Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quick Sips: Founders Porter

There are a few core styles that simply must be explored and appreciated by any self-respecting beer geek, and without question porter is one of them. The origins of stout lie in porter, and porter itself has a rich, impressive history that is sometimes ignored in today's rush for sour beers and hop bombs.

Thankfully there are lots of porters out there. Some are pretty mediocre, some are quite good -- and then there is Founders Porter, one of the very best on the market. It gets a perfect 100 at for a reason.

Pouring a brown so deep it might as well be black, the frothy tan head kicks up aromas of chocolate, toffee, and a hint of coffee, and the taste is pure bliss. You know that “ooooh” sound some people make when they bite into a rich chocolate cake? Yeah, it’s like that.

The label describes the beer as “Dark, Rich and Sexy,” and that’s about right. This is pure sex in a glass. Drinking it in public feels like an indecent act. But if indecency is wrong, I don’t want to be right

Honestly, if you even remotely like porters, GET THIS BEER NOW.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared in The Philly Weekly

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Quick Sips: Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

At this point, it’s hard to imagine California’s Firestone Walker doing any wrong. Founded by people with a background in the wine industry and incorporating many of the exacting standards of that industry into their beer philosophy, they have managed to produce some of the world’s very best beers in their respective categories.

Double Jack, Parabola, Sucaba, Wookey Jack, these are some of the best beers on the market, bar none.

Those are big, complex beers, though. A fairly standard American IPA, on the other hand ... the IPA market is a really really really crowded one, so standing out is pretty tough.

Yet they pull it off. A super bright hop aroma that just screams of mango and grapefruit with a dash of lemongrass and pine needles lays atop a nice bed of fresh baked biscuits. Bitter but not too bitter, strong but easily drinkable, this is an IPA that proves you don’t have to go all “double” and “imperial” on us in order to impress us. It's yet another winner from a brewery that just keeps churning them out. Highly recommended.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared in The Philly Weekly

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Quick Sips: Terrapin Moo Hoo Chocolate

True Confession: When I was a teenager, I had a giant wall of yellow in my bedroom made up of nothing but Yoo-Hoo cans. Until beer came along, it was the greatest beverage known to man. I drank so much of it, my zits had zits. Seriously, all those cans covered a whole wall in my bedroom.

Also, I failed to rinse out the cans before I stacked them up, resulting in an awful spider problem best left for a horror novel.

A horror novel that features Terrapin’s Moo-Hoo, however, is one I’d read twice. Maybe three times. This to-die-for beer is a milk stout brewed with loads of chocolate, making it a creamy, delicious adult version of Yoo-Hoo. If this was around when I was 15, I would have died of liver failure by the age of 19.

As it stands, I’ll have to hold out for 59.

Moo-Hoo isn't quite as mind-blowing as it was a few years back, but it's still worth grabbing without hesitation and remains one of my favorite chocolate beers. Get it!

(NOTE: Yes, this story is, sadly, true. All of it.)

NOTE 2: Portions of this post originally appeared in The Philly Weekly

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Quick Sips: Fegley’s Bourbon Barrel Insidious

Those in Allentown and Bethlehem, PA know Fegley’s as The Brew Works, a pair of great brewpubs in some of Pennsy’s finest non-Philly towns for hanging out and enjoying great beer. When bottled, those beers get the “Fegley’s” label – but they are no less awesome than they are at the pub.

Insidious is their big imperial stout, a chocolate forward brew that can be a bit hot on the alcohol when fresh but that ages into itself very nicely after about 12 months in the "cellar" (or cupboard). 

The Bourbon Barrel version? A twist on that delightfully dark beer, following the trend of stuffing everything possible into a barrel. Trend or not, though, it works. Fegley’s version has less up front bourbon than many bourbon barrel aged beers, making this an approachable (but still imposing!) take on the barrel-aged style.

Black as night, rich as a Rockefeller, and surprisingly drinkable when compared to others of the same style, enjoy this sipper of a beer with a big steak or spicy nachos.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared in The Philly Weekly. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quick Sips: Troegs Dreamweaver

Harrisburg, PA is not only a city brimming with history, in 2010 Forbes ranked it as the #2 place in the United States to raise a family.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that the greatest thing Harrisburg has to offer is Troegs Brewery, one of the best of Pennsylvania’s amazing craft breweries. (Seriously, folks, PA is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to beer. Only California, Michigan, and Oregon can compete.)

That means when Troegs puts out a modest little wheat beer, we expect something special. And yes, Dreamweaver is something special. Sure, it’s just a German style wheat beer, but it’s a super great one, with spicy clove, musty yeast, and easy drinkability. Without straying too far into hyperbole, it just might be one of the very best American interpretations of a German wheat beer.

Best part of all? It's suitable for all occasions, making it an excellent choice for a year-round, anytime beer. Cheers!

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared in the Philly Weekly.