Thursday, July 24, 2014

Krankshaft Kölsch - Metropolitan Brewing

    Krankshaft is a Kölsch created by Metropolitan Brewing which is located in Chicago, Illinois. I went looking for a Kölsch the other day and this was the only one I could find in the store. Looks like I lucked out that it is a local beer...Oh yeah, It wasn't too bad tasting either!

    Krankshaft pours a light straw color with a huge foamy head. The foam leaves light, soapy lacing on the inside of the glass. Lots of bubbles dance throughout the yellow brew.

    Metropolitan's Kölsch smells sweetly of hay, grass, and musty wheat. Just the slightest bit of hops aroma gives the beer an almost grassy scent.

    The beer is medium bodied with a light to medium level of carbonation. With the beer's appearance I had expected a light body and for the beer to be watery. I'm pleasantly surprised that it isn't! After drinking for a while the beer starts to cloy the mouth with a sourness, however, which isn't something you want in a Kölsch. The beer's alcohol content comes in at 5% ABV.

Beer power is the future!
    Krankshaft Kölsch tastes of sweet grains, mainly barley and some wheat. There is a sourness to the beer that reminds me of the flavor of corn when it's used during brewing as an adjunct grain. Some light citrus hops attempt to round out the sweetness with a bit of zest, but the grains are definitely the main flavor in the beer. The malt flavors don't come off as clean as other Kölschs I have had, which is sad.

    It's a little known (non)fact that the recent trend of using ethanol to power engines was not the first attempt at such alternative power. Back in the early 1900's, Winston McMaidemup invented an engine which ran entirely on beer. Winston, or as his friends called him, Loseton (those cheeky bastards), quickly lost the chance to trademark his idea when the local kids found out that they could siphon the fuel from the tank and get drunk. Winston's invention clearly would have changed the way we see beer today, though frankly I'm glad that beer's production is solely for drinking in the present time.

    Krankshaft Kölsch is definitely not my favorite Kölsch. That said, it's a very good American version of the German style. The main difference between the two is the cleanliness of grain flavor, which was definitely lacking in Krankshaft. Still, Metropolitan's Kölsch is a great beer to enjoy on the hottest of summer days!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands - Xbox 360

    Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is an Action/Platforming game developed and published by Ubisoft. The game launched in 2010 on multiple platforms, though all other versions than the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360's follow their own independent story lines. While the game follows up the storyline that was begun in the Playstation 2, and first modern Prince of Persia game: The Sands of Time, it makes a departure from the canon that was set by that trilogy. Still relying on the Prince's acrobatics and parkour style of getting around town, The Forgotten Sands makes for a much more fitting continuation of the series than 2008's Prince of Persia's deviation from the norm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trois Pistoles - Unibroue

    Trois Pistoles is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that comes from Unibroue in Quebec, Canada. In my experience, Unibroue makes some of the best Belgian-style beers that aren't made in Belgium. As far as beer labels go, Unibroue always tends to catch my eye with their labels depicting epic scenes. I can only hope the beer will be as epic!

    I don't usually talk about the labels of my beers much, but this one has a story that's just too good to ignore. Basically, Trois Pistoles (Three Coins, though I would have sworn it meant guns!) was a small town in Quebec which needed to build a church. I'm not sure if there wasn't enough man-power or what, but for some reason they weren't able to build. Eventually a priest somehow gets a magical bridle from God, which then uses to hold a devil captive after summoning it. This devil apparently took the form of a giant black horse. Anyway, the horse hauls stones for the church and everything it going great until someone accidentally drinks too much Unibroue and thinks it would be a good idea to let the horse take a rest out of its bridle. Well, sure enough, the devil takes off back to hell just as he was hauling the final stone to the church. Supposedly if you go to this town there is actually one stone missing to this day.

"Come on, you know you want to let me go!"
    Trois Pistoles pours a dark brown with ruby hues that become visible when the glass is held up to the light. A frothy, half-finger of head tops the beer and stays around for quite a long time.

    When smelled, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale gives off aromas of sweet, dark, caramel malts. A hint of dark fruits such as raisins and figs is also perceptible. There is definitely some spicy yeast scent to the beer, though it gets confused with the light scent of alcohol that is also present.

    Unibroue's beer features a medium body as well as a medium-high level of carbonation. There is an almost spicy sharpness to the beer, and only a slight alcohol warmth. The ale has a high alcohol content at 9% ABV.

    Trois Pistoles hides many flavors within its darkness. Caramel malts alongside vanilla notes provide a sweetness for spices such as cinnamon and clove to balance. The flavors of dried fruits like cherries, raisins, and plums add a pleasant lightness to the beer's flavor.

    A note if you happen to try Trois Pistoles yourself: this beer is bottled on lees for bottle refermentation. Basically, lees is just yeast which has either died or entered a hibernation-like sleep. This sediment builds up in the bottom of the bottle and, while it won't hurt you to drink, isn't the most pleasant tasting, so special care should be taken when pouring. It's usually best to make sure the bottle has been upright in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before opening, and then to pour slowly, leaving the last bit of beer which holds the majority of the lees in the bottle. Interestingly enough, Tartaric Acid is mainly made from the lees left behind by breweries. Think of that next time you randomly find your never-used container of cream of tartar in your cabinet!

    I really feel as though this beer drinks more like a wine than an ale. I would not want to drink this quickly, but rather enjoy it slowly and savor every little bit of interesting flavor. Its the same for every Unibroue beer I have had in the past. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone interested in trying a nice representation of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that isn't as boozy as some breweries tend to make them.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Brütal Legend - Xbox 360

    Brütal Legend is an Action game with Real-time Strategy elements created by video game legend Tim Schafer and his studio, Double Fine Productions. With an all-star metal cast, a soundtrack featuring over one hundred classic metal songs, and Schafer's amazing imagination, Brütal Legend offers a very unique and enjoyable experience!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fistful of Hops (Autumn) - Sun King Brewing Company

    Fistful of Hops is an American style India Pale Ale brewed by Sun King Brewing Company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fistful of Hops changes seasonally based on what combination of hops are available throughout the year. The malt base stays the same, but Sun King balances different hops on top of that base for each release. This particular release is the Autumn 2013 brew.

    The beer pours a hazy orange color with a half-finger head with amazingly good retention. Thousands of bubbles roil within the beer, even long after pouring. The lacing left on the glass by the foam is just as amazing as its retention.

    Fistful of Hops smells strongly of hops (surprising, I know). The hops scents include fruits such as cherries, oranges, and grapefruit, as well as some more floral and piney notes. There is a slight unpleasant acidic smell due to all the hops, though it's not too noticeable. Underneath all the hops smells lies a subtle, sweet malt scent.

    Sun King's IPA is medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Even with all of the bubbles, the beer comes off as very creamy. The ale finishes very dry, and leaves a small bit of acidy bitterness in the mouth. The beer has an alcohol content of 6.4% ABV.

I don't get how pure hops turn into beer, but ok.
    The malt base of Fistful of Hops is definitely present, though it doesn't stand out as more than a backdrop for the hops to play against. There were definitely more variations in the hops scents than there are in the flavor. Piney, resinous flavors dominate with a bit of grapefruit and cherry.

    For some reason this beer reminds me of the advertising campaign for Raisin Bran. You know, "two scoops of raisins in every box!". Instead, I'm thinking, "A fistful of hops in every can!" If this were the case, this would likely be the most bitter, disgusting beer on earth, but I would probably still try it...

    It's no secret, I'm not a huge fan of Sun King Brewing Company. I can admit though, that this is my favorite of their beers I have tried. I wish the beer's flavor had as much hops character as its scent did, though the beer is still not at all bad. I would rate this as a good IPA, but when it comes to IPAs which attempt to highlight hops it is only decent.

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