Tag Archives: American Strong Ale

Brutus, an MKE Brewing review.

25 Jan

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Man, just seeing this beer makes me happy. It makes me think of the song by The Hives. If you haven’t heard it, go look it up. Anyway, Brutus is an American Strong Ale, one of my favorite styles, pretty excited for this one. Continue reading

Lagunitas Brewing: Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale

5 Aug

This beer is classified as an American Strong Ale, which in itself speaks to a bit of defying style. If you’ve ever had arrogant bastard ale from Stone Brewing (review coming if I ever find the stuff), you know what I mean. It’s a bitter strong style, seemingly meant to separate the proverbial men from the boys if you will. It’s beer for real beer drinkers dammit!

Sorry, I had to say that. The brewers who make this kind of stuff have such a wonderful spirit, I must continue in it. And to back that spirit up, they make phenomenal beers. This one is of the variety.

It pours a beautiful color with this perfect little head. I seriously had to pause a moment when I was taking pictures, and just admire the color! It’s a dark golden amber, clear and as rich as a color can be. It just screams “Savor me!”.

The smell is strong, but doesn’t really let you know entirely what’s coming. It’s thick, and hoppy with a bit of spices present.

How do I describe the taste… it wells up. You roll it in your mouth and start to feel the strength, and then when it goes down you just get crushed with flavors and awesomeness. The mouthfeel isn’t really thick per say, but it is present. It is smooth feeling, and bitter. Real bitter. I know IBUs aren’t everything, btu this one comes in at 74, and with an ABV of 9.75%!  It’s not all that hoppy though, not like an IPA, I mean you can taste some earthier spicy hops, but it is more about the sense of bitterness and well balanced malt flavor. The bitterness doesn’t wreck the flavor, but does a great job of enhancing it.

I’ve gotta say, I want to find more beer like this. I love how American brewers are taking classic styles and melding them with others and creating whole new categories. I don’t know about you, but an American Strong Ale is something I want to drink. There’s something to be said about respecting tradition too, but I really love the new pioneering in the craft industry these days, and breweries like Lagunitas and others are right there pushing the envelope.

Thanks for continuing to read my blog, and take some time to do yourself a favor and enjoy one of these bad boys sooner rather than later. De-freaking-licious.

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New Glarus: You wish you lived in Wisconsin.

2 Jun

There are times that I don’t like living in Wisconsin. For instance, when you have nearly 6 months of below 20 degree weather and then go back to your hometown in the month of JUNE and it’s 50 degrees outside. Those times are not so cool.

But New Glarus is one of the great reasons to love Wisconsin. How many states have a well established brewery making astounding beer that caters only to residents and visitors of its own state? Possibly only one, I am not sure if there are others, so I cannot say with authority.

I’ve been drinking New Glarus only since I turned 21 back in 2006, but they’ve been brewing since 1993, and have just recently put out their 20th Anniversary American Strong Ale. This is a fun story (=

I’ve only recently begun to find out about the extreme limited editions that many breweries put out these days. Some of them garner thousands of fans lined up outside and the beer sells out literally in hours. I could go nuts over this, but there are still so many amazing beers for me to taste that I am able to temper my excitement and stay reasonably within my states restrictions. I would lvoe to find some Pliny the Elder or Dogfish Head 120 minutes, but hey, I have to remember what i have right here in good ‘Ole Wisconsin.

When I found out that New Glarus was putting out a limited release I knew I would have to have it. So today, on the weekend of my wife and my 5 year anniversary, we stopped at Ridgeview Liquor in Green Bay hoping to stumble upon some of this sought after beverage. As expected, they were sold out. Had been for ages in fact. I talked to the owner and he said that ******* might have some. Yeah, I’m not telling you where yet, because I may need to buy another one to store, and these are going fast. Message me if you really want to know! So Alicia and I journeyed to said purveyor of alcohol, and as soon as we walked in I spotted it in the first section from about 30 feet away. I ran up, grabbed a bottle and proceeded to do a funky little hop-jig-dance-like-thing in the middle of the aisle. My wife is used to this sort of embarrassment (=

Well, story time over, it’s time to talk about the beer. Oh yeah. First off, the label is great. It’s somewhat quaint, homey and spirited at the same time. I love the Carey’s ability to be a little quirky with some of their labels and just really do what they want, it’s a great thing.

This beer pours dark. In fact, I had a lighting area set-up, and the darkness of the beer actually caused me to have to reshoot (hence only one picture right now). I’ll get a few more up when I have the second bottle… not sure when that will be, it depends on whether or not I am able to procure another one to store for much later consumption. Anyway, it’s dark. It’s this beautiful rich dark amber color that has a murkiness to it. It also poured with a monster of a head. This amazing beast of a head. I actually attempted to float the bottle cap, but I flinched and it fell to the bottom of the glass. *awkward confession*. The head sticks around too, just looking at the lacing afterwards makes me almost giddy.

The aroma is wonderful as well. At first I didn’t even know what style this really was, as I’ve only had one strong ale before. Turns out it’s modeled after a Belgian Dubbel. I couldn’t quite identify a particular smell, but it turns out it’s plumb. You can tell too, but its’ not like a super fruitiness, just this delicate hint, and it really stands out. It also gives off a slightly stouty smell, more malty than hoppy, and definitely gives a sense of the reason it’s called a Strong ale. I should clarify here, that I haven’t had many of this style before, so if I do miss some things I apologize. I’m still rather an infant in the scheme of beer tasting (=

Upon first taste, I honestly was amazed. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it exceeded whatever expectations I may or may not have realized I had. It is a very “alive, robust and complex” beer, just like the bottle says. It’s powerful, almost like this slightly nutty, slightly fruity wave of beer strength that just carries you off into the ocean. Like I mentioned, the plumb taste is present but not with an overbearing fruitiness, but a perfect hint of sweet amidst a sea of power.

The mouthfeel is glorious, a caramel smoothness that massages the taste buds and soothes the soul. Just looking at the monster head (whenever I get photos up) gives you a sense of the thick smoothness that is present within.

I’ve had most of New Glarus’ selection, including some they don’t even make anymore, and this one is like nothing I’ve had from them. It’s on par with the Raspberry Tart for sure. It’s filled with wonderful complex flavors and is truly something to behold.  If I could buy up cases of this to share with everyone, I would. If you find it near you, DO NOT HESITATE, there is no decision to make here, just buy it. Buy three, or for, or seventeen. Drink a couple and save a couple. I plan to drink my second and go back for one or two more to store for a couple years and see what happens.

*Photo Edit* I managed to find a couple from the shoot that were usable, so I can save my 2nd bottle for a while (=

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