Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ctayt

12/24/2012
AC Golden Brewing Co.
Golden, CO Ctayt: A
Batch 1 - Bottle 744 of 1,344

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for my snout... It's been some time since I've felt compelled to write down some notes on a brew but I feel this one deserves some recognition.  Tonight on my way home I stopped at Wallaby Liquor on Parker Rd in Denver. I was in search of a barrel aged stout to warm up to as the snow began to fall this evening; I was surprised to see 1 bottle of AC Golden's most recent release in their "Hidden Barrel Collection" named Ctayt. Ctayt is a russian imperial stout aged in Stranahan whiskey barrels. AC Golden is the craft/experimental arm of SAB MillerCoors. I knew that this brew had won a medal at GABF this year but I was hardly prepared to pay $21 for it! After searching for some time I couldn't find anything barrel aged that I haven't had before, so this guy was the chosen one. Upon opening I could smell the sweet chocolate malt and the oaky vanilla aroma oozing from the bottle. It pours dark black with a thin khaki colored head which only takes form with an aggressive pour. Up front is a very rich chocolate, vanilla, and toffee flavor which gives way to some oak and a hint of java as it finishes dryer than expected. This RIS is definitely rich and sweet, the barrel aging has provided some great vanilla oaky goodness which helps to balance the chocolate sweetness. This brew is excellent; if you see it in Denver snatch it up, I don't like supporting the big 3 as much as the next guy, but this is worth a try. Cheers!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Next Chapter

Today is an exciting day for the life of KC Brew Review; I have accepted a new job in Denver Colorado and will be moving in November.  As most of you can see it has been some time since I have kept up with the pace that I established during the first year of the blog.  I am proud to announce today that a few of my friends would like to take a stab at revamping the site and getting a little momentum going.  I'm not sure what direction it might go; I would expect some reviews (formal or informal), some commentary/insight, as well as some ramblings too!

I will still be admin on the site and might add in a few experiences that I have out west from time to time, but mostly this blog will continue on with Kansas City related posts.  I am sad to leave as I have made so many very good friends in KC.  I do believe the change for this blog will be beneficial and exciting. 
Thank you to each of you who has visited this site, it has been a fun ride and I look forward to many brew reviews in the future!

-Nate White

Monday, October 1, 2012

Autumnal Molé Stout

10/1/2012
Ska Brewing Co.
Durango, CO
Autumnal Molé Stout: B+

Tonight I am multitasking; studying for a midterm in Financial Modeling while enjoying a beer and writing a review.  I think this review is long overdue and this is a great beer to jump back into things with.

My good friend Pat has a crush on this beer right now.  I believe he has moved past lust, and is straight crushing on it.  I expect he will use the word "love" one of these nights in a drunken moment of weakness that he may or may not regret the next day.  Either way I agree with him, this is a great beer.  This whole chili/cinnamon stout beer thing has had quite the run as of late.  My favorite of the style has been New Belgium's Cocoa Molé; if you have not had it and it is left on the shelves, I highly recommend it.  I think this new seasonal offering from Ska follows it up in second place.  

This brew pours dark brown with hints of mahogany on the edges.  It is quite silky, not much for carbonation or head to be seen on this one.  I had to violently stir this brew to gain the tenuous head you see in the picture here.  The aroma is a bit strange; hard to describe to say the least.  I gather a bit of pepper aroma (I am not nor do I claim to be an expert in peppers so I will not guess at which pepper I smell) as well as some spicy cinnamon and a hint of cocoa.  The flavors can be described very similarly (80% of a beers flavor can be deduced by the aroma) I get a hint of cocoa up front followed by the pepper spice right away.  It is not overbearing or hot, rather it provides some flavor; when mixed with the cinnamon it actually works very well with the chocolate character of this beer and provides an interesting taste that is pretty unique.  My one suggestion is to let this one warm up quite a bit warmer than you normally enjoy your favorite malt beverage.  The warmer this brew gets the better the spice.

The fact that this beer comes in cans instantly scores brownie points with me.  I love canned craft beer; it is portable and functional for outdoor events, it's also more easily recyclable.  I recently moved to Prairie Village and it just so happens that in the garage was an old school can crusher mounted to the wall right outside of the door.  The little boy inside of me jumped for joy during the first crushing last week!  Something about stomping on a can leaves me wanting more; this device fills the void.


I'm feelin' this brew; I find myself lusting after this beer when I open the fridge.  I can't say I have progressed to the crush stage yet, but who knows, maybe after a few I might get there!  Cheers


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wild Wild Brett Green

6/20/2012
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Denver, CO
Wild Wild Brett Green: A

Pours a hazey yellow straw color; noticeable yeas,t and the head is boisterous, lots of carbonation creates a fluffy 1 inch off white head.  Smells spicy; clove, pepper, coriander, orange peel, lemon, and some citrus combine with some pine and a bit of funk.  The flavors are big; tons of hops, very piney, bretty, lots of spice; cardamom, clove and pepper with orange-peel.  The citrus is an afterthought to the hoppy brett flavor.  The dry mouth-feel is expected from this brett bomb.  Solid.  The entire Wild Wild Brett series is fantastic.  I have yet to try the Rogue, but the Yellow and Orange are spectacular as well.  Crooked Stave is not available in our market, but if you are traveling to Colorado or you are active in trading beers, find a way to obtain some of these guys.  Another exciting beer from an exciting and expanding brewery!  This is a must try if you love Boulevard Saison-Brett!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout

5/9/2012
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, CA
Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout: C

Held on to this bottle for about a year since I have heard mixed reviews on the style.  Many say the anise is too much and others really enjoy the amped up flavor and aroma.  I have had plenty of the regular Stone RIS so I have been excited to give this one a go!

Initially the black licorice (anise) flavor is pretty powerful, I noticed it while pouring and couldn't help but write it down immediately.  BA RIS pours espresso brown with a 1/2 inch tootsie roll colored head that liners much longer than expected for an impy stout.  The anise aroma up front is powerful combined with some sweet Godiva liquor.  The flavor is bold, up front is sweet milk chocolate followed by roasty espresso and it's ugly friend anise.  I feel the anise is a bit strong for my liking.  As stated before this is a hit or miss for many people.  The fact that I am drinking this bomber alone might have something to do with it; but for me it is too much.

The body of this beer is superb, it is just too overwhelming for me to appreciate the anise flavor. This would be a great brew to share with a friend and to compare to the Stone RIS, but for me it is not quite my cup of brew.  I will not be seeking this brew out again.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Like Belgians

4/8/2012
Millstream Brewing Co.
Amana, IA
Dark Night Belgian Style Rye Ale: B

Hello, let me re-introduce myself, my name is Nate.  Previously I posted here all the time, as of late school as rocked my world.  I'd like to introduce everyone to this little boozy bastard named Dark Night. 

Dark Night slides in at 8.5% and you can tell immediately from the aroma that it means business.  It pours a deep mahogany brown color with an off-white creamy head that stands just short of 1/2 inch.  The aroma is sweet with caramelized sugars or Belgian candy.  That sweetness mixes with the dark fruity aroma of plum and fig as well as some spicy rye character, cinnamon, and clove.  Initially this brew provides some fruity apply plum and nutmeg flavors but soon is overpowered by booze.  Once that initial burn subsides you get more of the fruity Belgian yeast flavors with some of the banana and clove surrounded by fig and Belgian candy sweetness.  Overall the booze is worked in pretty well with the flavors, but maybe a bit hot. 

This brew is nothing to write home about, but it is definitely an interesting addition to the lineup coming out of Amana Iowa.  The use of Rye was the attracting factor for me as it works so well in many brews that I enjoy.  I don't think this brew highlighted rye in its best form, but it was tasty and warmed the belly.  I would point people towards Schokolade Bock, Back Road Stout, or Schild Brau Amber from Millstream Brewing before this offering.  I think I will follow this one with a Back Road Stout!  Cheers to our neighbors from the North!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Millstream Schokolade Bock

1/7/2012
Millstream Brewing Co.
Amana, IA
Schokolade Bock: A+

This winter delight pours a slightly amber milk chocolate color with a 1 inch very light khaki colored head that dissipates pretty quickly and leaves behind little lacing.  The aroma is sweet, full of milk chocolate and a hint of booze.  The flavor is milk chocolatey delicious!  Some nice chocolate malts combine with a smooth lager bitterness to create an easy drinking brew.  Really a joy to drink, light on the palate yet full of flavor.  I could guzzle a sixer of this without knowing!  It weighs in at 6% abv but it is hidden well in the chocolate malt and the sweetness of this dark lager.  The robust flavors are surprising and delicious.  It is hard to fathom how they created so much flavor without the thick chewiness that you would expect from this brew.  This is a must have if you are in Iowa, it is sold at Hy-Vee in the Iowa City and Des Moines area as well as many other places.  A solid lager from a great German style brewery in Iowa!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grand Teton Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter

12/3/2011
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Victor, ID
Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter
2011 Cellar Reserve: A-

Wake Up Call pours dark brownish black with a dark khaki colored head that is creamy and neatly formed.  Aroma is full of dark Ethiopian coffee and some sweeter malt aroma.  Hints of chocolate are also present, dry slightly bitter bakers chocolate aroma.  The flavor is representative of the aroma, lots of great coffee flavor and some semi sweet chocolate.  A slightly sweet lactose flavor is present although this is far from a milk stout.  Nice roasted malts and a seriously great blend of coffee.  An excellent brew that hides the 7.5% abv very well.  Another home run for Grand Teton which is slowly entering my top 5 US breweries, seriously...  Check some of their beers out if you aren't familiar with them, you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout

1/7/2012
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Victor, ID
Black Cauldron Imperial Stout: A

Black Cauldron pours pitch black with a skinny 1/4 inch very dark khaki head that doesn't stick around very long.  No lacing to be found as this boozy bastard recedes.  Aroma is full of booze, espresso, bakers chocolate, and a hint of dark fruit.  The flavor is robust; lots of coffee, dark chocolate, and sufficient roasty malt goodness.  A decent bittering lingers on the end of this one as well, quite noticeable, reminiscent of Bell's Expedition Stout.  The aftertaste is really outstanding, the lingering bitterness of coffee, bakers chocolate, and hops works really well together.  Black Cauldron is a solid RIS that stands up against many of the best in the US!

On a side note, Snarling Badger will be released on my Birthday (May 15th).  The highly anticipated Berliner Weisse will earn a permanent spot in my refrigerator for the summer... May could not come soon enough!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fade to Black Volume 3: Pepper Porter

12/15/2011
Left Hand Brewing Co
Fort Collins, CO
Fade to Black Volume 3: Pepper Porter: B+

It's been a while since I've had time to post some reviews.  Grad school combined with a promotion at work and some vacation time has really taken a toll on my free time.  I do however have quite a few reviews saved up in the old smart phone, so I'm going to try my best to make March an active month.  Let March Madness begin!

Fade to Black Vol. 3 pours deep mahogany brown with a very thin 1/4 inch khaki colored head that dissipates quickly.  Smells slightly sweet; chocolate, lactose, and a hint of peppers.  There is not a lot of aroma to be found though, mostly smells like a normal porter.  Tastes pretty standard up front, lots of milk chocolate, a hint of roasted malt flavor, but this brew finishes strong, a decent pepper flavor and a hint of heat.  This brew is much more potent than Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11.  The body of the beer is decent, I'd like less chocolate and more roasted malt flavors, but maybe that would mask the pepper flavor, I'm not sure.  I know that it is an interesting brew and if you like pepper beers, grab this guy and give it a try!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition

I had the opportunity to sit down with Chuck Magerl the other night to discuss entrepreneurship for a graduate class I am taking.  He sent me some information on an exciting event coming up in Lawrence.  Here are the details/press release...

KANSAS CRAFT BREWERS EXPOSITION

The full spectrum of craft beer flavor will be awaiting you at an upcoming event in Lawrence. The Kansas Craft Brewers Guild and Downtown Lawrence, Inc. are collaborating for the inaugural Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition on Saturday afternoon, March 3rd. Craft breweries large and small from around the region will be showcasing their beers at Abe & Jake’s Landing at the Riverfront in Lawrence. In addition to the opportunity to sample scores of beers, there will be food, music, t-shirts and glassware, and informational and educational displays.

Chuck Magerl of Lawrence’s Free State Brewery noted, “Events like this are great for us as brewers, because we not only get to enjoy the inspiration of the brewing community, but we also have a chance to share directly with beer enthusiasts the stories and the details of our beers and our work.”

Cathy Hamilton, director of Downtown Lawrence, Inc. added, “DLI is thrilled and honored to be involved with what is sure to become a signature event for Downtown. As the wife of a devoted beer geek, I’m beyond excited on a personal level, too.”

As an added feature, prior to the event, there will be a tour of the adjacent Bowersock hydropower plant www.bowersockpower.com.

The Brewers Exposition will run from 1 – 5 on March 3rd. Abe & Jake’s is a large event and concert space in a creatively renovated 130 year old manufacturing building alongside the Kansas River, located at 8 E 6th Street. Tickets are $30 for the event, and will be available through Ticketmaster or at selected locations.

Details and ticket information available at www.kscraftbrewfest.com

Downtown Lawrence, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization promoting the interests of the Downtown business district.

The Kansas Craft Brewers Guild is a non-profit trade organization representing the interests of Kansas’ professional craft brewers. Our goals are to promote the enjoyment of and educate consumers about the diversity of craft beers and to ensure a fair andequitable market for the promotion and sale of Kansas craft beers.


The Current list of breweries attending:

  • Free State Brewery
  • Boulevard Brewing Co
  • 23rd Street Brewery
  • Anchor Brewing Co
  • Weston Brewing Co
  • Perennial Artisan Ales
  • Kirkwood Station Brewing Co
  • Schlafly Beer
  • Odell Brewing Co
  • High Noon Brewery
  • New Planet Beer
  • Blind Tiger Brewery
  • Green Flash Brewing Co
  • Tallgrass Brewery
  • Nebraska Brewing Co
  • Gottberg Brewing
  • Gordon Biersch Brewing Co
  • Flying Monkey Brewing Co.
  • LB Brewing
  • Little Apple Brewing Co.
  • O’Fallon Brewery
  • McCoy’s Public House
  • 75th Street Brewery
  • Lucky Bucket Brewing Co
  • Great Divide Brewing Co


Monday, January 30, 2012

Boulevard Chocolate Ale

In preparation for the highly anticipated release of Boulevard Chocolate Ale this year I figured I would share the link to my review of last years version.  I have not had the opportunity to try the 2012 version yet, so this will have to do: 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Perfect Iowa Tailgating Beer

12/8/2011
Great River Brewing Co.
Davenport, IA
Redband: A

When I was back in Iowa City for the Iowa Michigan game I grabbed two 4 packs, one of Redband one of 483 Pale Ale.  They were perfect tailgate brews, started the morning with two 16 oz tallboy cans of Redband and then had 2 tallboy 483 Pale Ales. 

I started the morning helping my Dad setup to park cars at his apartment complex near the railroad tracks behind Melrose Place.  I cracked my first Redband at about 7:30 AM and was blown away by the robust coffee flavor!  It was the perfect beer for a cold morning, loaded with coffee aroma and flavor, it really permeated my senses. 

We took off on foot to our tailgate spot on the North side of Kinnick around 8 AM.  As I approached Melrose Ave I asked my brother-in-law what the new rule of thumb is since the cops have been cracking down on open containers.  He seemed to think it was only and issue if you were causing an issue.  So I proceeded to cross the street.  As I did so we immediately approached to officers.  One of them was staring at my hand and I could tell he was about to come up to me.  I looked down and luckily the back side of the can was racing out, the back side only has the picture of the coffee beans on it so he couldnt see the tag that says "Stout with Coffee added" in small writing on the front side.  I think that combined with the 16 oz can and the fact that I was so blatantly flaunting the can walking right past him threw him off guard.  He asked "sir, is that a beer?"  Without hesitation I responded nonschalantly "no, it's coffee" and kinda held it up a bit.  The look on his face was utter confusion, could it be that this 20 something year old was in fact just grabbing a morning buzz off of some cold coffee?  I guess since it is common for coffee to be sold in this format in gas stations he believed me and didn't require any futher inspection of my refreshment container.  I proceeded to walk past in amazement of myself and how cool I had played that fool.  The rest of the morning I sang my praises for my new found brew of choice for tailgating in Iowa City!  (disclaimer: I do not suggest walking from tailgate to tailgate with open containers and especially not across Melrose Ave.  I was merely lucky to get away without a ticket and will not repeat this offense again.)

Redband pours espresso black and has a deep brown khaki colored head that is fluffy and well formed, dissipating rather slowly and leaving some light scattered lacing as it recedes.  The aroma is full or Colombian coffee, a slight malt sweetness is present but coffee is dominant.  The taste is full of coffee, I think this is why I love it and it was perfect for early morning tailgating.  Lots of roasted malt and coffee flavor with only hints of bakers chocolate.  This brew doesn't have the sweeter lactose flavor and is rather bitter.  I really appreciate showcasing the coffee while still providing a good body with great roasted malt flavor.  This brew is 6% abv and 36 ibus, a real nice combination.  I believe great river is the first craft canned beer in Iowa so cheers to them on that!  Also cheers to 2 good beers so far, lookin forward to trying some more!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fantôme Saison D'Erezée - Printemps

1/7/2012
Brasserie Fantome
Soy, Belgium
Saison D'Erezee Printemps: A+

Printemps is the spring seasonal version of Saison D'erezee which clocks in at 8% abv.  Printemps flaunts it's yeasty/cloudy bright yellow golden color with a 1 inch bright white head.  The head is formed with petite bubbles that dissipate quickly.  Yeasty esters dominate the aroma with lemon, cork, pepper, and some barnyard funk.  Citrus dominates the palate, but this brew also highlights some great Belgian yeast flavors.  The tart lemon peel gives way to orange, pepper, clove, and some Belgian funk.  However, this brew is not overly tart or funky, rather it is quite dry and champagne like.  Printemps has a really great flavor that is inviting and palatable, a true Belgian gem. 

For those of you who showed up for the Blogger's Choice tasting at Royal Liquor last week, you know that this beer was a hit and went very quickly.  This is a must have saison for the spring season, grab one and stash it away for a sunny day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Royal Liquor Strong Ale Week Jan 9th - Jan 14th

This week Royal Liquor on 103rd and State Line in Missouri will be hosting 3 different tastings in celebration of their Strong Ale Week.  The details are listed on their facebook site, but to kick off the tastings, Pat from KC Beer Blog and I will be hosting a Blogger's Choice tasting which will include the following brews:

I will be pouring:
Great Divide Old Ruffian
Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness
Fantome Saison D'Erezee - Printemps

Pat will be pouring:
Odell Myrcenary
North Coast Brother Thelonious
Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet

The tasting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 on Tuesday January 10th, hope to see you there!