Thursday, February 25, 2010

Old Scratch Amber Lager - Flying Dog Brewery

Finished editing the video for Spotted Cow for next Monday's release.  I think it's one of our better episodes and all my hard work made me very thirsty.  While surveying the grocery shelves, my eyes got stuck on the beautiful artwork on Flying Dog Brewery's Mixed Pack - bold wild colors jumping every which way.

7 different beers come in this 12er.  Old Scratch Amber Lager immediately caught my eye in the mix.

The pour was great.  It had a nice head and left some lacing on the glass as it dissipated.  The color was a nice clear amber brown.  I was salivating.

I lifted the glass to my nose.  It had such a nice aroma - mild hops with a little citrus tang.  The anticipation builds.

Then the taste - I should have stopped at the smell.  The taste did not live up to the rich aromas that preceded it.  It had a mild, hop bitterness.  It was crisp, but that was it.  There wasn't much taste.  This beer is brewed at a medium temperature - which gives it some of the aromas of an ale, but leaves it with the crispness of a lager.  For me, this combination didn't work.

It felt really dry.  After the initial smell, I wanted something sweeter or more complex.  It had a mildly bitter aftertaste.

Flying dog describes Old Scratch Amber Lager as a "malty mellow" beer.  It's so mellow it's asleep.

Don't get me wrong.  This was not an awful beer.  I would drink another if it was sitting around.  However, given the hundreds of choices on the store shelves it's hard to imagine revisiting this one.

Luckily there was only one bottle of Old Scratch in the mixed pack.  Hopefully the other offerings will give me something to be a little more excited about.

BBA Rating: 5
Reviewer: James

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BBA Milestone - 2000 Views!

The combined views of our videos has just gone over 2000 views on Youtube.  Hopefully everyone keeps tuning in.  Schlafly Pale Ale is our most popular video.  For most of our beers, when you type in the name of the beer on Google we are coming up on the first search page.  That's huge and means that we are doing well with SEO (search engine optimization).

If you are fan of the BBA, then you can help us grow by adding links to our reviews in forums, comment sections and Facebook.  Every mention helps.

6 episodes posted.

2 in the can. (Spotted Cow & B├╝rger Beer)

New to the Fridge - two beers from Kentucky provided by reviewer Adam Harms - BBC Nut Brown Ale for the Bluegrass Brewing Company.  Kentucky Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company

Plenty more beer to taste!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Tasting Beer" - by Randy Mosher

In my quest to be smarter about beer I stumbled upon the book "Tasting Beer" by Randy Mosher.  I'm only on page 55, but I was so excited about the book that I couldn't wait to post a recommendation.

If you want to beef up on your beer knowledge, then this is a great route to take.  Mosher does a great job of describing how to taste beer, evaluate it, brew it, what to eat with it and much more.

There are tons of great photos and illustrations that bring the beverages to life.  At times, the descriptions of some of the chemistry of the brewing process might be a little too "inside baseball" for some readers.  However, he does a great job of taking these complex chemical reactions and describing how they effect the final flavor of beer.

I eagerly look forward to reading the rest of the book and know that it is going to help me appreciate each foamy beverage to it's fullest.

Beer Snob Alert!

Enesco Our Name is Mud 4015466 Beer Snob SteinWow! This is already such a great project. I had plenty of beer drinking experience before we started the show, but it was mostly of the Miller/Anheuser Busch variety.

It's been a lot of fun learning about beer - the aroma - the look - the flavor - the delicate balance between the hops and the malt. Barley - God's wondergrain. I had never given it that much thought.

I believe that beer is an acquired taste and I had always chosen to acquire a taste for beers that were easy on the pocketbook. While I still consider cost a huge factor when selecting beer, I find my eyes wandering away from the well-traveled shelves of the grocery store fridge to more remote areas that I hadn't dared adventure to.

All of a sudden, I'm buying the variety packs of beers, just so I can compare the different styles (try Boulevard Bob's 47 Oktoberfest - Delicious!). Pale Ales, IPAs, Pilsners, Bocks and so many styles I had never even heard of.

The other day, I did something that I had never done. I poured a cold Miller Lite into a glass (A glass I tell ya!) and took a big whiff. One thought, crossed my mind "What's that smell?!?!" Where were the fruity esters? Where was the hoppy goodness? Dear lord - am I becoming a beer snob?

I figured it would take me much more than two months to reach this point.

Every time the opener pops the top of the bottle it's a new beerventure.

Just thinking about it is making me thirsty.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Episode 6: Session Premium Lager, Full Sail Brewing Co.

February 22, 2010
Review #6

Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Co.
Beer: American Lager
Beersperts: Brian F, Joby J, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 5.7

Notes from the brewery:
Crisp, smooth, refreshing
Original Session, with the bright red label, is a classic all-malt pre-Prohibition style lager that reminds us of what American lagers used to taste like. It's flavorful, refreshing, and has a touch of that import-style taste.

ABV: 5.1%
CAL (12 oz.):

Brian F
None of the chemical aftertaste you get with mass produced lagers. I typically don't like lagers, however if I was going to drink a lager I would drink this one. I like the clean taste, no aftertaste, no chemical taste.
Rating: 6

Joby J
A fruity and caramel start. A small burst of hops at the finish. I would drink more then one if it was available but I wouldn't seek it out.
Rating: 5

Adam H
A really nice clean and crisp taste. Not too keen on the hoppy flavor in a lager.
Rating: 6

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beer Stats

I've been nerding it up with an excel spreadsheet. 

Spoiler Alert! The unreleased rating for Session Premium Lager is revealed below.
The BBA Rating System wasn't formalized until after we shot four episodes, so our initial scores are all over the place.  I think the reviewers were a little more consistent in our last two episodes.  We will continue to work out the kinks and improve our tastebuds.
Our average score so far is 5.7.  The highest-rated beer is Schlafly Pale Ale with 6.3 (although I personally thought Iowa Pale Ale was the best).  The lowest rated was Buckeye Beer (which broke my heart a little).
The most forgiving reviewer is Adam with 6.7 as his average score.  The harshest is Brian at 5.0, but he needs to get a few more ratings before we can nickname "Simon Cowell".
Here are the ratings for you to review:
BEER Date Scott Joby Adam Brian Overall
Schafly Pale Ale 1/18/10 6.0 6.0 7.0 6.3
Iowa Pale Ale 1/25/10 7.0 3.0 8.0 6.0
O'Fallen Smoked Porter 2/8/10 7.0 7.0 4.0 6.0
Iron City 1/25/10 5.0 5.0 7.0 5.7
Session Premium Lager 2/8/10 5.0 6.0 6.0 5.7
Buckeye Beer 1/18/10 3.0 6.0 5.0 4.7
Total Ratings of Reviewers 21.0 32.0 40.0 10.0
Average Rating of Reviewers 5.3 5.3 6.7 5.0
Total of all ratings 103.0 Total Overall Scores 34.3
Average of all ratings 5.7 Average Overall Scores 5.7
Standard Deviation 1.41 Standard Deviation 0.57
Mean + 2SD 8.5 Mean + 2SD 6.9
Mean + 1SD 7.1 Mean + 1SD 6.3
Mean - 1SD 4.3 Mean - 1SD 5.1
Mean - 2SD 2.9 Mean - 2SD 4.6

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beers to look forward to...

We have a few beers in the fridge waiting to be reviewed.

Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company
Burger Classic Beer - Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company
Orange Blossom Cream Ale - Buffalo Bills Brewery
Goose Island Honker's Ale - Goose Island Beer Company
Stag Beer - G. Heileman Brewing Company

Once we clear out the fridge we will be looking for new beers to review.  Let us know if you have any suggestions.

- James

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FAQ: How come you're wearing the same clothes in your videos?

What Not To Wear for Every OccasionSeveral people have asked why we have the same clothes on in several of our videos.  Let me end the mystery.

Every other Monday we shoot two episodes.  We then release one episode every week.  Some people have suggested that we change clothes to make it look like we are shooting one a week.  This seems silly to me.

NakedCan you imagine the four of us getting shirtless between episodes just for this illusion?   I don't trust these guys naked after they've had a beer or two.  Our policy is openness and honesty (just like our reviews) and you will just have to put up with us wearing the same outfit two weeks in a row.  

Besides, I don't have that many clothes.  You don't want me to run through my entire wardrobe too quickly.

There you have it.  That's your behind-the-scenes look at the BBA.  Mystery solved.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Episode 5: O'Fallon Smoked Porter, O'Fallon Brewery

February 15, 2010
Review #5

Brewery: O'Fallon Brewery
Beer: Smoked Porter
Beersperts: Brian F, Joby J, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 6
Available: Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin

Notes from the brewery:
Dark, rich and smoky…this classic porter is brewed with 63% German smoked malt and makes a perfect after dinner (or anytime) sipper for those who love a “bigger” beer.

ABV: 6.0%
IBU: 24
CAL (12 oz.):

Notes from the Beersperts:
Brian F:
An uncomplicated beer. You can taste chocolaty espresso and smoke flavor. The smoke flavor almost over powers the beer. Porters just don't do it for me.
Rating: 4

Joby J:
A dark chocolate after taste. Not too smokey. A porter with a pretty good taste.
Rating: 7

Adam H:
It really has a complex flavor. The flavor is intriguing. I would search for this beer.
Rating: 7

Friday, February 12, 2010

Check out our Facebook Fan Page

As of right now, we have 53 fans on our Facebook fan page.  I hope you will check it out and join the BBA Army.  Let's see how many people we can get to sign up.

I just posted new, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of our set on Facebook.  You will not find them anywhere else.

Better Beer Authority on Facebook


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Upcoming Episodes

Last night we shot two new episodes - O'Fallon Smoked Porter and Session Premium Lager - two beers that I was very excited to taste.

Pong A Long Portable Beer Pong Table - 7' Official Beer Pong TableSession Premium Lager was a solid beer, but had a hard time living up to the huge expectations that I had for their tiny little 11oz. bottles.  I'm still inspired to try and do a brewery tour if I ever get out to Hood River, Oregon.  Our review of Session will be available Monday, February 15th.

O'Fallen wasn't nearly as smoky as I thought it would be based on the reviews that I read on-line.  Our review of O'Fallen will be available here and on Youtube Monday, February 22nd.

BBA Policy on Relationships with Brewers

The Beer BookIn the interest of full disclosure:

The BBA does not accept advertising revenue from breweries or distributors.  We are an independent review panel and avoid this type of relationship to maintain our objectivity.

We will accept samples of beer for review.  We never promise a positive review to anyone.  We encourage are viewers to try every beer that we try so that they can form their own opinions and share them with us.

If you own or work with a brewery and would like to send a sample for review please contact James Knott - jamesATagilehDOTcom - for more information.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Episode 4: Iron City Beer, Iron City Brewing Company

Review #4

February 08, 2010
Brewery: Iron City Brewing Company
Beer: American Lager
Beersperts: Scott B, Joby J, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 5.7
Available: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

Notes from the brewery:
Iron City has been the ‘Burgh’s signature beer since 1861. This premium lager has become a proud tradition of the city and its people. Just try to imagine a Pittsburgh football, baseball or hockey game without an ice cold Iron.

ABV: 4.5%
CAL (12 oz.):140

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
I could see myself drinking about ten of these at PNC Park during a Pirates game. A mediocre beer.  Watery thinned down Budweiser.
Rating: 5

Joby J:
A hot dog in a can.  Slightly below Budweiser. This beer reminds me of college.  If I was going to drink it, I would drink it to get drunk.
Rating: 5

Adam H:
Flavor is fine tastes like an old school Miller beer. A straight getting drunk beer.
Rating: 7

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Better Beer Authority Rating Scale

Mr. Beer Premium Edition Home Microbrewery SystemHere is the BBA rating scale guide for both our audience and our reviewers. We are still perfecting the ratings system and tastebuds. I'm sure some of our first ratings don't fit in precisely with what is written below. However, now that it is set in stone, and available for the public to read and debate, we will try and keep our reviewers honest.

BBA Rating Scale
10 – Best of the Best – personal favorite – You would put this in your top five beers - only one in every 40-50 beers should receive this high honor

9 – Very Highly Recommended – This is a beer that you are excited to drink – You recommend it to everyone and buy it whenever available - only one in every 15-20 beers should receive this honor

8 – Recommended – Solid beer, with nice flavor and presentation – would happily drink it or buy it when available and would even recommend others do the same.

7 – Good – Has a nice flavor and presentation – would drink it any day of the week and would choose it over other beers at a bar, restaurant or store.

Libbey 6-Piece 22-1/2-Ounce Giant Pub Beer Pilsner Set6 – Slightly Above Average – would happily drink another, but probably wouldn’t inspire you to seek it out later

5 – Average – Can finish the beer, would have another if that was the all that was available, but probably wouldn’t seek it out later.

4 – Sub Par – can finish this beer, but probably wouldn’t have another.

3 – Off-putting – has off-putting flavors and aromas – can’t finish this beer.

2 – Disgusting – has odd flavors and aromas – one sip is too many, can’t finish this beer – may be skunked

1 – Spit it out – Drinking this would make you sick – Could be a skunked beer/bad batch of homebrew – A beer this bad would have a hard time staying on the market, therefore this is a very rare rating.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Episode 3: Iowa Pale Ale, Millstream Brewing Company

Review #3

February 01, 2010
Brewery: Millstream Brewing Co.
Beer: Iowa Pale Ale
Beersperts:Scott B, Joby J, Adam H
Beerspert Panel Rating: 6
Available: Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska

Notes from the brewery:
Pale Ale's on the coasts of this country are turning into hoppy monsters, but our beer is more mild, and about balance. It has enough bitterness to match the maltiness provided by the pale malt base. It gets its citrus zing from extensive dry-hopping with Cascade hops. This beer was first made in a few small test batches in 2003.

ABV: 5.7%
OG: 15.2
IBU: 43
CAL (12 oz.):

Notes from the Beersperts:
Scott B:
This beer has a citrus explosion when you drink it.  Great strong finish, no lingering aftertaste.  
Rating: 7

Joby J:
Not a fan of pale ales to begin with, this one leaves a bitter aftertaste.  The appearance of the beer is the best thing about the beer.
Rating: 3

Adam H:
An orange start changing into a carmel sweetness, followed with a smooth finish.  A phenomenal beer for a pale ale.  I could see myself drinking quite a few of these.
Rating: 8