Sierra Nevada still strong with the latest trendy beer styles

Sierra Nevada Brewing has been a favorite of mine for the last 35 years or so. Starting with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with it’s hop forward flavors and never looking back to tasteless mass produced beer again. Sierra Nevada, Mills River, North Carolina, Hazy Little Thing IPA, 6.7 ABV, has a big fluffy white head sitting atop a cloudy golden yellow body. A big hoppy, citrusy nose is a sign of great things to come. There is also a mineral flintiness on the back of the nose. The hops are prominent on the front end of the palate balanced with … Continue reading Sierra Nevada still strong with the latest trendy beer styles

Winter Holiday Brews 2018 Part 2

Brooklyn Brewery, Black Chocolate Stout, Winter 2018, 10%abv, is the best example of Russian Imperial Stout brewed today. Worthy of Russian Czars, this malty ale is opaque black with a dark tan head, just like a black hole, no light that enters it will escape. The heady nose is loaded with dark chocolate, black malt and heavily roasted espresso beans. The rich mouth is like a cappuccino with extra shots of espresso with creamy dark chocolate mousse folded into it. On the back of the palate there is a nice acidity that rounds out the full mouth feel. This beer … Continue reading Winter Holiday Brews 2018 Part 2

Winter Holiday Brews Part 1

As the holiday season fast approaches, it is time to figure out what beers to drink sitting by the fireplace or just enjoying family and friends.  Beer is the perfect beverage for these informal gatherings.  Winter ales and lagers tend to have a higher alcohol content to keep the cold winter evenings at bay. They give everyone a nice warm glow, just be careful, it is easy to overindulge on these tasty treats. Breckenridge Brewery, Christmas Ale, Breckenridge,CO, 7.1% abv. has a dark amber color with a thin tan head. The nose is filled with roasted dark malt, sweet caramel … Continue reading Winter Holiday Brews Part 1

Skipper’s Creek Vineyards, Merriwether Red Wine, Powhatan, VA, 2016

One of the great things about living in Richmond, VA is the history that surrounds this city. The state capitol building was designed by Thomas Jefferson and sits atop a hill overlooking the James River, and Jefferson’s home Monticello is just over an hour north in Virginia wine country. Wineries are all over Virginia and easily accessible from Richmond in any direction. Richmond is also home to many small breweries producing outstanding ales and lagers. Virginia also has a part of history of moonshine during prohibition that is being revived by a few small distilleries. Skipper’s Creek Vineyard in Powhatan, … Continue reading Skipper’s Creek Vineyards, Merriwether Red Wine, Powhatan, VA, 2016

Blue Mountain Barrel House, Spooky

Blue Mountain Barrel House, Spooky, Arrington, Virginia, 8.2% abv. Is light brown in the glass with a tan head.  Spooky forgoes the pumpkin pie spices; instead it was brewed with pureed pumpkin and cocoa nibs and aged in charred bourbon barrels.  The nose is tinged with roasted malt, and pumpkin and vanilla and caramel from the bourbon barrels.  The cocoa is in the background towards the back end of the nose.  The palate pretty much follows the direction of the nose.   The finish is medium but leaves you wanting more. The Blue Mountain Spooky is unique because the brewer takes a different approach to his … Continue reading Blue Mountain Barrel House, Spooky

Gato Negro Wines, the perfect sips for Halloween

San Pedro, Gato Negro, Pinot Noir, Valle Central, Chile, 2016 has a light ruby red color in the glass. Ruby red cherry, wild strawberry, and graphite greet the nose.  Flavors of tart cherry, tangerine and hit the tongue first, secondary notes of minerals accompany strawberry and raspberry through the mid palate.  The finish is medium with crisp acidity, getting your mouth ready for the next sip.  Enjoy with some grilled salmon garnished with candy corn. San Pedro, Gato Negro, Merlot, Valle Central, Chile, 2016 is deep garnet color with purple highlights around the corona.  The nose has highlights of dark cacao with some savory roasted … Continue reading Gato Negro Wines, the perfect sips for Halloween

Finally a beer made for the shower Champion Brewery’s Shower Beer

Drinking a beer in the shower has been a thing for a while now, but no one brewed a beer specifically to drink while taking a shower. Until now! Well at least since 2014. Champion Brewing Company in downtown Richmond, VA makes Champion Shower Beer, 4.5% abv. to enjoy in the shower. Champion’s Shower beer is bright yellow with a fluffy white head. Clean and crisp malt notes greet the nose and the palate. Czech Saaz hops lend a slight bitterness that balances the malt. Over all this is a very satisfying lager. Champion’s Shower Beer won a gold medal … Continue reading Finally a beer made for the shower Champion Brewery’s Shower Beer

Hardywood, Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale

Hardywood Brewing, Richmond, VA, Rum Barrel Pumpkin Ale, 12.3% abv. Packs a punch. Dark amber with a quickly fading tan head, this is a unique heady beer. The nose has strong aromas of caramel and pumpkin pie spices up front. The palate follows the nose, with a nice vanilla sliding in mid palate. The high alcohol can be felt as it is going down, but not an unpleasant burn, kind of warm welcome, especially is sipping on a chilly evening. The aging in rum barrels does add another dimension to pumpkin ales, but do we really need another pumpkin beer … Continue reading Hardywood, Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Beers 2018, part 2

Weyerbacher, Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Easton, PA, 8%abv., is dark red-amber with a quickly receding tan head. Cinnamon, clove and allspice blend with pureed pumpkin and roasted malt. The palate basically follows the nose creating a liquid pumpkin pie. I would fill a glass with the Weyerbacher, Imperial Pumpkin Ale and add a scoop of rich vanilla bean ice cream, creating a liquid pumpkin pie ala mode. Brooklyn Brewery, Post Road Pumpkin Ale, 5%abv. This brew gives a nod to early American brewers who used the plentiful pumpkin to brew their ales. Rich amber with a quickly receding khaki head has … Continue reading Pumpkin Beers 2018, part 2