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

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.

June 16, 2011

Blue Heron Pale Ale Review 6.16.2011

Blue Heron Pale Ale by Mendocino Brewing.

Blue Heron Pale Ale by Mendocino Brewing.

The Brewski Report Reviews Mendocino’s Blue Heron APA File Date: 6.16.2011

File Name: Retro Beers and Daisy Dukes.
The Beer: Blue Heron Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 6.1% ABV
Brewer: Mendocino Brewing Company
Web Site: www.mendobrew.com
State/Country of Origin: CA, USA
Brewer Info: In December ’83, the brewery rolled out the “World’s Largest 6-Pack” featuring 6 magnums of Red Tail…an OSHA nightmare tipping the scale at a brutal 42 pounds (the original magnum bottles have become a collectors’ item, some even becoming lamps). Within 5 years of that first batch of Red Tail, distribution had increased to 300 outlets in Northern California.  Red Tail, Blue Heron, and Black Hawk had extended their habitats to 14 states nationally.  By 1989, the demand of distributors made plain the need for 12oz bottles. By the 1990’s, the need for a dramatic expansion became evident.  Land was acquired in Ukiah, CA, the facility remaining near the scenic California 101, just 12 miles north of the Hopland Brewery. It was in 1997 that Dr. Vijay Mallya, a global entrepreneur, took interest in Mendocino Brewing Company.  Dr. Mallya, the head of “The UB Group”, a worldwide manufacturer of spirits and beer, believed that given the capital, Mendocino Brewing could remain in a position of strength for years to come.  The addition of Olde Saratoga Brewing in New York State vaulted Mendocino Brewing into the sphere of East-Coast/West-Coast distribution, fostering the delivery of fresher product through dramatically shortened supply lines.

tbr-blue-heron-birdBrewer Brand Hype: Blue Heron Pale Ale is a delightful, medium bodied smooth ale, with a distinctive crisp mouth-feel and a fresh hoppy finish. It is brewed using premium two-row Pale malted barley, generous amounts of both Cluster bittering hops and Cascade finishing hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain.
Label: This award winning brew is Handcrafted to perfection. A Premium American Classic from a Pioneer Brewing Legend.

The Brewski Review: Good hoppy flavor. Again, tasting the same as all the other APA’s I’ve tried. I don’t think this one distinguishes itself any more that the others other than the fact that it may have a less hoppy taste. Was there ever a beer called Hopmeister? That would be a great name for a full-on hoppy beer like an IPA or an APA. Sounds like a brand from the 70’s though so the marketing schtick would need to have dude’s with polyester bellbottoms and ladies with daisy dukes. Then label it as  ‘retro’ so all the beer snobs will have to drink it since it’ll be the new cool thing.

Drinkability: Alright. Would drink again.
Appearance: Med to darker gold color.
The Buds: Hoppy flavor.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5 caps.

Dig these 70's fashions. I was born too late for the ladies to see me in these hot poly styles.

Dig these 70's fashions. I was born too late for the ladies to see me in these hot poly styles.

The Orginal Daisy Dukes as worn by Daisy Duke herself.

The Orginal Daisy Dukes as worn by Daisy Duke herself.

Daisy Dukes updated by Britney Spears.

Daisy Dukes updated by Britney Spears.

May 7, 2011

TBR Reviews Wolaver’s Pale Ale 5.7.2011

Otter Creek, er, Wolaver's Pale Ale? Will the real brewer stand up?

Otter Creek, er, Wolaver's Pale Ale? Will the real brewer stand up?

The Brewski Report Reviews Otter Creek’s Wolaver’s Pale Ale
File Date: 5.7.2011

File Name: Just a little past it’s prime.
The Beer: Wolaver’s Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Otter Creek Brewing
Web Site: www.wolavers.com (under construction); www.ottercreekbrewing.com
State/Country of Origin: VT, USA
Brewer Info: Located in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont, we shipped our first keg of Copper Ale in March of 1991. Four years later, after quickly outgrowing our original site, we moved into a new state-of-the-art brewery just down the street. In 1998, we began producing Wolaver’s Certified Organic Ales in partnership with Panorama Brewing Company. Both brands have flourished as beer drinkers throughout the northeast have enjoyed craft ales, and as the focus on sustainable farming and living has blossomed. In May of 2002, the Wolaver family purchased Otter Creek Brewing. Otter Creek remains a family owned Vermont company and produces all Otter Creek and Wolaver’s brands for distribution throughout the country. We brew and bottle all of our beers in small batches to ensure freshness and consistent quality. We use natural Vermont water, the best domestic malt and hops available, and our own top-fermenting yeast. All Wolaver’s beers are made with no less than 98% certified organic ingredients. Our brewery and our Wolaver’s brands are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. Otter Creek ales enjoy a complexity of flavor, natural carbonation, and a creamy texture that is favored by beer enthusiasts at pubs and restaurants throughout the United States.

tbr-wol-banner1Brewer Brand Hype: N/A.
Label: Since 1997, Robert and Morgan Wolaver have combined their passion for exceptional beers with their belief in the benefits of organic farming to create Wolaver’s: supurb handcrafted ales brewed with only the finest organic barley and hops grown by small independent farms. His perfectly balanced pale ale has a malty taste with a crisp, hoppy finish; blending Cascade, Cluster, and Hallertauer hops with Harrington specialty malt. For those who simply love great beer, Wolaver’s is a delicious choice – and know that every purchase supports a healthier environment for us all. Our products contain no perservatives, are not pasteurized and, like all fresh foods, will change over time. We print the date we bottled on for your information. Certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers.

The Brewski Review: I believe I purchased an old bottle APA. I checked Wolaver’s website (sorry, they don’t have one yet….just a facebook page which, to me, says their seriously weak on marketing their brand or image.) and the ‘American’ pale ale wasn’t noted – only India pale ale. Maybe the store had this in stock from a season or so ago? It’s hard to tell by the lot code – 2719. My guess is that it’s from the 271st day of 2009. If this is the case, my green beer was really green if you know what I mean. Taste was okay. Nothing to write home about. Hoppy bitter taste much like any other pale ale. But still not as good as many Austrian beers I’ve had that were brewed under the 1516 ‘Purity Law’ where only natural ingredients were used. I’ll still hold out hope that Wolaver’s (or Otter Creek – still can’t figure this arrangement out) have better tasting beers more to my liking (and, not as old).

Drinkability: Nah. Wouldn’t buy again.
Appearance: Light amber color.
The Buds: Hoppy, bitter, ho hum.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.50 caps out of 5.

I like the retro looking Wolaver Farmer logo.

I like the retro looking Wolaver Farmer logo.

December 18, 2010

Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale Beer Review 12.18.10

What A Great, Dark Rich Color.

What A Great, Dark Rich Color.

The Brewski Report Reviews Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale
File Date: 12.18.10

File Name: Great shelf appeal. 
The Beer: Christmas Ale
Type: Winter Warmer
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7.4% ABV
Brewer: Breckenridge BBQ & Brew
Web Site: www.breckbrew.com
Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: Back in the 1980s our founder, Richard Squire, had a dream – to ski all day and drink great beer every night. Since he lived in the snow-kissed Rocky Mountains, fulfilling the skiing portion of his dream was easy. But the great beer part – at a time when a “microbrew” was a rarity – that was another story. So Richard started brewing his own, more flavorful beers for himself and his thrill-seeking ski pals. His homebrewed creations were a hit, and soon Richard was spending more time brewing than skiing. So he chased after another dream – making exceptional beer for a living. In February, 1990 that dream became reality when Richard opened the original Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Richard’s ski bum days were over, and so were the days of bland beer for the folks in Colorado’s ski country.

tbr-retro-labelBrewer Brand Hype: The chill of a Colorado high-country winter calls for a beer with extra flavor and warming characteristics. Here it is. Breck Brew’s Christmas Ale. At over 7% alcohol, with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, our holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a good fire. The ultimate winter warmer.
Label: Plenty of good cheer.  Good friends ever near.

The Brewski Review: As for the beer, I wouldn’t recommend this one.  It looked good in the glass: Brown to ruby brown in  with a nice foamy, muddy colored head.  The head dissipated quickly.  The taste though, wasn’t very pleasant to me.  It had a very strong aftertaste.  I drank about 3/4 of the bottle and had to pour the rest down the drain.  I didn’t get sick, but it was not an enjoyable beverage for me to drink. I really wanted it to taste good just because I loved the retro holiday label which looked so cool. Can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Drinkability:  Most likely not.
Appearance: Brown to ruby brown in color
The Buds: Big aftertaste. Malty and Bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 2.75 out of 5.

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