Beerly Departed - Search The Crypt's Records

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sierra Nevada - Hoptimum Imperial IPA (2012)

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Hoptimum Imperial IPA (2012)
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, CA USA
Est. 1980

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.4 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Rusty orange/copper in color.
Prodigious amount of hops aroma waft up from the body
Nicely foaming two finger head with good lacing on the glass.
Head dissipates after a while. Leaves a small cap.
Hoppy tasting is an understatement, however, it is not overly sappy/syrupy. 
Rich, medium to full bodied mouth feel. Stinging hops with moderate alcohol aftertaste. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
At 100 IBU's and 10.4% ABV, this whole-cone Imperial IPA is not for the timid of heart. The alcohol is sneaky but oh-so present, especially as it warms in the glass. A full on attack of your senses, Hoptimum will knock you out at every level. Be daring...give it a try.

Looking over the label, you cannot help but notice the rather regal looking "hop head" staring back at you. He is staring at you too, isn't he? He doesn't have any eyes as such, but he's certainly staring at me...

Must be the 10.4% kicking in.

Hop heads, rejoice. Great balance in all things, (as we've come to expect from Sierra Nevada), are present in this Imperial of all IPA's. Cheers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thomas Creek - Oktoberfest Lager

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Oktoberfest Lager

Thomas Creek Brewing Company
2054 Piedmont Highway
Greenville, SC  USA
Est. 1998

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep, dark golden in color.
Malted barley grain scent like a well grained bread with trace amounts of sweetness and noticeable hops.
Tight and creamy one inch head.
Head retains nearly to the bottom leaving strings of lace.
Finishes malty with a touch of toffee sweetness and just the right amount of bittering hops.
Light, refreshing and sessionable; easy to drink.
Medium, soft carbonation. Medium mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
My favorite time of year is approaching. The time of the year when things are plucked from the ground in their season of harvest. Here is a favorite style of mine; the humble yet noble Oktoberfest.

Many brewers attempt it due to the popularity of tying harvest season and fall festivities et cetera, et cetera. It is also known as Marzen from the German word for the month of March,( the season in which it was originally brewed.) Lagered in cold cellars or caves, the fest bier was brought out for the fall harvests. It's origins actually begin with a particular marriage festival of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese. Since then it has grown into the single largest beer festival, held each year in late September thtough early October. With over 6 million in attendance, that's a mighty big hangover.

In general, while lagers and their yeasts are more difficult to work with, Thomas Creek has captured a very fine example in their bottle. Just the right color, smells and mouthfeel for the finest of lagers, the Oktoberfest.

Reap one soon and see what a great lager tastes like.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Narragansett Cream Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Narragansett Cream Ale

Narragansett Brewing Company
60 Ship Street
Providence, RI USA
Est. 1890

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 16.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Golden in color, not unlike a pale ale.
Bready, malted scent. The smallest amount of noticeable hops.
Tight and creamy one inch head.
Head retains for a some time leaving strings of lace.
Finishes a bit more malty than hoppy as a cream ale should.
Light, refreshing and easy to drink.
Medium, soft carbonation with light and creamy mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy

Miss me? No?  I didn't think so. I've been so busy with a dearth of things these past few months. But enough about that. There will be time for rest when I'm, uh umm, that is....well, you know what I mean.

It's been awhile since my last musings and I've had much time to ponder. Ponder the state of beer, ponder my place in beer, ponder all that makes me tick when it comes to beer. This should be a catharsis, but I wonder if it will only scratch the surface. Time will tell as only time can do. In the end only one thing remains constant; while many things have changed in the beer world, so many have remained the same.

Take Narragansett's Cream Ale for instance. Cream Ales are one of the three original styles of American crafted brews. And as far as theirs goes, it is a great standard bearer for the style. I particularly enjoy the fact that it is in sixteen ounce cans. Yes sir, this is a thirst quencher in a tallboy. Leave it to a simple, easy to drink brew to wake me from the dead, so to speak. (Seriously. You didn't think the endless puns would cease, did you? Fool!)

Now that I'm "back from the dead", I will be resuming my writing by exhuming those dead soldiers that have been collecting in the recycle bin. I still took notes while on hiatus, so I shall just dig them up and make a few selections from time to time. This Cream Ale was a recent taste, and a great starter for waking up the old taste buds again.

Looking forward to amusing you again, my minions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sprecher - Abbey Triple

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Abbey Triple Belgian Style Ale
Sprecher Brewing Company
701 West Glendale Avenue

Glendale, WI USA
Est. 1985

Brain Damage Quotient = 8.4 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Slightly hazy, mostly orange color.
Floral, citrus hops nose along with more citrus fruit and bready tones. A bit of clove and banana esters also at play.
White, two finger frothy head. Tight bubbles that dissipate slowly and leave a draped lacing on the glass.
Taste starts a bit thin, but then fruits and citrus come out. Clove and spice pronounced as it warms in the glass.
Moderate carbonation.
Medium bodied. Interesting balances of flavor and easy to drink.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Is it a bad thing when you don't remember how beer ends up in your possession? Well, it is very curious because I'm the only one that places them in the fridge. Early onset Alzheimer's, no doubt!

Pulling and prodding through the stock of beer in the mortuary cooler, I noticed this one. "Hmmmm...", I pondered how it got there. Nevertheless, a Belgian style ale that just shows up in the fridge is like finding twenty dollars in the pocket of your old blue jeans. "It's time to spend this one...", I thought out loud.

It was good - indeed, very good. Is it the very best Belgian style I've had? No. But it has all the elements of becoming a great one. Everything is there. The banana and clove, the beautiful orange/amber tones with an ample white frothy head. Bready, yeasty smells and taste. Yup, it's all in there.

I enjoyed it, the same way I would have enjoyed spending that twenty bucks, especially considering there was no buyer's remorse with this beer. Whereas the twenty was mine to begin with, I really can't recall how the Sprecher ended up in the fridge. So, that made it a double, (or Tripel), bonus! Ha-HA!

It was tasty, though it took some persistence on my part to wait out the proper temp. Once that was achieved, the flavors did shine through. Interesting to note that this is made in Wisconsin. So I am happy to find yet another American brewer producing Belgian Style ales.

Stone Cold Fact: Sprecher Brewery also makes sodas, as do several other micro breweries. Nice to know.

U S A ! - U S A ! - U S A !

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Karl Strauss - Boardwalk Black Rye

Dead Soldier 
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Boardwalk Black Rye
Karl Strauss 
5985 Santa Fe Street
San Diego, CA

Est. 1989

Brain Damage Quotient = 8.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark black color on the pour.
Carmel and rye nose; nicely malty. Flashes of hop aromas.
Short stout head with strings of lace.
Smooth flavors of caramel, toffee and rye.
Soft carbonation. Nicely drinkable at 8%ABV.
Medium bodied, full flavored. Rich and complex.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
I held on to this one from the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference, waiting for just the right moment to pop the cap. Karl Strauss Brewing turns 23 this month of February and they teamed up with Untappd to create an anniversary badge commemorating the event. Timing is everything, so this 8% caramely hopped bomber's time had come.

I had not forgotten how great tasting this was, while at last August's BBC11. I was able to sample much of this black beauty during the event. After aging for a few months in the crypt cooler, all the nicely complex flavors of rye, caramel and west coast hops melded together for a wonderfully flavorful way to top off a Friday night. Glad to have squirreled this bottle away for such an auspicious event...happy anniversary Karl Strauss! I patiently wait for the day that Karl Strauss broadens their distribution reach. For now, I will look for their finely crafted ales whenever I get the chance to visit SoCal.

As for you poor souls in the same predicament as myself - - - seek this one out whenever you get the chance!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Green Flash - West Coast India Pale Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
West Coast India Pale Ale
Green Flash Brewing Company
6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA USA
Est. ????

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.3 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Hazy yellow/orange color tone.
Pleasant, powerful hop scents that are citrus like grapefruit.
Two finger off-white, rocky head.
Head leaves spiderwebs of lace. End of glass still retains a few clumps of froth.
Sticky hops taste that finishes clean without residual bitterness.
Moderate to active carbonation.
Full hops flavor, medium bodied.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
My second Green Flash, and alas, the last of them in my fridge. I must say that for hanging around 5 months in my mortuary cooler, this beer held up it's hops notes very well. I now wish I had consumed at time of purchase just to see the kind of presence they would have had when freshly bottled. This ale is one to try to get if you want to see what a great West Coast IPA tastes like.

I am now on the hunt for these actively, as they are not sold on the east coast of the U.S. to my knowledge. It is simply a well crafted and tasty ale, like it's brother the amber. Get some. If you fancy yourself a pale ale or India pale ale drinker, you will find that you won't be disappointed.

Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops make 95 IBU's. Couple that with a 7.3% ABV you shouldn't need more proof as to how good it tastes. But just in case you do, check out the hardware earned on this is a multi-award winning ale:

  • San Diego County Fair 
    2008 Best of Show
    2008 Gold - American IPA 
    2007 Silver - American IPA
  • California State Fair
    2008-1st Place - American IPA
    2005-3rd Place - American IPA
  • Los Angeles County Fair
    2007 Gold - American IPA
  • Bistro IPA Festival
    2010 Bronze
    2005 Gold
  • National IPA Challenge
    2008 Champion

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anderson Valley - Hop Ottin' IPA

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Hop Ottin' IPA
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
17700 Hwy 253

Boonville, CA USA
Est. 1987

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Slightly hazy, amber color.
Pine and citrus hops nose.
Off-white, two finger frothy head. Dissipates slowly and leaves a nice sticky draped lacing on the glass.
Great biting hops, mostly citrus in taste, cling to the tongue.
Moderate carbonation. 
Medium bodied. Well balanced and easy to drink.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Anderson Valley's lineup of beers is now available in my immediate area. The previous two reviewed were fetched from a trip to the desert, some time ago.

While the first two were enjoyable, they didn't exceed my expectations for style, but to be fair they were worthy beers in their own right. This IPA is however, an interesting and quite tasty example of what West Coast IPA's are all about. The citrus and pine notes show up well in the nose and are downright show stealers during each sip.

Do be sure to get this under your belt, soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Elysian - Dragonstooth Stout

Dead Soldier 
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Dragonstooth Oatmeal Stout
Elysian Brewing Company
1221 E. Pike Street
Seattle, WA

Fort Collins, CO USA
Est. 1996

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep black color on the pour.
Carmely and roasted malt nose; nicely malty. Good presence of hop aromas.
Short, stout, tan colored head with strings of lace.
Smooth flavors of caramel, chocolate and oats.
Soft carbonation.
Full bodied. Rich, full flavored.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
I picked this one up on the west coast. Not gonna' lie, the dragon artwork really caught my eye. It is actually done by a Seattle tattoo artist named Joe of Pierced Hearts Tattoo Parlor. According to the label, he's a good friend of the brewery.

Also not gonna' lie, I was in search of a good oatmeal stout. Pretty sure I nailed that quest. This stout uses Crystal, Chocolate and Munich barley along with rolled oats to achieve a sultry smooth and roasty stout. A really great ale to curl up with in the dead of winter. Don't you think so too? Muaaahaahaa!

The bottle lists Fort Collins, CO as an additional location, but I don't see much in the website's credits to match that info. Also, the folks at Elysian have three locations to choose from while in Seattle. That's nice.

And what about the name Elysian? According to Mirriam Webster, it means "blissful, delightful". I agree. Each sip brought me to a state of enjoying the oatmeal stout with elysian ease! With a bit of exploration on their website, I found many of their ales and beers belie the tranquility of their company name. Titles such as Loser, Perseus, Dark o' the Moon and Men's Room, along with above mentioned Dragonstooth conjure up fiercer imagery. But again, I'm not gonna lie...I dig it! After all , I am The Reaper! Muahaaha mUUaHaaHAAA!

Okay, enough of that. Get some of this stout and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's seriously good stuff.