Warhorse Brewing Company: IPA

I normally don’t drink IPAs because I’m not a fan of the strong bitterness. That’s why you don’t see too many of them on this blog-I find it difficult to review them objectively. But I gave it a shot with this one from War Horse Brewing Company (soon to be famous.) I’ve also reviewed their Riesling Ale and their American Black Lager.

Style: American India Pale Ale (IPA). Pale golden to reddish amber color. High bitterness and high citrate flavor. Usually balanced by a malty background.

Overall Impression: A pretty decent IPA. Nothing special but it gets the job done.  This went really well with the Indian food I was eating at the time.

Appearance: Clear with a pale brown color. Decent head retention.

Smell: Mostly the hops come through in the aroma.

Taste: Excellent bitterness. Everything you’d expect from an IPA. And like many IPAs, you don’t taste much beyond the hops.

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp.

Try this if you like: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, HopDevil Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

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Brooklyn Brewery: Local #2

I’ve had this beer for a while and finally cracked it open about a month ago. I’m so glad I did, because this was fantastic!

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Higher in alcohol than your standard Belgian Dark Ale. Usually fruity with a mild dark malt flavor. Light on the hops and somewhat spicy.

Overall Impression: Wow! Given what I thought of the Raison d’Etre I reviewed previously, I wasn’t expecting to like this beer. But I did!

Appearance: Burgundy brown color, clear.

Smell: Fruity and slightly malty aroma.

Taste: Mildly spicy, just a bit fruity, and not too bitter. The hops help balance the fruit and spices.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but just a bit tingly.

Try this if you like: Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre, Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue)Tröegs Mad Elf, Hell Hath No Fury Ale

4 stars

Dogfish Head: World Wide Stout

Mmm….is there anything Dogfish Head can’t do? Probably not. This World Wide Stout is absolutely fantastic–a perfect winter warming beer.



Style: American Double/Imperial Stout. Inspired by Russian Imperial Stouts, but bigger and better! More sweetness, more hops, and more alcohol!

Overall Impression: Mmmmmmm…..this is fantastic. It went really well with the spicy food I was eating at the time–almost quenched it in a way. This beer is what stouts aspire to be.

Appearance: Black with great head retention (the picture was taken after it sat for awhile.)

Smell: This beer had a very strong roasted aroma.

Taste: Lovely roasted malt flavor with a kick of barley. There isn’t much bitterness but there is enough to cut back on the malt and give it some bite.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Each sip made me want more.

Try this if you like: Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee

5 Stars

New Holland: Sundog Amber Ale

There is nothing like a good amber ale, especially when it’s also cheap. And you drink it while tailgating. In the rain. And then your team loses 58-0. Ugh. But anyway! The best part of my trip up to Ann Arbor this year was discovering New Holland‘s Sundog Amber Ale.


Style: American Amber/Red Ale. This style is really a catchall for something that isn’t really “dark” but isn’t “light” either. These beers have a well-balanced mix of malt and hops, with a potential light fruitiness.

Overall Impression: Mmmm. Sundog has a mild bitterness which translated to a nice bite. As I mentioned above, I did tailgate with this beer so it’s a decent session beer. I had 2 of these and one Goose Island Harvest Ale. (Don’t worry, the review is based off of another bottle of Sundog I had a week or so later.) And it was also pretty cheap, so it’s got that going for it too. All of that said, it wasn’t anything special: just your typical tasty amber ale.

Appearance: Clear coppery/amber color.

Smell: Not a very strong aroma, mostly hops.

Taste: Mildly bitter, decent balance between hops and malt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well-carbonated. The taste does not really hang around on your tongue.

Try this if you like: Fat Tire Amber Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dogfish Head: Raison D’Etre

Dogfish Head makes some great stuff–I’ve had a quite a few wonderful beers from that brewery. Drinking one right now as a matter of fact–watch for a review of World Wide Stout coming soon! Now, while I may have only reviewed one Dogfish Head beer previously, I really do love this brewery.

I will, however, be completely honest with you. I took one drink of this beer and hated it. So in the interest of non-bias, today’s review is brought to you by Eric, aka the boyfriend.

This one is called Raison D’Etre, and in a bit of a play on words, the primary fruit used in brewing this is: raisins! Dogfish Head bills it as the answer to “what beer should I drink with a wood-grilled steak?”

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale. A dark beer with a fairly high alcohol content. Quite fruity, and usually pretty light on the hops.

Overall Impression: Pretty decent beer. Definitely NOT a session ale, mostly due to the high alcohol content.

Appearance: Cloudy reddish-caramel color. Decent head but not great retention.

Smell: Has a fruity and mildly hoppy aroma. Kind of smells like a brown ale.

Taste: Fruity with slight hop notes. Medium body.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. The taste of the beer hangs around on your tongue for a while.

Try this if you likeTröegs Mad ElfHell Hath No Fury Ale

4 stars

Irish Stout Homebrew Part 3: Tasting!

This is really the best part–tasting your creation.

Irish Stout 2 weeks post-bottling

The verdict? It tastes okay–after 2 weeks it was mostly just hops. After 4 weeks though, we got quite a bit more of the malt flavor and started to taste more like a stout.

On a scale of 1  to 5 pints, 5 being the best freakin’ homebrew I’ve ever had, and 1 being “Dear God we should give up now and pretend this never happened”, I give this attempt a 2.5, rounded up to 3. 🙂 We didn’t screw up royally-we did in fact succeed in making beer. The beer is the color it’s supposed to be. It’s just a little too hoppy and not enough malty for a stout.