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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sly Fox Christmas Ale 2010:

Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg are great for mulling wine, cider, and yes, beer. Sly Fox has taken some very traditional holiday flavors and brewed them into a tasty ale. The bottle conditioning and zippy mouthfeel remind me of an authentic Belgian ale, but Sly Fox is brewed right around the corner in Royersford, PA. Sly Fox Christmas 2010 is a snappy red ale, but falls short of being a sour. Rather, it is spicy and a bit sweet-tart in a malty kind of way.

I feel like the complexity occurs almost exclusively at the middle of the tongue and the roof of the mouth, where the spices blend and waft up there to the nasal passages. The aroma is of course a huge part of the flavor experience, and this Christmas ale gives the impression of currants and caramel as well as the aforementioned mulling spices. That being said, the flavors are complex without being confusing. There is no doubt that this was intended for the winter months, and the Christmas holiday in particular.

The body is full but not huge. The yeasts hang in there for a spell, beefing up the body as well as the mouthfeel, but the malt content is not as deep as one might think. It's hard to compare Sly Fox Christmas 2010 to something as massive as Samichlaus, but perhaps it could be riding in the same one-horse-open sleigh as Sam Adams' Old Fezziwig...

Festive for sure, Sly Fox Christmas 2010 would be the perfect drink served up at the home of Farmer Gray... the perfect ending to a perfect day. I give it high marks, though if you don't drink it this holiday season, cellar it clear into next winter and enjoy it the way it was intended... as a holiday spiced treat!

Representation: .97
Accessibility: .90
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .85

Total Score: 3.62

Monday, December 20, 2010

X-Mas 2010 Beer Round-Up

Here it is--your Ferment Nation Christmas 2010 Beer Roundup!

Check out these three Christmas beers this Yuletide.  Make yours the merriest, yes the merriest, and the happiest, yes the happiest.  Drink Safely and don't forget to leave Santa a wee nip of something strong to take the edge off!

Corsendonk Christmas Ale:

This Belgian dark ale comes in a great gift pack (six beers and a glass) for the holiday season. It is very even-tempered as a dark ale and quite tasty. The aroma is just wonderful and complex with hints of dried fruits and some exotic spicing. [Read the Full Review]

Nøgne Ø / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales / Stone Brewing Co.Special Holiday Ale:

Bearing gifts, they traverse afar... I'm not very familiar with Nøgne Øas a brewery but I'm about to become really interested in this brewery from Grimstad, Norway. This 2009 version of the special collaboration between Kjetil Jikiun and the other two wisemen (Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin and Mitch Steele from Stone) is worth its weight in rare herbs and glinting riches. This Special Holiday Alepours so dark reddish brown that it is almost black, topped with a generous foamy tan head. [Read the full review]

Anchor Holiday Ale 2009:

Eleven months I wait for this brew to hit the shelves. As soon as the pumpkin ales have all shown their fall finery in liquor stores around town I begin to peek around for the first winter brews. Anchor Brewing offers one of the most solid and stalwart lines of brews and the "Our Special Ale" stands out among these. Every year the recipe is different (and so is the tree pictured on the label) so it's a holiday surprise every time. [Read the full review]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf 9% abv
Where: South of the North Pole
December 1, 2010
What-have-you: "Ridgeway "Seriously Bad Elf" 9% 2x ale wheaty, super pale, smooth but warming I like it! Bigger than tradional British stuff."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ithaca Ground Break (Citizen Review)

What: Ithaca Ground Break
Where: Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: July 17, 2010
What-Have-You:"Taps you in the nose and sits on your tongue.  And not altogether pleasantly.  Reminds me of: shrimp (seriously)."

Representation .50
Accessibility .5
Style Points .5
Personal Preference .25

Total Score 1.75 Flags

Reviewed by: Citizen Jack W.

Read what El Presidente had to say about Ithaca Ground Break in his coverage of a Philly Beer Week 2010 event in South Jersey [CLICK HERE].

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from The Ferment Nation!

Here our our picks for this year's Turkey Day.

1. To start off the day - Try a perfect 4.0 Flags Ferment Nation approved beer - Green Flash West Coast IPA.  Although it may be a little chilly and/or damp outside, you do not need to limit yourself to stouts and porters and winter warmers.  At 7.3% abv, West Coast IPA will have no trouble warming you up! [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

2. For Dinner and Watching Football - Try another 4.0 Flags winner.  Dale's Pale Ale. Since it comes in a can, it will be no problem keeping a six pack besides the remote control. [READ THE FULL REVIEW]

3. For Dessert - We're going with another Pumpkin pick this year, and it goes to River Horse's Hipp-O-Lantern. [READ THE FULL REVIEW].

Happy Thanksgiving!  Drink responsibly! Eat responsibly! Nap responsibly!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flying Fish Exit 13 Chocolate Stout


CHERRY HILL, NJ (click links for images) – New Jersey’s largest craft brewery, Flying Fish Brewing Company (1940 Olney Avenue, 856-489-0061), is proud to debut their new Exit 13 Chocolate Stout, the latest entry in their “Exit Series” of big-bottle beers honoring their home state of New Jersey.

“We’re calling this an “import/export stout, combining a fuller-bodied, traditional export stout and adding Belgian chocolate that’s imported through the port of Newark located at Exit 13,” says owner Gene Muller.

On Tuesday, December 7 at 7 p.m., head brewer Casey Hughes will introduce Exit 13 to the public with a special launch party at Pub On Passyunk East (P.O.P.E.) (1501 East Passyunk Avenue, 215-755-5125). This will be the only opportunity to try the beer on draft until later in December when the final Exit 13 batch is available.

Created by Hughes, Exit 13 Chocolate Stout is named for the exit that provides access to Newark International Airport and the Port of Newark. Brewed with a mix of imported and domestic malts, as well as dark wheat, the stout gets floral, fruity and citrus notes from Irish ale yeast and Pacific Northwest hops. In total, Hughes and his team added 580 lbs. of Belcolade Dark Chocolate, then aged the beer with 200 lbs. of cocoa nibs and 12 lbs. of vanilla beans. Hughes recommends it as a dessert beer, and also describes it as perfect for sharing with friends as a winter warmer.

Flying Fish’s Exit Series beers are a playful tribute to the various exits of the New Jersey Turnpike, and began with Exit 4 American Tripel, a Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner that Men’s Journal magazine named “Best Belgian-Style Beer in America” in 2009. The Exit Series will continue with three or four beers a year to eventually encompass all turnpike exits; other entries have included: Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout, an export-style stout brewed with oysters that The Atlantic called “a real crowd-pleaser”; Exit 6 Wallonian Rye, a saffron-colored Belgian-style ale brewed with Sorachi Ace hops and local rye in collaboration with Nodding Head and Stewart’s for Philly Beer Week 2010; Exit 11 Hoppy American Wheat, a fresh, citrus-y summer beer with aromas of tangerines and apricots, voted “Best Local Beer” by Philadelphia Weekly; and Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA, brewed with local wild rice in partnership with environmental efforts to revitalize the Meadowlands.

Flying Fish was the world’s first ‘virtual’ microbrewery, establishing an Internet presence as early as 1995. That presence helped to generate press interest and woo investors to the fledgling brewery, which would not open for business until late 1996. Today, Muller and his team oversee four full-time styles, as well as a variety of seasonal beers. Their brews have been featured at the Great British Beer Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival and Canada’s Biere de Mondial Festival. They have won medals at the Great American Beer Festival, Real Ale Festival and the World Beer Championships, and are the only New Jersey brewery featured in Best American Beers. Flying Fish was also named “Local Hero: Beverage Artisan of 2009” by Edible Jersey magazine. For more information about Exit 13 or any of Flying Fish’s beers, please visit them online at http://www.flyingfish.com/ and http://www.exitseries.com/, or call (856) 489-0061.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Citizen Review)

What: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Where: Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: July 17, 2010
What-have-you: "I've been drinking this in West Virginia for years.  It is the only porter I've had yet that satisfies in body, sweetness, and depth.  Reminds me of: Best of Breed."

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .75
Style: ..75
Personal Preference: 1.0

Total: 3.5 Flags
Reviewed by Jack W.

You can also read a full review of this great beer right here.
Check it out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back to the Coffee Bar (Philadelphia, PA)

The Coffee Bar (Philadelphia, PA):

I couldn't stay away from this place for too long.  The last time I was here, I had some great beers and a great sandwich for dinner, and then I was told of their $10 Beer + Lunch special.  I couldn't wait. And I wasn't disappointed.

The Coffee Bar offers a beer special a day to go along with their lunch special.  You get their beer of the day, any sandwich cold or hot on their menu, and their fabulous homemade potato chips (with Old Bay spice, yum!).  The beer of the day I went was Ommegang Rare Vos.  Meaning "sly fox", this beer has an interesting copper color.  Not a deep copper, but rather a flat tone.  It smells and tastes like a Belgian beer.  What do I mean by that? Sure, Belgian beers are quite diverse, but I think you can identify the general flavor of a Belgian double or triple.  At 6.5% abv, you don't feel overwhelmed by the booze, nor the syrupy taste some Belgian beers have.  This is nice.
As for food, I had previously had their monte cristo, and this time I went with their hot turkey and bacon.  Quite tasty.  They serve it on a crusty artisan bread, and the bacon was cooked just right--not too crispy to crumble, but not floppy either.  Loved it.

The Coffee Bar also had a smoked porter on tap, but I hesitated, because part of the beauty of a $10 lunch and beer in the city is that it is only $10!  And then I experienced a pleasant surprise.  They were switching out the taps, so I was offered a complimentary Victory Hop Devil on draught.  Lucky me!  I have to say that between the interesting beer selection, the good food, and the friendly service, The Coffee Bar will be a regular stop for me.

Email the VP

Friday, November 19, 2010

Homebrew Club Meets at Cork (Westmont, NJ)

I'm definitely going to check out the Barley Legal club. Before anybody calls the cops, check the spelling... Barley Legal. That's the name of a cool homebrew club that met this weekend at Cork in Westmont, NJ. Folks were cookin' up batches of beer right there in the parking lot, with tastes available for visitors and brewers alike.

Brett Mullin of Brew Your Own Bottle and Kevin Meeker of Cork joined forces to host the Barley Legal club at Cork this past Saturday, with more meetings to follow! Some of the brewers had built their own brewing equipment and tap systems, while others just tweaked the stuff they had to add a custom flavor to the brew:

Another pair of brewers had won a contest at Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade, NJ and had their coffee stout put on tap at the microbrew/restaurant! The coffee stout included a ton of coffee beans as well as some cold-press coffee magic. The "Decaf" variety was made without the cold-press and came out as a nice dry stout with just a breath of coffee... Mild enough for an Iron Hill house stout? You never know. Here are these guys incognito:
And here they are with their true identities revealed: Ah-HA!!!

The B.O.M.B. (Brotherhood of Merchantville Brewers) made their presence known as well, and presented a nifty IPA for tasting. Rick and crew have fun things in store as well, but they won't be revealed until the next meeting, apparently.

Da B.O.M.B was enjoying the event and will hopefully have their website up and running soon.

So thanks to Brett and Kevin for organizing the event. Hopefully the next one will be far enough away to feature the beers that were brewed up in the Cork parking lot. There's nothing like a triumphant return to kick off a party!

Email El Presidente

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dogfish Head on Discovery

Here is a new show about beer that everyone should know about!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harpoon Pott's Landbier (Citizen Review)

What: Harpoon Pott's Landbier
Where: Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: July 17, 2010
What-have-you: "Like a mass-market beer with a touch of hops.  Watery.  No thanks."

Representation: .25
Accessibility: .25
Style: .25
Personal Preference: .25

Total: 1.0 Flags

Reviewed byCitizen Jack W.

[Read more Harpoon Beer Reviews]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jeremiah's Bullfrog Cafe

Jeremiah's Bullfrog Cafe:

On yet another Beercation through the Beermuda Triangle of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, El Presidente (that's me) and the Cabinet headed Northwest to Selin's Grove territory. The shining star of that particular adventure was Jeremiah's Bullfrog Cafe.

Cool blend of brewpub, beer bar, and lunch joint, Jeremiah's Bullfrog boasted some amazing brews and crazy hand-made taps. This place is colorful and friendly with a knowlegeable (if stoic) bartender serving up the goods. Take the family to lunch or geek out with some of your beer-loving buds at this cafe. The beers rock.

We took growlers of Wolfsblood and Edgar IPA home with us. I ended up with the Edgar IPA all to myself and opened it almost a week after it was poured. How did it hold up? Fresh as a daisy!

We also took home a 750ml bottle of Undead Ed, which is the Edgar made with brettanomyces Bruxellesis wild yeast. You know, I still haven't cracked that one open, but I have about four other wild IPAs in my personal cellars (right next to my cask of Amontillado), so the Cabinet may be called into session for a tasting.

Beer geeks need to get to Jeremiah's Bullfrog. It's a gem of a place with beers that will satisfy the adventurous and the safe alike. When you get there, keep Ferment Nation in mind and send us some reviews and pictures so we can share your thoughts with the Nation! Cheers!
Email El Presidente

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weyerbacher Insanity (Citizen Review)

What: Weyerbacher Insanity 11.1% abv
Where: Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: July 17, 2010
What-have-you: "It's a buttery barleywine, so it loses accessibility points right off the bat.  But it's flavor mellows as you drink it, and it's good and strong.  Reminds me of: oak-aged butter?"

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .5
Style: 1.0
Personal Preference: .75

Total: 3.25 Flags

Posted by: Jack W.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cherry Cricket

Hello All,

Got a chance to catch up with an old friend here in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. Brendan is a good friend from the Zahm Hall days of Notre Dame. Great to see you, Mig!

We had a few brews and a burger at Duffy's Cherry Cricket. It's a cool place with a downhome vibe.

The burgers are pretty famous, and for good reason. The Cricket Burger was quite tasty, complete with green chiles and a slice of avocado. I got to have some brews I don't normally get on tap like Great Divide's Titan IPA and Oskar Blues' Mama's Little Yella Pils. Also on tap was the Mile HIPA from Wynkoop Brewing. Really nice IPA with pretty aggressive hop flavor, decorating a malty base. Not sweet, though. Hoppy and awesome.

Well, I'm off to a good start here in Colorado. Stay tuned for more minute-by minute updates and some more refined posting after the weekend is in the books. Cheers!
Email El Presidente

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference BYOB

Goodness Gracious! There was a ree-diculous amount of beer at the Conference's BYOB event.

I'm not even going to attempt to put all the individual pics here now, but keep your eyes peeled for a slide show coming up soon. The show-stealers were the highly sought-after Brew Dog assassins, one of which is called Sink the Bismarck ( 41% abv... that's not a typo)

One of my fellow bloggers used some descriptive words to describe the flavor of Sink the Bismarck... burning lemons. I immediately agreed.

Then there's the world's strongest beer: Brew Dog's End of History. It's bottled in 7 oz. rations and wrapped in roadkill. Yeah, I said roadkill. The particular vintage that I got to try was sitting inside a stoat. Don't believe me? Check out the proof.

This inhuman concoction tasted a little more like whiskey. It burned going down, but that's to be expected at 110 proof! Actually, it tasted a little better than Sink the Bismarck. I can't very accurately describe the flavor, since I only had the teeniest sip, but suffice it to say that it's a little over-hyped in terms of quality, but certainly not in extremity! Definitely worth putting to your lips, just to say that you've done so.

Now the award for El Presidente's Personal Butt-Kicker is Erik Peterson from the Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery. Not only did the Presidential Motorcade spend Thursday afternoon checking out the B&B's fine fare, but Erik was a part of the Beer Bloggers Conference's Night of Many Bottles. He brought some serious stuff, including a 1.5L bottle of Chimay Grande Reserve brewed in honor of the Millenium changeover in 1999. Unbelievably smooth, with subtle notes of dried fruits like raisins, figs, and dates, it retailed for $61.00 on the Vintage Bottle list at the Pub, but we got to sample it for free! And I might add that all the tasters were quite generous and willing to share sips of stuff that had been just about drained. Here's a picture of the Chimay:

Erik was also responsible for bringing my two personal favorite brews of the night: the Royal Oil Barleywine (10% abv), a sweeter treat than most barleywines, with flavors like coconut and vanilla coming through by virtue of the oak aging. Slightly floral as well due to masterful hopping, Royal Oil reminded me ever so slightly of Stone's Old Guardian, but it seemed more complex and a bit richer than the Stone. Will that happen every batch? I guess I'll just have to go back to the Denver area to find out.

And I love a good rye ale, like Dock Street's Rye IPA, Founders Red's Rye, Terrapin Rye and Rye Squared, et al. But Bull & Bush's Pimp My Rye, a Rye Wine with claws, was a resounding success and overwhelms the rye field wtih flavor that can kill a man. Pimp My Rye weighs in at about 11% abv.

The finishing touches to a great event came when the party dispersed into various rooms after hours. El Presidente got to chill with Eli and Erik from Beertap TV, Dan from Life on Tap, and the 2beerguys guys, as well as assorted other chilled-out folks who needed (or didn't need, in my case) a few extra beers to cap off the night. I had brought Victory Hop Wallop for my fellow bloggers to try, and the stash made it onto the BBC's photo coverage! Check out beerbloggersconference.org for a recap of the events and some cool announcements!

Thanks again to Allan Wright and everyone at Zephyr Adventures who made this event possible! Be sure to keep checking back throughout the next week or two for follow-up posts and slideshows that will help bring the event together. Next year's event may possibly be in Portland, Oregon... sign me up!

Email El Presidente