Odell makes good beer. Not many people who argue that point. The most frustrating and disappointing part of Odell's beers are their price point. Great beers aren't cheap to make, just look at the price tags on Dogfish Head and Russian River bottles. Actually, neither Dogfish or Russian River are available every where so not everyone may be aware of this, but it does bring up yet another point... Great beer is in great demand. $20 a bottle isn't unheard for a bottle of wine, in fact it's even considered a bargain in most circles. For beer however, $20 is a steep barrier to entry for most people. Some of Odell's more premium beers top out at $25 for a 750 at my local liquor store. Honestly, that's a little too premium for me. I'd love to try those beers but I can't commit at that price. This bottle of Deconstruction Golden Ale (which is a more modest $12 or $15 depending on your retailer) has just convinced me I need to save up for Odells highest tier of ales.
Rochefort 10 is a very, very special beer. This beer is almost as highly regarded among internet beer geeks as the legendary Westvleteren 12, but is far easier to obtain. I held off on drinking this beer for the longest time, in fact this is the first bottle I've had in the United State. I didn't abstain from the Rochefort 10 because I don't like Quads or I don't like Trappist beers, quite the opposite... I love both. I'd known for at least a year that I was going to spend some time in Belgium last year and I couldn't resist putting a visit to Westvleteren on my list... and since I'd waited this long to try Rochefort 10, I might as well do a side-by-side with Westy. Needless to say, I had a great time in Belgium...
In terms of hype Bell's Hopslam is right up there with Pliny the Elder and Dark Lord. An important difference here is that Hopslam is actually available down the street from me, even if it sells out in a matter of hours. I've had both Pliny and Dark Lord and only one lived up to the hype. I could see myself happily standing in line for Dark Lord with a thousand other beer nerds. Pliny was a different story, it was good but I prefer a dozen similar style beers, I just didn't see what the big deal was. Pliny is similar in style to Hopslam so I was a bit hesitant to drop nearly $20 on a six pack, but here we are...
I know next to nothing about DuClaw Brewing Company. I saw a few DuClaw bottles at a liquor store in Maryland a couple weeks ago and figured I'd give them a try. I opted for the black bottle with a menacing red "MISERY" scratched on the label. This beer is a Wheat Wine, a style not too many breweries produce. The Wheat Wines I have had before have been all over the board. Some Wheat Wines were very similar to Barleywines and others have been more closely compared to sweet white wine. I'm anxious to try this DuClaw Misery out and see where it falls.
I've had Schlafly's No. 15 a number of times now and it keeps getting better. This beer seems like such an amalgamation, like three beers have been mixed together to create this masterpiece. The No. 15 is sour up front, like a Weissbier or a Belgian Wit, but it finishes really smooth - like you'd expect from a wheat. This beer doesn't look like your typical wheat though, it's quite red and fairly clear... kinda like an amber lager. Perhaps what I like most about the No. 15 is that it has very little hop flavor to it. There is plenty of spice in this beer though, it's sour and tart at first but then you feel like you're drinking a loaf of banana bread. For me, it's been a unique drinking experience. I haven't had another beer quite like this before or since.
My relationship with Lagunitas got off to a rocky start. The beer I tried out of Petaluma was their Pale Ale and I really, really didn't like it. I went on to try a couple more small bottles of their beer and I found a common thread through all of these beers was a really bitter hop component that I just didn't like at all. I decided to give Lagunitas one last try a few months later and went with the Hop Stoopid, a beer that was supposed to be hoppy. I thought it was a great beer and it warmed me up to trying more Lagunitas beers again. Since then I've found a couple more bombers of Lagunitas that I thought were quite good, now it's time to try the Gnarly Wine.
There are very few reasons I would every willingly go to Wisconsin. The winters are cold there, they eat a lot cheese there and I always get the state confused with Minnesota for some reason. Wisconsin just isn't high on my list of places to see before I'm dead. That's the way it was... before I had some of the great beers from New Glarus. I've had just about every year round beer from New Glarus, and plenty of one offs as well, but I was never able to get a bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red all to myself until now. I've had this beer once before, in a very tiny tasting glass and I swore it was the best beer I'd ever had.
Boulevard's Long Strange Tripel is one of those beers that I've wanted to drink for the longest time but never got around to it for one reason or another. The Long Strange Tripel is one of Boulevard's original Smokestack Series beers. I love Belgian style ales and I've wanted to pick up a bottle of the Long Strange many times but it seems like I've always overlooked it in favor of more exotic beers when I'm at the store. I finally got a sample of the Long Strange at the Kansas City Beerfest last fall. I'm not sure if it was the quality of the beer or the fact that it was poured by Mr. Harold "Trip" Hogue himself, but this was definitely the highlight of the day.
This beer is exactly what I was looking for. Exactly. When I was poking around in the fridge looking for a beer to drink tonight I wanted something that was smooth, creamy and tasted familiar. When I saw this bottle of Mahr's Bräu Saphir Weiss I couldn't resist opening it. If you've read more than a few of my other posts you probably already know that I spent a good deal of time living in the small Franconian town of Bamberg. I may be biased but I still believe that Bamberg beers are the best in their class, and the beers from Mahr's Bräu are no exception.
Brooklyn beers have been out of reach for me until very recently. I stopped by a local liquor store to check out their craft beer selection and I saw this lonely bottle of Brooklyn Local 1 sitting at the end of the aisle. I'd always wanted to try the Local 1 so I didn't think twice about picking up this 750ml bottle. The bottle itself has a great style, it's modeled after New York Fire Department stations with their red, black and golden color. The style of beer inside the bottle is a Belgian Pale Ale, which can be a fairly nebulous term... I couldn't wait to get this bottle home and finally try it out.