Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scurry - Off Color Brewing

    Scurry is an Altbier brewed with molasses and honey. The beer is brewed by Off Color Brewing in Chicago, Illinois. Off Color is another of the breweries that I have discovered is located in my neighborhood. I was first attracted to the beer by the sketch-like label, then saw that it was made a few blocks from my home. Needless to say, I had to pick it up.

    Scurry pours a dark molasses color that shows its true ruby tint when held up against light. The beer is much more clear than the dark color would lead you to believe. There is next to no head on the beer, but the a layer of bubbles ring the top of the liquid and leaves a bit of lacing.

    The Altbier smells mainly of roasted malts with a small bit of hoppy bitterness.

    Scurry is just under medium bodied with a nice dry, crispness to it. A mild carbonation level keeps things light without seeming like a cola. The beer has an alcohol content of 5.3% ABV.

This is a Honey bee-r hive.
    Off Color's beer tastes of lightly roasted malts with a bit of oats flavor as well. The honey and molasses comes through in a surprisingly dry way. There is little sweetness to the beer, even with it being brewed using such sweet ingredients. Earthy hops add just a slight bitterness to the beer, making the overall flavor almost savory.

    The label leads me to believe that the brewers at Off Color are all mice. Also, that this beer required raiding special bee-r's hives in order pull off its honey character. It makes sense then that the name, Scurry, is due to a unsuccessful attempt at raiding the hive, and a flight from bee-rs. Of course my imagination goes back to cartoons in which bees would fly in formation and make shapes like a bow and arrow while flying after the mouse. The mouse would run and dive into a pond, breathing through a reed to escape. The bees would either be fooled by this, or would dive down into the reed causing the mouse to run out of the water.

    Scurry has a very interesting flavor that is unlike other beers I've had. That said, I've only ever had one other Altbier. I really like that Off Color is making whatever types of beer they want, and seemingly aren't limited to popular contemporary styles. I look forward to trying more of their beers!

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pride & Joy Mild Ale - Three Floyds Brewing Co.

    Pride & Joy Mild Ale is an American Pale Ale brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, Indiana. The beer's label describes it as a mild, session ale with a hit of hops familiar to fans of Three Floyds' beers.

    The ale pours a golden-orange color with a finger of off-white head. The foam fades, but leaves a thin film on top of the liquid that laces the glass as the ale is enjoyed.

    Pride & Joy smells equally of malts and hops. The hops scent is reminiscent of pine and fruit. The malt scent is sweet and biscuity.

    The Pale Ale feels light to medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The beer has an alcohol content of 5% ABV.

    The ale's flavor is mild, yet complex. The signature Three Floyds hops blend hits your tongue up front, but without its usual bitterness and strength. Light pine and grapefruit flavors lead the way for the sweeter bready and caramel malts.

    Pride & Joy is somewhat confusing to the palette in that its flavors are big, but subtle at the same time. With your first sip you find yourself waiting for the hit of bitterness, but it never comes. This is likely the mildest, yet full flavor beer that I have ever tried. With its mildness, I'd recommend this as a transition beer between the common macro-brews into craft ales, especially pale ales. I could easily see how this would be a session beer, as it would never build up a bad flavor, or be too overwhelming after having a few bottles. The only bad thing I can think of about the brew is that it gets the song "Pride and Joy" stuck in my head--annoying, but I can't hold it against the ale.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Route 66 American Lager - Mustang Brewing Company

    Route 66 American Lager is an Lager brewed by the Mustang Brewing Company in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to the label, Mustang Brewing Company works to brew highly sessionable beers without skimping on the quality.

    The Lager pours a surprisingly dark color for a beer of its style. A small, white head forms at pouring, but quickly fades. No lacing is left by the seemingly thin beer.

  Route 66 smells mainly of grain. Bready malt with just a bit of sour corn scent make up the sweet smell. A tiny bit of hops fruitiness is almost hidden under the bready malt aroma.

    The beer has a light to medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Surprisingly there isn't the normal wateriness seen in Lagers. The beer has an alcohol content of 5% ABV.

Aren't there laws against alcohol and driving? I know this is
at least an open container violation!
    Route 66 is very light on the tongue. Bready, pale malt flavors make up the majority of the beer's taste, with a bit of adjunct grain sourness. The sometimes unpleasant adjunct flavors are very mild. Mustang likely used fewer of these alternative grains than the bigger breweries tend to. There is an interesting spice to the beer, possibly due to the strain of yeast used in the Lager.

    Interestingly enough, after searching for this beer online to see if I could find the brewery's description of it, I realized that this is either an extremely new brew, or has been pulled from production. Even Mustang's website had no mention of the beer. I did, however, find another beer called "Route 66", so I wonder if there was a lawsuit against Mustang over copyrights or something similar. Either way, looks like I got my hands on a rare brew.

    Route 66 is a very drinkable Lager. There's nothing horribly wrong with the beer, but it certainly doesn't tread any new grounds. I'd like to see an all barley Lager, as adjunct grains just add unwanted flavors in my opinion. I guess it's a good thing that I didn't necessarily love this beer, as it may be unobtainable from now on.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

    Raison D'Être is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed by Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware. Some might recognize the beer from the short-running TV series Brew Masters as it was featured on one its 6 episodes. According to the show, this is one of Dogfish Head's signature brews.

    Raison D'Être pours a beautiful dark brown color with a tinge of copper. A slight half-finger head crowns the beer temporarily, before subsiding into a patchy foam on the brew's surface.

    The Belgian Strong smells deep and full of complexity. The aroma of candied dark fruits and dark sugars are immediately perceptible before notes of roasted and bready malts take the main stage. There is a slight hint of alcohol in the aroma, common in Strong Ales.

    Dogfish Head's brew is medium bodied and contains a moderate to high level of carbonation. The beer at first feels very creamy, but turns slightly watery when swallowing. The alcohol content of 8% ABV is likely the culprit for the slight warming sensation felt when drinking the ale.

    Raison D'Être has a lot going on in the flavor department. Immediately your tongue is met with the sweet flavors of raisins and candi sugar. From there, the beer takes your taste buds on a journey through Belgian yeast flavors and spiciness, ending with the roasted, bready malts that were present in the beer's nose. There is a tiny bit of alcohol flavor to the beer, though it doesn't come off as unpleasant in the slightest.
These were humans when you started drinking...

     Growing up in the '80s, one of my favorite group of TV characters were the California Raisins, a claymation group of anthropomorphized raisins that sang Soul and Motown type music. The group was created by the California Raisin Advisory Board to promote raisin consumption across the country, but I don't think I ever connected that the singing raisins were a commercial. I mean, why would I want to eat my favorite music group? Anyway, the similarity between "raison" and "raisin" is pretty obvious to me. Add in the fact that the beer even tastes like raisins, and you have the "raison" that I will call this beer Raisin D'Être from now on.

       Raisin D'Être is an extremely interesting ale. Dogfish Head successfully created a beer that is both very complex, and accessible. I can't see myself having more than one of these in a sitting, but I would suggest trying this brew as a way of expanding your beer palette. Pick up a bottle, and take small sips. Try to separate all the different flavors in your head as you enjoy the beer. It's difficult at first, but you'll eventually find that you can pick apart the flavor's makeup. So don't wait! Head to the store and tell the cashier you need to pick up some Raison D'Être because you heard it through the grapevine! 

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Dark Souls - Xbox 360

    Dark Souls is an Action Role-playing game developed by From Software. The game was released in the USA in 2012 on both the Xbox 360, PC, and Playstation 3. Dark Souls is the spiritual successor of 2009's Demon's Souls which was only available on the Playstation 3. The Souls games have gained an almost cult following with fans in the past few years. Those who do not enjoy the games are nearly as vocal as those who do, however. What about the game could be so polarizing?