Tag Archives: beers

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout Review

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout

Ever since I wrote about Stone Brewing Co.’s latest collaboration brew last month I’ve been dying to get my hands on a bottle, because I’m a big fan of Stone’s past collaborations. Yesterday, I found one, and today I’m drinking—and reviewing—it.

I’ve had a few different beer styles flavored with mint in the past, and I was not a fan of any of them. So I was somewhat skeptical of the Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout before I tasted it. But I’m pleasantly surprised, because this imperial oatmeal stout is delicious. That shouldn’t come as any surprise because the brew was made by three seriously talented brewers: Stone Brewing Co.‘s Mitch Steele, Iron Fist Brewing Co.‘s Brandon Sieminski and home brewer Ken Schmidt, who won Stone’s 2012 home brewing competition with the recipe for this stout.

I poured my stout slowly into a small Stone tasting glass, and it settled with very little head. Its sweet, pungent aroma of chocolate and coffee is immediately apparent, and you can’t really smell any mint. The brew is a beautiful deep-brown color with a tan head.

I let the bottle cool in my refrigerator overnight, but after reading Stone’s suggestion to drink the beer at cellar temperature, I let it sit for 10 minutes or so after removing it from the refrigerator. And I purposely drank it slowly to let the beer near room temperature.

The stout is thick with very fine carbonation. It tastes strongly of chocolate and coffee, and it finishes with a very mild, almost-indistinguishable mint flavor. That’s a good thing, because the mint is secondary to chocolate, coffee and molasses malts, and it compliments them instead of overpowering those flavors. And as the beer warms up, the distinct flavors really pop.

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout has an ABV of 9.6%, and the warm alcohol taste combines nicely with the chocolate, coffee and mint. I’m honestly impressed with the brew, and I’d definitely drink it again. I also have to believe that the brew would age very nicely, so I’m going to try to find another one for my cellar.

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout started shipping on October 8, and it’s available in 18 U.S. states: Arizona; California; Colorado; Florida; Illinois, Massachusetts; North Carolina; New Mexico; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Texas, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. I paid $5 for my 12-ounce bottle, which is reasonable for such a complex, high ABV beer.

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout gets an 8/10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale. (It has a BeerAdvocate.com rating of 91 based on 27 user reviews.)

Check out the video below for more details on the beer and its origins. (Is it me or is the narrator annoying as hell?)

UBN

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Stylish Moleskine Beer Journal Helps You Chronicle Your Adventures in Beer

Moleskine Beer Journal

I’m a big fan of Moleskine notebooks. I literally own piles of them; I have two of them sitting next to me as I write this post. So I was excited to see that Moleskine now offers a beer journal as part of its Passions Collection of notebooks designed for specific uses.

The Moleskine Beer Journal is 5 x 8.25 inches in size, has 120 double-sided pages (240 pages to write on), and it costs $19.95, plus shipping. It also has a bunch of different styles of beer glassware embossed on its cover.

From Moleskine.com:

“[The] journal not only has a glossary, pouring tips and glass types, it has tasting notes, a homebrewing log, space for your recipes, your cellar, and your favorite beer addresses. Easily organize your passion with 5 themed sections, 5 blank tabbed sections, and 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal. Combine all these new features with the legendary Moleskine styling (black elastic closure, three ribbon bookmarks, expandable rear pocket, and more), and start recording your passion for beer.”

Moleskine Beer Journal

I, like many beer nerds, use the Untappd mobile app—and this blog—to keep track of all the beers I drink, but this beer journal could be helpful for recording specific details about beers and the dates you drank certain them, etc.

UBN

via Uncrate.com

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Barfly’s View: Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, MA

Brewer's Coalition Newtonville Barfly's View

Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, Mass., is located right outside of Boston and less than a mile from the Massachusetts Turnpike. Newtonville is a yuppyish suburb west of Boston, and that’s quickly apparent after rubbing elbows with the Brewer’s Coalition clientele. That’s not to say, I don’t like the bar, which is an offshoot of the popular John Brewer’s Tavern restaurants in Nearby Waltham and Malden, Mass. It’s just not exactly a hip scene.

The beer selection is decent for a location like Newtonville, but it’s definitely nothing special when compared to other beer bars in the Boston area. The two things Brewer’s Coalition really has going for it are its friendly (and easy-on-the-eyes) bartenders and its selection of local Massachusetts and New England beers. The bar claims to have 50 craft beers available; I saw 20 taps and maybe twice that number of bottles, many of which were local. The bar also serves bar food, but I never hang around long enough to try any of it.

Brewer’s Coalition isn’t really worth driving out of your way for, but if you happen to be heading west out of Boston and you need a road soda, or if you’re just passing through the Newtonville area, you could find a friend in this pseudo beer bar.

UBN

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

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  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

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Image via TheGranarySA.com

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Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout Review

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting San Diego I hit a few bars that had Ballast Point Brewing Co.‘s new Indra Kunindra India-style export stout on tap. (If you’re curious those bars were Downtown Johnny Brown’s and Neighborhood.)

I’m a big fan of San Diego’s Ballast Point—the brewery’s Sculpin IPA is fantastic—but after reading a description of Indra Kunindra, I decided to go with something else. The selection of great beer at these bars is impressive, and the fact that Indra Kunindra is made with both curry spice and cumin, neither of which I really like, was a major turnoff. It kind of just sounded too…weird.

But when I returned to Boston, I found a 22-ounce bottle, and I decided to give it a go.

I poured my Indra Kunindra into a frosted pint glass, and it immediately formed a frothy tan-brown head made of very fine bubbles. The head quickly dissipated, leaving a thin layer of carbonation atop the dark brown brew—it’s not quite black, but very deep brown. And the India-style export stout is thick, but maybe not quite as thick as the average stout.

Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra has a very mild aroma of spice, earth, coconut and sweet lime citrus. The stout is made with Madras curry spice, coconut, kaffir lime leaf, cayenne and cumin. But no one flavor is overpowering, and they all combine quite nicely. You can taste and smell the lime and coconut more than anything else.  The cayenne pepper leaves you with a notably spicy aftertaste and lingering burn.

Overall, I like this beer much more than I expected to after reading its description, and I regret not trying it on tap in San Diego.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

Award-winning home brewer and Ballast Point Senior Brewer Alex Tweet made the brew in honor of the 46th anniversary of San Diego’s Holiday Wine Cellar, with the goal of creating a truly unique beer that pushes the boundaries of home and craft brewing. And he admirably succeeded.

My bottle cost $10.50, so it’s not exactly cheap. But I don’t feel as though that’s an unreasonable price for such a unique brew. It has an ABV of 7.0%. There’s no official Indra Kunindra page on Ballast Point’s website, unfortunately.

Ballast Point Brewing’s Indra Kunindra India-style export stout currently has a BeerAdvocate.com score of 86, based on 45 user ratings. And it gets a 7/10 ranking on the Urban Beer Nerd Scale.

UBN

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Dogfish Head and The Grateful Dead Announce ‘American Beauty’ Pale Ale, Solicit Ingredient Ideas from Boozy Deadheads

Dogfish Head Grateful Dead American Beauty Imperial Pale Ale

Yesterday, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced a new collaboration between it and The Grateful Dead, the 60s jam band that just won’t quit. (I didn’t even know that any of those dudes were still alive until Phil Lesh and Bob Weir sang the national anthem at the Cardinals/Giants MLB NCLS game on Monday.)

From Dogfish Head’s website:

“Working in that happy place between creative ideas and like-minded people, the off-centered brewery and free-spirited band have been trading ideas for a beer they’re calling ‘American Beauty.’ They’ve settled on a strong pale ale with all-American hops and barley, and now they’re asking their loyal fans to suggest a special ingredient – and the Dead-inspired story behind it.”

The idea is for Deadheads to suggest ingredients that have some sort of Grateful-Dead-related sentimental value to them that would work well in a strong pale ale.

More from Dogfish:

“Did you trade a bushel of fresh clementines for tickets to a two-night-stand at Long Beach Arena? Or maybe your dad first laid eyes on your mom sipping a cup of green tea in the parking lot of the legendary Cornell ‘77 show? Jog your memory, tell the story, and suggest the ingredient at the heart of that story. You could help bring this counterculture collaboration to life.”

I’m not a Dead fan, and the only two Dead songs I can think of are Scarlet Begonias and Casey Jones. I guess the begonias could work as a beer ingredient, but I’m guessing Dogfish won’t want to use cocaine. Deadheads interested in offering up legitimate suggestions should check the Dogfish website in the future for additional details. The American Beauty beer is expected to be available on tap and in bottles in October 2013.

Dogfish Head and its Founder Sam Calagione have participated in quite a few collaborations recently, including Liquid Breadfruit, which it made along with Maui Brewing Co., and Rhizing Bines, which it’s in the process of making with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The brewery has worked with other brewers on limited release beers for years, but it seems like Dogfish is ramping up its collaboration efforts.

For more on Dogfish and Calagione, read “5 Funky Facts I Learned about Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Business Book” and “Sam Calagione on the Difference between Beer Snobs and Beer Geeks.”

UBN

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2012 Great American Beer Fest (GABF) Winners Announced

2012 Great American Beer Fest (GABF) Audience

The winner’s list for the 2012 Great American Beer Fest (GABF) was released today. Hit this link to download the full list. Or go here to see the press release announcing the winners.

Props to my Massachusetts-based brewery bros, Cambridge Brewing Co.—which I wrote about yesterday—and Jack’s Abby for medaling. You make us Massholes proud.

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It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

Edgar Allan Poe

“Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today.” – Edgar Allan Poe

And tomorrow. And the next day.

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Image via DeviantArt.com

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Maine Beer Co. King Titus Porter Review

Maine Beer Company King Titus Porter

When reviewing beers on this blog, I try to evaluate rare or notable brews that may be hard to find but are also widely distributed. I don’t really see value in reviewing beers that anyone can find every day in their corner liquor store. On the other side of the coin, I don’t really like to review beers that are only available to a small percentage of beer drinkers.

I occasionally make exceptions for beers that really blow my mind or for beers that are particularly notable. Today’s review falls into the latter category. Last month, I posted on Maine Beer Co.’s latest creation, King Titus Porter, and I explained how it would soon be hitting beer-store shelves. I found a couple bottles of King Titus this week.

Maine Beer Co., a small brewery in Portland Maine, makes exceptional beers, especially their hoppy ales. (Check out my glowing review of the company’s Lunch IPA.) Maine Beer’s brews are only distributed to eight U.S. states at this point: Maine; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; New Hampshire; Philadelphia; Vermont; and Virginia. But Maine Beer’s products are so good, it should only be a matter of time before distribution expands, assuming that’s what the brewers want.

I poured my 1-pint, 9-fluid-ounce bottle of King Titus Porter into a tulip glass with some force and it immediately formed a thick, frothy beige head. The porter is very carbonated, its head composed of tons of very fine bubbles. Its strong, notable bouquet smells sweet and has a hint of vanilla. And it’s a very dark brown color, like creamy dark chocolate.

Maine Beer Company King Titus Porter

King Titus

Like all of Maine Beer’s products, King Titus Porter tastes extremely fresh. My King Titus was bottled less than two weeks ago, so there’s a good reason for that. It’s very malty, and very smooth. It tastes of chocolate and caramel malts; it’s brewed with American 2-Row, caramel 40L, caramel 80L, Munich 10L, chocolate, roasted wheat and flaked-oat malts, according to Maine Beer. And it’s also quite hoppy with a bitter finish thanks to the Centennial and Columbus hops.

King Titus Porter is 7.5%ABV. And my bottle cost $7.50, which is very reasonable for such a high-quality brew.

Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of porters in general. So it’s hard for me rate this particular beer. I can appreciate King Titus for what it is, though: A solid porter created with very fresh ingredients and a lot of love. For that, I give it a 7 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale.

Here’s some information from Maine Beer Co. regarding the name of this porter:

Titus was a wonderful, bold silverback gorilla that led with his heart. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund studies and protects these magnificent animals in the Virunga Volcano Mountains in Rwanda. Maine Beer Company proudly supports their efforts.

Find more details on Maine Beer Co. and King Titus Porter on the brewer’s website. And check out the video clip below for additional information about the brewery.

UBN

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Where the Beer Goes I Go

Bukowski painting in Bukowski Tavern, Boston

“stay with the beer.

beer is continuous blood.

a continuous lover.”

-Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell

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