Leffe Bruin (Picked up at a Albert Heijn in Amsterdam). A 2 of 4. Grabbed to go with some food since all other shops were closed, and i wasn’t disappointed. A solid belgian brown ale - ¬†there is some decent yeast development in the nose and some dark fruit notes as well. Drinks easily and is more highly carbonated than I would prefer, but is easy enough to drink as it is quite light bodied as well.

23 hours ago 6 notes

Logsdon’s Oak Aged Bretta (Picked up at Whole Foods, Berkeley). A 4 of 4. Too bad about 40% of it gushed on the ground when opened, despite a cool temp and not disturbing the bottle. Incredible complexity of the Seizoen Bretta, just aged on oak. The barrel adds quite a lot of interesting notes - clearly some tannins but also some roast/toast qualities. Lots of bright fruit and brett notes up front, and as the photo shows, this thing is like a yeast milkshake - nicely thick body carrying some tartness. A great beer with a lot of complexity - not sure whether I prefer it to the standard Seizoen Bretta, though.

1 day ago 7 notes

Stone’s Stochasticity Project Quadro Triticale (Picked up at Berkeley Bowl West). A 3 of 4. An interesting take on a quad - nowhere near the yeast complexity of some, but the use of triticale grain adds quite a bit more complexity to the malt bill, and it shows. The nose and body have relatively similar profiles - lots of spiciness, toast, candy sugar, and some faint light, almost tropical, sugar notes as well. Alcohol is quite present near the finish, and the body is a bit more highly carbonated than typical for the style. Weirdly sweet in places, yet weirdly almost too dry in others.¬†

2 days ago 5 notes

The Wild Beer Co’s Somerset Wild (Picked up at Independent Spirit in Bath, England). A 4 of 4. This gets a 4 because it is so weird it is definitely worth trying. The funk is incredibly powerful here, and so is the apple and light fruit notes - it tastes like this has apples and a small amount of grapes in it, as well as a faint bit of lemon juice. Smells like an old, damp basement - the funk is there and not incredibly sour - it produces just a tiny bit of tartness, but a weird, barnyard-y mustiness, and an incredibly powerful one on the nose. Quite light and acidic and relatively easy to drink. Some people might despise this. Anything that makes me spend this long trying to figure out exactly what its deal is deserves a 4 in my mind, though.

3 days ago 7 notes

Lagunitas NightTime (Picked up at Target of all places for sub-$5). A 3 of 4. Quite good - a powerfully bitter black ale - the nose has a touch of roast, but it’s honestly quite surprising how piney and citric and hoppy it is with a relatively subdued malt presence. Drinks quite bitter and with some burnt malt notes (not in a bad way, but it’s almost roast gone too far) as well as some dark chocolate bitterness, which is carried on a nicely thick body with some sticky lacing. The alcohol is well-hidden, and this has a nice deep malt roast plus an ever-present firm bitterness.

4 days ago 6 notes

Hanssens Oudbeitje (Picked up at de Bierkoning in Amsterdam). A 3 of 4. A really interesting lambic with fresh strawberries added. No lacing to speak of, and the nose is a really powerful sourness with a touch of yeastiness and bright strawberry notes on the finish. Up front, the berry notes are there as well as some lemon and funk, and then it falls off the sour cliff - it quickly turns puckeringly sour and highly acidic and then fades away relatively well into a dry finish. The strawberries impart a nice berry brightness that differs from a lot of other fruited lambics, but the base tartness overwhelms the palate a bit. Still, a very good lambic.

5 days ago 10 notes

Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack (Picked up at Trader Joe’s). A 3 of 4. A good summer session IPA, but not my favorite out there. Nice light citrus nose on a relatively highly carbonated body. Drinks slightly bitter with some fruity sweetness as well, and very easy to drink overall. Light body, given it is a session, but the body is pretty incredibly light, even for something at 4.5% - the higher end of the session range. I’d prefer something slightly thicker. Still, great citrus hop nose.

6 days ago 5 notes

Anspach & Hobday’s The Smoked Brown (Picked up at CASK Pub & Kitchen in London). A 3 of 4. A very good brown ale with a ton of roast-y qualities. The smoke isn’t overwhelming, but is all perfectly contained in the malt body. Lots of relatively sticky lacing, and the nose has some nice nuttiness and wood and smoky (but not burnt!) qualities. Drinks with a relatively thin body and some nice balancing nutty sweetness. Easy to drink and a wonderful depth to the smoke that builds - it is throughout the malt, not just a single note that hits all at once. Did I mention this has a lot of smoke to it? Great stuff.

1 week ago 6 notes

Stiegl’s Paracelsus Zwickl at a Vapiano in Vienna. A 1 of 4. Given this is a zwickl, I expected a nice unfiltered appearance. Instead, I get a (admittedly nice-looking) clear golden body. Not sure what the issue is here, but definitely nowhere close to the style. Relatively high carbonation and lacing and head, and drinks with some cereal grain notes and a nice floral profile in the nose. Decent simple beer - but nowhere near the yeast complexity and unfiltered body I was expecting and hoping for (both for the style and from other descriptions of this beer).

1 week ago 10 notes

Golden Road’s Heal the Bay IPA (Picked up at Trader Joe’s). A 3 of 4. A great IPA - nice golden color and solid carbonation and the nose is full of citrus and grapefruit and other tropical fruit. Drinks slightly sweet with some pale malt notes and with some firm bitterness that creeps in. A bit of a bitter bite on the finish. A solid pale/tropical IPA.

1 week ago 11 notes

St. Bernardus Abt 12 (Picked up at a Carrefour Market in Brussels for 1,70 euro). A 4 of 4. As always, this is an exemplar of what an abbey quad should be, and as the most readily available one, is quite good. Definitely a touch more watery and less depth than some of the trappist’s, but not bad at all. Lots of plum and dark fruit notes and spice and other yeast-driven qualities, as well as a wonderful toffee and caramel body. For about ~$2 a bottle, I couldn’t resist picking this up again, despite having had it plenty of times before, both relatively fresh and with some age on it.

1 week ago 9 notes

A couple excellent sours - Thanks, Keith, for sharing! On the left, The Rare Barrel’s Hypnotized (a 4 of 4), and on the right, Upright’s Blend Love (a 4 of 4). Hypnotized has a beautiful reddish body - this was aged in barrels previously used for Ensorcelled, which had raspberries in it. The raspberry notes aren’t overwhelming, but this definitely picked up the fruity, puckering tartness they provide from the unrinsed barrel. Like all of Rare Barrel’s stuff, this is quite puckeringly sour and quite acidic, although I find this a bit more easy drinking than their other offerings. The Blend Love is possibly the best thing I’ve ever had from Upright - and I’ve had plenty of good things from Upright. Great orange color, and the nose lets on what this is all about - lots of funk and tart fruit and a nice tartness. Drinks quite dry on the palate with a decent bit of oak and tannins, as well as other berries on the palate, including some sweetness from the cherries. Great sourness, great balance, and great fruit presence. Excellent stuff all around.

1 week ago 5 notes

Chapel Down’s Curious IPA (Brewed at Hepworth) (Picked up at Whole Foods, Piccadilly Circus, London). A 2 of 4. Relatively nice orange/red color yet incredibly transparent and not much lacing or body at all. Smells faintly of citrus and some herbal notes. Drinks on the sweet side of things, without much firm bitterness in the finish. Relatively well-balanced and easy to drink, but not quite enough bitterness nor body to carry it.

1 week ago 6 notes

Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America West Coast Double IPA (Picked up at Berkeley Bowl West). A 3 of 4. Also managed to grab the collaboration 12-pack, which we’ve already seen. A simple, great, double IPA. Smells resinous as well as some nice citrus notes. Drinks on the sweet side of things after a strong spicy/bitter presence up front. A bit oily and thick mouthfeel, yet quite easy to drink - not overly bitter and not too sweet, yet firmly bitter and balanced. Great stuff.

1 week ago 13 notes

Trumer Pils (the Austrian version! - picked up at Merkur Hoher Markt in Vienna). A 3 of 4. I’m assuming this is an identical recipe to the Berkeley version, so no surprise that this is nearly identical. Extremely pale, clean pilsner. High carbonation with some grain sweetness and grassy notes in the nose. Drinks easily like the style should - nice and clean.

2 weeks ago 9 notes