Review: Rogue Farms Good Chit Pilsner

good chit pilsner rogue farms

Here’s the thing about Pilsner (or “Pils” if you’re a douche); it’s the Toyota Corolla of beer. Pilsner is pretty similar around the globe, and just like your ’88 rusted out Corolla, a Pilsner is always there to get you rolling when you want a crisp and clean brew. Starting as a Czech farmhouse brew a few hundred years ago, Pilsner is now brewed around the world and in many styles, but the bubbly crisp taste is always there. Rogue did some unique stuff with this pilsner in the brew process; but then stuck with the throwback Czech yeast as a call to the past and bring it full circle.

Once poured, a two finger head rises, but then fades to nice thin drinkable layer with some lacing as swirled. Honey in color, with cloudiness that eventually settles, this glass just looks refreshing. You can definitely taste and smell the hops; which is a bit different than many traditional pilsners, but hey, I dig hops. Well, time to taste this jazz.

Yup, as expected, nice and clean upfront, semi citrusy flavor even, with a grit or kind of earthy tone (from the Rogue grown barley?) before the final crisp bitter at the end. Honestly this is a great summer brew, easy to drink, super smooth with just enough bitter to keep you sipping. A nice brew to have a few bombers and not be falling over drunk at your “bro’s frat party,” brah.

The Facts:
Beer: Good Chit Pilsner
Brewer: Rogue Farms
Brewed in: Oregon, USA
ABV: 6%
Rating: 8 of 10

Review: Breckenridge Brewing Vanilla Porter

I’m a fan of flavored porters and stouts…generally. With that said, I had high expectations for this beer. Once poured, the dark color was appreciated and I was ready for that smoky porter taste. The pint had a nice head and the aroma was fairly sweet. Here’s where it all goes wrong…

porters-breckenridge-vanilla-porter

Once sipped, I was expecting a sweet flavor off the bat, with the sour/smoky flavor at the back, you know, like a traditional porter. I was sadly mistaken, the beer tasted light, I really am not sure why it’s called/considered a porter? There was nothing about it that would make me classify this as a porter, more of a dark ale with some flavoring. I hate to not be positive at all on a brew, but unfortunately I have nothing positive to say other than if this beer was free I’d gladly drink it. It has more of a “I’ll bring this to my grandma’s knitting circle for the ladies” flavor as opposed to a proper porter for a real live beer enthusiast, more malt less frill next time please.

Usually my beer reviews are a bit more verbose, but my review is half assed when the beer I drink is half assed, and other than giving this to the bride in a gift basket for a wedding, I don’t believe there is another purpose for it. If you want a porter that is traditional, then this beer is not for you. If you want an easily sipped beer while playing a game of washers with the homies on a hot day, then this may be alright, but I wouldn’t buy it again. This is the lowest rated beer I’ve reviewed on this site, and I was being generous, BUT, I will give the brewer another shot on a different beer later.

The Facts:
Beer: Vanilla Porter
Brewer: Breckenridge Brewing
Brewed in: Breckenridge, CO, USA
ABV: 4.7%
Rating: 3 of 10

Review: Smuttynose Barleywine Ale

smuttynose-barelywine-ale

Smuttynose has some interesting brews, as well as very nice, sometimes hilarious labels, so in the neighborhood craft brew bodega they definitely stand out from the pack. Barleywine style ales are usually a heavy variety of beer, high ABV, malty flavor; hints of caramels maybe even dryness like a dark chocolate bar in certain varieties.

When poured, dark amber in color, with nice, thick, and creamy foam head (that’s not suggestive). Caramel malts are smelled before the first sip. Once that first sip hits the tongue it’s pretty damn impressive, holds true to the “Big Beer” series moniker attached. The front is a big blast of malt, but at the end of the taste, there is a distinct bitterness from the hops. I like the drastic taste differences with this combination of malt and hops flavors, it’s like pouring salt on watermelon; either you like it or you don’t. The combo of hops/malt works better here than in the last Barleywine I reviewed, as in the case of Smuttynose, their hops addition is just used to add a bite at the back of the flavor but not overpowering like the Stone Old Guardian.

Initially, I thought the alcohol flavor was not hidden well in the beer though, but then I read that it is suggested to age a bit, so the alcohol “mellows out”….man. So, I’m going to rate the beer, but let’s just say the jury is still out for a month or so, as I’m going to age a bottle and revisit this.

The Facts:
Beer: Barleywine Ale
Brewer: Smuttynose Brewing Company
Brewed in: Hampton, New Hampshire, USA
ABV: 11.6%
Rating: 7.25 of 10
Price: $6.99 per 22oz bottle

Review: Stone Brewing 2015 Old Guardian Barley Wine Extra Hoppy

A couple notes to start. It is advised to age this beer before drinking, however, my local liquor store had it in a fridge, and I do not like to let a beer get to room temp if it has already been chilled. Second, there is regular version without the “extra hoppy” moniker, and I probably should’ve done a side by side review (which I still may do sometime soon). Anyhow, this is a limited release selection from Stone in their “Odd Year” release series. Usually the odd year releases are a rehashed version of a previously limited beer.

Stone Brewing Old Guardian Barley Wine Extra Hoppy

With a barley wine brew, I’m fully expecting a heavy malted caramel flavor, almost sweet and thick. Indeed, the first sniff after the pour reveals some of that heavy fruit scent you get with a barley wine, however there is a citrus scent from the rarely used Azacca hops; actually a dwarf variety of hops that packs quite a punch. The color is a smooth brown with a super creamy head. Tasting the beer reveals a sweat taste at first, with a dry bitterness at the end from the Azacca no doubt. While I do give Stone credit for branching out and trying something a little weird, I don’t really think this works. I mean, reading about it from their website got me excited to try it, but the hops just shouldn’t be in a barley wine brew, it’s just too out there. I feel like it would be weird to say “try my IPA Smoked Porter,” some things weren’t meant to mix, and barley wine heavy malt type beers with a strong flavored hops just doesn’t mesh well with my palate at least. What’s weird is, the color, the smell, the taste…everything is good until the bite of the hops, and it just doesn’t fly in this type of beer.

This, and the regular Old Guardian Barley Wine (without the extra hops) were released on 2/9/15, so check your local vendors for availability. I’d say either are worth trying, but you be the judge of the crazy that is the Extra Hoppy version. It’s a melding of styles in one bottle, while I commend Stone on always pushing the limits of what beer should be, I just don’t think this one works.

The Facts:
Beer: Old Guardian Barley Wine Extra Hoppy: Odd Year series
Brewer: Stone Brewing Co
Brewed In: Escondido, California, USA
ABV: 11%
Price: $8.69+tax for 22oz Bottle
Rating: 6 of 10

Review: Bell’s Winter White Ale

Well to be completely honest, Bell’s really haven’t done much for me in the past. I try to be open to different brews from a given company, even if I was not pleased with a past product I may have tried, so with that in mind, time to see what’s up. Since winter is juuuust about done, I figured I could review one more seasonal. I’m expecting a light, and easy to drink beer with “Winter White Ale”, and upon pouring the light amber color and foamy head appear. In reading about this beer, I learned that it was NOT spiced; the scents and flavors are simply from the grain/hops and yeast used.

bells-winter-ale

When poured, there is a citrus smell, even a clove type scent. The beer is cloudy, but according to Bell’s it’s supposed to be that way. Honestly, the pairing of Kush that I had went great with the flavor of this beer, it made for a very fruity flavor. If you’re a smoker I’d advise to try it, the beer some how brings out the green’s flavor on my tongue. Bell’s Winter Ale on its own is a pretty good seasonal brew; there is a hefeweizen like banana after taste that I enjoyed and the clove scent was present in taste as well. The downside on the flavor; I did purchase this in a 16oz can, and there was a pretty persistent iron taste throughout. I wasn’t sure if that was Michigan water they used or the can causing the iron taste, but it was too much, definitely ruined the overall taste.

Overall, this is the best beer I’ve had from Bell’s. I’ve had “Two Hearted Ale” and a stout from them in the past, they just don’t whet my whistle as a whole, but I WOULD recommend “Winter White Ale” to a friend no doubt, especially for a long drinking night as it is a light, pilsnerish type brew. Goes down smooth, and a pretty good overall flavor.

The Facts:
Beer: Winter White Ale
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery
Brewed in: Michigan, USA
ABV: 5.0%
Rating: 6.75 of 10
Price: $1.89 per 16oz Can (Sale)

Review: Innis & Gunn

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This brew was born in Edinburgh, Scotland with the highest quality in mind. The malt, hops, and maturation process is so unique that it takes 77 days in Bourbon Casks to ensure their unique taste is created, gaining their reputation as the finest “oak aged beer.”

InnisAndGunnLager

Innis & Gunn have 8 beers on the market but the one that really stands out is their original recipe. The Innis & Gunn original has an extremely smooth finish with hints of toffee and caramel from start to end without that awful bitter spot on the swallow. If you aren’t a lover of sweets, don’t be deterred as the beer has a continuous oak atmosphere that balances out any thought of sugar. The brew is actually a perfect blend of dark (from the roasted malts) to the light (super Styrian hops) that combine to make a lasting effect.

If drinking Innis & Gunn at home, pour the beer masterfully tilted into the pint glass while letting the liquid slowly seep out. The pint glass must be held slightly slanted, as well, during the process. When the beer has about a quarter left to go to the top, abruptly turn the pint glass upright so the beer finishes off with a creamy, thick head. If ordering this beer at the bar, make sure the bartender follows the above steps for the best results.

This original recipe is a beer that you would drink casually at the bar or pair with a good quality burger or juicy steak. The oak and toffee in the brew pair extremely well with a red meat or even better, on its own.

If you see Innis & Gunn at your local supermarket be sure to make
a grab for it as it’s brewed in small batches to ensure the best quality and meets the master brewer’s premium standards.

The Facts:
Brewer: Innis and Gunn
Brewed In: Edinburgh, Scotland
ABV: 6.6%

Review: Gem Amber Ale

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England is a very old country where a city called Bath, in the south part, is known for being one of the country’s oldest villages. This makes the beer they produce in this region stand out as being brewed with a high level of skill and passion that has been perfected over centuries of practice. Bath produces a premium line of ales with the Gem Amber Ale being a knockout contender

Gem-Amber-Ale

Gem has a dark, auburn color with a slight hint of carbonation making the foam of the beer handsomely stick to the sides of the pint glass when taking a sip. The brew inhabits a tasty, malty embodiment in the mouth that washes down with a slightly bitter ending. Malt are what make a beer sweet without the tackiness of a sugar like you would get from a piece of candy. While having such an easy, smooth drink, the punch at the end really wakes your taste buds up that satisfies all of your cravings for a fully-rounded experience. Gem is a rare find that expertly balances a blend between the sweet and bitter perfectly.

When you find this ale in a bottle in your local supermarket, make sure to pour it into a pint glass for the best result on taste and appearance. When pairing it with your favorite dishes, Gem pairs perfectly with strong cheeses, spicy pizzas, and barbeque fresh from the flames. The label is somewhat unattractive but the high level of skill that went into imagining this perfect recipe makes up in miles that one small set back.

The Facts:
Brewer: Bath Ales
Brewed In: Warmley, UK
ABV: 4.8%

Review: Okell’s IPA

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Ever heard of the Isle of Man? They are well known for the Isle of Man TT where motorcyclists race for their lives around the island in a couple of minutes. They are also known for their excellent lagers and ales from the Okell’s Brewery, which creates some of the tastiest beers in Europe. Even though the population of the island is only 86,000 people, that didn’t stop the brewery from becoming an international success.

okells-ipa

The beer is light in color with a lovely, pale crisp hue. At first taste, the hops are the most prevalent feature as the brew slowly tickles down the throat. Hops in a beer are the main concept to give the brew its flavouring and stability. To have a beer that maintains a strong hops flavoring is incredibly impressive as Okell’s demonstrates with its India Pale Ale (IPA). To balance off the hops taste, hints of spicy lemon and a background sweetness round off the incredible full-bodied flavor.
If you have ever walked through a brewery, any brewery at all, and inhaled the aroma lingering around the boilers with a smile on your face and a motivation for the tasting rooms to get your hands on the beer, then Okell’s IPA is for you. It tastes exactly like the lovely hops in the boilers smell. The beer also pairs extremely well with any deep-fried dish, especially french fries (the thicker, fuller ones). This is definitely a beer to have at the bar or at home when around a bunch of friends, as they say, “the more the merrier!”

The Facts:
Brewer: Okell’s
Brewed In: Kewaigue, UK

Baird-Ishii-Stone Brewing Co. Japanese Green Tea IPA

Green-Tea-IPA

As an avid IPA fan, I was a little nervous when I read “Green Tea,” on the label of this beer. I thought about it though, and remembered the green tea/citrus drink from Lipton I’ve had, and thought, “You know, this could work.” Bought a 1Pint 6oz bottle for $7.59, once poured, it’s a nice light gold, almost honey colored brew, thick head on the pour, and you can see what looks like small chunks of hops floating in the beer. First sniff, reveals a fruity, tropical and citrus scent.

Upon tasting, the fireworks went off, this is probably my favorite IPA I’ve EVER had, totally floored…this is where the rest of the review becomes totally biased. The citrus and tropical aromas from the hops are definitely present at first taste. Very light and goes down super smooth for a brew featuring 10.1% ABV, totally masked by the masterful brewing. The whole green leaf tea used in the beer is what I think gives the dry ending to the taste, which is good, as it reminds me of sipping a good champagne. It’s pretty amazing to have these drastic of flavors across the palate, even more amazing that from sweet to dry works so well for a full, but smooth taste. I really can’t say enough about this IPA, except that you NEED to try it. Here’s the downside, it is NOT available in all 50 states, and only available in select international locales, so check: stonebrewing.com for availability. Cheers, and Salute!

The Facts:
Name: Japanese Green Tea IPA
Brewer: Baird/Ishii/Stone Brewing Co Collaboration
Brewed in: Escondido,California USA
ABV: 10.1%
Cost: $7.59 +tax for a Pint+
Personal Rating: 9.95 of 10

Revolution Brewing Coup D’Etat Saison Ale

Coupe D'Etat Saison - By Revolution Brewing
Revolution Brewing – Chicago, IL

Poured from a 22oz Bottle into a snifter (tulip recommended). Dense white foam layer, the beer is an amber gold color and not too carbonated, like a lot of Saisons can be. Instantly you can smell the aromas of citrus, herbs, and that happy hops scent, a VERY full flavor palate is anticipated. At first sip, definite fruity and citrus flavor common of a Saison, however, crisp and dry at the same time. There is a nutty type earthy tone at the back, which gives Coup D’Etat more depth in the all around flavor, not AS light as most beers like this can be which I definitely appreciate. The alcohol content is concealed pretty well by the great flavor; here are the stats on the brew:

Brewed By: Revolution Brewing Company

Brewed In: Chicago, IL, USA

ABV: 7.5%

Overall, this is 4 out of 5 for me. Coup D’Etat is very flavorful, but light, French style Saison. The graphic designer who did their labels should win a separate award as well, but that’s neither here nor there. I would definitely recommend this brew to a friend, and furthermore, will personally visit the brewery in Chicago soon to sample the beer directly from the source. Give it a try, the price is not crazy for a 22oz bomber, so buy two and have a good night! Cheers.