Double Your Pleasure…

…with Double-Wide IPA, brought to us from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO.  I picked this one up from my local mega-liquor store earlier today as a single.  It’s nice the place lets you break up 4 and 6-packs, but they charge a premium per bottle, usually bumping up the prices almost double for them.  Regardless, this beer is one I’ve intended to try many times, especially with my past frequent trips to KC, but I never had it.  That changed last night. 

I love visiting this liquor store simply because it has such an amazing selection, but I always seem to pass way too much time in there, especially when you consider the amount of money I’m looking to spend.  I was there for almost an hour yesterday walking up and down the aisles, but I also have an excuse in the fact that they had a tasting of various “Valentine’s Day” beers, i.e. beers with the word “chocolate” in them.  I’m not going to turn down the chance to have a taste of some pretty solid beers for free, so I sampled those as a break in the shopping.  All told, I ended up walking out with two bottles and a growler, along with a lost afternoon.

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This bottle has a “BB 7/27/12″ marking on it, meaning it is very fresh, likely bottled within the last few weeks.  With a Double IPA, this is what you want in order to experience the hops as much as possible and taste it as it was intended.  Double-Wide clocks in with an ABV near 9%, so this is not one to chug.

A: Poured into my Duvel tulip.  A murky dark orange with a huge light tan head.  You can’t tell by the picture, but this thing was out of control when I poured it, even with a fairly gentle hand.  The color is much darker than I expected, but isn’t a turnoff.  I’m intrigued at this point and ready to dig in.

S: This exceeds my expectations by far.  Tons of citrus and grapefruit picked up with some pine mixed in there as well.  Thank God I’m having this fresh.  Even more drawn in.

T: Hit hard by the citrus, which is very clean and crisp.  The caramel malt, which provides the color, comes in afterward, but this is still dominated by the hops.  A little sweet aftertaste, but not cloying.  Very, very nice.

M: As mentioned above, this beer is very crisp and even feels fresh.  There’s some carbonation going on, but about the right amount.  The deliciousness lingers after the sip is gone and I’m perfectly okay with that.

O: This is an awesome beer, one of the better I’ve had recently.  I would gladly buy this one again if and when presented the opportunity.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Iechyd da!

 

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Dark, Rich, and Sexy.

Those words are used to describe Founder’s Porter, one of the beers I enjoyed while watching football on Sunday.  With only one weekend of football left to this season (did it fly by or is it just me?), I’m looking forward to enjoying the Super Bowl in DC with some college buddies and a few friends from my days in Northern Virginia.  While I do plan on enjoying many a beverage over that weekend, I can’t be so sure that any of them will be better than this beer.  I’m jumping ahead, but I don’t care…secret’s out.  This beer is phenomenal.

A: I poured this from the bottle straight from the fridge into my Delirium Tremens tulip (R.I.P. as I managed to knock it off my countertop shortly after drinking this).  Comes out dark as night…there is absolutely no light coming through this thing.  Believe me, I tried to make it happen…flashlights and even the freaking sun couldn’t permeate through the darkness.  I’m digging this.  For the ABV, there’s surprising little head, and what I get from a somewhat aggressive pour is a small, light khaki froth.  Usually porters are a little thinner than stouts…doesn’t seem to be the case here.

S: I’m hit hard with the aroma of coffee and the dark malts, which shouldn’t surprise me.  I just wasn’t expecting as much of the coffee smell, but I’m okay with it.  As it warms, there’s a hint of cocoa, but it’s dominated for the most part.  Makes me wonder what sitting on a bottle of this would do in the way of muting the nose a little bit.  Why would I want to do that though?  This smells great.

T: About time to dip into this thing.  Literally my notes say “Wow x 100″.  I like it, I love it, I want an IV of this in my arm right this minute.  No surprise that the coffee is right up front, but the cocoa takes a larger role here.  Having had and thoroughly enjoyed the same brewery’s Breakfast Stout, this seems to be a little brother of sorts, which is a compliment.  Believe me.

M: Amazingly smooth.  I didn’t expect any hint of alcohol here with the ABV, but man does this thing consume your palate.  It is, again, thicker than expected and a bit chewy, but not in a distracting way.  Great lingering taste of the dark roast that I can’t get enough of.

Overall, this is probably the absolute best porter I have ever had.  I love dark beers, and this one is going to have to rank up there with the all-time greats, especially due to its year-round availability and the fact that having two or three of these wouldn’t put me under the table.  This is the type of beer to hang out with on a cold day and would also be great with dessert.  Hell, the beer would be good anytime…just drink it.  Prost!

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Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy.

After spending the better half of the afternoon sledding down the hill behind my apartment,  it’s time to get to drinking.  I made an afternoon run to the local mecca of beer, Table and Vine, and spent a good half hour walking up and down the beer aisle looking for what I would consume tonight and in the near future.  After making a New Year’s resolution to spend less money on beer, this was the first time I’d actually gone beer shopping this year, which is a big deal for me.  I picked up a good range of stuff and was pretty happy with the collection, and was looking forward to cracking a fresh IPA to start the night tonight.  I went with Be Hoppy, an IPA from Wormtown Brewery, which is based outside Boston in Worcester, MA.  This was bottled sometime in November 2011 and will be consumed immediately.  Get in my belly!

A: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.  A cloudy light gold with some yellow at the bottom. Lighter than expected, but not a turnoff. Big, fluffy, stubborn white head, even with a slow pour. Sticks around for a while.

S: Hops and more hops. I’m picking up nothing from the malt, which is fine by me. Mostly floral hops with some grapefruit. The San Diegan in me is enjoying this.

T: There’s that grapefruit I was smelling. Some bitterness, but a lot of citrus going on. I’m picking up even more citrus as it warms up and I’m liking it.

M: Good amount of carbonation, but I wouldn’t say this is the best aspect of the beer. I’m going to need a big glass of water after this one, especially since I’m prepping for a long night of beers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this IPA and it made me feel like I was back on the Best Coast for a while, even though I look outside to snow everywhere. It was a very good start to the night and is something I would certainly revisit.  Cheers!

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Ten Fidy Is Number One.

So here we go.  There are many things I am passionate about in my life, but two things I would put at the top of my list are beer and books.  I love a good beer, a snobby beer if you will.  I feel past my days of shotgunning Bud Light (usually) and don’t care enough about wine to think twice about it when I drink it.  I love a good book, a piece of literature I actually care about.  I have to be passionate about the English language having been an English major.  My professors would haunt me in my dreams if I wasn’t.

This blog is really just an attempt for me to get my perspective out there on those two things I care about, beer and books.  I will offer periodic reviews of the things I drink and read, hopefully encouraging you to check them out, avoid them, or make your own judgment about just how wrong or right I am.

Starting this blog will be an imperial stout coming to us from Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO.  Ten Fidy, their heaviest beer, weighing in with an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 10.5%.  This beer is not messing around.  One thing I love about Oskar Blues is that they put their beers in cans, leading to a quick way to refrigerate the brew while also making it easier (and often more legal) to transport and thus consume.  Breaking it down in categories of appearance, smell, taste, and mouth feel, here’s what I thought of this beer.

Appearance: Even with an aggressive pour, putting it straight into the bottom of the Delirium Tremens tulip I love, there was almost no head with this beer.  What did come was a small, khaki halo.  It pours extremely thick, much as I expected, but this is an ideal look for an imperial stout.  A great start.

Smell: Mostly dark fruits followed by a small whiff of smoked malt.  As it warms up, there’s a lot more malt and even a slight bit of cocoa if you really search for it.  Maybe I just wanted it to be there, but I am picking it up.

Taste: Here we go.  This is a big beer.  With the high ABV, there’s a sweetness at the front of the tongue that leads into the dark fruit I was picking up in the smell.  As it warms up, the cocoa comes out more, leading to a lingering taste of malt and cocoa.  Very good and more complex than I was expecting.

Mouth Feel: This is incredibly smooth.  There is no harshness from the ABV and could be very sneaky for a person who didn’t know what they were getting into.  It coats the tongue very nicely, letting you taste it all.  One of my favorite aspects of this beer.  There is almost no detectable carbonation, which isn’t surprising after the small head with the pour.  Not a detracting factor from this drink.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer.  I had come in with high expectations and I wasn’t let down.  I have been nursing this for almost 45 minutes now and it is still a great one to sip one.  If you can find it, I’d recommend trying some.  It is released in the late fall, so it is probably off the shelves, but you might just get lucky.  Na zdrowie!

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