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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Left Hand Milk Stout

Left Hand Milk StoutLeft Hand Milk Stout:

Smooooth. Really excellent body and mouthfeel. Silky. Actually, make that smoooove (with a V). Definitely deserves the "milk" prefix. What is that taste at the roof of the mouth and the back of the tongue? Kinda metallic. But I guess this conjures up visions of antique milk jugs ready for sale on the family farm.

Definite flavor of toasted malts present in this lively stout. Stout lovers will truly dig it but I don't recommend introducing someone to stout with this one. Just a little bitter for the unsuspecting taster. Stylish, yes, but we lose just a little accessibility there.

I love stouts and I love bitterness, but newcomers may be a little taken aback by the in-your-face nature of Left Hand Milk Stout. There are definitely more potent stouts out there, but there are more gentle ones as well.

Left Hand Milk Stout:

Representation: .85

Style: .95

Accessibility: .85

Personal Preference: .875

Total Score: 3.525 Flags

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Divide Titan IPA

Great Divide Titan IPAGreat Divide Titan IPA:

First things first: Give this sizable brew a brisk pour to conjure up a soapy head. Nice flowery flavor and aroma and then...bang! Hops. Lots of 'em. Pleasantly bitter, especially at the finish. Pale in the beginning, smooth at the swallow, and then all hopped up at the end. Dry and bitter with a hint of alcohol to warm you all the way down the hatch. Creamy mouthfeel and a smooth delivery.

Great Divide is well known for its big, rich beers like Hercules and Yeti. I haven't had those in quite some time, so they haven't been reviewed yet, but keep Great Divide on your radar. Yes, you. The beer enthusiast for whom I write these reviews. You love your beers, don't you? I wouldn't steer you wrong. Check out anything by Great Divide. Just be sure to check the alcohol content on these suckers: Titan IPA weighs in at 6.8% abv.

You know what Titan IPA reminds me of? Arcadia Hopmouth. That's been awhile too so don't get pissed off if they don't taste exactly alike. But I would like to check them out side by side.

Since it's summertime, I'll give my barbecue recommendation. Titan has a certain sweetness to it, but it takes a backseat to the hoppy, spicy bitterness. It would contrast nicely with a coconut tillapia. I don't know -- I'm not a chef. But try it and email your results.

Great Divide Titan IPA:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .90
Style: 1.0
Personal Preference: .95

Total Score: 3.8 Flags

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stoudts Mai Bock Blonde Double

Stoudts Mai Bock Blonde Double
Stoudts Mai Bock Blonde Double:

Rich and hearty, Stoudts Mai Bock has regal possibilities. The color alone takes your breath away -- such a deep golden hue that it's fit for a banquet table. The magical alcoholy kick will also take your breath away. But do not be afraid: The alcohol doesn't interfere with the flavor ... it becomes part of the flavor. In fact, this Mai Bock has some wine-like qualities. Check out the earthy sweetness which may remind you of honey. So maybe a meade thing is going on here. Either way, this beverage is definitely for high occasions.

For a vessel, I recommend a chalice or tulip glass; something with a stem. Sip this beauty. And get a clear glass, too. You simply must see the color. I keep coming back to that, but it's magical. Looks like the kind of elixir that, once quaffed, would allow you to see the future or travel to an alternate universe or something. Imagine yourself plunked down in the middle of a large, dark forest. The Fairy King offers you a goblet filled with a golden liquor. You take a sip and then...

Well, Stoudts is good stuff.

Stoudts Mai Bock:

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .90
Style: .95
Personal Preference: 1.0

Total Score: 3.85 Flags

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

River Horse Summer Blonde

River Horse Summer Blonde Ale
River Horse Summer Blonde Ale:

Quite a nice summer ale. Super drinkable but not overly stylish. The wheaty flavors are there, but don't stand out too much. Some citrusy notes are there as well, but not overpowering. Basically, this summer brew has all the elements that give summer ales their seasonal flare but they seem blended a bit too well. There isn't too much complexity going on here. Actually, a quick review of the label reveals that simplicity is the intended summertime state that summer drinkers or chillers-out should experience all summer long, especially while maxin' and relaxin' with a summer brew. Take this one to a hot weather tailgater or just right to the screened-in porch.

River Horse Summer Blonde is extremely easy-drinking and light to medium bodied. Could be a go-to for less experimental summer beer drinkers. Kinda like Sam Summer, but not quite at the same level. Very pleasant. Everyone should try it; Most people will like it. Beer snobs will want something just a little sexier.

From experience:
Goes pretty good with dry-roasted peanuts.

River Horse Summer Blonde Ale:

Representation: .85
Accessibility: 1.0
Style: .80
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.55 Flags

Saturday, July 5, 2008

King Harvest - Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale

Sierra Nevada Fresh Hop Ale
Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale:

The label of this specialty beer tells the story of being the ultimate seasonal. Worth a read, surely. In fact, I understand that there exists an entire account of the trip that included hostile natives, a drug cartel, and man-eating vines. But the tale of the label is cool enough, considering the end product that I managed to enjoy.

Crisp and hoppy. Bitter and spicy. Floral and fragrant. Not quite as much body as an IPA. But that's quite alright -- perfect, in fact, for a hot summer night. One of the lightest yet hoppiest brews I've had in a long time. I have fond memories of Hopitmus Prime being zingy, zesty, and light. I would be interested in trying these two side by side. Smooth and clean with a nice bitter finish.

I drank this beer from a wine-style glass. The flowery-ness comes through quite nicely if you sip this beauty. Don't chug it. Pour with vigor, though, to stir up a creamy, frothy head. It won't last forever so get it while it's foamy. Actually, the packaging is perfect for keeping the head fresh. The big 24 oz bottle allows for many pours, whether you share this Harvest with friends or hog it all for yourself (I chose the latter. Sorry, guys.). This would be perfect at a bbq after you have some grilled shellfish appetizers like clams or mussels with a little butter, but before the dogs and sausages. Mmmm... sausages...

Hop-heads, don't miss it. Be advised: it's more like a hop sorbet than a hop sundae. Cleanses and refreshes. But if you open the big bottle by yourself, prepare to face the music as Sierra Nevada Harvest plays to the tune of 6.7% abv. 24 oz. Not too strong, but two strong.

Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale:

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .95
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .95

Total Score: 3.8 Flags