Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Other March Madness

Aloha, everybody, 

If you read the most excellent Pirates blog Bob Walk the Plank (but of course you do, because who doesn't?), you probably read about the beer trade that Matt and I pulled off. 

I sent Matt some beer crafted at my local brewery (here in sunny Southern Cali), and he sent me a whole buncha beers from the land of the ice and snow. 

Look at that bunch. Most of these beers I'd never seen in my life, and I would probably never get to taste, except for the fact that Matt and I put this trade together. 

I said "most of these beers" because I'm familiar with one of the twelve Matt sent. More on that later. 

As you can see, that's a lot of different beers to sample and review. It's going to take me some time to taste them all. So I'm going to break this trade review into a couple of posts (or three).

I decided to be systematic about the project, so I chose a side of the box, and I'm going to just go down the line, one by one. Matt asked me to be brutally honest in my reviews, and so I shall. 

Here's how the first beers went down...

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout. This beer hails from Pennsylvania and it packs a punch with a 9.1% abv. 

This one's very much like some of the stouts I'm used to. By that I mean, it's the usual. I'm not saying it's a bad beer, but it's that middle of the road flavor that you or I have had in every middle of the road stout. 

There's a sharp taste that overwhelms what should be this beer's distinct flavor. Seems the brewers couldn't find a way to tame that big abv punch. 


Santa's Cookies is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Champion Brewing. These folks are closer to Matt's neck of the woods, in Virginia, and THEY know how to make an Imperial Stout. 

This bad boy (8% abv) is slightly bittersweet, like a quality dark chocolate. I didn't taste much oatmeal, but that's not a knock. The flavor blankets the top of your tongue like liquid velvet. 

Man, it's good. Savor this one. 

I drank those first two myself (on separate nights), but today I brought out a few more to taste with family around the BBQ. 

Here's a WOW beer. Blackout Imperial Stout from Great Lakes Brewing, over in Cleveland Ohio. Do you want to taste a beer that takes a 9% abv and does it right? You found it. This one has a creamy smooth finish. Highly recommended. 

Next up was The Mad Elf  from Troegs Brewing in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This one delivers a double digit, 11% abv. As the bottle says, it's brewed with honey and cherries. 

  Our BBQ weather was somewhere in the low 80's, but this winter warmer still hit the spot. The bottle says it's an ale brewed with honey and cherries, and you can sure taste that yummy blend.

This one is a keeper. Another smooth finish, but this one lingerrrrs. It tastes like cherries dipped in velvet beer. Thumbs up!

The final taster we tried was...

Pale Joe from Founders Brewing in Michigan. This one's a Pale Ale brewed with coffee (5.4 abv). 

Sorry Michigan, this beer is quite pedestrian. Not much to distinguish itself from other pale ales. I rate this a solid...meh. 

There you have it. Five beers down and a lucky seven more to go. It's been a real blast tasting these beers so far, and that big box tells me there's plenty of beer goodness yet to come. THANKS, MATT!

Join me next time when we review the next batch of beers.



  1. Glad you liked them so far. Pale Joe might be a one you have to drink within the first month of bottling. When I had it the coffee was much more prevalent. Stone made a coffee chocolate IPA for Valentines Day, but I didn't like it very much. You could barely taste the chocolate or the coffee.

    While I like the ones you've shown so far the heavy hitters are what is left. Looking forward to the reviews.

  2. I'm planning the next few over this coming week with my nephew and the final couple at the monthly poker game. I'll keep you posted.

    1. BTW...I'm really surprised (and slightly disappointed) this post only generated one comment. Not enough interest in the beers? Mystery

    2. You should have titled your post 1952 Topps case break.

  3. I don't drink beer but I'd collect the bottles for the labels.

    1. Yeah, some of the labels are like works of art. I've collected a few myself.