Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beereview: He'Brew Messiah Bold

About a month ago, I posted about "Beer Cocktails" and how vile they seem. While trying to convince you of the exceeding depravity of these concoctions I made an off-handed remark about He'Brew Genesis Ale. At the time, I was quite proud of my description of the "Lucky Dreidel." Here is an excerpt:
I don't want to bash anybody's personal preferences, but that wine is almost as horrible as that beer, which itself is pretty horrible.
Now, I didn't get any hate mail from Maneschewitz for trashing on their wine (which I still say is pretty horrible,) but I did hear from Zak Davis at Shmaltz Brewing Company. He was very professional in his criticism of my remark but I still felt bad about trashing a micro-brew. It had been a while since I had Genesis Ale and I did not have fond memories of it; it still wasn't fair to be so brusque in my condemnation.

Hence, I felt the guilt. I promised Zak I'd do another review and keep a fair and open mind, however my guilt has not been assuaged. Without any further blathering commentary, here's the review:

He'Brew Messiah Bold

My pilgrimage for beer review redemption was finally concluding after many long nights wandering the liquor stores of Central New Jersey (Wow, that sounds bad.) I was in search of "The Chosen Beer." I found Messiah Bold and rejoiced.

Messiah Bold is described as "A Rich and Robust Dark Brown Ale," which I found very appealing. It was also the only He'Brew I could find in three stores. Think of this purchase like those flowers you get your girlfriend after running over her cat; it's also like the spare present you buy for the holidays to give to someone who unexpectedly gives you one. It's guilt motivated. I picked a beer I thought would be my apology. I guess I'm not good at apologies.

Messiah Bold has a rich dark brown color. The smell reminds me strongly of bread, and there is pretty much no head or lacing. Also, I had a six pack of these and they were all pretty flat and watery. The flavors are not very complex, but are sweet and malty.

Ultimately, this beer is not bad, but it's certainly not rich and robust. It's middle of the road, but drinkable. I'd recommend it to people who want to like "good beer" but have very mild taste. So what's the silver lining? I only paid $8.50 for six of them. In this price group, even middle of the road is very good compared to what else is available.

As an aside, in this price range it's probably all about marketing. Dogfish Head sells a four pack for around $11 ($2.75 each.) They know that a customer who is willing to pay that much expects higher-than average quality and is probably looking for something fairly unique. They aren't trying to appeal to the "super bowl" crowd for something to wash down nachos.

At $1.42 each, He'Brew is going after a different market. The witty banter on the label makes their product stand out from similarly priced high-volume average quality beer. It's sort of like a gag gift you'd get somebody for Hanukkah. It's also a good thing to bring to a super bowl party to wash down nachos. The beer needs to be of the quality where they can still make money selling it for $1.42 a bottle.

If your preferences are for "normal" beer and you're on a budget, pick some up. It's certainly better than New Castle or one of the mass-produced brands.

See you next time, when I go into details about my recent "Pine Mouth" affliction.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brew through the pain

Oorah! I brewed this week! I re-brewed the ever-popular ATOTB #2: Clean Blonde Ale. Brewing went by flawlessly. I'm particularly excited about this batch because it will be the first batch that I've brewed twice, and I'm curious to see how close it will taste to the original. In a perfect world, the beers would be identical (and I'd have millions of dollars... and married to the woman I am now [Brownie points! score!]), but alas, we will see.

Kudos to my brewing system as well, during mashing I fell asleep on my back porch, only to be awaken by my timer telling me it's time to mash out. Mash temperature was kept perfectly within +/- a degree. I also learned that once my mash gets up to temperature to set the controller about 2 degrees below target and it will regulate the temp perfectly. I plan on brewing again this week, and I think I'm going to re-brew ATOTB #3: Pilsen Blonde Ale, since the first one came out so badly. As a matter of fact it came out so badly, that it will be my first dump. It's not even drinkable. It tastes like liquid rye bread. I like rye and all, but this stuff is gross.

My follow up to brewing is my recent encounter with B-Brite.

The past month has been particularly damaging for me. I tend to be very careful, but recently it seems I've either been unlucky or someone's out to get me. The important thing to note here is that I'm OK! That note is particularly for my parents when they read this, cause they might come across some things that I might not have told them. Earlier this month I got shocked by 120V. Awesome. Then 220V. Even better. Cut myself shaving. Great. Showered myself in sparks and popped a breaker. Whoopie. And I'm almost certain I stubbed my toe more often then usual.

All my pain came to a pinnacle this week when my dog got to the container of B-Brite. I had purchased said container from my local homebrew store because I felt that maybe my keg cleaning standards were not quite up to snuff, maybe leading to some off flavors. Well the contained sat on my counter for a few days where my lovely pseudo-golden retriever Sam found it and brought it into the bedroom. There were some chew marks around the lid, and a few specs of B-Brite on the bed. I imagine he started chowing down and got a taste of the cleaner, promptly stopping after tasting the delightful sodium percarbonate. If you're not familiar with this substance, it's used in eco-friendly bleaches, and probably the most notable substance, Oxy-Clean (THE POWER OF OXYCLEAN)!

I got said percarbonate in my eye.

I picked up the tub, still closed from the bed spread, and brushed the few crystals of B-Brite off. One crystal jumped up and landed right in my eye. My lord. It hurt. My eye began burning and went numb at the same time. I blinked and ran to the bathroom mirror and tried to clean my eye out. When I pulled my lid down I saw the crystal sitting there on my lid. I pulled it out, and when I could see again in a few seconds I went to the kitchen where I placed the tub and read...

"Caution: Avoid contact with eyes. For eye contact, immediately flush with copious amounts of water. Remove contact lenses if applicable and continue flushing for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention"

#%@(*!

Back to the bathroom. I ripped out my contact and threw it on the counter and began to run my eyeball underneath the sink. Then I jumped in the shower and sat in the corner wallowing in self pity while I irrigated my eye like the settlers growing corn. Oddly enough, irrigating your eye also hurts. Meanwhile my wife kept looking over me, and whenever I stopped washing out my eye she would say:

"Has it been 15 minutes?"
"No."
"Do you want to go blind??"

No, no, I did not want to go blind. I did mention however that with one eye I could still be an engineer, and play video games. Which she promptly counter-pointed that I wouldn't be able to play tennis again (depth perception is important in tennis).

The story ends well. I can still see. I was hoping that maybe I'd see better, but no. I mentioned to the wifey that I think it almost hurt as much irrigating my eye than the actual B-Brite itself. She wondered if it hurt worse than the time I got ben-gay on my *ahem* personal area (another time, another story). I said,

"Taking out the fact I was worried about never being able to see out of that eye again, no, it didn't hurt nearly that bad."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dogsplosion! Theobroma and Sah'Tea

If you recall, in my last post we went through a little bit of the history behind ancient ales. I know Dogfish Head isn't the only company making these, but they are one of the best (if not the best) at marketing them. I've been lucky enough to try four of these, since they are somewhat hard to find and are only available at certain times of the year. Midas Touch and Chateau Jiahu will have to wait for another time, but without any further ado, here are the reviews of Theobroma and Sah'Tea:

The stories behind these beers would  be the most interesting thing about them if the flavors weren't so unique. These beers are so different from each other, that if they weren't both classified as Ancient Ales they would have no place in the same article. These are not your daddy's beers; they are his great great great grandfather's.

Theobroma

Theobroma could be roughly compared to a chocolate stout. I use the word "roughly" as in "a saber-tooth tiger could be roughly compared to your house cat Snookums." It would almost be more accurate to compare this to a Molé Sauce rather than any beverage, since its brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

Upon opening the bottle you are greeted with the sweet smells of caramel and raisins (typical of Dogfish Head.) The smell reminded me greatly of another of their brews, Burton Baton. I was surprised when I started pouring this beer that it was clear and golden. With all the talk about chocolate on the label, I had wrongly assumed that it would be dark brown.

Theobroma doesn't have much head or lacing; I had to pour it out pretty quickly to get enough foam for a picture. This doesn't mean that the beer is flat, in fact it's quite the opposite. This is a very fizzy beer, but the bubbles don't last.

The initial taste is sweet and light; it reminded me more of a Rosé I had in a fancy restaurant than any beer. This Rosé was described to me as a "Man's Rosé" since it was sweet but contained complex flavors like chocolate and spice. Maybe he was just pulling my leg, but the memory of "quality" stuck with me. This beer has "quality."


As I continued to imbibe, the taste became sweeter with a brief bitter finish. The chili peppers come through only slightly, but as you drink more it begins to smolder. I think the aftertaste is delicate bitter chocolate instead of hops. If you don't like hot stuff, be mindful that this beer burns a little and warms the throat. It's pretty mild, but I do have the tolerance of Pancho Villa.

Overall, I highly recommend this beer. My personal preference would be to have it on its own as a dessert beer (more like a port.) I'm not sure it would go well with food or after having anything sweet, so give it a shot  after your next dinner party.


Sah'Tea is a very interesting beer. My notes about it seem to ramble on because it was continually changing. This beer is so spicy, that I think the spices actually change the way you taste as you continue to drink it. Instead of using the usual review format, let's go through my notes in order:

When first opened, I was greeted with a sweet smell containing spices and apricots. Once poured, the beer is golden and cloudy. My first thoughts on tasting were "The flavor is amazing, like apple pie." I don't mean a fruit pie you get at the Kwik-E-Mart or some Mrs. Smiths (that cheater!). This apple pie taste is the apple pie lovingly prepared and served at a family gathering. Just warm, sweet, and mainly: spicy.

My next thought was "This is the best pumpkin ale I ever had, even though it's not a pumpkin ale and contains no pumpkin." I've since revised my opinion since I found a truly amazing pumpkin ale (which I'll review at a later date) but the sentiment was all tied up in the spices. You don't normally find beer with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper unless it's a pumpkin ale or was spilled over an apple pie.

The flavor initially hits with ginger and cloves (I also thought nutmeg, but was mistaken.) It's starts and ends sweet, including the aftertaste. This isn't like a beer, it's more like a mulled cider. I think at one point I called it "Christmas in a bottle."

As I became more intrigued, I went to my spice drawer. I got some juniper berries (an ingredient in the beer,) some cloves and some nutmeg. Although I was wrong about the nutmeg, the smell of that mixture was very similar to the beer. The juniper berries seem to be the predominate fruity flavor in the beer.

Overall this beer is fantastic. In the fall and winter, I'd love to keep a stock of this around. It's perfect for sitting around a fireplace and sipping (if I had a fireplace.) Instead of milk and cookies, leave some of this out for Santa. Just make sure he stays over, it's pretty strong stuff.

This concludes our "Dogsplosion!" Trifecto. No dogs were harmed during the writing of these blogs, despite my best efforts (kidding!) Next week will be a guilt ridden review of a He'Brew ale.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "Y"

What if I told you that before you drink you beer you have to dump bugs into it to make the beer taste just right. And not just a few bugs. Billions of bugs.

Gross right?

True.

Without yeast beer will taste like watered down syrup. Worst of all: without yeast beer won't have any alcohol. *gasp* But how? Why? Well I'm going to tell you.

From what I've read (as far as I can tell and like many things) beer was a mistake. The earliest tales I've read about beer brewing date back to the vikings. Each Viking family had a "brewing stick" which was an old piece of wood (for imaginations sake, taken from a viking vessel after pillaging hundreds of villages) that was used to stir the beer-soup. This was not a clean piece of wood mind you; it was probably some burned, bloody, feces covered (or just dusty, cob-webby, mold covered) piece sitting in the corner of the hut. Vikings lived in huts right?

The idea is that every family had their stick and every family had their own beer. The magic was in the stick. Without the stick the beer wouldn't have any good flavor or the magical effect that makes you stumble around like an idiot. The real magic was the fact that each stick had its own strain of yeast growing on it. Every culture (group) of yeast had its own flavor. This is why you can buy so many different kinds of yeast from your brew store today.

For most of the brewing process you're setting the grand ol' stage for the yeast. Unlike setting up a real rock and roll stage this has to be a very clean process, void of sweat, blood, and cocaine. Mashing the grains and the boiling process break down sugars into simple sugars that yeast uses to first replicate itself, and then to produce alcohol.

Yes, I said it. Yeast has sex in your beer. But only in the scientific term. Yeast replicates asexually (with out a mate; boring) by budding. Imagine every time you got a pimple it turned into a baby. Freaky right? The key here is that yeast reproduces quickly in the presence of oxygen. That's why you oxygenate your beer when you pitch (dump) your yeast into your wort, to introduce as much oxygen into your beer as possible. It makes them nice and healthy to get them ready to do their real business.

When oxygen is present, the byproduct of the yeast-sex is CO2 (the fizz in your beer). When the oxygen is gone, the yeast still produces CO2 (along with more of itself), but also produces *dun dun dun!* alcohol. How well it coverts sugar into alcohol is called attenuation. And it keeps doing this until... well, until you say it's done really. Much like wine you can cellar bottles of beer with yeast still in the bottom. As long as a beer isn't pasteurized there is very likely some yeast sediment in the bottom. Don't drink it though: from what I understand it gives you the runs. So unless your name is Ray from a 90's commercial for Philips', don't do it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dogsplosion! A Blast from the Past

Last week I promised you two reviews: Theobroma and Sah'tea. While I don't intend to back out, these reviews come with some prerequisites. Unlike a college course on Bioinformatics however, you can still participate without a full understanding of the material or a BAC less than 0.08. Obviously the latter is optional, but just like a college course: by the end of it you'll have remidied both of those inadequacies.

Without any further ado, here's a crash course in Ancient Ales.

Prereq 1: Anthropology

When you think about beer today, certain smells and flavors come to mind which are probably common to most of the population. It wasn't always that way however, beer comes in as many varieties as there are cuisines. The culture, climate, and available materials has resulted in uncountable mutations of this poisonous corruption of normally wholesome ingredients. You're most likely thinking, "Wait... What?" after that last sentence; "Poisonous corruption?"

Let's jump back a few million years.

We can actually trace the genes required to process alcohol to a mouse-like creature that had access to fermenting (rotting) fruit with is usually toxic. Being able to eat this fruit allowed access to a plentiful supply of food with little competition. Like many beneficial evolutions, naturally over time this lead to other creatures competing for this niche; We're some such creatures.

Let's fast forward to ancient times.

People have been making beer or wine for at least the last 9000 years. Since you need to stay in one place for a while to ferment, it makes perfect sense that hunter gatherers wouldn't have beer (discounting the occasional rotten apple.)

We find evidence of fermented liquids in all manner of ancient vessels. From wine bottles in shipwrecks to canopic jars in the desert: just about every ancient society in the past 9000 years had some form of alcoholic beverage. This wasn't all for fun and games; it served a very practical purpose: You can make clean beer with bad water. 

Small amounts of alcohol allow water to be transported great distances without spoiling. We can probably thank beer for almost all ancient viking maritime success and expansion,  the feudal system (peasants rarely practiced proper sanitation), and pirates (which are really cool.) While I could write an entire post on just this, I'll have to hold back for now.

It wasn't until Reinheitsgebot (or the German Beer Purity Law of 1487) that beer generally became homogeneous. With home-brew and craft breweries, we're starting to undo some of the damage, but generally you'll still find beer made after this fashion (but not even up to that standard) at your local Kwik-E-Mart. Again, I could write an entire post on this; I probably will when I review Saison Du Buff but I still haven't found the Stone version.

Prereq 2: Archeology

Like many lost secrets, you can only find the best stuff by digging. While we won't be finding Jimmy Hoffa anytime soon, we have turned up ancient recipes and dried out samples of ancient beverages. Dogfish Head (with the help of molecular archeologist Dr.Patrick McGovern)  is becoming rather notable for resurrecting some of these through the use of a Mass Spectrometer. Current examples include Midas Touch, Chateau Jiahu, Theobroma, T'ej, and Sah'tea. Read more about those here.

Almost as a rule, these beers use unusual ingredients. From hawthorne fruit and honey to ancho chilies and cocoa, the flavors are astonishing. I've tried most of these and they are amazing. Now that you have a small appreciation for the history, we'll get down to the reviews. They deserve proper reverence however, and so will be addressed in next week's post!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Beereview: Key West Sunset Ale

If I get my history right (which I usually don't), at one point Key West seceded from the United States because the US was treating the Key West locals like immigrants. So Key West seceded and called themselves the Conch Republic. When Key West was "taken back" by the US, they applied for national relief fund money for territories that were recently taken over by the states. Smart group of people those Conch Heads.

Today's beer comes, or should I say "comes" from Key West (the side of the bottle says Melbourne, FL != Key West (sub parenthesis for those not getting the coding reference: not the same)). Regardless the beer of note is the Key West Sunset Ale. The brown bottle (yay!) boasts a nice warm label with a lovely picture of palm trees (which could be taken anywhere in Florida). Lets dig in.

The beer pours a nice gark (typo for dark golden) color, with very little head retention. The scale on the side of the bottle reads almost all the way to the "dark" catagory, but is as close to Guinness as my youngest dog is actually a golden (hint: dog != golden (code reference again, see "Melbourne")). Aroma smells like the first pale ale I ever brewed, sweet, and lightly hoppy. It drinks surprisingly tart compared to the aroma, however not in a negative way. The first sip just had a little bit more bite than I expected. The beer has a medium body, so while you're not going to pound a case of it, it wont replace a meal either.

All around a good beer. Not too sweet, but not too bitter. Easy to drink. A good beer to enjoy with... oh... say, a sunset?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dogsplosion! Dogfish Head at its Best

As one of the premier (self proclaimed) beer reviewers of our time, bribery is an interesting concept. I think it's a very interesting concept. The tale I’m about to spin does involve free swag and in the interest of full disclosure I do believe that it has enhanced my opinion of Dogfish Head. However, it has all been done above board through old fashioned customer service (since I never identified myself as the super famous rockstar beer reviewer that I’ve become.)

It began about four months ago, when I read a tweet from @dogfishbeer advertising that they were now selling the Maple Syrup from Sam’s family farm (used in their Immort Ale.) They had golden and dark syrup, so I jumped at the opportunity and ordered two bottles. I personally hate pancakes with syrup so my intentions for this additive were purely for beer making beer, breads, or cookies (“Super Pooper” cookies with loads of nuts and seeds, in fact.)

I received the normal billing confirmation, but oddly no shipping confirmation. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but time marches on. After three months, I was thinking to myself “WTF is my syrup?” – The “W” in the phrase meaning “where” instead of “what” but the sentiment remains the same. We generally don’t have sugar thieves in my neighborhood other than the occasional ant (but I’ve never seen them carry away the bottle.) So either the UPS guy really likes waffles and stealing, or somebody goofed.

Generally, when dealing with people who are providing me a service I try to be as polite as possible to avoid any situations involving waffles and saliva. Given my penchant for strongly worded letters, I needed to exercise restraint even while under the influence of syrup induced hunger pangs. I wrote Dogfish Head’s customer service a nice letter inquiring as to the whereabouts of my intended baking sweeteners. Without going into all the sticky details (ba-dump-cha) nobody exactly knew what became of my Super Pooper cornerstone.

Dogfish Head’s “Goddess of Gear” Lindsey promised me some swag and a refund since they were all out of syrup. The refund was really all I was after, but I’ll never turn down a free gift (unless it involves waffles and saliva.) After a couple weeks I received a ridiculously large box filled with enough packing materials to choke a rhinoceros and two nice Dogfish Head beer Chalices. Thanks Lindsey!

This kind of customer service gives me yet another reason to respect and love Dogfish Head. Their beer is awesome, their swag is cool, and their customer service is amazing. Since the only gift glasses I get from the Watou brewery require me to purchase holiday four packs, I think I’m going to have to promote Dogfish Head to the top spot as my favorite brewery on the planet.

In honor of this momentous occasion, and because I really want to use the word “Dogsplosion” more than once, I plan on reviewing two of their Ancient Ales next week – SAH’TEA and Theobroma. Stay tuned.

<3 #dogfishbeer

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blogger Con and The Morning After

I came across some exciting piece of information while browsing my twitter the other day. I saw @thebeerwench tweet something about a blogger conference. That's when I pulled up the 2010 Beer Bloggers Conference. This is probably the most exciting thing I wont be attending this year. The planets just haven't aligned for me to be able to make it. I will be super excited however to see what people tweet and live blog from the event. And what would also help me be able to make it is if you all voted for Orlando to host the 2011 Beer Blogger Conference! Flights to Orlando are ridiculously cheap no matter where you're coming from!

The occurrence of this conference gets me excited on a number of levels. Most simply, the events that are occurring just seem plain awesome. They've got a number of speakers showing up from places like Stone, Draft Magazine, and the Brewers Association to talk about just how awesome beer bloggers are (thanks!). A slew of panels on every aspect of beer blogging. And one event that really caught my eye, live beer blogging. Twelve tables are set up with bloggers poised to write and tweet their brains out. Twelve reps from different breweries are there, one at each table. At "go," you have 5 minutes to have the beer poured, explained, sampled, and written about. After five minutes are up? Reps rotate from table to table. It's like some crazy game of speed dating, except instead of never kissing and telling, you're telling as many people as you possible can. 12 times. In one hour. It takes me a good 10-15 minutes to write one of my reviews. The live blogging just seems like pure chaos. AND AWESOME.

I hope that a lot of bloggers will be able to make it, and a lot of others attend as well. Unfortunately I will not be able to make it, but am definitely planning on making the trip next year.

On a side note, it's the wife's birthday (happy birthday Nikki!) today, and we had a party the other night for her. For the first time my homebrewed beer was fresh on tap for a party, so I was pretty excited. I would have never expected it to go over so well. We kicked the 5 gallon soda keg in probably 2 hours flat, even the frat guys in college would be proud of that. And I got many requests to keep it on tap 24/7. So guess what I'm brewing next? ATOTB #02. That will be interesting, because I've never done a repeat batch before. We shall see how accurate I am!

I noticed something else the morning after. No hangover. I'm only drinking homebrew from here on out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fan Service: Yes, I do requests.

Last weekend, some of my friends came over to play board games and drink beer (the order of precedence probably depends on who you ask.) I had some Beck's on hand, which is one of my party standbys. It's not so unusual that people won't recognize it, but it's good enough to put out at parties. Being German, it's brewed to their standards for export, which I hope are as good as their domestic standards.

Anyway, meandering introductions aside, lets introduce the players and the game. My friends have asked to be introduced as "Angry Cousin Patrick," and "Dr. Sash," my number one fan (pro: s-aah-ssh). Dr. Sash brought over a mixed four pack from Half Time (one of the best beer stores on the east coast.) We decided to do an impromptu review for the site, however it breaks one of my rules "don't trash on micro-brew." If one of these beers is one of your lovingly crafted creations: sorry in advance; these were not biased reviews.

A brief aside (double entendre: "underpants thrown to the left"): There are not very many mega beer stores in the country. The east coast probably has more of them than many places, but in my experience I have only found two. Half Time near Poughkeepsie, NY and Shangy's in Emmaus, PA. They are some of the few places you can buy a case of Rochefort 10 or St. Bernardus  Abt. 12.

Let's get down to the four pack:

Humboldt Brown - Ale Brewed with Hemp

Although there are many hemp beers, this one seemed to jump out at Dr. Sash for it's brazen hemp branding. Hemp is not illegal, although it's usually only included in foods and drinks for stoner appeal. One of my friends even had hemp air freshener to "fool the cops." Yeah, right. So, just like many marketing ploys, before even opening the bottle the quality already seemed dubious.

What stuck me initially was the buttery smell of this beer. It had a normal medium brown color and almost no head. The dominant characteristics were that it was watery and flat, which we all agreed on. Also, Angry Cousin Pat says it, "Smells like turd." Finally, it was bitter but not hoppy. While not the worst beer I ever tasted, I don't think I would ever buy this, or even drink a free one. We did finish the glass (1/4 of a a 12oz. beer).

Belfast Bay - Lobster Ale

I have nothing good to say about this ale. It was sour and watery, with a slightly off (i.e. spoiled) smell. The slightly fishy taste lingers. Scraping for compliments, the color was golden and it had a decent head so I suppose if you needed a beer for a photo shoot and didn't want to waste anything palatable you could use this. Needless to say, we dumped the rest. What's the lesson? Avoid beers with giant shellfish or crustaceans on the labels.

Lake Placid - Honey Ale

I've heard of this brewery before, and not for anything bad. This honey ale was ultimately mediocre. It has a vague and generic beer smell, with a little honey flavor. It has a sour aftertaste, probably because of the honey. I dunno, we didn't pour this out. It was just blah. I bet other beers by this brewery are better, so don't blacklist them. If you're thinking of using this for a kitschy alternative to honey brown, I'd see what else was available first (but get this if there was nothing else.)

Left Hand - Polestar Pilsner

Finally a good beer! This beer reminded me of other pilsners, in a good way. It looks like Coors with foam, tastes a little like Blue Moon, and would be good on a hot day. If you like Pilsner or Pale Lager, give this one a shot. Left Hand makes some great stuff, so I am glad at least one of the four was good.

So thanks, Dr. Sash and Angry Cousin Pat for the beers!


Before you leave any hate comments, we didn't set out to trash any of these beers. It's possible all the "mix your own" packs are made up of old beer that didn't sell, or weird beer people don't like. Who knows? But I do stand by my reviews of these particular bottles.