We’ve been having some really nice weather lately so I decided to fix up my old bike and take it out for a spin. It was my first bike ride of the season, so naturally it kicked my ass; but what better way to come home and cool down then with a nice beer! I’ve had a couple bottles of Flying Dog’s 20 anniversary Raging Bitch, a Belgian-style IPA with 8.3ABV and IBU, laying around and I was really excited to finally pop one open.
The beer pours a very nice golden copper, similar to an iced tea color. There was a little carbonation coming from the bottom, and the head was a good looking off white, with some soapy and some smaller creamier bubbles.
The nose of this beer really got to me, I have to say it was hard not to just start drinking it right away. At first it hits you with a very nice floral hoppy smell. It then moves over to citrus, mainly grapefruit, along with that the beer has a little sweeter note to it, something like a pineapple. The beer also has a bit of that dryness to it you find in many of the Belgian beers.
I could probably go on for a long time about the taste of Raging Bitch, but let me just tell you what you want to know. That same floral hoppy flavor stands right out, it’s a little bitter, but nothing crazy intense. The hops balance perfectly with a nice sweetness that comes out in the grapefruit flavor, and then there’s a nice dry hop finish on the back of your tongue. If you have ever had a Belgian beer like Leffe, or Duvel, you would know they have a very unique flavor and quality to them. Raging Bitch found the perfect way to blend the style of Belgian beers and an IPA together. The somewhat dryness, or however you would like to describe it, complements the grapefruit perfectly! It also seems to have a bit of pineyness underneath all of this. At 8.3ABV the alcohol is well hidden. And on your tongue this beer feels a little bit syrupy, maybe on the lighter end of medium body.
As far as drinkability goes, this beer maybe to drinkable. It’s got great flavor and goes down easy, but with that 8.3 ABV, be careful, it might sneak up on you!
Overall this is a great beer, it’s well balanced, and the two styles are both represented very well. It has a head that hangs around for a bit, good lacing, and just damn good flavor. Crisp, clean, and refreshing sums it up pretty well. I give all the people over at flying dog two big thumbs up for this one, keep em coming!
Its Saint Patrick’s Day today, a time to drink and eat good traditional Irish food and beer! Instead of doing the normal and just doing another Guinness beer review for this glorious day, I decided to pick up a six pack of Ohio’s own Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale. It’s a 6.5ABV and 25 IBU, time to dive in.
The beer pours a very nice deep copper color, great reds and browns blending together to make a very good looking beer. The head doesn't stick around for long at all, and I wasn’t able to see any carbon bubbles coming up from the bottom. What head the beer had was a white color with soapy bubbles, but it really didn’t stick around long enough to appreciate.
The nose of this beer has a very nice sweet maltyness to it. There’s a caramel aroma that goes right along with the malts, and there seemed to be the slightest bit of fruit, something like a plum or another dark fruit.
Taking the first drink the malty, caramel flavors do stick right out there. There was a little bit of hops but this beer definitely leans on the malts. I wasn’t able to pick up the flavor of the dark fruits or plumb that I got from the smell, and to be honest it seemed a little bit watery. Letting the beer sit for a minute and come to temperature a mild grainy flavor starts to show up, and that makes the alcohol stick out a little bit too. The liquid feels a little bit thicker than water and the carbonation is pretty good.
Drinkability wise, I would say the beer is pretty good. It’s got a lighter body and good flavor. It’s not going to be hard to kick a few back on your Saint Patties day, night. And overall I think this is a decent beer, however I don’t find anything that special about it. It’s a little watery but has good flavor, it’s not a very complex beer. The head was almost nonexistent and there was little to no lacing.
Be adventurous though, try something other than Guinness this year (not that I don’t endorse drinking Guinness) go pick up a six pack and check it out for yourself!
I picked up a bottle of Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout a little while ago and finally decided to crack it open. This was my first experience with Bell’s but I had heard many good things, so I was excited to see what this brewery was capable of. The bottle for Double Cream says that it is brewed with ten different types of malts making it “incredibly rich”. The ABV is 6.1, and the target IBU is around 50.
The beer pours really nice, it really does have a creamy consistency coming out of the bottle and swirling in the glass. It’s very dark, not see though at all, the color is almost jet black with notes of a reddish brown around the edges. A tan colored head sits atop this dark beer with bubbles that are a mix between soapy and creamy, like very dense foam. There was some mild carbonation that was noticeable rolling up the sides of the glass; all in all, this stout looks pretty good, I was anxious to get to the taste.
Before diving into that I needed to take a sniff. The nose is bold and full of different aromas, the most notable being the dark roasted malts. Like a lot of stouts there is a chocolate smell, something like a 65-75% cocoa bar. Notes of coffee float around, and I also picked up dark fruits like black cherry. One last thing was maple; there was a very pleasant caramely maple smell.
Finally it was time to dive in head (or lips) first and really get to know this beer. Just like the smell, the taste is bold, very robust and the roasted malts come through great! I felt like the dark cherry came through a bit more in the taste of the beer and added a very sweet and actually kind of tangy feeling on the tongue. More sweetness comes through in the maple, and caramel flavors; and the beer finishes off with those coffee and chocolates in the back of your throat. Swishing it around a little bit, the beer feels thick and creamy, not quite as thick as chocolate milk but reminiscent.
As far as drinkability goes, I would have to put this on the lower end (for me at least) it seemed like one would be plenty for a night. I could really enjoy this beer on a colder night, with the fireplace going. It’s not something you can just throw back, maybe a slow drinker while reading a book or something along those lines.
Overall I think this is a pretty solid beer; if you like stouts I would check it out. If you do want to check it out you ought to pick some up quickly, its only available November 1, through March. I’m not quite sure how I felt about the tang in the flavor, I kept fighting with myself over liking it or not, but it’s not a fault, I’m pretty sure they were going for that kind of sweetness. The lacing looked pretty good and as a first impression, I’m excited to see what else Bell’s Brewery has to offer.
Given the recent change of weather, I decided to open up a bottle of “Fresh Hop Pale Ale” from Great divide brewing Co. to help encourage the summer to hurry up and get here! Fresh hop is 6.1%ABV and 55IBUs and promises to have a “grassy, citrusy” flavor to it. The thing that makes this pale ale different from most is right in the name, it is brewed with fresh or “wet” hops; this means that the hops are not dried before used, they are over-nighted to Denver and then used no to long after. The question is, does this make a difference, and if so is it a good difference.
I wasn’t even able to pour the beer before the aroma hit my nose, but I had to get the brew into a glass and take a look! The head forms a slightly off white color, not quite tan; I had a fairly aggressive pour and the bubbles were light and airy, much like soap bubbles. The color was good, it was maybe a little lighter then amber, an “orange honey” if you will. There was a little bit of cloudiness, but not enough to stop me from seeing through it just fine. The head seems to stick around for a little while, and the lacing is great, coating almost all of the glass!
Bringing the glass up to the nose I was really happy with what I got. It definitely had a sweet citrus fruit smell, the hops had some great floral notes to them, I didn’t necessarily pick up grassy as the bottle suggested. However I was not disappointed, it smelled great and made me eager to taste it.
The taste of Fresh Hop doesn’t disappoint either, the citrus really comes through with flavors of grapefruit, and maybe a little sweetness from a pair. The balance between sweet and bitter is very well done, and the back end has a very clean hoppy bitterness on the back of your tongue. I think the fresh hops really do come through in the taste, and makes this beer remarkably clean and crisp. After letting the beer come up to about 50 degrees or so the grassy and more floral flavors really come out and make this beer even more enjoyable. The mouth feel is a little bit syrupy, definitely a medium bodied beer but the drinkability is still pretty up there.
Over all, I like this beer a lot. The fresh hops bring a great feeling to your tongue and leave you wanting to drink more. The bottle makes a couple food pairing suggestions and one of them is bratwursts, I would very much back this up as something that would go great with a BBQ on a summer evening. If you see this beer I would definitely say pick up a bottle, it’s about 6-8 bucks for a 650ml bottle, and well worth it.
My first FULL day in Amsterdam only made me more hungry to see what this city has to offer. I am thankful that I have a full month with this city so that I don't have to try and pack doing a million things in a short period of time. I slept in today (still getting over jet lag) but when I woke up, I enjoyed a great cup of coffee with my parents, and just hung out for a little while. We went over to a friends house around 3, my friend Rachel from the US is also here, so her and I went to explore the city (she actually knows it really well, it was more her showing me around).
We made our way to a restaurant named "Bazzar" for lunch and had a Fish soup, with bread, and some kind of other dish that was good but I have no clue what it was :p. We walked around the open market for a bit, found some stuff to make for dinner and then headed back to my parents house.
Let me just make it clear that I am ass backwards in this city, if I wasn't with someone who knew how to get around, I would be FUCKED! I never need to use any form of public transportation back home, and here that is the only way to get around, except for walking (and I do a lot of that) or riding a bike (and people on bikes here are crazy so I'll stick to walking). Anyways, my point is, I am not use to figuring out bus routes, or tram routes, or anything of that matter.
So we made it back home and gave the tuna steak and half kilo of giant prawns to my dad to cook up for dinner. He made an amazing meal of pasta with a gouda and wine sauce, buttered prawns, seared tuna, and asparagus! The aroma still fills the apartment. I can't say it was a very Dutch meal, but holy hell, it was a very good one for sure. After dinner we had some wine, and just talked for a long while; now my day is winding down and I'm watching LOtR RotK, and playing Zelda: phantom hour glass.
Today was a day of many firsts for me, first short plane ride, first long plane ride, first time seeing the tops of clouds, and my first time leaving my country (The United States of America). I am 20 years old and live in Columbus Ohio, I just got settled down at my parents apartment in Amsterdam Netherlands, I would write a longer blog but we are about to go down to the grocers to buy things for dinner, I will keep an active blog of my experiences here. And if there are any native Nederlanders around who want to give me some pointers or meet up, let me know!
Going through my old room in my parents house today (I am house/ cat sitting for them for a week) I came across two unopened 12 packs of MD Gamefuel that I had forgot about. Cracking a can open made me remember how much I really like this stuff, its just a damn pity that after these 12 packs are gone I will have no more.
So my wonderful girlfriend and I exchanged our xmas gifts today and man did she out do her self. She got me Viva Pinata: trouble in paradise, three new mighty muggs (Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku, and a Stormtrooper) I really could not believe she found the Stormtrooper, I have looked for that damn thing since I learned about Mighty Muggs. Along with those she also hooked me up with a DVD of Turisas (one of my favorite bands) its 80 mins of live footage plus an hour documentary, she also got me sour patch kids candy canes, moose much treats, and as a gag a Jack Bauer mini figurine. (I do love me some 24)
I could not be more pleased with everything she has bought for me, I am just extatic!
So I was at work today (I do construction) and I am cutting sheathing off of these cables with a hooked razor and my hand slips. Luckily my other hand was the to stop the blade, but un-luckily my skin is penetrable. I got a 2 1/2 inch cut about 3/4s an inch deep, 11 stitches , some perkasets (probably spelled wrong), and a whole lot of pain...Thank god for workers comp.
Just today I switched plans from Nextel to Sprint (big change I know) but I got the new Samsung Instinct, and I have to tell you...this phone is badass. I was kind of sore because I wanted to get an Iphone 3g but my girls parents picked me up on thier plan and it was much cheaper then switching to an AT&T plan so I just could not pass up the offer. Now I'm glad I didn't because I love my new phone, the touch screen works great and all the apps are very nice, internet is a tad slow but its great for being on the go. All in all...I preety much really like my new phone!