Craft Beers

Hey Folks - sign ups for the Great American Beer Festival are about to happen!  I would love for everyone to be here.  To help motivate folks I have loaded my glasses for the first six GABFs, (yes - my wife is not lyin’ when she calls me “old man”) 1982 - 1987.

While rooting around on the back row of the shelf (I did mention that I was dusting, right?) I found another one from 2011.  This one was harder to get as I had to have friend brink it back while he was there.  I actually had some Alaskan Brewery beer in the very early 90;s before it was being shipped around the country (and unfortunately long before I started the monster bottle collection).  They did a good job then, so at the time (early 2012) I was happy to see one of their brews on the shelves of the local liquor store.
Alaskan Smoked Porter - Alaskan Brewing Co.
This one pours out black with some amber highlights along the edges when held to the light.  It has a fairly tall light brown head with some modest lacing and good retention.  It leads with notes of the smokey malt, chocolate, caramel, dates, and some faint (but noticeable) hops.  It had a medium mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end.  Smoked porters aren’t my first choice, but this one had a nice combination of smoke to balance against the rest of the beer.  It was like getting home in the winter and smelling the wood smoke in my canyon from people warming their homes.  Not strong, but always there in the background.  I wish I had a couple of bottles of the 2011 vintage now, as I suspect this ages very well.
American Porter | 6.50% ABV

While rooting around on the back row of the shelf (I did mention that I was dusting, right?) I found another one from 2011.  This one was harder to get as I had to have friend brink it back while he was there.  I actually had some Alaskan Brewery beer in the very early 90;s before it was being shipped around the country (and unfortunately long before I started the monster bottle collection).  They did a good job then, so at the time (early 2012) I was happy to see one of their brews on the shelves of the local liquor store.

Alaskan Smoked Porter - Alaskan Brewing Co.

This one pours out black with some amber highlights along the edges when held to the light.  It has a fairly tall light brown head with some modest lacing and good retention.  It leads with notes of the smokey malt, chocolate, caramel, dates, and some faint (but noticeable) hops.  It had a medium mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end.  Smoked porters aren’t my first choice, but this one had a nice combination of smoke to balance against the rest of the beer.  It was like getting home in the winter and smelling the wood smoke in my canyon from people warming their homes.  Not strong, but always there in the background.  I wish I had a couple of bottles of the 2011 vintage now, as I suspect this ages very well.

American Porter | 6.50% ABV

I know the picture doesn’t show it very well but this is the 2011 version of this beer.  I am starting to dust off the shelves and finish writing about the various beers (Slowly… slowly… stop pushing!).  I like the folks at Odell.  They have an interesting place and some interesting people.  The beers they make show real integrity of purpose and I love that.
Bourbon Barrel Stout - Odell Brewing Company
This one pours out dense, black and very opaque with a small creamy off white head and very little lacing.  Has notes of oak, vanilla, date, chocolate, and heavy caramels.  It has a big mouth feel, with very little carbonation, and a smooth, almost silk finish with very little alcoholic bite.  I happen to like both Buffalo Trace and Old Fitzgerald Bourbons and was pleasantly surprised to note that you could taste the bourbon without it overwhelming the beer.  The notes were significantly more subtle then expected for such a solid brew.
I am sorry that they have discontinued it as I love barrel aged stouts (they are probably my favorite of all the varieties) and I liked the subtle nature of this one.
American Double - Imperial Stout | 11.50% ABV

I know the picture doesn’t show it very well but this is the 2011 version of this beer.  I am starting to dust off the shelves and finish writing about the various beers (Slowly… slowly… stop pushing!).  I like the folks at Odell.  They have an interesting place and some interesting people.  The beers they make show real integrity of purpose and I love that.

Bourbon Barrel Stout - Odell Brewing Company

This one pours out dense, black and very opaque with a small creamy off white head and very little lacing.  Has notes of oak, vanilla, date, chocolate, and heavy caramels.  It has a big mouth feel, with very little carbonation, and a smooth, almost silk finish with very little alcoholic bite.  I happen to like both Buffalo Trace and Old Fitzgerald Bourbons and was pleasantly surprised to note that you could taste the bourbon without it overwhelming the beer.  The notes were significantly more subtle then expected for such a solid brew.

I am sorry that they have discontinued it as I love barrel aged stouts (they are probably my favorite of all the varieties) and I liked the subtle nature of this one.

American Double - Imperial Stout | 11.50% ABV

I have a friend that works at Blue Point and (knock on wood) will continue to do so even though the evil empire (AB) purchased the company.  The former owner swears that no one will lose their position.
I also worked with Goose Island before the big purchase and of the eight folks I used to work with only two remained after six months…  I hope that doesn’t happen with Blue Point.
My friend shipped me some of their tasty toasty lager a while back before her wedding (loved the kilts!).  I shared around the office (beer karma is good karma) but had a couple of bottles for myself.  After speaking to her on the phone I was reminded of that tasty beer and decided to go to my notes and write about it. 
Blue Point Toasted Lager - Blue Point Brewing Company
This one pours out a clear golden amber color, with a large off white head that left clean and well defined lacing.  It had notes of toasted malt, caramel, fresh cantaloupe, tart apple, and mild summer grasses. It had a medium mouth feel with a smooth fairly clean finish, surprisingly mild carbonation, and just a touch of hop astringency.
This had a good complex balance of notes and layers.  It is clear that it is an award winner for it’s category.  Though lagers aren’t my first choice, they are popular with my wife and I try and choose ones to keep around that I know she will enjoy in the quiet evening or with supper.  This one would be well worth keeping on hand. 
American Amber Lager | 5.30% ABV

I have a friend that works at Blue Point and (knock on wood) will continue to do so even though the evil empire (AB) purchased the company.  The former owner swears that no one will lose their position.

I also worked with Goose Island before the big purchase and of the eight folks I used to work with only two remained after six months…  I hope that doesn’t happen with Blue Point.

My friend shipped me some of their tasty toasty lager a while back before her wedding (loved the kilts!).  I shared around the office (beer karma is good karma) but had a couple of bottles for myself.  After speaking to her on the phone I was reminded of that tasty beer and decided to go to my notes and write about it. 

Blue Point Toasted Lager - Blue Point Brewing Company

This one pours out a clear golden amber color, with a large off white head that left clean and well defined lacing.  It had notes of toasted malt, caramel, fresh cantaloupe, tart apple, and mild summer grasses. It had a medium mouth feel with a smooth fairly clean finish, surprisingly mild carbonation, and just a touch of hop astringency.

This had a good complex balance of notes and layers.  It is clear that it is an award winner for it’s category.  Though lagers aren’t my first choice, they are popular with my wife and I try and choose ones to keep around that I know she will enjoy in the quiet evening or with supper.  This one would be well worth keeping on hand. 

American Amber Lager | 5.30% ABV

Got to try something from across the pond.  Which unfortunately is quite rare for me. Obviously I need to expand my horizons.  I have never had anything from Carlow (O’Hara’s) Brewing.  They have been around for a while (17 years from what I understand) and are one of the first craft breweries started up in Ireland.  So it was about time!
O’Hara’s Irish Stout - Carlow Brewing Company
This poured out a very rich black color, with a tall tan head that left distinct, but thin lacing rings.  It had notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of roasted chestnuts.  Big mouth feel with medium carbonation. This is extremely smooth with no real sweetness, and just a touch of tart hoppiness at the finish.  This is very sessionable at 4.30% ABV.  It has all of the characteristics of a stout and was very drinkable. This was an extremely good showing by what has become one of the elder statesmen of craft brewing in Ireland.  I totally understand why this is one of their flagship beers.  I would certainly drink it again and I am sorry I can’t get it on draught.
Irish Dry Stout | 4.30% ABV

Got to try something from across the pond.  Which unfortunately is quite rare for me. Obviously I need to expand my horizons.  I have never had anything from Carlow (O’Hara’s) Brewing.  They have been around for a while (17 years from what I understand) and are one of the first craft breweries started up in Ireland.  So it was about time!

O’Hara’s Irish Stout - Carlow Brewing Company

This poured out a very rich black color, with a tall tan head that left distinct, but thin lacing rings.  It had notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of roasted chestnuts.  Big mouth feel with medium carbonation. This is extremely smooth with no real sweetness, and just a touch of tart hoppiness at the finish.  This is very sessionable at 4.30% ABV.  It has all of the characteristics of a stout and was very drinkable. This was an extremely good showing by what has become one of the elder statesmen of craft brewing in Ireland.  I totally understand why this is one of their flagship beers.  I would certainly drink it again and I am sorry I can’t get it on draught.

Irish Dry Stout | 4.30% ABV

This was going around work.  Clearly the Yeti at Great Divide is really celebrating big time (notice the now empty Microstar sixth barrel - that is over 5 gallons of beer).  Some of it must gone into his innards - and I’m guessing into the guy carrying him.

This was going around work.  Clearly the Yeti at Great Divide is really celebrating big time (notice the now empty Microstar sixth barrel - that is over 5 gallons of beer).  Some of it must gone into his innards - and I’m guessing into the guy carrying him.