APEX Special IPA by Bear Republic

1619296_10101636164540110_807387289_nRating: 5/5

APEX Special IPA by Bear Republic is an 8.95% ABV Double/Imperial India Pale Ale.

Label:
Apex: The highest point, the culmination or climax. In racing, the apex of the turn is approached differently as conditions dictate but always with a forward looking mindset. This beer is the culmination of years of brewing and drinking hop forward IPAs. We reserve the right to move forward, to advance the style to the next Apex. 
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The next in the Racer series release which was a brewery only beer for a such a long time before they decided to shell it out for the masses is this one. According to my buddy Omar over at Uncle Henry’s deli, this is Bear Republic’s response to Pliny the Younger. I have never had Pliny the Younger but I am sure many of the IPAs or Triple IPAs for that matter are more likely better. 

Aromas:
Tropics, tropics and more tropics! Lots of fruit, honey dew melon, peach, kiwi, passion fruit, papaya, mango, grapefruit, caramel, biscuit bread, grassy and piney hops, citrus, apricot, floral notes, lemon peel, lychee fruit, pineapple, tangerines and prickly pears.

Flavors:
Very tropical hop forward, grassy piney, floral, grapefruit hops, tangerine, peaches, apricot, kiwi, honey melon, papaya, passion fruit, tangerine, oranges, lemon peel, citrus, caramel, biscuit bread, dragon fruit, guava notes, lychee, prickly pear and gummy bears. 

Aftertaste:
Finishing with nice grapefruit hop bitterness, caramel notes and more tropical fruit. No alcohol in the taste, refreshing as all hell with easy to mostly moderate drinkability.

Overall:
Awesome tropical IPA. No overwhelming bitterness, yet very hoppy and fruity. If it was anything like Heady Topper, it is damn close. I can agree I like this one more than Pliny the Elder but I cannot speak for but would, with most certainty, believe that this beats the younger in my mind so far. In terms of Cafe 15 or this one, I would like to add that this one is is more hoppy than maybe Cafe 15 which brings a nice blend of hoppy and tropical balance.

Anime Corner:
Original Art by Hybrid Mink was used to pair APEX because I wanted to show how one would react to be at the highest point, to feel high in the sky and feel like no ones bringing you down. Some of the colors hit the label perfectly and the helmet, although it may be a lion or a cat, maybe closer to a bear, or at least I’d like to think that that way. Like Cafe Racer 15, Racer X and Racer 5 before it and even Black Racer, there is either an aspect of car racing, of powering up, or the feeling of being very powerful when it comes to mind with these world class IPAs.

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2013 Quingenti series Batch no. 9 Punishment by Stone brewing

1560557_10101636162569060_1539970460_n 1551779_10101636162124950_318666055_nRating: 4.2/5

2013 Quingenti series Batch no. 9 Punishment by Stone brewing is a 12.0% ABV Chile beer which consist of Double Bastard ale brewed with chile peppers and aged in American Oak Kentucky Bourbon Barrels.

Label:
Punishment was born as Double Bastard Ale – a heavy, bitter, beast of a beer. It was already not for the timid, but with the addition of jaw-dropping quantities of freshly harvested local peppers, including mid-level-heat red and green jalapenos and ultra-hot black nagas, Caribbean red hots, Moruga scrorpions and fatalis, it morphed into a truly punishing brew.

Leads with ultra-hot and fruity chile flavors along with subtler green jalapeño notes. Intense caramel, butterscotch and bourbon flavors make a strong appearance mid-palate, and the beer finishes with a long-lasting, fiery after burn.

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For a lover of spicy foods, this is even more fucking scary than crime. I saved this bottle for several months, always looking at me, always taunting me, awaiting until the day I picked it up and reviewed. I looked at it always flipping the finger very time I closed the fridge. Today I decide to bring this one forth for a review and this may or may not be a mistake. Either way, I will try my damnest to give it a good review and pursue the fires of this hell to see what I find. Wish me luck :S.

Aromas:
Lots or fruit spices and intense hot chile aromas like habanero, piquin, jalapeño, flower notes, caramel, toffee, mild brown sugar, mild vanilla, oak, bourbon, mild marshmallow hint, cucumber, citrus, tropical fruit, but overall just lots of scary spices of different peppers. 

Flavors:
Lots and lots of habanero and jalapeño pepper heat, but as I dug deeper, I could taste the hidden bastard of citrus, caramel, bourbon, oak, pizza, fancy cheese, grapefruit, herbal tea, flowers, marshmallow, very mild dark bitter chocolate cocoa plant, cucumber, toffee, old mango, minor tropics and brown sugar near the finish

Aftertaste:
Lots of oak and pepper heat. The bourbon and caramel fade quick. You are too busy trying to play down the heat to even look into finding any alcohol in this which is not detectable or my taste buds are numb. It is a very major sipping beer.

Overall:
Fuck!! It’s hot, but even for chile heads, its drinkable. Even for me who loves chiles and thought this would be a very bad idea, I think there was definitely enough sweetness to counter the heat or atleast keep some of it at bay because I could still taste some complexity. Although, the Chili comes quick with no remorse. If you do not like super hot, you will not like this beer. Ir’s tough to crack the code but if you play with this liquid fire, you will find somethings that are good about it. Do not try to finish this in one sitting, it is not worth finishing it all at once if your taste buds go numb after a couple of sips. Savor the pain, but enjoy!

Anime Corner:
Lilith and Morrigan Aensland as well as the original Artwork by Sang-heun Nam were used to pair this unholy liquid hell to show off many aspects of punishment in different context. In the first part you see a girl being punished forever having to write and write and write, lol reminds me of me trying to come up with good review pairings and explanations. As you can see, she is being punished while the stone gargoyle is kicking back sipping on expensive drink, lol I hope its beer. Then you see Lilith and Morrigan in the background tending to his every need. The second pairing shows Morrigan and Lilith in what looks to be like fire and brimstone, either resembling eternal punishment or just the suffering of the heat of how damn hot this beer is. So yea, this what I came up. Can you find any other ways Punishment pairs with these artworks?

Box of Chocolate by Charleville microbrewery of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri

1503458_10101626310707270_169726805_n 995287_10101626310343000_1954598898_nRating: 5.65/5

Box of Chocolate by Charleville microbrewery of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri is a 10% ABV Belgian Quadrupel brewed with Chocolate. 

Label:
It’s Difficult to express Love’s nuances, much like the complexity of this Belgian style Chocolate Quad. You Might use a Box of Chocolate to express your love, we use it to demonstrate our passion for great beer.
___

Only available, from what I can tell, at the wine and cheese online store, (Google this one). A small price for what I have never seen in my life. A Chocolate Quad? Well, aside from the Bruery who makes chocolate rain and possible chocolate indulgence by Ommegang may be the closest to what a Belgian Chocolate Quad could be like. Well, enough pondering and on the review!

Aromas:
Sweet, Milk, bakers and dark chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, plum notes, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, vanilla, clove spice, brown sugar, mild anise, molasses and hazelnut.

Flavors:
Lots of chocolate flavors ranging from sweet, milk, dark, fudge and bakers, chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, raisins, plums, prunes, brown sugar, bananas, dulce de leche caramel, clove spice, anise notes, underlying earthy notes, mild coffee, marshmallow, waffle cone, hazelnut, almonds and candy sugar.

Aftertaste:
The aftertaste leaves with chocolate covered raisins, bananas, caramel, vanilla and earthy notes. Hidden alcohol through and through with a sipping drinkability level.

Overall:
A beer that exceeds expectations and maybe more perfect than some of my other perfect beers, but the one thing about this, which I don’t complain but you have to be aware, is that the chocolate does take over some of the more complex Belgian qualities. I don’t really care about this little aspect because you can tell the quadrupel is still there, it is unique and I don’t think there is a quad quite like this one. Fucking amazing straight out of a little microbrewery in Missouri. 

Anime Corner: SPOILER ALERT
T-elos from Xenosaga was used for this pairing not so much for the labels but for 2 reasons. The flavors of Chocolate, cherries (on her forehead piece), dark fruits, vanilla, caramel and others and the Belgian Quad aspect. The reason for the Belgian quad aspect is because it leads back to the Abbeys of Belgium and how they were represented Holy and Christian inspired. T-elos was the original cyborg vessel that would inhabit the resurrection of Mary Magdalene in the Christian influenced Xenosaga series. Ofcourse, she eventually fuze with the perfect vessel, Kos-mos but anyways, that is the most I can link a Belgian quad to Abbeys, to Christianity to Xenosaga and to T-elos and at the end, this pairing. Her name means purpose, ends or goals, so if the overall purpose of the beer is to meet a unique Belgian inspired Chocolate Quad then, Bravo!

Peter Brown Tribute Ale by Bear Republic Brewing

282918_10101626288616540_1834367833_nRating: 3.85/5

Peter Brown Tribute Ale by Bear Republic Brewing is a 6.3% ABV American Brown ale brewed with molasses, brown sugar, and hopped with Cascade and Centennial

Label:
Pete Brown Tribute Ale is our rendition of a Strong American Brown Ale. This ale pays homage to subtle flavors of golden brown sugars, and sweet molasses. Just the way Pete would have wanted it… Here’s to you, Peter Brown…it’s the least we could do. 
Peter Brown, Sales Manager our “Million Dollar Man”

Brew Master Notes:
Keep cold, respect life, give more hugs, Make Beer not Bombs, Real ale is alive, yeast is good, serve at 45degrees -50degrees Farenheit.
___

Thanks to William for sharing this one with me. Even though it is a California common, it is one I have not tried before. I also got to give thanks to William’s relative that works at Bear Republic for giving this to William as a gift. Your tribute to this website is greatly appreciated and well notes. Cheers!

Aromas:
Molasses, Brown sugar, pecans, caramel, biscuit notes, dark chocolate notes, mild coffee notes, earthy hop notes, maple notes and toffee. 

Flavors:
Brown sugar, earthy hop notes, mild mocha, coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, molasses, biscuit bread, raisins as it warms up, toffee and maple.

Aftertaste:
Finish close to dry with hints of the caramel, brown sugar, molasses, mild coffee and hop notes.
There is mild taste of alcohol in the flavor but it doesn’t detract a lot from the flavors. It has a moderate sipping quality to it.

Overall:
It is a very good brown ale and is interesting for what it has to offer. Brown ales are typically not my style but I do enjoy them once and a while and this one is very enjoyable. If you like browns, give this one a shot, it is very good.

Anime Corner:
The characters from the anime K-ON! Were chosen in this pairing to represent Tribute. Like the we some songs are used to pay tribute just like this beer was used to pay tribute. It may be hard to see in this art piece, but you can see the Zeppelin in the sky which read Led Zeppelin. Anyways, I think this was one of the reasons I chose this art piece. Can you find anymore references in this pairing that goes well with the beer?

Hopped on the High Seas by Cigar City

1620465_10101626284834120_1775691900_nRating: 4.5/5

Hopped on the High Seas by Cigar City is a 7% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Ahtanum hops.

Label:
A tropical IPA dry-hopped on the high seas with one of our favorite hops: Ahtanum .
___

This is the second IPA I try from Cigar City brewing. The first one was the Flagship series. I was able to get this one from luekensliquors.com which always sells very good goodies from Florida. Awesome stuff.

Aromas:
Herbal, grassy and piney hops, mild grapefruit, biscuit bread, pineapple,honey, citrus, melon, passion fruit, melon and mango.

Flavors:
Grapefruit, grassy, herbal and piney hops, citrus, honey, kiwi, biscuit bread, mild garlic, passion fruit, melon, caramel, tangerine, apricot, mild hints of coconut and dragon fruit. 

Aftertaste:
Citrus, piney, grassy and herbal hops at the end. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink, crisp and refreshing.

Overall:
Very good IPA and very refreshing at that. Coming in the can helps out a lot since the flavors are really fresh. For this being my second IPA I try from Cigar city, it is definitely one that is very good. I liked the flagship one better but either way this one is good too. I am familiar with other great IPAs that are easier to find in the West coast so if you don’t find this one, I am sure you can find others just as good or even better than this one.

Anime Corner:
Shiori Tsuzuki from Witchblade was chosen in this IPA to pair with the colors of the can. The Blue and grey colors from Shiori pair with the colors of the can and her blade is like a wave splashing in the ocean. She is arrogant and bitter at times which is the same way an IPA is but she also has strong feelings for her employer in the series which is part of what the tropical flavors in this beer are all about.

Humidor Series India Pale Ale by Cigar City brewing

1544964_10101626278411990_403848738_nRating: 4.8/5

Humidor Series India Pale Ale by Cigar City brewing is a 7.5% ABV India Pale Ale aged in Spanish Cedar.

Label:
An unfiltered India Pale Ale brewed in the Cigar City of Tampa Florida and aged on Spanish Cedar. Pairs well with spice food and medium robust cigars.
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This is Cigar City’s flagship beer which is essentially the Jai-alai beer just aged in cedar. I have never tried Jai-alai but I hear it is good. This must be great too as it is aged in cedar. Let’s test this one out shall we?

Aromas:
Upon opening, Old sweet and matured mango, oak cedar, matured oranges, grapefruit, citrus, pine and grassy hops, biscuit bread, caramel, papaya, kiwi, dragon fruit, passion fruit, peaches, apricot, brown sugar and herbs.

Flavors:
Old orange, grapefruit, mango, cedar oak, biscuit bread, caramel, passion fruit, floral, herbal, earthy and piney hops, papaya, dragon fruit, kiwi, pineapple, vanilla, tangerines, brown sugar, mild rye and peaches.

Aftertaste:
Finishing dry with some hop resin and earthyness still there with some very faint tropical fruit and caramel flavors. No alcohol in the taste. Easy to moderate drinkability.

Overall:
A damn good IPA. I know this was gonna be awesome as soon as I smelled that mango. I love tropical IPA and to put it in Spanish cedar gives I very nice character which I have no seen in many IPAs. This is freaking great and definitely recommended if you can find it. Now to find Jai-Alai…

Anime Corner:
Welcome to Cigar City! Or at leas in the pairing of this original art piece by emperpep. Mimi and the Black bunny sit in front of the burning flames of Cigar City. Not to say the city is destroyed or anything like that, its just that I wanted to get the colors of the label and the Spanish Cedar oak to pair with Cigar City and Mimi the bunny. Cigars are fancy, that is why Mimi is wearing fancy clothing which pairs greatly. The Black Bunny? Well, I will leave that for you to decide.

Chocolate Rain (2014 Release) by the Bruery

1013363_10101623080186260_1277913875_n 1609788_10101623080365900_209710705_n 1511548_10101623079183270_1792312727_n 1522093_10101623079537560_574173721_nRating: 6/5* Just as good as ever

Chocolate Rain (2014 Release) by the Bruery is an 18.5% ABV Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with TCHO Cacao Nibs and Vanilla Beans.

Label:
MAKE IT RAIN
This decadent version of Black Tuesday is proudly brewed with TCHO cacao nibs. 

Chocolate Rain began as a single cask of beer at our very first release event for Black Tuesday back in 2009 and now has a storied history of its own. This ale will age gracefully if cellared properly but will be the most prominent when consumed fresh.
___

Walking 1000 miles, over 1000 life times and yet, the ultimate (diabetes in a bottle) dessert beer will always be one of my most favorite of rare beers out there. Right next to Melange3, Black Tuesday, White Chocolate, Trois Pistoles, St Bernardus 12 and Three Philosophers. This beer is released by the Bruery for their reserve society and preserve society too. There isn’t much about this beer I cannot stress enough because it really is one of my favorites, yet difficult to obtain. So anyways, here is to the review!

Aromas:
All the fragrances of the chocolate rainbow, dark, white, Belgian, German, sweet, bitter, milk, fudge and baker’s. I may have missed a couple others. Bourbon, Dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut, choco flan, crème brulee, hazel nuts, pecan pie, dark fruits, raisins, figs, plums, raspberries, cherries, almond joy, rocky road, leche nestle sweetened condenced milk, fudge cake, coffee, mocha, Rocky road Ice cream, oreo and chocolate chip cookies, molasses, oak, earthy notes and brown sugar.

Flavors:
The utter definition of CHOCOLATE! Sweet, Belgian, dark, white, German, milk, fudge, bakers, bourbon whiskey, oak, vanilla, choco flan, dulce de leche caramel, crème brulee, toasted coconut, chocolate covered cherries, dark fruits, raisins, figs, plums, raspberries, almond joy, hazelnuts, pecan pie, tobacco, leather, fudge brownies, raisins, rocky road ice cream, mocha, coffee, brown sugar, oreo cookie, chocolate chips, oatmeal, Kahlua, chocolate covered funnel cake, milk shake, black currants, roasted cashews, tootsie roll candy, “Willy Wonka ain’t got nothing on this Chocolate Rain” flavors!…I ran out of things to describe this epicness…

Aftertaste:
Lingering chocolate, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, bourbon, white fudge, chocolate fudge and more and more sugar! The alcohol is very little in the taste, but for all its worth, it doesn’t detract from any of the flavors at all and since it is 19-20% alcohol, It is in no way harsh. Sure it is a sipping beer, a dangerously sipping beer because it also has elements of smoothness. It does feel warm going down too. JEEZUUZ YES!!!. Very syrupy mouth feel, like I had mentioned in my previous review of this, boozy chocolate syrup.

Overall:
One of the top best sugary boozy chocolate syrups, I mean beers. Ever! Like I said before, there is nothing I can say about this beer but utter heaven! It could be overkill if placed in ice cream but hey, if you want Dat Dia-bee-tus! Watch out now. No joke, it is pretty sugary and utter bliss. DO NOT DRINK THIS BOTTLE IN ONE SITTNG!!, if you enjoy beers, even if it is the only one you will drink for the rest of the night, don’t do yourself the dissatisfaction. This is really a great beer and should be enjoyed a few sips at a time. Chocolate Rain!! Some stay sober, while other feel the bliss….

Anime Corner:
Yoruichi Shihouin from Bleach was used in this pairing, even from the last time I tried Chocolate Rain for many reasons, aside from the fact that she is one of my favorite anime characters of all time. For starters, in the original Chocolate Rain pictures for my last review, I wanted to describe that Yoruichi as the bringer of the rain since was given a Native American outfit and she was doing a dance to make it rain, rain chocolate!! Her attitude is very caring for her friends but at the same time feisty and very seductive (Lucius Chocolate Rainbow and Vanilla added). She is one of the fastest and strongest characters in Bleach (alcohol due to Bourbon). She is a Princess but was aldo the leader of Onmitsukidō, the Secret Mobile Unit/Corps, Special Forces or Covert Ops. In other words, bad ass ninja! (Alcohol undetected, hidden, hits ya hard later on). In fact, she is so bad ass she took down several ninjas in a matter of seconds. She also has Flash speed (Shunpo) and Shunko or Flash cry (Lightning based attacks)! Which describes Chocolate Rain’s aspect of smooth drinking and you can’t have Rain without lightning. Her sexy and seductive properties can all be described above in the aromas and overall flavors of the beer. Even her outfit and being show the dark fruit flavors, the chocolate, the vanilla, the caramel, the nutty, way more. There is so much more I can go on and on about Yoruichi being the perfect pairing for this beer it ain’t even funny…

El Cedro by Jester King

72664_10101623074891870_1601528792_n 995611_10101623076139370_752441856_n 10045_10101623076468710_77638055_n 1520695_10101623077187270_1986376833_nRating: 5/5

El Cedro by Jester King is an 8% ABV Hoppy Farmhouse ale/Saison aged in Spanish Cedar spirals with brettanomyces.

Label:
I have conquered many nations defeated vast armies of men, but even I do not dare to trespass in the forest of El Cedro, for El Cedro is no man. Many have ventured within the silent reach of his branches, lured but his sweet smell, never to return. Whispered legends tell of one particularly sorry soul who… hey, did we tell you this has brett in it!
___

Aggressive yeast this one has. Yet, a very special thanks as well, once again, to Aaron from www.beermetaldude.com for another goodie exclusive from Jester King. Another honorific beer worth reviewing here on the site and one that I take pleasure of doing as JK is one of my favorites so far from Texas. Keep em’ coming, and I’ll keep writing and art pairing for the masses.

Aromas:
Rich pink peppercorns, honey, apricots, floral hops, hibiscus flowers, peaches, pears, cedar oak, lemons, citrus, vanilla, piney and grapefruit hops, honey, biscuit bread, wet hay, coriander spice, wheat bread, brown sugar, grapefruits, white wine grapes and funky brett.

Flavors:
Cedar oak, apples, vanilla, caramel, pink peppercorns, apricots, peaches, plums, honey, coriander spice, hibiscus flowers, roses, piney, herbal, floral and grass hops, rich citrus, grapefruit, lemon peels, wheat bread, biscuits, brown sugar, funky wet hay and white wine grapes.

Aftertaste:
Hoppy, rich citrus, cedar oak, funky notes, wet hay, honey, coriander, flowers and biscuits linger. No alcohol in the taste, refreshing, crisp, easy to moderate drinkability and over all well balanced.

Overall:
A great and perfect Saison, reminiscent of my favorite Belgian Strong Pale, the Eschatological ale and even the Bitter monk beer. So far, of the 3 Jester Kings I received from Aaron, this one has got to be my favorite. Damn hidden flavors and so much active yeast, the beer is literally alive! Recommended if you can find it for sure.

Anime Corner:
Khameleon from Mortal Kombat and the original artwork from Hitomaru were chosen for this pairing to show the trees and the living forest but also how deadly the forest can be. The legend of the bottle talks about the forest and in reference to the beer, the Living forest of Mortal Kombat who has stolen many souls pairs this beer perfectly. Not to mention the fact that the living yeast that were still churning as I opened the bottle proved of its deadliness. Khameleon, like reptile, can go unseen and hidden in the forest without being detected. She shows many colors and blends in nicely, such is the complexity of the beer. Hitomaru’s artwork showcases not just that of an evil forest but a girl forest who commands an army of the undead, whom presumably died there, like it was told in the legend of this forest. Anyways, so much can be said about these pairings but the main aspects have been showcased here. It is a deliciously deadly beer!

Tout Mais Le Coller collaboration by The Bruery and Noble Ale works

1545796_10101623073549560_1580676880_nRating: 6/5* Taste like it says, enough said!

Tout Mais Le Coller collaboration by The Bruery and Noble Ale works is s 7.70% ABV Cream Ale brewed with Oranges and Vanilla.

Label:
JUICE THIS!
Sweet, creamy and with a citrus kick, this Orange Cream Ale is reminiscent of one of our all-time favorite frozen treats on a stick.

Who doesn’t want to enjoy a favorite frozen treat in the form of an adult beverage? A perfect homage to both Noble Ale Works’ & The Bruery’s home county, this creamy orange popsicle-inspired collaboration beer is best enjoyed fresh.
___

“Tout Mais Le Coller” loosely translates to “everything but the stick,” so pure orange cream is what is referenced here. I didn’t know what to say when I picked up this limited release at Ramirez Liquor a couple of weeks ago, other than it was a cream ale. SO in my mind, I was thinking based upon the label, it was supposed to be an Orange Cream-sickle beer. I definitely had to put this to the test. 

Aromas:
Lots of VERY RICH ripe and matured oranges, vanilla, caramel, orange peels, biscuit bread, grapefruit hops, sweet milk vanilla ice cream, sherbet ice cream, coriander spice, biscuit bread, honey, brown sugar, orange marmalade, orange cobbler, pecan pie and orange soda.

Flavors:
Matured oranges, orange soda, vanilla, caramel, honey, coriander, biscuit bread, orange marmalade, orange peel, Orange Cream sickle, rye bread, toffee, Sunny Delight, earthy and grapefruit hops, pecan pie, sherbet ice cream, vanilla ice cream, rainbow sherbet ice cream and candy sugar.

Aftertaste:
Lingering is more like orange soda, caramel, vanilla cream, rye, earthy notes but then finishing off dry. Moderate drinkability with no alcohol in the taste.

Overall:
They hit it dead on the money with a beer that taste like oranges and cream. Sunny D with creamy flavors. I exceeded my expectations as a beer that delivers what it says, literally. So with this, I recommend getting it if you still get a chance to find it. First ever, liquid orange cream-sickle beer.

Anime Corner:
Original artwork by Korean Anime artist, Hyung Tae Kim. I chose this piece to pair with a sweet orange cream-sickle beer because I wanted to show the colors and flavors of the beer. She is orange all over and the blue near her feet represent cryo or cold, meaning Orange Ice Cream or in this case, the Orange Cream-sickle. You can also tell where the white and yellow clothing are that it represents the cream filling of the orange cream-sickle. Yes I have a crazy imagination, thank you.

Ol’ Oi by Jester King brewing

46142_10101623071603460_83014632_n 1606952_10101623072526610_1888985837_nRating: 4.8/5

Ol’ Oi by Jester King brewing is a 6.2% ABV organic Sour Brown Ale Aged in wine oak barrels

Label:
Oi! Dems was da good ol’ days. Rowdy gigs ‘n Stoke-on-Trent filled wif da stench o’discontented youf. Oh, but da times, dey do change. Da next t’ing ya know, you’re pluckin’ an upright bass in a Gypsy-fusion proto-funk jazz band an’ touring Stateside for a bunch o’ Yanks. But all’s well dat ends well as dey say. As far as I see it, I may be ol’ an’ soured, but I ain’t stale an’ stiff.
___

Thanks to Aaron of www.beermetaldude.com for another awesome Jester King beer of Texas. As I had said before about these guys, they have been quite the ordeal to get their good saisons here in California. Some of their best ones can only be bought in their brewery exclusively, so getting these for a review is quite an honor, especially a second one. Hopefully, one day Texas laws will favor the craft beer fans to allow for more distribution. Until then, we will still find ways to show some awesome reviews and pairings here on the site.

Aromas:
Deep funky wine grapes, dark tart cherries, caramel, oak, dark fruits, vanilla, biscuit bread, toffee, lots of funky sour notes but the tart cherry and toffee come out stronger.

Flavors:
Oak, vanilla, caramel, tart dark cherries, dark fruits like plums, raisins, biscuit bread, mild rye, lots of wine grape funky notes as well as a decent amount of acidity, apricots, apples, pears and mild brown sugar.

Aftertaste:
Still getting sweet tart cherries in the end along with toffee, earthy notes and funky wine grape that finishes pretty dry. No alcohol in the taste, but this one is a sipper.

Overall:
A very good sour that drinks like an oud bruin or a sour flanders. While the sourness is the most overwhelming component, the sweet and tart flavors balance it out very nicely. If you enjoy sours, this one is one of the better ones. It definitely seems like it will get way better with age. Be sure to let it warm up too as that is when the magic begins .

Anime Corner:
Chyoba-sama of the Sand Clan from the Naruto series is one of the strongest ninjas and the leading master of the puppet ninja arts. I am using her for this pairing as I wanted to pair the artwork of the label with her and also to remind about how things get better with age. Even at her old age, she is still one bad ass and deadly ninja granny.

Smoglifter by Brash brewing

74071_10101623069832010_78605240_nRating: 5.75/5

Smoglifter by Brash brewing is a 10% ABV Imperial Milk/Sweet Stout brewed with cocoa.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (Ratebeer.com)
Don’t wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn’t like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always feels good. Imperial chocolate milk stout brewed with real cocoa, clocking in at 10%abv, and making love to your mouth like a horny sorority girl.
___

Obtained this puppy at the local Downey Liquor store in Downey California as a recommend by one of the dudes that works that. A “Guilty Pleasure” as he called it. This is the first time I try Brash beers, and as I am seeing it now, what a great way to start checking out their beers.

Aromas:
Rich Milk, dark and sweet chocolate fragrances, coffee mocha, caramel, vanilla, lactose sugars, malted milk balls, chocolate ice cream, molasses, anise hints, earthy notes as well.

Flavors:
Lots of rich milk chocolate forward with release of bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, rocky road ice cream, waffle cone, vanilla caramel, velvet chocolate mousse, chocolate cream cake, fudge brownies, coffee notes, molasses, malted milk balls, mocha, Irish cream and mild anise.

Aftertaste:
Lingering rich milk and dark chocolate, vanilla, mocha, and mild earthy and coffee notes. A sipper with no alcohol in the taste and very damn smooth and syrupy.

Overall:
Perfect Milk stout, damn good. Almost reminded me of the Hudson Porter in Brandy, although that one may be above this one. Does way to well on its own to be pretty surreal. These are the kinds of beers I love and just because of the extra rich chocolate they deliver. Guilty pleasure? YES!, can it go up to face some of the best chocolate beers out there, fuuuckkk yea!! Talk about finding the diamond in the rough.

Anime Corner:
Asuka Shikinami/Langey Sohryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion was chosen for this pairing to represent a couple of bad ass aspects of the beer. First, the label colors or the read and the family wearing the toxic suit avoiding the radioactive environment. Asuka flows in like a chocolate Ninja, smooth and sweet, but don’t be fooled by her sexy appearance. She is deadly and has a really mean attitude which is represented by how the alcohol will kick your ass later. Very deceiving, but she is very sweet and a strong headed person sometimes.

Golden Sabbath by Big Island Brewhaus of Hawai’i

1536665_10101623068724230_1793245443_nRating: 4.75/5

Golden Sabbath by Big Island Brewhaus of Hawai’i is an 8.5% ABV Belgian Strong Golden Ale brewed with Hawaiian Honey.

Label:
You hold a special handcrafted beer brewed and bottled only in Hawai’i. This hefty 22 ounce bottle is meant to be shared, but of course you may not want to! Our Belgian Style Golden Ale is brewed with Malted Barley, Hawaiian Honey, and Noble Hops. A Special Belgian yeast imparts a wondrous range of fruit flavors like plum, apricot, and spice. These flavors harmonize well with roasted meats like lamb and duckling as well as rich seafoods like lobster and is perfect with desserts such as crème brulee, tiramisu, and of course…chocolate. Traditionally served in special goblets, this beer turns an ordinary lunch into an extraordinary event and transforms a slow Sunday afternoon into a Golden Sabbath. 
___

A very special thanks once again to my friend Richard and his fiancee Megan who were able to bring this special gift for me from their trip to Hawaii. It is an honor to try a Belgian style beer from Hawai’i, especially since that is pretty much the only place you can get this one.

Aromas:
Oranges, peppercorns, floral and citrus hops, honey, apples, apricot, biscuit bread, cotton candy, banana bread, vanilla, caramel, coriander and other spices.

Flavors:
Flowers, peppercorns, banana bread, apricot, plums, honey, biscuits, pineapple, pears, vanilla, bubble gum, cotton candy, rock candy, coriander, cloves, herbs and other spices.

Aftertaste:
Finishing dry with some nice honey, peppery spices and slight banana left over. Crisp, refreshing, easy to moderate drinkability with no alcohol in the taste.

Overall:
A very good Belgian that is really close to a Tripel but it does stay more with the Golden Ale style and the Belgian Pale Ale but less hoppy and more fruity. While I enjoyed this one a lot, I think I enjoyed their coconut porter more. Nevertheless, this is still an amazing beer and an honor to get a chance to try something like this from Hawai’i. Belgian beer lovers will like this one.

Anime Corner:
I was unable to find the artist of this original artwork I used for pairing with this beer. If you are the artist let me know so I can give you credit for using the picture as a background for this beer pairing. I decided on this piece to portray several aspects of this beer. For starters, The label colors fit perfectly. Second, I wanted to find something that would relate to monks in Hawaii or even Monks at the beach. That is what the girl in the cloak is doing at the beach. The sandy and tropical aspects of rich Hawaiian honey are showcased with the beer flavors and also shown as a representative of the sea here in this pairing. Can you find any other things in this pairing?

Noble King by Jester King brewing

1521541_10101623066563560_815844492_n 1557543_10101623067247190_20428181_nRating: 4.2/5

Noble King by Jester King brewing is a 5.9% Organic Hoppy Farmhouse Ale.

Label:
Not all kings are overbearing alpha types. Well, okay, in the real world, probably most are, and, truth be told, we’re not especially into the whole monarchy thing, anyway. But if we ever find ourselves transported to a mythical kingdom, we’d like for it to be one with a ruler who embraces the principles of subtlety, balance, and restraint, welcomes criticism and intellectual challenge, and isn’t afraid to laugh at his or her own expense.
___

Thanks to Aaron of www.beermetaldude.com for another awesome beer from Texas. Jester king has been quite the ordeal to get their good saisons here in California. Some of their best ones can only be bought in their brewery exclusively, so getting these for a review is quite an honor. Hopefully, one day Texas laws will favor the craft beer fans to allow for more distribution. Until then, we will still find ways to show some awesome reviews and pairings here on the site.

Aromas:
Lots of peppercorn spices, citrus, lemons, piney, grassy and floral hops, honey, green apples, biscuit bread, farmhouse hay and herbs.

Flavors:
Grassy, floral, piney and earthy hop flavors along with peppercorns, honey, farmhouse hay, lemons, green apples, coriander spice, apricot, biscuit bread, herbs, wheat grain and funky brettanomyces.

Aftertaste:
Dry finish with only some mild hop, honey and peppercorn notes that fade. Light, Crisp, refreshing, easy to drink and no alcohol in the taste.

Overall:
A very good beer that drinks more like Belgian Pale Ale. It is not as super hop and peppercorn forward like a Golden ale, but the beer on its own provides some flavors that I like from hoppy saisons. Very few good saisons are made as awesome and Jester King sure likes taking them to another level of flavor experience.

Anime Corner:
Original artwork by Yoshinori Shizuma was used for this pairing to pair the hop lion of the label with a bad ass lion. The owner of the lion can be assured that no harm will come to her as long as this lion ninja hops into action. How noble of him, King of the hops! As for the second picture of a character from Monster hunter, I used her to show the hop scales of the hop lion’s mane. It its not quite the close color but it comes very close. Plus, she is wearing a crown or tiara, like the hop lion is, so there!

Sans Pagaie (2013 version) by The Bruery

1173614_10101623065490710_1627293482_nRating: 4.45/5

Sans Pagaie (2013 version) by The Bruery is a 5.4% ABV Sour Blond Ale aged in Oak with Cherries. 

Label:
UP A KRIEK
We added loads of cherries to this sour blonde ale, giving it a color as bright as its flavors. 
Sans Pagaie is best enjoyed fresh, until then, please store in a cool dark place.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (ratebeer.com)
French for “without a paddle”, Sans Pagaie is our take on a Belgian Kriek. We added an incredible amount of cherries (whole and pureed) to this sour blonde ale and then we decided to add more. The result is a well balanced fruited sour ale, perfect on it’s own, even better with a slice of chocolate cake. 5.8% ABV, Cellerable for up to 3 years. 
___

Up the Kriek without a paddle is what this beer is about. The river of cherries is long flow of sweet and sourness. This beer was released last year and one could buy it from the Bruery. It is an yearly seasonal release. I tried this one last time and I thought it was pretty good as the cherries were more forward than the sour oak. Now this is the bottle one, let’s see how it fairs.

Aromas:
Strawberry,Cherry and vanilla Mexican Flour Atole, caramel biscuit bread, then the funky sour wine grapes and lactic acid notes kick in, sour apples, pears, oak, cherry cobbler, Hibiscus, roses and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Dark Cherry yogurt but then the funky sourness takes over. Cherry pie, Mexican coconut alfafor sugar block, vanilla, lemons, apples, sour grapes, oak, hibiscus wine notes, barnyard hay, spices and coriander.

Aftertaste:
Cherry and coconut flavor seems to linger along with the sour wine grapes and barnyard hay. It is a sipping beer as it is a sour but there is no alcohol in the taste.

Overall:
A very good beer if you enjoy digging through sours. I was surprised by this one because it smelled sweet and it was sweet until the sourness kicked in. Lucky, there is enough sweet to balance it out from being just pure sour. Like I said, if you don’t like sours, you won’t like this one.

Anime Corner:
Milla Maxwell from Tales of Xillia 2 was chosen in this pairing to showcase her colors in this artwork to pair with the colors of the label but also the flavors of the beer. Which are the sweet and tart cherries, coconut alfafor, and all the flavors which then proceed into purple or the funky wine grape and oak flavors of the beer. She is normally a blonde girl as well so with the addition of cherries which makes her hair red, pink, purple and some yellow definitely compliments Sans Pagaie.

Don Gavino’s Big Guava by Cigar City Brewing

1525392_10101623064697300_1588697242_nRating: 5/5

Don Gavino’s Big Guava by Cigar City Brewing is an ??% ABV American Strong Wild Ale brewed with Guava and Aged in Chardonnay Barrels. 

Label:
Most Tampa residents are familiar with Vincente Martinez Thor, who along with fellow cigar factory owner Ignacio Haya turned Tampa from a sleepy fishing village into the ‘Cigar Capital of the World” which at its peak was home to 200 cigar factories producing over 700 million cigars a year. But few of Tampa’s even long-time residents are familiar with Gavino Gutierrez, the Spanish architect, surveyor and civil engineer who first came to Tampa looking for wild guava trees. The plan was to use the supply of supposedly abundant wild fruit in a new factory making marmalade and guava paste. However, the journey was not fruitful and the guava population was much smaller than expected. Gavino did not give up on Tampa however. Convinced Tampa’s natural harbor and access to Henry B. Plant’s new rail-line would make Tampa an excellent import/export hub, Gavino set about convincing his friends Thor and Haya to move their cigar factories to Tampa. They agreed and Don Gavino set about surveying 40 acres of swamp and scrub brush northeast of Tampa for “Mr. Ybor’s City”. Vincente then named Don Gavino his architect and construction foreman and he set about developing the Master Plan for what would become Ybor City, designing the system of streets and avenues and overseeing the construction of the factory and even the housing built for the factory workers. In honor of his life’s work we could think of no better name for our Double Guava Ale than Don Gavino’s Big Guava. Cheers, Gavino! 
___

It is not often that a Latino is given such praise for not just given a beer named after but such praise as giving the plans to build a city. As a Latino myself, this is something very special. Guavas or Guayabas are something that is common fruit among many Hispanic communities but to see a beer like this is freaking awesome! Them Tampa peeps have good taste.

Aromas:
Tangy orange, tart pineapple notes, strong guava nectar, oak, peppercorns, spices, Chardonnay?(Never had it), strawberry, kiwis, dark fruits like cherries, raspberries, vanilla, white wine, apples, plums, apricots, flowers, coriander spice and earthy notes. 

Flavors:
Tart pineapples, lots of guavas, funky sour grapes, orange marmalade, strawberries, kiwi, bicuit bread, peppercorn, coriander spice, white wine, mild barnyard hay, mango, oak, chardonnay or white whine flavors, cherries, raspberries, sour melon, apples, apricots, herbal, floral and earthy notes.

Aftertaste:
Finishes mostly dry with some notes of mango, citrus, guava, oak and white wine flavors.No alcohol in the taste with sipping level of drinkability.

Overall:
A very good beer if you love tart beers. It has a good amount of fruity sweetness to balance the sour and tart notes provided. The chardonnay barrels I am sure add good complexity, but since I have never tried a chardonnay, I can only assume that it is in there. I think white wine aspect of it is most likely that chardonnay kicking in. With a ?? ABV, it sure can be dangerous since it is very good.

Anime Corner:
Alucard and Seras Victoria from Hellsing were chosen for this pairing for several reasons. I wanted to shows case the label of Don Gavino being someone very famous and classy, like in the background picture with Alucard. Seras can represent the Guava and citrus of the beer, the colors of the label, but she is also a protector of Don Gavino as well. The overall aspect of the beer I wanted to showcase is fancy and classy, especially since this beer is made with chardonnay and well, that is pretty damn fancy. Any other things you can tell from this beer?

Lectio Divina 2012 edition by Saint Somewhere brewing

1526577_10101623063085530_608758715_n 1558404_10101623063734230_143697345_nRating: 4.66/5

Lectio Divina 2012 edition by Saint Somewhere brewing is an 8% ABV Amber Saison/Farmhouse ale

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Lectio Divina is a cross between an abbey double and a saison. Open fermentation with a saison strain and a dose of wild yeast at bottling add to the complexity.

Label:
Saint Somewhere Brewing Company is a brewer of traditional Belgian style 
ales. We are a small batch brewery, using only the finest ingredients available. Belgian malt and wheat, whole noble hops and open fermentation add to the complexity of their ales. Our beers are unfiltered 
and re-fermented in the bottle, not engineered, but truly hand crafted. We brew simply and authentically, the way beer was brewed 100 years ago.
___

I got this beer a while back at Ramirez Liquor of Boyle Heights California. I am not sure if they still sell this one, but they may still sell it. Whittier Liquor has this one I think. I would need to recheck with them. Lectio Divina or Divine Reading in Latin is a beer I had way back in my beginnings with craft beer. It was a beer that I have not reviewed since 2011 on Facebook back in the day. You can see the original review below. Back then, my complexity in finding flavors of beers wasn’t that great although I loved having them. Today I bring you the re-review to see how much I can pick from the last time I tried this beer. Not to mention the fact that this is a Dubbel/Saison hybrid.

Aromas:
Stone and Dark fruit aromas of Apples, peaches, pears, plums, mild raisin notes, dulce de leche caramel, biscuit bread, peppercorns, Banana bread, bubble gum hints, earthy notes, coriander spice, grapes, cider, apple butter, wine grapes and very mild earthy funk.

Flavors:
Definitely getting the peppercorns, wine grapes, apples, apricot peaches, pears, plums, raisins, caramel, bicuit bread, bubble gum, rye, earthy hop notes, mushroom notes, coriander spice, cider, dulce de leche caramel notes, barnyard hay and dark and tart cherry notes.

Aftertaste:
Finishing with with dark fruit and sour notes leaving some nice stone fruit, bubble gum and sour grape notes in the taste. A sipper of a beer with full mouth feel and mild alcohol in the taste but possibly in the form of peppercorns or the wine grape taste.

Overall:
A very good but a very different beer at that. The fusion of Dark and Light is very interesting. A twilight beer (No not that fucking vampire series but light and dark aspect). If love Belgian beers and would like to see how just a touch of mild funky sour notes are with no overwhelming sourness but to the point of a saison then you will love this one. Especially since it has some Belgian Dubbel aspects to it as well.

Anime Corner:
Vocaloid Yowane Haku and Snyp fairy wallpaper design was used in this pairing to show many aspects of the beer like the label, mainly the flavors and possibly beer style as well. Yowane is a character that is supposed to represent the negative or darker side of Hatsune Miku’s songs that ended up sounding bad. Her name means: to say negative thoughts or to show white feather. Aside from representing the leaping angel/fairy in the label, she represents the mixture of dark aspects of the beer like the fact that it is a dubbel and the bad songs meaning the sourness that the beer brings. The light aspect of the beer is in her white hair and joyous attitude. The Fairy in the second picture on the other hand represents a fairy/angel showing off her different colorful spectrum of flavors encompassing every color/flavor between the light/sweet and dark/bitter or sour.

2011 Review:
This Holy beer has a couple sides to it. Belgian yeast and malt are combined with spices in this abbey double like, wild saison ale. Mixture of sweetness from the malts but the sourness finish of the wild yeast. Over all this beer is very good. Fancy wine like notes which make this beer close to the Stateside Saison but with hints of fruits like the raisins brewed in the Lost Abbey Judgement Ale.

Southern Slice collaboration by Cigar City, Terrapin Brewing and South Georgia Pecan Co.

1483439_10101623059547620_633078307_n 1518897_10101623060720270_1330248281_nRating: 6/5

Southern Slice collaboration by Cigar City, Terrapin Brewing and South Georgia Pecan Co. is a 10% ABV Doppelbock brewed with pecans and vanilla beans.

Label:
A collaborative beer produced by Terrapin Beer Co. and Cigar City Brewing, two innovative breweries in the deep South. We decided to make a beer that will bring to mind a Southern staple, pecan pie.

Pecans were first introduced to colonists by the Algonquin Indians. They referred to the nut as pakan or paccan, which means “a nut so hard that is has to be cracked with a stone.” 

The two breweries agreed that a malty, dark lager would be a great canvas for such a Southern tradition, graciously slathering heaps of Munich malt and other specialty grains to emulate a portrait of Southern hospitality, the likes of which could conquer any sweet tooth.
___

You can find this one at Luekensliquor.com if it is still available as of this posting. It will most likely go by quick.. I have been waiting for this beer since the release of Window Sill by the Bruery. While that beer was good to represent a Rhubarb pie, an actual pecan pie as I described in flavors found in some of the best beers I have tried has not been done before so I wanted to definitely put my palette to the test and see how much it actually compared to the great quads of Belgium. Not to mention the fact that this is a doppelbock to bring in some flavors of the prunes and toffee to the mix.

Aromas:
Rich pecan pie, maple, vanilla, chocolate notes, brown sugar, figs, dark fruits, prunes, raisins, hazelnut, dulce de leche caramel flan, toffee, pie crust and fruit cake.

Flavors:
Very rich raisins, dark fruit plums, figs, prunes, pecans, vanilla, maple, brown sugar, molasses, dulce de leche caramel, rum, hazelnut, butterscotch, rum notes, fruit cake, toffee, milk and dark chocolate notes like tootsie roll, earthy notes, wheat bread, rye, mild mocha and coriander spice.

Aftertaste:
Leaving with flavors of prunes, pecans, pie crust, caramel, and earthy notes it finishes a bit dry, but that’s what makes me want to sip more. Hard to detect the alcohol in the taste but some notes are like a liquor which does not detract from the flavors. It has sipping level of drinkability with rich syrupy mouth feel.

Overall:
Very Exceptional beer reminding me of figgy pudding along with a rich quad and almost like rum flavor. Damn outstanding and the closest thing to pecan pie in a bottle without the need to barrel age. Highly recommended if you can find it. It surpassed my expectations of utter sweet dessert goodness of a beer. Very delicious and possibly the highest rating I have given a “lager” ever. 

Anime Corner:
Kan’u Unchou, Ryofu Housen and Hakufu Sonsaku from Battle Vixens were chosen to represent the label of the beer as well as the flavors. Ryofu’s checkered dress and Kan’u’s Blue dress represent the background of the label colors. If I say, Kan’u is cigar city because of the yellow ribbon and long spear and Ryofu is Terrapin because of her green hair, then we can assume both of them together give breed Hakufu which has the orange brown hair to represent the vanilla and pecans as shown in the second picture. You can also say Kan’u’s hair is the dark fruits implied in the flavors as well as Hakufu’s colors and Ryofu’s crimson suit to match that of the fruit cake, spices and maple. Yes it is kind of a stretch but that’s what I got. Any other things you can see here?

Squatters Hop Rising by Utah Brewers Cooperative

1512737_10101609492471150_434330027_nRating: 4.4/5

Squatters Hop Rising by Utah Brewers Cooperative is a 9% ABV Double India Pale Ale

Label:
Bog hop, big malt, big beer. A monster of a beer with intense hop aroma and 75 IBU’s. – from the brewerew
___

Gotta give special thanks to my friend Julio and his girlfriend Janette for hooking me up with this beer from Janette’s hometown in Utah. Like some of the other goodies that are normally not sold here due to laws, distribution restrains, quantity, or even exclusivity, you can only get this one in Utah. Well, as far as I know lol. Anyways, on to the review.

Aromas:
Grassy, grapefruit and earthy hops, orange, caramel, biscuit bread, orange preserves, honey, tangerine and mild melon notes.

Flavors:
Grapefruit, orange preserves, honey, toasted biscuit bread, piney and earthy hops, rye bread, caramel, pineapple, mild herbal spice, melon, kiwi, papaya and dragon fruit.

Aftertaste:
Rye, caramel, mild piney and grapefruit hop aftertaste. No alcohol in the taste, a moderate to sipping drinkability with a nice edge of refreshing taste.

Overall:
While it is sweeter than other bitter IPAs, I like it a lot. What can I say, sweet beers are my thing. However, if you are expecting a super hoppy beer, this may not be the one for you. If you like citrusy IPAs with sweet honey and caramel, then this is awesome!!

Anime Corner:
Rio from Harvest Moon was chosen for this beer for the obvious reasons. She is wearing similar farming gear and has a pitchfork like the dude on the label. She is also squatting, so yeah, couldn’t pair it any other perfect way. That and finding farming anime characters is tricky. It took me a very long time to find this piece.

La Muerta by Freetail Brewing

1526564_10101609438803700_672127552_n 1424508_10101609438823660_1294021967_nRating: 5.4/5

La Muerta by Freetail Brewing is a 10.2% ABV Imperial Stout

Label:
A growing South Texas tradition, La Muerta is brewed each year for Día de los Muertos in honor of our departed friends and family. A big, lush Imperial Stout, La Muerta is full of roast, smoke and chocolate flavors from an array of specialty malts that go into this garnetblack ale. Perfect for sharing with your closest compadres, La Muerta will age wonderfully for years to come – we recommend enjoying one now and save some for the future, if you can. ¡Salud!

Extra:
If you are holding this bottle, it means either you (or someone you know with a kind heart) boldly stood in line for hours on the first Saturday of November. Karma rewards those who give selflessly, so share with your closest compadres or a new friend.
___

A very very special thanks to Aaron from www.beermetaldude.com once more for this very special beer only sold in Texas on Dia de los Muertos. Essentially, like Three Floyds Dark Lord Day, it is only sold at the brewery. I did not even know about this until I researched information on this beer. This is the first time I try Free Tail beers as they are not sold outside of Texas, so yeah, definitely an honor once again.

Aromas:
Black IPA fragrances like that of earthy hops, dark chocolate, licorice, anise, caramel, oak, coffee, pretzels, toffee, rye, roasted barley and smokey oats.

Flavors:
Campfire smokey oak, maple, dark chocolate, dark fruits like raisins, plums, dark cherry, currants, earthy hops, citrus hops, anise, bitter flowers, tobacco, leather, molasses, caramel notes, vanilla, marshmallows, rye bread, pretzels, banana notes, graham crackers, toffee, bakers chocolate and chocolate oatmeal cookies.

Aftertaste:
Dark chocolate, dark fruits, smokey oak, caramel and banana hints. No alcohol in the taste, a sipper at that with a full body that is close to syrup.

Overall:
This is a great and phenomenal beer. Smokey at first, but after letting it warm up, the flavors started to evolve into other complexities. Wow is all that happened later on. I was really amazed by this beer. This is not even barrel aged or nothing and I really think that is part of the key thing that makes this beer great. Simply amazing and recommended if you can find it.

Anime Corner:
Death Akali from League of Legends and Dia de los Muertos by Magicnaanavi were chosen in this pairing to represent many different aspects of the beer including the colors of the label, the flavors, the description and in the meanings. When I found this artwork pieces, there was no way I would go back as it was more than perfect to show “La Muerta” represented by the lady with the skeleton painting and the blue flowers. Death Akali was also used to represent an aspect of death and darkness. The unknown time of death cometh and the eternal darkness proceeding.

White Mountain Porter by Big Island Brewhaus of Hawai’i

1526825_10101609398514440_1092986174_nRating: 4.88/5

White Mountain Porter by Big Island Brewhaus of Hawai’i is a 5.8% ABV American Porter brewed with toasted coconut and coffee

Label:
This hefty 22 ounce bottle is meant to be shared, but of course you may not want to! You hold a special handcrafted beer brewed and bottled only in Hawai’i. This award winning Robust Porter is brewed with Maris Otter, Crystal, Munich, Chocolate, and Black malts, a blend of American hops, toasted coconut, and White Mountain coffee aromas are followed by hints of rich, silky, dark, malt with nuances of chocolate; hops add spice to balance the finish. A great match with Indian, Thai, Mexican dishes, and perhaps best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Keep refrigerated for freshness.
___

A very special thanks to my friend Richard and his fiance Megan for bringing me this very special beer from Hawai’i. This is brewed and only sold there. Coconut porters aren’t too common except the other Hawaiian beer from Maui. In comparing this beer I will try to look for some aspects that could be more or less appealing than that beer or any other coconut beers that I have tried in the past.

Aromas:
Coffee beans, mocha, chocolate, earthy hop notes, vanilla, subtle coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon hints, espresso and molasses.

Flavors:
Rich coffee, dark and milk chocolate, toasted coconut, caramel, vanilla, mocha, piloncillo sugar cone, molasses, mild cinnamon notes, ginger bread, mild chocolate abuelita brick, earthy hop notes, mild Irish cream, biscuit bread and honey.

Aftertaste:
The complex coffee, coconut, ginger bread, cinnamon, brown sugar and earth notes linger. Easy to moderate sipping with no alcohol in the taste. Even at this low ABV, the mouthfeel is big.

Overall:
Damn very good porter. I am not sure if it is the balance of coffee and coconut,which are more prevalent in the taste, or the spicy notes, but this beer is very delicious. As it warmed up, the coconut and the coffee complemented each other very well. I really think it is the delicious White Mountain coffee but I really don’t know. Regardless, damn, a great beer. Only in Hawai’i which is sad because I would definitely want to get more of this one. I think this is a step up from the Maui Coconut porter for sure.

Anime Corner:
An original art piece of Blade and Soul by Hyung-Tae Kim. In this pairing I wanted to focus on the colors of the label as well as some aspect of Hawai’i like the flowers for example as well as the White Mountain. The combination of Coconut and Porter are in the color of her hair and dress. Black and White. The sunset piece also fits with the scenery of the label as well.

5th Anniversary Barrel Aged Smoked Wee Heavy by Joseph James Brewing

66801_10101609323464840_949057398_nRating: 5.75/5

5th Anniversary Barrel Aged Smoked Wee Heavy by Joseph James Brewing is a 14% ABV Wee Heavy/ Scotch Ale with a 1/3 of the grist aged and smoked in bourbon barrel oak staves and then the overall beer aged in bourbon barrels.

Label:
In 2008, Joseph James Brewing Company was founded on the belief that there is a beer for every palate and beer should be shared and enjoyed. In celebration of our 5th anniversary, we have brewed a unique Scottish-style Wee Heavy beer that starts with 1/3 of the grist smoked over Bourbon barrel oak staves from our last barrel release. With two mashes and a 10 hour boil this beer is complex in flavor and has a strong alcohol finish. To complete the circle, this beer it was aged in Bourbon barrels for 6 months, providing the beer with an oaky bourbon finish.
___

As advised, by Uncle Henry’s Deli in Downey California, thanks to Omar and Cameron, this Wee Heavy is off the charts. They advised it throws the other wee heavys out the window. Even Better than Alesmith’s. This I definitely had to try for my self. What does the Fox say? Well, we will sure find out in this review.

Aromas:
Oak, Rich Milk and Dark chocolate, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, bourbon, vanilla, flan, marshmallows, toasted coconut, dark fruits, scotch whiskey notes, campfire notes, brown sugar and currants.

Flavors:
Rich milk and dark chocolate covered raisins, dulce de leche caramel, marshmallow smores, scotch whiskey, mild anise, oak, vanilla, flan, mild campfire smoke, currants, cherry notes, mocha and fudge brownies.

Aftertaste:
Smokey oak, dark fruits, milk chocolate, scotch, marshmallow smores, earthy notes and vanilla. Alcohol is present but not subtle in the taste. A sipping beer best meant to be enjoyed, yet it has some great smooth qualities, so yeah, careful with this one.

Overall:
Exceeding expectations. Once again, a beer that was able to get past the perfect score. Wee Heavy is a style that I don’t often try but the many I have tried have always been exceptional. It was the chocolate bourbon that did this one. As it warmed up, all I could taste was dark fruits and chocolate. So this one definitely got the extra credit thanks to the chocolate and bourbon character. The smoke lingers but very subtly later on. 

Anime Corner:
Krystal Fox from the Star Fox is the awesome vixen that pilots one of the arwings in the series. Many Furries can relate to this vixen as the vixen that makes normals turn furry for. The reason I chose her in this pairing had mainly to do with the fact that the label had a fox. It may be a small reason, but just as Krystal is very sweet and awesome, This beer is just like that. What did the fox say? Delicious!

Yule Shoot your Eye Out by Karbach Brewing

1536479_10101609321219340_1436639056_nRating: 4.25/5

Yule Shoot your Eye Out by Karbach Brewing is an 8%ABV Spiced beer brewed with cocoa nibs and spices .

Label:
Dear Santa.

I know I don’t deserve anything special this year, but there’s a really awesome beer I’d like to get my hands on called Yule Shoot Your Eye Out. I know my boss will tell you I really botched the Penske file and I forgot my anniversary (again), but I PROMISE I will be good if you could get me some of that beer. It’s loaded with specialty malts, fresh ginger, cocoa nibs, orange peel and other holiday spices. I heard Karbach only brews a limited quantity so if you could just think back to that year when I was SO good and you got me the BB gun, that would be great.

Respectfully yours,

R
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Another awesome seasonal from Texas provided by my friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com This time it is a Christmas beer. First time trying Karbach brewing so I am exited. This is normally not sold in California so if you want to get this one, good luck. If you are lucky, then you should definitely be in for a treat.

Aromas:
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger bread, dark fruit hints, fruit cake notes, caramel, toffee, mild chocolate notes, coriander spice, herbs and peppercorns.

Flavors:
Caramel, ginger bread, grapefruit, earthy hops, citrus, coffee notes, cinnamon, fruit cake, coriander spice, pecan notes, peppery spices, herbs, dark chocolate notes, raisins, orange peel, biscuit bread and butterscotch.

Aftertaste:
Dark fruit notes, earthy and citrus hop bitterness, peppery spices, cinnamon and caramel. Easy to moderate drinkability, no alcohol in the taste and medium mouthfeel.

Overall:
A very good beer to try. It is a lot like a winter Black IPA almost since you get a good amount of hoppy bitterness along with some winter spices. Cocoa nibs are subtle but come out as the beer warms up. Worthy of a try as it is an interesting winter beer. Very good stuff.

Anime Corner:
Candy Cane Miss Fortune from League of Legends was included in this pairing to represent the Spirit of Christmas but also the beer itself. I wanted to find something that related to Christmas and Shooting. This girl is packing heat and those are not Candy Canes. She will shoot your eye out especially if you look at her the wrong way. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

Pumpkinator by Saint Arnold brewing

1538950_10101605878847880_1014129635_n 1557560_10101605878832910_2073494845_nRating: 5.2/5

Pumpkinator by Saint Arnold brewing is a 10% Imperial Pumpkin Stout brewed with pumpkin & Spices.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Important: let this beer warm to at least 50° before enjoying. This beer is black with some ruby highlights. The nose is full of pumpkin pie spices and some alcohol. There are notes of nutmeg, caraway and vanilla. The taste starts with chocolate malt with a hint of spice and rolls into a warm spicy alcohol taste which has the effect of creating the balance that usually comes from the hop bitter. There is some hop bitter on the finish, but not much. Overall, this beer finishes relatively dry for such a big beer. As it warms, the spices move forward in the taste and the chocolate moves to the finish. The pumpkin provides a pleasant undertone and a nice mouthfeel. The spices will probably fade some over time; they mellowed considerably while still in the fermenter.
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A special shout out to my friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com for hooking me up with this fine masterpiece of a pumpkin ale. Some of these goodies are not easy to get in California due to distribution laws in Texas. Regardless, it always good to know someone who can provide some ales from the outside. This is my first beer from St. Arnold brewing, the patron saint of brewers, and I have heard great things about this beer as being one of the best pumpkin beers out of Texas. It is a pleasure and an honor to review this beer and if you can find it, yes, do get this one.

Aromas:
Dark Chocolate, caramel, pumpkin seeds, rich pumpkin flesh, pilloncillo sugar cone, cinnamon, sweet potato pie, ginger bread, nutmeg, dark fruits likes raisins, coffee, vanilla, graham crackers, brown sugar, pecans and clove spice.

Flavors:
Dark and milk Chocolate covered pumpkins boiled in milk with cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, pilloncillo sugar cone, nutmeg, sweet potato, pumpkin flesh, clove spice, marshmallow hints, graham crackers, roasted coffee, ginger bread, hints of rum and oak, raisins, figs and apple butter.

Aftertaste:
Clove spice, pumpkins, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla and ginger bread. Not sure about the description as the sweetness does linger and is not dry. There is no alcohol in the taste. This one is meant for sipping. Very well balanced, not overly spicy and not overly sugary. Just right.

Overall:
There is no denying it, this is definitely one of the best pumpkin beers I have tried from 2013. It does great on its own to be come into par with even the barrel aged ones. I was able to find this one more appealing than even the Pumking and the Smashed Pumpkin. Although to be fair, they are not stouts, but this one is better than even T.R.E.A.T. Just like the label says, let it warm up to the proper temperature and you will get more flavors out.

Anime Corner:
The original artwork for this piece is actually unknown. I took a picture of both the black and white one and the variant to showcase the unleash of the sweeter flavors. The artwork is mainly Halloween themed so it goes great with the beer. As far as the Saint Arnold part, I will leave that up to you to guess who Saint Arnold is in these pictures