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Friday, September 30, 2011

Cascade IPA ~ Amherst Brewing Company

Appearance: hazy orange under a creamy off-white head, solid and smooth.

Nose: cascade hops galore – pine trees and forests. Orange peel and grapefruit peel.

Palate: cascade hops exude pine trees, pine needles, and general forestry in the back. Freshly cut green grass. Grapefruit peel. Pine needles. Dried rosemary. Bready in the middle with chewy grapefruit pulp mixed in.

Final Thoughts: quite a tasty representation of the Cascade hop without slapping you in the face. A solid quaffer. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Muddy Brook Maibock ~ Amherst Brewing Company

Appearance: clear golden grains and steady carbonation. White collar bordering an almost full film.

Nose: peach, mango, cantaloupe, and honey rolls. Melba and bread crusts for some dry crunch. Applesauce.

Palate: sweet without being cloying. Fresh apples, mango, and cantaloupe. Honey rolls and honeycomb.

Final Thoughts: refreshingly un-complex but thankfully not simple. Just enough bread, sweetness, and tropics to feel Spring is right around the corner. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Honey Pilsner ~ Amherst Brewing Company

Appearance: steady stream of bubbles under a white head. Cloudy hazy golden grains.

Nose: gentle honey notes amidst soft breads and grains. White crackers underneath.

Palate: bready and sweet. Honey in the front, crisp in the finish. Freshly made honey rolls straight from the oven. Kiss of green grass in the back along with key lime.

Final Thoughts: a bit less than what I was expecting and yet, at the same time, more than what I expected. As an initial introduction to Amherst Brewing, I was pleasantly pleased. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black Cat Stout ~ Northampton Brewery

Appearance: dark and smoky, burnt. Khaki head stays along with a solid thick collar of equally khaki foam.

Nose: roasted and burnt black root. Raisins and prunes meet the flame for a touch of smoke and a touch of char. Burnt brittle woods. Chocolate graham crackers and Oreo cookies, hold the cream.

Palate: equally toasted, roasted, and burnt without being acrid. Lovely burnt bitterness of charred woods and chocolate. Dates and raisins are meaty, dense, and slightly charred. Medium to medium-light weight.

Final Thoughts: a fully quaffable Irish-style stout the likes of which any Irishman would be happy to quaff. Crazy as it sounds…or maybe not so crazy…Black Cat Stout would make an excellent summer brew. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Highway 78 Scotch Ale ~ Stone/Green Flash/Pizza Port Carlsbad

Appearance: deep cherry, mahogany, and garnet. Tan head lingers as a thin collar with a smooth bubbly center. Swirls with more bubbles along the edge and a creamy puff in the middle.

Nose: raisins, plums, brown sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Ruby port and cinnabuns. Grapes of the black and purple variety. Hint of musk in the back. Apple pulp, hold the skins.

Palate: plums and grapes first. Sweetness up front followed by pits, seeds, and stems – pomace if you please. Apple skins and core with the sweetness of the apple flesh filling the middle. Nutmeg in the back and breath for a gentle and lightly dry finish. Medium weight. Ruby port skirts the edges and adds a level of sophistication.

Final Thoughts: yum! A well-executed collaboration between three vaunted greats in the craft brewing world. Truly great minds really do create truly great beers as Highway 78 Scotch Ale was savory proof. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Old Numbskull ~ AleSmith

Appearance: deep brilliantly clear mahogany and cherry woods under a khaki tannish head. A slow stream of bubbles keeps the head intact while releasing a tantalizing nose. Swirls with a thin yet full layer of lace.

Nose: hoppy, dry, rustic, chocolate, plums. Plum and grape skins. Fall leaves, dry wood and sticks. Whole hop cones with an evergreen essence. Red apple skins. Luxurious and silky.

Palate: lovely marriage of chocolate and plums followed by sticks, twigs, and whole dried hop cones. Plums and grapes start sweet with their juicy innards and end with the thirst-inducing bitter tannic tang of their skins. Twigs and fall leaves mingle with an air of seasons. Black cherries and chocolate bark. Clean mouthfeel, medium-bodied, and silky. Rustic finish with pits and stems. Lovely.

Final Thoughts: AleSmith belongs in Florida…okay, I want AleSmith in Florida but that’s kind of the same thing. The sunshine state aside, no matter where you are, if you stumble across some AleSmith beers, buy and/or drink as much as you can because they really are that good. A phenomenal Barleywine I’d gladly drink over and over again. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fleur ~ Goose Island

Appearance: plum, pink grapefruit, rose, tangerine, and blood orange together in brilliantly clear harmony. Slow steady stream of carbonation traces the sides of glass. Pithy pinkish head is fluffy in the middle and bubbly along the sides.

Nose: wow. Juiciness abounds with blood oranges, pink grapefruit, and white grapefruit atop angel food cake. Key lime zest. Plantains. Rosewater and rose petals. Hint of freshly picked mint leaves. Dew drops. Generic white flower petals.

Palate: soft, bready, frothy, and smooth. Rosewater and rose petals, white flower petals. Pink and white grapefruit – sweet up front with angel food cake underneath then the acidity of rind and zest tingles back of tastebuds. Fresh ripe rhubarb and strawberries side by side. Mint is subtle, weaving in and out like a gentle spring breeze. Key lime equally subtle underneath and flirting with the outer edges of tastesations. Lovely.

Final Thoughts: wow. Loved loved loved this beer. Goose Island never disappoints, impresses quite frequently, and dazzled with the Fleur. This particular bottle was a 2010 batch; I’m not sure how much variance there would be between years but since the brewers find it important to note, so too do I. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saint Botolph's Town ~ Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Appearance: myriad shades of brown under a tan head of fluff and mousse. Lingers with some minute bubbles and lots of cream.

Nose: roasty and nutty with black root skirting along the edges. Chocolate powder and roasted coffee beans. Earth, twigs, and sticks. Toasted almonds.

Palate: toasted and roasted as nose promised. Chocolate bark along the edges with roasted coffee beans rounding out the edges and finish. Chocolate covered roasted almonds. Rustic and earthen – of olden times. Chocolate lasts longest, like fudgy bark and brittle bits.

Final Thoughts: not really all that complex but a pleasant quaffer nonetheless. Brings to mind old Belgian abbeys and cloisters, halls silent with monkish contemplation, while beer brews somewhere nearby. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Clifford ~ Northampton Brewery

Appearance: clear oranges under a solid off-white head. Hint of lace as she swirls nicely.

Nose: hops, hops, and more hops – blood and mandarin oranges, citrus – bright and rindy. Vibrant green grass blades. Pink grapefruit.

Palate: orange and grapefruit are fleshy and fresh with a nice long finish of skin, rind, and pith, leaving mouth parched and wanting for more. Green grass. Grapefruit of all varieties dominate. Leaves lots of lace in its wake.

Final Thoughts: second only to the Eclipse from Northampton was Clifford. Unfortunately I was only able to savor this hoppy delight as a taster since the next time we stopped in for grub and beers, Clifford had left the building thanks to other equally thirsty patrons. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eclipse ~ Northampton Brewery

Appearance: polished mahogany and garnet. Off-white head remains full and puffy while swirling with some more fluff and puff.

Nose: black strap molasses. Peat and burning wood. Black cherries, plums, and grapes of the red and black variety. Fir trees and brush, ferns. Key lime zest. Pumpernickel crunchies and apple crisps/chips.

Palate: clean, crisp, and of medium weight. Plum and grape sweetness lingers longest while the lips and sides of mouth are dry with plum and grape skins, fir trees, and bark. Burnt molasses and toffee. Generic green forestry and dark leathery peaty tannins come last and linger longest. Rye spice. Mandarins and blood oranges in the middle, skins included of course. Roots.

Final Thoughts: yummy! Of my flight of four, Eclipse was the easy winner and I was lucky enough to grab one more glass during vacation before this limited offering was gone. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Scuba's Marzen ~ Northampton Brewery

Appearance: clean clear coppers – polished and pretty. Bready copper-hued head leaves a bubbly collar with a broken puddle in the middle.

Nose: crunchy caramelized apples and melba toast. Mandarin orange peel and candied orange wedges. Hint of herbal hops in the back.

Palate: clean. Apples, lemon, and melba crunch. Caramel is there but faint. Lemon and hop bitterness lingers atop tongue. Dry then sweet along the edges. A bit more caramelization with some melba for crunch and good measure.

Final Thoughts: beer number two in a flight of four, an average M√§rzen but nothing really to write home about. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Weizenheimer ~ Northampton Brewery

Appearance: cloudy haze of liquefied white breads, crusts included for some color. Bubbly feeble head.

Nose: doughy bready with bananas and a ghost of lemon. Predominantly chewy breads with another ghostly presence of crust for some crunch.

Palate: unusual and not particularly pleasant spritzy mouthfeel with lemon bubblies. Bakery fresh breads with watery lemon essence. Banana phenolics disappear as fast as they appear.

Final Thoughts: the nose didn’t leave me with much hope for the palate which was about what I expected. Far too thin, watery, and the seltzeresque mouthfeel wasn’t pleasant at all. Wheat beers should be creamy, smooth, and soft on the mouth. My least favorite of the beers I drank during my many visits to Northampton Brewery. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

XX Bitter ~ Brouwerij De Ranke

Appearance: golden straws and hay under a delicate white head. Lacey foam encircles while a meandering stream of bubbles make their way to the top. Swirls with lacey bubbles.

Nose: lemon, key lime, white grapefruit – all rindy and zesty. Lemongrass. Freshly cut dew-dropped grass. White water crackers. Sun-kissed grains and straw.

Palate: clean and sophisticated. Lemon and white grapefruit. Water crackers and white crackers; saltines without the salt. Green grass, pine needles, lavender – take all, add dew-drops, and sweet sunshine. Lemon ice. Key lime. Freshly cut golden bales of hay. Lemon and white grapefruit rind adds zest and tingle to the sides of my tongue with each quaff. Dry quenching finish.

Final Thoughts: my first bottle of XX Bitter was at The Publican in Chicago a couple years back while I was taking a class at Siebel. Loved It! I didn’t see it again until a chance keg popped up at Vine & Barley, and then again most recently in Northampton during our beercation. Three times lovely, three times tasty, and I have no doubt another three times (or more) tasty. Delicious.

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Espresso Nut Brown Stout ~ Stone Brewing

Appearance: murky blacks browns khakis, ohmy. Tannish head settles into a soft blanket of temptation. Swirls with lace.

Nose: chocolate bark, fudge, chocolate chip cookies dipped in melted chocolate, chocolate covered almonds. Madagascar vanilla beans, raw and unadulterated. Decadent. Cold French press coffee. Black chocolate covered graham crackers.

Palate: bracing bitterness of iced coffee and cold press espresso. Hint of dark fruits along the edges and underneath with tannic skin bitterness – unripe plums and dates. Very dry roasted nuts and espresso beans mingle together amidst a sea of dry brittle dark chocolate delights. Seamless marriage of very strong flavors. Brittle chunks of fudge.

Final Thoughts: thank you Stone for this beer, thank you Sierra Grille for the beer and the dessert (Stone espresso stout brownie with ancho stout gelato and spicy stout caramel), and thank you Laura’s family for mentioning this exclusive once in a vacation-time event. T'was meant to be. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Hoppy Feet 1.5 Double Black IPA ~ Clown Shoes Beer

Appearance: dark black pitch with burnt brown edges. Khaki tan head. Steady stream of bubbles lingers as mousse with bubble spots.

Nose: hoppy and roasty at the same time. Burnt twigs, cold spent coffee ground, and chocolate brittle in the back. Ash. Freshly ground un-adultered cacao beans.

Palate: bracingly burnt and bitter with ash and cacao beans. Brittle burnt hops in the middle. Burnt chocolate and more ash along the sides with burnt acridity tingling the cheeks. A bit of chocolate fondue in the breath. Black root and black licorice, burnt of course.

Final Thoughts: wowsers. Burnt, black, bitter, double, and delicious. Clown Shoes Beer should brew this beer more often and not just as a 1 Year Anniversary celebration beer. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lost Sailor IPA ~ Berkshire Brewing

Appearance: nice golden orange under a white head, solid and firm. Steady vibrant stream of bubbles.

Nose: crackers and melba, saltines and wafers. Grassy, orange and lemon skin – bright zest and brisk. A bit mild. Apple crisps.

Palate: mild around the edges, crisp and dry in the middle with apple, lemon, and orange skins. Green grass. Long lasting bitterness in the middle – classic, classy, and thirst inducing. Honey bread crisp sweetness along the sides. Opens up and blends together just right as warms up.

Final Thoughts: initially I wasn’t quite sure because I had to dig a bit for the nose and the flavors took a while to unravel, but unravel they did. If I were a Lost Sailor, I would gladly drink barrels of this IPA. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Reserve Robust Porter ~ Firestone Walker

Appearance: clean dark browns with black designs under a small tan head of dense foam. Collar is bubby while thick swirls leave their mark along the glass.

Nose: roasted and toasted, cold coffee, prunes and dates and figs. Black cake. Chocolate graham crackers. Vanilla bean root.

Palate: creamy and chocolaty, chocolate covered caramel. Roasted finish much like a dry bar of rich cacao. Dense dark fruits – prunes, figs, and dates. Dense chocolate cake. Creamy mouthfeel never ends. Fudge, espresso, and a hint of smoke. Surprisingly not a very long finish, with most centered atop the middle of my tongue. Earth and burnt vanilla bean.

Final Thoughts: wow. Loved it…and I am not surprised. Porters are so often lost in the shadow of stouts and I find that sad. Of course, I too am guilty or porter neglect, a guilt I must strive to rectify. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Lost Continent Double IPA ~ Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Appearance: pours liquid orange and mandarin. The head is white, bready, and nominal. Broken collar surrounds a broken thin collar. Swirls with spots but not much else.

Nose: freshly cut and squeezed mandarin, tangerine, and grapefruit tantalize. Pine and mint along the edges. Juicy. Dew drops decorate pine tree and citrus fruit. Hints of cantaloupe fresh from the fridge, sliced, and ready for the munching.

Palate: orange, mandarin, and cantaloupe. Fresh and exuberant with juicy sweetness followed by gentle bitterness of the skin. White grapefruit and juice. Pine is last, lingering along with mint tingling the back of my tongue after each swallow. A whisper of lavender flirts with the mint.

Final Thoughts: it was a beautiful Imperial IPA. Juicy. Yummy. I want to hold it in my hand and squeeze its succulent juicy innards into my mouth. Lipsmackingdelicious. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

BEERflections ~ Harpoon End of Summer Splash @ Hurricane VB

Florida enjoys seasons that range from tolerably warm to hot enough to plastic-melting people-broiling hot. While others are frolicking amidst the leaves of Fall, September in Florida has yet to dial it down from people-broiling (I’ll take mine medium-rare please) to just plain hot. With tropical storms looming on the horizon every hour on the hour, Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach launched their Harpoon End of Summer Splash beervent with nonchalant flair. After all, there is no better way to slake one’s thirst than with a cool glass (note I said ‘cool’ and not ‘cold’) of tasty brew. Even better, how about seven tasty craft beers (UFO Hefeweizen bowed out) with each one a style all their own.

Of the seven draft beers pouring the night of Wednesday, September 7th 20011, four of them were brand-spanking new to the state of Florida. Previously only available in bottle (if at all), now one could savor these four delectables on draft which is 99.9999999999% always better than the bottle. The new draft selections included:

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Belgian Pale Ale, Leviathan Imperial Rye, UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, UFO White

Of the seven lucky offerings, yours beerly had never tasted the Belgian Pale Ale and Leviathan Imperial Rye. I had high hopes for both and while each were good in their own right, the Belgian Pale Ale dominated, a surprising turn of events not just to myself, but also to my fellow beerholic ryeholic friend, Rob. We both expected to melt into a puddle of beervana goo upon tasting Leviathan’s Imperial Rye depths…and we didn’t. Rich dark breads and fruits with a pervasive sprinkling of spice were the central focus while that dry spicy fruity husky gloriousness that is rye played second fiddle. All well and good, but it was certainly not a boisterous celebration of Rye. The Belgian Pale Ale on the other hand was a flavortastic repeat offender as one glass after another proved! Crisp, crunchy, spicy, fruity, and playful with sweet tropical and orchard fruit designs dipped in whisky steeped oak barrels while vines of piney hops linger overhead. Divine. As of yesterday there was still a smidge of Belgian Pale Ale left on draft, but not for long if I have anything to drink about it.

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As for the rest of Harpoon’s offerings, the Summer Beer was a nicely dry grassy example of the Kolsch style and a friendly contrast to the doughier tropically sweet example on tap from Matt down south at Tequesta Brewing Company. Both are good examples (American interpretation and Designation Controlee taken into consideration) of the minimalistic range in the Kolsch style which calls Cologne, Germany home. Although the Summer Beer weren’t served in the traditional Stange, Paula enjoyed her glass nonetheless. A proper first choice (with a little help from the Beer Ambassador of the Free World), her next glass was the clean and crisp IPA from Harpoon. While savoring some of the Northeast’s more delicate beers, I lament the fact that I am drinking them more likely than not far too long after their brewing and bottling and distribution than I should. A haven of brewpubs, the Northeastern cluster of states values fresh sessionable beer (with some big bad brews thrown into the mix for good measure), all of which are best enjoyed as fresh as possible and as close as possible to the original source. Don’t believe me? Find your closest brewpub, belly up to the bar, grab a glass brimming with freshly brewed beer, look, smell, taste, and contemplate.

Freshness digression aside, one beer geek ambassador extraordinaire a beervent does not make, and so I put a call out to my peeps and peepettes to converge on Hurricane VB the night of September 7th, 2011 and converge they did!

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It can be hard to make it in Vero Beach both as a new restaurateur and even as a long-term established veteran. My Hurricanes has had a few bumps along the way, but each time picked itself up, wiped off the dust, and became all that much better for it. While we may not attract Bobby Flay or Mario Batali, Guy Fieri DDD and Anthony Bourdain (insert guiltless hero worship “HERE”) would feel more than welcome within our cozy confines. Why? Because Hurricane VB defies the normal craptacular expectations one has from a franchise/chain not just once or twice but every single time. Long before others tried to lay claim to the original craft beer destination, Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach was already there, taps gleaming, flavorful beers flowing in diversity beautiful, while an eclectic menu of wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and so much more travelled from kitchen to plate to hungry patrons.

Delicious!

And that’s not just me blowing smoke up your ass. Long before my employment at Hurricane VB I shared many beers, many stories, and many memories hunched over the patron side of the bar. While my denizens of peeps haven’t crossed from the patron side to the employee side of the bar, they too know where to go in Vero Beach where everyone knows your name, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, but you go anyway because that’s what friends do. In-between supping my beers, snuggling with my Lady, snarfing my Southwester Burger, medium-rare, I mingled and socialized to my heart’s content.

With such amazing friends and my Love who have enriched my life over the years and will continue to do so, Prost!

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Odyssey ~ Allagash Brewing Company

Appearance: pours with the appearance of dark old European woods rich in lore. Khaki tannish head. Bottle conditioned so a steady stream of bubbles greets the eyes. Swirls foamy with a khaki collar.

Nose: interesting and intriguing. Chocolate and plum, Hershey’s chocolate and ruby port. Smell of the seasons changing to Fall. Grape and plum pomace – stems, skins, and pits. Faint oak planks underneath, almost as an afterthought. Fresh black cherries resting in their own juices with no additives or preservatives. Touch of leather in the back along with more pomace – makes me imagine what the old leather Madera sacks of yore may have smelled like after years of use.

Palate: wow! Subtle and soft, sophisticated and aristocratic. Chocolate and leather, pomace, black cherries both in essence and fresh juice. The pomace lingers in the back of each swallow along with old wine soaked oak. More cherries and chocolate with the addition of red and black grapes. Bakers chocolate teases the top back middle of my tongue. More oak comes out to play as she warms up with campfire and fireplace designs.

Final Thoughts: wow and wow! Allagash Brewing never disappoints and the Odyssey was indeed an odyssey of all the senses. If one is so lucky as to stumble across a bottle or three, embrace greed and buy them all. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Nyx *Apprentice Series* ~ White Birch Brewing

Appearance: pours black and thick, forming an espresso crema head also thick and delicious. Slow stream of bubbles trace the sides of my clean glass. Lace sticks and crawls and tempts.

Nose: dry and roasted with coffee beans, freshly drawn espresso, and burnt caramel. Black earth and twigs. Singed whole hop cones in the back. Chocolate bark and bakers chocolate.

Palate: clean and lovely. Burnt sweetness up front, dry earthen singed hops in the back, smooth and frothy along the sides. Bakers chocolate and espresso crema mingle. Tobacco leaf. Old tired brush and shrubs. Chocolate in the middle. Driest along the edges with delectable burnt acridity.

Final Thoughts: holy moly. Of the bottle beers my Love and I bought during our Massachusetts trip, this beer was by far in the top three. I’d heard pleasant rumblings about White Birch online so I was hoping for good but instead I got great. Bottle Specs: bottled April 2011 from batch 1 of a bottle count totaling 1065. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Imperial Red IPA ~ Blue Hills Brewery

Appearance: slight haze of oranges and reds and coppers. Off white head leaves lovely lace bordering a puddle of foam in the middle. Swirls foamy and blotchy.

Nose: intriguing. Cinnamon swirls, crunchy caramelized brown sugars. Melba toast. Flower petals, tree pulp. Washington apples. Rye bread sticks.

Palate: bushels of fresh Washington apples. Lemon and white grapefruit citrus pith. Floral notes of generic white flowers and dandelions. Straw, hay, and coconut husk in the back. Dry in the middle. Apple along the sides dipped in melted caramelized brown sugar – surprisingly no sticky lips. Essence of Fall – changing of the leaves, crispness in the air, twigs, orchards.

Final Thoughts: not at all what I was expecting in lots of tastefully good ways. More of a red ale than an IPA to me but nonetheless, I’d both buy and drink again. After all, there is no crap on tap in Massachusetts. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beer Tasting TODAY @ ABC Fine Wines & Spirits SR60 VB

**Sporting the best retail selection of craft and artisanal beers in Vero Beach, Florida, our very own ABC on SR60 West right next to Olive Garden is hosting their first (hopefully of many) beer tastings. What's a beer tasting without yours beerly? Why, not a beer tasting at all so of course, I will be there...and so will you.**


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve "The CONCOCTION" Premiere @ Hurricane VB

I am PROUD to announce the long-awaited premiere of the Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve KEG-ONLY series at Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach, FL with the latest and greatest: The CONCOCTION.

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Double Jack IPA ~ Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Appearance: beautiful brilliant golden oranges under a voluminous pithy head, tight and in no hurry to disappear. Mousse-like with random bubbly pockets. Lace surrounds.

Nose: orangey hoppy juicy freshly squeezed goodness. Mango, kiwi, and guava squeezed for my pleasure. Husky in the back. Hop cones in the back. Kiwi grows as initial chill dissipates.

Palate: hits the spot! Mango, kiwi, and guava. Lemon rind in the finish along with inner ripe yellow banana skins. Tropical flesh into tropical skins for lingering juicy husky bitterness with a rawness to it. Honeycomb with more comb than honey. Tangerines freshly picked and juiced.

Final Thoughts: clean and delicious. Firestone Walker inspires and teases because I can’t get any here in Florida. One of the tasting highlights of our Massachusetts vacation. Juicy hoppy goodness. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti ~ Great Divide

Appearance: black and thick under an espresso crema head tight and mousy. A sticky spider web circles while a dark velveteen puddle sits in the middle. Swirls dark and tantalizing.

Nose: roast and roasted chocolate, fudge and burnt fudge. Whole chocolate bars – dark, delicious, decadent, and European. Ooey gooey brownies. Burnt oak, wood, and trees lurk in the distance. Tobacco and cigar leaf – like holding a fresh hand-rolled cigar under the nose.

Palate: wow. Chocolate, bakers, cigar leaf, ash, burnt wood, shavings, dirt and earth, dark fruit stones. Dry chocolates along the sides and in the finish. Top of tongue is parched. Tar and char. Tannic, almost metallic finish in the back. Peat and smoke, oily, salty.

Final Thoughts: wow and wow. I’ve had quite a few of the various Yeti renditions from Great Divide with the Chocolate being the nearest and dearest so far. Great Divide always impresses. Grab a cigar, snuggle with your loved one, light the fireplace, and savor slowly and surely. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Urthel Hop-It ~ Brouwerij De Leyerth

Appearance: brilliant golden straw hues under a billow brilliant bready white head which fades with lace that persistently crawls up the sides of my glass. Head settles into a solid blanket. Swirls airy and lacey.

Nose: yeasty, doughy, spicy, hoppy, and orangey. Orange pith and skin, lemon rind. Melon sweetness – cantaloupe. Banana peel. Cut grass damp with dew drops. Raw ginger roots.

Palate: spicy. Fruit skins. White pepper. Green banana peel, lemon peel, mandarin peel, ginger root. Sage and rosemary; dried herbs and dried grass. Burlap sacks full of dry cut hay. Coconut husks raw in front and toasted in the back. Lovely. Spicy hops than herbal hops – dried.

Final Thoughts: I loved it. I’ve heard many good things about the Urthel beers and while Hop-It is just my second, happy tasting times lay head. Yum! 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Harpoon End of Summer Splash @ Hurricane VB *TODAY!*

**Yours beerly will be there of course! New to the sunny state of FL are the Belgian Pale Ale, Leviathan Imperial Rye, UFO White, and UFO Raspberry. The other 4 Harpoon beers are oldies but goodies. See you September 7th at Hurricane Grill & Wings of Vero Beach!!!**

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Monstre Rouge ~ De Proefbrouwerij

Appearance: deep murky mahogany with some plum designs. Bubbly khaki head, tight and splotchy. Broken patches of lace remains nice and puffy.

Nose: rhubarb and hop cones dried together. Overall rather mild; have to hunt for the aromas. Dry forest twigs. Powdered chocolate in the back. Plum and grape esters. Old dry leathery tannins. Opens up a smidge as warms up but not much. Black root and black strap molasses.

Palate: burnt roots. Toasty. Lingers with dry European truffles with chocolate powder in the back. Chocolate raisins. Sour? What sour? Nutty prune and plum pits in the middle. Raisin and date bread. Twigs, dirt, and cut fire logs. Black earth. Ashen burnt hops. Slowly grows an intriguing earthy complexity.

Final Thoughts: alright but not what I was expecting. Thin, weak, and definitely not anywhere near sour. Rather boring. If it wasn’t going to go sour, it should have focused more on the earthiness. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Ale ~ Bells

Appearance: slight haze of mandarins and blood oranges with ruby-garnet glints. Pithy head fades into a ringlet bordering a half-moon film. Swirls with trailing blotches.

Nose: peaches, apricots, mandarin, and apricots stewed in cinnamon and allspice. Tickle of heat in the back. Rich. Tropical skin bitterness and tannins of green bananas, mango, and guava. Hint of earthiness – barnyard, dust, and old houses. Orchard esters – fallen leaves after the harvest.

Palate: clean profile allows all the flavors to shine. Dry along the sides, spiced and stewed and woodsy underneath and in the finish. Stewed orange peels. Twigs, barnyard dust, and dirt. Green banana and guava skins. Soft bready mouthfeel – bread dipped into barrel aged apples, oranges, plums, and golden raisins. Allspice and nutmeg. Complex. Parching and thirst-inducing at the same time. Long bitter tannic finish.

Final Thoughts: loved it. I wasn’t expecting an imperial IPA was pleasantly pleased with the result. Of course, Bells brewed it so it has to be. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Third Coast Beer ~ Bells

Appearance: clear straw with a bright white tight fizzy bubbly head. Swirls with lace and more bubbles along its edge.

Nose: grains and dry finely ground cornmeal. Lemon peel and pith in the back, mostly pith. Wonder bread crusts. Distinctly fresh albeit generic in its white breadness. French rolls.

Palate: bracing bitterness in the back of each swallow from first to last. Soft bready mouthfeel – digging into the soft innards of freshly baked French bread, hold the crust please. Acidic bitterness and wax – lemon peel meets grater. Cut green grass blades.

Final Thoughts: meh. Better than most lawn-mowing macro swill, but still nothing to really write home about, especially when there are finally some GOOD pilsners and lagers available. BUT! For what Third Coast Beer is meant to be (read above) it is quite good. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Dad's Little Helper Black IPA ~ Rogue

Appearance: burnt espresso and smoldering woods. Gorgeous head – tan – with a full circle collar crawling up the sides of the glass. Swirls creamy, like whipped coffee ice cream.

Nose: roasted oats, burnt twigs, and burnt hops. Clean profile. Dry finish of instant coffee. Dark fruit pits, dry roasted almonds. Ash. Dry brittle chocolates.

Palate: light around the sides while grabbing middle of tongue and never letting go. Burnt ash and twigs, burnt dark fruit stones. Pure black cacao crumbles. Dried roasted hop cones. Hint of smoke in the back. Parching. Bitter ashen finish.

Final Thoughts: for a Rogue beer, pretty darn good. Not my favorite Black IPA but definitely up there with some of the better examples. I’d gladly drink this beer any day.

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Tsjeeses ~ De Struise Brouwers

Appearance: hazy orange under a pithy head. Swirls with blotchy lace, thicker along the edges.

Nose: stewed spiced orange fruits: mandarin, peaches, and apricots, skins and all. Pink grapefruit. Mango and melons. Dried straw/grass/hay. Hint of sour funk and leather in the back. Lots of skin and pith – citric, melon, and tropical.

Palate: yum. Chewy funked spiced boozed fruit and citric deliciousness. Nutmeg and cumin and powdered ginger. Papaya, guava, and plantains. Mangos and red plums. Dry earthy hay/straw/grass and burlap sacks underneath.

Final Thoughts: with no visible indications of how old the bottle was when I bought it, there was some concern than it would be compromised in some way. Thankfully that was not the case (as far as I can tell) and in result, I enjoyed a tasty Christmas brew in early spring. 

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)