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Baby Hercules
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As a beer aficionado, I appreciate recommendations from my fellow malt devotees. Here's the thread to do it in. Tell us what you love and why. Give us a link so our eyes can massage the label and commit it to memory.

 

 

I'll start with Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout. If you love a stout so thick you can stick a fork up in it, this is your beer. I think the fork tines may actually disintegrate if you leave them in there long enough. This is one potent beverage. I discovered it at a charity tasting event at Whole Foods tonight and, well, let's just say that I'm typing very carefully and very slowly now. Thank goodness my friend drove. The chocolate flavor and aroma is distinct and intoxicating and speaking of intoxicating, can you say "Ten percent?" Yowza! It runs around nine dollars a bomber but you'll get your money's worth. Toasty, chocolaty, malty, smooth, dark as midnight, and very little hops. Oh, yeah.

 

This guy says it all: http://www.kegworks.com/blog/2010/02/17/southern-tier-choklat/

Image towards the bottom: http://justbeer.wordpress.com/category/southern-tier-brewing/

http://southerntierbrewing.com/beers.html (towards the bottom)

 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find a place to lay down.

 

Baby Herc

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I love Russian River Brewery's stuff in Santa Rosa, CA. Holy f-ing hell, so good! I love their IPA, Pliny the Elder and just tried Pliny the Younger recently. Went to Belgium, France and the Netherlands in September and did the once a year ORVAL monastery brewery tour. That was off the charts, the monastery was so amazing and it was a fun tour. Had to buy some of their glasses with the fish logo. I'm a stout and porter girl generally, so love trying those out at the local brew pubs round here. Kölsch is pretty yummy too, just recently tried that out in Germany.

 

http://russianriverbrewing.com/

http://www.orval.be/en/8/Brewery

jen

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Ooh, the Plinys are fantastic, but I never get them down here (Georgia). This weekend was a good one for beer. Had the North Coast Grand Cru, Hebrew Genesis 15:15, Jailhouse Smokey Wheat, New Belgium Belgo IPA, Shipyard Apple Head, and the Ass Kisser Vanilla Pale Ale.

 

The Grand Cru was terrific. High gravity, but still refreshing, mostly sweet with a touch of sour bourbon. It's pretty crisp when cold, but tastes best just slightly chilled.

 

The Hebrew 15 was pretty intense. Definitely tasty, but a slow-drinker. Heavy and dark with almost a smokey feel to it. I still have a 13 and 14 I've been keeping for a while.

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Just found out that Charlie wells brewery is mostly vegan friendly beers. This brewery is bedfordshire UK based ( county where I was born). I now live in Northamptonshire so just the next county up from there and we have a lot of Charles wells pubs this way. Which is lucky as one of my favs is Bombardier.

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Bruce,

I even have a hard time finding Pliny at the store and I'm not that far down the road from Russian River! I usually have to cruise over to Santa Rosa and pay them a visit for a growler. Sometimes I can find Blind Pig at Whole Foods around here, that's pretty good too. If I find any of their stuff I buy em out. Any of the smoked beers, I can't really drink those too often, like you said they're a slow drinker.

Jen

 

Ooh, the Plinys are fantastic, but I never get them down here (Georgia). This weekend was a good one for beer. Had the North Coast Grand Cru, Hebrew Genesis 15:15, Jailhouse Smokey Wheat, New Belgium Belgo IPA, Shipyard Apple Head, and the Ass Kisser Vanilla Pale Ale.

 

The Grand Cru was terrific. High gravity, but still refreshing, mostly sweet with a touch of sour bourbon. It's pretty crisp when cold, but tastes best just slightly chilled.

 

The Hebrew 15 was pretty intense. Definitely tasty, but a slow-drinker. Heavy and dark with almost a smokey feel to it. I still have a 13 and 14 I've been keeping for a while.

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Eight Ball Stout from Lost Coast Brewery

 

On the side of the bottle, it says, "This rich, robust stout is made with Pale Malted Barley, Oatmeal, Roasted and Chocolate Malts, Pacific Northwest Hops, Crystal Clear Mountain Water, and Ale Yeast."

 

Sounds like a fabulous entree at a great restaurant, doesn't it? It is. You taste the malt first, then a hint of mocha, then a nice finish of oatmeal. It's light for a stout but it goes down as smooth as a backrub after a long day of work. All you need is a plate of comfort food to go with it, a cracklin' fire in the fireplace, and that's one hell of a nice evening. At 6.3%, it's at the lower end of the Gettin' Smockered Rating, so go ahead and finish a whole bomber.

 

http://www.lostcoast.com/

 

Baby Herc

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Nice, I'm hyped to find this thread on this site. Beer reviews on a health conscious website. Its hard to connect with others sometimes if they are so serious about being straightedge that they want everyone to be that way. I respect every one's opinions, just don't push them on me haha. I guess I feel the same way about religion as I do about beer. Haha never thought of it that way.

SO I'm a little biased and believe the best beer in the world comes from Oregon. Although some of my favorites also include beers from Czech, Poland, California, Montana and NY.

The hardest for me is missing micro brews on tap, some of the best beers aren't made on a large enough scale to be bottled and distributed in stores. I will likely post a bunch to this thread but for post #1-

 

If you are a beer fiend and lucky enough to live in Oregon or visit there here are some of my favorites for you to try:

 

Off The Rail Brewery (hands down my favorite brewery) Sweet leaf is a, sweet unusual combo of like a amber and a IPA without the bitterness and it has some hints of ice tea. Blizzard of Oz is a Winter seasonal, it tastes like opening presents.

 

Everything that Lompoc makes is good. Their LSD and IPA are my favorites.

 

Ninkasi is excellent. They are growing in size and popularity and have one many awards. They are best know for their Total Domination and their Tricerahops. I really like their winter beer its called Sleigher.

 

Calapooia makes a chili beer. Its spicy like jalepeno, and has a surprisingly clean and refreshing after-taste.

 

Klamath Basin makes 8 second ale. Seriously good and seriously you will want to drain it in 8 seconds.

 

Aw I miss Oregon beers. Imports will be the topic of my next post.

 

Cheers!

 

-Dylan

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Nice, I'm hyped to find this thread on this site. Beer reviews on a health conscious website. Its hard to connect with others sometimes if they are so serious about being straightedge that they want everyone to be that way. I respect every one's opinions, just don't push them on me haha. I guess I feel the same way about religion as I do about beer. Haha never thought of it that way.

 

So, true, C.O., about any group out there. Thanks for speaking up, you speak for a lot of us.

 

SO I'm a little biased and believe the best beer in the world comes from Oregon. Although some of my favorites also include beers from Czech, Poland, California, Montana and NY.

 

Being in Portland, Oregon, myself, I'm hardly in a position to argue. And, speaking of Poland, I recently discovered Black Boss Porter. Hoo-boy! http://bierkraft.com/browseproducts/Black-Boss-Porter-16oz.HTML

 

The hardest for me is missing micro brews on tap, some of the best beers aren't made on a large enough scale to be bottled and distributed in stores. I will likely post a bunch to this thread but for post #1-

 

If you are a beer fiend and lucky enough to live in Oregon or visit there here are some of my favorites for you to try:

 

Off The Rail Brewery (hands down my favorite brewery) Sweet leaf is a, sweet unusual combo of like a amber and a IPA without the bitterness and it has some hints of ice tea. Blizzard of Oz is a Winter seasonal, it tastes like opening presents.

 

Thanks for the recommendation. It's officially on my Fun List of Things to Do This Summer in a Reclining Position.

 

Everything that Lompoc makes is good. Their LSD and IPA are my favorites.

 

Ninkasi is excellent. They are growing in size and popularity and have one many awards. They are best know for their Total Domination and their Tricerahops. I really like their winter beer its called Sleigher.

 

Ninkasi isn't just excellent, it's oat-a-licious. I'm savoring an Oatis Oatmeal Stout as we speak. Oaty, malty, thick, and loaded with 7.2% of the fun stuff, it's a wonderful brew to wash down something dense and delicious, like smoked tempeh burgers or a good, rich lentil soup. Come to think of it, it goes pretty well Continental-style, too: "A loaf of bread, a jug of [Oatis], and thou..." http://www.ninkasibrewing.com/beers/oatis

 

Calapooia makes a chili beer. Its spicy like jalepeno, and has a surprisingly clean and refreshing after-taste.

 

Klamath Basin makes 8 second ale. Seriously good and seriously you will want to drain it in 8 seconds.

 

But it's so hard to keep from spilling when you're on top of the bull....

 

Aw I miss Oregon beers. Imports will be the topic of my next post.

 

I'm drinking to you right now in Portland, Dylan!

 

Cheers!

 

-Dylan

 

Flat out like a lizard drinkin'!

 

Baby Herc

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Yum and have you had the vanilla Oatis? Also yes I like Black Boss, I was surprised to hear that nobody in Poland drinks it or Boss lager there. A scoop of ice cream in a Black Boss makes a damn good beer float, so does Howl.

 

-Dylan

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Has anyone tried Rogue's collab wih Voodoo doughnuts? I think its called Maple bacon doughnut ale. I heard it was really disgusting. Not sure if its vegan or if they actually flavor it with real bacon or not... Voodoo makes some good vegan doughnuts, I like the chicko-stick.

 

 

-Dylan

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Gross. And gross. I knew a sous chef here in Portland who swore up and down that the chocolate truffles with the bacon in them were the best seller at a chocolatier where she once worked. The very thought of that rolling around on my tongue actually made my stomach contort as if it were expecting a sucker punch in a street fight.

 

I had a Voodoo once, just to say I did. When in Rome. To own the truth, it didn't impress. I was expecting some sort of transporting experience of sublime joy. You know, something to set that famous doughnut store apart from the rest. Their fare just formed the same hard ball in my stomach that all pastries do and made me want to scrub my face and take a nap.

 

I'm sticking to dark chocolate bars: the crack cocaine of the vegan dessert world. When in Rome.

 

Baby Herc

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haha and ha. Good choice. So if I visit the Bronx does that I mean I am supposed to try actual crack-cocaine? Yeah the idea is kinda gross but I do like meatless options that taste like meat so if it doesn't actually have animal products in it I will probably end up having a taste of that weird beer. Makes sense that you wouldn't. Actually makes much more sense that you wouldn't want to then that I would want to but I am a very curious person and sometimes like to try things even if I expect them to not taste good.

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So if I visit the Bronx does that I mean I am supposed to try actual crack-cocaine?

 

The Bronx ain't Rome. When in the Bronx, you're supposed to go for Italian and Puerto Rican food. If it comes with a side of rock and a pipe, you can always ask if they'll substitute an order of onion rings instead. Many places will.

 

Baby Herc

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I just read this article about beer being often served too cold that it loses its flavor. I thought it was interesting. I like some beers served cold (Heineken) and some more closer to room temp (ambers). Here's the article. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/drink/2012/03/don_t_believe_coors_and_budweiser_colder_isn_t_better_.html

The fact that Heineken needs to be ice cold should be a tip off that it's a terrible beer. When a beer is too chilled, it tastes more like "cold" than anything else. For some beers, that's good, because those beers are awful. Many of them have their places, particularly when you want something cheap, light, and refreshing, but they aren't good at being beer.

 

Too much cold is murder on the esters and aroma in particular. If you can't smell any particular characteristics, you probably won't taste them either. Of course, you can just wait a few minutes and take another sip to see if you notice a difference. It's rare a beer is _so_ chilled that it's actually damaged.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The fact that Heineken needs to be ice cold should be a tip off that it's a terrible beer. When a beer is too chilled, it tastes more like "cold" than anything else. For some beers, that's good, because those beers are awful. Many of them have their places, particularly when you want something cheap, light, and refreshing, but they aren't good at being beer.

 

But they're sensational for teasing the hell out of your friends:

 

Baby Herc

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found another nummy, drinkable chocolate stout: Boatswain Chocolate Stout. It's lighter and less thick and sweet than the usual chocolate stouts, with a hoppy-er finish, so it's not really my style but it's a good beer to use to introduce a Pale Ale lover the world of chocolate stouts. Caveat: only patrons of Trader Joe's will be able to enjoy this one, it's their own private label that Rhinelander Brewery puts out for them. You won't find it online except at beer rating sites like this one: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/435/75507

 

If you want to try it, and your local Trader Joe's has it in stock, trust me: call them NOW and have them set aside a few bombers for you. It sells so fast, they barely stock the shelves with it before it's gone. Yesterday, my store had fifteen cases of it, tonight there are four left. Yup. And the only way I even knew they got it in was that I knew the sommelier and told him to personally tip me off by phone. Well, now isn't that special. (Church Lady voice.)

 

Baby Herc

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Beer Lovers, listen up: crack open a cold one, get yourself comfortable, and watch this entertaining documentary: Beer Wars. http://www.hulu.com/watch/235712/beer-wars?c=News-and-Information/Documentary-and-Biography

 

You'll learn things you never knew about the corporate-vs.-private brewers out there, you'll watch beer drinkers totally screw themselves in a blind tasting of the top three megabreweries, Coors, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch, and you'll feel better about yourself and your highly evolved taste buds as you drink your tasty, local microbrew. The mega-corporations spend their money on commercials and marketing, not beer development (as the blind tasting clearly attests) and have neutered their beer flavors down to a watery drivel that looks the same, tastes the same, and appeases the masses. They sell image and entertainment, not beer. Funny how many people miss that simple fact, though, when they shush their friends to reverent whispers during those Super Bowl commercials. Think fast--when was the last time one of those commercials talked exclusively about how good the beer tasted? The giants have learned to push consumers to buy their products rather than respond to market demand. The CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales aptly states, "I think at the end of the day, I think people want to be recognized as individuals. They don't wanna be told what they should drink, they want to discover it for themselves and that's what we're all celebrating...."

 

And there's a darker side. The big guys break the law to sway their buyers, giving them free cases of beer (illegal) and free stuff (also illegal) as incentives (read: bribes). They blatantly steal formulas, concepts, and marketing ideas and turn around and market them as their own genius, even suing the little guys to remove beer names that the big guys actually stole in the first place. There's also trickery and deception in location. Organic Wild Hops Lager is labeled as being brewed at the Green Valley Brewery in Fairfield, CA. News flash: there IS no Green Valley Brewery in Fairfield, CA, only a gigantic Anheuser-Busch plant. Surprise, surprise. So much for the quaint local brewery image.

 

The megacorps buy out smaller breweries and absorb them like the Borg, not because the little guy's beer is superior, but because the brand sells, like Rolling Rock, which got devoured by Anheuser-Busch in one gulp. (Since then, Rolling Rock is no longer made in glass-lined tanks, which made it famous in the first place--did you know that?) Anheuser-Busch has bought out 54 breweries and incorporated them under their label in the last 10 years. Yes, you read that right: 54. Recently, Coors and Miller actually joined forces in an attempt to compete with the behemoth but the monster won again in the end. It sold itself out to a mega-MEGA-corporation, InBev, for 52 billion dollars. InBev now controls Budweiser, Michelob, Beck's, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Rolling Rock, Bass, and Grolsch, making it the largest brewing company in the world. Gulp!

 

Most importantly, these biggies muscle small breweries out of the distribution centers, centers that were put in place after prohibition to prevent breweries from selling directly to the public and therefore, supposedly, eliminating monopolies and other naughtiness. The way this three tier system works is: you can be a brewer or you can be a distributer or you can be a retailer but you can only be one of each. And there is a chain of command. The brewer has to deliver their product to a distribution center which then ships the stuff to a retailer where you and I can finally purchase it and enjoy. We can't get it directly from the brewery, not even online. A microbrewery has to get space in a distribution warehouse to store their beer and then the stores like Safeway and Trader Joe's can get it from there. But guess who owns the distribution centers? That's right: Coors, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch. So much for preventing monopolies. Did you know there are 37,000 beer-related laws in this country? We may need a few more....

 

Brace yourself, this is gonna make you ill: Anheuser-Busch makes the most financial contributions to political parties and has the most lobbyists out there right now working their little tails off to keep that unfair three tier system in place because, hey, it's working for Anheuser-Busch. Yet the point they make when they make their pitch to Congress is that this system "levels the playing field" so that everybody gets an equal shot at success. Oh, bite me. Big business mixed with politics is a dangerous brew.

 

In the end, there is no such thing as "a level playing field" in the beer industry. There is only consumer power. After all, if Bud Light wasn't selling, they wouldn't have so many lobbyists (nor could they pay them). If you truly love the taste of Bud Light above all others, then go for it, you have my blessing. But if you prefer the originality of a finely crafted ale made by people who love brewing for it's own sake, then you have my everlasting, malty devotion.

 

My favorite quote in the whole movie? "When somebody asks me if want a Budweiser, I tell them to it put back in the horse."

 

Bottoms up,

 

Baby Herc

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ5ErogTbGn7BWj9tdHlGZtzhiz6hs1XdkOrNlHa3Yu_nlbJBRvYQ

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4_gU2olu7UNNM60nwv4lHyoRSCDilqwA9YBehMvzVYd1v4wDqWQ

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQLxZecUvTbtQXilC9n0976gi6uOcQyJqXyEDWvYfdZI9eJqEtG

 

If those three are all I had left, I'd be fine with that. Just don't push a bottle of that wretched Stella Artois at me and expect me to drink it because it's from Belgium!

 

Actually, there's one more, but chances are I won't be coming across it again any time soon:

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRnIswSnikR-poVwCygMGhHO2x4v45km2i1YuHfeR_tU2MuvP2uGQ

 

Best damned stout I ever had (and priciest beer I've ever purchased), but at this point in time, I'm not planning on driving two states away and taking a weekend off to camp out in hopes of securing a few bottles.

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Hey, Herc!

 

I'm far from a beer expert (most microbrews that people rave over don't do much for me), but good Belgian ales tend to have a potently high ABV kick while not tasting too strong, most are quite mellow and low on hoppiness and bitterness. Content for most of the Belgians I like range from about 7.5% to 11% (I forgot to include a picture of Piraat, which would round out my top favorites, with it being on the high end of the spectrum). Duvel is a great starting point for general quality Belgians, not too pricey and not too strong, Chimay is more rich in body and more expensive, Trippel Karmaleit is pretty much in the middle (been a while since I've had one, but probably closer to Duvel than Chimay in appearance/body/flavor from memory). Can't go wrong with any of those! Dark Lord is brewed only once per year by Three Floyds, I was lucky enough to get to know a guy who would travel down and get a case to bring back to his store, but unfortunately, once he went out of business my connection was lost Price back around 2007 was still about $22 per bottle, I hear it has gone up considerably, but damned if it wasn't THE best stout I'd ever tried, and I used to be a stout fanatic years ago. Only way most people can get it is to get tickets and drive to the brewery for their big weekend in April when they release the yearly batch. Otherwise, you have to know someone who was willing to make the journey, and from what I hear, those people usually want a LOT for anything they bring back and are willing to part with! But, should you get the chance to ever get your hands on a bottle, it's well worth the investment, just be sure to tuck it away for a special occasion to celebrate

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