The iLike Beer Theme Song:

The iLike Beer Theme Song: "Drink Beer." Yes, this is an original song, exhaustingly derived by this author.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Founders: Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Background:  I must break rank for a minute and say, without a doubt, this is one of the top 5 beers I have had in my life.  </taking off serious pants>  I can remember the first time I sipped Kentucky Breakfast Stout; ‘twas back when they called it by its given name, not the more common abridged moniker.  It was several years ago, and I can say I still remember reading the description: imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.  It sounded interesting enough, I like a good stout or a neat low ball full of Wathen’s Single Barrel.  This was indeed an awakening for me; Beer served in a snifter?  But alas, pretentions aside, this drink was fantastic.  In the words of one William Smith, “My life got flipped-turned upside down.”  I very recently traveled out to Grand Rapids Michigan with the knowledge that the beer had released just one week prior.  I was greeted with utter disappointment when I learned they were already dry of the beverage.  But there was a thin trickle of good news:  The Black Party.

Color:  Dark.  This Beer was dark.  If thick were an adjective referring to shades of light, it would be suitably used in this case.  As I deliberately swilled the deep liquid in my glass I watched it velvetly coat the sides, retuning elegantly delayed, with grudging disdain for gravity.  Yes, all of this in just its color.

Like a stout Beer aged in reissued bourbon barrels should: amazing.  I was surprised to learn that it was only aged for 1 year because its smooth yet bold bourbon flavor was so well matured.  This was not a beginning brewer dumping some liquor into their homebrew and pronouncing it “Bourbon Stout.”  No, this was something much greater, as if the corn was distilled in the beer during fermentation.  The smooth application of flavors was stunning, and unforgettable.  I should add that this photo is only one of the two bottles I was able to procure this year, and they are two of 64 delivered to my county.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Great Lakes Brewing Company: Jabberwocky

I was recently on a tour of the Great Lakes Brewing Company with some dear friends of mine (yes, the same kind soul which shared the aforementioned Scotch ale).  We were delighted to have been shown around by none other than their brewmaster Luke.  He is quite the gentleman,  especially considering the cheeky shananigans of some of the more inebriated in the group. 
At the heart of this particular adventure's story however is a certain Beer.  After my drinking campanion asked Luke about any interesting non commercially available treats we were informed of the existance of a libation named Jabberwocky.

This brew was an ale of Belgium decent which had been aged in old sherry casks for no less than 6 years.  It had a deep amber color with hints of rose.  I must admit however, that lighting was low at best (perfect for a pub) which prevented accurate viewing and subsequent photography.
It had a very tangy flavor.  The sherry influence was instantly noted with an ever so light flavor of Californian oak (more than likely from the Napa Valley region).  The rest of the Belgium flavor followed, although subtly,  much unlike a vehicle from Spyker

Overall, in a day long tour of multiple breweries filled with mediocrity, Great Lakes (and another with review to follow) were standout leaders, making said trip quite well worth it.  Thank you to Luke for the hidden beast.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Smithwicks and my Trusty Pipe

I will break format here for a different combination which I found quite complimentary.  Smithwicks is a decent red in a bottle, and one of my favorite Beers of all time when fresh on draught.  By fresh I refer to the experience I had several years ago whilst visiting Wexford, Ireland:  I was in a small establishment sipping on the ubiquitous pint of Guinness when a fellow patron recommended this amber draught.  I tried it, and great scott was it fantastic.  Eveytime I crack open a bottle here I am always reminded of a great pint surfing an Irish spring.
That's neither here nor there, what I am getting to is the above combination.  My freeform pipe (an Andrew Michael original) found it's way to my mouth filled with a bowl of Independence by CAO.  This is a great smoke which I never tire of.  Its a nice blend of Virginia tobacco that is slightly smokey yet smooth and sweet.  I feel as if it was made to be paired with this Beer.  Together they create a dark yet mildly sweet flavor that ever so slightly burns the tongue.  Bravo! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Harviestoun-Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

Background:  A dear friend approached me one day and we dove head first into a discussion of the finer things in life; scotch, questionable websites, beer, and pipe tobaccos.  Two of these points led him to going into his cellar.  Upon his return he produced a bottle of this fine brew.  The best of discussions always lead to great things.

Color: I am reminded of planks of kiln dried deep, rich, dark, American walnut, glistening with a light coat of hand rubbed urethane. 

Taste: What does one expect from a drink when they understand that a complex ale has been aged in fine scotch barrels?  Exactly what was presented to me, that is my answer.  To paraphrase using a quote from noted award winning author David Chappelle, in reference to dog food:  “It tastes just like it smealls….delicious.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thirsty Dog: Cerberus Belgian Tripel

Background: This ale appeared to me in a dream.  I was walking down a beautiful cobblestone path with dry green foliage abound, when I came upon a small peasant shanty.  Within it was a scholar sitting at a table, who offered me this delight.  I awoke, and promptly ventured out to procure some.

Color:  Ah yes.  One does often query the difference between ochre and fulvous, and this predicament is certainly applied to this ale.  The answer may only be known to the peasant scholar.

Taste:   The initial splash of brew brings a flavor as strong as Société Générale de Belgique: alcohol be thy name.  The single malt flavor pours on closely after.  Does one need to know what a great single malt liquor such as Glenlivet Nadurra tastes like to understand the complex and beautiful flavor of this liquid?  No, this is a beer, not single malt scotch.