session ale. Now i am sure i have mentioned this before, but to many individuals there are different definitions of ‘session’ ales. Session beers were typically designated for beers with lower alcohol content, over the years the ‘defined’ limit have seemingly increased with the ability to drink a stronger beer with ease. I feel that it is socially accepted to entertain the theory that any beer under 5% abv can be considered a ‘Session Beer’; however as an individual, I accept any beer that I can comfortably drink with ease and have a few without feeling any affects. So without any delay let’s jump back into my blog reviews with Stone’s nearly new Go To IPA.

Stone Brewing Co. – Go To Session IPA

IMG_6336Ze Beer? Go To IPA
Ze Maker?  Stone Brewing Co.
Ze Style? IPA
Ze Content! 4.5% abv
Serving Type: 12oz bottle

Stone’s newest IPA, Go To IPA pours a very clear yellowish color into my glass almost resembling Apple Juice. Tiny micro bubbles stream from the bottom of the glass giving off a wonderful aroma as it breaks at the surface of this beer. A fizzy inch and a half head forms from the pour, but only retains for a few minutes before fizzing away. Immediately front eh pour you get a very pine infused resin aroma from the hops used, with more of a juicier citrus flavor. When you drink this IPA, it really gives off a great oily character and isn’t short of hop flavors and characteristics one bit. A nice strong dandy hop bitterness is presented on the palate while you’re drinking this beer, and great carbonation throughout as well. You cal tell when you’re drinking this IPA that the alcohol presence is much lower than your typical IPA, but though it only really shows in the overall presence, it doesn’t take one bit from the hop character in this beer. Go To IPA is just as hoppy and bitter as a lot of IPA’s out there and in fact a lot better than many as well. If you are a big fan of hops then this beer is a definite must have. Hop Bursted with a ton of hoppy characteristics, it doesn’t fall short of what you want and expect form an IPA in the slightest.

Stone Brewing is known for their army of wonderfully hopped ales, and within their arsenal they deliver just what they mean to; big beers with big hops. Go To IPA is their first take on a “Session IPA” and they do a great job of delivering just that. The best part is, I can drink several of these in one setting. Whatever Stone set out to do with this beer I feel they accomplished it in a fantastic way. At only 4.5% abv, this beer has one of the best flavor profiles that I have ever had in a “Session Beer”. Like I mentioned above, many breweries are starting to make these session-able ales, and to be honest i was a little surprised when Stone announced that they were making one as well. I had always assumed that with an aggressive personality as Stone to provide heavily hoppedThis will easily become a great Go To for me from now on. Well done Stone Brewing!

Should YOU Buy this Beer? Definitely! this beer is a bit pricey for a beer that is only 4.5% but the flavor and hop characteristic wont disappoint and easily makes up for the lack of ABV. Made with a plenty of hops this beer tastes just like having a big double IPA that gets into the 8-10% but clearly is not. This is really great for a easy going beer when you want a great hop taste without actually drinking a big beer. Stone has been doing a lot of different beers as of late, some are fantastic while others are seemingly a bit odd, but this one really just knocks it out of the park. Way to bring it back home guys, great job!

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at ZeBeerGuy@Gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Episode VI: Return of the Vanilla Bean

Usually Stone Brewing beers come with a huge level of hype, and in most cases some kind of radical recipe or high abv content or just a huge massive dose of hops. Tonight’s beer came from a huge level of popularity. Now this is a remake from last year, stone had a small line of Smoked Porters with Vanilla beans and Chipotle peppers. These were released in a large quantity special release batch of 12oz bottles. Stone hosted a contest not too long ago where they took to their fans a contest of what Stone beer the people wanted to see back. Overwhelmingly, Stone’s Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean won this contest by entry not a poll, meaning voters actually submitted this as their choice as opposed to choosing from a list of pre selected beer Stone would remake if won. Offered in 22oz servings this time as opposed to the 12oz bottles of the previous year.

Stone Brewing Company – Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans

IMAG1379Ze Beer? Stone Brewing Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans
Ze Maker?  Stone Brewing Co.
Ze Style? American Porter
Ze Content! 5.9%
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

Stone’s Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans pours a dark black color with just a bit of brown around the edges giving a nice two inch head that retains for several minutes before frothing down to a thin layer that holds on the surface of my beer. The smoke and the vanilla beans mixed together makes for an interesting aroma you can smell the aroma, in more of a raw bean form, but instead of the typical light sweet aroma you get from the oils it adds a type of body to the aroma. I know that sounds weird how can a scent have body to it? It gives of a certain dense and thick aroma, almost as if the scent envelops the sense as opposed to just presents itself. On the palate the vanilla comes through a lot sweeter than it did on the aroma, balancing out the roasted grain aroma the porter naturally gives off. Obvious coffee notes are on the palate, but any kind of sweet malt presence is really overshadowed by the vanilla sweetness. The smokiness also takes a little bit of a back seat on the palate compared to the aroma. It is as if the smoke and the vanilla switch places from aroma to palate. The mouth feel is a bit on the smoother side, not quite creamy but not too light or crisp either. The finish lingers on a bit leaving a nice roasted grain characteristic in your mouth ending on just a bit of a dark bitter sweet chocolate. As the beer warms up the smokiness dissipates and it becomes a bit sweeter, but the finish has the same linger from the beginning to the end.

Now although I would practically consider myself a Stone Fanboy, this one just doesn’t do it for me, and I am not completely sure why. It’s a solid beer though I do feel the smokiness gives a bit of an awkward taste, it is still a great representation of what a smoked beer should taste like. Enjoyable but not your typical home run from Stone in my opinion. Definitely allow for this beer to warm up and open, at first it seemingly had an awkward astringent taste, but that went away after a while, most likely an effect caused from the smokey character. Though I am sure a lot of breweries make a smoked beer, it seems as if not very many bottle them for retail purposes. This is most likely why Stone’s Smoked Porter receives so much success, it is everywhere you need it to be; Kind of like a State Farm Agent.

Should you buy this? Yea, its a good smoked beer and i feel like smokey beers or Rauchbiers are just falling from the grace they should be. I love smoked beers, and this is definitely one worth picking up, especially if you haven’t had it. Just because this beer wasn’t exactly up my alley it doesn’t mean it is at all bad in any way, this just goes to show how one mans preference can’t really interfere with the craftsmanship of the beer.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Happy Lager Day!

So today is/was National Lager Day, by the time you read this it may very well no longer be that day, but at the very least by the time I make this post I hope for it to still be Lager Day! So I hope you all took a moment to drink a Lager today in honor of this Craft Beer holiday. In our times, the lager has taken a back seat to the ales, especially in the west coast and more so specifically in Southern California. With every brewery doing an IPA of some sort, who needs a lager? Well Ballast Point, who already has a solid IPA on their arsenal of beers has taken the next step in taking an IPA inspired brewing process and applying it to a lagering technique of fermenting. The outcome is their Fathom IPL, and India Pale Lager. I have been wanting to try this beer for some time now, but it isn’t until now that I have actually come around to trying it. So let’s see what Ballast Point brings to the table in this unique style of brewing.

Ballast Point Brewing Company – Fathom IPL

IMAG1384Ze Beer? Fathom IPL
Ze Maker? Ballast Point Brewing Company
Ze Style? India Pale Lager
Ze Content! 6.8%
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

Fathom pours a clean and clear pale golden color into my glass fluffing a thick and foamy two inch head that retains for a good while before winding down to a quarter inch frothy layer and holds until the first sips are taken. The aroma is surprising given that this is a Lager as opposed to an IPA, because the hop notes come through very strong and the bread malt character is well hidden behind those very hops. A strong grassy earthy aroma is prominent but still offers up a slightly soft citrus orange aroma as well. The more the beer has time to warm up the more the bread malts pull through, revealing its pale lager base structure. When you drink this lager you know hands down it is a lager, though the hops are present they fade away quickly behind the biscuity backbone characteristics. A slick oily mouthfeel is present on the aftertaste of this Lager, helping remind you that the hops are there even though on a side cart to the palate compared to the nose. Very faint caramel presents itself on the palate combined with a slightly cracked grain taste, this is very much a lager, and a very good one at that. I pick up a bit of a slight honey taste as well helping to round out any kind of bitterness that lingers on the palate. Plenty of lacing sticks to the surface of my glass as I drink away at this lager, everything on the looks and aroma of this beer says IPA, but as soon as this beer touches your tongue; it is clearly a lager.

Ballast Point Brewing Co. makes a wide array of excellent ales. Though when I think of Ballast Point Brewing, the first beers that come to mind are their Sculpin, Victory at Sea, Sea Monster, Yellowtail. However, this isn’t too big of a surprise since this lager is fairly new to their arsenal. It is listed on their website as a limited release, but I have seen it available now for a long while, and don’t really see an end to this; I can see this becoming a year round beer very easily. Brewed with the same hop profiles of an IPA, but using lager yeast really defines what this lager is and claims to be. When I first opened this bottle up I smelled IPA. Hops, citrus, pine, oils, but when it hits the palate you knew this beer was something other than that IPA you first thought it was. Over all a wonderful take on an “India Pale Lager” in my opinion this really grasps the concept of being both an IPA and a lager. Cheers to Ballast Point for making it enjoyable to drink a lager again, in a west side craft beer community of big hoppy beers!

Should you Buy this? Even if you are not a lager drinker, because let’s face it, most of us on the west coast love our hops; this is definitely a must try. Taking the idea of mixing an IPA and a Lager together may not be Ballast Point’s concoction, but they really did nail it on the head. With  having a solid line up of beers in their arsenal, this only adds to it. If you have not tried this beer just yet, this is something I really do recommend. Unless you are just completely turned off by the idea of a bread malt based beer, this will be enjoyable for you.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Time to Get With the Modern Times!

So today is repeal day, what does this mean? It means 80 years ago, the 18th amendment declaring Prohibition and the outlaw of alcohol in the United States was redacted by the 21st amendment thus allowing us all to imbibe in our precious liquids! What better way to celebrate our Olden Times with something from our Modern times! Blazing World out of San Diego is a very recent brewery that I believe only opened earlier this year and as soon as it has done so has begun making a strong name for itself in the exponentially growing San Diego Craft Beer scene. So let’s get to it and move on from our times from the past and get on to these Modern Times!

Modern Times – Blazing World

IMAG1334Ze Beer? Blazing World
Ze Maker? Modern Times
Ze Style? Amber Ale
Ze Content! 6.8% abv
Serving Type: 16oz can

Blazing World pours a dark and clean amber color with a nice off white head that firms up to about an inch and a half before skimming to a thin layer that holds at the surface of my glass. Immediately you get a great hoppy aroma, which is very pleasant especially for an ‘Amber Ale’. Clean citrus and grapefruit with much pine and resin on the aroma; oily and slick on the aroma alone, the can was not lying when it claimed a Danky Hoppy Amber. Slight hints of tropical sweetness as well, overall a great plethora of hop aromas are presented in this ale. On the undertone, you get a bit of roasted malt character but not  whole lot, the hops really over power them but you can tell there is just a bit of a toasty characteristic. Big hops on the palate when you take a drink, lots more tropical notes stick out, combined with plenty of grapefruit as well. The bitterness lingers on for a good while, leaving behind a big bitter palate, finishing a little dry and on some toasted malt character. Now the bitterness isn’t overwhelming but it does stand out as the prominent characteristic; the best part of this ale is, that the abv is on the lower side of the spectrum so it makes for great and easy drinking. Though this beer is very hoppy, it does finish like an Amber Ale, and that is what is so refreshing, this is clearly an Amber Ale, but feels a lot like an IPA.

Modern Times has just recently been distributing, but since they have; they have coming out in full swing. With much hype coming from San Diego about this Brewery, this was definitely a beer that I had set on my radar. With about 4 releases available through their 4 pack cans, this is the second one I have been able to try out, and as mentioned above in my review notes, this beer does not let down. It is technically categorized as an Amber Ale, but this will definitely satisfy the needs of your IPA fans, while allowing to offer them something a bit lower on abv, and with a bigger malt backbone. Though the hops do overpower the malt, they do so in such a way where the malts are not forgotten or unnoticed, or even in a fashion that allows them to run wild. This beer is amazingly well done and is definitely an ale you need to try if you have not done so yet.

Should you Buy this? If you are at all any kind of Craft Beer enthusiast, this is definitely something you need to try out. Albeit, this amber ale is definitely one for those who enjoy the almighty hop, and if you do not care for our friend the hop then, you may not like this. That is fine, but just know you are missing out on one truly amazing Craft Beer.
Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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Are You Ready for an Invasion?!

Now I have had some Black Market Brews in the past, and I am always looking forward to trying something I haven’t had before from them. All their beers are really solid, and well made, and I would like to revisit some of the ones I have had again, but their Liberation and Rye IPA are damn good and definitely worth trying out. Now their Imperial Red Ale, the Invasion has been out for about a year now in bottles if I recall correctly. This is the first time I will have the chance to try it out. Now I do love a good balanced Red Ale, but what I enjoy more is one that is completely overdone and still good. One that comes to mind is the Shark Attack from Port Brewing, this ale is a big bold hopped up Red Ale, I really hope this Invasion is up to the challenge of being another solid big Red I can constantly go to.

Black Market Brewing Co. – Invasion Imperial Red Ale

IMAG1304Ze Beer? Invasion Imperial Red Ale
Ze Maker?  Black Market Brewing Co.
Ze Style? Imperial Red Ale
Ze Content! 9.9%
Serving Type: 22oz

Invasion pours a deep dark mahogany reddish color with a thick white foamy 2 inch head that retains for several minutes before frothing down to a thin layer on the surface of my beer. Solid pine notes are immediate from this beer with a bit of a citrus grapefruit rind back end with just a touch of spice nice and herbal. Some malt is present as well but nothing too sweet, just enough to give a presence in the beer. The sweetness peeks through a bit more on the palate than it did on the nose, but this is quickly and evenly balanced by an impactful hop bitterness that lingers on but isn’t overbearing. This imperial red borderlines a barleywine but the finish isn’t as thick and big as one. The finish is real nice and smooth; the booziness is apparent but isn’t quite as obvious as drinking a 9.9% beer would seem, this makes for great drinking. As the beer warms up there seems to be a bit more of a slight red fruit like sweetness, but very faint, it just opens up in sweetness a bit. Overall a very nicely balanced red ale, i for one would enjoy a bit more of a stronger bitterness, but the balance of this beer prevails much more so making it really an optimal Imperial Red. Reminds me of drinking a Shark Attack from Port Brewing, but a little less caramel-esque.

Out of Temecula, Black Market Brewing is continuing to grow on a larger scale and I am waiting to try their Black Hole Sun again one day with some age on it. In my opinion there aren’t very many good hoppy reds out there on the market. They are usually too malty, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in today’s playing field a strong hop presence is definitely appreciated. As mentioned above, this beer is very comparable to Shark Attack from Port Brewing which is a Double Red Ale. Now red ales are typically a cross between a malty ale and an IPA. Hops can range anywhere between high and low but has a strong caramel malt backbone. What makes Invasion really stand out is the superior balance between the two. Now Shark Attack has always been one of my favorite Red Ales, in most part because it is a big strong flavor filled “Double Red Ale”. Now with the Invasion being an “Imperial Red” it really rivals this style and it is well needed in today’s market.

Should you Buy this? If you don’t mind paying for a good quality Craft Beer this is one you should definitely try out. Now mind you, this is a Red Ale on steroids; if you are looking for something a little softer with lighter hops this may not be the ale you are looking for. However if yo are ready for a bigger stronger kick in your mouth for a Red Ale, then this is a necessary buy. If there is one thing Black Market Brewing knows how to handle, it is their hops.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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There’s a Fresh Hop Season?

If you are like me, you drink your IPAs as fresh as possible for the best and overall flavor, but just because you drink it fresh does not mean it is a “Fresh Hop” IPA, there is a difference. Now typically hops that are harvested are dried out and put into pellet form for storage purposes; however every fall, many breweries brew out a fresh hop ale of some sort, in which the hops are still “wet” or not dried out. They literally go straight from being picked to the truck right into the brew, and this is what a “Fresh Hop” ale is or also commonly referred to as a “wet hop” ale. Now though i am sure many breweries make their brews with freshly harvested hops, this was not the common trend and because of this fall had become known as the Fresh Hop season. Like a child getting ready for the winter season and all the magic that comes along with it, I wait for Fresh Hop season, and find the best fresh hop ales out there…this is just one of those ales.

Port Brewing/Lost Abbey – High Tide IPA

IMAG0002Ze Beer? High Tide Fresh Hop IPA
Ze Maker?  Port Brewing/Lost Abbey
Ze Style? Fresh Hop IPA
Ze Content! 6.5% abv
Serving Type: 22oz bottle

Hight Tide pours a slightly murky pale golden color into my IPA glass. A thick foamy two inch head easily forms from the pour offering plenty of sticky lacing as the head diminishes leaving behind a nice frothy layer on the surface of the beer for practically the duration of the beer. A very crisp clean piney aroma just floats off the top with a generous juicy grapefruit citrus aroma as well. Just a slight touch of danky pungent aroma comes form this beer as well, but this characteristic is very light in comparison to other big hoppy beers, you can also smell the oils that come from the hops as well in this beer. The flavor profile and palate are surprisingly very light and not what I expected form this beer; super drinkable and very light all while having a nice crisp bitterness that lingers on for a good length. For 6.5% abv as well, the content of this IPA is very well hidden and masked well. Not much is beyond the bitterness of this beer, but it really does have just an incredible a wonderfully fresh hop characteristic almost if a I have just sucked the sap of a pine needle. Great carbonation is presented in this beer, helping it maintain a great aroma throughout the enjoyment of the beer. Some soft grassy notes come from this beer as well, which really just helps compliment the freshness in the hops leaving a feeling of freshly cut wet grass in your mouth. A very defined crisp bitterness is presented in this beer, and that is exactly what i like to enjoy in my IPA’s.

This bottle was reviewed on 10-26-13 shortly after hitting distribution in Southern California retail stores. Now Fresh Hop IPA’s used to be a thing of glory and they still are, but these IPA’s fell on a season of Fresh Hop Ales, but now it seems like everyone is making some kind of Fresh Hop IPA throughout the year. Just like many individuals wait for Pumpkin Ale season, Fresh Hop season is something i have always looked forward to and will continue to look forward to. As the Craft Beer scene continues to evolve and grow with increasingly more breweries offering a fresh hop ale throughout the year just remember that they did come from a season, and take a moment to enjoy the Craft Beers of those seasons. High Tide and Hop 15 are hands down my favorite IPA’s from Port Brewing when fresh of course. So if you have the chance to try this one out, i suggest you do so.

Should you Buy this? This IPA is definitely worth your time and money. Alas by the time you read this, the beer will already have been almost a full month on shelves and probably not worth it at that point, only because this is one of those beers that needs to be enjoyed fresh. I would still give it a shot, but if we get to December and you still find these bottles floating around, I would suggest waiting for next year for the best possible outcome.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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A Night of Fresh West Coast DIPA’s

IMG956375So the idea to create this blog post came from Gregory Nagel at OCBeerBlog. A mutual homebrew club member had mentioned that the new Tongue Tickler should be deemed the “Knuckle Killer” and that sparked the conversation of all the West Coast DIPA’s that had just released in the recent weeks. While over at OCBeerBlog, KS, TT and Better Weather was compared together, here i am replacing Better Weather for Enjoy By, as that was deemed to be the missing West Coast DIPA needed for this true battle. In true battle fashion, i had my girlfriend pour my glasses and take all my photos so i did not know what it was i was drinking. These to my knowledge are all fresh offerings, with Enjoy By and Tongue Tickles being released this week, and my growler of Knuckle Sandwich having been filled last week during the release. So we are talking a time frame of a week here, possibly two from bottling date. So the following is my blind tasting notes, later adjusted to the proper beer when matched after my notes were taken.
IMAG1251Enjoy By: The lightest in color also has the dankiest aroma but the palate was a bit more smooth rounded drink lacking a crisp finish compared to several of its previous versions.  Real slick on the mouthfeel with a strong and very pungent sharp hop characteristic nice and oily. This was probably the least appealing on the aroma of the three for me, but i suppose if you are into that big danky oil like hop character this would be your favorite. This version of the Enjoy By is very easy to drink in comparison to the others.

Tongue Tickler: A shade slightly darker by a hair than Enjoy By, but more of a nice balanced Imperial Style with strong notes of tropical fruits; pineapple, mango and other passion fruits. The mouthfeel is a little bit lighter and a very crisp allowing the hops to really power through. Great bitterness lingering on the finish the Galaxy hops stand out like an english IPA trying to be west coast; this really is impactful. Though not as pungent as the Enjoy By, this really takes the best from the hops and makes it work.

Knuckle Sandwich: On appearance alone this is clearly the darkest, and that coincides with the fact that beer is also the maltiest of the three. Big caramel notes stand out, but are muddles by the IPA tropical characteristics. The first thing that pops into my mind is a pineapple upside down cake. In my opinion this beer over the years has fallen from grace. Though I think it has been said that the recipe never changes, i feel as if the quality or maybe ratios in which the beer has been made has changed over the years. The hops are clearly present and this is a better Knuckle Sandwich than the previous, but still nowhere near what they were in their days of youth.

So what does it come down to? These beers are really preference based, all beers are good and none of these beers are what you would say bad by any means. However personally to me,I feel as if one beer stands out over the rest in balance, taste, and just overall impression; Tongue Tickles from Noble Ale Works. It really just came out of the bull pen and it came out swinging hard against two big hard hitter with well known reputations. It is almost as if Noble Ale Works knew they had to impress right off the bat, and they knocked it out of the park. This is definitely worth picking up while it is still available, on tap or in bottle and the Champion of these Fresh West Coast DIPA’s.

Is there a beer out there and easily accessible for me to obtain in the Southern California Region? Let me know and ill do my best to obtain it and share my thoughts with you! Just leave a comment or contact me at zebeerguy@gmail.com

Don’t forget to subscribe/share/follow on Twitter and Facebook Fan Page on the menu to the right side for up to date posts. Remember if you do not wish to add me as a friend, simply liking my Fan Page ( facebook.com/zebeerguyblog ) and showing support there would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
ZeBeerGuy

 
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