Quick Take: Bold City – Mad Manatee

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This beer is from a local favorite of mine, Bold City Brewery. As much as we don’t want to leave you with a bunch of reviews of stuff you can’t obtain the footprint has started expanding throughout Florida and up into the Carolinas.

From the website:

A wonderful balance of hops and malt, this IPA is loaded with four hop varieties. You can expect a slight sweetness with toasted notes, a wonderful floral aroma and crisp citrus finish. It’s as bitter as a MAD MANATEE!

Look

Oh so thick and heavy looking. Dense is a great word for it as you can’t see through it if you tried. It’s a nice roasted almond color and goes great with the orange on their label. The head is absolutely beautiful and lasts just as you’d prefer.

Smell

A great amount of different ingredients can be found in the smell. Keeps that great IPA smell while sharing some floral notes as well.

Taste

This is an IPA for IPA lovers. I could easily knock back a few of these without even thinking about it. Although it looks like it’s going to be a heavy beer, it is light like it should be.

Final Thoughts

I am enamored by this beer. Not only is it astonishingly done from a small, local brewery, but it hands down is one of the best IPAs out there. If you have the chance grab one of these next time you see it. Hell, grab as many as you can!

Quick Take: Coronado Brewing – Idiot IPA

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From the website:

It doesn’t take a genius to know quality West Coast IPA’s require a stupid amount of hops. A generous blend of Nugget hops and the four C’s – Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus – brings forth a myriad of tropical fruit flavors and a brawny, persistent bitterness that makes for a highly intelligent brew.

Look

Not an overwhelmingly great look. Looks more like a light ale than an IPA. Golden brown and quite clear. Head held for quite a while though. I poured this one terribly but the head it created lasted forever.

Smell

Definitely hoppy, but that’s the nature of an IPA. There are some other tones in there though, probably those four C’s…

Taste

I’m quite disappointed by this beer. Just simply doesn’t have the charm and complexity that the label and website claim it to hold. Simple and flat would be the best description here.

Final Thoughts

I literally forgot that I was drinking a beer when I had this one. Just let it sit in the glass on the stand and kept watching hockey. Not something I’d ever let flow down my gullet again.

Quick Take: Sam Adams – Fat Jack

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From the website:

This rich and luscious brew indulges in flavor with over 28 lbs. of pumpkin per barrel, for a full bodied sweetness and deep russet color.  Classic pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice ignite a warmth and spark that’s deepened by an undercurrent of roasty smoked malts.  The result is a delectable brew full of enveloping layers of flavor and spice.

Look

Dark cloudy brown, great head.

Smell

Pumpkin pie.

Taste

Full taste, thick, perfect blend of spices.

Final Thoughts

This is probably my favorite pumpkin beer.  I was surprised how much better this was over the Fall Hornin’, since I thought that was good.  It’s a wonderful pumpkin beer, and not too hoppy.

Quick Take: Anderson Valley – Fall Hornin’

I’m trying out a new format here since I’m the only person that likes pumpkin ales.  I recently tried two different brews out, here’s what I thought.

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From the website:

With a brilliant, deep copper hue and creamy beige-colored head, our Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has inviting aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and seasonal spices. The pleasantly creamy mouthfeel and silky body embrace the sweet caramel flavors and tang of spices (with just hint of hops) that ends in a smooth, round finish.

Look

Dark brown color with a thick head.

Smell

Smells like pumpkin spice, but not too much.  This is nice since some of the beers overdo it.

Taste

Tastes like Bud mixed with a pumpkin spice shot from Starbucks.  Not bad.

Final Thoughts

Good pumpkin beer, nothing special, but not overpowering.

Guinness – Red Harvest Stout

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Guinness doesn’t have a website up for this beer.  Here is what the can says:

Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival held every year on All Hallows’ Eve, celebrates the end of the fall harvest and the coming of winter.  On this night, the believers beckon restless spirits from the darkness with bonfires and sweet offerings from the bountiful harvest.  Guinness Red Harvest Stout captures the spirit of that night with its alluring blend of lightly roasted barley and subtly sweet Irish malt.

Look

Alec:  It looks nice and red, unlike some other red beers.  It’s a more clear, more red Guinness.  Same head and everything.

Smell

Vince:  It smells like normal Guinness.

Alec:  Yeah plain Guinness.

Taste

Alec:  Man, that’s good!

Vince:  Yeah, I could definitely see this for a holiday meal or something.  That is smooth, that’s smoother than some Pepsi products.

Alec:  Smoother than water!

Vince:  It wouldn’t be hard to down this entire glass in like, a second.

Alec:  This is almost too smooth; it’s not a sit and sip kinda beer.

Vince:  This is the complete opposite spectrum of beers that I normally like, but it’s just so smooth you can’t help but like it.  I’m imagining drinking this with Thanksgiving dinner, and it wouldn’t overpower anything, which would be great.  I’m impressed.  This is really good, I’m kind of upset that it’s almost gone.

Alec:  I know, we both just blasted right through it.  It has the nitro can too so even though we’ve been drinking this for five minutes now my head still looks like I just poured it.

Drinkability

Vince:  It sits good in the stomach too, I don’t feel like I just had an entire glass of Guinness.

Alec:  So we’re going to drink another one of these while we watch Star Wars?

Vince nods.

Alec:  I could drink an entire pack of these I think.

Vince:  I could drink this like water.

Final Thoughts

Vince:  Definitely recommend this. I hope they keep it around for a little while so I can have lots of it.

Alec:  This has to be my new favorite Guinness.  I’d rather drink this than the regular stuff.

Vince:  I’d agree, I’m so impressed.  You don’t get any nasty byproducts.

Alec:  I agree, there’s nothing that stands out too much, but if you want a good easy-to-drink beer, it’s great.

Vince:  Yeah, this is a no-brainer for any meal that you have.  A no-brainer for just sitting around; this is pretty much your jack-of-all-trades beer.  I could have this during a Bar-B-Q and not feel like I’m drinking a Guinness.

Alec:  Guinness, keep it around.

Vince:  Exactly.

Anchor Brewing – BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red

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From the website:

BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red™ is a quaffable, well-balanced red ale with character. Its malty complexity and coppery color come from a combination of two caramel malts, pale malt, and a hint of maple syrup. To complement these flavors, we used three additions of Nelson Sauvin hops in the brewkettle and a unique blend of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Cascade for dry hopping. The result is a distinctive fall seasonal with extraordinary depth and intriguing aroma.

Special Note

We wanted to do a special set of reviews to celebrate our fantasy football draft.  We failed.  Our tasting quickly fell apart the moment the draft started as we all scrambled to adapt our strategies.  We had two beers we tasted before the draft ended, and then Josh had to run home.  His review was done at home and sent to us, and will be added in.  This was the only review we could manage to do properly, so enjoy.

Look

Josh: No doubt this thing has maple syrup in it. This thing is absolutely beautiful. Dark, rich amber. Probably something Vince can do with flux.

Smell

Alec: It smells…fruity.

Evan: It smells pretty good.  Definitely fruity.

Josh: Smells as good as it looks. Definitely note the caramel and maple notes.

Taste

Vince: I like it.

Alec: It tastes different.

Vince: It’s really citrusy.

Alec: I don’t taste any maple on it.  Should I pour some maple syrup into it?

Evan: I don’t think that’s a good idea.  It’s pretty good, sticks around for a little while.

Alec: It’s really strong, that tangy, citrusy flavor.

Josh: Like nothing that I’ve had before. Can’t really put my tongue on it. A lot of complexity with the different ingredients.

Alec: I’m not a fan of this beer.

Vince: I like it.

Evan: What don’t you like about it?

Alec: There’s other hoppy beers that I prefer.  In those, the good part sticks around; in this one, the nastiness you get from a hoppy beer is what sticks around.

Evan: It does stick around longer than I would like, but I do like it.

Drinkability

Alec: I like it, I wouldn’t ever want a second one.

Evan: I would, I’d order another one.

Vince: Yeah this is very drinkable.

Alec: You guys like this?

Vince: I do, I’m a fan.  This reminds me of Hopsecutioner actually.

Evan: This would be a great game day beer.

Alec: I see where you’re coming from, but I dunno.

Sharon: What is this mug?

Vince: I got a plastic mug.

Alec: He’s in time-out.

Sharon: This tastes like doo-doo!  It’s cause I like sissy beers.

Evan: More sip-able than drinkable, but it’s good.

Final Thoughts

Alec: I wouldn’t turn this down, but I wouldn’t order it.

Vince: I would order this.

Alec: But would you order a second one after the first?

Vince: Yeah.

Vince: It’s got a bite.

Alec: Yeah but it’s not a bite that I like.

Evan: It’s never going to be my favorite, but it’s good.

Vince: This is like drinking an orange.

Evan: It doesn’t stand out in any way.

Evan: In about four months, sitting outside, this would be a much better beer.

Alec: <barfing noises>

Josh: I would definitely have more of this beer. It’s a fresh new taste for me and definitely one of the best Octoberfest/Autumn beers I’ve ever had. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

Black Sheep Brewery – Monty Python’s Holy Grail

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From the website:

With more hops than a killer rabbit, it’s a full-flavoured golden ale with a distinctively fruity flavour followed by the Black Sheep signature dry finish.

Look

Josh:  It has a great head.

Vince:  Great color.

Smell

Josh:  It smells nice.

Vince:  It smells really clean.

Alec:  Yeah, it just smells like….beer.

Taste

Alec:  It’s good, but…

Vince:  Good.

Alec:  It’s good but I don’t have anything else to say.

Evan:  There’s nothing that stands out.

Vince:  It’s a little too much on the sweet side for me.

Josh:  Tastes caramelly.  What is it supposed to taste like: “Tempered over burning witches.”

Evan:  Oh yeah, I can definitely taste the witch.

Josh:  They’re just trying to sell you merchandise on the box.

Alec:  Well, that’s really all it is, merchandise beer.  Not much to say about it.

Josh:  It’s not bad.

Vince:  This isn’t…very good.

Evan:  It’s not bad, it’s just not very good.

Drinkability

Vince:  It’s a little on the heavy side, and a little on the sweet side.

Alec:  You wouldn’t drink too many of these.

Evan:  It’s getting worse as you drink it.  I don’t know where that aftertaste came from.

Vince:  It’s got that tart apple taste.

Josh:  If you say cider I’m going to kill you.

Vince:  Not like a cider, like a sour apple.

Josh:  I really don’t like this beer.

Evan:  I know.

Vince:  I tried to chug it so I could just get through it.

Alec:  So we’re going to say not very drinkable.

Evan:  I would never order it.

Alec:  I wouldn’t be upset if I drank this at a bar, but I wouldn’t order it.

Vince:  You know what it kind of tastes like?  What’s that one beer, the monk beer?

Alec/Josh:  The chimay?

Vince:  Yeah, it tastes like that, if it was left out for a little while.

Evan:  It could be worse.

Josh:  It’s like lead.

Final Thoughts

Vince:  An underwhelming beer.  The name doesn’t do it justice; I was expecting it to be pretty amazing.

Evan:  It’s like every other Monty Python movie.

Alec:  It’s like every Monty Python movie?

Evan:  No just every other one.

Vince:  It’s heavy, it’s too sweet.  Great color though!  It’s got a great smell.

Josh:  Yeeaaaach!

Evan:  It starts off so well, then you drink it.

Josh:  It had a great head, it smelled nice.

Vince:  It smelled clean.  It didn’t have any sour notes to it.

Innis & Gunn – Irish Whiskey Cask

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From the website:

This special bottling of Innis & Gunn has been matured in rare oak barrels from a famous distillery in Ireland. These barrels had previously been used to mature one of the great triple distilled Irish whiskeys. The result of this unique maturation is a big, full flavoured, complex beer with a delightful warming finish.

Look

Alec:  The head on this thing goes for miles.

Vince:  This looks like it’s diesel fuel.

Alec:  The head on it is solid.  It doesn’t even try to even out.

Josh:  This is…jet black.

Vince:  Murky pond water.

Smell

Alec:  It smells like a good stout.

Josh:  Mmmmm yeah, that’s good.

Vince:  Smells really good.

Taste

Alec:  That’s good.

Josh:  Yeah.

Vince:  It’s a little too sweet for my taste.  You can definitely get the whiskey tones to it.

Josh:  It’s really weird.

Vince:  I don’t like the taste.

Alec:  It’s really strong.

Josh:  It’s a strange thing.

Josh:  The taste of the barrel on top of a stout is very…interesting.  It’s what you want when you want to taste whiskey but not get drunk.  I don’t hate it, but the taste of the whiskey barrel is definitely there, and I don’t think that I like it.

Vince:  I like my stouts on the coffee end instead of the…

Vince:  What’s it like to be a dog and be afraid of coins in a jar?

Vince:  This tastes like when something is rusting in water.

Alec:  It’s diluted oil.

Vince:  That’s 6,000 mile oil right there.

Vince:  I hate to go back to the Chimay again, but this has those same overtones to me.

Alec:  It’s just like the Milk Stout to me.

Josh:  I smell the Milk Stout.

Vince:  No way, you guys need to have a Milk Stout and compare them.

Alec:  Ok.

At this point, Vince takes Alec’s glass into the kitchen to clean it out, and accidentally smashes it into the sink.

Josh:  He hates this beer so much he smashed that glass.  “What if I can’t clean it enough to get the taste out?”

Josh:  The Milk Stout has more coffee tones.

Alec:  The Milk Stout tastes weaker.

Vince/Josh:  It is weaker.

Vince:  But it’s better.  It’s so smooth.

Alec:  It is smoother, but I don’t think it’s any better.

Josh:  The tastes of the whiskey and the beer just don’t compliment each other.

Drinkability

Vince:  It’s really heavy.  I can feel it sitting.

Alec:  This is not a sipping beer.  This would go great with Irish food.

Josh:  It gets better as you get used to the taste.

Final Thoughts

Vince:  It’s alright.

Alec:  I like it as much as I like the Milk Stout.

Josh:  I would give this a 2.5.

Vince:  It’s an interesting taste for sure.  I like it, I think it’s OK.

Josh:  If I had options, this would not be what I would choose.

Alec:  I’d give this a 4, easily.

Samuel Adams – Irish Red

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From the website:

As comforting as an evening in an Irish pub, this red ale brings together a roasted malt sweetness with an earthy hoppiness for an incredible balance and full flavor.

Look

Alec:  Looks pretty.  The head was good.

Josh:  The head was great.  It’s got a beautiful color.

Vince:  Yeah it’s very pretty.

Smell

Josh:  Smells like beer.

Vince:  Generic beer.

Josh:  I just snorted some, it tastes great in my nose.

Taste

Vince:  This would be a good food beer.

Alec:  It’s got a tanginess to it.

Vince:  I would say this is not one of my favorite Sam Adams because of that tanginess.  I don’t like the aftertaste.

Drinkability

Alec:  I like this one but I dunno…

Josh:  It’s just a good, easy beer.  It’s not something that’s going to offend.

Vince:  It reminds me of a flat IPA.  You can start to taste that wave of hoppiness from the IPA.

Alec:  Well it is a Sam Adams.  They love their hops.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  It’s ok.

Vince:  It’s alright.

Josh:  I like it, but it’s not like a Top 10 beer or anything.

Vince:  It’s a good chatty beer.

Alec:  If you served this to me, I wouldn’t hate you for it, but I probably wouldn’t bother to ask you what it is.

Vince:  It’s got a good color, it’s a safe beer.

Josh:  I think I would order it if I was out, but just because I’m surprised it’s on the menu.

Red Brick Brewing – Old Stock Ale

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From the website:

A blend of three copper ales. One aged in oak barrels for 60 days. Another brewed with LOTS of dark caramel roasted malts, and one brewed with a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels and star anise. Lots of complexity. Will age well.

Smell

Alec:  How’s it smell?

Vince:  Like blood.

Alec:  I don’t smell it like I did the Wee Heavy.

Vince:  Yeah it’s not very aromatic.

Look

Vince:  The head on this is awesome.

Alec:  I can see the yeast without a light on it.

Taste

Alec:  It’s kind of bland.

Josh:  It’s got such a weird taste.  I don’t know if it’s caramel or…

Vince:  If you were to give me both the beers we just had, I would think this was the Wee Heavy, because it’s more raw.

Drinkability

Vince:  Not my favorite beer.

Alec:  I like it, I would order more of these over the Wee Heavy.  This would be a less filling beer.

Vince:  My dog threw up and then ate it.

Vince:  This beer’s kinda thick for my taste.  It’s a really needy beer.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  I think it’s more drinkable than the Wee Heavy, but I really liked the Wee Heavy.

Vince:  It’s a very thick beer that I probably wouldn’t order.  It’s good, I just probably wouldn’t order it.

Josh:  I would order it if I just wanted one beer.  It’d be a good once-a-month beer.

Alec:  It’s a good at-home beer.

Vince:  It’s good.  Out of 5 I’d give it 3.

Josh:  I would probably go 3.5. 3.25.

Alec:  I’d probably go with 4.