Spiced/Herb Ales

[Beer Review] Snow Beast Winter Ale by Kinkaider Brewing Company

snowbeast_tgofLots of beer drinkers out there have their go-to style for winter drinking, but not this guy. Winter warmers and stouts are the typical drink of choice because they have a warming effect for the consumer, while I continue reaching for the hoppy familiarity of my favorite IPAs and pale ales. That’s not to say I don’t still dip into the occasional stout and winter warmer, they just do not tend to be my standbys in the fridge. All that being said, there might be a change on the way as a new contender has emerged from the snowy oblivion of Nebraska courtesy of the good folks at Kinkaider Brewing Company in the form of their Snow Beast Winter Ale.

Pouring beautifully deep amber in appearance and settling much darker in the glass–festive red hues when held up to a light. The foam dissipated quickly, but upon finishing the pour it held a thin and soapy consistency.  My preconceptions on the aroma are quickly shattered in an instant. Instead of a malty spicy mess I’m welcomed warmly by sweet vanilla and some darker cherry-like fruit. The cinnamon does not pop out even with some deep inhales, but the beer comes across in aroma like a delicious Christmas dessert, close to that of a cordial cherry.

The first sip is a bit of a show stopper. A very unique flurry of flavors swirl around on the tongue. Drinking temperature definitely impacts certain notes that are perceivable. (more…)

Cider Review: Gingerbread Cookie by Crown Valley Brewing Company

tgof_crownvalley_gingerbreadHere at Tall Glass of Film there is not a strong focus on cider. The reasons for that are two fold. I don’t really care for ciders, and I don’t really care for ciders. Ok so there’s one reason, sue me. Moving forward I may or may not take steps to rectify the lack of diversity in including ciders for review- but that’s contigent that I find one that doesn’t take like every other cider on the market. The fact that you are seeing this post means that the impossible happened, and I found a cider that is at the very least, unique.

The cider comes to us from Crown Valley Brewing Company, who just so happen to be the company behind some of the only ciders I currently enjoy. The name in and of itself sets some pretty high expectations- expectations that I simply don’t believe a cider can deliver on. Crown Valley’s Gingerbread Cookie cider immediately paints a flavor picture and ciders are typically working from a pretty limited palette.  (more…)

TGoF’s Year in Beer – 2014

IMG_5433Well, another stellar year of beer drinking is in the books. Four beer fests, several trades and a number of new breweries entering the market it’s entirely safe to say that I had my fill. So, with another 365 days in the rear view- well 325 if you include the 40 days of lent where I took a beer sabbatical- I thought it was time to reminisce on my highlights this year.

I won’t get into too much detail except to list of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time this year. Maybe even highlight a local brewery to watch out for that opened in 2014. Either way, if you see something below you haven’t tried, it’s safe to say I’d recommend you finding a way to get it in your hands in the near future. Cheers to an equally fulfilling 2015! (more…)

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Collaboration 12 Pack (Part 2)

I won’t spend a lot of time hyping up this post. Most likely if you’ve been to my blog before you’ve probably already read my part 1 review of this collaboration 12 pack and just want to see how it all wraps up in the end. And if you haven’t been to the blog before then I’d simply suggest heading over to the part 1 post anyway as I’ve listed reviewed the beers in the order I drank them- not that you need the background information in order to understand these reviews. Either way, here are six more reviews of beers contained within Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Collaboration 12 Pack!

beercamp_electricrayElectric Ray (India Pale Lager)
Collaboration Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Review: If it looks like an IPA, taste like an IPA it must be an IPA right? Apparently not if you’re Electric Ray, which according to the packaging is an IPL (India Pale Lager). I know right, potato patado- it’s hoppy and it’s amber/gold in color, it’s pretty much an IPA. Very thin head on the pour and smells a bit like old hops. Taste is quite bitter on the front end which screams IPA, but then the malt and smooth lager characteristics kick in on the back end. Easily one of the hoppiest offerings in the box which was quite welcome from some of the other ho hum offerings I started off with. And given how low my expectations were as I dug into the final six beers in the pack this was a much needed boost for me.   (more…)

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Collaboration 12 Pack Review (Part 1)

beercamp_sierranevadaI like Sierra Nevada- but I do not get particularly excited about their beers. Given that they are pretty readily available throughout most of the United States their beers are not spectacularly hard to track down. That has never stopped me from enjoying their Pale Ale and Ruthless Rye IPA on a semi-regular basis. Sierra Nevada no doubt makes good beer- I’ve yet to be blown away by anything, but they make damn good beer. The last time I got excited about something Sierra Nevada put out was a 12 pack of four different IPAs they had worked on- the pack left a lot to be desired. Again, none of the beers were “bad,” but they were plain and uninspired- except for the Snow Wit, I did not care for that one much at all.

By now though I’m sure everyone familiar with craft beer has heard of their latest mixed 12 pack which has been making the rounds both as a packaged product and as a touring festival. The Sierra Nevada Beer Camp of 2014 this time has taken 12 different breweries to collaborate on 12 different beers- each brewery contributing a style and working with the folks at Sierra Nevada to create the mixed pack. These have been making the rounds long enough that I’m sure there’s been plenty of time for people to dig into the beers so that’s what I’m gonna talk about now- six at a time. (more…)

TGoF’s 2014 Beer Outlook

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In terms of beer, 2013 was a HELL of a year for me. I got the chance to try a ridiculous amount of new beers, which compared to a lot of more hardcore beer nerds out there is probably barely a drop in the bucket. So looking forward to what’s in store for the new year I wanted to touch on some new breweries that have come to my attention and other beers I’m looking forward to trying to track down this year.

Before that though I want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time in 2013 and hopefully won’t be the last I see of them. (more…)

2013 Great Nebraska Beer Fest Recap

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My first official beer fest is in the books and one thing is certain- it will not be my last. I had a blast walking around and chatting with fellow beer lovers, enjoying beer with some friends, but most of all getting to try a whole bunch of new and exciting beers all in a span of a few hours. A few things kept me from getting to everything I wanted to try, the biggest being the unrelenting heat that chased me into the A/C next door to the tent area after about an hour and again another hour or so after venturing back out. I did get around to all the beers I for sure wanted to mark off my list before I put up the white flag and left the fest and I’m so glad that I did.

In my preview of the fest I expressed my excitement to try the beers that Cigar City, Firestone Walker and Stone were bringing and that excitement was certainly justified. I had earlier in the week attended a Stone Pint Night at a local craft beer bar and had a few of their beers I hadn’t had and also picked up a few at my local bottle shop knocking out most everything they were bringing except for their 2013 Russian Imperial Stout which I though was quite good and very boozy, but also not something that stood out at least for me when all was said and done. However, unrelated to the beer fest I tried for the first time Stone’s Ruination IPA both on tap and in a bottle and immediately after expressed that it would probably be in my top five of IPAs that I’ve tried. (more…)

Beer Review: Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale

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My wife always rolls her eyes at me when we are at the store and walk down the coffee aisle and remark about how amazing it always smells. She rolls her eyes because that comment is usually always followed by me telling her I want to buy some, which sets off a series of stops in the store to buy creamer of some kind and it’s never a short process since I tend to be extremely indecisive. The real problem then becomes the fact that the first few days we get up, brew the coffee I drink about a half a cup and realize that my taste for coffee just hasn’t developed even if I use more creamer than I have coffee in the glass. Hence the reason why more often than not when we go down the coffee aisle my desire to buy coffee usually goes ignored nowadays.

The other peculiar part about living with me is how picky I am about food in general. Mixing beer to the situation I am known to try almost everything at least once and sometimes the weirder it seems to be the more I seem to like it- it’s a constant mystery to my wife how I can be so choosy about the food I eat, but I will drink pretty much whatever is put in front of me even if it is brewed with something I wouldn’t normally eat on its own. So when we browse the beer aisles at the grocery store and I put Boulevard’s Coffee Ale in the cart that normal eye roll was nowhere to be perceived and instead what I got was the look that just kind of says, “I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”

When I turned 21 I had no knowledge of “craft beer,” all I knew was that there was beer and there was Dr. Pepper- my two favorite things at that age. For me it was almost a constant stream of Bud Light mostly because that’s all I really grew up seeing friends and family drink. The very first time I branched out it was Boulevard’s Wheat beer that introduced me to a whole new possibility of what beer could be and I will always credit them for at least my introduction to the world of craft beer. I’ve come a long way since that first taste of Boulevard Wheat all the way to their newest and wildly popular Smokestack Series Special Release Coffee Ale which my short and simple opinion of is, I actually kind of love it.

The majority of beers I try that have a hint of coffee or outright crank up their coffee profile are stouts or porters. The Boulevard Coffee Ale is basically a brown ale but also can simply be categorized as an herb/spiced beer and carries almost no resemblance to stout. The bottle pours nice and smooth with a decent amount of head and an impressive amount of carbonation. Given my preconceptions about it being a coffee ale and the amount of carbonation I was expecting the first taste to be able to jolt me out of a near catatonic state and instead the first sip gave me nothing but a nice clean and extremely smooth taste that screams coffee from the get go, but it is in no way off-putting or overly bitter.

The beer is dark brown in color and you will notice a large amount of sediment in your glass mostly once you get toward the bottom of the bottle, but nothing that I really noticed as I was drinking it that harmed the taste of the beer in general. The smell of the beer does not have near the overwhelming coffee odor that I would expect, but instead is really subtle in character.

Boulevard collaborated with a gourmet coffee shop known as The Roasterie for this beer using Ethiopian Sidamo blended with rye, oats and malted barley in the brew along with Perle and Styrian Golding hops and comes in at 9.3 ABV. The Coffee Ale drinks scary smooth for having such high alcohol content, but coming from a 750 ML bottle I believe that works just fine in one sitting as opposed to sitting and enjoying one after another.

Coming from someone who openly admits to a weird relationship with coffee as a drink, I believe that loving Boulevard’s Coffee Ale is quite telling about the quality of the beer- unless of course you think I’m a complete idiot in which case, to each their own. Personally, I find this to be my favorite of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series releases and easily one I’d go back out and buy again when the craving strikes.

Rating: A-