Posts Tagged chocolate

There’s Beer in My Junk!

Junk House signI recently went to a little gastropub that just opened up down the street from my house called Junk House Gastro-Pub. This was a little funky, industrial, warehouse-looking place just off the freeway. I was directed to it by a hand-painted sign (graffiti style) with a name and an arrow pointing through a neighborhood of pre-fab condos. I must have driven past this place a dozen times and never noticed it, as I thought it was just a residential area next to the freeway.

It was not much to look at walking up to the place, with lots of corrugated steel, cement and chain link. The inside was much the same, with roll-up glass doors to one side, some scattered tables on the other side and a large L-shaped bar dominating the middle of the place. Despite all the industrial grunge (not dirty, but the general theme), the tables had wood tops and had lead pipes for legs. Cool vibe, but the menu is kind of expensive.

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Looking at the beer menu, my eye stuck on one particularly raunchy-sounding one: Stubborn Jack Smoked Porter Ale from a brewery called Ass Kisser in Ukiah, CA. This beer poured black, with off white head that left some nice lacing on the glass. Smokiness and chocolate met my nose on the smell. Chocolate came through first on theAss Kisser Smoked Porter taste, with faint smoke coming afterward. It was mild and medium bodied and the smokiness was hardly overpowering. The finish was of bittersweet chocolate. I have definitely had more dynamic porters, but it was a fair example of one.

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Ass Kisser Smoked Porter top

Junk House does have good food and a moderate beer selection, but needs to come down on its prices. I would not mind if they started brewing their own beer, either.

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Good Gourd! It’s Upon Us!

Hess Magna CucurbitaNow that San Diego Beer Week2014 is over, the season is here: Fall pumpkin beers! I am always excited for this time of year, as I like all things pumpkin. Well, let me clarify that by saying I like things that taste like an actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie- unless, of course, it is actual pumpkin pie. That’s what made this one a pleasant surprise.

As you can see, it poured black, with tan foamy head that reminded me of root beer. Smells coming off the top were rich and included bittersweet chocolate, coffee, slight fruitiness of prunes, maybe a little apple and some spice- a nice complexity that gave me great hope for this beer. The first thing I tasted was the chocolate, followed by what almost tasted like a sourness that I assumed might have come from the pumpkin (if it was made with any.) It had almost no noticeable carbonation, so it was very smooth and velvety, if a little thick on the mouthfeel. It finished a little dry, but the overall roasted malts persisted throughout the whole experience. Hess pumpkin stout head

Overall, I liked this beer, thought it had a little too much of the cursed pumpkin pie flavor for me. At first, I rated this a 3.5, but it grew on me afterward and I rate it:

4

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Sowin’ Oatis

IMG_1928 Ninkasi is my favorite brewery. Oatmeal stout is my favorite kind of beer. Put the two together and you have one fine beer experience.

This one pours a rich, thick root beer color, with a tan frothy cap of foam on top. The aromas coming from the glass couldn’t have been more comforting: sweet vanilla and chocolate, with hints of bitter maltiness lurking just behind. The taste, per usual, was much the same. The richness of the vanilla and chocolate were the first to come through, followed by some bitterness and finished with a very mild aftertaste of the vanilla and a bit of the chocolate.

As this was an oatmeal stout, it lacked both the grainy taste and hop bitterness some regular, to contrast stouts can have. Simply said, this is a fantastic beer you can enjoy anytime of the year.

I also want to look for Ninkasi’sIMG_1929 German-style lager called Lux, it with this good, though heavier-by-nature beer. More on that later, if I can find it.

On a suggestion by one reader (whose suggestion came in offline), I will start giving the beers I put up here a rating on a scale of 1 to 5. I know I am hardly the first to do this, but you are here, so I want to share with you my overall impression.

I would give this beer a:

5

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It’s BeerBQ Time!

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About once per month K ‘n B Wine Cellars has an event cleverly referred to as a BeerBQ. These are relatively small, intimate events, if for no other reason than the place itself is not large, at which they feature either brews from a local brewery, or beer that KnB itself makes from time to time. They always have great food, hence the barbecue part in the name, and it is always a good time.

Last weekend featured Hess Brewing. I had never heard of Hess before and I am always looking for new stuff to try. Lucky for me I was able to catch this one, as the beer I had was fantastic. Searching through the list of selections, I was nigh impressed by all the IPA and citrus flavored brews on offer (though I wasn’t completely turned off to the orange wit, but another time perhaps). My eyes landed on one and refused to look any further: Ex Umbris Imperial Oatmeal Stout in a cask. I am a big fan of oatmeal stout, due in part to its usual light creaminess that doesn’t fill me up like a normal stouts. I’ll have to look into why this is, as it seems very counterintuitive to have a beer made with oats be less filling than one without.

This beauty came as a dark chocolaty brown jewel in glass. Though not much head remained, what little was there was a somewhat thin dark tan foam. From other pictures I have seen, the head should have resembled that of a root beer float. No matter- I chalked it up to our server being busy and the beer likely sat for a bit before arriving to the table. I picked up definite coffee flavors in the smell, with some malty chocolate. The taste, per usual, was much as it smelled. I was hit first with intense coffee flavors, with the slightly bitter chocolate toward the middle. The finish was very malty, while both the chocolate and coffee flavors lingered.

A very tasty and easy-drinking beer, I could easily sip on this one, or multiples of them.

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