Saturday, August 25, 2012

Doughnut Beer and Pumpkin Beer

So, I totally took notes on this beer, and can't find them. No mattter. A couple of weeks ago, I randomly went to a beer store in Lansing and there were cases of these bright pink bottles at the front of the store drawing me in. I knew what they were instantly, and I got excited. VERY excited. Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. Right?? Not thinking I would be able to get one, I asked my sister who lives in Oregon to hook me up. Luckily I found this first. On their website (I had checked previously) they listed stores you could buy this beer by the bottle - in Oregon, Washington, California. I had NO idea they would come to Michigan.
I enjoyed this with a friend who described it as, "Homer Simpson's Fantasy." Spot on. This is good. Sweet, but not overly so. Really a surprisingly balanced beer with subtle cinnamon, maple, doughnut, and smokey bacon flavors. Definitely one to try! A
It's been unseasonably chilly lately, almost feeling autumnal. Not to mention the stores are already stocking up on Halloween goodies and...Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ale. I'm enjoying Samuel Adam's Limited Release series and cannot turn down a new pumpkin beer. I'm less of a pumpkin beer now than I used to be. Mainly becacuse I've had more bad ones than good ones. But every year I absolutely MUST have a Pumking. I do not see a ton of Southern Tier's beers in Michigan, but I hope I can find one this year.
Anyhow, Fat Jack is a "double pumpkin" ale with plenty of booze and pumpkins. 28 lbs of pumpkin in each barrell to be precise, and 8.5% alcohol. It poured a fairly attractive deep reddish amber with a thick solid foam head. The nose was mild, just a touch sweet. It tasted of caramel malts, pumpkin, subtle spices (nutmeg, cinnamon), but not sweet. There was a bitter edge and a slight smokey flavor as well. A rather full body and enough alcohol to make this a slow-drinking beer. It's still one of the better pumpkin beers I've tried, but my beloved Pumking still reigns supreme. B+

Lovely Ladies, Less Than Lovely Beer

Sometimes I like to drink multiple beers that follow certain themes. A specific style or country, for example. This time it was red-headed women. I visited Oade's Big Ten Party Store for the first time recently. It is near a Big 10 University and I always assumed it to be a place for fraternity members to stock up on cases of Coor's Light. But nay! I was surprised to find a wide selection of beer, in cases/sixers/singles including many bombers (22 oz. bottles) and local varieties. A little more pricey than it should be, but I selected 2 beers from breweries I had not seen before from MI and PA.  
Both beers had lovely ladies on their labels. The first was "Amber Tease" from Schmohz in Grand Rapids. The label described it as, "A smooth drinking traditional California Common Style Ale with the sweetness of the girl next store - hiding a darker and bitter side."
Ok, I've never heard of a "California Common Style Ale" - apparently it's a Steam Ale. I don't like this though. It is a cloudy/murky dark amber with a thin tan head. The nose was strong - lots of banana! which surprised me. It was sweet and odd. Basically overripe bananas. The taste - again, this odd overripe banana flavor that I do not understand. Sweet at first, then a hint of "naughty and dark", metallic. It is thicker than expected, and is only a tease (a term I'm not crazy about, more negative points for them) because now I want better beer. Dumped half the bottle. D
Next was Stoudt's Scarlet Lady Ale - an Extra Special Bitter from Pennsylvania. ESBs are usually slightly stronger ales. This one poured a very cloudy dark amber with a thin tan head that instantly disappeared. The nose was mild; slightly bitter, citrusy, and spicy. It tasted good! Apples, honey, grass, some bitter hops. Feels very balanced, some sweet malts but nothing overwelcoming. The mouthfeel was light-to-medium and smooth. Overall - tasty but nothing mindblowing. A fine beverage and comparing it to the Amber Tease...It is classier all around. B

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rastafa Rye Ale

On a hot Saturday recently I found myself painting a porch purple and doing yard work. It was very fun and satisfying. Around noon I got a hankering for food + beverage. I opened this Rastafa Rye Ale from Blue Point Brewing Company in New York.

 The bottle informed me that a portion of their profits go towards youth in the Caribbean who are orphaned, at-risk, and provide resources for education. Yay! Also this beverage has 48 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) and 7.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).
 As you can see, this is a lovely ale! Poured a bright orange-amber with a thick 2 finger head that lasted a very long time. Smells of rye and spice stood out. Also a bit of sweet citrus, bitter hops, and pepper.
And the taste! It is was very good stuff. Hops stood out but seemed very balanced with the rye malt base. Very flavorful but not over-powering. Good rye, hoppy, and spicy notes. The mouthfeel was a little thicker than I expected, but did not feel heavy. 
I enjoyed the Rastafa Rye Ale with an entree from Palace of Jamaica - Jerk Chicken, cabbage, rice and beans, plaintains. Fantastic meal! The alcohol in the beer was not noticeable in taste or feel but 1/2 a bottle was plenty for a hot afternoon. I'd absolutely get it again.