What time is it? Beer o'clock.

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.

And recently from the Beer Blog...

Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Imperiale

By John on January 28, 2008 (No Comments)

I’ll admit I’ve dragged my feet on posting the review for this one. I was very excited to find a 4 pack at Total Wine a few months back because this is a RateBeer.com Top 100 (number 83 on the 2007 list). Alas, I’m finally just now finishing the fourth one. Initial impressions of this one were a bit harsh and I’ve now honed in on the subtle goodness that makes this a top beer.

First off, I love the name – Triple Imperiale – a truly great beer name. One of the best beer names out there. The label reads “Belgian Special Dark Ale” and it checks in at 10% ABV in an 11.2 oz bottle. It’s made in Belgium, of course, and it’s recommended between 52 and 56 degrees F.

I opened it initially and let it sit out for a few minutes. When I returned it had foamed out of the bottle onto the counter. Yeah, it’s definitely a foamer.

The initial pour is a nice deep red to brown amber color (boy that narrows it down, huh?). It’s got a nice deep head to it – thick and laces well on the glass and hangs around for a while before eventually going away completely.

It sports a very rich smell – brown sugar, roasted malts, molasses, caramel, alcohol and spices. A sweet smelling treat. The taste continues to build on the smell and offers a great complexity – coffee, oak, some dark fruits (black cherry, plum), raisins and dates. It has a sweet edge but no alcohol in the taste. Overall it’s quite smooth and balanced – surprising with the gravity. The mouthfeel is a bit heavy but it’s good. The aftertaste is bittersweet and winds up smooth – you can still taste it minutes later.

In researching it a bit online it’s packed with 7 types of malts with 3 kinds of hops (Belgian, German and Czech). Despite the numbers the malts and hops work together as a team to create a good balance that skews, of course, a bit to the malty side. Surprisingly, there’s no sugar added (I was thinking some Belgian candy sugar must be present).

The one down side, and the source for my harsh initial impressions, is the sediment. There is a lot of sediment, and I mean A LOT of sediment. Not just a lot by volume, but some very large and thick sediment resembling the dried skins off cherries. Some large 1/4″ pieces – a disturbing amount of sediment. You have to fish them out. This is by far the most sediment I’ve ever had in a beer. After the first tasting subsequent pours went through a strainer, which gave me my final rating.

Overall it’s a worthwhile beer, very unique in both taste and texture. If you can find it get it. Then strain it and enjoy.

Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Imperiale Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

By Dad on January 24, 2008 (2 Comments)

Beer temp. 42.4 F (5.7 C), ABV 4.92%. Pours sparkling gold color with a large frothy white head that dissipated quickly with fair lacing. The carbonation was soft. Malt aromas were biscuit and cereal, hops aroma was citrus – possibly lemon or lime. Yeast aroma was dough and misc. aroma was pineapple. The initial flavor was a light sweetness with moderate acidic and bitter notes. Finish flavors were light, sweet and acidic and light to moderate bitterness. Finish duration was short and the mouthfeel was dry. Is it repeatable? Yes. Is it drinkable? Yes. Is it memorable? No. Wow factor? No.

I was surprised after the Berry Weiss of the same brand. The light sweet taste allowed some of the malt taste to come through and the hop bitterness was present but still fairly mild. There is a tartness that’s hard to place so I’ll just call it citrus. The balance was good but it lacks the harmony in better Weiss Beers. It lacks the hazy appearance I’ve come to love in wheat beers. This could be a decent summer beer as the sweet taste doesn’t become annoying as it warms, but there are still a lot better wheats out there.

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss

By Dad on January 24, 2008 (9 Comments)

Beer temp. 45.1F (7.3C), ABV 4.4%. Pours peach color with a small, fizzy, white head that dissipated quickly with virtually no lacing. The carbonation was soft and had a hazy appearance which I like in a wheat beer. Malt aromas were biscuit, honey and wheat. I could find no hop aromas with maybe a touch of dough for the yeast aroma. Misc. aromas were blackberry and possibly raspberry. Initial flavor was heavy sweetness and a mild tart flavor. Finish flavor was the same and was mercifully short and had a dry mouthfeel.

Almost no hop bitterness which would be nice. I think the berries are good but way overpowered by the sweetness. Less like a beer and more like Kool-Aid. Could be OK for someone who doesn’t like the taste of beer. The balance is skewed way too much too sweet and no detectable malt flavor which are very delicate in wheat beers. Interesting but no favorite. Abita Purple Haze has better balance.

On reflection I would rather pour it over vanilla ice cream than drink it but it’s too runny. How about with vanilla ice cream and make a float, a beer float, now that just might work.

Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Imaginary Beer Tap

By Dad on January 23, 2008 (1 Comment)

I would like to thank one of my favorite authors Patrick F McManus and toast him with a mug of really good beer for his story about the imaginary gun for the idea.

Awhile back I was talking to John on one of our regular visits and posed the question if you had a beer tap what keg would you put in it? We knocked around some ideas and decided that for a great all around beer that we would like to drink and be proud to serve to any guest it would have to Ayinger Jahrhundert which is one of our top rated beer’s and surprisingly a lager. The next question was what if you had a second tap? This one turned out to be surprisingly easy but it was not one our highest rated beers. We both chose Guinness. We wanted a good counterpoint to the lager.

Here’s the advantage to the imaginary part. Imaginary beer taps are really, really cheap. They take up no space in your home, use no energy so they are environmentally sound, they don’t have to be cleaned, and you don’t have to worry that someone to young will use them. You have no worries about what is available in kegs locally. No problem with transportation, storage, hookups or remembering to return empty kegs. You can have as many as you can imagine. One last thing there will be no complaint from the wife about how much more you like them than her thus saving a ton of money on divorce and alimony. With so much good about them I can only find one bad thing about them.

You can’t get any damn beer from them.

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Beer With Food? Take That Wine!

By John on January 22, 2008 (No Comments)

Check out this article over at STL Today on the increasing popularity of beer dinners:

Brewers pushing beer as part of fine dining experience

It’s basically saying that breweries are wising up to the popularity of beer and pairing it with food dishes, ala the wine-food pairings we all know that are an ever present source of controversy amongst wine enthusiasts. My personal favorite advice was to drink the wine you like with the food you like, but I know where they’re coming from.

I’m in favor of these beer-food pairings, especially as we’re starting to note in our reviews – some beers it seems were brewed with a certain food dish in mind. Money quote:

“Beer would be more appropriate than automatically thinking, ‘I can only do wine because it’s food and there’s a girl present.’ …Gimme a break! You don’t need to do that.”

I’m anxiously awaiting a beer dinner here in Charlotte – I’ll be there with bells on. Note: Apparently I missed one last year. D’oh!

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Schlafly Saison

By Dad on January 21, 2008 (No Comments)

I brought this one back from a trip to the Kansas City area and only had one so I couldn’t give one to John and I’m really sorry I didn’t.

Beer Temp. 42.8F – 6.1C. 6% ABV. Pours light amber with 1.5 inch off white head with large bubbles. Aroma light caramel with a hint of lemon. Medium to light caramel flavor with a tartness that yields to a mild bitterness of the hops at the finish. Very smooth finish. It has more character than my last Vienna style lager, which this looks like, but this is an ale and the Belgian yeast give it a nice tang that I would call lemony. There are four elements: caramel, sweet, tart and bitter, all subtle and balance perfectly together. This has real harmony. Mouthfeel is okay but not outstanding. It must be bottle conditioned as there is a cloudy charge at the bottom with a more predominant lemon aroma from the yeast. Now I see why some pour the charge into a shot glass at the end to enjoy. This style is called a farmhouse ale because it was brewed in farmhouses to give to the workers during the late summer harvest.

Repeatability, absolutely. If you can find it try it, you’ll be glad you did. Wish I could find it locally.

Schlafly Saison Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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New The BeerFathers Features

By John on January 18, 2008 (No Comments)

Though The BeerFathers web site already packs a good amount of both beer and love, we felt it was time to add something to the mix – a little lagniappe as we call back in the Bayou State. So, we decided to end our glorious one-way communication and give you some tools to interact with us directly on both our beer blog and our beer reviews. So on all those pages you’ll now find the ability to post comments and feedback about our posts. Think we’re full of it? You’re probably right – just tell us so. Think we’re spot on? You sound terrific – let us know. Have a good beer you’d like us to review? We’d love to review it – just say so. We hope you enjoy the new feature. In the meantime, drink and be merry.

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New Belgium Trippel Belgian Style Ale

By John & Dad on January 17, 2008 (No Comments)

The New Belgium Brewing Trippel Belgian Style Ale is another in a series of phone reviews between Father and Son Beer Love, M.D. This one logs in at 7.8% ABV, which is a little bit light on the alcohol side compared to traditional triples, which usually clock in at 9% plus.

We tried it out in a snifter glass, as was recommended. The initial pour yielded an average size (1″) frothy white head that had some pretty good lacing as it dissipated quickly in the glass. The carbonation is quite lively and the body is a sparkling clear. The color is a bit unlike any other beer we’ve seen (surprising after 60+ reviews) – it ran the gamut between gold, amber and a light orange, with characteristics of each.

This is perhaps one of the best smelling beers we’ve done – it’s a candy-like, intoxicating smell that makes you wear out your sniffer trying to get continual whiffs. The aroma is fairly complex – predominantly citrus with a skew towards orange, plus biscuity malt, honey, floral, herbs, banana, peach and some spices.

The initial taste is moderately sweet and slighty acidic and mimics most of what we picked up in the aroma, but the peach smell is replaced with a note of pear. We also picked up some pepper, nutmeg and some apple – specifically granny smith apple, providing a nice slight tartness. We also detected notes of alcohol in the flavor.

The finish is average in duration and light to moderate in flavor with a hoppy edge, but it’s hops done right. It’s really got a good balance between hops and malts, though it skews ever-so-slightly towards the hops. The mouthfeel is a bit dry, but it’s a good mouthfeel and works really well for the beer. It laces incredibly well on the glass, one of the best we’ve seen. As for food, it might work well with light pastas with creamy sauces and chicken or fish that’s baked or broiled, but not fried. It’s definitely a light triple, but it really works. It’s got good repeatability, is very drinkable, is rather memorable and has a bit of a wow factor to it. Dad picked it up for $7.49 for the six pack and at that price it’s an absolute steal. As such we’re rating this one a best buy and you simply must get the six pack if you can find it.

New Belgium Trippel Belgian Style Ale Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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Beers From the Past

By Dad on January 13, 2008 (1 Comment)

In response to an e-mail about old time beers, 1960’s…

Two spring to mind, the first is Champagne Velvet. We (me and two friends I’ll just call ohhh “Norman and Mike”) discovered this on a trip to Lake of the Ozarks in the summer of 64. It was a 3.2% so it could be sold on Sunday at the popular resort lake. Locals were more concerned with money than underage laws, so we were able to score a case. Years mercifully cloud the true taste but leave the lasting impression of awful. It was only after three of these that the terrible taste was masked by the effects of the alcohol. As I recall my buddy “Mike” gave up after two (showing excellent judgment) and the other two fools continued on, being too stupid to know when to give up. They discovered that no matter how bad it tasted going north to south when the direction was reversed it was infinitely worse. Two great lessons were learned in our young lives besides the beer. One, never climb in the back of a speed boat (unless you like stitches – 6 to be exact). Two, always, always precook your potatoes if you are going to make cottage fries in a cast iron skillet because if they return for an encore they will be much easier to get out of your nose.

The second beer memory is Gluek. Let me say at that time name brand beer – Bud, Miller High Life, Schlitz or Hamms – sold for about $1.25 a 6 pack and Falstaff for about $1.00 a 6 pack. These were steel cans you opened with a church key, which (if you weren’t in your parents car) presented many an amusing moment as the cans could erupt when punctured. The Gluek beer was priced at 7 cans for $1.00. That’s right – 7 cans for the price of 4-5 gallons of gasoline with lead (depending on whether or not there was a gas war). When we were able to acquire some we found out it was OK in taste, most beers then tasted pretty much the same to us (with the exception of the first one I wrote about). The label simply said Gluek Beer with no secondary line like King of Beers, The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous or From the Land of Sky Blue Waters. It should have been “A Headache In Every Can”. As I recall we didn’t try it too many more times before giving up. Sales dropped off quickly.

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Note on Ipswich Original Ale

By Dad on January 12, 2008 (No Comments)

(This refers to the Ipswich Original Ale Review).

It’s my belief that there are almost no bad beers (refer to the 0 list). I’ve heard the same thing about dogs and kids. I suggest trying the Ipswich (since I still have one left) with a sweet stout (but don’t waste a really good one) for a black and tan. TheBeerFathers will try, will try, to resuscitate this sucker. Hand me the paddles and the beer opener.

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Ipswich Original Ale

By John & Dad on January 9, 2008 (1 Comment)

Another beer consumed in our ongoing Thursday night beer review sessions, the Ipswich comes to us from the Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Dad got this one from his Beer of the Month Club, which makes a great gift, as he will attest to.

A semi-aggressive pour yielded a 1/2″ head that dissipated rather quickly. The beer itself is amber in color with more copper tones than dark tones. It’s cloudy and unfiltered with light sediment in the form of dark black specs.

The aroma is not bad – sweet and hoppy with notes of caramel and citrus. The taste features a lot of citrus undertones – a lemony edge, and bitter hops that predominate throughout. It’s not as sweet as the aroma and the lingering hoppy finish starts with caramel and becomes toffee. It get more hoppy as it warms and is just too hoppy to be good. There’s no sweetness, no complexity and a lack of harmony that unsettles us. It also has a slightly burnt taste that may in fact be the hops killing our taste buds. Those come back don’t they?

It reminds us a lot of a lighter version of Sam Adams – our guess is the New England area for beers is just quite hop-ridden. That may or may not be true, but the Ipswich was just disappointing. It might be better with food, but we don’t think we’ll be giving it a second chance.

Post review, Father Beer Love added a note on the Ipswitch Original Ale.

Ipswich Original Ale Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Go Flying Dog, Go!

By John on January 8, 2008 (No Comments)

I found an interesting little nugget of information recently – Flying Dog will be relocating all brewing operations from Denver, Colorado to a larger, state-of-the-art brewery in Frederick, Maryland. Increased raw material costs – hops and malt leading the way – prompted the move, and as a result we will see an increase in Flying Dog 6 pack prices by about a dollar this year. Full story is here.

The good news? The extra dollar is worth it as Flying Dog continue to put out some of the best craft brews in the US of A. Expect other craft breweries to follow suit with similar price increases.

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What Does That Have To Do With the Price of Tea in China?

By John on January 7, 2008 (No Comments)

In what I’m sure will one day be a case study in a graduate economics class, the raw materials that go into making beer (I’m sure you know them by heart) are experiencing extreme price increases, due in part to bad weather in Europe hurting malts and a dramatic decline in domestic hops growers (91% fewer than 57 years ago). This domestic trend is a result of hops and barley stocks being undervalued, which means farmers are turning to crops in higher demand such as corn and soybeans (think ethanol). Do a little root cause analysis and you can figure out that a lot of this has to do with gas prices, which have soared to the point that consumers are more willing to consider things like ethanol.

These trends will impact us, and it will show more with the beer we actually like – smaller craft brews. These smaller producers can’t absorb costs like the large players who make piss water, so they’ll be passed to the consumers – $1 to $4 more per case in the stores.

That’s right: Rising gas prices = Rising beer prices.

So to answer the question in the title – a little international macroeconomic theory related to beer can suddenly make us aware of how those “unrelated” things can affect that price of tea in China.

You can read the full Boston Business Journal story here (requires free registration).

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New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale

By John & Dad on January 7, 2008 (4 Comments)

In our ongoing regular Thursday night phone review series, we have a look at the Fat Tire, which is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado by the New Belgium Brewing Company. John notes that he remembers having this on tap at a restaurant before, but doesn’t remember which one – possibly Weber Grill in Chicago?

The beer itself is a 5.2% ABV brew. The initial pour yields a 1/2″ off-white/light beige head that quickly dissipates though it has a healthy, active carbonation to it. The color is light amber with orange and brown hues. The aroma has a floral scent to it, as well as some citrus tones – possibly pineapple. It’s a deliciously fragrant beer. The taste is a mild caramel and floral combination that really works. It’s also got some notes of cereal (think Grape Nuts). It laces well on the glass as you drink it. The aftertaste doesn’t linger and it’s a very clean finish.

Overall it’s a really good beer. It’s very repeatable and very drinkable. The light hops work in harmony with the malts and it’s got a very good balance to it. It would go great with red meat – a hamburger or steak or any part of the cow you might want to pick from. Worth a six pack for sure.

New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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It’s Time For a Beer Caucus

By John on January 3, 2008 (No Comments)

To celebrate the Iowa caucuses, I’m proposing we select a day and time for annual beer caucuses.

A caucus is defined as “a meeting of the local members of a political party especially to select delegates to a convention or register preferences for candidates running for office.” This really isn’t much different from what we’re trying to do here at The BeerFathers – take out the word “political”, change up a few other words and we’ve got the definition of a beer caucus:

Beer Caucusa meeting of the local members of a party especially to register preferences for beers running for high ratings.

What do you say we turn out in droves for the first annual beer caucus and go ahead and pick a front runner?

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