Beer Event at The Blue Dog Pub in Lansdale – Tomorrow 1/21

This Friday, January 21 starting at 6:30 pm Blue Dog Lansdale:

On draft-

Russian River Pliny the Elder Double IPA

Founders Double Trouble Imperial IPA

Coronado Hoppy Daze IPA “Unfiltered Belgian style IPA

Ithaca Flower Power India Pale Ale

Port Brewing Mongo Double IPA

Dogfish Head Burton Baton Blended Imperial IPA

. . . and other great craft beer!

Hope to see you there!

Published in: Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Voodoo Black Magick – 2009 Vintage

Voodoo Brewing – Meadville, PA

Black Magick – 15% ABV – 12 oz.

2009 Vintage. 

“Aged in Elaigh Craig 13 1/2 year old Bourbon Barrels for 1 yr”

This was a beer that has been aging in my cellar for almost 2 years.  Since Black Magick is 15% alcohol, I thought it best to share it with a friend.  We each had a 6 ounce serving.

The pour is jet black with a tiny thin rim of brown around the edge of the glass.  There is zero head on this thing!  An energetic swirl barely agitated some bubbles out of it.

Complexity is the focus with the aroma.  There is so much going on in the aroma, it’s hard to describe, but definitely amazing!  Things I noticed included bourbon, chocolate, coffee, vanilla.  It’s a very balanced aroma.

The flavor is fantastic.  There is a lot of bourbon, but it’s not harsh.  I’m amazed that with the huge ABV, it’s not “hot” from the alcohol.  It’s very pleasant.  Other major players are vanilla beans and coffee.  As it warms up, I taste more of the oak characteristics from the barrel aging, along with even more vanilla and bourbon.  The flavor is awesome!  It’s very sweet with a bit of molasses sweetness and tang.

After an increase in temperature, the alcohol does bite back a little, but it only goes so far as to be a bit warming.  Still not too harsh.

There is a medium bodied mouth feel, but it’s not too creamy or viscous.  Since there was no carbonation during the pour, there also isn’t any during a sip.  I can’t say this beer is too drinkable.  As good as it is I wouldn’t want more than 6 ounces in a serving.  It’s pretty powerful stuff.

 I truly can’t say enough about Black Magick!  It’s an amazing beer that happens to be offered every other year.  When I taste an aged stout, this is what I want.  Its complex flavors bring lots of ingredients to mind, particularly bourbon, vanilla and coffee.  I’m stunned that the 15% alcohol is as subtle as it is.  It’s very deceptive and delicious.

Voodoo Brewing’s website states it’s brewed every 2 years.  So, if I purchased my bottle in 2009, and assuming it was bottled in 2009, then logic dictates that 2 years later would be 2011!  And knowing that it’s now 2011, then it’s safe to say that if the website is correct, we may possibly expect a batch of Black Magick this year.  That is an excellent prospect, indeed!

Overall: A+

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dock Street Prisoner of Hell

Dock Street Brewing – Philadelphia, PA

Prisoner of Hell – 10% ABV

On tap at The Blue Dog Pub, Lansdale.

“A Belgian strong golden ale spiced with white and black pepper.”

Prisoner was served in a tulip glass and was pretty cold when it arrived.  I usually let most beers on tap warm up a bit so they can develop their flavor, and did just that here.  The appearance was a hazy, straw-colored pale yellow with just a thin layer of white foam.

The aroma has hints of citrus fruit and yeast.  The spices come out a little bit in the aroma, but not too much.  It may be too cold at first.

The flavor is lemony at the beginning.  There is alcohol in the middle, and the pepper flavors come out at the end.  This ale is clean and crisp with very dry flavors.  The hops are there and have a refreshing bitterness.  The finish is interesting because the pepper is actually present in the flavor.  It’s mostly in the aftertaste, but it brings cool flavors to the party.

The beer is a bit watery for my taste, but I could appreciate it more in the summer when it’s hot outside.  It would definitely be refreshing.  The drinkability is quite high for a 10% ABV brew.

Prisoner of Hell is a cool Belgian brew.  The lemon and pepper flavors blend nicely and make for a refreshing glass of beer.

Overall: B

Published in: on January 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Troeg’s Nugget Nectar is Shipping!!!!

I’ll be keeping my eyes open for bottles of Troeg’s best offering: Nugget Nectar! A great annual beer.

Stay tuned for numerous posts throughout the weekend. Including:

Imperial Stout bottling day

and reviews of Cigar City Hunahpu and Voodoo Black Magik!

Published in: Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point Brewing Co.- San Diego, CA – 12 oz.

Sculpin IPA – 7% ABV

Sculpin IPA starts out with a really nice looking pour.  Hazy, golden straw colored with a cream-colored head.  It left lacing down the glass even as the head receded to a thin coating.  Some bubbles are present.  Having had this before, I was looking forward to the first opportunity to review it… which is now.

The aroma is so fruity, this may be the fruitiest IPA I’ve had the pleasure to review.  There are lots of citrus hops and very few pine varieties in the aroma.  Fruit aromas include pineapple, lots of mango and grapefruit.  There’s also a hint of apricot in there, too.  The aroma makes the mouth water.

The flavor has lots of fruit, as well, but the hops are more prominent.  There is certainly a hoppy IPA bitterness, but it’s tempered by the sweet malt and the varieties of hops that were used.  The aroma may have been all fruit aromas, but there are pine notes in the flavor now.  There is also a nice, grassy finish.  Clean and refreshing is the name of the game here.  Excellent flavor!  The bottle that I purchased was definitely fresh.

The mouth feel is nice and light to medium-bodied.  Lots of carbonation, but not too much.  Sculpin’s drinkability is great.  It may be 7% ABV, but I could drink this as a “session” beer.  On tap at my house.  That would be nice.  I wouldn’t let it linger too long because the fresh, fruity hop flavors would probably fade. 

This is an amazing IPA.

Overall: A

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

PhillyBeerAmbassador’s Top Ten Beers of 2010

As 2011 begins, I felt compelled to post my two cents on my favorite beers of 2010.  Every industry seems to give their own opinion of their “best of” list every year.  It may even be cliché, but I think it’s fun.  It gives me a chance to look back at all the great brews that came around over the past 12 months.

In creating my list, I had 22 beers that I felt were Top 10 worthy.  From there, the list was narrowed down to ten.  That was slightly more challenging.  Ranking the final ten took almost 30 minutes.  Some are available frequently, some annually and some are much harder to acquire.

With that, here are PhillyBeerAmbassador’s Top Ten Beers of 2010:

#10- Founder’s Porter.  Available frequently both on tap and bottled.  A perfect example of a classic porter, Founders simply makes my favorite porter of the year.  A great balance of sweet and hoppy bitterness, the coffee and dark chocolate flavors work great together.

#9- Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA.  An annual release, available on tap and bottled.  I was able to sample this during Philly Beer Week in June.  This high-alcohol Imperial IPA has an extra full-bodied mouth feel and a good balance of hop flavors and maltiness.  It’s almost syrupy mouth feel came close to some cordials I’ve had over the years and contributed to my enjoyment of this brew.  Some may cry “sacrilege”, but I enjoyed it more than “Younger”.  Dogfish made some awesome brews this year, but this one stood above the others.  They may brew it annually, but this was the first year I’ve tasted it.

#8- Russian River Pliny the Elder.  Available periodically on tap only.  A great double IPA with tons of pine-flavored hops.  Absolutely a “hop bomb”.  Hop lovers rejoice.  Along with the hops, there are also hints of grapefruit.  There is also a strong malty backbone.  Some hunting and waiting may be required, but Elder is worth seeking out when it’s around.

#7- Stone Russian Imperial Stout.  Available annually in bottles and on tap.  The best example of a traditional Russian Imperial Stout this year.  It has a great balance of sweet malt flavors, hops, coffee and chocolate flavors with a heavier mouth feel.  I’m sure I’ll always track this down when they brew and bottle it.  It’s great fresh, and I bet the bottles will be even better a few years down the line.

#6- Troeg’s Nugget Nectar.  An annual release coming up soon.  This is another beer for hop lovers; it’s an IPA with an IBU count of 93.  That means there’s tons of hoppy bitterness.  Nugget Nectar was one of my biggest surprises of the year.  I tasted and reviewed it back in February.  At first, I thought it was good.  Then, I was compelled to get another bottle here, another there…  At that point, I realized it was a great beer.  I can’t wait for this years’ batch.

#5- Port Brewing Wipeout IPA.  Available periodically, most recently in December.  I tasted Wipeout for the first time in the spring.  It was another great surprise!  Lots of citrus and fruit flavors made it an excellent IPA.  One of the best things about this beer is its $5.75 price tag for a 22 oz. bottle.  It just proves that awesome beer can be had for a great price.  Take that wine lovers!  (No offense wine lovers, I like good wine, but your hobby is more expensive)  I’ll probably grab a bottle or 2 of Wipeout almost every time I see it.

#4- Russian River Supplication.  Available once in a while.  This was my first experience with a sour style beer, and I didn’t like it right away.  With lots of berry notes and a high level of tartness, it was something unique.  My second tasting was enough to convert me to a sour beer lover.  Wine flavors are prominent since it’s aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels.  It bites back with astringency making it very refreshing.  Supplication doesn’t even taste like your average beer, to the point where it’s almost weird calling it a beer.  But it is a beer… and it’s great!

#3- Founders KBS, Kentucky Bourbon Stout.  Available annually on tap and in bottles.  Being Founders’ second showing on this list should help show the quality of their product.  They have so many great beers, but KBS is awesome.  It gets rave reviews from me because I really like bourbon stouts.  There were other contenders, but KBS is the best of the bunch.  It’s thick and syrupy with a huge sweet bourbon profile.  While tasting good anytime, it tastes best with some dessert, like cheesecake, or on a cold night to take the chill off.  KBS is warming with a high alcohol content, and it’s awesome!

#2- Cigar City Hunahpu.  Tasted during Philly Beer Week.  Not readily available, but rumor says it may be brewed again 2011… Here’s hoping.  This beer had such a unique group of ingredients, and was exceptional.  It’s a full-bodied imperial stout brewed with vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa nibs.  It’s aged on pastille and ancho peppers.  So smooth, creamy and complex with a tiny bit of spice.   It may have earned the #1 spot  if it wasn’t so impossible to find.  It’s my list and I can dock points for teasing me with something I can’t get.  A truly delicious beer with an amazing recipe.

And my #1 beer for 2010….

#1- Flying Fish Exit 16.  Brewed once for Flying Fish’s Exit Series, it was available in bottles and on tap.  I first tasted it on April Fool’s Day, 4/1/10, and knew it was a Beer of the Year contender.  It’s full of tropical fruit flavors like grapefruit, mango, tangerine and papaya.  The fruity flavors reduce any hoppy bitterness to almost zero.  It also has a very bright, dry flavor similar to a good champagne.  Exit 16 was spectacular super-fresh and I made sure to bring bottles to as many gatherings as possible to expose the greatest number of people to its awesomeness.  Between myself and the people I enjoyed it with; I wouldn’t be surprised if we went through 2 full cases.  That’s 24- 25.4 oz. bottles.  That’s a lot of beer tasted by a lot of people.

I’ve said it here before, but being a limited release, I sure hope Flying Fish earned enough money and earned enough critical acclaim to move Exit 16 into their regular rotation.  Truly an amazing beer and my #1 favorite of 2010.  Congratulations, Flying Fish… You deserve it!

So, that concludes PhillyBeerAmbassador’s favorite beers of 2010.  Thanks to everyone who read once in a while or on a continual basis.  If you know anyone who might enjoy reading, please recommend my Facebook page so they can “Like” it.  They’ll then hear about new postings as they happen.

Happy New Year!


Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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