Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tröegs Java Head

Saturday is the perfect day to buy beer, especially at the start of the beautiful, sunny Labor Day weekend. While I think you should never need an excuse to have a barbecue, Labor Day is usually everyone's go to holiday to justify one last summer meat cooking extravaganza before the kids go back to school and leaves start falling off the trees.

Last night I tried a beer I've never had before; a coffee stout made by Troegs
the same people that brought us Nugget Nectar:

The first thing I noticed when I saw this six pack of Java Head was the packaging. There's a skull on every bottle that has two coffee kettles that are pouring coffee for eyes, a bowl of coffee beans for a nose and seven tall glasses of beer that comprise the mouth. I don't know who did the artwork, but it's one of the most interesting pieces I have seen on a beer bottle. 

I poured the beer into my tulip glass and was left with a foamy beer with the perfect amount of head.

It tasted as good as it looks

I took a sip and my taste buds were high-fiving each other as they indulged themselves in a very delicious beer. Java Head should be known as the standard of what makes a good coffee stout. The smell perfectly compliments the taste for a very pleasant beer drinking experience. Throughout the night Tom and I couldn't stop drinking Java Head into the early hours of the morning as we attempted to beat the bullet hell Steam game Jamestown on Divine difficulty.
That's one dark tasty beer!

We almost finished the whole six-pack with no trouble and we both agreed that Troegs Java Head is a beer not to be missed, especially for those who enjoy stouts and darker beers.
Java Head was made by Troegs Brewing Company located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It has an ABV of 7.5% and will make you wish all beers tasted this good! It's sold in six-packs and available for around $12.

Life is filled with many different beers, but not all of them are created equal.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Founders Rübæus

Founders is one of my favorite brewing companies and one whose releases I look forward to every year. Lucky for me Founders always has their beer release calendar readily available on their website, so I know when to look for my Founders Favorites (that's my new term!) in my local beverage stores Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage and St. James Beverage. The calendar is regularly updated every year to account for their new releases and the elimination of some older beers. When looking at the calendar for this year I was shocked to find out that their cherry beer, Cerise, that came out last year was no longer being brewed and would not be available to buy this summer. Cerise was one of the best cherry beers I've had so you could imagine my disappointment. That disappointment quickly faded when I discovered the beer that was taking its place this year for a summer release.

And that beer is Rübæus, Founders new raspberry beer. During the brewing process, fresh raspberries are added at five separate times which give this beer its deep red color and intense raspberry flavor.

The smell is also dominated by raspberries and the taste is sweet and fruit-filled down to the very last drop. I can drink Rübæus for weeks and not get tired of it, which is what I have been doing. I've already bought two 4-packs both of which there is not one bottle of beer left.

Simply said, every time I drink Rübæus it's a magical experience. The raspberry taste is just so good. When I'm enjoying a bottle around friends who haven't tried it before I always make sure to have them try a sip and tell me what they think. So far every person that has tried Rübæus has told me that they like it and not just like it, they like it a lot.

  My glass of Rübæus never stays this filled for too long

This is one of those beers that is so good that I wish they released it in more than just a 4-pack (I'd gladly welcome a 36-pack of Rübæus being sold in stores). Every time I buy Rübæus the four measily bottles of it don't manage stay in my fridge for more than a week, especially when sharing with friends.

I really hope Rübæus doesn't go the way of Cerise and is still being brewed next year so I could enjoy it again next summer. Right now it holds the title for "My Favorite Beer to drink during the summer," and it doesn't look like it will be dethroned any time soon.

Rübæus was created by Founders Brewing company of Grand Rapids, Michigan and has an ABV of 5.7%. A 4-pack currently goes for $13.99 (plus bottle deposit) at Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage and is still available there right now! What are you waiting for go get yourself a 4-pack of Rübæus!!!

Mr. White agrees that Rübæus is the bomb diggity yo!@

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

R & R Coconut IPA (Robert & Ryan / Rip Current / Stone)

So the other day I was browsing Facebook as anyone with some downtime would do and came across a picture posted by Bullseye Beverage located in Smithtown, NY. I've followed their page in the past and have done some beer shopping there before, but I haven't seen any new posts from them until recently. It just so happens they posted a picture of a beer I have been waiting to try since hearing about its conception.

The picture Bullseye Beverage posted that got me in my car within minutes

R & R Coconut IPA is the most recently released Stone 2013 Collaboration beer and one that I have been waiting for to appear in my local beer distributors. If you read my last post on W00tstout you know that I love trying all of the Stone Collaboration beers that come out each year, as long as I can find them. When I heard Coconut IPA was going to be their next one I kept a close eye until it popped up in my news feed.
I showed up at Bullseye, bought a bottle and was on my way. The next decision I had to make was when to enjoy this delicious sounding beer. My friend Dan was just conveniently enough having a barbecue over the weekend so I brought my R & R with me so I could get other people's opinions as to what they thought of the beer.    

Nothing like a good beer on a sunny day, especially with barbecued meats involved

After everyone arrived at the barbecue, I handed out samples to my friends who appreciate a good beer or those just bold enough and willing to try something new. This is unfortunately where the sad truth comes in; R & R Coconut IPA just isn't as good as I expected it to be. 
While I was expecting a fruity, sweeter IPA I was left with a pretty standard one that tasted simply like an IPA and nothing more. I'm not saying that it was a bad beer (Stone always produces quality beers), just one I wanted more of a flavor out of. The consensus of my fellow barbecue goers was similar. While initially enthralled at the idea of a coconut IPA, they too were surprised when they took a swig of R & R. We did all get a slight hint of coconut, but not enough to satisfy our Hawaiian cravings. I ended up finishing the bottle with no one else fighting me for it.

Anyone looking for a coconut beer is far better off trying Kona's Koko Brown Coconut Ale, which contains a flavor that is significantly more coconutty than R & R. I guess this is a lesson taught to me that not every Stone Collaboration beer will blow me away. You drink some good beers in life and then you drink some not so good ones.

If my post didn't scare you away from the notion of a coconut IPA, you will probably still be able to find a bottle of R & R if you look around. R & R Coconut IPA has an ABV of 7.7% and was created by Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan (two homebrewers), Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe of Rip Current Brewing and Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

W00tstout (Stone / Farking / Wheaton)

W00tstout is the first and only Stone 2013 Collaboration beer I have spotted so far this year at my local beer distributors. In the past, I've tried to get my hands on as many Stone Collaboration beers as possible. Every year, since 2008, they have come out with about 2 to 5 different offerings, with three different brewers working on each one. Stone is always one of the brewers, while the other two spots are filled with other well known breweries.

Stone's idea with these beers is to have no boundaries when it comes to usable ingredients in the brewing process. They work with these other brewers to create some of the most unique beers they can come up with. Some of their past collaborations include Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout and Japanese Green Tea IPA.

I've been fortunate enough to try 2011's More Brown Than Black IPA, and 2012's TBA, Saison du Buff, and "The Perfect Crime." The main draw of these collaboration beers for me, besides their unique combinations, is the fact that these beers are only brewed once in a lifetime. Once they're all consumed that's it! You can no longer get/try/taste these beers ever again.

I think that's enough of a backstory for Stone Collaboration beers, let's move on to w00tstout.

W00tstout was created by Greg Koch of Stone, Drew Curtis of and Wil Wheaton of Star-Trek/Big Bang Theory fame. The beer is brewed with wheat (that was Wil Wheaton's idea if you hadn't guessed it), rye and pecans all aged in bourbon barrels. At 13% ABV it's no laughing matter and the bottle should definitely not be tackled by yourself (as I learned the hard way...oops).

The smell of w00tstout right as you crack open the bottle is strong, bourbon and rye mostly. Once you take a sip you fully realize what a complex, different beer you have here. My first thoughts when it came to the taste, besides having a strong alcohol content, was that of a coffee flavor. As I sipped it more and more the taste of pecans came out as well as the bourbon, with a hint of rye. A little bit of chocolate is in the flavor too. To summarize, w00tstout is delicious and the pairing of all the different flavors works well in this beer.

I would definitely drink this again, but it probably won't be around much longer. If you're like me and like to try new, very rich beers it will be in your best interest to track down a bottle of w00tstout while you still can and savor it. Stone has created another most try beer yet again!

I may be tired, but that beer is freakin delicious!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shipyard Melonhead

I always like to try new beers, especially of the fruit variety. I've had Blueberry Ale, Cherry, Black Raspberry Lambic, Coconut, etc. Some people would prefer to keep fruit out of their beer, but I welcome it with open arms. I love the taste of fruit normally so a fruit beer is always tempting for me to try.

While looking for a six-pack to pick-up at Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage on the way to my brother's place I came across something I've never seen before; a watermelon beer. The second I saw it, I thought to myself "Damn I have to try this." The picture on the bottle's label of a pseudo Ninja Turtle Watermelon headed Horseman also made my decision a lot easier.

Melonhead, brewed by Shipyard pours a light orange and didn't have much of a head right out of the bottle (maybe there should have been a headless watermelon horseman on the front).

It smelled like a combination of well, watermelon and beer. The taste is what really surprised me. I took a sip and was reminded of eating a watermelon candy. I had other people at my brother's try it as well and we all agreed on one thing; if the Jolly Rancher company made a drink based on their watermelon flavor this would be it. I also thought Japanese Melon soda.

While Melonhead is listed as a Spring beer on I think it's the perfect summer beer to enjoy among friends. I took my time enjoying each bottle and getting acquainted with the melon flavor of the beer.

This was one of the most out of the ordinary beer drinking experiences I've ever had, but one I'm glad I took the chance on. At 4.4% ABV Melonhead won't have a major effect on your dancing ability or overall confidence, but it's still a tasty beer. Give it a try!