Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beers to you

Man it's been too long since I've posted. Work is really starting to get in the way of my amateur beer blogging goals. Nothing too exciting lately in my world of beer except that I brewed a freaking ridiculous west coast pale ale recently. Usually I don't brag about my beer, but this pale ale is all one could hope for. Lot's of citrusy hop flavor, a nice malt body, and only about 5% ABV. The funny thing is that I kind of threw it together haphazardly when I was brewing a Belgian dubbel (still fermenting).

So here's to beer and here's to you!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keep their heads ringing

Last Friday, Meg and I hit up Norm's and I picked up something very new that I had not heard of and I thought I'd share. It's brewed by RJ Rockers. I know, it sounds like a fake brewery, doesn't it? The same way PJ Skadoo's sounds like a fake restaurant that might appear on a Saturday morning episode of Saved by the Bell. But I assure you that it is a real brewery in Spartansburg, SC. A couple of weeks ago Norm's was sampling two RJ Rocker brews, the Patriot Pale Ale and the Bell Ringer. Both brews were great. Here goes some tasting notes:

Patriot Pale

Pours a golden yellow color with average white head. The smell is very grassy. The taste was mostly citrusy with a little grassiness. Mouthfeel was medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation.

All in all this one was very drinkable. I was reading some of the reviews on BA and some people were comparing it to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, I personally thought it was a little different (maybe the grassiness) and worth picking up. This is what a pale ale should be, flavorful, but still easy to drink. I would have bought a sixer, but lately I have been home brewing pale ales like they are going out of style, so I decided to pass until I finish up my home brew pales. A great choice for tailgate season.

Bell Ringer

Right from the start I knew I was going to like this beer. With a name like Bell Ringer you know you are in for some "in your face hoppiness." I note that BA has this listed as a Double IPA. However, the RJ Rockers website does not classify this as a Double IPA. I like to think of it more as an American Strong Ale, mainly because the color is darker than your usual DIPA and the hops are not as aggressive as your usual DIPA. Whatever!

It pours a deep caramel color with little head. It smells of hops. There is a hint of malt, but the hops are dominate. Citrusy hops more than piney hops. The taste is complex, there is a fruity tartness to it that reminds me of purple sweet tarts (unique, eh?). There are plenty of citrusy hops, but not over done.

Don't drink more than a couple or the 8.5% ABV will sneak up on you and ... ring your bell. I picked up a sixer and I am loving it.


Saturday, November 1, 2008


Wednesday night Meg and I went for drinks with a friend in Arlington, on our way back we stopped at Westover Market. I had heard that this place a had a great beer selection, but wasn't convinced based upon the exterior. So we decided to investigate ourselves. The above photo was taken from their website. They have as termed on their website the "Great Wall of Beer" which is pretty true to form. Meg and I were very impressed with their selection of beers, they had all of our favorites (Victory, Stone, Avery, Troegs, etc.) and lots of stuff we weren't familiar with. the only criticism I had of the place is that its unorganized. You've literally got beer piling up all over the place, but that's not such a bad problem to have. We got to talking with the owner and he informed us that every first Friday of the month and every second Saturday, they have beer and wine tastings with live music. It all sounded very cool and in the spirit of promoting quality beer. Check out their website for more information:

So as of last post we had picked up a bottle of Hopsinjoor and Merry Monks. We also picked up a bottle of "Ale to the Chief" from Westover on Wednesday. Finally, we hit up Norm's lat night for the usual routine. Here is a quick once over on some of these beers:

Gouden Hopsinjoor: I can't get enough of these Belgian IPAs. Lots of fruit, pepper, and spice on the tongue. Starts off with a citrusy lemon zest and morphs into a piney hop explosion. The malt backbone is barely noticeable leaving only a little sweetness and body. Overall: B+

Weyerbacher Merry Monks: First, this bottle was impossible to open, Meg and I literally had to use wine cork remover to get this thing open. I believe this is considered a tripel, but it pours an orange color which is somewhat unusual for a tripel (rules be damned!). It had a nice balance of flavors with lightly toasted malts up front and a heavy dose of syrupy fruit flavors (largely apricots). It finished with a subtle hop bite on the back side. The alcohol remains well hidden. This is as it should be an exploration of malt and fruit flavors with just a touch of hops. Overall: B+

Avery Ale to the Chief: Now I usually don't like to post much in the way of negativity, but I just couldn't get behind this one. I think the most upsetting thing is that Meg and I are big Avery fans and perhaps we had high expectations (this beer scores well on beeradvocate). For a double IPA the hops were unremarkable. The alcohol taste is very present. Sharp and harsh bitterness in the finish. Meg and I didn't even finish the 22oz. bottle. Overall: D