With news that HBO might offer non-subscribers the chance to stream the channel in the possible works, I just might not be as harsh on this latest Game of Thrones offering from Brewery Ommegang.

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All kidding aside about the reclusive pay channel, this is the first GoT beer without a gimmicky ingredient. I say gimmicky without sarcasm too. Crazy ingredients are all well and good, but it is refreshing to see a straight-up Abbey Dubbel becoming an installment of this series.

The VM pours a dark red color and in every sensory category is quintessentially Abbey Dubbel. There is a lovely bit of spice in the beer reminiscent of the Hefeweizen profile with clove and banana mixed with a richer fig type taste and some burnt caramel. It also is both sticky on the palate while also being crisp initially.

I also like the touch of having the cork emblazoned with Valar Dohaeris (All Men Must Serve). It makes up for the somewhat hazy focused coin on the label that doesn’t work for me design wise.

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And if you like this beer, other top rated Dubbels are:
Westmalle Dubbel and Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found.

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Autumn on Mother Earth

by Sean on October 22, 2014

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For the fall portion of the four seasons, Vista brewery Mother Earth Brew Co. has Autumn.  They utilized their barrel aging program to take their Russian Imperial Stout, Zingaro then plug that into some Heaven Hill bourbon barrels to come up with this beery ode to the season.  And if that is what they have for fall, I can imagine that Winter will be a big, big beer.

 

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Beer Salami

by Sean on October 21, 2014

Charlito’s Cocina is combining the world of salami with beer and their CERVEZA SECA – Dry Cured Beer Salami which uses “beer in the curing process” can produce a flavor so enchantingly unique, that it eludes classification.  Cerveza Seca is “slowly dry-cured with a bottle fermented brown ale, pasture raised, heritage breed pork, and hand harvested fleur de sel..”

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Get this and some hop pickles and beer crackers and I am set.

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Badgers in Cans

by Sean on October 21, 2014

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This post isn’t to hammer home the point that beer in cans is growing and that practically any beer can be canned.  Nor will I be making any Packer Cheesehead jokes.  Nope, this is a quick post about the design of the cans from Badger State Brewing.

This is a perfect example of being not only consistent but inventive as well.  Most cans don’t truly utilize the background to the full potential without overwhelming the beer purchaser with too much twee detail.  These three designs are simple but bright and bold and for once, the background is what draws the eye in first.  Be it the plaid, the green stripes or the picnic checkerboard, all three really pop.  And that choice for background allows the main badge detail to be set-up in the same arrangement without getting boring.  The two elements really play off the other well.

Though I wouldn’t ever trust a badger with an axe.

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I was so busy reading the label of this 30 Years – 30 Beers collaboration between Widmer and Gigantic that I didn’t research the beer itself before taking a sip.

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Boy, was I surprised because this is a tart and super fruity beer. I saw hoppy on the label and expected IPA but got a sour instead. Once that initial shock wore off, I was quite taken with this beer. Grapefruit pith, mango and fruit punch. Loads of acidity here too. The aroma carries no hint of it. Just barnyard funk. Twice I was lulled into thinking something else was coming.

Whatever position you hold in the craft v crafty debate, this beer should be tasted to be believed. Really top notch.

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Denver Brewery # 2 – TRVE

by Sean on October 20, 2014

Our second stop in Denver, home of the Great American Beer Festival is TRVE Brewing Company.  And pretty much everything you need to know is summed up with this snapshot from their stark, black website….

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They also advise employees about Slayer tattoos.  So there is that as well.  And though that type of music is more for my brother-in-law, I would not be scared of walking in and ordering the following taster tray:

Hellion – American Table Beer

Scorn – Dry Hopped Pale Wheat Beer

Grey Watcher – Grisette

and I would love to try one of their Solera efforts, their Brett beeers or the Winter Zephyr, a sour black ale which sounds intriguing.  I am sure I would walk away with a bottle cause those labels would be perfect for Halloween.

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Three Weav3rs are Open!

by Sean on October 19, 2014

So the Weavers Three have opened!  Here is a quick day-after commentary along with some photos from the day.

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I was a volunteer out in the sun and got to see what beers were popular with the crowd and if that corresponded with my favorites.

Seafarer Kolsch was an excellent light way to introduce myself to their line-up. Their Session IPA, Stateside had an excellent aroma and a good amount of bitterness for such a light beer. The Double IPA Knotty Pine was also a cut above many in that style category. Strong without going overboard. But my favorite was the Coffee version of the Deep Roots ESB. I really enjoy coffee beers layered onto lighter bases. And the ESB was a great delivery vehicle for the roast. Barring that special beer the plain ESB was excellent as well.

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The crowds seemed to hanker for either the Kolsch or the Expatriate IPA. Though the initial line for the Double IPA was quite long.

The event was not crowded. Plenty of space to stay out of the way of people and the sun. The two food trucks weren’t mobbed and no glass ware was broken, that I saw or heard. Which means that for a second event that they are doing pretty well.

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The beers were uniformly good with only the Imperial Stout not being to my liking. Too much licorice for me. I am looking forward to the growth and new beers from this addition of LA’s beer scene.

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This beer was brewed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of brewing by Alaskan Brewing Company.  It was initially released into the wild in September of 2011

And this “limited edition Imperial Stout is brewed with glacier-fed water, birch syrup from the Alaska Birch Syrup Co., fireweed honey from BeeAlaskan Apiaries, brown sugar and an array of different malts including malted oats and a dash of our world famous alder-smoked malt”

Let’s see how the years have treated this rarity from up north…….The initial aroma is full of that alder-smoked malt almost to the point of bacon.  The aroma is, quite frankly, a bit off putting.  Some beers you just get sucked into and this one is doing the opposite.  The taste is considerably better.  The combo of the syrup and honey goes a long way to ameliorating the smoke notes.

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The texture is quite smooth and for a Russian Imperial Stout surprisingly light.  The combination of the sweet and the alder almost make for a minty type aftertaste.  I double checked the BJCP Off Flavor Flash Cards to double check myself and see if the cellaring had gone sideways but from what I can tell, this probably hasn’t run into trouble.  It may just be that the sweetness has faded more quickly than the alder smoke, unbalancing the beer.

I let the beer warm up a bit and the flavors did drop a notch in intensity with some licorice notes adding in as well.  And my overall rating rose based on that fact. But it still is quite the Alaskan Rauch to it.  I just wish it had a bit more muscular malt body and an easier hand on the smoke to balance the competing flavors.  As it is, this is not one of my favorites.

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Verdict? I have never had this beer before so I do not have a benchmark.  I was darned lucky to find this on sale a year or so later.  I would say that there wasn’t any issue with where I bought it nor with the aging but it would be interesting to see how this beer gets reviewed in years to come as others pull their bottles out of their cellar.

 

 

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Review – Double IPA from Strike Brewing Co.

by Sean on October 18, 2014

I am not one for baseball but even the faux baseball stitching on the can of Double IPA from Strike Brewing of San Jose, did not deter me from picking up a can.  I have heard about this brewery but as with many new, smaller brewers not in LA, their beer had not reached us.  Now we have one to base a summary judgement on.

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This DIPA clocks in at 93 IBU’s.  Quite the fastball that is.  The aroma is very spicy and pepper filled and the taste that follows is nice and strong.  After a pair of herbaceous fresh hop ales it is nice to get back to a truly bitter beer that has a nice balance of carbonation.  It is sprightly and I am glad it is in the 8% realm of ABV.  I am torn as to whether I like the aroma or flavor better.  Leaning towards the aroma though.  I would have liked to try their other baseball themed XPA, Chin Music to see how they work hops at the lighter end of the spectrum.  But this beer was brewed with a deft touch and for a first beer tried, is a really strong start.

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Blood, Sweat and Beers documentary

by Sean on October 18, 2014

To those who say there aren’t enough “stories” about the people who make the craft beer that we enjoy. I give you an opportunity to change that.

Filmmaker Alexis Irvin has created Blood, Sweat, and Beer. The documentary follows to tracks of brewery building in two very distinct East Coast cities.

You meet the The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company of Braddock, PA. A steel town in the past that is trying to rebuild with new industries and you also meet the owner of a Maryland Boardwalk brewery as he navigates the hot button issue of trademarks.

You will also not need a keen eye to spot all of the California beer folks including Firestone-Walker, Golden Road, Eagle Rock, Beer Paper LA! The Beer Chicks, Sierra Nevada among others.

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