Wilco Tango Foxtrot

| No Comments

Wilco Tango Foxtrot? Ah, I see what they did there:

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot - Pours a very nice looking clear dark brown color with beautiful amber highlights and a finger of light head. Smells sweet, with some fruity hop character and some malty notes, maybe even a hint of roastiness. The taste is more malt than the nose would lead you to believe, very much like a brown ale (Beer Advocate calls it an American Strong Ale though), light caramel and some minor roastiness, but the hops are clearly there too. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, very solid beer, well worth trying. B

Beer Nerd Details: 7.83% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 4/7/12.

Despite not being a huge brown ale kinda guy, Lagunitas continues to impress, and thus I continue to explore their catalog.

PS - In other news, my commenting system was torpedoed by my host's new security measures, but has since been restored. Sorry for any inconvenience, and thanks to those who alerted me to the issue. I assure you the person or persons responsible will be sacked. Good day.

PPS - My readers (all 4 of you) are an astute bunch, so I'm sure you've noticed that my Wednesday entries tend to be rather sparse. This is generally because I spend time writing for my other blog on Wednesdays, so time is limited. I don't know how long I'll keep up this 4-5 entries a week schedule here, but while I don't see any end in sight, I also assume things will slow down a bit at some point. Thems the breaks, I guess.

Troegenator Double Bock

| No Comments

One would assume that a Doppelbock grew out of the single Bock style, but apparently not. Doppelbocks have their roots in monastic brewing, and it was after the beer became secularized that goat-loving drinkers1 began to notice similarities between these beers and regular Bocks. Apparently, a bunch of drunken Italian monks2 found their way to Munich and began brewing this extra strong beer to sustain themselves during the fasting periods of Advent and Lent3. Full bodied with a rich, chewy malt character, these beers became known as "liquid bread".

Their beer was called Salvator (translates to "the Savior") and the Monks kept it to themselves for over a century. Once they began selling it to the public, that's when the whole Doppelbock moniker came up, though interestingly enough, other breweries who copied the beer called the style "Salvator" too. Eventually trademark protection forced those other breweries to come up with new names for their beer, though many try to keep it traditional by using words that end in "-ator", including new takes on the style like today's example:

Troegs Troegenator

Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock - Pours a deep, dark amber color with hints of ruby and a small amount of light colored head. Smells of caramel malt with a yeasty note, maybe a hint of fruitiness as well. The taste tends towards those caramel malt flavors, though it's a bit muted. Clearly there and very sweet, but not overpowering either, and while there's no real hop character to the beer, it's balanced enough not to be cloying either. Mouthfeel is smooth with just a bit of richness filling out the body, making this easier to drink than a sipper, but not quite at the level of a super-quaffable beer either. Overall, this is a solid beer. Not a ton of complexity, but quite nice for what it is. B

Beer Nerd Details: 8.2% ABV bottled (12 oz). Drank out of one of them fancy Sam Adams glasses on 3/30/12.

Tröegs continues to be an interesting semi-local brewery. I enjoy trying their beers, but I've rarely been blown away... though I will admit that Nugget Nectar has grown on me quite a bit and I'm always on the lookout for new beers in their Scratch series....

1 - For the uninitiated, "Bock" means "Goat" in German. Like a lot of beer origin stories, there are a few interpretations of where that comes from. One is that it was a shortened, mispronounced version of Einbeck, a city famous for its beer. Another is that the beer was often brewed in the Capricorn (symbolized by a goat) timeframe. Regardless, that's why you see a lot of goats on labels for Bocks and Doppelbocks.

2 - These monks were from Paula, Italy, and became known as Paulaners... a name that exists to this day, though the brewery seems to have been secularized.

3 - Yeah, I probably should have posted this on (or before) Easter, eh?

A Happy, Hoppy, Zoe

| No Comments

Hippies! Hippies everywhere! Oh God, save us from the hippies!

So I've already mentioned that these crazy eco-hippies from Maine were getting a lot of attention in the beer dorkosphere (despite their tiny, nano-sized operation) and was quite pleased with their Peeper Ale (a well crafted take on the typical Pale Ale style)... but the beer that really seems to be making waves is this "Happy, Hoppy Amber Ale" called Zoe:

Maine Beer Co. Zoe

Maine Beer Co. Zoe - Pours a very deep, dark amber color, almost brown color with a finger of tan head. Smell is sugary sweet with citrus and lots of pine. Tastes very sweet, plenty of citrus and pine hops, with an interesting malt character too - maybe some biscuit malt, a small amount of dark crystal, chocolate, or even roasted/black malts. The finish has a fair amount of bitterness, but it's well matched and goes well with that dark malt character. Mouthfeel is... medium. Medium bodied, medium carbonated, medium smoothness, a medium amount of dryness in the finish. Overall, a very well crafted beer, something I'd love to try again sometime... B+

Beer Nerd Details: 7.2% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a tulip on 3/24/12. Bottle sez 020912 (presumably bottling date) and 14 (batch number?) (date is actually very hard to read)

Definitely interested in trying more of their stuff. With beers like this, I think they'll be able to grow quickly, to the point where maybe they could be described as a "micro" brewery or maybe even (someday) a regular ol' craft brewery...

Telegraph Reserve Wheat Ale

| No Comments

One of the great and yet simultaneously frustrating parts of reading a lot of beer blogs is when people go on and on about fantastic beers that are only available locally (I'm as guilty of this as anyone, of course). It's great because everyone loves their local breweries and it makes for a nice communal experience with other folks in the area. But sucks when you're on the outside looking in because you'll have these situations where seemingly everywhere you look, people are raving about this or that small brewery... and they don't distribute anywhere near you.

As I've become more of a beer dork, my beer hunting prowess has certainly increased, but there are always things that are uber-local. Think Surly or The Alchemist, both of whom don't distribute outside their state, and yet it feels like everyone's drank some of that stuff. I've not yet tipped my toes into the illicit realm of beer trading, but that's certainly one way to get a hold of the stuff. Or you can just patiently wait for the beer to be distributed to your area, which has somewhat recently happened with California's own Telegraph Brewing.

Of course, I've been hearing raves about these beers from everyone. For instance, The Beer Rover has covered tons of their beer. Jay also loves them, and I found out about their plans to distribute to PA from an interview he did with the founder and brewer. So when I saw a bottle on a recent beer run, I immediately snapped it up without even really looking too closely at it... I immediately squirreled it away in my fridge, hoping to get to it quickly. Then I went and looked it up and... oh noes! Jay lists it as "unrateable". When I dug into his original review, it appears that this may have just been a reaction to the Berliner Weisse style... but then, my only real experience with that style was Dogfish Head's Festina Pêche, which is a beer I hated. Seriously, C- maybe even D range beer for me. Fortunately, my fears were mostly unfounded. I still wouldn't call this a style I prefer, but I can't imagine it being better executed:

Telegraph Reserve Wheat Ale

Telegraph Reserve Wheat Ale - Pours a clear, bright straw yellow color with a finger of quickly disappearing white head. Smells of lemon and funk, with lots of wheat beer character too. Really nice nose, actually. Taste starts off a little sweet, with a pleasant lemony tart character emerging quickly, followed by a slightly more intense sourness in the finish. Not a lot of wheat in the taste, but it does have that sorta mouthfeel. Effervescent, well carbonated (but not overly so), and very lightly bodied. The sourness prevents gulping this down, but it's not a slow sipper either. Overall, this is well balanced, tart, but not overpowering. I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this given how little I enjoyed the Dogfish Head take on the sytle. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 5% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a goblet on 3/24/12.

So my first experience wasn't the bust I was dreading, and I will certainly be on the lookout for their more celebrated brews, like the California Ale or Gypsy Ale. I actually saw the California Ale recently, but it was in PA, so I would have needed to buy a full case of the stuff. I'm sure it's great and all, but I've got way too much beer sitting around here to justify that!

Victory Donnybrook Stout

| 2 Comments

Another day, another Victory. This low gravity Dry Irish Stout is only really available on tap (and I'm pretty sure it's only locally available too), so it's not one that I've had often, but it's a solid beer (and though I didn't drink this on St. Patrick's Day, it makes a nice local alternative to the ever present Guinness, especially when it's on nitro tap).

In other news, I'm pretty sure this is the lowest alcohol beer I've ever reviewed (unless you count that non-alcoholic swill we had that one time at Beer Club). Let's do this:

Victory Donnybrook Stout

Victory Donnybrook Stout - Pours a very dark brown with a tiny amount of highlights and a finger of thick, light brown head. Smells strongly of roasted malts and a little coffee... Taste features that same roast and coffee character. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, very lightly carbonated with a nice light body. Almost quaffable. I'm pretty sure this one was on regular tap, but when it's on nitro, it's much smoother, though still light bodied. Overall, it's a nice stout that's as good as any I've had in the style and as previously mentioned, it makes a nice local alternative to the ever-present Guinness. B

Beer Nerd Details: 3.7% ABV on tap. Drank out of Victory's 0.3L glass on 3/24/12.

I'd like to say that this will probably be my last Victory review for a while, but I think we all know that's not going to happen.

Update: Nope, this is only the second lowest ABV beer I've reviewed. The lowest was Tetley's English Ale, clocking in at 3.6% ABV. However, this beer was a heck of a lot better, so foo on you.

Duchesse De Bourgogne

| No Comments

I'm a backwards man. Instead of easing myself into sour beers, I started with the sourest of sours*, a Gueuze that was fine for what it was, but it almost soured** me on sour beers forever. Or for a few weeks, at least. I then moved on to some of Russian River's fabled sours (described on their website as "high" sourness), which I enjoyed quite a bit... and yet, I hadn't really caught the sour bug just yet. And despite some true sour revelations over the past year or so, I still wouldn't call myself a huge fan of sours. But then, I realized that I didn't really start off with the typical beers.

According to dontdrinkbeer, Duchesse De Bourgogne is "The Mistress that Starts Every Man's Sick Foray into Sours" (he also mentions Rodenbach, which has also been on my list at Padraic's urging for quite some time now - I'll get theres someday, I promise). As we've already established, I went backwards, so this was probably the dozenth or so sour I've had... but I'm glad I'm getting back to basics here. So once more unto the breach, dear friends:

Duchesse De Bourgogne

Duchesse De Bourgogne - Pours a dark amber with beautiful highlights when held up to light. Just a bit of light tan head. Smell is quite funky and earthy with a twang in the nose. Taste is very strange. Sweet with a fruity candy character, a little funk emerging in the middle and a light, vinegary sourness hitting in the finish. Well carbonated but but an incredibly smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel. Maybe a little vinegar acidity there, and lots of slickness in the finish. Overall, it's an interesting beer. Not being a big sour guy, it's a bit unusual, and it's not my favorite, but it's very well done. B

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV bottled (11.2 oz) Drank out of a snifter on 3/23/12.

I suspect I'd had this beer earlier in my sick foray into sours, I'd have a higher opinion of it. But after having had some revelatory examples, I didn't quite find myself loving this, though it's clearly a good beer. Oh, and while I'm not a huge food and beer pairing guy, I've noticed that Flanders Sours (I've not tried it with others) go really well with both dark chocolate and cheddar cheese. Go figure.

* In case my lack of experience with sours is not apparent, I have no idea whether or not that Gueuze is actually the "sourest" of sours. It's just the one that sticks out in my head as being obscenely sour.

** Pun intended.

Big Black Voodoo Daddy

| No Comments

Alright, let me just check out Voodoo Brewing's homepage first and... holy shit, what the hell? Did I accidentally time travel back to the early 1990s? Even by those standards, this isn't a website that really gets the job done. But then, right there on the main page, it says "By the way I brew beer not websites, nor can I spell or type, so be critical of the beer not the website." Well, at least they know what they're doing. And they're right, it's the beer that counts, so let's get us some oak aged imperial stout:

Voodoo Big Black Voodoo Daddy

Voodoo Big Black Voodoo Daddy - Pours a thick, very dark brown color with almost no head (though what's there is brownish). Smell is filled with rich aromas of caramel, vanilla, and oak with just a little in the way of roastiness. The taste is along similar lines, but with the roastiness taking on a much more prominent position. Chocolate makes an appearance too. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy with minimal carbonation, though it's strangely not the heaviest thing I've drank lately. For a beer this big, the alcohol is hidden pretty darn well. Overall, it's a very good stout. It's not the best thing I've ever had or anything, but it's my kinda stout. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 12.5% ABV bottled (22 oz bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 3/17/12.

Now apparently the Voodoo folks make a bourbon barrel aged stout that clocks in at 15% ABV and is only available in limited quantities (apparently there will be some small release party in Philly this summer, though details have not been announced). I'd love to try it though. This Voodoo Daddy beer took on some nice oak flavors without the bourbon character, but I'd like to try the bourbon barrel aged one too!

The Dammit Meme

| 2 Comments

So I've been tagged in one of those godawful memes that are supposed to spread throughout the internet like wildfire, except that dorks like me... actually, I generally participate in memes. I like answering interesting questions, and beerbecue has some decent ones, so I figured I'd play along. At least until the time comes when I have to follow the rules. I don't play by anyone's rules. Especially not my own. That's my rule.

Since I'm not following anyone's rules but my own (which I don't actually follow), I won't post the original rules. Basically, beerbecue has listed out 7 questions, and I have to answer them. I think the original thing had something about creating new questions and tagging other folks to participate, but I'm not going to do those things because I'm uncreative, lazy, and don't want to cause any ruckus in the beer blogging world. Enjoy:

Your first beer: That's an excellent question. I have no idea. Well, I have ideas, but I'm not positive about anything. This is partly because my first was undoubtedly macro crap and thus not very memorable. I may have had a sip of MGD when I was a wee nerd, but when I think about it, I think it may have been a Busch beer. Certainly my first big drinking session was from a case of Busch pounders. Again, not very memorable.

Your first good beer: Also a tough one to pinpoint. I remember drinking Honey Brown, but that's not exactly a "good" beer. Yuengling lager? Perhaps. But the standout craft beer revelation of my life was most definitely Ommegang Hennepin, stumbled on completely by accident (I wrote about the full story before).

Your favorite BBQ joint? How's this for good memory: I don't remember. But I do remember that I was in Texas, which does a slightly better job than PA when it comes to BBQ. And by slightly better, I mean ridiculous to even compare. On the other hand, I'm no expert, and I'm sure there's something here, I just haven't really sought it out. I hope beerbecue doesn't lynch me.

Which childhood star most influenced you? Um... I don't know. Ron Howard?

Would you rather listen to Exile on Main St. or Sgt. Pepper's? Exile on Main St. I will say that I like both though, and quite frankly, I've never really gotten the whole Stones vs Beatles argument. Then again, I've always been more of a movies guy. I love music and all, but I just don't understand it the way I do movies. Or beer for that matter:p

Which is better: kimjongillookingatthings.com or kimjongunlookingatthings.com? I, too, prefer the original - kingjongillookingatthings. Sequels are rarely as good as the original.

To the extent divulging it would not reveal top-secret, upcoming reviews...what beers are in your fridge right now? My upcoming reviews are probably no secret to anyone who follows me on Untappd, but I will share with you the results of my most recent beer run, because I'm super excited by all of these:

DH 75 Minute IPA, RR Sanctification, Founders KBS, and Firestone Walker Sucaba
(Click for larger version)

And there you have it. Of course, I probably won't get to these anytime soon, but you'll probably start seeing reviews in a few weeks. Though I may not be able to hold out on the KBS. Can't believe I score two bottles of the stuff.

And that just about covers it. I'm supposed to tag 11 other bloggers, but I'll just leave an invitation open to anyone reading. Heck, start your own blog and answer some questions. Otherwise, like beerbecue, I'll just take the opportunity to pimp the bloggers on my blogroll over there on the right. They're all awesome, and you should read them.

Peeper Ale

| No Comments

It seems that everywhere I turn, people I respect are drinking and writing about these crazy hippies from Maine. This is odd, given that Maine Beer Company is tiny - a "nano-brewery", which is, like, a few orders of magnitude smaller than a "micro" brewery. So when I hear that this hit Jay's radar and piqued his beer dork instincts enough to orchestrate a trade with some east-coast folks to get his hands on some of their beer, well, it made me want to get some of this stuff too. On a recent trip to the bottle shop, I noticed two varieties of Maine's beer, which I greedily snapped up.

Now, I'm not normally a fan of hippies, but this is my kind of activism. Make a delicious product, sell it to me based on that, then donate a small but fun portion of the proceeds to various charities. Good on these Maine folks. I'm glad I bought a few bottles of this stuff because it's damn good and as an added bonus, it goes towards a good cause.

Anyways, first up is Peeper Ale, an American pale ale whose name offers unlimited opportunities for double entendres that I will refrain from, because I have dignity. Or something like that. Anyway, let's take a voyeuristic look at this stuff:

Maine Peeper Ale

Main Beer Co. Peeper Ale - Pours a straw yellow goldish color with a finger of bright white head. It's a nice enough appearance, but not something that's gorgeous to peep at, if you know what I mean. Smells of citrusy, grassy, floral hops along with a little sugary sweet character too. The taste starts sweet, but then you get that floral and grassy character from the hops in the middle (maybe, MAYBE, a little lemony zest here, though it's not at all tart) and a surprisingly strong, but still pleasant hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated but light to medium bodied. As it warms, the carbonation tones down a bit, making the beer a little more quaffable, but it's still got a bite to it. Overall, a very nice pale ale that focuses on grassy, floral hops. A nice change of pace and a very well crafted beer. B

Beer Nerd Details: 5.5% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a tulip glass on 3/23/12. Bottle sez 120611 (presumably bottling date) and 25 (batch number?)

I've already had me some Zoe (a hoppy red ale) as well, which I do think is the superior beer, but which will have to wait for next week. But even with this Peeper stuff, which didn't really connect wholly with my palate, it's apparent that these Maine Beer Company folks know exactly what their doing. It's an expertly crafted beer, and judging from the ratings on BA and RB, it hits other folks square in the face. I'm glad I got my hands on some and will be looking out for other varieties as well.

Founders Porter

| No Comments

Just who is that lovely lady on the label of this beer? Looks like a Victorian era painting... According to Founders, she's Dark, Rich, and Sexy. Or maybe that's the beer they're talking about...

Founders Porter

Founders Porter - Pours a dark brown color with a finger of tan head. Smells strongly of roasted malts, with some coffee and maybe even chocolate thrown in for good measure. Really nice nose. Taste starts sweet, maybe with some of that chocolate, but it gets drowned out by a heaping helping of roasted malts and coffee flavors starting in the middle and intensifying through the finish. A bitterness (which seems to come from more than hops, perhaps from those dark malts, with all their coffee and dark chocolate character) emerges in the finish as well. This ain't an imperial stout or anything, but it packs a ton of flavor in a relatively small package. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and reasonably full, and it finishes dry. Overall, while porter is not one of my favorite styles, this is exceptionally well executed and one of my favorite examples of the style. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 6.5% ABV bottled (12 oz.) Drank out of a snifter on 3/24/12.

Several months ago, I had bought a Founders variety pack, so I had a few of these floating around. At first, I didn't care for it, but it quickly grew on me, and now I feel like it could be a go-to beer in some instances. Another thing I've found is that this beer goes really well with a good cigar. I'm no cigar expert and don't smoke them very often, but those roasted malt flavors match quite nicely with, uh, smokey flavors from the cigar.

Anyways, I'm thinking that Founders is one of the all-around best breweries in the country, and while I've had my fair share of their standard beers, I should really seek out some of the more obscure stuff and seasonal releases.

Categories

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID

About

Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

You might also want to check out my generalist blog, where I blather on about lots of things, but mostly movies, books, and technology.

Email me at mciocco at gmail dot com.

Recent Comments

  • Mark: I know, right? I'm surprised I maintained the 3-4 post read more
  • beerbecue: Aha! I see now. I thought I had gone made. read more
  • beerbecue: What the?! I haven't been gone that long, have I? read more
  • phagan55: Upton is easily the best tea company I ordered from, read more
  • Mark: Whoa, thank you sir! Just placed my order on Upton read more
  • phagan55: Stupid kindle incorrect, Ali-San jade oolong. I think that's what read more
  • phagan55: Continuing, Upton Teas is top notch for blends and single read more
  • phagan55: Apologies, I've been meaning to write up some recommendations, but read more
  • Mark: Thanks Ryan! I wouldn't get too excited, as there will read more
  • rymould: Excellent write-up, Mark. I think I'm going to like this read more