[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] 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: 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: Mother Earth Brewing Cali Creamin’

calicreamin_motherearthbrewingOver the last few years of drinking craft beer there’s one thing that I find myself constantly coming back to. Something that I find myself craving in some of my favorite beers- vanilla. I tried to fight it for a long time, in fear that it painted me as liking sissy beer or showing favoritism toward beer aimed more for the female audience. The time has come for me to steer into the skid and own up to it- I love vanilla in my beer.

The problem with my fascination with vanilla in beer, is that even with all the beers out there that use it, it’s often hard to pick out- at least to the extent that I enjoy it. Tallgrass’ Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, while delicious, often doesn’t have the distinct vanilla flavor that I’ve found I really crave- in fact many don’t. Locally, Infusion Brewing Company brews their Vanilla Bean Blonde that I will ALWAYS order if I see it on a menu. So when I received Mother Earth’s Cali Creamin’ my expectations were high. (more…)