Friday, October 25, 2013

CBF (Craft Beer Friday)

Friday again.  Where does the time go?  Well, as long as it's Friday, I might as well enjoy another fine craft beer.

Today's beer is from Devil's Backbone Brewery Company out of Lexington, VA.  The beer, Eight Point IPA.  The deer-themed label depicts a timid buck sipping from a pond--but this is no timid beer.

Not to argue the minutiae, but I almost want to call this an APA (American pale ale, as opposed to an India pale ale) because it was not only made here in the US, but IPAs should be more bitter and have a higher ABV than APAs, but the lines can blur.  This beer tends towards an APA.

Anyway, back to Eight Point IPA.

The beer poured a clear, deep golden color with decent head and nice lacing.  Big aromas came right away.  There is a citrus odor masking a bready, doughy scent.  It is quite pleasant.  The beer is immensely drinkable at 5.9% ABV.

The grapefruit-like taste melds well with the consistent bitterness that is typical of this beer style.  There is a nice balance of carbonation as well, easily noted as the bitter fruit taste remains even after the beer is empty.

If you try and like Eight Point IPA, I would suggest Devil's Backbone's Vienna Lager.  It was the first beer I had from DB and it is also a very good beer.

And if you try both beers and like them, go to the DB site and buy something, or send them some love.  I especially like the shirt that reads "Nelson County, Va.  More Breweries than Stoplights".

Sounds like a wonderful place to me.  New post Monday or Tuesday. 


Friday, October 18, 2013

It's Craft Beer Friday Again...

Welcome back to another edition of Craft Beer Friday.  The beer this week is from one of my all-time favorite breweries, Sierra Nevada, out of Choco, California.  Other than their summer offering (I dislike almost all summer beers anyway), this is an outstanding brewery with a great heritage and the unique ability to constantly crank out great beer.

The selection this week is Sierra Nevada's Flipside Red IPA.  You might be wondering how a red IPA differs from a regular IPA, and I will tell you.  A red IPA is a normal American red ale, brewed with a stronger alcohol content, then hopped up like a pale ale, or in this case, an IPA.  And Sierra Nevada does it quite well.

Right away you get the bitterness of the hops and the dry mouth-feel, followed by the malty richness of the red ale.  This was purchased in a 12-pack and quaffed from a pint glass.  It is a beautiful beer.

Flipside pours a crisp copper red, with a hearty head that retains and leaves some lacing on the glass.  Because of the color of the beer, you immediatley think of a malty, bready richness, typical of American red ales.  But this is no 5% ABV beer.  Flipside is 6.2% ABV and has a depth of flavor unique to the style.  The maltiness is like a shadow for the powerful hop notes--in the background, yet always there.

The bitter, grapefruity  smell is slightly cut by the sweetness of the malts.  This is a very drinkable beer that could forge the way for other brewers to start making red IPAs (at least I hope so).

Another great beer for a Craft Beer Friday.  Go and grab yourself a 6 or 12 pack, or even a case of Sierra Nevada's Flipside.  You won't be disappointed.  If you are, send me the unused portion.

I will see that it is disposed of properly--one bottle at a time.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Craft Beer Friday

I decided I would combine two of my favorite things--writing and beer.  I love beer.  Cheap domestic in cans (if that's all that is available) to expensive single bottles of limited release beers, I dig all of them.  Do I prefer Michelob Ultra over Anchor Steam Liberty Ale?  Never.  But when in Rome...

So every Friday (forgot to post this last night), I will choose a fine craft beer and give an honest review.  I am not by any means a beer expert, but I know a lot more than most.  Through my review, I hope to convert one non-craft beer drinker over to the dark side--and that dark side is full of wonderful beers, like porters and stouts, the trendy black IPAs, and all of the other wonderful shades of beer in the world.

Today's beer is from Ballast Point Brewing Company (San Diego, CA).  The selection is Sculpin IPA.  To not muddle the review, a quick word or two about the name of the beer.

Ballast Point names many of their beers after fish--a sculpin is a fish.  An IPA, or India pale ale, is a style of beer often brewed with pale malts and has a higher alcohol content (the earliest of these beers were shipped from England to their colonists in India and had to survive the long trip at sea).

Anyway, enough history, back to Sculpin IPA.  The beer was from a 12oz. bottle and the ABV (alcohol by volume) was 7%, high by the average beer standard, but right on par with most IPAs.

Simply stated, it is a wonderful beer.  The beer pours a mostly clear amber, with a generous head.  The beer was sampled out of a 16oz. pilsner glass.  As the beer level lowered, beautiful lacing rimmed the inside of the glass.

As for the smell of this fantastic elixir--imagine the aromatics a freshly peeled grapefruit would give off.  Strong scents of grapefruit and hops are easily noted.  The taste, magnificent.  Big, bold hop notes with the bitterness and boldness of grapefruit make for a great IPA.

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA could be my new favorite IPA.  I still love the beers that Stone, Lancaster, and Dogfish Head are making, but Sculpin certainly ranks among the top.

That's all for now.  After all, the beer did come in a six pack.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where Did the Year Go???

Opened up my blog and was shocked to see that I hadn't posted anything since August 3rd.  So I ask, where did the summer go?  It seems as though it was just Memorial Day, as opposed to Labor Day.  Hell, now Halloween is just around the corner.

What about all of those summer projects that I had planned to tackle this year?  What about playing several rounds of golf, outside with buddies, drinking beer and hanging out?  Damn.

It was a weird summer.  We had a few streaks of weather that felt almost like autumn, and very few hot and humid days (thankfully).  A mild summer makes me hope for a mild winter.  Snow is for kids, and getting out of school, and snowball battles with friends.  As an adult, snow is just not my favoirite weather.

Snow is pretty to look at, initially before it is marred by dirt, exhaust and general grime.  But it sucks when you have to shovel it, dig a car out from under it, or worry about getting anywhere.  You don't have to shovel heat or humidity.  So I try not to complain about any summer weather.

Anyway, the Steelers are currently 0-4.  I'm a realist, so I know any chance for a playoff run is extremely slim, if not impossible.  I'm still hopeful.

Coming later this week, I will finally post a blog updating my (at best) fledgling writing career and what plans I have between now and the end of the year.