Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ruination IPA (bottled) - 4.4

Ruination IPA
Imperial/Double IPA
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA
Alcohol Content: 7.7%

Bitterly hoppy to the point of cottonmouth and tongue-tingling. For hop addicts, that's not a bad thing at all. Too intense for everyday drinking, but at this price I'd be pretty upset if I wanted it every day. A feat of hops.

Appearance Aroma Palate Flavor Price Buzz Overall
4/5 9/10 5/5 9/10 3/5 5/5 10/10

Holy crap. Bitter perfection, like this girl I knew once. I actually like this a bit more than Arrogant Bastard. Oddly enough, if you drink enough, you sort of become numb to the hops and suddenly it tastes almost sweet! Mmmmmm... bittersweet perfection.

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4/5 9/10 5/5 9/10 3/5 5/5 9/10

For the alcohol content, you can't do much better than this. The Ruination ruined us the first time we tried reviewing this, so this time we split a bomber and stayed coherent.

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5/5 8/10 5/5 10/10 2/5 5/5 8/10

Arrogant Bastard Ale (bottled) - 3.9

Arrogant Bastard Ale
American Strong Ale
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA
Alcohol Content: 7.2%

This is one of the more interesting ales I've tried. It's so powerful, but still balanced in an extreme sort of way--I don't really know what to think. But I like it. And I like Stone.

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4/5 6/10 3/5 9/10 3/5 5/5 8/10

A very pretty beer--it's almost cherry red! It doesn't taste like cherries, though. This is an extreme beer--extremely hoppy but still balanced, just strong-tasting overall. Good stuff, I love it on tap. A beer to be enjoyed in moderation.

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4/5 7/10 4/5 9/10 2/5 5/5 8/10

This arrogant brew will knock you right on your ass and laugh at you for thinking anything else would happen. Just shy of being too bitter, and that's saying a lot.

Appearance Aroma Palate Flavor Price Buzz Overall
4/5 8/10 4/5 8/10 3/5 5/5 8/10

Monday, October 15, 2007

GABF Report

My first time at the Great American Beer Festival was awesomer than awesome can be. Mad props to Kate, Jim, and Jason for shelling out the $45 per ticket for the outing. Some of my favorite parts of the evening:

  • Stone Brewing had a festival booth, and I took full advantage to try everything they had to offer. I was stoked to taste their 11th Anniversary Ale for the first time, but the best of the bunch was the Ruination IPA. I had once tried this premium beer in bottled form (which set me back over $16 for a six-pack), but it's absolutely amazing on tap. It's like a clown car of hops--you don't know how they all got in there, but you're smiling too much to care.
  • We also had the distinct privilege of tasting Samuel Adam's Utopias, a premium barley wine that weighs in at a record-breaking 25% ABV. This is legendary stuff. It sells for over $200 a bottle on eBay, is illegal in 14 states, and has kicked the asses of both Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer. I've only tried a few barley wines in my day, probably because most of them tasted like someone dropped a vodka-infused Tootsie roll in a beer and left it in a dark corner for 6 months. Not Utopias. Sweet yet refined, intensely aromatic, hints of plum and toffee... simply sublime. By the time we went back for a second round, it was gone. Gone, but not forgotten. I'll probably still be talking about it next year.
  • Arbor Brewing's Espresso Love Breakfast Stout was a notably tasty treat. It tastes just like chocolate-covered espresso beans.

There were plenty of other good brews, but as I was drinking a ton of beer and not taking notes, a few details have escaped me. If you plan on going with me to next year's shindig, here are some lessons that I've learned for next time:
  • Take notes. You'll look like an ass, but part of the $45 investment is to find some good beers to buy the week after.
  • Bring snacks. Those homemade pretzel necklaces are pretty ingenious.
  • Have a tasting plan. Imagine tasting a barley wine, then an IPA, then a stout, then a wit, then repeating the whole process. It can really make that first sip pretty weird. It's tough to avoid wanting the closest beer in sight, but I might try to plan a loose progression of beer styles next time.
  • Expect a stomachache.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Crossing Into the Blue

Last weekend, our good friend Matt headed out for 12 weeks of officer training in the USAF. Here is his most oft-requested song, recorded at Organic Orbit on his last night in town. Good luck, buddy. See ya soon.

Download the MP3

Beer Fest

I'll be attending tonight's session of the Great American Beer Festival, which is a fantasy pretty much on par with drinking my way out of a full vat of beer. I was on the injury list just two days ago, but after some stomach-expanding meals and a couple Skinny Dips to prime myself for tonight, I think I'm ready. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Titan IPA (bottled) - 3.5

Titan IPA
India Pale Ale
Great Divide Brewing Company
Denver, CO
Alcohol Content: 8.6%

This one is really bitter--which I like, but the aftertaste gets mighty harsh after a few swigs. Big and bold, but not a ton of complexity. Still good.

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3/5 7/10 3/5 7/10 3/5 3/5 7/10

Very hoppy. Hoppy, like the Easter bunny. Nice IPA--very nice, in fact--but not spectacular.

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4/5 7/10 4/5 8/10 4/5 5/5 8/10

Good in a pinch when Stone or Mojo aren't an options, but definitely second to those two when it comes down to it. Or, as the cliché goes, close, but no cigar. I did like the bottle slogan though: "Great minds drink alike."

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3/5 6/10 4/5 7/10 3/5 5/5 7/10