Beer

Beer Review: Other Half / Trillium Street Green

One can easily call Other Half Brewing, of New York City, and Trillium Brewing, of Boston, two of the best breweries on the East Coast. Both of these breweries produce a number of styles of beers, but the general consensus is that they both brew amazing hoppy IPAs. This past August, the brewers of Other Half paid a visit to Trillium up in Boston and they produced a very hoppy and “obvious” pale ale called “Green Street.” This very limited edition collaboration beer was only available in bombers for sale at the Trillium brewery. Unfortunately I never was able to procure a bottle of this beer and I only got a few small pours from a couple bottles that made it down to New York City. The flavor was nothing less than a hop bomb. The question remained of when would Trillium head down to Brooklyn and brew a batch of beer there. Well the answer came fairly quickly when, in late October, Trillium paid a visit to Other Half to brew some beer and the hype for another collaboration began to build. Well this past Saturday, the hype reached its peak and the collaboration between the two breweries was released in cans called “Street Green.”

Street Green

The hype was so over the top, that the line to get into Other Half wrapped nearly around the entire block. Someone managed to film the line before the doors opened and from what I heard, the line eventually was nearly double this long:

I just want to remind people that it’s just beer. There are over 4000 breweries in the USA alone, so there are tons and tons of amazing beers out there. Instead of waiting forever for one beer, take that time and look around for beers you never heard of and you might be surprise what you might find. I am posting this in response to people who blamed Other Half for the line length and people cutting. Don’t blame Other Half for the actions of a few self-entitled people. But I digress. Now back to the beer.

This India Pale Ale clocks in at an ABV of 7%.

Appearance: A very hazy orange tinted yellow.

Aroma: A fruity, citrusy, and resinous hop bomb with a very soft malt aroma to round out any sharpness.

Taste: The best of both breweries. The fruit forward and softness of a Trillium beer with the resinous bitter fruity hop bite of an Other Half.

Mouthfeel: Typical IPA with medium mouthfeel.

Overall: An amazing collaboration beer between two amazing brewers. Sadly this beer probably will never be brewed again since I’m assuming if they got together to brew a third collaboration batch it would be something new and different.

Rating: 4.5/5

Lovely haze

So to here’s more delicious collaborations and to two of my favorite East Coast breweries, Other Half and Trillium!

Cheers!!

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Kelso Tap Room is Now Open!

A staple of the New York City craft beer scene, Kelso Beer Co. has been brewing beer in Brooklyn since 2006. Opened by brewmaster Kelly Taylor and his wife Sonia, this brewery has been turning out delicious beers such as IPAs, Pilsners, Lagers, and Saisons. The only thing missing from this brewery was a tasting room. Well this week has brought upon the grand opening of their new tasting room right inside the brewery located at 529 Waverly Ave.

I happened to be the very first customer on the official opening day and was greeted by many friendly employees of the brewery. Kelly was behind the bar and poured me my first beer which was Kelso’s White IPA. There are currently six taps featuring both Kelso and Heartland Brewery beers. Kelly is also the brewmaster for Heartland Brewery and helped design and build their brewery facility in Brooklyn back in 2002. The brewery space is now shared by both brands.

The brewery plans on doing growler fills and will also have a fridge for can and bottle sales. The tasting area has a nice long bar and a bunch of tables to accommodate the crowds. A nice space to hold tasting events.

The brewery is very easy to get to from the A/C or G train. I am looking forward to many visits to the Kelso tasting room. It is a great addition to the New York City beer scene.

Cheers!

Beer Review: Maine Beer Company’s Lunch

Maine Beer Company Lunch

So this new year I have decided to start up my reviews for the beers that I really enjoy. First up for the new year is Maine Beer Company’s Lunch India Pale Ale. Located in Freeport, Maine, Maine Beer Company has been brewing up delicious beers since 2009. Brothers David and Daniel Kleban brew up a wide variety of styles from their Peeper American Ale to their King Titus American Porter to their Barrel Program 1 which uses wild yeast and bacteria and aged in French red wine barrels.

Their Lunch IPA has been one of the brewery’s most popular beers ever since it first released. It is hard to find and usually sold out. Lucky for me, my local bottle shop had one left and I got to taste this wonderful beer.

Appearance: A nice golden orange hue with slight haziness.

Aroma: Hop heaven. Fruity, Citrus, Piney. Everything I love.

Taste: Wonderful fruity hop flavor from Centennial and Simcoe. A little bitterness from Warrior hops balanced by malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Typical IPA feel. Clean finish.

Overall: A delicious IPA. Hopefully I can get more of it!

Rating: 4/5

Now that I have tasted Lunch, I am looking forward to trying their Dinner Double IPA.

Cheers!

 

 

Stout Tasting at Top Hops

Top Hops

After having a wonderful time at the Trappist tasting class last week at Top Hops, I decided to sign up for their Stout tasting class. Certified Cicerone Justin Crider took the class through a tasting of 19 stouts and porters from Europe and the USA. Full disclosure: I don’t enjoy the taste of coffee which tends to be the dominant flavor in many stouts. So I tend to stay away from those flavors. Chocolate forward stouts, on the other hand, are a delight. One of the main reason I took this class was to open up my palate to the world of stouts.

Port City Maniacal IPA

Having arrived early, I decided to have a Port City Maniacal Double IPA before the class started. A delicious and smooth DIPA, this beer had a pleasant hop flavor with very little bitterness at an ABV of 8.5%.

Fuller’s London Porter

First beer of the night was a classic brown porter, Fuller’s London Porter. This 5.4% ABV porter is brewed with Brown, Crystal and Chocolate malts which gives it chocolate and coffee flavors. Mild bitterness with a dry finish.

Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter

Next up was Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter. With aromas of bitter chocolate, this Wisconsin born beer has flavors of caramel and bready malts with hop balance on the end. This weighs in at 5.5% ABV.

Orkney Dragonhead Stout

A dry stout that hails from the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland, the 4% ABV Orkney Dragonhead Stout hits the nose with aromas of coffee and chocolate. Roasted malt flavors shine through with coffee notes.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

The traditional Guinness Stout is surprisingly light at a low 4.3% ABV. The Foreign Extra version comes in at 7.5% ABV with the help of a generous amount of hops which helped preserve this beer for export to foreign markets. Toasted malt and toffee aromas are followed by the flavors of bitter chocolate and coffee with light caramel. It ends with a slight hop bitterness.

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal stouts use oats to enhance fullness of body and complexity of flavor, both of which can be found in Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. A milky smooth body that gives way to earthy, nutty tones from the oats. At only 5% ABV, this stout tastes heavier than it appears.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Breakfast Stout is one of the most popular stouts in the US due to it’s rich and intense coffee flavor. An imperial stout that is 8.3% ABV which could easily be mistaken for a cold cup of coffee. There are bitter chocolate undertones which compliment the coffee.

Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout

This American stout gets its name from its creamy texture, not the ingredients used. Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout comes to us from Michigan and the brewery has only been distributing to NYC since February of this year. This beer highlights the espresso and cocoa flavor of its roasted malts. This has an ABV of 6.1%.

Southern Tier Crème Brûlée (2012)

“Candy in a glass” is the way I described this beer when I first had it earlier this year. This 2012 Southern Tier Crème Brûlée came from the cellar of Mr. Crider and the 2 year aging has intensified the insanely sweet flavors. Heavy vanilla flavors dominate this 9.5% ABV Imperial Milk Stout. I wouldn’t recommend drinking more than a few ounces of this delicious dessert beer, unless you want go into sugar shock.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

I first tried North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout last month at Barcade’s Tenth Anniversary celebration. They had a 2004 version that had been aging in their cellar for 10 years. I was expecting it to have an intense flavor profile, but the first sip left me feeling meh. Tasted like a low carbonated, thin stout. Fortunately the fresh brewed version of this stout is wonderful. Chocolate forward with the support of roasty malts at an ABV of 9%. A good Winter beer.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

One of my favorites of the night. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout uses a combination of chocolate malts with real dark chocolate for a smooth and creamy beer. Slight hop flavor comes from Fuggle and Golding hops. This delicious stout comes in at 5.2% ABV.

Southern Tier Choklat Stout 2012

Another highlight of the night, this 2012 Southern Tier Choklat Stout also came from the cellar of Mr. Crider. This Imperial stout pretty much tastes like a melted chocolate bar with the aroma to match. If someone doubled everything that is great about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, the result would be this beer. Even the ABV is doubled at 10%.

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2013

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout is another extremely popular stout garnering pretty much perfect scores over on Beer Advocate. Beer stores even have special release events for Goose Island’s Bourbon County line up. This stout has big smokey bourbon aromas and flavors and a high ABV of 14.2%. Unfortunately for me, I’m not a fan of bourbon aging. I find it overpowers most of the flavor of the beer. I’m happy to let others wait in line for this one.

Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout 2013

Bourbon aging with coffee? This Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout definitely isn’t for me. If you love those kinds of flavors, then you will absolutely love this 13.1% ABV stout. Another one that people go crazy for, but just give me an IPA.

Odell Fernet Aged Porter

I never heard of Fernet before this year until I overheard someone talking about it at a bar. Then I found out that my friends from San Fransisco loved the stuff. The Odell Fernet Aged Porter displays its Fernet barrel aging well. Chocolate malts are supported by the herbal, spicy, and minty flavor of the liquor. This American porter has an ABV of 9.8%.

Deschutes Black Butte XXV

Deschutes Black Butte XXV is brewed with dates, figs, and cocoa nibs and then aged in bourbon barrels. This 11.3% Imperial Porter has a strong bourbon flavor supported by the dark fruits. Slightly bitter and tart, it has a warm finish.

Perennial Artisan Ales Abraxas

Brewed in my home town of St. Louis, MO, this imperial stout is a favorite of mine. The intense flavor comes from a combination of cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and ancho chiles. The vanilla, cocoa, and cinnamon support each other well. Meanwhile, the ancho chiles come up from behind with a nice lingering heat. I suggest that everyone seek out this 10% ABV beauty.

The Bruery Tart of Darkness

This 7.2% ABV oak barrel aged sour stout comes from Orange County, California. Bruey’s Tart of Darkness is dark and roasty, but with a underlying tartness that comes from souring bacterias and wild yeasts. A very interesting combination of flavors that I wish more breweries would explore.

Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top

Having one of the longest beer names I have ever seen, the Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top has flavors of coffee, almonds and chocolate. Hints of cherry peak through this 11.5% imperial porter.

Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops 2012

The final beer of the night was Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops. This is aged in bourbon barrels then fermented in the bottle with champagne yeast. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors come through at the front. Nice alcohol warmth from the 10.5% ABV.

Another great night of tasting excellent beers at Top Hops. I want to thank Cicerone Justin Crider for being an excellent teacher. I am looking forward to the Saison tasting next month!

CHEERS!

Cicerone Justin Crider

My NYC Craft Beer Map

Click the picture and visit them all!

I made this map for the Mid-Atlantic forum over at BeerAdvocate.com to help any visitor of NYC find the closest craft beer bar, restaurant, store, brewery, and home brew shop to their location.

Red Pin = Bar/Restaurant
Shopping Cart = Bottle Shop
Gold Star = Brewery
Blue Square = Home Brew Shop

I’m constantly updating this, so please contact me with any additions or corrections.

Cheers!

NYC CRAFT BEER BARS, STORES, RESTAURANTS, AND BREWERIES