Rosé de Gambrinus – Cantillon

 

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Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus 2014 cork date. .

APPEARANCE: Pours a star bright ruby red, with brilliant pink rim variations. Soft and gentle one finger of rose colored head that dissipated within moments leaving a slight halo. .

AROMA: Big bursting waves of fresh raspberries being muddled along with a second layer of raspberry jam that brings with it a nice light vinegar aroma. Strawberry lemonade swirling around with hay and barnyard funk. .

TASTE: Taste follows the nose almost perfectly, with a bit more brightness coming from the raspberries. The tartness comes dancing in with lemon, grape skins, pomegranate and cherries. A wonderful marriage of tart,sour and sweet fruits. It ends with fresh grass clippings, hay and a slight mustiness. .

MOUTHFEEL: Medium minus body with a lively medium carbonation. It manages to stay light and crisp with a lingering mouthwatering finish that just begs you to take another sip. .

OVERALL: This is easily in my top raspberry lambics and one of my favorite Cantillon beers. It has such a harmonious mix of tart, funk and raspberry while still being a very complex beer. Rosé de Gambrinus paired exceptionally well with the Chèvre. . .

Tombstone IPA – Tombstone Brewing

 

 

Every once on a while I get completely surprised by a beer that I have never heard of. That was the case with Tombstone IPA, that was sent my way by a couple of awesome beer guys Nick & Shane out of Arizona.

From the Website Tombstone. – Tombstone Brewing Company is committed to bringing world class beer to the Town Too Tough to Die. Located in legendary Tombstone, Arizona, we seek to create an inviting, laid-back environment where people can casually gather for a pint as well as an exciting destination within a destination for beer lovers, crafting ales and lagers that range from the traditional to the far reaches of what beer can be.

 

Tombstone IPA – 7.1% ABV


APPEARANCE:  Pours a hazy, rich, burnt orange color, with a large foamy egg shell colored head. The head stands tall and proud like its daring you to take the first drink. Slowly fades down to nice halo ring of foam leaving tracks of its travel down the glass. Color is spot on for the style, and exactly what I was hoping for when I cracked the growler open.

 

AROMA: Pouring from the growler the huge, intense aromas come shooting out of the glass. Right away I get a blast of grapefruit, fresh pressed orange juice, over ripe peaches. As it settles down a delicate layer of melon, passion fruit and canned lychee begins to pop through. The nose ends slightly earthy and floral, like a field of newly sprouted wild flowers. Such a great layering of smells going on in this beer.

 

TASTE: The nose on this beer really paved the way by showcasing the amazing hop profile used. The taste decides to pave the way by letting the light sweet malt base come in first, then letting the hops start their dance. The delicate floral notes I got on the nose present themselves up front, just long enough to let you know this isn’t a one trick pony beer. The next wave comes crashing down with the huge juice bomb I was hoping for. Fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit, peach and slightly bruised stone fruits.The mid palate brings with it a grassy, earthy layers  leading into the slight hop bitterness.Right at the second the soft hop bitterness rears its head you get greeted by a splash of honey that has been stirred in that completely balances and ties the flavors of this IPA together.

 

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and medium carbonation with a soft creamy body that completely coats the mouth. No detection of the 7.1% abv whatsoever. Finnish is clean with a slight hop oil resin that really begs you to take the next drink.

 

OVERALL: A really well crafted and delicious NE style ipa, coming out of a small town in AZ. It is everything i have come to look for in the style. Juicy, slightly sweet, not to bitter and easily crush able. I will 100% be looking forward to whatever the guys at Tombstone put out next!

RATING: 4.3/5 Zombie Heads!

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Best beer brewed in Las Vegas?

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I get asked this question a lot, what is your favorite Las Vegas brewed beer? To be fair I think it needs to be broken down into two separate questions. What is your favorite Las Vegas brewed beer, that isn’t available year round or packaged? The answer to this first question I actually did a blog post on for 2015 which can be found here. The second question to be fair should be, what is your favorite Las Vegas brewed beer that is packaged and available year round? The answer to that is:

 

Joseph James Citra Rye – 5.4% ABV 55 IBU

American Pale Ale

APPEARANCE: Citra rye pours a brilliant honey amber color, with star bright gold rim variations that make the color of this beer pop with vibrancy. The head builds upon itself bringing a pillowy porcelain white frothy foam that slowly dissipates into a soft halo that sticks around throughout drinking.

AROMA:  The nose is a delicately layered bouquet that brings aromas of  grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee from the Citra hops. The Centennial hops layer in soft but bright lemon and floral notes. The rye on the nose adds a dose of peppery spice and warm oven baked breads into the mix.

TASTE: Where the nose lets the hops lead the way, the taste brings forth the rye and light malts first. The flavor never exhausts the taste buds or gets boring in anyway. It opens up with slightly sweet bready malts, light spice and a dusting of pepper. Caramel wafer cookies swirling around that make way for the fruits to play. Dancing lemon zest, grapefruit, sweet over ripe lychee, with a light pine all flowing through a field of lemon grass and wild flowers. The beer tip toes across a high wire balancing itself perfectly between the malts and hop flavors to deliver an extremely well balanced american pale ale.

MOUTHFEEL: Light plus body, with a medium prickly carbonation. The rye adds a crispness to the creamy texture of the beer. Love the way the long citrusy finish ends with that sharp rye spice.

OVERALL:  This is my favorite Las Vegas brewed beer that is packaged and available to me year round. All bottle shops in town carry Citra Rye and it is stocked in most grocery stores as well. If you are visiting the Las Vegas area be sure to keep an eye out for it on draft in many strip locations. Joseph James won a well deserved Bronze Medal for Citra Rye in the 2013 GABF awards for American Pale Ale. Its such a easy drinking, well rounded APA that I highly recommend trying out whenever you visit us here in Las Vegas!

Joseph James Website

Photography Credit

Beer Review -Summoning Lupine – Brujos / Fuana

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Summoning Lupine

American Triple IPA

10% – ABV 

90 – IBU

Before I get into the beer itself a little backstory.  This was a collaboration between Brujos and Luis Larios, head brewer of Cerveza Fauna in Mexicali, MX.

 

APPEARANCE: Grabbed this bomber and mumbled a spell I think I learned from Harry Potter to try and brace myself for what I was about to experience. Slowly began pouring into a tulip listening for the sounds of werewolves howls and wizard laughter. Instead I saw a gorgeous unfiltered beer filling up my glass. A murky, fresh pressed orange juice color with hints of sparkling gold, topped by an egg shell white head that billowed up with passion. The head settled down into a nice ring of loose bubbles leaving spotted lace on the glass.

 

AROMA:  Big blast of over ripe peaches, apricots, passion fruit and mango hit me like a lighting bolt. Right away I can tell this will be a super wet and juicy beer. Slight earthiness and pine aromas are present as if they have been waved gingerly across the glass as not to interfere with the fruit dominate nose. The malt profile is lightly toasted bread with a dab off honey, not over powering just enough to provide an elegant balance.

 

TASTE: The combination of the look of the unfiltered beer, smell of the fresh juice and that first sip made me sit the glass down. I had to remind myself this is a big beer 10% I feel like I could crush this bomber without even thinking about it. Intense fruit flavors have been created, peaches and apricots that are almost about to turn. They deliver that juicy dense sweetness upfront. The middle palate opens up into an open air bakery set in a garden of flowers, a lot of delicious flavors going on here. Right when I think ive tasted it all the bitterness kicks in to remind me this is a TIPA, just what I am looking for to really round out the whole tasting experience.

 

MOUTHFEEL: Medium plus body, medium prickly carbonation. Lovely expansive creaminess that coats the whole mouth leaving you longing for another thirst quenching sip.

 

OVERALL: This one cast a spell over me, an excellent offering from Brujos/Fauna that really nails the unfiltered juicy wet triple IPA style they where going for. I like the collaborative brewing and the awesome art work as well! Really excited to see whats next up if its anywhere near the quality of Summoning Lupine it will be amazing.

 

RATING: 4.1/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – Fundamental Observation – Bottle Logic Brewing

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BA VANILLA IMPERIAL STOUT

ABV – 14.3%

APPEARANCE: Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? No, well neither had I until I started pouring this devilishly black beer from the bottle. I popped the cap and heard a slight hiss like a demon coming from the depths. Slowly pouring the bottle the beer takes control and begins to dictate how fast it wants to be poured. Filling up the glass inch by inch and producing the smallest mocha colored head that just floats lazily atop the beer.

AROMA: As soon as I popped the cap and heard the hiss, it was followed by a massive attack on my nostrils of vanilla. Not just any vanilla, but intense Madagascar vanilla beans. The nose on this stout is absolutely incredible, there is no way to deny that this is a vanilla infused beer. After shaking off the beauteous sent of vanilla you can start to pick up the hints of bourbon, oak from the barrel, cocoa powder. Don’t get me wrong this is 100% a vanilla bomb of aroma here.

TASTE: If my mouth was a steam locomotive and vanilla beans where the fuel source that would be close to the flavor you get from the first sip. Continuing on down the Fundamental tracks you begin to indulge in fresh gooey brownies sprinkled with walnuts and warm toasted marshmallows floating in bittersweet hot chocolate. Next stop is bourbon town with a few of the barrel flavors jumping on board. Ever so slight heat is there, followed by figs, currants, dark chocolate, molasses cookies, and black licorice. Pulling into the station the beer comes around to remind you that this is a Madagascar Vanilla bean beer, that combined with a bit of vanilla picked up from the barrels really interlocks all the flavors and pulls this beer together so nicely.

MOUTHFEEL: If you ever licked the chocolate cake batter off of a beater then you will get the mouthfeel on this. It doesn’t just coat the tongue it envelops the whole mouth. Combine that with the lazy carbination and you have a real deal sipping beer on your hands. The finish is long and creamy with vanilla sliding its way down your throat.

OVERALL: This beer is in my top 5 beers I drank so far this year. Its been called the Vanilla Rye killer, 100% agree it blows VR away in my opinion. I’m a huge fan of vanilla and this hits all the right buttons. I will put it out there that this is my favorite BA or non BA vanilla beer in any style that I have ever had, if you have one that you think could knock this one off the top please tell me!

RATING: As much as I try not to give out perfect ratings I cant find any reasons not to.

5/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – Black Damnation One – Black Berry Albert – De Struise Brouwers

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Russian Imperial Stout

ABV – 13%

APPEARANCE: This Stout poured like it was being punished, almost like it was afraid to come out of the bottle. Slow, and menacing it filled up my stout glass and consumed it in utter darkness. I began to rough pour to produce a head, it billowed up quickly a chestnut brown foam that began to recede back into the blackness as quickly as it was produced. Left over was a small halo and a bit of spotted lacing that attempted to stay around as I drank but finally gave up.

AROMA: And I will strike down on thee with great blackberries and a furious chocolate aroma to those that will attempt to describe the layers of aromas coming from this beer. Upfront the blackberries do come out rich, deep and jammy.The addition of the port barrel aging is producing a very interesting vinous note, that is a welcomed change from the usual big bourbon barrel notes on a BA stout. Big burst of chocolate, roasted espresso, slightly burnt toasted bread and scorched toffee. As I get in for another nose full, the jammy berry aromas seem to be turning into more of a black cherry, raisin and plum. Very enjoyable aroma with quite a bit of layers that play off each other and open up new additions each time I go back for another smell.

TASTE: Blessed is he, who in the name of Belgian beer and Blackberry stouts, shepherds the unknowing through the valley of Black Damnation, for he is truly his brother in beer and the finder of new flavors. Like small chocolate warriors holding fresh picked blackberries swords are having a battle in my mouth. Lots of big bold flavors going on here, the berries are first and foremost with the rich chocolate and french pressed coffee coming in nicely. The mid palate shows some addition of anise, and a roasty bitterness that seems to be setting the stage for the next act of flavors to come in. Come in it does, with the additional time to let the temperature come up the port wine barrel flavors begin to emerge bringing with it a delicate spicy Belgian yeast note. The 13% abv peaks it monstrous head just enough to let you know its there without having an overly hot taste. The ending has more fruit flavors not necessarily black berries but a mesh of dark fruits, black currants, raisins and plums.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium plus body with a low carbination. Slick and slightly creamy the body is perfect for sipping this stout.  Every sip coats the mouth in a lovely lingering finish full of all the best aspects of the flavor profile. Right when you think it could not linger any more it suddenly drys up leaving a delicious after taste of Belgian style yeast.

OVERALL: Being this is my first experience with anything from the De Struise Brouwers, I don’t have anything to use as a standard. Set against other stouts/ba stouts/fruit stouts it does shine. What I really enjoyed about this beer was that after the first initial blast of berry/port like favors and aromas it still stands out as a RIS delivering everything you would expect with just a touch of Belgian spices and yeast to pull it all together.

RATING:   4.5 out of 5 Zombie Heads! Leaving a little room on the score for the chance of having a regular version of this to compare.

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Beer Purchased at:

Top Shelf Wine & Spirits

Address: 6415 S Fort Apache Rd #100, Las Vegas, NV 89148
Phone:(702) 701-9463

Beer Review – Creme Brulee – Southern Tier Brewing

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Creme Brulee – Southern Tier Brewing

Imperial Milk Stout

ABV – 9.6%

 

APPEARANCE: As I began to pour this beer it slowly came gurgling out like it was waiting for an invitation. Black motor oil liquid that devours the glass into a deep darkness. Small amounts of a milk chocolate rim variations sit underneath a dense latte colored head. Dense and tightly bubbled head that has a long lasting retention.

 

AROMA: Imagine taking the best creme brulee you have ever smelled, chopping it up and snorting it. Ya that’s what this beer smells like. Its insane I can smell the intense vanilla bean aromas from 2-3 feet away. Loads of caramelized and slightly burnt brown sugar join the vanilla as dominate aromas coming forth. If you can get beyond the vanilla and sugar there is a very creamy milk aroma and marshmallow that gives way to a slight cocoa dusting. It honestly smells amazing I’ve never gotten this much vanilla on the nose of any beer before, outstanding!

 

TASTE: Liquid custard, heavy cream, vanilla Nesquik tons of lactose that adds a residual sweetness that is delicious as a creme brulee is. There is a slight break in the upfront sweetness that shows some malt characteristics, caramel, nuttiness with some light espresso flavors. The presence of vanilla is undeniable, although it doesn’t quite dominant the palate as it did on the nose.That leaves room for the caramelized and burnt sugar flavors to join in on the fun. As this beer begins to warm up it does reveal a layer of the traditional stout flavors, with some bitter chocolate and roasted malts that tie this beer together and really round it out.

 

MOUTHFEEL: Low plus carbination with a medium plus body. Almost drinks like a melted creme brulee milk shake, with a very creamy mouthfeel. The nearly 10% abv can be detected and i think its a welcome reception to remind myself that this is a beer after all.

 

OVERALL: Its funny to read all the reviews and see how people are bashing this beer for being to sweet. Did you not read the label and see its said “Creme Brulee” and “lactose sugar” ? I for one new exactly what I was getting into, I saved it for after dinner, late night when i was ready to drink my dessert and it did not disappoint. It drinks like liquid creme brulee, that a stout was poured on top of and then flamed. Whats not to like about that? The nose on this beer is in the top I have ever let my nostrils consume, amazing. My only complaint I would say is there is a thin line when letting this warm up, its nice to get the stout flavors to come out but let it get just a tad warmer and it does start to get a medicinal, astringent thing going on.

RATING: 4.6/5 Zombie Heads!

 

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Beer Review – Ninja Vs. Unicorn – Pipeworks Brewing

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn – Pipeworks Brewing 

American double IPA , DIPA

8.5% ABV

50 IBU

APPEARANCE: I imagine if a ninja’s sword where to chop the head of a Unicorn, he would wipe his blade clean on his ninja pajamas. The color on his ninja costume would be reminiscent of the way this lovely beer poured. A beautiful golden amber, with sparkling highlights that really hypnotize you when you stair into it. Produced a nice big loose white head that lingering cap.

 

AROMA: Drinking this out in the forest has intensified the pine aromas, all around me the pine cones are falling. Getting tons of sticky pine and huge resinous piney hops coming off the pour. Fresh sliced juicy grapefruit, like the ones on “fruit ninja” game from my iPhone. Followed by some over ripe orange and tangerines. There is a wonderful maltiness that translate into toasted bread and sugar cookies. The nose on this beer is amazing. I imagine this is what a unicorn fart would smell like!

 

TASTE: After the ninja chopped the head off of this mythical beast, the blood spilled and filled bottle upon bottle of this beer. Usually when a beer has such an outstanding nose the taste doesn’t live up. Not in this case, the flavor layers are all right there in line with the aroma. For a beer that claims 10 ibu it inst a palate wrecker at all,  Its actually very easy drinking. The piney hops come flying at you like a ninja star. Super dank that’s followed up with a big bursting citrus flavor. The sweet malts do make an appearance like a piece of toast with a grapefruit/orange marmalade. There is a some heat on this beer, which is odd with the abv coming in at 8.5%.

 

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. there is a very pleasant syrupy creaminess that makes this a really smooth drinking ipa. Lots of that resiouness pine comes through on the mouthfeel, really coating the entire mouth. Leaves the mouth with a long lasting lingering finish.

 

OVERALL: Not sure if Ninja Vs.Unicorn  is a the name it should have. Its so balanced that it should be called Ninja Sex Unicorn. Huge fan of every aspect of this beer, including the little heat that comes out i’m assuming from the battle. Speaking of battles I think the real winner was me! I just saw that they are going to start canning this beer, when that happens I will be trading for a case at a time. Truly everything I would want and ask for out of a dipa.

 

RATING: 4.5/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – Mystery Weisse 2014 – Night Shift Brewing

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APPEARANCE: Poured a soft, elegant grapefruit color into my glass. Slightly murky and cloudy with an appearance of fresh squeezed juice. A frothy, dish soap bubbled head rose quickly to the top of the glass,and then  dissipated as quick as it produced. What was left of the head settled into a spotted halo that blocked the lazy bubbles of carbonation that where rising from the bottom.

 

AROMA: Big sour notes consume the bouquet right away, once I get past that it really begins to reveal other layers. Lots of over ripe mango the kind you would pick up from the ground that are slightly funky. Peach skin mixed with a wet grain smell that reminds me of peaches and cream oatmeal from when I was a kid. Overall the sourness just keeps coming back bringing with it a heavy acidic aroma as well.

 

TASTE: Peachie-o’s! i mean spot on to the sweet sour candied peach gummies that i love.After the intial peach a  very tart fresh squeezed lemonade flavor with slices of mango floating in it comes in. The middle really opens up and becomes quite refreshing, and thirst quenching, right before that sourness smacks me in the teeth again. Ends same as it started peach,mango and lemon sourness.

 

MOUTHFEEL: Light body and Light carbonation, the lazy bubbles are surprisingly prickly on the tongue. A really great mouth watering long lasting sour finish that invites you to keep drinking.

 

OVERALL: A really interesting take on a Berliner Weisse, I think the fruit really adds to the overall drinking experience. It makes complete sense to do a fruited Berliner since its served to tourists/locals in Berlin with a fruited syrup to help calm some of the sourness down. I read so many different reviews that rated this beer from complete drain pour to outstanding. I’m guessing there is a huge bottle variation issue with it. Luckily for me my bottle was really great, i put it closer to the outstanding mark.

 

RAITING: 4.3/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha

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Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha Brewery

Porter

6.4% ABV

APPEARANCE: Pours a fresh pot of dark roasted coffee black. Hitting the glass it almost look as if a black hole is forming in the center, leaving some wonderful dancing hues of brown to fill in the edges. Produced a billowy head of two fingers in height, before quickly dissipating into a nice brown egg shell colored halo.

 

AROMA: Smells like I just walked into a back country breakfast diner! The inviting aroma of maple syrup freshly being poured over pancakes comes rushing towards you. Deep dark chocolate muffins, a fresh pot of coffee. The coffee smells like when you are tossing the filter out and have nothing but the spent coffee grounds. I’m trying to get bacon, but its not coming out on the bouquet. A slight smokiness that i could assume would be the bacon but the delicious maple syrup and coffee keep crashing in to my nostrils and wipe away any faint aromas of that.

 

TASTE: Boom! I am now Violet Beauregarde but instead of chewing my meal via gum I am drinking it through this beer. Liquid breakfast, maple is the dominate flavor. I can taste in being poured right into my mouth. The sweetness of the maple gives a nice introduction to the the slight bitterness from all the coffee swirling around. The coffee and mid palate maltiness really brings a harmonious balance to the beer. Right as i am thinking i have tasted it all the burnt crispy bacon flavors come rolling in to play. Not smokey which I am happy for, but more of a savory flavor that reminds you of bacon without feeling like you just drank a piece. The layers all blend together very well, a slight cocoa powder dusting floating on top of a coca-cola is present on the end. Really interesting and delicious tasting beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Right on the cusp of being a medium body but hits just bellow. The carbonation is lazy and lovely just the way I like my porters to be. Slight oiliness and slickness that goes well with knowing it has maple and bacon flavors within it. The beer expands while in the mouth giving it a marshmallow fluff creaminess that is very nice. Super drinkable, so much so that I am glad i was selfish and had this all to myself!

 

OVERALL: I can only assume that someones job at Funky is to pour bottles of maple syrup into bottles all day long while this is being made. How else could they get so much immense, rich, sweet goodness into each of these bottles. I thought this was truly an amazing porter, the flavors where amazing and layered well within each other. The only flavor that really didn’t pop was the bacon, but i think that’s what makes this drink so easily. The highlight of this Porter is the aroma, one of the best i have experienced on a beer in a while. I know the actual base porter itself takes a backseat to the additions of the adjuncts, but that’s what this beer is all about. I for one think it was done outstanding!

 

RATING: 4.9/5 Zombie Heads!

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