The Planets Series Mercury The Winged Messenger by Bell’s Brewery

11074635_10102497934680840_5200143986684799352_o 11078197_10102497935030140_1870018539691958499_nRating: 3.75/5

The Planets Series Mercury The Winged Messenger by Bell’s Brewery is a 4.8% ABV Belgian Single/Pale Ale

Label:
This is one of the seven part series inspired by Gustav Holst’s musical composition, “The Planets.” Strap in and embark on a flavor tour of our solar system- in the order of Holst’s piece. Mars to Neptune.

==Introduction==

I obtained this one at QualityLiquorstore.com. This is technically the first time I tried Bell’s brewing beers and I was intrigued at the fact that this was a Belgian style beer. Bell’s beers are very rare in California so to see these, I was quite intrigued. That and the fact that they use the planets as an inspiration for the set are very well themed. So let’s explore this planetary beer and hope to see more in the future.

Aromas:
Waffle cone, citrus, peppercorns, biscuit bread, vanilla hints, honey, lemon peel, grapes, pilsner grains, cereal grains, phenolic hints of banana, mild clove spice, bubble gum hints citrus peel and pears.

Flavors:
Biscuit bread, peppercorns, phenolic notes of banana, mild clove spice, grassy and floral hops, rich honey, lemon peel, citrus peel, spicy coriander spice, bubble gum, barnyard hay, cereal grains, pears and grapes.

Aftertaste:
Peppercorns, citrus, lemon peel, earthy, floral and grassy hops finish with some honey biscuit bread. No alcohol in the taste, crisp and refreshing mouthfeel, easy to drink and clear gold body.

Overall:
A pretty good Belgian beer. It is border-lining the sessionable style. I feel like I have had something similar before. Oh yeah, a lot of the Belgian Golden ales seem to be like this one. While I do prefer the other ones, this one is very drinkable. I guess I enjoy stronger beers but this is very drinkable for those that enjoy light Belgian style beers. Good stuff if you can find it.

Anime Corner:
Amy Mizuno/Anderson also known as Sailor Mercury from the Sailor Moon series was used in this pairing since I wanted to pair her name with that of the beer and comparison. Since Mercury is the winged messenger of the gods, Amy represents this well with her flying attire and wings. Definitely one of the easiest pairings in mind.

Sources:
http://static.zerochan.net/Sailor.Mercury.full.1797888.jpg

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Limited Edition Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat by Anheuser-Busch

1506621_10102420679979880_8309647112701965031_nRating: 3.6/5

Limited Edition Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat by Anheuser-Busch is a 5.2% ABV Belgian-Style Wheat Ale brewed with spices and Caramel Malt and With Artificial Flavor added.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Just in time for National Pretzel Day on April 26, Shock Top has united the classic taste of a crisp, cold beer and warm, bakery-fresh pretzels in its newest brew, Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat. The brewer today announced the limited-edition beer, a Belgian-style unfiltered wheat ale that delivers the delicious taste and aroma of fresh pretzels, will be served up at beer festivals nationwide—and available on draught at select locations.

==Introduction==

I was able to get this beer when I went to visit my friend at a party. I would have liked to get this if they had it on a 6 pack but for now they only sell this in 12 pack. While many may see these beers as the “crafty” kind, I personally think that if it tastes good then it should be a good beer. I have tried several Shock Top varieties and the majority of them are average at best but every now and again there are some gold ones. There are some that are just plain no good which I have stated before. So regardless of where the beer comes from, if I like it, I will review it. Cheers!

Aromas:
Salted Buttery Pretzel, Caramel popcorn, sourdough bread, biscuit bread, cereal grain, hints of apple, brown sugar and maple hints.

Flavors:
Caramel, Vanilla, salted pretzel notes, buttery caramel popcorn, sourdough bread, cola hints, biscuit bread, apples, cinnamon toast cereal hints, maple hints, banana notes, hazelnut hints and clove spice hints.

Aftertaste:
Cinnamon Cereal grains, pretzel hints, buttery caramel and hazelnut hints. No alcohol in the taste, light mouth feel, easy to drink and medium brown body.

Overall:
A Pretty decent beer. They nailed some aspects of the pretzels as well as other flavors relating to the pretzels such as the caramel. Shock Tops is not my favorite type of beer, but so far this one, the Shocklate and the Applecrisps are my favorite. This one is worth a try but not worth having to buy a whole 12 pack just to get it. Unless you have a party, then maybe it will work.

Anime Corner:
Embodiment of Pretzel and beer original art work was the obvious reason I chose the pairing. Nothing too complex as the colors and the representation of the pretzel and the beer are there to compliment the beer flavors, the label and so forth.

Sources:
http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2013/349/b/d/pretzel_and_beer_by_classicnightmare-d6y0py9.jpg

2014 Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale by Unibroue

1476031_10102260548205240_5752277679111153271_n 10750398_10102260550355930_873715226710888547_oRating: 4.8/5

2014 Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale by Unibroue is a 9% ABV Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with Spices and Natural Flavors.

Label:
Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ale with character.

Our Vintage Ale is a rich, dark and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It’s ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by. Keep the bottle upright in storage.

Brewed with a delicate balance of noble hops, Roasted malts and spices, this is a remarkably smooth ale with a wonderfully complex finish. It is best served slightly chilledaround 53 degrees Fahrenheit and pairs exceptionally well with grilled salmon steaks, curried lamb, beef or tuna au poivre. Crafted and bottled exclusively for Trader Joe’s

==Introduction==

Trader Joe’s is not a typical store I usually visit as it is nowhere near my home. That and the fact that I usually go to other shops to get special beers. My friend Richard told me about this beer at the Trader Joe’s and advised that this one would be good to try. Trader Joe’s has always had good selection according to Richard. I can definitely vouch for that as he used to work for them back when craft beer was hardly in the major stores but now see them more often. So since I really like Unibroue, I definitely had to see what this one was about. So here we go, cheers!

Aromas:
Dark fruits like raisins, figs plums, dark cherry, vanilla, coffee, phenolic notes, dark candi sugars, brown sugar, port wine notes, stone fruit hints like apricots, pears, apples, dulce de leche caramel, oats, molasses, anise, and cola notes.

Flavors:
Dulce de leche caramel, Coffee, Oats, molasses, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, dark cherries, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, port wine, cola notes, candi sugars, anise, raisin bread pudding, bananas, clove spice, pears, apricots, apples, grapes, pecan pie, phenolic notes, rum hints and wheat bread.

Aftertaste:
Dark fruits linger along with port wine notes, stone fruit hints, candi sugar and coffee. No alcohol in the taste, smooth and creamy mouthfeel, moderate drinkability and pitch black body.

Overall:
This is a very good Belgian Dark Strong reminding me of some of Unibroue’s best, like Trois Pistoles. This taste similar to Trois Pistoles but not as through as that one. I still think it is a great ale and you should try it if you happen to stop by a Trader Joe’s. However, if you don’t get the chance, just go with Unibroue’s other beers as those are more widely common and just as great if not way better. A great Belgian beer none the less.

Anime Corner:
Irisviel von Einzbern and Saber from Fate Zero were used in this pairing to represent the collaboration of Trader Joe’s and Unibroue. Unibroue is Irisviel and Trader Joe’s is Saber. Together bring about an awesome Belgian style that reminds me a lot of Trois Pistoles. As you can see this fits since they are inside what appears to be an abbey or a church or even monastery. The darkness in their eyes and colors represents the Belgian arts of great Dark Strong Ales with the fruity complex. Not too bad for some bad ass collaborations.

Sources:
http://tp.hellodm.cn/data/attachment/forum/201301/10/210543bvvvhvvyvlhw0vmy.jpg

Big Experimental Brew Batch No. 1 by Texas Big Beer Brewing

10710847_10102150694522900_6397128181054165273_nRating: 5.75/5

Big Experimental Brew Batch No. 1 by Texas Big Beer Brewing is an 11.4% ABV Belgian Quad/Belgian Golden Strong Tripel hybrid.

Commercial Description/Lab Notes:
This is our first big experiment to make it on the shelves. This beer is a Big Belgian style beer with all the traditional flavors you expect from fermenting a beer with Belgian style yeast. It is basically a cross between a “Belgian Triple” and a “Belgian Golden Strong.” If you had to force it into a single style it would most resemble a “Belgian Quad” or even bigger! This beer pours a rich golden color and has a rich, sweet malt flavor and a full body mouthfeel. This beer is brewed with a crazy amount of amber Belgian candi syrup which gives it the golden color and really influences the flavor.

With an ABV North of 11% this beer should be respected!

Statictics:
ABV – 11.2%
IBU – 44
SRM – 7.4
___

At an even more special time, this special experimental beer came from my friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com who advised this was very great beer. I was not sure what to expect and felt pretty honored to try an ‘experimental beer’ especially one that was made in Texas. This is my first beer from Texas Big Beer Brewing company and already I can see that they like to brew some Big Beers as this Big Experiment has a Big ABV at 11%. The fact that this one is a Quad!? Say no more and let us get on with the review.

Aromas:
Dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, bananas, clove spice, rock candy, dark candi sugar, piloncillo sugar cone, brown sugar, pecan pie, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, dates, dark cherries, pecan pie, hazelnut, maple, peppercorn, leather, peach cobbler, toasted rye bread with butterscotch, apples and stone fruit like apricots and mango.

Flavors:
Rich piloncillo sugar cone, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, stone fruits like mango, peaches, apricots, apples, dragon fruit, raisin bread pudding, vanilla, pecan pie, honey dew melon, peppercorn, bananas, clove spice, biscuit bread, brown sugar, peach cobbler, rock candy, dark candi sugar, toasted rye bread with butterscotch spread, Danish cream, honey, dulce de leche caramel, maple, leathery hints and chocolate hints.

Aftertaste:
Banana notes, dark fruit, stone fruit, caramel, vanilla, maple, piloncillo sugar and peppercorn. No alcohol in the taste, a sipping beer with an almost silky mouthfeel and an amber gold clear to medium body.

Overall:
Damn!! For being my first Texas Big Beer brew, and an experimental recipe at that, this one was mind blowing. Quads and Belgians are some of my favorite beers and this one knocked out my critique out of the park. It is freaking delicious as the blend of the Tripel and the Golden Ale style somehow drinks like if it was a quadrupel. It is insane how the alchemy turns this into a special magic potion.

Anime Corner:
Original art work by imp (sksalfl132) was used to present the hybrid monster that was unleashed by the experimentation of a Tripel and a Golden Ale. While the scientist was not prepared to show how delicious this monster was gonna be, she could only cry at the awesomeness of it. This is one powerful beer.

Sources:
http://pic46.nipic.com/20140821/15189307_120309280834_2.jpg

Fire and Blood by Game of Thrones and Ommegang

1620846_10101751436015150_8935607891703896654_n 1897939_10101751436154870_961945630627279930_n 970929_10101751436783610_2712889037812797926_nRating: 4.4/5

Fire and Blood by Game of Thrones and Ommegang is a 6.8% ABV Belgian Red Ale brewed with Ancho Chilies

Label:
Born of fire, like Daenerys’ dragons, this ale’s deep, dark-red hue evokes their every blazing breath. Sweet Malts succumbs wispy dryness, tinged with nutty spelt, spicy hops, and rye as ancho chilies portend piquant dark fruit.
___

The third installment to the Game of Throne series of beers. While I don’t necessarily watch the show, I do love Ommegang beers and usually, they don’t disappoint. So when I heard of this red ale, I definitely wanted to try it to see what it is about. It may give some incites into some similar beers I may have had before. The one thing too about this ale though is that it is a Belgian style red and with chilies. The last time I had a Belgian beer with chilies was the Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11. Now that was very good. I will have to see how this one relates.

Aromas:
Honey, banana, cloves, peppercorns, floral hops, subtle hints of pepper spice, musty farmhouse hay, dark fruit, figs, peach, rye, apricot, apples, honey, caramel, toffee and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Caramel, dark fruit raisins, banana cloves, cherry, peppercorns, subtle chile pepper spice, stone fruit, peach, apricot, rye, toffee, apples, honey, pecans, figs, floral hop notes, waffle cone, farmhouse hay, musty notes and brown sugar.

Aftertaste:
Caramel, toffee, honey and peppercorns linger. No alcohol in the taste. Moderate drinkability with medium mouthfeel.

Overall:
A very good Belgian Red with very good flavors. It is not too strong in the chile department and seems more of a supportive role for some of the sweet flavors which are also balanced by the hops and spices. Gimmick or not, this is a good beer but is not as close to the vertical epic. As a Belgian beer, it is great and I am a sucker for good decent Belgians. However, Ommegang offers some other great beers and you can definitely find a more appealing Belgian beer if you enjoy the different styles. This beer is worth a try at least once. This beer won’t age though as it is a 6% ABV but then again, who knows. I think this beer would pair well with a spicy plate as some of the chiles might actually start to come out more.

Anime Corner:
Original art from Dragon’s Crown, Original art from Crooz and original artwork by coffee cat were used in this pairing to represent the awesome dragon labels used in each of the Game of throne beers. Show casing these especially since this is a beer art website, I felt it was important to bring some of those dragon characters into focus but as well as display the fire and blood aspect of the beer in terms of the colors. There is a lot that can be said about these pieces of art which I am sure maybe obvious but you are more than welcome to let me know what you like seeing in these.

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!

Trickster by Midnight Sun Brewing

1378043_10101456510238770_808445350_n 1380009_10101456509595060_1522225064_n 1391845_10101456510333580_1177106462_nRating: 4.23/5

Trickster by Midnight Sun Brewing is a 7% ABV Belgian Ale brewed with Pumpkins and Spices

Label: 
OK, what do you get when we toss pale malted barley, pumpkin and spices into a stainless steel cauldron then stir in some magic? Trickster! 

The “magic” is actually mischievous Belgian yeast at play. This spooky cool brew will make your glass glow bright despite the gloominess of the season. So… U wanna fool around?
___

Trick or Treat? Which one is the better beer? The Belgian Pumpkin or the Pumpkin stout? Never heard of a second pumpkin release from Midnight Sun, especially a pumpkin beer made with Belgian yeast. This I definitely had to try. 

Aromas are a lot like Tripel, peach, candy sugars, plums, herbal notes, floral notes, biscuit bread, dulce de leche caramel, cloves and pepper. It also has some of the nice pumpkin notes in there, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger bread, all spice, rye and barley

The flavors are definitely along the lines of a Tripel but with pumpkin and spices. Pumpkin, rich peppercorns, rye bread, caramel, apricot, plum, cinnamon, apples, pear, clove spice, coriander, nutmeg and ginger bread

Aftertaste is malty, spicy, earthy, peppery and sweet. A moderate sipping beer. Balance is average to below average.

Overall it is a pretty good beer but not at being a pumpkin beer. This seems to do well in the beginning but the balance of pumpkin and Tripel only work for a short period of time. It leans more towards a tripel than anything and the pumpkin fades. Better than other pumpkin beers but still not a pumpkin beer and the flavors only for for an instant and fade into something else. I would recommend giving this a try once as it works as a Belgian Tripel a little better than pumpkin. Although it does get better as it warms up. I liked Midnight Sun over this one, so much that I had it twice. This one should be a one timer though just to say you had a Belgian Pumpkin beer.

Anomaly by Monkish Brewing

1186090_10101340748965290_1613237542_nRating: 4.8/5

Anomaly by Monkish Brewing is a 8.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale made with oats and wheat

Description: 
A strong, dark ale with tastes of chocolate, caramel, and dark stone fruits along with a silky mouthfeel from oats and wheat.
___

This is the first time I do a review for a draft only beer. Monkish is a pretty new brewing company in the city of Torrance California (Los Angeles county) specializing primarily in Belgian style ales. They have been active creating many different beers using many unique ingredients such as hibiscus, rose hips, pistachios, vanilla beans, Sichuan peppercorns, elder flowers, chamomile and many more. They mainly distribute kegs locally and other parts of the state so trying their beers might be difficult to find. Hopefully if you live in the south land part of California, you may want to give their beers a go. 

Aromas of the anomaly are of dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits like plums, raisins, cinnamon, port wine, slight cola notes, candi sugars, caramel and raisin bread

Flavors are of plums, dark chocolate, figs, raisins, mocha coffee, slight oak, wine notes, cola, molasses, anise, licorice, brown sugar, caramel and hints of banana and cloves.

The aftertaste remains with some notes of plums and figs and raisin bread. The booze is not present in the taste and gives a warm feeling after every taste. Also, it is quite smooth for a Dark Belgian.

I love dark Belgian beers and this one, aside from their new beer Seme Della Vita, is one of my favorites from this brewery. Reminds me of some of the good Dark Belgian flavors from beers like Trois Pistoles. They only recently started putting this one in growlers. So if you are ever in Los Angeles Area, check out Monkish Brewing, definitely a unique set of beers. 

Site: http://www.monkishbrewing.com/beers/

La Trappe Bockbier by Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven

994519_10101265122745840_1887007567_n1013600_10101265124317690_767718593_nRating: 4.9/5

La Trappe Bockbier by Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven is a 7% ABV Trappist Bock

Label: 
La Trappe Bockbier is a unique seasonal product, available from autumn onwards. the only Trappist bock and what is more, one that continues to ferment in the bottle. A beautiful deep red colour with a light, bitter aftertaste. 
___

It has been a very long time since I reviewed a beer from La Trappe. The last one I reviewed was their quadruple which was amazing. La Trappe being one of the 8 registered Trappist breweries in the world makes simply exquisite beers. According to Beer advocate, this is the best beer in its style. The Bock style was brewed in German Monasteries to pass the lenten fasts but some believe it was brewed during the month of Capricorn and so many Bock styles always have the goat association with it. It was used as a symbol of better times going from winters into the spring.

Aromas are of figs, raisins, dulce de leche caramel, toffee, hazelnuts, chocolate, brown sugar and rye bread.

Holy crap, you the flavors are borderline quad but with rich German malt aspects. Dark fruits like raisins, dates, dulce de leche caramel, rich toffee, banana, clove spice along with rye, pecans, hazelnut nectar, chocolate, raspberries, apricot, cinnamon and brown sugar.

This goes down very well. The mouth feel is rich even for a 7% ABV. Lots of malty sweetness, toffee and caramel in the aftertaste. This bock is very good. I think I liked it because of it s quad like elements. It is made by Trappist so you definitely cannot go wrong with this one. All I have to do now is find a 750ml of this.

Palmero by Hangar 24

971536_10101182706383890_2022236916_n 734187_10101182710485670_1241422919_n 205518_10101182708165320_399920245_nRating: 5/5

Palmero by Hangar 24 is 7% ABV Local Fields Series Dubbel brewed with Dates

Label: 
Named after the skilled laborers who tend the date palms from the Coachella Valley. The delicate sweetness of dates brings out the fruity esters of the Belgian yeast, producing flavors of caramel, raisin, rum, and spice. This rich, dark beer can be enjoyed now or reserved to deepen its wonderful flavors and aromas.
___

Here is another release from the Hangar 24 Local Fields series. This one was released in April and it is their Belgian Dubbel inspiration ale. First time trying it and pretty exited about it too.

Aromas of this beer start off with strong scents of dates, caramel, raisins, cherries, capirotada raisin bread pudding, cinnamon, spices, rum hints, some bananas, toffee, bubble gum, candi sugars and a slight coca cola fragrance. The flavors are rich like a lot of the Belgian beers I enjoy. It actually has some nice quad flavors even if it is a dubbel. You get dulce de leche caramel, bananas, raisins, toffee, dates, bubblegum, slight coriander citrus, apricots, cherries, molasses, slight rum and coke flavor, raisin bread pudding and pecans. The local fields series has had a very nice array of beers. This is no different and is very delicious. Although somewhat clear, the mouth feel is not too heavy making this one nice and well drinkable. I would like to say that this one is a lot like the Doppel Dubbel from He’brew but more smooth. I really like Doppel Dubbel, but this one is smooth and drinkable and still has some great flavors.

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale

8947_10101113148099250_2146186661_n 559164_10101113151492450_1823794525_n 575657_10101113150953530_1818817387_nRating: 4.8/5

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale is 6.9%ABV Belgian India Pale Ale.

Label: 
The name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA” both begs a question, and answers it at the same time. It begs the “what exactly is that?” question, and then answers it: “Stone” designates this ale as one brewed by the Stone Brewing Co., “Cali” hints that it is a California-style IPA (which all of our IPAs are, as Stone is certainly one of the best known progenitors of the West Coast IPA style), and finally, it has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population say the word “Belgian”…the Dutch-speaking Belgians say “België”*). “IPA” of course stands for “India Pale Ale”—but this label is not the time nor place to delve into that storied history. Of course, there is the implicitly posed and as yet unanswered question of what exactly the Belgian/Belgique/België influence is. And “yeast” is the answer. We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the ale that is otherwise ostensibly and simply Stone IPA. This is a yeast that showcases Stone IPA from a completely different angle. The result is both completely new and different, while still being altogether recognizable as a Stone brew, an IPA, and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

Now, all grown up and standing next to each other, they look the same…yet different. We’d say the Belgian one sounds a bit funny when it talks, but yeast and ale being decidedly non-verbal (except through you), that’s not literally the case. Their aromas have some similarities, but the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA is decidedly a bit more, shall we say, aromatically funky. (No, we are not saying that Belgians smell funny…we didn’t say or imply that at all in any way…no angry cards or letters please…really, some of you people simply have too much time on your hands!) All in all, we find it all quite fascinating. But we’re brewers, and that’s the way we think. You might find it merely delicious. We, as brewers, most certainly do too, actually. And so…C’est avec le grand plaisir que nous le présentons vous! / Het is met geweldig genoegen dat wij het naar u voorstellen!

* Even though yeast cells are non-verbal, and arguably have no firm affiliation that shows preference for either the Flemish or the Walloons, we don’t want to accidentally misrepresent the little buggers. As such, approximately 50% of the Stone Cali-Belgian IPA bottles are labeled “Cali-Belgique” and the other half “Cali-België.” We at the Stone Brewing Co. respect both cultures highly and equally.
___

The last time I tried this beer was at a Bev and more tasting special in 2011. I thought it was awesome but I really haven’t had a chance to grab it and sit down with it. When I went to the Stone Company Store in Pasadena California I decided to grab a glass. I was very surprised because this reminded me so much of the As Follows Eschatological Ale by Stillwater Artisanal. The aromas of this beer are simple amazing. Strong Belgian sweet and honey bread fragrance with a lot of herbs, spices, peppercorns, minor grassy, piney and grapefruit hops some tropical fruit like pineapple and mango as well as oranges, cloves, and lemon. The flavors are of nice herbs, honey, pepercorns, cloves, coriander, Italian basil spice, bubblegum, orange, lemon, mango, pineapple, apricots, honey, french bread, some slight grape sourness, grapefruit, slight grassy and piney hops but mainly herbal and floral notes.This one is almost like the Saison du Buff too. The flavors are better on tap. Hence the reason I got a growler of this to go. Better as fresh as possible, but even if not, the Belgian side takes over to address even more complexity. So choose wisely 😛

Shock Top Lemon Shandy by Anheuser-Busch, Inc

522506_10101081148646410_1832126437_nRating: 2.5/5

Shock Top Lemon Shandy by Anheuser-Busch, Inc is a 4.2% ABV Belgian Style Wheat beer brewed with spices and with natural lemonade flavor added.

Label:
Belgian-Style wheat beer brewed with spices and with natural lemonade flavor added.
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I have only had a chance to try a small amount the shock top varieties. While some of them are liked by many, some more taste minded individuals would probably say there is better out there and not to mess with faux craft. I for one think that when there is a much more better variety out there, there will still be those alternatives that will still be available especially in the non-craft beer market. Meaning if they got nothing else other than lager, then that is when this stuff comes available. While Shock top is better on tap than on bottle, I figure I review this one as I have not had a chance to try it. I am also more open minded with just about any beer. Someones gotta do it right 🙂 Besides, beer is beer and no should say no to beer.

The aromas are lemony, citrus and pilsnery. Not a lot of wheat and bready fragrance and below some of the other shock top beers. Almost smells like grains in lemon juice. The flavor is actually better than the smell. There are is flavors of lemon, citrus, slight breadyness, lemon heads candy, slight coriander and grassy grains. The beer says summer all over but I would definitely go with another choice. While it is subpar, it is still a better beer than some of the soulless stuff out there. I like sweet stuff if someone offered while nothing else was available, definitely drink it. It is not completely bad which is pretty good. Although I would say this one taste more like a Mikes but with hardly any sugar and more bitterness from the lemons.

Decadence 2012 Anniversary Ale by Ale Smith Brewing

317988_10100989000392250_1238405132_nRating: 5/5

Decadence 2012 Anniversary Ale by Ale Smith Brewing is a 12%ABV Belgian Quadruple Ale. Right below The Cloak of St. Martin 13% ABV, this is the strongest quad I have ever tried. Each year, decadence is a different beer style. This year pays tribute to the Belgian Monasteries and their age old brewing methods for Holy Beers 

Label:
Alesmith Decadence Anniversary Ale was originally brewed in 2005 to celebrate our first decade in business. Our brewers had such a great time creating it that they decided to brew a new style each year to commemorate our anniversary.

Now, seventeen years after we started, we’re proud to present another great addition in this ongoing series. AleSmith Decadence® 2012 is a big Belgian-style quadruple ale. A variety of Belgian malts impart notes of bread and ripe fruit with subtle hints of cloves and molasses. Its creamy mouthfeel is balanced by a rich, full-bodied finish. This rare offering is meant to be savored and will age nicely.
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Get this one while it is still out there. Belgian Quads or Quadrupel ales are some of my all time favorite beers being fermented 4 times to release a world of complexity that truly creates a world class style of beer. The aromas of the Decadence the the similar dulce de leche caramel, raisin bread, dark fruits and candied sugars like other quads. However, Decadence seems to offer some more aromas. From what I can tell, I gather some ginger bread, fruit cake, cherries, cinnamon and banana cloves. Almost Christmasy in a way. The flavors are pretty much like the name. So decadent and delicious. WOW… first sip and It was a just a bit more than the fragrances gave into. Dulce de leche, caramel, chocolate, a small amount of mocha coffee, ginger bread, bananas esters, cloves, molasses, anise, cherries, cinnamon, dates, pecans, raisins, plums, and slight raisin bread pudding flavor. It is almost in par with The Lost Abbey’s Judgment Day Ale except it has more flavors and much stronger in flavors and in ABV. Forget the fact that it says 12%ABV, you can’t tell that it is even in there. It gets you later but no strong boozyness just a lot of sweet Belgian caramel dark fruit bread goodness….. This is a must grab for Belgian fans…

Quadrophenia by Black Market Brewing

556706_10100940989097270_1345948295_nRating: 4.75/5

Quadrophenia by Black Market Brewing is a 11% ABV Quadrupel ale.

Label:

Quadrophenia is a Belgian style quadruple ale. Trappist ale yeast adds the spicy , phenolic flavors sometimes mistaken for added spices. The caramel come from the Coconut Palm Sugar added to the brew to lighten the body. The smoothness of Quadrophenia is deceptive, but make no mistake, it’s 11%ABV. Enjoy Quadrophenia in a chalice or tulip style glass.

Quadrupels are some of my favorite beers in the world. Each one more sweet than others. This is the first beer I try from this brewery so I’ll see how it is. Fragrance of the beer starts off with a nice scent ot that banana esters, caramel, dulce de leche bread, candi sugars and dark fruits. Some slight citrus off fragrance as well. The flavors are just like that of the quadrupel ales that I enjoy. Banana and raisin bread, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, plums, candi sugar, slight chocolate, toffee and spices. Some oakyness in there is in the aftertaste but the sugar is still dominant. It is not like some of the other Belgian Quads that have that Mexican cajeta (caramel) flavors but minor oak is there . The most interesting part about this beer is its drink ability. It goes down pretty smooth. The alcohol is not harsh for being 11% ABV. Well done with the balance of flavors as well. Quadrupel and Belgian beer lovers may like this one. It is delicious but it still missing that authenticity of Belgian that could only be produce with the strictest of ingredients. Having sugar added might not make it as authentic although the Trappist yeast does. Regardless, it is still a great beer worthy of the try. It goes down so well and not too overwhelming. It hits those quad notes for me for sure. LOL Although it is harder to find than let’s say..oh St. Bernadus 12 abt 😉

Bitter Monk by Anchorage Brewing

549533_10100936371396180_197145515_nRating: 5/5

Bitter Monk by Anchorage Brewing is a 9%ABV, 100IBU’s, Belgian Double India Pale Ale Brewed with Brettanomyces and aged in French oak Chardonnay Barrels. Yes, this is fancy as hell. Considered to be the best Belgian Pale Ale in the world by BeerAdv and RateBeer. Well let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Label: Ale brewed with Apollo and Citra hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple Fermented – First in French oak loudres with a Belgian yeast, second in French oak Chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

“Deep within the tortured aberrations of a monk’s mind there lay a concept of a Holy Grail of beer — a beer oft imagined but never tasted, strived for but never achieved. It’s Belgian heritage manifested in its yeasty complexity, softened and rounded in its cooperage Francais and made to sparkle like the stars first seen by his distant predecessor, Dom Perignon.

Bitter Monk Belgian Double IPA is such a beer. Redolent of citrusy hop bittering and massive malt infusion, this is a beer to ponder, to sip, and, even for a monk, to dream. Why then is the monk so bitter? What provokes that sly smile? What is he wearing under that flowing robe? A triple-fermented beer gives three times the mystery. Remember, anything worth doing is worth over doing. Nothing exceeds like excess. Even for the cloistered. And what rough monk, his hour come round last, slinks slowly toward Brussels to be reborn.”

First of all, you have Emperor Palpatine on the label….LMAO!!…Only thing I can find to pair this with is Stocking’s Darkside (From Panty and Stocking Anime, Angel turned Demon) to reflect the sinfulness of the monk/Sith Lord over here. 

Immediately from the fragrance, no holds bar. This was the Stillwater As Follows take to another unholy level. Even that beers is scary as hell :S (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/as-follows-eschatological-ale-by-stillwater-artisanal/) There are fragrances of hops, citrus, banana, musty hay, like a Saison a la Stillwater, flowers, hibiscus, roses and pine. The flavor is much more wilder than “As follows”. Much, much more, wilder. Lime, lemon meringue pie, herbs, spices, grapes, wine, chardonnay, some tart and Jolly pumpkin funk but not to make this a sour ale at all, hints of peach, apple, mango pineapple and other tropical fruit but it is only hints because they do not overwhelm like the regular DIPAs go. Grassy, pine and grapefruit bitterness are hinted but covered up by the Belgian yeast. Flowers like Roses, Hibiscus and honey as in the flavor of Love Buzz (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/love-buzz-saison-ale-by-anchrage/). I would assume if you take Stillwater’s of Love and Regret and mixed it in with As Follows and aged it you would have this. This is truly another level of Belgian IPA. This is crazy evil beer. Goes to prove a beer doesn’t have to be dark (appearance) to prove that it is evil. Saison, BPA and wild ale lovers will like this one.

Art of Darkness by Ommegang

So it comes down to this huh?? Dabbling with things that should not be dabbled with. But what can one achieve with finding something beyond the taboo of brewing?? Well if anything, hope you don’t get cursed along the way >:)… So for those that may not want to dabble in darkness… I took it upon myself to try this beer before it hit the stores. In fact this beer isn’t even set to release until April 2012. Let’s just say I got the hookups. This is … Art of Darkness Belgian Dark Ale. It is a brew at 8.9% ABV made by Ommegang brewing. A homage to the dark arts of brewing some of the best dark beers in the world. A la Troise Pistoles, Thirteenth Hour Stout, Terrible, St Bernardus 12, Westvleteren, etc. Baler and wheat malts combine with flaked oats, Ommegang yeast and noble hops. Even though the beer is has no secret ingredients like eye of newt or special incantations. The theory is simple, the flavor is complex and delicious. I think I shoul start by mentioning that this beers is much like the Thirteenth hour stout, devils chocolate cake/bread.It follows vanilla and faint grassy citrus bitterness. The sweetness overwhelms both the the after taste and the boozy alcohol feel.Some raisins and licorice flavors are present in there as well. Overall it wants to fit somewhere in the middle of the triangle that composes the best beers in the world for me, Trois Pistoles, St. Bernardus abt 12 and Thirteenth hour. However, it does go toe to toe with the Three philosophers as well except one is cherry bread and the other is chocolate. This Devil’s water is damn sweet, and if you would want to dabble at this fine masterpiece…well…good luck >:]

Judgement Day Ale by The Lost Abbey

ImageA revisit to the beer that started it all for me. The beer art, beer tasting, and beer experience. This is that Very beer that has the awesome label about life. Very inspiring reading “Live an inspired life. Find opportunities in everything to make difference. Seek out new and spontaneous adventures, and when you find them them, embrace them as if they were the devil’s song. For an interesting life is worth living. Challenge yourself to embrace passion, persistence and a motivated way of life. So that when judgement day approaches from nowhere, you’ll go out knowing you’ve lived your life on your terms and they can’t take that away from you.” Simply amazing quote and simply and amazing Quad ale which is this, The Lost Abbey Judgement Day Ale brewed with raisins. Flavors are very impacting from the dark fruits, cherries, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla and caramel. A creamy smooth beer yet heavy at 10.5% ABV. The Belgian yeast of bready goodness is there for sure and is fermented 4 times. Quads are definitely some of my favorite beers in the world and this is definitely in my most 10 ten best beers of all time. I highly recommend this one without a shadow of a doubt. Come to think of it, it was around this time last year when I enjoyed my first bottle. Looking back with a more experienced tongue brings a greater appreciation to this crazy hobby of mine. Something that will last me for quite a long time …and I am thankful because my life is interesting to me and doing it in my terms is always the best :)….Cheers for beers…..and say your prayers >:)