Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sleigh'r Dark Double Alt Ale

Ninkasi Brewery- Sleigh’r Dark Double Alt Ale – Eugene, Oregon

This review, my first “Oregon brew, drank in Oregon”, goes out to all the fellow winter seasonal beer lovers. I thiiiiink the winter seasonals are my favorite, and I think I have had enough beer in my life now to claim that responsibly. This beer is brewed by Ninkasi Brewery, straight from Eugene, Oregon, home of the University of Oregon a.k.a. Tracktown USA a.k.a. a bunch of underpaid, weird hipsters. Don’t get me wrong, Eugene is pretty neat, it’s like Portland’s little sister, so it’s not a surprise that they have an awesome little microbrewery in Ninkasi! I have yet to try many of their beers, but those that I have tried have been delightful.

As for the Sleigh’r, my first impression was good due to the pretty rockin’ artwork on the label. What could be better than enjoying your beer with a partyrocking, ghost riding Santa?!? I was also excited because this was the first winter beer I was going to have this year, not to mention my first Oregon brewed winter beer. Overall, I’d give this beer a 6 out of 10. It was definitely good, but it ended up not being what I wanted out of a winter seasonal. The taste was surprisingly light and smooth for such a dark beer, but most of the flavor I got out of it was metallic-y. The flavor suctioned on to the very back of my tongue and didn't go away until well after I had finished the beer. Again this is a good brew, and totally drinkable, but be warned that in my experience it was a bit of a face-scruncher.

Stay Thirsty.

Saturday, November 3, 2012



Legends of the Hidden Brewery took a temporary hiatus from the internets for the past three months, in order for the author to get acquainted with a new life and a new job, on a new coast...And a new internal sense of direction when it comes to navigating oneself to the east or west*. Not only is the author excited about this move and change of pace, but the author has not-so-coincidentally placed herself in a magical city known to some [ie the Mayor, Sam Adams (< NOT a joke)] as "Beertown," otherwise known as Portland, Oregon.

Portland has more than 40 breweries, more than any city in the WORLD. So if you love beer like I do, then this is a pretty spectacular location. There are more breweries here than anyone knows what to do with, I feel like I'm living in a constant state of anxiety knowing that I have only tried a fraction of the beer this city has to offer! Okay not really, but it is still quite overwhelming when you are driving around trying to find a drug store and instead you find six microbreweries/brewpubs. Beer can cure all ailments, right? Might as well stop at them and forget about the drug store checklist.

Needless to say, I now have A LOT of new beers I need to report on. There's...too many of them! Golly, even the grocery store beer isle is a project in itself, carrying all sorts of west coast gems from California, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, etc. I will not run out of material is what I'm saying; perhaps only the motor skills and cognitive functioning to sit down and type a blog post after drinking all these delicious beers!

Check back soon for my first thoughts on some Portland style brews! Until then check out this map which has now become my Holy Grail.

Stay Thirsty.

* Seriously, which side is the freaking ocean on right now? West? I have to turn left...The Pacific Ocean is always west? Where is home now? Wait, the sun is over there and it's 4pm what does that mean? Why am I going this way? WHAT. I'm going the wrong way. Shit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lhasa Beer

Tibet Lhasa Brewery - Lhasa Beer – Tibet

This beer is from Tibet. Home of the monks and the Himalayas. All those monks need good beer in Tibet I guess. I love everything about this beer just based off the bottle. It has a cool little cartoon of a monk-looking man with a rooster and a deer on a green wonderful -looking mountain and a mountain spring and it says “Imported from the Roof of the World” on the bottom. The bottle is weirdly heavy for a 12oz beer bottle, the glass must be thicker. And just in case the lovely drawing on the front didn’t put you in a good enough mood the back label has these reminders; “Drink Responsibly – Please Recycle – Be Kind – 10% of profits to philanthropy in Tibet.” Don’t you just feel like a good person for holding this bottle? I do.

Anyways, to what is inside. It says this beer is “all-natural” and “all-malt” made with “pure Himalayan spring water.” The malt definitely comes through in this, but it is a nice smooth taste, very sweet, must be the delicious spring water. The beer is weirdly not very carbonated, but I have a feeling that it has been perfected in this way, because I think the carbonation would ruin the sweet taste. Overall, this beer is really good, not amazing, and just the right amount of different that sets it apart from many of the beers I’ve had recently. (<< joke). They’re definitely brewing some special stuff up in those mountains. Good job Monks! Keep making this beer so I can buy it more places, and then feel good about myself.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

Ichabod Pumpkin Ale - New Holland Brewing Company - Holland, Michigan

The third beer I’ve tried from New Holland and the third one that I like! I might have a thing against beers that are fruity flavored, because I don’t believe in beer that tastes like fruit (beer should taste like beer) but last time I checked Pumpkin was not a fruit…or is it. Crap. These are the things you should know when you are in your 20s. Well, assuming Pumpkin is not a fruit (but fruit’s seeds are usually found on the a pumpkin...things are not looking good for my argument) I generally like Pumpkin Ales. They are usually pretty dark and cinnamony and have a good, festive flavor. This one does not disappoint – most of the smell I got was cinnamon when I took my initial whiff. Exciting. The actual taste is less cinnamon than the smell leads you to believe, and the pumpkin flavor only comes out when you are about halfway through the beer. Overall, a complex tasting brew, but one that I will look for as the Fall rolls in and the air starts getting crisp and I can start wearing scarves and vests again! Also the bottle is cool and reminds me of Johnny Depp and the movie Sleepy Hollow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yakima Glory Ale

Yakima Glory Ale – Victory Brewing Company – Downingtown, PA 

Of all the beers I’ve opened in my life this has got to be the smelliest one. Like literally I opened the bottle and I smelled this beer without moving my face towards it. I could not decide if this was good or bad...So I drank it. WOAH BABY clearin’ out the sinuses with this one. I don’t understand what it is that’s in this beer that makes it feel like I just snorted pixie stick (flashback to freshman year of college…oops)…oh wait. Hops! I guess the “dark malts warming the hops bright edge” was not warm enough for me, and I fell off the bright edge. So if you like hops, definitely try this beer. If you don’t, stay away from it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

St. Rogue Red Ale

Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale - Rogue - Newport, Oregon

If it’s Rogue I automatically like it. I have many personal connections to Rogue beers; they hold a special place in my heart for many a’ reason. So when I saw this bottle on the shelf I was pretty excited, because I have never seen it before - not even at heaven on earth, Total Wine. As the beer’s name points out it is “dry hopped” which I’m not really sure what that means***, but as I have said before I tend to shy away from lots of hops. And this beer does have a lot of hops, but the beer wizards out in Newport have found a way to blend the red ale-ish-ness with the dry hops to have it come out more sweet than anything else. This is definitely another strong tasting beer, one of those one-at-a-time, get a pint beers, but it is very pleasant and very tasty. Also the label is really cool and I’m pretty sure beer-drinking Jesus is on it, which obviously makes this a go-to on any shelf. Or maybe St. Rogue was Jesus’twin brother…the smarter one who turned the water into BEER.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Koko Brown - Guest blog!

Guest blog! By my number one fan Jess!

Koko Brown - Kona Brewing Company - Kona, Hawaii

I first encountered this beer in a frathouse, when a friend was sipping on a bottle and raving about the toasted coconut infusions of this Kona Aloha Series brew.  I was intrigued, but I was only granted a single sip upon which to base my first impression. This impression was also colored by the fact that the fratboy who suggested this beer had a collection of Woodchuck bottles on display in his room.  Now, this is nothing personal against Woodchuck, but a professed love of this sweet cider doesn’t really lend itself to a reputation as a great beer connoisseur.  In any case, my reaction to this one sip was: WHOA! Extreme coconut overload! I didn’t think that the coconutty taste mixed well with the moderate bitterness of the brown ale.  Little did I know, however, that my opinion would change when this beer would next cross my path. 

Several months later, my roommate decided to host a bring-your-own-six-pack party, and the shirtless man on the label caught my eye and peaked my curiosity once again.  I claimed a bottle for myself and set out to see if a second taste would sway my opinion. Sure enough! With more than a single sip to tantalize my tongue, I was better able to appreciate how the roasty tones inherent in a brown ale mixed well with the coconutty tones that distinguish this brew.

A couple weeks later, I was impressed enough with this beer to buy a whole six-pack for myself when I spotted it at the grocery store. I realized that I tend to appreciate fruity tones in a beer as long as they blend well and aren’t too overwhelming. I like that this beer has that little zest of flavor integrated with an ale, as opposed to a wheat beer, the style which accompanies many fruity-flavored brews.  I recommend it if you like brown ales and are interested in trying one with a twist, but beware that the toasted coconut flavor gives the beer a rather sweet and nutty finish!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blackened Voodoo Lager

Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager – Dixie Brewing Company – New Orleans, LA 

Example number one: Never judge a beer by its smell! This one intimidated me when I poured it in a glass and took a wiff…weird. Just smells like malt, and looks like dark malt cause it’s so…dark.  Oh wait – I just read the bottle, it’s brewed with all malt. Whoda thunk it?? No wonder they put “Blackened” in the name!

I think this is a great beer, but it does have a LOT of flavor, and a flavor that sticks around after you drink it, so be warned. It’s a great one to order at your favorite bar, but after a pint I think you would be over it - at least until the next night. The other appeal this beer had for me is that it seems to be steeped in history, and current history as the bottle informs me: “The century-old Dixie Brewery was almost destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but restoration is underway. With the help of our friends, we’re working hard to re-beer New Orleans and the rest of the country.” I love this. Re-beer New Orleans. Like there isn’t enough alcohol going around that city…You keep on, keepin’ on though Dixie Brewery. I like what you’re doing and hopefully my friends will too. Let’s re-beer America! There isn’t nearly enough beer drinking in this country!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO EVERYONE! History lesson post!

Did you know that May 5th is not actually Mexican Independence day? That is September 16th. Did you know that the first people to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in America were Mexican miners in California in 1863? They were over-joyed by the anniversary of the Mexican army winning a (A, one) battle (May 5, 1862) against the colonizing French army led by Napoleon the tres in Puebla, Mexico . Those Californian-Mexicans ran around and yelled and sang and shot their guns in the air, much like inner city teenage girls do when their favorite American Idol contestant wins. This victory at Puebla was so huge that people still celebrate it today, obviously, even though within a year the French army struck back at the Mexicans and won control of the entire country...

Since we Americans have to have our hands in every part of history ever, or somehow connect it to our own history, we believe the Mexican victory at Puebla stopped Napoleon III from being able to help/resupply the Southern Confederate army during the American Civil War. What if the French were able to help the Confederates you ask? Good question! The Union would have lost the Civil War. Obviously! And we would all look like this today.

So THAT can be our reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo as Americans. Without Cinco de Mayo everything would have been different! There would be no income tax! No social security! And the federal government wouldn't have their greasy, no-good hands pouring tax money all over useless things like education, welfare, roads/transportation, and healthcare. Americans never asked for help with all that nonsense anyway. We can do it on our own! While we're at it, the whole world would probably be different because the US would not have existed to step in and show Germany what's up during World War I and II. We would probably all be speaking German right now. And Bush the II would have been King of the Confederacy.

Whew, good thing those Mexicans won that battle at Puebla! And good thing beer companies in the 1980s decided to start marketing Cinco de Mayo as a drinking holiday so they could make millions of dollars. I feel like celebrating the existence of America today. There is no better way than drinking too many beers, followed by getting a margarita bigger than my face, and then capping the night off by taking tequila shots and getting punched in the face instead of using a chaser. Thanks Mexico. I don't know what we would have done without you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sundog Amber Ale

(Look it hasn't been a month yet! I've still been drinking the beers, no worries.)

Sundog Amber Ale – New Holland Brewing Company – Holland, MI  

This beer is immediately awesome because it has a howling dog/wolf on the label, but I can’t tell which because it is only a silhouette. (This was also an appropriate beer for the time because I was vacationing at the beach with my family/neighbors and I probably got way too much sun that day.)

Sundog, yesdog. I’ve had another beer by New Holland Brewing Company but the name/type of it evades me currently – I do however remember liking it.  So good on Michigan, I only have good memories of the microbrews coming out of the big mitten.  This amber ale tastes a little different from your normal amber, with a very bitter initial bite to it. This took me by surprise because the bottle description made it sound like it was going to be more of a caramelly malt flavor, which doesn’t come through until you get past the initial hop/barley taste. Overall, I really enjoy this amber ale, and it’s definitely a solid beer to be drunk alone on a night of board games at the beach with too many adults wandering around wondering where they put their John Grisham novel.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hell or High Watermelon

21st Amendment Brewery - Hell or High Watermelon – San Francisco, California

This is by far the coolest looking beer can I have ever seen. The cartoonish caricature of the Statue of Liberty sitting on really what looks to be the Golden Gate Bridge, but probably isn’t, is just too cool. So it’s really a shame that this beer actually isn’t very good. In fact, it is pretty terrible. Why they chose to ferment it with watermelon concentrate and then add more watermelon juice afterwards is a mystery to me. I mean…did they really want their beer to taste like (to quote a friend) “A natty with a melted jolly rancher in it.” Probably not. Honestly, the first thing that popped into my head when I took my first sip was, “this tastes like my burning throat after I vomit.” So maybe this brew is just a little too acidic 21st Amendment Brewers…my advice to you is not to try so hard next time and just make a normal beer for your fancy can. Everyone will be happy!

It appears as though 21st Amendment Brewery is really into the artwork that goes on their cans. Check out their website to see for yourself!!

Craft beers in cans is apparently a new market trend. Smaller breweries are discovering that cans are in fact easier to ship, do not get contaminated by sunlight (skunking the beer), AND are more environmentally friendly. So, many places are taking on a the new look and canning up some of their beers instead of bottling them. Don't be afraid of a craft beer in a can! It's not a gimmick! Don't believe people who say beer tastes better out of the bottle. It's not true. Cans taste just as good. Miller Light out of a can will always be Miller Light/crappy. Craft beer out of a can will always be craft beer out of a can/yummy! Next time you are beer shopping go for the craft cans. Not only will you be purchasing new, great, exciting beer, but you will also be saving the environment!!!!

Obviously 21st Amendment has fully embraced the can and is using it as an effective marketing strategy by putting their beers in awesome-looking cans. It would be hard to walk by a beer with an Astronaut Monkey on it called "Bitter American." Just like it was hard to walk by a beer that had a cartoon statue of liberty on it. Hopefully I'll like what the monkey's hiding inside a little more!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Juniper Pale Ale and a taste of Italy

Oopsies. Sorry for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere! I dire need to watch recorded DVR shows, trying not to gain weight from V-Day (doesn't even merit me writing out the full name) cookies/candies/baked goods, and embracing my ripe age of 900 years by going to bed early all the time. I will make it up to you by giving you two reviews today!

Rogue - Juniper Pale Ale - Newport, Oregon

Rogue makes some of my favorite beers, so I was excited to try a new variety. As I have mentioned before I usually don’t like many Pale Ales, but this one ended up being okay. My suspicion is that the addition of the Juniper Berries gave the beer that extra flavor shot that maybe took away from the hoppiness of the usual pale ale. The flavor combination was nice, however, the first sip the only thing I could think was, “that hurt my nostrils.” So this beer has some zest you should be ready for. Or if you're sickly with a clogged up nose maybe you will still be able to taste it! Is that why people like strong pale ales and IPAs? Because they can't taste rull grood? I sense an Blogpinion post about that topic in the near future!

La Rossa Birra Moretti – Italy

7.2% alcohol, 92.8% kinda gross. I’m confused as to what type of beer this is, and it tastes like metal. So I probably won’t be getting it again, or trying harder to figure it out.

(Guess that was really just like one with it, the second one sucked. I'm surprised I even wrote that much about it.)

Until next time, stay thirsty my friends.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lucky 7 Porter

Evolution Craft Brewing Company - Lucky 7 - Delmar, Delaware

Another dark beer, another good choice! This one says it is brewed with “7 lucky malts” which I am obviously skeptical about because how can malts be lucky?? Are they lucky for everyone? Or just for the brewers of Delmar? If I start my own brewery can I use them and be lucky? Cause I do like the taste of this beer! Seven malts is a lot of malts, but somehow this beer isn’t overwhelmingly malty, just really tasty. It does have a strong, dark, aftertaste so if that’s not your thing stay away from this one. Or if it is your thing then you should TRY IT!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nut Brown Ale and American Pale Ale

Special dregs of January double post!!! Don’t worry it’s almost February and they’re 29 days of that this year! My old-man brother currently lives in Louisville and brought a few beers home awhile back. I drank them. I thought. I even wrote about one back in September. So here’s what I had to say about the other two.

BBC – Nut Brown Ale and American Pale Ale – Louisville, Kentucky

Nut Brown Ale - Nutty Brown is what you get when you take a sip of this beer. Imagine that. I’ve never been a huge fan of Brown Ale’s in the past because they always seem to leave a strong after taste, but this BBC version was much lighter and went down very smooth. There’s also a nice dark, mocha sort of coffee after taste as well which is more reminiscent of a porter. I’m currently into trying more brown ale’s and I’m happy to add this one to the approved list.

American Pale Ale - The last of the BBC beers from the brother. I suppose this one was saved for last due to the fact that I generally don’t drink many Pale Ale’s. But these BBC beers have surprised me so far, so I went into this one with a positive attitude. I liked the Saison…I liked the Brown Ale…Maybe I’ll like this Pale Ale!!.....I was wrong. I still don’t like Pale Ale’s. I can definitely appreciate a good beer though, even a good Pale Ale, and this one falls into that category. It’s just not my style. But don’t worry I finished it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Full Circle

New Holland Brewing - Full Circle - Holland, Michigan

Back label: “Pairings: seafood, corn, veggies, and mild white cheeses.” WHAT! Is it just me or is that like the most unappealing list of beer foods you have ever read? “Mmmhh, yes, this is making me sooo hungry, be a darling and get me a mild white cheese.” OR “Goddamnit, why would you give me this beer if you didn’t make CORN for dinner??!” Ridiculous right?

After trying a sip this was said by roommate Sarah, “I can see how it goes with corn.” REALLY? How?? It doesn’t really taste like anything! No but really it literally has no taste. It’s like seltzer water. It’s like white rice. It’s like lettuce. It’s like Natty. It’s like mild cheese! To quote myself “I didn’t even taste the taste!” Interesting. Maybe I should go get some corn.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Toasted Lager

Toasted Lager - Blue Point Brewing Company - Long Island, NY

This beer was recommended to me by my dear friend Laura Derby. I take her opinions about beer pretty seriously, cause…well…cause I’ve seen her drink it. You know what I’m talkin’ about, Derby Derb.

The beer didn’t let me down. Good taste, Derby. I do not know what a “toasted” lager is, if it is even a real thing, but I like what this beer has going on. It is pleasantly light, sweet, and not very hoppy. In fact it is just the right amount of sweet that it makes you want just one more sip. It’s like how you can never just eat one Dorito, or one prepackaged/premade grocery store St. Patrick’s Day sugar cookie with an inch of green frosting and sprinkles on it. The beer leaves you wanting more, so good thing you probably only ordered/bought 12-16 ounces of it. Seriously, pitchers of it would be problematic because I feel like I could gulp this beer down and not take note of my consumption rate.

Perhaps this is the reason Toasted Lager has won the “World Beer Cup Gold Award.” Sounds like a good award, I wonder if they won a golden beer cup chalice trophy. Maybe they should serve this beer in a golden chalice from now on, so everyone can pretend they are in Indiana Jones drinking out of the Holy Grail. It’s that good.

This review got tangential. Just get this beer and like it.

PS - Happy New Year! May 2012 bring you many beer happy experiences.