Uinta won my heart last year

Read it here…or below:

Like a sultry dame, they caught my eye, wet my lips, and stole my heart faster than I could even finish a glass of their amazing fermented beverage.  Although it isn’t distributed here in Kentucky (Gosh, I write that a lot about the beers I drink), I had to get it in Chicago and Denver, CO.   Uinta (out of UTAH of all damn places) has developed a Crooked Line series consisting of bombers of some of their more unique and higher ABV beers.  Here is what they have to say about them:

“In desire of creating a different experience in beer, Uinta launched its Crooked Line in 2010. These beers were dubbed “big beers” both in taste, alcohol content and size of bottle. Crooked Line beers are packaged in 750 ml bottles and are cork finished. Ranging from 9 to over 13% alcohol by volume, the intention was that these beers would be shared, as one would a bottle of wine, with friends and paired with food. Some beers are aged in oak, whiskey or bourbon barrels for up to six months prior to reaching the market. Knowing that each beer was quite different from the next, it was essential that each brew showcased its individuality outside the bottle as well. Uinta sought the talents of local artists to design the labels, assuring that each style was unique in packaging as well as in style and taste”

One of them, Labyrinth Black Ale, took the coveted prize of the best beer I had last year.  It comes in at a shade over 13% and has aged in oak barrels giving it a nice black licorice and oak aroma.  I went nuts for this beer at the Great American Beer Festival and filled my glass up at least three times.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have said the ABC’s backwards at that point.

Another one of the Crooked Series I picked up in Chicago last fall was the Cockeyed Cooper Barrel Aged Barleywine.  Bottled on 7/20/2011, this barleywine had 10 months of age on it and I was itching to try it, knowing I’d be back up in Chicago next month and could buy more.  So last night, after a run and about ready to get my hands dirty in the garden, I cracked this mother of a beer.

Another cool thing about the Crooked Series is that all local artists create the labels. The label for Cockeyed Cooper was created by Travis Bone, a Cubs fan, nonetheless and has an eerily similar appearance to the cartoon cooper.

I will note that those who drink their beer in appropriate glassware outside risk having a few bugs make their way into the glass. Cooper comes in at 11% ABV and the booze hides well amongst the strong aromas of vanilla and brown sugar with a slight hint of oak.  The first couple sips were a little on the “flat side”, but as the beer warmed, the taste reminded me of a boozy crème soda with a bourbon chaser.  Not as malty as other big barleywines, the tastes all melded together in a beautiful concoction of bourbon barrel heaven.  I ended up savoring this beer over a two and a half hour span, enjoying every sip I could until I can taste it again in June.

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Today Show Blog Post

Move your ass over Matt Lauer.

My buddy Jim at Beer and Whiskey Bros writes for the TODAY Show’s blog and included me on a recent post.  Check it out.  I fully expect truckloads of Smuckers jelly arriving at my door.

Today Show Post

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Beer Blerbs

Two new articles I wrote for louisvillebeer.com. Read em.

I recently went to a Bell’s Black Note Stout Tasting with Hipster Steve, you can read it here.

Deviant Dales Review as well.

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Against The Grain Brewery- Heine Big Bro

It can be read at louisvillebeer.com or here…

Although it’s up for debate, coffee and alcohol can be very addictive substances. Addictive in the sense, that we crave one prior and one after a long day of work or a stressful workweek. I guess work can be a correlate of our addictions, but alas, causation cannot be directly determined. When taken in the appropriate amounts though, they provide bountiful pleasures to ones mind and body. When taken in inappropriate amounts, things can start to get real shitty, real fast. Pun intended. A poop joke, what did you expect…I’m getting ready to talk about Against the Grain!

So before I headed down to Kentucky Lake for 3 days of fishing, I swung into Against the Grain Brewery to snag a growler of Heine Big Bro (13% ABV at $13 a growler), their new imperial oatmeal stout. Here is how the fellas at ATG describe the beer:

Louisville roasted Heine Bros. espresso was hot extracted pre-fermentation, and Mary Catherine’s blend was cold extracted and added post-fermentation to give this beer an aggressive bitterness as well as a delicate yet pronounced coffee flavor and aroma. We started this imperial oatmeal stout with a massive amount of high quality Maris Otter malt and added an array of specialty malts including oats, roasted barley, and very dark caramel munich. Hefty additions of British hops early in the boil make for a powerful bitterness to balance the high malt sweetness. If your soul stays black, even in the sun, this beer is for you.

The worst part about heading to a majority of the bodies of water in Kentucky, especially Western KY, is that a decent amount of counties are “dry”. Knowing this, I always plan ahead and bring my own share of beer and some extras to share with the rest of the fishing guys to try to introduce them to craft beer. I will acknowledge that these guys are your typical Light beer drinking blue-collar guys, but they tend to always imbibe in the “strong” beer that I bring to test their pallets. So I cracked open the Hill Farmstead growler and poured the beer into the best-looking beer glass the lower-rate hotel had to offer. Now that I think about it, I should have brought my own glass…and slept on top of the covers.

Potent stuff. Coffee and bitterness were the first things which came to mind, followed by a slight roast characteristic.

Guy 1: “Whatcha drinking there, mind if I get some”

Me: “Nope. Go for it.”

Guy 2: “Hey man, can I get some of that too”

Guy 3: “Let me try some. Did you make this stuff?”

Me: “Nope, it’s from Against the Grain Brewery. It’s the new brewery in Slugger Field. Good stuff man, you should check it out. The owners are pretty cool.

Guy 1: “This is powerful stuff. You can really taste the coffee in the beer. That’s crazy.”

Guy 2: “Oh man, what do you call this stuff again. Stout?”

One glass went down way to quick. I quickly poured another and noted my growler was about half gone. The coffee bitterness stick to my tongue like a metal pole in the winter. On the second glass, the smooth chocolate taste came out from the roasted barley and oats. For 13%, the booze factor isn’t apparent…hidden quite well. Although ATG’s London Balling is tough to beat as far as my favorite beer of theirs goes, Heine Big Bro comes in a close second. If it’s still on tap, head down to there to check it out.

By the time I went to pour myself a third glass, the growler was empty. Mission accomplished, I’ve helped spread the word of good beer…and got a slight buzz while doing it.

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NABC and Harvest beer dinner!

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Beer Tasting Extravaganza

Check out Louisvillebeer.com for my recent post about last weeks beer tasting. It hurt.

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What I’ve been drinking while not blogging and studying

Comps are over. They sucked.  I studied way more than I should have.  I believe, Comprehensive exams are a minor form of academic hazing to show how dumb we are.  It worked.  Now that my mind is at ease (wait, I have to write a dissertation…where did this come from), I have a lot of catching up to do both on here and at home.  I’ve written a few reviews at Louisvillebeer.com, but I’ve drank a lot of decent beer along the way.  To the beer!
Upland Komodo Dragon Black IPA (6.5% ABV): Roast bomb, but where the hell did the hops go?  Granted it was brewed in November but I drank this in early February.  This tastes just like a roasty porter.  Black IPA fail.  You let me down Upland, you let me down.  I had somewhat high expectations for the beer.  What’s worse is I picked it up at Whole Foods so it was probably more expensive than anywhere else.  Crap.
Anchorage Brewing Brewing Co. Bitter Monk (9% ABV): My buddy Stephen brought this over during a tasting.
I had my premonitions since I’m not a big fan of Belgians or Brett.  This beer is a Belgian Style DIPA aged in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels.  So I don’t like Brett, Belgians, or many things aged in wine barrels…hmm.  I went into this beer like going to the dentist, knowing good things weren’t going to come from this.  I took a hearty backhand that day. Crisp. Sweet. And the color and pour of the beer really make it worth it.  Not a gulping beer at all.  Although it was “winter”, I could see this beer being one that would linger great during a summers day.  Good work Hitron.  Damn fine beer.
Yazoo Brewing Sue (9.5% ABV): Sue, how do you do?  An Imperial Smoke Porter coming outta Nashville, TN.  The beer represents the city well with enough smoke in the beer to fill a country music bar.  I’ve never really tried smokey beers, but I felt like I was messing with Sasquatch because the beer had a strong smoked beef jerky taste to it.  Mmm fried meat and beer all in one.  The smoke really lingered on the tongue which reminded me of kissing someone who smokes, but in a good way…not an ashtray way.  Like my wife after St. Patricks Day a year ago.   This beer threw me for a loop and I loved it.
No sleep, til Brooklyn!  It’s been almost a year since I last had Brooklyn Black Ops Imperial Stout (10.7% ABV).  Last time, it was the thinnest, most bubble gum tasting stout I’ve ever had.  The $21 dollar price tag made me cringe with each sip.  So it’s sat in the back of my cellar like a shamed dog, waiting for it’s chance to do something right.  Would a year make it better or would the champagne yeast still need more time.  Result, better, but not by too much.  A little more carbonation and mouth feel to the beer, but still unimpressed.  More chocolate notes came out in the beer, but still not worth the $21 pricetag.  Looks like my last bottle will have another year to sit and think about how crappy its been.
Lawson’s Finest Maple Imperial Stout- The beer cost me about $15, then an extra $35 to get all of it on the flight…so it better be friggin good for all the hype Lawson gets.   Ashley and I shared this and I had all hopes it would taste like Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout.  Close, but no cigar.  That’s two cigar references and I don’t smoke unless I’m celebrating a birth or bachelor party.  I don’t need either anytime soon.  Very boozy and warm with just hints of maple lingering on the tongue.  Not a lot of sweetness or overpowering sugar flavor to the beer.  I honestly thought it was kinda plain for an imperial stout.  Crap.  Maybe I didn’t pair it with the right foods. Oh well.  Aunt Jemima shakes her head in Condiment Heaven.
3 Floyds and Mikkeller- Broogoop
Broogoop is a buckwheat wine style beer beer. It was O-tay.

Goose Island- King Henry
Typically, when there is a line out the door for a beer, it usually means there is either a lot of hype, it’s supposed to be good, or craft beer geeks are just really that lame.  Only two apply.  King Henry kinda flew under the radar outside of the Chicago area with only a few samplings of places here in Louisville selling it.  And when it was sold, you had to ask because it was behind the counter.  Crazy ass beer geeks.  The beer pours a darker brown color, unlike your typical by-the-book barleywines.  Hands down, best barleywine I have ever had it my life and it wasn’t even aged in the bottle for very long (well despite the bourbon barrel aging).  I went into this beer with no expectations and was amazing with how sweet, boozy, bourbony and smooth this beer was.  Some heat, but not overwhelming.  I nursed this like a young pup.  I’d tell you to go get some, but you can’t since its gone.
He’Brew Vertical Jewbelation 14
OJ Simpson…not a jew, but this beer is quite a tasty brew!  A mixed blend of their 8-14 Jewbelations and then aged in a Sazerac Rye Whiskey Barrel.  I love this beer, Stephen didn’t. He sucks. Respect the power of the Schwartz man.  This beer tasted and smelled like a shot of caramel bourbon.  Loved it.
Founders Curmudgeons Better Half
read it here.
Odell Woodcut #5 Belgian Quad
Why not celebrate finishing Comps but with a $26 beer.  Was it worth the $26? No. Was it pretty tasty, yes.  You’re growing on me Belgians…you’re growing on me.  Lots of places gave it so-so reviews and their were complaints about a loss of carbonation.  As you can see in the picture, not here.  Tons of carbonation and darker fruits, smooth sipping, and sticky.  I drank it before at GABF, but won’t be shelling out anymore $$ for the series.
Boulder Beer Killer Penguin 2010
This beer has been staring at me in the cellar saying drink me.  I cannot think of this beer without being reminded of the classic film, Billy Madison.  Oh, silly Penguin.  The booziness has mellowed along with some of the malts, doesn’t stay on your tongue as much.  Hops have been overtaken by a syrupy sweetness.  This beer was good, but didn’t mix well with the Irish Car Bomb taken prior.  Happy St. Paddys Day.  Stupid being Irish. Ugh.
2010 and 2011 KBS
What a difference in aging.  2011 lost all of the coffee and is all bourbon and chocolate.  2011 is like a barista’s pants at Starbucks, coffee everywhere.  Wait what, this stuff is almost $25 for a 4 pack.  Wait what, it sold out pretty fast.  Wait what, this stuff is friggin awesome.  It says Kentucky on the beer, what else do you need? My all-time favorite beer suckas.
Expresson Oak Aged Yeti
The wife brought this back from her trip to Michigan on a whim.  What an awesome wife, it made her even more awesome when I saw it was 2010.  Still yeti-size proportions of coffee up front with a nice dark chocolate bite.  I only think she got this beer cause she was so flirtatious with the Great Divide guys at GABF. Hussy!
Drakes Hopocalypse Black Label
You don’t see many triple IPAs around much.  Maybe Founders Devil Dancer is the only other triple IPA I’ve ever had since it borders on a barleywine category.  My buddy Jay sent me this along with a regular Hopocolypse a month or so ago after I had sent him a shipment of beers.  The beer is an orange creamsicle malt bomb with huge citrus notes on the nose.  The beer smelled friggin fantastic.  I could probably call this one of the dankest IPAs I’ve ever had that Bob Marley would be proud.  Like most of my bombers, I shared with the wife.  She approved.  Drakes make a damn fine IPA.
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