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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flying Dog Brewery - Road Dog Porter

My first Flying Dog. I picked up a six pack of Road Dog yesterday afternoon and then came home to learn that Flying Dog had won Best Mid-Sized Brewery at the Great American Beer Festival earlier in the day. No pressure on this review, right?

Bio
This beer was at one point the subject of a 5-year battle between the brewer and the State of Colorado over the brew's "Good Beer, No Shit" label. In the end, Flying Dog won.

Part of Flying Dog's year-round offering, Road Dog is available in 46 States. Needless to say, you shouldn't have trouble finding it.

6.0% ABV

Appearance
Road Dog Porter has a rich color and clear appearance. It has a dark, mahogany-cola, brown color. Some light gets through, but there's no cloudiness. Pours with a pillowy cream head constructed of medium bubbles. The head dissipates after a few sips and leaves modest lacing.

Aroma
This is a mildly aromatic brew. Slightly yeasty. I picked up whiffs of bread with some caramel sweetness. It's also very lightly sour. Wierd, but I actually pick up hints of puppy. That's right. Puppy.Maybe it's the sweet/sour. No worries, I like it.

Taste & Feel
Thinner and not as strong as most porters I've experienced. I had to do a double-take. Dark beer, but it has a light body and mild flavor.

It's malty and nutty with just a bit of tart fruitiness. Feels bubbly on the tongue and then has a light clean, finish. Leaves a slight bitterness on the lips.

Verdict
For a dark beer, Road Dog had a far lighter body and taste than I was expecting. Very drinkable and should pair well with a flavorful meal. It will go nicely with red meat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Breckenridge Brewery - Oatmeal Stout

Bio

This is an old favorite that I haven't had in a while. A year-round offering from Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery, the Oatmeal Stout appears to be widely available. I've never had trouble finding it, anyway.

4.95% ABV

Appearance
Thick, dark, black. I love and have sampled hundreds of dark beers, but this is perhaps, by far, the absolute darkest beer I know of. Even holding it directly up to a lamp, nothing shines through.

It has a dense, root beer float-like head. Heavy lacing.

Aroma
The Oatmeal Stout has a soft, bready aroma with hints of fresh cream and whispers of molasses and pure cacao.

Taste & Feel
Thick, smooth, very creamy. Dare I say...comforting?

The flavor is robust, but not aggressive. It has a nice, roasted malt flavor that finishes with the dry smokiness of a very dark, bitterweet chocolate.

Drinks easy; Too easy. I love to savor it, but can quickly down a pint. Ooops... two pints.

Verdict
I always like catching up with this old friend. Get to know it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Otter Creek Brewing - Copper Ale

Bio
Otter Creek is a small batch brewery located in Middlebury, VT. Copper Ale is their flagship beer.

It is, according to their website:

"...a medium bodied, amber ale inspired by the Altbiers of Northern Germany. Brewed with six different malts, three hop varieties and our special house yeast, Copper Ale is characterized by a well-balanced blend of malty notes and mild bitterness."

Appearance
Slightly cloudy with a bright, well.... copper color. Pours with a light, foamy head. Leaves minimal lacing.

Aroma
The Copper Ale has a mild, hoppy aroma with hints of citrus and honey.

Taste & Feel
Very carbonated, but light on flavor. It has a mild bitterness and is lightly hoppy with a slight metallic taste that gets enhanced by the carbonation. I also picked up hints of apple and brown sugar.

Verdict
Decent.

The Duck-Rabbit - Barleywine Ale

Bio
While I'm a fan of The Duck-Rabbit's offerings, this is one I hadn't tried before. The Barleywine Ale wasn't listed on the brewer's website, so I can only assume it's part of their seasonal selection. I found it in the singles section of Total Wine & More, which has a pretty good selection of imports and craft brews (I just wish their refrigerated selection was as good as their warm shelves).

11.0% ABV

Appearance
This has a nice deep, golden-amber, brown color, much like real Vermont maple syrup. It's dark in color, but transparent.  Pours with a medium, foamy head and leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass as it drinks down.

Aroma
Pungent, powerful. My wife can smell it from across the room. I can best describe it as sweet and malty, with a bit of sourness. Initially, I smelled honey and sourdough bread. By the time I reached the bottom of the glass and it had warmed, it smelled more like a bourbon glaze I like to make.

Taste & Feel
Rich, bittersweet. Actually, bitter-sweet-bitter. This has a strong barley taste with a bit of earthiness, almost peaty. I'm definitely picking up a honey flavor. In fact, between the heavy body and the sweetness, it has a syrupy taste experience.

This brew delivers quite a kick. Initially, the high alcohol content creates a slight, burning tingle on the top of the tongue. Following that is a slow, burning, warmth all the way down. By the end of a glass, I was warm all over.

Verdict
Sweet aroma, strong flavor, warm booziness. It's good, but holy crap it's strong. This is definitely a sipping beer. Enjoy it on a cool fall night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Boss Brewing Co. - Bad Penny Brown Ale

Bio
Another favorite of mine. Big Boss is right here in Raleigh. If you're local, check out the brewery tour on the second Saturday of every month.

Bad Penny is part of their regular lineup. It's fairly easy to find in stores around the Triangle, and I've seen it on tap at a growing number of local bars.

5.5% ABV

Appearance
Bad Penny pours a beautiful, deep, coppery brown. It's dark, but still translucent.
It has a modest, cream-colored head, with uniform bubbling.  Sticks nicely to your glass.

Aroma
A light aroma. I picked up a yeasty scent, like fresh-baked rolls.

Taste & Feel
Bad Penny has a smooth, blended malt flavor with a bit of sweetness to it, especially in its caramel finish. It offers up a medium body, with a very mild bite, nips just the tip of your tongue.

Verdict
Buy it. Drink it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Duck Rabbit - Milk Stout

My blog rules dictate that every brew gets a fresh review, no matter how many times I've enjoyed it, which gave me a great excuse to pick up a six pack of this local favorite for the opening week of football.



Bio

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery is a small batch outfit operating out of Farmville, NC. They specialze in dark beers, which are available throughout North Carolina and parts of eastern Tennesee.

The Milk Stout is a traditional stout, brewed with lactose.


Appearance
Liquid Darth Vader. Very dark and opaque. Pours with a thick, frothy head, but leaves minimal lacing in your glass.

Aroma

For a dark, strong beer, Milk Stout gives off a fairly mild aroma. It's yeasty, lightly bready and only strengthens a bit as it warms.

Taste & Feel
Ah, the important stuff.  This beer is delicious. It boasts a full, lively body with a sharp bite. It grabs your tongue aggressively before it slowly dissipates.

Flavorwise, Milk Stout is much more complex than what the aroma may lead you to believe. It has a strong, malty flavor with a sublte and enjoyable sweetness. I picked up hints of coffee & pumpernickel in the sip, while coffee dominates the aftertaste. Leaves a carmel sweetness on your lips.


Verdict
No doubt, this is a fantastic brew. Easily one of my top five favorites. 

Oh, for the record, I see the rabbit first.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

World Beer Festival tickets still available

I just got an email saying that there are still tickets available to the World Beer Festival in Durham on October 3. More than 150 breweries will be there.

Don't know about you, but I'm excited!

http://www.allaboutbeer.com/wbf/tickets.html

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sin City Stout

When you're sitting at a bar in Vegas at 10:30 a.m. and have just found yourself reviewing a local beer, there's only one sensible thing you can do... try another one.

Bio
Sin City Stout is another offering from Sin City Brewing Co. Having already enjoyed the flirty redhead, Amber, I was eager to sink into their traditional Irish dry stout.
 
Appearance
Everything a stout should be. This brew has a very deep, dark brown color. Thick, too... completely opaque. In fact, it may have been sucking light from the surrounding area.  I'm not sure if I was drawn in by its attractive appearance or if it, in fact, had its own gravitational pull.

Even if it was gravity, I wasn't afraid, for I was certain to have a soft landing in the thick, creamy, mocha head.  

Aroma
I was worried that the dry desert air would handicap my sniffer, but that didn't hurt this beer. It offers up a robust aroma... roasted, smoky, almost woody.

Taste & Feel
Beautiful. Sin City delivers a very dry, smoky flavor that momentarily grabs your tongue before letting go to a a slightly bitter finish. I detected just a taste of coffee and a toasty, mildly charred aftertaste, like getting the perfect crust on a campfire marshmallow.

Great body, too.Thick and velvety. 

Verdict
If you're in Vegas and only have time to for one drink, go with the Sin City Stout. You absolutely must try this beer; it's a work of art.


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