#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 – @HalandAls Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting 2013

Bells Winter White

Bell’s Winter White with the commemorative Hal & Al’s glass

I went to Hal & Al’s last night for their Winter and Christmas Beer Tasting. It was just what the doctor called for since the lady & I have been a bit grumpy getting prepared for Christmas. Our friends Chris & Lacey got there ahead of us. You got a punch card for the 12 beers of Christmas. At the end of the tasting, you got a special pint. Let’s delve into these four ounces of beer.

Bell’s BreweryWinter White Ale – Last year, I tried Bell’s Christmas Ale in my second Sippy Time Beer post. I also had the Winter White Ale in the fourth post. Unlike Christmas ales, Winter ales tend not to have cinnamon, nutmeg or clove. Christmas ales also don’t tend to be whites either. I’ll get more into that topic later. This beer doesn’t use any of those spices but the mixture of yeast, barley & malt do make it taste like it has a hint of clove in it. That line is a correction from the original review. This beer has a hefeweizen like quality without the wheat flavor. Availability here. Solid start.

Smuttynose Brewing CompanyWinter Ale – This beer was interesting because it was an amber ale, which isn’t used much for these style of beers. It did seem to have the normal spices in it which had a different tone to them since it was playing off the malt instead of hops. I enjoyed this beer out of New Hampshire. Availability here. Two for two.

Buckeye Lake BrewingChristmas Ale – This beer is obviously a local one that most read won’t get to try. This beer was more of a red ale with the usual spices but there was an interesting note on the beer list. This beer had graham crackers in it. I didn’t taste it unfortunately and it didn’t seem to make the beer any thicker. They also said it finished with a sweetness and it did. A little too much in my opinion.

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Smuttynose Winter Ale, Buckeye Lake Christmas Ale and Southern Tier Old Man Winter (L to R)

Southern Tier Brewing CompanyOld Man Winter Ale – My third review covered Southern Tier’s other winter offering, 2xmas. This beer was more traditional than that one. The barley and hops stand out. You were supposed to sip this because of it’s high alcohol content, 7.0% which isn’t that high. I took this one down with a quickness. Availability here. Seriously, try it.

Full Pint BrewingFestivus – This beer comes out of Pittsburgh, PA. The verbiage of this beer gets the Seinfeld treatment so you don’t get much of a description and their site doesn’t even list. I think it was another amber ale though because of the heavy malt with a little more hops than normal. It was very tasty also. The distribution area is pretty limited but if you’re in this area, try it.

The Brew KettleWinter Warmer – This beer is another local offering that many people won’t be able to wrangle. From the northern city of Strongsville, OH this beer brings the usual Christmas spices of cinnamon, ginger (not as common) and honey. They also toss in some orange (not tasted much) and lemon (very much tasted). It actually helped to cut through the sweetness of the honey with the acidic taste of the lemon. I still don’t think it cut the sweetness enough. I sense a general trend of holidays beers that I don’t like.

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Full Pint Festivus, Brew Kettle Winter Warmer, Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas and Oskar Blues Yule Chub (L to R, T to B)

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company12 Dogs of Christmas – The sweetest of the lot as noted a few weeks ago.

Oskar Blues BreweryYule Chub – This beer was a strange one because of it’s dark color. It looked like a porter or stout. Neither the description nor their website say exactly what style of beer it is. The website doesn’t even acknowledge that this beverage exists. That is probably why we were supposed to thank someone at the bar for procuring this limited edition keg. The description used orange peels and spruce tips in it and I tasted the pine flavor but not the orange. I am not a fan of of drinking spruce but the darker beer held up to it much better than a lighter style of beer. Availability here although you probably won’t be able to snag this beer in particular.

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