Thursday, December 26, 2013

Brew Blast: Christmas Ale

I picked this up a few weeks ago and put it under the tree for myself to save for Christmas night (I figured I'd need a stiff brew after the day with family ;)

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

This is a Belgian Abbey Ale, the St. Bernardus brewery started in 1946 and according to the label is made using artesian water pumped from a depth of 500 feet (fancy!).  The bottles can be aged up to 15 years, so if I had a cellar, I'd give it a shot, although I doubt I could wait that long to drink it.

This ale is very dark with a sweet fruityness.  The head is very thick and creamy as you can surmise from the picture.  I quite enjoyed it, but it took me a good while to polish off the bottle alone.  It's a hearty drink and considering the bottle is 1 pint, 9.4oz, there's a lot to enjoy, not to mention it's a whopping 10% alcohol.  I think $15 was a fair price for that much yum. 

Brew Blast: Gingerbread Stout

The holidays provide ample time to try all sorts of seasonal brews and this year I got to try a whole bunch.  

Samuel Adams: Merry Maker

Wow! What a difference from last years recipe!  I believe this was first available last year as a special seasonal.  I was disappointed to find it way too sweet and not enough gingerbread taste.  I decided to give it another shot this year and found that they have tweaked the recipe to perfection!  

Merry Maker smells and tastes like gingerbread and molasses, it's sweet but well balanced with some clove and cinnamon.  I was absolutely satisfied and this beer lives up to it's name.  Delicious!

The bottle was $6.99 and 9%.  I hope they don't tweak anything for next year, I think this is a keeper.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Brew Blast: Juniper IPA

Realizing that it was nearly Christmas and I had not had any Old Fezziwig, I grabbed a Samuel Adams Winter Mix pack on my way home from work and remedied the situation.

One of the new beers this year is:

Samuel Adams Juniper IPA

I was excited for this one.  I do enjoy juniper and I'm pretty satisfied with this.  It's a pleasant IPA, not too hoppy but definitely an IPA and the juniper adds a bit of Christmas to the mix.  It's lightly sweet, which according to the label is due to the berries themselves.  TinyDoom took a sip and declared it "too poisiony", she's against hoppy beers, I can't entirely disagree, I'm very particular about IPAs.  This one I find very easy to drink and is not so bitter that I feel like I need a glass of water after my drink.  

Juniper IPA is a welcome addition to one of my favorite seasonal mix packs, I'm sorry to see the Holiday Porter absent this year, but the addition of Cherry Chocolate Stout might make up for it.  I'll let you know!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brew Blast: Fireside Chat

Continuing the beers I bought myself for my birthday, I present to you a nice winter spiced ale:

21st Amendment Brewery: Fireside Chat

This San Francisco based brewery always has cans and the art is always fantastic.  I've had a few of their beers and some have been better than others.  Bitter American, their IPA was very drinkable, but I found their Summer Seasonal, "Hell or High Watermelon" a bit too sweet, but I digress, we're not talking about those today.  Today is about Fireside Chat, a pleasant hearty ale, perfect for a cold winter night.  It's a rich drink, nicely spiced (including chocolate nibs), with a malty caramel sweetness.  

I would say this is my favorite from 21st Amendment, at least so far.  It definitely makes me want to try more from them.  

I don't remember exactly how much the six pack was, under $10 at least and the ale clocks in at a respectable 7.9%.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Brew Blast: Winter Welcome Ale

We're well into my second favorite beer season, Winter!  Today I have a delicious ale from one of England's oldest breweries:

Samuel Smith: Winter Welcome Ale

Sam Smith doesn't make a bad beer, they've been around since 1758 so they know what they're doing.  I picked this up locally for about $4 for a pint, it clocks in at 6%. 
Malty, a bit creamy and smooth, lightly spiced and a bit of a toffee aftertaste.  This is a lovely ale to sip by a fire and a great winter beer.

I should come up with a rating system for these posts, if I do, this would score highly.  It's probably not too difficult to find, so seek it out and enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brew Blast: Field Mouse's Farewell

After a brief break (i.e.-I haven't had any new beers), Brew Blast returns.  I literally just got home from the store where I spent some of the birthday gift card that has been burning a hole in my pocket, on beer.  I picked up a few things for the blog (yeah, that's the ticket) and now I present the first:

Pretty Things: Field Mouse's Farewell

Pretty Things is a local brewery that makes some pretty interesting beers.  Their bottle artwork is pretty eye catching and generally quite beautiful.  Their beers tend to be artful also, sometimes a bit too artsy for me, but they rarely disappoint.  
Field Mouse's Farewell is their Amber Saison seasonal.  I'm not big on saison's, for some reason they tend to give me instant and harsh heartburn, so I try to stay away from them.  I didn't realize this was a saison when I bought it, I was kind of swayed by the charming art and name.  

That said, I have been drinking this for the past few minutes and so far so good.  It's citrusy and has a lot of orange spicy-ness, it's a hearty tasting brew, but I find saisons often are.  A pint bottle runs about $7 and is 7% alcohol.  It's pleasant and a bit sweet, but not overly so, with a hint of hops.  

I'm finding it hard to say anymore, since I'm not big on this style, but I am enjoying it, so I give it a thumbs up.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Marvel's Animated Abundance

After seeing Thor: The Dark World this weekend, I thought I'd finally type up a post I've been tossing about in my brains.  Reviewing Marvel's current crop of cartoons.  (Thor 2 was a lot of fun by the way, go see it!)

First up, I'll talk about the first of the new cartoons, Ultimate Spider-Man:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cinematic Titans

This past weekend, Sunday to be exact, TinyDoom and I went to see Cinematic Titanic, who are on their final tour. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog Match Team Up!

Head on over to The Ladies of Comicazi today to check out TinyDoom and I reviewing "The Adventures of the Galactic Wrestling Federation"!

Available NOW at Comicazi, Davis Sq. Somerville!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brew Blast: Dry Hop Cider

TinyDoom and I ran into this cider at our local market's Cider and Meade tasting recently, we tried a great many tasty ciders of all kinds but purchased only a few.  This is the first I'm going to review! (ooh, I made a rhyme!)

Woodchuck Hard Cider Cellar Series Dry Hop

I was not surprised to like this, I have not had a Woodchuck cider that I didn't like.  Their Fall cider is maybe my absolute favorite, but that's another post.  

The Dry Hop ran $5.95 for a pint bottle, it's 6.9% so hearty for a cider.  Their ciders are fairly sweet, but pleasantly so, they are very easy to drink and this is no exception.  Hops are not something you usually taste in cider, honestly I'm not sure it's really a normal ingredient, but maybe it should be.  The hops enhance the apple taste and bring in some citrus, I get mainly grapefruit (which on it's own I'm not a fan of but it works here).  It's nicely balanced, one of my problems with hoppy beers is that I can only drink one before my mouth is dry and I'm looking for something else to drink, but this is a nice blast of hops without drying you out, this is something I could have a couple of in a row.  ...which I would, but we only bought this one bottle :(

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Green Arrowed!

Hidely-ho Halloweeno's! Hallowinos?  Maybe I'll stick with the first one.  Anyhow, it's HALLOWEEN! The best day of the year!  A couple of weekend's ago was Comicazi's (our local comic shop) Halloweeniversary, the party that TinyDoom and I plan all year for.  This past year we decided to go with a DC theme, since last year we went Marvel.

Green Arrow and Speedy!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brew Battle Wrap Up

I was hoping to find a few more of my favorite pumpkin beers to review, but alas, the season is passing and they are no longer available.  I searched high and low for one more bottle of Southern Tier Pumking (which would be my favorite), but it's all gone.  Oh well there's always next year.

So, I guess I have given my thoughts on the individual beers that I had a chance to taste and blog about already, so I'll just get to numbering them.

*insert drum roll here* ...and the big winner is:

  1. Southern Tier Warlock
  2. Samuel Adams Fat Jack
  3. Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale
  4. Saranac Pumpkin Ale
  5. Cambridge Brewing Company Great Pumpkin Ale
  6. Shipyard Pumpkin Head
All good beers, some gooder than others.  If you are new to pumpkin beers I recommend starting at the bottom of my list and slowly working your way up.

Let me know what you've tried and what beers you've had that I didn't review, I'm always looking for new pumpkin beers to try.

If there's any interesting non-pumpkin beers you've had lately that you think I should try, let me know!

See you next time bloggouls!

(bloggouls? I actually went with that? wow)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Brew Battle: Warlock

I don't know if anyone is enjoying these posts as much as I am enjoying "researching" them, but either way, on to the next brew!

I have a beer from what has become one of my most favorite breweries, Southern Tier.  I have sung the praises of their Pumking, though not reviewed it yet (I haven't been able to find it lately and worry that the season has passed), but luckily they have another pumpkin beer, this time it's a stout!

Southern Tier Warlock

This is the first time I've had this and Wow, it's absolutely delicious! It's an Imperial Stout, 8.6% alcohol and cost $8.95.  The bottle says it uses 4 different malts and 2 kinds of hops.  It's got a strong caramel profile and a nice roasty-ness overall.  It's not strongly pumpkiny, the caramel overpowers it a bit, but it all balances out nicely.  It's pretty sweet and a heavy drink, which is exactly what I love about these types of beers.  This is a great cool October night drink.  I may need to stock up a bit to be sure to have one available for Halloween night.
Warlock has jumped into my top pumpkin beers, I'm looking forward to doing a final summary and see just where it falls.

Brew Battle: Great Pumpkin Ale!


Today, for you, I have a local brewery's pumpkin offering.  I have two pictures this time around because I had the beer (again, I make these sacrifices for you, my friends) on tap recently at Za.  

 That's a great looking label.
Cambridge Brewing Company: The Great Pumpkin Ale

Cambridge Brewing is located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, it's a bit of a pain to get to if you are local, but worth the effort.  They have a brew pub with good food and great beer.  I went there as part of my bachelor party, we had a few beer towers to kick the afternoon off right.
But I digress, The Great Pumpkin is a good pumpkin ale, but again, maybe not in my top 10 overall.  It's a tasty, but a bit light.  I guess if you don't like a taste whallop, like I tend to, then it might be right up your alley. This pint ran me about $6, so pretty standard for a draft pint and it's 4.4%.
It has a mild hoppy and citrus start and a smooth yammy body.  The pumpkin taste lingers at the end, but overall it's a bit on the light side.  I think I'd like this beer more if it was a bit deeper, but to each his own, not all pumpkin beers need be heavy brews.  This is one of the better light pumpkin ales.

Let me know what kind of beers you guys like, I'd like to get a feel for what other folks prefer.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brew Battle: Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Before we get to the party, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out the new header for the blog, I decided to update it this morning.  I think it's less clumsy looking than the previous one.  Okay, enough patting myself on the back, here we go!

Brew Battle returns, again, yes, I bought a lot of pumpkin beer, no I don't have a problem...unless you count not enough time to drink all the available pumpkin beers a problem, and I do.  LET'S GET TO IT!

Saranac: Our Pumpkin Ale

Saranac, from NY, is one of my go-to's.  I have yet to find a bad beer out of this brewery.  I have had this before, but I had not seen this jug style bottle before stumbling across it in my local shop.  It's a quart of brew and only runs $4.99!  What a deal (he said in a Zoidberg voice)! This beer clocks in at 5.4%, so slightly above average.
It's got a lovely red color, a bit of a caramel sweetness up front and a bit of a cinnamon pumpkin finish.  It's sweet, but not cloyingly so, I would say it's very easy to drink.  It could be more pumpkiny but it's a very nice cool weather beverage. It also comes in a pretty cool bottle, which is temping to keep and use as a seasonal decoration.  I had previously had this in the Fall 12 pack mix, so it's nice to see it available on it's own.

That's is for now, stay tuned for my next pumpkin beer post...coming soon, since I drank the beer last night and just have to type the post up ;)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Brew Battle: Pumpkinhead

I'm drinking a pumpkin beer, so that can mean only one thing: IT'S BREW BATTLE TIME!

Next up:

Shipyard Pumpkinhead

This is a popular beer, I know a lot of people that are very passionate about Pumpkinhead.  Personally, I enjoy Pumpkinhead but it's not one of my top favorites, not to say I don't like it, because I end up drinking it often enough.  Although drinking it often is usually because it tends to be one of the few "craft" beers on tap (unless you find yourself in a very good bar).  Bars often offer it with a cinnamon/sugar rim for your glass, while I have been known to partake of the sugar rim, I question whether a properly made beer needs any bells and whistles.  But a bit on that later.

Pumpkinhead is pretty light, it's a light color, light alcohol percentage at 4.5% and relatively inexpensive, I think I paid maybe $8 for a six pack.  It's sweet and a bit tart, it's pleasantly crisp and finishes with cinnamon and pumpkin, lightly.  This is a good beginner's beer for those dipping their toes outside of the Bud pool and into the neighbor's deep and mysterious pool.  
So, getting back to the cinnamon/sugar rim, if it's offered, go for it.  I think it definitely enhances the pumpkin pie in a glass thing.  But.  I kind of wish it wasn't necessary, the beer could be a bit more complex in it's profile, but to that effect, if I want a more complex beer then perhaps I should be drinking one.

Well, I guess I'm done arguing with myself.  

In conclusion, it's a good easy to drink beer for a cool fall day.  Despite it's short comings, I wouldn't kick it out of my bed...but I'd be thinking of another seasonal beer while we snuggle.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Brew Battle: Fat Jack

Brew Battle returns with my seasonal theme of pumpkin beers.  Today I'm reviewing Samuel Adams' Fat Jack Double Pumpkin.

Fat Jack is one of Sam's pint bottle special small batch brews.  I bought it for $6.95 and it's 8.5% alcohol.  This beer is apparently brewed with 28lbs of pumpkins per barrel, according to the bottle, so it's very flavorful.  The label also says that it has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.  

The first taste is sweet and malty, then you get the pumpkin and the spices, it finishes very smooth and easy for a beer that is as sweet as it is.  It doesn't leave a sticky sweetness on your tongue like some sweet drinks.  It's a very hearty brew and one that I have started to look forward to, I believe last year was the first time it was available and when I saw it in the store I did not hesitate to grab it again.  If you don't mind sweet, this is a bit like drinking a malty pumpkin pie.  Me? I love malty and pumpkin pie, so it's a "Hell Yes" for me.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brew Battle: Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Welcome back once again, to Brew Battle.  The battle for my taste buds...and to keep off my beer belly (and yes, my appreciation for alliteration).  This time around I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite seasonal brews.  There have been so many amazing pumpkin ales produced over the recent past that there is no shortage of breweries offering their own unique take, there's always something new to try.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale by Brooklyn Brewery

As you may have guessed, pumpkin ales are one of my absolute favorite beers.  Actually fall is my favorite time of the year, with winter a close second, partly because they bring some of my absolute favorite beer styles to the stores.
Post Road is the first pumpkin beer I ever had and it was love at first swig.  It's crisp and perfect for a nice cool day, a good beer to relax with after a morning spent picking apples.  The first sip has a bit of hops, then the sweetness (but not too sweet) from the pumpkin and a bit of cinnamon.  It finishes with a faint vegetableness from the pumpkin.  It's very pleasant and easy to drink and it remains one of the pumpkin ales I look forward to every year.  
I think there are superior pumpkin ales available, (Southern Tier Pumking, I'm looking at you, my precious) but I always come back to Post Road.  I was just saying last week that I had not seen it in stores and was disappointed (that was remedied, obviously), I think it's a bit of a tradition for me and sort of officially signals fall.  
I hope you, my dear readers, also enjoy pumpkin beers, because the next batch of Brew Battle posts are all going to be pumpkin related.  In the mean time, please share your favorite seasonal beers in the comments!  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Brew Blast: Take The Black Stout

Howdy fellow bloggees!  I'm starting a new series of posts about one of my favorite things, beer!  Hopefully this will help me get back into the habit of posting, since I'm always trying new beers, I should often have something to talk about.  Hopefully I'll be able to describe the beers adequately, only one way to know for sure...let's get to it!

Today my wife, TinyDoom, and I walked into our local market, Pemberton Farms, to find that it had recently transformed into a Beer Wonderland!  They had a decent selection before, but they expanded and the selection is now pretty impressive.

I discovered a bunch of new beers that got me quite excited and inspired this post today.  At least I'm telling myself that the blog was a good enough excuse to buy more beer.

I walked out with 3 bottles and today I have the first to share.

Ommegang's Game of Thrones: Take The Black Stout

I found this in a pint sized bottle, it's 7% alcohol and cost $8.99.  The bottle describes the stout as having "chocolate and caramel sweetness, balanced by hop bitterness, roasty, woodsy notes and an earthy finish".  I think that sums it up pretty well, I definitely got the chocolate up front and the finish is certainly woodsy.  If I had a fire place I'd want to drink this in front of it, with a nice bowl of some kind of hearty stew close by and some crusty bread.  

I had heard Ommegang's other GoT beer was okay, a fairly standard ale, so I was a bit dubious about this one, but being a sucker for dark beers I figured it was worth a try and I'm glad I did.  Now hopefully I can find it again later in the year when it's much cooler out, because as you may have heard, "Winter Is Coming."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog-A-Long with the Ladies!

Howdy-ho neighborinos! I've been gone a while, but like a bad penny, I keep turning up!

Today I'm joining my lovely wife, Tiny Doom, and the other ladies of The Ladies of Comicazi in their Bat-Month blog series.  Bat-Month involves each lady choosing her favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series (including The Adventures of Batman and Robin) and talking about why it was chosen.  I was excited by the idea and decided to join in, unofficially, and do a review of my favorite episode.  As you can imagine, this is no small feat because there are so many incredible episodes of the award wining and genre changing show.

I know this series holds a special place in my heart, I have always been an animation fan and the years just before Batman: TAS began I often complained about the poor animation quality and the poor story telling of the garbage that was on TV.  I honestly thought that American animation was truly was in it's death throws (although looking at what was on in 1993, I can see that Batman was one of the shows that premiered on the precipice of change).  Then along came Batman, with a retro design, fresh concepts that paid homage to story lines from the comics, writing that strove to tell a good story instead of trying to sell toys and voice acting that was actual acting by talented people.  To this day, my wife and I still refer to Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil as "The One True Batman" and "The One True Joker".  The series made folks take notice and once you watched an episode, you were sucked in.
I remember when the show was on originally, my father would watch it with me when he got home from work, once they altered the time to slightly earlier he admitted that he was disappointed to be missing the show!  I didn't even realize he had enjoyed watching it, I had just assumed that he was watching it because it was on when he sat down.

Such is the power of Batman: The Animated Series.

Beware all whom enter, for here there be spoilers: