#SippyTimeBeer Review – A Round Table of Drunks Part 2

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. Since part 1 was friends of the site, part 2 is the staff:

Jeremy – Greenville, SC & Charlotte, NC

ufopumpkinale

 Beer: UFO Pumpkin
Brewery: Harpoon
Location: Boston, MA
Style: Unfiltered Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.9%
Harpoon made a clear winner in the Fall/Oktoberfest seasonal market this year UFO was downright delicious. It was  smooth, sweet and not the least bit filling. It has just the right amount of spice and brown sugar hints to compliment the pumpkin.

Highland_Cold_Mountain

Beer: Cold Mountain
Brewery: Highland
Location: Asheville, NC
Style: Winter Ale
ABV: 5.2%
Cold Mountain isn’t new. In fact I have been drinking it for the last four years but it never gets old. Highland keeps the supply at a minimum which of course drives the demand up and in turn makes this a hard brew to find. It adds to the mystique of it I suppose. Highland Cold Mountain is probably the best beer I have ever had. It is smooth with no tart or bitterness. It has a nice tang of malt with the smoothness of a pilsner. It is just fantastic.

Stone Enjoy By 12-21-12 IPA SBeer: Stone Enjoy By
Brewery: Stone Brewing
Location: Escondido, CA
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
I am an IPA person so it may be a small surprise that Double IPA’s are not my taste. Most taste too thick or syrupy. When I first ordered this at VBGB here in Charlotte I was unaware it was a Double IPA. It had everything an IPA has but the bitterness was minimal. It has a strong body that pours with nice head. What makes it different is the fact it is made with fresh hops. The entire beer is designed to expire as if it were milk or cream. After tasting it though there is no chance it could go bad based off its enticing taste.

Beer: OMB Copper
Brewery: Old Mecklenburg Brewery
Location: Charlotte, NC
Style: Amber Ale
ABV: 4.8%
OMB Copper is a nice, easy relaxing time beer. It goes with just about everything. Being a local brew it is easy to find around here so when in Charlotte it is worth tasting.  It is your basic amber ale but this actually has flavor. It is about time I found a nice basic beer that has a rich flavor.

Frog Level Catcher in the rye

Beer: Catcher in The Rye
Brewery: Frog Level Brewery
Location: Waynesville, NC
Style: Rye Ale
ABV: 5.3%

Catcher in The Rye was my choice as the top beer at this tears Charlotte Beerfest. It is a perfect Rye Ale but it has one problem; availability. In a town full of craft breweries and even more bars and restaurants carrying them this has been impossible to find. If you ever have a chance and rye ales are your bag you have to try this.

My Lady M – Columbus, OH (Cider Special)

Angry Orchard Crisp AppleBeer: Orchard Crisp Apple (#5)
Brewery: Angry Orchard Cider Company
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Style: Cider
ABV: 5.0%

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple was my #1 at the beginning of the summer when Kevin asked me to write a cider review. Unfortunately, the crisp, dry and tasty apple flavor didn’t hold the #1 spot as I started trying more and more ciders. If you’re looking for a dry but tasty apple drink I definitely suggest the Crisp Apple over the other Angry Orchards. This one has just enough of a bite that you actually feel like you’re eating a nice crisp apple on a warm summer day.

Origsin ElderberryBeer: Elderberry Cider (#4)
Brewery:  Original Sin
Location: York, NY
Style: Cider
ABV: 5.0%

When I first saw this cider on the beer menu at a restaurant, I thought, what does Elderberry taste like? Well, this beer became my #1 after trying it; beating out the Angry Orchard. As I had never heard of Original Sin before, I found that the orchard is based out of NY. The mixture of apples and elderberries make this a very tart yet refreshing drink which would be good to enjoy all year round and in case you didn’t know, per wikipedia, elderberries have been used medicinally over hundreds of years treating you for the common flu, alleviating allergies and boosting immunity. So, when you’re not feeling very well, grab an Original Sin Elderberry Cider, not only is it tasty, but could help you feel better too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beer:  McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider (#3)
Brewery:  Mayer Brother’s Fine Beverages
Location:  Buffalo, NY
Style:  Cider
ABV: N/A

I stumbled across this spectacular cider while we were out shopping one day. Not knowing what it tasted like, but sounding delicious, I grabbed a 6 pack bottle holder and grabbed a McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider, the outcome was delicious! You have the dark cider apple taste but infused with a deliciously sweet black cherry finish. It’s only #3 because it was in a tie with my number 2 spot. McKenzie is based out of New York and these New Yorkers know how to make a delicious cider!

Griffin Honey Oak CiderBeer:  Honey Oak Cider
Brewery:  Griffin Cider Works
Location:  Westlake, OH
Style:  Cider
ABV: 6.99%

I would have never tried this absolutely divine honey cider, but a trip to Hal & Al’s in Columbus is where the love of this cider came from. This cider is made with 4 local honeys and then oak aged. I drank 4 of these in one night as the taste is so delicious it was almost the #1 spot. If you love honey, you will love this Honey Oak Cider, and the best part is it’s local! Nothing like having a delicious cider and knowing it’s made from all local honey’s.

McKenzies Seasonal ReserveBeer: McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve
Brewery:  Mayer Brother’s Fine Beverages
Location:  Buffalo, NY
Style: Cider
ABV: N/A

McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve is my #1 beer for the year. When you pop that top, the sweet aroma of Christmas surrounds you. The warmth of the mulling spices along with the taste of cinnamon and nutmeg, you can just envision sitting by the fire and enjoying a fabulous evening with friends or family. This cider is so deliciously addicting, I probably wouldn’t know if I drank an entire 6 pack by myself in one evening. The taste is so sweet and so developed, there’s a reason it’s a seasonal reserve and only out for a limited time. My advice, run to the store and grab McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve before the season ends.

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BrooklynBrewery, @KonaBrewingCo and @StoneBrewingCo

Brooklyn Lager (1)

Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn Lager – The only beer on my list this week without the style in the title. It’s an Amber lager which is right down my alley. Caramel malt is a fantastic thing. So is dry hopping, which is “the centuries-old practice of steeping the beer with fresh hops as it undergoes a long, cold maturation.” It reminds me of cooking and putting something in later in the process so that it doesn’t overwhelm the dish you are making but accents it. The hop flavor is in there just as a kicker and it works perfectly. This beer is worth harming your liver. Unfortunately, they don’t have a beer finder. I got it here and my older brother found it in Virginia when he asked me for an Amber lager choice so you should be able to find it yourself.

Kona Brewing CompanyKoko Brown Nut Brown Ale – I got to have this beer during lunch on a Friday afternoon. It was a delightful treat during a long afternoon. It’s taste is super nutty which isn’t normally that potent in other nut browns. I didn’t sip the toffee that Kona says is in there but it may have led to the extra nutty taste. It’s a good thing I didn’t know it had coconut in it or else I may not have ordered it. I’m glad I didn’t because I didn’t taste it. I’d highly suggest this beer too. So go here to find out if it’s in your area.

Kona Koko Nut Brown

Stone Brewing CompanyRuination IPA – I don’t remember how I acquired this beer. I feel like it was my neighbors but I’m not quite sure. I do like Stone’s product so I may have just bought one but that seems unlikely since as they say “…its truly “ruinous” effect on your palate, this massive hop monster will change forever your preconceptions of what defines good beer.” I don’t feel like this lived up to either part of their quote. It didn’t ruin my palate although it is a pretty heavy dose of hops. It won’t change how I define a good beer either because it has so much hops. The interesting part comes in that I enjoyed the beer. They tossed in enough extra malt to balance things out better than they are saying. If you like IPAs and haven’t tried this one yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for.

The Great American Beer Festival was a couple of weekends ago out in Denver. If you like beer, it’s a must attend as it’s the Mecca of beer festivals. Good news for me came out of the festival, six Ohio breweries won awards. None of them are here in Columbus but I should be able to visit the Yellow Springs Brewery when I go to visit my girlfriend’s family in Dayton.

This article “8 Simple Steps: How To Not Be a Dick While Drinking Beer” is a pretty solid guide if you may think you’re starting to get too snobby about your beer choices. They should have thrown the word “Craft” in between drinking and Beer though. People who drink macro-brews aren’t likely to get snobby. Those types of beer drinkers have rule #5 “Educate your macro beer-drinking friends” which is what I try to do from time to time. I didn’t get any takers when I was at an Ohio State tail gate recently so I just got to enjoy a growler of really good beer on my own. It also reminds me of a story in which a friend, who only drinks Budweiser or Bud Light, told me that “I don’t drink that foreign crap” when referring to Leinenkugel, which is brewed in Wisconsin. They may sound like Canadians, but they’re Americans.

Stone Ruination IPA

Are you like me and afraid that the craft beer boom is going to slow down? Well, CNBC is here to tell you there’s still room for expansion in the U.S. market. We have the most amount of breweries in the States since Prohibition. Yeah for my mouth, column and beer. Now go and start your weekend and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer! – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – Brew Kettle, Stone and Widmer

Brew Kettle Summer Soulstice

The Brew Kettle Taproom & SmokehouseSummer Soulstice – With summer coming to an end, I should probably clear a couple of extra summer beers off my list. This one is from Strongsville OH (which is near Cleveland) and I have reviewed one of their beers now, Lake BeErie, which was not good. I’m pretty sure I tried another one but can’t find a picture or written proof of it. You’ll have to take my word for it here though that this one was the best of the three. It’s a Belgian Wheat Ale with coriander and orange & lemon peel. I don’t feel like any of the three had a prominent taste but is was a great beer. Light, crisp and refreshing. Sit out in the sun this weekend and sip one of these beers.

Stone Brewing CompanyRuination IPA – This beer is a variation on their IPA. They just put in a bit more malt and a lot more hops. That is usually my time to get right on out of the joint. I don’t enjoy chewing on hops but this one didn’t seem as heavy handed. Maybe they added just the right amount of malt to even things out on my palate. Unlike the previous beer, you shouldn’t have any problems getting a hold of this beer from southern California.

Widmer Citra Summer Blonde

Widmer Brothers BrewingCitra Blonde Summer Brew – We’re staying on the West Coast but heading north to Portland OR. We’re also hanging around on the summer beat with this Blonde. They don’t clarify what citrus they use which doesn’t help to pick out the flavors but it’s pretty easy in a summer ale. They usually use orange or some variation, lemon or lime. I didn’t detect any hints like that. It was a crisp and refreshing beer though. It’s only one of two seasonal beers they produce. Again, it’s much easier to get ahold of this beer in other parts of the country, but it might be out of season. If you’re lucky, you might find it in the discount six pack area so they can bring in all of those pumpkin beers I’ll soon be reviewing. – Kevin

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