Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blog Hiatus!

I am heading to Italy for a week and a half, so there won't be any new posts for 2 weeks. If you are one of those that actually semi-regularly check the blog, A) Thanks! B) Come back in 2 weeks for some delicious Italian beer to drink. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bos Keun

I'm feeling a bit lazy today, so I'll stick to a relatively short post today. Don't let this fool you into thinking that this beer isn't worth your time. Think of it more as I would certainly not do it justice, regardless of how long my post is. With this in mind, I will go about doing my best to describe the beer.

Bos Keun is made by De Dolle Brewers out of Belgium. It is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale that is especially made for the Easter season. It is certainly a potent potable, sitting at 10% ABV. Bos Keun effectively means "rabbit of the wood" in Flemish. Personally, I mostly know Bos Keun as bunny beer. I aged this particular beer for a year and a half. This was probably too long. As a rule of thumb, seasonal beers shouldn't really be kept all that long. This one is a little of an exception, as the ABV will allow the beer to age a little bit easier. The yeast settles out a bit more and you can see this in the photos. Another decent rule of thumb to follow with aging, is that the darker the beer, the longer it can be aged. There are always exceptions, but if you want to play it safe, it isn't bad to follow. 

One of the most striking parts of this beer to me is the nose. It almost smells like bubble gum (from the yeast). While this doesn't necessarily sound appealing, it is, I promise. It also has a ton of fruit aroma in the nose, despite the fact that it isn't made using any fruit. The flavor is a kind of strange mix between refreshing and full body. It can be a little dangerous because it is so potent, yet you can drink it like it is nothing. You will get a bit of alcohol in the taste, but it is pretty fruity and yeasty otherwise. It really isn't one to go for if you love hops, but generally any Belgian isn't going to be your thing either. I really can't do a good job describing the taste apart from this. It is really good though.

I would highly suggest getting it if you ever get the chance. De Dolle beers aren't the easiest to find, so pull the trigger when you are in the position to do so. Any of the De Dolle beers are good options. Not only are they very tasty, the artwork is kick ass. 

Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Goblet

Synonym Beer: Delirium Tremens (A little more fruit and ester in the Bos Keun)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ommegang Abbey Ale and an Intro to Aging

I've done a couple posts on Ommegang already, but somehow I have yet to cover the Abbey Ale. Somehow the Abbey Ale is commonly forgotten. I rarely find it on tap anywhere apart from the brewery. It is a Belgian-style dubbel that is 8.5% ABV, so it is best to share.

Outside of Belgium, I would say that this is the best dubbel you will find. It is even better than a bunch in Belgium too. It has won awards at worldwide beer championships in the Belgian dubbel category. This should give you an idea of the quality you are looking at from the Abbey Ale. 

In terms of flavor, it is a really rich, tasty beer. It has all of the dark fruitiness that you might expect from a dubbel, with a spicy sweetness that finishes off the flavor. It is smooth and delicious, so if you haven't tried it before, go for it. The Abbey Ale is a good candidate for aging, as the dark malts and the yeast used both respond really well to aging. This particular one was aged for a year and a half. I also have a barrel-aged version that I have been aging for a while. It is fun to age beers because they change as time goes on. Flavors evolve over time and you can compare and contrast a new bottle from an old bottle. If you save up a couple years you can also do a small "vertical tasting" with a couple friends. 

I didn't cover a lot about aging your beers, but generally darker, stronger beers respond the best. More to come on aging in a later post.

Glassware: Goblet, snifter, tulip

Synonym Beer: Westmalle Dubbel

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monk's Blood!

Generally when I think of canned beer, my mind generally goes to lighter, more refreshing beers. It might be because canned beer is a staple during the summer, on the beach, at the track, or even camping. It also might be because you generally only see lighter beers in cans. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but you will usually see lagers, pale ales, IPAs, and wheat beers in cans. You will get some canned stouts as well. 21st Amendment has put out a more unique canned beer: Monk's Blood.

Monk's Blood is a Belgian strong dark ale that sits at 8.3% ABV. It is actually a little sweet. It has a dark fruit flavor, almost raisin for a bit. This is followed with a little toffee and caramel flavors coming from the malt. The booze is only slightly noticeable, but in a way that I actually really enjoy. I'm not sure why, but I think that a little bit of booziness can actually enhance the flavor of a darker beer. I think it is because it blends so well with the meatier beers. Lighter beers can't contain it and it overwhelms the palate. It was interesting to see such a malty, complex beer in a can. It was even cooler to see that you don't need to have a bottle to have a solid Belgian-style beer. 

I have previously mentioned that I love the artwork on the 21A cans. I actually read all of the can this time and found out something that I didn't know. 21A is brewed and canned in Cold Spring, Minnesota. I had always assumed that all of the production took place in California, where they are based. There is a brewpub in California and I assume that the do indeed make beer there still, but they probably sell all of that beer in the brew pub. I'm sure it is significantly cheaper to produce beer in Cold Spring than it is in San Francisco. Being fiscally smart and producing great beer are great ways to make a brewery survive and thrive. 21A is doing a great job with it. 

They are always a great choice, producing interesting, somewhat unique and interesting canned brews. Give them a shot if you feel like it. 
Side note: I think I prefer the cans to the tap for much of the 21A beers. I don't know why, just personal preference. 

Glassware: Can, tulip, goblet.

Synonym Beer: Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Monticello Reserve Ale

If you like to try different beers, I would highly suggest taking part in a beer trade. All you need to do is send a few beers to a friend who lives far away and have them send you a few in return. What is also nice is when you frequently visit with people who live in different distribution areas. For instance, my older brother lives in the DC area, which has easier access to certain beers than I do in NY. As a result, whenever we get together, he generally will bring up some new, cool beers.

This Monticello Reserve Ale brewed by Starr Hill was a part of the batch he brought up around Easter. I didn't do any research prior to drinking it, so I didn't really know what to expect. I thought it might be a little hoppy, since I drank the Double Platinum immediately before. I was very pleasantly surprised. Technically, they describe the beer as a "colonial style ale", but it is generally placed in the "American Pale Wheat Ale" style. It is 5.5% ABV and made with corn and wheat, both of which come through pretty well in the flavor. 

It first reminded me of a standard American wheat ale, but the corn really changes that. It has all of the light, spicy, and citrus flavors that you would expect, then the corn makes its way in. If you've ever had good corn whiskey, you know the kind of pleasant sweetness that it can bring to a drink. Also, since corn isn't used in craft beer all that frequently, it is a very unique tasting brew. I would highly suggest giving it a try. Very tasty, very interesting, hard to find. All great reasons to buy a beer.

Note: The name isn't implying that this is a Thomas Jefferson recipe that they found and decided to brew. The recipe is based off of common local recipes at the time. Basically they tried to make a beer that might have been brewed at Monticello. I really have no idea if they succeeded (I wasn't around during the late 1700s to early 1800s), but it still makes for a interesting beer. 

Glassware: Wheat glass, snifter

Synonym Beer: Goose Island 312 (not really, but I needed to put something down)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Phoenix Pale Ale

Hey! Look at that! Another canned beer! 

This one is brewed in Pennsylvania by Sly Fox Brewing Company. Fun fact: Rare Vos (Ommegang) means "sly fox" in Flemish. I haven't had too much from Sly Fox thus far, but what I do know is that most of their stuff that I have seen have been in 750 ml bottles (~22 oz. for those not on the metric system). This particular beer is their Phoenix Pale Ale. I can't speak for them, but I am assuming that the Phoenix name is an homage to the location of their brew house and eatery, Phoenixville. It is an American  style pale ale and sits at 5.1% ABV. As I have said before, if not for the pictures, I would be drinking the beer out of the can. Just a personal preference kind of thing.

The beer itself is milder than I originally expected. I didn't know much about Sly Fox, but as an American brewery, I assumed the over-hopped their beers a bit. I was pretty damn wrong. Phoenix is very smooth and pleasant. It was a nice change to be able to actually smell the malt along with the hops in the nose. The copper coloring (One of my favorite beer colors) is beautiful as well. The taste is much milder than I expected. This was really nice. There are a lot of breweries getting away from the simple, light bodied, yet flavorful beers. They are moving on to big, bold, in-your-face beers. While there are situations when I love these intense, almost overwhelming beers, I also want beer that I could drink on a daily basis. Effectively, I am getting more into session beers, but ones that are flavorful. Phoenix really fits into this category (although not technically a session due to the ABV) as a tasty, light, refreshing pale ale. Perfect for summer. The cans are great for summer too!

There are two things that I want you to take away from the above picture. 
1) I love the Sly Fox logo. Just look at how sly that fox is! They really nailed it. The smirk makes me fell like I'm about to get pick-pocketed, though. I don't know, I just really like it. 
2) I love the fact that they print the original gravity, the IBUs, and the ABV on the can. The ABV is all but required, but having the IBUs is helpful in letting you know how bitter the beer is before you buy it. With the wide fluctuations among styles of different breweries, it is just a helpful way to make sure you are buying a beer that you will probably like. 

In summation, give Sly Fox a shot. Their beer is good. Their logo is good. What more do you want? 

Glassware: Can, Pint glass, Mug.

Synonym Beer: Brooklyn East India Pale Ale (While technically different styles, Phoenix reminded me of a slightly smoother version)

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Monday, May 7, 2012


Who's looking for some hops in a can? Look no further. Enter: G'Knight, an Imperial Red/Double IPA that is put out by Oskar Blues. You might recall (probably not) the name, Oskar Blues, from my first post on canned craft beer. Oskar Blues is one of the largest proponents of canning beer (they are about to get into canning liquor too!). In general, Oskar Blues produces hoppy beers that have body. Many of their brews pack a punch too, so before you knock back a whole sixer, pay attention to the ABV. 

A good example of this is G'Knight. It is 8.7% ABV, so if you put a few away, you might be a wee bit tipsy. While you could easily just see this beer as an imperial IPA, the Red base of the beer gives it a healthy maltiness. Without this, I suspect it would be a little to bitter for me to handle, but if that were the case, it would be a completely different beer. The ABV does make itself known, with a little booziness. The mouthfeel starts out smooth, with only a little carbonation sting, but as it finishes, you will notice a distinct stickiness. You probably shouldn't drink this as a thirst quencher. This is a beer to sip and enjoy, not pound. When I bought the G'Knight, I bought another 3 Oskar Blues beers. Stay tuned for a couple more OB posts. 

On a side note, I think I prefer IPAs out of cans. I find that cans generally lead to a softer, smoother flavor from their beers. I generally think that this creates a milder hop experience. Perfect for me. Maybe it is all in my head. Regardless, enjoy the canned IPAs more. 

Another note: I pour my cans into glasses only for the purpose of taking pictures. Generally, I prefer to drink straight from the can. I like to think thats how the brewers would rather it be done. Until someone of note tells me otherwise, that's what I'm gonna do. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tripel Karmeliet and the Other Side of Green Bottles

I am a big supporter of pretty much anything Belgian. With the exception of Stella and a few select mass produced beers, I could randomly choose from the plethora of beers and always come out with a great one. Another great one, see below.

Tripel Karmeliet is in fact, a Tripel style beer. It sits at 8.4% ABV, but you can't even tell. This is one of those "try it yourself" beers, because really, someone could tell you what it tastes like all day and you would still not be able to appreciate how good this beer is. Nonetheless, I will do just that! This is a little funkier than a normal Tripel. It isn't sour, but there is an almost tanginess to the beer that makes it just a little different than other Tripels. Other than the funk, it is basically just your run of the mill, world class Tripel. It has some fruity notes that come about from the yeast and the carbonation is not quite champagne-like. The firm malt backbone is supported by a blend of esters and ends crisp and dry with a hint of spice. Ok, now I'll back off the intense flavor discussion and head on to bashing worse beer.

There was an extended period of time where I didn't want to touch anything that came in a green bottle. You know the type, Heineken, Stella, Carlsburg(outside of Denmark). The main reason for this is that green bottles do not protect the beer nearly as well as brown bottles. The additional visible and UV light that is let into the bottle breaks down the alpha acids that are imparted by the hops. This reacts with sulfur to give the beer that skunky smell. Now, in very light, otherwise flavorless beers, this skunky smell can overwhelm the drinker. The beer no longer tastes good. However, the Belgians are really good at making beer. The skunkiness plays a much smaller role in these flavorful beers. I am also a strong supporter of the idea that the skunk mixes well with funk to enhance the flavor of the funkier beers. This is why Karmeliet and Saison Dupont are, in my opinion, better out of bottles, rather than on tap. 

To sum up, if you really, and I mean REALLY trust the brewery, then go for the green bottle. If they care enough about the beer, they will have put in the time to determine that the green bottle will not aversely affect the flavor of their creation. Others (cough Heineken cough), probably just use the green as a marketing technique (it goes back to a shortage of brown glass during WWII). You can trust Karmeliet. I will personally vouch for them. 

Glassware: Tulip, Goblet, Snifter

Synonym Beer: St. Bernardus Tripel

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at Buy my pictures here: You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bottle vs. Can Challenge: Porkslap

It is not everyday that you find a good beer that is available in both a bottle and a can. When you do, I would like to suggest that you buy some of each and see just how different the taste is based on the container. To alleviate your preference, have a friend pour a sample of each for you (preferably in a similar glass). Trust me, if you don't, you will taste what you want to taste. 

Let it be known that I love Porkslap. I find it to be an easy drinking, delicious, interesting beer. Generally, it is only available in a can, but recently I found  a pack of bottles. Naturally, I had to buy it it. I found out that Cooperstown Brewery actually contract brews the beer for Butternuts (although the two places now share an owner). This is to save on expenses. Butternuts only has a kegging system and a canning system, while Cooperstown has a bottling machine. The reason why they are now producing bottles as well, is that some people (bars, stores, individuals) refuse to buy cans and some refuse to buy bottles. By having both available, the market really opens up. 

Now that I have gotten past the business reasons why they have bottles and cans, on to the taste test! I utilized a blind taste test to see what I thought of each. Both the bottle and the can tasted very similar, but with distinct differences. I decided that I preferred the taste of the one that turned out to be the bottle. I was shocked by this. My friend liked the can more. Once I knew which was which, my taste seemed to transition back to liking the can more. That just goes to show you how much knowing what you are drinking affects how much you like it. 

In bottle or can, I will gladly have a Porkslap anytime. It is brewed with a little bit of ginger (adds only a subtle taste that is hard to pinpoint). I don't know if it is all in my head, but I feel like that little bit of ginger helps to settle my stomach. When I am getting ready to end my night of drinking at my local bar, I will usually end with a Porkslap. I like to think it helps. Sometimes I drink it all night so that my stomach will stay fine. If you haven't had Porkslap, give it a shot. It is delicious and makes for some good bar conversation with other people who want to know what you are drinking.

Glassware: Can, Pint Glass.

Synonym Beer: Full Sail Pale Ale (just less hoppy, little smoother). Porkslap has a pretty distinct taste. 

If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at You can send me cool photos too, if you like and I will make a post up for you. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fine Art America

I just decided to make my photos available for purchase, just in case someone out there wants one of my photos. If you do,  just head over to my page at Fine Art America. You can also click to ad on the right side of the page to get there. I only have a handful of pictures up there, but if you want one in particular, let me know and I will add it to the mix. The more you buy, the more I can add! 

Who knows, maybe someone will buy one. Worth a shot.