My friend Jack and I hit Shamrock Pub last night to check out several beers that were featured during Monday’s Harpoon Tiny Tap Takeover. I’ve been a fan of the Boston based brewery for some time, so it was a great opportunity to try some offerings that aren’t normally seen in the SRQ area.
Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Belgian Pale Ale; ABV: 5.8. This Belgian pale ale (beer on right in left hand side picture) is brewed and conditioned according to the brewery’s IPA specifications, but is also fermented with Belgian golden ale yeast. Golden amber in color, it has subtle notes of Belgian spices and caramel malt backed by Amarillo hops with a crisp clean finish. The floral character of this ale balances nicely with the Belgian influence from the yeast and spices.
Harpoon Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.9). This beer (beer on left in left hand side picture), is #37 in the brewery’s 100 Barrel Series. A blend of a rye beer and an IPA, Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA pours a light copper color, with notes of rye and citrus fruit such as grapefruit up front, complimented by caramel, peppery spices, and piny hops on the back end. Quite smooth throughout with a dry finish.
Harpoon Munich Dark; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Munich Dunkel Lager; ABV: 5.6. Brewed with Harpoon’s house ale yeast, this dunkel is inspired by a centuries’ old Bavarian recipe. Dark brown in color, it has ample notes of sweet caramel malt and yeast balanced by chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit with a smoky bitterness at the finish. A fine example of this beer style.
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial Rye; Harpoon Brewery; Boston, MA; Rye Beer; ABV: 8.9. My favorite of the four on tap. From Harpoon’s Leviathan Series, this superb imperial rye beer is black burgundy in color with appreciable notes of spicy rye and breaded malt complimented by caramel, sweet honey, and grassy hops with a noticeable hint of alcohol in the backbone. As silky smooth as it is complex, Leviathan Imperial Rye has an almost barley wine like character to it.
We chatted with owner Derek Anderson for a bit, and he had a nice surprise for us by putting Evil Twin Yin (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 10.0) on tap. On tap recently at Willards Tap House in Largo, Shamrock is the first pub that I’ve seen to have it here locally. Evil Twin derives its name from Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who founded the brewery and happens to be the twin brother of Mikkeller founder Mikkel Jarnit-Bjergsø. Yin is jet black in color, with substantial notes of sweet chocolate and roasted malt balanced by dark fruit and a hint of smokiness on the back end. There’s a boozy character to Yin from the considerable alcohol presence, but it blends in nicely with the rich, full-bodied texture of this delicious imperial stout. Looking forward to trying Evil Twin Yang (Evil Twin Brewing; Valby, Denmark, Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) sometime in the future.
By Pat Smith, Matt Goldstein & Sommelier Tom Pittakas
For Philly Beer Week, our staff hit eight events and about 30 different bars overall in celebration of craft beer in one of the best beer cities in the world, Philadelphia. From IPA’s to imperial Stouts, dopplebocks and fruit beers, Philly Beer Week had a profusion of many styles by the best breweries in the world. Below is our top 10 beers of the 2011 Philly Beer Week. Pick up a few these beautiful brews and let us know your thoughts.
1. Ballast Point Victory at Sea Barrel Aged Espresso Vanilla Imperial Porter:
An American Porter with 10.0% ABV, the Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a deep dark beer with notes of mocha, chocolate, vanilla and complex full bodied smooth porter. This is simply one of the best porters in the world and Ballast Point continues to prove it’s one of the best breweries in the world. This is an absolute must for dark beer lovers. Served at the Khyber Pass Pub.
2. Hitachino Espresso Imperial Stout
From the Kiuchi Brewery in Japan, the Hitachino Espresso Stout stands at 7.50% ABV with great malts and crisp finish. It’s rare finding a stout this flavorful and crisp at the same time. Dark black in color with dark head, the Hitachino is a classic imperial stout and proves that the Japanese can brew a hell of a beer. Served at the Side Car Bar.
3. Dogfish Head Festina PecheBerlinerWeisse
The Festina Peche is fermented with peaches that hints of a sour beer. Not made like traditional sour beers, this fruit beer is crafted with very ripe peaches to get it’s sour flavor. Very crisp and refreshing, the Dogfish Head Festina Peche is the perfect summer beer. Not too sour without many hops at all, the Festina Peche is about 4.5% ABV. Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting.
4. Fegley’s Hopsulutely Triple IPA
The Fegley’s Brewery is getting a lot of buzz in the Philadelphia area and proving to be one of the best brewers in the city area. Considering this is one of the best craft beer cities in the U.S., Fegley’s is of course creating some great crafts. The Hopsolutely Triple IPA is made with Cascade, CTZ, Summit, Amarillo and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Chinook and Amarillo. At 100 IBU’s, this triple IPA is still balanced enough to challenge the best IPA’s in the country. We challenge you to try it out. Allentown and Bethlehem are making a real name for themselves and deservedly so. 11.0% ABV. Purchased at Whole Foods in Plymouth meeting.
5. Nebraska Samarican Brown Ale
At 5.3% ABV, this American Brown Ale is slightly sweet, slightly malty, crisp and well balanced. Overall one of the best brown ales you will find. The Nebraska Brewing “cornhusker juice” was in major demand throughout Philly Beer week, especially the oak aged Black Betty Imperial Stout. Colorado isn’t the only Midwest state making excellent craft beer. Served at the Sidecar Bar.
6. Russian River’s Pliney the Elder
8.0% ABV. American Double IPA. Purchased in a growler from the Hulmeville Inn.
7. Port Ole Viscosity Whiskey Barrel Aged
12% ABV by Port Brewing. Served at the Resurrection Ale House.
8. Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
5.0% ABV Ayinger Brewing from Germany. Served at Eulogy Belgian Tavern.
9. Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock
8.9% ABV barrel aged by Ballast Point. Served at the Khyber Pass Pub.
It’s the economy stupid! With a dismal jobs report in the last couple weeks that has Obama’s poll numbers in the toilet, alcohol sales have jumped by almost 10% over the last 12 months. Sweet! Are people just drinking their problems away? I know I am. People are also just drinking better quality craft beers. Sales of IPA’s, a.k.a. India Pale Ales, have increased by 40% over the last year. 40%! Holy Crap, that is insane. The American style craft beer has taken the United States and the craft beer world by storm. The bitter hoppy grapefruit flowery style beer has taken over the beer world and seems to be crushing the legendary Belgian style. Beerfests, beer weeks and brewfests are popping up all over the place and the IPA is dominating. Even Pizza Ria Uno is serving an array of craft beers with a handful of IPA’s to boot.
Wine and spirits have also seen a solid increase in sales but the American macro brew seems to be the loser with a solid chunk being taken out of Budweiser, Coors and Miller. Of course, this will lead to the inevitable, the Macro brews buying out all of the profitable micro & craft breweries all over the country. In fact, it has already started. I know, I know, horrible right? Whatever you say beer geek. There’s nothing wrong with a little Miller High Life now and then. After all, it’s the champagne of beers.
Alcohol is saving the economy and we love it. This is the best news the Whiskey Goldmine heard since the last 330 articles we posted. After all, all of our articles are amazing.
The elusive Russian River Pliny the Younger has been called “The Best Beer in the World” and has caused near riots in Northern California where it is brewed. Brewed once a year and only distributed on draft to a very small handful of markets in California, Denver and Philadelphia, this brew creates a crowd anywhere you are lucky enough to find it poured.
At 11% ABV this enormous Imperial IPA, packs a punch. However, the true beauty of this beer lies in the fact that its heavy hop bill is so well balanced against a malt backbone just large enough to get the ABV so high.
Sipping this sublimely golden ale one might guess it weighs in closer to 8.0%–or less. A tropical citrus aroma emanates from the glass and these characteristics continue into the flavor but are also joined with an overwhelming piney resinous (maybe the reason “Pliny” is often misspelled “Pliney”?). Younger rounds out finishing surprisingly dry with little of the sweetness typically found in a brew this large. This beer is not a hop bomb like so many Imperial IPAs, but rather explodes with the balance that few, if any, beers achieve.
Is it the best beer in the world? Probably not. But the first time you are lucky enough to try Pliny the Younger, you may find yourself plotting, planning and missing work just to get a second glass of this big, balanced elixir.
Green Flash Brewing Companies extravagantly hopped West Coast IPA has a pungent bitter taste at first sip but is complemented my many other flavors. With its sunset copper color, crisp taste, and floral hops it defines the qualifications of the West Coast IPA. The gangs of hops that impugn upon your pallet are Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial, and Cascade. These four different yet complementing varieties give the West Coast its pine, floral, citric and fruity flavors. This flagship IPA from San Diego County is the recipient of many awards and accolades for its American IPA Style. 7.3% ABV and 95 IBU’s.
Green Flash Summer Saison
To the untrained eye the Summer Saison has a fizzy yellow beer look to it, though if you had the slightest taste for craft beer you probably have a good idea of what’s going on in this beer. It is a light bodied beer with citrus, lemon, as well as hints of banana flavors which all can be tasted and smelt. I would compare it to many of good wheat beers. Hope I didn’t offend any Germans or Belgians by comparing styles. This Farmhouse ale by San Diego County’s Green Flash Brewery is a great choice on a nice hot summer day working the farm fields of Belgium or something of this nature . At 4.3% ABV Summer Saison is what I like to call a good duration beer, meaning that it can be consumed for long periods of time with less likely hood of falling over. Wheat or No Wheat its a great light and refreshing beer!
It’s been a grueling battle of serious beer drinking by team Goldmine. But hey, that’s what we do best, drink. The Final Four pit some big dogs against each other and Stone IPA laid the smack down on Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock. Founders Breakfast Stout and Pliny the Elder went into overtime and the Founders Breakfast Stout shooting guard hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer in a classic March Madness ending. Yup, the scoring was that close and it could have gone either way. Real champions rise to the occasion and now Stone IPA and Founders Breakfast Stout square off for our March Madness Beer Championship! The beers are judged on style, color, taste, flavor, finish and aftertaste and The Founders Breakfast Stout and Stone IPA will go head to head in the 2011 March Madness Beer Championship game. Who will take home beers biggest prize? Yup, I just said it, the biggest prize in all of beer. Clearly it’s this tournament. Click the link below to see the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket.
What an incredible time we all had at Saturday’s Mr. Beery’s Bell’s Beer Circus. Lots of fun and games, from mechanical shark riding to the HopSlam toss (yours truly won a Bell’s gift basket in the latter). Bell’s rep Cindi Curtis and her merry band of clowns were on hand to keep everyone entertained, as well as lending a hand to ringmaster Mark & the gang. And of course there was beer…21 Bell’s brews on tap, including several not normally available in the Sunshine State.
There was even a Bell’s Firkin Cask Conditioned HopSlam (Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) that was out of this world. The non carbonated version of this hop bomb really brings out the big notes of citrusy hops, especially the grapefruit, along with the sweet malt and honey.
Additionally, I had a chance to sample a few offerings for the first time, with several of them truly standing out.
Bell’s Batch 9000; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Imperial Stout; ABV: 12.5. A full bodied imperial stout. Jet black in color with subtle notes of caramel malt and dark fruit giving way to a huge bourbon presence on the back end. Wow!
Bell’s Batch 10000; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; American Strong Ale; ABV: 9.2. Along with the cask conditioned HopSlam, this was my favorite beer of the day. This chocolate colored ale has big notes of black cherry and caramel malt with a nice bite of dry citrus hops at the finish.
Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Dubbel; ABV: 7.5. This dark abbey ale has rich notes of Belgian yeast and dark fruit complimented by spicy cloves and a roasted malt backbone. A very smooth and well balanced beer.
Bell’s Henry McGill’s Spiced Stout; Bell’s Brewery; Kalamazoo, MI; Spiced Stout; ABV: 7.5. This wonderfully eclectic stout is dark chocolate in color with appreciable notes of ginger and nutmeg balanced by roasted malt at the end.
Many thanks to Mark and Cindi for hosting The Mr. Beery’s Bell’s Beer Circus. It was truly The Greatest Show on Tap!
After four rounds of all out beer competitions, beer trials, and taste testing, the Goldmine Team has selected our Final Four: Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger Celebrator. The crazy thing is that we thought two of these beers might actually go down in the first round, but hey, that’s just March Madness. Over the next few days we’ll feature each of the Final Four Beers and hype up the biggest showdown in beer bracket and beer competition in history. Yup, I said it. Do you really think the Washington Post and the Great American Beer Fest are more important than us? Of course they are, let’s not get crazy now. Thanks for the compliment though. Click the link to see the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket.
During a weekend of absolute debauchery in Atlantic City with all you can eat and drink comps, ringside seats at the fight, hot rocks at the craps table and insidious bar hopping and the March Madness Beer Championship, we unselfishly took the time out to review a few beers. The Avery Dugna Double IPA and Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA certainly have an interesting take on America’s top craft beer style.
The Avery Dugna Double IPA
The Dugna Double IPA is made with Chinook, Centennial and Columbus hops and malted with Two-row barley, dark aromatic and caramel malts. The Avery philosophy behind creating this beer was “unity of bitterness, hop flavor and aroma.” Well, that philosophy certainly hit the mark. This complex and refined double IPA is gold in color and has a strong bitterness character with a solid grapefruit flavor. Dry and bitter with a good hop flavor with a good bite, the Dugna is a solid all around IPA. The Avery Dugna Double IPA is a must try! For food pairing, Avery eating creamy, cheesy dishes such as pasta carbonara, fettucini alfredo or pepperoni pizza. OG:1.076 ABV:8.5% IBUs:93
Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA
Made with German Dark Munich Malt, Rye Malt and North American 2-row barley, the Gubna Imperial IPA is an absolute wild taste for an IPA. Hopped once with Summit Hops, the Gubna is sweet, malty, with notes of honey and a thick mouth feel. Again, this is a wild and awesome taste for an IPA. The Gubna is a thick sweet and oily beer. Oskar Blues does it again and again. 10% ABV, 100 IBUs
Smuttynose Finestkind IPA
The Smuttynose Finestkind IPA won gold medal at the GABF in 2004 for the best American beer. Craft beer has changed a lot over the last few years but the Smuttynose IPA is still solid. Dry hopped and unfiltered, the Smuttynose IPA has a solid grapefruit flavor and is sweet with great bite. It’s dry and full flavored with a great finish and notes of malts, and bitter hops. 6.5% ABV, 65 IBUs
There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, major upsets in the NCAA Basketball tournament, and a lot of beer drinking at the Whiskey Goldmine. In the March Madness Beer Championship Tournament at Whiskey Goldmine, we have painstakingly drank beer after beer after beer to get down to the Elite 8 beers of the world. It was very difficult to consume this insane amount of beer but we’ve done it just for you; just so you can listen to us tell you what the best beers in the world are. We would write a longer article and tell you the Sweet 16 results but we’re pretty hungover from the utter debauchery running amuck in Atlantic City right now; fight weigh ins, deep stacked poker tables, throwing hot rocks at the craps table and open bar and free buffets with Macallan 12, prime rib, shrimp cocktail, Heinekens and pecan pie. It’s completely out of control and we’re just getting started. Click the link below to download the March Madness Bracket to see the Sweet 16 results and Elite 8 matchups. This is the road to the final four.
Click the link below for the March Madness Bracket!