•December 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Yes, you’re right, I’m back! It’s been months since my last post (pre-wedding) and I’ve been itching to get back into the old routine. Drinking beer is a luxury that most of us enjoy but few of us really experience. Lately I’ve been working out of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and the hotel is close to a “Mecca” for beer purchasing. Yankee Spirits in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, offers a huge selection of warm and cold brews in every shape, size and flavor you can imagine. If you’re close, you need to partake.
So, this week we did our normal after-dinner shopping excursion to Yankee Spirits. Ash went to work putting my newest 6-pack together and I searched the aisles for a new “bomber” for the week. After about ten minutes I noticed a bottle with a whimsical scene on the label. A man holding a shovel and being looked at in a displeasing manner by a rabbit and a groundhog. Refer to the photo for more detail. 🙂
I opened the bottle and took in the aroma. There was a subtle hoppiness accompanied by a huge caramel note. In addition there was a sweetness of honey and some floral scents. The smell was definitely a complicated mix and it creates an anticipation for the first sip.
It can only be described as a “flavor explosion”. There are layers of fantastic tastes which makes it difficult to immediately break down the profile. The hops are as subtle as the smell. Basically a supporting cast allowing the caramel and lemon zest to take center stage. The third sip reveals a delicate smoky flavor which isn’t overwhelming at all. There is also a hint of berries. Not sure what kind of berry, but definitely a berry.
So, needless to say, I put this on the “purchase if you’re feeling randy” list. It was about ten dollars for the bomber but it’s a beverage that you’ll have no problems finishing. I warn you though. This beer is meant to be taken on a picnic, sheltered from the rain and loved. If you’re not ready for the commitment, save your cash.
•September 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment
We returned to Ludlow, Vermont for our last week of work before we start out adventure south for our wedding. After work we stopped by our favorite spot, Brewfest Beverages, and searched the aisles for this week’s supply of tasty beverages. Ash was quick to point out a Doppelbock with a catchy-name. The Andygator.
I opened the beer and inhaled the aroma. It had the scent of caramel corn and a slight nuttiness. I took a sip and my taste-buds were immediately pleased with a light hops and the sweet flavor of caramel. There’s also a slight hint of apple and from time to time, I can taste a zip of grapefruit. The finish is a very subtle lemon mixed with a sugary sweetness that coats the mouth and throat.
It’s tough to say whether or not I’m a fan. I enjoy beers with complicated flavor profiles. This one definitely is complicated. The caramel easily can overwhelm the other attributes of the beverage and it took me 3/4 of the beer to figure them out. But, oppositely, spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I’m drinking can also be a pain in the keester.
If you see this one, I got it for $4.29, it’s worth a shot. Don’t shoot the messenger though.
Love beer. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Damn the Man.
•August 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment
This is the first week back to work for Ash and we’re back up here in Ludlow, Vermont. We returned to my newest favorite place, Brewfest Beverage, and started the delicious rampage scouring the shelves for something new. We were able to fill a “do-it-yourself” 6-pack in about 15 minutes and then, on the way to the register, Ash pointed out the newest release of Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series. I didn’t hesitate. The bottle was out of the fridge and into my hand faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr. on turn 4 at Talladega.
Tonight, after opening the beer, I took a deep inhale of the aroma. There’s a wonderful scent of grapefruit and pine mixed with subtle hoppiness. I took a sip and the flavor was light and aromatic, definitely not overwhelming to the palate. The notes of pine was punctuated with a sharp zip of hops. This was accompanied by a faint maltiness and citrus, both oranges and grapefruits.
I definitely suggest this brew for folks who enjoy IPAs, but be prepared, this isn’t one of those hopped-up-to-twist-your-face beers. Harpoon has created an beer that has just the right minimal amount of hops to “tweak” the flavor but still keep it an IPA.
If you see this lovely bomber on the shelf at your local grocery store/beer store/liquor store I suggest you place it in your cart/basket and head to the register. It’s a fabulous beer and it is the perfect accompaniment to a last summer or early fall day. Oh Harpoon, you’ve done it again.
•August 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Yes, I admit it. Last week was entirely disappointing since I didn’t publish a new Brewsday Tuesday. Trust me, it was quite a hectic week and I truly didn’t have the time to sample anything new. Luckily though, I’ve returned to Ludlow, Vermont, and the time of year is appropriate for Harpoon’s release of their Octoberfest.
I originally had the Harpoon Octoberfest several years ago. It was at Harpoon’s Octoberfest held at the brewery in Windsor, Vermont. So, naturally, I walked into this experience with a much different (and better) opinion. After opening the beer I immediately smelled a faint hoppiness and the delightful crispness of nutmeg. There is also a note of cinnamon.
Unfortunately, after I took the first sip, I noticed that the flavor profile was actually quite flat. There’s an A-typical “autumn-flavor” that you find with most brews that come out this time of year. There’s also a light nuttiness accompanied by hints of pumpkin spice. I can also taste some nutmeg and maybe some touch of raisin. To tell you the truth, while I was telling Ash about my feelings on the beer, she said something interesting. She said that it sounded like I had jumped into a pile of leaves with my mouth open. Yep, pretty much hit the nail on the head.
So, if you need a brew in a pinch, you might not be disappointed. Of course, you might be very disappointed if you don’t enjoy jumping into a pile of leaves with your mouth open.
Harpoon normally doesn’t have a “fail” option in my opinion and typically I’ve been very happy with their beverages throughout the year. This year I’m very sorry to say, the Octoberfest is a swing-and-a-miss.
•August 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment
We’ve returned to Ludlow, Vermont, this week for work. Of course, this set us up for another wonderful trip to the Brewfest Beverage Company. Sticking with my budget I decided to build a six-pack this week. They have pretty good prices on their individual bottles and if you complete a six-pack they give a 20% discount on it after the total. Pretty good deal if you ask me.
So, we perused the aisles and picked out five beverages. It’s always the sixth one that’s a stumper because you know it’s “sealing the deal” and it’s the end of the shopping trip. On a wooden stand, next to the walk-in-cooler, there was a variety of Dogfish Head beers. One caught my attention. A cherry-colored label and a fancy name, not to mention being wood-aged, made it an easy pick.
I opened the bottle and immediately recognized a vanilla aroma with a subtle hint of blackberry. I took a sip and there was an incredible rush of flavors. There was the sweetness of a dark chocolate mixed with a tart grapefruit zest. The finish had notes of cherries and some nuttiness. There was also a distinguishable woody tone found throughout the flavor profile.
The Palo Santo Marron is a delicious beverage and should meet the tastes of most beer enjoyers. Be warned though. This beer is 12% beverage by volume, and it comes in a 12 oz. bottle. So, drink it responsibly. But please, drink it.
All beer needs love. It just depends on what type of relationship you want.
•August 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment
It’s the newest Brewsday Tuesday with the newest seasonal release from Harpoon Brewery. This week we were slated to return to Ludlow, Vermont. This town is a quaint place situated at the base of Okemo Mountain and it chock-full of restaurants and shops. It’s also home of the Brewfest Beverage Company on Main Street. They have a wonderful selection of beers, both local and abroad, and the staff is always helpful and friendly.
Monday, prior to hitting up the Shaw’s (finally reopened in January after the horrendous flooding), we perused the selection at Brewfest. As soon as we entered the first aisle Ash quickly grabbed a bottle off the shelf. She smiled and turned the label towards me, revealing the Catamount Maple Wheat. I’ve been waiting patiently for the release and I’ve been eager to try it, especially after how impressed I was with the previous series of Ginger Wheat.
I opened the bottle and took a long slow inhale. There was an overwhelming aroma of coffee and maple sugar and a subtle hoppiness. The first sip had a malty overtone with the sweetness of warm maple syrup. There is also a lemon zestiness with floral accents. As I continued to enjoy this beverage the flavors also incorporated a very faint smokiness with hints of banana.
Harpoon has successfully created another delicious beer for us to enjoy. The Catamount Maple Wheat is a fantastic blend of flavors which has a way of grabbing onto your taste-buds and doesn’t let go. The sweet and zestiness of the frosty brew is fabulous. If you have the opportunity to snatch this one off the shelf, do it. You definitely won’t be disappointed. And if you are, well, that’s your opinion. And that’s the BEST part of being able to enjoy the creations which we love to enjoy.
•July 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment
We’ve returned to the lovely city of Danvers, Massachusetts, and with this comes our weekly stop at Kappy’s Liquors. I’ve decided that I’m going to cut back over the next few weeks. No, I’m not stopping the Brewsday Tuesdays. I will, however, be cutting back on the price of the beers that I’m sampling. I’ve found that it’s not always the case that the more expensive beers are the tastier beers. Sure, purchasing a $10 – $15 dollar bomber should guarantee you a little more bang for your buck. I definitely expect a whole hell of a lot from a $20 bomber. Lately, if you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, the more expensive beverages have become more and more disappointing.
So, Ashley and I searched the shelves for something around $5 with a name that was eye-catching. She quickly pointed out the Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout from Left Hand Brewing Company. It’s funny that she did this since she had pointed out the same beer last week and I went with the Dr. Pepper instead. And, if you read last week’s, you’ll realize that I made a mistake.
I opened up the Wake Up Dead and immediately the aroma of coffee and malt escaped the bottle. It was slightly sweet and had a wonderful strength to it. I took a sip and was immediately impressed with the flavors. There was a sugariness and a deep maltiness which was mixed with a hint of chocolate. There was also the flavor of raisin which was not over-pronounced. A zip of hops and a slight twist of grapefruit finishes the flavor arrangement. It also has that A-typical flavor that I’ve experienced with other Imperials. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just the opposite. It’s the key note which makes it an Imperial Stout. I’m usually disappointed when a brewer releases a beverage and tags it one thing and it tastes like something completely different.
The beverage continues to present a complex flavor profile even halfway through the bottle. It’s usually heart-breaking when a beer flattens out and becomes one bland conglomeration. This isn’t the case with the Left Hand. They’ve created quite a delicious beverage that will not disappoint folks looking for a dark, full-bodied stout.
I know I usually don’t provide the alcohol percentage, and that’s something that I intend on changing. The Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout is a 10.2 and it’s not listed on the bottle. Something I found to be quite odd. So, if you do pick it up, prepare for a buzz. Left Hand does it again! So, I highly recommend you rush out and pick yourself up one of these fabulous brews.
Drink. Love. Love after (or before) you Drink. Just don’t Drink and Drive.