Old Stock, Good Find


Tried the first of several from Winooski Beverage tonight: North Coast Brewing Company’s Old Stock Ale. This was a single with no description on the bottle itself. Will have to look this one up, but based on the name and label art, it’s presumably meant to evoke an old English brew for sailors of some sort.

Raisins and toffee were the primary notes I got on the nose of this one. Those plus chocolate and maybe dates or figs on the palette. This beer has a good, substance to it but with carbonation and packs a wallop at 11.5%. Despite the high ABV, it’s a pretty smooth-drinking brew.

A very complex beer suited for winter time and definitely recommended (though you won’t be having more than one or two).


Beer Allergies & Alternatives


To make a long story short, I may be allergic to beer. 

This is troublesome news for a beer geek, let alone someone who has room designed around a built in kegerator.  My brother and I have always been extremely prone to very serious hangovers (i.e. 2-3 beers can keep us praying at the porcelain goddess until dinner the following day).  In the last few months, however, even one beer has proven enough to keep me up all night with sinus headaches.  Histamine, biogenic amines, and ethanol are all known to trigger similar feelings.  I’m hoping it has nothing to do with any of these. [Good read on this here]

This sucks as bad as it sounds.  My collection of bombers sitting behind my twin-kegerator faucets is something to marvel in itself.  Convincing me to keep my hands on it is like telling a mouse not to take the cheese in the mouse trap… and the end feels about as comfortable.

I’m not 100% sure it’s beer, however – I’ve had the wood stove running hard this winter already which might make matters worse or it could be something completely different (I’ve had sinus infections before, is this another one?)  I’m procrastinating going to the doctor in favor of doing some A/B testing on myself to see if I can narrow it down through process of elimination.  Testing hasn’t been very organized so far (lots of cider + spiced rum and various seasonal spirits) but over the next few weeks I want to try experimenting with some alternatives – namely, hard cider.

I know what you’re thinking – hard cider is junk.  We have the giant brewers for helping with that conception.  As Jim Storer pointed out to me, however, there are some really nice ciders .  The first one I tried was with Pete KuhnSam Smith’s Organic Cider.  Both of us were skeptical at best.  It was surprising.  Very surprising.  So now I’m on a quest to try a bunch of the nicer hard ciders and am looking for the CBS group to provide suggestions.  Keep in mind, I know nothing about cider.

Here’s my current list to try, the “Top” Ciders on RateBeer.com:http://www.ratebeer.com/ratings/topbeersbystyle2.asp?styleid=10&show=0

What this page lacks is local availabilityso if there are any you’ve tried and enjoyed I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I’ll continue to post updates on my cider status and probably an occasional bomber as I lapse in judgment.




Session 34


Session 34 of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Oak Aged Dunkel. This is either a relatively low carbonation beer or ours was flat. Nit much of a nose to speak of.

Definitely getting malts & woodiness (oak per the label), but not a lot else. Suspect this bottle may be off or it’s just a bad batch. I think I’ll give this a pass next time.

It’s a Champagne, It’s a Beer…


Infinium finally made its debut tonight for Christmas. Very effervescent but served at the recommended temperature of 41-44 degrees, it was difficult to make out much in terms of a nose. Caramel and cough syrup predominated.

The above plus vanilla are present and readily identifiable as far as flavor notes. There’s a lot happening on the palette, but the champagne-like carbonation really works against identifying them. I like it, but this is the antithesis of a session beer (the bubbles alone ensure this).

But perhaps the defining comment came moments ago from my wife. She’s no craft beer aficionado, but after a sip of mine, asked for a glass of her own. When I asked for her help in identifying flavors, she simply shrugged and said, “I don’t know, but I like it!”

Epic Chocolate Thunder


Wow. The label of Stone’s 09 Vertical Epic Ale reads in part, “This is quite a complex and layered beer.”. No kidding. Chocolate, banana, malt, spices and vanilla are all in evidence. They also claim citrus should be present, but I’m not picking that up.

Overall a great beer for sharing on a cold winter’s night. Highly recommended.