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North Coast Le Merle Saison: Black Bird Fly

north coast Le Merle saison 300x279 North Coast Le Merle Saison: Black Bird Fly Courtesy of Billy’s Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

Sometime last week I drank my 1200th different beer. It’s an ale that won Gold at the 2010 World Beer Championships, and was described by the late beer connoisseur Michael Jackson as “More than a serious beer – it is outstanding….Dizzying, appetizing, refreshing.”  North Coast Le Merle (North Coast Brewing Co.; Fort Bragg, CA; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 7.9) is indeed a dizzying, appetizing, and refreshing saison. Le Merle means blackbird in French, and this golden farmhouse ale really flies off the tongue.

Big notes of citrus fruit such as bananas, oranges, and white grapes are complimented by Belgian yeast, peppery spices, and grassy hops. Le Merle is a well balanced ale throughout, with a crisp clean finish.

Le Merle is one blackbird that will have you singing in the dead of night…or anytime for that matter!

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The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard Ale

Stone Vertical Epic 101010 300x235 The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard AleCourtesy of Local Dark Bars

By Brandon Gould

So, Vertical Epic is new to me but it is a phenomenon I will gladly get behind. It is genius marketing with a kick.  I’ll start by saying that the alcohol content is 9.5%.(the kick).  So stone has been putting out these different versions of Vertical Epic since soon after the turn of the century.  Each one is brewed a little differently and is meant to be opened on a specific date  and is released one year, one month, and one day later from the previous.   The next will be on November 11th 2011, 11-11-11. (the Marketing)

The 10-10-10 is a Belgian-style trippel brewed with dried chamomile flowers, triticale and Belgian amber candy sugar. The most present and unique flavors though are the locally grown Muscat, gewurraminer and sauvignon blanc grapes.  This version of the V.E. is fruity, sweet, and packs a punch.  We highly recommended to purchase and save till open date, 12-12-12.  Till then also buy a couple to have now to help reduce the temptation of opening the others 

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arrogantbastard stone brewing 258x300 The Stone Vertical Epic & Stone Double Bastard AleStone Double Bastard

This spin off of Stone Breweries Arrogant Bastard is another beer that you’re not worthy of drinking.  At 11.2% you won’t know what hits you and its great taste you won’t appreciate.  Double Bastards beautiful dark color will immediately intimidate you so take that first impression and buy the fizzy yellow beer that suits your mediocre personality.

Cheers!

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The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!

founders breakfaststout 111111 The March Madness Beer Champion: Founders Breakfast Stout!2011March Madness Beer Champion Founders Breakfast Stout

By Team Goldmine

From starting with 500 beers to 64 to 1 final champion, Founders Breakfast Stout has won the March Madness Beer Championship Bracket tournament for Whiskey Goldmine.  Almost getting knocked out in the Final Four to Pliny the Elder Double IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout emerged to challenge Stone IPA for the March Madness Championship.  Although close, Founders Breakfast Stout won the championship convincingly.  This is not the first contest that Founders has won for Whiskey Goldmine and probably won’t be the last.  The beers in the March Madness Beer Championship were judged on style, flavor, taste and finish by an esteemed panel of tasters.  Our tasters included multiple sommeliers, award winning chefs, craft beer professionals and craft beer enthusiasts.  There has been a lot of controversy behind the scenes of Whiskey Goldmine throughout the tournament and even some back and forth fighting during the Final Four.  But hey, real champions rise to the occasion no matter the odds.  The will be more on the Breakfast Stout in the coming days.

Whiskey Goldmine would like to congratulate our 2011 Champion, Founders Breakfast Stout.  Clearly this is the most prestigious award in modern history.  Move over Nobel and Oscar, this is the Whiskey Goldmine. 

For more on the Founders Breakfast Stout Click the Link Here! 

The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket

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March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

STONE IPA 238x300 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPABeer Bracket March Madness Tournament Championship Game

By Team Goldmine

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.

founders breakfaststout 11111 March Madness Beer Championship Game: Founders Imperial Breakfast Stout VS. Stone IPA

 

2011 March Madness Championship Game

 

 

 

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Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced Stout

bells brewey Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced StoutA Bell’s Brewery Review Courtesy of Billys Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

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.

bells batch 9000 300x295 Bell’s Greatest Show on Tap: Cask Conditioned HopSlam, Batch 9000, Hell Hath No Fury, Henry McGill’s Spiced StoutAdditionally, 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!

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The March Madness Beer Championship Final Four: Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger Celebrator

chrisitan laettner final four 300x219 The March Madness Beer Championship Final Four:  Founders Breakfast Stout, Pliny the Elder, Stone IPA and Ayinger CelebratorElite 8 Results: The Big Dogs in Craft Beer Lay the Smack Down in Multiple Beer Competitions

By Team Goldmine

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. 

 

The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket Final Four

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The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA

Avery Gubna Double IPA 300x300 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPABy Matt Goldstein & Pat Smith

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. 

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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

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oskar blues gubna imperial ipa 300x137 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPAOskar 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

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smuttynose ipa 281x300 The Avery Dugana Double IPA, Smuttynose IPA, & Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPASmuttynose 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 

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The March Madness Beer Championship Elite 8

Lou Alcinder UCLA Kareem Abdul Jabar 300x244 The March Madness Beer Championship Elite 8Sweet 16 Results & Elite 8 Matchups

By Team Goldmine

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! 

2011 March Madness Beer Championship Elite 8

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The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket Sweet 16

magic johnson larry bird ncaa tournament dual autographed autographed photograph 3365157 300x237 The March Madness Beer Championship Bracket Sweet 16Beer Bracket Tournament: Round 2 Results and Sweet 16 Matchups

By Team Goldmine

There were some major upsets in round 2 of the March Madness Beer Championships as there is only two #1 seeds, two #2 seeds, two #3 seeds and two #4 seeds remaining in the tournament.  Much like the NCAA Basketball tournament, there are Cinderella teams and major upsets in every round.  Click the link below to see the March Madness round 2 results and the sweet 16 matchups!  Check back for the Sweet 16 results, Elite 8 matchups, the Final Four and the eventual Beer champions.  Results will roll out and coincide with the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. 

2011 March Madness Bracket Championship Sweet 16

 

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Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpulooza

cigar city hunahpu humble 300x188 Cigar City Brewings HunahpuloozaCourtesy of Billy’s Beer Blog

By Bill Zavorskas

It was a spectacular day this past Saturday when the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour departed to Cigar City Brewing in Tampa for Hunahpu’s Day. Our mission: to drink great beer, enjoy the festivities, and of course to claim our trophy – the 2011 release of Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Russian Imperial Stout; ABV: 11.5).

Upon arriving, we all took advantage of the festive atmosphere, which included live music and a tasty variety of cuisine, from local area restaurants, to compliment the beer. Creativity was the word of the day for beer, from Cigar City’s own Pilot Series Barleywine to some outstanding home brews like the Pinellas Urban Brewers Guild’s amazing Russian Imperial Stout and Special Hoperations’ superb Smoked Jalapeno Ale. There was an extensive lineup of guest brews on tap as well, including the highly regarded Funky Buddah Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (The Funky Buddah Lounge & Brewery; Boca Raton, FL; Porter; ABV: 6.3), which unfortunately kicked right before we arrived. But in the end, there was only one beer that mattered – Hunahpu.

bill zavorskas billys beer blog 300x253 Cigar City Brewings HunahpuloozaCreated from their Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, and aged on pasilla and ancho peppers as well as vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa nibs, Hunahpu is definitely something special. This imperial stout pours a jet black color, with big notes of expresso and sweet dark chocolate balanced by roasted malt, vanilla beans, and peppery spices. The flavors tend to be even more accentuated in the 2011 brewing than in 2010, with the vanilla beans and peppery spices really coming through to balance the sweet chocolate notes. I had a chance to speak with head brewer Wayne Wambles, and he had wanted to improve upon last year’s offering. Needless to say he’s succeeded, which is saying something considering that the 2010 Hunahpu is considered to be one of the world’s best beers.

CCB made bottles of Hunahpu available to the first 750 guests, with a four bottle limit per person. I was glad to be a part of this afternoon, and to take home my own supply of this incomparable stout.

Lastly, I’d like to give thanks to Cigar City Brewing for hosting this great event, Mark for arranging the Mr. Beery’s Magic Bus Tour, Sam for being a hip chaperone to our merry band of beer geeks, Gemma for staying behind to secure our purchases of Hunahpu, and my pal Brad, for riding shotgun with me and filming the day’s events for our video blog. Once the mad genius has finished editing, I’ll attach the video feed to this blog. Cheers!

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