This is what a post-blood donation meal looks like. A nice beer, a big quesadilla from Sheetz, and not pictured but there, a big bucket of Sheetz fries as well. Typically I would do a huge stout to build back up, but I decided to keep working into the beer mail I got, and I chose this – Daebak (Berry) Kettle Sour by The Booth Brewing Company (out of US).
The Booth Brewing Company originally started in Seoul South Korea before moving to the United States. (Eureka California to be exact.) As per their Untappd page: “At The Booth Brewing Company, we brew more than just beer; we create a lifestyle. We craft our beer with all natural ingredients, both traditional and innovative brewing ingredients. We embrace big and bold but specialize in balanced and tasty. If you are ready to challenge your taste buds and “follow your fun”, come join us for any one of our special brews!” They have 41 unique beers listed for a global average rating of 3.82 (as of 2.25.20). They are listed as a micro-brewery. The Korean page for The Booth Brewing on Untappd – The Booth Brewing Korea – has 49 unique beers and has a global average rating of 3.35 (as of 2.25.20).
The Daebak Kettle Sour came from Eureka California in a beer mail trade I did. Its the third from the package to be reviewed here on The Beer Thrillers (I previously did Sunshine and Opportunity and Chocolate Confidential). The rest will follow in the days / weeks to come, have no fear.
Beer: Daebak Kettle Sour Style: Sour – Other ABV: 3.5% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: (Blank) Can Write-Up: Daebak (Sour Ale) 1 Pint. Follow your fun…ky? Thanks to the suggestion from our social media supporters, Boothman is changing up the bass line and bringing the funk to your taste buds in this brand new kettle sour! Featuring delicate notes of blueberry and vanilla…. A splash of tart, a taste of fruit! The Booth Brewing Co. started in Seoul, South Korea. Our three founders set out to create a place where young like-minded people could gather to drink quality craft beer and change the world.
The can art is pretty cool for this, inspired by Pac-Man it certainly looks interesting. Here’s two promotional pictures from The Booth’s website:
And who doesn’t love Pac-Man? He’s a staple and a video game stalwart. I just find the can label cool, simplistic, but obvious and recognizable. I do love the can art and labels that craft breweries come up with and its such an essential part of marketing and branding; not just for the particular beer but for the brewery and company as a whole.
Ok, with no further adieu, lets get to the beer.
Appearance is light honeyed golden yellow. It has the bright glow of a tart sour, and it has the bubbly nature of one as well. Its translucent and got great clarity with a fantastic head to it. This looks exactly in line with tart sours like berliner weisse’s and farmhouse saisons. None heavy fruited sours (and kettle sours) can also look this way.
Aroma has a crisp tart smell to it, berry notes with a hint of funkyness. You can smell raspberry and blueberry, but “funked up”. It has a very crisp clean smell to it, nothing extreme, nothing super strong, nothing assaulting your nostrils, and certainly nothing off or bad. The aroma for this is actually kind of tame.
Taste is tart, crisp, bubbly, with hint of berry. The berries in this – raspberry and blueberry – are pretty mellow, but they are there, and they are funky. This is a kettle sour, This does bring the funk and does bring the tartness. Its crisp and clearness is nice and pleasant. The ABV is ridiculously low on this (3.5%) so you don’t even feel it, even after donating a liter of blood. This is a good refreshing beer, a four pack of this would go down easily, or it’d make a great starter beer for a night of fun. Its just a simple, pleasant beer that delivers exactly what you’re hoping and looking for with it – clean, crisp, well made, tart, funk, berry flavored kettle sour.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.65 (as of 2.25.20)
This was supposed to be finished before work, but didn’t quite make it in time, so I finished it just before getting to D. Scott’s for the podcasts. As you can see, after work yesterday (Monday, Feb. 24th, 2020), I dropped Chris (a co-worker) off at his mechanic to get his car back, then went to the Hershey Library to donate blood. I try to donate regularly, as close to my eight week mark as I can. One donation can save up to three lives. For more information on donating blood in the Central PA area – check out: Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank. Please, check it out, and if you are able to, donate.
Ok, coming down from my soap box, lets talk about the next few days for me and the blog here at The Beer Thrillers. Tonight (literally as soon as this publishes), I am doing two podcasts with the guys at So a Mexican and a Scot Walk Into a Bar…. the first is the next episode of our LOST Podcasts – covering Seasons 3 and 4, this podcast will be with myself, Esteban, and Trevor. The second podcast tonight, is a commentary track of Evil Dead. (I will update this with the links as Drew gets them done and online.)
Tomorrow then around noon I’m walking down to Rubber Soul to tour and check out their new facility here in Hummelstown. That will be fun to get to check out their place and building, I’ll be sure to post pictures on our Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow along there and check it out. I will then be doing a write-up that evening as a blog article with the pictures as well.
Then on Thursday I am doing a call in with Beers with Strangers. It will be about a 40-45 minute podcast with the two of us talking via phone. Look for my episode to go live around middle of March (I’ll post here when it does). This looks to be fun and interesting.
Finally Surly Brewing Company has hit Central PA on a regular basis and on their own. They were featured in the Around the World case that Sierra Nevada released a few years ago where they did a group of collaborations with a ton of different top-notch breweries. But this time, its now Surly Brewing on their own reaching the mid-state area with several of their cans available at Breski’s Beverage and other similar outlets.
As the name suggests, this is a furiously hopped, aggressive IPA. Traditional West Coast style, nothing new or fancy about it like the new Milkshake IPAs or even New England hazy IPAs. This is an old fashion, powerfully hoppy, aggressive, angry, furious beer. Built for a MegaDeath, Metallica, or GWAR concert.
This is certainly a hoppy beer, so you better be prepared and happy knowing that going in. Because if you don’t like hops, or hoppy beers, or bitter hoppy beers, then this definitely will not be for you. It is a powerful hop punch right to the jaw that would make Tyson Fury proud. So let’s crack her open and get all up in that hoppy business.
Beer: Furious (IPA) Brewery: Surly Brewing Company Style: IPA – American ABV: 6.7% IBU: 100 Untappd Write-Up: The beer that built Surly. Aggressively hopped and citrusy, but with a chewy, caramel malt backbone.
Right there the stats should give you some indication of this beer, 100 IBU on the outset, is a high target, especially when all those New England and Milkshake IPAs you’ve been pounding at the latest brewfest have an IBU count of < 15. For comparison’s sake, Perpetual IPA by Troegs Independent Brewing has 85 IBU, Green Machine by Boneshire Brew Works has 75 IBU, TMI PA by Tattered Flag has 80 IBU, but their triple IPA Manghost has 120 IBU. So this should kind of give you a modest starting indication where this beer falls.
Appearance is on par with traditional, American, West Coast style IPAs. Light amber brown beer looking coloring, slightly translucent and see through but also a bit dark and opaque, clarity is definitely refined and you can see through this. Its filtered so theres no sediment or hop bits floating around. It has the looks of a well made, well honed style, thats been obviously made for a long while now and crafted and made for mass consumption. Practiced, honed, tuned in, dialed down the right degree, this looks just well made and well presented.
Aroma is a fireball of hops hitting you from a Hop Mage. (NEEEEEERRRRRRRRRDDDDD!!!!!). At 100 IBU you’re expecting a big hop punch in the nostrils, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint. You get a very heavy citrus, pine, cedar, earthy hop aroma. I get mostly pine, a friend of mine found the citrus a bit more heavy, but overall its not much of a difference, I’d say the split is pine / citrus – 60 / 40, and he’d say the split is 40 / 60 the other way. Basically negligible. You get a nice malt to this as well.
And now its time to take a soft… nice… gentle…. sip…… and…… BLAAAMMMMO. HOPS. HOPS. HOPS. (sing it like SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS). Right up front, right in the middle, right at the end, you are getting worked over in the midsection, the face, the nose, uppercuts, left hooks, right jabs, all kind of hop punches getting thrown at you. Firstly, actually breaking down the taste, there’s more to it than just hops. It has a very heavy malty, caramel malty, backbone to this, its thick, its heavy, and it does give the beer a surprisingly heavy mouthfeel. The caramel doesn’t provide much sweetness and it definitely doesn’t alter how bitter and hoppy this is, as the bitterness of the hops still push through whatever sweetness the caramel malt might impart. Like with the aroma, there is a lot of hops here. You get a lot of citrus and pine and cedar and earthy hop notes. A lot of bitter hops, not too floral or bright, and not light. This is certainly not for the “haze craze only” or “White Claw” crowd, thats for sure. This has a lot of flavor between the hops and malt, but it is overly bitter, so if you can’t really get past that, which some can’t, then it might be a problem. Same goes with that hop bite (which is basically the bitterness), if you can’t really get past it, you won’t like this. It is the definition of “aggressively hopped” thats a guarantee.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.89 (as of 2.23.20)
We’re back at it, bright and early this morning (7AM early). Which is pretty sticking bright and early when your co-worker tells you that you’re doing karaoke at the Stadium’s Club, and you end up closing the place down at 2AM. (For those curious, I did a heart wrenching rendition of “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, it brought a tear to many a rough neck and biker in the bar, and if Brittney Spears herself would have heard it she’d pack up her bags and never sing it again, leaving my version the last known utterance of the song.)
Continuing the trend of beers from the beer mail trade I did with a guy from Eureka California, I present Chocolate Confidential by Sudwerk Brewing Co. Sudwerk Brewing Co. is a micro brewery from Davis California. They have 367 unique beers on Untappd with a global rating of 3.64 (as of 2.21.20). Their description on Untappd is: “Sudwerk Brewing Co. has been crafting some of the finest German style lagers found in California since 1989. In 2013, the grandson of one of the original founders and his good friend took over operations of the iconic California brewery. They both carry a deep passion for the brand and the beers brewed by Sudwerk. Sudwerk has historically been known for brewing traditional German beers, however the company mission is now focused on redefining the American lager. Rooted in traditional German brewing practices mixed with an innovative Californian twist, Sudwerk is focused on creating the highest quality craft lagers known to man. The hybrid beer styles can best be described as West Coast craft lagers. We hope you join us on our path as we tirelessly work at perfecting our craft and sharing it with you.”
Yesterday I did the beer review of Sunshine and Opportunity. Which was a delicious beer and perfect for Wednesday’s gorgeous weather here in Central PA. Now, we’re moving on to some darker stuff (a reflection of the cooler weather and windyness we got on Thursday).
(So I had written the above before getting my youngest daughter to school yesterday – Friday the 2.21.20, but afterwards, with my other two daughters sick, I didn’t get time to finish it before work, and then after work I was busy, so I am now finishing this up on the 22nd before work, fingers crossed. Its not so much the writing that takes time – which it does – its the marketing I have to do right afterwards, and the linking and all the small edit stuff that goes unnoticed when everything seems to go [seemingly] well.)
So lets tackle this delicious Chocolate Baltic Porter.
As you can see in this amazing Bengals stein, the color from this is pure dark black. Motor oil, Razor Ramone hair color, black like the souls of the Bengals enemies (the dreaded Steelers), etc, etc. There’s a nice thick creamy brown head to this that stays consistent. Good lacing, good bubbles, good color, everything is a check so far.
Aroma is like opening a coffee and pastry shop door. Very heavy chocolate right out of the gate with a bready, pastry aroma behind it. Then it builds into this coffee roasting smell. The chocolate and coffee kind of swirl together giving it a decadent smell, especially with the vanilla adding a layer of sweetness to the aroma. There is a lot of subtle complexities with this that all work well in unison with each other, the chocolate and caco nibs, the vanilla, the espresso beans, all forming together to make a delicious chocolate donut like pastry porter (double baltic porter).
This is a boozy, heavy, thick, full bodied, chocolate donut, chocolate pastry, coffee dunked donut delicious monstrosity (and I use all those terms in the best and nicest of ways). This is toasted and roasted malts, its bready, its heavy, its full of chocolate and coffee flavor. Its like taking a donut and dunking it into coffee and eating it. Like the scene from Home Alone where the piece of donut falls on the phone and nobody notices it while the guy is eating listening.
This. This scene. Its like eating that donut, after it was dunked in coffee. And if that donut was half as good as this beer, you better damn well believe he takes that piece of donut and eats it afterwards. This is a smooth beer, there’s no hop bitterness, but there is a boozy heavyness to it and comes with a slight bite. The vanilla mostly smooths that out though, so the boozyness comes more as heavy than as a true bite or bitterness. Nothing overpowers anything else either, which is always nice in a complex beer like this. Its nice when one ingredient doesn’t overpower other ingredients to the point of not being able to taste them. Here its all a nice even blend, even chocolate, even coffee, even pastry. It just adds up to a sum of a great, fantastic, full, heavy, thick dark beer that is super tasty. Makes me sad I only got one of these and its gone already.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.81 (as of 2.22.20, it was 3.81 yesterday when I started this on 2.21.20).
Now, let us discuss this beautiful stein too. Bengals,Who Dey, the team of the future…. with the first pick of the draft this year, and possibly Joe Burrow as the future of the franchise. Unless… he Elways / Eli Manning’s his way out of Cincinnati which is looking like a possibility. Sigh. Fingers crossed he ends up being as good as he was last year with LSU. I’ll just be happy going 5-11 this upcoming season. Maybe Cincinnati will be the first team to go from the NFL to the XFL?
This was the second of the California beer mail beers. I still have 8 more to go. Mostly all Sours, Saisons, and IPAs (I believe one Strong Ale), so I might not review everyone of them, but will do most of them. At least the interesting ones anyway. Also still have a long list of other beer reviews I’ve started and haven’t finished yet, so there’s plenty to look forward to. So please stick around and check out the site!
Imagine this: its February 19th in Central PA; its usually cold, blustery even, possibly snow on the ground or snowing, icicles usually hang from gutters and roofs and trees, nobody is outside walking their dogs, nobody is outside period – unless forced to shovel – schools might even be cancelled due to snow or bad roads, cars stay parked along the roads, plowed in by local governments snowplowers, …..this is your usual February 19th right? Not 2020. Instead, its 2PM on February 19th, 2020, in Hummelstown Pennsylvania, and my phone says its 45 degrees, sunny, with the warm rays warming me more than the 45 even suggests. There’s a slight breeze. I take a pause from my yard work and long dog walks to sit outside and enjoy a delicious beer and read some books.
My first beer from the California beer mail I did a few days prior, and my first of that batch to be reviewed for the blog. When going through the beers in the fridge looking to find one to drink on this beautiful day, the name of this one leaped out to me (for obvious reasons) and thus became the de facto first pick.
My beer mail consisted of Almanac Beer Company, The Booth Brewing, Fallen River, Sudwerk Brewing, and one Sierra Nevada can. Ironically, while sitting out and enjoying me beer and reading, my friend Dan, who had gotten me the Tree House Brewing Company beers that let me do my series (Sap, Autumn, Julius, Haze, Doppelganger, and Intemperance), texted me that he was currently in the San Diego area of California. That he had just left Belching Beaver and was wondering if I knew of any other really good breweries in the area. (I let him know about Modern Times and Pizza Port, and then used Hop Plotter [which is going away soon by the way] to locate some others.) He told me you can’t walk more than five minutes down the streets without running into a brewery there. Oh what a problem to have!
Other than just the name of this beer, the beer caught my attention for how interesting it is. Its a barrel aged, dry hopped sour. Seems like a very interesting combination to me. You don’t typically see barrel aged, sour, and dry hopped, all combined, let alone any combination therein (barrel aged sours, or dry hopped sours, or barrel aging and dry hopping), so this called out to me all the more for it.
The picture might be hard to read, and its not listed on their Untappd profile for the beer, so I’ll re-write it here:
“This is NOT a kettle sour. This mixed-culture farmhouse ale was aged in oak barrels with pear juice. A delicate dry-hop of Citra, Sabro, and Mosaic imparts a transcendent tropical aroma. Shine on! HOPS: Citra, Sabro, Mosaic. MALT: Admiral Pale, Oats, Wheat, Aromatic.”
So as you can see, there is definitely a lot going on with this bad boy.
Almanac Beer Company is a regional brewery out of Alameda California. According to Untappd, they have 286 unique beers listed with a global rating (as of 2.20.20) of 3.98. Their description on Untappd reads: “Our motto, “Farm-to-Barrel”, means brewing beers inspired by the great brewing traditions of the world with the best in locally sourced ingredients. Almanac Beer Company was founded in 2010 by Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan.”
Beer: Sunshine and Opportunity Brewery: Almanac Beer Company Style: Farmhouse Ale – Saison ABV: 5.8% IBU: None Listed Hops: Citra, Sabro, Mosaic Malts: Admiral Pale, Oats, Wheat, Aromatic Untappd Write-Up: Mixed fermentation saison, aged in oak barrels and dry-hopped.
This is certainly an interesting beer. As I cracked it open, the aromatic and citrusy and summer smelling, sunshine beaming, fruity and citrusy hops burst free, the pear juice, burst free, all of these things just from cracking the can. I poured it into my Ffej of July glass, making me think about the super fun party in July and envisioning even more sunshine and great weather, it almost looked like pouring champagne. It bubbled, it was effervescent, it was bubbly and happy and excited to be poured out. Its bright yellow / orange / wheat like golden hue was bright, bubbly, looking like a cross between a pilsner, champagne, and a saison. It had a big white fluffy bubbly head, with huge interspersed and diverse bubbles. This guy was carbonated and ready to play. As I drank, it left lacing. And as I drank, it still bubbled, tickling your nose with little pops as you drank.
This is also jam packed with a variety of smells. It is definitely an aromatic beer. Your nose is getting a workout with this one. First impression of the nose is pear and citrus and sunshine hops. You get a definitive pear juice presence right off the bat, as well as the Citra, Sabro, and Mosaic dry hopping. Quick background on those three hops:
— Citra: “American aroma hop Citra was created by John I. Haas, Inc. and Select Botanicals Group joint venture, the Hop Breeding Company. It was released to the brewing world in 2008. Now one of the most coveted high-impact aroma hops in the US, particularly among craft brewers, it boasts a complex lineage that includes the likes of Hallertau Mittelfrüh (father), Tettnanger (US), Brewer’s Gold and East Kent Golding.” (Hopslist) — Mosaic: “Released in 2012 by the Hop Breeding Company, LLC, Mosaic hops feature complex but clean flavor characteristics and are known for their triple-use profile encompassing bittering, flavor and aroma. They have high alpha acids but low cohumulone which makes them pleasantly hoppy, carrying flavors of mango, pine, citrus and herbs and aromas of tropical and stone fruit. Mosaic is the first daughter of Simcoe and Nugget as has been humorously referred to by some as “Citra on steroids”.” (Hopslist) — Sabro: “Sabro is an aroma hop that is notable for its complexity of fruity and citrus flavors. It imparts distinct tangerine, coconut, tropical fruit, and stone fruit aromas, with hints of cedar, mint, and cream. Sabro’s pedigree is the result of a unique cross pollination of a female neomexicanus hop.” (Yakima Valley Hops)
So as you can see, these three hops really impart a very fruity, citrusy, juicy hop characteristic. Especially for aroma. Full of mango, citrus, spicy herbs, tangerine, stone fruits, tropical fruits like coconut, kiwi, passionfruit, stone fruits, you get a large rang of gamut with these hops. And they work kind of like a trifecta together. On top of the complexities of the dry hoping with these hops, and the strong presence of the pear juice, you get the distinct oakyness of the barrel aged process in which this beer went through, imparting it with the characteristics and notes of oak barrels. This is a bit fainter, especially on the nose, but the oak is there, as well as some of the spices and the yeast strain notes that accompany farmhouse saisons and ales, a bit of a background funkyness that you know is trying to peak and stick its head through when nobody is looking.
Enough blabbering about appearance and smell, lets get to the fun part of beer – drinking it. Do you have socks on? You better have shoes on too then, because if you don’t, first sip is going to knock those socks right off. One sip, first sip, barely in your mouth, and you get an explosion of complexities. You get the dry hopping, you get the pear juice, you get the oak barrel aging, you get the funkyness of farmhouse ales and saisons, you get a full rich and immersive beer on that first sip. So lets try and break this down (if I can!). Breaking it down by drinking it is the best approach I think because this beer changes as you drink, and you get more of the complexities evening out into their own compartments and it gets kind of sectionalized. First as you take your sip, those bubbles get you. This is almost like drinking champagne, I immediately felt the bubbles tickling my mustache, could feel the interesting yeast right away, a combination of champagne yeast and farmhouse saison style yeast. Beyond this then, you start to really pick up the pear juice, and this is where the tartness and a bit of the sweetness of the beer comes through. You get that funky Saison taste, that deep tartness unlike sours (or kettle sours or even berliner weisse’s), you get a funky, resonating tart with pear notes. Then blammo the hops take over. You get the citrus and sunshine bright hops exploding like mortar blasts all around you, like the trailer of 1917 as the guy is running criss-cross through the battlefield and blasts are going off around him. Citra. BAM. Mosaic. BAM. Sabro. BAM. Pop. Pop. Pop. BAMMMM. You get citrus, tangerine, coconut, pineapple, mango, more pear, kiwi and passionfruit, some cedar, some pine, stone fruits like plum and apricot, all blending in the hops and exploding rapid fire around you. And finally, you are left with the oak, the oakyness of the barrels, like a lasting, impression on your tongue as the beer fades away. It adds to that funkyness, it adds to the tartness, and it really brings out the Saison and Farmhouse aspects of the beer. The beer is also only a 5.8% so there’s not even really a buzz afterwards. There is nothing cloying, or upsetting about this, nothing heavy, or too dry, the juice is there, the tart is there, its slightly thin, but not problematically. This is just all around unique, tasty, and fun to drink.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.85 (as of 2.20.20).
I am currently in the process of going back and editing a bit of some of the recent blog posts. Namely, the Loki – Wild IPA, the Valentine’s Day Beers, I Cannot Tell a Lie, and the Back to Reality. Adding some references and stuff to the beer titles and things like that. Nothing altering the actual review of the beer, but just providing some extra information about the beer, its name, cultural underpinnings of it all, etc.
As I said in my last reviews, Back to Reality and Intemperance, we are really starting to hit our stride here at The Beer Thrillers. I will be on several podcasts in the near future – Might Be Brews, Beers with Strangers, and the one with my friends So A Mexican and A Scot Walk Into a Bar…, as well as lots of writing news as well. Invites to Rubber Soul Brewing opening (or re-opening) in Hummelstown (my hometown), Liquid Noise, and an interesting e-mail about doing some writing about breweries for Visit Hershey. (This could be potentially about the brewery that might be opening at the Chocolate Town area – which will be the new entrance to Hershey Park. I don’t know for sure, but I’m eagerly awaiting this meeting with the representative to find out more and let you all know.)
We are up to 412 followers on Facebook now, which is absolutely fantastic, and 128 followers on Twitter. We are currently listed as the # 9 blog on FeedSpot’s Top 100 blogs. The blog is certainly growing, we just hit 150 total posts recently (this is post number 152). The blog has only been live since near the end of May 2019. I am very excited for the growth its gone through and its continual growth. Our friends at LetUsDrinkBeer blog are also about to have their latest review of a brewery from Georgia for us.
We are primarily a Central PA beer blog, but we are also very much more, we’re doing beer reviews of beers from all over thanks to beer mail trades as well as Tavour (J. Doncevic’s favorite), we are also hitting up a lot of beer events this year (upcoming for me will be the AC Brewfest in early April as well as Little Big Beer Fest, and J. Doncevic will be hitting the big Prototype Invitational with Rotunda Brewing. With the guys from LetUsDrinkBeer, we are reporting on stuff down in Georgia. We are also getting invites to podcasts and writing for other blogs as well as brewery openings and events too. So we are going to have no shortage of things to report on. And with the guys from Default Brewing, we’ll have more homebrewing articles in the upcoming months as well. (Fingers crossed they’ll get something posted soon.)
For those interested, the books behind the beer in this blog post are: “I Am C-3PO” by Anthony Daniels, and “Desert Wisdom” by Yushi Nomura and Henri J.M. Nouwen. You can read my reviews of books at my GoodReads page.
As always (I feel like a robot on repeat saying this), please click the follow, like, and subscribes. Enter your e-mail to get up to date news on new blog posts. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see posts and pictures and videos that don’t always make it onto the blog.
All of us here at The Beer Thrillers, from the writers like me and J. Doncevic and AJ Brechbiel, as well as those tangentially tied in (D. Scott, Esteban from the podcast; D. Arndt and others who have helped to contribute) we all greatly appreciate you reading.
We love to hear from you; so if you have anything at all, comments, suggestions, questions, writing tips, information, news, queries about writing for us, or queries about us writing for you, be sure to leave a comment or use the Contact Us page to send us some direct feedback. We love to from all of you! Be sure if you enjoyed reading this, to rate it and like the blog post as well (that also helps with the SEO and page algorithm on sites like Google, Bing, Dogpile, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.).
Thank you everyone, and cheers, and enjoy these all too few beautiful February days!
This was supposed to be a five part series. Consisting of Sap, Haze, Doppelganger, Autumn, and Julius. But then like Disney buying Star Wars…. along came another, like a new movie to add to the series, I present you number six – the final, epic, saga ending beer review – of Intemperance.
Thats probably a bit hyperbolic, but you get the idea. This wasn’t intended, but we’re going to go with it. I don’t mind doing Tree House beer reviews, thats for sure. I could do them all the time, I’ll gladly accept any Tree House beer donations in lieu of reviews. No problem, no questions asked. (Who can turn down delicious wonderful near perfect beers anyway right?)
This is going to be different than the previous installments though. Whereas the others were IPAs (Double / regular) or a pale ale; this is the first dark brew I’ll be reviewing from Tree House. Intemperance is a Double Milk Stout. A fitting conclusion to the series. Epic? Maybe not. Ending to a massive saga on the scale of Episode IX? Probably not. A fantastic beer? Definitely! A good beer review? Hopefully so!
Just want to give a final shout out to D. Arndt for these fantastic beers. Tree House certainly never disappoints. Thanks Dan!
Beer: Intemperance Brewery: Tree House Brewing Co. Style – Stout – Imperial / Double Milk ABV: 9.9% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: Intemperance is an imperial milk stout brewed with cinnamon, vanilla cream, Christmas cookies, and a hint of chestnut. Throwing the kitchen sink of authentic holiday-themed ingredients at this beer results in a truly unique, exciting, nostalgic-tasting beverage that doesn’t take itself too seriously. As it warms you can truly pick out the flavor notes of its individual constituents. Put on some pajamas, start a fire, and let this beer take you into the night.
This is a perfect fireplace beer. Christmas Eve, all the kids presents wrapped and under the tree and finally getting to fall asleep to A Christmas Story playing on loop in the background.
Appearance is the darkest of dark black. Like the souls and hearts of….. ahh, gee, thats too dark for something so tasty, frivolous, and fun. I’ll fall back on my motor oil comparisons and Razor Ramone hair comparisons and jet fuel and other similar ones. This is too much fun drinking to go too too dark on the descriptors. There is a lovely light brown creamy head to this that just floats on the dark waters. Lacing runs down the glass as you drain this gorgeous beer.
Aroma is so much, such complexity, just so much to take in through the nose. Aroma for this is pure Christmas. Baking cookies, yule log, milk, eggnog, dark bready notes, ginger, hazelnut. Like someone made a Bath and Bodyworks candle out of Santa Clause’s cabin. Notes of cinnamon, vanilla, hazelnut, ginger, molasses, chestnut, all swirl around with a roasted malt and grain bill with some nice earthy bread notes.
This is an amazingly smooth beer for a 9.9% stout. Its not annoyingly sweet or cloying. But it is dangerously smooth. The vanilla just gives it that added boost. You immediately taste like a child waking up Christmas morning after only getting one hour of sleep because you spent all night at your bedroom door waiting for Santa. This is dark and heavy, with a wonderful, full body and mouthfeel. But surprisingly you can sort of taste the high ABV but not fully feel the high ABV, and even then, its all levels of subtlety that get hidden amongst the complexities of the flavors. You get all of the flavors of Christmas cookie baking; vanilla, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, chestnut, hazelnut, and they all blend together with nothing overpowering anything else. Like a fine choreographed dance, everyone working together – every flavor working together – to build to a far bigger whole and better beer as a whole for it. There is no off putting flavors or aromas, no bad lingering aftertaste, just a great, well rounded, well created, well crafted, beautifully made and delicious beer. This could easily be a ‘final beer’ (before I go) type beer, and all would be content.
My Untappd Rating: ****.50 Global Untappd Rating: 4.24 (as of 2.19.20)
This was meant to go up last night after work as a double-blog day, but that didn’t really come about. Yesterday was pretty busy, and after stopping at the library, and dinner with the kids, and everything after work, the night kind of slipped away. (The Flyers did crush last night, so there was that too.)
But yesterday was a big networking day for the blog. With breweries reaching out for us to do scheduled tours and interviews. Podcasts reaching out to us for interviews and discussions. All around a very busy day.
We also hit number 400 on Facebook. Our four hundredth like on Facebook was Rory Dibeler. We are now up to 410 and looking forward to number 500. We are also up to 128 followers on Twitter. So if you aren’t a follower on either platform, please do so. You can also follow us on Instagram, where we are looking to further our presence in the upcoming months.
As always, be sure to like and follow us. Check out some of our older articles and beer reviews and news stories. You can read up about openings and closings, brewery reviews, beer reviews, brewery events, and even some book reviews. We appreciate all the views, likes, comments, suggestions, and feedback.
Look If you had One shot Or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted In one moment Would you capture it Or just let it slip?Yo His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’ What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out He’s chokin’, how, everybody’s jokin’ now The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow! Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy? No He won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes It don’t matter, he’s dope, he knows that, but he’s broke He’s…
Eminem: Lose Yourself
I can’t possibly be the only person who as soon as they read the can “Back to Reality” started hearing the lyrics to Lose Yourself in the back of their head right? Yea, I know, the can label is all about Back to the Future complete with the Deloreaon, but still…. ….I’m not the only one right? Right?
Maybe I am, maybe everyone else mentally runs with the Back to the Future imagery and goes with that. Perhaps its my generation, who grew up on Eminem, Limp Bizkit, Creed, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Staind, Disturbed, Korn, etc, etc, etc, that might think of Eminem. Maybe I just have a wire loose in the old noggin. (Most likely that…. 13 concussions and all that……)
So lets snap back to the present (…or to reality…………) and talk about this fun, delicious, bright beer. Sadly, I’ve only had a handful of beers from Three 3’s Brewing, but nothing has disappointed, that’s for sure. I’ve enjoyed them all and they’ve all been fun, delicious, tasty brews. They’re another of a handful of fun breweries doing fun beer names and labels. And luckily, unlike some breweries, they actually have the beer brewing chops behind them to insure you still get a good beer rather than like some that just coast on beer name and label alone on the hopes of you buying their beer. This is The Way by Broken Goblet is a good example of a beer name, label, (can art), and backstory that will sell cans… but is also a really good beer. Sadly, for every good example like This is the Way and Back to Reality, there is an equal or larger number of beers that don’t deliver despite their cool name and can art.
But before we get into the future, or go too far into the past, let’s stay in the moment, in the present, in reality, and review this tasty delicious beer:
Three 3’s Brewing Co. is a micro brewery out of Hammonton New Jersey. On Untappd they have 130 unique beers listed with a global average rating of 3.8 (as of 2.18.20). Their description on Untappd reads: “Stop in for a pour, taste and to grab a growler to go! Follow us for tap list updates and events! Just 30 mins from A/C & Philly.”
Beer: Back to Reality Brewery: Three 3’s Brewing Co. Style: IPA – New England ABV: 6% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: A bright IPA in the truest sense. Heavy additions of wheat and oats create a lush mouthfeel. We walloped this one with some of our favorite American hops (Amarillo, Mosaic and Simcoe) in the whirlpool and dry hop. Notes of ripe orange peel, fresh picked tangerine and citrus. An all-day crusher that won’t tire the palate.
I love it when a description for a beer uses a word I’ve used several times (without me even knowing its in their description). It either makes me think I’m smart (to some degree anyway) or makes me wonder (and go insane doing so) if I had read the description and the word has entered my subconscious about the beer. The word for this one is: bright. I used it a few times talking about its appearance, and it is certainly bright. It has a orange hue, bright, a bit dank and hazy, not fully filtered, but not completely unfiltered either. There is a nice white foamy head and it left nice lacing on the glass.
Aroma is a blast of hop. You can definitely pick out the citrus of the Amarillo and the defined notes of Mosaic and Simcoe hopes. The dry hopping for the beer really brings these to the forefront, particularly Amarillo’s citrus and Simcoe’s defined, unique hop aromas and notes. The hops leave you with notes of citrus, tangerine, orange (mainly peel / rind) but you also get some distinct blood orange aroma notes.
Firstly, this is a smooth beer. There is no hop bite, and its all the more citrus and citrus fruit notes, so there’s no pine, no earthy, no musky, nothing but the bright fruit flavors that go with these kind of citrus notes. Been using the term ‘bright’ for this beer quite a bit in this review, but its just so apt. From appearance to aroma to taste, it just feels bright, it feels flavorful, it feels bold, it feels open, fruity, citrusy, it feels light. This feels like walking through a Florida orange orchard or grove or farm or whatever the terminology is for orange trees and growing and farming and what not. (I’m pretty sure its orchards… like apple orchards… etc.) Great orange, tangerine, blood orange, citrus, zest, all kinds of the bright orange fruit flavors just pounce on you as you drink this down. And it is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Its practically like drinking orange juice. Luckily the low ABV (6%) makes this not a problem at all. Sadly I only had one can to drink, because I could easily drain a four pack of this in an hour’s sitting no problem at all.
My Untappd Rating: ****.25 Global Untappd Rating: 3.85 (as of 2.18.20)
This was one of many beers D. Scott had picked up from Breski’s Beverages mix-a-six. They have a wonderful selection of New England IPAs, singles, and great cans and bottles from a variety of breweries you won’t be getting at your normal distributors. Well worth checking them out for that.
So I know I said I might do the Intemperance last night as a double-blog-day, but I ended up at D. Scott’s where we worked on finishing his keg of Nugget Nectar and watched RedLetterMedia and talked about upcoming podcasts.
Speaking of podcasts, exciting news for me – B. Kline. I am going to be on two upcoming podcasts (dates and times to be determined). John Wilcox has invited me out to Exton PA to do a podcast with him about beer. John’s podcasts are called “Might Be Brews“. And Tony Russo in Maryland is going to have me as a call-on on his podcast “Beers with Strangers“. They have a nice, full complete library of podcasts you can listen to here: Beers with Strangers Podcasts. You can check out both Might Be Brews and Beers with Strangers on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Also, exciting news, Rubber Soul Brewing (soon to open here in my hometown of Hummelstown) has invited me out in the upcoming for a check-out of the facility and building. So I should be able to give an in-depth write-up soon. I’ve been wanting to write up about them opening, but been waiting to pull the trigger on it. Breweries in PA jumped me a bit by doing a write-up yesterday (2.17.20) on them. If you’ve been following our Facebook page you’ll see some pictures I’ve taken of the building when I’ve walked by it recently.
Speaking of Facebook, we’re currently at 399 followers. Can’t wait to hit 400, hopefully today! If you have friends, invite them to the page and let them know!
A while back I did a local for local trade with a guy from the deep dirty South. I sent him Boneshire Brew Works, Tattered Flag, and Pizza Boy, in return I received New Heights Brewing, Heist Brewing, WiseACRE, and Southern Prohibition Brewing. This was actually an old can though that he sent me. Dated on the bottom – Canned on December 28th 2018, and I received the beer mail back in August 2019. (Luckily as a sour, its not a big deal, and I even ended up waiting until January 2020 to actually drink it. I don’t think aging affected it too much; but at the same time I do want to mention it for the purposes and sake of the review.)
You’ll notice in the package all of the other beers have been already reviewed here on the blog. Paradise Lost, Adjective Animal, Pina Colada, and Gotta Get Up to Get Down. I enjoyed the group, and this really is no exception. Its not my favorite of this batch of beer mail, but its certainly not the worst beer I’ve ever had before.
I’m not a huge cherry person, in beer or in food, or flavor. Most times it reminds me of the horrible children’s medicine we all took when we were younger, Robitussin and the like, and that always brings up bad memories. (Like thinking about tequila or jaegermeister or shots the day after a horrible binge and hangover due to said drinks.)
Cherry is just too all over the place. Especially if its used as a syrup in the brewing process. Puree isn’t much better, but its some. Maraschino cherries seem to be the ones that most remind me of the old Robitussin bad medicine and just induces the shivers at even the smell.
Luckily that isn’t the case here. There isn’t that ‘yucky’ Robitussin medicine taste, and luckily the sour is more tart than sweet or cloying and syrupy. But lets save this discussion for the full review….
Beer: I Cannot Tell a Lie Brewery: New Heights Brewing Company Style: Sour – Berliner Weisse ABV: 8.7% IBU: 5 Untappd Write-Up: Imperial Cherry Berliner Weisse
Not the most descriptive of Untappd write-ups / descriptions, but its apt enough I do suppose. New Heights Brewing Company is a micro brewery from Nashville Tennessee, and on Untappd they have 191 unique beers and a 3.97 global rating (as of 2.17.20).
Appearance on this is a bright yellow – golden hue. Sunshiny and bright. Not fully clear and translucent but definitely not opaque. Filtered. Little head, nice carbonation. Nice glowy look to the beer especially in the light.
Aroma is a ‘tart smell’. Its easy to notice it, but a bit harder to define it. If you’ve had a Berliner Weisse or Kolsche or similar tart smelling beers, you can pick it up right away. The cherry notes are there, and you can already tell its not going to be the syrupy medicinal cherry. It has a nice aroma with nothing unpleasant or overpowering.
This is certainly a sipping beer, not a gulping beer. There is good degree of tartness to this. No extreme mouth-puckering sourness, but a definable tartness. The cherry taste is nice and flavorful, definitely not the syrupy or even puree like cherry in some beers (and drinks). Definitely no Robitussin taste. There is a dryness to this, almost akin to champagne, not quite wine dry, but champagne-like to some degree. There is also a bit of an acidity to this, comes possibly with the yeast strain that makes it dry and gives that ‘tart’ smell to the beer. There is just a wee bit of cloying to this and with it a bit of sweetness, especially at the end of the beer that also leaves a bit of an ending aftertaste, though it fades quickly enough.
My Untappd Rating: ***.75 Global Untappd Rating: 3.69 (as of 2.17.20)
That was the last of the batch from the South. I do have the beer mail from California to start drinking up and reviewing. Also, and fingers crossed, hopefully, tonight I’ll do the Intemperance beer by Tree House and complete that series.
Thank you all for reading. Please follow and like and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.
Some things work out. Like when you stop at a brand new brewery after work and find its at max capacity so you stop at Pizza Boy… and they have Hill Farmstead on tap (Florence) and Revision Brewing on tap. Not often we get to see Revision here in the Central PA area.
Revision Brewing Company is a microbrewery out of Sparks, Nevada. As per Untappd: “Revision Brewing Company was formed in August of 2015 when Jeremy Warren, Founder and Brewmaster of Knee Deep Brewing Company chose to pursue a new avenue of creativity and excellence in craft beer. Revision Brewing Company opened in March 2017 in Sparks, Nevada. We have a core lineup of hoppy beers, complemented by our lagers, Humulus Lupulus series, experimental brews and a pretty rad Barrel-Aging program. Thank you and cheers!” They have 183 unique beers listed on Untappd for a global rating of 4.05.
Its nice when you find breweries from regions you don’t get too often in the local area, and its nice to give them a try, especially when its a brewery I’ve heard a buzz about online before. So after I ordered the Hill Farmstead Florence while waiting til Liquid Noise would empty out a bit before getting to check them out, I ordered this as well and definitely enjoyed it.
I had to search and put up a picture of the can art on this beauty, love it. Makes you wonder who this mythical and legendary Pete was…. and what his secret stash… (…I mean Stache….) included….
Beer: Pete’s Secret Stache Brewery: Revision Brewing Company Style: IPA – New England ABV: 6.5% IBU: 35 Untappd Write-Up: Pete pedaled deep into the Sierras, dead set on a legendary expedition. Along the way he ran out of rations, and when he finally arrived at the brewery he wasn’t the same dude, he was in a HAZE. He was babbling about discovering an oasis where Amarillo and Citra glowed pink in the Sierra sunset. Pete’s Secret Stache… unchained, unfiltered and hazed out.
Certainly sounds like this Pete is a mythical and legendary creature rivaling the legends of old, possibly surpassing them. Luckily the beer does homage to that and is a fitting testimony to this legendary figure.
Appearance is hazy through and through, complete opaque and bright orange. Nice small head to it and very bubbly and effervescent. Completely unfiltered, little bits of floaters bouncing about in the glass, and it is certainly hazy and dank.
Aroma is super hoppy. Bright hoppy notes as soon as you come within three foot of the glass. Like a good hazy New England IPA should be. This is a strong and vibrant nose of hops. You have the two most citrusy forward hops on the market in this bad boy – Citra hops (gee where’d they ever up come up with the name for these hops?) and Amarillo hops. The combination is bountiful and makes this so aromatic.
Just like the aroma punches you right away with the hops, so does the taste. At first sip your tongue just lights up with all of the citrus from these hops. If you don’t like citrus, this might be a bit too much for you, but I don’t think its really an issue. Its just an abundant, great, fantastic taste. This has a bright smooth wallop of the hops and citrus. There is no bitterness at all this to it, you wouldn’t expect 35 IBU or any IBU’s to be honest. Outside of that genuine hop flavor you’d have no idea this was an IPA its that smooth and with no hop bite or bitterness. There is a slight creamyness to it, that makes me feel there has to be some lactose in this (to some degree anyway), probably not enough to really call it a Milkshake IPA (but then again, the lines are so blurred on New England IPA, Haze IPA, Milkshake IPA, etc, that their all basically interchangeable at this point). It could be just that its that smooth that it feels like there should be lactose in it as well, don’t know. But this is a very easy drinking beer (I think I finished it super fast, all but gulping it down). It was extremely enjoyable and easy to drink that fast too, luckily at only 6.5% its not much of an issue.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.94 (as of 2.16.20)
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This is Karl Larson’s first beer (or art, or contribution, or… insert your word of choice here) that I’m getting to review or write about for the blog. Its a long time in coming, and if you know Karl, you know his amazing ability at brewing, his love of home brewing, and teaching about beer and brewing, and his open heart and willingness to share and give. Back at the Ffej of July ’19 we had discussed about me reviewing his award winning homebrew but sadly things didn’t work out that I got a chance to try it and review it.
I’ve known Karl now for quite a while, probably roughly five years or so, dating back to a homebrew competition or event or some such thing where I got to meet him and hang out and chat with him. Its been great seeing him every time and getting to sample his various homebrews. And then him doing small batches for Boneshire Brew Works (the old Piglet series) were all fantastic. So its great to get to see him brewing on the small batch system at Newfangled Brew Works. So on release day of his first beer for them, I had to stop out and try it (after all it is sorta.. kinda… not really… on my way home from work).
He also just released another beer with Newfangled (the plan I believe is a new one each week). I sadly have yet to try the new one, and I imagine its gone by now. I know the Loki didn’t last long (I think it might have lasted into Wednesday, but thats it). So be on the lookout for small batch releases from Karl every Tuesday at Newfangled Brew Works. I don’t believe they even update their Untappd list to include it (I know the Loki wasn’t listed, I had to search for it). You won’t be disappointed!
Beer: Loki – Wild IPA Brewery: Newfangled Brew Works Brewer: Karl Larson Style: IPA – Farmhouse ABV: 6% IBU: 30 Untappd Write-Up: IPA with Voss Kveik and Brett yeast blend. Dry hopped with Citra, Callista and Ariana hop blend.
This isn’t a sour IPA, but its getting towards that range. Its a tart Saison esque IPA.
Appearance is light hue, golden, lighter than a typical West Coast IPA, more in the appearance of Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. Nice carbonation with a good bit of foamy head that retains a fair amount of time. And as per typical with a well crafted beer, good interspersed bubbles of varying sizes. Lacing on the glass.
Aroma is interesting, its got the hoppy smell of an IPA, but that unique spice of a Saison / Farmhouse. You definitely pick up the wheat notes and the Kveik and Brett yeast plays into this too. You get a bit of coriander / orange peel like smell that rounds out the hoppy aromatics.
This is a delicious beer. This has the tartness of a Saison but the hoppyness of an IPA. You get a delicious blend from the hops too, both aromatically and tastefully on your tongue. Get notes of coriander, dry stone fruit, little bit of earthyness to it all. A slight musky earthy undertone. The body is deep and complex and full, not watery or thin, and lays great on your tongue and mouth as you drink. Even with the tart and hop it all combines nicely and at only 6% its easily crushable. Would be a fantastic six-pack beer. The Kveik and Brett yeasts add a very complex and complicated system for the beer that really entices you to drink more. Very very tasty, shame its gone so quick.
My Untappd Rating: ****.25 Global Untappd Rating: 3.97 (as of 2.15.20)
As always, I cannot recommend Karl Larson’s stuff enough. Fantastic brewer and even more fantastic guy. If you see him (and he is completely hard to miss at 6′ 20 inches) make sure you let him know just how good his stuff is. He’ll thank you and probably try and get you to adopt a pit bull. (I recommend doing that as well.)
As always everyone, keep on drinking and reading, enjoy and cheers!
In the Hershey – through Middletown and Harrisburg area, you go to a brewery, you can find yourself a chocolate covered…. strawberry or cherry something or other. Tattered Flag, Rotunda Brewing Company, Troegs Independent Craft Brewing, Boneshire Brew Works, and you can even make a variant at Lancaster Brewing Company. So, I’ve gone and done the legwork for all of you. I’ve traveled to the places, seen the sights, experienced the sounds and the smells, and I drank the beers, so you don’t have to …. or so you can know which ones you might like best. Or, so you can too. Either way…. whew, this is a tough gig. But I guess I’m the only one man enough for it.
This is going to be a multiple-beer-review article posting. It’s a total of six beer reviews; and from five different breweries. All from the Hershey-Middletown-Harrisburg area. (Hershey’s contributions are Troegs’ Chocolate Cherry Stout, and Rotunda’s Beautiful Trauma [Rotunda Brew Pub in Hershey], Middletown’s contributions are the Tattered Flag beers, and Harrisburg’s are the Boneshire and Lancaster Brewing beers.) Most of these will still be on tap today. And possibly even the firkin at Boneshire Brew Works might not have kicked and still might be available. The Troegs Chocolate Cherry Stout was also canned yesterday (2.13.20) and still might be available in cans as well. Beautiful Trauma is still available in cans, and you can get it on draft and in crowlers at their Rotunda Brew Pub (as well as at The Batdorf attached to their brewery in Annville).
Let’s start with Middletown and break down the two beers from Tattered Flag. They have two offerings for us, and both are somewhat similar. Because I Was Inverted is their signature line of Milkshake IPAs, that they’ve done with a variety of different flavors (or adjuncts). Some notables were Mango, Kiwi, Plum, and they released two recently – Chocolate Covered Cherry and Chocolate Covered Strawberry. Both were canned and put on draft.
Beer: Because I Was Inverted (Chocolate Covered Strawberry) Brewery: Tattered Flag Style: IPA – Milkshake ABV: 7.2% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: Because I was Inverted (BIWI) black milkshake IPA blends sweet lactose with midnight wheat to bring you a subtle bitterness followed by a silky finish and earthly yet fruity notes of Mosaic. Conditioned with cocoa and strawberry puree just in time for Valentines day!
This looks like its a stout, but it tastes so much different. Appearance for this is dark black with a light foam head. Its Razor Ramone hair black (ahhhh, a term I haven’t gotten to use in a long time, been a while since I’ve reviewed a black / dark beer), fully opaque, and looking nothing like an IPA, let alone a milkshake IPA. Good carbonation, good head, and it leaves good lacing.
Aroma is pretty interesting. You definitely get notes of chocolate, and faint notes of strawberry. You get vanilla, and you get slight faint fruity hoppy notes. Nothing outstanding on the hoppy notes, nothing that blows you away, its all very subtle letting the chocolate come out much more prevalent in aromas.
This is very smooth, very tasty, very creamy. Its a bit heavy on your tongue in a way most IPAs aren’t. Strong chocolate, strong malt backbone, very vanilla and lactose and creamy, with some strawberry. The strawberry is probably a bit too subtle given that it should be more prominent, but its not too bad, and you do know its there. Strawberry can also be an overpowering addition that sometimes makes a beer far worse. There is no hop presence in taste. No bitterness, just smoothness and creamyness.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.69 (as of 2.14.20)
Beer: Because I Was Inverted (Chocolate Covered Cherry) Brewery: Tattered Flag Style: IPA – Milkshake ABV: 7.2% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: Because I was Inverted (BIWI) black milkshake IPA blends sweet lactose with midnight wheat to bring you a subtle bitterness followed by a silky finish and earthly yet fruity notes of Mosaic. Conditioned with cocoa and sweet cherry puree just in time for Valentines day!
This might sound a lot like deja vu, but nearly everything for the above beer can be said for this one as well. Appearance is the same as the above, dark black, jet black, Razor Ramone hair black, nice foamy small head, nice lacing, good carbonation. Interspersed bubbles.
Aroma is pretty much the exact same as well. Instead of faint strawberry, you get faint cherry. Still heavy chocolate, some vanilla, faint faint faint hop, with the cherry a bit more prominent than the strawberry, but only barely, and it could just be my nostrils more open to that particular smell.
Taste is again similar, and again the only real difference is cherry puree rather than strawberry puree. Its noticeable the difference, in the same way you can notice mango instead of peach, or orange instead of kumquat. Heavy chocolate notes, vanilla notes, no hop presence, no bitterness, just super smooth, with a heavy mouthfeel. Slight cherry, possibly lighter than the strawberry, which is odd because I felt there was more of a nose of cherry on this than the strawberry had, but could all be tricks of the mind.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: 3.72 (as of 2.14.20)
Lets move on to Hershey and their offerings, we’ll start with Rotunda Brewing Company’s Beautiful Trauma.
Firstly, let’s do a big shout out to Steve Glick for the great artwork on this. If you’ve seen the artwork from Rotunda Brewing, its all courtesy of Steve Glick, and he is absolutely killing it. Fantastic artwork.
Beer: Beautiful Trauma Brewery: Rotunda Brewing Company Style: Stout – Pastry ABV: 8.9% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: Imperial stout conditioned on strawberry puree, cocao nibs, and milk sugar.
Rotunda has been making some beautiful beers and this is no exception. Its dark black like a stout pastry should be. Fully opaque. A nice foamy head that did go away pretty quickly, but had the interspersed bubbles. There was nice lacing on the glass as you drank (or gulped) this beauty down.
Smell is fantastic. Its pure pastry. You get wonderful notes of cocao, lactose, vanilla, it smells like pastries. It smells creamy, it smells sugary, it smells sweet. Then you get hit with the strawberry under it all, and it comes up pretty strong at you, stronger than in some other versions of this beer (from other breweries).
Tasting this, you almost want to finish it all right away… but have to pull yourself back so you don’t over-indulge and drain it too fast. This is like drinking a chocolate covered strawberry pastry. You get strong grain, strong chocolate, strong vanilla, strong sugar, strong strawberry, in an absolutely wonderful blend. Its heavy on your tongue but not cloying. Its super smooth and hides its 8.9% ABV rather well.
My Untappd Rating: ****.25 Global Untappd Rating: 3.83 (as of 2.14.20)
Moving on to the next Hershey beer….
As you can see I drained this one a bit too much before taking a picture of it. (Ran into my cousin while at Troegs, and quickly got to drinking and talking more than taking a picture of it.)
Beer: Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout Brewery: Troegs Independent Craft Brewing Style: Stout – Milk / Sweet ABV: 7.8% IBU: None Listed Untappd Write-Up: This special Valentine’s release starts with big, vibrant, red Balaton cherries. They’re sweet. They’re tart. They’re juicy. Now wrap those thoughts in a warm, roasty chocolate stout and drizzle with vanilla. It was this cherry cordial daydream that set our brewers on this path, and lo and behold, dreams do come true.
As similar to all of the above, this was a dark beer. Fully opaque. Outside of the firkin from Boneshire Brew Works, this had the biggest and most resilient head to it. Foamy off-white (leaning towards brown) creamy head that retained for quite a while. Nice full looking body. Dark black but with a hint of brown to it.
Aroma on this one was far more cherry than any of the others so far. Most likely due to the usage of real fruits rather than purees. This had a sparkling cherry smell to it. You get good notes of chocolate and you get vanilla and sugary notes as well. The malts are a roasted sort that you pick up on as well, with almost a caramelized smell to them.
This one is tart but stout tart. You get a tartness from the cherries up front that then transitions into chocolate and its heavy. Some vanilla, some cream, some sugar, but the chocolate, kind of a bitter, cooking chocolate, is the most heaviest after the tartness of the cherries subsides. Its a very nice juxtaposition between the two that works very well into a blended stout here that makes its sum far more than its parts. This is re-drinkable easily, but not a full four pack by yourself in one sitting type. Two at most I’d say, but at its 7.8% ABV thats probably a good thing. This has a full thick body like a nice brickhouse (if you know what I mean, and if you’re having a good Valentine’s Day, hopefully you do) and it has a wonderful mouthfeel. Nothing cloying. The bitterness works nice with the creamyness. The tartness works great with the chocolate.
My Untappd Rating: **** Global Untappd Rating: (as of 8:30AM, 2.14.20, there isn’t enough of a global Untappd rating yet, when there is, I’ll edit this and add it in).
Now let’s go into Harrisburg, and start off with Lancaster Brewing Company.
Firstly, you won’t typically see this on the menu at Lancaster Brewing Company in Harrisburg (off of Eisenhower Boulevard). But if you ask for it, they’ll make it. Short story on it, is that its 50/50 Double Chocolate Stout and Strawberry Wheat. Then on top they drizzle strawberry sauce. (Thus the appearance in the picture.) Troegs used to do something similar with Mad Elf and their Chocolate Stout as well as Mad Elf and Dreamweaver (Chocolate Elf and Mad Dreams respectively). Cuvees or mixing beers has been a long practice with varying results.
Appearance for this is going to be odder than most. The beer itself is fifty percent Lancaster Brewing’s Strawberry Wheat and fifty percent Lancaster Brewing’s Double Chocolate Stout. It also has the drizzle of strawberry sauce on top. So it almost has the look of a large mixed drink rather than a beer. The chocolate stout overpowers the wheat beer and makes this a black, dark, stout looking beer. Its not quite fully black due to the wheat beer, but it is still fully opaque. The mixture makes a head that doesn’t retain once the drizzle eats through it.
Smell is all over the place too due to the mixture. You get strong strawberry, strong chocolate, strong milk, strong strawberry drizzle, strong wheat. You get a lot of strong aromas all hitting you at once. Their all attacking from all sides with strong fronts and your nose has no combat for it, no defenses, and no way to guide them correctly to their proper places. Its just all a bit much.
Taste is interesting. I’m a fan of their Double Chocolate Stout, but not a fan of their strawberry wheat (at all, just one of the beers I’ve never enjoyed). But this is actually a pretty good mixture of the two, and the stout does away with the flavors and reasons I’m not a fan of the strawberry wheat. The drizzle makes it super sweet and super strawberry, but the stout provides a nice dark backbone, a nice chocolate malty support structure for the strawberry to play on. Lancaster Brewing could probably make a good strawberry stout that would be better than this rather than having to use the subpar strawberry wheat to make the mixture.
My Untappd Rating: ***.75 Global Untappd Rating: 4.19 (as of 2.14.20)
And finally, our last Harrisburg, and our last beer on the list:
Firkin. Firkin. Firkin. Firkin. Firkin. Its just such a wonderful word. I don’t know (or remember) if the last time Boneshire produced this variant of LazaRIS if that was in a firkin as well; but this time it was.
I will admit, I love LazaRIS and there hasn’t been a variant of it yet that I haven’t loved either. I had this variant (Chocolate Cherry) first back in March 2017, and now again on February 13th, 2020.
Appearance is dark black like all of the above. Fully opaque, but with probably the biggest and most profound head of all of them. Could be because of the firkin or the beer, either way, it had a nice white brown foamy creamy head with interspersed bubbles and wonderful lacing on the glass as you drank this down. This is jet black, Razor Ramone hair black, Snoopy writing about a dark and stormy night black, black like the souls and hearts of some on Valentine’s Day. (Ooh, I like that last one, might have to remember to use that one more often!)
Aroma is heavy stout, heavy Russian Imperial Stout. Lots of deep dark malts. Lots of heavy grain, but it gets tempered with by the addition of the chocolate and cherry in this. You get strong cocao, strong chocolate, strong cherry that rounds out the usual smell of LazaRIS. This is just an extremely aromatic beer in all of its variants. Which I think is one of the biggest reasons I love this beer so much, I love smelling, inhaling, and savoring a beer before I even take that first sip, and LazaRIS is perfect for that.
Taste is immediate dark, immediate heavy, powerful malt, powerful dark grain, roasted, caramelized to a degree, and then you get the new additions, the chocolate, the cherry, the cocao, the heavy hitters come out firing on all cylinders and punching in every direction like the Tazmanian Devil. A whirling dervish of flavors assaults you suddenly, you get the chocolate, the cherry, the malt, the rich roasted notes, and they get you and hit you hard. There is so much to enjoy in this beer as you get all of these flavors in spades.
My Untappd Rating: ****.50 Global Untappd Rating: 4.08 (as of 2.14.20)
Ok, so lets break down the beers I reviewed here, and give some stats on them. First, my Untappd Ratings for all of them:
* Because I was Inverted (Chocolate Cherry) – **** * Because I was Inverted (Chocolate Strawberry) – **** * Beautiful Trauma – ****.25 * Chocolate Cherry Stout (Troegs) – **** * Double Chocolate Covered Strawberry – ***.75 * Chocolate Cherry LazaRIS – ****.50
So thats the breakdown of all of the Valentine’s Day beers in the Hershey / Harrisburg / Middletown area. Did I miss any? Let me know! Hopefully you’ll have as much fun finding these and trying them out as I did.