Category: Beer Reviews


In case…

 

In case your wondering who this idiot is, that is bashing your favorite beers…that’s me on the left there…what a schmuck, right.

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That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout

Pearl Street Brewery

La Crosse, WI

http://www.pearlstreetbrewerycom

ABV -6%

IBU – Unavailable

 Hey there…I’m back for more beer related shenanigans. Today we’re going to have a look into the pitch black depths of Pearl Street Brewery’s “That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout” Rolled Oat Stout.

 TWITB appears pitch black in my pint glass. Seriously, it looks like someone poured a glassful of the thickest, blackest molasses they could find. There’s a slight tan head, but that disappears pretty quickly leaving just a bit of foam at the top.

 The aroma is pretty amazing. All the roasted malt punches you right in the nose. Seems like a bit of chocolate comes through as well.

 TWITB is thick and rich. It’s chocolatey with the slightest hint of coffee. Just as the malt flavors are fading away, a pleasant bitterness sneaks in the back way to take its place.

 That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout is a delicious, full-bodied ale. You really have to pay attention to uncover everything this beer has to offer.  I know several people who enjoy a good stout…and I would recommend this to any one of them with out a second thought. TWITB is a really tasty beer. Ya know what might be good…and maybe not…but this is me being childish yet again…a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream dropped into a room temperature glass of Pearl Street’s Rolled Oat Stout. Yeah…you heard me…a That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Rolled Oat Stout Float…

 Don’t just sit there…run out and grab some now.

By the way…if any of you are tired of reading about Wisconsin and midwestern micro’s, send me something else. If you have a great microbrew in your town and you want people to know about it…send me one…I’ll happily taste and review anything you send my way. Drop me a line at jfrank2264@gmail.com and I’ll set you up with some mailing info.

Cheers…

Josh Frank

Night Train Ale

O’so Brewing Company

Plover, WI

http://www.osobrewing.com

ABV – 7.2%

IBU – 86

O’So Brewing Company prides themselves on what they refer to as “Freestyle Brewing”. Their Night Train Ale is a perfect example of freestyle brewing success.

 Night Train Ale is a pitch black oatmeal porter. There is very little head or foam, just a bit of film that floats ontop of the blackest of beers.

 Night Train’s aroma is mouth-watering. Coffee and chocolate with a hint of black liquorice.

 The flavors are rich and malty, roasted coffee flavors blending nicely with a hint of chocolate. There is a pleasant hop bitterness that clings to your tongue. There are also the slightest of alcohol flavors…though it in no way detracts from the beer. The finish is dry.

 Night Train is a complicated ale…most likely a Robust Porter if we really need to apply labels to things, but really who needs labels. I thoroughly enjoyed Night Train. It might be hard to drink more than two or three in a night and still maintain any sort of coherent thought process, but I’d recommend that you give it a try. I know several of my friends who would love this beer. Pick up a six pack or two of this fine porter

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Black Butte Porter

Deschutes Brewery

Bend, OR

http://www.deschutesbrewery.com

ABV- 5.2%

IBU – Unavailable

My father-in-law likes his beers dark. Often times when he comes into town for a visit he’ll tell me about the beers he’s sampled since we last saw him. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, he has quite a few to choose from. A few months ago, he brought along one of his favorites. Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.

 I recently stumbled upon a couple of bottles of Black Butte Porter that were left behind in our fridge. Remembering how much I enjoyed Black Butte the first time I had it, I figured it would make an ideal subject for one of my reviews.

 Black Butte Porter is black in the glass. It doesn’t have a head so much as a loose beige foam that quickly dissipates, leaving behind a little bit of film that floats atop the porter. It appears to be nicely carbonated.

 The aroma is heavily chocolate malt. It honestly smells fantastic.

 The first sip delivers rich roasted malt and coffee flavors. It has a dry finish and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

 I really enjoyed Black Butte Porter. I must be honest. Part of the enjoyment comes from joking with my kids that the name is actually “Black Butt Porter” (Sorry, I’m a six year old in a thirty-six year old body).

 Black Butte is a nearly perfect porter. I would have another in a heartbeat…in fact, let me check in my fridge…that may be sooner than later.

 I’d certainly recommend Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter to my friends. I’d also offer the advice that Black Butte Porter is best consumed early in the evening. It’s richness and complexity are deserving of your undivided attention…before a night of drinking numbs your taste buds.

 cheers,

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Kilbourn Hop Ale

Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company

Wisconsin Dells, WI

ABV- 5.5%

IBU – Unavailable

When visiting the Wisconsin Dells, you’ll find Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Kilbourn Hop Ale on draft at both the Moosejaw Restaurant & Brewery and Buffalo Phil’s.

 This particular day we were having lunch at Buffalo Phil’s. My Kilbourn Hop Ale arrived in a frosted mug. It is golden or possibly bronze in color. It has no real head to speak of, just a slight film floating at the top of the glass.

 Kilbourn has a piney hop aroma mingled with a slight sweetness.

 The first sip is all malt and the hop flavor is  vague and hard to define. The ale has a clean finish with no lingering aftertaste.

 Kilbourn Hop Ale is a decent beer , not great by any means, but certainly the high point of a pretty lackluster line up.      I wish I had more to say about this one.  It’s really just not a noteworthy beer.  Kilbourn Hop Ale is an American Pale Ale that is average at best,  made by a brewery that is lucky enough to be the only microbrewery in the Wisconsin Dells.

cheers,

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

 

Contorter Porter

Ale Asylum

Madison, WI

www.aleasylum.com

ABV- 4.8%

IBU – Unavailable

I’ve been a fan of Dean Coffey’s brewing since his days at Angelic Brewing Company.   I’ve had a couple other Ale Asylum beers. My favorite is a hoppy as hell amber that bears the name Ambergeddon.

 I had high hopes for Contorter Porter. I opened the bottle and poured the dark brown ale into an imperial pint glass. An inch thick, frothy beige head quickly formed.

 I held the glass to my nose and found the aroma to be sweet with hints of chocolate.

 However, Contorter Porter actually seems rather bland.  The malt flavors were distant and almost non-existent and were followed by a ever so slightly bitter aftertaste.

 It was actually pretty disappointing.  I’ve enjoyed some of Ale Asylum’s other offerings and have been looking forward to cracking open this bottle of Contorter Porter.

 The Ale Asylum website describes Contorter Porter as complex with a rich flavor and silky smooth finish. Maybe it’s just over my head or something. Maybe my tastebuds just aren’t equipped to handle the “complexity” that Contorter Porter brings to the table…who knows.

 I really wanted to like this one. I took each sip with great care… I tried to find something, but all I really found was disappointment.

 While I would happily recommend other Ale Asylum beers…for instance, Ambergeddon is fantastic…I’d recommend that you steer clear of Contorter Porter.

Anyway…

cheers,

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Jack Stout

Wild Onion Brewing Company

Barrington, IL

www.onionpub.com

ABV – 6%

IBU – Unavailable

The first time I ever had a can of Wild Onion’s Jack Stout, I was sitting by a campfire in Door County Wisconsin. I was surprised at how good it was as microbrew from a can is still a shock to me…so I was astounded that anything from a can could really be so good.

 Several weeks later, I found time to sit down with a second can. I poured it into a pint glass and watched as a creamy tan head formed atop the blackest of ales.

 Holding the glass to my nose…or maybe my nose to the glass, I was greeted by the aroma of roasted malt mingled with coffee and chocolate.

 Jack Stout is quite tasty. It is rich and creamy. Slightly sweet with intense coffee flavors.

 Maybe its the creaminess, but there are moments where Jack Stout reminds me just a bit of Guinness.

 Jack Stout is smooth and quite drinkable. It would make for a good session ale…perfect for a night of playing cards or just hanging out.

 If you enjoy a good stout, Wild Onion’s Jack Stout is the beer for you. For my Guinness hating friends out there…don’t worry…while the creaminess is certainly reminiscent of Guinness, the intense flavors and complexity of Jack Stout leave any similarity to Guinness in the dust. So give it a try pick up a Jack Stout. I think you’ll like it…and once you’ve had one, cans # 2 and # 3 won’t be far behind.

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

IPA

Stone Brewing Company

North County San Diego, CA

http://www.stonebrew.com

ABV – 6.9%

IBU- 77

 I’ve personally enjoyed many of the beers I’ve tasted from Stone Brewing Company, but I never understood how they’ve garnered such a devoted following. I honestly went into this review with a much more critical eye…hoping for some flaw…but it was not to be.

Stone IPA is golden in color with a frothy white head.

It had a floral hop aroma that is intermingled with what smells a bit like toasted malt.

Stone’s IPA is crisp and satisfying. The grassy hop notes hit immediately while a subtle malty sweetness fades in behind it. The finish is bitter and leaves you longing for the next sip.

Stone’s IPA is a well-balanced ale. It’s quite tasty actually. I think now I finally understand the hype. I enjoyed the experience from first sip to last…and I think you will too. So…if you haven’t had the opportunity to try Stone IPA, what are you waiting for? Get off your butt and go get some!

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

HopMouth Double IPA

Arcadia Ales

Battle Creek, MI

http://www.arcadiaales.com

ABV – 8.1%

IBU – 76

Arcadia Ales Hopmouth Double IPA is certainly a pretty beer. It is an amber colored ale that seems to glow in my glass. A white head quickly forms, but is gone just as quickly.

 My nose is greeted by an intense citrus hop aroma mingled with a sweetness that reminds me a bit of honey.

 The first sip is amazing. Hopmouth is crisp with a nice effervescence. The first flavor to hit is the hop bitterness. A fantastic blend of citrus and what seems to be pine. There is also the slightest hint of malty sweetness, but the wonderful hoppiness is far and away the dominant flavor.

 I find Hopmouth to be crisp and really quite refreshing. For me, this seems like the perfect beer to end a day spent on yardwork.

 I plan to trackdown many more Hopmouth Double IPA’s.  I’ve got one bottle left and I’m planning to give that one to my dad. He’s just gotta try this one…and so do YOU.

Cheers.

Josh Frank

jfrank2264@gmail.com

Coffee Stout

New Glarus Brewing

New Glarus, WI

www.newglarusbrewing.com

ABV – 6.3%

IBU – Unavailable

You can smell the chocolate malts and coffee that go into New Glarus’s Coffee Stout the second you open the bottle. Truly a beautiful thing.

 New Glarus Coffee Stout appears black in my pint glass…it has a creamy off-white head that starts out about half an inch thick. Nice head retention as well. It hung around for a few minutes fading to a beige film atop the pitch black brew.

 You can definitely taste the coffee in this brew. It compliments the roasted malt flavors nicely. New Glarus Coffee Stout is thick, rich and creamy with a slightly bitter finish.

 Something in my brain is imagining how fantastic a New Glarus Coffee Stout Chocolate Cake might be…but that’s a topic for another day. Back to the beer.

 While I’ve had many of New Glarus Brewing’s other offerings, this is my first experience with their Coffee Stout. This was a phenomenal beer. I think it could be enjoyed by both stout aficionados and those that are new to the style. I will certainly be picking up more of New Glarus’s Coffee Stout whenever I can.

Cheers…

Josh Frank