Category Archives: Brew Review

The Brew Review: Five

This is The Brew Review: a new beer review every week. I may not be a beer expert but I think I’ve had enough cerveza to be able to give you an honest opinion and some ideas for great beers to try.

Green Flash Brewing Co. Imperial IPA

20121120-213103.jpg

Heeeeey sexy laday!

Brew: Green Flash Brewing Imperial IPA (AKA San Diego IPA)
Type:
Imperial India Pale Ale
Stats:
9.4 % ABV, 101 IBU
Receptacle:
 22 oz. bottle
Cost:
About $6

This week’s brew is Green Flash Brewing’s Imperial IPA, straight out of one of my favorite and one of the fastest growing craft brew areas in the country – San Diego. This is one of Green Flash’s most popular brews, so popular it’s often called the San Diego IPA and I can definitely see why. Light in color and heavy on hops, this brew has a distinct flavor that sticks in your mouth.

This brew’s got a light citrusy scent and a smooth feel with a bitter and flowery finish, this Imperial IPA packs a heavy hoppy punch but is still very drinkable and tasty. IPA fans will love the lingering finish.

Verdict: Among my favorite Imperial IPAs for sure. I can’t recommend it enough for IPA drinkers, but those who aren’t big on the bitter taste won’t want to go near this one. At 9.4%, you’re also getting plenty of bang for your buck as far as alcohol is concerned so don’t be afraid to share this one with a friend. There’s also something about Green Flash itself that I really love. Perhaps it’s their awesome use of social media, or their Flash of Genius campaign featuring awesomely designed and super informational posters for each beer. Again, any brewery that strives to connect with its consumers and be an advocate not just for their own brews but for craft beer in general is a brewery that is going to become a favorite for me and that’s exactly what Green Flash is doing.

Related: Last month the California Craft Brewing Association announced that craft breweries in the state contribute 22,000 jobs and $3 billion to California’s economy. That’s 1.5% of the state’s economic output! Pretty interesting stuff to read and definitely awesome to see how great an impact awesome craft breweries (like CCBA President Steve Wagner’s Stone Brewing) can make on the economy. Many of these are small businesses and the craft brewing industry is still growing – 13% in 2011 and 12% in the first half of 2012.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, beers reviewed were purchased by me (or my friends) and were in no way sponsored by the brewery or any retailer. If any brewery wants to give me free beer, they should feel free to contact me.

The Brew Review: Four

This is The Brew Review: a new beer review every week. I may not be a beer expert but I think I’ve had enough cerveza to be able to give you an honest opinion and some ideas for great beers to try. 

Stone Brewing Co. Ruination IPA

Stone Ruination IPA

Hello lovely!

Brew: Stone Brewing Ruination IPA
Type:
Imperial/Double India Pale Ale
Stats:
7.7% ABV, 100+ IBUs
Receptacle:
22 oz. bottle
Cost:
About $6 per bottle

I’m back in the brew game (not that I ever left) and this week’s brew is bringing this feature back with a bang! Last night I sat down for a delightful evening with Stone Brewing Company’s Ruination IPA. Stone is one of my favorite breweries and not just because they are located in the San Diego area. You may recognize them from their Arrogant Bastard brews or because they’ve been around for 16 years. I like them because they make great beers, give a ton of money to charity, have made efforts to become more sustainable and are just generally awesome (not to mention super-active on social media). 

Anyway, after a particularly frustrating day at work there was nothing I wanted more than to sit down with a delicious beer and some dinner. I’m sure no one has ever thought it was a good idea to pair an egg scramble with beer but I did it anyway because I’m anti-grocery shopping or possibly just lazy. Regardless, the food wasn’t what was important here.

The Ruination was a nice golden color with a very hoppy smell (my favorite). The taste is all bitterness and hops with a touch of citrus to keep things light and smooth. The best part comes in the finish, which is clean and bitter and lingers for what seems like forever (or until you take another sip). This brew is basically unstoppable and definitely kept me wanting more.

Verdict: Probably one of my favorite double IPAs of all time. The lingering finish just serves as a reminder that you want to drink more. Extra bitter and all-around delicious, Ruination is perfect if you are as obsessed with IPAs as me. From the moment I popped off the top and was hit with the super hoppy aroma, I was hooked. Next time (assuming I actually hit the grocery store), I’ll pair it with something much bolder to match Ruination’s dominant taste: something spicy like jambalaya, curried chicken, jalapeño poppers or some really strong cheese (I’m drooling just thinking about these things).

Related: In case you aren’t the type of person to just sit down and drink 22 oz. of beer by yourself on a Tuesday, then you should definitely try this Garlic, Cheddar and Stone Ruination soup that sounds awesome but I haven’t made yet because I can’t ever convince myself not to drink a whole bottle. So if someone does make it, let me know how it turns out!

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, beers reviewed were purchased  by me (or my friends) and were in no way sponsored by the brewery or any retailer. If any brewery wants to give me free beer, they should feel free to contact me.

The Brew Review: Three

This is The Brew Review: a new beer review every week. I may not be a beer expert but I think I’ve had enough cerveza to be able to give you an honest opinion and some ideas for great beers to try. 

Underworld Brewing American Style IPA

underworld IPA collage

I’m a sucker for cool labels. Also, check out my kick ass bottle opener!

Brew: Underworld Brewing American Style IPA
Type:
India Pale Ale (American Style?)
Receptacle: 
22 oz. bottle
Cost:
About $3 per bottle

This week’s brew was one I bought randomly at the local Fresh & Easy market because it was cheap and I needed some beer in my life. Upon further investigation (looking at the bottle), I found that Underworld Brewing is owned by Rhinelander Brewery and really has no presence anywhere on the web, other than being reviewed by people like myself. Not sure what that means but I tried it anyway.

As is often the case, I picked out this one based on the label art (who doesn’t love a good rendering of Cerberus?) which is pretty sweet. This IPA is medium brown and has a mildly hoppy, light citrusy scent. My first impression is that it has the classic IPA taste but without the strong bite you find with most other IPAs. The finish is smooth but the whole taste is kind of lacking.

It’s not to say that this isn’t a decent beer, but decent is exactly how I’d describe it. There isn’t anything particularly remarkable about the taste or the brew, which might explain why there isn’t much about the brewery or its beers anywhere to be found.

Verdict: I am pretty indifferent about this beer, which is never a good sign. Is it a beer that tastes kind of like an IPA? Yes. Would I recommend it to anyone who wants to drink a good IPA? No. I might recommend it to someone trying to wade their way into IPAs but not really to anyone else. All in all I was pretty unimpressed. Sometimes the cost is directly related to the quality of the beer. Note to self: cool label art does not always equal delicious beer.

In other brew news: While we’re talking about things you probably shouldn’t drink, BeerUniverse shares that Coors Light is coming out with Coors Light Iced Tea, which (thanks to its acronym…waaaaait for it…yup) is gaining momentum as a running joke on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, beers reviewed were purchased  by me (or my friends) and were in no way sponsored by the brewery or any retailer. If any brewery wants to give me free beer, they should feel free to contact me.

The Brew Review: Two

This is The Brew Review: a new beer review every week. I may not be a beer expert but I think I’ve had enough cerveza to be able to give you an honest opinion and some ideas for great beers to try. 

Allies Win the War

allies win the war can

Love the can art!

Brew: 21st Amendment Allies Win the War (Special Edition)
Type:
Ale (Brewed with dates)
Receptacle:
12 oz. can
Cost:
About $9 for a 4-pack

This week’s brew is from a local brewery: 21st Amendment, which is based in San Francisco but available in cans in many cities across the country. 21st Amendment is probably best known for its Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer but personally, I prefer their hoppier beers to the watermelon brew. 

We picked up the Allies Win the War on a recommendation from an employee at BevMo, who, after finishing chewing whatever it was he was eating, told us that it was similar to Fat Tire, but that he actually liked this unique brew better than the New Belgium standard. Relying on his advice and also basing our decision on the awesome can art and packaging, we grabbed a four pack on a hot Saturday in the Bay.

To give this well-endowed (8.5% ABV) ale its unique taste (and its name), 21st Amendment teamed up with Ninkasi Brewing in Oregon to create what they describe as “a traditional English-style Strong ale,” but with a twist: the ale is aged with California dates and uses hops from the Pacific Northwest.

Medium brown in color with a smoky taste, this brew definitely has a unique flavor. Although the BevMo guy compared it to Fat Tire, I’d liken it more to a brown ale in the English style, like Newcastle. The dates gave it a bit of a different flavor, but I promise this beer didn’t taste like dates and I wouldn’t have known dates were used without seeing it on the can. A bit malty, a little nutty and slightly creamy tasting, I liked this brew well enough, plus the clever title and art were awesome (another part of the 21st Amendment experience). Despite her interest in history jokes, Anna, on the other hand, described the flavor thusly, “It’s like a porter had sex with an expired Fat Tire.” Not really how I’d describe it, but we have different palettes for a reason.

Verdict: It wasn’t my favorite to drink on a hot day, but I think it’d be something I’d drink if it wasn’t 95 degrees. It was a bit heavy for Anna and we didn’t pair it too well with our spaghetti sandwiches (we’re very adult), but I imagine it would be great with maybe a beef stew, meatloaf or salisbury steak. Not my favorite of 21st Amendment’s offerings but still a good beer, especially for brown ale fans who want something with a twist on the classic taste.

In other craft brew news: Check out this awesome article from 7×7 on why craft breweries (including 21st Amendment and New Belgium) are starting to put their beer in cans.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, beers reviewed were purchased  by me (or my friends) and were in no way sponsored by the brewery or any retailer. If any brewery wants to give me free beer, they should feel free to contact me.

The Brew Review: Debut

So for real this time, every week I’m planning to bring you a new project called The Brew Review because, if you don’t know by now, I heart beer and would love to share my love with you guys. I may not be a beer expert but I think I’ve had enough cerveza to be able to give you an honest opinion and some ideas for great beers to try. If that isn’t enough, this project also gives me an excuse to drink more beer, which is really why I’m doing it. Credit where it’s due, this series is inspired by Katelin’s Wino Wednesday and I can’t thank her enough for the wine reviews and for inspiring me to drink more delicious beer!

Shift

YUM

Brew: New Belgium Shift
Type: Pale Lager
Receptacle: 16 oz. can
Cost: About $9 for a 4-pack

The first Brew Review beer is from one of my favorite breweries around: New Belgium. In addition to brewing some awesome beers, like Fat Tire, Skinny Dip and Ranger IPA, the company prides itself on being alternatively powered, loving bicycles and being involved in the community. Basically they rule* and one day I’m going to visit the brewery (and hopefully all the others on this map).

Anyway, Anna and I tried Shift while attempting to make pink hair ribbons for a fundraiser. As big IPA and pale ale fans, we figured a pale lager might be a nice change of pace without having to give up our yummy hops. We were right, it was totally refreshing, lighter than a pale ale or IPA, but with a slightly bitter finish. It was like a nice lager with a pale ale kick, thanks to four different kinds of hops.

I honestly don’t remember what we ate with it the first time, but the second time we enjoyed our Shift on a hot Sunday after some serious lounging and pool time. It was the perfect beverage to keep us cool and match up with our Pirate’s Booty snack after a tiring day of relaxing.

top of shift can

“you’ll want one”

All in all, I’d say drink Shift if you’re looking for something crisp that still has a little bite to it. This is one of those beers best served extra cold and in the can, maybe with some chips and salsa or grilled fish.

Have you tried Shift? What’d you think?

Stay tuned next week for MORE BEER! Also, if you have any suggestions for other brews to review, send them my way!

*Despite all my love for New Belgium, I’m not in any way affiliated with or paid by them for this review. I just really like their beer. And the red bicycles. But if you’re from New Belgium and want to give me free beer, I will gladly accept.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

So, yesterday I bought a pair of pink pants. And cut 6 inches off my hair. And got hit on by a guy who worked at an AT&T store for the second time in about a month. Things are getting weird around here.

I would like to blame it on the weather and the season changing. Summer is right in my wheelhouse. But this time I don’t think it’s just that. Things are changing and I’m forcing them to change. I’m making a concerted effort to make my life better and happier. More yelling excitedly and less ragey ranting. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

I’ve been restless for months, a year even. Everyone around me knows it. The more restless I get, the more I start talking about doing over-the-top things like shaving my head or flipping my desk, quitting my job and moving to an island. This time instead of just talking about change, though, I’m doing it. If there’s one thing (there are WAY more) I learned from Molly at Stratejoy during our six weeks in the Find Your Passion Work group, it’s that you can’t let fear stand in your way.

All of this has been building. In January, I told myself to ignore the anxiety that goes along with registering to spend a weekend in another city with people you don’t know. And now, in less than 48 hours, I’ll be a rookie at Bloggers in Sin City finally meeting the people I’ve been talking to on the internet, some of whom I’ve “known” for years. The people who made me want to blog in the first place and the people who keep me from having to find all funny animal things on the internet myself. Basically ALL THE EXCITEMENT AND YELLING!

In March, I emailed Molly hoping that I could snag the last spot in the FYPW group and I’m so glad that I did. About three weeks ago, I decided to make a big change in my work life and on Tuesday, I’m making my intentions clear about that to my boss. I’m basically a walking ball of panic now, but I know that this change will be good for my sanity, health, attitude and writing. Relatedly, if anyone wants to hire me, I’m good at writing, editing, content management systems, InDesign, social media and dog walking.

Lastly, starting tomorrow and every Wednesday after that, you’ll see a new series I’m starting called “The Brew Review” in which I give myself a productive excuse for drinking more beer. A new brew every week with some info and review from yours truly. Gladly accepting suggestions for microbrews and foreign beers to try!

So here I am. I feel like I’m on the precipice. As Steve Zissou put it, “I’m right on the edge. I don’t know what comes next.” It’s exciting. And terrifying. And the only good way to start the summer.

What are you on the verge of? What comes next for you? Are you as excited about summer as I am?