Friday, June 19, 2009

Tav on Germain

Last night, as on most Thursdays, we went to the Tav on Germain, downtown St. Cloud with co-workers for happy hour. The Tav is a great place with great beer, at least for St. Cloud. They had Furious and Bender, Fat Tire, Schell's No. 6 Anniversary, Summit EPA, Guinness and a few others. The only non-craft they had on was Mich Golden Draft Light, but what are you gonna do, it's Minnesota.

I opted for the Furious and Bender, one of each. I've been on a bit of a hop role lately. I must say I prefer the Furious. A lot of people say the Bender is smoother, but if I'm going hoppy, I want biting, not smooth. A few people had Summer Shandy, to which I say boo, it's not a real beer. One guy had a liter of Furious after his litre of Shandy, so he's back to ok.

Now none of these people are too big into craft beers, but they're getting there, so it amused me when we started to talk about Bell's Hopslam DIPA. Apparently, someone brought it to an office party and everyone loved it, and got smashed. So they were split when we suggested one of the new taps the bar is getting be dedicated to Bell's, and Hopslam every spring. Oh well, one can only hope.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Burgers and Beer, Founders and Flat Earth

Last night I sampled my first beer with the intent of posting it to this website, Founders Centennial IPA. Founders is a micro out of Kalamazoo, MI that prides itself on being different from the average craft brewer. I suppose this could be true, though they make standard styles, they make them all with a little twist. They began independently with no brewing experience outside of the occasional homebrew and have no attachment to the brewing establishment. They're new to Minnesota and are really going to make a strong showing with the Surly crowd I think, and should really challenge companies like Schell and Summit. I say that because Founders walks the fine line between 'every day craft' of those two and the extreme craft of Surly, and might pull some of the regular Summit/Schells drinkers in that direction who were previously overpowered by Furious, Bender and the like. Here's the reveiw of Founders Centennial IPA, again copied from Beer Advocate for consistency.

Founders Centennial IPA - B / 3.75
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 3.5
rDev: -8.8%
Appearance: 3 1/2 finger, off white head with a creamy top and large bubbles underneath, no real active carbonation but a pretty good lacing. Unfortunately, this head didn't stick around very long. The beer itself is golden red consistently throughout the glass, and fairly transparent.

Smell: Piney, Piney Hops. It was like sticking a fresh cut christmas tree trunk up my nose, and it was a little too much, There was no malt going on anywhere and the smell was so bitter it almost stung the nose. I'm giving a four because I know that's what some people want, and they do make it strong.

Taste: The taste is still piney, but it does have a little malty sweetness at first. The Alcohol comes through as well though. There is some dry, grape-like flavors in the after taste.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body leave some bitter, cottony feeling though. Pretty smooth.

Drinkability: Pretty good, if you like piny hops. I don't, and I don't think most people do either.

Serving type: bottle

My other beer last night was a Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 English Porter from a 22 oz. bomber bottle. This is one of my favorite beers, I must say. It is incredibly sweet, like an imperial stout that used unroasted malts. It is black as molassas and flavorful. I reveiwed it a while ago, and I've posted that reveiw below. Flat Earth is a really small brewery in St. Paul that self distributes there limited but every shifting line up of beers. They also sell growlers on Thursdays and Tuesdays. One of my favorite things about Flat Earth is that they include the ingredients on every bottle of beer, including St. Paul Water.

Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 English Porter 6.5% ABV

A: Poured a pretty thin head, but I poured a little soft, so that may have been it. Looks like a very dark cola almost with some good active carbonation. Reddish when held up the the light. 22 oz Bottle is a picture of space, but what is most interesting in this information, printed on the side:

English Pale, Brown, Amber, Chocholate and Rye Malts; fuggle hops; Irish Ale Yeast and St. Paul Water.

O.G. - 1.065
SRM - 25
IBU - 35
Alc. by Vol. - 6.5%

S: A sweet malty roast filled the air when I popped it open, and upon closer inspection, I found some good burnt caramel smells that I liked.

T: Taste is very complex, probably from the 5 malts they use ranging from english pale to chocolate and rye. Some roasty flavor, but still pretty sweet. Very low bitterness. Sweetness increases as my tounge becomes used to the roasted flavor. Actually quite similar to a heavy cola.

M: Creamy and a good weight without being too thick and chewy. great smooth texture. Very enjoyable

D: Very easy, very smooth. A pretty standard ABV, so not really sessionable, but if you have the tolerance it won't fill you up.

Serving type: bottle

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A few recent reviews

Here are some recent beer reviews, copied from

Sierra Nevada Brown Saison
Picked this one up at Stub and Herb's in Minneapolis. Limited on Tap only in MN.
A- / 4.2
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4.5
A: Thinnish Head, but active, large bubbles. Dark brown center fading to a golden edge.

S: Very light, not much hops for a Sierra Nevada Beer. Some Malt, the smell reminds me of a bag of DME

T: An underlying fruity malt, some sour but by no means a Belgian "funk" like you get in most saisons. Mild hops, but not something I would define the beer with.

M: Crisp and clean, this beer has a good weight to it. No alcohol burn and some good fizz. It is mildly biting

D: Superb, I would not have guessed this was as high in alcohol as it is and almost called it a session beer. I'd love to see more of this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale
Founders is new to MN, this is exciting news, and this is my favorite Founders
A- / 4.15
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5

A: Brownish red with a thin off white head that does not last very long. Some active carbonation, but not much. Perhaps it's too cold? Lacing is pretty alright, not great, and the beer itself shows a slight haze.

S: Dark fruit, malt and even a little smoke. Maybe a little little bit of hops, but not anything to be excited about. The smell is heavy, but not overpowering. You really have to stick your nose in there, but once you do, it really hits you.

T: Some alcohol for sure here, many of the same tastes as in the nose. Maltier though. Still no notice of hops.

M: Good, could have more carbonation but good. Leaves a slight dryness though

D: Really good. Makes a great nightcap or a party session beer. Strong enough to hold up to food, but great on its own as well.

Serving type: bottle

Paradise By The Dashboard Light Doubly Blessed Cherry Porter-Tyrannea Brewing

B / 3.7

look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 3.5
A: Dark Dark brown, but not quite black, with a tannish foam not unlike an impy stout that was less than one finger. Good lacing and active carbonation. Medium size bubbles

S: Some cherry and roasted/smokey malt, no hops

T: More roasted malt, with a slight cherry aftertaste. Actually reminded me a lot of Moosedrool. Again, no hops.

M: A little fizz, but not really or what would be expected from the active carb. A little thinnish

D: Alright, but the smokey malt turned me off.

Serving type: bottle

First Post

So, this is a first post, and there isn't anything to say. I hope to discuss craft beer, mostly American, and the culture surrounding it. I hope to review some beers, some breweries and some beer events, discuss food and beer pairings, and mostly take a crack at the culture surrounding beer that says it has to be a classless, poor man's drink designed for getting drunk and nothing else.

I invite comments on what I say, suggestions on what I drink, and whatever else. Hopefully, I'll update this a few times a week.