Tuesday, October 31, 2006 

ReaperAle Sleighor Double IPA

87 / 100

Boo! Yeah it's fucking Halloween. Also happens to be the day after I have a spooky looking bottle of ReaperAle's Double IPA. ReaperAle has this crusty-guy-in-a-jean-jacket-with-a-metal-band-patch kind of artwork going on. Thankfully, in this case the beer is much better than the label.

From San Diego, this is definitely a West Coast DIPA. It pours a bit darker than most. The aroma is all hops - the pine, the sweet = all there. The 9% ABV is well hidden in this, so it's worth being careful - it could catch up with you quickly. If you like hoptastic beers this is for you. If you like hoptastic beers and Judas Priest album covers - run out and get this now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 

Tiger Beer

57 / 100

Look at that Tiger all cold and ferocious. Makes you want a beer, don't it?

This is probably the best imported beer I've had from mainland Asia, though that is not really saying much. This is basically a typical macro lager with one slight exception: sweetness. The lager hits instantly with a slight sugary taste that kind of distract away from the bland taste of the beer itself. It's likely some adjuunct that gives it this taste.

Tiger works well in relief from spicy Asian cuisine, so it has that going for it - but not much more.

Monday, October 23, 2006 

Oktoberfest at Alpine Village

Previously I discussed my neglected Oktoberfest so finally I gave it it's due respect. According to Angel City's website, "Last year Angel City Brewing sold over 1150 kegs of its Alpine Lager!" All of this was at the Oktoberfest Celebration at Alpine Village in Torrance, California - which little did I know, was under the same ownership as Angel City.

I met some friends down there last week in the tented beer gardens. Time for big beer drinking, pretzels and oompa loompa songs. Lederhausen the garb of choice.

Alpine Village Lager

69 / 100

The two choices of beer were: Bud Light and this. Never having this before but familiar with Angel City, it was an easy choice. One maß was poured into my Spaten mug (worth bringing your own mug, unless you want it in a flimsy styrofoam cup). It was an amber color with no head. It had a bready aroma with slight sweetness. I drank the whole maß easily enough so I guess it's drinkable. The party there was fun and added to it all.

I don't think I'd drink this at home, but it did me well at the time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 

Brouwerij Liefmans Frambozenbier

84 / 100

I had this on-tap at Lucky Baldwins Belgian Beerfest a few years back but haven't seen it again until I was in Toronto this summer.

What I remember liking about this was the subtleties of the raspberry flavor. The more popular raspberry favorite, Lindemans Framboise is far too sweet. Unlike the Lindemans, the Liefman’s offering is not made as a traditional lambic so it’s considered a fruit beer – though it’s quite similar.

The bottle comes in an almost tissue paper wrapper. When poured the dark, murky purple liquid forms a slight pink head in the wine glass. The aroma is of tart raspberry that grows in strength as it warms. The sweetness of the fruit hits the tongue first and is immediately followed by a strong tart finish. It’s never too sweet nor too tart. It’s sounds odd, but the taste is rather refreshing.

Since my return, I’ve seen this in a few more locations so perhaps it’s gaining wider distribution. This is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

96 / 100

If I were to make a list, 4 out of the 5 best IPAs I’ve ever had would be from California. This would be the one that’s not.

From Michigan, Bell's Brewing Co. make this is a fan-fucking-tastic beer. I’ve waited a long time to try and when I finally got my hands on it – I got as much as I could. In Chicago, I had this on-tap every place I crossed that had it. I even had it on engine (a method of serving the beer unpressurized to simulate cask-conditioning) which was delicious but not quite as tasty as the regular draft.

This is a bold IPA for sure. It manages to walk the line between an IPA and a DIPA keeping the best aspects of each. The aroma is a gorgeous bouquet of pine and citrus hop flavors. The hop flavors are held in check by a sweet doughy malt character. It’s a very well made beer.

I could and did drink a bunch of these. I could drink it all day honestly. Can’t say enough good things about this one.

Monday, October 09, 2006 

Lost Abbey Avant Garde

89 / 100

A couple of the Lost Abbey offerings finally made their way to Los Angeles and just in time for the weekend.

Bière de Garde is a style I still don't think I could pull out of a lineup. The ones I've had have been varied in flavors and complexities. In fact most of the ones I've tried have been American made.

It poured a gold-amber color with mdeium head that dissipated quickly, but the lacing was impressive. The aroma is flan-like; almost a creme brulee subtle sweetness. Quite nice. Tasting it mirrored this with some Belgian tasting yeast and hop presence. I was impressed with the amount of flavor that was achieved without upping the sweetness factor. It was very easy drinking and went well with the Spanish salami-like meat the missus was serving.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 

Otter Creek Oktoberfest

78 / 100

As you've seen below, I've woefully neglected Oktoberfest this year and now it's gone. Well, the real one has ended, us Americans think it last from Oct 1-31. I guess with that, I can have solace that it's still alive. Thankfully the BeerMonthClub did not neglet this fine.

This is certainly not to style of your Märzen / Oktoberfest, this is definitely an ale. That said, this is not terribly different in flavor either. The beer poured a deep amber in my footed pilsener glass. There was a caramel sweetness, but also a slight bready aroma. Taste: the sweetness of the nose balances well with a roasted malt background with a German hop flavor finish. The missus and I enjoyed this after dinner, watching some television. The sweetness gave it a dessert appeal while the malts and hops levelled it out.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 

Gore Range Brewery

105 Edwards Village Boulevard
Edwards, Colorado

After finding out that there was no brewery in Vail, Colorado – the good people at the tourist info sent me 12 miles west to the Gore Range Brewery. Driving up to the brewpub, I saw a big, ugly Budweiser truck unloading into the delivery. What would a brewery need from Budweiser? Ugh.

I was hungry as hell, so threw up my hands in a “fuck it” manner and went in. I saddled up to the bar to see a series of taps that consisted of about 4 of their beers and yes, Budweiser. Ugh ugh. I was already in and still hungry as hell, so I ordered up the most palatable looking beer on the menu: Powder Day Pale Ale. I was parched and needed sustenance. It was a 6 hour drive already from Denver since the Eisenhower Tunnels were FUCKING closed. This made for a long-ass circuitous route around part of a lil mountain range called the FUCKING ROCKIES. So yeah I was hungry and in dire need of a beer.

And the beer did the trick. It was nothing special, nothing amazing – maybe in other circumstances, I would not have even enjoyed it. It was hazy and cold and moderately balanced and I drank it with a big smile on my face. I ordered up the pulled rotisserie chicken sandwich which had onion rings on top. Same thing – hit the spot.

The place looked like a spot that locals hit after skiing in the winter. I could see that. I wouldn’t go so far to say this place was great, but if you’re driving through the Rockies and hungry (and perhaps thirsty) – it works wonders.