Seasonals are at the mercy of the brewer’s whim, though most follow a fairly standard formula in terms of what styles go great with certain seasons. Kinkaider hit Nebraska with their cocktail inspired Moscow Mule Ale that at the beginning of summer that nailed its target, but often came off as a ginger bomb that perhaps could have benefited from a different base beer. Nebraskans took in the summer seasonals bracing for the influx of pumpkin beers and Oktoberfests to hit late July and early August. Then came Kinkaider tapping on our shoulders with one more late summer treat–a nice malty Bock.
Certainly not your typical late summer drinker, Bearded Bock is a collaboration with Omaha contractors, Bearded Builders, that–per Kinaider’s own admission–may or may not have used actual beard in the brewing process. Regardless of the secret ingredient, Bearded Bock pours like rich melted caramel and settling in the glass with a deep reddish brown hue and an off white/tan head. The beer does not come with an overly complicated aroma, very straightforward lager characteristics with some nutty flavors coming through with a large enough inahale. (more…)
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…)
Boulevard Brewing Company has not been one to shy away from experimenting when it comes to their Smokestack Series. Their Imperial Stout line has been an example of that- especially late in 2015/early 2016 so far. Perhaps the most divisive of their experiments has been the yearly release of their Chocolate Ale, a collaboration with chocolatier Christopher Elbow. There have been years with infected bottles and on more than one occasion even when the beer isn’t infected, the quality is often in question. A fan myself, have too felt that there is a distinct QA issue when it comes to certain batches/bottles and to how the beer tastes on draft- still, every year I have to indulge at least once in both formats.
This year, the prolific brewing company turned some heads by releasing the beer with a specific twist- the addition of raspberry. If nothing else it is a move that should boost sales for craft beer lovers looking for a decadent indulgence around the holiday of love, Valentine’s Day, as an alternate to gorging on boxes upon boxes of Russell Stovers. It certainly got me to open my wallet once again, although as of writing this I’m still on the lookout for to try the draught version. (more…)
I 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…)