Thursday, April 14, 2016

Delicious Belgian Beer

Trappistes Rochefort 8 - Belgian Ale
9.2% ABV
11.2 oz bottle

The Rochefort Trappist 8 is featured in a series of beers that includes the 6, 8, and 10. I should have guessed this was bottle-conditioned, as foamy head filled half my glass even with a gentle pour. Murky brown with amber tones.

The smell was delicious and not overbearing. Mildly alcohol, pear, figs.

The taste and mouthfeel was deceptively smooth and creamy, making it extremely drinkable at such a high alcohol content. Usually this style is more of a sipper for me, but the well-balanced flavor is great. Yes there is bread, malts, molasses, dark fruits, and a hint of citrus.  Flavorful, smooth, and delicious.

Overall, a fantastic beer. Not surprised that it gets the score of 100 from reviews. Next to try, the 6 and 10!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Beer Grotto Samples + Backwoods Bastard

The Beer Grotto is one of several craft beer joints near the baseball stadium in Lansing. It has a decent selection and offers 3 oz pours, which I especially like. On a recent visit I stopped by and had 3 of the 3 oz pours, all beers I had never tried before. 

From left to right:
  • Epic's Hopulent IPA (nitro)
  • Grotto's Raisin the Freakflag Porter (made for the Beer Grotto by Short's)
  • Founder's Backwoods Bastard
The Hopulent IPA poured a hazy pale amber with very foamy head due to the nitro and a soft body. It smelled piney and citrusy with a touch of sop. Not an overly hoppy IPA. Notes of pine and lemon stood out but there was balance. Drinkable at 8.4% ABC.

Raisin the Freakflag was very pretty! Dark brown with noticeable red hues and a sudsy light brown head. It smelled of dark fruits and alcohol. It definitely tasted like raisins - sweet and malty. I looked it up and the style is described as a "Rum Raisin Cake Porter."
A nice, unique beer and I would expect no less from Short's. However, 3 oz was plenty as this was a very sweet beverage. 8% ABV.

Backwoods Bastard is a scotch ale or "wee heavy." I enjoyed it so much that I came back the very next day for a full pour.
This is a limited release beer from Founder's in Grand Rapids, MI. The style is known for being sweeter due to a caramelized wort. It poured dark but with amber highlights and smelled of cherries and malt. It tasted like bourbon, caramel, oak, and fruit and definitely warmed my chilly belly on a cold January day. It is a sweet beer and has a high alcohol content at 11-13% ABV. 10 oz was plenty. It was one to savor and enjoy; I'm glad I went back for it.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guiness Nitro IPA

What's up with Nitro beer? The nerds at have a helpful explanation! During the carbonation process, nitro beers use 70% nitrogen along with 30% carbon dioxide. These beers have smaller bubbles, and are therefore smoother and creamier. Cans of Guiness Stout are known for having a plastic ball which helps the CO2 release, to create the head and body of a Stout enjoyed traditionally on tap. Recently, Guiness has released cans of Nitro IPA as well. I picked up a 6-pack out of curiosity.

The can says "infused with nitrogen for a smooth balanced finish." It also shares the varieties of hops used: admiral, celeia, topaz, challenger, and cascade. It has 44 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), and 5.8% alcohol. The cans are 11.2 oz which is standard for European beers but makes it look a bit small in a 16 oz pint glass.

As expected, it pours smooth and creamy with a foamy white head. It smells distinctly of citrus - oranges, lemons, and a bit of spice. It is definitely an attractive beer. It is nice to see the layers settle in the glass.

Beyond that, it is not one of my favorite IPAs. I love big, bold hop flavors. Guiness offers a muted, soft IPA. It is not bad; the hops are more floral than anything along with some citrus and spice. But the flavor is weak. 

At 5.8% alcohol this could be a session beer and that is probably how it is intended to be. I recently had a Victory Hop Devil on nitro and really enjoyed it. The smooth and creamy mouthfeel did not take away from the strong hoppy flavor. 

Overall, I will finish the 6 pack and am happy to have given it a try. But, it is not an IPA that I will purchase again. C+