Tag Archives: beer review

Beer Review: Bay State Brewing Co’s Becky Likes the Smell

Hello,

I can’t stay away from IPAs. There was a time when I did not like IPAs at all, but, because I’m stubborn, I kept drinking them, over and over again. Now I kind of like them.

I really don’t know how I feel about the name of this one: Becky Likes the Smell.

I dig what they’re referring to, as the can promo woman is holding a hop (one hop?) in her hand, but man, I dunno.

The IPA does smell good. Smells like a fruitier IPA. Sweeter, maybe.

Love the can art.

No credit for the can art though. Not sure how I feel about, Bay State Brewing Co..

Anyway, it’s late and I need to write this blog entry and drink this beer.

And not sure how I feel about this one. I feel like the can over-promised on this one. Supposedly I can taste notes of: tropical fruit, pear, spice, melon, pine and citrus.

I feel like you’d be hard pressed NOT to taste pine and citrus in an IPA. That’s just what hops taste like.

It’s just a little empty, especially considering that this is a double IPA. I expect a little more oomph from a double IPA, and I don’t just mean with the alcohol. Other double IPAs really pack in the flavor, sometimes to an overwhelming degree.

I’d say that if you want a lighter, more refreshing double IPA, than this one is a good bet. Not too much backbite with the bitterness, but when they say subtle notes on the can, they mean subtle. It’s definitely not as sticky as some IPAs can get.

Feeling let down.

Great can art. Ok beer. Upsetting name.

Six robots that transform into cassette tapes out of eight.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Beer Review: Collective Arts’ Life in the Clouds

Hello,

I decided to take another crack at a Collective Arts Brewing IPA tonight because I enjoyed last night’s so much. The initial smell is definitely not as intense as it was last night, but this is not a Double IPA.

I will say that IPAs are a devil of a thing to review because unless a company is actually trying to make a distinctive flavor, mostly all you get is the in-your-face flavor of hops. This one smells a little citrus.

The one last night reminded me a great deal of a Ballast Point IPA and I’m getting the same vibe here.

Oh and the art on the can is by Annabelle Popa. She does some pretty cool comics that you can read through her site as well.

Sorry, forgot about the beer for a moment.

It’s another solid IPA, but there’s nothing that particularly stands out to me about this one, unlike last night’s offering.

Again, it doesn’t aggressively overwhelm me with bitterness and again it’s very pleasant. There’s no point where I feel let down, where it’s too airy, or too light. It’s ticking the boxes for everything I want in an IPA.

I just realized I’m coming across as disappointed and there’s nothing to be disappointed about. I think this is a good IPA starter, if you’re not a huge fan of IPAs or you’ve never had one, you won’t go wrong trying this one. It’s still bitter, but it doesn’t linger like in some craft IPAs. It’s complex enough to not be boring, but not overly heavy and it has a decent kick, in terms of alcohol content.

I give it five IPAs out of four t-rex pepper shakers.

-D-

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Beer Review: Collective Arts’ IPA No. 8

Hello,

The first thing I have to say about this beer is that the moment I popped it open, all I smelled were hops. Keep in mind, I didn’t have my face right in the beer. My nose was a good two or three feet away from the can when I opened it.

Bam.

Hops.

And I mean, the actual physical hops. Like when you go on the Sam Adams brewery tour and they make you rub hops between your hands so your hands smell like hops for the rest of the day. Like that. Not hoppy or essence of hops.

Just. Hops.

I still haven’t even tried it. It’s..astonishing. I don’t even know if I want to try it.

I love their can art though. Is that a term? A real term? Can art? I prefer the art on Stranger than Fiction, their porter, but this just pops. According to Collective Arts’s website, they use their beer to promote artists and muscians, so that’s pretty cool.

Still haven’t tried it.

I waved the beer at my wife and she said it smells like a brewery floor.

It smells like its calmed down a bit, much more muted, more tame. Before it was a hops djinn that had been released from some thousand year slumber. Now it’s…an IPA.

Whoa, that’s pretty pleasant actually. Not aggressively bitter, it’s not one of those craft beers going for the IBUs. It’s…a really good, really solid IPA. It’s a little sweet, barely any back-of-the-throat bitterness biting at you.

Wow.

I don’t think I’ve had such a positive turnaround on a beer from beginning to end.

If you like IPAs, but you’re sick of some bearded, flannel wearer cramming bitterness down your throat like a craft beers are a contest to see who can get the highest IBUs, definitely try this out. Little sweet, very solid and a strong IPA.

I give it six happy, floaty clouds.

CORRECTION: It’s a double IPA, so at 8%, it might put you down, if you’re not used to that.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Beer Review: Wormtown Brewery’s Sweet Tats

Hello Again,

So I have a weird relationship with porters and stouts.

A lot of the time, I’ll try, say, one of the many variations of Guinness and it’s…empty. There’s some flavor at the front and some bitterness at the back and there’s just nothing holding up in the middle.

But! With Imperial Stouts, there is something in the middle. There’s a little more oomph. Now, a lot of that is probably the higher alcohol content, but usually they’re richer, fuller and more flavorful and you’re drunker much faster.

And Wormtown Brewery‘s Sweet Tats is no exception.

Unlike a lot of imperial stouts I’ve had, which can be almost viscous and overpowering, Sweet Tats is less dense, less heavy, but still flavorful with a bit of a punch.

I will say that the label says it’s been flavored with coffee beans, cacao nibs and vanilla beans, but I’m not really picking any of those out. Sometimes I’ll hit a glimmer of coffee or maybe a hint of vanilla, but that’s about it.

However, if the alternative is aggressive vanilla flavor hitting me in the face like a wet sock soaked in vanilla extract, I think I’d rather have this. I swear to god, there are some brewery’s that don’t think people can taste something unless the beer is saturated with spice. I’m looking at you, Shipyard and your cinnamon obsession.

Anyway, if you want a lighter Imperial Stout that’s not too aggressive, but also isn’t like drinking bitter air, Sweet Tats is the way to go. It’s smooth, nice and doesn’t reek of vanilla beans.

I give it five out of five dinosaur pepper shakers.

Also, they have really nice glassware, so if you’re ever in Worcester go buy some. I think I’m using the “wrong” glass, but my one rule for glassware is: does it hold a pint of beer?

I don’t need to be told that I should use tulip glasses for IPAs or shot glasses for stouts or martini glasses for Coors Light.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Spoooky Beer Review: Harpoon’s UFO Pumpkin

image

Harpoon makes some of my favorite beers, from their UFO White to Leviathon, you’re generally going to get a solid, complex beer with a lot to offer. So I had high hopes when I picked up UFO Pumpkin.

And those hopes were resoundingly rewarded. This if the kind of pumpkin ale that I want to be drinking; when there’s more pumpkin than spices and I feel like I’m in the middle of Halloween instead of the middle of some over-saturated, over-spiced pumpkin pie being served up for someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s unfiltered, so it has a deep, cloudy orange, making it look heavier than it actually tastes. It’s a deep, rich orange. It’s a satisfying color, letting you know exactly what you’re in for.

There is cinnamon and spice up front, which gives way to a solid and hearty pumpkin flavor. Much like Pumpkinhead, it’s very crisp and ultimately very refreshing.

For day to day drinking, both Pumpkinhead and UFO Pumpkin are good beers. They both have a relatively low alcohol content and don’t overwhelm you with unnecessary flavor. It honestly depends on what you’re looking for in a pumpkin ale. If you’re looking for a more spice heavy beer, I’d go with Pumpkinhead. If you want something a little more pumpkiny (that’s a technical term), UFO Pumpkin should be your go-to this season.  The spices and the pumpkin flavoring go hand-in-hand.

For me, UFO Pumpkin is the way to go and I give it seven cheerful Jack O’ Lanterns and a scowling black cat.

-D-

1 Comment

Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Spoooky Beer Review: Shipyard Brewing Co.’s Pumpkinhead

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

In spite of the fact that I have now reviewed it twice on my blog, I am really not a huge fan of Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin. There is a LOT of flavor in there, but’s mostly spice, with the minute amounts of pumpkin being overwhelmed by cinnamon and nutmeg.

Now, you may be asking, why am I talking about Smashed Pumpkin for the third time? Well, because I have, somehow, never tried Shipyard’s main Halloween offering: Pumpkinhead Ale.  Smashed Pumpkin is a fancy beer that you can only purchase in those oversized pint-and-a-half bottles with a gold foil cover; Pumpkinhead is more like Smashed Pumpkin‘s little brother. It has a lower alcohol content and is sold in six packs and even in…cans.

It is a big seller round these parts and a symbol that Halloween is barreling down the highway like some lunatic truck.

And I have never reviewed it.

So I’m going to rectify that…right now.

image

As far as pumpkin ales go, Pumpkinhead is a nice golden color. Not really that deep, orange I expect form pumpkin ales, but it’s rich and reminds me of Fall. And really, that’s all you can ask for in a Fall themed beer.

The first thing I notice when I poke my nose in the glass is cinnamon. Lots and lots of cinnamon. And maybe nutmeg. And I know that I’m not going to be thrilled. It’s a sweet and heavily spiced aroma that promises little in the way of pumpkins and a lot in the way of spice.

And drinking confirms it.

It’s more spice than pumpkin, much like with Smashed Pumpkin. However, unlike Smashed Pumpkin, it’s much lighter: lighter flavor and lighter alcohol content. It’s more refreshing and less overwhelming. Smashed Pumpkin can put you on your ass and leave you there gagging on spices. Pumpkinhead is gentler and a better beer for it, though still not quite what I’m looking for in a pumpkin beer.

It’s the perfect middle-of-the-week beer. You need something to remind you that Halloween is coming and forget the eight hours of work you just endured. You grab a Pumpkinhead. You don’t swirl it in your pilsner glass and comment on the aromas, like some asshole with a blog. You sit on the couch, turn on a baseball game and wonder what in God’s name happened to the Red Sox this season and let Pumpkinhead take you away.

I give it a handful of cinnamon sticks. And a ginger root. Because I bought a ginger root a few weeks ago thinking that Emily and I were going to make dumplings, but that didn’t really happen and now it’s getting a little shriveled.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Halloween Monday Movie Marathon and Beer: Hillside Cannibals and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

image

I am disappointed to end this day on a low note, but that’s how it is. I am not a huge fan of Dogfish Head, but I decided I’d give them one more shot, in the spirit of the season. The problem isn’t so much with the brewery as it is with brown ales. I don’t like brown ales. I don’t like brown ales when they’re wearing the mask of pumpkin seasoning either. If you like Dogfish Head ales, you’ll probably like this. Me? Not so much.

 

And, on top of that, I didn’t really enjoy Hillside Cannibals either. It was a mean spirited little flick that didn’t do much in the way of scaring or anything else. It didn’t try and get you to care about the few characters it didn’t murder straight off the bat and it didn’t really invest much time in the villains either.

I spent a large amount of time flipping through things on my phone while pointless, meaningless violence played out on the screen. The few times I decided to pay attention, I discovered that the people in charge of making sure the plot made sense were on vacation.

Assuming you had a character hellbent on dispensing vengeance and he knew what he was in for; would you equip him with one hand gun and a machete? In his shoes, I’d pack a goddamn arsenal and I sure as hell wouldn’t let myself get caught in five minutes and dispatched just as quickly!

It was the most polished, well put together and best acted movie I’ve seen all day and it was, without a doubt, the worst. It could not follow through on its basic premise, could not deliver on the savagery it implied and it was not scary. It was not horror.

All in all, I’d say there must be chart that describes the failure of a budget to deliver on a movie’s premise. The higher the budget, the greater the disappointment and the angrier I am.

Stay away from these middle of the road flick. Go lower or go higher, but never stray too close to the middle of the road.

This is -D-, concluding his great Monday Halloween Movie Marathon and still ready and rarin’ to go for October 31st.

Boo.

-D-

1 Comment

Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Halloween Monday Movie Marathon and Beer: Cryptic Plasm and Imperial Pumking

image

First, let’s talk about the Imperial Pumking, before we jump into the movie. Pumking is one of my favorite pumpkin ales, a fact I forgot before I opened the bottle. I has a strong pumpkin flavors and does not rely so heavily on cinnamon flavoring as other pumpkin ales do. In fact, I would be hard pressed to identify any cinnamon flavoring at all in this beer. There are far less spices utilized and it relies far more on single, strong flavor notes.

There is a very nutty flavor and aroma, with a very crisp and clear bitter bite as its finish. All in all, this is one of my favorite pumpkin ales and I’m glad I remembered that.

Five…pumpkins…or something.

Onto the movie!

Morbid Vision Films is a local film company that specializes in exceedingly gory horror films. In fact, right on the back of the box it states that no CGI was used in the making of the movie, a hallmark that I wish big budget horror films would use as well. There is nothing that shakes you free of an illusion than noticeable CGI. Do as many effects as possible practically and you will get away with far more.

Crytpic Plasm (which, technically, has not been released yet. The copy I have is a pre-release) follows two guys as they film weird and unusual happenstances in Massachusetts/New England. There are lake monsters, exorcisms, dimensional rifts and more. And there is a lot of blood. More blood than in Kill Bill. There is broad swathes of blood everywhere in this movie and it is in such impressive quantities that I became concerned that they had sapped the fake blood resources of North America.

Instead of focusing on a single mystery, they go out of their way to throw their intrepid crytpozoologist filmmakers into numerous situations before things really take a turn for the worst. There are hair, teeth and eyeballs flying everywhere and I’d have to say that I haven’t seen better low budget special effects in a long time.

Also, on another note, the acting in Morbid Vision Films movies tends to be of higher quality than other studios. It’s not winning any Oscars, but they’re more believable and less obvious than a lot of other indie horror flicks I’ve watched in the past. On the whole, they’re a pretty well rounded group of filmmakers.

Their movies, the few I’ve seen, are reminiscent of Fulci movies; extremely over the top and to the walls extreme with the amount of gore they feature. While Cryptic Plasm is a little more staid and restrained than their more extreme creation (Banned in Germany!), it does not fail to deliver.

If you’re a fan of low budget horror, check this one out, if only for the effects. You won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned for more of the Halloween Monday Movie Marathon! And, of course, beer.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Fat Jack

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a beer review and, in all honesty, it’s probably been a long while since I’ve actually spent any time thinking about the stuff I’m pouring into my stomach. It’s time to slow down and think about what I’m drinking. And we’re going to start off with something season appropriate.

FatJack

As I’ve mentioned before, Sam Adams has a series of limited edition beers that they only release in their larger bottles. I’ve reviewed one or two in the past and they can range from very nice to solid, but underwhelming. They’ll rarely hit one out of the park, but they’re dependable, more complex than average and will allow your typical beer drinker the go outside of their comfort zone without gettin’ too crazy.

Fat Jack is a great example of a Sam Adams craft beer and it’s high on my list of pumpkin ales. A lot of pumpkin beers rely too heavily on spices leading to a lackluster experience. When all you have seasoning your beer is an overabundance of cinnamon, your beer is going to lack any true depth. Most of the pumpkin beers I’ve tried have started off with a strong burst of flavor and then quickly peter out into nothing.

But Fat Jack is solid through and through. You can tell from the color that things are different. Instead of the pale orange typical of its breed, it’s a deep amber color. It has a spiced smell, but it’s not sharp or overwhelming.

It’s a deep, rich beer, with a lot of flavor of pumpkin in addition to the usual assortment of spices. It’s well rounded, bold and heavy, in terms of flavor. From first to last, you get a strong pumpkin ale with a great start and a strong finish.

All in all, this is one of the best pumpkin ales you can get, right up there with my favorite, Pumking. Do yourself a favor this Halloween season and check it out.

I give it a Great Pumpkin and the original Black Christmas.

-D-

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Third Voyage

image

 

For a long time, I had a love/hate relationship with IPAs. They were too bitter, too strong tasting, too hoppy. Now I feel like I could go the rest of my life never drinking anything else. So when I saw a new Sam Adams Double IPA, (Third Voyage) I ran and grabbed my specially designed, high tech Sam Adams guzzlin’ glass and filled it to the brim with hoppy.

And I’m underwhelmed. I’m never happy with an ordinary IPA. I want to be sandblasted with flavor. I want to have trouble finishing the whole glass because the flavor is punching me in the uvula with a ferocity that could only be equaled by Jake LaMotta roid ragin’. I want my taste buds to be knocked out so hard that the only thing they’ll be able to handle is watered down PBR.

The problem with Third Voyage is that it’s too….nice. There’s no bold flavor at the front and there’s no bold flavor at the back. It’s smooth, almost downright mellow and it’s ticking me off. It hits all the right notes, but not with the right intensity. It has a sharp bark, but no bite. It has that bitter finisher, but not that throat puckering grab that some IPAs have.

It’s a perfectly good Double IPA, sweet and grapey and strong, but it’s just not the IPA for me. I recommend it if you’re not into ultra-hoppy IPAs like Harpoon’s Rye Ipa.

I give it half a hop and a skip.

-D-

Leave a comment

Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It