While we’ve had beautiful weather in Florida for the last month or so, and Spring is at least making a cameo in the Northeast, much of the country is still mired in ice and snow. For those of you still dealing with Old Man Winter, I’d like to suggest a winter warmer.
Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve (Flying Fish Brewing Co.; Cherry Hill, NJ; Belgian Strong Pale Ale; ABV: 7.2) is a nice seasonal winter beer. Golden in color, it’s fermented at a high temperature to give it a fruity feeling, although the ale actually contains no fruit. The fruity undercurrent is complimented by notes of breaded malt, honey, and spicy hops with with a crisp clean finish.
I recommend Grand Cru Winter Reserve hook, line, and sinker.
Click the Link Below to Download Your 2011 March Madness Tournament Bracket Now…
By Team Goldmine
Introducing the inaugural Whiskey Goldmine March Madness Beer Tournament Bracket Championship! 64 of the world’s best beers have been chosen and will go head to head in our March Madness Bracket Style tournament. It’s win or go home in one of the greatest all style all flavor taste tests ever created. In order to advance, the beers will have to win multiple taste tests in each round, sometimes blind and double blind taste tests. From the first two rounds, to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and to the Championship Game, the March Madness Tournament winner will be declared the 2011 Beer of Champion! Download your 2011 Tournament Bracket now!
Click the link below to view the bracket. (Don’t be afraid to zoom in.)
Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged Borris Oatmeal Imperial Stout the Show!
By Matt Goldstein & Kevin Hussey
The 2011 Beats, Brews & BBQ beer fest at the World Café Live in Philadelphia had over 35 brewers with more than 100 beers and tickets sold out months before the beer fest opened its doors. With more than 100 beers trying to stake their claim at the 2011 beerfest, our panel of tasters provides you with the top 10 craft beers that crushed the competition. Speaking of crushed, Hoppin Frogs Borris the Crusher stole the show!
Made from the 2008 Gold Medalist at the GABF, Borris the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout, the barrel aged version is a masterpiece in cask matured stouts. Full bodied, robust, roasted and smoky, with notes of oak and vanilla, the Barrel Aged Borris is complex and full of character. 9.4% ABV, 60 IBU. Hoppin Frog Brewing. Akron, Ohio.
2. Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout:
The Heresy is an old heathen oak aged imperial stout. Aged in bourbon oak barrels with a roasted flavor, the Heresy has notes of bourbon, oak, corn, vanilla, and coffee. 8.5% ABV, Weyerbacher Brewing. Easton, PA.
3. Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale:
The Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, also known as an old ale, is brewed with 7 different types of malts. Ruby Red in color, with strong notes of hops, hints of smoke and peat, the Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is a classic. 8.5% ABV, Founders Brewing Co. Michigan.
4. Victory Old Horizontal Barley Wine:
The Victory Barley Wine is rich in hops with a sweet flavor that balances very well. With imported 2 row hops malts and American whole flower hops, the Old Horizontal is perfectly balanced. 10.5% ABV. Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA.
5. Six Points Sehr Crisp Pilsner
With all the IPA’s and Imperial Stouts at every beer fest, the Six Point Sehr Crisp Pilsner was a refreshing session beer and strongly lived up to the Pilsner style. According to Beer Advocate, the Sehr Crisp Pilsner is a cross between a German Pilsner and a Bohemian Pilsner and blended with German hops. 5.4% ABV. Six Point Brewing Company. Brooklyn, NY.
6. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye:
The Hop Rod Rye has been a staple of Bear Republic for years and years, winning three separate gold medals in craft beer competitions. The Racer 5 and Rocket Red are already legendary Bear Republic Brews, but the Hop Rod Rye is just as good. The Hop Rod Rye is an IPA with a heavy rye malt base, but also a spicy kick and bitterness that add a beautiful complexity to the hops. 8.0% ABV, 80 IBUs. Bear Republic Brewing Co. Healdsburg, CA.
7. Yards Chocolate Love Stout:
The Yards Chocolate Love Stout is a sweet and sultry full bodied chocolate stout with a beautiful roasted malt flavor. The Chocolate Love is brewed with oysters in a kettle. Oysters? WTF! 5.5% ABV. Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PA.
Some of our tasters at the beer fest thought the Dorris Destroyer might have been better than Barrel Aged Borris and for good reason. This Double Imperial Oatmeal Stout is similar to the Borris but a little more tangy. Dry hopped and wort hopped, Dorris the Destroyer will smack you right in your mouth. 10.5% ABV, 70 IBUs. Hoppin Frog Brewing Co. Akron, Ohio.
9. Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 Baltic Porter:
The Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 2 is a flat lout smoke monster. Made with 2-Row malts, Smoked Munich (smoked with Hackberry) malts, Malted Rye, Cara Aroma, Chocolate, Carafa, Special II, Carafa III and Magnum and Northern Brewer hops, the medium to full bodied porter stood out from all other porters at the beer fest.
10. Dogfish Head Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale:
The Red & White Belgian Style Wit Ale is an easy drinking Belgian ale “brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Pinot Noir juice.” WOW! Dogfish Head will try anything. The Red & White Ale is then aged in Oak tanks. An Oak tank? That’s first we’ve heard of that. It certainly sounds better than being aged in a metal vat, but can’t possibly provide the character of an oak barrel. Either way, the Red & White is a fabulous Belgian Wit. 10.0% ABV, 35 IBU. Dogfish Head Brewing. Rehobeth Beach, DE.
The 20th Anniversary Brew by Flying Dog is an Absolute Must Try!
By Matt Goldstein
The Raging Bitch is an American IPA augmented with Belgian yeast. With Warrior, Columbus, Amarillo hops and El Diablo Belgian Yeast, the Raging Bitch is then dry hopped with Amarillo.Having great Belgian malts with a hop kick and delicate hop bitterness, at 8.3% ABV and 60 IBU’s, this bitch is dangerously drinkable. It’s perfectly balanced. The Raging Bitch is a MUST TRY!!! The Flying Dog Raging Bitch Strong cheese (sharp or blue), Spicy Thai, Dark Chocolates or anything rich, hot and sassy! It doesn’t really matter what you try the Raging Bitch with, just as long as you try it…
The Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale Tripel is brewed by Corsendonk Monks in a brewery dates back to at least the early 1600’s, maybe earlier. The monks, originally from Switzerland, were also well known for their book making and copying. The Corsendonk Abbey Tripel from Belgium is a thick golden color, murky and white almost like a Belgian white or witbier. The head is very thick and sticky with a very light citrus scent. Having a bit of hops, the tripel fermented malts and herbal notes make for a complex Belgian Tripel. Crisp, but not too carbonated, the Corsendonk Abbey Tripel has an understated hoppy aftertaste. This is an exceptional Belgian Tripel! Our only regret about drinking the Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale is realizing that we should have selected it for our Belgian Tripel Trials! The Corsendonk Abbey Tripels is a top 5 Tripel easy. .
International Showdown: North America Destroys Belgium in a Double Blind Taste Test
By Don Corino, Pat Smith, Kevin Hussey, Howard Goldstein, John Morina, Steve Sharkey, Tim Rodgers & Matt Goldstein
The Belgian Tripel Trials were an international showdown between Belgian Tripel Ales and North American Belgian style Tripels. A Belgian Tripel, or sometimes Triple, can also be described as a strong pale ale. Tripel is a style that was created by Trappist Monks before WWII in which 3 times the amount of malt is used in the brewing process as compared to a standard Belgian or Trappist Ale. Many Belgian monastery’s support themselves and their religious studies through brewing beer and making cheese. These quiet and religious men who dawn themselves in maroon robes and rope belts have proven to be some of the best brewers in the world. With about 8-10% ABV per beer, the Trappist Tripel style brews are usually thick and gold in color, slightly sweet and bitter with a complex finish. All of the beers competing in the double blind taste test were Belgian Tripel styles except for the Trappist Rocherfort 8, which is actually a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. (We like to throw in a curve ball or two.)
The beers competing were as follows: Allagash Tripel, Victory Golden Monkey, Westmalle Trappist Tripel, Chimay White Tripel, Maredsous Tripel, Trappist Rochefort 8, Kasteel Tripel, Flying Fish Exit Four American Tripel, La Fin Du Monde, Sly Fox Incubus Tripel and Weyerbacher Merry Monks. After the scoring was tallied, it became apparent that North America crushed Belgium! It wasn’t even close! The beers were judged by scent, color, flavor, finish, bite and aftertaste. Has North America perfected the style created by Belgian Trappist Monks? The numbers don’t lie. Editors Note: For those who will argue that North American Beers had an advantage because they were fresher, that arguement doesn’t hold up with Belgian Tripels. The high alcohol content and the fermentation style in Tripels create an excellent beer for bottle aging and conditioning and many of the beers we sampled were exactly that, bottle aged and conditioned. Freshly bottled beer is not necessarily the best way to serve a Trappist style Tripel. Some of these beers get better after being shelved for a year or two. Despite all of that, real champions rise to the occasion… The Belgian Tripel Trials had 10 different tasters and were scored as follows:
1. The Flying Fish Exit 4 American Tripel:
The Exit 4 is our 2010 Belgian Tripel champion! The Exit Four flavor was sweet, bitter, and floral with notes of hops. This bottle conditioned ale has a perfect balance of malts and hops with a complex finish and great bite. The Flying Fish Exit 4 American Tripel is simply one of the best beers in the world. Flying Fish Exit 4 was winner of a Gold Medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and named by Mens Journal as best Belgian beer brewed in America for 2009. Flying Fish also performed extremely well in our Oktoberfest contest with the Oktoberfish finishing in the top 5 out of 25. Brewing since 1995 in Cherry Hill NJ, the Flying Fish Brewery is one of the best in the world and often overlooked in the recent craft beer craze. Food pairing suggestions for the Exit 4 are fish, roasted vegetables, shrimp, and strong cheeses.
2. La Fin Du Monde Tripel:
La Fin Du Monde performed extremely well in the Belgian Tripel Trials. In fact, the La Fin Du Monde was very close to the Flying Fish in scoring and completely separated itself from the rest of the pack. The La Fin Du Monde Tripel is a phenomenal beer. It’s sweet with hints of wheat, fruit, spice notes and a good head with a slightly bitter finish. The bottle describes the beer as being brewed with triple fermentation and is brewed in Quebec Canada and bottled at 9.0% ABV. La Fin Du Monde actually translates to the “end of the world.” If the world was actually ending and La Fin Du Monde was your last beer, it would be a pretty damn good ending.
3. The Sly Fox Incubus Tripel:
The Incubus is an excellent Trappist style brewed with German Pilsner malt and invert sugar. Light in color and citrus notes, with 39 IBU’s and 10.3% ABV, this American Tripel easily beat out all of the classic Belgians it went up against. Sly Fox is brewed in Phoenixville PA and is well known for their Pikeland Pils and Route 113 IPA. Sly Fox is also one of the best canned beer brewers in the world.
4. The Victory Golden Monkey:
The Golden Monkey is brewed with German 2 row malts, European whole flower Hops, and imported Belgian yeast. At 9.5% ABV, the Victory Golden Monkey is light gold in color with notes of honey, wheat and oak. Milky and a bit sour with a good dry finish, the Golden Money is a little light on carbonation. Golden Monkey and Victory brewing are an American staple in craft beer and brewed in Downingtown, PA.
5. Westmalle Trappiste Tripel:
The Westmalle is considered by many as the quintessential Belgian Trappist Tripel! The Westmalle Tripel is a cloudy and murky yellow color, with notes of citrus and oak. With a great mouth feel and a dry, light finish the Westmalle is a little light on carbonation and aftertaste. The Westmalle Trappist Tripel is a classic Belgian ale! At 9.5% ABV, the taste of the Westmalle Trappist Tripel can actually vary depending on bottle size and glassware according to the brewers. The Westmalle Trappist Monastery in Belgium has been brewing beer since 1836 and the Westmalle Tripel has been brewed since 1934 with the same recipe since 1956.
6. The Kasteel Belgian Tripel:
The Kasteel is a top fermented ale and then re-fermented in the bottle. Yellow in color with little head but great carbonation, the Kasteel Tripel is lighter in color than the other Belgians. With notes of wheat and flavor like a fine wine, the crisp bite and bitterness make this a great Belgian Tripel that can hang with some of the best beers in the world.
7. The Allagash Tripel:
The Allagash is a murky cloudy yellow, light in body with notes of wheat with coriander spice. Dry and bitter with good head, this Allagash is pound for pound much better than the infamous Allagash White! According to the Allagash brewery, the Tripel is great when paired with crab cakes or an assertive cheese such as Roquefort or Stilton. The Tripel is particularly delightful with asparagus. Is also the perfect accompaniment to a fruit dessert or wonderful on its own as a digestif.
8. Trappistes Rochefort 8:
The Rochefort 8 was our curveball in the contest. We wanted to see how the flavor of the Belgian Strong Dark Ale stacked up against the golden colored Belgian Strong Pale Ale Tripels; and the Rochefort did not disappoint. The Trappistes Rochefort 8 is very malty with good head and heavy sediment. Smooth, with notes of caramel, espresso, coffee, good carbonation and light hops, the Rochefort 8 also has a light scent. The Rochefort 8 is the largest selling beer from the Rochefort brewery. Brewed by Cistercian Trappist Monks, the men are described as those “who leave everything behind to live with God and in that way open the eyes for the Resurrection of the Lord.”
9. The Maredsous 10 Tripel:
The Maredsoushas scents of fruit and a very sweet flavor with notes of fruit, lemon, cherry, good carbonation and little head. At 10% ABV the Maredsous Tripel is brewed in Belgium by the world famous Duvel Company. Duvel also brews the critically acclaimed Ommegang in the U.S..
10. Chimay White Cinq Cents Tripel Ale:
Chimay is one of the most famous Belgian beers in the world. Chimay’s three staple beers, the Blue Reserve, the Red Premiere and the White Cinq Cents Tripel put Belgian beer on the map. The Chimay White Tripel is a top fermented Trappist ale. The White Cinq Cents has good head, with a clear brown light cloudy color. Bitter and dry with a light toasted malt flavor and a scent of hops, there is a touch of fruit in the finish. The Cistercian Trappist monks of Chimay have been developing the production of Trappist beers and cheeses since 1862 at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont Monastery.
11. The Weyerbacher Merry Monks:
Merry Monks is a bottle conditioned Abby Tripel. Brewed with Pilsner malts and Belgian yeasts, the Merry Monks is bottled at 9.3% ABV. This Weyerbacher is sweet with notes of bubble gum and then a sweet aftertaste. Even though Weyerbacher finished last in our double blind taste test, we’ve tasted it many times before and it is certainly a fabulous beer. If you’re looking for more bang to your buck, the Merry Monks might be a better choice than some of the more expensive beers on our list. Weyerbacher is brewed in Easton PA, home of the Easton Assassin and former heavyweight champion, Larry Holmes.
We’d like to give a special thanks to our beer wenches, Sari Abrahamson, Elizabeth Corino and Carolynn Chapman. Without our very dedicated beer wenches, the Belgian Tripel Trials would not have been possible.
Editors Note: Beers were selected on the basis of availability….
Over the next couple of weeks, your favorite college basketball squad will be launching their 2010-2011 Midnight Madness season kickoff with hopes that they will be cutting the nets down in Houston Texas. During this time, your favorite beer will be hoping that they will also make the cut and qualify for our 64 beer March Madness tournament of champions. We will be cutting the competition from a field of 600 down to 64.
As the season goes on, bottle openers start to get dull, livers get saturated, So we must persevere and widdle down to find the greatest beer ever!
Whiskey Goldmine’s group of beer experts, sommelier’s, stewards, flunkies, college and high school buddies, wives and girlfriends alike will be working tirelessly to taste and judge the champion of a 64 beer blind taste test tournament to bring home the proverbial bacon come March. So when you get ready to watch the Final Four from Houston Texas come late in March, you can also root for and drink your favorite beer as well. (We need something to ease the pain of having to listen to Billy Packer for a month)
We have narrowed down the art of beer into regions and categories and the best ones from each will have a chance to compete come March. The top 2 beers in each category that we have selected will get an automatic bid and the rest will be chosen “at large” by our esteemed committee of beer experts.
So far here are the beers that have qualified thus far:
Mexican Beer Category
Begian White Ales/Whitbier
Blanche de Bruxelles
Beers in a Can
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Phoenix Pale Ale
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout
La Fin Du Monde
Chimay Blue Grand Reserve
Alesmith Anvill ESB
So harvest your hops and man up because champions rise to the occasion!
Port/Lost Abbey brewing is hands down one of the best breweries in the world. Their wide array of beers and styles continue to prove themselves year after year and award after award. From their year round beers like the Wipe Out IPA, to the seasonal beers such as Satna’s Little Helper, Witches Wit and High Tide IPA. So we decided to review every Port/Lost Abbey beer we could get our hands on.
Shark Attack Double Red Ale, 9.0% ABV, Port Brewing Company.
The Shark Attack Double Red Ale has strong hoppy and malty characters with peppery spice notes and a smooth finish. Great American Amber…
Old Viscosity Ale, 10.0% Port Brewing Company.
The Old Viscosity has the scent of a porter but the taste of a stout. The bottle even boasts to tease the drinker by refusing to reveal whether it’s a stout or a porter. It certainly worked because we argued about it for more than a half hour. The Old Viscosity has chocolate and spice notes and is super smooth for a porter but excellent for a stout as well. This imperial porter stout is a flat out A plus.
Judgment Day, 10.5% ABV, The Lost Abbey.
The Judgment Day Quadrupel Belgian has a sweet Belgian nose and a sweet flavor. Dark brown and purple in color, the Judgment Day light on carbonation and lacks bite but is still full flavored with a unique mouth feel.
Devotion Ale, 6.25% ABV, The Lost Abbey.
The Devotion Belgian Pale Ale is intense on flavor with a little kick. It’s also light but has good bite and good carbonation. It has notes of malt and fruit but is a little too light for a Belgian Pale Ale.
Hop-15 Ale, 10.0% ABV, Port Brewing Company.
The Hop-15 Ale is a sour but subtle in hoppiness for a double IPA. Although it’s not too flowery, which we love, there is little carbonation, almost like a Harpoon. The Hop-15 is sweet, malty, and robust with a perfect character of hops.
Wipe Out IPA, 7.0% ABV, Port Brewing.
The Wipe Out San Diego Style I.P.A. struck us as perfect balance of hops. The combination of the Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops is brilliant. It was quite possibly the best beer we’ve ever drank.
By Jeremy Thomson, Tom Pittakas, Pat Smith, Paul Reiter, Tim Rodgers and Matt Goldstein
Over the last few years, there has been a serious trend towards beer in a can and Oskar Blues and Slyfox are running the show. Oskar Blues and Slyfox don’t just make 1 good beer in a can; they each make 4 or 5 great beers in a can. As well, you have to admit, the draught can like Young’s Double Chocolate and Guinness is pretty damn cool. Just admit it. You know you love beer in a draught can!
1. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV, Lyons CO.
2. Slyfox Phoenix Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, Phoenixville, PA.
3. Maui Coconut Porter, 5.7% ABV, Lahaina, HI.
4. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV, Lyons, CO.
The annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver Colorado had over 3500 entries this year and was completely sold out 5 weeks in advance. The GABF is a 3 day event held by the Brewers Association with over 100 beer judges and 500 breweries. The 2010 GABF went from Thursday the 16th through Saturday the 18th. The original GABF in 1982 only had 22 breweries.
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Blue Moon Brewing Company, Denver, CO
Dr. David Ryder
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Crosby & Baker Ltd.
Utah Brewers Cooperative, Salt Lake City, UT
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management
Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake, CA
Mad River Brewing Company
Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Country Malt Group
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Pizza Port Brew Guys
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year