Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen ~ Boston Beer Company

Appearance: cloudy pumpernickel under an off-white tannish head which fades into a puddle bordered by a slightly thicker collar. Swirls average.

Nose: chewy, rich, and sweet – borderline too sweet. Raisins and moist dense raisin breads of the whole wheat and pumpernickel dark bread variety. Hint of brown sugar and maple. Fresh moist meaty dried prunes. Sliced over-ripe bananas in the back.

Palate: chewy and surprisingly delicate given the dense richness of the nose. Moist raisins bread ala ripe bananas ala brown sugar melts in the mouth with a pleasant weight and density. Bananas are a constant presence, weaving in and out of the other individual flavors – brown sugar, caramelized maple, pumpernickel.

Final Thoughts: thankfully the taste wasn’t as rich as the nose implied. A decent Samuel Adams beer that doesn’t suck but doesn’t wow at the same time – a gateway approachable Dunkelweizen true to the style, albeit a bit on the simplistic side. 


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

Ovila Saison ~ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Appearance: orange under an exuberant white head which lingers as a solid layer broken up by random bubbles while trying to crawl up the sides of my glass. Swirls puffy and pretty.

Nose: banana phenolics lead right into fresh dough being kneaded before baking. Clove and green banana peel. White pepper wafts through the air. Lemon pith then lemon zest. Mandarin oranges ripe for the eating. Husky dry straw in the back.

Palate: full bodied and of the harvest – a cornucopia of the fields. Banana, clove, and white pepper dominate the middle. A chewy profile of doughy yeasty breads on the rise but not yet baked. Mandarin orange breads. Husks, saddles, leather, and barnyard dust and funk in the back – cleanses and parches and inspires a thirst for more. Green banana skins also creep into the finish. A mélange of spices – cumin, dry ginger root, more white pepper. Full lightly frothy medium mouthfeel.

Final Thoughts: delicious! First the Dubbel and now the Saison, I am equally pleased and impressed with both abbey style beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing. I am sure the monks of the Ovila Abbey are pleased. 


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

Crispin Original ~ Crispin Cider Company

Appearance: slight chill haze. A bubbly ring along the top while a few errant bubbles race to the surface.

Nose: freshly pressed apples – pulpy, slightly chilled, with their juices running down the sides of my mouth. Essence of equally freshly crushed sauvignon blanc grapes. Angel food cake sweetness – light and airy. Mild hint of tartness – granny smith apples, hold the skin. Faint pineapple and kiwi in the middle.

Palate: full and chewy –like suckling on pureed apple flesh- with bubbles tickling the side of my mouth and back of throat. Zips along with brisk sauvignon blanc grapes and fresh apple pulp. Essence of pears. A short finish with a quick nip of tartness.

Final Thoughts: not too shabby. I enjoyed my glass without any ice as to not dilute the natural flavors of Crispin’s Original Cider. I would have enjoyed a bit more of the diversity promised in the nose but overall a refreshing quaffer. 


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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Smashed Blueberry ~ Shipyard

Appearance: pours the color of liquid blueberry. Smashed blueberry skins, stems included. Swirls with a collar.

Nose: blueberry smoothie and blueberry muffins. Like grabbing a handful of fresh blueberries then squeezing them, the juices and pulpy remains squishing through your fingers. Hershey’s chocolate in the back – melted atop blueberries. Generic rustic quality in the back.

Palate: thin and watery in the middle. Blueberry water and grape water in the middle. Hard burnt acrid chalky finish. Tannic and leathery in a very bad stale way. Painfully bitter blueberry and grape skins. Raw boozy finish.

Final Thoughts: wow. Not good at all. I couldn’t finish my glass much less the bottle – both went down the drain. 


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

Weizenbock ~ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Appearance: a lovely orange, lighter along the edges, and topped with a generous off-white head – fading into a thick collar with spotty lace. Swirls bubbly but fades fast.

Nose: yeasty and doughy. Bananas and fuzzy orange fruits – nectarines and peaches. Aloe and cactus, white flower petals and stems. Tropical. Guava.

Palate: sweet up front then transitions into a summery tropical paradise. A bit mild. Banana peel, cactus, aloe – all in the back. Peach breads. Almonds. Dried apricots. Spicy yeasty dough. Grows a bit cloying. Spicy heat in the breath then dry straw and hay. Guava, aloe, and cactus.

Final Thoughts: it was alright and maybe it was just my mood but overall, rather underwhelming. Good but not worth seeking out again. 


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

Juniper Black Ale ~ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Appearance: pours black and burnt browns, finally settling black. Huge head – bubbly, airy, and fades in huge chunks, patches, and lace.

Nose: burnt charcoal, black smoldering ash. Juniper is a subtle pervasion and excellent compliment. Brittle bakers chocolate. Black earth. Burnt pine and hops in the back.

Palate: medium mouthfeel and weight with chocolate, ash, bakers chocolate, and twigs coming in last. Burnt pine and juniper. Long burnt parched finish. Still smoldering black earth. Leather? Starts to grow some tobacco notes – like smoking a fine dry spicy earthy cigar.

Final Thoughts: an excellent marriage of burnt delights and juniper earthiness. Delicious and out of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp twelve-pack, this was my favorite beer and would make an excellent addition to their regular line-up.


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

Monday, November 14, 2011

BEERflections ~ 4th Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest

Everyone loves a good beer fest, especially yours beerly, Kristyn Lier - Beer Ambassador Extraordinaire. The beauty of good beer diversity is just that, diversity, which is best enjoyed with the freedom to brew and savor as such. There is nothing else in the world as life-affirming as beer. With each sip bringing an awareness of the senses, a place of humble enjoyment grounds while curiosity swells amidst a thirst for discovery which can only be quenched by further BEERventures, both local and beyond. In the words of the great beer hunter Michael Jackson: “For every beer, a place, and for every place, a beer.”

…and in the words of the affably opinionated men of BeerWorks Charitable Foundation:
“In 2008, six individuals organized the First "Treasure Coast Beer Fest" in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce, Florida. Because of the success of that festival, Beerworks Charitable Foundation Inc. was established. Our mission is to educate people about the many styles of beer the world has to offer, and at the same time raise money for local charities.”

…and so I would like to propose and I don’t think Michael Jackson would mind, ‘For every beer, a community, and for every community, a beer.’

I’ve been involved albeit more in the background with BeerWorks for TCBF2 and TCBF3 but this time around an opportunity arose for me to be directly and intimately involved, an opportunity which I gladly accepted. In all ways possible, this year’s Treasure Coast Beer Fest was the best one yet which may sound like the usual statement of the obvious, but it really was the best one yet. If I may (and I’m going to) share a moment of selfish gushing – craft beer and the craft beer community have brought more joy, goodness, peace, hope, fun, creativity, inspiration, curiosity, and best of all, Love to my life.

Beer isn't just malted barley, water, hops, and yeast. Beer is love.


Hundreds upon hundreds of fest-goers shared this love in celebratory quaffness on October 22nd 2011 between 1pm and 5pm at the Downtown Fort Pierce City Hall Parking Garage during the best beer drinking weather one could ask for. Truly glorious. A morning chill in the mid 60s while the afternoon crested in the mid 70s definitely made a positively drinkable difference. Previous year’s had taken place in the suffocating month of September when humidity still has its death hold on all of Florida and her citizens. A seasonal climate Florida does not have unless you count slightly hot, hotter, hottest, and slightly cool as its four seasons. This year October found the Treasure Coast squarely in the slightly cool category with nary an inkling of slightly hot. With a brilliantly unfettered azure sky above, a perfect breeze, and beer eagerly awaiting their moment of tasting cup glory, the day was ripe for success.

How successful?

For the first time ever the Treasure Coast Beer Fest sold out! That’s right – sold out! Each year our cap has been 1000 patrons and this year we reached that peak and planted a flag called success on its tip. At no exact moment were there 1000 people total in the garage but from the first beer fest-goer to the last, the line of men and women of all ages and professions eager to sample some of the over 200 different beers being poured never ebbed nor waned. An easy half hour before the gates were open, a thirsty line stretched out from the parking garage entrance all the way back around inside and out, and at one point all the way out to US1. Thankfully, mom and dad did teach us not to play in traffic, beer fest or no beer fest.

But I digress…

Right into the thrilling premonition that this year’s fest was going to be epic and for once my instincts were right. From the charities (Learn to Read of St. Lucie County, Treasure Coast Hospice, and Treasure Coast Food Bank) to the volunteers to the men (and women) of BeerWorks Charitable Foundation to the breweries and distributors and vendors and sponsors that all came together in beertiful harmony – our 4th Annual was a celebratory success of craft beer diversity and of beautiful human beings.


Speaking of beautiful human beings, let me give a proud shout-out to the charities mentioned above for their fair share of selfless promotion and support; our success is a team effort and a proud one at that. In particular, I’d like to thank everyone (breweries, distributors, volunteers) for bringing generous donations of non-perishable goods to help the hungry men, women, children, and families who rely on Treasure Coast Food Bank to enjoy the simple pleasures of a meal. And once those gates opened and wave after wave of equally generous TCBF4 fest-goers brought their own non-perishable donations. As soon as one bin full of donations was carried to their truck located just outside the Downtown Fort Pierce City Hall Parking Garage, another was already filled and ready to be taken out, emptied, and brought back to be filled again and again in this beautiful circle of giving. For those kind souls who brought donations, for each item a raffle ticket was given and later during the fest many a lucky raffle ticket were redeemed for a gift basket full of tasty beers, coasters, bottle openers, and other fantastic beery shwag. One should always give just for the sake of giving because someone else out there needs help…but a little something-something in return doesn’t hurt either. And it’s thanks to JJTaylor for generously providing the beery shwag and A Picky Gourmet for providing the beer buckets that made a difference in many a beerthusiast’s day.


Also wonderfully represented was Learn to Read of St. Lucie County, advocates of adult literacy, and Treasure Coast Hospice, advocates of human stewardship. Let us never forget that reading is anything but simple for those who struggle with adult literacy. There is not a moment of any given day where reading isn’t integral to social and economic success and acceptance both at home and at work. Founded in 1981, Learn to Read of St. Lucie County provides a safe haven where adults can embrace the joy of reading and cast off the shame of illiteracy in a warm respectable environment. And let us also never forget that death isn’t about dying but about living our later days and years in comfortable dignity. Sometimes one can do this alone and sometimes one needs help which is where Treasure Coast Hospice steps in to offer support, guidance, answers to questions both easy and difficult, and most importantly, humanity. Thank you for all you do for the community.

I know I’ve said it before and I don’t mind saying it again: BeerWorks Charitable Foundation and the wonderful world of craft beer is all about community. We know that first and foremost the heart of craft beer beats proudest in the ladies and gentlemen who run our markets, heal our sick, comfort our wounded, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, and so much more. I still think that Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head says it best with “Think global, drink local.” and local is the heart of Treasure Coast Beer Fest. It is why every year we choose local charities and why every year our educational mission to share the flavorfully diverse world of craft beer continually meets with joyous success. This success in turn cultivates further curiosity and passion to explore, learn, taste, and share. As mankind’s oldest beverage, beer has played second fiddle to the marketing genius of the wine and spirits conglomerates for far too long. Beer is equal to wine and spirits if not their better. Am I biased? Yup. But I’ve got lots of factual stuff I won’t go into here to back me up; goo-bin-hoo it for yourself. Suffice to say, since time immemorial man, woman, worker, slave, king and queen, aristocrat, politician, merchant, farmer, poet, philosopher, writer so-on-and-so-forth drank beer glorious beer and they didn’t want anything else. Beer is a milestone of humanity reclaiming its proud place in the life and times of you and me.

Don’t believe me?


How about now? Yes? Good.

With a list of far too many amazing breweries for me to list, TCBF4 topped out at just over 200 beers which sounds like a lot but as with all things tasteful, it’s not about quantity but quality and diversity and for both veteran fest-goers and newbies, the mad dash to taste as much as possible before the hour knelled was never an issue. Responsibility and fun walked cup in hand with drunkenness nowhere to be found. At the very least, nowhere I could see and nowhere that my fellow BeerWorks peeps and the fine uniformed men of the Fort Pierce police department could see either. We take pride in the fact that our Treasure Coast Beer Fest is a tasting fest and not a drunk fest. If anything, it was the most civilly organized and genuinely pleasant fest yet with merriment echoing throughout the air from set-up to tear-down. Equally echoing through the merry air was the Funky Buddha Lounge out of Boca Raton as every hour on the hour they tapped a keg of special TCBF4 brew with flavors the likes of No Crusts PB & J, Apple Cinnamon Bierbaum, Pina Colada Wheat, and more. While all of their beers pleased the ever discriminatory tastebuds of yours beerly, none really grabbed them by the bud and yelled wow! Innovative and quirky, they are more special occasion than any day quaffness. But where Funky Buddha excelled was at playing the crowd and thus the demand as evidenced by the massive hourly swarm to their table, a strategy other breweries might do well to note.


But let’s be fair here. One beer geek’s “hurrah” is another’s “it's alright” and Funky Buddha wasn’t the only local Florida brewery that brought their game. Of particularly personal interest and pleasure was the so brand-spankin' new they aren’t even open yet brewery which goes by the name Due South out of Boynton Beach. Pouring four beers (Red Hoptober, Southbound Brown, Caramel Cream Ale, and Honey Wheat) all of which I thoroughly enjoyed, my two favorites were the Caramel Cream Ale because I’m a sucker for a good cream ale and the Honey Wheat because I’m a sucker for anything sour. Proudly wearing a tart lactic acidity much like sourdough bread, the soft chewy mouthfeel (thank you wheat) and gentle honey essence (thank you bees) brought to mind another sour love of mine – Berlinerweisse. I hope the Honey Wheat changes not a bit (except for more sour) so that come next summer I can quaff many a glass.


Continuing my tour down Florida craft beer lane (gotta support my local) was the newly old addition of Tequesta Brewing Company. I say newly old because Matt was at TCBF3 as the proud brewmaster of Corner Café & Brewery; this year he is the proud brewmaster and owner of Tequesta Brewing Company which sits right next door to his alma matter, Corner Café. I’ve been to both and to both I shall return – good beer, good food, good people, good times. Pouring such solid standards as Gnarly Barley and Der Chancellor, Matt also brought along a few surprises the likes of Hopscotch, a Scotch Ale, and Vantober, Matt’s tastetastic twist on the classic Octoberfest. Amazingly, my biggest surprise of all didn’t involve Matt’s beers in all their yumminess but instead involved his mom and dad who are awesome. Glad to meetcha!!!


Along with Funky Buddha and Tequesta Brewing, another big draw is always Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa (not Ybor), Florida. I must say though it pains me so that while CCB brought many really good beers they didn’t really bring anything of tastebud-blowing line-forming epicness. Guava Grove, Big Sound Scotch Ale, Jai Alai IPA, and Maduro are all excellent beers readily available right here, right now…and therein lay the rub. There was nothing uber exclusive to draw endless mobs of beer geeks and beer newbs to the table to have their tastebuds blown in proper line-forming fashion. Not having the CCB Tap Van there as in beer fests past didn’t hurt but it sure as heck didn’t help either. Nothing draws attention like a big van painted in Cigar City Brewery colors with a deliciously long line of taps sticking out the side, calling one’s name to Taste! Taste! Taste! Of course, I say all this with much love for my fine peeps at CCB. I have nothing but absolute respect for their fabulous beery creations. The brewery is beautiful, tasting room inviting, staff friendly, and beers amazing. Know this: if you haven’t had a Cigar City beer yet, than your life is incomplete and such a sordid error must be corrected immediately or your life is forfeit.


Hm… Am I growing jaded in my beer tasting years? Cynical? Boorish? *gasp* Snobbish?
I hope not. I think this calls for a glass of humble…and a beer.

Florida is no longer the beer desert that it once was and continuing the Florida beer pimpage was Holy Mackerel (a truly life-changing beer) and the Florida Beer Company which suffers much cynicism but has offered me some truly tasty beers over the years: Swamp Ape, Beachside Porter, and Key West Southernmost Wheat. Beyond the professional are the amateurs (and don’t we all start as amateurs?), top of which was the Treasure Coast Brewmasters. Every year I wait until almost the end of the fest and every year I miss out on too many of their fantastic homebrews. This year I vowed would not be the same and while I didn’t taste all, I tasted many and they were delicious! Located next to the Treasure Coast Brewmasters were the brand-new upstarts Pirate Pig whose enthusiasm and merchandising skills I admire. The beers (Landlubber Ale, Cochon Brune, and Sergeant Swijn) need work. I’m not saying this to be mean or unfair but to be honest because without honest criticism one cannot improve, impress, and succeed. As Pirate Pigs stands right now, I was not impressed but I look forward to being impressed in the future. To think that Vero Beach could very well soon have its own brewery blows my mind considering the very real desert I moved back to not that long ago. Progress. I can almost taste it…

Speaking of tasting, did anybody else get a taste of the original oak cask and rum cask Innis & Gunn? Holy flavorphoria!! I’d first been teased with the prospect of Innis & Gunn during last year’s Beer Fest but it somehow managed to elude my eager lips. Thanks to the recent merging of Florida Micro Bev and Brown Distributing, Innis & Gunn was once more in my sights and finally in my hands. Success! Easily one of my favorite beers of the fest, partly for “white whale” reasons and largely because they really were that good: the Oak Aged Cask was classic vanillin caramel oak goodness while the Rum Cask Oak Aged version was pure island delights – coconut, molasses, and candied apple goodness. Yum! On the flipside, I am still amazed that Innis & Gunn (of Belhaven (Greene King)) still insists on using clear glass bottles. According to certain sources, Belhaven feels that there are so little hops (only 18 IBUs) that any potential for skunked fusels would dissipate upon the opening and pouring of said bottle. Okay…I kind of buy that but mostly don’t. Clear bottles don’t protect beer. Period. Fewer hops and thus lower IBUs may mean less chance of immediate skunkability but the beer will skunk, both eventually and sooner. This of course means I’ll just have to drink my Innis & Gunn sooner than later, a hard job but I’m willing to do it.


It doesn’t take much to make for a happy Kristyn: Love, beer obviously, and friends. Speaking of friends, there were plenty. It seemed at every flash of the camera, turn of the head, skittering of the feet, there was a friendly face with open arms ready for me to jump into. Long-lost Great Spirits beer tasting peeps, French Quarter beer dinner peeps, Town Crier Pub beer dinner peeps, Hurricane and Vine & Barley endless sea of friendship reunited. We’ve laughed, cried, argued, and celebrated together through the years and we are still celebrating, proof shared in every tasting cup brimming with beery bliss. In the world of Beer Fests, we may be a suckling babe with still much to learn, grow, and contribute, but it’s a journey through the ages I look forward to. I can honestly say myself (and others) are helping our community by drinking craft beer. It’s true. Craft and community go hand-in-hand; this relationship of familial selflessness is one of the main reasons I love craft beer as much as I do. It’s as much about the brewers who brew and the community they embody both local and beyond as it is the beer - Inseparable.

Joining our community on the Treasure Coast was the indomitable Sweetwater Brewery whose Blue is still inmynotsohumbleopinion the best blueberry beer readily available on the market. Don’t believe me? Make a trip to Atlanta, Georgia and visit their beerdacious brewpub to experience for yourself the true Blue. But why Atlanta, Georgia? Because to the best of my knowledge Sweetwater is still unavailable in Florida, the tippy top northern edge notwithstanding. Considering their deserved white whale status, it didn’t take long for fest-goers to elbow their way to the Sweetwater table to savor along with Blue such classics as their IPA, 420 Extra Pale Ale, Sch’Wheat, and Motor Boat. Yum, yum, yum, and super yum. I would like to say a big thank you to Sweetwater for finding the time in their hectic schedule to visit our humble Treasure Coast Beer Fest and another big thank you to JJTaylor Distributing for their always impeccable stewardship. You’re not just partners in craft beer prosperity, you are family. From our inaugural fest to our fourth, your stalwart support and smart dedication to the brewers and their beer continues to push the bar of success higher and higher. The Treasure Coast wouldn’t be as crafttastic as it is now without your unwavering dedication, and for that I thank you.


Speaking of distributors, since Republic National was absent this year, we had a newcomer ready and raring to take its place: Brown Distributing. If you live south of the JJTaylor Distribution Border, than Brown Distributing is your person of interest in the craft beer world. From the warehouse to your glass and everywhere in-between, Brown has been carefully supplanting macro mediocrity with craft beer superiority. Through their acquisition of FL Micro Bev and addition of an exciting new contract with Shelton Brothers, purveyors of international artisanal bliss the likes of Mikkeller, Nogne-O, Haandbryggeriet and more, craft is where it’s at and where it’s staying. But do I really need to tell you that? The craft beer explorer who has tasted the beerpiphany and thirsts for more? Of course not, and so it pleases me to auspiciously announce our intentions for many more beerpiphanies courtesy of the BeerWorks Charitable Foundation.

You heard me – the 5th Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest will happen and considering Christmas is right around the corner, Fall of 2012 will be here before we know it. In the meantime, I fully plan on hunting, tasting, and savoring all the beers I can get my hands on between now and then. The hunt is never over. The discovery is never old. The diversity is never dull. The excitement is never ending.

To beer, to community, to memories – Slainte!
Now to have another beer, but what shall it be…

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ghidorah (Beer Camp Double IPA) ~ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Appearance: orange with honey hues. Pithy head is fluffy, clumpy, and patchy. Rests with a gentle haze. Swirls blotchy with sticky lace and a patchy blanket.

Nose: grapefruit, lovely grapefruit – white mostly with some yellow. zest, skin, and lemon. Grapefruit pulp and juice – freshly squeezed. Pine and spearmint in the back. Key lime is a subtle suggestion. Seviche finish of fresh citrus juices amidst sea breeze essence.

Palate: grapefruit, key lime, and lemon hits hard and fast, leading into pine needles and hop resins. Pith and rind – take above fruits and rind away. Deliciously simple.

Final Thoughts: not overly complex but the flavors were bright, rambunctious, and eager to please. 


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

Nuthin In Common (Beer Camp California Common) ~ Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Appearance: golden coppers under a large pithy blotchy head which fades splotchy and broken. Swirls clumpy and bubbly.

Nose: biscuit, crackers, saltines, dried straw. Lemon pith and green grass in the back. Table crackers. Dried stems and flower petals. Sunshine and dried grass.

Palate: smooth, creamy, and bready up front. Breads lead into saltine and water crackers. Lemon peel and pith along the sides. Bread sticks to the middle with just a hint of honey. Bitterness is subtle, bittersweet. Dry finish in the back of straw and crackers.

Final Thoughts: nice. A fine contender for the original Steam Beer ala California Common.


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

Westvleteren Extra 8 ~ Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus

Appearance: murky browns under a soft bready khaki head. Swirls creamy.

Nose: essence of age – old wood, old leather. Fig and date cake (think ala Fig Newton). Brown sugar pumpernickel underneath – dense. Wet wood. Twigs, dried brush.

Palate: rich and datey, cakey, and figgy. Sweetness than spice – chewy dark fruits than brown wintry spices. Chewy pumpernickel and whole grain breads. Leather and old earth. Nutmeg. Decidedly rich and humble at the same time.

Final Thoughts: Westvleteren is truly the white whale of the beer geek world; though I think it’s disservice to limit this fine Trappestry and their beer strictly to the beer geek world. It’s a fine beverage, possible one of the finest in the world. I believe that of all the Westy beers and if you’re truly ever lucky enough to find a bottle or glass in your hand, pour slowly and savor. 


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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Plain Porter ~ Porterhouse

Appearance: solid black – not oily but charcoal and burnt. Khaki head is thin with scattered patches of bubbles. Smidges of lace inch their way up sides of my glass. Swirls with lace and thick sides.

Nose: burnt toast – dry, crisp, and wholly black. Dark fruits in the back. Dry unadulterated cacao dust. Burnt raisins. Dark fruit stones and dry almonds. Twigs, dirt, and black earth. Charcoal ash.

Palate: a touch smoky. Dark fruits in the finish. Burnt and ashen dry woods. Sweetness of dark fruits and black strap along the sides. Pits and stones in the breath. Smoke and treacle weave in and out. Plums, grapes, and Washington apple skins.

Final Thoughts: wowsers. Serious flavor packed into a seriously quaffable traditional dry stout. Guinness? Pft! I’ll have my Porterhouse Plain Porter and drink it too. 


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

Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru ~ Cantillon

Appearance: dried straw and hay with slight orange hues. No visible carbonation except for a minuscule bubbly collar. Swirls with nothing.

Nose: barn, funk, dust, leather, old furniture. Musty. Grape pomace. Hay stacks and burlap sakes, sawdust and oak planks. Green grape skins.

Palate: little to no carbonation – smooth, silky, and a little thin but in a good way. Sawdust, leather shammy, oak, musk, and pomace. Tartness in the middle – grape skins of the Pinot Grigio and oaked Chardonnay variety. Apple and pear skins. Essence of the farm and barnhouse. Old leather with just a hint of varnish. Soured apples, apple vinegar.

Final Thoughts: I love love love Cantillon. Seriously. Sour makes me happy and Cantillon makes me orgasmically ecstatic. Seriously. Sublime sophisticated humble earthen history is at the heart of lambics. 


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

Goldbrau ~ Stiegl

Appearance: clear straw under a white head which fades into a soft blanket bordered by bubbles. Slow stream of bubbles. Swirls with random lace.

Nose: lemon, key lime, and husked grains. French bread and French rolls. Sunflowers and sunshine over golden fields of grain. Biscuits and tangelo skins. Grape nuts, cereal grains. Lemon and key lime in the middle.

Palate: yum. Lemon, grains, and French bread crusts mingle together. Sweet crunchy cereal grains and grape nuts. Crisp. Lemon and key lime skin. Sunflower petals.

Final Thoughts: delicious. No more than what it intends to be – a quaffable sessionable lager. 


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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Aphrodite ~ Brewery Ommegang (Moortgat)

Appearance: plums and cherries freshly pulped with skins intact. Head fades fast. Small circle of tiny bubbles in the middle.

Nose: mild. Pears, mandarin, cherry, and cranberry skins. Red grapes. More mandarin skins.

Palate: rose water, cranberries and tart cherries grab back of tongue and throat. Plums along the sides. Fresh skinless mandarin slices in the finish – juicy sweet – and also in the middle. Raspberry and cranberry juice soaked angel food cake, fresh with no added sugars or preservatives. Pears are hard to find – not singular but part of the initial sweetness at the front of each quaff.

Final Thoughts: I love all that Ommegang brews but the nose left me a bit worried as there wasn’t much to it. Thankfully her palate came through which considering smell is so much of taste, not quite sure how they did it but they did. Thanks Ommegang. Always a pleasure. 


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

Orange Blossom ~ B. Nektar Meadery

Appearance: clear and pale – like a pinot blanc or sauvignon blanc. Small blanket of bubbles coat the bottom of glass.

Nose: delicate orange blossoms, honeysuckle blossoms – portrays a union of white blossoms from tree branches to a white blanket of blossoms atop a field of green grass. Hint of pulped apples. Heaviest in the middle where honey, still subtle, is most prominent.

Palate: sweet, smooth, and silky, the silky mouthfeel carries the orange blossom petals from front to back. Lingers longest atop middle of the tongue. Apple pulp in the breath – fresh without the bitterness of apple skin. Gentle mouth-coating. Slow glow of warmth in chest.

Final Thoughts: a clean mead highlighting its proud namesake, the Orange Blossom. A bit unassuming which I found was part of its beauty. 

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

Estaminet Premium Pils ~ Brouwerij Palm

Appearance: clear straw under a lovely white head with lace crawling up the sides. Slow stream of bubbles hold up a solid white blanket.

Nose: bread crusts, saltines, white crackers. Lemon and morning green grass in the back and along the edges. Grassy and straw. Hint of key lime.

Palate: yummy. Chewy in the middle with medium-light weight and a crisp finish. Grassy, key lime, and lemon pith underneath. White bread crusts. Soft bready sweetness in the middle – sweet Hawaiian rolls.

Final Thoughts: a nice clean crisp pilsner. I personally find extra special pleasure in enjoying a good pilsner of which Estaminet fit right in. A solid session which is no surprise considering it’s brewed by the same geniuses behind Palm. 

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Imperial Extra Double Stout 2003 ~ Harveys

Appearance: pours like liquid obsidian – clear, clean, and zero carbonation. No head, no bubbles, nothing – still.

Nose: Bretty – tart and dark. Plum and grape skins with sensual silky designs. Oily, viscous. Black cacao in the back, dried and burnt. Black leather shoe polish. Prehistoric. Dew dropped earth – rainforest floor after a long shower. Old port.

Palate: a thin pale shadow of its nose. Acrid, burnt. Like chewing on black earth. Chalky in the back. Grapes and plums in the middle – tannic, leather, and tart. Flat. Liquid charcoal and tar. Starts to grow papery and dry. Black leather shoe polish – oily.

Final Thoughts: the nose offered hope and promise while the palate offered disappointment and dismay. The 2003 Imperial Extra Double Stout from Harveys was definitely not at a good stage in her life. 


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

Imperial Extra Double Stout 2011 ~ Harveys

Appearance: pours black with little to no carbonation – slow pour with no visible sediment. Espresso crema collar, no head. Swirls with espresso crema spots.

Nose: chocolate covered raisins and prunes. Tart little nip in the back. Smoke esters, charcoal. Black licorice root. Smoldering pile of brush – old twigs, leaves, wood. Leathered – gentleman’s club, polished and black with time. Peat and tar.

Palate: wow – soft and velveteen mouthfeel. Tart and leathery – dry, leathered burnt charcoal finish. Cigar and tobacco leaf, smoldering and smoky. Long leathery finish. Black licorice root and candy – raw untamed anise burnt charred and brittle. Nutty date and prune stones. Bakers chocolate. Silky milky mouthfeel – hint of lactobacillus. Leather in the middle. Sour milky tart pitted dark fruits. Iced espresso. Mexican espresso.

Final Thoughts: wowsers! Cellaring beers is a bit of a crapshoot; no matter how prepared and knowledgeable one is there is always a chance that the beer will be long past its prime with no intentions of ever returning. Thankfully, the 2001 Imperial (Extra Double) Stout from Harveys was a winner hands-down as my empty glass eventually proved. 


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

La Dragonne ~ BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)

Appearance: murky browns with no head. Looks flat and swirls with no head – nothing.

Nose: ginger, cinnamon, and raisins. Gingerbread cookies. Singular but good. Winter spiced. Tickle of heat in the back. Dried brownie crust. Hot burnt gingerbread cookies in the back.

Palate: sweet and silky mouthfeel. Brown sugars, ginger, cinnamon. Melted apples with brown sugar. Stewed spiced peaches and apples.

Final Thoughts: the brewery recommends that one savors La Dragonne warmed like a grog and after having savored the whole package at cellar temperature, I must agree. I’m always on the lookout for a good glogg and now that I’ve found one, I need another bottle. 


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

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Pechish Woods ~ Cisco Brewers

Appearance: light fog of white breads under a splatter of delicate white bubbles.

Nose: peaches and cream. Peachsicles. Cinnamon sticks. Pie crust with crunchy golden baked sugar granules. Indigo. Lemon bars crunchy and caramelized in delicate sugar sprinkles. Lavender.

Palate: creamy and soft with a lingering delicate tart smoothness. Lemon bars, peach sours – Sour Patch kids come to mind. Lemon ice and peach ice. Essence of standing on the shore, a gentle salty breeze caressing the senses. Peach skins linger atop the tongue long after each swallow – tart and dry and thirst-inducing. Hint of cinnamon powder right in the very front.

Final Thoughts: wow. If Glade made a plug-in air freshener that smelled like this beer, twould not be an empty outlet left in the house. Wow. Cisco Brewers from what Mark tells me is this itsy bitsy family run farmy brewery in the middle of nowhere in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Suffice to say during our next family vacation in Mass Cisco Brewers will be at the top of our BEERtrekking list. 


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

Alchemy Olde Ale ~ homebrew by Gerry Solorzano

Appearance: cloudy mango and cantaloupe under a pithy patch of bubbles.

Nose: dry, Bretty, brittle, and sour in the back. Plum, grape, peach, and apricot skins. Sauvignon and pinot grigio grapes. Brushed leather, horse and barn dust. Musty.

Palate: spice in the middle with a touch of sweetness – mango, cantaloupe, apricot, and peach blend. Dry in the back and along the sides – Brett, dust, musk. Green grape skins – Sauvignon Blanc and pinot grigio, un-oaked. Hint of cedar chips in the back. Slightly tart kiwi. Middle is enjoyable tannic and tart and tingly. Dry leathery finish.

Final Thoughts: for a “mistake” of a homebrew, Alchemy Olde Ale ended up being one of my favorite beers of the night. Props to Gerry – you always bring something tasty and interesting to our Brewpostle Gatherings. It’s a pleasure to share in them. 


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

Draeckenier ~ De Proefbrouwerij

Appearance: cloudy oranges with peach hues. White collar. Swirls white and bubbly.

Nose: white wonderbread crusts and fuzzy peach skins. Green grass blades. Generic white flower petals. Cracked pepper in the back.

Palate: interesting with a medium body/ dryness of citric and fruit skins in the back – lemon, pink grapefruit, peach. Grows mild and a bit watery as it opens up. Wet saddles. Lemon drops in the breath. Key lime underneath.

Final Thoughts: meh. It was alright and I’d surely drink it again if someone offered but De Proefbrouwerij has brewed many a better beer I’d rather drink if given the choice. 


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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Biere Darbyste ~ Brasserie de Blaugies

Appearance: cloudy orange with a light airy bubbly head. Swirls bubbly and airy.

Nose: airy, light, and very faint. Digging deep, I discover generic soured fermentation and Brett. Grapes are fleshy then bitter, dry, and tannic with skins, stems, and seeds.

Palate: light and equally mild. Grape flesh in the middle with a disappointingly fast finish. Lightly dry. Thin fig notes.

Final Thoughts: the sour and Brett was a nice touch but overall a mild, thin, and underwhelming beer. I would have liked to both smell and taste more fig and funk. 


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

Stateside Saison ~ Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Appearance: cloudy straw with white bubbles around the edges with broken patches in the middle.

Nose: sour lemons, dried grass, hay, and farmyard funk. Lemon peel and pith. Brushed leather – shammy. White pepper and grains of paradise.

Palate: smooth and medium bodied. Sweet with a dry and bitter finish. Hay and straw in the finish – bitter lemon. Key lime, bitter peel. White pepper. Kumquat.

Final Thoughts: a solid saison. Clean crisp and straightforward profile to make any Belgian saison aficionado content. 


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

Lost Abbey Judgment Day ~ Port Brewing/Lost Abbey

Appearance: dark murky browns – pitch. Active bubbly khaki head fades sticky and thick along the sides with a thin bubbly layer lingering in the middle. Solid.

Nose: raisins, dates, and red wine soaked oak. Boozed and spiced. Black root, black strap molasses. Licorice puree – unadulterated and black. Plum skins and fruit stones – rustic.

Palate: rustic, primitive, and musk. Fermented raisins. Black root. Browned apple cores. Leather and dirt and oldness in the finish along with chocolate dust – like fairy dust: there and not there. Black bread. Maraschino liquor. A gentle warmth lingers in the back of my throat. Soft, smooth, and bubbly and bright given the richness of flavors. Dryness in the middle of almonds and fruit stones, cacao nibs. Burnt root, burnt leather.

Final Thoughts: intensely complex and of the ages. Fantastic. Medieval. Fantastic. Mystical and mythical. 


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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Artisanal Reserve Lansdowne ~ Crispin Cider Company

Appearance: murky and kinda dirty garnet and amber. No head after pour which is fizzy. Faint ruby glints along bottom edges of glass.

Nose: unique – not quite sure whether in a good way or bad. Sour turned apples, funk, and Brett. Molasses is heavy and almost suffocating – cooked and burnt. Malt vinegar, red wine vinegar. Acrid. Apples and fresh molasses along the edges. Leather and gamey meat. Buttery?

Palate: tastes a bit better than it smells. Molasses and malt vinegar hit hard and relentlessly in the back. Weird and quixotic – bold flavor front to back. Quick finish. Smooth buttery mouthfeel is a bit disconcerting. Oiled buttered leather. Cold day old apple pie where the crust is wet and soggy from soaking in all the apple, cinnamon, and butter. Cooked bananas. Vinegar in the breath. Touch of spritz in the middle. Gamey leading into the finish.

Final Thoughts: quite intriguing and after a long period of quaffing and contemplating, I decided not really in a good way. Even now I find myself thinking back and wondering if another try might leave a different and potentially better impression on my person…but I’m not willing to find out. There are other better Crispin ciders out there. 


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

Pandoras Bock ~ Breckenridge Brewery

Appearance: woodsy browns. Khaki head quickly fades into a collar. Swirls spotty then disappears totally, leaving only a thick collar in its wake.

Nose: dark fruits with stones in the back – almonds. Raisins and prunes – not to heavy or dense. Plums along the side – sweet with a touch of dryness thanks to the skins and stones. Moist breakfast breads. Hint of phenolics – banana bread with moist raisins – homemade. Clean caramelization – silky toffee and molasses.

Palate: medium weight and much drier than the nose implied. Melba crunch with some pumpernickel mixed in. Long dry finish – tannic and tart with plum skins and stones. A touch on the thin side. Faint bakers chocolate in the back. Banana raisin bread phenolics in the breath. Parching.

Final Thoughts: alright but not really anything to write home about. On the plus side, it features the clean cut personality which I know Breckenridge by. I’d gladly quaff again if offered but probably wouldn’t by if better options were offered. 


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

Lost Abbey Lost & Found ~ Port Brewing/Lost Abbey

Appearance: garnet and ruby under a bready khaki head which fades blotchy and clumpy while sticking to the sides of my glass. Swirls creamy.

Nose: raisins, figs, and prunes – meaty and rich. Nutmeg, allspice, and raisins mingle in the back. Wisps of leather. Tartness of unripe plums, bitter tannins of plum skins. Bourbon barrels – wood and spice. Musky, bretty, leathery, and horsey weaves it all together.

Palate: chewy, rich, and warm in the back. Raisins, figs, and dates both fresh and dried. Leather weaves in and out. The richness continues without being heavy, sweet without being cloying. Raisins and prunes mingle with leather. Tartness lurks along the edges with wood, port, and plum skins. Wintery spices – cumin, ginger, nutmeg, allspice. Heat and spice grabs back of throat with each quaff – bourbon. Warm breath.

Final Thoughts: yummy!!! Love me some Lost Abbey beers. They may be hard to find but well worth the hunt for the success is in the glass. 


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