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Our mission at The BeerFathers is to teach you to stop worrying and love the beer. Our secondary mission is to drink a lot of beer. Our tertiary mission is to give you ratings on those beers - objective, unbiased, opinionated, prejudiced ratings based on what we find good about beer. Take it with a grain of salt or preferably one of those big beer pretzels they sell in Munich. Those things are great.

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Hefe Madness – Round 1 – Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier vs. Pyramid Hefe Weizen

By John on May 4, 2009 (No Comments)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Round 1, Beer Battle 1

Hefe Round 1, Battle 1

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier comes in as the number one seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 95 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

Pyramid Hefe Weizen comes in as the number eight seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “C+” at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 32 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.49/each.

(8) Pyramid Hefe Weizen

The Pyramid pour gave us a large 2″ foamy white head that left no head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There was little carbonation and the yellow/gold body had a slight murkiness to it.

The aromas came in with wheat, citrus, lemon and yeast. The flavors came in with an orange taste that kind of overpowered the beer. The Pyramid comes in in pretty far to the right on the malt to hop scale – 3 clicks to the right of balanced on the hoppy side. We got a yes to repeatable and drinkable and a no to memorable, wow factor and buy again.

Our notes were that it had a good, crisp taste, but that it was somewhat bland and muddled relative to the traditional hefe notes. There was also a tart/bitter edge to it that didn’t sit well. The aftertaste lingers in a bad way and the “X” factor is not impressive. It’s better cold – it doesn’t hold together well at all as it warms up.

Overall score for Pyramid: 3 out of 10

(1) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

The Weihenstephaner pour gave us a large 2 1/2″ white head that laced fairly well as it dissipated slowly. It had a soft carbonation and a nice cloudy haziness to the yellow/gold body.

The aromas came in with wheat, citrus, lemon, yeast, banana, clove and spices. A nice bouquet overall. The flavors came in with lemon, banana and clove. The Weihenstephaner came in just about perfectly balanced on our patented malt to hop scale and got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, memorable and buy again. The only no was for wow factor.

Our notes were that it was quite refreshing and much more complex than the Pyramid. The banana flavors really popped as it warmed up and overall it had a great harmony and balance to it.

Overall score for Weihenstephaner : 8 out of 10

Winner: (1) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 1

Next time: (2) Ayinger Brau-Weisse vs. (7) Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat.

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Hefe Madness

By John on April 27, 2009 (No Comments)

With March Madness and college basketball finally done the Beer Love wife reminded me that the sports we watch in the Beer Love household are pretty much over until football season kicks off in the fall. So we decided to create our own sport to both celebrate and get us through the spring and impending summer months. That’s right – we decided it was time for our first ever beer tournament. But what kind of beer tournament?

Well, we love the hefes here at The BeerFathers, so much that we made a rule about it – so why not put a bunch of hefes head-to-head and figure out who the real champ is? And so we declare the official start of the first ever The BeerFathers Hefeweizen tournament.

Hefe Madness

Hefe Madness Bracket

Let’s meet the contestants:

#1 seed: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

Coming in with an “A” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 95 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.99/each.

#2 seed: Ayinger Brau-Weisse

Coming in with an “A-” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 92 rating at RateBeer.com. 500 mL bottles at $3.49/each.

#3 seed: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Coming in with an “A-” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 90 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.49/each. Though it has the same overall rating on both sites at the Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, the higher seed went to Franziskaner based on more reviews at BeerAdvocate.com – 793 reviews vs. 634 reviews. Also, the price tag was 50 cents less per bottle. Better bargain means a higher seed, with all things considered.

#4 seed: Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

Coming in with an “A-” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 90 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.99/each. See notes on Franziskaner above for seed justification.

#5 seed: Erdinger Weissbier

Coming in with a “B” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 53 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $2.39/each.

#6 seed: Arcobrau Weissbier
Coming in with a “B” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 49 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.99/each.

#7 seed: Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat

Coming in with a “B-” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 36 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.79/each.

#8 seed: Pyramid Hefe Weizen

Coming in with a “C+” at BeerAdvocate.com and a 32 rating at RateBeer.com. 12 oz bottles at $1.49/each.

So all told we’ve got $54.23 worth of beer from Total Wine. Six German (Bavarian) beers and two American beers. We bought 3 of each beer as well so any beer could make it to the finals. And to help us through it all we recruited one Beer Love neighbor – Josh – to help us drink and rate and drink some more.

So if you want to play along at home go and get these beers and tune in over the next few weeks as we work our way through each pairing until we declare the official Hefe Champion.

Update (full tournament links):

Round 1:

Semifinals:

Finals:

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The BeerFathers Spell Irony P-B-R

By John on April 20, 2009 (1 Comment)

PBR Fan of the Game!So yours truly was recently invited to attend the greatest of American past times – minor league baseball – with his beer pals Josh and Trent. The Charlotte Knights were squaring off against the Gwinnett Braves and we were right behind home plate.

That’s when we were approached by a young lady in a Charlotte Knights jersey who asked “Do you want to be the PBR fan of the game?” Beer Love neighbor Josh and I had a quick consultation and asked “Will we have to actually drink PBR?” to which she responded “No.” “Then we’re in!” we retorted.

For those not in the know, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) is not exactly the kind of beer one would usually associate with Beer Love Headquarters – it’s an American lager and though it’s arguably better than any of the big 3 American lagers, it’s not exactly what The BeerFathers order when they’re writing their beer prescriptions out on their beer RX pad. It’s much more “macro” than the microbrews we tend to seek out. In fact, PBR currently rates a 3 out of 100 over at RateBeer.com.

So yes, The BeerFather himself, purveyor of good beers, champion of stouts and porters everywhere, lover of Bells and Dogfish Heads and Duck Rabbits and Three Floyds and Founders and Great Divides, was the PBR Fan of the Game:

PBR Fan of the Game!

Many thanks to Beer Love neighbor Josh for the grainy, 1.3 mega pixel photos he snapped from his cell phone. Without that we would have no photo documentation that there was a PBR, a fan, or even a game.

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Guest Post: Quest for the Perfect Beer List

By John on April 13, 2009 (3 Comments)

Editor’s Note: While The BeerFathers are out on paternity leave, he’s having his online beer consiglieres post for him – this one comes to us from The Beer Babe.

As a beer reviewer, I’m always a bit picky about the restaurants and bars that I seek out. I love trying out new places, but nothing ruins a night out for me more than finding out a new bar’s tap list consists of what I could find crumpled on the ground of my college campus after an all night frat party. Only slightly above that, in my opinion, is a bar in which they have a bigger craft beer selection – including the “macro” craft brews like Sam Adams – but nothing local despite the presence of some wonderful brewings in the neighborhood.

So I set out to define what, to me, would make up the perfect craft beer list at a bar. I have considered this long and hard (while visiting restaurants and drinking beer, of course) and come up with the following criteria. Most of these steps don’t take too much time or even money, only some conscious thought to consider the beer drinker.

  1. Manageable Quantity
    Sure, if you had an unlimited budget, you could put more than 50 tap lines in and import the most amazing brews that the world has to offer all in once place. These places are shrines that I make semi-annual pilgrimages to, but wouldn’t qualify as my perfect beer list. What matters more to me than having everything at my fingertips is having a good small selection that makes sense. Humans become paralyzed when given too many options. If I had to pick a perfect number for craft brews on tap I’d probably ask for between 8 and 10.
  2. Local Beer
    If you live in the United States, there’s a good chance there’s a craft brewer less than 50 miles from your doorstep. While having choices that you wouldn’t normally be able to find is exciting, I have seen bars that have totally ignored higher quality local brews at the expense of the hard-to-find imports or big time breweries. The key is balance – represent your local brewers if they make good beer, and offer up something that a regular beer lover wouldn’t be able to buy at Hannaford.
  3. Casked Beer
    Having a cask engine in a bar is expensive, and is certainly an investment. But any bar that is serious about beer should consider this. The customer with a high level knowledge of beer will travel miles for an interesting selection on cask, and there are more and more beer geeks joining the rank every day. I’m usually surprised when I find casked beer at a restaurant or bar, and I usually return periodically to see what they’ve put on cask.
  4. Balance of Styles
    Would you want to come to a bar every week if they only had one or two styles of beer? If a bar picks mostly pale ales and lagers, or ales, there’s little discernible difference between them. I love to go to bars with lots of styles, so if I’m educating someone about craft beer, I can feel out their particular tastes. A key indicator for me is if a bar has a porter or stout other than Guinness on tap.
  5. The Details
    Providing information about each beer and brewery as well as serving the beers appropriately (throw out the frosty mugs, okay?) all add something special to one of my favorite beer bars. Have matching glassware for a brewery? Use it. Have lots of styles? Explain them on the menu. Also, keeping your beer list up to date is important. I have often been disappointed by seeing something on a list only to be told that it was either tapped out or hadn’t been tapped yet! Also any bar or restaurant that takes the time to suggest beer pairings, or hosts beer dinners is a step above all else.

Every time I go out to a bar I look for the criteria. Someday I know I will find my perfect beer list. I’d love to hear if you’ve found yours!

Thanks, The Beer Babe

Comments can be emailed to The Beer Babe or posted below!

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to The Beer Babe for guest lecturing here at Beer Love University. Be sure to check her out – one of the best beer sites on the Internet today.

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Guest Post: Left Hand Milk Stout

By John on April 7, 2009 (5 Comments)

Editor’s Note: This is a guest rating from The BeerFathers’ Circle of Trust – this one comes to us from Scott over at TheBrewClub.com.

Left Hand Milk StoutBeing a Lefty myself, and also a lover of good Milk Stouts, I am really looking forward to trying this Milk Stout from Left hand Brewing Company out of Longmont, Colorado. This Milk Stout has some serious recognition for its goodness! It won the 2006 and 2008 World Beer Cup Gold Medal in the Sweet Stout category, and a Silver Medal at the 2008 GABF for Milk Stout. Not bad!

If you’ve been following The Brew Club for any time, you’ll know that I’ve really taken a liking to these Milk Stouts lately, and I hope that maybe you’ll give one a try as well. For some reason, every time I tell someone about a Milk Stout – they get the impression that there is literal milk mixed into the beer. That would be gross. This is not the case! With Milk Stouts, or Sweet Stouts, lactose is added to the mix to give the beer some sweetness. Lactose is milk sugar and it doesn’t ferment in the brewing process. People with lactose intolerance don’t know that they’re missing with these beers! So that’s the story, loosely, of what a Milk Stout is.

So far, I’ve tried four other milk stouts, and this Left Hand Milk Stout will be number 5. I’d also like to say Thanks! to The BeerFathers who are responsible for hooking me up with this beer to try for you! He’s another Milk Stout fan, and I hope to see what he thinks of the Keegan Ales Mother’s Milk and Lancaster Milk Stout soon! Let’s get on to the beer, shall we?

First, I apologize for the Ice Tea glass that I had to use for this tasting. Remember folks, its not about looks, and all my ‘real’ beer glasses are in the dishwasher so this vessel will have to do! Getting on to looks, this 5.8% ABV stout beer poured into my glass in the typical dark way expected form Milk Stouts. Dark, dark, dark. Let’s just say this beer is basically black, OK? It created a smallish head with a nice beige color, also typical, and in short order the head reduced to a thin beige coating on the beer. Swirling this milk stout in my glass a bit, there was a little bit of bubbly lacing – but it wasn’t clingy.

Smell. Well what can I say? The Left Hand Milk Stout smells like a Milk Stout should! Roasty malt flavors infused with the unmistakable sweetness of the lactose sugar. Nothing surprising here but I think the Left Hand might have a slightly stronger coffee or chocolate smell than the previous milk stouts I’ve had.

Let’s give this beer a taste now eh? It has a big roasted malt flavor, and much like the scent you can pick up on the sweetness in the taste quite easily, but it is not overdone. There is more of that coffee flavor in the taste, as there was in the smell, more so I think than the other milk stouts I’ve had. The body is medium to heavy – there’s some body to this beer! Still, this ale is very smooth, and very drinkable. There’s just the slightest hop bite and no alcohol sting – this beer could be the definition of smooth and creamy! I also found that as I sipped this Milk Stout, the flavors became even more pronounced, so I would suggest you let this one warm up a bit to get the fullness of the flavors.

There is a lightly bitter aftertaste that is agreeable, and the beer leaves a bit of a sticky coating in your mouth, but this isn’t a bad thing considering the type of beer it is.

Overall, I’m going to give the Left Hand Milk Stout a solid 4 star rating. I think as a Milk Stout, its one of the best I’ve had, but I still think the Lancaster Milk Stout is just a touch better overall. Still, if you are a fan of Milk Stouts, I don’t see how you can go wrong trying one of these from Left Hand Brewing.

Editor’s Note: TheBrewClub.com uses a five star rating system while The BeerFathers use a 10 point rating system. Their 4 turns into our 8, simple as that.

Guest Post: Left Hand Milk Stout Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Where in Time Are the BeerFathers?

By John on April 4, 2009 (2 Comments)

AnnaSo, The BeerFathers haven’t made a house call here in quite a while. We can only offer our apologies and one terrific excuse – the newest addition to the Beer Love Household – Anna Jewel Eklund, born on the Ides of March.

So – we’re taking a bit of a breather from the site while we’re working on getting used to this whole first baby thing. Have faith that Father Beer Love has gotten to come visit his first grandbaby – and that he’s also noted that Son Beer Love is now also a Father Beer Love. It’s true what they say – having a baby changes everything – it kind of turns the sound down on everything else going on in your life, including your beloved beer site.

Many thanks to Beer Love pal Scott from The Brew Club who sent a terrific care package and also dropped a note saying that maybe I should let the world know that we had a good excuse for the lack of updates. Fear not we’ll be back soon, and many thanks to all of you who have sent your best wishes.

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Sam Adams Winter Lager

By John & Dad on February 19, 2009 (3 Comments)

Sam Adams Seasonal LabelYou probably know that we’re fans of the Sam Adams Seasonals lineup. We don’t hide that. They’re usually quite a bit more balanced than the regular Sam Adams Boston Lager, and we like that because we like our taste buds to retain the ability to actually taste things. See, it’s a proven fact that too many hops can actually dissolve your tongue. It’s true, look it up! (Editor’s note: that’s not true in the least bit).

The Sam Adams seasonal lineup looks like this, starting in the spring: Sam Adams White Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Sam Adams Winter Lager. We’re hitting all the Sam Adams seasonals and this is stop three of four on our incredible journey. Sam Adams of course, is brewed by the Boston Beer Company, which makes lots of fine beers – probably 10 to 20 different beers total – that cover a broad range of styles, alcohol contents and price points.

Our Sam Adams Winter Lager registered an initial temperature of 47.5 F and our 12 oz bottle sported a nice 5.8% ABV. We used an English pint glass for our review.

The initial pour gave us a large 2 1/4″ foamy off-white head that dissipated slowly and left us some good head lacing en route. There were no discernible carbonation bubbles to speak of. The body was clear with a textbook amber color.

For the aromas we were able to pull our a very light caramel, nutty, floral, orange, resin, cinnamon, ginger and some miscellaneous spices. It’s really a great sniffer of a beer. For the tastes there were fewer notes, which gave us biscuit, light caramel, floral, ginger and some more miscellaneous spices.

The initial flavor notes were a moderate to heavy sweet and a very light bitter. The finish flavor notes were a light sweet and light to moderate bitter. The moderation in the hops and bitterness in this and other Sam Adams Seasonals is one of the biggest selling points for us.

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is nice and creamy (not like a Guinness, but still creamy nonetheless), and the tongue hit is in the middle of the tongue. There’s no body lacing as we lower the beer levels in the glass.

On The BeerFathers patented malt to hop scale it comes in one click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side (a 6 for those keeping score at home, and we know you are). For our bottom line notes we get a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and buy again. We get a no to harmony, memorable and wow factor.

This is a good beer, a fine beer really. There is a nice malt sweetness that hits you immediately and makes you take notice, along with the wonderfully smooth mouthfeel. It really shows you what Sam Adams can do when they put a restraining order on the hops.

This is a beer that really fits the time of year that it’s available – winter. It matches up beautifully with what the body craves during the cold winter months. The Winter Lager could also go well with dessert – the spices would play beautifully with just about any final course.

The price is good and it’s a good value at the price. This is a great beer for repeatability – you could and should do more than one. It’s terrific on tap (Son Beer Love had a lot of this on tap during the winter months) and it’s a nice introduction to winter/Christmas style beers for the craft beer newbie. It’s also a perfect conversion beer for those wanting to get into craft beers or for those you want to get into good beer.

As a test I gave this out at a Panthers tailgate party to a pure Bud Light drinker (who had told me not to bring any fancy stuff) and he wound up having 3 of them. Then he called me the next week to tell me he bought a six pack to have that weekend. Mission accomplished and you’re welcome.

Sam Adams Winter Lager Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Our Life in Beer 2008

By John on February 2, 2009 (2 Comments)

Apparently we blacked out during the month of January because we’re just now getting to our 2008 year in beer review. And what a year it was! We wanted to go back through 2008 and see what we learned, what we liked and how we grew. We had 113 posts last year – 64 of which were beer reviews (that’s better than a beer a week!). That’s a lot of beery goodness and we were happy to share it with you – our beer love community. So here are our thoughts on our life in beer in 2008 (note: these beers were new to us in 2008, not necessarily new beers that came out in 2008):

  • Best New Beer Style of 2008: Milk Stout
    The BeerFathers had their first milk stout in 2008 and man oh man was he impressed. Where had this been all our life? The malty, coffee, roasty flavors gripped our palate and left us wanting more. The new rule in the Beer Love household is “When you find a milk stout you must buy it” (and yes that should be sung to the tune of Devo’s “Whip It”). We’ve got several milk stouts in the queue for ratings in 2009, in case you’re wondering why we have so few on the site.
  • Best Beer of 2008: Foothills Sexual Chocolate
    2008 gave us a beer that delivered both in name and in experience – the Foothills Sexual Chocolate Stout. On tap, in the bottle and any other way we could get it – we got it and made sweet chocolaty love to it. It’s a terrific beer that you should get while you can, because it’s pretty limited in release. As a matter of fact it comes out this month (February)!
  • Best Non-Stout of 2008: Aventinus Doppelbock
    “Non-stout” seemed like a much more elegant way of saying “lager” so we went with that. The reason this category exists is because we love stouts – more malts, more flavors, heartier – whatever the reason we really prefer them over lagers. We know that’s a sweeping generalization to make but we feel it’s important to note our bias. That said, the Aventinus Doppelbock was by far our favorite non-stout of the year – one we’d put head to head with any stout in terms of sheer enjoyment.
  • Best Fruited Beer of 2008: Abita Strawberry Harvest
    We went a little nuts with the strawberry beers this past year, but no matter what the Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager continued to rise to the occasion. We labeled it perhaps the most perfect spring beer on the market today.
  • Best IPA of 2008: Dogfish Head 90 Minute
    We’re admittedly not big hopheads, but when we found this IPA we knew it was special. And that’s just what the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is – special. It’s got wonderful balance to it – plenty of malts to balance out the hops, and a nice strong 9% ABV to boot. We would never turn this beer down.
  • Best Beer Review of 2008: Michelob Amber Bock
    The review for Michelob Amber Bock will always be special to us for several reasons – it was a review of the breakout beer that got us into good beer, it was our 100th beer review and it was one that we put a lot of time into (we started writing this months before we posted it). It embodies everything we wanted to do with our beer reviews – namely documenting the “experience” of the beer above and beyond the beer itself. We only wish we had the time to do this with all the beers we try.

Looking back on 2008 it’s easy to see it was a good year for beer for The BeerFathers. It was also an epic year for the The BeerFathers web site – we had all of 444 unique visitors in the month of January 2008 and we set a goal of breaking 1,000 visitors a month over the year. Well, for the month of January 2009 we had 4,175 unique visitors. That’s an 840% increase in beer loving visitors. That’s a lot of beer love! Thanks to everyone for loving the beer with us – here’s to beer in 2009!

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Mackeson XXX Stout

By John & Dad on January 27, 2009 (28 Comments)

Picking back up with our Father and Son Thursday review sessions, we’re hitting the Mackeson XXX Stout, pronounced Mackeson Triple Stout. Opinions vary on the pronunciation of Mackeson – we’ve seen everything from “Mack-E-son” to “Mickasen” so we’ll just agree to disagree.

Though technically an InterBrew (now InBev) beer, it’s brewed by the Boston Beer Company in Cincinnati. It’s said that the recipe for Mackeson has been around since 1801, but that refers to the British version of the beer known simply as Mackeson’s Stout. The American version gets the XXX distinction because it’s so obscene, like you can see everything, including, oh wait. It’s called XXX because it’s got a 4.9% ABV as opposed to the 3.75% ABV of the UK edition.

For our rigorous testing purposes we procured a 12 oz bottle that was, as we said, 4.9% ABV. The beer temperature for the rating was 56.5 F and we used an British pint glass.

Our initial pour gave us a large 2 1/4″ rocky dark brown head that yielded a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There was little to no carbonation and the color was an opaque black.

A few good whiffs gave us a nice arrangement of smells – chocolate, coffee, molasses, roasted malts, black licorice, cream and soy sauce. A few good tastes gave us a lot of the same with a little bit less and a little bit more: chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, earth, black licorice, cream and soy sauce.

Our initial flavor notes were a moderate sweet that stays constant into the finish but rounds out with a light bitter and light saltiness as well. The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is creamy and the tongue hit is in the front. There’s really no body lacing to speak of. On the patented malt to hop scale it comes in 3.5 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side – one of the more malty beers we’ve done.

For our bottom line notes we get a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. Our only no is for wow factor (we’re just not as easily wowed as we once were).

It’s very similar to a milk stout, especially in mouthfeel. Some review sites actually classify it as a milk stout (some classify it as a sweet stout and some show a milk/sweet stout). Whatever it is it’s very smooth and nice. It’s got a strong sweetness to it though – stronger than a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and that may be off-putting to some of you who don’t like them super sweet. The sweetness really hangs around on this one.

The good news is it seems to be pretty readily available and relatively inexpensive – you can probably pick it up for less than $2 a bottle in a single. It’s a really good session beer if you like the sweet stuff and would go really well with some cheese and crackers. This one is definitely BeerFather approved.

Mackeson XXX Stout Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Scene on Bourbon Street

By John on January 17, 2009 (No Comments)

Huge Ass BeersThe Beer Love wife and I took a trip to New Orleans back in September for our babymoon (the last big trip before the baby comes) and happened to find our way to Bourbon Street. Though The BeerFather has been to Bourbon Street several times before (I am from Louisiana, mind you), unfortunately I wasn’t so much into the beer scene back then. Those times tended to consist of hurricanes and hand grenades and resulted in well, we won’t go there.

So this time I paid attention and what did I find? Not surprisingly, the focus of the beer scene on Bourbon Street is much like that of the hard liquor scene – the debilitating effects of the drink rather than the notes, flavors and variety.

There are a few good places off Bourbon Street (d.b.a. and Crescent City Brewhouse come to mind), but Bourbon Street offers a unique focus on beer in a way that is noble in it’s own right. Something you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the continental United States. What can I say? Take a look at the photo above and tell me they don’t know their target market.

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Smithwick’s Irish Ale

By Dad on January 6, 2009 (2 Comments)

I found this at CPWM for for $1.69 a bottle. Original date of test was 6/29/08. It’s brewed from by Guinness and it’s actually pronounced Smitiks.

Beer temp. 48.0F – 8.9C. This beer has an IBU of 20 (from ask Michael) and ABV of 4.5%. In a pint glass I got an average 2 in. foamy off white head that dissipated quickly with fair head lacing. Body was a clear normal orange red, with a lively carbonation.

Aromas were caramel, cereal (think Grape Nuts), nutty, toasted, floral, nutmeg and cream. Tastes were caramel, lemon and cream. All the aromas and tastes were light with the exception of the cereal which was the most predominate. Initial flavors were a light to medium sweet and a light bitter. Finish flavors were a light sweet, light acidic and a moderate bitter. Finish duration was short, mouthfeel was oily and there was virtually no body lacing. The malts settle on the middle of the tongue and the hops work the back. On the malt to hop scale I gave it a 4 or one notch to the malt side of balanced. Bottom line got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance, and buy again. Harmony got a so so and no to memorable and wow factor.

I drank this in the summer and now that it’s cold I almost feel I could bump it up a number (which I have done after trying another one on a cold night ). As I reread this review I got really thirsty. From what I’ve read on the web this is supposed to be Irelands #1 Ale, I can see why. It had a surprisingly clean smell with quite a lot of subtle aromas and a nice mild taste without being overwhelmed with caramel. The fruitiness of the ale yeast makes its self known so would be a good conversion beer to lager drinkers. With the low ABV it is a good session beer and I know I could work my way through several. It ain’t top tier but it ain’t bad. Well worth a 6 pack as it’s a great value.

Smithwick’s Irish Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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Anchor Liberty Ale

By Dad on December 24, 2008 (No Comments)

This is actually classified as an American Pale Ale. To beer newbies it would be more like an India Pale Ale (IPA) elsewhere. This has a 90% rating overall and a 95.6% style rating on ratebeer.com. It has an ABV of 5.9% and I couldn’t find an IBU rating but I’ll guess at least 40+. Originally rated on 3/1/08.

Beer temp. 44.0 F (7.7 C). In a pint glass I got a 2 inch frothy white head that dissipated slowly with almost no head lacing. Carbonation was lively and the body was a clear orange. The aromas were caramel, nutty, citrus, grapefruit, pine, plum and raisin. Taste were the same except the plum and raisin were lost. Initial flavors were a light sweet and a moderate bitter. Finish flavors were light sweet and a heavy bitter. The mouthfeel was oily with a long finish and fair body lacing. On the malt to hop scale I gave it a 7.5 or 2 1/2 clicks to the hop side of balanced. On the bottom line I got a yes to drinkable and a no to repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again.

With all the hops it should have a good shelf life. I liked the fruitiness in the taste till the hops became so much more predominant. If you’re a hophead this might be kind of tame to you but I’m a malty kind of guy and it just was not to my taste. I must admit I have changed some over time as a couple of years ago I would have poured it out. It really makes a statement and has been on the market since 1975. Hats off to the guys at Anchor Brewing.

Anchor Liberty Ale Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Murphy’s Irish Red

By Dad on December 10, 2008 (No Comments)

Picked this up at CPWM for $1.89 plus tax. I also had the help of the Lovely Mrs. Beer Love in this review from 6/27/08.

Used a pint glass and got a large 3 inch frothy off white head. Beer temp. 47.4F – 9.2C, ABV – 5%. The head dissipated quickly and there was almost no head lacing. The color was a clear sparkling amber. The aromas were pretty thin which is why I needed an extra really cute nose to help out. We came up with light caramel, citrus. dough and yeast. Taste were caramel and butterscotch. Initial notes were a moderate sweet and a light bitter. Finish notes were a light sweet a moderate bitter and a light tartness. The finish was short, mouthfeel was dry and almost no body lacing. On the malt to hop scale it came in at a 5, or balanced. The tongue hit was mostly in the back. Repeatable yes, drinkable yes, balanced yes, harmony no, memorable no, wow factor no and buy again maybe.

Overall the aromas were pretty weak and the taste of caramel was light and the butterscotch was kind of a stretch, maybe I was trying too hard and make something complex out of something simple, that’s why I gave buy again a maybe. It could be a change of pace and wouldn’t offend anyone. Price isn’t bad either. At first I thought it was a lager until I looked it up online. Could be a transition beer to ales too.

Murphy’s Irish Red Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Otter Creek Pale Ale

By Dad on December 3, 2008 (No Comments)

This is another BOTMC sample from John, thanks again son. Original tasting was on 6/11/08.

This has an IBU of 40 and is 4.5% ABV and came in a 12 oz. bottle. Beer temp. was 46.5F – 7.9C and I used a pint glass. It poured a hazy amber orange with a 2 in. fizzy off white head that dissipated slowly with fair head lacing and soft carbonation. Aromas were caramel, nutty, toasted, citrus, floral, dough, butterscotch and nutmeg. Tastes were caramel, toasted, citrus, grapefruit, resin and soy sauce. The initial flavors were a light sweet and a moderate bitter. Finish flavors were a moderate acidic, heavy bitter and a moderate salty. Finish duration was long with an oily mouthfeel. The bitterness worked the back of the tongue and roof of the mouth the hardest while the malts work the front of the tongue. Body lacing was fair and on the malt to hop scale I gave it a 7 which is 2 to the hop side of balanced. I got a yes to drinkable as I finished it but got a no to repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again.

This is I guess what an American pale ale is as opposed to one from England. It seems like Americans like to pound their pale ales full of hops but where does that leave a malt gut like me? That’s not a typo I just got a glimpse of me in the mirror. I look like a keg cut in half vertically and turned sideways. If the hop guys are heads us malt guys can’t be butts as that is a style of porter so I’ll settle on gut. Back to the beer. I’ll just say I was disappointed.

Otter Creek Pale Ale Rating: 2 out of 10 (?)

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Left Hand Deep Cover Brown Ale

By Dad on December 2, 2008 (No Comments)

This came from BOTMC – a really great gift for any beer lover on your gift list, heck you can even give it to yourself or me if you just have to.

Beer temp. 44.0 F. I used a pint glass and got a large 3 in. foamy light brown head that dissipated slowly with virtually no head lacing. Color was a clear brown and had soft carbonation. Aromas were caramel, nutty, toasted, toffee, a slight citrus, yeast, brown sugar and maple syrup. Taste were caramel, nutty, toasted, light citrus, maple sugar and a kind of nonspecific fruitiness. The IBU’s are 20 and the ABV is 4.4% so this is a damn fine session beer which as I get older seems to be getting more important. The initial flavor was a light sweet and the finish flavors were a moderate sweet, light bitter and a light tart. The finish was short the mouthfeel was oily and it had a surprisingly good body lacing. On the malt to hop scale I gave it a 3 1/2 which is 1 1/2 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side, right where I like it. I got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance, harmony and buy again. Memorable got a so-so and wow factor got a no.

Overall this is just a damn fine ale. The malts had a nice sweetness with lots of depth to the caramel and toast with a subtle nuttiness and maple syrup in the background. I didn’t find the caramel annoying which i sometimes experience. I think the nonspecific fruitiness must have come from the ale yeast. The hops, while light, did balance out the malts pretty well for me as I’m a malt guy not a hophead. I actually did my tasting on 6/9/08 and have just now gotten around to putting it out and after reading what I wrote I wonder why I didn’t rate it higher but since I’ve drunken them all up and it isn’t available locally I’ll just have to let it stand. If you can find it buy it and if you can’t finish it I’ll take care of that for you.

Left Hand Deep Cover Brown Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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