Archive for January, 2016

Power to the Brewers!

Yellow Springs Pano During our New Year’s trip to Ohio, we went to Yellow Springs Brewery. This super small industrial warehouse was off a side street you would have had to be looking for to find. A standard industrial building of painted white brick on the outside (with accompanying food truck), it had yellow and orange walls inside on one side with grey cinder block on the other. There was an art exhibition going on with the art on the walls, which left painfully little room to navigate. The tasting counter at the back had corrugated metal behind it. The brewing area was to the left behind a windowed wall with a door. Tasting tables were strewn throughout, seemingly haphazardly. There also appeared to be no real system to the line, with people backed up into the entrance to the place.

Bloodsmoke Barrel Aged Imperial RedMy first sample of Yellow Springs product was the Bloodsmoke Barrel Aged Imperial Red (11% abv). This tasty concoction poured deep red in color, with thin, sudsy head. It smelled malty and sweet, with a hint of dark fruit. The taste threw all the sweetness up front, with a load of malts and some fruitiness. Light-medium body and light carbonation did little to clear the sweetness, but it was still not overpowering. It finished slightly sticky sweet and malty, with a bit of fruit trailing. Despite the sugar load, I enjoyed this one.

4

 

Next, I got myself the Birkensocks Amber Saison (5.5% abv). This one poured cloudy red-orange, with sudsy white head. It smelled slightly sour, but that was about it. There was nothing else to distinguish the aroma. The taste was mild and tart, followed by some yeasty, bready flavor up front and a touch of fruit that could have been citrus. Light in both body and carbonation, this beer finished somewhat sticky and tart, with some fruitiness trailing.

3

Framework Stout Nitro

Yes, that is Cards Against Humanity on the table to accompany our drinks

I finished the evening at the brewery with the Framework Stout Nitro (6.1% abv). This one poured black, with surprisingly thin brown head. It had very mild, bitter chocolate on the nose. The taste was just as mild. There was a chocolaty bitterness up front, with some roasted malts into the middle. It had medium-heavy body, light carbonation and finished very chocolaty and bitter. A bit too much chocolate for one beer.

3

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Never too Late to Celebrate! Prost!

Great Lakes OktoberfestWe were lucky enough to have people in Ohio saving beers for us since October that are not available where we live. Even luckier for us, Great Lakes Oktoberfest (6.5% abv) was set aside awaiting our arrival. This beauty poured a golden orange color, w/ thin white head. Sour and malty aromas came off of it, with a little sugary sweetness. The taste was rich and smooth. It had lots of roasty malts up front. There was some vegetal bitterness next, with a little spice note. Light-medium body and light-medium carbonation, it finished malty and bitter. Overall, it was a perfect example of a märzen style beer.

4

, , ,

Leave a comment

Ohio Bound!

GLBC collage_outside_corner

Over the New Year holiday, I was lucky enough to take a trip to Ohio. In the great state of Ohio, there is a brewery, the likes of which the West Coast rarely, if ever, sees and it is called Great Lakes Brewing Company. Situated in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cincinnati, this brewery had the feel of a cool modern brewery in an old brick building. Lots of lacquered wood and rich dark colors gave it a very warm feel. There was a long bar down the left side, with a few tables on the right. There was another seating area up the stairs to the left, with green beadboard on the wall to the left and brown beadboard on the ceiling. Both levels had their own tasting bars and windows overlooking the street below. Through a brick arch downstairs was a super old, dungeon-like tasting room and seating area. To the right sticking out of the wall was an old piano. Brick floors and rough-hewn stone blocks on the walls only helped perpetuate the dank feel of the place. The brewing area was behind wrought iron bars in the wall behind the tasting bar. Unfinished wood wood beams and columns accented a decidedly old world, low lit ambiance.

GLBC collage_outside pano_inside tour GLBC_inside restaurant

Dortminder GoldDespite being awestruck by the atmosphere, I decided to get down to business. I started with the Dortmunder Gold (5.8% abv). It poured a rich gold color, with tiny sudsy head. There was no aroma whatsoever. The taste was mild and slightly sour, with a little hoppiness into the middle. Light body and carbonation brought a finish that was sour and bitter, with a little malt flavor trailing.

4

Next, I tried the Burning River Pale Ale (6% abv). GLBC Burning River PaleThis one poured golden with smooth white head. There was virtually no smell, with maybe a slight maltiness. The taste was super mild, with a bit of malty sweetness up front and a little fruitiness like melon into the middle. Light body and light carbonation, it finished fruity, malty and caremelly.

4

GLBC Edmund Fitzgerald

My third of the day brought me to the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (6% abv). The “golden standard” when it comes to porters as tasted by the Great American Beer Fest judges, according to our tour guide that day, poured wine-colored dark brown, with a thick cap of light brown head. It smelled roasty, sweet and malty. The taste was light and chocolatey. There was not as much bitterness, as expected, but still lots of chocolate. The middle was light-medium bodied with light carbonation and it finished chocolatey and roasty. Good, though I have tasted better porters.

3

Last, I tried the Mash Appeal Kentucky Common Ale GLBC Kentucky Common(~4.7% abv). This rare beer was popular up until the start of Prohibition in the U.S. According to the tasting bar tender, it is brewed into a “sour mash” with ingredients very similar to whiskey: barley, corn and water, with hops added for taste. It poured pours light amber w/thin white head. Smells sour and like barley and barley. Tastes mild, like malty, inoculated sour mash whiskey. In fact, it’s pretty much inverted grain whiskey- sour, bready and like sweet corn. Middle is light bodied and lightly carbed. Finishes smooth, light and lots of barley.

4

This was a fantastic brewery and one very much respected by everyone I even mentioned it to. It seemed everyone knew all about their history and their beers. I truly appreciated the passion for this delicious craft I love so much.

GLBC beer logos

, , , , , ,

2 Comments

Chuck Alek and the Super Flights!

Chuck Alek Interior PanoHappy New Year everybody! I hope you all had a safe and happy celebration. I celebrated with my very first mobile post and a trip to the desert east of San Diego. In the town of Ramona, there was a small strip mall with a brewery called Chuck Alek Independent Brewers. The door lead right to the tasting bar up front. There was not much fanfare at the tasting bar, except for some barrels in front of bar. The walls were white with a large dark red stripe in the middle. The Chuck Alek logo was stenciled into the gray concrete floor. There were picnic tasting tables to the right, with rustic-looking framed posters describing their beer. Some more barrels sat by the tables.

I had never heard about them before, but they certainly welcomed all who came to taste their beer. They had not only a 6-beer taster, but also a flight that includes tasters of all TEN of their beers! Not expecting this, I figured I may as well kick off the new year right and get the most well rounded idea of their offerings I could.

I started with the Flycaster Helles Lager (4.8% abv). It poured clean golden with only a little head. Slightly hoppy and floral aromas characterized this first one. It tasted light and sweet. A touch of malts came before the floral hop flavors came in through the middle. Light in both carbonation and body, this easy drinker finished clean, though somewhat sweet and flowers trailing.

3

Next, the Dowser Düsseldorf Altbier (5.4% abv). This one poured bright cloudy orange with small white head. It smelled malty sweet and rich. The first taste was malty with a little caramelized sugar. The middle is medium-bodied and lightly carbonated and it finished with the same flavors as the start. Not real dynamic.

3

Third, The Weiss (4.5% abv). It poured an almost neon cloudy yellow color with lacy white head. Lemons and a little hoppiness dominated the aroma. It tasted effervescent and sour. There was lots of lemon flavor into the middle. Light carbonation and body, it finished tart and sour. Not very interesting.

3

Then I tried the Cartographer IPL (6.6% abv). It poured clear pale yellow- like a Pilsner. There was little to no head and virtually no smell. Hoppy tasting up front, there was little else to distinguish the drink. Light-bodied and light in carbonation, it finished just as hoppy as the start. This was kind of a nothing drink.                                 

2

The midpoint of my tasting oddessey saw me try the Adventus Holiday Red Ale (7% abv). It poured like the Dowser, with small white head. It smelled malty with only a touch of caremelly sweetness. The taste was malty at first. Then some piney hops come in toward the middle. Light body and carbonation, it finished hoppy, with a bit of malts to calm things down.                                  

3

Chuck Alek Tasting Flight The second half featured the dark stuff. It started with the 1933 Milk Stout Nitro (3.7% abv). It poured black with creamy tan head. It smelled of coffee and chocolate. The taste was full of coffee that carried through to the middle, which was a bit heavy and light in carbonation. It finished somewhat heavy, with lots of coffe and some bittersweet chocolate. I enjoyed the heavy dose of coffee in this one.

4

Next up, the 1850 Runner Running Porter (6.3% abv). It poured dark brown with foamy brown head. It smelled of coffee, chocolate and a little nuttiness. It tasted of chocolate at first. It was quite mild, so not much in the middle. Medium body and light carbonation, it finished with chocolate and some nuttiness.                              

3

The eighth taster was the Conductor Baltic Porter (9% abv). It poured deep dark amber with smooth tan head. It didn’t smell like much. It tasted mild and slightly sweet. A little chocolate and dark fruit flavors came on into the middle. Medium-heavy body and light in carbonation, it finished with lots of chocolate and molasses flavors.                              

4


Trading Co. Barleywine British-style Old Ale (11% abv)
. The biggest beer of the bunch, it poured like a fruit juice- cloudy and red-orange, with small white head. Fruity and sweet aromas characterized this one. The taste was rich and fruity, with a touch of booziness into the middle. Medium body and light carbonation brought a finish that was fruity, boozy and warm.

3

This monster flight wrapped up with the Trading Co. Quadrupel Belgian-Style Dark Strong (8.8% abv). It poured bright orange, with tiny white head. It smelled grapey and roasty sweet. Tastes included malty and winey flavors. There was lots of tart grape flavor into the middle. Light-medium body and light in carbonation, this last offering finished dry, winey and grapey. Interesting.

4

A fairly low budget location, Chuck Alek certainly had a promising lineup and a respectable philosophy. I just hope they are able to step up their offerings to make each one more dynamic.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment