Laka Laka Pineapple Hefe

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Fruit Beer, Horny Hideaway/Horny Goat Brewing Co. (Brewed at Melanie Brewing Co.), Wisconsin USA,  ABV 5.1%

It’s been really hot lately so I’ve not been craving anything dark and heavy. Trouble was I didn’t have much of anything else in the fridge. I quickly remedied that issue with a trip to the beer shop, a gift card I’ve almost forgotten about, made the trip a lot better.
I was unfamiliar with Holy Goat brewery, but all their labels looked fun, so I decided to try one randomly.  They had several different options spread around the store, but pineapple wheat beer sounded the best.
The first clue to what lay in the glass was the aroma, it was sweet and fruity, but I’m not sure I would call it the scent of pineapples. I had a similar reaction to the flavor, there is a definite layer of fruit and extra sweetness, but it’s not like you get with pineapple juice.  The sweetness acts a bit like what you get in Belgian Ales, it intensifies the alcohol giving it more presence than the ABV suggests. The fruit flavor is a bit harder to explain, it’s more like the pineapple you get in something like  pineapple flavored water than pineapple juice.  After the initial pineapple notes, the finish is like a regular hefeweizen, crisp with bubbles filling your mouth. The finish as you would guess is a mixture of the pineapple notes and regular wheat beer. Though the fruit notes add a bit of a stickiness the overall effect is still refreshing, inviting you to take big gulps.

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Making the Rounds

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Lovecraft Honey Ale, Blonde Ale, Narragansett Brewing Company, Rhode Island USA,  7% ABV

Amber brown body, with a pillowy tan head that disappears quickly. Fair amount of hops in the finish, with a layer of honey that lasts into the swallow and aftertaste. The first time I had this beer was at a bar, (still from a can) and it tasted really creamy and malty. Not quite as I remember it, more like an ESB this time around.

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Space Cadet, Black IPA, Triple C Brewing Co. North Carolina USA, 6% ABV

I tend to like Black IPA more than IPA or Imp IPA, because they balance out the hops with a dose of roasted malt. If I remember correctly this was my first beer from Triple C, and it was a good one. The pour is inviting with a roasted grain aroma and espresso like foam, which laces that glass. The opening notes are roasted malt which transition quickly to a hops bite in the finish. A little bit more hops forward than some other examples,  I feel this beer would do well paired with something like Buffalo Wings.

IMG_1455Ephemere, Fruit Beer, UniBroue, Canada 5.5% ABV

Ephemere is one of the earliest beer I’ve tried, and among the first fruit beers. Back then I was more used to the fruitiness of wine-coolers so I was a bit disappointed by what I got. But, the beer has always been stuck in my mind and I finally just gave in and decided to buy a bottle. It’s a good summertime beer, with a light apple flavor with an easy dryness to it. A minor sweetness to the beer, that dissipates quickly.

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Mateo & Bernabé Mateo 21, Wheat Ale, Mateo & Bernabé, Spain 5% ABV

The packaging of this beer caught my eye, a very low key, traditional label with a small booklet (not pictured) hanging from the neck. One of my first experiences of  Spanish craft beer. The palate was delicate, especially the carbonation, which was light for a wheat beer. The flavor is a bit roasty, with some lingering notes of honey in the finish. I have a feeling if it was left to warm a bit in the glass the notes would shift a bit more to a mild sourness.

Dirty Commie Heathen

Imperial Stout, Unknown Brewing Co. North Carolina, USA 12.4%

IMG_1432Prior to this, Unknown Brewing was pretty much just that to me.  I bought this bottle on the recommendation of the beer specialist at Bestway.
DCH packs quite a punch, with a big layer of semisweet chocolate and a bit of dryness. Cherries made a much more prominent appearance for my second sampling. A pleasant aroma of fruit wafted out when I popped the cork. The body is not fruity, the cherries add more of a dryness, though the second glass, which was much more flat, had a much more wine-like character. The label speaks of bourbon aged oak being used, but I did not detect anything from the wood.
With such a heavy body, and high ABV I think I chose the wrong time to try this bottle.I will try to revisit it in cooler times, for now it was just too much across the board.

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As some of you know I was born and lived for a short time in Communist/Socialist Eastern Europe. And while I take most of this Commie bashing light heartedly sometimes it makes me wonder. True, I was there towards the end of the Era and in one of the more open societies, but my experience as child was no different than Western Europe. There was always toys in the toy store and food and candy in the grocery store. The only thing I remember about politics when I was living there was a poster that FIDESZ put up in the late 80s, early 90s. They were the youth democratic party back then.

57063-largeThe Tagline is “Please choose” (we were always a very polite society), the old guys are the Soviet Premier and I think the Hungarian President at one point.

Nineteen

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Sour Ale, Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Pennsylvania, 10% abv
It’s  a good weekend for a wheat beer. I was also looking for something sour, and Nineteen is both. Opening with a bit of vinegar-like tartness, and the characteristic rocky texture of a a German wheat beer, it’s nicely refreshing. The presence of the mangoes are most noticeable in the swallow. More fruity notes duck in and out of the aftertaste. If you wish for more sourness, drink it fast, if you want to explore the fruit layers, take a rest between samplings. If you are a fan of Gose, this is along much the same line, but no salt, instead giving you a fruit flavor that’s still rather rare in beers. If I had not checked, I would have never  guessed this beer has a double digit ABV. It’s so well hidden!
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Sadly Weyerbacher no longer brews this particular  beer, so it’s going to be hard to pick up more bottles.  This is second summer I’ve enjoyed sour ales while watching football (soccer), last year with the men’s World Cup, this year the women’s.
Other interesting facts, Ratebeer.com labels Nineteen as Barley Wine. As a Barley Wine, this is my favorite so far, and the first sour example I’ve tried.  According to the site, thi beer is a blend of two beers specifically brewed for blending, a high ABV wheat beer and a tart pale ale. Very nice job Weyerbacher!
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Tetravis

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Abbey Ale/Quadruple, Boston Brewing Co. Massachusetts USA, 10.2% ABV

A solid dark belgian ale with a strong alcholic punch and a palate dominated by yeast notes and dark pitted fruit.

The palate settles nicely as the glass airs, I like it much more that way. Palate becomes more subtle, a bit of that bubblegum yeast comes forward.

When warm and a bit flat the palate takes on characteristics of wine, fruity with notes of cloves with a bit of heat but less so than when fresh.

I’ve still got mixed opinions of Sam Adams brewing. Their regular line of beers tries a lot of styles and things, but few are special enough to warrant repeating. Most of the time I don’t even buy them. But, these Barrel Room Collection beers are well worth it. I’ve so far tried three and they have all been solid creations.

Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout

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Stout, Kiuchi Brewery, Japan 7.5% ABV

After several strongly flavored and in some cases stouts not quite to my liking, I was glad to find something that was simple and very pleasing. Don’t get me wrong this beer is far from plain.  It takes a lot of careful work to make something that tastes this solid. Hitachi’s Espresso Stout tastes spot on like espresso, with bubbles. It’s a bit nutty and fruity in the open, with a slight bit of chocolate as the liquid washes back. The finish is the highlight, it’s got the slight oiliness and that feeling of grounds you get in espresso.  It’s simply a pleasure to drink, just take a big gulp and enjoy it slowly, marveling at the smooth, cohesive palate.

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What RateBeer.com said:

The strong espresso character comes from the addition of espresso beans to the boil….The very unusual character of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout stems from the fact that Kiuchi Brewery is using the recipe of a Russian Imperial Stout as base.

wpid-20150530_110030.jpgSince it’s gotten warm around here I’ve been doing more work on my models. This was around 10 am, while it was still not too hot, his room is all glass on two sides, great for light but gets hot quickly. In the background you can see the HobbyBoss late model Hellcat I’ve been struggling with.

 

MegaDestroyer

IMG_1283Imperial Stout, Howe Sound Brewing,

I came across this bottle while visiting Asheville. The name alone sounded exciting, plus it was Canadian, I’ve not tried many Canadian craft beers and as a bonus it’s licorice infused.
The moment you get a whiff of this beer you are reminded of what the starring feature is, there is a strong Eau de Jagearmeister. The body is quite similar to that infamous liquor as well, but maybe not quite as intense. The licorice notes start right off, mellowing a bit towards the back of the throat, where you get more of the traditional stout malt flavors in the swallow. However, give it a moment or two and the licorice comes back as an aftertaste sitting pleasantly. It’s an interesting brew, one I can’t imagine drinking in one sitting. Luckily the quart jug comes with a built-in cork so it can safely sit in the fridge for a bit. If you like licorice or feel adventurous I recommend trying it because it is very unique, and pulls off the concept pretty well.

When I was a child back in Hungary our version of the menthol cough drop was licorice flavored. Back then I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be for cough, it was just a candy you could pretty much find anywhere. It was called Negro, for the French term for black, but in this case it was more for chimney sweeps, a clever implication of it cleaning out your pipes. Licorice flavor seems to be a lot more popular in Europe then here in the States, especially with children. The Dutch especially made great many sweets with licorice flavor, which I found to be on average much more bitter than what I was used to.

Howe Sound is one of the grandfathers of the Canadian craft brewing, founded in 1980 in beautiful British Columbia. I’m not sure I would try MegaDestroyer again, but I’ve got my eyes open from anything else from the brewery.

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