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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA 10.24% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
May 26, 2010
What-have-you: "Avery 'Maharaja' Imperial IPA. Uber-hoppy, floral and citrusy. Richness and hop power reminds me of Founders 'Devil Dancer'. That's high praise, Hop-Heads."

Avery Maharaja

Avery Brewing

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Nodding Head Brewery IPA (Citizen Review)

What: Nodding Head Brewery IPA 7.0% abv
Where: Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant (Philadelphia, PA)
When: May 27, 2010
What-have-you: "Nodding Head's simply-named IPA is flowery to the nose with the scent of hops but also has a strong citrus flavor which gives it a tangy bite, not razor sharp like some of the overhopped IPAs out there. At 7% abv, it is tasty and a solid IPA without being overwhelming. Has that signature hoppy scent even halfway thru, which I like. This beer doesn't quit on you. This is bright and shiny tasting. I am liking this more the more I drink it."

Although I did not get to sample any of the food, the bartenders were friendly, and the overall atmosphere is cool and old-school pubbish. Dark wood bar with some ornate carving work, and of course, the signature bobble-heads adorning the top of the bar. I will definitely be making a return visit to sample the rest of their beers, and I am especially psyched about returning for Philly Beer Week as they release Flying Fish's newest in their Exit Series (Exit 6 - Wallonian Rye). It's a collaboration between Flying Fish, Nodding Head, and one of my personl favorites: Stewart's Brewpub in Bear, DE. Can't wait.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

La Trappe Koningshoeven Quadrupel (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: La Trappe Koningshoeven Quadrupel 10.0% abv
Where: The Blue Monkey Tavern (Merchantville, NJ)
May 19, 2010
What-have-you: "Blue Monkey. Koningshoeven Quad. Malty with a little bubblegum essence and a honey earthiness. 10% abv. Whoah."

Trappe Quadrupel

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Batemans Combined Harvest Multi-Grain Beer (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Batemans Combined Harvest Multi-Grain Beer 4.7% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
May 24, 2010
What-have-you: "Bateman's 'combined harvest' multigrain beer. 4.7% abv. Smooth and earthy with a bit of fruit tang. Wheat, oats, n rye prevail."

Batemans Combined Harvest

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce

Yards Poor Richard Tavern Spruce
Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce:

Ales of the Revolution Series. "Malt Beverage crafted with natural flavors (molasses, spruce tips, and sprigs)" 5% abv.

Brewed using Benjamin Franklin's original recipe, this revolutionary ale is the lightest of the three I've tried so far. George Washington Tavern Porter and Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale are the others I've sampled. They are heavier hitters, no doubt. Poor Richard's aroma is pretty nice and refreshing, combining a slight sweetness with that evergreen essence of spruce. The flavor follows pretty much in line with the aroma but the molasses asserts itself with a dark richness. The finish is pretty dry, however, and can really be tasted best when a good belch is emitted from deep within the chest.

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce is pretty good right out of the bottle, but even better when it's opened up a bit (poured into a pint glass). The medium body and tangy flavors smooth themselves out when drunk from the glass. Which makes me wonder how this brew would be on tap... probably even smoother... which couldn't hurt.

Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce reminds me a bit of the Williams Brothers' Historic Ales of Scotland -- especially the Alba Scots Pine. Extremely earthy and different than traditional beers made with traditional ingredients, Poor Richard's definitely has an Olde World feel to it. In fact, all of Yards' "Ales of the Revolution" are said to be brewed using the original recipes of the hoary-headed gentlemen who grace the labels. If my memory serves me, the Ales were at one time brewed by Yards exclusively for the City Tavern in Old City, Philadelphia, PA. All of these Ales of the Revolution have lifted my patriotism. You know, if I could take a hot tub time machine, I think I would go back to the mid-to-late 1700s and spend some time with the Pounding Fathers to report on the authenticity of these recipes. And I could fill them in on the future Presidentes of our fine Nation...

Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce:

Representation: .9

Accessibility: .925

Style: .95

Personal Preference: .85

Total Score: 3.625 Flags

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

IPA in a Can Showdown (Citizen Review)

IPA in a Can Showdown:

What do you get when the VP of the The Ferment Nation sits down with two very opinionated beer drinkers to review three IPA beers currently available in cans? You get a showdown! Since I forgot to have my fellow beer drinkers sign the standard Ferment Nation Citizen Reviewer Release Form (Form #FN-201983.32.B, to be supplied in triplicate directly to El Presidente), let's call them Citizen E. and Citizen N.

As a preface to the criticism and praise, it was pretty great that we could even review more than one craft brewery IPA in a can. Cans are great for coolers and for keeping beer cold, they are probably less expensive to produce for breweries, are easier to stack and transport and less prone to destruction if you drop one. BUT, I could not name off the top of my head a single craft beer available in a can other than Dale's Pale Ale. So why the reluctance on the part of craft breweries? Not sure. Maybe its a pride thing- big breweries use cans, craft breweries use casks and bottles? I guess we will see in the future, but I say, especially for summertime, let's see more cans!

So, we were three reviewers drinking three IPA beers in cans. We conferred with initial tastings and then secondary tastings, and then passed judgment on all three as to the order of quality in taste and representation as India Pale Ales. Here are the notes that were taken. In the interest of propriety and politeness, I will say that the views expressed in the following notes do not necessarily represent the views of The Ferment Nation.

1. 21st Amendment Brewery - Brew Free or Die IPA
- No smell/can smell
- Awful “yommy” aftertaste
- Great design on can

2. Caldera Brewing Company IPA
- Funky
- Cat piss mell
- Not undrinkable, but close
- Can design and green tab bad calls
- More like a pale ale
- Stinky stinky
- Lightest color of the three

3. Sly Fox Route 113 IPA
- Grassy, excellent aftertaste
- Bite that we were looking for
- Nice can
- Nice caramel hue
- Does not taste like it came out of a can

The clear winner was Sly Fox's Route 113 IPA. In second place was 21st Amendment, and coming in last was Caldera. And although Citizen E. has a connection to Suzanne Woods of BeerLass.com fame, I will not doubt her opinion as being unduly influenced. I totally agree with the overall judgement. As a final comment, I would say that all three IPAs fall short of outstanding representatives of the style like Green Flash's West Coast IPA, or even recent favorites of mine like Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA. Obviously, now there are a whole lot more craft beers in cans than a year or two ago, and producing beers in cans could be the future, but it looks like there is still much work to be done. And so we wait, patiently, thirstily.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Founders Centennial IPA (Citizen Review)

What: Founders Centennial IPA 7.2% abv
Where: Casa McCuen (Collingswood, NJ)
When: May 16, 2010
What-have-you: "Founders makes some good beers, and this IPA was calling my name. With some recognizable maltiness to it, the hops were still the star of the show, and that is what I demand from an IPA. Another test I have is the half-way test. Halfway through the bottle, I like to stick my nose in, take a whiff. Yep, still hoppy. I like that. As I look at the bottle, I notice it mentions that it has been dry-hopped and it is unfiltered, which intrigues me. I would be interested in comparing this IPA and its brewing process to other IPAs, see which ones I like better. I have heard that this is actually much better on draught, which is never surprising, but I think this is another solid performance by Founders and a very nice IPA."

Founders Brewery

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boulder Planet Porter (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Boulder Planet Porter 5.51% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
May 12, 2010
What-have-you: "Boulder 'Planet Porter'. Lil toasty, mildly hoppy, medium body. Really nice but not insane. Worth a look if you're a porter freak."

Boulder Brewery
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Monday, May 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Beers

Famous Last Words:

"It is a far, far better better beer that I drink..." That is what I think of. As the work day winded down, my colleagues and I partook of some fermented beverages. We had a pretty good selection: 21st Amendment's Brew Free or Die IPA, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo IPA and I think some others, too, but I forget them right now.

The first for me was Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Extra IPA. I have had this beer before, and this particular day, I was equally as unimpressed as the first. Sorry! Sierra Nevada is usually one of those no-worries, rock-solid dependable breweries, but I was at a loss as to what to say. The second beer I had was Bell's Two Hearted Ale, which although the label just says "Ale", it is an American style IPA, and it shows it. Compared to Torpedo, which throws in the word "Extra" into it's name, Bell's "Ale" beats our Sierra Nevada in the IPA department.

What's in a name? A hop is a hop is a hop. Bell's wins in the hop category, the aroma category, and the overall taste category. Ask not for whom Bell's tolls, it tolls for me... to have another Two-Hearted Ale!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA 9.0% abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: May 5, 2010
What-have-you: "Pour House. Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA. Savage hops attack! Grapefruity, floral, and a nip o' sweet."

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe at The Pour House
Weyerbacher Website
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Friday, May 14, 2010

New Holland Dragon's Milk Ale (Citizen Review)

What: New Holland Dragon's Milk Ale 10.0% abv
Where: PJ's Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: May 12, 2010
What-have-you: "I asked El Presidente if I would like this one. It was listed on the chalkboard as an 'American Strong Ale', but El Prez told me it has similarities to an imperial stout, so that sold me right away. And it was dark, dark as Smaug's lair in the Lonely Mountain. It came to me served in a Three Philosophers mini wine goblet. I could smell the alcohol right away, which is kind of a turn off, but at 10% abv, what do you expect? Oaky? Yes, and it has an odd sweetness to it, and a kind of lingering twangy aftertaste, which makes sense to me when I read New Holland's own description. This is pretty good, but I will stick with only one tonight."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Samuel Adams Round-Up

Samuel Adams Round-Up:

We occasionally like to re-visit some of our previous reviews to spotlight a certain style of beer, or in this case, a particular brewery. Here are some of our Sam Adams beer reviews. To start off, for the Hop-Head-in-Chief, we bring you:

1. Sam Adams Longshot Double IPA:

This home-grown recipe from Mike McDole of California has a pretty serious hoppy kick. With 7 varieties of American hops addes, this blend has a very definite grapefruit juice thing going on. [
Read the full review]

2. Samuel Adams Imperial Stout:

This imperial stout is dark all the way through. Extreme bitterness up front presents the traditional dark flavors of chocolate and coffee. The bitterness gives way for just a moment to let in a little sweetness from deep within. Then, the aftertaste hits with lasting results. What is that herbal, tongue-numbing bittersweet flavor? Aha! Anise. I may not have come up with that on my own but Jim Koch was kind enough to sum up the brew on the rear label. Thanks, Mr. Koch, for putting words to my flavor experience. [
Read the full review]

3. Samuel AdamsSummer Ale:

There are lots of summer beers out there and they seem to get better and better. Sam Adams is sort of the successful big brother of the craft brew industry and usually keeps the level of competition pretty high. This Summer Ale has a nice golden color and slightly hazy complexion. The body is just right with a smooth mouthfeel, too. So flavorful and consistent. Get it in the bottle or on draft! [Read the full review]

Posted by The VP

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dock Street Brewing Co. Rye IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Dock Street Brewing Co. Rye IPA 6.8% abv
Where: McKenzie Brew House (Malvern, PA)
November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "This was a "guest" beer at the McKenzie Brew House and Brewpub in Malvern, PA. Bitter and sharp. Hoppy and earthy. The rye combines with the hops to make the flavor hop!"

Dock Street Brewing Co

Posted by El Presidente

Friday, May 7, 2010

Selin's Grove Brewing Co. White Horse Porter (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Selin's Grove Brewing Co. White Horse Porter 5.5% abv
Where: Selin's Grove Brewing Co. (Selinsgrove, PA)
November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "Cask-hand-pumped. Mellow!!! Smooth!!! Almost like you're drinking a starry night."