Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Ass Wipes For All!

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale Label


Beer Reviewed: Hop Stoopid Ale
Style: Ale

Discovery

So, it’s been a while since I posted, and I’ve been eager to get back to it. My schedule has been crazy for a few months (read: Work), but I think it’s settling down for a while and I’ve got a lot of new beers I’m excited to be drinking.

Working in a salt mine


During a recent beer drinking day (yes, I think day drinking is fun), we were sitting around discussing the deep questions of existence, and in the middle of this existential rap session, one question was raised that deserved immediate analysis and resolution:

How do morbidly obese people wipe their asses?

Yes, I run with an intellectual crowd, as is obvious, so the analysis commenced. My immediate response was a memory of a Simpson’s episode where a rag on a stick was the tool for a quick cleanup. While the Simpsons is certainly realistic, we need to see actual confirmation of this assertion, so off to google image search. I was happy to find that should my life turn out differently, the Comfort Wipe will be there to save the day.

Comfort Wipe


This is good news for the larger girthed members of our community, and if I could add, I think this is why the terrorists hate us. Ass Wipes for all!

Now, on to the beer...

The Beer

Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. The brewery put this Ale at a 102 IBU rating, which is damn high. On The Hitchens Taste Scale, but would put this closer to a +5. It is hoppy, but enjoyable.
  2. The alcohol content is 8% Alc/Vol. A bit high, but not ridiculous.
  3. I would put the color at about a 13 on the Lovibond scale, which is a beautiful golden color that is consistent with a double IPA.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma is very hoppy, as you might imagine, with citrus notes and a deeper caramel nose.
  2. The flavor is bold. The deep flavor that you pick up in the nose is supported by the tongue. Also, when I’ve been trying these hoppy flavors, I’ve been noticing that it isn’t so much bitter, but a deeper flavor that isn’t off-putting in some beers, like this one. This flavor is deep and complex, and not a shock to the system.
  3. Aftertaste doesn’t seem to last long. It rests in the back of your mouth and quietly walks away. I wish some people did.
  4. The mouthfeel is not bright. It’s more subtle and drifts away quickly.
  5. The carbonation is prevalent. The bubbles are tiny and the head sticks around for quite some time. The beer is clear enough to see a consistent stream coming up from the bottom of the glass.
  6. I think the temperature should be cold, but a little warmer would be good as well. Outside on a hot day, this would really hit the spot.

Recommendation

I’ve quickly become a big fan of Lagunitas and this is another of their offerings that I’ve enjoyed and highly recommend. I think this is the last Lagunitas I have in the fridge, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for any new ones I find, and I’ll share it with you here!

- Enthusiast

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lagunitas IPA Maximus Ale


Getting A Little Loose!


Lagunitas Maximus IPA Label

Beer Reviewed: IPA Maximus
Style: IPA

Discovery


As a little behind the scenes, let me tell you that I wasn’t planning on reviewing this IPA as my next offering from Lagunitas. I won’t spoil the suspense by telling you which one it was, but I let my enjoyment get away from me last week and I polished off my stash somewhat unexpectedly.

We had a little event in the neighborhood. The details aren’t important, but the effect was a total power outage for most of the evening. That meant no internet, TV or phone, which really impacted my evening. I had already started on a couple of beers while watching Fanboys with the family, and when that happened, I just kept drinking for entertainment. Then, the neighbors were chatting up our front lawn, which was nice, but it also kept me with a beer in my hand and offering my remaining stash to others. It’s the right thing to do.

I was happy to reconnect with the neighbors, but I wish I had more to offer them. I’m worried I came off as cheap, but the reality is I ran out and I couldn’t run out to get more because a) my condition and b) the giant tree blocking my driveway, which knocked out the power.

I think the lesson here is twofold. Pay more attention to my consumption as to not let the day get away from you, and always keep a larger stash on hand to keep others happy and imbibing.

Now, on to the beer...

The Beer


Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. The IBU rating on the bottle indicates a 59 rating, which seems low for a beer focusing on maximum hops, but as I’ve discussed previously, when you get up in the 80s, 90s and 100, the hoppiness dulls and it isn’t really bitter anymore. The Hitchens Taste Scale would put this at a +4
  2. The website and the label are in agreement that the alcohol content is 8.2% Alc/Vol, which seems a bit stiff.
  3. The color is a honey, amber and I would put this IPA at about a 13 on the Lovibond scale, which is a aligned with a double IPA.
Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma has a bright and enjoyable citrus, but it doesn’t seem to have the Tangerine like the basic IPA from Lagunitas.
  2. The flavor is not as hoppy and bitter and I was expecting. I consider that a good thing because I don’t appreciate the craft beer tendency to think super-hoppy is great. I’m referring to you Dogfish Head! The confusing part is on their website, there is a quote that reads: “Flavor so hoppy it threatens to remove the enamel from one’s teeth.”. Possibly a bit misleading, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless.
  3. The aftertaste seems to carry the hops through, albeit not very long, but there is some additional complexity that is pleasing.
  4. The mouthfeel is unremarkable. Typical IPA tingle and trails off quickly.
  5. The carbonation leads with a great head and a consistent stream of bubbles.
  6. The temperature probably has a bit of range, but my preference is colder, especially with the higher alcohol content.

Recommendation


I quite enjoyed this beer and it was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting some ridiculously hoppy beer that burns on the way down (exaggerating), but this is an enjoyable IPA with only a slightly more hoppy taste. This is my second (reviewed) IPA from Lagunitas and it’s a great continuation of the string. Go try some!

- Enthusiast


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lagunitas IPA


With a Side of Anticipation






Beer Reviewed: IPA
Style: India Pale Ale


Discovery


So this is going to be a string of reviews that I’m pretty excited about. I’ve been hearing people talk about how much they like beer from Lagunitas, and I had a chance to try one on tap, although I’m not sure which beer it was. I enjoyed it so much that I was looking for the time to devote to a number of their offerings, and now is that time.






Anticipation is a great thing, and it especially satisfying when it pays off. Although probably not as important of an event as others in my past, I have developed an increased level of satisfaction with the finer things in life, albeit simpler things. This falls into the category of a simple joy in life, but a joy nonetheless.


You know how I love videos, and the folks at Lagunitas don’t disappoint. What this and you’ll learn many things, including that Lagunitas is the #1 IPA in California:





Now, on to the beer...


The Beer



Beer characteristics


Quantitative parameters of beer character


  1. The Hitchens Taste Scale, being the flexible and informative scale that it is, would suggest this is at about a +3 on the bitterness. Not too harsh but it’s noticeable.
  2. The website and the label are in agreement that the alcohol content is 6.2% Alc/Vol.
  3. I would put the color at about a 13 on the Lovibond scale, which is a little darker than expected. Additionally, this has a surprising level of clarity that speaks to the attention to details that I respect. Also, no spent sugar and yeast at the bottom of the bottle, unlike other California IPAs that pissed me off.


Qualitative parameters of beer character


  1. Like a good IPA, the aroma is the great, expected and enjoyable citrus nose reminiscent of tangerines.
  2. Flavor is hoppy and tangy. It doesn’t blow you away, but rather has a nice balance that is enjoyable in it’s mellow Cali lifestyle. OK, I’m projecting my thoughts about California a bit here, but I would guess that was their early target market, so it probably isn’t too far off.
  3. Aftertaste seems to have a bit of tannin drying out the mouth. Makes you want to drink more to ironically quench your thirst. Interestingly (to me at least) the aftertaste has a sour note, like grapefruit. I don’t mean that as a negative, rather an interesting nuance that aligns well with the citrus nose. It completes the arc from aroma to aftertaste.
  4. The mouthfeel is bright and tingly, and as is typical with the citrusy IPA, it clears out of the mouth very quickly.
  5. The carbonation had a good initial head that lasted a little bit. There is also a constant stream of bubbles from a single point in the bottom of the glass. Pretty much what you’d hope for.
  6. I think the temperature should stay cold. The brightness of the hops and the citrus flavors are best cold and may be a little off putting at a warmer temperature. Leave it on ice until the last minute!



Recommendation



It really does make me happy when I’m eagerly anticipating a beer from a new brewery (new to me), and it meets or exceeds my expectations. This is a great IPA for people who like interesting flavors, but not a painful amount of hops. I’m looking forward to the coming days of trying other beers from Lagunitas!


- Enthusiast

P.S. why are my colors all fouled up? Stupid Google!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Clown Shoes Eagle Claw Fist


Kung Fu is not Karate!




Style: Amber Ale
Brewery: Clown Shoes Beer, which was brewed at Mercury Brewing Company.

Discovery


This is my last review of a Clown Shoes beer for this arch, and I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge what is pretty obvious: these labels are so crazy that they’re driving me to think and write about issues and ideas that have nothing to do with beer. I hope that is at least a little entertaining, but let me know if you want me to go more in-depth on two-row malt or cascade hops. I can, but this is more fun!

So, this label reminds me of various self-defense related issues and ideas I’ve had over the years, and this is a perfect place to vent it. First is my problem with the Karate Kid. I loved the original movie with the perfect movie archetypes of the wise old mentor, the aran-esque antagonist and the hot, albeit slightly thick love interest. A perfect movie, I would proclaim. Now let’s compare the original with the remake a couple years back. The ideation, planning and execution of this steaming pile of shit was a failure from jumpstreet, and let me count the ways:

  • Will Smith’s kid is not an actor, he’s the son of an actor, so stop buying roles for him to play. In the words of Daniel Tosh, throw Jazzy Jeff some work, I’m pretty sure he’s homeless.
  • Jackie Chan is no Pat Morita. He’s not an actor, he’s not wise beyond his years and he’s just kind of irritating. When you see Pat Morita’s arch across  M.A.S.H., Happy Days and as Mr. Miyagi, as well as his tons of other roles, it staggers in comparison. On a similar note, you can’t have a Karate kid without John Kreese.
  • Lastly and most importantly, Kung Fu is not Karate! Would it be so hard to get someone who is Japanese and not Chinese for the lead role? Is it all about the Asian box office? Is Jackie Chan the go-to Asian actor?

Must the great and influential movies of my youth be sullied by Will Smith’s desire to give his son a career, and Hollywood not understanding the differences in Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu and Vovinam Viet Vo Dao?

I need to drown my sadness, so let’s get onto the beer...


The Beer


Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. The brewery provides an IBU rating on the label of 100, but I will use The Hitchens Taste Scale, and rate this at +5. Interestingly, I was just reading about how humans can’t distinguish between IBU ratings above 60, I’d say this is just gratuitous as the higher IBU usually results in a dulling of the bitter flavor.
  2. This label indicates this Amber Ale has a 8% Alc/vol. This seems a little high, and the taste is a little boozey, but it’s overshadowed by the bitterness.
  3. The color is cloudy and amber, but maybe a little more brown than red. Relying on the handy SRM, I would put this at a 18.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma is bright and citrusy. It is reminiscent of Cascade hops, but their website indicates Simcoe, Centennial and Citra hops.
  2. The flavor is ‘rounded’ if that makes sense. Strong hops, but not the brightness I typically like. It’s a little dulled by the strong hops.
  3. The mouthfeel is likewise a bit dull. It’s back-of-the-throat flavors that just seem to hang around.
  4. Carbonation is pretty strong. The initial pour generated a strong head and there is a steady stream coming up from the bottom of the glass.
  5. The temperature should be colder. I don’t think you want this to open up in the warmer temperatures, but that’s just my tastes coming out.

Recommendation


I must admit this is not my favorite. The bright citrus nose would make an enjoyable amber ale, but the overly hoppiness seems to focus more on what they can do, rather than what they should do. I might keep looking at some of the other offerings from Clown Shoes.

- Enthusiast

Monday, May 6, 2013

Clown Shoes Brown Angel


Let’s Hear it for Sexual Chocolate.


Clown Shoes Brown Angel

Beer Reviewed: Brown Angel Brown Ale
Style: Double Brown Ale
Brewery: Clown Shoes Beer, which was brewed at Mercury Brewing Company.

Discovery


So there are times when the meaning behind the brewers beer names are obvious and evoke specific imagery that add to the enjoyment of the beer and provide some insight into where the brewer’s head is it. Poor grammar aside, this is not one of those times.

When I look at the picture on the label, read the description, and try to get a sense what they’re trying to do, I have to admit I come up a little short. I think they’re going for a 70’s style strong willed woman of color, perhaps like a character in a blacksploitation movie, so I’m going to go with that.

Most recently in my movie going experience, I would have to say that Beyonce’s role in the Austin Powers movie was the strongest recent example I have. She was sassy, sexy and beautiful. This is everything you want in a female protagonist and she executed it perfectly. too bad the movie was a piece of shit.

Beyonce Goldmember

Another character and actress that fits into that genre that I was a fan of was Pam Grier’s performance in Foxy Brown. That was a much better movie and her performance was strong. Oddly, I’m a little young to have seen her earlier work during the time it originally came out, but her recreation of her character Coffy had depth and nuance that you probably didn’t see in the earlier 70’s era movies.

Pam Grier as Coffy

I could go on and on about Shaft, Superfly, Cleopatra Jones and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, but instead I would suggest you just poke around at some great Pam Grier images and let’s get onto the beer...

The Beer


Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. For bitterness, the brewery provides an IBU rating of 40, but I will use The Hitchens Taste Scale, and rate this at about a -2 because of the sweetness.
  2. This time the website and the label agree that this Ale has a 7% Alc/vol. This is typical for a craft beer, and I’m expecting something nicely balanced.
  3. The color is very dark brown with a lovely tan head. Relying on the handy SRM, I would put this at a 20, which is consistent for a brown ale.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma is chocolatey. Not Sexual Chocolate, but a nice bitter cocoa.
  2. The flavor is brighter than I was expecting, and the chocolate flavor is ever present.
  3. The aftertaste is tingley and lively. I am surprised that such a dark ale is as bright as this ale.
  4. The mouthfeel is bright, and a little hoppy. Considering the toastiness of this beer, the brightness is a bit noteworthy.
  5. Carbonation is noticeable in that the head hung around long after the pour, but the beer is so dark, I can’t tell if there is ongoing bubbling. The brightness of the mouthfeel  suggests solid carbonation is lingering.
  6. The temperature should be cold because it adds to the effervescence and I believe makes it more enjoyable.

Recommendation

I really like this beer. I was expecting a dark, heavy ale, but like the ladies I mentioned above, this beer is bright and sassy. Get some and maybe listen to the theme from Shaft on the way and I’m sure you’ll feel like a bad MFer!

- Enthusiast