Evil Twin Yin and Yang

Tonight I give a review of not one beer but two. Why two, because they were meant to be to be together. Tonight is Evil Twin Yin and Yang from Evil Twin Brewing. One is an imperial stout, the other is an imperial IPA. I bought these on a whim for the novelty and that was all. I have had the classic black and tan with Guiness and Harp and although it is not bad, it is still just a novelty.

I have tried to make other black and tans (or whites) from carbonated beers and they just never seem to work: I swear that you need the stout to be nitrogenized for the separation to work and as both Yin and Yang were carbonated I was left with a more transparent stout in the end. Failure there and not just on my part as I tried my best and when I fail at a Guiness/Harp pint, like missing the ball in tee ball, the result is still a gradient rather than a mixture. Eh, I’ll let that go I guess.

Before I tried the two brews on there own, I had the mixture and I must say that it worked really well. Both are 10%, strong like a gorilla, bold like a bear that misplaced its cubs and palatable like something from the French Laundry. When mixed the campfire smoke, hops, malt and weight have a perfect storm that would make George Clooney wish he had picked a different boat. It was damn good, something I would really recommend.

First I had the Yin on it’s own. Good, yes, as a strong stout it better be flavorful and assault my tongue like an artillery of smoke infused malt. It did that well. It also gave me some heartburn but that may happen after a pint of blackish-tan following a 12-hour work shift. Yin will not go down as my favorite, or even top five stouts but it is damn tasty.

Yang on the other hand was wicked good. It might be that as the weather gets warmer, I avoid stouts and prefer beer that I can see through but I really liked this IPA. It might also be that it was not a west coast style IPA (witch are the bee’s knees to me) but was not overpowered by the hoppy-dandelion bitterness that east of the Rockies breweries use so often and was really well rounded: good malt and the hops shared the spotlight.

I will rate these beers Paul Rudd’s beard. Eh, what else could I choose, he is awesome and so is the combination of these beers.

If you want to find these, my boys have them in 4-packs which are kind of expensive but they have been know to break them down into singles.

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New Belgium Lips of Faith Transatlantique Kriek

Lips Of Faith

Sour Dessert Beer

This beer was one that I got in my beer club package and when I picked it up I was told that I could swap it out for some thing more…conventional since many people are not a fan of something to do with this beer. I replied with a “of course not” since the whole reason for joining a beer club was to try things I would never buy. Lips of Faith is something that I have passed up many other times since I have a bone to pick with New Belgium. Their Fat Tire was my training-wheel beer: it has flavor other than corn and whatever rat crawled into the mash tun that big three like to market as “crisp and refreshing.” The flavor in Fat Tire is lacking, a lot, as much as top ramen without the seasoning packet. As much as I want to love the brewery since they have a commitment to hippy crap like trying to be off the grid as much as possible and unloading their used grains to cattle farmers so I have enjoy a belly full of cow, their beer generally lacks palate like a pigeon lacks table manners, enough with the past though.

The warning my dealer gave me skipped my mind when I decided to crack the cap. I started to fill my glass and first reaction was something along the lines of “turdhats, it has been a long day at work, Fluffy was an donghuffer and all I wanted a good beer to relax with.” The beer was pink, the last pink beer I had was over priced, disappointing since it had raspberries or something in it (I bought said beer because all profit went to breast cancer research) and I liked it as much as head lice. I finished pouring the pint and read the label “45% ale with cherries added and 55% ale.” My head hung low and I knew before my first taste I was in for some sort of sour disappointment. Alright, it was pink beer, I’ll give it a shot and see if it as disappointing as Tim Lincecum has been as a starter. It was not nearly as sour/fruity as the Russian River Consecration but I was still as comfortable as the South Koreans were when Kim Jong-il was in charge. It tasted like the cherries you would find on a nice tart at an fancy restaurant and the beer flavor was on par with Gary Coleman’s strength. There was not a hint of hops so hopheads beware (ha ha). It is 8% so one bottle might be enough but if you are like me you will still be able to throw back something to rejoin for the safe zone after.

So rating this beer is tough: on one hand it beat my incoming perception like I would love to do to a cat that likes to use the area right in front of his litter box rather than THE BLASTED LITTER BOX but on the other I am going to find something to wash it away. That is why I must rate it the bearded lady, it was much more enjoyable than I had anticipated but I was left want wanting something from my comfort zone to paint over it. While going over this review another aspect has been noticed: it leaves a dry-like feeling in my mouth kinda like tannin heavy wine does. Not a deal breaker, just something I noticed.

Craft Beer/Food Pairing Chart

We here at Beer’D Thoughts love good beer and we also love good food. It is generally considered to be a bad idea to enjoy a few strong ones on an empty stomach and sometimes after a few the only food ideas are not the best (dont mix ramen and peanut butter, it is bad). So for those times when the hops have taken control, this chart will take the reigns and steer you away from corn nuts while wearing a lamp shade hat.

Mendocino Brewing Talon Double IPA

The Mendo Talon of shock

The Mendo Talon of shock

Over the years I have heard many rumors about Mendocino Brewing. Some say that they are owned my flying monkeys; others say that their brew master is a 7-year-old boy who is a brewing genius. I believe none of them. One thing that is true is that they have mastered their brewing to the point that it costs pennies (maybe not that low) to make a six-pack. The result is what I call the “Mendo pint”. Most of their beers have a distinct taste that is common across their line and Talon is no different.

My first thought of Talon was that is tasted just like their Eye of the Hawk “pale” ale. I use pale in quotations because it is a pale on steroids. Talon upped the ante even further and took so much HGH that Lance Armstrong would feel like he missed out on the party. For being a double IPA at 10%, Talon is disappointing as the hop monster I was expecting. The “Mendo pint” palate overpowers the hops, not a bad thing though. Halfway through the 22 I felt like a kid on Christmas morning that wanted a Red Dyder but instead got a chainsaw. Not what I was expecting but still confused since my plans had to be completely reworked.

For this beard rating, I will rate Talon Amanda Beard: Not what one would expect but awesome nonetheless.

If you are trying to find Talon, good luck, after all it is part of their “extra select” series. Their distribution is horrible but the guys at BeerCraft in Rohnert Park currently have some.

Russian River Consecration

Like being beaten with a sour club of foam

Like being beaten with a sour club of foam

Tonight I tackled the Consecration. This will take a little explaining to how I got here. I started with the fizzy yellow junk, then moved to the training wheel beers: Fat Tire and Newcastle, two beers that are below the yellow junk to me anymore. After that I found reds and stouts and then IPAs. I never liked Belgians much but I wanted to not be such a beer hipster so I forced my self to start the wild yeast dirty ales. It has been a slow process that has been like being dragged behind a horse going through a cactus patch. I am finally starting to accept them as more than just goblin piss.

I got a gift from my bottle shop, a free bottle of Consecration. The co-owner seemed to like it about as much as ebola (I mean, who works at a beer shop and gives away free beer? Thanks guys!) It was a long day at work and I just wanted to relax and blow off some steam. I opened my fridge and there it was, staring at me like something out of a scene from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. I decided that it was high noon and the showdown needed to happen, I drew my glass and fired the cork off.

First sip was followed by “good god, this tastes like sour apples that were soaked in expired two buck chuck”. I decided to press on, as I didn’t want to leave a bottle unfinished. After a third of the way through I started to not notice the sour apple candy flavor that only 10-year-olds like and found some other things. The bottle lists tobacco character, fruit character and some sort of Cabernet Sauvignon flavor from the barrels it aged in. The first stood out like a needle in a haystack, the fruit character was as strong as the Hulk on roids and the wine was on stage but chilling in the corner like it was put there because its mom wanted it to be with friends. My cat walked up to the empty bottle and gave it a few licks, paused, backed away quickly, then ran to his water dish. You can find his blog to read his review; I don’t want to promote my cat’s blogging. By the time the glass was empty I didn’t feel like I was drinking hater-aide, but that may have been the 10% kicking in.

In the end, I think I can accept this sour Belgian as beer. I will rate this as this guys beard, at first is was just comical and a novelty, but then I started to see that it was wicked complex and actually really good.

Marin Brewing Blueberry Ale

Breakfast of not champions

Breakfast of not champions

This beer, ugh, was chosen for one reason in particular: I wanted an easy beer to review. I drank this with my family and before I said anything I passed around the pint glass for them to try. My dad’s opinion was similar to mine would be good for breakfast. My mom was drinking wine before hand. After she tasted it she pushed the glass away while shaking her head and scrunching up her face like a cat that had smelled something it did not approve of. My sister was the odd one out as she only drinks beer when I have an oddball one that I tell her she should try. She liked this beer and drank the other half of the bottle.

I am not a fan of fruit in beer. If I want some fruit in beverage form I’ll have some juice or a smoothie. With that known, when I chose this beer I did not expect to like it one bit. If you like IPAs, this beer is not for you. If you like stouts, this beer is not for you. If you like Belgians, drink all night, wake up in a bathtub with a fresh face tattoo every now and again and a desire to keep the party going but can only start your day with a blueberry muffin, this beer might be for you. This is what the muffin man drinks when he wants to get krunk. I am not sure if they use a wheat base to brew this (as I could not find any barley or hop flavor) but it tastes exactly like the Krusteaz muffins I made all the time as a kid. I think that this beer should not be allowed to be on store shelves and instead must be kept behind the counter like dirty magazines and smokes to protect the children.

This is a short review as I only really had one thing to say about this beer. I rate this beer Sidney Crosby’s beard: I am glad I experienced it but I will make sure that it is not in the Wikipedia entry for awesome.

Reunion Ale ’12

The beer that taught me to not judge by its cover

The beer that taught me to not judge by its cover

Next in the crosshairs is Reunion Ale ’12, a collaboration between Shmaltz Brewing Company and Terrapin Beer Co. I had never had this beer before and chose it as a recommendation as a unique beer from my local bottle shop. Before I cracked the bottle I had an after-work staple IPA so I could get a baseline (and I just wanted an IPA). On with the Reunion Ale!

It would have been wise of me to read the label (or just look at it) after I got home, as it would have hinted that a warmup IPA was not good prelude. When I poured the ale into a pint glass I got my first surprise: it was dark. If the meteor that spanked Chelyabinsk had ET riding it, their first stop was my front door and they decided to maroon me to Venus, I would want sunglasses made out of this beer. It is not stout or porter dark, I mean I can see though it…barely. It also repels head like no other beer I have had. I poured the pint like an eight year old with orange juice and within a minute or two the head was gone. With this I expected it to be flat but it was not, still decent carbonation. On with flavor!

Here was the real surprise. First sip was brought by a sucker punch from a beer wielding cupcakery samurai. This was desert beer! I finally decided to read the label (I’ll give you the inspiration at the end*): “…brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla and other flavors.” It was also an 8% imperial ale. I’ll give you the bad first: not what I was expecting. Now the good: it still tasted like beer! Strong dark beer but beer none the less. I have had enough ales that are infused with nontraditional flavors that I have come to avoid them like Justin Bieber. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I came across this in the same manner as smacking a piñata, blindly and full force.

Now the final rating: Joaquin Phoenix’s beard, out of nowhere I yell “What the?” but then after the shock is done and the study is over I decided that it is pretty decent.

*This is the second teamup between Shmaltz Brewing Company and Terrapin Beer Co. in honor of Virgina MacLean, a dear friend of the breweries and fell to multiple myeloma in 2007. This beer is a benefit for myeloma and bone cancer research.

Boulevard Brewing Double-Wide IPA

The bible belt's take on an IPA

The bible belt’s take on an IPA

First up in the spotlight is Boulevard Brewing Double-Wide india pale ale out of Kansas City. I am not going to say that I am a beer or IPA elitist. I have grown up in California and come to expect certain things of beer styles when I crack the bottle: reds will be malty, belgians will be fruity, porters will be smokey and IPAs will be hoppy.

I imagine that when the IPA was first introduced to the midwest it traveled by a covered wagon pulled by chihuahuas that were first experiencing life outside their owner’s purses. Needless to say the hops had mellowed by the time the Rockies were conquered. To say that this beer is not hoppy is an understatement. I have had Canadian beer with more hop flavor, and their cold weather takes care of preserving beer pretty well.  So Double-Wide is not that hoppy, eh, I was not about to dump it out based on that. I hope that the people of Missouri will some day discover what a hoppy battalion assaulting their mouths should be like.

The next thing that stood out to me was the carbonation, tiny bubbles. It kinda tickled. I liked it, although I almost did a spit-take when I thought about how the tiny bubbles were racing through my mouth and it reminded me of the old Scrubbing Bubbles toilet cleaner ads of my youth. My mouth did not feel like a dirty toilet, I digress though.

I am a fan of strong beers, and although Double-Wide is 8.5%, it was not too heavy.  It was easy to drink and after the bottle I did not feel like I needed to roll on the floor with the feeling of a brick in my stomach, parched for a vat of clean toilet water, nor did I wake up in a dumpster not knowing the last 8 hours.

I rate this beer Stephen Colbert’s college beard: It just does not fit the name but is thoroughly enjoyable anyway

Welcome!

The world is not the place that it was in 1978 when there were only 89 breweries in America, most made the same fizzy yellow water that lacked flavor or character. Those were dark times. In 1979 Jimmy Carter signed a bill to make home brewing legal once again and since then craft breweries have been popping up all over the country. By June of 2012, there were 2,126 breweries in America, most were craft breweries with their own twist. Here at Beer’d Thoughts, we like this very much and want to help share the world of craft beer, for better or worse. This here blog is for beards, by a beard.