Thursday, February 26, 2009

Must Have Been an Extra Large Crop

Remember back in, oh I guess September of last year, when Sierra released the Fall Harvest Wet Hop beer? Well, it looks like there were a few leftovers, as displays for the beer are popping up all over. Unlike the Stone 11th re-release, however, where a year old beer was still being sold for its original price, the price for the Harvest is cut in half, from $3.99 to $1.99 for a 24 oz. bottle. That is, unless you go to Whole Foods. They are still trying to squeeze out the full price, so stay away from there. The beer itself still tastes pretty good, which is to say: just like every other Sierra product, since they all taste like the same thing with just a little variation. Nothing ground-breaking, just solid. I know I have written a lot about Sierra lately, but they are one of the only breweries releasing anything right now, and it doesn't hurt that it comes out to only a buck for each 6.7% 12 oz. serving.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time to Earn Your Beads!

It's Fat Tuesday again, that last day of Mardi Gras drinking before lent begins. I have decided to give up thinking about giving up drinking, and my soul feels cleansed. The rest of me...not so much, but that goes with the business.

Hurricanes are great drinks, but you can still keep the Mardi Gras spirit alive by drinking Louisiana made beer today. Abita beer, served everywhere in New Orleans, is available here in Albuquerque. My favorites that they make aren't here yet (Andy Gator and Jockamo IPA), but you can buy some Amber, Purple Haze (apropos for the day), or Turbodog and go out on Central and flash passing cars, buses, and bums.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The "Henge" Mystery Endures

Following the Albuquerque debut of the Bond Street Series with Hop Trip, Deschutes Brewing of Bend, OR introduces Hop Henge IPA to the area. Hop Henge is an 8.75 Double IPA that boasts 95 IBU. The beer has been reformulated this year, though I can't honestly say how it is different from last year's fresh batch, as I got some that was clearly on its last legs in 2008 and tasted old and malty. This year's version is dry hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops, but tastes different from any DIPA that I have tasted...still trying to figure out what makes this beer tick. It isn't overly hoppy or malty in any way; this beer is just different. Not in an Arrogant Bastard different way, where you can't really classify the beer but know you are getting kicked in the teeth with ingredients, but more in an Avery Ale to the Chief way, where you are drinking a DIPA, but the flavors are just so unfamiliar. Sorry to be vague but this is one of those beers that you have to try for yourself and see what you get out of it. Respected beer friend Marcus swears by this beer and may have emptied Albuquerque's supply by now...check Jubilation and see if they have any of the $6.99 bombers left. Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 20, 2009

So It Isn't Craft Beer

But it sure is cheap. Quarters Liquors at Montgomery and Wyoming has those 5 liter mini kegs of Heineken for $8.99. Usually they sell for 20 bucks so this is a big price cut. I'd pick one up if it was mid-summer and we were grilling in the backyard, but Heineken doesn't do it for me in cold weather.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Growler Has That Empty Feeling, Thanks to Turtle Mountain

Let me begin by saying that if you own a business, you have every right to conduct your business the way you choose. You want to be rude, surly, obnoxious to customers, fine. It's your business. You want to only be open from 3 am to 4:30 am? Once again, it's your business. You want to serve beers that aren't available for growler takeout?

Whoa, that's crazy talk! There has to be a law against that, right?

Unfortunately, that is Turtle Mountain's policy for some of their higher gravity beers. I rarely write about the place, mainly because I don't get to the Westside too often because of the distance and traffic. However, I would have been willing to travel for a growler of the Haywood GFY, a beer touted on their website to have 150 IBUs and 2.5 pounds of hops per barrel. But in keeping with their stupid policy, Turtle Mountain will not fill growlers with this beer. I, in turn, will not drink at their establishment due to the fact that I have to drive back to the other side of town, and we all know that police patrol the area around Turtle Mountain in particular and Albuquerque in general with a passion. I have no personal problem with the Turtle Mountain folks. They have always been friendly enough, but in this case they have implemented a poor business practice at the expense of the Albuquerque beer community. Their argument may be that they only make so much of this beer, and they want as many people as possible to try it. I'm glad they are so concerned about us! They are willing to let me drink two pints of high gravity beer and drive with a BAC above the legal limit, but won't let me take a growler of it to enjoy in the safety of my own home? Thanks, Turtle Mountain!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day is for Beer Lovers

Sure, wine is the popular choice for this holiday, but popular has never been a word to describe me, so I have a few beer suggestions for you to celebrate this most corporate of holidays.

For those of you who have a date for Valentine's, why not keep the chocolate theme going with Rogue's Chocolate Stout, selling for $6.99 for a 22 oz. bottle. Young's Chocolate Stout is another option; less chocolate but a smoother mouthfeel due to the widget in the can. A 4-pack of 16 oz. cans sells around town for $8.99. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Stout would be my last choice in the chocolate motif beers, as there is something too light in the body that has kept me from buying it more than once. $8.99 for a 6-pack.

If you are spending Valentine's Day alone, perhaps you are in more of a "bitter" mood...IPA anyone? Chama River's Dr. Strangehop Double IPA will have you forgetting all about those people holding hands and feeding each other desserts at fancy restaurants. Plus Dr. Strangehop is a play on Dr. StrangeLOVE, and love= Valentine's Day. Wait...forget that love stuff. Just remember that this is the best Double IPA available in Abbuquerque right now, and won't be around long. $13.00 for a growler fill, plus $5.00 if you don't have your own container. You really felling bitter? Then Moylan's IPA is your perfect match. New to town and fresh off the truck, this IPA is just waiting for you to whisk it off the shelf and show it a good time. Its bitterness just keeps on giving, and at $4.99 for a 22 oz. bottle it is a cheap date.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In with the Old, In With the New

We've got a new player in the craft beer game here in Albuquerque, coming to us from Novato California: Moylan's Brewing. You may remember me writing about their beers in older posts; actually, more like gloating because I had great beers like their Double IPA and Hopsickle while you were stuck drinking JW Dundee's Honey Brown. But my gloating days have ended, and that's not a bad thing- especially now that the double IPA, Kiltlifter Scottish Ale, Tipperary Pale Ale, and Imperial Stout are here. I picked up a Double IPA, which at $7.99 is pricey but this is the beer that won the Alpha King Challenge two years in a row! Hopefully we will see Hopsickle here eventually, as this is probably their best. Thanks to Jubilation for getting this company into our territory.

Barleywine season brings the 2009 Old Guardian from Stone, and the weather outside right now makes me wish I was draining the bottom of this 11.3% killer rather than having to go out and retrieve my trash can that blew down the street. Buy one for drinking now and a few more for aging. This beer, like their other seasonals, is selling for $6.49.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm Still a Manly Man

I will admit to liking the newest release in Samuel Adams Brewmaster's Collection, Blackberry Witbier, but that doesn't make me less of a man. I even drank a Stone Russian Imperial Stout along with the Blackberry beer, just to reassure myself. The blackberry smell comes through right away, and follows through in the taste. It finishes with a very fresh cereal grain flavor. At 5.5%, this beer would be a good session beer in warmer weather, but I don't know if the sweetness would overwhelm after a few bottles. %7.99 gets you a six-pack at Kelly's on Wyoming.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Sierra Nevada Release

Today I stopped in the Kelly's at Mountain Run Shopping Center and was pleased to find Sierra Nevada's newest release- Torpedo "Extra IPA". Torpedo was around in a different recipe, draft only, for years, but this is Sierra's first bottling of the beer. It is 7.2%, which years back may have made it "extra" (double IPA territory), but is more in line with a typical IPA in the alcohol content. As far as the taste, well, the beer is still getting cold in the fridge at this time, but I remember liking it when I tried it at Trappeze Pub in Athens, GA, even after having such big beers as Weyerbacher Double Simcoe and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid. The price on this is great too: only $7.49! Hope you all like it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Somebody Call the Bionic Man

Because Bigfoot is back in town! Get it? Remember those episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man? Steve Austin? No?
Anyway, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot barleywine is here, a 9.6% hop-forward version and one of my favorites. I got it at Whole Foods for $10.49 and enjoyed it during the Super Bowl. I'll put a few aside to join the '07 and '08 Bigfoots I have aging.