Quick photo for #cannedcraftbeerday Iron Mike pale ale from @MoatMountain

No real review for this one. Just thought I would share a photo of what I chose for Canned Craft beer day. It seems like the can trend is going main stream for craft beer this year, with the likes of Sierra Nevada jumping into the fray. They are dedicated to doing what’s best for the beer, and if they are doing it, it’s a major statement about craft beer in cans. Anyway, here is a picture of the Gigantic Iron Mike Can (24oz). Yes that is a normal sized shaker glass. 

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The Audacity Of Hops by Cambridge Brewing company. @CambridgeBrewer

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This is the second offering from CBC that I’m reviewing, but by no means the only beer I’ve had by them. Their brew pub is just a short walk from my office, this is the closest brewery to me. I’m excited to see them produce more bottled beer. The beer is brewed for them at mercury brewing just like my last review. I had originally intended on drinking this yesterday for the holiday, time slipped away and by the time I remembered it was much too late. The beer was originally created as a collaboration by Ben Howe and Will Myers, and it went on to be the official beer of the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference. While the first time bottled for public sale, it has some history. 

 

Yellow/Golden pour, w/out the typically pillowy belgian head I was expecting. The Aroma is clearly yeasty and has some clove notes. No doubt this belgian double ipa has some hops in it. These are what I think are noble hops, floral and spicy, as compared to their north american citrus and pine counter parts. I never quite know what to make of belgian style beers, and this is no exception. The twist for me is the flavor, it’s bitter grapefruit pith all the way. 

I’d recommend this if you like flowery bitter beers, this is a good beer with a spicy meal, it has enough flavor and punch to cut through the heat, and make it’s own impression.

 

Taste: B+ This is a really well made beer.

Drinkability: B- It slides, but it’s abv and it’s strong flavor / bitter punch would do a number on your taste buds.

Vital Stats: Served in an perfect pint, 9% ABV. 70 IBUs. OG: 1.076   FG: 1.008 

Label: B+. It’s a nice looking logo, most importantly the bottled date / batch info. Mercury does a really nice job with their packaging. Key for a contract brewery.

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The Beginning of My Road to (Stone) Ruination

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Today is my 37th birthday and as I sat down to enjoy some playoff football and a Stone Ruination IPA this evening I couldn’t help but think back on some of the memorable birthdays of my past. Of course the milestone birthdays tend to stand out the most, and is any birthday more monumental than #21? The story of my 21st is fun and it involves beer, so I figured I’d share it with the blog.

Let’s flash back to the night of Saturday January 6, 1996. At the time I was a senior at Dartmouth on the eve of my 21st birthday who was doing what any self-respecting fraternity brother would do on a cold winter’s night in Hanover, New Hampshire: playing beer pong. Now, I had been consuming beer in fraternity basements since my freshman year. So it wasn’t as if the clock striking midnight on this night was going to mark my first beer ever. But it would mark my first legal beer, and my frat brothers determined that this historic event couldn’t happen in our basement with keg beer. They had to take me out into the real world so that I could buy one.

Fortunately one of my brothers had stayed stone cold sober just for this moment, and a group of us headed to one of the few places in the Upper Valley that we knew would still be open and serving alcohol after midnight. It was a fairly crappy nightclub called Scruples at the Radisson in West Lebanon.  I’d never been there before but I was certainly game to be asked for ID. The problem was that we got off to a later start than we’d intended, and by the time we got there it was close to 1am. The bartender informed us they were no longer serving. Total bummer. I returned to campus 21 years old with no beer purchases to show for it.

The next day I was still a beer purchasing virgin. My best friend and future brother-in-law Tom felt badly for me and he had a car, so we decided to make a little beer run to West Lebanon again. We went to the Shaw’s Supermarket and I picked out a 6-pack of the holy grail of craft beer at the time: Samuel Adams Boston Lager. We headed to the register, I put the beer on the belt, opened my wallet, and prepared for that monumental moment when the cashier would ask for my ID and I wouldn’t need to pee my pants in fear.

Except that moment never came. That’s correct: she didn’t card me. I paid for my Sam Adams and we were on our way back to campus. 🙂

So here I am 16 years later, still wishing that I’d get carded more often. I’m enjoying one of my regular favorites in this Ruination. This is Stone’s Double IPA. Normally I opt for the bombers, but tonight I picked up a 6-pack for the rather steep price of $19.99. I’d say that’s about $3 more than I’d like to pay for this (oh well). One thing I’ve learned about the Ruination is you need to drink it when it’s super fresh. I’ve found it to be relatively inconsistent in taste from bottle to bottle, but when it’s on… it’s on. Piney hops, nicely balanced, with a bitter finish that you’ll either love or hate. Personally, I love it.

Taste: A-. Like I said, it can be inconsistent. You might want to try it again if you aren’t satisfied with your first experience. I love Arrogant Bastard but this one has a lighter mouthfeel that appeals to me.

Drinkability: B+. The alcohol in this one sneaks up on me. I love drinking it but I probably wouldn’t have more than 2 in a session.

Vitals: 7.7% ABV, served at about 48 degrees in my trusty Alchemist pint glass

 

Gritty McDuff’s Christmas Ale

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I found this holdover from the holidays in the back of the fridge and decided to give it another try. My first taste was a few weeks back and it didn’t blow me away, so I wasn’t in a rush to post about it. I’m a big fan of Gritty’s Black Fly Stout, so I decided to give this a try. 

This beer isn’t a spice bomb like other holiday ales, but it does have a fruity flavor I can’t quite place. It’s a bit tart, almost like cherries, but the malts do a good job of holding it in check. It’s smell is a bit off, but the color is beautiful. Overall, this is a good beer, just not my cup of tea (so to speak). 

Taste: B- …Fruity and bready, with a hint of hops. 

Drinkability: B …A little boozy. 

Packaging: C …Nice throwback label design, but no info about what’s in the bottle. 

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First day beer, @Slumbrew’s FlagRaiser IPA

Just a quick shot and short review.

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This is the first offering I’ve had from Somerville Brewing Company, aka Slumbrew. I’m always eager to try a new offering, and even more so when it’s local. I was happy to see the beer carried at my local shop. The label is quite striking. Showing the stars over a skyline, with a nice blurb about the origin of the name of the beer. It’s named as a tribute to the unfurling of the Grand Union flag atop Prospect Hill in Somerville, MA on January 1, 1776. So this is a fitting beer for today. It also includes the bottled on date, I really wish more breweries did this. Other cool info on the label is the specific type of hop in the beer, as a home brewer, I appreciate this level of detail. 

I poured this into my Boddington imperial pint, it built 2 fingers of head, which laced the glass as I consumed it. The aroma is floral and sweet. The taste however was more bitter, than I was hoping for, almost grassy. There is plenty of hops in this beer, so your average hop fan would enjoy this. I also found the balance of the malt to hop good, I just wished there was more hop flavor, and less bitterness.

I was a little surprised when reading the label to see this is brewed at mercury brewing, like a few other local beers (Clownshoes). I have nothing against contract brewers, tenant brewers, or out right nano breweries. Contract brewing often makes the most sense for the company to test the market before making the huge investment in brewing equipment.

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Taste: B. If the taste lived up to the aroma, I’d have been really happy.
Drinkability: B. Despite it’s bitterness, no issues finishing the bomber solo. 
Vital Stats: Served in an imperial pint, 7.5% ABV. 80 IBUs. 
Label: A. The nice picture, the story, the details, and most importanly the bottled date.

 

 

Hoppy New Year!

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It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m enjoying good beer and bad puns. This Green Flash West Coast IPA is one of my all-time favorites. It combines floral hops with a strong malt backbone to create a true gift for any craft beer lover. If you’re looking for a quality IPA that’s versatile enough for a hot summer’s day or a cold winter’s night, this is one you’ll want to try.

The main reason for my post is to wish you (our loyal readers) a very Happy New Year on behalf of everyone here at CBS. We have a lot of fun drinking, taking photos, and writing about great beer and we can’t wait to see what 2012 has to offer!

Taste: A. Balance is the best word for this one. The hops are ever present but they won’t knock you over thanks to that malt.

Drinkability: B+. I find it a touch on the heavy side to warrant an A-. But that’s really nitpicking on my part.

Vitals: 7.3% ABV, serves at about 50 degrees in my trusty Craft Beer Social pint glass (thanks again, Shannon!)