New Holland Dragon's Milk
New Holland Brewing Company
I don't know if it's more a testament to a lack of character of my part or those who buy me meals on occasion like I was some worthy hot chick but I've long tired of asking why about most everything.
I had one of these at Sidetrack Bar & Grill with Bearsdley, Bobo and the original Bob and my first inclination was to tip over in an exalted state of vertigo. I get drunk easy and quite fast and on an empty gut it came within a few sips with this one. By the time my black bean yuppy sliders (LOL) came 55 minutes later I was pretty much a simpering fool on half a pint, 2 glasses of water and one over-syrupy raspberry tea.
Even after the relief came the 10.whatever% had me reeling. Flat black stout with the accustomed traits until the last quarter of the glass. Then it was a stiff menthol alcohol infusion meant to topple the weakest parasites. And I was while bemoaning a sink tossed into the Huron River, the current state of American hegemony and my own mental lethargy concerning a girl (well... in generic terms since she's a woman and one always deserves whatever he gets from them). All which will vanish when I see my cheetah clone in the AM and the wicked world rights itself for a few dozen hours.
Key Lime Pie
Short's Brewing Company
Elk Rapids, Michigan
I came into this experience expecting a brew with a taste approaching that of a liquid simulation of dessert. What I got instead is what I would classify as a taste approaching a vomited up bad key lime pie and a soft-bellied beer. Where there's supposed to be a tart creaminess there's a sour tanginess that just doesn't sit right. It's pretty cringe worthy and hard to put down the gullet without getting a visceral reaction from the muscles which cause one to upchuck and extends up and into the nose and eyes. A rare bomb by the Short's crew that has absolutely no redeemable qualities and a total waste of the maiden voyage of my Kragers glass.
Short's Chocolate Wheat Porter
Short's Brewing Company
Elk Rapids, Michigan
When I first engaged in the practice of reviewing beer--mostly in mockery of the craft pornographers who whore out the product and themselves for attention and mutual ass-clasping connections--porters were one of my favorite styles. Specifically, Pontiac Porter, which I imbibed in more frequently than others before I moved onto the overedumacated prestige of the Jolly Pumpkin collection. Which is now so over-priced that one actually needs a job to drink. Haha.
One particularly memorable bout with the Pontiac P. occurred after a trip to the JP Brewery. The baby mama and I, pre-baby and conception, planned a camping expedition at grounds out past Dexter and near Hell, Michigan. I think it was Green Lake but who cares, right? Anyway, we were drinking up a storm because that's what cheating wives do (unbeknownst to me because I'm an innocent little angel) and partaking of dogs and such. Hot dogs, not the ones the accompanied B. M. and served as logs of oppression in the cloths of passion.
Listen, I'm not a big drinker but the witch was happiest being inebriated and I'm a sucker for craft beer. After nearly a six pack and enough food to bloat a small pig I was past the point of consumption. B. M. was just getting started. So off to bed we went for some fu schnickens. Or at least she thought anyway. I was beyond bloated and the last thing on my mind was engaging in some cuckoldry. I mean, I'm always up for befouling a woman that I love but there are times when it's nearly impossible due to physical limitations. So I told her to let me rest a bit and we lay down to quell our slovenly ways.
Of course, I fell asleep because that's what I do when I lie down for longer than a few minutes. The next thing I knew there was a wild eruption and she was roaring at the campers in the lots nearby who were carrying on way into the wee hours. It lasted several minutes and included threats of police, park rangers and beatdowns, all while I lay in conscious oblivion, pretending that I was still asleep. Needless to say, the next morning was a cricket symphony and after wrapping up our belongings and dropping me back off at the rented palace she returned to the safe confines of marital bliss.
This beer conjures up none of those past horrors. It's a wispy dark with a dainty sweetness that's befitting of one of those overpriced foreign cookies that come in a canister and is stuffed with creme that you always see at dollar stores or Big Lots! because Americans want cheap comfort food and care not for finery. There's a little sour in there, too, but nothing approaching what Ron Jeffries cooks up in his laboratory. What I'm saying is that my stories are better than this beer just not due to any fault of the brew itself. Yes, I'm that awesome and so is Short's, most of the time. Hell, give it a few years and maybe you'll be reading about another love-child born of forbidden passion. But first I have to stick it into something besides a bromide or a beer. Give this beer monk some leeway because it's a-brewin and nothing before its due time shall before me pass.
Earl of Brixom English Dark Mild Ale
Short's Brewing Company
Elk Rapids, Michigan
Somebody must have pulled the bung from the King's court brew keg because this is one flat pourer. But what the good Earl lacks in fizz he more than makes up for it in roasty-toastiness. That said, without the carbonation this English dark mild comes across basically as a strong wort.
The maltburger's there all right and it's rich and dark as a cola but lacks the sophistication of a shape-shifting, interbred reptilian royal that puts women and children to death in the name of God, country and the House of Rothschild.
Honey Badger Black Ale
Short's Brewing Company
Elk Rapids, Michigan
There's little about me that's scientific or meticulous and as such I didn't make a very good amateur brew master. Not to mention that I refused to graduate to big boy equipment because I had no desire to brew 5 gallons of beer at a time or spend half of my life molesting a wort. Hence, I brewed kit beers with jacked up additions. Chocolate Pumpkin Stout. Brown sugar maple syrup ale. Cherry chocolate honey lager. Etc. They were all fairly mediocre and I pretty much lost interest in the matter, preferring the ease of a microbrew. Luckily, Short's sprung onto the scene with affordable and ingenious concoctions that I would have ventured onto eventually.
This is quite the black ale! Rich and roasty as a porter with the teeth of an imperial stout. While the orange blossom honey comes in segregated waves--citrus rind in the hop bite and faint honey sap sweetness in the finish--it's omnipresent in varying degrees. There is also a quite pronounced figgy/raisin infused alcohol vapor essense to the bottom of the glass that wasn't mentioned on the label but is welcomed all the same.
It's odd that a brew which describes itself as "a head snapper" turns out to be one of the more mild concoctions of its ilk. But that's what it is. A peppery lemon jerker with just the right amount of whiskers for an old Tom such as myself. I suppose that I'm not THAT OLD but the difference between old balls and really old balls is more or less minutia.
Howlin' Chinaski Dortmunder Lager
Short's Brewing Company
Elk Rapids, Michigan
Being that permanence is the standard bearer for literature it's safe to say that Bukowski wasn't a very good poet and his alter-ego Henry Chinaski merely a glorified pop icon. That said,
he was mostly better than the alternative. Which is more a statement of societal decline than an accolade. Thankfully, we're not here to discuss literature. Though the field offers an
interesting parallel between it and the beer culture during much of Bukowski's adult life and career. Most American beer companies after the 1950s and '60s strove to be national
brands with watered down taste. With mass production came the necessity to become more economical and the adjunct lager became the regular fare. Macro swill lager dominated
Then came the craft beer revival in the latter two decades of the twentieth century with the nineties exploding into an outright revolution. Thank Gawd for that, eh? With it came the
rebirth of the American tradition of producing old world styles. Porters, stouts, ales, fruit and pumpkin beers, among many others. A dortmunder by any quality brewer tastes like
this one. A full-bodied lager balanced with a rich sweetness and a mellow tack of grassy hops. It's what I imagine that Budweiser, Strohs or any of the big brewer's flagships brews
used to taste like back in the 1800s through Prohibition.
Redd's Apple Ale
Redd's Brewing Company
This swill is not a beer it's a goddamn wine cooler. Like it's contemporary, Wild Blue, only a chick would call this a beer let alone an ale. A pungent barfy concoction with a full gross of taffy apple corn syrup added. I wouldn't pour this into the asshole of Satan to cool off his world fuckery let alone feed it to a bitch in heat to cool her off from the heat of my innate greatness and magnanimity.
Frothy the stroh-can was a pollywog washing drank. With a cornrow grit and a rosey palm stroking my double chin. Oh, Frothy the stroh-can...
All right, enough of the imbecility of proper introductions. Usually when you get a well-regarded pilsner it tastes like repackaged Schlitz in a bottle adorned with counterfeit Edward Gorey art and some pithy bromide for a moniker and slogan. This one follows suit in all the unimportant matters but the beer itself delivers.
A murky dishwater of contrasting flavors that mesh supremely. The requisite sweetness of a pils is there but the accents of caramel and buttery hops make it worthy of praise.
I can see why its asking price of $11 at Kroger was a cause for discontinuing the product but at the bargain markdown of $4.79 to close it out, it was one of the best suds purchase I've made in a while. I struck out by not buying the remaining half dozen packs.
The Oracle DIPA Ale
I've spoken to several oracles and listened to a few along the way. Namely the Ouija, Mark Scott, Robinson Jeffers and myself, Minimillian Bobespierre. But this one has quite a different message than I'm used to from those right-wing doomsayers pushing the wispy planchette across the board.
It says, "I am cinnamon and musty gash. I am Pinestein the Great. I am two tons of water meshed through a menthol centrifuge. I am the gassy pearplum turned ambrosia."
I've got to say that this is the only double IPA that I've even remotely enjoyed. It's a heavy liquor with gravel in it's sweet gut. The hops are immaculately merged to form both a biting and spicy affect that neither numbs thy tongue nor puts it out to pasture to nip at the dung piles of numbness.
The alcohol content is a bit startling to the speedy imbiber and a dizzy spell isn't out of the question if one doesn't tread lightly with this beer grenade. Right now I'm mashed in with the taters and don't see an easy-out. Better to die this way though than with a Bud in one hand and my pud in the other, eh, Spuds MacKenzie? Jah wobble.
Frankenmuth Dunkel Ale
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Podunkel meets da po boy bluez in this stylistic failure from the midwest's least best brewhaha-ers. I know the bottle is emblazoned with a classic icon and verbiage to suggest tradition but this is pure Americana brewiana outside of Michiana in the post 90ianas. Fluff and puff and dragonese as they be draggin' their knees into machinations of the macro-nation.
Yes, Frankenmuth brews have been around in some form for a goodly century and a half but dimes to dollars says that the result wasn't this milquetoast lager fuel. The fawkin' midwest's best version of Shiner's of de Norf.
Now I'm not going to say that this isn't a drinkable swill because goddammit it ain't half-bad but when has anybody with a lick of sense ever thought half-good was a recipe or remedy for success.
I'll tell you what this beer is, it's a sleep-aid, a cool cocoa of little consequences, a quick sip of watered down malted shake, a cold coffee with not enough cream and hot chocolate left on the shelf overnight.
It's good but its leftovers. Remnants of the glad feast from yesteryear that ain't quite what momma cooked or your lady love ordered from a deli 4 days ago and is now becoming ripe and disjointed from its flavor.
I could drink this beer a thousand times before I ever saw another reason to grab a Miller or a Coors but that's hardly reason enough to buy it again over some other promising and fortuitous crafter with a nose like a Coke vacuum and the mouthfeel of a bukkake queen.
Overrated! West Coast Styled IPA
Surly Brewing Company
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Whether you're dealing with a snapper or a real claptrapper you always hope for the mild version of each as you partake of their fare. The latter for salvation in the aural department and the former where the pusser meets the piehole in holy salivation.
Now that all professionalism has been tossed aside let's get on with the review. Regardless, if you like IPAs or not--I don't--you have to credit them for their consistency. Almost all are indistinguishably creamy with a dry timber seasoning and prickly essence.
The main reason that I don't like IPAs is that their bruskness comes from a wretched pine sol citrus flavoring that I call fishbine. To achieve fishbine you squeeze the nastiest frozen grapefruit and then scrub it into a gassy hair-filled armpit. The refuse is then ground into the wort and BOOM an IPA appears. It really is that simple.
What isn't simple is understanding why somebody would choose to drink an intentionally noxious brew just because. I know that craft beer nerds all claim that this Holy Grail style is an acquired taste but I've partook of this style on dozens of occasions and never acclimated to its supposed charm.
Listen, you can have have the bitters and eat yer cake too in the form of many rich stouts and imperial dark sauces without having to imbibe of these citrus bombs. Seriously, you don't have to suffer the dank nasties to prove that you're a man. It's akin to playing My Little Ponies with your daughter because she likes it that way. Except that the only little girl you are assuaging in this exercise is the brittle man within you that has to flex his muscles to prove his machismo.
Bell's Batch 9,000 Ale
I haven't had a Bell's beer in a year or two and had forgotten just how good their fare is. Though the style and taste are somewhat different, this instantly made me recall their cherry stout that I had several years ago. It was 8 fucking years ago? Wow. Though I think I've had it again between that review and now. Anyway, both this and the aforementioned are extreme sousers with some of the most intense flavor you'll ever come across. While something like a Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry Stout gushes with flavor this one and the Bell's Cherry Stout teem over into excess. The sweetness is similar to what a lemon produces in terms of sourness or a strong whiskey in bruskness. You literally have to shake off each drink before continuing on.
While the licorice affect is subtle the plummy-raisin-molasses combination is an overbearing wort. You know you're drinking a rugged beer with whiskers when you imbibe this sucka. While the alcohol content is a stout 12.5% it drinks rather smooth though the sweet after-bite conjures up something akin to a brain freeze at the roof of your mouth except that it's a flowing ice lava of sugar. Now that I'm reaching the bottom of the vessel I can also feel a warm pool forming in my gut as the mushroom cloud of sweetness billows into my bison brain and explodes like the laughter of 40 whores robbing old men of their final excesses. This is like a face full of novacaine at the base of the brain in the best possible way.
All regards to Beardsley Rummel for the gift sixer and the mild hallucinations.
Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock
Boston Beer Company
Rib stickler, tongue tickler. Honi soit qui mal y pense.
I know that Spammy Adams gets some knocks by crafters for being too mainstream but you'll be hard-pressed to find a match for this in the fruit beer section of your local liquor store. Maybe this isn't as complex and brilliant as Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry stout but it's a close runner-up if nothing else. Plus it's a bock and they aren't exactly noted for their wild fluxuations in flavor as stouts are. At least to me they aren't but that's just my prejudice speaking.
This starts out tasting and smelling of cherries. Listen, I'm not a mouthfeel or fragrance sort of reviewer but when you put your hairy snout up to the glass the fragrance of virgin blood wafts from it. Then you dig in and the cherry tartness hits you before gradually delving into several layers of chocolate maltiness and creamy smoke. Not like one of those 99 cent cocoa beers mixed with Nestle but rather a deep, rich chocolate that slave labor brings from the jungles and feeds to wealthy Illuminati types.
Obviously, I'm out of my class here but when a man wins a gift card anything is possible in this world as long as he sticks to a plan. Even a scrub bastard scribe poet tasting fine beer and twaddling away to tell you of its complexity could do it. And I did because this one's a talker and it's saying, "Tu me manques déjà ma chérie." Awww... how fucking sweet is that? And the same to you little tart.
Old Fezziwig Ale
Boston Beer Co.
I often get down because I think that the Gods are against me and punish me thusly. Then little things like winning a $20 gift card from Meijer returns me to my former ridiculously confident self. Not that I'm under some delusion that I not a looooser but at least I don't lose all the time. Another instance of winning is this here burr. My reward for winning at something after compiling innumerable losses.
Yum. Skittle. Spank. There, I'm the scatman. Or do I mean the Strat man. Man, I should play some Strat-O-Matic. Okay, fuckface, focus here. Hi, I'm Trub, the wortiesy wurst of the worsteses worchestershires. Yeah, I don't drink often and when I partake of a sizeable ABV I go gaga.
This fezziwig is all that it's written up to be. Choco, spices, maltburger, fruity dendron, caramel. It's like a liquid version of some sort of spicy cocoa pie gobbed with buttery cream. Yeah, I ain't no Dickens. Then again, what good is that doing Dickens and his skeleton right about now?
Leinenkugel Creamy Dark
Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Having tired of blogging every time I drank a beer I decided instead to buy a six pack here and there and imbibe for the pure pleasure of it. What a mistake! No, not that I bought this mid-grade dark lager by a mediocre company but to expect quality control in the beer market. The results on each bottle were all over the charts with only one constant: creaminess, which was rather abundant throughout.
The first bottle I had of this stuff, a week and a half ago, was drab, listless lager with lite dark affects. That trend more-or-less continued through the 2nd, 3rd and 4th though the taste actually seemed to depreciate more despite trying each at different temperatures and with/without food.
Tonight though, the first one i tried, direct from the floor of my car to the vessel here at my indoor station was rich and somewhat chocolately with a bit of smoke. Maybe it's the fact that the car was semi-warm from a quick trip to the post office though the outdoor temp was only in the mid-40s here in the Detroit area. Hell, it could have even been the changing temps over the last week from near 60 to the upper 20s on a few nights. Whatever it was changed these last two into a salvation for an otherwise uneventful six pack.
Samuel Adams Hazel Brown
Boston Beer Company
Flautist, flautist, flautist. I keep hearing that word bandied about by dingledon'ts and dunderheads and do not like it a goddamn bit. It reminds me of one of those merry men running about unfurling scrolls for his mastership and to appease the masturbatorial ways of the unintelligentsia. Oh yeah, this is a beer review now isn't it. Haters.
I don't know about this spiked Yoohoo cola conglomeration we've got going here, Cornelius J. Plum. It looks rather like a thin thing from a glass-side view but with a fullsome swagger of faux cocoa and Sanka interspersed with a spoonful of granulated whatever-the-fuck-those-boxes-of-fancy-candied-chocolates-are-called inside the muddied vessel. Pick a flavor and be disappointed by the halfway taste of something you want but don't get, all in the same mouthful.
It's not the norm for me to criticize a Spammy Adams concoction but this one seems half-baked. Almost there but not quite. Which, for most beer companies would be a complaint but for the B. B. C. is a mere suggestion, since this drinks well enough and pleases more than it disappoints. Nonetheless, it's not quite up to par to their innovative standards.
Samuel Adams Ruby Mild
Boston Beer Company
Remember Max and Ruby the mischievous and motherly brother and sister rabbit team from the children's books bearing the former's name? Well, that's me after one beer spilling jelly on my bib and emitting colors of the rainbow in the tub while lazying away. After two drinks it's caterwauling followed by a pensive period and then an earlier trip to bed. Which doesn't really make much sense since my girth should at least provide me a semi-elastic shield from the gamrbinous potentate. No matter.
Me tinks dis is kolshesque despite it's label of being a mild ale. Or maybe they're the same thing. Nyet. Beer Assvocate calls it an English dark mild, whatever the flip that means. What it is is grass, pollinated honey, toffee toe jam, spit and dross barley and maltkins galore. That is, a billowing cloud of gaseous greens tempered by a sweet churn of milky butter. Yep, it's better than a plate of brazed sweet biscuits tipped with liqueur.
Beer Calendar: What To Do in June 2014
It should go without saying that under the heading of "what to do in June 2014", Philly Beer Week is right up there. Actually, you can get started on what to...