Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Victory Hopdevil Ale - Beer Review

IPAs don't always go over well with the Better Beer Authority panel. Can Hopdevil overcome this bias and win over the team. Tune in and find out.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Hopdevil Ale

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are drinking Hopdevil Ale from the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The brewery was founded in 1996 by childhood friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski -- who both studied brewing in Munich, Germany. Their beers are currently available in 29 states.

Hopdevil Ale is an American IPA with 6.7% ABV. It is a good example of Victory likes to combine German and American brewing styles. They use German 2-row barley and American whole flower hops, which they claim have a higher flavor to bitter ratio than hop pellets. This is a year-round offering that is available in bottles and on tap. The brewery describes Hopdevil as "menacingly delicious".

Q&A Does the malt backbone help offset the ample amount of hops? Does this taste like an IPA to you?

Hopdevil gets a (???) on the BBA scale. How does this compare to your favorite IPAs? Let us know in the comment section.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Beer Review

This is one of Sierra Nevada's oldest recipes, but does it evoke the holiday spirit? Find out whether this American IPA is the one you should take to your holiday party.

Partial Transcript: "On tap -- Celebration Ale

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Celebration Ale from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. The founder, Ken Grossman, is an AVID hiker and named the company after his favorite place to hike -- the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The brewery brewed it's first beer in 1980 and the following year, 1981, they started brewing Celebration Ale. This is Sierra Nevada's winter seasonal beer. It is an American IPA with 6.8 % ABV and 65 bitterness units.

This ale is brewed with fresh hops from the first hop harvest of the season and they use whole cone hops, rather than hop pellets, to achieve more subtle flavors.

They don't add any spices to this holiday beer. Any perceived spiciness is derived from fermenting the malt and sugars.

Q&A -- Do you think of an IPA as a traditional holiday beer? Does this beer warm the soul on a cold day?

Celebration Ale gets a (???) on the BBA scale. Which beer is going to get you through the holiday season? Let us know in the comment section.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron - Beer Review

At 12 percent, this beer is ready to knock a strong man down. Is the Better Beer Authority man enough for this strong brown ale which is aged in a barrel made of Palo Santo wood from South America. Sam Calagione, brewer from the TV show "Brewmasters", presents us with a complex and challenging beer that may be a little too much for Joe 6-Pack.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Palo Santo Marron

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Palo Santo Marron from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton Delaware. This year round release was first available in 2007.

It is 12% ABV, 50 IBUs and unfiltered. The brewery recommends drinking it from a pint glass. The name comes from the fact that the beer is aged in a 10,000 gallon brewing vessel made from Palo Santo wood from Paraguay. They say that the wood imparts notes of caramel and vanilla to the flavor.

In Spanish, "palo santo" means "holy tree" and "marron" means "brown". Dogfish Head describes it as a brown ale that is "highly roasty and malty".

Q&A Is Joe 6-pack going to like this beer? Does the Palo Santo aging make the flavor unique?

Palo Santo Marron gets a (???) on the BBA scale. What wood do you think is best for aging beer? Let us know in the comment section.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter - Beer Review

On Tap -- Taddy Porter

Hi. I'm James Knott. Today we are drinking The Famous Taddy Porter from Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster, England. The brewery was opened in 1758. Sam Smith's beers are distributed in the U.S. by Merchant du Vin.

This English Porter is an ale and 5% ABV. The brewery says to look for the "intense, dry tangy character of roasted barley." It is sold in 18.7 oz and 12 oz bottles.

As a style, Porter originated in England in the 18th century. This dark beer was named because of its popularity among the transportation workers of the day, who were known as porters. Stout and porter are related beer styles. Stronger, darker porters were once known as "Stout porters" and the name was eventually shortened to stout.


Taddy Porter gets a (???) on the BBA scale. Tell us about your favorite porter in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Craft Beer in Bathtub Time Lapse

46 Bottles of tasty craft beer - 286 pounds of ice - over 80 hours of taping. This is the sequel to our popular "Beer in Bathtub Time Lapse" video that was featured on washingtoncitypaper.com. If you support craft beer brewers, then rate this five stars, favorite it, and share it on your facebook page. We were criticized by craft beer lovers for using Miller Lite in our first video, so we wanted to show our support for the craft beer industry - which we are big fans of! Can you name all eight brands of beer used in this video?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yuengling Traditional Lager - Beer Review

Yuengling is the pride of Pennsylvania. A family owned brewery that is popular in the select states it's available in. Is this your beer of choice? What makes it so popular? Tune in and find out!

Yuengling is only available in 13 States and the District of Columbia, but despite it's limited distribution it is one of the largest breweries in the United States. The Better Beer Authority explores why this working man's beer from the heart of coal country in Pennsylvania has such enduring popularity.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Yuengling Traditional Lager

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are drinking Yuengling Traditional Lager -- sometimes shortened to just "Lager" if you live close to where it's made. This is the flagship beer from D. G. Yuengling and Son, Incorporated. - America's oldest brewery.

It was opened in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1829. The brewery survived prohibition by brewing "near" beer and several other non-beer products.

This amber lager is only available in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Despite Yuengling's limited ditribution, it is one of the the nation's largest breweries. Traditional Lager is 4.4% ABV and they brew with Cluster and Cascade hops.

Many on-line reviewers consider this to be an easy-drinking beer with decent flavor that is a step-up from many of the big American macrobrews.


Yuengling Traditional Lager scores a (???) on the BBA scale. Pick some up next time your in the Keystone State. Do you wish Yuengling was available where you live? Let us know in the comment section.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dogfish Head Sah'tea - Beer Review

This beer breaks a lot of rules! It's based on a 9th Century Finnish recipe and believe you me - you haven't had a beer like this one lately. The strong unique flavor of this beer is a love it or hate it taste. Does the Better Beer Authority love it or hate it?

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Sah'Tea

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Sah'tea from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware. The brewery is known for experimenting with exotic and historic styles of beer and this brew falls into this category.

Sah-Tea is based on a 9th Century farmhouse ale from Finland called Sahti -- spelled S-A-H-T-I. The beer is 9% ABV, has 6 IBUs and is brewed with German Weizen yeast. There are several things that set this beer apart from many modern beers. Juniper berries are used as a bittering agent.

19th Century brewers had to us hot rocks to boil the wort since they couldn't boil their brews over a fire in a wooden barrel. Dogfish Head continues the tradition and boils the wort with white hot river rocks that founder Sam Caligione says adds a "carmelly, earthy" flavor to the beer.

Finally, the beer is finished by adding a sort of tea at the end of the boil made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper.


Sah'Tea gets a (???) on the BBA scale. Is this beer too far off the beaten path for your tastes? Let us know in the comment section. Thanks to Dave for bringing us the beer all the way from the Delmarva peninsula.

And, quick note, we'd like to take a moment to finally congratulate Chef on his engagement to part-time BBA camera woman and telepromptress Beth. Congratulations. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TGIF: The Magical Beer Bathtub

Check this out!!! Our "Beer in Bathtub Time Lapse" video was featured in the Washington City Paper. I think they put it best when they wrote "The ice melts in reverse, revealing hidden message. Utterly pointless? Absolutely. Sort of cool? Yeah, sure." Check out their website and make sure and watch the video if you haven't yet!  Here is the link:  TGIF: The Magical Beer Bathtub

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Abita S.O.S. (Save Our Shore) - Beer Review

Do you like to think of yourself as a good person? Do you like to drink beer? Now you can be a good person and drink beer by purchasing Abita S.O.S. (Save our Shore). This "Charitable Pilsner" helps raise money for disaster relief from the Gulf Oil Spill. 75 cents from each bottle sold are donated. It's for a good cause, but is it good? Tune in and find out!

Partial Transcript: "On tap - Abita SOS

Hi. My name is James Knott and today we are drinking Abita SOS, also known as Save Our Shore - A Charitable Pilsner. It's brewed by the Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, LA - which was founded in 1986 and is 30 miles north of New Orleans.

SOS is a special release that helps raise money to help with the damage from Oil Spill in the Gulf. 75 cents from each bottle sold will be donated to the SOS charitable fund.

SOS has 7% ABV and 35 IBUs. The company describes it as an "unfiltered Weizen Pils". It used Pilner and wheat malts and is hopped and dry-hopped with Sterling and Perle hops. The brewery says to look for a "sweet malt flavor, and a pleasant bitterness."

Fun fact: The original pilsner beers come from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic and were first brewed in the 1840s

Q&A - Is helping charity a good reason to drink beer? Most Americans think of pilsner as an American adjunct lager like Budweiser. How is this different? Can you taste the wheat malts?

Abita SOS scores a (???) on the BBA scale. Buy it and help a good cause - if you're into that kind of thing? Tell us about your favorite pilsner - or charity - in the comment section."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beer in Bathtub - Time Lapse

Do you like beer?  Do you like ice?  Do you have 30 seconds to watch the most amazing video ever?

46 cans - 154 pounds of ice - 64 hours - one magical moment! This is a time lapse of beer and ice in a bathtub with a little bit of a message at the end.

64 hours is a long time to wait for beer. Boy am I thirsty. Cheers!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Beer Review

It's fall and time for some fun fall seasonal beers. Punkin Ale is Dogfish Head's most popular seasonal beer. Is this good like pumpkin pie or scary like Halloween? Is it a trick or a treat? Tune in and find out!

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Punkin Ale

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are drinking Punkin Ale from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. This beer Dogfish Head's top-selling seasonal release. It has been brewed every fall since 1994 -- before the brewery was even open for business. You can find it around September 1st each year and the brewery claims that it is usually sold out before Thanksgiving.

This beer is 7% Alcohol by volume and 28 International Bitterness Units. The brewery describes it as "a full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg." Pay attention to the alcohol because some of it comes from the fermentation of the organic, brown sugar.

Real pumpkin meat is added to the beer during the mash process.

Q&A -- Does this have more or less pumpkin flavor than you were expecting? Are the spices prominent in the flavor? Does this remind you of pumpkin pie?

Punkin Ale gets a (???) on the BBA scale. Do you like pumpkin beers? What's your favorite? Let us know in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA - Beer Review

Beer Geeks love this beer. It is the most reviewed beer at beeradvocate.com. Did we agree with the geeks? Do we have a little geek inside each of us? Of course, but watch it anyways.

Partial Transcript: "On tap – 90 Minute Imperial IPA

Hi, I’m James Knott. Today we are talking about 90 Minute Imperial IPA from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware. It was released in 2001 and has been reviewed more than any other beer on beeradvocate.com.

This imperial IPA, also called double IPA, is 9 percent ABV, 90 IBUs and the brewery recommends drinking it out of a snifter. They suggest that there are flavors like brandied fruitcake, raisin and citrus.

Dogfish Head uses a process called Continual hopping in which they add hops to the boil continuously for 90 minutes – hence the name.

In 2003, Dogfish Head released two sister beers called 60 & 120 Minute IPA. The 60 & 90 are both year-round releases, while the 120 minute IPA is only brewed three times per year.


90 Minute IPA gets a (???) on the BBA Scale. Which do you prefer? 60 – 90 – or 120 minute IPA? Let us know in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I’m James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ename Tripel Abbey Ale - Beer Review

Tripel is a reference to the strength. Abbey is a reference to the origin. The name doesn't really say a lot about the style. So, what is this beer really like? Is it classic Belgium? How does it stand up next to other similar beers we've reviewed like Duvel and La Fin Du Monde? Tune in and find out!

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Ename Tripel Abbey Ale

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Ename (eeh-NAH-mah) Tripel Abbey Ale from the Roman Brewery in Oudenaarde, Belgium. There is evidence that the Roman Family has been running the brewery since 1545.

This beer has 8.5% ABV and has living yeast cells in the bottle for secondary fermentation. The brewery recommends serving it between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beer writer, Michael Jackson, describes it "as a firm tripel with a fresh, dryish fruitiness" and suggests it has hints of "orange marmalade, pineapple and banana"

This beer is a "certified Belgian Abbey Beer" -- which, in general, means the beer is not produced by an abbey, but that they have an agreement to share proceeds with an abbey. In this case, The abbey was destroyed by French revolutionaries in 1794, so the money is used to preserve the ruins of the Ename abbey.

Q&A -- Tell us about the pouring process.

Ename Tripel Abbey Ale gets a (???) on the BBA Scale. Have you been to Belgium? Let us know about your beer experiences abroad in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Young's Double Chocolate Stout - Beer Review

This is a thick, rich stout, but is it too thick? How many times can we use the word "chocolate milk"? Young's Double Chocolate Stout is a highly-acclaimed beer. Will the Better Beer Authority agree with the other beer geeks? Watch and find out. Bingo!

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are drinking Young's Double Chocolate Stout from Young's and Wells Brewing Company in Bedford, England.

This stout is brewed with dark chocolate, chocolate malt and sugar. The brewery says it is "satisfyingly indulgent, but never overly sweet". Other ingredients include pale and crystal malt along with goldings and fuggles hops. It is 5.2% ABV and the cans have a nitrogen widget to add to the creamy head and mouthfeel.

The company says to serve it "cool, but not ice cold".


Young's Double Chocolate Stout gets a (???) on the BBA scale. Is this your favorite chocolate stout? Let us know what you think in comment section."

Monday, September 27, 2010

La Fin Du Monde - Beer Review

La Fin Du Monde means "the end of the World" in Canadian. As Chef says so eloquently in our this episode, "if this is any inclination of what the end of the world is like, then bring it on!". Don't forget to check us out on CBC! ;)

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- La Fin Du Monde

Hi. I'm James Knott. Today we are talking about La Fin Du Monde from the Unibroue Brewery in Chambly, Quebec, Canada. The name means "The End of the World". The company claims that this beer has won more awards and honors than any other beer in Canada.

It is 9% ABV and 19 IBUs. The brewery suggests drinking it out of tulip glass at 53-57 degrees Fahrenheit.

This beer is an Abbey Tripel. The word abbey refers to the fact that monks in monasteries originally brewed this style Belgium. Tripel signals that this is one of the stronger beers in the brewers quiver. Tripels are generally, lighter in color, with a yeasty, malty flavor. The alcohol content is usually between 8 and 11 percent.


La Fin du Monde scores a (???) on the BBA Scale. Let us know what your favorite Belgian Tripel is in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout - Beer Review

Learn how to make an Oatmeal Stout Milkshake - Yummy!

Going skiing in Colorado? Don't forget to try Breckinridge Oatmeal Stout. It's a great way to keep warm in this winter.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout from the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver Colorado. The brewery was started as a brewpub in Breckenridge in 1990 by a ski bum named Richard Squire.

Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout is a year-round offering with 4.95% ABV and 31 IBUs. The brewery claims it "oozes dark-roasted coffee aromas and flavors of espresso and semi-sweet chocolate". They also claim that the oatmeal leads to a "creamy body and semi-dry finish".

The bottom of the six pack has a recipe for making an Oatmeal Stout Milkshake using half a bottle of beer and 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream.

In general, about 10 to 15 percent, but no more than 30 percent, of the grainbill in an Oatmeal Stout is made up of oats. There is usually not a prominent oat flavor, the taste is still dominated by the roasted malt. However, the oats add a smooth, creamy, silky texture to the mouthfeel.


Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout spends (???) hours on the slopes of Colorado. What's your favorite Oatmeal Stout? Have you tried Samuel Smith's version of this style? Leave your answers in the comment section.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - Beer Review

Beer geeks get out your snifters. The Better Beer Authority tastes Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from the North Coast Brewing Company.

Partial Transcript:
"On Tap -- Old Rasputin

Hi, I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from the North Coast Brewing Company. North Coast started as a local brewpub in Fort Bragg, California in 1988. They now have beers in 47 states, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Old Rasputin is an Imperial Stout with 9 percent ABV and 75 IBUs. The company describes it as a "rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish."

Historically, Stouts and Porters are closely related. A Stout Porter was once considered to be a high ABV dark porter and eventually the name was shortened to just stout.

Stouts are made with roasted malt. Several types of Stout include Irish Dry Stouts like Guinness, Imperial Stouts like Old Rasputin, Milk Stouts which contain lactose sugar, Oatmeal stouts where oats add to the smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and Coffee Stouts which use dark roasted malt and sometimes ground coffee to add a coffee flavor to the beer.


Old Rasputin gets a (???) on the BBA Scale. This is a great beer for cellaring. Let us know if you've aged this beer or any other Imperial Stouts in the comment section. We'd like to know how they changed over time. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

King Cobra Malt Liquor - Beer Review w/ savethepolarbears79

We were recently "called out" by savethepolarbears79 and thought it would be fun to respond with a King Cobra review. We talk about King Cobra, malt liquor and respond to a few of savethepolarbears79 outrageous statements.

You can see his original video here:



On Tap -- King Cobra (VO OF STPB79 CHUGGING 40)

Hi, I'm James Knott and this is a special episode of the Better Beer Authority. We recently received a review request from savethepolarbears79. Roll the tape...


First, let's get a little info about the beer. King Cobra Premium Malt Liquor has been brewed by Anheuser Busch InBev since 1984. It is 6 percent ABV and is brewed with six-row barley malts and corn. Beeradvocate recommends pairing it with Indian or Latin American Cuisine.

Adam, describe the subtle nuances of the King Cobra Flavor.


Savethepolarbears79 has a special technique for enjoying his 40. Let's take a look...


Joby, why is it so important to drink Malt Liquor straight from the bottle?


Mark, describe the delicate aromas for us?


We have another clip. Let's watch...


Scott, is beer really for b*******?


For those who don't know, Malt Liquor is beer. However in some states beer can be no more than, for example, 5% ABV, so beer over this limit is sometimes called Malt Liquor. American Malt Liquor has developed as a style where adjuncts like corn, rice and sugar are used to decrease cost and increase alcohol content. It is usually sold in larger sizes and nicknamed a 40 because of the common 40 oz bottle that it is sold in.

Adam, what images does drinking a 40 conjure up in your mind?


savethepolarbears79 had a few choice words about some of our panelists. Let's watch...


Scott, Are you disappointed that he didn't make fun of you? What do you think he would've said?


Joby, savethepolarbears79 would probably want us to chug these 40s. If we don't chug them does that make us a bunch of sissies?


Mark -- when I think about the stereotypical 40, I think of Olde English. What brands do you think of when you think Malt Liquor?


Real quick... Give us your ratings.


That gives King Cobra Premium Malt Liquor a (???). We're going to sit here and work on these 40s. Please drink responsibly. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bell's Two Hearted Ale - Beer Review

Guest reviewer Craig K. visits on his trip from Kalamazoo, Michigan with some Two Hearted Ale and we take the opportunity to tape a review. Two Hearted Ale is an IPA from the renowned Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo.

Partial Transcript: "On tap - Two Hearted Ale

Hi, I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

Founder Larry Bell originally opened a homebrew supply shop in 1983. He sold his first beer in 1985. Today, Bell's is consistently ranked near the top of Ratebeer's Top 100 Brewers List - It was number 5 in 2010.

Two Hearted Ale is an American IPA that comes in at 7 percent alcohol by volume. The brewery describes the beer as having a "crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma".

In general, hops refers to the cone-like flower of the female hop plant. It is one of the four main ingredients in most modern beers. Technically, you can make beer without hops, but most beer throughout the world contains it. Hops play two important roles in beer. First, the bitterness of hops balances the sweetness of the malted barley. And, it also acts as a preservative in the beer.

Q&A - How would you describe the hops? Does Bell's have a big presence in Kalamazoo? How often do you hang out with Larry Bell?

Two Hearted Ale gets a (???) on the BBA rating scale. I'd like to thank Craig for bringing us fresh Two Hearted Ale directly from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Okocim Porter - Beer Review

Okocim porter is a dark, sweet, malty beer from Poland. Unlike English Porters, which are ales, most Baltic Porters, like Okocim, are lagers. This would be great for dessert, wintertime or whenever. Find out what the Better Beer Authority panelists think of this historic European beer.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Okocim Porter

Hi, I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about Okocim Porter from the Okocim Brewery in Brzesko, Poland. This brewery has been around since 1845, but now operates under the Carlsberg Brewing Group.

Okocim Porter is 8.3% ABV. Beer writer Michael Jackson includes this in his list of Winter Warmers -- beers that are perfect for a cold winter day. It is a dark, rich, malty Baltic Porter.

Unlike English porters which are ales, Baltic Porters are usually bottom-fermented lagers -- although there are exceptions. They were originally intended for trade and have a higher alcohol content that helped them survive long voyages across the Northern Sea.

Q&A: Cold weather beer? Too rich? Color? Can you see through them?

Okocim Porter gets a (???) on the BBA Scale. Let us know what Baltic Porters stick out to you in the comment section. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout

Looking for a good dessert? Pass on the pie and ice cream and have a beer - Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout. Southern Tier has created a rich, malty taste that will finish off any meal or make the perfect nightcap. The controversy on this one: Is adding Vanilla Beans to your beer like cheating? Is it too sweet? Is it even beer-like? Find out where our panelists fall in the debate.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout from Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY. The company was opened in 2002 and already has beer for sale in at least 25 U.S states, 2 Canadian provinces and 5 other countries.

Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout comes in 22oz bottles and is 10% ABV. Serve it in a snifter at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Vanilla beans and lactose sugar add to the rich flavor of this brew. Nathan from Southern Tier calls it a desert beer and recommends enjoying it with chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

This is part of Southern Tier's Blackwater series -- a series of 5 seasonal imperial stouts -- named for their dark appearance.

For those who don't know, Crème Brulee is a dessert with a custard base -- usually vanilla flavored -- topped with a layer of hard caramel that is usually formed by torching sugar on top.


Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout scores a (???) on the BBA scale. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is YOUR Better Beer Authority."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA - Beer Review

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA is a staple of the craft beer community. If you like hop bitterness or you want to try a hoppy beer, then you should probably try this beer. Find out how 60 Minute IPA got its name in this fun assessment of Dogfish Head's best-selling beer.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Hi, I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about a staple of the craft beer community -- 60 Minute IPA from the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. The brewery has been in business since 1995 and this is there best-selling beer.

The founder of the company, Sam Calagione describes the beer as "The basic session beer for hard-core hopheads"

This is an American IPA that the company describes as "really hoppy, citrusy and "grassy". Each 12 oz bottle contains 209 calories. The hops profile includes Warrior, Amarillo and something the company refers to as "Mystery Hop X".

They use a technique called continous hopping. They boil the wort for 60 minutes and add hops 60 times during that period. This leads to 60 IBUs and 6.0 percent ABV. When you look at the numbers, you can quickly see where the beer gets the name 60 Minute IPA.

Q&A: The company describes this beer as hoppy, how does the compare with your hop expectations?

60 Minute IPA gets a (???) on the BBA scale. You can learn more about the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in the movie "Beer Wars". It's available for instant download on Netflix and I highly recommend it. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Drinking My Way Through Scotland and England

I recently got back from a trip to Scotland and England and was asked to do a report on the beers I drank. This was my first trip to Scotland and my return to England after 12 years. Both England and Scotland have a long and colorful brewing history. In addition to this I was also asked to write a whisky report for the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society, so I had a lot of drinking to do. My game plan was to stick to one style of beer, Cask Conditioned Ales, though there were occasions when they were not available. I travel a good bit for work and personal reasons, when I am on the road, no matter where it is, US or abroad, I always ask for the local hooch. In Europe this is especially satisfying.

Scotch Ale (Classic Beer Style)
Here is a book about
how to make
Scotch Ale
What is a Cask Conditioned Ale? From Wikipedia “Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is the term for unfiltered and unpasteurized beer which is conditioned (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure.” To pour from the ale they basically have to pull it out of the cask and the ale will need a few moments to settle, kind of like waiting for a Guinness. Now a myth about all English beer is that it is served warm, this could not be further from the truth. Many taps you see might say “Carling Extra Cold”. While the Cask Ales are not cold, they certainly are not warm. The casks are kept at what’s called, cellar temperature. These ales have lower carbonation than most beers are also lower in alcohol content. Many between 3.5%-4.5%ABV. They will make you piss before they give you beer goggles. But over all are good sessionable beers.

My trip was 5 nights in Edinburgh, and 4 nights in Lincolnshire, England, near Brigg to be exact. I was traveling with my wife and her parents. My father in law proved to be quite the partner in crime in trying new beers. Here is how this worked, Waiter, “Would you care for a beverage”, Me, “Any local Ale on draft” Father-in-law, “what he’s having”. Pretty simple but we tried about 20 different ales and other beer throughout this trip. (To go along with 45 different whisky samples). No I was not a stumbling bumbling loud Yankee. Some of the beers where half pints, and spread out.

I had the chance to visit a fair amount of pubs in Edinburgh, and will mention a couple now. My favorite was called the Bow Bar, not only did they have an amazing selection of whisky, well over 200 to choose from but they also have a nice beer list featuring many local ales and several imports. The featured brewery of the month was none other than Flying Dog from Frederick, MD. This was a small pub and though it is in a very touristy part of town, it attracts a lot of locals. You know you are in good hands when the sign at the front door says no fancy dress or stag parties. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable.

One cool walking tour we did was the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, I won't mention specific pubs as it's not fair for the tour guides, but this was a cool way to visit 4 historical pubs you may not get a chance to visit on your own. This was well worth our time and I highly recommend it. The guides are actors playing their roles as they take you from pub to pub as they teach you about the drinking habits of famous Scottish writers. They give you time to score a drink at each pub then you sit around and watch the show. I was able to try five whiskies and three ales during this tour.

As it turns out the first beer I had was the best and ironically it was called Belhaven Best, from none other than the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, Scotland. Belhaven Best is a cask conditioned ale coming in at a whopping 3.5% ABV. It’s a smooth beer with a nice hazy but amber color and a small but creamy head, and not much on the nose. It was not a very strong tasting beer but had a nice balance of mild hops, and some maltiness, but not an overpowering flavor at all. An easy drinking ale that I thoroughly enjoyed, BBA rating of a 7. On a side note I went surfing in Dunbar and wanted to visit this brewery but was short on time and had to get back to Edinburgh, I did surf in Belhaven Bay though.

Another beer I had was Deuchars IPA, from the Caledonian Brewery, unlike American IPAs this was not a hop bomb and was rather drinkable at 4.5%. This had a hazy orange/amber color. It’s a little sweet and pretty sessionable, I enjoyed it and will also give this one a 7. This was out of the bottle.
One of the most interesting beers I had on the trip, from was from Innis & Gun, their Oak Aged beer, coming in at a trip high of 6.6%ABV. This is brewed in Edinburgh and the bottle claims is has hints of toffee, vanilla, and oak, which I would agree with. It had a deep golden tint with a light yet bigger head. At first it was refreshing, then creamy and carbonated at the same time, eventually it was kind of tough to finish. There is a lot going on and a very interesting beer indeed, but it just didn’t sit that well with me. I would encourage you to try this if you can but cannot give it more than a 5 on the BBA scale.

Now two English Ales from the Tom Wood Brewery in Grimsby England. Yes, the Grimsby of the little known Elton John song, (thanks Blair). The first is their, Harvest Bitter at 4.3%ABV, from their Web site “A mellow beer, pale amber in colour with a subtle hint of Lincolnshire honey in the aroma. Sweet and smooth in the mouth with floral notes lingering in the finish.” My thoughts, bitter, long, and unpleasant aftertaste: BBA rating, 4. Next up, their Best Bitter, 3.5% ABV., their description, “An easy drinking bitter with a fresh dry hoppy flavor combined with a fruity aftertaste and heady aroma.” Me, tasteless, odorless, that’s all there was to it, BBA rating, 4.

Lastly one beer I liked from England was London Pride, 4.7% ABV, this is from Fuller’s Brewery in London, and I was lucky enough to have the cask conditioned variety. After all the Tom Wood’s beer, this really was a treat. This had a darker brown hazy color with a creamy medium sized head. Was a nice drink overall and I give it a BBA rating of 6.

Overall, I had a great time, but after a while the ales seemed rather bland. Sure there were a few standouts and when I go back I’ll certainly will drink the local hooch again but I have no burning desire to run back just for the ale. Though if I do see anything from Belhaven stateside I won’t hesitate to pick it up. On my next trip across the pond I hope to have more time to explore other types of beer, but for this trip I thought narrowing my focus would make it less daunting. Overall, I give the ales of Scotland and England a BBA rating of 6. Somewhere higher others where lower. I will say that the ales where a great way to cleanse my palate in between whiskies. Scotland is a fantastic place, the people define hospitality and I can’t wait to return. To read my report on whisky visit www.jewishsinglemaltwhiskysociety.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kentucky Ale - Beer Review

Kentucky Ale has been around since 2000 and I think the panelists were all surprised by it's smooth, pleasant taste. It's supposed to be a mix between an Irish red and an English pale ale. This is a precursor to our next video - Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. They are both the same ale, but Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is aged in used bourbon barrels for about six weeks.

Partial Transcript
"On Tap -- Kentucky Ale

Hi. I'm James Knott and today we are talking about Kentucky Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company in Lexington, Kentucky. The brewery's parent company Alltech is a biotech firm that makes animal nutrition, health and performance products. One of their specialties is yeast, hence the jump to brewing.

The brewery has been selling beer since 2000. There are only 3 beers in its lineup and Kentucky Ale is its flagship beer.

The brewery describes the beer as a blend between Irish Red Ale and English Pale Ale. They give credit for the flavor to the local water which runs through limestone aquifers underground. It has 5.3 percent alcohol by volume and is light copper in color. They add a pinch of wheat malt for a smooth creamy taste.


Kentucky Ale runs (???) laps at the derby. Tune into our next episode Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale -- which is Kentucky Ale aged in used bourbon barrels.

Drink responsibly. Save the planet. Be a nice person.

I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Good Reason to Visit Tadcaster, England...

I have been surprised at how much I like Samuel Smith's beers.  I'm currently five beers into my attempt to try all the brews at Samuel Smith's Old Brewery.

It started when we reviewed Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout on the show.  I was so inspired that I went looking for it later that week at the grocery store.  Then, out of curiosity, I tried Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout and that was even better.  Now add Nut Brown Ale, India Ale and Taddy Porter to the list.  These are all great beers.  In general, they are full-flavored malty beers, and boy, are they delicious.

Here are my BBA Ratings so far...

Oatmeal Stout - 10 - the oats add a nice creaminess
Imperial Stout - 9 - great sipping beer, good night cap
Taddy Porter - 8 - delicious roasted barley
India Ale - 8 - this English India Pale Ale is not hoppy at all, reminds me of golden ale
Nut Brown Ale - 8 - nutty flavor and probably the thinnest mouthfeel of the group

A couple more to go.  I'm not sure what else is available locally.  If anyone has any suggestions on other Samuel Smith's offerings, then leave them in the comment section.  Also, let me know if you love or hate these guys.  I want to know if other people out their are as excited as I am.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pittsburgh Brewery Tour

One of the joys of traveling is the opportunity to try new beers.  We spent July 4th weekend in Pittsburgh.  Craig (BBA Webmeister) and I spent an afternoon browsing some of the local favorites.  We hit East End Brewing Company, Church Brew Works, Penn Brewery and Rivertowne North Shore.

Our first stop was a non-descript building between what looked like an abandoned factory and several rundown homes in the shadow of a freeway overpass.  The sign was just a spray-painted stencil with the hours written in marker below.  East End Brewing Company had a very independent, off-the-beaten path feel.  We weren't sure what were getting into based on the bleak store front, but this stop did not let us down.

When you walk in there is a small bar with no stools and about 10 taps.  To the right of that there are some bottled beers, T-shirts, pint glasses and other gear for sale.  Scott was behind the counter and offered us some free samples of the beer on tap - which was very useful since we did not even know where to start.  When we told Scott we were at the first stop of our brewery tour, he was very forthcoming with information about other good local breweries and it gave you a feeling that it was a tight-knit community.

What happened next surprised both Craig and I.  People started walking in one after the other with empty growlers that they wanted to have refilled.  Pretty soon, the small front room was becoming claustrophobic and we realized that East End has a hard-core fan base.  After we tasted the beers, we had enough evidence to support this conclusion.

There is no place to sit.  You can only get beer to go.  However, this place is worth a stop for any beer enthusiasts who find themselves in Pittsburgh.  You can also find their beers on tap at many local bars and restaurants.

Next, we took a trip to opposite world.  Church Brew Works is a brewpub located in a magnificent former church building - "cathedral" might be a more appropriate term.  The ceiling rose high above the eating area and bar.  Brewing equipment towered over the room, perched where the choir once sat.

If the ambiance doesn't knock you out, then the beer certainly will give you another blow.  They had about eight beers on tap with a pretty decent variety.  Craig really liked Ambrosia Ale.  I thought that the Furnace Blast Stout was amazing.  It was a coconut stout and I've never had anything like it.  The coconut complemented the roasted chocolaty flavors of the stout so nicely.  This beer definitely has the potential to be a hit nationwide.  It was my BBA pick of the day.

On a side note, someone looking for a gateway beer to the craft world should check out Celestial Golden which was a fairly standard lager with good smooth flavor.

After the underground feel of East End and the grandness of Church Brew Works, the Penn Brewery felt pretty tame.  They focused on German-style beers.  They had one English pale ale and about 6 or 7 German beers on tap.  The building was interesting.  It had a dark, traditional, aged, wooden feel to it.  Craig and I both agreed that the Hefeweizen was the top pick.  It seemed like a good example of the style and the wheat flavors were delicious.  Penn Dark came in a close second.

Finally, we stopped at Rivertowne North Shore.  This is a great place to go if you want a wide selection of great beers.  They had both local and national hits behind the bar and any beer enthusiast could find something to get excited about.  Unfortunately it felt more like being at Ruby Tuesday's than a local brewpub.  They don't actually brew beer here and if you want the brewpub or local brewery experience then I'm told it's better to go to their Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville.  I was so unenthused by this place that I forgot to take any photos.  Don't get me wrong, if your down by the Heinz Field or the casino, then this is a great stop, but I wouldn't put it high on your brewery tour list when you hit Pitt.

All in all, it was a great afternoon.  East End and Church Brew Works were my favorite, but I would be happy to belly-up at any of these destinations.  Pittsburgh has enough local flavor to keep the restless, roaming beer geek happy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale - Beer Review

Are you hungry for pancakes? One of our raters described this as a sweet, syrupy yet complex beer with maple flavors perfect for your favorite breakfast menu item. Or, is it the perfect nightcap with a warming alcohol sensation that's sure to make you drowsy? Find out what time of the day the Better Beer Authority is looking to enjoy Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap - Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine

Hi. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. This is made by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California, which was established in 1980. This is the 26th special release of this "Beast of a Beer."

Bigfoot has 9.6% ABV and has 90 IBUs. Beer writer, Michael Jackson, refers to it as "probably the world's hoppiest barley wine". This is a big beer loaded with lots of pale and caramel malts along with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops.

What is a barley wine? Barley wines are not wines at all. These beers are top-fermented ales that have wine-like alcohol levels and sometimes some winey flavors. However, they are brewed with barley, which is a grain and not a fruit, and therefore they are beers.


Bigfoot Barley Wine was seen (???) times by the locals. Let us know what your favorite barley wine is in the comment section.

One good book that highlights several top barley wines is Michael Jackson's "Ultimate Beer". It can't hurt to read up on what you're drinking.

I'm James Knott and this is YOUR Better Beer Authority."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Duvel - Beer Review

Duvel is a Belgian Golden Ale that has inspired numerous imitators. It also led to a BBA record and a unanimous decision by our judges. Tune in to learn more about beer that is "a Devil of a Drink".

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Duvel

Hi I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about Duvel from the Duvel Moortgat Brewery in Breendonk, Belgium.

The brewery was founded in 1871 and Duvel was created to commemorate the end of WW1. It was initially named "Victory Ale", but renamed Duvel in 1923. Duvel is derived from the Flemish word for Devil -- as in "This is a real Devil" of a drink.

Be cautious -- this beer looks tame, but has an ABV of 8.5% and an IBU of 30. You may be seduced by its light, golden color, generous head and unique flavor -- but it will knock you on your donkey pretty quickly.

This beer is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale and has inspired numerous imitators. It comes in at #67 on beeradvocate's list of the Top Beers on Planet Earth.

For those who don't know -- Fact - Belgium is one of the best beer countries in the world. One reason for this is that throughout Belgium's complicated political history it was never subjected to beer purity laws like Reinheitsgebot in Germany. Belgian brewers take a more artistic and experimental approach to brewing and are not constrained by traditional styles.


Duvel gets a (???) on the BBA Scale. Let us know what your favorite Belgian beer is in the comment section. And if you'd like to learn more about Belgian beers then check out Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium at a bookstore near you.

Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

16 Mile Blue's Golden Ale - Beer Review

The Better Beer Authority reviews a new and hard-to-find beer from 16 Mile Brewery, Blue's Golden Ale. This golden ale is the lightest of the three beers available from the brewery. Some might consider it's mild flavor to be a good gateway for those new to craft beer. We also dive a little deeper into their highly-touted, fancy metal bottle.

Partial Transcript: "On Tap -- Blue's Golden Ale.

Hi. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Today we are talking about Blue's Golden Ale - one of three beers available from the 16 Mile Brewing Company. which bills itself as the smallest microbrewery in the state of Delaware.

The first thing you notice about this beer is the distinctive 22oz. aluminum can that it comes in. The company likes to point out that they've chosen this packaging for environmental reasons. The cans are 100% recyclable. They are thin and lightweight which helps cut down on transportation costs and pollution.

Blues Golden Ale is 6% ABV and has 14 IBUs. It is so new and unique that it only has one review on ratebeer.com and no reviews on beeradvocate.

The company describes the beer as a mellow, yet refreshing, golden ale with balanced layers of flavor and a crisp and clean finish.

Fun fact: Delaware is nicknamed "The First State" because it was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. And... The official state beverage is milk -- something I think that 16 Mile should work on changing.

Q&A "the outer layers of the bottle provide excellent insulation allowing the beer to chill faster"

Blue's Golden Ale scores a (???) on the BBA scale. I'd like to thank 16 Mile Brewery for providing this beer. That's our opinion, but you should try it for yourself. So, if you get a chance, Take Route 50 across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to 404 East into Georgetown, Delaware. Tell Brett that Jimmy sent you. He'll probably say "Jimmy who?"

I'm Jimmy Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority!"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gordon Biersch Keg Tapping - SommerBrau June 2010

I hadn't really given Gordon Biersch much thought since starting the Better Beer Authority.  In my book, they were never much more than a chain restaurant until I heard that they were one of the "local" brewers invited to Columbus Beerfest.

Last night, Brian Forrest (BBA Reviewer) and I were invited to a keg-tapping at the Gordon Biersch in the Arena District in Columbus, Ohio.  SommerBrau was the star of the evening and didn't disappoint.  It was a German Kölsh with a pale color, mild hop presence and just a touch of lemon zing.  I could have sat on their patio and put back several of these medium-bodied seasonal beers, but I had a lot on my to-do list for the evening.

Chris Alltmont, the brewmaster, gave us a tour of the facilities and we learned a lot about Gordon Biersch.  He was a great ambassador for the company.  Give this guy a raise!  They focus on German beer styles, so they tend to have more lagers than ales.  These beers reminded me of sitting in the beer gardens of Germany's Bavarian region.  Big thumbs up to the Schwarzbier and Märzen.  The Schwarzbier was my favorite.  It was a dark lager with roasted, chocolaty coffee notes and very lively mouthfeel.

Chris said that the company tries to brew according to Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law.  They use only the four basic ingredients barley, hops, water and yeast (except for the wheat in the Hefewiezen).  Seeing Chris's passion for his work definitely got me stoked for the beer he is brewing.

My favorite moment of the evening was when Chris gave us a taste of "young" Schwarzbier.  It still had 4 more weeks of conditioning left and it had a much different taste.  It had an extra flavor to it that reminded me of hay.  It was still delicious, but helped me see what happens to the beer over time.

Next time I head to the Arena District I will definitely be stopping into Gordon Biersch to see what their seasonal beer is and to taste some of that delicious Schwarzbier.  Cheers.  Thanks for the invite Chris.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Episode 21: Old Court Ale, 16 Mile Brewing Company

June 17, 2010
Review #21

Brewery: 16 Mile Brewing Company
Website: http://www.16milebrewery.com/
Beer: American Ale
Beersperts: Scott B, Mark S, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 6.7
Available: Delaware, Maryland

Notes from the brewery:
An American-style ale that reserves the right to be different. A bit lighter in body, Old Court provides a citrusy hop aroma and caramel finish.

ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 28
CAL (12 oz.):

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
It’s a carmelly flavor and a nutty smell. When you drink it it’s interesting. It actually leaves your mouth a little drier then when you had the first taste and kind of leaves you wanting for a little bit more.  You could probably have it with anything. I really like it. It’s a good beer and I would probably drink it any day of the week if it was available. I think it’s got a high drinkability.
Rating: 7

Mark S:
I completely agree about leaving your mouth a little dry, always wanting to go back for more. To me it leaves a pretty good drinkability factor. I mean I wouldn’t put it up there with Bud Light drinkability so to speak, but for me, I would definitely go back and have another.  Definitely a session beer. It’s not very filling. The carbonation doesn’t leave you with that really full feeling in your belly. Definitely something where you could sit and have 4 or 5 and not feel too bad about it.
Rating: 6

Adam H:
You can smell the fruit aspect to it and then you get that citrus toward the back of your throat I get that citrus to it along with the carmel and the hoppiness. I think this is again a really drinkable beer. I think you could sit around. You would probably get wasted because of the 6 percent ABV.  It leaves a flavor in your mouth that you want to drink some more.
Rating: 7

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mission Accomplished! - 2 Great Beers

When I started this show my goal was just to expand my horizons a little bit.  I was hoping to find a few good, quality beers to shake up my BMC existence (Although I didn't even know what BMC meant at that point).  Tonight I have stumbled upon two beers that are good enough to justify the whole journey.  If you haven't had these beers, then you should stop what you're doing and head to your local bottle shop for a purchase.

Paulaner Salvator Double Bock is a smooth, malty taste sensation.  If it didn't say it on the bottle, I would have no idea that it was nearly 8 percent alcohol by volume.  It just danced down the back of my throat like a harmless little elf.  Little did I know that the elf was carrying a shotgun.  The label looks a little old fashioned with a monk serving beer to someone in a wig.  Usually this would not appeal to me.  Now I realize that monks are awesome and they make great beer.  Go monks!  BBA Rating: 9

The other amazing beer is Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout.  I was already in love with the Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, which is what inspired my purchase.  I had heard so many great things about this beer.  How could it live up to the hype?  In this case, the hype is deserved!  Chocolatey, coffee, roasted, sweet malty flavor comes from a black-as-night glass.  It tasted great chilled and maintained that greatness as it warmed. I now feel obligated as a "professional" beer drinker to try every Samuel Smith's offering.  Tadcaster, England must have some great water or something because this stuff is ridiculously good.  I think I'm two for two with Samuel Smith's Old Brewery.  BBA Rating: 10

The fridge is now empty.  What a sad state of affairs.  Oh wait... that just means there's more room in their for a new mixed sixer from Kenny Road Market.  Let the beerventures continue.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Episode 20: Imperial Stout, Samuel Smith's

June 13, 2010
Review #20

Brewery: Samuel Smith's
Website: None
Beer: Russian Imperial Stout
Beersperts: Scott B, Joby J, Brian F
Beerspert Panel Rating: 6.7
Available:  Worldwide

Notes from the brewery:
The Old Brewery at Tadcaster was established in 1758.  Samuel Smith's is a small, independent brewery, brewing at the oldest brewery in Yorkshire. The original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, is still in use. The brewing water for the ales and stouts is drawn from 85 feet underground.  The malt mixes with hard well water in copper mash-tuns. Fuggles and Goldings, the old fashioned varieties of hops that over the centuries have given the best British ales distinctive flavour are added later and boiled in 'coppers'.  Samuel Smith still ferments ale and stout in traditional Yorkshire stone 'squares' - roofed fermenting vessels made of solid blocks of slate. The yeast is of a strain that has been used at the Old Brewery continuously since the beginning of the last century, one of the oldest unchanged strains in the country, still as healthy and as active as ever frothing up into rich creamy heads.

ABV: 7.0%
CAL (12oz):

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
It’s got a lot of aroma.  It’s probably the most aromatic beer we’ve had to date.  It’s kind of like an iced latte.  It’s kind of a cocoa chocolaty.  Very fragrant.  Literally, it’s kind of like drinking an iced coffee.  No fruity, personally I’m kind of overwhelmed by the cocoa chocolaty taste so I’m not a coffee drinker at all, so to me it’s kind of off-putting altogether immediately, so maybe it’s masked for me. It’s a fine beer.  I guess I’m just personally put off by the strong smell of it.  I do like Stouts of sorts, but this isn’t one of them.  Guinness is one that I enjoy.
Rating: 4

Joby J:
Right off the bat you have to compare it to a Guinness or earlier in our reviews we reviewed a Murphy’s so I compare it to one of those.  But to Guinness, this is a much stronger beer than Guinness is.  This being 7% ABV, but the mouthfeel to this, I feel, is a little lighter than a Guinness.  I feel like a Guinness sticks in your mouth.  A little creamier going down – like a malty, chocolate milk kind of.  You can really taste the alcohol in the mouthfeel compared to a Guinness.  What I’m smelling or tasting is a something like a caramel or molasses.  Something chocolate, but sweet.   Usually find myself to be a darker beer drinker as opposed to a pale ale or something like that, so this is right up my alley. I enjoy this beer.  Again, it’s a pretty high alcohol by volume beer, therefore you can only have a couple glasses after dinner.  But all-in-all it’s a great beer and I recommend it to anyone who can get there hands on it.
Rating: 8
Brian F: I taste a lot of burnt mocha, caramel, cold coffee I think is something that I’m tasting with the aroma.  You can also taste the higher alcohol percent.  It gives it a sharper taste that you don’t typically find.  The sweetness that I’m tasting is that caramel mocha.  I love it.  I typically don’t like dark beers, but I think the higher alcohol content gives it a little kick.
Rating:  8

Friday, June 11, 2010

Columbus Beerfest 4 - The Wrap-Up

James Knott:  Hi I’m James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority.  This is a very special episode.  Our fourth episode from the Columbus Beerfest at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.  Today we are sending our reviewers out and finding beers that stand out to them.  Chad, what beer is standing out to you right now?

Chad Wortman:  Well, with all the beers here, a lot of them are standing out.  But what I want to know is why Pabst Blue Ribbon’s here.  You know, I go by there and see PBR and I’m like “really?”  I guess it was recently purchased by a smaller brewery (it was actually purchased by food investor C. Dean Metropoulos) and that’s why they’re trying to get more exposure, but it really made me question why PBR is here.

James:  Yeah, there’s definitely a big craft brew ethic to this event and you don’t feel that craft brew…

Adam Harms:  You can’t argue Pabst Blue Ribbon for a session beer.  They have good flavor for a session beer.

Chad:  Yeah, I mean it’s an American legend.  You see PBR and you’re excited.  Whether you don’t like the beer or whether you do like the beer you know PBR is going to be (???).

Adam:  Any time I go out and PBR is on tap.  I’m drinking it.

James:  Joby, what’s sticking out to you?

Joby Johnston:  Well James, I found a pretty good American Brown Ale.  It’s called Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale and man this beer is pretty good.  It’s a dark beer.  It’s a brown ale and its got that nutty flavor that really hits you right when you drink it and it just stays with you.  It’s like… I don’t even know how to describe it.  It’s just like you got that nut…

Adam:  In your mouth.

Joby:  Yeah, in your mouth feel.  I know it’s weird to say.

Chad:  Does that excite you?

Joby:  It’s a actually a stronger, hoppy brown ale – more than normal brown ales are.  Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale is my choice for this episode.

James:  Adam?

Adam:  I got Stone Arrogant Bastard.  I know this is a touchy subject with the rest of the BBAers…

James:  Yeah, Frase settle down.

Chad:  I’m not going to bash it this time.  I’m not Jeremy Frase by the way.

Adam:  Stone Arrogant Bastard.  It’s very interesting.  It has a very complex flavor.  It has a lot of hops, but you’ve got fruit, you’ve got honey.  It has some vanilla.  Just tons of flavor with it.  It’s a really, really, really complex beer and every time you drink it you pull out different notes.  It’s pretty impressive.

James:  Alright.  Just as my footnote, I’m throwing out Founder’s Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale and that goes along with my whole smoke theme for day 2.

Part 2 –

James:  The beerfest is shutting down we just wanted to get the final thoughts.  Chad, what are your final thoughts?  Are there any beers left behind here that you would like to mention?

Chad:  There’s one I had late in the show called Kentucky Bourbon (Barrel) Ale.  I thought if I can be honest it’s trying to be the hottest thing to come out of Kentucky since Ashley Judd, and you know what, I agree.  Thumbs up.

James:  Joby, how would you sum up the festival?

Joby:  You know James I had a great time here.  This is a great idea, a great atmosphere, a great all around event.  I have to give it up to Founder’s because I feel like, the most beers we did here, we talked about Founder’s a lot.  I look forward to going back to Founder’s and trying all of their beers.

James:  Ok.  Adam, what’s your summary of the festival here?

Adam:  You know what.  This was an awesome festival.  It was sold out last night.  It was sold out tonight.  They stopped selling tickets around 7:30 tonight.  We had an awesome turnout for volunteers.  Some of our BBA fans turned out to be volunteers to pour some of the Great Lakes brewing and Samuel Adams beers.  Really, really awesome.  I’m looking forward to next year.  I’m looking forward to Cleveland.  I’m looking forward to everything.

James:  Any last thoughts?

Chad:  You know what.  As you look at the crowd behind us.  This feels like a College Gameday atmosphere.  You might be Chris Fowler.  You might be Lee Corso.  You might be Kurt Curbstreet.  I’m Desmond Howard.  This is great.  We reviewed the Buckeye beer.  I just want to say O-H!

Crowd: I-O

Chad:  I mean this is great.  We’re in Columbus.  We’re at the beerfest.  We’re at the Columbus Convention Center.  It can’t get any better than this.

James:  Alright.  I think that just about says it all.  I’m James Knott.  Tune in next year for the Columbus Beerfest.  This is your Better Beer Authority.