Beer Zombies year in review, Part 3 Porters

Robust-Porter

Part 3 of my favorite beers of 2015 will be jumping into porters. For this section it will be exclusively non barrel aged. When I post the Stouts list it will also be for the non barrel aged versions. I plan on doing a separate blog post on best of barrel aged Stouts/Porters, I feel like there are just so many delicious beers this is the only way to really break it down. So here we go with my three favorite non ba porters of 2015

 

Porters

Death By Coconut – Oskar Blues 

English Porter, ABV 6.5% IBU 25

This delicious beer has intense fresh cacao flavors swirling with popping coconut aromas, all supported by a semi-sweet porter made from loads of dark chocolate and extra dark caramel malt. I picked up a four pack of cans from a bottle shop in SoCal, they lasted two nights. Its such a perfect after dinner beer, gives you the sweetness of desert without being cloying. It really has a great balance of coconut and dark malts, don’t get me wrong you wont be left wanting more coconut its there in full force!

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha Brewing

American Porter, ABV 6.4% IBU 35

Evoking a complete diner-style breakfast in a glass, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is a complex beer with a multitude of flavors at play. Aromas of sticky maple syrup, coffee, and cream creep forth from the glass. The mouth feel is luxuriously creamy, with layers of sweet malt, toffee, and roast giving way to waves of smoke, coffee, and salted chocolate. It finishes sticky, rich, and sweet, with the flavor of maple syrup lingering pleasantly on the tongue. Kaboom! this is outstanding, Im always weary of anything bacon infused, it has a tendency of coming off artificial to me. Not the case here at all, the saltiness and smoke gives you a sense of bacon without going over board. All in all a super delicious play on a porter.

Everett – Hill Farmstead

American Porter, ABV 7.5%

 Everett is crafted from American malted barley, English and German roasted malts, American hops, Hill Farmstead ale yeast, and water from the breweries well. It is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Decadent in its depth, with a complex backbone of chocolate, coffee, and malty sweetness. Up until I had this magnificent porter I always used the Founders Porter as the base on which to judge every other non flavored porter. This for me is the most perfect example I have tasted myself, there really is nothing that compare or can top it in my opinion.

There it is my top three porters of 2015, I love hearing feedback and suggestions for beers you feel I need to try or left out. Next up, Stouts! check back in a few days for part 4 of Beer Zombies year in review.

Cheers,

BZ

Beer Zombies year in review, Part 2 Sour Beers

 

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Sour beer, Wild Ales, Lambic and so on and so forth. To be completely up front and honest this style of beer is still one that I am exploring and learning about. So instead of breaking it down into further sub categories for each like Flanders, Gueuze etc. etc I’m going to to lump them into one blog post and throw up my favorites from the year. It will be more then three this time do to how many styles are involved.

 

WILD ALES/SOURS

SLOambic – Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 6%

I first had the opportunity to try this amazing beer at the From the Barrel event put on by Firestone Walker at Santa Margarita ranch. SLOambic is made by using 2050 lbs. of  marionberries and boysenberries added to Sour Opal, a beer matured up to 32 months in oak barrels and then fermented using FW proprietary blend of microflora for an additional four months. The beer is bright and alive with berry compote, and homemade jam that provides a stage for a dance of funky yeast and oak flavors before closing the curtain with an amazing acidic finish.

R & D Wild Peach – New Glarus Brewing Co.

American Wild Ale ABV: 7.25%

I had this first at a small bottle share, the few ounces I drank was not close to enough. I went after a bottle in a trade and actually have one more on the way as I type. New Glarus made this Sour brown ale with Michigan peaches. Spontaneous fermentation aged on oak. Blended 1, 2 and 3 year old beer. The nose on this beer is world class, like opening 100 cans of peaches at once! The flavor profile is bursting with layers of fresh pressed peach juice seeping through used bourbon barrels and consumed out of a old leather cup. Has a great tart slightly sour crisp finish, that just pulls all the flavors together for a perfect easy drinking wild ale.

Drie Fonteinen Framboos – Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

This was a bottle gifted to me from the wonderful people at La Bodega bottle shop in Riverside Ca. Framboos is a one year old lambic brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. When poured into the glass the aroma is slightly funky with raspberry bush greenage that comes forward. As it warms up the actually berry just smacks you in the nose with a bright citric, and lactic acid mix. The flavor is truly amazing and complex, starts off with fresh ripe juicy raspberries that have been steeped in lemonade juiced from Meyer and Lisbon lemons. Hits a vinous white grape note before plunging into a full barnyard funk. Overall an excellent sour, juicy, tart funky beer.

 

Fruit Salad Oude Bruin – The Bruery 

Flanders Oud Bruin ABV: 8.2%

Part of the glorious day of drinking at The Bruery anniversary party. Fruit Salad Oude Bruin is a single barrel blend of Oude Tart that was brewed in July 2013 and an Oud Bruin Pilot Batch. The single wine barrel also contains 27 lbs. of blackberries, 39 lbs. of raspberries and 21 lbs.of Blueberry (in a single wine barrel!). The fruit was fermented to dryness by the mixed culture in the barrel. The name of this beer is perfect, fruit salad!  Had such a unique flavor of fresh berry pie filling mixed with cherry cola and sprinkled with some vinegar tartness. Was one of my favorite beers of the day that I stood in line for multiple times.

 

Cantillon Fou’ Foune – Brasserie Cantillon

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

From a 2015 vintage bottle, made by using 2600 lbs. of apricots who land each year at Cantillon The fruits are stoned by hand before being immersed in a Lambic 2 years of age. The taste and aroma are extracted quickly and after 2 months of maceration, Fou’Foune is bottled. I love the way this beer reminds you that you are drinking a sour beer but only for a second before the apricots come crashing like a wave on your tongue. Its juicy, ripe and pulpy without being over bearing. It blends so amazingly with the base beer in a perfect harmony. Delivers a mid palate of an oak aged chardonnay, lemon peel, earth and a slight cheese flavor that joins in as well. I wish I could drink this regularly and not share!   

 

That is my list for my favorite sour/wilds of the year. This next year I plan to explore this style more and hope to find some beers that are on this caliber. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Ill be posting part 3 very soon.

 

Cheers,

BZ

Beer Zombies year in review, Part 1 Local Beers

vegas2.jpgAs we draw close to a new year I’ve been looking back on all the great beers that I had a pleasure to pour down my throat. I decided to put together a list that I will be uploading in parts. It will be my favorite beers of 2015 broke down into styles/categories. I will add three beers to each style and they wont be in any order except that they where my top three in that category. Would love to hear feedback on my list in any form! So to start things off I will go with:

 

FAVORITE LOCAL BEERS

Morning Joe ( Kolsch ) – Banger Brewing 

http://bangerbrewing.com

ABV: 5.4% IBU: 25

This one was a huge win in my book, intense  burst of coffee, hazelnut aromas and a flavor that follows perfectly to the nose.The brewers at Banger accomplished this by dry hopping the base Kolsch with 4 lbs of French Caramel coffee and 4 lbs of Hazelnut coffee beans.  The addition of the coffee adds a wonderful flavor and creaminess to a beer style that is known to be  crisp, clean and balanced.

 

7th Anniversary Bourbon BA Ale w/ Vanilla & Cocoa Nibs – Joseph James Brewing

http://www.jjbrewing.com

ABV: 11% IBU: 50

This rich, complex, full-bodied ale was made by combining two of JJ’s popular bourbon barrel-aged beers. They where then blended to taste and conditioned on top of raw cacao nibs and vanilla beans. Do you like snickers bars? I know I do and anything that has a remote taste profile as a snickers is going to be consumed with joy. The vanilla dances gracefully with the char and wood flavors. Finishes with enough heat to let you know its been aged in bourbon barrels. Delicious!

 

BA Morning Pay Off ( Imperial Stout)  – Bad Beat Brewing 

http://www.badbeatbrewing.com

ABV: 8.8% IBU: 40

A complex blending of oats, wheat, smoked malt, lactose and 6 other ingredients create the perfect base to throw in some locally roasted beans from Mother Ship Coffee. A super solid example of a barrel aged stout with coffee. The flavor gives way to earthy fresh ground coffee, burnt malts with a slight pepper on the finish. Bringing in the barrels adds a wonderful woodsy character to the beer. Super smooth and easy drinking stout with no detection of the abv.

 

 

 

Well that is part 1 of my list of best beer I drank in 2015, check back for the next installment and please leave comments on either here or the Facebook page.

 

Cheers,

BZ

 

 

 

 

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 – Blind Pig – Russian River Brewing Co.

blind pig

 

Blind PigRussian River
American IPA
6.1% ABV
70 IBU 
APPEARANCE:  Pours a shimmering golden orange, clear and vibrant. Two glorious fingers of white frothy head that settled into a nice dense cap.
 AROMA: Big ripe and juicy citrus with a delicate resinous hop profile. Not in your face but pleasant and inviting.Tons of fresh fruits, pineapple, mango, grapefruit and lemon zest. A slight bit of grassy aromas lingering around as well.
TASTE: Follows the nose very well, that nice subtle hop profile is right there on the first sip. The juicy citrus really comes in and brings that resinous piney hop flavor along for the ride.A wonderful  bit of caramel maltiness comes in towards the middle before the slight grassy ending that rounds out the lovely layers.
MOUTHFEEL:  Medium body with a medium carbonation.Slight oily texture with a long wet finish.
OVERALL: Extremely well made and easily drinkable IPA. Not in your face, or over the top just a very well rounded balanced beer. This drinks to me like it’s the base for the big brother Pliny the elder. I know a lot of people compare the two against each other, even though they are entirely different beers. As a stand alone single IPA this is in the very pinnacle of the style!
RATING: 4.4/5 zombie heads!

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Beer review – Galaxy Unicorn – Pipeworks Brewing

 

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Galaxy Unicorn – Pipeworks Brewing
Double IPA
9.5% ABV
APPEARANCE: Pours a murky, hazy orange with golden peach hues. Unfiltered but not finding any sediment in the initial pour. Big sudsy off white head that stuck around for the long haul, Leaving nice lacing all around the glass as it slowly dissipated.
AROMA: Big burst of over ripe oranges and grapefruit rind. Followed by a tropical cereal like aroma, almost like that special k with the dried fruit in it. Tons of hoppy, floral notes with a slight spicy earthiness, back end is grassy, slightly catty. Very interesting and inviting bouquet on this beer.
TASTE: Wow I knew the nose had fruit on it but the taste is a tropical fruit bomb! Fresh, juicy, ripe tangerines, pineapples even a bit of berry flavor. Toasted warm bread with honey butter on it. For sure getting some heat from the abv but I actually enjoy that especially when it’s balanced out with the big bitterness from all those hops.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium creamy body with a nice medium carbonation.Wonderful lingering oily finish. Super drinkable for a 9.5%.

 

OVERALL: This was my first Pipeworks beer I thought it was outstanding,I really enjoyed the galaxy hops flavor profile. The addition of wheat was very interesting as well. I found that all the sweet fruits where balanced nicely and not over powering at all.

RATING: 4.5/5 zombie heads!

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Beer Review – 2010 Dark Lord – Three Floyds

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2010 Dark Lord – Three Floyds
russian imperial stout
15% ABV
50 IBU
APPEARANCE:  Poured a devilish black oil slick color. My snifter produced little to no head, the teku pour produced a small khaki colored head that settled into a nice halo. Head has stuck around with some spotted lacing, that is slow dancing down the glass.
AROMA: Instantly hit with black licorice and molasses. Reminiscent of bourbon county brand stout on the bouquet. Smells of rich dark chocolates and deep dark fruits, currants, plums and ripe plump raisins. Faint aroma of coffee beans hiding under the layers. Smells sweet and boozy at the same time, such an inviting aroma.
TASTE: I just made a deal with the devil, sold my soul for a bottle of beer! Amazing, chocolate covered cherries, floating on a bed of sweet malts. Intense flourishes of burnt caramelized fruits with a toasted nuttiness. The chocolate and sweetness gives way to nice warming alcohol heat that finishes with a nice port wine like flavors. If i had this in a blind taste, I would bet the house this was a barrel aged beer. I’m a huge fan of vanilla and this delivers an immense slap to the taste buds of Madagascar vanilla beans. Delicious!

MOUTHFEEL: For a hard pour that produced almost no head I was expecting a almost lazy flat beer.I was wrong, prickly hidden carbonation that expands into a wonderful creaminess with each sip. Nice burn from the high abv with a dry lingering finish that leaves the flavors hanging around for an eternity in my mouth.
OVERALL: As far as a Russian imperial stout goes, this gargantuan beer is the best I’ve had to date. The layers upon layers on both nose and pallet seem to be ever evolving. The sweetness is forefront without being cloying, the alcohol is present without being overbearing. All around an amazing beer for the style and amazing beer in general. The Dark Lord has risen!

RATING: 5/5 zombie heads!

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Beer Review – Zombie Dust – Three Floyd’s Brewing

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Zombie Dust – Three Floyd’s Brewing

American pale ale

6.4% ABV

60 IBU

APPEARANCE: Poured a hazy, burnt amber color. Bright and beautiful looking beer. Nice big off white pillowy head, great retention that leaves sticky lacing down the side of the glass.

AROMA: Very dank, herbal and hoppy. Bright fruits, grapefruit lots of lemon. Hints of wet grass, with bready malts on the backend. Bouquet is super inviting cant wait to taste this beer.

TASTE: Lots of grapefruit on the front. Very oily like a zombie stirred this with his finger. Citrus notes pop again in the middle with the hops before finishing with Carmel and pale malts.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with medium carbonation. Slick and oily with snappy finish that leaves you wanting another sip.

OVERALL: I had to keep reminding myself this is a pale ale. It drinks wonderfully and has such a good hop presence that it could be a mellow ipa. Lived up to the hype that surrounds it. The art work is amazing!

RATING: 4.5/5 Zombie Heads!

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