Tag Archives: reviews

Alaskan Black IPA

Beer of the Week: Alaskan Black IPA

Alaskan’s new spring sea­sonal is a session version of their 2010 Double Black IPA Pilot Series. So how does this beer stack up against the competition? Let’s find out.

This beer pours very dark, almost jet black, with a thick and creamy mocha/tan head. First impressions from the nose was choco­late and some roasti­ness from the malts. Also present were some resin pine aromas from the hops with just a hint of citrus in the background. On the taste you definitely notice the chocolate and malt up front which then quickly fades into the hoppy bitterness and is coupled with grapefruit, lemon, and grassy flavors. The finish is long and mildly bit­ter,­ with some slight roasti­ness around the edges.

Over­all, I really enjoyed this ver­sion of a Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale from Alaskan Brew­ing Com­pany. If you are a fan of this style, you may be a tad dis­ap­pointed as it is a little more laid back than others. If you are not a fan of this style, this is the per­fect beer to help you change your mind. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★½☆


Spirit Reviews: Yamazaki 12 Yr Single Malt Whiskey

This 12 year old whisky from Yamazaki first came onto the US market in 1984 and was the first seriously marketed Japanese single malt whisky here in the United States. The Japanese have been making whisky since the 19th century, but their first commercial endeavors began with the opening of the Yamazaki distillery in 1923. Masataka Taketsuru, Yamazaki’s first distillery executive, had studied the craft of distilling in Scotland, and his style of whisky closely mimics the traditional Scottish styles. The Yamazaki 12 is made with just barley, water and yeast, and is aged in a combination of American, Spanish and Japanese oak barrels.

The Yamazaki 12 pours a dark golden brown, darker than many other 12 year old whiskeies. The nose is well malted, and has hints of dried fruits, warm honey and butterscotch. The taste is quite dry, with an almost astringent quality, paired with hints of vanilla, citrus zest, caramelized toffee and just a hint of oak. The finish is long and has hints of spices with a little more of that astringency lingering in the background.

The Yamazaki 12 is an outstanding whisky, especially if looking for an introduction into Japanese or Scotch Whisky. A 750ml bottle will usually run between $40-$50, which is not a bad price for such a great tasting spirit. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★½

Guinness Black Lager Label

Beer of the Week: Guinness Black Lager

Guinness has a new beer in town, and it is breaking it’s age old tradition of brewing stouts by producing a black lager.

With the idea of recreating the distinctive flavor profile of their famous Stout, but in a crisper, refreshing style that will better compete with the other lagers being produced by some of the worlds biggest breweries.

Technically a Schwarzbier, the Guinness Black Lager pours just like their traditional stout, but without the rich, creamy head. The aromas are of gentle malt roastiness coupled with English hop aromas and a very clean yeastiness. The flavors are very guinness-like, with dry roast and bitter hops paired with the whistle clean lager yeast. The mouthfeel is clean and dry without any astringincy. All in all, a easy drinking lager that is sure to be welcomed by lovers of Guinness’s flagship stout. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Beer of the Week: Ninkasi Imperiale Stout

Known primarily for their excellent IPA’s, Ninkasi also has an excellent rotation of seasonal ales. The Imperiale is new for 2011, and is a 9.1% abv, 70 IBU, imperial stout brewed with 2 Row, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, Carafa and Black malts and hopped with Nugget hops.

It pours a jet black color with a thick cappuccino like head. On the nose, there are noticeable alcohol aromas, but the roast malt and hop aromas keep it in check. On the tongue this beer is a kick in the face, a boozy, malty drink perfect for a cold winter evening. It’s packed with roasted malt, dark plum, and a hint of coffee, with the sharp bittersweet hops balancing it all out. While this brew is incredibly well-balanced, it is also quite heavy and is very suited to be a sipping beer. It is complex, but simple enough for newer converts to the craft brew world. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Beer of the Week: Mort Subite Blanche Lambic

Mort Subite Blanche Lambic is a an amazing beer produced in Asse-Kobegem, Belgium, by the Alken-Maes Breweries group.

Brewed according to the centuries-old recipe of spontaneously fermented Lambic from malt, wheat and hops, this is a fairly dry, fruit-packed, 5% ABV ale that is incredibly smooth. It pours a light hazy yellow/orange, and reminds me a lot of an extremely yeasty witbier. The aromas are of lemon, loads of peaches, all highlighted by that rich yeasty smell characteristic of Belgian ales. On the tongue, the tastes are of sweet malt, wheat and spices, all complemented by that rich apricot taste. No hop aromas are present due to the aged hops used in Lambic production, although the finish has a slight pleasing bitterness to it.

If you have never quaffed a lambic before, then this is an excellent example to seek out for your first one. Be sure to grab a pint wherever you see it, because this is not a beer that sticks around. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★★