Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Just a quick little post brought to you by an average Tuesday evening at my house. I have dabbled in photography for a long time. I am certainly not a professional. Still, I do enjoy breaking out the DSLR and snapping some quality photographs every once in a while. Tonight I felt compelled to capture my two favorite Flat 12 brews. Walkabout Pale Ale and Half Cycle IPA. Then I thought I might as well grab a shot of Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee. All three beer dominate in their own way. After consumption I feel like I need to restock on Walkabout. Good thing I will be visiting the brewery Thursday.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bourbon County Madness

Where were you on Black Friday this year?  If you are a crazy beer geek....chances are you were stalking one or several of your local liquor stores trying to get some of this years Goose Island Bourbon County Stouts.  This year, Goose Island put out their standard Bourbon County Stout (BCS) along with variants such as Barleywine, Coffee, and Backyard Rye...which is aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels with Marionberries, Mulberries, and Boysenberries.

Additionally, if you live in Chicago, there is also a "Proprietors" version that's made with toasted Coconut.  Seriously.  This is the kind of release that gives beer geeks from all over the country a major wallop of blue balls.

I was out of town for Black Friday this year.  In an area of Indiana that doesn't see much of this type of crazy release.  My local shop, the one I've been giving my business to for the last 7 years, decided to host a one day event where they would sell everything they have....well, sort of....I mean they did hold some back for their sweet little raffle.  So that does give people like me a chance to get some from them.

A larger issue.  Many people complain that because ABInbev took over Goose Island that the quality of beer would decrease.  Admittedly, I was one of those people.  I had concerns.  Turns out I was dead wrong.  The ABInbev buyout has made Bourbon County Brand Stout available nationwide.  No way we can complain about that.  Ever.

This release has made the beer world crazy.  People who "hoard" these bottles are crucified for their loot.  People who post photos like these are crushed by the zillions of beer geeks who couldn't get their hands on as much of these limited releases as they would have liked:

The topic of hoarding is tough.  The name of the beer game is advocacy.  Are you truly an "advocate" if you get yourself a couple cases of the coconut BCS that is ridiculously limited?  To me, the answer lies in what you do with your bottles.  Personally, if you are willing to do the work required to get yourself 2 cases of Coconut....I say good for you.  Certainly, the people who fit this description generally do the beer community a favor by sharing these beers with friends and trading partners.  If you hoard and drink everything you have, I cannot in good faith call you an advocate of beer.  But I also have no right to bitch about it.  You did the work.   They are your beers.  They are yours to do with what you choose.  Are you gonna lose sleep over me saying you aren't an advocate of beer?  Probably not.  Does that matter?  Probably not.  In fact....it doesn't matter whatsoever.

Point is.  The beer community is loaded with butthurt.  It's honestly embarrassing at times.  We all see these photos of people on Instagram or Twitter who have loaded up on a special release of a beer.  Instead of butthurt, why can't we just be happy and supportive of people who have done whatever they can to get these beers.  Are they not supporting craft beer by buying what they can?  The vast majority of the people who get a massive stock of these beers end up sharing and trading to others who may have missed out.  Why do we get bent over this?  We end up chastising people who actually do a lot of good for the community.

Bourbon County Coffee is, admittedly, my favorite beer.  Hands down.  There are others that are in my top 5-10 of beers of all time, but Bourbon County Coffee is the beer I would choose to be stranded on a desert island with if I could only choose 1 beer.  So my favorite beer of all time is released once a year.  Am I a bad person for doing whatever I can to get as much of my favorite nectar as possible?  According to many beer geeks I would be.  Which is a shame.  Particularly because I give so much beer to other people. Yes.  By the time I have collected all the Bourbon County Coffee I have acquired I will have totaled about 2 cases of it.  Will I drink all of that?  Definitely not.  Buddies who got shut out, friends, family....they will be given some of the bottles I have worked hard to acquire.  Because I want them to know and experience my favorite craft beer.  GIVEN.  Not asked for anything in return.  Just given.  If I'm a bad person for that.  So be it.

Beer to me is about sharing and enjoying.  I think a lot of people take it a lot more seriously than that.  And for that I think they miss the point.  BTW, you can count on me using Untappd to check in to every Bourbon County Coffee I drink.  Sorry if that gets your panties in a bunch ;-)

Now, if you will excuse me.....I have a Bourbon County Coffee chilling that's probably ready for consumption.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oh Macnivens

The life of a beer drinking father of two can be rough. It's hard to get out. Visiting favorite establishments seems like a chore most days. Every once in a while you get a bone thrown your way. Today is that day. 

Today my work schedule affords me a day off. With several home projects done, there is time to sneak away for a pint. A local bar, Macnivens, advertised tapping Three Floyds Zombie Dust last night and so I ventured down for a pint...or two. 

It's nice to be reminded of the gloriousness that is Macnivens. 24 lines and a hand pull. All filled with a phenomenal variety of local, regional, and specialty craft beers. 

I only get get here a handful of times per year, mostly because of circumstance. But I Love this bar. Classic in design. Loaded with character. Bar staff incredibly friendly and helpful. And the scotch eggs are the best in the city. 

Today they pour Zombie Dust, among others. Been several months since my last draft ZD. Generous 20oz pours and some fries with a taste of Sun King Wet Dream, a citra hopped IPA I am told.  A great start to my afternoon. 

If you have the opportunity, visit this fantastic bar and restaurant on mass ave. You will love it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My First Drive-Thru Liquor Store Experience....

So my wife and I decided to take our boys to Columbus, Ohio for the weekend to celebrate my oldest childs 4th birthday.  He loves animals and we had heard great things about the zoo and aquarium in Columbus.  The drive to Columbus was quite an adventure.  Screaming and whining children consumed a vast majority of the less than 3 hour drive.  Halfway through the trip I mentioned that we left our beer at home and my wife commented that "we didn't plan this very well".  Truth be told, I had planned on not drinking much, if at all, while on this mini-trip.

Upon arrival in Dublin, a suburb of Columbus, I started researching area shops where I could maybe pick up some bottles to share with my wife on saturday night....once the kids were in bed.  I found a few places and decided that after we visited the zoo and aquarium, I would make a quick trip out to get a sixer or two and come back to the hotel.

If you haven't been to the Columbus Zoo, I highly recommend it.  What a fabulous zoo.  But afterwards, I was ready for a beer or two.  So I dropped the fam off at the hotel and went out on a mini-hunt.  I was quite strapped for time, so I only planned on hitting a couple spots.  Sawmill Beverage and Liquor and PJ's Drive Thru.  Sawmill was first, closest, and I hoped would satisfy the need.  However, upon arrival, I found the selection of craft and local beers quite underwhelming.  Only about 2 cooler doors full of craft and nothing all that interesting.

So I bolt quickly and head to PJ's.  Now, let me preface this story by admitting that I know absolutely squat about drive-thru liquor stores.  Having never been to one, it seemed cool to try out, but also a little strange in that I am the type of shopper who likes to browse a bit before buying...especially when I am in a different state.  So I arrive.  As I pull into the parking lot, I notice a couple things immediately.  First, there are many parking spots right in front of the building...which leads me to believe that I can park there.  Second, I see the coolers where all the beer is stored and there is a small path in front, which leads me to believe that I might be able to walk in.  Third, I notice a sign outside the building which indicates "NO ROLLERBLADING OR SKATEBOARDING ALLOWED".  Great.  It doesn't say anything about walking into the store.  That must be allowed...right?

So I park.  I am thinking to myself "I will just browse the selection, find what I might want, and get back in my car and do the drive-thru thing".  The last thing I wanted to do was to have the traffic of the store held up because I wasn't ready to place an order.  So I walk up to the store, right past the attendant, and start looking at the coolers.  Some decent stuff...I have a few interests.  I was browsing for at least 3 minutes outside the cooler when I notice a cooler door.  The door says nothing about employees only, so I walk in to the cooler.  I am in the back and I find 2 sixers of Jackie O's beers.  Amazing.  This is exactly something I would be looking for.  I was in the cooler for about 20 seconds, saw the Jackie O's and I begin to think "great, I'll go get in my car, drive thru and order those sixers" and as I take my first step toward the cooler the door, the attendant of the store storms in and starts screaming at me to...and I quote...."GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY STORE".  He screams at me.  And by screaming I mean screaming.  Now I immediately say "Ok".  I start to try and politely apologize and the screaming just continues.  I mean rage screaming here, and I'm not exaggerating, I wish I were.  He continues to say that I need to get the F out of his store.  As I am exiting the cooler I try to explain to him that I am not from this state and I didn't know how these shops worked.  The screaming continued...it's clear that this guy won't even listen to me...despite how polite I am being.  In a last ditch effort, I ask him if I can please drive-thru and buy beer from him, apologizing again...and I'm told "FUCK OFF".

This was a first for me.  I've never been kicked out of a liquor store.  I've learned that maybe not all drive-thru liquor stores are like this.  Most allow customers to browse around.  Regardless, I was quite shocked by the whole ordeal.  And sadly, I walked away without those sixers of Jackie O's...which stung the most out of this whole thing.

In the end I managed to get some Uinta Hop Notch and a Lambic for the wife.  We had an amazing experience at The Pint Room in Dublin, and I left Ohio feeling quite satisfied.

My question to you is this: is it normal for drive-thru liquor stores to allow people to walk into the cooler and browse before buying?  It's certainly possible that I missed a sign, although I was trying to be quite careful and notice any signage.  Was this guy over-reacting?  I have to reiterate that I was quite polite and apologetic...recognizing that I must have done something wrong here to deserve his rage.  Or do you think that he was just having a bad day?

Fun times in Ohio.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crooked Stave

Just got back yesterday from Colorado, and before I get to my post about my epic trip to Crooked Stave, first you all MUST see this picture of my son Nolan with his very first cousin, Quintin.  Congrats to my sister and brother in-law on this amazing little baby.  What a great visit!!
On to the beer.  Our trip to Colorado was obviously a family driven vacation.  This doesn't mean I would completely shut out beer.  Within a few hours of arriving in Denver I had Pliny the Elder in my glass at Falling Rock Tap House.  For what it's worth, Falling Rock has a great tap selection, but when we were there the bartenders had zero clue what was going on which I found strange.

Anyway, I knew that during this trip I wouldn't have a lot of time for a brewery visit, and so I picked only one to visit.  In Denver I chose Crooked Stave.  I met my friend and trading partner, John, for a few early afternoon beers on Thursday.  Turned out to be a phenomenal visit.  The bartender, Ben, is actually from Illinois, and so we spent a lot of time talking about Midwest beers and such.  If you don't know about Crooked Stave, read up about them here.  Initially I didn't know if I was in the right place. The brewery is in the middle of an industrial park in what looked like an oversized storage unit complex.  Seriously.  Here is the picture of the entrance.

While small, which might be an over-statement, Crooked Stave is putting out massively awesome beers.  Only a few were on tap during my visit, but the Vieille with Motueka hops and Summer St. Bretta stood out as favorites, along with Nightmare on Brett and Razzy Vieille.  I've had a problem in the last year with getting on board with Saisons and Brett beers.  Crooked Stave is the brewery that showed me I could enjoy these styles.  In talking with Ben I also learned that a large amount of their visitors are from the Midwest or outside of the Denver area.  He said that they don't advertise and that a large amount of locals have never heard of them.  Which I can attest to because my brothers in-law live about 3 miles from the brewery and they had no clue what I was talking about.

Ben graciously allowed us to take a stroll through the back, where we saw barrels and foudres and barrels and foudres and Cantillon bottles and fermentation tanks.  It's amazing how many barrels they can store in such a small space.  Here are some pictures of the barrels and such things:

One of the things I found humorous was the picture below.  Ben spoke about how they are pretty much renting this space and one of the signs is explicitly about storage.  Clearly they are breaking rules, which is partly why they are moving soon.
 What a great little bar.  Literally.  The second photo below essentially is the whole view of their taproom.  It's a blurry picture, so I apologize about that, but you get the idea.

 I managed to get 2.5 pours of beer from the tap room, in addition to 2 samples of the Razzy Vieille and Nightmare on Brett.  The Nightmare on Brett was my favorite of the day along with the Summer St. Bretta.  The Saisons were quite lovely.  Bright, smooth, loaded with citrus and just enough funk to make you quiver with joy.  Can't wait for a return trip.  These guys are gonna blow up the beer scene in a matter of years.

I was able to get some proper glassware and several bottles to bring home with me.  Thanks to the staff at Crooked Stave and to my friend, John, for such an incredibly awesome trip!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Visit to Iechyd Da Brewing

Being from Northern Indiana originally I have been really excited to see the growth of Craft beer in that region of the state.  One of the most interesting spots for me has always been Iechyd Da Brewing (pronounced yah-key-DA).  My family frequently travels to Goshen, IN to visit family, and we are generally so busy that I never have time to break away and go on a brewery adventure.  Iechyd Da had been on my "must visit" list for quite some time.  I was finally invited by my buddy Justin to visit this spot on a recent trip to Goshen and we made plans to visit for lunch and some beer tasting.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Elkhart, you can not miss the red and black dragon sign on the outside of the building, which makes this brewery incredibly easy to find.  Admittedly, downtown Elkhart is not the most aesthetically pleasing areas I have explored, but places like Iechyd Da are going to start re-vitalizing the Elkhart scene....I have no doubt.  Upon walking in you find a seating area to the left with some awesome barrel tables by the large windows.  There are also some modern couches and chairs which really gives the patrons a variety of awesome seating options.
To the left you will find a chalkboard listing the food menu and specials, more tables, decorative artwork, and a few high top tables surrounded by bar stools.

As you scan the rest of the room you are immediately drawn to the bar area, which is where we immediately ventured to.  Several barstools surround the L-Shaped bar top.  Plenty of lighting and friendly faces surround you.  The place is quite inviting and comfortable.  It just feels like a great place for fun, food, friends, and of course....beer.

After selecting our seats, maybe the most impressive attraction of the bar was directly in front of us.  The massive wall of Iechyd Da mugs.  Made by a local potter, these mugs are available to Mug Club members only.  I don't have all the details of the Mug Club, but once it has been established, it's become somewhat difficult to gain a new membership.  The mugs are fantastic.  Each one unique and sporting the symbol of the brewery on the front.  The Dragon.  Justin and I spent quite a bit of time discussing the mugs and which ones we liked the best.  Truth be told, I would be thrilled to have any one of them.  But I don't live locally and so membership to this mug club is likely a dream I won't be able to fulfill. :-(  Here is a part of the Mug Wall.

Justin and I ordered a pizza and appetizer to share.  The food was outstanding.  We had stuffed mushrooms that were loaded with sausage and jalapeno's.  The pizza was full of flavor with garlic, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and goat cheese.  I would eat there any day of the week.

However, the most important part of any brewery is the need of good beer.  Again, Iechyd Da exceeded my expectations.  Of course, I have had a couple of their beers via growler samples previously, but on this occasion I felt that I needed to get the full flight of samplers.  My favorites of the flight were: Big Pit Porter- very robust and flavorful porter; Revolution- a solid IPA ; 13-an American Black Ale loaded with complexity; and the best of the bunch was Gumption- a double amber loaded with citra hop deliciousness. All of the beers were on the good to great level....but Gumption was the head of the class without a doubt.

Overall a fantastic outing to a great spot in a recovering economy.  I love what Iechyd Da has brought to downtown Elkhart.  I also purchased a taster glass and a snifter for the road.  I am very much looking forward to a return trip to this brewery.  If only they could fill a growler with Gumption for me to take with me to Dark Lord Day!!  That would be amazing!!

If you haven't been there....stop what you are doing....and go now.  Seriously.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blind Taste Test: Coffee Beers

I love a good game.  Put some beer in that game and I will love it even more.  One of the best ways to have a nice little beer related game is to do a blind taste test.  Had a few buddies over last night and I decided to involve them in a little blind taste test experiment.  I decided to go with coffee flavored stouts/porters and see which beers came out on top and which beers didn't live up to their hype.  The 4 participants had 7 beers to taste.  Each person taking notes as they tasted and some of the results were surprising.  Here is a picture of the beers used for this experiment.  And just in case you don't know them, they are:
Troegs Java Head
Terrapin W-n-B (Formerly Wake N Bake)
Founders Breakfast Stout
Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It
Bells Java Stout
Founders KBS 2013
#46.  This was the wild card beer.  It was a homebrew from a buddy of mine in california.  It was a Breakfast Stout clone.
 Each bottle was placed in a brown paper bag and I poured them all a taste of each beer in separate tasting glasses.  I had them rank each beer in order from their favorite to their least favorite.  Each persons best beer received 7 points all the way down to the least favorite beer which receives 1 point.  So here are the results:

1.  Founders KBS: 28 points.
2.  Bells Java Stout: 23 points.
3.  Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It: 16 points
4. #46: 13 Points
5. Founders Breakfast Stout: 12 Points
6.  Terrapin WNB: 11 Points
7.  Troegs Java Head: 4 points.

It was reassuring that KBS was the clear cut winner of the tasting, which is what I figured would happen.  The big surprise was Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It which was consistently in the top 2 or 3 on everyone's list and it trounced FBS and WNB.  A couple guys remarked that they always pass on Tyranena beers and another guy had never heard of them.  Kudos to my buddy Dave for brewing #46 which edged out FBS in total points.  One of my buddies who participated in this was completely shocked that Breakfast Stout was not in his top beers of the test.  He was convinced prior to the reveal that FBS wasn't in the lineup at all.  His pride was shaken a bit.  The Troegs beer was just ok.  It had a very thin mouthfeel and the flavor was overall disappointing, and it was the clear loser of the bunch.

The tasting was quite interesting.  Sometimes hype, rarity, label, and brewery play into what we think of certain beers.  KBS lived up it's lofty billing.  Terrapin WNB and FBS consistently underperformed despite the hype that surrounds them.  I've consistently stated that Bells Java Stout is one of the best coffee stouts I've tasted and that it doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves.  It finished second overall and showed that it's a powerhouse.  The only beer besides KBS to get 20+ points.

Overall we had a great time.  And of course a bottle share broke out afterwards and here is a pic of the graveyard from the night.
Are you surprised by some of the results from the blind taste test?  Have you ever done something like this before?  What are you experiences with this type of experiment?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quick Sips....Episode 2

It's good to be back for Episode #2 of Quick Sips.  While I haven't posted any specific information about beers I have enjoyed in the past month, it doesn't mean some good drinking hasn't been happening.  It's actually been a great 4 weeks of beer since my last post.  So without further adieu, here are some recent beers that have been tantalizing my palate...

Bells Black Note Stout: This one gets a lot of hype for a couple reasons.  It's bourbon barrel aged, it comes from Bells, and it's hard to come by.  It's also quite good.  For me it is quite smooth and has a great creamy mouthfeel.  The bourbon is present, but subtle.  Nice chocolate, some vanilla tones, and sweet molasses dominate the flavor profile.  An extremely well rounded beer....but...gasp....it's not mind blowing like they hype makes it out to be.  Still a great beer....

Alpine Brewing Pure Hoppiness:  A gift from a beer geek friend of mine. Excellent pine and citrus hops dominate the nose and palate.  Great crisp and clean hop flavors.  One of the better double IPA's I've had.  Alpine knows what they are doing.  Another great beer from these guys.  Some noticeable malt but the pine and citrus flavors are the stars of the show.

I know I've reviewed this before, but Russian River Pliny the Elder was also consumed.  I managed to get bottles from the 1/29/13 bottle run about a week and a half after bottling.  Incredibly fresh.  Hop bombs were definitely dropped on my face hole as usual with super fresh Pliny.  Also took a cool pic using some of my kids Thomas trains.

Earlier I talked about Black Note and how it was not quite mind blowing.  This Russian Imperial Stout from Flat 12 did fit the bill of a mind blowing beer drinking experience.  Pinko aged in 23 year Pappy Van Winkle barrels was one of the best beer drinking experiences I have had.  The depth of flavor in this beer was ridiculous.  I remember molasses, a nice mix of sweet chocolate with a touch of bitter dark chocolate, some subtle charred fruit notes, and a velvety mouthfeel which helps to tame the rich bourbon notes from the Pappy barrel.  This beer was special.  Honestly, in my opinion, it's better than Black Note....and I'm not sure it's close.
 Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout: Another mind blowing beer drinking experience.  BCCS has loads of coffee, some chocolate, some vanilla, and some oak wrapped in a bouquet of rich bourbon.  Definitely a sipping beer at 14% and one I will often take with me to bottle shares to watch other people have their mind blown.  Top notch beer.  Don't think I could ever have enough of it.
Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf: Scorching palates is the objective with this hop monster from Three Floyds.  Mission accomplished.  Loads of citrus hops do in fact leave your palate a hapless victim as this beer just flat out dominates.  This beer doesn't get enough pub in my opinion.  It has some serious legs.  The finish lingers with a punchy bitterness and the dry feel leaves you craving more.  It's ridiculous.  Thanks to Kahns for alerting me to a fresh arrival.....I need more.
I have reviewed Head Hunter from Fat Heads before, but it's worth noting that they recently (like last week) started distributing to Indiana.  An awesome west coast IPA with loads of Pine in the hop profile.  It's a great IPA and definitely one worth buying.  Obviously I'm a fan of buying local, but the only way to keep breweries in Indiana is to buy their stuff.  So go get some Head Hunter.
 Green Flash Palate Wrecker:  Probably one of the prettiest beers I've consumed.  The hops in this beer will destroy your palate in a similar way to Arctic Panzer Wolf.  The finish is ridiculously dry and bitter.  Loads of pine which I expect from a west coast ipa.  Love this one.  Glad my sis sent me some.
 New Glarus Raspberry Tart:  Thanks to Calvin for grabbing me a bottle so that I could share with my wife.  This is liquid raspberry goodness.  This converted me to loving fruit beers that are done well.  Loads of raspberry in this provide a sweetness and a tart finish that make this the perfect dessert beer.
Other beers not pictured:

Williamsburg Alewerks Bitter Valentine: Awesome double IPA thanks to a trade.  Great bitterness.  Tons of awesome hop flavors.  Subtle booziness and warming down the throat.  Lovely beer.

Flat 12 Bleeding Heart IPA:  One of my favorite local beers of all time.  Half Cycle infused with blood oranges.  The blood orange is the star of the show giving intense citrus flavors with the lovely bitterness from Half Cycle.  This is world class.

What are some beers you have enjoyed in the past few weeks?


Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Baking with Beer Experiment

Last week when discussing what meals we would have in the coming weeks, I mentioned to my wife that I could make chili and that I would like to use beer as an ingredient.  I immediately received the bitter beer face response that was popular in those old school Keystone Light commercials.  She was not supportive of the idea.  I believe her exact words were "that's gross, you can't use beer as an ingredient".

Now I am a firm believer that beer can add many levels of awesome to food.  So I was determined to prove to her that beer can certainly be used in cooking.  This week being Valentines Day, I knew I would be looking to make some sort of dessert when I stumbled upon a recipe for Pots de Creme, a French custard.  This would be perfect and simple to do.

6 Eggs
6 ounces of your favorite stout or porter.  For this I used Founders Breakfast Stout.
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
6 Ounces bittersweet chocolate.
The first step is to simmer the beer and sugar using a very small saucepan.  Reducing the amount of liquid to about 3 ounces, or a little less than half a cup.  Once complete, you will have a nice syrup that is liquid glory. I then chilled the mixture by putting the saucepan over ice.
The next step is to take a medium sized saucepan and simmer the milk and whipping cream.  Once it is bubbly, take it off the heat and add the chocolate.  Whisk until smooth.

Go back and check to make sure your syrup has cooled sufficiently and add your beaten eggs to the syrup and mix well.

By this time your chocolate mixture has cooled a little bit and so now you can slowly whisk the egg/syrup mixture into the chocolate mixture.  Continue whisking to combine everything nicely.

Pour the mixture through a fine strainer, so that any foam is left behind.  I poured it through a strainer into a small pitcher.  Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes.  Then pour the chocolate mixture into 6 Ramekins, up to the 3/4C mark or a little above.  Place foil over each Ramekin and place them in a baking dish.  Fill the baking dish with hot tap water to about halfway up the Ramekins.

Place in a 325 degree oven and bake for about 1 hour.  These took about 1 hour and 10 minutes for me to finally set.  Remove the Ramekins from the baking dish, let them cool a little and then place them in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

 When you are ready to serve, put a small bit of whipped cream on top and shave some semi-sweet chocolate over the top of the dessert.  Serve and enjoy!

I served this to my wife, not telling her that there was beer in it.  She loved it.  She was quite surprised by beer being an ingredient, but that didn't stop her from asking for more!

What are some of your favorite beer infused dishes?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quick Sips...Episode 1

So one of the changes I decided to make this year was to implement a quick beer review segment that I call "Quick Sips".  This will give me the chance to write about multiple beers, quickly, in one article.  So without further adieu, this is Quick Sips....Episode 1.

First up is Sixpoint Diesel.  The name make you think this will be similar to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but it doesn't come close.  It's actually quite light in the mouthfeel, and dark brown in color, which I expected the beer to be pitch black and viscous.  The beer has an excellent roast to it and is quite smooth and drinkable.  It really borders on a Porter though, to me.  Nevertheless, it's quite good and I recommend trying it.

Next is Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout.  To my knowledge this is a newly bottled beer from Odell.  Thanks to my buddy John for the bottle.  Massive chocolate is all over this beer.  Huge roast with a nice, but not overpowering, milky sweetness.  The beer finishes with a touch of bitter roasted chocolate which compliments the entire beer nicely.  Was hoping this would be a little creamier in mouthfeel but was on the lighter side.  Still, an enjoyable beer that I would gladly have again.

Third on the list is Terrapin Hopsecutioner.  I had this beer for the first time in South Carolina prior to my best friend's wedding.  Recently my dad grabbed me a few bottles during a trip to Florida.  This one was best by 2/2013 so it's nearing the end of it's freshness cycle.  Still, the massive pine and citrus hops were present but with more of a malt presence than I remember in September.  This is close to scorching your palate, but doesn't quite get there.  Incredibly tasty fresh....just like most IPA's.

Fourth and Fifth are a pair of beers from Kona Brewing Company, which recently started distribution in Indiana.  The Pipeline Porter has a really great massive coffee aroma and hits you immediately with coffee...but then fades into oblivion.  There just isn't much behind it.  Some decent roasted malt notes and some caramel sweetness, but the finish is lackluster.  Same can be said about the Fire Rock Pale Ale.  Lacking in hops, the malt profile is more prominent and there just isn't much to it.  A far cry from what I remember when I had it the first time in 2007 while on a guys trip to Dallas to see DMB.

Sixth is Rye Da Tiger from Three Floyds.  What an amazing beer.  Loaded with citrus and floral hops with a nice rye presence which adds spiciness and depth.  Crushes your palate with a bouquet of awesome flavor.  I need to get more of this and am happy Floyds made this their annual December release.

Last on the list, but certainly not least, is another beer from Terrapin.  Wake N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout, now known as W-N-B due to naming rights issues.  Thanks to a different John for this one.  Huge coffee aroma and flavor with one of the slickest mouthfeels I've had from an oatmeal stout.  Contrary to what people may think, the Oats don't add any flavor, they are primarily added to thicken the mouthfeel, and this one succeeds.  Often compared to Founders Breakfast Stout, which I disagree with the comparison.  FBS has a large chocolate component that WNB doesn't have.  Both are massive coffee beers, but WNB should be compared to other straight coffee stouts, like Bells Java.  Still, WNB is near the top of the list of coffee beers I have had.  A very nice treat....happy I have another.

So that's 7 beer stops on this Quick Sips tour.  Looking forward to doing this again soon.