beer

[Beer Reviews] Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Overpacked Mixed 15 Pack

Back when I first got into craft beer and drove to an area with vastly different distribution than what I’m used to one of the first brewiest I latched on to that weren’t readily available to me was Southern Tier. Of course, my first introduction was the wildly popular Pumking, but I also really dug releases like Live, 2XIPA, and their oak aged Unearthly. To this day when I find myself face to face with some of my favorites and new releases I do not hesitate to bring some home with me. Most recently I stumbled across their “new to me” mixed 15-pack jam packed with all new beers or new recipients I hadn’t had the chance to try–with the exception of Tangier. So with all that new, how could I resist the urge to chat/write about them?

Instead of deep diving into each beer like I would normally do with a full on beer review, this will be a collection of quick observations based on my own notes as I worked my way through this pack. Before we even begin I’ll lay down an unnecessary spoiler alert that if you can get this, then get it. Each beer is well worth introducing to your taste buds regardless of the fact that they might not redefine the beer landscape. 

2xSmash – I’ve never been one interested in following much a unified strategy when I sit down to enjoy multiple different styles of beer in a sitting. So naturally the first out of the pack is the single malt, single hop Double IPA. Pouring deep gold with a fingers worth of head and settling beautifully in the glass. Lots of malt and grapefruit on the nose which transitions nicely into the beer’s actual flavor profile. The initial smack of grapefruit smooths out over the palate finishing with a mostly pleasant malty backbone. A very balanced first impression of the pack that–for my taste–allows the malt to take over more than I generally look for. Rating: B

German Pils – Anyone who visits regularly (which lets be honest, is wishful thinking) may have noticed a bit of a drought on the page in recent months. The reasons have been two-fold. One is more of a focus on personal life (which includes work and my beautiful 18-month old daughter). The second is a bit of fatigue–both in other commitments with my movie opinions and with my tastes in craft beer. Over that time I’ve rekindled a love of the delights within light lagers. ST’s German Pils is a delightful take on the style that pours transparently golden with a soapy head. Visually the carbonations bubbles satisfyingly slide up the glass giving it a refreshing appearance. Light aramatics include noble hops and biscuity malts. The flavor profile is more hop forward than your traditional German Pilsner, but remains crisp, crackers and crushable–reminiscent of another American take on the style, Pivo, from Firestone Walker. Rating: B+

Citra Hopped Live – Fresh ST Live was a euphoric experience way back when I first had it. It became harder and harder to locate bottles within anything resembling why would be considered fresh whenever I was looking to buy some. Much to my delight I came across this pack with their updated recipe and well within the fresh threshhold. More of the same in its appearance. Golden beer with a soapy head and crisp citrusy nose–pineapple coming through predominantly. Much of the same on taste. Light mouthfeel, pineapple and crisp citrus finish. Refreshing, but maybe not quite as memorable as it once was even with the addition of one of my favorite hops. Rating: B (Sorry guys/gals. Must have forgot to get a pic of this one–I’ll update if I find it)

Tangier – I finished off a six pack of this well over a year ago and remember being uninspired by the overall drinking experience–again, not quite as fresh as I would have liked. Opening this I wasn’t expecting a lot having already had some preconceptions. However, fresh it has much of the same running theme of the pack overall–crushable. This is a relatively straightforward IPA with lots of sweet orange aromatics and present with the flavor profile. Finishes slightly bitter with some rind notes on the back end. Rating: B

Nu Skool IPA – To round out the pack it seemed right to finish it off with one of their newest offerings. This beer has strikingly similar appearance to the rest and the aromatics as well as the flavor profile comes together like aF rankenstein monster of all the other beers combined. A grapefruit citrus cocktail with a hint of crackery malt to carry it through, but with a stereotypical bitterness that lingers. An interesting take on their style of IPA that’ll certainly have its place poolside, but nothing that’ll blow your socks off and is a statement point for what you’re in for with all the beers in the pack. Rating: B

Overall – All rock solid beers, but it’s gettin’ hot around here so gimme more of that pilsner!

There ya go. Some hot takes on the five tasty beers in Southern Tier’s Overpacked mixed 15 pack. What say your beer drinkers? Have you had a chance to try all these? If so why are your favorites? Lemme know!

[Beer Review] 4 County Pale Ale by Kinkaider Brewing Company

Another April Fool’s Day and another fresh load of hoppy deliciousness from the gold folks at Kinkaider Brewing Company. Maybe you remember last year at this time they unleashed hours old bottles of their Frame the Butcher IPA throughout Nebraska–something that almost never happens in the Cornhusker state and something local politicians were recently trying to make impossible to ever happen again…but let’s not go there. This year Kinkaider chose this usually awful and obnoxious day to debut the updated recipe of their 4 County Pale Ale and have it available or in the hands of customers within hours–bottled April 1, 2017, delivered to stores April 1, 2017 in six packs of 12oz bottles and on draft.

Previously brewed exclusively with Cascade, the new recipe enlists the unique and broad qualities of Equinox, Citra, Cascade and 7C’s (which itself is a blend of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Cluster, Citra, Columbus and Crystal hops). The new and (SPOILER ALERT) improved version of 4 County Pale Ale pours very cloudy, settling into a reddish orange/amber color in the glass with a fingers worth of off-white head.   The beer is beautifully hazy (not turbid–like the trendy wave of New England Style hop bombs) showing distinct signs of being unfiltered and packed with glorious hop flavors.  (more…)

[Beer Review] Red Velvet by Ballast Point Brewing Company

bpredvelvet_tgofThe dessert beer is a tricky tart to perfect. Of course, opinions vary and some will swig down just about anything based on a name regardless if the beer actually delivers on the flavors it promises. The perils are real though. Dessert beers can verge on sickly sweet to flat out not being able to cash in on its promises. Ballast Point’s Red Velvet falls somewhere in the middle.

This review focuses on the release of the six pack of 12 oz nitro bottles that were recently released. As the bottle promises the beer is nitrogenated and pours light pink and cascades beautifully leaving a deep red hued beer with a creamy, slightly pink head that resembles cream cheese frosting. The aroma is lacking quite a bit with muted notes of light malts, vanilla and hints of chocolate.

It’s worth noting that this beer is an golden oatmeal stout with chocolate and natural flavors added. So, in being a “golden stout” it allows for the intense red color from the beets to come through so vividly. Before moving into the taste it’s also worth noting that I have never had a beet in my entire life. Prior to this beer I’ve only ever even had one beer that utilized beets and it was a sour…three years ago, so there’s no way to rely on my ability to recognize the actual beet characteristics of the use in this particular beer. If you’re lost, let me explain. (more…)

[Opinion] Your Untappd ‘Distinct Beers’ Milestone and What it Says About You

img_2406No, I’m not just channeling my inner Cosmo writer with that title, but I suppose the change of pace does warrant a little bit of explanation. Here at TGoF the goal has never been to just get on and babble incoherently about beer and movies. Okay, so it actually did start that way, because I never had any illusions that I would have the inspiration to do anything but get on and babble incoherently about beer and movies.

When 2016 came to a close, I felt it was now or never to at least try and change things up a bit going into 2017. Step one is to branch off a bit into some other opinionated posts related to my bread and butter–beer and movies. I haven’t planned much outside of step one, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. So, every now and then when inspiration strikes you’ll hopefully see some “new” and “different” content filling the space on my little blog and with any luck, anyone who stumbles across it will enjoy. Welcome to TGoF in 2017…now lets get started! (more…)

[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…)

[Beer Review] Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale by New Belgium Brewing Company

For me, gimmick beers tend to end in failure. It’s up in the air what truly constitutes a gimmick beer, but three specifically come to mind that fit the bill. Pizza Beer Company’s Mama Mia Pizza Beer. It’s the only beer the company makes and it’s got a clear hook. It also tastes like pizza sauce. If that’s your thing, good on ya, but if I’m tasting pizza sauce I want it on my pizza and not in my beer glass. Second is, New Belgium’s previous Ben & Jerry’s collaboration, the Salted Caramel Brownie Ale. Salted caramel just isn’t something I think is possible to capture in a beer and it essentially was your run-of-the-mill brown ale. Not undrinkable, but essentially just a marketing ploy. The third is Rogue’s line of awful Voodoo Doughnut creations (except the Maple Bacon, I think I remember not spitting that one out).

Naturally, seeing them dip back into the well wasn’t something I was excited about, but I’m a fair guy with an open mind- most of the time. Plus, a golden brown ale aside from making me role my eyes at the obvious oxymoron, seemed unique enough to give it a shot. Low and behold, I cracked a bottle open, poured and in my glass I have New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale. As promised it pours a very rich golden color with a slight soapy head. As it settles in the glass of you didn’t know any better it takes on the appearance of apple cider.  (more…)

[Beer Review] Vanilla Bean Blonde by Infusion Brewing Company

I love vanilla. Call me crazy, but a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream puts me in my happy place. Maybe that’s why Infusion’s logo for their extremely popular local offering sits so well with me. I also don’t generally review draft beer, simply because I feel like a tool sitting around typing notes into my phone in the middle of a bar and holding a glass up to examine light and what not. So now that Infusion has decided to roll out their taproom staple to bottles I’m finally ready to sit down and ramble about it.

When Infusion first opened I took to social media to let all my friends and family know how much I loved it. As time has gone by that glowing recommendation had turned to nothing more than a displeased grunt. A few less than satisfactory trips and interactions with folks behind the bar soured me to the beer, regardless of the quality the beer may have had. So over time my indulgence of their beer resorted to other local bars or beerfests, but I often defaulted to the Vanilla Bean Blonde- cause like I said, vanilla is my weakness. (more…)

2016 Great Nebraska Beerfest Preview

img_0978One of Nebraska’s largest craft beer festivals returns and for the 3rd year in a row Werner Park plays host. Having attended the fest for the past four years, I have to say the ballpark is perfect for outdoor beer sampling and having a baseball field as the backdrop makes this particular beer and baseball fanatic very happy. The venue offers plenty of shade and a comfortable breeze often flows through the concourse.

This year’s festival sees the return of many local and regional favorites bringing their beer for fans to enjoy as well as a slew of new breweries. Recent events certainly cast a shadow for some as the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission stepped in and blocked homebrewers and non-licensed breweries in planning from participating and pouring their beer for thirsty patrons. Upcoming breweries like Marto, Code Beer Co, Jukes Ale Works, Get Lost, Kros Strain, and Vis Major are among the previously announced participants that will now be absent when the doors open at 12:30pm for the VIP session and 2pm for general admission ticket holders. (more…)

Beer Review: Poolside Ale by Bell’s Brewing Company

bellspoolside_tgofI’m not always open to venturing outside of my comfort zone when it comes to beer styles I enjoy on a regular basis. In my efforts to change that fact I’ve discovered a few things about myself while also finding some beers that I had been missing out on. One of the things I found out about myself is that there are few beers as addicting or supremely as a well made Pilsner.

While that has absolutely nothing to do with the beer up for review, it’s at least worth noting at the top here leading in to the review (it is my prerogative after all until someone else starts calling the shots). A second thing I found out is that I might also have a thing for Belgian Wits. Bell’s Poolside Ale fits comfortably in that category and like Avery’s Liliko’i Kepolo, it injects an intense fruit component that’s super refreshing during the summer months.

Now, I have yet to crack one of these bad boys open poolside, but make no mistake, it would taste mighty refreshing floating around on a lazy summer afternoon whether it be in a pool, lake, ocean or just chilling in your tub in the air conditioning. (more…)

Beer Review: Double NZ IPA by Zipline Brewing Company

doublenzipa_tgofZipline Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE) has- over the last few years- posited itself as one of my favorite local breweries. Their beer portfolio probably isn’t going to turn any heads in terms of creativity, but the styles they put out in the market are always top notch in execution. Just this year they decided to axe their NZ IPA, which they referred to as a “fan favorite” and instead released a revamped IPA to the market- one I find to be a significant improvement over the NZ. Not one to disappoint fans they decided not to forget their roots, but expand them by making Double NZ IPA a seasonal release in 750 ML bottles. It’s now up for debate as to whether or not that is a good thing.

We’ll get to my final thoughts on the beer, but lets ease into it, shall we? Double NZ IPA pours beautifully into the glass settling just slightly hazy (possibly some chill haze) bright orange with a medium creamy layer of head- the lacing of which is pretty impressive, again dipping into Zipline’s ability to execute styles. (more…)