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The Complete Blog Archive, 2011 to Present

Buying & Shipping (mostly Belgian) beer inside the USA
Cataloging a few recent experiences (again)

Following this post about shipping beer to the US from Belgium I wanted to follow up with a a similar one, this time highlighting a few recent internal buying & shipping experiences of Belgian (and other) beer. Once again this catalogs only three recent experiences, from three specific vendors (I have used many others), but I wanted to make an approx. apples-to-apples comparison for the purposes of this post. The thing to note about the shipping times is that the orders came from different...

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So, what came first?

A very quick observation, and a couple of questions. This afternoon I was in a local tap-room. I don't care much for most of the beer that this particular brewery puts out, but I can usually find 1 or 2 out of the 10 or 12 that they have on-tap at any one time that I might drink. So, if I feel like going out to do some work in a public space (as is sometimes the case), and I'm in the mood to sit with a beer rather than a coffee, then I might find myself there. Anyway, two ladies came in...

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Shipping Beer from Belgium to the USA
Cataloging a few recent experiences

Most of you reading this know that I'm an Englishman who has lived in the USA since 2000. Obviously I've had access to a lot of Belgian beer over my lifetime, both from when I lived in the UK, and via my multiple visits to Belgium, but living in America presents a whole new set of problems for the Belgian beer lover. Access to Belgian beer in the USA has ebbed and flowed a lot in 20+ years that I've lived here. Sometimes it's been basically non-existent (for example, prior to 2004 in Georgia),...

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Purity, skin in the game, and when Capitalism spits on you

I recently had a quite brief conversation with a person who is intimately acquainted with a local brewery here in Fort Wayne, IN, and whose livelihood is dependent upon selling the beer that said brewery produces. That's a bit of an awkward way to describe this person I know, but it frames things in such a way that it maintains their anonymity. Nothing that follows is particularly controversial, but if I do things this way it simply means that people will keep talking openly to me about the...

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Legacy drinkers and the assault on
Belgium, England and Germany

I *think* that I coined the term legacy drinker. I never remember hearing it anywhere else. If that's not true, apologies. So, what does 'legacy drinker' mean? My definition varies from day to day but the general meaning is that of a drinker who mostly enjoys, and drinks perhaps almost exclusively, the classic, well-established styles. Another way to put it is in the negative, i.e., a drinker who eschews fake (kettle) sours, pastry stouts, milkshake IPAs, NEIPAs etc. You get the general idea....

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Fortlandia – a true nano production in Fort Wayne

When five blokes get together to brew and drink beer, sometimes things don't exactly go to plan. There's quite a lot of potential for nonsense to be talked, and for fanciful plans to be made. However, on Spring St. in Fort Wayne's northwest quadrant you'll find an outstanding example of talk that was converted to very real accomplishment. Fortlandia Nano Brewery turned three years old* on August 9th 2022, the same day that I visited with co-owners Ken Daly and Jerry Glass. When Jerry, Ken, Dan...

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Birdboy Brewing Company – Phoenix Rising in Fort Wayne

If you're wondering what's been happening at Birdboy Brewing Co. of late, and you're a tad confused by some recent comings and goings, then you're not the only one. A lot has been going on both behind the scenes and out in public, and the current state of affairs takes a little unraveling. In an attempt to do just that, I recently sat down with the man whose hand is now firmly on the rudder at Birdboy, Mark Burton. Before we talked about the present and the immediate future, I wanted to get to...

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Stone Brewing Co. – an ending that began a long time ago

I suppose that I should throw in my two-cents on Stone, everybody else has. To be honest, were it not for the post that I wrote in 2015 that marked the end of an era for this blog, I probably wouldn't bother, but specifically because of that post I feel like I should comment once more. If you don't want to go back and read that in full, essentially, seven years ago, I wrote that Stone already felt like some kind of corporate monster to me. Book-ending those thoughts and the Sapporo news of...

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From Fort Collins, CO to Goshen, IN, beer promotes community

If you happen to feel an enhanced sense of community the next time that you visit the Goshen Brewing Co. (GBCo.) in Goshen, Indiana, it's not by accident. Founder and former head brewer Jesse Sensenig made it that way. I sat down with him a few days ago to ask him about the GBCo. story, and to hear how a vision of local purpose permeates all that he does. Jesse's beer journey is a somewhat familiar one in some ways, but perhaps driven by slightly different motivators in others. I asked him...

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The State of Citizen Beer Blogging in 2022

I was toying with the idea of going to the 2022 Beer Bloggers Conference in Asheville in August of this year - that was until I learned that it had been canceled due to a lack of interest. My guess is that the first half of the second decade of the 00s was the peak for citizen beer blogging. I have no real data to back that assertion up - it’s nothing more a feeling - but there were a lot of comments on my blog around 2011-13, so I suppose that represents a sliver of ‘data’. Jay Brooks' The...

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Never meet your heroes. The death of elite beer bars?

‘Never meet your heroes’ is a phrase that is probably best used by kids. They are the group that is perhaps most susceptible to thinking that people, places and things are without flaws, and that they will always meet the expectations that may have been built up in their minds. So the fact that I’m now using the phrase myself, a grown man, in the context of beer, might mean that it says more about me than anything else. This weekend I had another let down. A few days ago I went to the Map Room...

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More than a decade removed, Todd and beeradvocate.com are still banning!

On 3/31/22 the official Beeradvocate Twitter account manned by Todd Alström, blocked the newly minted dingsbeerblog Twitter account. Yep, it’s true. Quick, to the DeLorean! Todd blocked my other Twitter account years ago, but the latest action was implemented at record speed - the new DBB account has only been active for a few days - I’m so glad he still thinks of me after all of these years. It’s heartwarming; a plimsoll line of consistency if you will. As a result of that action by Todd,...

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Come Into My Parlor

When Parlor City Brewing opened in June of 2020, it wasn't exactly the ideal time to be launching a service business of any kind, let alone one in the food and drink sector. With the pandemic raging and a multitude of mask mandates and other restrictions whirling around, it’s fair to say that a new brewery that was determined to follow those rules in a small Indiana town where the politics associated with such things were hardly forgiving, faced a pretty hard start. No matter, Chris Bryant has...

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Defining “Craft Beer”. OH NO, not this again!

I think it was maybe around 12 years ago that people (briefly) started to attempt to define what the term 'craft beer' really meant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to a lot of arguing, and no real consensus. I remember that at the time, one of the stumbling blocks was the fact that the term was being used all over the place in the USA, and basically not much (if at all) in the UK. Anyway, like I say, this just led to squabbling and the whole exercise seemed a little pointless. After that...

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An Englishman and a Scotsman walk into an American brewery

There's an unusual beast prowling just to the east of the Wells Corridor, north of downtown Fort Wayne. He's a brewer working in a relatively small brewery, in a relatively obscure part of the United States, with a pedigree and résumé of experience that might not necessarily seem consummate with his current surroundings. In the latest of my chats with the brewers of Fort Wayne, I sat down with Iain Wilson in the taproom at Hop River Brewing on Harrison St. over a couple of his beers where we...

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Session beer revisited, briefly

If you know, you know. I've got close to twenty years of online history relating to a single mantra about session beer, which is; beer can only be correctly labeled as session beer if it is 4% ABV or under. If you would like to read the longer version of my thoughts on this matter from 2011, then please take the time to read them here. I think it's worth your time. That post summarizes things fairly completely, so why am I bringing this up once more? Well, today I learned something new, and if...

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A (S)ummit (City Brewerks) on styles

This is not really a post about styles or policing styles - at least not an in-depth one - but it may seem like it is. It's actually a post about a much larger issue surrounding styles - the bigger picture if you will. So, here’s a question for a commercial brewer – you know, the guy that must make money by selling beer. Not the homebrewer, not the ‘beer guy’, certainly not a beer blogger, but the person that needs to ultimately turn a profit from beer that they brew. Given that everyone...

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Legacy beer drinkers made sad

I want to support new(ish) and local breweries. I really, really do. But as a legacy beer drinker, it's becoming more and more difficult to do so. I suppose I should attempt to qualify what I mean by a 'legacy beer drinker'. I'm talking about somebody who's been drinking beer for several decades, who has been immersed in the beer scene, and is a lover of traditional styles and traditional beers. i.e., me! There are a lot of us out there, we're just under the radar in a vast sea of canned hazy...

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The Trubble with Chad Hankee

When Chad Hankee says he's bored, you'd better get ready for some changes. Here's a man whose projects, and indeed life's journey, have been about bending in the wind and changing tack; and that's not just because he's a keen sailor. Chad and I sat down at Trubble Brewing Co.'s mothership on Broadway in Fort Wayne, for a natter about carpentry, web design, science and beer. As Trubble approaches their 6th anniversary in November of 2021, I asked Chad to reflect on what had gone before, and how...

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The Tavour myth machine, and staggeringly ordinary, expensive beer

A longer post on my experience with Tavour (some of which is positive) is coming soon, but for now just a quick observation or two. Tavour is selling some excruciatingly expensive beers, many from breweries that are quite often very new, and that have no track record. As such, they need some stealthy marketing. Often, their copy looks something like this; "The Iowan Des Moines Inquirer describes this as the best unplaced beer at The Jackson Lake Lodge Beer Festival in Wyoming last month. It...

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Todd Stone & Junk Ditch – Where Plato meets Plato

Todd Stone is a young man with an old head on his shoulders. Trust me, that's a huge compliment in my book. He and I sat down at Junk Ditch earlier this week to talk about his journey to become the head brewer at the Main Street brewpub, and - as it tuned out - our joint love of Saisons. When three guys from Joseph Decuis kicked off their new adventure in the shape of the Affiné food truck in 2012, it quickly became apparent that there was an seriously under-served sector evolving in Fort...

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From Prints to Pints

When one reads the draft list of a brewery that's found in a tucked-away corner of an industrial park north of Fort Wayne, one wouldn't expect the head-brewer and I to have much in common. Only 50% of the beer available (maybe even less than that) are things that I would likely ever drink. So on this, my third visit to Dot & Line Brewing Co., I enter with tempered expectations. It turns out that appearances can be deceptive, and that the charming Phil Comparet (said brewer) shares my love...

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A conversation with Tom Carpenter of 2Toms Brewing Co.

The resurrection of Ding's Beer Blog is going to be characterized by (at least at first) a focus on the local beer scene. That means Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana are in the crosshairs. I'm starting with a conversation with Tom Carpenter of 2Toms Brewing. Tom and I sat down at the brewery/taproom with a couple of beers a few days ago, to talk about contemporary brewing in Fort Wayne and how 2Toms fits into that landscape. 2Toms (and by extension Tom himself), was a natural place for me to...

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The past, the present, the six years between them, and the future

Here we all are. It's been six years since my last blog post on Ding's Beer Blog, but now I'm back. So where have I been? What happened in the period between January 2015 and today, May 26th 2021? The answer is life. Profound, right? However, nothing that you can't imagine, just the usual events, experiences and changes that sooner or later enter everyone's existence. Some good, some bad, and some indifferent, but none of which I'm going to detail here. Suffice to say things have changed; I...

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Ambivalence, indifference, me, evolution, and Stone in 2015

Before you read this please know that I'm not really sure what I am trying to convey here, so I think this post is more likely to turn out to be a stream of consciousness rather than anything particularly coherent - apologies in advance. Yesterday I was at Stone's Brewery, Tap Room and Bistro, in Escondido, CA. Many years ago, those words alone would have sent shivers up my spine and sent me into a little bit of a fan-boy, pant-wetting moment. Unconnected to my visit, those beer geek days are...

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Session #94 – The Round-up

As usual with The Session, some posts are more interesting than others. Here's the round-up for #94 in no particular order. Miguel gives us this post at Amante De La Buena Cerveza. Unfortunately I don't speak a word of Spanish, so I literally have no idea what he said and cannot comment on it. David at Beer Tinted Spectacles describes himself as a Zealot! At first that sounds a little negative to me, with a danger of getting into beer evangelism (something that I am not keen on), but the tone...

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Session #94 – My Role in Beer

As I said in my announcement for session #94, the question of my role in beer was provoked by a quick tweet exchange where @andrewinski1 suggested that rather than dropping pretty much completely out of the beer scene (as I think that I have), that I have simply moved to another place in said 'scene'. I thought it was an interesting observation and question, and in turn thought it would make a good topic for session #94. Contrary to popular belief I never really saw myself as having any kind...

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Session #94 – The announcement. Friday, Dec. 5th – Your role in the beer ‘scene’. What it is?

The Session, a.k.a. 'Beer Blogging Friday', is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Friday December 5th 2014 will see my latest 'hosting' of The Session, #94 in the series. From a point in time when I was...

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Hilton Head Brewing Co., 2014 – Light at the end of a VERY dark tunnel

Each year since 2001, often as a result of multiple visits, I have been reviewing and writing about the catastrophe that HHBCo. has become over the years. During that 13 year period, I have probably visited the island and HHBCo. in excess of 20 times, and a pretty extensive list of my previous thoughts can be seen here - you should read that post first. You'll see from what I have written earlier, that for well in excess of decade, HHBCo. has been a shambles, both in terms of the beer and the...

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The Session #88 – Beer Mixes

When I first read the announcement post for Session #88 on Boak & Bailey's blog, to be honest, my heart sank. They suggested that in preparation for Session #88 that we, the bloggers, go out and drink some of the beer mixes from Boston's 1976 list, namely; Lightplater – bitter and light ale Mother-in-law — old and bitter Granny — old and mild Boilermaker — brown and mild Blacksmith –stout and barley wine Half-and-half – bitter and stout, or bitter and mild For all intents and purposes, for...

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Talkbeer.com

Today I joined the talkbeer.com community. I believe that the site was originally a trading site that grew out of the discontent and disgust at BA, but it now seems to have reached the kind of critical mass that may make it useful. We'll see, and I am entering with an open mind. More to come.

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Atlanta Cask Ale (#ACAT) 2014

So here I am, on the morning of another Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting (#ACAT), but this time I am not getting ready to head to the event later in the day. The #ACAT of 2014 will be the first one that I have not attended since the inaugural gathering. The reasons for my decision not to attend today, are outlined in this post that I wrote on this same morning, 12 months ago. I vowed not to return in 2014 and I am good to my word. The post from 12 months ago summed up the whole situation for me then,...

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Pant-wetting fanboys and the US beer scene

Last night I got into a bit of a clumsy discussion on Twitter that ended very unsatisfactorily for me. Frankly it was my own fault, and I wanted to clear up my thoughts a little. In a nutshell, I responded to this article in the NYT by sending the Tweet below to @HillFarmstead. I'm rather proud of that tweet since I think it sums up a significant sector, and a very large part of the mentality that holds back the American beer scene. I stand by it and I think that it is actually a pretty...

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Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2013

Here I go again with my annual Christmas wish list. The things I want Santa to deliver to my beer world. It goes without saying (I think), that the old chestnuts of me wanting the abuse of cask beer via the addition of crap (i.e., treating a cask as a Randall), and the misuse of the term @sessionbeer, remain front and center for me, and as such I decided to leave them out of the list this year. They are not seasonal or fleeting 'wants', rather they are ubiquitous. Also, I've decided to leave...

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Me on (in) Draft (Magazine)

Last Wednesday I received an email from Chris Staten. Chris is an editor at Draft magazine. He asked me to respond to a few, simple questions about my public beer persona for an article that he was putting together. I didn't think much about it, was happy to respond and help, and shot-off some quick answers a couple of days later. Given the relatively trivial nature of the request (and my associated fairly simple response), I was more than a little surprised to see his article on Monday of...

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Session #82: Beery Yarns (a REDUX)

Here's my Session #82 post. This month Steve at Beers I've known asks for Beery Yarns. If you recognize this post, you're right, this is a cheat. I've posted it before, but this is such a great story that is close to my heart, I wanted to give it another airing to a wider audience. And you thought The Bruery’s Partridge ‘IN’ a Pear Tree was something to get excited about! 11/12/2011 by Ding If you are interested in beer and live in the USA, you’ll know that The Bruery’s Partridge In A Pear...

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Twisted South – the article that never was

In February of this year I was asked by a person that follows me on Twitter to write a counter-point article for Twisted South magazine. After 0ver 9 months of being told that 'it will be published soon', I've given up. Here's what I wrote all that time ago. ‘The South’ and ‘beer culture’ in the same sentence? It’s counter intuitive to me, and I might even say oxymoronic. I suppose that I should examine what I consider to be ‘beer culture’ before moving on. This isn’t an easy thing to do....

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Why I’ve stopped going to The Brick Store

After my decision last January not to attend Atlanta Cask Ale ’14 this coming January, the very event that I thought would be the one that kept me sane in terms of real ale in America, I started to reflect upon my role in the Atlanta beer scene in general. Ten months on and as we are approach that time of year again, my reflection has continued and deepened. While I have been contemplating where I stand, I found myself thinking about the time I have spent at The Brick Store over the years. As...

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Hypocrisy, FRESH and on tap!

It's always heart-warming to be reminded from time to time that there are so many of us out there that belong to the, 'mistreated by beeradvocate.com', club. My own story is well-documented, and unsurprisingly there are many, many others that are similar and equally disappointing - and it's STILL going on, even years AFTER this. I think there's a pattern emerging here, guys! So, this morning was a good one. I woke up to read Chad's Beer Nut column at timesunion.com where he details, and...

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Session #80 – The Craft Beer Bubble

The first Friday in October '13 brings us Session #80, where Derek Harrison at It's Not Just The Alcohol Talking asks, 'Is Craft Beer a Bubble?'. I'm no economist, and in any case economics is a soft science at best, so I guess it doesn't matter, but here's my take. No matter what the relative competence of a brewery in terms of what they brew, or indeed competence in terms of their business plan, infrastructure, finances and strategies, as long as their beer actually SELLS, then it's entirely...

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Session #79 – The round up and a few rebuttals

OK, Session #79 is now over and the thoughts of many have been recorded for posterity. There weren't quite as many posts as I was expecting, and some of the writing wasn't very good, but here's my summary. If I have left you out it was NOT intentional. My apologies, and if you contact me I will gladly correct my oversight. The first thing that I want to comment on is my own Session #79 post. Frankly, even after a lot of time and consideration I was still left a little dissatisfied with what I...

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Session #79 – USA versus Old World Beer Culture

OK, here we go with the blog post that you've read before. Why do I say that? Well essentially this is a post that I've written umpteen times over, just in varying guises. In those past posts I have generally focused on one particular aspect of the cultural divide, and by doing so I have been able to hone in on one facet of US beer 'culture' that I find deficient. For example, you may have read such classics as, Americans and Cask Ale, Americans and The Beer Middle Class or Americans and...

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Session #79 – The announcement. Friday, Sept. 6th – USA versus Old World Beer Culture

The Session, a.k.a. 'Beer Blogging Friday', is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Friday September 6th will see my turn to 'host' The Session, #79 in the series. Anyone with any inkling of my online, in-person...

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Beer Review: Westbrook Brewing Co, Mexican Cake

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Two separate, approx. (what looked liked) 10-12 oz pours (in undersize Duvel glasses) at The Lodge, Hilton Head Island, SC. I had heard a little about Mexican Cake but would never have sought it out as such. Anyway, strolling into The Lodge at 4.00 PM on a Saturday afternoon I see that they have it on, and since it was one of only three beers on their list that I have never tried, I thought...

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Beer Review: The Wrecking Bar, Ding – The English Bitter

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: I have not spoken to Bob Sandage about 'Ding', so I cannot comment on its origin with any degree of certainty, but here is what appears to have happened. Recently Bob went to England for a short visit where he was exposed to some classic, English Bitters. His trip happened to coincide as our argument/discussion about the characterization of cask beer in America was coming to a head, and as a...

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Beer Review: Back Forty Beer Company, Freckle Belly IPA

Ding Points: 74.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: I've had very little exposure and experience with Back Forty beers, but when I did, I thought they were incredibly average. This is the first one that has made it across the border to GA, and predictably a DIPA. 22 oz bomber, cost me $4.99 I think. Best By 08/12/13. Whether this is an American IPA or an American DIPA is largely irrelevant I feel, since with the level of bitterness that we...

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Session Beer Day. Reflections

Well that was fun. Actually it was surprisingly uneventful, but four interesting things came out of it. Firstly I was surprised that I didn't lose any Twitter followers, at least I didn't lose any when considering the net numbers. In fact, actually there was a net gain. Given that I was obviously way over my normal tweet quota for ranting about @sessionbeer with 171 tweets yesterday, I thought there would be some drop-off. Apparently not. Secondly the rich, beautiful, amazing and sweet irony...

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Session Beer Day 2013

So, it's here again, #sessionbeerday, this time on Sunday, April 7th, 2013. Mmmm, well it wouldn't be right for me to let the 2013 'event'* pass without comment (here's 2012's session beer day post), so here we go with the 2013 rendition of my thoughts. Before you read on, you really should read my definitive post on session beer. That post will give you the basis and the foundation of my position on session beer, and you should always bear that in mind and refer to it, when reading anything...

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager 1988-2013

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: So what do we have here? Apparently it's a Lager, and 5 seconds research tell us it's a Doppelbock, or at least an amped-up version of the classic Brooklyn Lager - not entirely sure they are the same thing, but hey, that's what Brooklyn seem to be going with. Here's the official word from Brooklyn. $13.99 for the corked & caged 750 mL bottle. Bottle- conditioned. This bottle has the...

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer

Ding Points: 64.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00 Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Big thanks go out to Lee for providing me with the original bottle of this back in 2012. That bottle was cracked open on vacation in Hilton Head, SC in summer of 2012. The height of relaxation for me these days. This review is a combination of two separate tastings, the second one being a bottle that I purchased from the Greenville Beer Exchange in Greenville, SC in March of 2013, about 9...

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Beer Review: Victory Brewing Company, White Monkey

Ding Points: 54.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth:, 60.00 Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: I hold my hand up here and admit that I screwed up. The thought of Golden Monkey aged in white wine barrels was definitely something that I would be very interested in. I tend to gravitate toward some of the white wine options for barrel aging, and Golden Monkey strikes me as beer that would do well, and be suited to such a treatment. However, I failed to read the label correctly, or do the...

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Beer Review: Stone Brewing Co, Enjoy By 04.01.13 IPA

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Dammit. Enjoy by 04.01.13 - that means that once the 4th of January has passed this is going downhill. Oh, hang on, this is America, so actually that's April 1st. A joke? Maybe, but either way you're hardly likely to confuse this beer with anything out of the UK! More hype in the beer community for this and my expectations are for competence and no more. I paid $6.99 for the 22 oz bomber,...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Birra Etrusca Bronze

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Taste: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Pour is a, 'per the label' dark bronze color with some initially high head that fades pretty quickly. Retention is not great, and lace is essentially zero. Of course, the name is actually nothing to do with the color, rather a reference to using 'bronze' in the fermentation. I'm not at all sure what that means, but I suppose it refers to using bronze equipment rather than adding pieces of...

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Back to School Night – 2013 Class & Tasting

February brings 'Back To School Night' at the independent school where I teach, when (as part of Institutional Advancement) alumni are invited 'back to school' for an evening of classes offered by the current faculty. Most of the classes involve something other than would normally be found on the regular school schedule, so I get a chance to talk about beer! I have offered and taught the class 'Craft Beer 101', since 2007. Over the years I've organized many tastings, talks and presentations,...

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ACAT 2013 – The follow up

OK, following yesterdays 2013 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, and in the wake of this post, I wanted to follow up with a quick run down of the events and the beer as they unfolded. Firstly it was great to see so many people that I hadn't run into in quite a while. A lot of folk that I've come to be acquainted with over the years, and even some people that I actually like! Seriously, it's these folks that I'll miss as I put beer events in Atlanta behind me for the final time. On the downside the...

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My cask tears – Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting 2013

So, I'm writing this just a few hours before attending Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting of 2013. In fact, I'm writing as the judging for today's event is actually taking place and I'm texting one of the judges between paragraphs! This year is the ninth annual event, and I think that I have attended either seven or eight of these, missing only the first one or two. This years ATL cask ale will be the final beer event that I ever attend in Atlanta. Don't worry, I know that nobody in Atlanta (or probably...

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Commercial Suicide (Oaked) Farmhouse Ale

Ding Points: 51.00 Pour 60.00:, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 40.00 Tasting Notes: OK, an 'Oaked, Farmhouse Mild Ale'? Hmmm, I dunno. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle-conditioned, 750 mL in the usual Jester King presentation. The label also refers to something that they call 'English pub ale'. Needless to say, that worries me a bit, and coupled with some other equally silly guff on the label, it's not a good start for me. In addition, any source that is quoting this as...

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Beer Review(s): The Celt Experience Beers; Bronze, Dark-Age and Golden

Usually I don't like to review beers in batches, but on this occasion it seemed a little more appropriate for more than one reason. My friend from North Carolina/Yorkshire, Stuart Arnold (of Fortnight Brewing, check 'em out), provided me with this opportunity to hit three organic beers from Caerphilly in Wales. Apparently the Celt Experience Brewery has been operating for a few years and produces organic beer. It's always a huge thrill for me to get a chance to drink relatively low ABV beer,...

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Beer Review: Blue Moon Brewing Company (Coors), Proximity (Vintage Ale Collection)

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Yes, I am fully aware of what this is (and what it is not), but I'll try anything once, and to be honest the description of this beer sounds like it might be something that I would (potentially) enjoy. I've heard some morons calling this a 'Bine', as in Wine/Beer - jeez. 750 mL bottle in a style that actually looks like it's a 650 ml offering, with textured, vinyl-like labels front and back....

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Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2012

Following last years Christmas wish list, here goes the 2012 version. 10. Fresh Cotleigh beer in the Atlanta area, please. 9. Death to all, 'Special' beer 'days' (e.g., 'IPA Day', 'Stout Day' etc.) 8. Breweries to think more carefully about limited release and special one-off beers. Far too many of these beers are ill-conceived and mediocre or even just poor. They are quite often horrendous value, too. Many opportunities are being missed. 7. A forlorn hope here. That US beer consumers become...

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Beer Review: Ranger Creek Brewing, Small Batch Series No.1

Ding Points: 77.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Bottle has black wax which is VERY thick. Quite a pain to open. As Ranger Creek mentions on its web site, it (the wax) does stink a bit! Bottled conditioned, the beer is dated 4.9.12. Oatmeal Pale Ale with Rye added and then oak-aged for a month? Not sure this will be my cup of tea at all, but Small Batch #2 was good and a surprising beer, so I guess we can give it a whirl. Thanks go out to...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams (The Boston Beer Co.), Latitude 48

Ding Points: 66.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: These notes are an amalgamation of two different bottles, almost exactly 12 months apart, and that is reflected in the two different labels over the course of a year. This year, the bottle was taken from the mixed, 'Hop Tour' six pack that BBC is putting out, with Noble Pils and Whitewater IPA being the other two beers. A year ago, Latitude 48 either came as a single or as part of its own six...

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Beer Review: Lazy Magnolia, Indian Summer

Ding Points: 61.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Pour recedes to leave zero head, zero lace. Looks like a lucozade. Really fruity, but not really in an orangey way. Complete clarity. If the wheat was there to any extent it must have been filtered out. No 'wheat' feel to this beer for me. No hint of coriander to speak of either. It's a little strange to me that with the orange and coriander added, this isn't more 'Wit' like. I understand it...

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Thrash Metal Farmhouse ***** Ale

Ding Points: 74.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: What's the deal with the (apparently) blacked out word between Farmhouse and Ale?? Pour gives an enormous, fluffy head with some good retention and some nice lace. The nose gives some quite hot alcohol and a large peppery element - so far, so good. Color is a cloudy, mid to dark range, orange. The tastes are of fruity alcohol, with a semi-high solvent elements. The fruit is quite dry, and...

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada, Oatmeal Stout 2012 Beer Camp #45

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Before purchasing the Beer Camp 12 pack, I was pretty sure that the beer that I would like least would be this one. It turned out that it was the one that I enjoyed the most, and by quite some distance. It should be noted that is not a commentary on the weakness of the other beer in the pack, rather it's a credit to the strength of this beer. Pitch black pour with a small, half-inch mocha...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Hard Time Barleywine Style Ale

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Part of the solitary confinement series. I had a few conversations with various folk about the type of Barleywine I could expect, American or English. More than one person suggested that I could expect to find a hybrid. I think they were wrong. In a nutshell we get a distinctly American Barleywine, but one that is not quite as aggressive as some. Don't get me wrong, we have large hop...

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Beer cellaring – a new perspective and a re-think

To be honest, I never had any interest in cellaring beer until about 2003-04. I read some articles about this relatively new idea, and also became acquainted with kp. Keith (kp) is a pretty interesting fellow, and it's a shame that I don't get to see him nearly as much as I used to, but anyone who is familiar with him, his history on Rate Beer, his 'cellaring antics' and his general demeanor, would appreciate how a person deeply interested in beer (me), could begin to acquire an interest in...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Liquid Bliss (Side Project #18)

Ding Points: 68.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Here we go with Side Project #18 from Terrapin, a 'peanut butter beer'. The usual, 22 oz, gold-foiled presentation for the Side Project series. The whole series can be viewed on Terrapin's web site, here. The beer pours an attractive, dark, chocolate brown pour with a nice looking mocha colored head that is about two fingers high. Retention and lace are not great, but I suppose adequate. For...

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Beer Review: Shmaltz Brewing Company, He’Brew Miraculous Jewbelation 8

Ding Points: 74.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: The back story to this beer is that I missed out on it when it was first released (late 2004), but subsequently enjoyed many of the other Jewbelation offerings. As a result, for many years this was on my 'Want List' on beeradvocate. It was after I had long given up hope of ever getting 8, that Shmaltz re-brewed and re-released it in the 12 oz bottle in the mixed pack almost two years ago....

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Beer Review: Founding Fathers Brewing Co., Founding Fathers Light Lager

Ding Points: 24.00 Pour: 40.00, Nose: 20.00, Palate: 20.00, Mouth: 30.00, Global: 20.00 Tasting Notes: I really only wanted to review this because of the small conversation that my review of the 'regular' Founding Father's lager provoked. Pour is typical. Color looks pale golden, and comes with a head that dies almost immediately to leave virtually no froth. The lace is non-existent. Slight, malty vegetal nose with a little acidity coming from the carbonation. Carbonation is medium for the...

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Boulevard Brewing Co., Bob’s ’47 Oktoberfest

Ding Points: 85.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Apparently this beer is brewed to celebrate one Bob Werkowitch, Master Brewer, and his graduation from the US Brewer's Academy in 1947. Nice. Beautiful clarity with a distinctly orange hue, Bob's '47 looks like a classic Oktoberfest in the glass. 20 oz pint at Taco Mac in Douglasville, GA, USA. To be honest, the head is a little disappointing and there is minimal lace, but both the hue and...

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Beer Review: Freetail Brewing Co., Witicus

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle, tanks go out to @lnashsig for the opportunity to try this one. At first glance this seems like an unusual combination. A rye based Witbier? Odd. As I have said on more than one occasion in the past, rye is not my favorite thing, but I do like a good Wit, so I am intrigued. The first thing I notice on the label is a large picture of an orange slice - that strikes me as a...

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Beer Review: Brewery Ommegang, Duvel Rustica

Ding Points: 66.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: OK, what are the differences between this and Duvel? The question really seems as though it should be at the forefront of any discussion of Rustica, since it is being declared as Ommegang's, "American Farmhouse interpretation of Duvel'. Let's just say that Ommegang had better be confident (and careful) about deliberately drawing comparisons in this manner, because they are opening up a whole...

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Beer Review: Great Divide Brewing Co., Wolfgang

Ding Points: 53.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Black body with a thick, creamy, almost old fashioned Guinness like head. The retention is OK, but the lace is not as good as the original , creamy presence (initially) suggests. Nose has a little caramel (but less in the taste) and is disappointingly lacking in alcohol presence. Bitter. VERY bitter for the style, and nowhere near sweet enough. A little soapy hoppiness that I have zero...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, 75 Minute IPA

Ding Points: 67.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouthfeel: 90.00, Global 60.00 Tasting Notes: Had a chance to purchase a bottle at the brewpub in March of this year, but I passed. Everything comes to he who waits, and lo and behold here it is on the shelves in GA a few months later. $8.99 for the 750 mL from JUGS Atlanta. Pour is a mid-orange, hazed body with a thick, white head that leaves very good lace and has better than expected retention. Looks nice, appearance is a strong...

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More Growler Stores? Really? Yes, and it’s not over yet.

Last Friday I received a comment on the blog from Brandon, General Manager at the recently opened JUGS Atlanta growler store in Sandy Springs. He invited me to swing by to say 'Hi', and to check out the store. It just so happened that I was almost simultaneously driving right by the location, so quicker than he expected, I was on the doorstep! JUGS (Just 'Ur Growler Store) has been open for a few weeks now, and I had been meaning to visit anyway. I had heard them being promoted by Chuck &...

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Boxer’s Revenge

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: I have to admit, I am not really predisposed to liking this beer. I'm not a big fan of anything barrel-aged at the best of times, but coupled with a Wild Ale style, I feel you are mixing genres to an extent that is unlikely to work and is somehow disrupting the laws of physics/beer - it just doesn't need to be done. Luckily, it turns out to be not especially relevant. Anyway, having said all...

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Beer Review: Ranger Creek Brewing, Small Batch Series No. 2

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Thanks go out to @lnashsig for the chance to try this one. bottle-conditioned, 07.18.12, Batch 001. Here's the official word from Ranger Creek Brewing. My first interaction with them. Intrigued by the presentation with the 375 mL bottle, capped and black waxed. Opens with a decent pop. The carbonation is initially very high. It produces close to 12 oz of foam before clearing to a much more...

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Beer Review: Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Seventeen

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz single, Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pretty straightforward here. Very sweet, highly spiced Saison. A few medicinal herbs, but nothing too extreme, mainly because the sweetness keeps them in check. Definitely a mild alcohol burn which could be a function of the spice, but feels like a slightly aggressive solvent EtOH character. I get alcohol soaked pears, and a pretty bright, sinus...

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery, Fiat Lux

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 32 oz growler from AleYeah! Roswell in September, and then about six weeks or so later, as a 32 oz growler from JUGS in Sandy Springs. Most of these thoughts are from the initial growler fill, with supplemental additions on part 2. Part of the Brewmaster's reserve series from Brooklyn, here's the official word. Pour is a golden one, a bit like a decent Belgian Strong Pale. Head is high and...

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Chad’z Homebrew

So, I'm writing this against my better judgement, but here we go. Chad, of Chad'z video beer reviews, gave me a couple of his homebrews. First off, full disclosure. Generally I'm not a fan of home-brewed beer, period. There is very little of it that I have enjoyed over the years, and most of what I have had in the past has frankly been pretty average (at best), and often much worse than that. He gave me the opportunity to try two of his beers, 'Chad'z Accidental Session Beer' and his, 'Dave...

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Beer Review: De Proef Brouwerij, Flanders Fred

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth; 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Always glad to see another De Proef collaboration, this one being the sixth in the series. Some have been great, some less so, but it's usually pretty interesting - turns out this is no exception. This beer is a result of Alan Sprints from Hair of the Dog fame and Dirk Naudts at De Proef coming together. The beer is commercially described as a, 'blend of a Flanders-sourced Lambic with a...

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Sweetwater Brewing Co., Danktoberfest

Ding Points: 58.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: The latest in the Dank Tank series. Blue and white checkered motif in a nod to the Bavarian flag. Pretty good looking beer, with a nice, red-amber hue and a decent, off-white head. Retention of the head is pretty average, and there is little or no lace. Nose is appropriately malty, but it does seems to have a hint of hoppy bitterness (this is a pre-cursor to some of the problems with the...

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Beer Review: Brasserie Fantôme, Fantôme Saison

Ding Points: 95.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 100.00, Mouth: 100.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Extremely surprised to see this back on the shelf at Green's in early August of 2012 - extremely. Distribution to GA seemed to have stopped for quite a while, amidst rumors of Dany Prignons's demise. $12.99 for the 750 mL corked and capped bottle. The usual Fantôme cork is extracted. Batches of this beer are basically impossible to date, and there can be such variation that oftentimes...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Dead Man Walking

Ding Points: 58.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 20.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Ahhh, dammit. Such a shame. This beer looks absolutely spectacular when poured into the Tucher Weizen, half-liter glass. The natural light shows a beautiful burgundy color, with a decent tan head and some truly rich hues. It looks great. Unfortunately, the look is by far the highlight of this beer. That's not to say it's a 'bad' beer, it isn't, but such as shame that it did not live up to the...

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The search is over, and at the same time, just beginning

Yesterday was a pretty significant day in my little beer world. Was it a day that was characterized by me finding a long sought after bottle? No. Was it a day that I tasted and reviewed a super-rare beer? No. Was it a day when I reached some memorable milestone of some description? No. So what? Yesterday, the close to 3000 digital reviews that I have from my days on beeradvocate, became fully searchable in my own mySQL database on dingsbeerblog.com! With a pretty significant amount of work on...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Partners In Crime

Ding Points: 72.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Delighted to see a Berliner Weisse. Not really that I'm an especially big fan of the style, but high quality beer of any type under 5.0% ABV is just so difficult to come by in the USA, that almost anything is welcome. 32 oz growler from Hop City, Atlanta, GA. Pour is exactly as expected, all the elements are there. Pale straw (not golden), with a wispy head that fades to a collar quickly. No...

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Beer Review: The Lost Abbey & New Belgium Brewing, Mo Betta Bretta Ale

Ding Points: 68.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: $13.99 for the 12.7 fl oz in the corked & caged bottle. Yes, I said $13.99! As always with The Lost Abbey, I open with a degree of trepidation. The carbonation is always a worry, particularly with anything in this sized bottle, however in this case the pop is OK, and certainly good enough for me to push the worry of non-carbonation to the back of my mind. Light golden color with slight...

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Beer Review: Stone Brewing Co., 16th Anniversary

Ding Points: 86.00 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Bottled conditioned, August 2012. OK, the last Stone Anniversary beer that I thought was any good was 13. That beer was superb. 14 and 15 I disliked strongly, and I thought that 14 was simply a bad beer. That brings us to 16. Well, there are some conflicting signs (for me), right off the bat. Lemon, I like; Stone doing a DIPA ought to be a solid platform; Rye is generally an element that I...

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Beer Review: Boulevard Brewing Company, Rye-On-Rye 2012

Ding Points: 77.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: More thanks go out to @lnashsig. 2012 vintage, bottle number 20081, Batch 2012-2, Best By: 02-2014. 33% ale, 67% ale aged in rye whiskey barrels. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of either rye or whiskey barrel-aged beer, so things don't look good from the get go here - let's take a closer look, into the Duvel tulip it goes. Rich looking, brown pour that is quite attractive. Some hazy, murkiness...

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Das Wunderkind!

Ding Points: 77.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: For the second time in just about as many days, I find a beer that for all intents & purposes could actually be described as an English cider. Thanks go out to @lnashsig for this opportunity. A blended sour from Texas? Interesting to say the least. Jester King describes this as a Sour Saison. Oddly, I don't find the beer to be particularly acidic or to have any specific Saison character...

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Beer Review: Freetail Brewing Co., 3Tail

Ding Points: 60.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Thanks go out to @lnashsig for the chance to try this. Opened in 2008, Freetail Brewing Co. states, 'Free your mind and your tail will follow', which is alarmingly similar to the much more recent tagline by Burnt Hickory Brewing of, 'Free your mind and your glass will follow'. Anyway, both are cheesy. 22 oz bottle. Mid to dark golden body with a pretty small head. Not much retention, not a...

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Beer Review: Founders Brewing Co., Frangelic Mountain Brown

Ding Points: 64.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: 25.4 oz bottle, $13.99 Smyrna World of Beverage. Not sure why I bought this. Anyway.... A lighter than expected, reddish hue on the pour. I'm a little surprised at how thin the beer looks. No viscosity to speak of at all, and a beer that produces little or no head even with severe agitation. Little retention. The nose is a very sweet, nutty affair with a surprisingly low amount of coffee...

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Beer Review: Brouwerij St. Bernardus Watou, Tokyo

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: I originally drank this at the Brick Store on draught. This review is mainly from my experience with the 750 mL corked & caged bottle, with a nod to that original draught offering as well. This beer was brewed to commemorate the opening of the St. Bernardus bar in Tokyo. Seems like an odd project to me, but hey, Tokyo's gain I guess!...

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Growler Stores, Place Reviews, Competition, Cumbaya and Boycotts

In my beeradvocate days, before the unforgivable debacle, I took pride in reviewing just about every beer venue that I traveled to. My view at the time was that I was doing the web site and community a huge favor by adding to the database, and giving information about the various places that I passed through on my travels. Pictures were taken if they were missing from the database, and I was pleased to have close to 300 reviews in my time over there (of course, the pictures are still being...

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Beer Review: Alpine Beer Company and New Belgium Brewing Co., Super India Pale Ale (Lips of Faith)

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Anything involving Alpine in the DIPA category usually gets my attention, so I was interested to see how this would pan out. The last New Belgium collaboration that I tried (Brett Beer, with Lost Abbey) was woefully disappointing, so I am hoping this is better. Turns out that I need not have worried. The usual Lips of Faith presentation, but this artwork is a little uninspired to say the...

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Beer Review: Mikkeller, Open Windows Open Hills Tiger Baby

Ding Points: 61.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: I ran into a cacophony of new Mikkeller offerings in the store last week, with all kinds of weird, strange and expensive beer on display. I don't rate Mikkeller much, and their general loud posturing and ferocious, indiscriminate output tends to put me off as well. Add in the fact that the majority of their beer represents crippling bad value, and you could call me a fairly serious skeptic of...

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Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Co. and Founders Brewing Co., Linch Pin ‘White India Pale Ale’

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I'm not a big fan of hyped-up, imaginary beer styles, so this gets off on the wrong foot all around. WTF is a 'White IPA' anyway? The BS that we have had to endure over 'Black IPA' is bad enough, now this? It just gives my arguments more credence. Good looking pour with a solid golden body, high white head with decent retention and some lace. Looks above average. Nose actually offers a...

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Beer Review: Cigar City Brewing, Cucumber Saison

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: High, fluffy, large bubbled and wispy white head sits above a mid-orange, slightly clouded body. Nose has a light, floral element with some icy, apple notes. Clean. Tastes are much like the nose but with the floral element jacked-up, and a slightly tart character coming through. It's very clean. Occasionally, as one takes a gulp, there is a really large cucumber presence and it's fantastic. I...

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Beer Review: Mother Earth Brewing, Silent Night (2010)

Ding Points: 89.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: If truth be known I have a bit of a soft spot for Mother Earth. The reason is simple. Although I don't pretend to know Josh Brewer (the Brewer) at all well, I did have the privilege of meeting with him a few years ago shortly after he had opened his brewpub in Beaufort, SC. On that visit I brought him a few beers and he looked after my family and I very well. That was a beautiful building,...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Samurai Krunkles (Side Project 17)

Ding Points: 47.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 40.00 Tasting Notes: Side Project 17. A quick look at the description of this beer has me interested. 'Ale brewed with ginger and with green tea added'. Ginger and green tea are flavor profiles that I enjoy, but of course these are usually best in lighter styles than IPA's (especially when considering heavy, overbearing American versions) where they can impart their subtlety, but still shine through. IPA seems...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Positive Contact

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Presented by both Dogfish Head and Dan The Automator (whoever he is), this has farro, cayenne and cilantro added. I like me some cilantro, so I think this has potential. It also has a label with DELTRON 3030 emblazoned on it - another thing that without the help of Google, I have no clue of its meaning. I know this is part of DFH's music series, but I also have no idea what the Positive...

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Beer Review: Brewery Ommegang, Biere d’Hougoumont

Ding Points: 72.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Curious that a brewery would pay homage to a Bière de Grade by naming the beer after the scene of an EPIC French defeat, but...... Nice pop on opening. Mid amber pour in strong light gives some deeper red tones. Attractive colors. However, head retention is poor, and leaving zero in its wake. Not really too much of a problem given the style, but I would prefer a little more of a nod in the...

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Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing, Tart Lychee (Lips of Faith)

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouthfeel: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I tried this in its initial incarnation back in March of 2010 in Raleigh at The Pit. I was impressed then (with The Pit and the beer), but did not write a review on that draft experience, so now this is a review of a 22 oz bottle purchased in Atlanta in July 2012. Pour is a fizzy, mid orange color with little retention of the head. A thin collar of foam persists at the very extremities of...

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Beer Review: Rogue, Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

Ding Points: 43.50 Pour: 40.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 30.00 Tasting Notes: I picked up this 22 oz bottle at a price of $10.99. I finally gave in and purchased it, based largely on the fact that in other places in the last couple of months, I have seen this always higher, and in one case up to $19.99 for the bottle. I assume the inflated price is simply a combination of Rogue's general overpriced beers, plus the 'allure' of the pink bottle and the name. Either way,...

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Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing, (Lips of Faith) Brett Beer

Ding Points: 50.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: I stopped in at Growlers on my arrival on Hilton Head Island, and saw they had this on tap. The guy was busy 'educating' me about, 'how I'd better like sours', before I stopped him in his tracks and bought something else. I was reluctant to pay for a growler fill when Lost Abbey has been so remarkably inconsistent over the years; boy am I glad that I did! Fast forward to a few days later, and...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Prison Camp Pils

Ding Points: 60.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Very light, straw colored pour. Actually the beer is incredibly pale, almost to macro, low quality standards. Not necessarily an issue, but it really isn't the best looking pilsner that I've seen by quite some distance. The hue is certainly not the most important part of the beer, but there is lack of depth here that subconsciously starts to say 'macro' which is not helping my mind. Not the...

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Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Co., Rayon Vert

Ding Points: 81.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Interesting bottle that reminds me a little of the Australian stubbies. Pour is a mid-orange color with a huge, ice-cream like head. The retention is superb, leaving a thick and creamy head the whole way down the beer, but the lace is surprisingly scant when considering the initial fluff. The carbonation seems high, but the beer settles quickly and the mouthfeel is a lot smoother than I was...

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada & Russian River, BRUX Domesticated Wild Ale

Ding Points: 91.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 100.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL corked & caged bottle, approx. $15. Are they using the word 'domesticated' to classify it is 'American'??? Next time I see 'all domestics $2.00 per pint', I guess I'll ask for this!! ;-) Mid to dark golden copper hue. Fizzy pour, resulting in no lace and virtually no head or retention. Cider-like in terms of its carbonation. The nucleation pattern provided by the Duvel glass is an...

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Hilton Head Brewing Co., more than a decade of thoughts

July 2012, and I find myself on Hilton Head Island for perhaps the 20th time in the last ten years or so. I've been coming to the island long enough to have seen the transition from largely hopeless beer desert, to a more optimistic outlook, finally followed by a slight re-adjustment and correction of expectations in the last 12 months or so; it's been an interesting journey, and it's not over yet. In that time, oddly, The Hilton Brewing Company has been a constant. Not a good constant, but a...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Beer of The Guards

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I'm always very excited to try the latest Jailhouse offering, and this is no exception. I wonder if the pun inspired the beer, or if the style came first? 32 oz growler from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Bière de Garde's can have a wide range of colors and taste attributes, and this one sits at the darker end of the spectrum. However, it still has a lovely red clarity and is not 'dark' as such....

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Beer Review: Jester King Craft Brewery, Noble King (Hoppy Farmhouse Ale)

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 100.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Jester King is a brewery that I have been monitoring carefully over recent months (even though I'm not crazy about the use of the word 'craft' in their name). Several people have mentioned them in a number of contexts that interest me (low(er) ABV, interesting yeast strains, Farmhouse styles), so I have been watching with interest. Not quite my first opportunity to try them, but my first...

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Co., LowRYEder IPA

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Plate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I am assuming that this is a re-birth of the Crank Tank Rye'd Ale from the fall of 2010 (I've included my review of the 22 oz bottles of that, at the end of this review). I've got to be honest right off the bat here, I generally do NOT like rye beers. The harsh, bitter, peppery notes that the spice delivers is usually not to my taste at all, and their brash nature seldom sits well with me....

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‘Craft’ beer – what the hell is it and does it matter?

Warning: A Stream of Consciousness follows, that may or may not make much sense! A pretty lively and interesting conversation got thrown up on Twitter yesterday, and as usual it was an event (in this case that very 'conversation'), that helped me to precipitate a bunch of thoughts that have been percolating in my head for many years. It all started when Zak Avery (@zakavery), 2008 Beer Writer of the Year in the UK and owner of Beer-Ritz in Leeds, England (I've been there and it's a fantastic...

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Beer Review: George Gale & Co. LTD, Millennium Brew

Ding Points: 95.00 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 100.00, Mouth: 100.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Opened on the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen's, Diamond Jubilee. God Bless you Ma'am. Brewed in 1997 as part of the celebration surrounding Gale's 150th Anniversary and their first royal visit, the beer was distributed for the year 2000. I purchased this imported bottle a few years ago at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta, GA, USA. 275 mL, gold foil on the neck and corked. Cork is still...

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Beer Review: Steinhaus Brewing Co., Mission St. 2012 Anniversary Ale

Ding Points: 69.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: $2.99 from Trader Joe's who market and distribute the Mission St. beers. The range is brewed by Steinhaus, which are owned by Firestone Walker - this is a complicated arrangement! Apparently this is a blend of three different beers. 22 oz bottle with a black, plastic covered cap. Pour is a chestnut body with a modest, mocha colored head. A little lace and not much retention. Some spotty, very...

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Beer Review: Guinness Ltd., Guinness Black Lager

Ding Points: 60.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Brown with reddish highlights. Pitted, frothy tan head. Head fades badly with little or no lace. Nose has some mid-caramel notes and not much else. The body here is quite thin but the tastes definitely have some of the typical Guinness roast, bitter notes about them. The taste element reminds me a little of the old bottled Guinness days of the 1970's, and it's certainly a lot more bitter and...

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Beer Review: Minhas Craft Brewery, Boatswain American IPA

Ding Points: 48.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle, another Trader Joe's, el cheapo offering. I've had mixed success with these beers, so there's always a bit of a lottery involved but this is a Minhas beer, so the omens are not exactly good! Copper pour with a small head. There is a fairly small amount of lace, and the head breaks up over the top of the body. Looks OK. Nose is of some musty hops against a fairly solid malt...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, URkONTiNeNT

Ding Points: 84.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: OK, here we go with another Dogfish Head experiment. The second one, Noble Rot being the first, that I have tried in their newly designed bottles. Brown, slightly garnet colored pour with a thin, smooth, nitro-like mocha head sitting atop the beer. Very little lace. Much more clarity and cleanliness than a traditional Belgian Dubbel and it looks better than I was expecting (my dislike of the...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Tweason’ale

Ding Points: 63.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: From notes. Purchased as a 12 oz single form the beer store a few miles north of the Dogfish Head brewpub (Atlantic Liquors?) in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Anyway, interested to try this. Apparently so-named because it will appear 'between' their other 'seasonal' production runs. Pour is a really, shiny, polished copper affair with a small head. There's no doubt that the head and lack of retention...

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Beer Review: Founding Fathers Brewing Co., Founding Fathers Lager Beer

Ding Points: 50.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: This is a ruse, right?? It's Yuengling, marketed by Rolling Rock, surely?? Even if that's not the case, in a nutshell, this is still Yuengling. I'm generally not in the habit of dismissing beers with such an apparent lack of reflection and thought, but that was my first thought, and nearly 25 minutes later and 12 oz down, I can't think of anything else. A non-descript, straightforward copper...

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Co., 15th Anniversary (15 Years of Heady Beers, 1997-2012)

Ding Points: 68.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: If the truth be known, I didn't like this much when I first tasted it, immediately after it came out, but thought it might be a beer that could change quite quickly, so I put one aside and am now trying it a few months down the road. This time the nose on the beer seems stronger than I remember it. I mention this before I make any references to the pour, for the simple reason that the aroma...

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Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing Co., Cocoa Mole (Lips of Faith Series)

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Chestnut pour from the 22 oz bottle, with a small, white head but some better than expected lace. Lots of red highlights. Looks like a solid brown ale in the glass. Sugary vanilla and cinnamon on the nose. Initial tastes repeat the light cinnamon and vanilla and give a hint of the heat to come. Smooth at first but pretty shortly though, the heat begins to build and it gets quite warm....

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Beer Review: Bomb Beer Co., Bomb (Lager) Beer

Ding Points: 47.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 40.00 Tasting Notes: Alright, let's be VERY, VERY clear about what we have here. Essentially, this is a beer marketing company (not a genuine brewery), that is hooking its business model to the word 'Craft', and choosing to make a beer in a style that is a close to a macro, adjunct lager as possible, in order for it to appeal to the largest possible audience. (They tellingly declare 'CRAFT BEER' on the can in...

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Beer Review: Tommyknocker Brewery, Nice Saison Seasonal Ale

Ding Points: 48.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Tommyknocker is a brewery that has flattered to deceive me over the years. One of my earliest experiences with them was their Imperial Nut Brown Ale that, at the time, I thought was fantastic. Since then, almost every, single beer has been a disappointment, and this 'Saison' is really no exception. The pour is a golden, hazed butterscotch body, but the head retention and lace are close to...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Phlux Capacitor (Side Project 16)

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Here we go with Side Project 16, Phlux Capacitor. Label says 'Oak Aged, American Ale' and declares 9.8%, so I suppose I should be expecting something like an Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Not exactly my favorite beer, but we'll see how it shakes down. Chestnut brown pour with a two finger head but with better retention and lace than one might expect for a beer that is close to 10% ABV. Nose and...

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Beer Review: Olde Hickory Brewery, Death By Hops

Ding Points: 19.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 00.00, Mouth: 00.00, Global: 00.00 Tasting Notes: Purchased on a recent trip to Raleigh at Bottle Revolution. An attractive pour with a good clarity on a light copper color. Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets, the rest is frankly awful, truly awful. The nose offers only a hint of the disaster that follows, but it does reveal some diacetyl, some metal and some oily notes. In the mouth the tastes are TERRIBLE. One of the worst beers I...

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Beer Review: Dogwood Brewing Co., Youngblood’s Imperial Porter (BrewMaster’s Series 1)

Actually, less of a beer 'review' this time, and more a few cellar notes on this 2004 gem. This particular bottle was consumed on 04/29/12. The sad (and somewhat ironic) thing about Brewmaster's Series #1 from Dogwood, was that this, new-dawn-great-promise-of-things-to-come beer, was released to almost perfectly coincide with the brewery closing in the late summer of 2004. It was a cruel trick to produce a beer as good as this, with the real anticipation of many, many more to come in a...

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Beer Review: Clown Shoes, Clementine

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Beer looks like a glass of orange juice with a head (the picture below doesn't quite do it justice)! Head that lacks much retention or lace. Enormous orange whiff meets the nostrils when the cap is taken off but this fades quite quickly. The nose reverts back to a more traditional wit after the initial citrus orange burst. Tastes have quite a lot of soapy bitterness. A little coriander but...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams, Tasman Red

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Label has this declaring itself as a 'Red IPA' - more nomenclature nonsense that doesn't really help, although by the end of the beer I kind of know what they are trying to say! This is the second beer I have tried in this Sam Adams limited brew series, the Cinder Bock being the first. Pour offers a chestnut body and a two finger head. The color suggests a lighter beer than one otherwise...

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Beer Review: Voodoo Brewery, Gran Met (Grand Master)

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Advertised as a 'Belgian Style Ale' this is clearly a Tripel despite the fact that untappd originally had this listed as something else. The pour offers exactly what one would expect with a golden body with a high, fluffy white head, but the heads fades very badly. Some lace too, but not a lot. The hue really is quite striking as the light hits it, but it does have a slightly worrying lack of...

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Beer Review: Anheuser-Busch Inc., Shock Top, Wheat I.P.A.

Ding Points: 49.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 40.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 40.00 12 oz single bottle, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hiram, GA. Classic macro disappointment with an initially decent head that fades dramatically to nothing. Perhaps a little more color than expected, at least in terms of it being orange rather than pale yellow. Nose is of nothing in particular, but there does seem to be a feint, plastic aroma - odd! Tastes are exactly how the boys at AB intended I guess, almost...

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Beer Review: Oskar Blues, Deviant Dales India Pale Ale

Ding Points: 77.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 32 oz growler from Hop City rather than a can from the 16 oz, tallboy 4-packs. Official word on the beer from Oskar Blues. Shiny copper colored pour with some decent white, sticky lace. Nicely put together as expected, with requisite lace for an American DIPA. Nose is immediately apparent, but this smells a little different to the usual American DIPA. There is definitely an onion element as...

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Beer Review: Finch’s Beer Co., Golden Wing Blonde Ale

Ding Points: 54.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Finch's beers have been in Atlanta for a few weeks now but becasue I am SICK TO DEATH of the can hysteria which has been obscuring the infinitely more important factor of the beer in the container, I have been actively avoiding sampling these as a minor protest. Eventually I wanted to give them a try, so picked up singles of the Blonde Ale and the Pale Ale. I like the color scheme on both of...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., 10th Anniversary Ale

Ding Points: 80.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Into the Terrapin snifter it goes. Modest head and modest lace on opening and pouring and virtually neither remain after 2 minutes of sitting (all to be expected given the ABV). Bright, profoundly orange/golden body with some delicate carbonation. Bready nose with some fresh, sinus clearing alcohol. A small, green, herbal element if you try hard to pick it up - not obvious but present. Quite...

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Real Ale? In Griffin, GA?? You’re kidding, right???

Approximately one year ago, maybe a little less, I first heard about a brewpub that was supposed to be opening in rural Georgia. The idea of a brewpub in such a location seemed fanciful and unbelievable enough (we've seen that fail before), and when someone told me that it was going to specialize in real ale, I immediately laughed out loud! So, around December 2011 when I first visited their facebook page, I was surprised to see that it was all true, and that significant progress had been...

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The dearth of an American, ‘Beer Middle Class’

Most people reading this will be more than familiar with my opinions about the lack of beer culture here in the USA. My thoughts are well documented, and boil down to the fact that I do not see alcohol (and in particular good, high quality beer), seamlessly integrated into the fabric of everyday life amongst a wide audience, in the manner that it is in Europe, and in particular in the UK. I've touched upon this subject over and over again, but wanted to expand on it a bit, here. Sometimes it...

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Beer Blogging – what the hell are people thinking?

This post has been on my mind for some time, and like most of my thoughts on a particular subject, they tend to require a whole bunch of things to come together before critical mass is achieved and I think I've got something substantial to say. (Remember the phrase, 'I think I've got something substantial to say', it will be important later on in this post). So, a few days ago I tweeted these questions (as part of a longer conversation) out to a number of professional beer writers in the...

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada, Ruthless Rye (2012)

Ding Points: 44.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 40.00 Tasting Notes: Chill hazed, clouded brown body with a very disappointing head. Some spotty film, but no retention or lace to speak of. Drab and ugly looking. Nose offers typical peppery, medicinal notes with a strange, additional blue cheese note. Smells a bit odd. As expected (and known) the tastes are dominated by a bitter, medicinal pepper based rye and frankly nothing else. Rye is a character I dislike...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams, Alpine Spring

Ding Points: 63.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Hazed, lemon, orange and golden pour with some nice white head and decent lace. Unfiltered look is attractive, and offers some nice, light yellow colors (the photograph suggest more orange elements than are obvious to the naked eye). Nose does not offer much other than very light citrus. Some bready notes which surprised me. I was expecting the citrus notes to offer a stronger presence in the...

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Beer Review: Shmaltz Brewing Company, Funky Jewbelation

Ding Points: 41.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 20.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 30.00 Tasting Notes: Barrel Aged Release#6, apparently a combination of; Jewbelation 15 (3 months old), Vintage Jewbelation (9 months), Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA (1 month), Origin (14 moths), Reunion '11 (7 months), Messiah (14 months). 73% Rye Whiskey Barrels, 27% Bourbon Barrels. Pours as expected with a black body and a initially decent, mocha head. The head fades and leaves a typical, creamy, spotty film but...

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Beer Review: Ommegang, Art of Darkness

Ding Points: 76.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: The usual Ommegang Limited Edition series presentation. Cork pops with modesty. Brewery Ommegang says, 'A spellbinding homage to brewings' dark arts'. Really? Who brewed this? Harry Potter? Nice dark brown color which gives away a slightly olive green hue. Head is pitted and mocha, leaving a thin, spotty film, but not much lace. Perfectly acceptable. Nose is simple. A few dark fruit notes,...

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Beer Review: Blue Moon Brewing Co. (Coors), Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale

Ding Points: 36.50 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 40.00, Palate: 30.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 30.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz single; I think I paid 89 cents - I may have been had! Another Blue Moon Seasonal, and I have a feeling this is replacing the now longer brewed 'Rising Moon' which was a terrible, terrible 'Amber Ale', so I wonder if things have taken a turn for the better. Quite an attractive label, but the outside of the bottle is ultimately more inspired than the inside! The beer pours with a golden...

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Beer Review: Shmaltz Brewing Company, Hop Manna IPA

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I have to say that I approach Hop Manna with a little trepidation, since although I generally have really enjoyed Shmaltz beers over the years, all of their power seems to have been wielded at the malt end of the spectrum and not with hops. That's also where my general preference lies, so this is a bit of a departure for them, and a beer in style that I don't often pick up these days. That...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams, Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Ding Points: 76.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: This is approx. 3 months old so certainly not quite as the brewer intended, but still drinking absolutely fine. The pour is a really nice, rich looking mahogany affair with some significant red tinges. Head is modest and not especially well retained. Off white color. Nose and tastes are pretty rich. Boston Brewing Co. does a great job with beers like this, Octoberfest, Boston Lager and...

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Beer Review: Crown Valley Brewing, Black Cabin Smoked Ale

Ding Points: 52.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Strange one, this. Pour is a light amber, slightly hazed color with absolutely no sign of the black malts mentioned on the label. Head and lace are both quite poor, and beer fairly rapidly becomes relatively lifeless in the glass and has some annoying, prickly carbonation. Lightly acidic as well. Nose is that of neutral but sweet, bready notes and not much else at all - disappointing when we...

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Beer Review: Clown Shoes, Lubrication (American Black Ale)

Ding Points: 58.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: I suppose it's worth stating right off the top that I detest the name, 'Black IPA' and generally I like the tastes of these beers just about as much, so do with that what you will, full disclosure has occurred. In that light, the fact that the label says 'American Black Ale' actually pleases me - imagine THAT! This 22 oz bottle was purchased from Total Wine in Kennesaw, GA several months ago,...

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Me, Lew, session beer and ‘session day’

OK, this post is not a rant about session beer (at least not a FULL rant about session beer), but rather some reflections about Lew's quest and the subsequent creation of 'session day' on April 7th of this year. I want to say the right off the top I am 100% AGAINST all of these ridiculous attempts to generate interest in beer such as IPA Day, Stout Day and now Session Day. To me, these are nothing more than trumped-up, marketing exercises that expose a true lack of fundamental, underlying beer...

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Beer Review: Good People Brewing Company, Brown Ale

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz can from Vulcan Beverage, Birmingham, AL, and also at the brewery tap room. the picture below shows the brown ale on the far right alongside the IPA and the Stout. Unlike the IPA, there seemed to be less discernible differences between the two versions of this beer (one from the can and one on draught). Both give pretty classic interpretations of the style in a solid (if unspectacular)...

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Beer Review: Sam Adams Longshot Cat. 23, Honey B’s Lavender Ale

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: BJCP Style 23 is 'Specialty Beer' which really means a dumping ground for beers that do not fit into other categories. Light, chill-hazed pour. Scant head and lace. Nose gives a really large whiff of lemon, and in that respect it smells like a lager shandy. The tastes also take the lager shandy note , at least up that every final flourish where a bit of floral lavender kicks in. This is...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Reprieve (Saison, French-Style Ale)

Ding Points: 68.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: I had this a long time ago (almost immediately after it came out) and was somewhat disappointed. As I was passing through the Olde Crabapple Bottle Shop a couple of days ago, I saw it and thought it time to re-visit the beer to see if a little age has made a difference, or if my opinion could perhaps be changed. Pour is unfortunately a two part affair. The initial pour is a little anemic,...

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Beer Review: Full Sail Brewing Co., E.S.B (Extra Special Barney)

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00 Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Brewer's Share series. Right off the bat I am extremely annoyed by the abuse of the ESB moniker, and although utterly trivial to some people, I feel it deserves more respect and abusing it serves to misinform the public. Pour is an attractive lightly clouded orange amber with a small white head. Lace is minimal. Nose offers some pleasing, bready malt balance and a hint of hop presence but that...

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Beer Review: Sixpoint Craft Ales, Bengali Tiger

Ding Points: 75.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Had this a couple of weeks ago at The Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA and when I opened that can there was an overwhelming smell of burning rubber - really overwhelming, and truly odd. So this time I was expecting something similar, but happily that didn't come. 16 oz can from The Foodery (North) in Philadelphia, PA. For an American IPA, the nose on the beer is surprisingly sweet with some...

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Beer, calories, fitness and being 45 years old – ANOTHER problem with the American ABV situation

For many years I have been conscious of my general caloric intake and also pretty much fundamentally aware of the calories associated with beer. For probably in excess of 10 years now, I have also been very much aware of what I have been consuming in terms of food (not beer) - I'm afraid that simply comes with advancing age, at least if you want to avoid getting huge. In that time I never really felt as though I had to specifically monitor the calories that I consumed, rather I would be happy...

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Beer Review: Sixpoint Craft Ales, Sweet Action

Ding Points: 62.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: 16 oz can from The Foodery, Northern Suburbs in Philadelphia, PA. Bought this along with the Bengali Tiger that I had tried a few days earlier. Pour is a dark, rust colored affair with a solid, pitted, inch-and-a-half head that has some decent retention. The beer is very murky and looks quite viscous. Some frothy, residual lace too. Nose is strong on sweet, bready malts and not much else....

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Beer Review: Green Flash Brewing Co., Summer Saison

Ding Points: 86.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle. Lemon, hazed pour with a minimal head. Nose and tastes have more hoppy bitterness and less sweetness and spice that I was expecting. Hops generate a small degree of bitterness that I wasn't expecting. The nose gives a fairly large does of citrus, but the fruit is missing in the tastes, and is placed by a grapefruit like bitterness. There's a pleasing soapy hop character that...

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Beer Review: Sam Adams Longshot Cat. 23, Friar Hop Ale

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth:, 70.00,  Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: BJCP Style 23 is 'Specialty Beer' which really means a dumping ground for beers that do not fit into other categories. Light marmalade amber pour with a very good initial head. Head drops quickly to give a spotty film and limited lace. The nose offers a lot of musty, fruit elements but surprisingly (given the name), almost no hops. Strange, but age is probably to blame here. The tastes...

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Beer Review: Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn, TAP X Mein Nelson Sauvin

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: It's an attractive presentation in the dimpled, very heavy, olive green bottle, and at $16.99 I KNOW this contributes to the price (I'm not naive), but I like the look with the hanging neck label and paper-sealed, cap. A 'bottle fermented wheat beer' that was brewed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ABT cafe's in Holland. The beer describes itself as a 'wheat bock', so Weizenbock it...

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Beer Review: Unita Brewing Company, Hop Notch IPA

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth 70.00:, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Pretty standard all-American IPA here. Reviewed from the bottle, but notes from at least one other tasting on draught has also gone into this review. A light, chill-hazed pour with a orangy golden hue. Actually, on closer inspection this looks less like chill-haze and more like a completely unfiltered beer. Head is medium sized, but bone-white and nicely pitted. Retention isn't bad, and lace...

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Beer Review: SKA Brewing Co., Euphoria Pale Ale

Ding Points: 63.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: From the 12 oz can, the beer pours a lot darker than I was anticipating with a quite significant mid-amber color. Head and lace are not substantial, but there is some nice, sticky lace that forms. A little chill-haze forms in the body of the beer. The nose is much hoppier than I would expect, and this is also true of the tastes. By American standards of course, this is not an especially hoppy...

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Beer Review: Mactarnahan’s Brewing Co., Spine Tingler

Ding Points: 68.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: OK, an American brewed, Belgian Tripel, from a brewery with Scottish connections? We'll see! Nice golden hue with some decent carbonation. Small head, fades quickly to give very little lace. Head retention is not great, and the thin film is not impressive. Color is good but I'd like a little more presence in the glass. Nose is surprisingly weak. Not especially strong in any department...

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Beer Review: Sam Adams, Cinder Bock Rauch Bock

Ding Points: 69.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: In a nutshell, I think it's worth saying that if a hybrid beer should taste like a combination of the styles, then this beer absolutely nails it. In that regard I am pleased by Cinder Bock. It's also true that thinking about it for a moment, a mixture of a rauch and a (double) bock are potentially interesting bedfellows, but we all know that things that look good on paper don't always work...

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Beer Review: Sam Adams, Thirteenth Hour

Ding Points: 55.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes In the impressive, corked & caged bottle. Part of the Barrel Room Collection. Jet black with half-finger head. No lace, but ultimately a pleasing, spotty tan head. Sour notes in the nose, in fact almost sinus clearing. The sour, lacto element is carried through into the taste, but it does subside a little as the bottle is consumed. Light burn in the chest which is a bit of a paradox given...

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Beer Review: Wild Heaven Craft Beers, Let There Be Light

Ding Points: 60.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes I think that Wild Heaven are a bit confused with their marketing, and no I'm not only talking about the unhelpful use of 'sessionable'! The name and marketing suggests that they are trying to tempt the light beer drinkers market, but light beer drinkers are generally not only interested in lower ABV beer (in fact sometimes they are not even interested in THAT), but rather they tend to be more...

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Trading Lists

I haven't traded any beer for a very, very long time (maybe more than 2 years), but thought it time to get back to it (a little!). This is mainly motivated by some spring cleaning of the cellar, but I might be up for other requests for things I can get but are not currently in the cellar - let me know. Here's a couple of lists, 'For Trade' at the top, followed by some 'Interested In' underneath. As things become unavailable I'll cross them off the list. For Trade: Adding to For Trade list...

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Beer Review: Thornbridge, Bracia

Ding Points: 55.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Bottled Winter 2010, best before 12.14. A beer from their Thornbridge 'Hall' series. Black pour. Tan head, with some nice legs. Head retention is better than expected given the ABV. Nose offers some alcohol and some solvent based licorice. On warming it seems a little nuttier. Tastes start with more of the light licorice and mild sweetness. It then gets a bit odd - in fact it gets very odd! I...

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Beer Review: Kona Brewing Co., Koko Brown

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes On-tap at Deckard's. Rich, brown body, off white head, decent lace. Fades to a slightly disappointing tiny collar. Held to the light, there's some pronounced, red clarity in the body. Bakers chocolate & light cocoa on the nose. Light in the mouth and less chocolate than the initial nose would suggest. Gentle alcohol and a light, brown ale acidity. Not a huge amount of nut element here for...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Noble Rot

Ding Points: 83.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: It's strange how coincidence works out sometimes. I had heard about the new, embossed and differently shaped Dogfish Head bottles were about to come out, and apparently Noble Rot is the first beer in these bottles to make it to the Atlanta market. As I took the bottle from the shelf it was immediately apparent to me that the bottles had changed, and I made a mental note of it. I drove from...

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Beer Snobbery

This is an important post. I'm tired of experience, discernment and real knowledge being mistaken for 'snobbery', and people considering all opinions to be equal and all beer knowledge to be subjective - they simply are NOT. For many years a debate has raged in the craft beer community about what constitutes beer snobbery, and what does not. In issue #61 of BeerAdvocate magazine, the Alström Bros define it in the following terms, and I comment on each. 1. You think your palate is better than...

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Back To School Night 2012 – Craft Beer 101, Class & Tasting

February brings 'Back To School Night' at the independent school where I teach, when (as part of Institutional Advancement) alumni are invited 'back to school' for an evening of classes offered by the current faculty. Most of the classes involve something other than would normally be found on the regular school schedule, so I get a chance to talk about beer! I have offered and taught the class 'Craft Beer 101', since 2007. Over the years I've organized many tastings, talks and presentations,...

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Co., Dank Tank 420 India Pale Ale

Ding Points: 81.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes. OK, so I suppose this setting out to be a combination of 420 and IPA, merged for the latest in the Dank Tank Series. The usual presentatin for the series, this time coming with a sort of retro-blue and yellow color scheme. Pour is a fairly bright, orange affair with a nice, white head. Some decent lace and retention. Nose is strong. Big, clean citrus lines with some sweetness. Some added...

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Beer Review: Cains, Cains Finest Bitter

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Having had this from the can several months ago, I wanted to refrain from reviewing it until I could at least get the kegged version (given that I was pretty sure that I'm never likely to see the cask presentation here in the US). Patience, and up this pops at Hop City, Atlanta, GA for a very pleasing $3.99 for the 32 oz growler. Sensible price, sensible volume and sensible ABV; quite the...

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Beer Review: Wild Heaven Craft Beers, Eschaton

Ding Points: 63.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: 32 oz growler from The Beer Growler in Avondale Estates, GA, USA. I was delighted that the folks at The Beer Growler were happy to swap my 64oz growler for the 32 oz one that they were selling Eschaton, in. I was anticipating having to purchase a 32 oz one separately. They also said that they would be happy to swap my new 32 oz for a 64 oz one on the next visit so nothing lost there. $10.99...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Hop Riot

Ding Points: 73.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Surprised to find this at Hop City on Friday. I didn't even realize this was coming out as the next beer in the Solitary Confinement series. Not a favorite style of mine, so we'll see. Described as an Imperial Pale Ale (not IPA) on the label; not sure if that has much significance since the beer really feels like a DIPA whatever the label declares. Pretty, bright orange color with great head...

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Beer Review: The Caledonian Brewing Co. Ltd., (Newcastle) Founders’ Ale

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: This is the third or fourth time I have this in the last couple of weeks, a few times on draft and now this bottle. More silly text on the neck label ('A Blighty Good Brew', after the Winter IPA's, 'Brilliant British Ale'), suggests that this may be aimed directly at the American market (not even sure if this is available in the UK), but I'll simply ignore that. True to style Newcastle-type...

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Beer Review: Boulevard Brewing Co., Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

Ding Points: 95.50 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 100.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Part of the usually tremendous, Smokestack Series, the beer pours with a magnificent, bright, golden orange marmalade colored pour with a huge head in the Duvel chalice. Looks wonderful. Smudged dot-matrix 'Best By' date on the neck is unreadable, along with another illegible number - perhaps a batch number. Nose immediately gives away lots of spicy, tropical fruit along with some very...

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Hopslam – it’s an annual annoyance, but for a new reason this year

It's January and I was expecting the hype machine surrounding Bell's Hopslam to piss me off (again) this year, but didn't really anticipate it aggravating me in the manner that it did. I was expecting the general, stupid hype of this particular beer to annoy me - and it did - and I was expecting the 'how long before it goes downhill' comments to piss me off - and they did - but this year brought a new irritation. Hopslam on cask. Let's get a couple of things absolutely clear; 1. I think...

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Beer Review: Brewery Ommegang, Seduction

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Dark brown (close to black) pour with a modest, pitted, light beige colored head. Lace is medium, retention OK as the beer settles to a pleasing film and collar on, and around, the surface of the beer. A LOT of floaties - a lot. The (presumably) yeast pieces, resemble a cork that has disintegrated into the beer. The nose is very malty with a little Belgian yeast. It almost smells a little...

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Beer Review: Monday Night Brewing, Eye Patch Ale

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00 , Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: I wrote these original notes on August 11th, 2011. It's my understanding that the Monday Night Brewing beers first saw an unofficial light of day at a special event at Leon's in Decatur, GA a few months ago. I wasn't there and didn't have a chance to try them so the following is hearsay, but a number of people that I spoke to said that they were underwhelmed. As a result I was initially a...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, ta henket

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL bottle, $10.99 from Mac's, Atlanta, GA, USA. I don't think a huge amount of this came to Atlanta, at least not in the first wave of distribution, maybe more to follow. Yellow dot-matrix on neck says, 'BOTTLED IN 2011 21:03 A'. Golden pour with a touch of chill haze. Carbonation rages from the bottom of the DFH signature glass. Small head that falls away fairly quickly to leave a thin...

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Beer Review: Good People Brewing Company, IPA

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Good People - Legally Brewed since 2008. Reviewed from the 12 oz can that came from Vulcan Beverage in Birmingham, AL, but with additional comments and notes from the draught version that was consumed a few days ago at the brewery on the same trip. Pitted, three finger head with some very good retention and lace. Nice orange color, quite bubbly from the can, seemingly less carbonated from the...

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Beer Review: Krombacher Braueri, Krombacher Pils

Ding Points: 60.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 50.00, Taste: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Nice high, rocky head. Retention not great but some lace. 11.2 oz bottle as a single from Mac's Atlanta, GA. Decent golden color with above average carbonation. Nice clarity. Nose is pretty skunky, noticeably so in fact. Tastes are better than the nose would initially suggest. Vegetal notes in the taste and not a great deal of definition. Grainy sweetness for me and the lack of a noble hop...

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Beer Review: The Caledonian Brewing Co. Ltd., (Newcastle) Winter IPA

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Mid-amber pour with pretty good clarity. Smallish white head without much retention or lace. Nose gives a simple, toasty malt base and a few hoppy overtones. The tastes follow suit with a solid, caramel malt base and some pretty light hop tones. This beer may confuse American drinkers because they may be looking for a typically aggressively hopped IPA. This is clearly NOT that. The beer...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams (BBC) Weinhenstephaner, Infinium (2011)

Ding Points: 68.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Having had this last year at Thanksgiving and been lukewarm on it, I thought I would try it again this year. People seemed to be saying that the '2011 vintage was better', but I don't think there has been a recipe change so that confused me. Perhaps the breweries have got a better handle on making this beer a year, or maybe a simple batch variation, or perhaps nothing at all has changed....

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Beer Review: Sprecher Brewing Co. Inc., Abbey Triple

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Taste: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00 Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz single from Highland Beverage, Birmingham, AL, USA. $2.19. I simply really, really enjoy virtually everything that Sprecher does; I hope this is no exception. Pour is a nice, dark golden body with a small, white head. Retention and lace are not great, but considering the ABV, not too bad. A little solvent alcohol in the nose along with some fruit, I'm hoping the alcohol is turned down a...

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Ding’s Christmas Wish List 2011

Dear Father Christmas, Here is my wish list for this year. I hope that you can help me with some of these, I would love to find them under my tree. Your friend, Ding. I wish........ 10. That frozen glassware could be banished forever. 9. That the archaic, asinine tipping 'system' in US bars would disappear overnight (it's not a 'system' at all and not even people that have lived here all their lives know what to do with it). 8. That the few, missing place reviews from my old beeradvocate.com...

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Beer Review: Clown Shoes, Tramp Stamp

Ding Points: 61.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: So, thanks to some more shenanigans related to distribution, Total Wine in GA gets in a bunch of Clown Shoes beer and some other Mercury Brewing Co. products too. Obviously Total Wine wouldn't do anything illegal, but there's also some wheeling and dealing going on here which has the effect of pissing off some of the local independents. Anyway, here it is and I'm grateful to have the chance...

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Beer Review: The Bruery (with Dogfish Head), Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder (Collaboration Series)

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: The first thought was, whoops this is an expensive beer for a lager shandy, but luckily that passes pretty quickly. 'Very attractive hazed orange pour with a high, fluffy head and some nice retention and lace. Nose offers some lemon based, high carbonation which is a nice touch. Lemony, spritely, effervescent feel about the beer. Definitely some spicy elements to the beer with white pepper...

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Beer Review: Crown Valley Brewing, Oktoberfest

Ding Points: 83.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Surely the final Octoberfest of the 2011 season - surely? 12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour is an attractive, mahogany, dark copper/amber affair with a nice looking four finger head. Leaves some nice, sticky lace and it gives a decent amount of retention. Very nice looking beer indeed. Solid nose (if not spectacular), which has a decent depth of bready malts. You have to...

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Beer Review: The Bruery, 4 Calling Birds

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: OK, here we are with a beer that I've been looking forward to for some time. Definitely a beer in a style that I enjoy very much, and despite my own protestations, The Bruery has managed to provoke quite a lot of excitement, *some* of which has been realized. The reason I'm interested in this in particular, is that my guess is that this will be a beer that falls into some of my favorite...

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Beer Review: Moylan’s Brewery, White Christmas Spiced Winter Lager

Ding Points: 47.50 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 60.00:, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Damnit. One of the most disappointing beers I've tasted in a LONG time. The big problem here is the level of expectation that I had, since the advertised combination of orange peel and spices sounded exactly like something I would be really in to. Having read the label and considering my own tastes I had really high hopes - they were dashed. The pour is a clear, golden amber. The white head...

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams (BBC), New World Tripel (Barrel Room Collection)

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Never thought I would see this on shelves in GA. Love the presentation in the corked and caged, unique bottle. Pour is pretty impressive. After the huge pop when the cork leaves the bottle, the beer pours with a massive, and impressive fluffy head into  the Duvel tulip. Lace is great, and the retention is excellent. A nice rich golden body too. The etched Duvel tulip provides the perfect...

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‘Top 10’ myths that the US craft beer fad has perpetuated amongst the newbs, and (most disappointingly), even…

...amongst those that should know better. It's the time of year when many people reflect on the 12 months gone by, and often those reflections take the form of 'Top 10' lists. Such lists, whilst trivial, are usually good fun, so why not do one myself? Well actually this one has nothing to do with looking back on the last year in particular, but it is in the form of a 'Top 10', and I suppose that some of these have gained momentum during 2011, so here it is. 10. All craft (non-macro) beer is...

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Beer Review: Bridgeport Brewing Co., Summer Squeeze

Ding Points: 71.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: I'm a big fan of lemongrass in all kinds of contexts and beer is no exception. I like the crisp, fruity element that it can bring. Of course it is a tricky thing to deal with, since the balance can easily be upset by using too much, but ultimately I usually look forward to it. I hope this is not an exception. 12 oz single from Mac's Midtown, Atlanta, GA, USA.   Pale, hazy light...

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Beer Review: Ridgeway Brewing, Reindeer Droppings

Ding Points: 76.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Very hazy, orange pour. Very nice, bubbly head that offers plenty of sticky lace with very good retention. Nose offers plenty of sweet, grainy, almost earthy notes. A hint of alcohol but not much. Ridgeway certainly has a lot of these Christmas themed beers that they export, I wonder if they feature so strongly at home. I'm delighted to get them each year, since they offer a little slice of...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Misdemeanor

Ding Points: 86.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Bought a growler of this a few weeks ago but left it in my brother-in-laws fridge by mistake. This is on tap at Taco Mac, Prado, Sandy Springs/Atlanta, GA. Had a few 16 oz glasses. Understated, subtlety in a glass - it'll be largely wasted on the American, geek palate! I am hoping against hope that the ABV is 4% or under, since this beer drinks like a really nice session beer, but obviously...

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Beer Review: Stone Brewing Co., Vertical Epic 11.11.11

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Every time that I pick up a VE bottle I am annoyed by the fact that the series is not a 'vertical' at ALL, but I suppose that's a conversation/post for another day. Decent legs, nice, solid copper colored with a tiny bit of lace and a thin, creamy and spotty film eventually settles on the surface. Nose gives no sign of heat, and is really very fruity. Some Belgian esters that do not really...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Witness Protection

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: On tap at Taco Mac, Metropolis, Atlanta, GA, USA. $6.00 for 16 oz. Solid black pour with a small, creamy, taupe colored head that produces a persistent, one-eighth of an inch, creamy layer that sits for ages. The lace is nice, and coating, which reflects the feel that one gets in the mouth. There's a fairly distinct, roasty bitterness about the beer that packs a decent punch and has presence....

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Insanity Plea Ale

Ding Points: 68.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: More Jailhouse goodness? I hope so. Not sure if 'plea ale' is a play on words (pale ale), but from the tap handle it looks like this might be branded as a 'fresh/wet hop' IPA, well see. All the initial indications suggest that is the case, with a orange, golden crystal clear body and a small, creamy looking head. Atttractive no doubt, with a little lace, but fairly thin and not really...

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An awakening confirmed, and then re-affirmed by (another) return to my roots

About four years ago I drove like a madman, across the city (Atlanta), visiting four or five beer stores in the quest to find a few bottles of a relatively uncommonly distributed beer. A week later I found myself doing exactly the same in order to get a 12 oz pour of a rare beer at a bar, that I don't like much and visit infrequently. That afternoon, as I left the bar, I had a sudden awakening. I was delighted that I did. It occurred to me that in the years between late 2004 and the spring of...

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Beer Review: Lagunitas, Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale

Ding Points: 63.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Pours with a slightly washed out, pale gold color with some haziness but not chill haze. A large, pitted, two finger head that looks good, but fades quickly. However, some nice, sticky lace in a west coast hop-based manner. The nose offers a big tangerine and grapefruit note which carries through, into the taste. This is an extremely fruity beer indeed. The hops develop a very large aromatic...

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Beer Review: Thomas Creek Brewery LLC., Banana Split Chocolate Stout

Ding Points: 60.00 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.0, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: $10.99 from Arbor Place Beverage for the 750 mL, (plastic, yuck!) corked, (crappily) caged bottle, that was next to impossible to open as the cheap, shitty cage wire just about disintegrated in my fingers, and fight with the hideous, plastic cork raged for several minutes, finally ending with my victory but not without the help of a lazy fish corkscrew - bullshit! From 'The Atypical Series'....

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., So Fresh & So Green, Green 2011 (Challenger)

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Single hop beers (or even multi-hop beers that are dominated by only one hop) are OK, IF the hop that is being featured is one that is suitable, and can cope with being on its own or heavily featured. Some hops can manage, some can't, so I always feel such beers are a gamble. I'm not sure if this is a single hop beer of not but, the web page for the beer would suggest that it is. The pour is...

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Beer Review: Thomas Creek Brewery LLC., Octoberfest Lager

Ding Points: 70.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: My oh my, Thomas Creek is a strange brewer. On the whole I have found their beers to be largely mediocre, but with their production of the Monday Night Brewing beers, and a beer like Up The Creek, they occasionally do very much better than average. (This is especially surprising when I consider my own usual taste parameters and compare them to a beer like 'Up The Creek'). I wonder where their...

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Beer Review: North Coast Brewing Co., Grand Cru

Ding Points: 73.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Very heavy, thick 500 mL bottle with a large dimpled bottom. Must add significantly to the cost. Corked & Caged. Brewed with Agave Nectar and aged in bourbon barrels. In the region of $12-14. Opens with a hearty pop. The pour is a golden, well carbonated body with little head, lace or retention. Big, sweet pineapple notes greet the nose. Tastes are less well-defined in terms of the...

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Beer Review: Innis & Gunn, Winter Beer 2011

Ding Points: 81.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 11.2 oz, clear bottle. 111201936 bottle dot-matrixed in black on the lip of the bottle - whatever THAT means! Pour gives an attractive, solid copper body and some light froth. Head retention is not huge, but decent. Some watery lace. Nose suggests plenty of vanilla oak and a light whisky edge - subtle though. Tastes are not as rich in the oak as the nose would suggest, and that's just FINE...

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Beer Review: Rogue Ales, Good Chit Pilsner (Chatoe Rogue First Growth Series)

Ding Points: 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Another in the First Growth series. 650 mL bottle in the usual, First Growth/Chatoe Rogue presentation. $5.99, Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Good looking pour. Slight chill haze forms that clears quickly as the beer warms. Nice looking frothy, bubbly, white head with some decent lace and retention. Forms a small white collar on the golden surface. Nose and tastes offer plenty...

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Beer Review: Founders Brewing Co., Blushing Monk 2011

Ding Points: 81.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Pour is a black-cherry colored affair with a bright pink head. Obviously not much retention or lace on the froth. Nose is pretty rich on the raspberry note (hardly shocked) but it is comforting that it's rich. The tastes are totally dominated by a sweet raspberry element and very little else. I don't know what the base of this beer is, but the fact the label refers to it being a Belgian Style...

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Faithfull Ale (Pearl Jam Twenty)

Ding Points: 61.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Paid about $12 for the 750 mL bottle from Macs in Midtown Atlanta, GA, USA. Yellow, dot-matrixed date on the bottle shoulder that declares 'Bottled in 2011, 103 1'. Pour delivers a golden macro colored body and a slightly above average (although not spectacular) head, retention and lace. Small ring of foam left after initial pour. The nose and tastes have weak, yeasty, lager notes about them...

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It would be really interesting to have an off-the-record chat with Jason Alström over a beer…

...or even Todd, but I would draw the line at the acidic Candice! In the past couple of weeks I have received a whole bunch of electronic correspondence about the apparently continuing spiral of insanity that is occurring over at beeradvocate.com. I visit the site much less frequently these days, so am frankly a little out of the loop, but as you all probably know I have had a very special interest in such events in the past. If you are not familiar with why my interest lies there, take a look...

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery, The Companion

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Not too often one sees a wheatwine so it's always a beer that I'm interested in. Some fairly conflicting information regarding the ABV here. I've read (and heard) everything between the low 7's and 10 (Untappd has 7.6%, beeradvocate 10% and Brooklyn's own blog 9%), so I'm really not sure what the truth is. Part of the draft only, Brewmaster's Reserve series, this came from Hop City in...

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Beer Review: New Glarus Brewing Co., Uff-da Bock

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz bottle form Kevin - thanks, man! Dark chestnut pour, quite close to black. BIG, ice-cream like, creamy head that has some super retention and some exquisite lace. The appearance may be the best part of this beer, and by quite some distance. Nose is unsurprisingly neutral if I'm honest. There's some very light malt but there appears to be a serious lack of volatile components. I dunno,...

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Co., Fresh Sticky Nugs (Fresh Dry Hopped Double Red Ale)

Ding Points: 91.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 100.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle, the latest in the Dank Tank series, this time with a red, yellow and green motif. It's difficult to keep up with the amount of beer being produced of late, especially in the what has now become, quite prolific Dank Tank Series. The pour gives a nice 'gloop, gloop' sound as it forms a chestnut brown color (rather than especially 'red') with some lovely head, and some great,...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Community Service

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Jailhouse's collaboration with O'Dempsey's and that makes me a little nervous because it brings together a brewer that I have been incredibly impressed with (Jailhouse), along with one that has done largely the opposite for me. Reddish, mahogany color on the pour, but not really any great depth or clarity that I would normally be looking for in a beer of this style. Don't get me wrong, it...

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Beer Review: Anchor Brewing Co., Brekle’s Brown

Ding Points: 72.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: The highly recognizable, 'Anchor shaped', 22 oz bottle that reminds me of their 'Small Beer' every time that I see it. Neck label along with the classic oval. 1GV on the rear gives the usual Anchor code in raised, dot matrix. Noisy, gulp, gulp pour leads to a murky brown body and some lovely, pitted, off-white head. Lace is average, but it does give some super creamy, thin film. Ice-cream...

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And you thought The Bruery’s Partridge ‘IN’ a Pear Tree was something to get excited about!

If you are interested in beer and live in the USA, you'll know that The Bruery's Partridge In A Pear Tree is a beer that has provoked a whole bunch of that typical, American beer geek hysteria that I hate so much. It's a beer that I thought of much as I prepared to write this post. At the end of the post, perhaps you'll see why. In 2009 an American, anglophile colleague of mine here in Atlanta, GA, gave me a hard-copy article from the NYT that was published in July of that year. He thought...

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England 2011 – The photo dump, part 1

Just got back from my first trip home to England in four years, and as you can imagine I found it to be a trip of much gravity (despite the relatively low gravity!). I'll be blogging about the trip as a whole sometime soon, but for now I wanted to dump a few photos from the visit to give you a flavor of what was going on over the nine days of sheer heaven. More to come, much more. bitmovie.org more information free antivirus

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Company, Dank Tank Ghoulash

Ding Points: 52.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 50.00, Taste: 50.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Full disclosure: This is probably not a particularly objective review since I have a particular bias against these 'Black' IPA's, so take it for what it is. In a nutshell, if you like a fresh, green tasting hop character in a beer like this one, then you will probably enjoy this beer. I didn't. As such, maybe as well as being a 'Beer Review', this should also be a 'Get Off My Lawn' post, too!...

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Beer Review: Port Brewing, Older Viscosity

Ding Points: 87.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 12.7 fl oz corked and caged bottle. Vintage 2011, dot-matrixed on the neck. Even though this beer is in no way supposed to be highly carbonated, the lack of pop on a corked & caged Port/Lost Abbey beer always has me slightly concerned. The pour removes most of the concern as the beer perks up to give a decent, thin head. It's not much, but then again it really shouldn't (and doesn't need...

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In defence of the Oxford Companion to Beer (sort of….well, not really)…….

The much heralded arrival of 'the only beer book you'll ever need', AKA 'The Oxford Companion to Beer', has been characterized by some well respected folk (including a number of contributors to the book itself) systematically defrocking the work by exposing factual error, after factual error, after factual error. It should be noted that in at least one case, the book has still not yet undergone a nit-picky, line by line analysis (rather it has only been subject to some randomly chosen...

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Beer Review: New Belgium, Lips of Faith Series – Clutch

Ding Points: 80.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Mmmm, interesting. A sour stout rather than a 'sour dark'  - I guess I should have researched that properly in the first place. Never mind. The beer pours with the appearance of thick, robust stout, but in reality it is very light drinking. Beautiful lace, a small, but nice, creamy film that sits on top of the beer. Nice lace. Nose offers a medium funk, but in no way is it over-powering. This...

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Beer Review: Abita Brewing Co., 25th Anniversary Vanilla Doubledog

Ding Points: 70.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Chestnut body with a good, light coffee colored head on an aggressive pour. This fades fairly quickly to give a thin film on the surface but not much lace. Nose offers a BIG, chocolatey, dry. cocoa waft, but not what I would call any significant element of vanilla; it's just not there - shame. I have to be honest and say that Turbodog is quite a long way from one of my favorite beers of all...

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Beer Review: Birra del Borgo, My Antonia (Italian version)

Ding Points: 73.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 12.7 oz bottle, 7.5% ABV. Not any easy bottle to get into with medium thick, black foil and a cap that is quite tricky to prise off. $7.99 from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. It's an elaborate bottle in dark green, thick glass with the dimpled bottom, and no doubt that adds immensely to the overall cost of things. I do like the presentation, but of course the increased cost is...

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Beer Review: Shmaltz Brewing Company, Genesis 15:15 Barrel Aged Harvest Barleywine Ale

Ding Points: 86.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Batch 001, 791 cases, bottling date 9/7/2011 all noted in detail on the neck label. 22oz bottle from Mac's Midtwon, Atlanta, GA, USA. Shmaltz is a brewer I have come to enjoy very much, if for no other reason than the fact that they generally favor the maltier side of the spectrum which usually suits me more than the other end of things. Very dark chestnut (close to black) pour which provides...

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American beers for the English?

OK, which six, American beers to take back home to show (not necessarily 'showCASE') what American brewing is all about in 2011? They need to be either on hand, in the cellar or at the store here in GA. I've already agreed to to take a DFH 120 min, and I think an Arrogant Bastard is a likely candidate too. Even though I disliked the beer, I also think Stone 15th might be another beer that shows what American brewing is all about, too. After that where do we go? I probably need a hoppy American...

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John’s Tasting – a quick summary

Over the years I've organized many tastings, talks and presentations, ranging from the very formal to the much less 'official', but each time catering to the specific needs of the situation or the person that I am organizing things for/with. The latest of these events is a semi-formal, 'fun' tasting that doesn't involve my full-on, Craft Beer 101 presentation, but rather just gives a few notes, pointers and other general beer facts with a selection of six beers, (plus a bonus beer) to a group...

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The REAL thrill of (not) beer-hunting

Following all the ridiculous bullshit associated with the CBS release of last week (that I wrote about here), it was somewhat ironic (and tremendously gratifying) that at an almost simultaneous occurrence acted as the perfect antidote to the pant-wetting, destructive geekery that was exhibited by the frantic mayhem that ensued with the Founder's release. Last Friday I happened to be casually surveying the singles shelf of a store that I visit at least once a week, and as usual I was not...

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Previous trip home (England 2007) – The Beer List

As I prepare to head home for the first time since 2007, I was reminded of the three week beer odyssey that my last trip was in the summer of 2007. Amongst many great moments, pub visits and time spent with friends, I made a careful list of all of the beers that I sampled & made notes on during the visit. Here's the full list from just over 4 years ago. 6X Wadworths Abbott Ale Greene King Admiral's Ale St. Austell Brewery Adnams Bitter Adnams Adnams Bitter Adnams Adnams Regatta Adnams...

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Discretion. Where’s it gone? Actually, it was never here!

A little background: When I moved to Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2000, one of the first questions that I asked one of my new colleagues was, 'Where can I buy great beer in this town?'. Being a person who had lived here for many decades, he immediately replied, "Green's". Encouraged, I trotted off to Green's on Ponce de Leon Avenue with a sense of great excitement and anticipation. Much to my dismay, I was confronted with a bewildering selection of macro nonsense, and not at all the...

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A beer revolution? No thanks!

If you are really, really 'into' beer and live in the USA, there's no way in the world that you don't know what the (beer) abbreviation 'CBS' stands for. If you are really, really 'into' beer but live outside of the USA, there's a pretty strong probability that you won't have even heard of Canadian Breakfast Stout, or indeed of the brewery that makes this beer (Founders), here in Michigan. Trust me, you are infinitely better off remaining devoid of that knowledge. Here's why; By all accounts...

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I’ll be down the PUB; or will I??

DISCLAIMER: I don't know if this post will make much sense since I am trying to get a load of stuff whizzing around my head into focus, but for now this is my best effort. I hope it conveys something of what I am struggling with. 'I'll be down the pub'. A phrase that countless generations of British males have uttered to describe most of the waking hours that they devote to socializing, and a phrase that I intend to use extensively myself when I travel home to England later this month. This...

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Beer Review: New Belgium, (Lips of Faith) Kick

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: More beer in the Lips of Faith Series. This one brewed in association with Elysian, it's a blended beer. Relatively low carbonation on the initial pour, but the beer still has plenty of life in the glass. Mid-orange pour with smallish head, low retention and a little lace. Some spotty surface lace remains. Under NO circumstances is this 'ruby-hued' as the bottle suggests, that's simply...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co. & Left Hand Brewing, Peaotch (Midnight Project Collaboration #4)

Ding Points: 58.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: The latest in the Midnight Project Series (brew four) from the Left Hand and Terrapin collaboration. More, somewhat juvenile naming. Label describes this as "Ale with Peaches added'. Brewed with peaches form Georgia and Colorado. They grow peaches in Colorado? Mid copper pour, nice clarity and some white head. Some retention and lace but not a huge amount. Nose is strong, heavy on the peach...

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Beer Review: Fort Collins Brewery, Hellesbock

Ding Points: 78.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz beer purchased from Arbor Place Beverage in Douglasville, GA, USA for $5.99 where I know for an absolute fact, that this beer has been on the shelf for over a year. This is definitely the 2010 release, although no markings on the label or bottle will tell you that. Decided to go ahead and purchase it anyway, in the full knowledge that this was not a fresh sample. Dark gold pour with a...

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Cellar Notes – Allagash Victoria and Victor

In the last few days I pulled both an Allagash Victoria and a Victor from the cellar; both were purchased fresh in August of 2008. Here's a quick note on what I found with these vintages. I cellared both of these purely and simply on the basis that I really enjoyed them as young, fresh beers. They seemed like they could have been a couple of interesting candidates for cellaring, with their grape elements and their ABV's, so after just over 3 years the experiment was complete. In a nutshell,...

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Beer Review: Full Sail Brewery, Sanctuary

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes It never ceases to amaze me, how a fairly limited set of ingredients, plus the brewing process and the brewers intent, can so often produce a beer that does something quite different to that intent, and seemingly something significantly different than the label would suggest. This is one such beer. Part of the Brewmaster's Reserve Series for 2011 (although this has been out before), the beer...

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Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head, Life and Limb 2

Ding Points: 72.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes I wasn't crazy about the original Life & Limb, which of course came with plenty of hype, but this version seems to have slipped in with a little less fanfare. I am assuming there are some differences (apart from the presentation which has moved from the 24 oz 'stubby' to the SN, shouldered 750) since this beer is now called '2', but the ABV seems to be the same, and looking at my notes...

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Beer Review: Vanberg & Dewulf (De Troch), Lambrucha

Ding Points: 77.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: An interesting one since this appears to be a beer that is blended in Belgium (at De Troch) for Vanberg & Dewulf who seem to be an importer based in Coopertown with ownership in Chicago. The addition of Kombucha interests me greatly as well, as I always feel that tea (and tea-like) beverages have a potentially interesting marriage with beer. 750 mL from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, the...

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Beer Review: Stone Brewing Co., Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Ding Points: 50.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 40.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 50.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: Classic Stone presentation. Screen printed bottle with usual Stone nonsense on the back. August 2011 printed along with ENJOY FRESH directly underneath that. I generally dislike 'Black' IPA's both in name and in taste. Utter nonsense on both counts. Thick head, on top of what looks like a viscous, jet black body, but the mouth doesn't reveal the density that the look initially suggests. Head...

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Beer Review: Brasserie Beck (Brouwerij De Musketiers), Antigoon

Ding Points: 67.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: The label shows a giant with a severed arm and lot of theatrical blood. OK, whatever, but the name of the beer that is spelled out in said blood is just about unreadable which is annoying to me. The beer is apparently brewed and bottle by The Musketeers in Belgium and imported by 'WIN-IT-TOO Inc.' which is apparently associated with www.globalbeer.com. I suppose this is being associated with...

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Beer Review: Full Sail, Elevation

Ding Points: 75.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 60.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: The 22 oz bottle is adorned with a bright orange label which seems appropriate for the contents. The beer reflects both the color on the label and the typical DIPA color which is pleasing on both fronts. Head is small and there is a disappointing lack of sticky lace. A thin film forms on the surface of the coppery colored brew. There is a noticeable amount of chill haze which although not the...

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Beer Review: Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V., Brigand

Ding Points: 43.00 Pour: 50.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 40.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 40.00 Tasting Notes: Stubby, 11.2 fl oz bottle with an attractive sky blue colored cap. Label says 'Bottled on 070717' which seems a little strange; maybe a 'best before' date instead? Not sure why the St. George's Cross appears on the label but simply some artistic license I expect. The beer pours as a quite a dull, uninteresting orangey brown. Head is fierce at the start, but drops off rapidly. Very little...

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Beer Review: Shmaltz & Terrapin Beer Co., (A Beer For Hope) Reunion Ale ’11

Ding Points: 73.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 70.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: Another beer in the charitable, reunion series. 22 oz bottle. A 'Dark Imperial Ale' whatever THAT is! This is the Shmaltz version. This should be interesting since Shmaltz is one of my favorite brewers with their malt based offerings, and Terrapin's star has been fading quite badly in my eyes over the last couple of years - too many beers, in too short a time has bred some mediocrity. Nice...

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Beer Review: Monday Night Brewing, Drafty Kilt

Ding Points: 87.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Poured from the Hop City growler it is a beautiful, brown garnet look with a creamy looking, off-white head. It really looks substantial, has excellent clarity and is impressive in terms of its presence. Bold looking beer that says 'come and have a go if you think you're hard enough'. The nose produces notes that are sweet, caramel based with some brown sugar and a touch of alcohol. There...

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Beer Review: De Proef Brouwerij, Broederlijke Liefde Saison Ale

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL, (plastic, meh) corked & caged bottle in the usual Brewmaster's Collaboration Series presentation. This one comes with the added moniker on the label of being associated with Philly BEER Week. This is the fifth in the Collaboration Series. Pour is a bright orange with some cloudiness. The head is small but nevertheless fairly well formed and the retention is absolutely tremendous....

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Beer Review: The Fort Collins Brewery, The Incredible Hop (Imperial India Style Wheat Ale)

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global 80.00 Tasting Notes: Surprisingly clarity on the pour (given the Imperial India Style  Wheat Ale moniker - whatever THAT is) even if there is a little chill-haze, and some vibrant carbonation. When the beer has settled down a bit it looks like a bright, clean Pilsner and not like a wheat beer at all. Head and lace are both very good considering the ABV. In the west coast/DIPA tradition/fashion the sticky lace is a...

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Beer Review: Cricket Hill Brewing Company Inc., East Coast Lager

Ding Points: 61.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Oh look, a REAL session beer (if the 4.0% ABV is to be believed!). Massive carbonation on the pour leads to a silly looking glass full of bubbles. This does recede quickly though (which I suppose is good in one way, i.e. it doesn't get in the way) but it also falls away badly to leave very little lace and head - ridiculous, considering how this started. A hazy, unfiltered look that is a honey...

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Beer Review: Brouwerij Liefmans, Fruitesse

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: Medium thickness on the matt, black foil reveals a corked & caged bottle. Pop on opening is, as expected, quite strong with a smattering of gunsmoke. Cork shows a 2010 vintage. Label tells us this is a 'Malt Beverage' with natural flavors and contains Acesulfame-K (a sweetener I guess). Matured on cherries it contains natural fruit flavors including cherry, raspberry, bilberry, elderberry...

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Beer Review: Shipyard Brewing Co., Smashed Blueberry

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle, somewhere between $7.99 and $8.99 in most Atlanta retailers. The gold foil and the vivid blue of the label make this an attractive package externally. The pour (a rich, almost black color with a super head and some nice lace) match the intensity and the pleasurable nature of the look, and have me salivating at the prospect of tasting it. Having drunk this last weekend, I...

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Beer Review: SKA Brewing Co., True Blonde Dubbel

Ding Points: 80.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 90.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: SKA is perhaps the American brewery I would most like to see available in Georgia. Over the years I've enjoyed many of their products, and True Blonde Dubbel is a beer that I have tasted on several prior occasions to this, so it's about time for a formal review. This, latest 22 oz bottle, came from the Chicago road-trip. The bomber with the yellow wax is something I really enjoy visual taking...

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Beer Review: Jailhouse Brewing Co., Conjugal Visit

Ding Points: 90.00 Pour: 100.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: The third bottled release in the Solitary Confinement series (assuming this is in that series) after Midnight Special and Reprieve, this beer gets back to the really excellent product that Glenn has been producing in Hampton, GA after the mildly disappointing (for me), Reprieve. The artwork on the label is superb for many reasons, one of which is that it ties in so well with the Jailhouse...

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Beer Gallery (aka old iphone photo dump) – Part 1

I know that many beer geeks love beer 'porn', so I had an idea when swapped my old 3G iphone out for a new iphone 4 a few weeks ago. Why not dump all the beer related photos on to the Blog? There's no rhyme or reason here, no order and no specific point, it's just a dump of the beer shots that were accumulated on my iphone over the last few years. Obviously the quality will not be stellar, but it's a neat, somewhat incomplete record of some of my recent beer encounters. If you want me to...

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No wonder I STILL can’t find any session beer in the USA (and, please re-run the numbers Ken)

Anyone who knows me, also knows that my constant bitching & moaning about the lack of session beer in the US is a feature as fundamental to my being as my 'Englishness', so it has become a bit of a joke in the beer circles that I move in; 'Oh, here comes '4% Ding', order him a session Russian Imperial Stout' etc. On the surface I laugh it off, but of course many of you know that this is a serious business to me and quite frankly those comments wear a little thin. Having said that, they are...

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Beer Review: Smuttynose Brewing Co., Homunculus

Ding Points: 77.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Characterized on the label as 'A Belgian Style Golden Ale', and by other sources as a 'Belgian IPA', this beer is now part of the Smuttynose BIG BEER series, but has been a around for a few years previously know as 'The Gnome'. To be fair, Smuttynose also mentions 'hoppy Belgian' on the label too. 22 oz bottle from Green's on Ponce, this was $5.49. Pour is definitely golden in color, and a...

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Beer Review: Red Brick Brewing, Dog Days Ale

Ding points: 52.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global 50.00 Tasting Notes: I am reliably informed that this beer is essentially the same recipe as the 2010 Summer Ale that Red Brick put out last year. Looking at my notes from previous tastings of that beer, this does seem different to me, but obviously that could be a palate issue. To me, this beer is a bit 'all over the place'. The pour is very disappointing for a self-proclaimed Hefeweizen. The color is good, but...

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Beer Thoughts

Two weeks solid vacation with some superb beer behind me, it's time to get back to blogging. Some of you may have gathered by now that this blog only exists as a result of me being ejected from beeradvocate.com. If you are familiar with the site, you will know that as part of each member profile page there is a 'free-write' section where one can add ones own 'Beer Thoughts'. Deep philosophical musings, rampant inane bullshit and all points in between appeared in my profile over the years, but...

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Beer Review: Boulevard Brewing Co., Long Strange Tripel

Ding Points: 92.50 Pour: 90, Nose: 80, Palate: 100, Mouth: 90, Global: 90 Tasting Notes: A beer, which on the one or two other occasions I have drunk it, I enjoyed it so much that I never got around to reviewing. I just didn't want the experience of drinking it to be interrupted by note taking. Boulevard really has made some excellent beers in the Smokestack series over the years. This time I planned the review. The bottle was purchased from Binny's in Clybourn, Chicago, IL along with a few...

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Beer Review: Three Floyds Brewing, Apocalypse Cow

Ding Points: 83.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle from Binny's in Clybourn, Chicago, IL. $11.99 (I think). Pour is a very attractive, orange/golden clear pour with decent carbonation. The head is good, and the lace attractive. A very attractive beer all around, actually. The lace is incredibly sticky and is some of the best I have seen in some time. The nose is a good, sinus clearing type in line with the style, but it does have...

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Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing, Somersault

Ding Points: 76.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz single from Mac's, Atlanta, GA as part of their mixed sixer. The second time I've had this, the other occasion being on draught at The Wild Wing Cafe on Hilton Head Island, SC. There was definitely a danger of me not giving this beer a fair crack of the whip. I am somewhat cynical about this type of beer which I generally regard as a marketing ploy aimed at luring in BMC drinkers with...

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Best of Beer Camp #37 – Weizenbock

Ding Points: 88.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: Had you asked me in advance of tasting any of the Best of Beer Camp Beers, I would have predicted that the Weizenbock would have been my favorite, so let's see if the theory is born out in the practice with this one. Pour is a very rich, orangey/yellow butterscotch affair, which is both attractive and gives me good vibes about the beer being stylistically relevant. Head is good, and retention...

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Beer Review: Moylan’s, Extra Special Bitter Ale

Ding Points: 80.00 Pour: 80, Nose: 80, Palate: 80, Mouth: 80, Global: 80 Tasting Notes: Every time I see an American brewed beer with the ESB moniker, my heart sinks. On nearly every occasion that I recall, the resultant beer has been dreadfully disappointing, mainly because it has been so far away from the genuine article it often hurt my very soul to see/taste it. The usual issue is a hop profile that is way too high, and the added threat of a west coast brewery in this case doesn't exactly...

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Beer Review: 21st. Amendment Brewery, Hell or High Watermelon

Ding Points: 50.50 Pour: 60.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 50.00, Mouth: 40.00, Global: 50.00 Tasting Notes: 12 oz can as a single from Mac's. New style can with different colors from the first time I had this (used to be green, orange and white, now baby blue is the dominant color). Hazy but VERY bright orange color. Poor head and retention, and the beer seems under-carbonated for something of this style to me. No lace. The nose offers what I would call a generic fruitiness that isn't really...

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The ‘Grand Pooh-Bah’ is dead! Long live the ‘Ding’!

I wanted to draw a line under my beeradvocate.com experience once and for all, but couldn't realistically do that to my own satisfaction until I had collected all of the reviews that I had contributed to the site over the years. As best I can tell, at the time of my ban, I had approx. 2600+ beer reviews in the BA database, plus 305 place reviews. That added up to Beer Karma Points totaling 8117.08 and with them,  'Grand Pooh-Bah' status on the site - not a small contribution over nearly 7.5...

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Beer Review: Avery Brewing Co., Eighteen

Ding Points: 74.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose; 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: If the truth be known I'm really not a big fan of the bitter, grating unrelenting tastes that rye tends to impart to beer, nor have I been a huge fan of many of the Avery anniversary beers in general, so I approach the beer with a large degree trepidation. Having said that, if there is anywhere the rye bitterness may marry well with a style it would/could be with a contemporary, American...

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Beer Review: Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Sixteen

Ding Points: 81.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: Obviously a relatively unusual style, especially in the form of an anniversary beer, but nonetheless a welcome one. Darker than expected pour with a nice beige head. Small retention but some really nice creamy stuff is left on the surface of the beer - good, spotty, thin film sits as a temptation for what is below. Mahogany color, but on the dark end of that particular spectrum. Nose offers...

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ABV’s & session beer; sanity & insanity – Part 2

Continuing my quest to highlight the misuse of the term session beer, here is part two of the 'Sanity & Insanity'. Read Part 1. References to Insanity William Bostwick in the Wall Street Journal gets it 100% wrong in his deluded piece entitled The Connoisseurs' Light Beer. Rate Beer's Top 50 American Session Beers is only 32%correct! Food Republic goes 0/5.  website here Click This Link found here online games for kids boommovie.org

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Beer Review: Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Co., Red Poppy Ale 2011

Ding Points: 78.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 12.7 oz bottle that is REALLY heavy. Very thick glass on this one. Annoyingly hard to remove cork under the cage, eventually meant that I had to extract it with a 'Lazy Fish' corkscrew. Decent pop - at least we have some carbonation! Pour looks as expected with a small, poorly retained head and some dark, turbid, brown notes and a little sediment. Lace = zero, with a thin film settling on the...

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Beer Review: Heavy Seas/Clipper City Brewing Co., Letter of Marque 2011

Ding Points: 76.00 Pour: 70, Nose: 80, Palate: 70, Mouth: 70, Global: 80 Tasting Notes: If the truth be known, over the years I have found the Mutiny Series a pretty average collection of beers, and I've said as much in my reviews. Underwhelming taste profiles have led to some pretty disappointing efforts in my book, so for some time my expectations have been dulled. Given that background, I found it rather odd that when I read this was a Dubbel, I felt it might be a style that the series...

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Beer Review: Red Brick Brewing, Double IPA

Ding Points: 64.00 Pour: 80, Nose: 60, Palate: 60, Mouth: 70, Global 60 Tasting Notes: God bless 'em, Red Brick (aka Atlanta Brewing Co.) just CANNOT get their packaging right! Despite a whole bunch of recent attempts to re-brand, it still doesn't seem right to me. Anyway, I guess that's another rant so back to the beer. 12 oz single. Pretty, gold color that comes with a one finger head. Decent retention, and some nice lace. The nose offers some of that onion element that we saw reported so...

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ABV’s & session beer; sanity & insanity – Part 1

Following Sunday's, Session Beer rant, I'm going to start listing 'References to Sanity' and 'References to Insanity' as I come across them on the web. Here's the first installment, much more to come! References to Sanity Wadworth's describe all of their beers here, and only ONE is described as a 'session beer' - at 3.6% Colchester CAMRA uses 'session' to describe many beers at their January '11 festival - all under 4%, with none of those over 4% listed as session beers. The same again from...

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New York Ale Project’s take on Session Beer, featuring….

...yours truly. Thought it was time to air this again in the wake of my session post of yesterday. Session Ales - The Ultimate Battle For the record, if standing up for tradition and fact makes me a snob, then I embrace the moniker and am proud of it! CheersRead This Visit This Link Check This Out all antivirus free download android apk

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Session Beer – an amalgamation of years and years of thoughts

OK, it's time to tackle the session beer post. Anyone that knows me (or has read my comments in beer cyberspace over the years), understands that this is a serious subject for me, and that I get really tired of the term 'session beer' being abused left, right and center in the USA. Here, I am going to attempt to bring the years and years of posts that became shunned on BA, plus all of the stuff that never made it to the web but simply resided in my head, together in one place and in a single...

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Beer Review: Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, Anniversary Beer

Ding Points: 81.50 Pour: 90, Nose: 80, Palate: 80, Feel: 80, Global 80 Tasting Notes: 22 oz bottle, $7.99 form Smyrna World of Beverage, Smyrna, GA, USA. Bottled on 5/5/11 with an additional dot-matrixed '5212' on the neck in yellow ink. Shock, horror! This is a big, bold, hop-bomb without any excuses or any pretense. In many ways that is a plus, since the beer 'does what it says on the can' and that is an admirable trait and one which is too often neglected these days. Pour is a very...

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Beer Review: Brasserie De Saint Sylvestre, Gavroche French Red Ale

Ding Points: 79.50 Pour: 70, Nose: 80, Palate: 80, Feel: 90, Global: 80 I'm fairly sure that this is a bottle with a significant amount of age on it, but at the same time I'm pretty confident that this type of beer will mature well, and perhaps equally importantly it will mature in a manner that will suit my palate. $2.99 for the bottle is hardly a huge risk either, so I'm in! "Order 1008" dot-matrixed on the rear of the label near the Shelton Bros. logo. The pour gives a murky brown, Dubbel...

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., The Best of Beer Camp #8 California Common

Ding Points = 80.00 Pour: 80, Nose: 80, Palate: 80, Feel: 80, Global: 80 Tasting Notes: My first of the Beer Camp Series. Picked this up at Mac's in Atlanta, along with two of the three others from the Beer Camp mixed pack. Put into their mixed sixer. Clear, golden color with a nice degree of carbonation. Small, one-finger, white head. Quite surprised at the depth of golden color. Bready notes in the aroma. The bread element is pulled into the initial tastes but this quickly changes....

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Beer Review: Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner Ruby Redbird

Ding Points = 72.00 Pour: 50, Nose: 70, Palate: 80, Feel: 80, Global: 70 Tasting Notes: OK, the cap for this beer has "The Perfect Summer Beer" emblazoned across it so it is certainly not afraid to declare where it thinks it is in the grand scheme of things. I like the confidence, I wonder if I will like the beer. As folks that are clued in to the American beer scene know, the Shiner range of beers from Spoetzl are an interesting phenomenon. A loyal following in their home state, around the...

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10 reasons why it was better when fewer people knew about good beer

1. When a limited beer was released it used to be possible to stroll leisurely down to the store, anytime within the first couple of weeks of it being out, and pick up as much as you wanted. Now one has to be monitoring Twitter, Facebook, beeradvocate.com and untappd constantly, and logistical nightmares ensue as plans have to be changed, journey's have to be made and store owners need to be befriended before one has a hope of even finding a single bottle. It's taken the joy out of it for me,...

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US beer distribution spreadsheet

While we're on the subject, I forget about this Google Doc Spreadsheet that also originated on beeradvocate.com that summarizes beer distribution in the US. Again, not necessarily gospel, but a potentially useful document.

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Beer Review: Sweetwater Brewing Company, Waterkeeper hefeweizen ale

Ding Points = 73.50 Pour: 70, Nose: 80, Palate: 70, Feel: 70, Global: 80 Tasting Notes: Another 22 oz, one-off (presumably) offering from the Sweetwater Brewing Co., that for my money have eclipsed Terrapin in their ability to produce a consistent, high quality special release beers. The usual Sweetwater presentation with screen printed bottle; at least this time there isn't a bunch of juvenile, sophomoric innuendo associated with the beer - a nice change! Deliberately poured this one...

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Bad Batches, Infection and other QC issues

Some folks over at beeradvocate.com are trying to put together a list of beers with QC issues. They have summarized the collective, anecdotal and factual wisdom in a Google Docs Spreadsheet that you can find here. I know Seth to be reliable, but of course he can only be as good as the data that he has been given. As such, take it for what it's worth, but it may be useful to you. I have personal, first hand experience of problems with the following beers on that list, all of which matched the...

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Beer Review: Stevens Point Brewery, Burly Brown

Ding Points = 60.00 Pour: 60, Nose: 60, Palate: 60, Feel: 60, Global: 60 Tasting Notes: Not a brewery that generally sets the pulse running, but I'm always open to trying the next beer from any brewer, so when this one literally fell out of the DBF on to the floor and started leaking, I took as a sign to drink it! Thanks go out to Kevin for the opportunity to try it. Pour is an impressive red mahogany color, but the head, lace and retention let it down a bit. The depth of color deserves more...

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Imposter on Twitter Part 2.

The rogue  Twitter account (@D_I_N_G with extra _ at end) been removed BUT the name has now been changed to use a lowercase 'L' in place of uppercase 'I'. Looks identical to my real account, but is not. Please report if and when you see it. Thanks.http://akmovie.org found it for you homepage android games for mobile download mobile apps free

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What’s in a style? And are you in ‘Raptures’ over them?

OK, as far as I can tell there was no Rapture yesterday, so since I am still able to, I thought I should go ahead and blog about the Rapture's relationship with beer styles - yes, there IS a relationship between the two - well, sort of! What's in a style? Well a bit like religion, that depends on who one asks. In the USA the BJCP identifies around 80 beer styles (plus Meads & Ciders), the Brewers Association identifies a bewildering list of close to 150 , beeradvocate.com identifies over...

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Beer Review: Brasserie de Cazeau, Saison Cazeau

Ding Points 87.00 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 90.00 Tasting Notes: I spent an hour or so chatting with Crawford Moran (the genius brewer at 5 Seasons Westside in Atlanta) yesterday, and really enjoyed drinking his Provence Saison that is brewed with Lavender. Coincidentally I had picked this up at Hop City next door, just a few minutes previously. Both of these floral saisons seem to dovetail beautifully with the very hot weather that has hit Atlanta in the...

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Imposter on Twitter

Please note that there is a child acting up on Twitter. They have created the Twitter account @D_I_N_G_ (NOTE: extra underscore added at the end of the name) and stolen my avatar. Please report them ASAP. Thanks.

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beeradvocate and me – a brief follow up

A few extra thoughts and just to clarify a few things. This will be my last, direct post on the matter for now, then it will be back to beer. 1. Thanks to everyone that has voiced support (both privately and publicly), it's truly appreciated. The overwhelming majority of those comments have taken the, "I didn't always agree with you but have respect for your tenacity and knowledge", stance - thanks, it means a lot. I think the positive comments and general agreement with my assessment of BA...

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beeradvocate.com and me

Having been locked out of my beeradvocate account for nearly four weeks now (and only having received the most curt reply from Todd about the situation plus having one subsequent email totally ignored), I am coming around to the realization that I may never be back on the site ever again. That resignation leaves me with very mixed feelings indeed, and it seems fitting (and will perhaps be a little cathartic) to air some of those feelings here. To see a little of the background that I posted...

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Beer Review: Heavy Seas/Clipper City Brewing Co., Aarsh Irish Red Ale

Ding Points: 75.50 Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Feel: 70.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: I've been dreadfully disappointed over the years with the mutiny series, even to the point where I have stopped buying several of them, so to be quite frank my expectations have been significantly lowered. Pour offers a pretty nice looking amber body, some good clarity and a head, retention and lace that I would describe as above average. The nose and initial tastes offer a nice hop and malt...

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Beer Review: The Bruery & Cigar City Brewing Co., Marrón Acidifié

Ding Points: 82.50 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL capped bottle with the usual 'The Bruery' presentation. The pour produces a fairly highly carbonated (at first) body, with a mahogany-red color. The head is scant and produces no lace. There is a nice clarity about the body, and it settles to give a diluted coca-cola color. The final pour gives a fairly significant film of sediment that floats on top of the beer - a bit sawdust like in...

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Beer Review: Heavy Seas/Clipper City, Dubbel Cannon

Ding Points = 50.50 Pour: 60, Nose: 50, Palate: 50, Feel: 40, Global: 50 Tasting Notes: 12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. The pour produces a somewhat disappointingly lifeless beer, with head, retention and lace all significantly lacking. The color is certainly 'IPA like' in as much as it gives an amber hue, but at the same time it looks dreadfully 'washed out'. A weak looking beer. Nose offers some light malts and a touch of sweet Belgian candy, but again it seems somewhat light...

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My beeradvocate.com account status

This is NOT the 'beeradvocate and me' post that I promised on Twitter last week (which is still in the hopper and goes into much greater depth about my history and relationships with the site - its publication is on hold until my status at BA is resolved and perhaps it will never see the light of day), rather this is simply an update on the status of my account as of today with just the facts and NO commentary. I wrote this since I have received so many emails and questions about the...

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NOT a post about the ABV of session beer, but…..

...still me bitching and moaning about session beer! OK, I'm gonna hold the "correct ABV of session beer" rant for another post (that's going to be a long one!), but I just wanted to get this quick thing off my chest. In the USA it has now become 'trendy' to like/produce/talk about 'session beer' amongst a whole generation of beer geeks that have been brought up on quite the opposite. Frankly, many of these people wouldn't know a tasty, well-crafted, 3-5%, malt based brew if it bit them on the...

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Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Side Project 15 Indiana Krunkles

Ding Points = 45.00 Pour: 50, Nose: 50, Palate: 40, Feel: 60, Global: 40 Tasting Notes: 22 oz gold foiled (neck) bottle with the usual Terrapin Side Project presentation; this is #15 in the Side Project series. WTF is a 'German Style Wheat IPA'?? Germans across the globe are more horrified than they were in 1966. The beer pours a clouded, golden color. Darker than a standard Hefe and with nowhere near the requisite head, retention or lace. The nose offers a DULL, sweetish hop note that fails...

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Beer Review: Stillwater Artisanal, existent American Farmhouse Ale

Ding Points: 68.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 70.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL capped bottle with matt, black foil on the neck with a brooding sepia and black label with additional Nietzsche quotes. It's all trying a bit too hard for my liking. Anyway.... I was excited to see the words 'Farmhouse Ale' on the label since I generally love a good Saison, but frankly I should have taken more careful note of the word 'American' in front of them. In this case this...

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A ‘golden age’ of brewing? My ass…and BTW, get off my lawn

As I travel both literally and virtually around the US beer scene, I am constantly reminded by those that purport to 'know' that we are currently enjoying a 'golden age' of brewing. I suppose, that if one were to look at the relatively recent past, AND restrict ones view to the USA, AND one were to simply look at numbers then one could see a grain of truth in the statement, but closer inspection of even that narrow view suggests that the 'golden age' is being exaggerated a great deal....

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head, Robert Johnson’s Hellhound On My Ale

Ding Points 60.00 Pour: 70.00, Nose: 50.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 60.00, Global: 60.00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL capped bottle in the usual DFH presentation. Pour offers a low density, bright copper color with a moderate head and some lace. Given the ABV, quite acceptable. Aroma is mainly a sharp, medicinal, alcohol infused assault that offers some sinus clearing elements but not in a good way. Harsh. The tastes reflect the nose to an extent, but are not quite as unpleasant/aggressive. There's a...

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Beer Review: Brewery Ommegang, Gnomegang

Ding Points: 90.50 Pour: 90.00, Nose: 100.00, Palate: 90.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 90,00 Tasting Notes: 750 mL, corked & caged in the usual Ommegang bottle. Pop on opening is modest, with a little gun smoke. Pour is a beautiful golden clarity, with a smallish head. Lace is present but not tremendous. Considering the ABV all is in order, and the color is truly pretty to behold. Carbonation seems somewhat restrained but again, quite appropriate. The nose is an absolute treat. A huge estery,...

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Beer Review: Mikkeller, Rauch Geek Breakfast (AKA ‘Beer Geek Bacon’)

Ding Points = 60.50 Pour: 80, Nose: 70, Palate: 50, Feel: 60, Global: 60 Tasting Notes: Purchased at Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. 500 mL bottle. Jet black pour with a really dark, coffee colored head. Nose and tastes deliver a large amount of smoke, but the beer lacks the meaty, solid quality of many smoked beers and in that respect feels a little light. Tobacco features with some leathery components, but the beer lacks a sweet edge that really needs to accompany the smoked malts. Slightly too...

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