Bailey Beagle’s Bitchin Brown Ale by El Borracho Home Brewing

1148777_10101732106376900_1941518801_nRating: 4.25/5
Bailey Beagle’s Bitchin Brown Ale by El Borracho Home Brewing is a ~4.6% ABV American Brown Ale.

Another sweet donation from good friend William Carranza. This ale pays tribute to Will’s friend, Brent Rivera, who’s beagle, Bailey, had passed away recently due to medical complications. This is Will’s second beer and it is one that was cleverly named. The Tribute and the named worked. Is it a Bitchin brown ale? Let’s take a look and see.

Aromas:
Chocolate hints, hazelnut, pecans, coconut hints, caramel, earthy hop notes, mild coffee roast, brown sugar and a hint of raisin.

 

Flavors:
Caramel, hints of coconut, chocolate, rye, coffee hints, earthy notes, mild raisin notes, biscuit bread, brown sugar, hazelnut, toffee, pecans and peanuts.

 

Aftertaste:

A nice dry finish with a bit of lingering toffee, earthy notes and caramel. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink even with a medium to full body.

 

Overall:

A very Bitchin brown ale indeed! There were some flavors in this beer that at different temperatures reminded me of other sweet flavors I would probably find in other beers. It is well crafted and definitely goes to show that anyone with a little know how can make really good beers. Now I just have to get my kit and star brewing soon.

Anime Corner:
Winry Rockbell from Full Metal Alchemist is used in this pairing to pay tribute to man’s best friend. The different shades of brown in this picture coincide with the delicious flavors of this Brown ale. It has different layers of flavors that remind me of other flavors I have seen in other beers, especially the coconut one. The dog in the picture also pairs as this is shows how dedicated the dog is to their owners. A lot of dedication went into making the beer, and if Bailey could drink beer, I am sure she would have enjoy it!

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2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker

10013941_10101721214614080_1221267500_n
10151411_10101721219968350_1741906109_nRating: 6/5* One of my first gateway beers, certainly one of my top favorites. 

2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker, is an 11% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Mexican Jobella Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon and Wine barrels. Cellared for 4 years.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Black Xantus is a rare bird and the first new release from Nectar Ales in Years. It is the First ever “big-beer” to be released under the Nectar Ales line. Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella. Rich bourbon and coffee aromas greet the senses. Complex chocolate and tobacco flavors fill the palate. This beer displays a full-bodied mouth-feel and an overall balanced presentation. It would be a perfect pairing to rich chocolate desserts. 
Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%
___

Today is my birthday and as a special treat, I wanted to do a re-review the first blog post I did long ago. Black Xantus is one of my favorite beers that got me into trying different craft beers (Aside from Lost Abbey and Arrogant Bastard) and was one which also got me into collecting beer labels. The first time I tried it was Christmas eve in 2010 after I had saved the this beer for about 1 year and was one that was told to be paired with chocolate dessert. I had saved it in remembrance of my departed mother. Back then when I tried it, it was so damn rich and paired so well with chocolate cheesecake that I knocked out for a bit. Even before the days of Black Tuesdays, Grey Mondays, super barrel aged chocolate beers, this one was one of my special ones. Hence the reason it sits to this day in the center of my beer bottle collection in the wall. I did not know much about barrel aged beers back then but after trying so many different beers but this was still my most favorite. So today, I bring here a bottle, aged for 4 years, to remember my mom and the day she gave birth to me. Today I am 31 years old, the age at which my mom had me. So bringing this beer out makes this even more the special occasion. 

Cheers!!

Aromas:
Rich coffee mocha, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, dark cherries, dark raisins, plums, blackberries, vanilla, oak bourbon, flan, choco flan, dark chocolate, milkshake, port wine notes, hazelnut, marshmallow smores, fudge cake, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk on bananas, pecan pie, brown sugars, chocolate chip cookies, Kahlua, roasty notes and almond joy. 

Flavors:
Cherries, Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk shake, roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, plums, choco flan, crème brulee, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, almond joy, banana notes, reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake, fudge cake, Kahlua, brown sugar and mild anise.

Aftertaste:
Roasty coffee lingers along with the sweet vanilla and caramel bourbon with the cherry and chocolate and finishing earthiness. No alcohol in the despite this thing is probably at 15% ABV after 4 years. A sense of smoothness with a sipping quality a thick almost syrupy mouth feel. Excellent!

Overall:
Right next to Mocha Wednesday is what this is, one of the best mocha chocolate coffee beers out there. After 4 years, it still grew into some great complex stuff. There was no doubt in my mind why this was my favorite in 2010 and the other years I tried it and certainly no doubt why even today, it doesn’t fail to amaze me. Sometimes, when it comes to beers, it is always best to remember where you started. I started trying different beers back then and if it wasn’t for this and beers like Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus 12abt, I might as well have missed out on Beer, the lost treasure of taste and art!!

Anime Corner:
Asmodeus from Shinrabansho is the daughter of Asutarotto from that same card series. Though she may be a demon, she is of pure heart, but though evil women be, this can be said for even the utmost good. She was used in the first pairing of art work that made me try out different beers. Her main relation to Black Xantus has to do with her colors which pair with the Black Xantus background of the Blue Moon and the blue night sky. Xantus, being the humming bird, she rises to impart the great flavors of complex dark fruits, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bourbon and more into the beer. In this pairing she is kicking back and relaxing. That is pretty much what happens after 4 years of just laying down. She gazes into the soul of those who court her and while she may seem seductive and sweet in nature (Like a Rose which the Xantus drinks) she will bring forth a dangerous smite! But… only because she loves you… So basically, be careful with Asmodeus, take her in a sip at a time and don’t take her head on, cuz after 4 years she may come back with vengeance. Cheers!

Apophatic by Monkish brewing

1962854_10101714194796850_1128585019_nRating: 5.5/5

Apophatic by Monkish brewing is a 12% ABV Belgian Quadrupel brewed with Orange Peels, Cinnamon, Coriander Seed & Fennel Seed.

Brewed along with Select Monk 2 for the 2nd anniversary of Monkish brewing, this beer is pretty limited and only sold at the brewery. I wanted to do a review of this special beer for several reasons. I love high ABV beers, Belgian Quadrupels are one of my most favorite styles, Strong Belgian Quadrupels are rare, Monkish makes great Belgian inspired beers and this is the first quadrupel. I have tried and reviewed the Anamoly, Belgian Strong Dark ale and the Seme De la Vita, Tripel made with Vanilla beans & Pistachios, but I think this was my favorite when I first tried it. The massive power house, unaided by food can case problems. I only drank 2 glasses and I was done for that night. So, to only bring forth the review today, I will only be doing this glass and that is it. Cheers to Monkish for finally releasing a Quadrupel. 

Aromas:
Lots of Dark fruits like raisins, plums, prunes, blue berries, cherries, currants, subtle cinnamon, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, blueberry muffin, port wine, clove spice, fennel, hints of orange and coriander. 

Flavors:
Blueberries, Raisins, figs, prunes, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, orange, coriander spice, licorice, anise, tart berries, fennel, coriander, raisin bread pudding, chocolate notes, port wine, oats, blueberry muffin, maple syrup, cherries, currants, cinnamon, mild bananas, clove spice, raspberries, rye, pecan pie and hint of rum.

Aftertaste:
Prunes, currants, blueberries, fennel, orange, coriander, caramel, vanilla,. The alcohol is present, but there is this smooth aspect to the beer but also a sipping quality. 

Overall:
Reminicing of that Unibroue Trois Pistoles, Montegioco Draco and The Lost Abbey Judgment Day ale. Damn perfect beer exceeding expectations by a small amount. Despite the ingredients used, there was more very dark and fruity flavors to this one. Several reasons why I really love this one and was the reason I picked this one up for review. I don’t think I have tried a close to blueberry flavored quad. This is quite the dangerous yet delicious beer which is a good reason to be careful with this one. 2 glasses and no food can equal the end of the night. Especially since the 8oz. Pours are very generous (Seem more like 12-16oz.) IF you get a chance to visit Torrance, stop on by and give this a go. 

Anime Corner:
Yoruichi Shihouin (Right) and Ryuko Matoi (Left) from Bleach and Kill La Kill were chosen in this special pairing to compliment the label (Yoruichi hair), the complexity of flavors (Ryuko with cherries and blueberries, dark fruits in her eyes, Yoruichi with orange and spices in her eye colors, hair and speaks of dark fruit raisins), the strength of ABV (Both supremely strong female characters), My favorite style, Quadrupel (2 of my favorite characters), Smooth but dangerous (Both travel at the ridiculous high speeds and attack without mercy if their friends are in danger), very warming and satisfying beer (Very caring and kind hearted despite Ryuko always being the tough girl and Yoruichi, well always being alluring). There are more things I can definitely say as to why it fits this beer, but I will leave it to you to see what else you think works great in this pairing.

Ryoko Fan Art by Jimbobox of Deviantart.com
Yoruichi Fan Art by rikamello-d72jj0w of deviantart.com

Select Monk 2 by Monkish Brewing

1900138_10101714121299140_939680222_n 1902861_10101714122167400_1771643167_nRating: 4.5/5

Select Monk 2 by Monkish Brewing is an 8.7% ABV Belgian Dubbel brewed with Figs.

Celebrating Monkish Brewing 2nd year brewing Belgian inspired beers, this was sold at the brewery and at the Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach. It isn’t often that Monkish is bottling their beers, but I figured I spread the word a bit by picking this up and doing a review for the fans. I have reviewed some of their other beers, especially the Seme De La Vita and others as well.

Aromas:
Dark fruits, raisins, plums, prunes, figs, cherry hints, dates, dulce de leche caramel, clove spice, stone fruits like apricot, peach, mild roasty coffee, mild banana, mild chocolate notes and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Peaches, apricots, figs, dates, raisins, caramel, mild cherry notes, plums, bananas, clove spice, mild roasted barley, tart berry, mild pecans, hazelnut, raisin bread pudding and earthy notes

Aftertaste:
Figs, earthy notes, raisins, tart berry and a bit of caramel. No alcohol in the taste with a moderate to sipping drinkability.

Overall:
A very good beer but best drunk at warm temperatures. I will admit, while this is delicious, I have tried other dubbels that were up to par or better. Nevertheless, this one I feel is definitely worth trying because it is what a very good example of this style is like. Delicious and sweet.

Anime Corner:
Pain (Animal Path) from the Naruto series was chosen for this pairing to compliment the colors of the beer but mainly the flavors and the monk like robe as well. She is a very powerful summer along with the other 5 paths of Pain. She can unleash many types of giants and indestructible entities. Like this beer which delivers a great amount of flavors. Her eyes tell the stories of the darkest and delicious fruits while her hair is spice of life. She is representative of the ever growing greatness that is Monkish and Belgian inspired beers and many more years to come. Cheers to Monkish!

Saison De Lente by the Bruery

1960084_10101705271095020_900169924_nRating: 4.25/5

Saison De Lente by the Bruery is a 6.5% ABV Farmhouse Ale/Saison.

Label:
SPRING TIDINGS

Golden in color with a fresh hoppiness and a wild and rustic Brettanomyces character, this saison of Spring is perfect for warmer weather and Easter celebration.

Our Spring Saison will evolve over time; clean and hoppy when fresh and drier, with earthy, wild notes when aged up to two years. 
___

So of the many Bruery beers that I have tried, this seasonal is one that I have yet to try. I wanted to get this one going before I miss the season. It is sold everywhere they sell the Bruery stuff and it is easy to find. So without further ado, on the review.

Aromas:
Peach notes, oranges, flowers, apricots, banana hints, peppercorns, clove spice, coriander, wet hay, farm house funk, lemon zest, biscuit bread, earthy hop notes, wheat bread and honey.

Flavors:
Peppercorns, flowers, citrus, mild mango, peach, bananas, lemon zest, clove spice, coriander, wet hay, earthy hops, honey, biscuit bread, wheat, mild caramel and vanilla.

Aftertaste:
Citrus peppercorn, wheat bread, lemon zest, bitter flowers and earhy hop notes. No alcohol in the taste, easy to moderate drinkability, crisp and refreshing.

Overall:
Very good Saison but not typically the best I have ever had. A very good example of the style with some very nice flavors. For me personally, since I have had other saisons like the Stillwater ones who primarily focus on saison, this like a nice gateway to the saison style.

Anime Corner:
Remelia Scarlet from Touhou project was used in this pairing because I wanted to show something that compliment’s this beer’s aspect of spring. The birth of the birds coming to life in the spring ready to take on the the work and being released from the eggs show case this instance. Some of the colors from Remelia also pair the beer label well too. Can you see any other cool things about this beer that works well?

Decadent (10th Anniversary Ale) by SKA Brewing

1969166_10101705267926370_751429334_n 69583_10101705267327570_1108879181_nRating: 5/5

Decadent (10th Anniversary Ale) by SKA Brewing is a 10% ABV Imperial India Pale Ale

Commercial Description: (skabrewing.com)
It’s a Celebration.

Imagine celebrating some huge, momentous occasion and then imagine drinking the liquid equivalent of that celebration every day.

Citrus aroma prevails. Mounds of fresh hops and caramel malts explode upon the palate. Originally produced to celebrate our tenth year in business, this Imperial IPA hides nothing of our tendency toward self-indulgent behavior.
___

Never have I seen an IPA with a wax covering. Most beers with wax I have seen involve some special reserve stuff. Damn, this must be special. Even more special, as my friend Aaron from www.beermetaldude.com hooked me up with this awesome brew exclusively from Durango Colorado. So basically, this review would not be here without his contribution and SKA Brewing for making this. This is my first SKA Brewing, and special release, beer for review and your reading pleasure.

Aromas:
Citrus, piney, grapefruit hops, honey, biscuit bread, caramel, floral notes, lavender hints, mango, passion fruit, pineapple hints, papaya, oranges, tangerine, prickly pears, toffee, peach notes and herbs.

Flavors:
Peach, caramel, oranges, piney, grassy, floral and grapefruit hops, mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, prickly pear, oranges, tangerines, papaya, melon, pineapple, toffee, hints of rye, biscuit bread, herbal notes and coriander hints.

Aftertaste:
Caramel, peach, grapefruit, herbal, dragon fruit honey, piney and flora hop linger. No alcohol in the taste which makes this great. A sipping beer with a medium mouth feel and some refreshing aspect.

Overall:
Damn, the best stuff I like from Imperial IPA, well, at least the tropical and caramel malted ones. This is perfect for those that like IPAs with a moderate amount of bite with some good hop profile and malty caramel support. The balance is simply great. If you are looking for a more herbal, garlicy, oniony type of IPA it has some minor elements to it. Still, Double IPAs are no joke. A 10% ABV awesome beer is no joke either. Great stuff from SKA and hope to try some of their other beers some day too. 

Anime Corner:
Stitches from Sengoku wars and Misaki Mei from the “Another” series were chosen to represent the Skeleton presenting himself and introducing himself to a beautiful lady bringing a bouquet of hop flowers. In this case, the artwork represents how much the skeleton cares for the lady and likewise as Stitches holds the the skeleton. This beer is a representative that love goes beyond the boundaries of death but also, good flavors like IPA that is past its prime can become a totally delicious beer. Not to say that this beer is not fresh, which it really is, but!! Good IPA sometimes end up becoming some good Barleywines. Remember that, beer is not about having the freshest as possible, but even if you don’t, having it now or a long time down the road, it means life is short, so enjoy the beer whenever you want regardless of time.

Coco Fizz by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Durango Soda company

1970611_10101703884568630_1243342809_nCoco Fizz by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Durango Soda company is a 0% ABV (Non-Alcoholic) Chocolate Craft Soda.

One of my favorite sodas that truly got me to try different sodas. I had tried this several years ago and had never done a small review on it. I don’t consider myself a craft soda expert but I will give my opinion on this one.

Aromas:
Cocoa, Chocolate Milk shake, cocoa powder, caramel, cola and Yoohoo.

Flavors:
Chocolate Milk Shake, Yoohoo, cola notes, caramel, mocha coffee notes and some mild artificial flavors.

Aftertaste:
Lots of sugar, chocolate, mocha left over. Moderately refreshing.

Overall:
Probably the best chocolate soda ever. I have not tried other chocolate sodas so it is hard to compare or say it is the best. One thing I will say, when drinking Pancho Pantera breakfast chocolate shake growing up at my grandmas, the chocolate flavor or milk shake was stronger when I was younger than today. This soda brought me back to those strong chocolate flavors of back then. So, yes, I highly recommend this soda.

Anime Corner:
The girls from High School of the Dead were chosen for this pairing mainly because when I first bought this beer in Iowa in 2011 when I visited my friend Steve, I bought the complete collection DVD and also this soda. I actually took a picture with the cover of the DVD next to the soda. So this pairing has more of a personal story to it than actual colors or flavors. Unless you want to say that the chocolate matches one of the girl’s hair then have at it .

Hellfighter & BBA 007 Hellfighter by Karbach Brewing (Dual Review Special)

1653680_10101696087728560_115194308_n 1234913_10101696084884260_1317327856_n 1979512_10101696088047920_2123118399_n 10007447_10101696088257500_1085991134_nSo today I bring you something very special. A Double Review! Courtesy, Suggestion, Donation and Gratitude to my friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com. It would not be possible to bring you a dual review if it wasn’t for these special gifts from from him. This is the second time I try Karbach and I am looking forward to this review as this is something that is going to involve a side by side tasting. I will separate my work individually and provide you the final verdict for both at the end. The rating has been set after at the end to show case my final thoughts for the beers individually. SO….. on to the the review and Cheers to my loyal readers, Aaron, and the good people at Karbach brewing company for making this a possibility.

HELLFIGHTER REVIEW
—————————
Hellfighter by Karbach Brewing is a 9.5% ABV Imperial Porter

Label:
Set your soul on fire

BLAZE ON!

From the depths of the earth leap flames of destruction. When time is of the essence, the Hellfighter boldly steps in the line of danger. Whether or not he’s insane is not important now. It’s with intensity and aggression that the Hellfighter taunts the blaze of almost certain doom.

Our Imperial Porter is much the same. Robust and black as oil, Hellfighter Imperial Porter, with roasted coffee and chocolate malt characteristics, finishes what it started. This explosion of flavors will extinguish even a Texas-sized penchant for boldness. Intense and maybe a little insane, drink carefully but drink often.
___

Aromas:
Dark chocolate molasses, caramel, smokey notes, coffee, dark fruit notes, waffle cone, vanilla, hints of hazel nut and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Dark chocolate, anise, smokey notes, molasses, caramel, vanilla, dark fruit notes, waffle cone, coffee, brown sugar, earthy hop notes, mild licorice notes, rye and hinting coriander spice.

Aftertaste:
Earthy hops, dark chocolate, mild coffee roast and anise. No alcohol in the taste. A full bodied sipping ale. 

Overall:
Very good porter indeed. It introduces a few new aspects from the average porter and that definitely has to be the complimenting anise and smokey factor that fuses very well with this one. Very good stuff out of Texas but if you have had a smokey porter before, this would probably be very similar. Still worth the taste ofcourse.

007 BBA HELLFIGHTER REVIEW
————————–
007 Hellfighter by Karbach Brewing is a 10.8% ABV World Class Imperial Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Label:
If you like darker, more robust ales and you also have a penchant for whiskey, you may have just reached the promised land. We took our Hellfighter Imperial Porter and aged it in bourbon barrels for several months. Alluring aromas of vanilla, chocolate and coffee give way to a rich, malty sweetness that slowly transitions to a silky, oaky finish. Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter is a special brew that is best enjoyed with hearty foods, decadent desserts or the finest cigars. Ready to drink now in a snifter-style glass at 45-50* F, this fine ale will also benefit from years of cellaring under proper conditions.
F.U.N. Series 007 2013
___

Aromas:
Holy toasted coconuts!! Wow!!, a big almond joy and bourbon fragrant beer. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, molasses, flan, crème brulee, caramel vanilla, oak, brown sugar, rocky road ice cream, mocha, roasted coffee, hazelnuts, roasted pecans, mocha, marshmallows, milk chocolate, graham crackers, mild smoke, fudge brownies, and chocolate cake.

Flavors:
Liquid Almond joys! Dark chocolate, toasted coconut, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, flan, oak, raisins, cherries, currants, molasses, anise, brown sugar, rocky road ice cream hazelnuts, roasted pecans, maple syrup, chocolate fudge brownies, campfire smoke, campfire smores with the chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, mocha, coffee and crème brulee.

Aftertaste:
Marshmallows, almond joy chocolate, coffee, earthy notes, caramel, smokey notes at the end. No alcohol whatsoever in the taste. Sipping drinkability and full mouth feel with a sense of smoothness as it goes down. Very nice!

Overall:
Exceeding the expectations of the original by a lot. Holy shit this is fucking good. It should be up there with the best barrel aged imperial stouts. This one is unique as the earthy hops and smokey goodness shines but does not intervene with the already built complexity. In fact, it complements the flavors. Highly recommended and definitely one of my top best beers from Texas. Thank you Aaron, this made my day brother!

—————————
Overall (Both Beers):
The choice is like night and day. Holy crap!! While they are both very good beers, the 007 beer is like like turning super saiyan for the first time. Another way of saying it is like saying your average Honda Accord suddenly turned into a Lamborghini Diablo. 

Anime Corner (Both Beers):
If Aya Brea from Parasite Eve does not fit the bill of both of these beers, I don’t know what would describe an agent, maybe not a spy, but she fits the bill, of a “Hellfighter” who faces off parasitic deformities. They may not come from Hell but they sure look like demons on earth. Crazy experimentations and self combustion people is nothing short of horror, and Aya is the one who can take them down. The original hellfighter is her in a night gown looking like the spy chick from Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The 007 Hellfighter one is the one that shows her as she is essentially evolving into something greater. That and the obvious “Sexy Fan Service=Delicious Beer”. The pictures where it is both beers shows Aya as she is surrounded by the parasite demon and the bloody chaos that she has to fight and endure. This is the first time I use Aya in my reviews, so this is a very special occasion for this awesome double review. Can you tell any other things that are awesome about this pairing?

Rating: 4.65/5* Hellfighter
Rating: 5.8/5* 007 Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter
1775_10101696088142730_1584227391_n

Woodchuck Cellar Series Hard Chocolate Cider by Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC

1660287_10101694367959990_1589952985_n 923497_10101694368538830_1802611447_nRating: 5/5* Cider Rating

Woodchuck Cellar Series Hard Chocolate Cider by Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC is a 6.9% ABV Apple Cider brewed with Cacao beans.

Label:
Woodchuck Cellar Series Chocolate features our original, small batch hard cider, complemented by cacao beans. The infusion of crushed cacao beans brings notes of artisan chocolate throughout the nose and taste of cider. A hint of caramel accompanies the full apple flavor with a dry finish. Cellar Series Chocolate is on of the most unique ciders we have ever crafted, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Cheers! 
John Matson Cider Maker
___

Another sweet pick up from the local beer store. Who would have thunk that there existed a chocolate cider. That is pretty crazy as the concept is quite, well, WTF? I love chocolate so this is a no brain-er for me. I had to bring this forth to the site for a review.

Aromas:
Chocolate, caramel, apples, peanut butter, cherry, vanilla, tootsie roll, butterscotch, and

Flavors:
Cherry, Milk Chocolate, Milk shake, peanut butter, caramel, apples, mild biscuit bread, butterscotch, tootsie rolls and cocoa crispies cereal.

Aftertaste:
Dry finish with a bit of lingering chocolate and mild peanut butter. No alcohol in the taste, very easy to drink and refreshing.

Overall:
This is freaking delicious, I ain’t gonna lie. I love Crispin ciders for their uniqueness but Woodchuck ciders has definitely stepped up their game here. This is is no joke, very good especially if you like chocolate and ciders. Almost reminds me of apple soda if it were mixed with the chocolate soda I had a while back. Get this one and give a try. You may or may not like it but just know, it is sweet as hell.

Anime Corner:
Saber from Fate Stay Night and Holo from Wolf and Spice were used in this pairing to compliment the label of the chocolate bars as being Saber’s chocolate armor but mainly the fusion of apple and chocolate that can be seen in the picture with Holo from Wolf and spice. It was very obvious I know but I figured this was the closest and most likely the best pairing to show case this delicious cider.

Endeavour IPA² (a.k.a Divine Reserve #11) by Saint Arnold Brewing of Texas

1922200_10101694364686550_1172912935_nRating: 5/5

Endeavour IPA² (a.k.a Divine Reserve #11) by Saint Arnold Brewing of Texas is a 8.9% ABV Double/Imperial India Pale Ale brewed with Simcoe, Centennial & Columbus hops.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (Ratebeer.com)
The color is deep amber with a light, creamy head. The nose starts off with a touch of citrus but then turns decidedly into peaches. The taste starts off with creamy malt resulting from the pale 2 row and caramel malts and Saint Arnold yeast. The hop bitter starts low then builds to a crescendo, but always maintains a balance even in its big finish. The hop flavor continues to be peaches, an interesting manifestation of the Columbus, Simcoe and Centennial hops. This is the first Divine Reserve that we have filtered. This decision was made to make the hop flavors brighter, plus it would have been a bottling nightmare with all the hop bits in it. This beer is best enjoyed at 45° or even a little warmer. Though the recipe and style indicate this beer to be enjoyed fresh, we expect this beer to develop interestingly over the years.
___

Special thanks to my good friend Aaron of http://www.beermetaldude.com for proving me my second ever, Saint Arnold beer. This is truly a treat once again as this one is another fine example of a great brewery which we don’t get their beer here in California. The beer I had before from them was very awesome. So to that, I say cheers, thank you SA for making this and thank you Aaron for hooking up a brother Cheers!!

Aromas:
Caramel, toffee, mango, dragon fruit, candied oranges, lemon, citrus, honey, Grapefruit, piney and grassy hops, tangerine, melon, orange preserves and rye.

Flavors:
Grapefruit preserves, piney and grassy hops, tangerine, mango, lemon, orange peel, rye bread, biscuit bread, melon, honey, dragon fruit, caramel, pepper spice, toffee, pineapple, cherry, hop oils, gummy bears and orange marmalade on a toast.

Aftertaste:
Caramel, toffee, grapefruit preserves, tangerines and piney hops. No alcohol in the taste. Medium body and moderate drinkability.

Overall:
Aside from the Tropical end of IPAs, my second love is the malty IPAs. This beer is great and it is a great example of the malty IPA variety. As a reserve series, this is something I would expect, higher ABV and more sweet delicious hop oils. Reminds me of 90 minute IPA almost. Very delicious IPA and definitely worth picking up, if you live in Texas that is. Hope maybe us Socal peeps will get it one day.

Anime Corner:
Original artwork by fangxian cuoluan is used in this pairing to represent the earth in the label of the beer. As the beer floats in space with its delicious flavors, it gazes at out existence to show the height of what delicious IPAs will go through. This beer reaches the height of IPA caramel and the rising sun so forth brings it delicious citrus and complexity. They say you can’t hear anything in space, but you can definitely taste it!!

Smokestack Series Chocolate Ale by Boulevard Brewing

1013345_10101694082327400_1405826777_n 1962754_10101694082701650_1729149984_n 1958463_10101694081204650_634359598_n IMAG6036Rating: 5/5

Smokestack Series Chocolate Ale by Boulevard Brewing is a 9.1% ABV American Strong Ale brewed with cocoa.

Label:
One of the brightest stars in a city filled with culinary treasures, Christopher Elbow has world wide reputation for handcrafted masterpieces. His sweets are distinguished by their use of unusual, sometimes surprising ingredients, and that adventurous spirit has left its print on this special ale. The aroma is given over to earthy, fruity, cocoa, with just a hint hops. Smooth layers of dark chocolate intertwine with threads of caramel, vanilla, and nutty malt as the flavor warms and rounds to a bitter sweet finish. 
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Picked this up at the local Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights California. Chocolate ales are something that definitely bring my attention. I cannot help it as they really are my favorite types of beers. Sometimes there is a Bias for chocolate beers in my reviews, but you can definitely tell. So take it with a grain of salt and try them for yourself to decide. As far as this beer goes, I was surprised by the color. This was not your typical dark beer.

Aromas:
Citrus, dark chocolate, rye bread, dark chocolate, caramel, very mild earthy hops, cinnamon, peanut butter, vanilla, bananas, clove spice, cocoa crispies cereal, hazelnut, pecans, tootsie roll, brown sugar and molasses.

Flavors:
Dark Chocolate, milk chocolate, champurrado flavor, bakers chocolate, caramel, candi sugar, cinammon, earthy spices, bananas, cloves, chocolate cake, peanut butter hints, rye bread, mild flan notes, cocoa crispies or cocoa puffs cereal, citrus, mild dark fruits, tootsie rolls and white chocolate.

Aftertaste:
Chocolate, mild bittering earthy hops in the finish but mainly cinnamon and caramel linger. No alcohol in the taste. A sipping beer with a medium mouth feel.

Overall:
A perfect beer but you definitely need to let it warm up to get richer chocolate flavor. It is very different at first because it falls somewhere between the colors of chocolate rain and white chocolate from the Bruery (Beer Color only). A light brown per say. The flavor is not as exceptional but it falls somewhere in the middle in terms of beer color because although I was expecting a darker beer, the lighter beer aspect still lets the chocolate shine in this beer which was very surprising. This beer is not specifically chocolate but you can tell chocolate is still there. My extra credit can only do so much for the chocolate in this beer but it may not be enough to exceed my expectations like other chocolate beers. Still recommended and worth a try.

Anime Corner:
Korra from the Legend of Korra was used in this pairing because while fits in the style of my favorite character, Yoruichi, I wanted to portray an in between chocolate and white chocolate type of beer. Her wearing the outfit from Kill La Kill shows the strength of the beer as it warms up. The more she shines the more she becomes powerful. Chocolate is sexy so she definitely shines in that aspect too . This is a rare release too so she is a very rare character sometimes in these reviews .

Local 1 by Brooklyn Brewery

1904161_10101692688460720_338863845_nRating: 5.2/5

Local 1 by Brooklyn Brewery is a 9% ABV World Class Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

Label:
In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we forge barley malt and hops from Germany, aromatic raw sugar from Mauritius and yeast from Belgium into our latest beer, Brooklyn Local 1. Behind the golden color, find a dynamic complex of flavors, Belgian flair, Brooklyn fortitude and a dusting of our special yeast after 100% bottle re-fermentation. Enjoy it locally or globally, as an aperitif or with your favorite dishes.
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This is my first beer from Brooklyn Brewery out in New York. This was very generous donation from my good friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com. Thanks again Aaron as we don’t get these beers here in California so it is awesome go get a chance to try this stuff. There is definitely a lot good things said about this beer for sure.

Aromas:
Lots of stone fruits like nectarines, peaches, apricots, peppercorns, biscuit bread, honey, guava, melon, citrus, oranges, lots of papaya, mango, tripel like caramel and candi sugars, herbal hops, coriander spice, pears, apples, vanilla, bananas, bubble gum and passion fruit.

Flavors:
Papaya, guava, peach, nectarines, lychee, citrus, oranges, passion fruit, honey dew melon, honey comb, biscuit bread, bananas clove and coriander spice, bubble gum, peppercorns, caramel, candi sugars, herbal and floral hops, flowers, lavender, apples, pears, vanilla, guava, pineapple, lemon and grapes.

Aftertaste:
Lingering stone fruit and tropical fruit goodness along with honey, biscuit bread and peppercorns. The alcohol is lightly hinting in the taste but the sweetness and herbal notes take over. A sipping yet refreshing and crisp beer.

Overall:
Damn!! This just beat my other ratings for top Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Although, Eschatological is delicious in its own right, this wins because of its increased amount of exotic fruitiness. Drinks almost like a Tripel, but this is no tripel. A definite recommend and a great first beer review. Awesome stuff!!

Anime Corner:
Matsumoto from Bleach was chosen for this beer to compliment the label colors and mainly the colors of the beer and the flavors. Yes she has big melons . Regardless though, she is a strong Soul Reaper in the show and uses abilities of ash that dissolve from her sword to disintegrate her opponents. Like the richness of the Belgian yeast forward, this beer beer can knock someone out.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer by Rahr & Sons

1620819_10101692608406150_137183940_nRating: 5.75/5

Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer by Rahr & Sons is a 9% ABV Winter Warmer aged in bourbon Barrels.

Label:
We take recently emptied bourbon barrels and refill them with our Winter Warmer English-Style Dark Ale. We then barrel age this majestic ale for 10 weeks. The result is a balanced, ambitious blend of dark malts and English hops.
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Amazing thanks to my good friend Aaron in Texas, ruler of www.beermetaldude.com who presented me with another great beer. This time, a style I have never even thought was possible. A winter warmer, aged in bourbon barrels. Although, Widmer did make a partial aged one but I am sure this one takes the cake.. Holy Shit! This is truly unique. It is an honor and a pleasure once again my friend to be able to bring this forth to our craft beer review fans. Cheers to you and Cheers to you readers. Thanks for reading.

Aromas:
Rich dark fruits like raisins, prunes, figs, dark chocolate, cherries, currants, all spice, ginger bread, fruit cake, vanilla, oak, coconut, hazelnut nectar, nutella, rye bread, dulce de leche caramel, raisin bread pudding, port wine notes, coffee cake and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Rich Dark Chocolate, Dark fruits like the prunes, raisins, cherries, currants, fruit cake, oak, bourbon, toasted coconut, rocky road ice cream, ginger, all spice, vanilla, choco flan, coffee cake, brown sugar, pecan pie, hazelnut, rye bread, dulce de leche carame, port wine, earthy hop character and Toffee.

Aftertaste:
Leaves with a coconut, raisin, chocolate, earthy hop and slight bourbon flavor. No alcohol in the taste. A sipping beer that is best enjoyed as alittle at a time.

Overall:
Exceptionally great. I think the extra cred definitely has to do with the rich chocolate flavors coming through along with the sweet bourbon, dark fruits and fruit cake and more. Amazing beer and one that is highly recommended if you can get it. Thank you once again Aaron, this was truly something very special. Cheers!

Anime Corner:
Tenryuu from Kancolle/Kantai Collection was chosen in this pairing to represent the winter and dark fruit flavors of the beer. Her eyes compliment the color of the label as she carries a sword of chocolate which strikes your senses like a pleasure train. Careful though, while she may be something that you may want to consume right away as she tries to seduce you, she will strike with her chocolate vengeance. Can you see any other things that compliment this pairing?

Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA by Stone Brewing

1979513_10101691217952630_164907757_nRating: 5/5

Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA by Stone Brewing is an 8.2% ABV Double India Pale Ale brewed with grapefruit peels.

Label:
Stochasticity

There is no happenstance or coincidence. Dumb fuck is a fallacy and randomness a commonly accepted mistruth. Much of what seemingly falls into place and seems so natural is a result of Stochasticity, a concept embraced and exalted by this special and unpredictable series of beers, where exotic notions, ingredients and ideas coalesce at an interesting and often unexpected endpoint.

India pale ales harness the inherent flavor characteristics of hops to bring forward familiar flavors of pine, resin, spice, and citrus. In some cases, those botanicals are so potent, they exactly mirror specific edibles. Such is the case with Centennial hops, which hail from the Great Northwest and come across on the palate like a mouthful of citrus fruit. That sensation is amplified with this, the first beer introduced via the Stochasticity Project–a double IPA brewed with Centennial, Chinook and Magnum hops as well as an immense dosing of fresh grapefruit peel. The result is over-the-top bittersweet grapefruit intensity that is at once refreshing and bracing in its citrusy bitterness.
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Picked this up at the local store. I know this beer came out pretty recently and it is the first of Stone’s Stochasticity project. This is basically Stone Ruination with grapefruit peels. I already enjoy Stone Ruination for what it is, so to have this, let’s see what it does to the Golden Standard of IPAs.

Aromas:
Grapefruit, piney, herbal, floral and grassy hops, caramel, honey, pepper, spices, garlic, onion, biscuit bread, citrus, hop oil, mild mango flavor and slight tropical fruits.

Flavors:
Herbal hop notes, orange, lemon and grapefruit peel, citrus, grapefruit juice, citrus, lemon zest, squirt soda notes, mild mango, caramel, biscuit bread, garlic, onion, spices and passion fruits.

Aftertaste:
Grapefruit, herbal and piney hop resin lingering for a bit along with lemon zest and biscuit notes. No alcohol in the taste. Easy to moderate drinkability with some crisp and refreshing aspects.

Overall:
A damn good DIPA with more of a herbal,citrus and spicy flavors more than the tropical fruits rising. I recommend worth trying especially since it is Ruination. Although, this is more grapefruit forward and what they were going for did actually come forth. So in that aspect, recommended and worth a try. In terms of Ruination though, it is only a slight step up from Ruination but not rating wise. I think it this taste a lot like Ruination but with a great grapefruit increase. Some may or may not notice.

Anime Corner:
Asuka Langley Shikinami Soryu was used in this pairing mainly to show case the flavors and the label. The label reminds me of Tron with their cyber space suits. Asuka is wearing a NERV plug suits with lights reminiscent of the colors or the label. Her colors represent that of grapefruit flavors, lots of citrus and the ruination bitterness is represented by her moody attitude. Yes, she is moody at times and bitter. But she is also sweet as hell.

2012 Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Alesmith

1780896_10101691111371220_926055113_n 1911609_10101691110507950_886143519_n 10001516_10101691105972040_729515033_nRating: 5.75/5

2012 Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Alesmith is a 10% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale aged in Red Wine Barrels.

Label:
This Belgian-Style Ale has been matured in American and French Oak Barrels for a year to add layers of complexity to its rich flavor profile of dark fruit and Belgian caramel malts. The oak and red wine flavors by the barrel-aging process blend seamlessly with subtle hints of raisin, plum, and bitter-sweet chocolate from the beer. Enjoy now or continue to age in a cool, dark place. Serve in a goblet at 50-55%
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Obtained this one through a donation to the site. This is the 3rd Barrel-aged beer I try from Alesmith, being that the best one was the Kopi Luwak Bourbon Speedway Stout. A chance to try one of my favorite beers from them in barrel aged form and bring it forth to you guys is an honor. Hopefully it is good enough for a recommendation, although I can already tell you, it will be since I loved the regular grand cru.

Aromas:
Very rich red wine grapes, chardonnay, port wine, merlot, oak, dark fruits like figs, raisins, prunes, plums, currants, cherries, raspberries, cranberries, Dulce de leche caramel, dates, leather notes, vanilla, bourbon hints, milk chocolate, coconut, pecan and hazelnut pie, cloves, bananas in caramel, toffee, butterscotch, candi sugars, brown sugar, peaches, apples and apricots.

Flavors:
Lots of dark fruits like figs, prunes, raisins, plums, currants, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, dulce de leche caramel, flan, brown sugar, port wine, red wine, merlot, leather, milk chocolate hints, bananas, clove spice, vanilla, bourbon like notes, coconut, oak , pecan pie, hazelnut cream, butterscotch, rye bread, rock candy, candi sugar, peaches, pears, apples, apricots, good wine and cheese party and lychee.

Aftertaste:
Dark fruits, caramel, wine notes, oak, tart fruits and slight buttery rye. No alcohol in the taste yet has a smooth character which is kind of dangerous as I can easily try to finish such a good thing in one sittings. Savor her as much as you, she will love you for it or feel the full wrath.

Overall:
Exceeding the expectations of its predecessor, the Alesmith Grand Cru, providing even richer fruitier flavors along with more caramel and candi sugars. I already loved their Grand Cru, but this is taking it to a whole new level with the oak wine characteristics that already bring something very interesting to the table. Especially since most Grand Crus already have an aspect of wine aging. This is not sour in any way and really is an incredible beer.

Anime Corner:
Milla Maxwell is back from the original review to show case the power of the beer in a form of complex flavor and strength animated by her ultimate powers. The fire, earth, water and air elements are a way to artistically show the improvement in the variety of flavors that this beer has. Especially after it aged for 2 years. In the picture where the guy tries to break her out shows that the beer has matured well and is ready to take on. Either that or he just wants to get her now. Regardless, she is damn stronger, maybe not ABV wise, but flavor wise for sure. Any other pairing ideas you can see in these pictures?