Double IPA – American: Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA

This week I’m writing about a beer I had a little while ago, and may be a little hard to come by now. It definitely deserves a mention though. This Friday’s beer is Stone 18th Anniversary IPA. A beer brewed for the 18th Anniversary of the company. And, of course it’s an IPA! It’s what Stone has become known for over the years.

Let’s start with Stone‘s description of the beer.

As we compose the text for this celebratory beer‐a golden‐brown India pale ale dry-hopped exclusively and abundantly with El Dorado hops‐we stand ready to leap from the precipice of all we know into a new era for our company, our beers and, most importantly, our fans. It’s one that will see us exploring new territory, both geographically and creatively, as we evolve from pacesetters for the American craft brewing movement to cross‐planetary champions of the worldwide cause of craft, hoisting our banner to proclaim artisanal beers’ vast superiority over stripped‐down, business-driven, industrialized, fizzy, yellow mediocrity. We thank you for shadowing us for the first 18 years of our journey, and welcome you to join us for next leg and all that follows.

I won’t spoil what’s on the back of the bottle, as these are still around. Just make sure if you get one now, drink it asap! Stone’s IPA’s are never meant to last long. Quite a modest description for Stone, which I like. However, there’s still the comment about the larger brewers. It’s a good description, it celebrates their journey so far and gives you a tiny insight into the beer with the fact they use El Dorado Hops.

Let’s start with the malts in this one, 2-Row Pale, Crystal with a small amount of English Brown Malt and Briess Dark Roasted Malt. This is how it gets it’s colour and also some of the complex flavours that I will talk about a little later. As for the Hops, as it says in the description:- El Dorado Hops are used in both the boil and Dry Hop during Fermentation. El Dorado Hops are relatively new to the table, and I think it was quite brave of Stone to only use them in such a high profile offering.

When you pour this beer, it pours a Ruby colour with Golden sides and a medium white head. It really does look nice in the glass. It leaves dotty lacing on the glass as the head dissipates to a Thin Foam on the top of the beer. On the nose there’s loads of Lemon, a little Liquorice, Pine and some slight Cocoa. The way this beer looks and smells makes you want to drink it straight away, I haven’t written about a beer that looks this good in the glass for a little while! On the palate, the first thing you get is Toffee and Liquorice, followed by a big Lemony Citrus kick, ending with some bitter Orange peel and Pine. The Lemon flavour carries through the entire time, tied in with some complex coffee and toffee undertone. This beer feels quite light in the mouth, is medium carbonated and ends quite dry. What a fantastic beer, one that I wish Stone would brew again! I’d recommend it if you can get hold of one now, but in a few months it may be worth passing up.

I purchased Stone’s 18th Anniversary beer at Bottledog in Kings Cross, unfortunately I can’t find anywhere online in the UK to grab one of these. Even if you can’t this time, I’d recommend looking around August time for their 19th Anniversary beer, they’re always good!

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

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Brown Ale – American: Port Brewing Board Meeting

Now winter is in full swing, there’s nothing like a Brown Ale to go with a dessert after a hearty Roast Dinner. That’s why I picked Port Brewing‘s Board Meeting for this Friday’s beer. An Imperial Brown Ale with Coffee and Cocoa Nibs added. I picked this beer, as I’ve only really posted IPA’s from California. This beer is proof that as well as IPA’s, you can get some great beers of any style from this state.

Let’s start with Port Brewing‘s description of the beer:

Brewed for the early risers, who sacrifice sleep and warmth for a the first meeting of the day aboard a wave to shore.
Added in 2013 to the Port Brewing year-round lineup, Board Meeting is an amplified Brown Ale, brewed with liberal additions of coffee from local San Diego roasters, Ryan Brothers and cocoa nibs sourced from famed San Francisco chocolate maker TCHO. Deep coffee flavor gives way to layers of bitter dark chocolate and a creamy vanilla body.

There’s a longer, story filled description on the actual bottle but I won’t ruin it for people that buy the beer! What I like about this description is the fact they aren’t scared to admit where they get their Coffee and Cocoa nibs from. It’s always nice to know that breweries aren’t sourcing their ingredients from Costco and actually thinking about what goes into the beer.

As this is an Imperial Brown Ale, I’d imagine it’s brewed with a lot of specialty Malt, but also there’s a Stout feel to this beer. With this in mind, I think the Malts in this beer are Biscuit Malt, Roasted Dark Malt, Special B, Chocolate Malt, a bit of Toasted malt and the English Pale and Crystal Malt base. The hops in this brew, although they don’t make up a lot of the flavour in my opinion are Magnum and Challenger, a good choice to let the Malts, Coffee and Cocoa shine through and a great choice for any Brown Ale!

When you pour this Beer, it pours very dark brown, almost black with a thick tan coloured head. It retains extremely well leaving rings of lacing around the glass. Maybe there’s Wheat in the brew too? Who knows, but for an 8.5% Beer, the head retains very well indeed. On the nose you get some Hazelnut Creame, Vanilla, Chocolate, Roasty Coffee and some Dark Fruit. It smells like a cross between Brown Ale and Stout, whilst drinking it in a local Coffee House! It’s so inviting and makes you want to dive in straight away. When you taste this beer, initially you get a kick of Bitter Coffee, making way for Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Dark Fruits and some Bready notes. On the finish you get a little kick of Citrus, reminding you it’s definitely a Californian beer. It finishes bittersweet, full bodied with Medium to High carbonation. I really like this beer, and it’s something I will definitely seek to buy again. I recommend you do the same!

You can buy Board Meeting in the UK at:

Beers Of Europe (IN STOCK at time of Writing)

Amazon (IN STOCK at time of Writing)

For any Bars/Shops interested, unfortunately Port’s beers aren’t widely distributed but you can try contacting Beers Of Europe!

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

Porter – American: Odell Cutthroat Porter

As the weather gets colder, beer gets darker! It’s always been the way. There’s nothing better than a nice dark Porter or Stout on these cold evenings. This Friday’s beer is Odell’s Cutthroat Porter. This beer is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado and is meant to emulate an English London Style Porter, so you would expect it to be similar to the dark beer that was popular with Street and River Porters throughout the 1700’s and 1800’s. Porters were one of the first beers to be aged before selling them in the 1700’s.

Enough history for now – Let’s start with Odell’s description of the beer:

Not quite a stout but definitely no lightweight, Cutthroat Porter is smooth and robust. Inspired by the classic London porters, we use dark roasted malts to create a deep, rich color and flavor that hint at chocolate and coffee. We named it Cutthroat Porter as our tribute to the Colorado state fish – with its own rich heritage and unmistakable dark coloring. And while we’re big fans of small batches, here’s to the currently threatened Cutthroat population reaching mass quantities.

A nice little blurb regarding the beer, a small story and a hint at the style/flavour is always good. Also, I like how Odell are often connected with Colorado and naming this beer after the Cutthroat Trout is a nice gesture.

Usually with the London Porter style, the Malt takes the front seat, whilst the hops are still there in the background. After a little research, I think the malts used are 2-Row, Caramalt, Crystal, Brown, Munich, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley Malt. There is possibly a little bit of Smoked Malt hiding in the brew also, but I am not sure of this and going on flavour alone. I like the malt profile that has been used, as it’s a good mix of traditional Malts used in Porter and American Style Malts. Next the Hops, Fuggles, Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer. Again, two traditionally English Hops, and then some US grown Northern Brewer Hops which are similar to Kent Goldings. This makes a nice bitter, profile in the background with hints of honey allowing the all important Malt to shine through.

The beer pours black with a medium sized off-white head. The head retains well and leaves rings of lacing around the glass as you drink. This really is a nice looking beer. On the nose hints of Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Brown Sugar and some Coffee notes. This beer was one of the first Porters I ever had, and as soon as I smelt it I was absolutely hooked. When you taste this beer, the first thing you notice are the light Roasted Coffee notes. They aren’t as pronounced as a stout, but they are definitely still there! After this the flavour moves onto hints of Toffee, Caramelised Sugar, Molasses ending with a hint of Butterscotch at the end. Odell really have got the flavours and hops right in this brew, as it has that bitter hoppy finish a lot of Modern porters tend to ignore. Malty in flavour, but with the hop bitterness at the end. The beer is quite light bodied with medium carbonation. Although bitter, it finishes surprisingly sweet. There is also a light smokeyness which is a very nice touch and well received. It’s not like a Smoked Beer, but on the aftertaste there’s a nice hint there.

All in all a great example of an American Brewed London-Style Porter, and it frequents my fridge/cellar.

You can purchase Odell Cutthroat Porter in the UK at:

Beers of Europe (Low stock at time of writing)

Beer Ritz (IN Stock at time of writing)

Beer Gonzo (IN Stock at time of writing)

Honest Brew

Unfortunately there is no distribution for Odell in the UK, but if you’re a bar or a shop Beer Ritz does offer 24 bottles of this great Porter with regular shipments from the US.

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%

Double/Imperial IPA – American: Stone RuinTen

To expand the content of this blog, I’ve decided to write about some of the harder to get (in the UK) beers I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on separate from the Friday posts.

Today’s beer is the great RuinTen IPA from one of my favorite West Coast Breweries – Stone. This beer is released once a year in June to commemorate the creation Stone’s awesome Ruination IPA. Originally released in 2012, there was such a huge demand for this beer that Stone decided to make it a Seasonal offering. It was too good to just be one of those “one off” brews.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing Co‘s online description of the beer:

We first released this decidedly indelicate beer in 2012, as Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our belovedly bitter Stone Ruination IPA. Stone RuinTen IPA uses the same recklessly hoppy recipe as the 2012 release; only the name has changed, since we’re now unleashing this belligerently delicious hop monster upon the public on an annual basis. We packed a whopping five pounds of hops into each barrel, and cranked up the ABV to stand up to the hop onslaught. The results are glorious, and we know you’ll rejoice in tasting this audacious gem of hoppy splendor once again. You’re welcome.

The description of the beer on the bottle is a little different, although has less sarcasm than some of Stone‘s other offerings. However, it definitely tells us what to expect – a hell of a lot of Hoppy flavour and a little bit of alcohol warmth.

After a little bit of research and having a look at the website, this beer uses a malt backbone of 2-Row and C15. Now for Stone’s specialty – the Hops! Stone have used a Hop blend called CTZ which stands for Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus, Centennial and Citra. The beer is also dry hopped with Citra for that extra Hoppiness. As soon as I found that out I really wanted to try this brew, as Citra is one of my favourite hops.

This beer pours Golden with a white creamy head. It dissipates quickly, which is expected for a beer that’s over 10%. It leaves a dotty lacing on the glass which is inviting and a thinner head that seems to stay throughout drinking. On the nose you’ve got some Pineapple and Tropical notes from the Citra and some Citrus and Nectarine. This beer really smells inviting, and so deceiving with an IPA over 10%! When you taste this beer, you get a wave of Pineapple, Tropical fruits, a hint of Bubblegum ending in a massive Grapefruit crescendo. The beer is medium to high carbonated and ends with a nice long, clean bitterness. On the finish I would say it’s medium sweet. I really like this beer, and honestly think it’s a contender for the much sought out Pliny the Elder I tried earlier this year.

Although I said this one is pretty hard to find, you can buy Stone RuinTen IPA at:

Brewdog Online Store

It’s currently in stock over there, so grab it whilst you can! Hopefully it’ll be back next year.

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%

Special Post – Firestone Walker at Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden

Last Sunday I attended the Firestone Walker event at Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden.

When I visited San Luis Obispo, or as the Locals call it “SLO” in 2013 I tried my first Firestone Beer and I really enjoyed it. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to get my hands on their beers. I saw a bottle of Parabola in Bottledog when it opened and made sure a friend and I bought it to share. We loved every last drop. Unfortunately it was way before I started up this site, or it would’ve been the first review regardless if it was summer. Anyway, enough reminiscing. I’m going to be writing about the event itself and briefly review the beers I tried.

I arrived at Craft Beer Co. at around 3:15 due to the great British train system being “repaired” and me paying a flying visit to Bottledog.

The bar was surprisingly quiet to begin with, but I dived in and ordered myself a DBA (Double Barrel Ale) and a Union Jack as it was sure to get busy later on in the afternoon.

On the Left: DBA (Double Barrel Ale) On the Right: Union Jack IPA

I started with the Union Jack, an IPA at a good 7.5% as I’d heard a lot of good things. On the nose there was lots of Earthy Pine, Grapefruit, Citrus and a touch of sweet malt. As soon as I smelt this beer I knew it was a distinctly Californian IPA. The taste was a lot like the smell, some Pine Sap, Citrus, Grapefruit, Tropical Fruits with a great Malt Backbone that so many breweries forget about, Firestone Walker have this covered and this makes it toward the top of the list of Californian IPA’s that I have had the pleasure to sample. The beer is medium to full bodied and ends medium dry.

More people were turning up at this point I think it’s great at a place like this when everyone is discussing the beer and it’s always nice to hear what people think apart from yourself. The snippets of chat I heard were positive so far, but in all honesty the look on people’s faces after their first sip was saying it all.

Next up was the DBA (Double Barrel Ale), a British Style Pale Ale/Bitter at 5%. The aroma consisted of a lot of Toffee and Caramel Notes, a slight hint of Red Wine and some Bready malt in the background. The first thing I noticed about this after my first sip was how smooth this beer is, it is insanely smooth and clean. The taste was like a typical English Pale ale to begin with Biscuit and Light Caramel, I then detected a tiny bit of Red Wine/Summer Fruits (Possibly from the Oak Barrel method?) some Vanilla and some Floral Dryness on the finish. This is a great example of the style and it still has that slight Californian character to it. It finished medium with a medium body. This would be one of those beers that you just wouldn’t get bored of during a session!

Velvet Merkin

After this, I opted for a swift glass of water and got the next Firestone Beer – Velvet Merkin. An Oatmeal Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels at 8.5%. On the nose I got so many complex aromas, Vanilla, a touch of Merlot, Oak, Coffee, Chocolate and Bourbon. When I tasted this beer I can honestly say it was one of the best Oatmeal Stouts I have had. Loads of Coffee, Chocolate, Light Bourbon notes, nice rounded roasty flavours and lacto sugar. The mouthfeel of this one was almost creamy, like Chocolate Ice Cream/Milkshake. It ended with a light dryness and some dark fruit lingering.

Whilst drinking this one I met one of the Firestone Team – Tommy, who takes care of the Sales in the Southwest of America. He was kind enough to Introduce me to David Walker, the co-founder of the brewery and a lot of the team which was really nice of him. He then extended the offer to a beer, which was great of him and David told him to put it on his tab. I thought to myself – hang on a second, you guys are meant to be guests here! What a nice gesture.

I was bought an 8% Saison spiked with Brettanomyces called Seizoen Bretta from a brewery near where Tommy lives called Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales. On the nose there was a big Tropical, Pineapple brett aroma and I thought I was in for a super sour beer. I tasted it and although there was some sour notes in there, there was also a lot of Funky Yeast, Tropical Fruits, Pepper and Wheat. It had a long, fruity aftertaste and the Brett really did ride all the way though. What a great brew and something I definitely need to try again.

After this, I met a few more of the Firestone guys, as I said all really friendly guys and down to earth.

Stickee Monkee

After this, the Stickee Monkee was on tap and after hearing all the good things about it I had to try it. Stickee Monkee is brewed with the ingredients of a Belgian Quadrupel, Turbinado brown sugar from Mexico, Belgian candi sugar and then aged in various Spirits Barrels reaching its final ABV at 13.4%. This was most definitely my favourite beer of the entire Afternoon. On the nose loads of Vanilla, Chocolate, Toasted Coconut and Oak. If you could pick any Firestone beer to try, this would definitely be it! When I tasted this beer I really could appreciate the complex flavours the barrels had added to it, lots of toasted Coconut and Vanilla, Chocolate, Bourbon, Sweet dried fruits and Woody oak. This beer finished sweet, the alcohol was there but it was well rounded off with the Spirits Barrels.

Pale 31

Finally, after chatting for a while I tried the Pale 31 – a Pale Ale at 4.9%. I’m pretty sure this is the beer I tried when I visited San Luis Obispo. On the nose lots of Light Citrus, Orange Zest, Pineapple and a touch of other Tropical Fruit. When you taste this beer you get lots of Citrus, Orange, Caramel and some Grassy notes. This beer is also so clean tasting and well balanced. It ends bittersweet. Firestone Walker really do make some world class beers.

Me and the Firestone Walker guys

I had a truely enjoyable evening and lots of fun with the Firestone Walker crew. I didn’t meet one that didn’t want to chat, and I ended up having a great night with them. They all have a great relationship and are all so passionate about beer – and that’s what I like about this rising beer scene. My only regret was not buying them drinks in return for mine – seriously thanks again guys!

I managed to grab myself a bottle of Firestone Seventeen – an anniversary ale that I will be reviewing around Christmas time. It sold out in 5 minutes, and that shows how sought after and world renowned this brewery is. It was nice to have you in the UK Firestone Walker. Come back soon! Craft Beer Co. were also a fantastic host as usual, they’re doing great things for the UK Beer Scene.

Barleywine – Collaboration: Scottish/American: BrewDog / Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus

This week’s beer is a Collaboration beer from Brewdog and Oskar Blues. This beer is a Barley Wine, the first on this site. I chose this beer because it’s a mix of an English style Barley Wine and an American Style one. There are some subtle differences, English Barley Wines are usually more malt-forward, whilst American Barley Wines are much more Hop Orientated. Brewdog (Scotland, UK) and Oskar Blues (Longmont, Colorado) are two breweries that are extremely passionate about what they do, and this is no exception.

Let’s start with the online description of the beer:

In collaboration with the awesome Oskar Blues from Colorado, we’ve created this big, twisted 10.5% American style barley wine. With big boozy aromas that’ll swirl round your nostrils and a sweet viscosity that’ll cover your tongue from top to tip, this is a beer for people who enjoy nonsense and walking on tightropes. Even when the Circus packs up and leaves, you’re left with a lingering warmth and bitterness playing in your mouth.

I say this is the online description, because this beer is bottled by Brewdog and their descriptions are always full of Bravado and strange metaphors. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, and it’s what I have come to expect from Brewdog (Has anyone seen Brew Dogs on TV?!) I picked the online description, as I feel that it represents both breweries well and gives you a bit of a description of the beer, although it’s still full of some great metaphors. From the description, we’re expecting something something boozy with lots of complex flavours, which sounds like exactly what we need with the first cold snap attacking the UK!

Although Brewdog are always very open about what they use to brew, the brew-sheet for this beer has been offline for quite a while as this Barley Wine was released this time last year. The reason I’ve kept it until now is that Barley Wines tend to mellow out over time and the flavours get more complex as it sits in the bottle. The malts in this beer are what I’d expect from an English Barley Wine, Extra Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate. The hop bill is where it gets interesting, and gives it the American twist. Chinook, Cascade, Citra are used giving some piney, resinous and fruity flavours. Citra definitely was an interesting addition, and when I learned this I was very interested to see how it faired in a Barley Wine.

When you pour this beer, it comes out with a Copper/Ruby colour and looks a bit like a Red/Amber Ale to start with. As more beer goes into the glass, it starts getting thicker and darker and develops a Tan coloured head. The smell of alcohol is the first thing you notice after pouring, but after a while the other aromas come through. Loads of Marshmallow, Stone Fruits, Toffee, Caramel with hints of Pineapple and Dried Apricot (Citra?!). This is definitely a sipping beer, at 10.5% and a smell like this you can tell it’s going to be a true Winter brew. After taking your first sip, you get hit by Roasted Marshmallow, Some dark, Sweet Roasty Malts, Dates, Plumb and Fig. After this fades, the hops take control and you get hints of Lime, Pineapple and a little bit of some other Citrus and Tropical fruits along with some Brown Sugar. This beer is sticky on your lips, is medium carbonated and finishes quite sweet. All in all, this is a great brew and something you can still buy even though the release was last year! Winter is coming, and this is definitely one that will see you through with some warmth from the Roasty flavours and Alcohol.

You can purchase Shipwrecker Circus in the UK at:

Beer Ritz (IN STOCK at time of writing!)

As this is a limited beer, you may need to do quite a bit of Google-ing, but it’s definitely out there!

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info. I hear Brewdog also import Oskar Blues to the UK, but this will have to be something you can tell them you’ve heard on the grapevine!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Stout – American: Founder’s Breakfast Stout

Now the weather is getting cold, I’m going to be posting about a few darker beers as well as others. Winter always seems to be the longest season in the UK. I decided to start this off with a Legendary Beer from Founders Brewing Co – Breakfast Stout. This is a big stout brewed with both bitter and sweet chocolate, Sumatra and Kona coffee and a tonne of specialty malt. It really is one of those legendary beers in my opinion.

Let’s start with Founders description of the beer:

The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.

A nice short but sweet, modest description of the beer from the brewers. Founders have never been known to be braggers. Even from the description though, you can almost imagine drinking this beer. Stouts are usually rich and some people even consider them a meal, but this particular stout takes it even further.

After doing quite a bit of research and drinking the beer myself, I believe Founders Breakfast Stout uses 2-Row, Crisp Chocolate, Briess Roast Barley, Debittered Black and Crystal malts. As this starts life in the mash as an Oatmeal Stout, Flaked Oats make up a good deal of the fermentables too. As for the hops, which aren’t usually a focus point in a Stout and are primarily used for bittering. Nugget and Willamette Hops are used in this beer to bitter the beer and let the malt, oats, coffee and chocolate to shine through. The coffee and chocolate are added during the boil and also during fermentation.

When you first pour this beer, it pours black and opaque. People often joke that light cannot penetrate Guinness, but this is something else. Light really can’t penetrate this brew! After you finish the pour you end up with a off red/pink head, almost cinnamon coloured as described. The head stays for a minute or two and then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass. This really is a pretty looking beer. Big hits of the Kona Coffee on the nose, strong Chocolate and Oatmeal aromas tailing off to a nice sweet and milky smell. This is one of those beers that are so inviting, with Stouts, Oatmeal ones especially once they’re poured I always want to dive in straight away. Once you taste this beer, you will realise what you’ve got yourself into: big Coffee hits, subtly sweet Chocolate and a little bit of Oatmeal. After this some Espresso coffee notes, lots of Dark Fruits, Sugar and a touch of Vanilla.  The 8.3% alcohol is well masked by the complex flavours, it’s so smooth and the only hint at the alcohol is the slight warming you feel when you drink it. Perfect for this colder weather! Lots of sweetness and only a touch of bitterness and incredibly easy to drink and enjoy, this is definitely one I recommend sitting next to the fire with on a cold night sipping away. Who needs hot chocolate anyway?

You can purchase Founders Breakfast Stout in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

The Real Ale Company

The Liquor Shop

A few places are currently out of stock, but Breakfast Stout is a seasonal release from Founders and begins in October. Although, a bottle from last year would be just fine!

You can purchase in person (last time I checked) at The Utobeer Cage in Borough Market, London as mentioned in one of my previous blogs.

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Founders products are distributed by James Clay in the UK. Breakfast Stout only comes in Bottles at the time of writing.

Smoked Beer – American: Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers

As the weather is turning cold, but still crisp and people are heading towards darker beers, this week I’ve picked Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. I think this beer is a great go-between between the summer sun and the Autumn months. This is a smoked porter, brewed with Chipotle Peppers. Smoked Porter is a fusion of the English Porter style and the German Rauchbier (Smoked Beer) style. Malt used in the mash is first roasted on an open flame, imparting some smokey flavours.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing‘s description of the beer:

In 2006, Chris Carroll, a longtime member of Team Stone, took that adage literally, proposing that we produce a one-off version of our venerable Stone Smoked Porter made spicy from the addition of chipotle peppers. We gave it a shot and found that those smoked jalapeños melded quite naturally with the smoldery peat-smoked malt that gives the beer its flavor and moniker, creating a deep, roasty quaff with a carefully restrained tingle of tasteful capsaicin heat in the finish. The marriage of ingredients was so nice that it has become an annual summertime staple, released each May in honor of Carroll’s initial idea that Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers serve as an artisanal alternative to the industrialized adjunct-laden cerveza billed as the perfect fluid accompaniment to the sunny season. Cheers to variety and a quality alternative to mediocrity.

A nice sarcastic style description from Stone as usual, with a little bit of a dig at Corona it seems. It’s to be expected of Stone, and this is one of the little things that separates them from the rest. Although drinking in Summer is suggested, I personally think this time of the year in the UK is perfect.

After trawling through the internet and doing some research (as well as taste research!) I think Stone went all out American for this brew, using Pale 2-row Malt, Peat-Smoked Malt (as we said earlier, but this malt was smoked with Peat like a Scotch Whiskey giving a distinctive flavour), as for the hops, although Stone have let the Chipotle Peppers and Malts sing in this one I think they’ve used Columbus and Mt. Hood. These hops give it a bitterness as well as that American hop aroma buried in there that we have all grown to love over the recent years.

When you pour this beer, you get the usual dark Porter colouring and a lovely tan head. The head has great retention… maybe there’s wheat in this beer but I’m not sure! You can’t smell this beer until you first put it to your mouth, you get a lovely amount of sweet malts, a little cigar smoke and a hit of spicy Chipotle peppers. With the taste, first you get a nice smokey kick from the peated malt, next the sweet portion of the chilli peppers, some fruity flavours brought on from the hops and the peppers and finally the heat. Initially it’s strange having a bit of Chilli heat in a beer, but once you get used to it it’s actually a great addition to this already great porter. The mouthfeel is silky, smooth and finishes sweet and spicy. Once you’ve got over the heat from the peppers, you’ll notice all the subtle flavours from them. I appreciate this beer probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s great on a cool, crisp afternoon to remind you of summer past.

You can buy Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers in the UK at:

Bottledog Kings Cross (The only place I’ve found it!)

If any of your friends are traveling to America, I seriously recommend you ask them to hunt this beer down for you.

Unfortunately, Stone do not distribute properly to the UK at the moment, but for anyone that would like to stock their beers I’d contact Beers Of Europe as they usually have a great selection.

EST. CALORIES: 177   ABV: 5.9%

Hefeweizen – American: Sierra Neveda Kellerweis

This week’s beer is in true classic Bavarian Style – Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, a Hefeweizen.

Hefeweizen is a traditional German “Weissbier” style. Weissbier means “White Beer” and it is called this because at the time of it’s invention, most German beers were dark in colour. The Hefeweizen is a term that means “Yeast White” as this is the beer in it’s truest form, unfiltered traditional form. Although this is an American version, it’s a great example of the style with it’s open fermentation and top fermenting yeast (required by law in Germany in order to call the beer Hefeweizen.) Anyway, enough history, let’s have Sierra Nevada‘s description:

Untamed, unfiltered, and unafraid.

Inspired by traditional Bavarian techniques, Kellerweis is a true artisan experience. With Kellerweis, we brew in open fermentation tanks—a process rarely seen today—to let the ingredients truly shine. The result is a hazy wheat ale—untamed, raw and alive. With a full, fruity aroma and notes of spicy clove and banana bread, Kellerweis is a truly unique brew.

A great description from Sierra Nevada as always, giving a brief bit of history along with how you should expect it to taste then there’s a few marketing bits in there. Sierra Nevada have always been quite grown up when it comes to their take on beer, so there’s no digs at “corporate yellow fizzy stuff” which sometimes can be funny, but sometimes it can get a bit tiresome.

After looking around, and realising that Sierra Nevada now put most of their recipe on their website I found this beer uses Two-row Pale Barley, German Wheat and Munich malts. I like how this is kept quite traditional, but uses the American Two-row pale malt also. It’s rumoured that occasionally Pilsen malt is also used in the brew depending on availability. Perle hops were used in this particular brew, which seems quite traditional to me as they are of German origin but sometimes Sterling hops are also used. This gives the hop profile a nice clean, noble profile with a hint of spice allowing the flavours created by the Hefeweizen ale yeast to shine through. I like it when breweries are more open with their recipes, some people won’t be interested but if breweries share their recipes it means if anyone wants to have a go, they can! Or even use it as a base for something else. Props to Sierra Nevada, one of the few breweries that give their recipe. Afterall, a lot of what makes brewing a good beer is the method anyway!

Moving on, when you pour this beer you’ll notice the fact it is unfiltered straight away, it pours a golden yellow that is very cloudy with a thick white head due to the fact it has a lot of wheat in. The initial smell is brown sugar and clove, banana and a little bit of wheat. This really does smell very inviting and refreshing. The taste is very much like the smell, but better. Lots of Banana, Strawberry and other summer fruit with a slightly pine bitterness at the end reminding you it’s American. The yeast does 99% of the work in this beer and it really is intriguing. After the pine flavours fade you get a bit of wheat and a nice smooth sweet finish. The head deceives as the carbonation is mild to medium and also takes a long while to dissipate. This truly is a refreshing beer – especially in this humid September weather.

All in all, a very refreshing beer from Sierra Nevada and one I will always purchase time and time again.

Kellerweis is a year round offering from Sierra Nevada and you can purchase in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Beautiful Beers (In Stock at time of writing!)

For any bars or shops that would like to stock Kellerweis, James Clay import Sierra Nevada beers in the UK.

EST. CALORIES: 144   ABV: 4.8%

Pilsner – American: Oskar Blue’s Mama’s Lil Yella Pils

This week with the sun slowly making it’s way out from behind the clouds, I’ve chosen a great example of a Pilsner by Oskar Blue’s Brewery. Although this one is a summer brew, even if the quintessential British weather sticks around you can still enjoy it. Oskar Blue’s are from Colorado, and often their weather can have a schizophrenic turn as much as ours! The fact that this a year round brew confirms the fact that this is a beer that can be enjoyed all year round as well as when the sun is shining.

Let’s start with Oskar Blue’s description of the beer:

Oskar Blues’ Mama’s Little Yella Pils is an uncompromising, small-batch version of the beer that made Pilsen, Czech Republic, famous. Unlike mass market “pilsners” diluted with corn & rice, Mama’s is built with 100% pale malt, German specialty malts, and Saaz hops. While its rich with Czeched-out flavor, its gentle hopping (35 IBUs) and low ABV (just 5.3%) make it a luxurious but low-dose (by Oskar Blues standards) refresher.

 

Quite an informative description that gives a little bit away about the recipie and also slates Adjunct Lager. As I’ve noted before in previous posts, Pilsner is one of the original lager styles and is definitely one of the more “premium” styles of lager. This one is no different and is confirmed in it’s description. I also quite like the fact that it says “czeched-out” as there’s nothing wrong with a Dad joke in a description!

I had to taste this one a few times before I came up with what I think is in the recipe. From the description you’ve got the nice floral, clean Saaz hops, but also I think there’s a little bit of Bravo hop in there too adding a little bitterness and even more floral flavour. The reason I say this, is because this beer is seriously floral in taste compared to the Summerfest I wrote about the other week. For the speciality malts, I think Pilsen Malt, Munich Malt, Crystal 20L and American Wheat Malt are used. This really helps the Pilsner flavour and the Wheat, as always helps the head rentention. I don’t usually comment on yeasts, as it’s always a brewery’s secret but the common one for beers like this is SafLager Weinhenstephan. Judging by the description, I think this is the one Oskar Blue’s most probably went for with Mama’s Lil Yella Pils.

When you pour this beer, it comes out of the can just as described – yellow. It pours with a nice fluffy medium white head that maintains excellent retention and leaves a sticky pattern on the glass as it settles. The first thing you notice is the incredible sweet, bready and floral smell coming from the glass tempting you in. There’s also a little hint of freshly cut grass which is a nice addition. On tasting this beer, the floral aromas really come out in the taste leaving behind sourdough and sweet bready malt tastes. When you think it’s over the floral kick comes back and ends with a subtle bitter and medium dry finish. The beer is quite carbonated, as a lager should be but doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and bogged down. This really is an excellent American Adaptation of a pilsner, and one of my favourites so far. It’s a very smooth, crisp, refreshing brew and excellent for after (or during!) a hard days work. I reccomend drinking it outside, even if it is colder that usual!

Overall, a great example of a Pilsner with an American twist and something I would most definitely recommend as one of my favourite examples of the style.

You can purchase Mama’s Lil Yella Pils in the UK at:

Beers of Europe (In stock at time of writing!)

Hippo Beers

Bottledog Kings Cross (ask before travelling!)

Unfortunately, Oskar Blue’s do not have set distribution in the UK but for bars and shops wanting to stock it I would recommend contacting Beers of Europe as they may be able to help you out.

EST. CALORIES: 159   ABV: 5.3%