Monday, November 23, 2015

Beer Review Break!

Aloha everybody, 

Let's take a break from the series of cards that I won from Baseball Card Breakdown and check out some of the beers that we tasted and reviewed over the weekend. 

 This was the beer that led off the night...

 Pumpkin flavored beers can go either way, with too many brands out there sprinkling in some "pumpkin flavoring" on top of their regular brew and thinking that's enough. 

Shipyard's pumpkin ale sets the standard for how to do it right. Rich pumpkin pie spices join with warm alcohol flavor to deliver a great holiday beer. 9% ABV Highly recommended. 

From Irvine, CA comes Bayhawk Ales' chocolate porter. 

Aside - One big move we made this month was to identify beers that actually benefit from being served at a tad warmer temp. It's easy to start the party - or in this case, the poker game, with all of the beers keeping frosty in the ice chest. However, lots of winter warmer beers actually release more complex flavors when served cool as opposed to ice cold. This porter is one of those.

This beer has very rich flavors with surprising sour notes up front. The chocolate hangs around as a delicate and smooth aftertaste. 7.9 ABV

Next up is one of the favorites of the night...

Bart is aged in oak barrels to instill extra deep flavoring, and Laker Dave aged this one at home for an extra seven months before we popped it open. 

This is another beer that will benefit from being served a little warmer and letting it sit a bit in your taster glass. This beer had the richest flavors of the night, and darn if it doesn't taste a bit like a finely aged bourbon, with a touch of honey. An absolutely remarkable beer, which is a perfect match with a cigar. 12% ABV Highly recommended. 

By this point of the night, the November chill was kicking in, and we started a fire...

Jumping across the lake, we tried a couple of  beers from Samuel Smith, a brewer over in jolly old England. This Tadcaster scores 100 on the Beer Advocate. I say - BAH! Several of us agreed this beer is strictly pedestrian. Next! 

 Now THIS is a good beer from England. Absolutely smoooooth on the chocolate, with winter warming alcohol notes on the end. If your old lady doesn't like beer, this just may be one she'll like.'s USDA organic! 5% ABV

From Alesmith we get a Halloween (?) beer, Evil Dead Red ale.  This must be the evil brother of an IPA because this red ale has big hop and citrus flavors. This one is very good. Serve cold, just like a summer beer. ABV? 6.66%, of course. Highly recommended.

Next up is Dark Seas, a Russian Imperial Stout, from Mission Brewery. This was a very interesting beer. Full bodied, with lots of flavors going on that get your taste buds firing on all cylinders with every taste. I wouldn't pair this one with any foods, as it really deserves to be enjoyed all by itself. 9.8% ABV

 Of course, it wasn't all beer tasting - we played poker that night as well...

 Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment.


  1. Wow, I've never heard of any of those. I know of the Samuel Smith name, but not those varieties.
    I think I'd like to try the B.A.R.T., because I'm a bit of a slow drinker and my brews are usually a little warmer when I'm finishing up. Sounds right up my alley!
    Also, looked like a fun night!

    1. You will love that B.A.R.T.
      It tastes like a premium beer, and just gets better with that warmer tasting temperature.
      Yeh, it was a great night. I sure wish we could somehow organize and pull off a card blogger poker night.

  2. You can find Shipyard and all the Sam Smith beers around here. I think Sam Smith beers score high because they are very traditional to the style. It is pretty much the flagship Porter for the english style. At the beer tasting I run we have had quite a few of their beers. The oatmeal stout is very good, and if you ever have any ladies around the organic fruit beers were a hit with them.

    Alesmith is a great brewery too! I always have my friends pick me up their beer because they don't distribute to WV. The Speedway Stouts are great. I have only had a few, but their are a ton of varieties. Freaking San Diego has so much good beer.....

    1. I like that SS oatmeal stout as well.
      I was at a Thanksgiving party where someone mentioned the Speedway Stout. I'll have to try some of that.

  3. Great review. You pretty much hit the spot on the brews we tasted.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. It really was a great night for beers.
      Condolences on Kobe.

  4. Great review. You pretty much hit the spot on the brews we tasted.

  5. I'm with Matt on the Sam Smith. With those being English beers, I'd almost consider serving it at room temperature to see if it is even better than just "slightly warm." But, the Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout is very good.

    I've been doing a bit of throwback time lately and chugging down Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I used to drink that all the time in law school, and just went back to it.

    Great Post!

    1. We are on the same wavelength with that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. That is one of my absolute favorites.
      Every now and then my local Rite Aid drops those to $11 for a 12 pack and I jump all over that!