February In Review

February has been eventful and the past couple of days have actually knocked me off the blog for a bit. Only a few days but I was hoping to fill out everyday this month. Especially since I know May is pretty much not happening at all here. There are some moments I wanted to share, but I guess they will have to wait until March. So, for February, this is what I have done.

I did some Macro Beer Tasting and that was pretty exciting. I mean, who was not making fun of the new Superbowl beer for the ages, Black Crown.

While I was working on that one I finally found everything I needed to do a side by side that I was waiting to do for a very long time, Budweiser vs New Albion. Ever since I heard this beer was being rereleased, I actually knew about the history for years now, I have been wanting to do this.

Though, there was so much misinformation and talk that kind of drove me to the edge and made me go on My Little Rant.

But that is enough about all that. There is a New NC Brewery opening up and I was the first!!!!! I think the official opening date is now set in stone and The Raleigh Brewing Company will be open on March 9th.

I know a few notable beers off of my 1001 list, Sexual Chocolate made heads roll and I went on even more about my New Belgium Obsession.

I had a lot of fun being interviewed by The Cellar Monk this month as well. You should check that out here, A Man In Brewniform.

Top 5 Beers This Month

Dirty Bastard
Hop Wallop
Monks Cafe
Ruthless Rye

Look out for a few fun reviews at the beginning of March!



1001 Beers: Red Stripe

Beer Number 43: Desnoes & Geddes Red Stripe Lager

I have seen this beer on the shelf for some time. I never had any interest in it and I don't know anybody that has had it. It's on the list. Here we go!

Red Stripe is the beer forever associated with the laid-back, easy vibe of Jamaica. The international brand with its distinctive bold horizontal red stripe logo spent its formative years modeled on English ale, a heavy taste that found few friends among the locals. In 1938, Paul H. Geddes, son of the founder, and his colleague Bill Martindale transformed the beer into the now-familiar pale, golden lager. The light texture and crisp, refreshing nature of the beer corresponded perfectly with the scorching Caribbean climate.
For me... Maybe this is good in Jamaica. I would give it another try there but not here. There was caramel bordering toffee in the nose and it was very sweet in the taste. A little bit of... or a lot a bit of aluminum was in this beer. Some toffee and it was lightly bittered with a high carbonation. Again, not my beer.

958 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Mr Beer Brewday

Back in 2009 the thing that got me into Homebrewing was a Mr Beer Kit. I did one batch of that underhopped West Coast Pale Ale and I was hooked. Not because the beer tasted good but because I had so much fun doing it. I thought the beer tasted like total crap. I just remember green apples. Back then I had no idea about off flavors or anything. It was a random purchase from Fred Meyer. I think I dumped like half of the bottles but I went out and bought equipment for all grain brewing... why? because I was stupid.

I had no idea about anything I was doing. I just knew that this was the way that breweries made real beer, and that is how I wanted to do it. The funnier thing was, I hated beer. I could not stand it. Granted, I was drinking the wrong beer at the time but I only drank things such as Long Island Iced Teas, Mai Tais, Mojitos, Gimlets, etc. No beer at all... except maybe some PBR while over at a buddies house playing college drinking games. But, hey. PBR was the best 12 pack 6 dollars could buy.

This year for Christmas I was gifted a Mr Beer Kit... This would be my second one in 3 years and I only used the first one once. I had no idea what I was going to do with this one. So, I took the easy route out. I made beer... or whatever that stuff really is that comes in this package. I don't really remember the directions to the kit from my first time using it but this time they seemed to be a lot simpler... Maybe I just don't remember at all. Though, this process does not seem very sanitary.

It was as easy as getting some water hot, mixing that booster pack until it is disolved, adding the can of extract, pouring it into the football keg like thing, and topping it off with water. When I did my first batch I remember seeing nothing wrong with the process. I mean, I was only following the directions. Now, what about the chlorine in the water? Shouldn't that water be treated just in case there are any microbes in there that will hurt the beer? Don't I need to boil the extract? Not that I am an extract expert, being I have never done an extract batch, but I feel that it should be treated somehow...

I guess quite a few of my suspicions were addressed when I tasted a sampling at bottling time. I only had three words for the beer. Oily, Slick, Cider-esque. That is what I can remember from my first trip into it too. Once it was bottled all there was to do was wait...

The first pint, or so, of my Oktoberfest Beer. Maybe I should have given it a few weeks in the fridge to let it "properly" lager but I do not think it would have done it any good. Maybe I will throw a bottle in and report back. It is not as oily and slick as it was. It is now more kind of dry and powdery... I do not know what that is. That green apple taste is still there but this is a lot better now than it was back then. Still not amazing or anything but, I guess it's homebrew? Nothing I would enter into a competition. That's for sure.

So, I still have two cans of Mr Beer left. I was thinking about adjusting the process and seeing how it comes out at that point. Still use the equipment given but boil the wort, maybe add some hops. Who knows. I am not trying to make fantastic beer with this kit, that is what I have my all grain equipment for, but I don't want the next batch to taste like crap. Especially since I have another Oktoberfest and that West Coast Pale Ale. I think it would be a fun experiment.



1001 Beers: Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

Beer Number 42: Brouwerij Van Steenberge Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

When I started to throw the 1001 Beers list into an Excel spreadsheet, there were a few beers that really caught my eye. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale was one of them. Why? Well, I love the Flanders Style and I even brewed a Flanders Red not too long ago. I have only had American examples so this one was going to be a real treat to me. I think this one is classified as an Oud Bruin, but whatever.

It seems as if this beer has some ties to America and that their old school brewing methods are no longer in place.
Today, the brewery is a modern operation with a computerized brewhouse and bottling line. The brown ale has become something of an infrequently brewed footnote to a range that majors on stronger specialties and contracts--a shame given the rarity of the style. It received a boost in 2002 when the Monk's Cafe beer bar in Philadelphia asked the brewery to supply the ale and relabeled it as their own brand, "Flemish Sour". Unlike the better-known examples, it's matured in metal rather than wooden cask, which some say makes it harsher. However, it's still refreshing enough to count as an indulgent Burgundian pleasure.
Due to my pour the nose was a bit hard to pick out but it was sour, funky and cherry like. Deep brown and red with a big brown head... insanely big... I know the bottle was not infected but I mean, you see the picture.

Slightly tart, but not that sour at all. Cherry flavors and a light to medium body. Very easy drinking with some citrus and a touch of grain. Overall though, refreshing. I did not find this beer harsh at all, I have no idea what they are talking about. I actually thought it was really great.

959 Bottle Of Beer To Go!



Bells: Oberon Ale

This is one I had a while ago and I thought I posted it but I guess I did not. I came upon the notes the other day while cleaning out drawers so... here it goes.

Oberon Ale

This is a decent summer wheat ale. Before opening it up I thought for sure it was going to be an IPA. Nice & mellow. It has a hazy orange hue and some chunks floating around. Though, that is probably just from a bad pour. The nose is very mellow there are a few distinct fragrances in it... Wish I could remember what I meant by that. The next line goes like this. grapefruit? lingers deep into the finish immediate flavor rush over the whole tongue. Definitely a quencher. Medium mouthfeel and a light hint of bitterness and carb. I rated it a 3/5 on this paper but this sounds like something I want to be drinking now. I halfway remember it but I sold myself on trying it again.



1001 Beers: Two Hearted Ale

Beer Number 41: Bells Two Hearted Ale

This is my second experience with Bells Two Hearted Ale. The first time I thought it was just alright and I did not see the hype. This time, I decided I need to have a third experience with it. Is it growing on me? No. Not really. It is good but just another IPA in my eyes. The reason I need to try it again is this...

I was not paying attention. I usually check for dates but this one got passed me. I would not have picked it up otherwise but I just got careless.
Two Hearted was one of the first really hoppy beers to catch fire in the Midwest. With its simple but plentiful charms, it's as fine an IPA as you can find anywhere. If you're ever fortunate enough to taste it in its rare cask-conditioned form, you will have something very special in your glass.
Maybe I will hold out on my third tasting of this beer and hope to be able to run into an unadulterated cask of it. We will see...

I did not believe this was a 4 month old bottle when I first cracked it open. Bells says this beer lasts about 6 months, but I am still one for the fresher the better in some styles. A very full hop aroma filled my bar and really caught me off guard. I figured by this time the aroma would be really subdued and nonspecific. I could pick out some grapefruit but other than that it was just grassy. I feel more would have came through fresh. It had some real power.

Two Hearted was quite tropical and had a good level of bitterness. Sweet oranges on top of a fairly malty body that lingered on for quite some time. A nice bite of alcohol and finishes dry and herbal. Again, nice ale and I would drink it again. I will even make sure it is fresh next time.

960 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Stone, Evil Twin, Stillwater: The Perfect Crime

The Perfect Crime is another collaboration beer that I picked up just because, well it was a new Stone Release and I have tried pretty much all of the collaborations. I have been reading a lot of mixed reviews of this one so I was not sure what to expect. Especially now since the bottle has about 4 or 5 months on it. I was not sure how or if the smoke character would come through.

The interesting thing about this beer is that Stone brought together some of the "Gypsy Brewers". Mitch Steele talks about that a little bit on the back of the bottle.
I first heard the term "gypsy brewer" in reference to Mikkel Borg-Bjergsø, back in 2008, when we brewed our very first collaboration beer with Mikkel and Peter Zien of AleSmith. And now we are thrilled to welcome two more famous gypsy brewers to our brewery: Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing (Mikkel's brother-hence the name) and Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales.

Jeppe and Brian have brewed together before, and both have excellent pedigrees in brewing unique Belgian-inspired beers. Their shady influence was felt throughout the brewing of this mysterious black beer, and we were excited to be able to brew it.
I know of one other story on the back of the bottle, I am sure there is a third but I have not heard it. Over at Daily Beer Review you can read one take on the back of the bottle.

So, The Perfect Crime poured pitch black and it had a nice creamy tan head. I picked up some plum, spice, a little bit of smoke and pear on the nose. I was expecting more smoke, but like I said this is an "aged" bottle. Only a couple of months... or maybe it was not that smokey to begin with...

Smoke was the first thing to roll across my tongue, for sure though. Toffee and that plum flavor followed. It is very fruity and light bodied. I am not really seeing anything saison about this. It drinks more like a dubbel to me... way lighter in body, but that is what I think of as I take each sip. I actually enjoy this one even though it taste nothing like what I was expecting.



1001 Beers: Hoegaarden

Beer Number 40: Brouwerij van Hoegaarden Hoegaarden

Happy V-Allen-Tines Day to ME!!! I have had Hoegaarden before but never has it been so exciting. It came with a surprise this year! A cupcake baked and frosted with this beer!

Crazy, right? How could one do such a thing? Very simply, I guess. Take a look here. I had the easy job. Eating and drinking this delight. What more could I ask for? The frosting is thick, creamy, buttery, with a nice orange flavor. No spice just a lot of sweetness. The interesting thing about the frosting is that it is actually double layered.

There is a second frosting underneath the big layer on top. That one is very rich and marshmallow centered. You can tell the difference because it is really light and fluffy by comparison. There is a bit of the orange flavors in there, too, but not as distinct. Apparently there was no beer in this layer, so it must have stolen flavors from its surroundings.

The cake itself is very bready, citrusy, some spice and thick. The cake cuts down on the sweetness from the frosting a lot. All together this is one pretty awesome cupcake and I even got 13 of them! What number could be better than 13?!?!

Doing A Fancy Pour from L Allen Huerta on Vimeo.

I thought I would be all fancy like and post a video of me looking like a bad ass and pouring this beer like a champ... but that totally FAILED! I still decided to post it, but it came out nothing like I had planned. I have done this before. I have just never had success with a wheat beer... maybe that is the problem. 
Hoegaarden is produced from a sixty/forty mix of barley malt and unmalted wheat. The hops are unspecified, with the major flavoring coming from the mix of coriander and bitter orange peel that is added to the copper. Some critics say that the beer is not the classic it once was. Its place in beer history, however, cannot be denied.

Who-Gar-Den pours a pale, hazy straw color with a fluffy white head. Nice rise of carbonation in the glass and a spicy, clove, earthy, citrus scents on the nose. There is a lot going on just in the nose. High level of carbonation, the cloves and spice really hit you but they sooth out and go down easily. Juicy, fruity, grainy, a bit watery at the front and the end. Sharp orange flavors in the finish.

Another damn good beer. I am glad I was introduced to this a few years back and I love that it is in this book. Not saying I would not have tried it again, but I feel that it is very deserving and I don't drink a lot in this style, so who knows when it would have been.

961 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Beer Number 39: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

This beer was just another random pick up down at the Flying Saucer and not a bad one either. Though, I think they could have presented it to me a little better.

The roots of this brewery go back to 1363, when a small brewing enterprise was started near the Franciscan (Franzikaner) monastery in Munich. Its founder, Seidel Vaterstetter, first sold it in 1377, with the purchaser selling it on again within a year. By 1381, things had turned full circle, with the founder of the brewery renting it back from the third owner! In fact, for almost 500 years the brewery was very successful, attracting new owners with clockwork-like regularity.
The down and dirty. I loved this beer. A nice hazy deep orange hued beverage. The head did not last long, not that there was much room in my glass for one though. Just the right touch of cloves and banana. That banana was all over the nose as well. This is what I look for in a hefe. Damn amazing. I can't believe I only had one! If you know of something equal or greater than this, let me know!

962 Bottle Of Beer To Go!



Victory: Hop Wallop

So my last few post of Victory makes it seem like I have been slamming the brewery, i.e. Yakima Glory, Golden Monkey, & Storm King but in the first, I just thought that was poorly executed, the second, something must have been wrong, and the third... I guess it was just not my style? But I want more... I don't know how to explain it. I have never had Hop Wallop before and I was not expecting anything out of it. Big surprise to me.
The Legend Of 'Hop' Wallop

Horace 'Hop" Wallop headed West a broken man. For in the City of Blues a Miss LuLu Belle Lager had left him thirsting for more. Drawn by wild tales of riches to be had in the gold mines, Hop pressed on westward. His last nickel spent on a prospecting pan, Hop's hunger got the best of him. Two fistfuls of barley and three of some wild and wayward hop tossed in a pan with some clear water was to be his meal. But sleep overcame him and he later awoke to a bubbling, cacophonous concoction. Overjoyed with the beautiful ale that he had made, Hop realized the secret of the green gold he had discovered in those fresh hops. Celebrated far and wide, Hop Wallop lives on in the vivid ale with his words, "hoppiness is happiness.' Enjoy!

So, this beer was absolutely fantastic. I guess maybe I should have read the label before opening it, but I had no idea what style of beer this was meant to be. They just call it "VeryALEHoppy" on the label. Another thing I did not notice was, it is 8.5% alcohol. But we will get to that in a minute.

I got a lot of pine and citrus on the nose. Maybe a little bit of alcohol... Who am I kidding? The head died fairly quick on this one but it did leave a beautiful lacing throughout the whole glass.

Very herbal, piney, a lot of grapefruit and some tropical flavors in this one. A well placed sweetness on top of a malty body really helped to bring this one together. It was not overly bitter, but you could tell it was an IIPA. This beer really sticks to your mouth. A great level of carbonation and it drinks very easily.

Honestly, I think a little too easy for 8.5%. That is scary. I can imagine passing out 2.5 bottles in because I slammed them in about 3 minutes. I wish I could have found a bottling date on this one. Anyway though, great beer. 4/5.



1001 Beers: Storm King

Beer Number 38: Victory Storm King

Everyone seems to love Storm King. This is just another first in my Victory beer exploration. There are still a couple I need to find for this series, I believe Hop Devil & Prima Pils but this is a stop along the way. Golden Monkey was the first one I liked but something seemed off in the last bottle I had.

This bottle says best by April 09 2017. I am thinking I should put one away until or afterward then to put it to the test. I considered holding onto this one but that does not give me a baseline for future exploration. Might as well jump into this one!

Storm King Imperial Stout started life as a fall seasonal, but fans kept asking for it year-round. Heavily roasted two-row malt and a blend of Pacific Northwest hops give the beer its intense flavor. It's a big, imposing brew that caused the brewery's expensive German manufactured malt mill to grind to a halt, literally, when the equipment was first installed in 2004. Victory had to revise its process so that the hard-kilned malt did not render the milling equipment useless. The end result is that Victory has an award-winning ale that makes a bold, classic imperial stout statement and is perfect for supping during a cold winter.

This beer is dark! And the head grew big and fast. Super rocky. You can pick out all of the malt and some dark fruit in the nose. It is very warming as well in there as well. Very sharp and a big hop presence up front and a lot of coffee. Very roasty but the creamyness helps to balance the scales in this one.

It seems that the hops in this beer were very fresh and there were a lot of them. You could even still pick out some pine from their use. A little bittersweet & I get that chocolate covered cherry vibe. Pretty good overall.

I'd give it a 4/5. Though, this is just not my style of Imperial Stout... as I say this though, I keep drinking it and wishing there was more. Is that weird or does it just prove that I can judge a beer without giving into personal biases? Hmm....

963 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Southern Tier: Mokah

Mokah from Southern Tier Brewing Company is listed as "a blend of choklat & jahva stout" according to the website. I have not had those ones before but I have had this one. It is damn tasty and damn fine.

When empirical and creative impulses collide, the result is often timeless. The classic utility-art aesthetic of the coffee maker is an example of design and engineering working in concert.

It is through similar cooperation that the simple bitter cocoa bean is transformed into a sweet treat. As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with—or as—your favorite dessert!
Mokah carries a deep roasted coffee aroma. I wish I was able to taste the two of these beers seperate but the blend of the two is reminiscent of bittersweet chocolate and then a crystal sweetness comes about and is cut by a bit of alcohol. Very nicely blended though. It does not over power the beer. Dark and Crisp. No Old Raspy, but one of the best stouts I have ever had. Vanilla on the top of all that as well. This beer has a great body. It just rolls off the tongue. Slick, but not oily or syrupy. Just sweet and smooth. Like drinking some fine cognac... but seventy three times better.



1001 Beers: Banana Bread

Beer Number 37: Wells Banana Bread

I remember my first random pick up of this beer. Walking through the BevMo, Branded a fool, What will they say, Monday at school... This beer was fantastic. One that I picked up again and again. This beer is made with actual bananas and even the breweries own well water. Crazy, right? They made this beer to attract "younger customers." Whatever that means.

The bananas are pretty much mashed to all hell and then thrown into the mash of the beer. Other key ingredients are Golding, Challenger, and Crystal. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little beer. Then the brewers ferment this beer over seven days, Thus, Wells Banana Bread Beer Is Born!

When tasting Banana Bread Beer, the sweet smell is the first thing to hit you: fresh, clean, and very reminiscent of natural bananas. However, when it comes to drinking it, the nutty banoffee aroma takes back seat to the lightly sparkling hoppy bitter. It's a taste combination that has to be experienced to discover just how well these flavors work together.
The golden amber, (though it almost matches the orange pumpkin behind it), of this beer is one of the initial inviting features of this beer. When you take a big whiff of it, you get that "banoffee" aroma they are describing. When you get into the taste of it, it is really stunning, I'd say. I love banana bread and now having it, literally, in a liquid form that is great. Bready, banana overall else. The right amount of spice and the right amount of hops to still make this a sweet, nicely balanced, malty beverage.

964 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Milk Stout

Beer Number 36: Left Hand Milk Stout

I saw this van while I was in Denver so I thought I would show it off just a little bit. Though, I did not have it in Denver. How sad, right?

So, This is another beer I had at the Flying Saucer and it is a shame that this is the first time I have had it. I am glad to have actually liked it on Nitro though. I have never really liked any beers on nitro so this is a plus to me.

From the time that Anchor Brewing in San Francisco began introducing American beer drinkers to English beer styles, U.S. craft brewers have taken inspiration from traditional brewing nations. At times, they've tried to faithfully replicate the originals, but at others they've chosen styles no longer or seldom brewed. Left Hand wasn't the first U.S. brewery to make milk stout, but its version has been a particularly popular and critical success.
So, once again. This beer was awesome on nitro. So creamy, a very nice light roasty-ness to it. Chocolate and the creaminess brings great sweetness. Dries up on the finish. I wonder how the nitro bottles of this compares.

965 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Sawtooth Ale

Beer Number 35: Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

I stopped into The Yard House for a beer along my travels, nothing fancy. Just got done with a test that took me about two hours to complete and I was feeling like total crap after it was over. So I just wanted to sit back, relax, and take my mind off of it with something with something mellow that would not destroy me since I still had a lot to do.

I took a look at the beer menu and since I just put my 1001 Beers book into a spread sheet so I can keep track of what I have had, when they were released, and if they were still available, a lot of beers started looking familiar to me. Sawtooth stood out on the list. I did not know much about it and have never had it before, but that is part of the journey. So, I decided to order it.
Sawtooth Ale, based on one of Doore's favorite home-brew recipes, quickly established itself as a flagship beer. Although Longmont's glacier-melt soft water is ideal for brewing many styles of beer, the brewers harden it to simulate the water from Burton-on-Trent. Sawtooth is made with five malts and English hops. It is at its best when properly cask-conditioned.
Sawtooth was served to me on Nitro. I had no idea they did that. I thought that was just a thing for stouts but I have been wrong before. I did not know this when I ordered it either. But there was no mistaking it at all. You could tell just by looking at the way the beer was forming from the bottom to the top and the very big, fluffy, tiny bead, white head. It is a very creamy ale. Bready, sweet, some light fruit flavors and just enough hops to give the presence and hold down the beer. Something you can sit back and enjoy a few pints of.

I just had to show you the lacing on the glass once I finished it. With a sight like that, how could I not? I feel it would be great in a cask. I wish there was a way I could test that theory out though...

Sawtooth is a perfect example of how I feel beer should be. I am not saying every beer should taste like this, or be this style. I am just saying this beer is not trying to be the biggest, loudest, or craziest beer. It is just there to be had and enjoyed. That is what we have gotten away from. Maybe we will see that one day.

966 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Sexual Chocolate

Beer Number 34: Foothills Sexual Chocolate

I still don't know everything I should know about beer in North Carolina, but Foothills is one of the names I do know. I ran into them at the Twin City Taps Festival and they had one of the biggest tents. I actually hovered around there for a little bit just trying each of their beers.

At the end of the festival I was feeling really good and trying to figure out how to learn more than I already knew about the brewery. One of the guys running the stand gave me their twitter account but that was a total disaster. I was searching terms like "Fullsails" & "Footsails". I never really figured it out until I got home.

One thing I did find when I started my search, was Sexual Chocolate. I have heard a lot of talk about this beer before but I never knew anything about it. I figured since I was actually in the state where it is produced this year, I should find it. I did not go out to the release event and all the local bottle shops were saving the bottles for special events and such so I went on a mission to find this one on tap... It had to be there, right?

Needless to say, after a long day out... I FOUND IT!!! and it was at one of my usual stops while in Raleigh, Tyler's Taproom. I did not have to go out of my way at all. What could be better than that?!?!
Sexual Chocolate was originally conceived in 1996 as a home-brewed beer to celebrate St. Valentines Day. A decade later, the beer was produced commercially for the first time at Foothills, and word spread quickly. Brewmaster and co-owner Jamie Bartholomaus uses cocoa nibs that are cold infused in the stout after fermentation and during conditioning. The beer's name is a semiobscure reference to the 1988 comedy movie Coming To America, which starred Eddie Murphy as Arsenio Hall. In the movie, a fictional band named Sexual Chocolate perform the song "Greatest Love of All" at a church-sponsored event.
Here is Sexual Chocolate and their performance. Anyway, this beer.

Completely dark, black. You could not see through this one if you tried and a small brown head. This glass really did not do it much justice when it comes to aromatics but you do get some roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.

Sexual Chocolate had a lot going on, in a good way. Coffee and chocolate up front melding into a thick flavor flood. Layered on top of a nice malty body.Very rich and robust. The bitterness on this beer keeps it in line. Toffee, dark malts, and more chocolate. 10% ABV. Now that you can give half ratings on Untappd, this one got a 4.5

I wish I could have gotten a bottle of this one. Maybe I will find some lying around... or maybe when the barrel aged version is released, I can get that. I think Sexual Chocolate would probably be amazing on some wood... I didn't just say that though.

967 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Raleigh Brewing Company

As some of you may know, I entered my Fat Bastard Barley Wine into a competition last year, The Piedmont Brewers Cup. It actually did fairly well, scoring 43 points out of a possible 50 total, and it took first in the strong ale category. I was not able to make it to the award ceremony they were holding but I figured I would get my feedback in the mail and see what the judges thought of it. I mean, this was my first, first place finish so I was excited!

After some time had passed and I had not heard back I figured I would email the runners of the competition and just ask if there were any problems or anything. I got in contact with John at that time and apparently some things went down and yada yada yada... I am sure you get the picture. Anyway, he moved onto another project. He started another competition and even began to open a brewery! The Raleigh Brewing Company. Their website says it was actually formed back in 2010 but really, what could be more exciting than that?! I knew I had to get up there. I just needed to figure out when it was going to be opening.

Lucky for me, they have a homebrew shop on site! The Atlantic Brew Supply. I figured I would go up there, pick up some supplies, find out about everything that is going on, and when I could come and try out all of their beers. Simple enough list, right? The supply shop is in a pretty big area and they have everything I could have thought to pick up. I wanted a little container of PBW and I was expecting the standard, biggest size we have 4lb container... They had an 8! I was not picking up a complicated amount of supplies or anything out of the ordinary but they had everything I was looking for and more. Very nicely sorted and staged. If you could not find something, you were not really looking.

After I had checked out I went around meeting the crew and got to talking with everybody that was there about pretty much everything. I had some heart felt moments with Patrik, a short chat about the brewery and the opening with the ever so busy John, I got some good advice on my Bavarian Wheat from Eddie, and talked about dogs with Alex. It was a pretty awesome time and at one point, John brought me out a sample of the official, very first beer of the company, The Raleigh UN-Common.
This beer was an experiment that went extremely well and has been called our “Gateway Beer”. If you aren’t sure what to drink or don’t like beers that are very rich in flavor, bitterness, or alcohol then our Raleigh UN-Common is for you! It’s very light in both color and flavor, finishes crisp, and is low in hop bitterness. However, there are still hints of cereal and toast to keep it interesting and it’s brewed with a lager yeast. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 4.5% ABV
The Un-Common was only about 40 hours post yeast pitch and John said that the beer had dropped about 10 gravity points from its 1.050 Original Gravity. John then told me that I was The Very First to have a sample of their production beer! I can totally say that I have been here since the beginning! Now if there were only an Untappd badge for that... I wish I snapped a picture of it as well hah!

At this time the beer was grainy, had a fairly nice body even though it was early in fermentation, and it was lemony on the finish. I can't wait to try this one once it is done. It may very well end up being my first beer from them. That way I can see the change along the fermentation process.

I had a little bit of an ethical dilemma after I finished the beer. John had given it to me in a Raleigh Brewing Company glass and I wanted it! I drank the beer inside of the glass and I was thinking to myself, "Is this glass for me?" Haha! I really wanted it but I just left it there. I had already checked out, I was "on my way out", I thought maybe I should have asked, or just picked one up since they had a lot of merchandise with their name on it. Oh well, next time. I can see one of those growlers coming home with me.

I am really interested in trying the English Bitter, a true session ale and the Rye IPA just because I love brewing with Rye. That is actually one of the ingredients I picked up from Atlantic Brew Supply. A few things I found out that may be of importance or just something to satisfy your curiosity,
The Raleigh Brewing Company is brewing on a 20 barrel system.
That is about 630 gallons of beer each batch. That is pretty insane. I only make 5 gallons in each batch I make... Yeah!
It sounds like they plan to open the doors to the tap room on March 2nd.
I am not sure if that is The Date, so don't come after me if you are in the area then and it is not. There should be an update on their website soon. If you are in the area though, you should definitely check it out. I know I will be up there.


New Belgium: Shift

If you think my love affair for New Belgium is a joke, take a look at my twitter profile, (not on a mobile device), a Flanders Red I brewed in "La Folie" style, and maybe even the shrine above my home bar. It is going to suck when I have to take it all down and move... Maybe I should buy a giant poster board?

Though, today has brought my attention to one of the newer beers in their regular line up. Actually, to date it is the newest. Though, they have a few changes for seasonal ales this year. Shift.

Shift is part of the "Explore Series" and it is classified as a Pale Lager, clocking in at 5.0% abv. I first had it after its release, would you expect anything else? At that time did not really know what to think about it. My short notes on Untappd read,
I really don't know how to figure this. Creamy.... Grainy... A tad spice? Lemon.lawnmower beer.
Since then I had it a few more times and my impressions on it changed quite a bit. I had it out of the can then as well. The place I got it was not really well suited for drinking in anything but plastic or its vessel of transport. Did they change anything? Was the beer just really green since I had it right after it was released? I do not know. I gave it a 3/5 then. One of the things I love about the poster above my bar is that it shows the beer is actual size!

Though, the poster brings other things to my attention. I tweeted New Belgium about it before and got no response... I tweet them quite a bit so it is probably just annoying. But with the plans of the new brewery and the little things I noticed in the poster... I really got to thinking...

It looks like it says "Raleigh NC". Was Raleigh one of the original places they planned to open the brewery? Was it "official" but things fell apart after making the poster but they just never changed it? What about Raleigh should I know in regards to New Belgium? Maybe nothing. But I would expect the poster to say "Asheville NC". That only makes sense, right?

Shift is a really bright and clean beer. You will have a better time seeing through this than a pane of glass. Really clear, honey colored and it has a respectable white head. The nose is bready and sweet. There is a scent in there I can't really describe but I have smelled it before and a little fruity. This beer goes down really easily and there is a light bitterness. Crisp, lemon, grainy, and creamy again, like I said before. A nice malty body and some juicy fruits.

Overall, A lot better than the first few times. The proper serving of this beer, I would say is in a normal fridge. Not a beer fridge and out of the can probably. The colder temps and the can just make it seem more refreshing. It is not bad at 53f, but you know. I'm not allowed to keep beer in the regular fridge, so mine will not be moving. I like that they added a few IBUs to this beer but not too many to the point where it was just ridiculous. The can says best by 10 MAR 13 on the bottom. If BMC beers tasted like this, I never would have got into craft.

So, the pretzel in this picture... yeah, that's what it is. It was made using some spent grain but I think I am going to stop using it in certain things. Everything I make with it kind of reminds me of poop. Maybe if I make a really light style of beer it will be cool, or a bread. I can deal with brown bread. The waffles were not bad either. But, the dog treats and these pretzels... Yeah. I mean they taste fine, but look at them. If you want to give them a try, the recipe is posted on this blog. She even talks about how crazy I am. Damn...



Sierra Nevada: Ruthless Rye

It has been almost exactly one year since I first had a taste of Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye. At that time I was living under a rock but I was always on the search for good beer... It was hard to find in Texas. We were getting ready for our BiWeekly Zulu Company Picnic, details if you care to know, and stopped by the liquor store after we picked up everything we needed to run the grill. I went to the tiny section where they had craft beer and was looking for anything to satisfy my needs... I found this beer!

I had no idea it existed or was even being released. I had to pick it up and I am glad I did. That was one of the most satisfying beers I have had in a while. I did not take any notes on it at the time, but I guess I get to redeem myself this year.
Rye has been a staple grain for millennia-sought after for its stubborn resilience in the field and revered for its unique flavor. Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors-combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to Spring.

I honestly cannot remember this beer from last year but I do remember I liked it. This year, I would say my expectations were exceeded. You get hints of rye on the nose and it reminds you a bit of rye bread. A little spice and a generous amount of citrus. A nice tan head and fairly decent lacing all the way down.

The first sips is what really blew me away. The very distinct and full grapefruit flavors and silky/velvety texture of this beer were fantastic. A bit bready with an up front bitterness that faded and was perfectly balanced. Simply outstanding. Also has some cool label art. Highly recommend.



My Rant On The Beer Wars

So, I am one of the people out there that calls myself a Craft Beer Enthusiast. I buy everything released from my favorite breweries and even over priced bombers, collaborations, and the like just because I want to be able to talk about what is new and everything that is going on with the beer world. More often than not the beers are just ok at best. There are some truly amazing beers that come out nowadays, and those are the ones I am hunting for.

Collaboration beers are just something cool to say you have had. You can hold it above other beer drinkers heads like a badge of honor. I also use programs like untappd to show off how many more kinds of beer I have had than you or anyone else looking at my profile. I feel that the wider variety and the more rare beers I have, the cooler I am... Yeah... About that...

Now, I do not go out and buy beers from Bud, Miller, and Coors intentionally or without good reason. I know they own pretty much every company out there collectively so when I pick up a bottle of beer from Malaysia that I have never heard of or had before, I come to terms with the fact that I may have just put a little money into their pockets. Even with domestic brands, without doing research do you really know who is getting your money?

One of the things that really bothers me with these Beer Wars is the fact that there are comments like this.
If only Budweiser would put as much care and passion into their beer as the do their Super Bowl ads.
I don't really think they get the picture of what is going on. Sure, you may not want to drink a flavorless, American adjunct lager but they are doing exactly what they set out to do and nothing more. Make Beer. They never said they were out to be the most flavorful beer or they were going to be the newest and most innovated brewery in the world. No. Again, They Just Make Beer. Granted I do not condone or agree with their practices, but that is another story all together and what I feel the Beer Wars are actually about.

Like I posted yesterday from 1001 Beers,
Surely there are more challenging, rewarding beers? Yes, but Bud never pretends to be something that it isn't: this is a beer about refreshment and drinkability, not for sipping out of a china teacup with a pinkie extended.
Who knows, maybe I got the message wrong and this is actually a fight against flavor and not the multi-billion dollar corporations trying to destroy any "competition" in their way because they are starting to lose more and more money each year to a growing segment of the market.

Though, either way I feel that if you want to bash a beer because it does not taste the way you think a beer should, speak with your wallet not your mouth. There are a ton of other beers out there and even a ton of bad craft beers. There is no denying that. Care and Passion mean nothing if your idea of a good beer is to make a sub par base beer and add more alcohol or a whole harvest worth of hop growth plus whatever kind of oak and any other random ingredient you can get your hands on. That does not make you craft beer. That does not make your product better or even good.

Though, there are people out there that do understand the real situation. Even if people that make comments like the ones prior understand it, they do not go about showing it in the right ways. Even when it comes down to things like the Craft vs Crafty debate, but I will not be getting into that. Here is a response from Randy on my review of Budweiser Black Crown.
Good review. I'd like to be "beerlitically correct" and say something like, "I love beer and I will not turn down any beer that is good", but I will not try this. Even though your description appears as if this beer is pretty decent, I will not buy it for three reasons: 1. Beer Wars opened my eyes to how this company (and other macros) try to destroy other smaller mom & pop companies who are passionate about beer. 2. They seem to want to go about innovation by stealing ideas of the innovative. 3. There are way too many other awesome beers out there for me to settle for their feeble attempt to get in on the growing craft beer market.

IMO, as far as I am concerned they have dammed themselves. I will not knowingly (I say that because they are sneaky as snakes and one has to be really careful when buying beer to find out who owns it) support them ever. Maybe my opinion can be changed if they were to just bow down to the craft beer passionates and try to let them be without trying to copy them and force them out. What they do is nothing more than beer gentrification. They can't play in the sandbox because they will not be content with craft beer being probably less than 10% of the industry and they own WELL over a third and closer to 40% of the industry.

Screw ABInbev and every thing they do. I respect them for creating a massively successful business, but I won't be supporting.

Great review tho ;-)
This, to me, sounds like someone who actually gets the real issues we should be fighting. He points out that even though I say the beer is decent, he will not support it for good reasons. He did not come out and say, "Budweiser is crap! It tastes like ass and you would be better off drinking water!", he actually has valid claims and reason as to why he will not support that company and I agree and respect his decision.

Though, what I think does not matter because I am just a lowly craft beer drinker that wants to see change but the things being decided on in our community by the ones who actually have the power are things such as, "Does this brewery use traditional methods? Are they owned xx amount by this company? Do they make more money in house than out of house?" etc.... etc.... etc....

Why don't they spend this time to educate drinkers. Teach them about good beer. Teach them about what actually goes into the process, the business and give them good reasons why they should follow you. I think that would make sense? There are a lot of people out there than run with this stance. Someone even made this cool little map.

Interactive Map Of The Below Image

I borrowed it from Philip H. Howard Associate Professor, Michigan State University. This was all over twitter a while back. He has a lot of cool things on the site linked below. Not only about the beer industry but wine, soda, coffee, etc as well. Check it out. This one may be a little old as things have changed in such a little time but consider that since this was made BMC has acquired more companies.

There are other maps like this out there. A simple form of education that people will look at. Though, there are a ton of craft beer drinkers out there today that will buy and seek beers just because they are labeled rare but they will not know anything about the style, the brewery, or the beer itself. They are just caught up in the movement. Great for business but not for the cause.

There are many beers out there that are very limited that I want but I think the idea of being put into a raffle for a chance to buy the beer is just purely dumb. For other releases the parties and such they throw for them sound like a great idea and great time but then again, I am not the kind of person who will stand in line for 12 hours or so after the event just to buy the beer...

I know there is probably more to it but if you want beer that much I am sure there are comparable beers out there and you would only have to wait for the bartender to pour it for you. And think about how many you could drink in that time as well...

I understand that part of the mission may to be to pull people away from "Crap Beer" and turn them onto "Craft" but sometimes you have to let things take their course. Introduce people to beers based on what you know they like. Don't just throw IPA after IPA or Stout after Stout into their face expecting them to change. They have to find what works for them.

You know one thing that might work? Give them a Pilsner. Crazy, huh? That is what they are used to drinking and they may find your favorite beer offensive and turn them off to the idea of craft beer all together. There is no one magic style of beer that will convert every person. Though, that is another story as well...

I think my rant is over... I guess I will just keep on buying craft beer and writing about it here. I mean, what else can I do?

Tomorrow you can read about how awesome I think Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye is. That company seems as if it can never do wrong...



1001 Beers: Budweiser And The Beginning Of Craft Beer

This is going to be hard to do. I am going to try and take myself back to a time where all of the outrageous, insane beers we have today did not exist. I am going to try and live in a world where there is only one beer and it is The King! I am going to try and see what it would be like for a new, obscure, random company that claims to be offering something better and more flavorful would effect my outlook on beer. If I were around, would I make the change? Or would I stay with the familiar...

Beer Number 33: Budweiser

We all know the story about Budweiser and all have our opinions on the company. That is a whole different issue though. So, what I am doing here? This review is taking the classic beer of the time and putting it up against New Albion. The brand new brewery on the block offering a beer that is different from the rest. Beers from overseas that offer more to the consumer. Will it sell or is it just a waste of time? Might as well get this started... without BIAS... as much as I can.

Surely there are more challenging, rewarding beers? Yes, but Bud never pretends to be something that it isn't: this is a beer about refreshment and drinkability, not for sipping out of a china teacup with a pinkie extended.
Budweiser stands for what all beers of this time were like. I mean, they call themselves "The King Of Beer", right? There had to be something to that. They were better than the rest? They actually took the quality of their product to heart. Did whatever they could to maintain freshness and the appeal to their market. This can I have in front of me today was born on 12.12.12... That is kind of funny for me to think of. One brewery was having a major release party and another was doing the same old mundane taste of packaging beer. Interesting.

When I cracked the tab on my can... maybe I should have gotten a bottle, but this was all that the store had in a single... I noticed the this beer was really clear and had a small short lived white head. There is a signature scent to Budweiser. That caramel, green apple scent. A lot of it carries on into the flavor as well. Smooth, a bit of caramel sweetness that fades and green apples comes into the finish. There is a fairly big level of carbonation but nothing you would not expect. Crisp, Clean... dare I say it? Flawless... and you thought I was going to say Refreshing. Though, maybe it is.

Then one day, this guy rolls around. A new beer that promises to be better. Nothing like the beers that are available. Ones inspired from across the pond that actually have... Flavor.

New Albion was the pioneer for the craft breweries of today. People say that Jack McAuliffe literally started the revolution. Back in 1976, Jack opened the doors to this place just five years after he finished college and about 10 years after he fell in love with the beers he had in Scotland. Jack was a man that truly cared about what he tasted when he drank a beer.

I do not know what he liked to drink before he entered the Navy but once he got back, he really wanted to make a difference. While being very vital to the beginning of the movement, he may have came just a little too soon. In 1982 he closed his doors due to a lack of financing and economic trouble. Breweries that are around today, such as Sierra Nevada, give credit to Jack for their success and the start of their breweries in the '80s.

This beer looks like the same that one should be used to drinking. A small white head that dies rather quickly, a very clean straw like color. Though the first noticeable difference is what you smell. Yeasty on the nose and a faint scent of grassy hops. When you drink this beer, you do get a more aggressive ale. The carbonation is high on it as well but there is a sharper bitterness in the finish and not the normal sweet, green apple taste you are accustomed to. It is grassy and piney. Has a noticeable heaviness to it too, comparatively.

I can see how different and aggressive this beer is tasting them side by side. When I had my first bottle of New Albion, while still trying to put myself back in time, I wondered...
What is the big deal? Did this beer just fail because of the price point? Because beer drinkers were not willing to branch out? This is almost the same beer they were drinking.
This has let me see there is more to it than that. Now we are just all washed away with beers that have 739 Thousand IBUs, 10.3% ABV, and Oak Aged with all the colors of the rainbow. New Albion is a truly great Pale Ale. The world of Craft Beer is far different today than it was back then/there was not one, but Jack took the stand and today there has been a lot done in his honor.

968 Bottle Of Beer To Go!



Mellow Mushroom Beers!

I have been to this Mellow Mushroom before, but besides that the only one I have been to was in Asheville, and I fell in love with that city and this restaurant. On this visit I did not get a picture of the pizza, I kind of just ate it but I did have a few beers. Were they good choices? Yes. Did I drink them in the right order? Probably not! But here they are.

Founders Dirty Bastard. The name alone was enough to make me get this beer. Sitting at 8.5%, probably a bad choice for the very first beer. Though, when I saw it labeled as a Scotch Ale, I had to do it. I thought this one was had a really rich, malty nose and a lot of that carried into your drinking experience. Dark fruits and a little pine and citrus in the finish. A nice full body and a little bit of a bite. Damn Good Beer. I gave this one a 5 out of 5.

Just as I was finishing that one up the pizza showed and I figured, hey, what else do you have? I asked for this taster of Strawberry Blonde by The Carolina Beer Company. I thought the Strawberry in this one seemed kind of artificial. I mean, I am sure it was but in the nose and the taste it was just kind of annoying. I think the base beer was pretty decent but it was hard to really determine that being, I had nothing to compare it to. Oh well.

Along with the taster they brought me a Gaelic Ale by Highland Brewing Company out in Asheville, NC. I had this beer once before, at the Twin City Taps Festival. It featured only North Carolina beer, and just like when I had it there, I was way too far palate dead to do much with this one. Here is a little information about it.
A deep amber-colored American ale, featuring a rich malty body. Cascade and Willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. This ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness. It has a universal appeal and is our workhorse, accounting for about half of our total production.

This was our first beer and was originally named Celtic Ale in honor of the Scots and Irish who originally settled the Appalachian region. We had to change the name – unbeknownst to us, Bert Grant Brewery had trademarked “Celtic Ale." The term "Gaelic" more commonly refers to the language of the Celtic peoples in Scotland and Ireland and particularly to the Scottish Highlanders. The dark amber color is similar to a Scottish Ale but the flavor and body is more in the style of American Amber.
I remember it being good last time and I thought it was good this time as well. I just cannot go into detail. Lame. I should have thought about my first choice of beer a little more before I did it. Live and drink, right? Next time I find this one, I will have to be sure to have it FIRST! or if I had the Strawberry Blonde first, which sat at 4.5%, I should have this after that. It just makes way more sense.

Anyway, a night of great food, great beer, and great times.



Superbowl Beer: Black Crown

After the great success of my last Superbowl Beer Review, Bud Light Platinum, I decided to give this years promotion a try. I did not do things like I usually do for that review but I figured for this one, I would treat it like any other beer.

I always try to give an honest opinion on a beer, whether I like it or not. Sometimes I am drawn in by my obsession with a particular brewery but when it falls short, It feels disappointing. Here is a great post on the matter from Sheppy's Blog, one of the few that fall into my email every so often. He even says "inconceivable" in this one!

So, Black Crown. It was suggested by another blogger, Daily Beer Review, that this beer was actually part of the Budweiser Project Twelve Series, Batch No. 91406. He said, "based on the beechwood, description, alc % and brewmaster", he is pretty certain Black Crown is nothing new. Just another marketing ploy.

Reading on the back of the bottle they broke it down and explained that out of the 6 beers taste tested across the country, from the 12 brewers who put forth a beer, Batch No. 91406 won the "Black Crown". I guess Daily Beer Review was right. I used to live in 91607, not too far from this place. No point to that. Just random fact.

Now down to this beer. It pours a crystal clear light amber with a small, quickly dissipating white head. Aroma of crystal malt and green apples. Overly sweet. When you drink it, that sweetness is still there and the apple flavor again. A higher carbonation level and actually a decent body. It says this beer is beechwood finished but I cannot pick that out... I don't think. There is a little bit of a tang on the finish.

Doesn't seem all that bad if they would have put a few IBUs into this one to counter out the sweetness. I don't mean make it bitter or give it hop flavor, I just mean better balance out the sweetness. ABInBev gave their Brewmasters a chance to branch out and make something new. While this still holds true to the spirit of the company, it is actually one of their better products. I'd say give it a try.



1001 Beers: Pilsner Urquell

Beer Number 32: Pilsner Urquell

Here is a beer I knew literally nothing of. Other than it was like 170 million years old... Ok, not million but 170 years none the less. It actually has a pretty cool story and the website is pretty high tech and fancy. I would go by there and watch the video.
At one point in the 1830s, the beer from the Bohemian town of Pilsen was considered undrinkable, with many locals preferring the new lagers arriving from Bavaria. Unfortunately, the main brewery in Pilsen didn't have room to switch to the new style of production, and the quality of its own top-fermented beer fell. One day in 1838, locals protested by dumping thirty-six barrels of spoiled beer in front of the town hall. The citizens with brewing rights agreed to build a new brewery.
Hiring Josef Groll as brewmaster might have been their real stroke of luck. Hailing from the Bavarian town of Vilshofen, Groll had experience working with bottom fermentation, as well as the knwoledge he had received from his brewmaster father. Still, the first batch brewed in 1842 came as a shock. With the combination of bottom fermentation, triple-decocted pale barley malt, and the city's extremely soft water, Groll had created the world's first clear, pale, bottom-fermented beer. It tasted different as well, in part due to the delicate floral aroma and light bitterness from a healthy dose of Bohemia's long-treasured Saaz hops.
I kind of forgot to get a picture before I started drinking this one. I thought it was pretty good though. The Saaz was a standout in this beer and the light bitterness made it fairly crisp. A bit of caramel, clean and dry. I mean, not a style I drink very often so there are probably somethings I am missing from it. Typically, I'm an ale drinker.

That story made me appreciate this beer more. It is hard to think about a time such as then when beer was considered bad by the masses. Everyone thinks every beer brewed today is amazing... when that is truly not the case. But hey, Drink What You Damn Well Please.

969 Bottle Of Beer To Go!



Allagash: Fluxus

Sometimes you are just given a beer and you have no idea when to drink it. Not because you don't want to, just because you hold that beer in high regards and don't want to waste it in the wrong setting, during the wrong event. I got this beer for Beermas, of course, and I decided now was a time better than any for the reason that Allagash Brewing was hosting this weeks edition of #BeerChat!

This is a beer that I did not know much about. Just that it was brewed by one of my favorite breweries. That list is pretty short (4), so it goes to show you I actually care. I did a quick Google search and found out that this is actually an anniversary ale that gets rebooted every July. They state they do this to give their brewers a chance to push the limits of beer. I also learned that Fluxus is Latin for "Continuous Change". This year Fluxus is a Strong Golden Ale brewed with a mixture of stuff.
Allagash Fluxus is a beer of continuous change. Brewed differently every year to commemorate our anniversary, this year's Fluxus is a strong golden ale brewed with a mix of barley and spelt, and spiced with both green and pink peppercorns. It was lightly hopped using Northern Brewer, Cascade and Saaz varieties. It was then fermented with with a yeast indigenous to the northern region of Belgium.

The resulting beer is a hazy, golden colored ale with herbal and spice notes throughout. The aroma is both fruity, with hints of mango, and spicy, with notes of clove and pepper. The medium body gives way to a subtle malt presence and dry finish, with a surprising residual sweetness and a mild peppery heat.

7.7% ABV. Released July 2012.
I have only had one beer that used Pink Peppercorns before. It was a collaboration beer between New Belgium and Elysian. Maybe I will be able to draw some differences off from that beer... probably not though. I really did not know what I was looking for then, and not sure now. That beer was an IPA, this is a Stong Golden Ale, Belgian Inspired.

The first thing I noticed when opening Fluxus is how funky the air around me got. That good ole, Belgian yeast stink I think I would call it. Into the glass it is very golden and poured a big fluffy white head that has some great staying power. I wonder where they got hazy from in their description because mine is as clear as the glass I poured it into. The nose is spicy and sweet. Maybe a little bit of bubble gum. That funk comes into play, too... in case you were wondering.

Spice attacks as soon as you take the first sips of this beer. It tingles and kind of gives your tongue that numb feeling from when you visit the dentist. It just doesn't taste like whatever they do to you there. Very grainy and highly fruity & sweet. I wish I could describe the underlying flavor in this one but it has a lot to do with the Belgian yeast used to ferment it I would say. Just the character is very distinct. Maybe pears & apples kind of describe what I am trying to get at. Medium to full bodied, quite a bit of carbonation.

Overall, I think Allagash knew exactly what they were doing when they put this together... 7.7% does not feel like 7.7%. I cannot taste it but for sure feeling it. The 2012 version is damn good and you can't stop drinking it. I like spice, so for me, this was great. If you don't, maybe not so much but I definitely recommend it. I am very interested to see how the recipes change over the years.

Here is another really cool reason you should get this beer. I just had to share.
Allagash Fluxus is brewed to help fund a scholarship set up for pediatric nurses at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center. For details on the great work that they do there, go to mmc.org.