Monthly Archives: May 2014

I followed up with a Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, straightforward excellent hops.  At this point I still don’t really know one variety of hops from another, not having gotten into the subtleties that much.  Sometimes I’ll pick up a citrusy or an herbal note.  This has nice depth, I think mostly from the malt.

The most recent that I had (last night) was another Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout, and it really hit the spot last night.  The bourbon came through loud and clear and was simply delicious.  This is a stout with almost no head, not one of those that builds a pint.  There is still a hint of creaminess and a note of something that could almost be coffee.

Tomorrow night is the Green Flash tasting at Growler & Gill.  I’m really looking forward to that.  I asked Nanuet to re-route any fuel trucks.  <g>

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Re: Rogue Chipotle Ale

Disappointing! What would be the fun if they were all winners, though?

Have you ever tried Stone’s Smoked Chipotle Porter? Just had one on Friday at a cool little spot in town called the Owl Farm (next time you’re in the Slope we should stop by. You’d love it). Anyway, the beer really lives up to its name. Obviously much heavier than an ale, but it’s undeniably flavorful, smoky, and even has a considerable heat to it.

Writing this as I settle in to watch Game of Thrones. Tonight’s selections are two from Unibroue Brewery: their La Fin Du Monde Triple Golden Ale, and Maudite Amber Ale. So far I’m liking the golden. I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re familiar with these guys?

John C

I am familiar, though I haven’t had either since I moved out of Hoboken.  Our old favorite Hoboken Vine had a limited selection of craft beers, but always had their whole line.  Yes, I liked both of them, but I’ll have to renew my acquaintance!

No, I haven’t had the Smoked Chipotle Porter, but I have liked everything that I’ve tried from Stone, with the exception of their Go2IPA (or however they spelled it).  That one didn’t have anything going for it.


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Rogue Chipotle Ale

Just a quick tasting note: since I found it, I had been looking forward to trying Rogue Chipotle Ale.  It’s a pretty enough pour, genuine amber color, virtually no head . . . and then very disappointing.  Nothing much going on in the nose, no pepper, whether green, red or black, maybe a hint of butterscotch. It doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor, and again I don’t detect the chipotle other than a tiny bit of smoke.  It’s too thin and has very little mouth feel.  There is a certain hoppy bite to it (they list 40 IBU). I feel a vague warm glow like after eating a spicy dish, without the pleasure of the dish.  Drinkable, but not worth repeating.

Oh well, they can’t all be good.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by some of the really good ones that I’ve been having. The bar has been raised by things like Burton Baton, Dirt Wolf, and all the Belgian ales I’ve had recently.

I’m planning to go to a tasting of Green Flash on Thursday.  I already know that I like their Palette Wrecker quite a bit.  This is at the Growler & Gill, and I’ll probably get there about 7pm. Maybe this time no one will wreck a tanker truck out front!


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Weyerbacher Blasphemy

Tonight’s entry:               

Weyerbacher Blasphemy, a Belgian-style Quad aged in whiskey barrels.

It makes a nice pour with a moderate tan head.  The nose started off with a surprising hint of lager, something I don’t normally like, switching immediately to a cinnamon spice and finishing with a hint of whiskey.  On the palette there’s a silky creaminess, about halfway to a stout.  Lots and lots of malt comes through, very complex with a sort of pecan pie hint.  Very little hops, just enough to keep things balanced.  The sweetness resembles a bourbon, as does a hint of smokiness, and maybe even a suggestion of marsala.  This is a rich one, good with a range of foods, but I had baked chicken with mushrooms, and maybe that’s why I thought of marsala.  If you like Belgians, give this one a try.

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I’m definitely intrigued by the Fleur de Houblon & both bourbon barrel stouts. I found a great craft beer distributor around here, so with any luck they’ll carry them. Tried a new red ale, Newport Storm Spring Irish Red Ale last night courtesy of . Really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I may crack another in a few minutes. 

Oh, and Rogue Chipotle Ale?? That I HAVE to try. I’ve only had Rogue’s Dead Guy but am definitely a fan of it.   

Glad you picked up the Kwak from Koningsdag! Mine is being held hostage at my girlfriend’s apartment. So for now, Newport Storm’s Spring Irish Red Ale is it

John C

I’ll also take a little credit because I told them about Newport Storm.  My wife and I went there a few months ago, so when I heard they were headed for Newport, I told them to check it out.  One interesting thing: not only is it a small brewery, it’s an even smaller distillery of Thomas Tew Rum.  I don’t think they were pouring the Red Ale when I was there, but their stuff is pretty good.

She’s holding your beer hostage?  Smart woman!

I’ll let you know about the Chipotle Ale.  Tonight is an IPA night.  I started off with a Firestone Walker Double Jack, and that is one of the best IPAs made.  Just now I’m working on a 2xOne Pale Ale from Southern Tier.  It’s a seasonal where they took their regular 2X Double IPA and simplified it, making it with a single varietal of hops, and a single malt.  For all that simplicity, the result is quite complex.  I know you’re not big on hops, but Syd would probably like it.  I recently had a six-pack of the regular 2X, and I don’t get that many six-packs, being too interested in exploring new brews.

Enjoy the Storm. 


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G & G

We had planned to hang out in Piermont NY today, visiting The Pier, walking around town, maybe having a couple of beers or wine . . . and as we started to walk out to The Pier, it started sprinkling and we could see virga under the clouds, so we retreated to the car.  Then we drove over toward the center of town (and have to find out what The Flywheel was from).  Then it started sprinkling, then drizzling, so again we retreated, and as we started approaching the car it switched to raining, and as we reached the car the skies opened.  We were very lucky to have headed for the car when we did, but so much for hanging out in Piermont.  The route home passes The Growler & Gill.  Pity.

The joint was jumping. For a few hours they were having “guest bartenders” and raising money for the local Little League, with tips donated to the cause.  Things were very loud and festive, and in the first hour they raised $900 so they were doing pretty well.

I hoped to make up for Thursday’s disappointment with a flight of Ommegang, and when we went up to the bar there were three on the board, the Ommegang Fleur de Houblon Pale Ale, the Ommegang Hop House Ale, and the Ommegang Glimmerglass that my wife had at The Little Pub in Ridgefield.  We tasted the latter and it was good, but a bit watery.  When I ordered my flight we found out why: that one tapped out.  So I only had two Ommegang in my flight.  Both were excellent.  The Fleur de Houblon was a classic Belgian Ale, malty, flowery and smooth.  The Hop House added a dash of hops, though not to IPA strength, very much in balance with a touch of citrus.  My third was Alltech’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Strong Ale.  It was really nice, especially with the pulled pork sliders, and was almost like sipping bourbon with sweet caramel.  The fourth was Stone Smoked Porter.  This isn’t as hoppy as, say, their Arrogant Bastard, but the smoke flows smoothly into the hop bitterness, very nicely done, and another excellent complement to the barbecue sauce of the pulled pork.

Meanwhile, my wife had a Kuka Ginger Mango IPA.  This had enough fruitiness and ginger sweet spiciness that she didn’t even notice that it was an IPA.  Neither did I, the hops were very moderate and this is a really excellent, unusual ale. This is another from the Andean Brewing Company using ingredients from the Andes despite its unlikely location in Blauvelt, NY.  That’s two from them that I have really enjoyed.

Then came a choice between Bourbon Barrel Stouts: Alltech’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout vs Central Waters Imperial Bourbon Stout.  Tasting both, there was no question, and I went with the Central Waters.  Who would think that a Wisconsin brewery would outdo Lexington Kentucky for a Bourbon Stout?  It’s not that there was anything wrong with Alltech’s, it was just that the Central Waters was better, richer, creamier, better mouth feel, and again the sense of sipping bourbon.

I had no shortage of beer at home, but I came home with a 4-pack of the Central Waters, a bomber of Rogue Chipotle Ale, and a mixed six including the two Ommegangs, a Kwak Ale that I tasted on the Queen’s King’s Birthday celebration, Hoponius Union from Jack’s Abbey in Massachusetts, a Massive IPA from Great South Bay on Long Island , and something from Stillwater in Maryland.  Of these, more anon as I get to try them.

OK, I didn’t bring a notebook but I did pretty good.


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No Ommegang

There’s a great Belgian beer bar in Portland I got to go to when I was up there in November; they had a ludicrously huge selection of bottles and taps, and they even had The Trooper on tap, which is Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden)’s beer. I was expecting something more butch and brutal from a beer named for one of the greatest metal songs by one of the greatest metal bands of all time, but it was merely pleasant and very flowery. It’s about a 2.5-3 hour drive if I recall, about the same as our trip up to Vermont to get Heady Topper. When my dad dropped me off on Monday, he stuck around and we both had a can and watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That was a good evening!

A Green Flash tasting sounds too good to pass up – I’ve only had their hop head red and one of their IPAs but I really, really enjoyed them. That reserve list is interesting though, going so far as to list the exact number of bottles left is unusual. 

It was bizarre; they had Coor’s, Michelob, Bud, Heineken, Corona, varieties of all the above that I’m entirely uninterested in, PBR and Narragansett (which have their place, but that place is generally concerts or backyard barbecues) and then the only things drinkable were one random Allagash White and a weirdly fizzy Yuengling, which only just came to Boston so it’s all the rage about town. 

And a Tap Cam sounds torturous; it’s like the Corn Cam in Iowa, which is a 24/7 live feed of corn, but much tastier. 


Not as tongue-in-cheek as the Corn Cam, it has a practical purpose.  I use the Tap Cam to spot check what they’re pouring . . . and there’s a Green Flash there today as well as the four Ommegang.  There’s also one I’ve been meaning to try: a Central Waters Bourbon Stout.  So many choices, so little time. 

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No Ommegang

I’m glad everyone’s okay, but talk about bad timing! 

Last night I got to try a Green Flash Hop Head Red, and man did I enjoy that! This was at a beer bar after the bowling alley I went with my date to, and unfortunately the bowling alley had an awful beer selection. How you can have 20+ bottles around and only 2-3 decent ones is beyond me. 

And that tour does stop in Portland; I’ll be up there in July for a Warhammer tournament, and probably another trip to the Allagash brewery…


Yes, I noticed that the tour was going to Portland, and I figured you would notice too.  I’ve done the drive, but how far is it from Boston to Portland?  Actually I was coming from over Worcester way.  When driving from New York to Maine I skirted Boston as best I could.

Meanwhile, May 15 at the Growler & Gill, the tasting is Green Flash; maybe I have to get over there for that one!!

As for 20+ bottles, I think most bars still create that from Coors Light and might get as radical as Beck’s but they seldom get past “American Adjunct Lager” a term that I first heard last month, but which I believe is synonymous with weasel piss .  The other term creeping into my websites is Domestic Macro Beer.  Same synonym, of course . . . though technically the volume of some of the micro brews have crossed into macro territory.

As much as Samuel Adams is sometimes held in contempt, they still have some offerings that are very much in the craft realm in terms of interest and quality.  For example, the Utopias; those must get classed as Liquor in some states, since they have more alcohol than most liqueurs.  [I seem to have finally learned how to spell that.]  By the way, and interesting thing at the G&G is their “Reserve Bottle Menu.”

If you ever get down here, I have to get you over to the G&G.  Mind you, “down here” is about 25 miles north of Manhattan, so not the most likely place for you to be!  You may know the translation of the star system in the Michelin Guides: one star is worth a detour, two stars is worth a trip, three stars is worth a voyage.  This is probably a one-and-a-half.

By the way, I can use their Tap Cam to lightly torment myself, looking at the four Ommegang selections on the board.  Oh, what I missed, and I’m not quite up for running over to do a flight of those four . . . though now that I mention it . . .



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No Ommegang

I have a grudge against the fuel truck driver who rolled over his rig a couple of blocks from the Growler & Gill, closing the road in both directions from 1pm until at least now; so much for tonight’s Ommegang tasting! 

Rats. Rats. Rats. 

The driver only had a slight shoulder injury, which is good, but couldn’t he have screwed up somewhere else? 

Hopefully the G&G will reschedule the tasting.  In the meantime I’m drowning my sorrows with a Tripel Karmelite, so I can’t say that I’m suffering. 

Meanwhile, I just heard about this “Beer Camp” 7-city tour that Sierra Nevada is hosting.

The nearest it gets to me is Philadelphia, but I suppose I would need a hotel room afterwards!

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Interesting.  It would seem to be a challenge to prevent a naked woman from climbing into a fermenter.

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