[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…)


[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: Xocoveza by Stone Brewing Company

tgof_stone_xocovezaNote: This review got lost in the backlogs so pay no attention to the fact that it’s now February and the picture features a Christmas tree…thanks!

There is one thing I will say for Stone Brewing Company–they are consistent. Are they consistent in releasing beers, consistent in delivering good beer, or consistent in delivering disappointing beers? If you said any of those three then you fell for the trap–none of those are what I’m referring to. Stone consistently releases beers that are–at the very least–interesting. That doesn’t always equal success, but I am a sucker for interesting beers good or bad.

People fawned over the bomber/draft release of their spiced holiday stout, Xocoveza, last year and the times they have not changed with the most recent release. Not just interesting in name, the beer boasts that it is brewed with cocoa, coffee, vanilla, and peppers. In my head as I read the ingredients I’m thinking yes, yes, yes….uhhh that’s unfortunate. Over the years if there’s on ingredient in a beer that generally leads to disappointment, it’s peppers. Still, I’ve had my fair share of pepper beers that integrate them well enough and as luck would have it Xocoveza is one of them.  (more…)

Beer Review: Thomas Creek Brewing’s Chocolate Orange IPA


I spend a lot of my free time stalking beer lover’s Instagram pictures, Untappd check ins and other beer blogs, but every now and again I’m still surprised by something new by just simply shopping at my local bottle shop. Granted I received a tip via email that the beer I’m talking about here had arrived in store, but my awareness to having it in hand timespan was a much shorter window than usual.

Chocolate and fruit seems to be the theme of the passed week in my beer adventures as within 6 days I’d tried both Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale (review forthcoming) and this posts focus, Thomas Creek Brewing Company’s Castaway Chocolate Orange IPA. This is a much different monster to Rogue’s experiment and I will admit straight off that Castaway would win if forced to pick one over the other. That’s beside the point seeing as they are two different styles of beer.

Right off the bat when pouring Castaway I was not necessarily shocked to see the dark color, but almost more disappointed that it didn’t have a clearer orange IPA color. It’s possible after all to have a chocolate beer with a clear color- I refer you back to my review of Great River’s Dirty Blonde Chocolate Ale. Color aside it still doesn’t hit stout or porter blackness and still very much sells IPA especially in the nose. The smell on the other hand didn’t do much for me at first, but the more I drank it, the more the smell started to come through to me as citrusy orange and a bit of dark bitter chocolate. The smell does indeed sell what the beer ultimately tastes like which is basically a malty and hoppy Blue Moon.

I tried Castaway poured into a glass as well as out of the bottle and there was a difference between the two. In my snifter glass the dark chocolate taste stood out way more than the citrus, though the citrus was present at the back end. When drinking right out of the bottle, I was getting a much more pronounced orange/citrus taste mixed well with the dark chocolate taste that comes from the malts. Both ways the beer had a smooth taste to being with that finished off with more of the hoppy bitterness.

If I had to suggest a way to enjoy this I would have to say the best way is straight from the bottle- the initial taste is a little more refreshing that way. I was able to get a hold of two single bottles at my bottle shop as opposed to the 4 pack something I’d personally try to seek out. If you enjoy it enough it may be worth the $10.99 price tag for the 4 pack, but for me a single bottle or two is perfectly fine for me. Overall, the Castaway Chocolate Orange IPA is unique enough to give a whirl, but beyond that I can’t say there’s anything overly exciting about it- yet I wouldn’t dare turn it down if someone offered it to me.

Rating: C+