Friday, March 31, 2006 

3rd Stop, Beverly Hills

After seeing the favorable review in the LA Times, the missus and I decided to give it a go. 30 beers on draft? In Los Angeles? Crazy.

OK, this place fucking sucks - straight up

first - it's in an extremely posh area, right near the Beverly Center, near the bullshit Barefoot Restaurant, a place where no beer bar belongs

second - they were having some sort of retirement party or something, with all these 99 cent store "Good Luck" balloons all over the place

third - TERRIBLE service, I thought the gf was going to murder one of the twat servers - it wasn't very busy, there were plenty of bartenders

fourth - the beer selection was decent but very safe, nothing I was dying to try. Kudos for having 4 local beers on tap: from Craftsman in Pasadena - good shit.

fifth - the taps were not active in the first few beers we tried to order and the twat server just kept saying, "No, next week" like we were the assholes. Turns out the twat server = one of the owners. The gf just turned to me after being unable to order our desires and says. "Let's get the fuck out of here"

AVOID, imo

3rd Stop

8636 W. 3rd St.

Los Angeles, (310) 273-3605.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

Moylan's Moylander Double IPA

85 / 100

I've become quite fond of Moylan's higher hop outings: this and Hopsickle - their triple IPA. Both are rather reasonably priced and often available at my local shop - Cap N Cork (see BevNoMo! below for mo' info).

California double IPAs seem to be popping up from every brewery. And that's a great thing. Most point to Vinny Cilurzo, brewmaster and proprietor of Russian River Brewing Co. as the inventor (back in his Blind Pig days in Temecula, Ca) of this heavily hopped version of the British ale in the 90s. Since it's become a popular brew across the country - giving the U.S. beer geeks something to scour their shops to find.

This is decent example of the style. The color is there: a nice orange, but lil lighter than most. The frothy cloud head is nice. The smell is full - pure hops: nice floral, pine and a slight citrus. The taste far less malty than I anticipated - the label does state, "an enormous malt backbone", but at the same time it didn't bother me. I enjoyed the hoppiness. Nice mouthfeel, it has the warmth I like from a DIPA.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Ommegang Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison)

84 / 100

"A hoppy brew, the Ommegang Hennepin is beautifully golden in color and stays on the palate with a briskness that makes it perfect for aperitifs." according to This statement is pretty much bullshit.

Not even remotely hoppy (at least in the way that the descriptor has come to mean something with high IBUs), instead this is a fine American version of the lovely Belgian farmhouse style. It should come as no surprise that Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York, was purchased by the Belgian Duvel Moortgat in 2003.

It has a nice citrus aroma - very crisp, very refreshing. The yellow straw murky color is very inviting. The taste is light but full on flavor. Hints of spice and fruits come through deliciously.

This is a fine beer and comparable to similar ones more fabled from Belgian. For the price, it’s quite a bargain considering its Belgian kin will likely cost you twice as much.

Monday, March 27, 2006 

Victory Hop Devil IPA

75 /100

I've had so many people tell how much they enjoyed this beer. I love IPAs and have had this several times, including a quite a few recently. Am I missing something?
To start, it's a fine beer, a quality IPA that was quite enjoyable. But with the accolades this gets I expect it to be something spectacular. Even more so since it's an IPA, one of the finest styles around, in my opinion. I guess the main missing link for me is the use of hops. This has never hit me as an absurdly hoppy beer. I fucking love hops. This falls more into citrus hopland, and I'm a piney / floral kinda jabroni.
Definitely worth trying for yourself, it's a good beer and others seem to dig the shit outta this.

Thursday, March 23, 2006 

Alesmith IPA

99 /100

I drink this regularly; in fact, it is probably my favorite IPA.
It is one the first West Coast IPAs, I really got into when moving to California. When I first tried it, I liked it but I wasn’t use to the enormous amount of hops. I was a pussy. Now I can’t get enough it, it’s remarkable.
Cascade hops are now pretty much my best friends. West Coast IPAa are a staple of my refrigerator and anytime I can step to a Double, Triple, Imperial – anything, anyway you want to call something with absurdly high hops in it – I’m all about it. What really elevates Alesmith’s IPA above and beyond the truly great Cali IPAs is the way it has a slight sweetness than keeps the hops at bay. It ties it all together in a nice, smooth manner.
I really can’t say enough good things about this beer. I send to my friends on the East Coast – who, unfortunately cannot get it there. I dream about when I sleep. Seriously, just go out and get yourself one, if you can.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Samuel Adams Black Lager

80 / 100

From the Brewmaster's Collection 6 pack.
Sam Adam's version of the German Schwarzbier poured thin dark and somewhat clear into my pint glass. A nice roasted malty nose. The taste had some sweetness to it - some chocolate and caramel, but not overwhelming and decidedly dry. The body was nice - full but light and refreshing. An excellent session German style lager.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

The Governator Ale

70 / 100

E.S.B. brewed by the Pyramid / Portland Brewing Co.

Having not had the beer in a couple years, and finding it on sale for a measly $1.99 for a bomber; I decided to give it another go.
It poured a golden color with a slight head. The aroma was malty with hops in the distant background with a slight citrusness and caramel. The flavor is sweet but subtle - perhaps too subtle. The hops give a lil kick not something I often associated with ESBs. The mouthfeel is smooth but thin. It went down relatively fast - very drinkable - to my surprise. Guess I was thirs-taaaay!
I'd say it's better than the dumb title gimmick would suggest, but nothing phenomenal.

Friday, March 17, 2006 

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA

89 / 100

This looked great in my pint glass: a nice orange canvas with a thick eggshell head, nicely lacing throughout. It had a nice hop smell – but not the “ripping lines of hops of the mirror table” that I’ve become all too familiar with (and a habit I don’t see myself kicking). There were citrus notes – the familiar orange and grapefruit, but also something a bit more tropical. The flavor is wonderful – complex hoppiness rounded with the fruit finish. It was slick and creamy and delicious. I think were I not so recently bombarding my palate with absurdly hoppy offerings – I would find this to have a more than generous kick. Now it’s almost a session beer.

Sadly, even though I’m only a few hours from Ballast Point, the only place around LA that I ever see their fine products is BevMo. Next BevMo trip, I’mma load up on this.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 

Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale

68 / 100

The label promised lots of hops. I like lots of hops.
This pours a lazy hazy red color. There is plenty of malt aroma, some molasses, but where are them hops? First sip, had me asking this question again. Am I drinking a red? I check the bottle. Nope, IPA – still promising lots of hops. Butte Creek is in Chico. Chico is in California. California is famous (infamous?) for it’s stupidly hopped beers. I live in California. I like stupidly hopped beers. How can they make a proclamation on the bottle?
From here out – I’m treating this as a red, so as to not further my disappointment (lord knows I want a hoppy IPA). As a red, this not bad: nice malt character – very nutty, slight sweetness, medium bodied with a nice mouthfeel with good carbonation and texture. A bigger sized red, not sure if I would drink this often – I struggled to finish the 22 oz.

If you’re looking for an IPA, get something different. This is not.


Hoptown IPA

83 / 100

My local shop (Cap N Cork in Los Angeles) just started carrying Hoptown products. With the name Hoptown, I’m heading for the IPA and it better be bloody hoppy.

It pours a nice, clean amber color with a frothy head. Great lacing. Yup, it was hoppy – a pleasant mix of floral and citrus scents. The taste was sweeter than I expected – nice, round caramel taste with pine hops swimming about it. A few sips and I was digging it. It was very easy drinking.

California doing IPAs right, again and again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

88 / 100

This is a fine, interesting beer that I consume regularly. About fucking time I gave it a write-up.
Firstly - I hate rye. It's disgusting. Were it not for the thorough recommendations this beer had been given, I never would have tried it.
Stupid rye.

Thank god I taste absolutely no rye in this at all. It pours a dark auburn color with a beefy head - that retains seemingly forever. The aroma is all hops- very piney with a slight nuttiness. The malty flavor adds a great taste to the overwhelmingly wonderful hops. It's sweet and bitter. A nice alcohol warming as the creamy beverage smooths out. Easy to enjoy and there's plenty more where this one came from.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006 

New Belgium La Folie

94 / 100

I’ve been waiting to taste this highly touted beer for quite some time. The always impressive Toronado in San Francisco had it on-tap.

Poured with a red-brown color with barely any head. The aroma was extremely sour – hints of cherry. It was a strong scent. The taste was almost as tart.
It was very unique. Very complex. Very delicious.

It was light, with a crisp finish and surprising quite drinkable and refreshing for something so sour. Sitting across from me, my girlfriend proclaimed, “Top 3 ever!!!” She’s a saison girl and god bless her for it.

Fine fucking beer this.

Monday, March 06, 2006 

Rogue FestivAle

52 / 100

Anytime I see a new offering (or new to me) from the ever-reliable Rogue, I always put one in the shopping cart. A saison? Are you fucking kidding me? I definitely need this, even despite the crusty fella adorning the bottle.

I poured this 22 oz. into 2 different tulips glasses: one for me and one for the missus. The filled glasses couldn’t be any more different looking. Hers, the 1st pour – nice, hazy bright orange and mine, an opaque murky soupy brown with sediment a plenty. She laughed at mine. I told her it’s only because I’m so goddamn nice that she got the good one. She said she’d share if mine tasted like shit. It didn’t, but that's not to say that it was terribly delicious either.

The aroma was light and fruity – orange, tangerine, spices including clove and coriander. The taste was very yeasty from both glasses. It was very light tasting, missing the tartness that I’ve come to expect from saisons. The were wintery spices too that were out of place: the clove and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Some sips were better than others - I enjoyed the citrus notes.

It had medium to light body, except for all of the sediment which made much of my glass difficult to drink even after 30 minutes or so. I won't be picking this one up again anytime soon.

A disappointment from Rogue.


Smuttynose Big Beer Series: Wheat Wine Ale

73 / 100

I really dig the label. If you are reading my review you can see it. Nice huh?

I poured this into a tulip glass – a brown amber color with a creamy head, maybe too much of a head , as I didn’t pour it very well. Tulip glasses kinda fuck me up. It had a interesting aroma: sweet and citrus with a hop lingering. And alcohol – I could definitely smell booze was in there in abundance. It tasted fruity with a lot of malt going on. Hops were around too. It was a bit like a barleywine but not as intense – even though they have similar alcohol levels – this seemed lighter, more subdued.The alcohol was very much kickin’ it. It gave that nice warmth in the medium body, but it also was a bit much. I struggled to make it through the whole 22 oz.

Interesting beer, my first wheat wine – I’m up for more.


Okocim Porter

88 / 100

The experience I have with Baltic Porters has been with the ones I’ve been able to pick up in the Russian / Armenian parts of town: Baltika and Utenos are the ones that come to mind. None prepared me for the brilliance of the Okocim.

The dark syrupy concoction that poured into my glass was a bid foreboding – maybe not the best beer to have with dinner? There was virtual no head. A very robust aroma of malt, caramel and coffee breathed out the dark liquid. The flavor was very full – malt, coffee and maple all with smoky hints. Very full, very delicious. The nice thick body was very smooth and the alcohol was very well masked.

Hopefully some of my local shops will pick this up. I liiike.