Saturday, September 29, 2007 

Kennebunkport Brewing Company

If you've been to Trader Joe's recently you may have noticed a new line of beers they're selling. Bottles read Kennebunkport Brewing Company, which is also known as Federal Jack's. The bottles say that they are brewed at The Pugsley Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. Along with Shipyard and Sea Dog, these are all under the same parent company. I wouldn't be surprised if these beers and Sea Dog's are exactly the same.

Pumpkin Ale
49 / 100

This time of year is glorious for pumpkin ales but there is a dearth of them available in SoCal. Trader Joe's often has "orphans" (singles) available; so with the jonesing for a pumpkin ale, I had to give this a try.

It's orange in color (surprise!) with virtually no head. The initial scent is gumball, quite pungently sweet. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin follow up. But really it's sickly sweet, tasting more like a soft drink than a beer.

Why did I buy 2?

70 / 100

This was thankfully much better, but still nothing special. Probably more of an English IPA than the American hop monsters I'm used to; I could taste the Fuggle hops but they weren't that in your face. This is definitely more on the malty side. There was a little buttery taste I could have done without. Passable IPA but I probably won't be buying again.

In all, I haven't been impressed by the Kennebunkport Brewing Company. If you are into the Sea Dog beers, these will probably please you. Otherwise, Trader Joe's has plenty of better options.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 

Stone 11th Anniversary Ale

87 / 100

I've been hearing the myths of the "black IPA" and at last I've found stock of them and am able to try it for myself.

My initially thoughts: Arrogant Bastard meets Ruination. Ruined Bastard? Kinda like the sounds of that. It pours "pitch dark" as the label alludes. Brilliant looking - full frothed head, lacing all over the fucking place. Just looking at it you'd reckon you're dealing with a Trappist quadruple. But that couldn't be further off. It's the roasted malt and caramel flavors of Arrogant Bastard meshed wit h the hop bang of an IPA. After half of a bottle the flavors have proved my "Ruined Bastard" presumptuous. There is a big hop presence, but not as far as Ruination.

As you can see this beer confused me. One thing I can say, is that it's a delicious confusion, drink some.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 

A Tale of 2 Rogues

Chocolate Stout
94 / 100

This has long been one of my alltime favorites stouts. It's a breakfast beer. It's a dessert beer. It's chocolate. It's stout. It's fucking delicious.

I always use a chalice for this fine beer. It's beautiful - deep dark coffee color with a nice frothy cappuccino head, lace cascading throughout as I roll the glass about. The initial aroma is bittersweat chocolate followed by flavors of toast and roasted malt. The chocolate is in the forefront of taste too. What is truly remarkable about the taste is the high hop content. Hops are certainly not something that comes to mind when you think about a stout, no less a chocolate stout. Somehow the fine brewers of Rogue make this effortless and most importantly - truly delicious.

A phenomenal beer for any time.

Glen Ale
72 / 100

I had this on-draught at Father’s Office in Santa Monica the other day.

I knew very little about this beer going into it, but the chalkboard read “new Rogue – malt and very hoppy” so I was sold. It was served in a chalice for an unbecoming $8. The color was a reddish brown, nicely poured with a finger-width cappuccino head. The aroma was very subtle. After some searching I came upon some chestnut, caramel and a slight grassy scent. The taste too was subdued but the roasted malts were the most prominent flavors, slight bitterness. I definitely noticed the higher ABV. This reminded me a bit of Lagunitas’ Big Shugga though not quite as tasty. In all, I was glad to have tried it but won’t drop $8 on it again.