SippyTimeBeer Review – @AVBC, @GLBCinColumbus, @lagunitasbruhws, @RevBrewChicago and @SeventhSonBrew

IMG_20140221_204305I’m writing this article well ahead of time because I am in Richmond VA having a Sippy Time Beer courtesy of my older brother, who graciously provided more pumpkin beers to try than any one person should in our Year End Review. I’m also sure that I’ve had a few beverages from the neighboring state West Virginia on our way. Those beers should hit the internet come next week. Until then, here’s some drinks from February.

Anderson Valley Brewing Co.Winter Solstice – Ken and I had some free time without the ladies so we went to the 16 Bit Bar & Arcade in town. Not only is it a fun place to play the terrible video games I played as a child, it’s also a great place to try beer. Anderson Valley started off the fun with this take on a Winter Warmer. Though their site only says that they use spice, there’s definitely nutmeg in this beer which is standard for this style. They also include toffee & caramel which helps sweeten the beer up even more. Sometimes that would make the beer too sweet but it doesn’t for this one. They don’t even add much hops to offset the sweet but at 6 IBU, there’s no bitterness to be found. This beer packs a wallop at 6.9% even if that’s low for a winter beer. They are based in Boonville CA so if it reaches Ohio you probably have a good chance of trying it in the winter.

Great Lakes Brewing Co.Conway’s Irish Ale – At some point during my tenure of writing beer reviews, I will do an Irish themed post around Saint Patrick’s Day. This beer will get included in that post. I’ll also review it now. This seasonal beer is available from January to the end of March. It is similar in flavor to their year round offering & one of my personal favorites, Eliot Ness. It is lighter on the malt though so it’s as in your face. Neither are hoppy which is confirmed by the 25 IBU for this one. Conway’s provides a decent punch at 6.5% ABV. They distribute in these areas so even though it’s a seasonal beer, you may still be able to find this one.

IMG_20140222_191243Lagunitas Brewing Co.Maximus – Jeremy brought this company to my attention. It is another California based company so the distribution area is bigger which helps me try them too. This beer is an amped up version of their IPA. Since I haven’t had their IPA, I can’t compare them. They don’t list IBUs so I can’t compare bitterness. I do know though that this beer didn’t taste bitter for a Double IPA. They claim it will remove enamel from your teeth because of the hops but I don’t agree. To no one’s surprise though, you jump from 6.2% in the IPA to 8.2% for the DIPA. It provides quite the punch so be careful if you’re a hop head.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BellsBrewery, @BrooklynBrewery, @NorthHighBrew and @GLBCinColumbus

IMG_20140131_182216Bell’s Brewery, Inc.Hopslam – This beverage is one of the more sought after beers in the area. Bell’s has a solid distribution area in twenty states. But this beer is one of their specialties and only comes out once a year. It’s so popular that a beer store in town was accused of buying cases from other stores for later re-sale.  Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for that gem of a story. Is this beer worth getting in trouble for, yes. They use six varieties of hops and toss in Simcoe hops during the dry hopping process. Bell’s also throws in honey just for a touch of sweetness which is the only thing taming this beast of bitterness. They don’t list an IBU but it’s got to be around my 90 IBU threshold. It’s a double IPA so it packs a punch at 10.0% ABV. It’s only available from January until March so you’re out of luck for now but keep your eyes peeled next year.

IMG_20140125_191531Brooklyn BrewerySorachi Ace – I didn’t know the story behind this beer until reading their website. Here’s what they had to say:

A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.

This beer is part of their Beer Master’s Reserve line because of the uniqueness of the hops. When I was tasting this beer though it was the Belgian yeast used that stood out to me. I do think that yeast has a flavor that pairs well with the lemon so it’s a good pairing. The hops aren’t overwhelming either with an IBU of 34. The hops certainly delivers a punch though because this beer is 7.6% ABV. Though I had this beer in January, it’s a perfect beer for the warm weather that is coming around now. If you can find it in your area, go give this special beverage a try.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – A Round Table of Drunks: Part 1

Everyone loves a good year end list. Here at Stunt Granny, we’re no different. It’s fun to yell at paper or a computer screen and tell the person who can’t hear you that they’re an idiot. I’ve rounded up quite a few of those idiots to give their opinion on beer. Since I have a tendency to be a beer omnivore, it’ll be good to have opinions from people who tend to stick to families of beers. The other upside to this list is that these people are from all over this fine country of ours so you don’t have to listen to me yammer about beers from Ohio or more specifically Columbus. Keep in mind that I asked these drunks to list their five favorite beers from this year, not their five favorite beers of all time. Could I put Eliot Ness on my list? Sure but that seems silly since most people that read this site know it’s an easy top five beer for me. Part 1 will be friends of the site, while part 2 will be the staff:

Fred – Columbus, OH

Victory DirtWolf Double IPA 2

Beer: DirtWolf
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
Location: Downingtown, PA
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8.7%

Brewed using whole flower Chinook, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops. The DirtWolf is a great IPA and I am overjoyed that this beer will be available year round unlike most other DIPA’s like the Lake Erie Monster.

Beer: Engine 20 Smoked Pale Ale
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Location: Cleveland, OH
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%

I am a big fan of smoked beers and this one is a good example of a pale ale as well as a very good smoked ale.

SouthernTierWarlockBeer: Warlock
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Location: Lakewood, NY
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.6%

Even stronger than the Pumking, the Warock has great malt, plenty of hops and a great finish.

Bell's Hopslam Ale

Beer: Hopslam Ale
Brewery: Bell’s Brewing, Inc.
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.0%

Probably one of the best beers ever sold. Brewed with honey. Hoppy as hell. Say no more.

Seventh Son Humulus Nimbus

Beer: Humulus Nimbus
Brewery: Seventh Son Brewing Co.
Location: Columbus, OH
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%

A very solid IPA for an almost brand new microbrewery, it is definitely worth a try.

Ron – Richmond, VA

southern-tier-pumking-reviewBeer: Pumking
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Location: Lakewood, NY
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer
ABV: 8.6%

I’m a fan of all things pumpkin especially pumpkin ale’s.  This one is top’s on my list and is a must drink for anyone who likes pumpkin ales. This one is extremely smooth, lightly spiced, and as you drink it you can imagine a good pumpkin pie. This one is a very limited release so if you find it in the stores you need to stock up!

Shipyard PumpkinheadBeer: Pumpkinhead Ale
Brewery: Shipyard Brewing Company
Location: Portland, ME
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer
ABV: 4.6%

This is my second favorite pumpkin ale.  Similiar to the the Sothern Tier, it drinks extremely smoothly and is lightly spiced.  It isn’t quite the pumpkin pie tase, but pretty darn close.  Fortunately, this one isn’t quite as well known and seems to have a wider and longer release cycle so it can be easier to find, but I still stock up.

schlafly-pumpkin-aleBeer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Schlafly Beer (The St. Louis Brewery)
Location: St. Louis, MO
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer
ABV: 8.0%

This one I’ve only found in a local restaurant and it was pretty tasty as well, though not quite as smooth as my top two.

Strangeways Gourd

Beer: Gourd of Thunder Imperial Pumpkin Porter
Brewery: Strangeways Brewing
Location: Richmond, VA
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer
ABV: 9.2%

Generally speak, I’m not a big Porter fan, especially Pumpkin ones, its something about the combination of pumpkin spices and the dark rich flavors of a porter that throws me off.  This one had none of that and was surprisingly tasty and is now on my list to have next year.  Since this brewery was local and I was in their tasting room when I had it, I decided growler to go was well worth it.

Hardywood Gingerbread StoutBeer: Gingerbread Stout
Brewery: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Location: Richmond, VA
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
ABV: 9.2%

For this year, this is my one and only NON-Pumpkin.  This is produced by a local brewery and it is one of the brews that made them “famous” as it was rate 100% by beer advocate magazine.  It is quite simply Christmas in a bottle and pretty much can ONLY be purchased at the brewery or on tap around town.  Last year, friends helped me obtain a few bottles, but this year my wife and I stood in line to pick our my stash for the holidays.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @21stAmendment, @AveryBrewingCo, @GLBC_Cleveland and @Harpoon_Brewery

21st Amendment Back In Black21st Amendment BreweryBack In Black – The picture doesn’t do justice to yet another quality beer can label that 21st Amendment uses. For some reason I chose to feature the label instead of the art. This black IPA is more than just the fancy graphics on the outside. It was brought to my attention by my lady’s sister, whose hand is also in the picture, because of her love of the style. It gets the black color from dark malts which enters the taste equation more than an regular IPA. It may have also led to a thickness that was reminiscent of a porter.  The hops are still front and center though. It is noticeable with the 6.8% ABV. This beverage is out of San Francisco CA and can be found in these locations. Enjoy it if you can.

Avery White Rascal

Avery White Rascal

Avery Brewing CompanyWhite Rascal – Anything other than an IPA recently has seemed out of the norm. This beer is a unfiltered wheat, aka white, beer. The difference in naming is basically a geographic change from Germany to Belgium. Because it is unfiltered, you will get some yeast at the bottom of your glass after drinking this fine beverage. The cloudy white ale has a tinge of orange because there is orange peel in this brew that comes in the flavor. Also present in it is coriander which is a go to spice for wheat beers and compliments the citrus. This beer is only 5.6% ABV so you can enjoy this one over a longer time frame. Avery emanates from Boulder, CO and can be sipped at these locations. If you like wheat beers, this one will tickle your taste buds.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyChristmas Ale – This beer fulfills my promise to cover a Christmas or Winter beer for the month. Yeah! I did drink  this one a while ago though before a Bluejackets game. This beer gets a lot of play around here and has for a while. I went to a friend’s bachelor party almost four years ago and his brother-in-law had saved a six pack of it for him until June. I think that’s an extreme reaction to this beer. I enjoy it but I don’t think it needs to be saved for six months. It has a nice maltiness which I enjoy. Like some similar beers, they use honey which sweetens it too much for me and is where this beer goes wrong for me. The ginger and cinnamon make an appearance in just the right doses. Christmas Ale also provides just the right amount of ABV at 7.5% to help you forget about the terrible sweater your aunt just gave you for Christmas. If your memory doesn’t serve you, this company is out Cleveland, OH and distributes to these places. The season is almost over so if you’re one of those types that’s going to hoard this beer, I suggest going out and purchasing it with a quickness.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon BreweryHarpoon I.P.A. – I thought I remembered this beer from when I was at Kent State. I could be correct since it got started in 1993 but I doubt it. It is still one of the earlier IPAs I remember trying and disliking. I think it may have been because I had never had a beer heavy with hops in it. Now that I’m getting into IPAs, I dislike it for a different reason. This one just seemed too tame to me in the hops department. At 5.9% ABV, that would seem to confirm my suspicions. Since there isn’t much malt, there isn’t a back up flavor to it. Harpoon doesn’t feature the yeast either. Which is unfortunately their stated goal for this New England style IPA. They wanted a well balanced triumvirate of flavors that none dominate. To me, that makes for a bland beer. You’ve got to lean to one of those three sides to highlight what else in the flavor profile. This beer comes out of Boston, MA and can be found pretty much anywhere in this fine country.

No fun links for this week but I will give everyone a heads up that I have rounded up a fine set of drinkers and their top five favorite beers of this past year. For the ladies, my woman is even throwing in her top five cider beers if you don’t like the traditional brews. Now go out and enjoy UFC 168 with a tasty #SippyTimeBeer in front of you. – Kevin

#SippyTimeReview – @HeavySeasBeer, Hoegaarden, @RodenbachBeer and Steenbrugge

Steenbrugge Tripel

Steenbrugge Tripel

Heavy Seas BeerCutlass Amber Lager – This beer ended my night of drinking as I had all four of these beers in one evening. Because I do these reviews in alphabetical order though, it’s first. This beer got downed while waiting for some chick pea curry at Explorer’s Club, which is fantastic. It wasn’t overwhelming in taste. It was a lighter amber that didn’t go heavy handed on the malt despite the name. It was right in line with a Vienna style lager. This beer has won a number of awards at the Great American Beer Festival and is their second highest selling beer. Heavy Seas is out of Halethorpe MD. They are kind enough to provide a beer finder so figure out if you can drink this one, you scurvey dawgs. I had to make one pirate reference.

HoegaardenHoegaarden – We went out with some friends one evening and because of the draft menu at Hal & Al’s, I decided to make it a Belgian beer night. First up on the list was this beer which I first drank when I moved down here to Columbus. I haven’t had it much between then and now because I drank too much then to pay for expensive beer but with so many choices now, I hadn’t tried it until that night. This beer is a white ale which is a brother to hefeweizens. This beer has all of the hallmarks of a hefeweizen which is orange peel, coriander and herbs along with a murky look to the light yellow color. I’m not sure what the herbs are because the orange and coriander are far more prominent. I remember being surprised by the difference in flavor profile then but now it’s expected. Because of a difference in expectations, this “500 years of hard work” for this beer seemed just okay amongst it’s brothers in the hefeweizen family.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @Gordon_Biersch, @MoerleinBeers & @Weyerbacher

G Biersch Festbier

Since we’re finally out of October, it’s time to review the Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers. I feel like I had more than Oktoberfest beers but this is the entire list. Mind you, I have plenty of beers drank on my Instagram (@difrango11) but these four are the only ones that are on my list. I’m bummed that I didn’t snag more pumpkin beers because I do love pumpkin.

Gordon BierschFestbier – Because my lady & I have half season tickets to the Columbus Bluejackets, we go out to eat before most games because the beer and food inside are expensive and terrible. For the season opener, we decided to stop in at Gordon Biersch to satisfy our thirst and hunger. I take advantage of their seasonal beers when I go there and this visit was no different. I had their Festbier which is lighter than your normal Marzen beer associated with Oktoberfest. It is malty like those beers but doesn’t have the red hue. There is just enough hops in it to make it have a little bitterness. They only serve it from August to October so you can’t get it now. I feel like I recommend a lot of beers but this one was just okay. I say go with the real traditional Oktoberfest when you hit Gordon Biersch and grab a Marzen, which they have on tap year round.

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyNosferatu – This beer certainly has the best name of the lot. It also has a different flavor profile than most beers around this time of the year. It is an Imperial Red Ale so it keeps the red hue that most Marzen beers have but it has much more hops in it than those same beers. The hops aren’t as potent as that in an IPA but it’s still there. This beer is easier to find than the other ones since Great Lakes is getting to be a medium sized brewery so take a peek here and find out if it’s in your area.

I had an interesting conversation this past week with Geoff Towne, the brew master Zauber Brewing here in Columbus, who worked for Great Lakes. While trying about their Portergeist, we were talked about how porters and stouts aren’t as popular as most other types of beer. I would have gotten a growler of Portergeist but it was for a Halloween party that my lady and I threw so I shied away from it. He told me that his favorite beer of theirs was the Edmund Fitzgerald which is a porter. I mentioned that my favorite beer was Eliot Ness, which has won 9 Gold Medals at the World Beer Championships, and his response was that he felt it was too malty for a Vienna style beer. Towne also told me that he had to do so much tasting, that he was tired of drinking them.

Christian MoerleinFifth & Vine Oktoberfest – I learned of this company when I went to Bockfest back in March, which is when they start lagering the Marzen or Oktoberfest beers. Though they are based in Cincinnati, they have just started to distribute their beers here in Columbus. When I saw this at my favorite store, I had to give it a try. It was worth the purchase. It has a nice coppery tone which is perfect for this style of beer. This beer also had a solid malt taste to it with just enough sweetness at the end of your sip. When this time rolls around next year, keep your eyes peeled for it.

Weyerbacher Pumpkin Ale

WeyerbacherImperial Pumpkin Ale – This beer won a Bronze Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the “Field Beer” category. I can certainly understand why it won. It is heavy on the common spices that come along with pumpkin, namely cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. The pumpkin flavor comes through even with the spicing. Considering it’s the only pumpkin beer I had this year, it was a wise choice especially since it’s an 8.0% beer. This beer from Easton, PA made it from the east side of the neighboring state so you may be able to find it in your neck of the woods. Unfortunately they don’t provide a distribution map but the good news is that it is distributed through the end of November so go out and look for this one.

Time to gear up for the Christmas beer season. Remember to enjoy your #SippyTimeBeer responsibly. – Kevin

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