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.
Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Boston Beer Company
Well hello spammy! Back when I first started this blog some seven years ago I ruminated about why two of my favorite brewers, Jolly Pumpkin and Boston Beer Co., didn't have a pumpkin ale. Both have remedied that issue in the past few years with typical results: both being at the top of the keg barrel of the genre.
Whereas most of the pumpkin ales I've encountered have an almost biting pumpkin affect through a copious amount of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, this one is well-rounded in all with a generous amount of malt that takes off any off-putting bitterness (and this time I don't mean an ill-taste and not a hop-bite).
The only gripe I have concerning this one is that you can only get it in the S. A. fall seasonal variety 12 pack and not a sixer. It's a minor sticking point though as there are 3 other brews that I have yet to try included with it and will be posting about shortly.
Pier Cove Porter
Saugatuck Brewing Company
I've been to the sea that isn't an ocean at all but a lacing around a peninsula and witnessed its caustic depths and dangers. The icy shores at midwinter and the tepid pallor in July. With women and without. Cold, indifferent or enthralled, it was always the water against man's vaulted ambitions and proclivities to escape them. Yes, I witnessed nature's unharnessed beauty and though I live mere miles from each great water mass, haven't been back in years.
Well, until the roiling within this bottle sank the Bismarck in my Biz Markie pimp mug. And then while I let the roiling monster sleep in its maw and supped from the bottle, the electric foam exploded past the lip of the vessel, into my nostrils, betwixt the disgusting melange of salt and pepper follicles and onto the floor like old meatball, plopping and fizzing in moral ecstasy of its nature and mine.
I can't tell you if this beer is skunked or if it's just me. What I do know is that it's not a bad drinker considering our frenetic introduction. Is it a porter? If so it's Darrell in the park buried in snow and not Cole singing his gay little heart out at the piano with a drink in his paw while one leg taps in clumsy rhythm. Or I could speak properly of shifting myself from one place to another but then you semi-illiterate sots might get the wrong impression of me and the English language.
Bah- twaddle I tell ye lepers of the spirit. This is a brown ale with a yeast infection. Perchance Halle Berry or your swarthy vixen of choice but dark indeed and in need of a bees-waxing. Git down thar peppercorn jack and make your Swiss cheese flat bread weenie panini Paganini Fellini and do it again. DO IT! Because this ain't a brothel and the brother who can spare a dime is on the floor drunk of his own designs for living the good life and hasn't the time to ishkabbible on this sort of malarkey.
Schmohz Brewing Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Once I got past the sing song, tongue-twister quality of the names of both the beer and brewery said together, "Schmohz Schwartz, Schmohz Schwartz", I started to feel a bit ill at ease with the label art. A Nietzschean angst in the "when you look into the abyss it also looks into you" vein. That is, something brilliant made hackneyed by overuse.
The disappointment didn't last long as this beer drinks more like a solid porter than most maltburger darks do. Heavy on the smoke and chocoffee with just enough sweet, brusk and creamy to round it out. I'm still not buying into their Kafka-esque knock-off description but if they keep making beer this good they can pretty much say whatever they want.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, Colorado
I haven't had many pumpkin beers the past few years because there's been relatively no additions to the class but I saw this one and couldn't resist. The hook of cranberry juice added to the potion only increased my expectations.
Well, you can add another failure to the pumpkin beer nirvana dream. The style, for the great majority of them, is as bland as most amber and red ales are. Not a bad drinker at all but also not something that'll make you scrub out a dirt patch in your backyard and start a pumpkin patch to cultivate your own keg's worth.
The sour's in here but it's tempered by the spices and doesn't really do much to improve on the flavor. Which is scarcely different from the general fare pumpkin grog that's out there. The spice and pumpkin are also mellow and it gravitates towards the plethora of other average jack-o-beers that have passed through my gullet with little fanfare or flame.
Michael Faricy's Stout
Arbor Brewing Company
Ann Arbor, Michigan
You'll get nary a complaint from me on the great majority of stouts and this one's included. After suffering through their Mackinac Fudge Stout this one tasted like an Imperial Wizard of the Ebony Ebony's club.
Mildly smoke-infused with watery chocolate and coffee affects it wasn't about to sink me like a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald but it plumbed the mild depths of the style and was at least enjoyable. Hardly great though and if it hadn't followed the fudger it would have ranked in the middle with an average black and tan.
Luckily, the beer was gratis compliments of Beardsley Rummerl or otherwise I might have chucked the micro pint through a window.
Mackinac Island Fudge Stout
Arbor Brewing Company
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Let me preface this review by saying that many of the beers that I've tried from these guys have been par excellence but... let me rephrase that: butt... and again: ASSHOLES! I had this on tap from the Corner Brewery in Ypsitucky, Mich. and I've got to say that it was the worst beer I've ever had.
Flatter than a comma on a carbon copy this beer reeked of something you brew up in your Mr. Beer keg on a first attempt in the middle of summer on the cusp of the actual motherfucking sun. The body was of a lesser stock than your weakest diarrhea and the generic watered down syrup had less flavor than a teaspoon of Nestle Quick in a pint of water. The other flavors were so nondescript that powdered cocoa essence would be an insult to the cocoa powder.
When you think of Mackinac Fudge you get that cloying richness of choco Quikerete churned with 7 lakes of butter. But this stuff? Pure black waste water. To add injury to the insult it came in a 10 ounce mug at $4.50 a shot.
If I had paid $7 for this grog I'd be calling it 2 Buck Suck but since it was only $2 + tax and deposit and the bill was footed by another simian of the human race, I'm going to chalk this one up in the win column. Thanks Beardsley Rummel!
I think one's taking liberties with the language to even consider this a stout let alone a chocolate one. A black lager? Sure. This stuff is water thin with a decent caramel chocolate syrup flavoring to it and a slight hint of sour tang. The hops promised on the bottle are non-existent for the most part but they're there in micro macro-esque levels bubbling below the surface.
The fact that Trader Joe's can sell this stuff at clearance prices shows that it's not the most complex of beers but then again we aren't exactly Friedrich Nietzsche either, are we? Despite our full-some and unkempt perma-perv 'staches the answer is an unqualified yesso yes.
Sanders Chocolate Stout
Detroit Brewing Company
Well gottdam! If this isn't the most smokey fucking motor oil I've ever tasted then I'm not the Sheik of oblivion. It's something akin to woodsmoked sausage burnt to a nice crisp and then basted in some kind of sour Worcestershire sauce and chocolate inhibited wort.
I like it, it's good, but the chocolate seems to come from one of those mixed boxes of candy that you get at Christmas that you have to bite into the piece to know exactly what the hell you're eating. This is all of them combined in a big schwartzburger (spelled fartburger) with a sour fruit attached at the pearplum orifice oozing its essence in a confounding malange of cherrycaramelocolate. I like it but I'm fairly drunk doing multiple reviews in one sitting in a matter of minutes so count that as a caveat if you will.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
What a ruthless little grubber this drink is. Bitter, brusk and pungently filthy on the old palate like if you had licked a skunk ape in the middle of the night while grabbing for your water or your flask at the side of the bed. Where the label claims a peppery citrus I counterclaim that it's a bit sour in an old cream sort of way with a gobsmacking of coriander and bay leaves. If there's a saving grace it's that this doesn't have the overpowering tack of citrus and pine which mar so many IPAs that they become rather undrinkable to me. I don't particularly long for another of these but at least it's interesting and it took little effort to put down in a few minutes.
Horizon Red Ale
Summit Brewing Company
St. Paul, Minnesota
I've often bickered about the general blandness of red ales with their light-bodied maltiness underwhelming even my softball palate but this is taking the style in a completely wrong direction. This tastes like an IPA with red coloring agents added to justify the labeling. Otherwise I can't tell the difference between your general IPA and this. Which, isn't all that much of a complaint because I've grown to tolerate that style and this is a rather favorable specimen of its ilk but it mostly fails as a red. Although the dregs are starting to give up some of the expectant malt and cinnamon spice I'm just not buying into it. A good glass of beer--that probably would benefit from a pint glass--but mostly off for the style though it has glimpses of what it is and could be.
Samuel Adams Apline Spring Lager
Boston Beer Company
It's long been established in my circle of family and friends that I'm a George washington looking motherfucker. Even my clone daughter, when shown a dollar bill and asked who the man sitting in the window frame is, will respond in the affirmative, "That's my dad." But to me, I think I look more like Samuel Adams despite Geo. Wash.'s and my similar hairdos.
And rightly so because I, too, believe that our government is a bunch of louts and criminals and should be tarred and feather and shipped off to a foreign land. But we're here to discuss beer and since I just picked this up from 7-Eleven for a cool $3 I shall impart an inglorious revolution of word prattle for ye.
I like this one a lot. It's more or less a Kölsch with a lager heart though the sweetness is balanced with equal parts bitter and smooth malty goodness. The fact that it's unfiltered and dirty could make for some interesting cellar transmogrification. As if I had a cellar or a collection of bottles! Okay, so that was more preface that proffering but if you're here that's what you came for to begin with. Or maybe not. It's all the same either way.