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Tag Archives: craft beer

When words fail, hops deliver*

Torpedo Extra IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA
ABV 7.2%

Good things come in threes: Stooges, Little Pigs, and Musketeers. We would respectfully add Triple Hopped beer to that list. Sierra Nevada uses three different varieties of hops — magnum, crystal, and citra — added at three different times. The brewery also designed and built a piece of equipment, “The Torpedo”, which infuses more hop flavor and aroma than many standard methods.

Torpedo pours a light, golden-amber hue and leaves delicate lacing on the sides of the glass. We were lucky enough to be schooled by Marc Bayes of a few weeks ago and he taught us that the lacing along the sides of the glass is a visual indicator of protein combined with the residue from hops.

Despite being a “super-hoppy” beer, the malts temper the hops and smooth out the flavor; making Tornado enjoyable for people who don’t gravitate toward IPAs (Stephanie) as well as those who love hoppy beers (Lia).

That’s hop-tastic.

*We take pride in our witty prose, and believe that you, gentle reader, will appreciate knowing it took us a good 25 minutes to come up with a title for our post. As budding wordsmiths and certifiable nerds, the barrage of terrible to ridiculous combinations was a small obstacle for us to overcome. For you. You’re welcome.



The Reverend
Avery Brewing Company-Boulder, CO
Belgian-Style Quadrupel Ale
10% ABV

Beer can be many things: an old friend, a moral lesson, or a tribute. Avery’s The Reverend was created as a tribute.

True to both our “small brewery, BIG BEERS” philosophy and to the spirit and character of the departed Reverend, this beer is strong willed, assertive, and pure of heart.

The bottle is both imposing and lovely, the colors on the label reflective of the colors in the glass; deep amber and tinged with reds. The aroma is not overpowering but smells like the perfect fall bouquet. Currants and raisins with a bit of spice.

The fruit continues on the palate, but not overwhelmingly so. The candy sugar used in the brew gives the beer some carmelized sugar notes. It’s smooth and very drinkable, particularly when you consider it weighs in at an impressive 10% ABV. So enjoy this beer, but be judicious in your consumption.

You Can Dance If You Want To

February 23, 2012
Harvest Dance Wheat Wine
Boulevard Brewing Co.-Kansas City, MO
Wheat Wine, Winter Seasonal
9.1% ABV

As much as we both enjoy beer, we are by no means alcoholists. We do not discriminate against other kinds of booze. In fact, we both thoroughly enjoy wine. When we heard that Boulevard had a beer that incorporated both…well, we were intrigued.

According to Boulevard, the impetus for the beer is from the English folk tradition about John Barleycorn. Barleycorn is the personification of barley, sacrificed and reborn as ale. The Harvest Dance is an homage to this fable, with a change in malts. This beer pays tribute, naturally, to wheat.

Pouring a golden hue, the first notes are bright and almost acidic on the palate (with a similar effect as biting into a perfect piece of pineapple.) The wine notes lighten the often heavy wheat beer qualities. The beer certainly mellows, as it begins warming to room temperature, but manages not to lose the tropical fruit notes. There are times in which you must defer to the experts; the beer can’t be better described than by Boulevard:

The result is a big, warming burst of tropical fruit favors, highlighted by subtle wine-like notes, and rounding slowly to a long, dry, oaky finish.

We feel that this bridges the gap between wheat beers and others, more crisp, styles. Wheat beer and non-wheat beer lovers will appreciate this “wheat wine” beer.

A Little Birthday Salvation

February 3, 2012
Russian River Salvation
Russian River Brewing Company-Santa Rosa, CA
Belgian strong dark ale

9% ABV

20120205-140838.jpg, n 1. Deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption

2. The agent or means that brings about such deliverance

For most, beer may not be synonymous with “salvation”. But in our opinion, Russian River Brewing Company got it right. When you are about to get blitzed by a snowstorm of epic proportion (at least, that was the forecast) there is only one way to wait it out. Clothed in layers, armed with cameras, and wearing loads of eye makeup, we braved the snow. We were ready to celebrate the birthday of 1/2 of the Denver Darlings team and neither snow nor sleet nor blustereing winds would keep us from a glass of something delicious. Our reward was a strong dark ale, Salvation. It was strong, yes, but not heavy. It poured a cloudy dark amber with a very slight head. The aroma was all of the sweet nuances of honey and stone fruits, very “plummy”. The first sip was clean with the same notes of plums, apricots, and honey. There was a lingering bitterness, but not overwhelmingly so.
We paired it with a snack of salty cured meats and crisp chips, the sweetness of the beer balanced the saltiness of the food. It was a great snack but we could just as easily see this beer paired with a stone fruit salad or a fantastic cheese course.