Two Idiots' Guide To Beer

We like beer, not big words.

Archive for the category “Beer Reviews”

Wild Blue (Anheuser-Busch)

Every once in a while, you get the desire for something a little different. You love your usual, but you kinda want to change it up a bit. You want to stroll up to your beer isle, take a look around, and pick up something that you aren’t quite sure about, but what the heck, you’ll give it a shot. Maybe you want something that isn’t too dark. Maybe you want something that has a little fruit in it. Maybe you wanna anonymously send us a nice big check for being awesome.  That is what we were thinking a few days ago. We had been on a bit of a dark beer binge, and we needed something a little refreshing. Plus, the day of feasting was arriving, and we needed something that would go well. So we strolled into our nearest Central Market, took a look at the shelves, and found today’s beer. Are you intrigued?

A Bottle of Wild Blue

The Blue Bull Dog on the front gives it a bit of street cred.

Wild Blue
(Anheuser-Busch)
8.0 % Alc/vol

This blueberry lager stared at us, beckoning us to drink it. So we did. We drank all of it.

Jen: At first, it tastes a little bit like a blueberry soda. Then, after you swallow, you get a hint of beer taste. What I mean is that malty aftertaste that many people get while drinking a beer. The flavor is very relaxed. It is a good beer to drink while hanging out; It is very drinkable, no sipping like some of the other beers we have reviewed. I like it. The blueberry flavor isn’t too strong, but neither is it hoppy. However, I can see this as a beer that not everyone will enjoy. Not in a “people will hate it way.”  More like some people just…. won’t care for it. But I do care for it.

A nice cherry-colored head

You are staring into it, And It is staring at you.

James: Usually beers flavored with fruit can feel like taking a risk. Frequently (though this blog shows, not always), they are syrupy and chemical flavored. This beer is just sweet enough to be enjoyable, but not cloying. There is no hops taste at all and only the slightest hint of malt at the end of each sip.While no one will become passionate devotees of this one, it’s mature and respectful treatment of my taste buds makes me respect it as a good fruit beer and not some over sweet woo-juice.

A Frosty Glass of Wild Blue

It looks a lot darker than it tastes.

So overall, we enjoyed this beer. It is good for when you want a sweet pick-up. Or if you want  something a little different, but not a crazy intense different.  Give it a shot, and let us know what you think! Kanpai!

Duchesse De Bourgogne (Brouwerij Verhaeghe)

This is an exciting post for us. Today we bring you a beer we are very fond of. We have visited a style of sour before, with the Kriek by Lindemans. However, another very popular style of sour is the Flanders Red Ale. This, once again, is a Belgian style. The difference is that the Flanders Red Ale uses other types of bacteria-most commonly the Lactobacillus. If that name sounds familiar to you, you might remember it from your yogurt container. It is a red ale because it uses a red malt in making it. Also, sometimes older batches are mixed with younger ones to give it a bit of dimension. In fact, when you Wikipedia Flanders Red Ale, today’s beer is mentioned as a notable example! So lets get to it!

The Best

Fancy Sounding, Fancy Tasting!

Duchesse De Bourgogne

(Brouwerij Verhaeghe)

6% Alc/vol

Pronounced Duchess deh Boor-gone

 This beer was named after Duchess Mary of Burgundy. The bottle brags of world-acclaim, and we can’t say we doubt them.

A Glass of  Duchesse

Looks suspiciously like soda, but we promise, it’s beer.

 Jen: I love, love, love this ale. My very first sour was a Flanders Red. I can’t get enough of this beer. This dark, mahogany beer is firstly super tart. Your jaws clench as you sip. It does have a very malty undertone, but it is almost difficult to pick up. It also leaves a malty aftertaste. It is slightly fruity, but that is almost an afterthought. You know the fruity is there, but it isn’t the main flavor of this beer. This beer is really complex. It almost has a wine-quality to it. There is zero bitterness to it, which I think makes me like it even more. But seriously, I love this beer. Then again, sours are my favorite kind of beer, and I haven’t found one I didn’t like.

The Duchesse of this beer

Jen makes an eerily similar face when we get this beer.

James: On the first taste, this beer will weird you out. You will expect certain taste based on the smell, color, etc. I urge you to follow one simple suggestion: sip it 3 times. The first time will be so strange, you will consider throwing it out. DON’T DO THAT! It is sweet,salty, savory, and fruity all at once. The mere fact that all these flavors exist together simultaneously is a remarkable feat. Your first sip:You will wrinkle your nose and look at it; It’s flavor weird and unexpected: salty, but fruity. Second sip:  You can taste a more defined flavor like a sweetened grapefruit. By the third sip you will be in love and demanding those around you try it as well, setting off a chain reaction similar to nuclear fission, only drunker.

Artsy Fartsy

We leave you with Jen’s attempt at an artsy photo.

So yes, we highly suggest this beer. We usually get the pints, which run us around $12. They also come in convenient 4 packs. We have had people in the store stop by us to tell us what a great choice we have made. When we see it in the store, it’s a must-have item. So give it a shot. If you have never had a Flanders Red, this is a great beer to see what it’s about. If you are already fond of sours, we think you will appreciate it as much as we do. A votre sante!

Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (Boulevard Brewing Company)

Ah, Farmhouse Ales. The name is reminiscent of that musky horse smell, hay under your feet, and heat that sticks to your skin; Doesn’t sound very palatable, does it? Well, shake all thoughts of disgusting out of your pretty little head. How about I give you a fancier name? Does saison make you feel better? Good. Now we can get to business. Farmhouse Ales ( or “saison“- pronounced say-sohn ) at one point were brewed in a farmhouse. They were brewed in autumn and winter and stored until late summer, so the farmers would have something to drink during the harvest. These days, they are brewed whenever, and wherever the brewer chooses to keep them. They come from the French speaking part of Belgium, but they are 100% awesome. And isn’t that all that counts? So lets explore our latest Belgian adventure, shall we?

Tank 7

Even the label looks rustic and farm-y.

Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Boulevard Brewing Company
8.0% Alc/vol

We picked up this straw-colored ale at a local grocery store, on a whim. We were thirsty, and it was there. Our previous experience with Boulevard Brewing Company went pretty well, so we trusted them enough to give them another shot. Did they earn our trust a second time?

A Glass of Tank 7

That wasn’t a bad pour, it really has that much head.

Jen: The first thing that hits you when you pour a glass is that it has a very hoppy smell. I’m not particularly fond of beer with strong hops in them, so I was a little weary. When you take a sip, it firsts tastes very sharp, with a hint of citrus. Not like an orange or lemon flavor; It just has a very citrus-like quality to it. It kind of tingles your nose too. There is also a spicy a spicy taste to it, but when you are swallowing you get a kick of bitterness at the end. It is similar to an Indian Pale Ale, only I like this.

Like Two Beer Testicles.

We “reluctantly” put this beer to the test.

James: One neat quality of this beer is that the flavors hit you in waves. The first thing you are aware of is the menthol-yness of the hops, and the spicy undertones. As it rolls over your tongue (my pretentious alarm is ringing), you can literally taste the beer change in a matter of seconds. The impressive malty after tones is a pleasant surprise to those who don’t like being bludgeoned over the head with hops. Unlike Jen, I don’t taste any citrus but it does have a light,. dry quality to it. Long story short, this beer set us to arguing over who got to finish the bottle.

This beer really surprised us. We figured it wouldn’t be terrible, but we liked it a lot more than we thought we would. Also, an interesting find was that we each tasted different things than the other while we were drinking it. This is a year round beer, so if you are feeling for something a little heavier on the hops than usual, but not as much as say, an IPA, give it a shot! Sláinte!

Kriek (Brouwerij Lindemans) Tastes like Spontaneity!

This time, we have cheated. Yes, shameful, I know. We deliberately picked a beer we are both intimately familiar with and feel needs more street cred. How will we live with ourselves? Pretty easily in fact. It’s frickin great.

Lindeman’s is a family owned brewery operating in the countryside south of Brussels in Belgium. Known around the world for their Lambic beer, they have an amazingly high quality product and you should feel ashamed if you have never heard of them. Lambics, are a family of beers (almost always flavored with fruit) that are brewed by exposing the mash or pre-fermented beer to the open air so it can make use of the wild yeast that exists naturally in the region. Coupled with hops that have been allowed to age and loose that almost piney taste most beers rely on, the end result is a sweet-sour marvel of balanced flavor that will almost literally force you to smile. This beer is one that I’m equally comfortable buying for myself or bringing along to almost any social event. No one in the history of ever has tasted this beer and said to me, “Naah, I’m just not into it.” It comes in several flavors; I can highly recommend the raspberry, but for the sake of brevity, tonight we are taste-scussing the cherry or Kriek.

Image

It’s so FANCY!

Brouwerij Lindemans 

Kriek (Cherry)

3.5% alchohol/vol

The real reason Germany keeps invading Belgium.

Jen: It has a very sweet start but it makes your jaws clench when you take a sip once the tart flavor comes through. The cherry flavor isn’t overpowering but it doesn’t have that beer taste. It almost tastes like carbonated black cherry kool-aid with less syrupy sweetness and more of a tart kick you usually come to associate with a good cider.  This is one I could drink a lot of, also there are no off flavors that come in some sour beers. 10/10 would drink again, now give me your glass.

Image

No Comment Necessary

James: Cherries. Cherries are what bring us together today. Cherries, that dream within a dream- ok, I’ll drop the extended reference. The point I want to drive home is that when drinking this even the most poised and iron willed person will have to suppress the urge to shout ‘OMG CHERRY WOOOH!’ I did it, Jen did it. Even my father had to struggle with the impulse. Where can I even begin? we usually write to try and describe the many different comings and goings of flavor in the beer we try but this is just simple, perfect and refreshing. It doesn’t even taste like a beer. Zero pine needley overtones that you get from hoppier variations of ales and lagers.  I strongly recommend it to those among you who are on the fence about this whole crazy thing we call beer.  Sweet, tangy, so full of flavor your mouth will feel like it’s cramping into a smile. And oh dear sweet lord…the cherries.

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‘Insert Angelic Chorus’

So overall, We love it. We really, really love it. Go buy it. Now. Slainte!

Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery)

Everyone should try a Stout at least once. It puts some hair on your chest. Stouts are known for being dark and heavy, such as Guinness, and the more infamous Old Rasputin. Of course, not everyone likes them, but you should definitely try one. There are many different styles (like most beers): Irish, Imperial, Milk, Porter, Baltic Porter, the list goes on. So if you have never tried one, do your self a favor. Go to the closest store, and pick up a Guinness. We suggest Guinness, because you will be hard pressed to find a place that sells beer, and doesn’t sell Guinness. Also, it is a pretty solid stout, for what our opinion is worth. And if you don’t care about our opinion, what are you doing reading this blog?

So, all this talk of stouts brings us to our latest beer trial:

The Jazz of Beer

Apparently, this is what revolutionary Jazz tastes like.

Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew

(Dogfish Head Craft Brewery)
9% Alc/vol

A blend of Imperial stout, honey beer, and gesho root.

This dark, dark beer was inspired by famous jazz musician Miles Davis. From what he hear, he was a pretty chill guy, and his music created several sub-types of jazz. Now we aren’t music critics (or this blog would very, very confusing), but something has to be said about being so cool one of your albums gets turned into beer. So what does genre-changing taste like?

It looks like deliciousness, that’s for sure.

Jen: This beer is very heavy. It has really nice coffee flavors; they are almost an afterthought. As far as Imperial Stouts go, it’s one of the best I’ve had. I’m not really a huge Imperial stout lover, so that is saying something about this beer. But if I was in the mood, I might pick this baby up. It is not something I’d drink on a regular basis though.

James: In order to really enjoy this beer, you need to have a pretty big sweet tooth. Like most stouts, it sits very heavy on the tongue. There is an excellent undercurrent of coffee flavors.  It is a lot like a good dark chocolate- sweet and dark, but not really bitter or with any off-putting flavors. So, if you like dark chocolate, you will like this. If not- then you probably won’t.

Our over-all opinion on this brew is pretty simple: This is a great Imperial stout  (even though it isn’t pure stout), but don’t expect to see it as a constant in our beer stash.

If you want to see what the music is that lead to this brew:

RYE-ON-RYE ( Boulevard Brewing Company)

As should be obvious by now, we like beer. However, there comes a time when you want a little some special. Something that gives you flavors beyond your wildest dreams, or a buzz that leaves you reeling the next day. Who are we to judge? There are an endless amount of choices to fulfill this desire. Do you want the sweet tang of tequila, the bold spices of rum, or the simplicity of vodka? For us, there is little that beats the sweet, earthy flavor of a good whiskey. Goes down smooth, and only the coolest people drink it in movies and TV. Which brings us to today’s entry. We present to you:

*Special Limited Release Ale*

The thumbprints on the glass go to show how quick we were to try it.

   Rye-on-Rye *Special Limited Release Ale*
by Boulevard Brewing Company
(33% ale, 67% ale aged in rye whiskey barrels)
11.0% Alc/vol

Whoa. This 9.4 oz bottle packs quite a punch.  As you can see, it has nice dark, brown ale color, and the head (foamy stuff on top) isn’t too shabby either.

Delicious

Just makes us thirsty looking at it.

Lets get into the important part, the taste. We are going to break it down by giving our opinions separately.

Jen: The first thing you notice about this beer when drinking it is how smooth it goes down.  It really does kind of slide over your tongue.  The first taste is that of a strong, dark ale.  The malt flavor is good, and it doesn’t have that overly hoppy taste. Immediately after that comes the whiskey. There really is a strong whiskey taste. It’s not a beer I would drink often though. I honestly didn’t think it would go well together, but the flavor makes me like it. It demands it be enjoyed, and I’m okay with that.

James: I really want to focus on the whiskey flavor. I enjoy the ale quite a bit, but this whiskey flavor isn’t your Jack Daniels flavor. It’s good, strong, and sweet, but it highlights the ale flavor instead of overpowering it. It is very rich. As a dark beer and whiskey enthusiast, I strongly recommend you try it. Not for the weak of livers.

So overall opinion, It’s a good, solid ale; It’s not an everyday ale. This is a beer you sit down and sip like whiskey, and best room temperature, from a glass. We are not quite sure how “limited” this limited addition is though, so if you want to give it a shot, you might want to go ahead and pick one up. Cheers!

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