THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

February 10, 2013

Frankenmuth’s Winter Bock Beer Review 2.10.2013

Frankenmuth's Winter Bock Lager

Frankenmuth's Winter Bock Lager

TBR Reports on Frankenmuth’s Winter Bock Lager
File Date: 2.10.2013

File Name:F The Day of Zombies
The Beer: Winter Bock Lager
Type: Bock
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7.0% ABV
Brewer: Frankenmuth Brewery
Web Site: www.frankenmuthbrewery.com
State/Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Frankenmuth’s founding fathers brought the tradition of brewing to the mid-Michigan forests in 1845. John Matthias Falliers founded Frankenmuth’ first brewery in 1857. Cousins William Knaust and Martin Heubisch opened the Cass River Brewery just north of the Fallier property in 1862, where the Frankenmuth Brewery continues to stand today. The Cass River Brewery was purchases by Johann Geyer in 1874 and renamed Geyer’s Brothers Brewing Co. For the next 112 years, the facility operated under many names including the Frankenmuth Brewing Co.

tbr-winter-bock-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Winter Bock Lager- A Deep mahogany colored lager beer complete with a tan head. Very rich in character demonstrated in a sweet, malty flavor, a full body, and chocolate and caramel notes. Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up with this warm, smooth beer.
Label: Frankenmuth Winter Bock is rich in character with a deep mahogany color complete with a tan head. This traditional German Style lager is malty sweet, full bodied with notes of chocolate and caramel to warm you up from the crisp winter air.

The Brewski Review: When is not a better time to be indoors, than in the winter drinking a nice bock beer and watching zombie shows. The Walking Dead was playing reruns all day long today. AND, the wife took the kids to her sisters house. Why not take advantage of this? The Dead marathon was a precursor to the season premire tonight at 9pm. Can’t wait. The reason I like the thought of a world overrun by zombies is that it levels the playing field. That high flying, ego driven CEO would be down in the trenches with the guy who actually dug the trench. No amount of money would serve you well at this point because money would have no value. It’s those that prepare for such adversities that would come out on top. Of course, I’m no where near being prepared for anything. We have enough food and water to last about a week. I’ve been meaning to get around to purchasing more foodstuffs but it always takes a back seat to every other bill that shows up in the mail. But in reality, it wouldn’t be zombies. It’ll be a major power outage, severe winter storm, financial collapse, solar flare or any other Doomsday Prepper reason for stockpiling goods. I don’t think these people are kooks. I think everyone should have enough to get them by at least a couple weeks should some life threatening adversity befall them. The government can’t be there for everyone all at once.

Drinkability: Excellent. Would drink again
Appearance: Deep mahogany color
The Buds: Nice malty taste
TBR Cap Rating: 4.0 out of 5 caps

Frankenmuth's fleet of delivery trucks in years past.

Frankenmuth's fleet of delivery trucks in years past. 'A Dog Gone Good Beer'

Vintage Frankenmuth Bock Beer can for all the can collectors (are there any left?).

Vintage Frankenmuth Bock Beer can for all the can collectors (are there any left?).

August 14, 2012

Dark Horses’ Raspberry Ale Review 8.14.2012

Dark Horses' Raspberry Ale

Dark Horses' Raspberry Ale

TBR Reports on Dark Horse’s Raspberry Ale
File Date: 8.14.2012

File Name: Where’s the Raspberry?
The Beer: Raspberry Ale
Type: Fruit/Vegetable
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.5% ABV
Brewer: Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.darkhorsebrewery.com
State/Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: A brewer slowly climbed from the lowest points of business life with a sore ass, as he ascended to a new level. Hark! The horse of the dark nature holds the scales where the wheat and barley feedeth, not taketh from the mouths of man. A non-filtered view of hard work, careful perseverance of expansion, sticking to what is believed to be the right way and the only way to stay true to high quality, and also, the vague understandings of possible humor; blurring his family’s, employees’ and customers’ drinking experience and vision between a no-bullshit approach to brewing big, outstanding beers and selling nonsensical imagery and haberdashery…Proven to the masses as a Darkhorse trademark for the man behind the reigns.

tbr-raspberry-insertBrewer Brand Hype: A lot of people have asked us “why are there Bee’s on the label?” Well, we don’t really have an answer for you other than they just look cool. This is a light bodied easy drinking ale. We only use real raspberries so the flavor is very mild fruit and balanced, not what you would expect from a “fruit” beer. The way we see it is we’re brewers so lets make good beer, not some fruity carbonated malt beverage. Oh yeah, our motto…”beer first, fruit second”.

The Brewski Review: On the menu was fresh corn on the cob, grilled pork loin with a pinch of blue cheese, rice, cole slaw and a bottle of Raspberry Ale. The food was great. The beer? So-so. It was okay as far as an ale goes, but I was looking for something a little different. Heck, that’s why I picked the RASPBERRY ale. I could sense a ultra slight sweet taste…..but it was far from a raspberry taste. So, overall I’d have to rank this an average beer. It was cold, poured with a nice foamy head and gave off a nice ale taste so for these I give this brand a A. For being a raspberry beer maybe a D. Combined a C+/B-. I pulled some other raspberry and blueberry beers off the shelf so I’ll give them a try. I’m looking for that nice fruit taste. Why market a beverage as having raspberry, or any fruit for that fact, when it’s so darn difficult to taste. Simply doesn’t make any sense. Then again, what in this world does?

Drinkability: I’ll keep looking
Appearance: Cloudy and dark – similar to apple cider
The Buds: Where’s the raspberry?
TBR Cap Rating: 3.25 caps out of 5

September 10, 2011

Siren Amber Ale or Devil Girl Beer 9.10.2011

Siren Amber Ale for the devil in all of us.

Siren Amber Ale for the devil in all of us.

TBR Reviews North Peak’s Siren Amber Ale (or, Devil Girl Beer)
File Date: 9.10.2011

File Name: Sirens and Devil Girls Go Head To Head.
The Beer: Siren Amber Ale
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: North Peak Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.northpeakbeer.com/
State/Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Legends of the north woods all start with a simple story at a single point in time. Our yarn began when the entrepreneurial Carlson, Lobdell and Czaplicka families signed the deed to a deserted candy factory in downtown Traverse City, MI. Within its cavernous brick walls the North Peak Brewing Company was established in 1997, where brews and food of uncommon quality were the focus. As the days passed into years, their passion for brewing grew and led them down paths travelled by other like-minded individuals. The result of this rendezvous of North Peak Brewing Company’s Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, and Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales was the spawning of Northern United Brewing Company in 2008. Headquartered in their secret forest hideaway on Old Mission Peninsula, these brewing elders recruited the final full-time member of their clandestine council in August 2009 — brewmaster Mike Hall (who had consulted on numerous other endeavors). Their mission was simple: take the well-respected name of North Peak and build upon it with craft beers of the finest, hand-made quality using ingredients borne of the northern Michigan landscape. This is why North Peak brews whenever possible with Michigan malted-grain, hops and water. Over the next three months, Mike and Ron collaborated on recipes that drew from their nearly 50 years of combined brewing experience. In late 2009, at their new, secluded state-of-the art brewing facility on Old Mission Peninsula, the first bottles of Siren Amber Ale, Diabolical IPA and Majestic American Wheat rolled off the bottling line.
 
tbr-siren-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Its call is intoxicating. An aroma that beckons you to pull up a stool and linger over it’s toasted malt character. Next, a deep kiss of liquid lust that will caress you tongue, thanks to an array of toasty Pale, Crystal (30 and 75) wheat, Carapils and roasted barley malts balanced by the subtle bite of Willamette and Fuggle hops. It’s a brew that will seduce your heart, mind and palette.
Label: Brewed Up North. Traverse City, Michigan, USA

The Brewski Review: Pleasantly suprised by the mild taste. Most of the amber ales that I’ve tried have been higher on the bitterness scale. This is more subdued and for me that means it more appealing to my taste buds. So, it’s well balanced between the malt and hops. Good for those that don’t care for the bitter aftertaste of some brews. On the marketing side, I have to add that I like the label: simple and eye catching with the red and white. The name stems from Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Seiren; Greek plural: Seirenes) were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. But, for me, the little logo represents more of a little devil girl. Perhaps the beverage should have been named Devil Girl. And, they should have hooked up with the artist COOP (at coopstuff.com) who draws some mighty awsome designs – many of which involve devil girls. If I was still in my single dude-man bachelor days, my house would be decorated in Coop designs. I’m not paid to plug his work, but if you like simple retro looking graphics about girls, cars, robots, etc., check out his Coopstuff website. 

Drinkability: Most definitely.
Appearance: Deep amber color.
The Buds: Refreshingly mild.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.0 caps out of 5.

One of Coop's Devil Girl poster designs.

One of Coop's Devil Girl poster designs.

December 3, 2010

Bell’s Brewery’s Winter White Ale Beer Review 12.3.2010

The color isn't all too appealing. Looks like a typical American Adjunct Beer.

The color isn't all too appealing. Looks like a typical American Adjunct Beer.

The Brewski Report Reviews Bell’s Brewery’s Winter White Ale
File Date: 12.3.2010

File Name: Winter Wood Project
The Beer: Winter White Ale
Type: Witbier
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery Inc.
Web Site: www.bellsbeer.com
State/Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Bell’s Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably. Bell’s Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Although the “microbrewery” revolution began on the West Coast in the 1970s, the Midwest saw this brewing development much later. Bell’s Brewery stands as the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado. Originally self-distributed, Larry and crew brewed, bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company’s first four years. By 1989, Bell’s was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. After struggling several years to produce and sell robust, full-bodied ales against a tide of a mass-market domestic beer, Bell’s began to see the demand for craft beer grow dramatically. Bell’s soon ventured outside Michigan, continuing its solid growth and developing a reputation across the Midwest for the unique style and flavor of its Bell’s brands.

tbr-winter-white-tap-pullBrewer Brand Hype: A Wheat Ale brewed with American Wheat and a proprietary blend of Hefe and classice Belgian-style yeasts. A refreshing winter alternative created from the subtle fusion of two classic flavors.
Label: A seasonally nuanced wheat ale that is both stylish and refreshing.

The Brewski Review: Nice winter beverage. Spicy, just like other seasonal beers. Quite tasty. This one is a witbier but with the spices it changes the flavor quite a bit for me. I like witbier and I like the winter seasonals, but it’s hard to say that the combination of the two create a beer better than the flavors unto themselves. Just the same this is a worthy beverage that you’ll enjoy on a nice cool fall or winter day. Like when your outside getting your house ready for cold weather onslaught. I managed this pretty well myself. The largest project was the need to build a larger wood crib. All the wood has been put into the crib and covered for the winter but the project isn’t complete. I need to build a roof over it and add some other minor ‘architectural’ touches. If it’s going to be in my back yard I’m going to make it look relatively pleasing. I don’t want to stare at a pile of wood every day. When it’s complete I’ll be sure to post some pictures but until then here’s what it looks like right now.

Drinkability: Would drink this again.
Appearance: Pale golden color.
The Buds: The spice flavor is quite tasty.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

July 30, 2010

Bell’s Brewery Oberon Ale Beer Review 7.30.10

Bell's Brewery Oberon Ale

Bell's Brewery Oberon Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Bell’s Oberon Ale.
File Date: 7.30.10

 File Name: Scent Of Sunny On Sale Now!
The Beer: Oberon Ale
Type: American Pale Wheat Ale
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery Inc.
Web Site: www.bellsbeer.com
Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Bell’s Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably. Bell’s Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Although the “microbrewery” revolution began on the West Coast in the 1970s, the Midwest saw this brewing development much later. Bell’s Brewery stands as the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado. Originally self-distributed, Larry and crew brewed, bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company’s first four years. By 1989, Bell’s was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. After struggling several years to produce and sell robust, full-bodied ales against a tide of a mass-market domestic beer, Bell’s began to see the demand for craft beer grow dramatically. Bell’s soon ventured outside Michigan, continuing its solid growth and developing a reputation across the Midwest for the unique style and flavor of its Bell’s brands.

tbr-oberon-sm-labelBrewer Brand Hype: An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon.
Label: A short draft beer served at the bar. No labels.

The Brewski Review: I don’t really have much to say about Oberon Ale and it appears the brewer doesn’t either. Take a look at the Brewer Brand Hype noted above. ‘color and scent of a sunny afternoon’? Who wrote this uniquely undescriptive marketing tagline? Bell’s Brewery must have bartered some of their product with a local ad firm because they most certainly couldn’t have paid for this touchy, feely assembly of words. If this verbiage is printed somewhere on the label and I was fortunate enough to read it before purchasing, the limited sensitivity of my manliness would have prevented me from purchasing this beverage. The bottle would have slipped through my hand and exploded on the store floor while I stood, slackjawed and immobile at the mere thought of something so unnaturally beer-like. Who is the intended market for this brand: nuns and sweet old grandmothers between the ages of 60 and 80? Seriously, was there any vision here into gaining market share with this brand advertising? I’m just really at a loss on this. What does a sunny afternoon smell like? To me, the scent of a sunny afternoon smells like fresh cut grass in the spring, thick, muggy and humid air in the summer, a burning pile of leaves in the fall and crisp, burning notrils on a subzero and sunny winter day. What does the scent of a sunny day smell like to you? Most likely not like this beer. Oberon to drink was decent and drinkable but I guess I expected more than Bell’s was capable of delivering. Ultimately, I wouldn’t consider Oberon Ale a quintessential summertime beer if that’s what the ‘scent of a sunny afternoon’ is supposed to convey.

Drinkability: Sure. Maybe.
Appearance: Clear and medium to dark golden color.
The Buds: Good. But I expected more.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Why couldn't the caption be 'Beer for the Blue Skies and Warm Days of Summer'? This picture is pretty darn inviting.

Why couldn't the caption be 'Beer for the Blue Skies and Warm Days of Summer'? This picture is pretty darn inviting.

November 8, 2009

New Holland Brewing’s Ichabod Pumpkin Ale Beer 11.08.09

New Holland Brewing's Seasonal Ichabod Ale

New Holland Brewing's Seasonal Ichabod Ale

TBR Reviews New Holland’s Ichabod Pumpkin Ale Beer
File Date: 11.8.09

File Name: Fall Is For Seasonal Beer and Fireside Drinking.
The Beer:  Ichabod Ale
Type:  Pumpkin Ale
Serving:  Bottle
Stats:  5.5% ABV
Brewer:  New Holland Brewing Co.
Country of Origin:  MI, USA
Brewer Info:  Established in 1996, NHBC has grown from a scrappy two-man start-up to a thriving regional microbrewery, recognized for its creativity and artistry. All of our beer is brewed in Holland, Michigan at one of our two locations. We brew, cellar and package the main brands for distribution at our production facility on the north-side of Holland. In response to our considerable growth, we opened the new brewery in October of 2006, replacing the original headquarters.  We also brew beer and distill spirits in our pub. The pub is a great place for us to explore new ideas, meet our customers in a comfortable setting and provide a place of community for all who visit. The beers made here are typically special brews that rarely see their way outside of the friendly confines of our pub.

ich_webovalBrewer Brand Hype:  Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. A rewarding complement to many dishes, Ichabod pairs well with autumnal foods such as poultry and root vegetables. After dinner, try it with your favorite dessert!

Label:  Ichabod.  Ale Brewed With Pumpkin.  Delicious beer delivered with painstaking consistency, that’s our philosophy.  We’ll give you a while to drink it in.

The Brewski Review:  Yes.  Fall is for seasonal beer and fireside drinking.  Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to have a nice outdoor fire all season.  If it wasn’t windy, we had someplace to be.  And, if we didn’t have someplace to be, we were probably home sick.  The last four weeks have been a challenge.  My son and daughter had the swine flu and my wife and I both had sinus infections.  Needless to say, I wasn’t in the slightest condition to give any objective beer reviews.  But, the Brewski is back in the saddle.  This time around I went to the fridge for Ichabod Ale.  It’s a rather pricey Pumpkin Ale that I thought would hit the spot.  It was tasty.  The overall subtle spice flavors were, let’s say average.  There are plenty more to try so I’ll keep at it until I find the perfect Pumpkin Ale beer for Mr. Brewski.  

Drinkability: Nice spicy flavor.  Goes down smooth. 
Appearance:  Pale to Medium Amber in color.  No head retention.
The Buds:  Decent beverage.  Could have a more bold spice taste to it. 
TBR Cap Rating:  4.0 out of 5.

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