Sunday Sips: A Quadruple helping of beers

Its been awhile, so what better way to get back into it then to bring an extra large helping of beers to tell you all about.  This is courtesy of a fine watering hole that we have here in Cedar Rapids called Parlor City.
Sampler platter
A couple of weeks ago we were out with some friends to see To Kill A Mockingbird performed at our local theater. (really well done by the way, but no longer running.) We were trying to figure out where to go afterwards and we decided on this place, mostly because I knew they had one of my favorites on tap. It was time for me to get some Pseudo Sue from Toppling Goliath. But do you ever have one of those moments when you walk into a place with like 100 beers on tap and then you can’t make a decision. This was one of those moments. And then like an epiphany I saw that they had make your own beer flites. This was amazeballs, I could have my favorite and try three more. (I also got to make a flite for a buddy of mine while there too. Great times.) So going from right to left, darkest to lightest, we had Evil Twin’s Yin, Evil Twin’s Yang, Stone’s Go To IPA and finally the Pseudo Sue.

The Yin is an American Imperial/Double Stout, rather heavy at 10% ABV. This was a really nice full bodied stout, it definitely packed a punch with that 10% alcohol, I could feel it right away. It had a really nice mouth feel, a bit of a creaminess. It was also better rounded then some stouts, they put some hops in here to round it out a bit and take away from some of the sweetness. I’d give the Yin a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. I really enjoyed it. Then came the Yang which was a 10% ABV Double IPA. Man, this one was an in your face brew that just hit you upside the head with bitter hops. Not in a bad way mind you, but I was sipping this guy. There was no way I was downing this as a session beer. On its own I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t quite as good as the stout, but it was still a darn fine beer. The best part of these two came about when you did the obvious and made Evil Twin’s version of a black and tan. Holy cow, this came out as black IPA, and it was delicious. The two flavors just balanced each other perfectly. It was like a party going on. One that would leave my opinion of the Stone IPA slightly skewed I’m sure.

The Stone IPA was much more of a light weight in terms of alcohol. It was 4.5%, with 65 IBUs. This was meant to be a sessionable IPA. It looked really great to the eyes even if it was really clear. They filtered it for sure. The thing I remember the most is some pine mixed in with grapefruit in the nose. The mouthfeel was good, but as far as taste is concerned, this just wasn’t working for me. It was ALL bitterness, no rounding of flavors as far as I was concerned. I figure its alright, I like plenty of the rest of their beers, but this one just won’t go into my rotation. It gets 2 out 5 stars for me. I say stick to their other more fully bodied IPAs.

As for the Pseudo Sue, I’ve raved about that in the past. You can find that review back here.

Anyone else out there just get blown away when you can mix and match smaller versions of beers at a bar and create your own beer tasting menu?

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Sunday Sips: Frostline Rye by Summit Brewing

Hey guys, thanks for all of you faithful followers who are sticking with us and in particular me and my non constant posts.  Its been kind of nice getting back into the swing of things.  I think having new computing resources definitely plays into that.  Well there is always the fact that I finished off all the old beer that was hanging out in my fridge.  There is always something exciting about being able to go and find some new brews and wanting to get right to trying them.  Its just easier for me to do when I don’t have a bunch of old beer that could be going bad.

While we were in St. Paul a couple of weeks back we visited Summit Brewing company.  I was really impressed with the operation that they had going.  We sampled some really good beer, but they also talked about their seasonal from this year.  I could have tried it on location, but Jackie and I had plans on going to get some Surly and French fries at the Depot downtown.  So I just said I’d look for it when I got home and have a bottle here.  Well that was a wise decision, because it did not disappoint.

I’ve reviewed some Summit beers on here before, after hearing a little more about their company I really can’t express how much I’d like to see more people give them a try.  They’re a craft beer brewery that is really striving to break into the big boy’s market.  They have a quality product that should be able to do that.
Frost line Rye

This is the seasonal that I was touting earlier. The Frost Line Rye. A beer that could withstand the winter, giving a nice warming bite with plenty of hops to make it very much like an IPA. The lighting in our kitchen that I often complain about at night, really doesn’t do the color of this beer justice. It was simply amazing. It was such a deep copper, and the head was a nice ivory white with a finger or two in width. The beer itself is 5.8% ABV which lends itself to being just a bit heavier than a session beer, but really not heavy at all. Its got 55 IBUs which puts plenty of hoppy bitterness to mellow out the malts. As far as tastes go, its somewhat hard for me to explain. I really enjoyed it, a very spicy note to start, definitely the rye coming forward, then followed by some breadiness and finishing with dry hops to have some bitter round out that sweet and spicy front note. It’s well balanced, and it really is a great transitional beer that fills in the gap between their winter ale and spring maibock. You cannot go wrong with picking this one up in late spring if you find it. A solid 4 out of 5. I won’t hesitate to grab some more if I see it.

This paired really nicely with a veggie burger and some bourbon carrots. I think it would be fantastic with a casserole. I say bring on spring. What are you all most looking forward to with spring on the way?

Sunday Sips: Bell’s Cherry Stout and Bonus beer

Its another fine Sunday here in Iowa, winter has decided to return again. Seriously? I’m over it, but you just learn to deal with it, the forecast for next weekend is looking pretty awesome, so I’m hoping that spring really will be here to stay after that. Jackie and I spent some time up in Minneapolis last weekend, so I’m sorry I missed out on giving you guys a beer to try. To make up for it, I’m giving you two today. I’m not sure you’re going to thank me for it though. 😉

The first beer that I’m reviewing comes from Bell’s Brewery out of Michigan. I’ve reviewed a few of their beers on here before. They’re the makers of one of my favorite beers ever, the Two Hearted Ale. Just typing that in here makes me want one. Its seriously that good. As I was rummaging through the single serve bottles trying to find a new drink or two to sample for the blog and myself I saw this one. I was immediately intrigued. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a good stout, and it spoke of tart cherries being in there. Sounded like a nice dessert brew. I’ve just immediately thought of some ideas I should try there, how about a cheery stout brownie…. hmmmm, I’ll have to come back to that.

image

The first thing I want you to try to notice, though I sort of blame my picture quality here is the color of this beer. It was simply amazing. It was a really deep brown almost black, with with a super dark red hue to it. It was really a great beer to look at. Immediately I’m sitting there thinking to myself, I’ve got real cherry juice in this thing. The head left a little to be desired as there just wasn’t much to it, but I’m not complaining. The nose had caramels, and chocolate and of course some cherry. As far as the taste this did not let me down in the slightest, it was a really good stout on its own merits, as it had lots of smokey malts, hints of chocolate and coffee and it finished with the tartness of the cherry. They put in just enough hops to balance it out so it wasn’t overly sweet. It really was rather delicious. At 7.0% ABV, I wouldn’t be crushing these back too quickly, but I can tell you that I finished my bottle rather fast. I was really happy with it. I give this beer a very solid 4.5 out of 5.

Now I told you all I’d give you a bonus beer, but you might not be happy with me for doing it… So I also found another beer that intrigued me as being something a little different. This one was a Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale by Wells and Young’s Brewery out of England. Normally I don’t go for the flavored beers, but I was smitten by the idea and figured why the heck not. I’ll tell you why not… Because most flavored beers just don’t work. 🙂

image

It had a nice pour, for an ale it didn’t have much lacing or head to it, the color was definitely a nice burnt caramel. This is where my compliments end. The beer was an average ale at best in that it had some nice malt balance, but no bitterness to it really, so it was all sweet. Additionally the fake caramel flavoring was not very good at all. At least in my opinion it felt too forced and artificial. I don’t even really know how to describe it. It gets a 1 out of 5 from me. I poured it out. Don’t fall into the same trap I did. Stay away.

Have a great week guys. We’re working on some new blog ideas, so please keep coming back.

Sunday Sips: Lucky Buddha by Lucky Drink Company

This week, I’m bringing you all one of the most fun drinks I’ve had in awhile, if only from the sense of the packaging. This is the Lucky Buddha beer by Lucky Drink Company.  This little brew has been staring back at me (literally) for months in the single bottle section at one of my local drink establishments.  This time I’d finally had enough, I couldn’t say no to that giant inviting belly on the bottle.  It was just waiting there to be enjoyed. Look at the bottle, doesn’t that make you want to grab one if nothing else for the novelty factor?

 
Lucky Buddah

As far as the beer itself, I had NO idea what I was getting into with it. There isn’t really any description on the beer, but when looking at it I figured that it must have been a lighter beer because the glass was fairly bright when looking through it. As I cracked the bottle the first thing that I got in the nose was a nice bright almost lime like scent followed immediately by breadiness. Given that I was just looking to drink a beer and not put a lot of thought into it, this kind of made me excited. It was going to be a nice change in pace from the IPAs I’ve been drinking lately. As you can see the pour was crystal clear, a bit of a straw color to it, but it was a lovely golden. (Perhaps I should not be taking my beer pictures on a yellow table? 😉 ) The head was a couple fingers wide and was a really attractive white. I went in for the drink and I’ll tell you that it danced on my tongue a bit, it was nice and refreshing, it had some citrus hints, and it was just well rounded. No distinct flavors jumped out more than another. This is what you would call an Asian Lager. In my mind this was very reminiscent of a bud light lime. I enjoyed the beer, it wasn’t a world changer, but it was pretty darn good and it was nice after a long day of work. Its also something I wouldn’t have a problem ordering up at an Asian restaurant. I’m giving it a solid 3.5 out of 5 on my scale. The last half point bump is simply for its wonderful bottle.

Hope you all have a wonderful week. What’s your go to for beer with Asian food?