Beerly Departed - Search The Crypt's Records

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Left Hand - Good Juju

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Good Juju
Left Hand Brewing Company
1265 Boston Avenue
Longmont, CO USA
Est. 1994

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Clear (filtered) and light amber in color.
Mostly a nose of ginger. It tends to mask other notes.
Off-white, half finger head that disappears quickly.
Thin string lacing down the side of the glass.
Crisp ginger taste.
Lightly carbonated.
Light bodied mouth feel. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
I may have asked this before, but when is a Ginger Ale not a gingerale? When it's a Good Juju. This simply refreshing ginger flavored ale from Left Hand is just the thing for switching up your taste buds.

I found several things refreshing about this ale. First off, the taste. It is certainly different than anything out of the ordinary. But that is overstating the obvious. More importantly, Left Hand has recently begun changing up their branding and the labels are looking quite awesome. I would be remiss as The Reaper if I didn't point out that the crazy quilt of art on the label forms a skull. Me likey!

Equally refreshing is the addition to the neck label proclaiming, "Brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain." Uh, a bit of an overstatement there (grin) as the St. Vrain "river" is technically listed as a creek. You've got to admire their pluck!

Tip of the hat to Left Hand for showing an off beat sense of humor along with an off beat brew. As always, there's plenty to enjoy from this brewer.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mendocino - Red Tail Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Red Tail Ale
Mendocino Brewing Company
1601 Airport Road
Ukiah, CA USA
(Saratoga Springs, NY)
Est. 1983

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.1 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Copper color.
Sweet malt notes with some hops detected.
Off-white one and a half finger head.
Lacing present until the bottom of the glass.
Medium amount of carbonation.
Sweet malt up front that changes mid sip to expose hops bittering.
Medium body. Enjoyable and easy to drink. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 
This amber ale begins sweet and then shows a lightly bitter finish. Simple ingredients appear to do their best in this beer. It is right down the middle of the style and this produces full malt flavors with the balanced amount of bittering hops.The only thing out of the ordinary is a honey flavor on the aftertaste. But this is well received by my tongue.  The flavors are mild, the beer is extremely drinkable and overall, it is a solid amber ale.

I'm really getting into how the series of their beers are all done in a "birds of prey" motif. This one obviously named after the Red Tailed Hawk, is depicted beautifully as are all their bottle labels.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cigar CIty - Bolita Double Brown Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Bolita Double Brown Ale

Cigar City Brewing Company
3924 West Spruce Street
Tampa, FL USA

Brain Damage Quotient = 9.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 25.4

Postmortem Brew Review
Very dark brown body color.
Malt sweetness, chocolate and toffee along with roasted nuttiness in the aroma.
Light brown, two finger head that vanishes quickly.
Sticky, stringy lacing adheres to the inside of the glass.
Nutty first note followed by rich maltiness.
Moderate amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied with stealth alcohol action.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Bolita has three great things going for it. All at once it is playful, lingering and seductive. It's playful because of the great brown ale style that brings roasty nuttiness to the sweet malts, toffee and latent chocolate notes. Lingering, because its flavor wraps around your tongue and coats the back of your mouth. It draws you in, sip after sip, which leads us to - - - Seductive. Let's say that the 9% ABV in this generous sized bottle will pack a velvet punch. Pow!

Playful + Lingering + Seductive  =  A fun to hang around with, TKO.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bison - India Pale Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
India Pale Ale
Bison Brewing
2030 Fifth Street 
Berkeley, CA USA
Est. 1989

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Light amber/orange color with very slight haze.
Grapefruit and some pine in the aromas. Bit of malt comes through.
One-finger tan head that leaves minimal lacing.
Light pine/grapefruit hops along with a slight drying coffee taste.
Modest amount of carbonation.
Light to medium
mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Organic brewing does not mean any compromise in taste or quality. It may cost a bit more to produce, but knowing that the ingredients are of the highest standard makes it all worthwhile.

This is a west coast IPA, but it is modest in its IBU punch. It is surely a worthy IPA by any standard. The best part is it won't over stimulate your taste buds or burn out your tongue with traditional west coast hopping. It may also be due to the single hopping style employed in this brew. Bison states on the side label that they play around with single hop formulations and the type is displayed on the neck label. This bottling used the Willamette hop, descended from the Fuggles variety. It has woody and grassy characteristics that leaves a soft hops play on the palate.

All that being said, it drinks a lot more like an east coast IPA. Regardless, I found this to be a great brew, a great value and a delicious IPA indeed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Samuel Adams - East-West Kolsch

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Samuel Adams - East-West Kolsch
Boston Beer Company
Boston, MA USA

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.01 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Pale golden color.
Lemon zest, biscuit and slight fruit notes.
One finger, fluffy white head. Foam leaves some spotted lacing.
Slightly sweet and fruity with a nice dry biscuit taste.
Light and airy mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Leave it to Sam Adams to come up with this wonderfully refreshing Kolsch. According to their website, they use  Jasmine Sambac, a fragrant night blooming flower from Southeast Asia to give this floral aromas to this traditional German style of Kolsch. Hence the Asian (East) and the European (West) moniker in the name.

Either way, it creates a fresh tasting, delicious thirst quencher. I enjoyed it on a rather warm day and must say it really hit the spot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mendocino - Black Hawk Stout

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Black Hawk Stout
Mendocino Brewing Company
1601 Airport Road
Ukiah, CA USA
(Saratoga Springs, NY)
Est. 1983

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.2 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Near black color.
Chocolate malt and roasted malt aromas up front.
One finger of tan head that leaves minimal lacing and dissipates fairly rapidly.
Moderately carbonated.
Tastes similar to the aroma but with more emphasis on the roasted malts. Bittering hops finish it off.
Medium to light in body. Finishes nicely on the dry side. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 
Got this beer on a trip out west, but by the time I got back home the Medocino line was appearing in our big box wine/liquor/beer stores. Good news is, I will get to try it again in the future.  There's a bit of a conflict for me, but not with the ale. It has more to do with the origination. The company is out of Ukiah, California, but the label states that it is bottled in Saratoga Springs, NY. That's not the first time I've seen a west coast beer company utilize an east coast brewery. (Think Shmaltz.)

Though it is a bit unusual of a stout in charachteristics, it was good - very enjoyable. I have several of their other style beers for review, so it will be interesting to see what those are like. I believe I met a rep from this brewery in Boulder last November though his name escapes me. I also follow one of their brewers on Twitter. If you are either one of these fellows and happen to read this, please post a reply. I'd like to know the east coast - west coast connection.

Friday, May 13, 2011

North Coast - Acme California Pale Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Acme California Pale Ale
North Coast Brewing Company
455 North Main Street
Fort Bragg, CA USA
Est. 1988

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Light amber color.
Clean malt and flavorful hops in aroma.
Two finger near -white head that leaves fairly good lacing.
Taste of buscuit and slight apple hint.
Easy to drink. Gentle hops finish.
Lightly carbonated.
Light bodied; flavorful.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
A subtle and enjoyable pale ale if ever there was one. This can easily become a 'go-to' beer for any occasion.   It makes a great crossover beer when introducing folks into the world of craft styled beer and yet, it is sophisticated enough of an English style pale ale that allows it to stand on its own. While it's and American style Pale Ale, it has Yakima hops and American two-row malts, they reserved some British specialty malts for the finish.

It's clean taste and malt/hops mix is a hit with me. You should also know that Acme Pale Ale is a multi-award winning brew, across several years. That means it's consistently well made. Relax from your daily grind with one of these easy to drink pale ales.

Breckenridge Extra ESB - 471 Small Batch

Dead Soldier 
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Breckenridge Extra ESB- 471 Small Batch
Breckenridge Brewery
471 Kalamath Street
Denver, CO USA
Est. 1989

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.8 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Somewhere between a burnt amber and red color.
Some bitter hops, caramel and brown sugar notes from the toasted smelling malts.

Tan colored, one finger clinging head.
Good amount of lacing down the side of the glass.
Scotch flavor, hops and then malts present in that order when tasting.

Carbonation is surprisingly zippy.
Medium bodied mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Oh, the Small Batch! Strong beer with equally strong characteristics. The IPA was surprisingly high at over 9% ABV. This ESB is a bit more manageable though it still pushes nearly 8%. It hides that fact well, I might add.

With a Scothch style ale taste up front, tingling hops in the middle and malts on the finish, I found this to be a fairly easy drinker, regardless of the ABV. Sessionable? That depends. An uncommon Extra Special Bitter in a Scotch style ale.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oskar Blues - Gubna Imperial IPA

Tin Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Gubna Imperial IPA
Oskar Blues Brewery LLC
1800 Pike Road
Longmont, CO USA
Est. 1997

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Dense color with burnt orange hues.
Sweet malts and floral citrus hop aromas.
Slow dissipating, sticky head that leaves great lacing.
Viscous feel on the tongue with good amount of carbonation.
Bracing; great hops bittering.
Full flavor, medium bodied, slightly viscous.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
What I drank for my birthday this year...and with great anticipation, as this stuff is the shizz. The Gubna was once a seasonal release, but conventional wisdom and a great fan base have moved this to a year round brew. Oskar Blues has yet another hit in a can, as are all their beers.

Stone Cold Fact: While visiting the brewery, the staff pointed out the machine that imprints the freshness date on the bottom punt of the can. Along with the date is one of several snappy sayings that the machine will also imprint. See what yours says next time you have an Oskar Blues. It's like a beer fortune cookie!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat - Duvel Belgian Golden Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Duvel Belgian Golden Ale
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat
Melle, Belgium
Est. 1654

Brain Damage Quotient = 8.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 11.2

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep golden color.
Clove with peppery smell. Bread and fruits, like apple and lemon.
Two finger near tan colored head that dissipates rapidly. Spotty lacing.

Apple and grain taste with a tart finish, not unlike that of champagne.
Abundant carbonation.
Light to medium bodied mouth feel.
A bit boozy.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Well done, well done, well done. Here's to a beer that can be drunk on any occasion. Great for an everyday try or at special celebrations. Its a beer that is comfortable to enjoy at a fine restaurant or even, dare I say, after mowing the lawn. You might want to cut the lawn first, becasue it's not advisable to operate dangerous machinery in the presence of 8.5% ABV.

So relax. What ever you are doing is worth doing with a Duvel. Once you try one, you'll know for yourself, just what I'm talking about.

Brouwerij Alken-Maes - Grimbergen Blonde Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Grimbergen Blonde Ale
Brouwerij Alken-Maes 
Melle, Belgium
Est. 1654

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.7 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 11.2

Postmortem Brew Review
Pale amber color.
Spices, rich dark fruit smells.
Two finger off-white head that is creamy. Spotted lacing.
Somewhat deep and earth malts, with fruit taste.
Medium carbonation.
Light and smooth bodied mouth feel.
A bit watery.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
When you visit the website for this beer, you better have brushed up on your Dutch (NL) or French (FR) as these are the only two languages they cater to there. I found the music strangely haunting and loved listening as I poked my way through the site. If you have visited enough beer and ale websites, you begin to notice a pattern that will lead you to understand some of what the brewery is trying to impart upon you in the way of marketing. So even if you don't speak one of the languages or take the time to have your browser translate, you can still kind of get the idea of what they are selling.

As for the ale, it is a very nicely done Blonde (Belgian Pale Ale) and I would drink from the Grimbergen trough on any given day. Treat yourself to one of these blondes, soon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alexander Keith's - Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale

Dead Soldier 
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale
Keith's Brewing Company
1496 Lower Market Street

Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
St. Louis, MO USA
Est. 1820 

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.4 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Mahogany brown with some reddish tinges of color.
Malty sweet nose bouquet with fruit, honey and biscuit notes.

Tan head, one finger high, covers by half glass and leaves little lacing.
Silky malty taste with a touch of honey. A bit on the sweet side by glass end.
Modest carbonation.
Medium bodied with silky mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Not a whole lot of information on the label, it prompted me to 'dig' farther on the internet. Nope, not a lot of info, even on their website. I have to wonder, if they have been around this long (1820) why haven't I heard of them?

The website is clearly Canadian. It forces you to select a Provence when asking your age information. I am from the US, so I chose randomly to enter. Very little on the site in information and nothing about this ale in particular. I am even conflicted and a bit suspicious that the bottom of the front bottle label says, " A Keith's Brewing Co. - St. Louis MO" Last time I checked, Missouri aint part of any Canadian Provence's.  Hmmmm.

Jury is still out for me, at least until I can find out more about this brewer. Sufficed to say that I enjoyed this ale, but found it a bit too sweet by the end of the glass. A good one-off try at your local watering hole, should you come across it, sometime.

Hup! Wait a grave digging radar was up after all. Shoulda' known - - -  
Alexander Keith's is a Canadian brewery founded in 1820 in Halifax, Nova Scotia making it one of the oldest commercial breweries in all of North America. It was founded by Alexander Keith who emigrated from Scotland in 1817. Today, the brewery is under the control of Labatt, a subsidiary of Anheuser–Busch InBev, formerly Interbrew. The brewery also produces Oland Brewery beers, distributed in Eastern Canada.

Boulder Beer - Mojo

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Mojo IPA
Boulder Beer Company
2880 Wilderness Place
Boulder, CO USA
Est. 1979 

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.2 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Clear, brilliant light copper color.
Strong presence of citrus hops and light malts detected in aroma.
Two finger
, off white head on pour.
Spiderweb lace coating on side of glass.
Hops taste up front, but not as bold as the smell. Malt finish.
Medium bodied. Easy to drink.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Mojo as a term, is something that keeps you going. It's your groove, your vibe, your energy source. From the bottle's label it reads:
 Mo-Jo ('mO-(")jO) n.1: a magic spell or charm; magical power 2: herbaceous ale that summons hop attacks.
For an IPA, it resonates with that emotion, because you could session these all day and not get your over the top IPA burnout.It is an American IPA, done in the English style as the label reads. I had the good fortune to have some of this at the Boulder Brewery last fall, fresh from their taproom. In the bottle, it is nearly just as good.

Find your own Mojo, and see what it's all about.