Sunday, August 31, 2014

Apex Predator - Off Color Brewing

    Apex Predator is a Saison (AKA Farmhouse Ale) brewed by Off Color Brewing in Chicago, Illinois. In the past few months of living in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, I've become quite proud to call Off Color a local brewery. To me, Off Color seems to be just two guys who love making beer, and make it however the heck they feel like at the time. What results is usually a dang fine brew!

    Off Color's Saison is a hazy, pale orange with a thick, off-white head of foam. Much of this foam slides down the glass as the cup empties, though it leaves a nice bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

    The Saison smells of the spicy Belgian yeast used in brewing it. Additionally, there is a slight bit of a bubblegum scent to the ale, a result of the brewing processes and yeast. Hops lend a slight grassy scent to the ale, as well as some interesting juicy, tropical fruit scents.

    Apex Predator is light to medium bodied, but is enhanced by the high level of carbonation. This carbonation is likely the reason that so many scents were perceptible, since the bubbles were propelling them out of the beer. An alcohol content of 6.5% ABV keeps things at what I would call an average level of booziness for a craft ale.

Don't trust his stories, especially when he's drinking. He's always lion.
    The Saison tastes very much like it smells with the exception that those juicy tropical flavors are much less pronounced, though definitely still there. The main event here is definitely the Belgian yeast. White pepper, cloves, and yes, even bubblegum flavors are all present, and somehow work quite well together. Even with all the different flavors, the beer still manages to be thirst quenching, which definitely a plus in a Saison.

    Many wise people have stated that history repeats itself. It's been a common theme throughout time that once a civilization reaches its Apex it quickly declines into nothingness. Take the lion. Top of his game, king of the jungle. Before long he's too lazy to get up and hunt and makes the women do his work for him. Next thing you know, he develops a drinking habit. Lazy, half-drunk, and slow in the afternoon sun, the lion sits just waiting for the younger, stronger generation to take his place. Just remember, it takes a lot of work to reach your apex, but if you relax and let your guard down, even at the top, you could soon find yourself at the bottom once more, or, you know, in a zoo.

    Apex Predator is a great take on the Saison. Time and time again, Off Color seems to take a classic beer style, put a slight spin on it, and make it great. I can't wait to try more!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

'Splosion Man - Xbox 360 Arcade

    'Splosion Man is a Platforming game developed by Twisted Pixel and released in 2009 on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade. The game was one of the first highly regarded Xbox Live Arcade releases, and really set the standard for the Xbox Live Arcade games to come.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas - Xbox 360

    Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas is a Tactical, First-Person Shooter developed by Ubisoft. The game was released in 2006 on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Rainbow Six: Vegas is the sixth main title in the now 16 year-old Rainbow Six video game series based on the books by author Tom Clancy. The series has come a long way from its first game released on the Nintendo 64. As this is a much older game than others I review, I will be reviewing it as though I were writing this at its time of release.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ommegang BPA - Brewery Ommegang

    Ommegang BPA is a Belgian Pale Ale created by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. Ommegang has a penchant for mixing traditional Belgian flavors and styles with American ingredients, creating a unique marriage between the two.

    BPA pours an orange-brass color with a massive off-white head. The head leaves some of the biggest bubbles I've ever seen as lacing on the glass. There is a lot of sediment floating around the glass, constantly being bounced around by the bubbly carbonation.

    Aromas of citrus, flowers, and astringent pine resin make up the majority of beer's hop profile. Spicy Belgian yeast and sweet malts round out the beer's scent.

    The Belgian Pale feels almost...fluffy in the mouth. The liquid itself is medium bodied, but the medium-high carbonation level really turns the beer into more of a light fluff on the tongue, not to be confused with an unpleasant foaminess. A slight bit of  the beer's hops oils coat the mouth and an alcohol content of 6.2% ABV slightly warms it.
Picking hops is apparently a joyful profession!

    Ommegang BPA actually tastes much less Belgian than I had expected. Hops are the main focus here, with ripe fruits, pine, and citrus flavors. The Belgian yeast is definitely there, but it is subtle and just adds a small bit of spice to the brew which is very nice against the sweet malts. The yeast flavors almost acts as a transition between the hops and malts, impressing me with the balance struck.

    I've had a few "Belgian" Pale Ales lately and I have to say that I'm becoming a real fan. I absolutely am a fan of brewers mixing old and new styles and ingredients. America's brewing seems to be more "what can we make that's fresh and new" rather than sticking to the tried and true which other breweries follow as law. Ommegang definitely gets a lot of my respect for their experimentation with combining the two ideas.

    I can't describe Ommegang BPA as just a Belgian, nor can I say that it's just a Pale Ale. The mix of these two styles of beer really creates its own genre. Anyone looking to try something new should definitely look for this beer. Its light body and fresh flavor really make for an enjoyable quaff.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

DOA IPA - Cervecera Mexicana S.A. De C.V.

    DOA IPA is an India Pale Ale brewed by Cervecera Mexicana S.A. De C.V. located in Pénjamo, Mexico. This beer's vibrant colors and Día de los Muertos themed label attracted my eye as soon as I arrived in the beer aisle. The only other beers I've had from Mexico don't exactly fall under the "craft beer" label, so I was excited to give this one a try.

    DOA is a clear, amber color with tons of carbonation bubbles rushing to the beer's surface. A half-finger, off-white head forms at pouring and remains for an amazingly long time. The head leaves a thick layer of foam on the glass as the beer is enjoyed.

    The beer smells of sweet caramel malts behind a mix of hops scents such as orange peel, pine, and a tiny bit of a smell that reminds me of kitchen cleaner. I'm surprised at the lack of hops strength in the smell as this is an IPA.

    DOA IPA is medium bodied with a medium-high level of carbonation. The beer has a slight syrupy feel to it. DOA has an alcohol content of 6.8% ABV.

Poor guy's waitress took forever!
    The IPA is surprisingly sweet. Bready malts and what I swear is agave nectar make up the sweet background for the hops. For an IPA, DOA is not very hoppy. Citrus and pine flavors are definitely there, but not as pronounced as you might expect. The almost honey-like sweetness of the beer takes away from any hop bitterness that might have been present otherwise.

    I'm excited to see that there is a craft beer movement in Mexico. I can't wait to see what new plays on old styles, and even new styles, are created by Mexican brewers! I can see a lot of promise in beers created with traditional Mexican flavors and look forward to trying as many as I can find! On a similarly related note, have you ever noticed that all Mexican breweries have extremely long names, even with the abbreviations in them?

    DOA IPA is a relatively average India Pale Ale with an apparently dead-on-arrival hops bouquet. I have to say that I am intrigued by the almost tequila-like flavor in the beer, which I suspect is from agave nectar. I would definitely like to see more ales like this one become available in the USA!

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