Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Left Hand Oak Aged Widdershins

A+ / 4.55
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4

ABV: 8.80%
Style: English Barleywine
Purchased: On tap at Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, MA for $5.25 per 10 oz. draft

Enjoyed on tap at Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, Ma. Being the only tap offering served in a 10 ounce (tulip) glass, and it being my birthday, I of course had to try this one out.

This beer was fairly light for a barleywine and until looking it up I couldn't tell if it was a barleywine or just a strong ale of some sort.

The aroma was amazing and completely unexpected. The first thing that came to mind was opium; a very dense, floral, perfume scent, with malts providing a candy backbone. Superb.

Taste was similar, floral and malty with a spiciness. I probably could have stuck with these all night, but they would have been peeling me off the bathroom floor. Very intriguing and unique brew, hope to find it again.

Union Brew House

550 Washington Street
Weymouth, MA 02188

/ 4.05
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 - $$

I've visited the Brew House about 8 times in the past few years, all since I've moved south from Mass. Unfortunately, most times I head up I forget my checklist...For those that don't know, the Brew House has a checklist of 99 beers, and sign them off as you order them. When you complete the list, they'll put a plaque with your name and witty quote on their wall.

Most of the beers on their list are good, but far too many are macros. Molson and Corona for example. However, if you're just stopping by, you'll have no problem finding quality beers to drink. Their motto is "No Crap on Tap," and of the 15 or so rotating taps, I've never seen it compromised.

The patio area is great in the summer if you're not interested in catching a game. Problem here is service is hard to get. Although we did have a new girl who might not have been accustomed to the pace of the bar yet.

Inside, there are HD tv's showing local sports games, maybe 10-12 tall bar tables, and a decent size curvy bar. Digital juke box, Golden Tee, and other bar staples are around. I scooped a copy of Beer Advocate magazine on my way out last time - I think it was free?

The bar food is great, and the nachos are enormous. Service has always been friendly, and usually knowledgeable. Definitely check it out if you're on the South Shore.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weyerbacher Blasphemy

B / 3.65
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 3

ABV: 11.8%
Style: Belgian-style quadrupel
Purchased: $8.99 for a 22 oz. bomber at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, VA

This one is not to be fucked around with, to put it blasphemously. Pours a dark amber with a prune-ish tint, and a couple fingers of head that settle in a ring around the rim of my snifter. There's a sharp blast of booze in the nostrils comprised of bourbon, vanilla extract, banana and some raisin, though not as much as the Quad, it's close cousin.

Even more bourbon in the flavor, and while it's hard to cut through the booziness, some of the raisin and fruity esters present themselves on the sides of the tongue. Although only .6% higher in abv than the Quad, this is a whole different ballgame due to the sharpness of the alcohol. Make sure you're not going anywhere for a while; this is one of few beers I would recommend sharing your bomber with a friend. Acidic on the throat and heavy in the stomach, it's not something you'll probably need or want seconds of. That said, I'm always a fan of extremes, and this one certainly fits the bill.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mellow Mushroom Restaurant

1309 W. Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903

A- / 4.25
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 - $

I got away from work for Tuesday and Wednesday this week to attend the VAMLIS Conference for GIS professionals in Charlottesville, VA. I'd heard there was a Mellow Mushroom in town, so imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered my hotel sat on top of it.

I meandered over at around 5:15, after the conference let out, and found myself in the middle of their $2 a beer happy hour that ran from 4-6. With 39 beers on tap (yeah, I counted), and most of those quality microbrews, this was a luxury rarely experienced for me. To put it in perspective, Roanoke's largest quality tap selection is about 10 at Blue 5, and their beers are typically $4-5. Even when happy hour ended, standard price was $3.50 a pint (maybe 12 for a pitcher? happy hour pitchers: $9).

I was again impressed when I found that even some higher ABV beers like Ommegang Hennepin and Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre were the standard price. In fact, the only non-
standard beer on the menu was Leffe Blonde, which was $5 and served in a snifter. One last note about pricing, if it rains, you get a dollar off your beer. While it did sprinkle outside a bit after happy hour had ended, I didn't get the deal this time.

So I started with a Hennepin and a 10" Jerk Chicken pizza shortly after 5, and the next thing I know I looked up and it was almost midnight and there were 9 beers on my tab. Did I mention I was giving a presentation the next morning at 9am? Wooops! I hold responsible the quality and variety of the beer and the good company I met at the bar (though not having to drive home helps). Not to worry, the presentation went fine, and so was I; well, at least after stopping back in for lunch and a couple more pints the next day on my way home. After all, I'd forgotten my leftover pizza.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Brooklyner Weisse Beer by Brooklyn Brewing Co.

B+ / 3.95
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5

ABV: 5.10%
Style: Hefeweizen
Purchased: Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, VA

This beer poured with out much of a head for me, and it's also surprising that it's a rather clear straw color without much yeast floating around. I bought it as part of a basket of five different beers that was marked down from a ridiculous 25 dollars to $4.99. Still, the label claimed fresh before July.

The smell is extremely clove-heavy as it should be; banana abounds as well. There's a spice that I can't place in the aroma that is really emphasized in the taste. It's slightly cinnamon, a bit meaty, like roasted ham, plus vanilla and butterscotch. There's definitely a lot going on.

The taste is much as i described, but the cinnamon spiciness, and some fruitiness is highlighted.

The mouthfeel is interesting, bready, foamy, sharp on the finish, and of course spicy if that makes sense. Again, complex.

Nothing major to detract from drinkability. True to style.

This might be the most impressive offering by Brooklyn Brewery I've had yet, aside from the appearance, which may have been due to a weak pour. Still, no lacing, no real sign of head retention. If i had another 20 minutes to smell it I could probably find 20 more aromas. Good summer ale.