2016 Mash & Vanilla by The Bruery

14500564_10103598556605680_3332765650315263375_oRating: 6/6

2016 Mash & Vanilla by The Bruery is a 13.3% ABV Barleywine aged in Bourbon Barrels with Vanilla Beans.

Label:
VANILLOAK

We took our classic release, already oaky, sticky and sweet from extensive bourbon barrel-aging, and amplified that barrel character with the addition of vanilla.

This is our classic bourbon barrel-aged barleywine – kicked up a notch. We took Mash, already oaky, sticky and sweet, and amplified its barrel character with the addition of fresh vanilla beans. This vanilla prominence is complemented by the woody bourbon flavors and coconut notes that are imparted to the beer as part of its extensive maturation in oak bourbon barrels.

==Introduction==
14519793_10103598556406080_1995534252692024811_n
Released to the public, this beer uses their base Barleywine in bourbon barrels which I have tried different variants of. So far, the best one of the variants was the Mash and Coconut. The other one, Mash and Coffee was awesome too. This time around, we have the vanilla version. Vanilla beers in general are awesome! In fact, when making strong vanilla beers, they typically have flavors of all sorts of sweets like sweetened condensed milk, crème brulee or flan. Essentially, when I think of the Bruery making beers with vanilla, like the White Chocolate, you know it’s gonna be awesome. Let’s see how this is.

Aromas:
Dark fruit figs, prunes, raisins, marshmallows smores, bourbon, oak, fruit cake, toasted coconut, rocky road ice cream, vanilla, flan, sweetened condensed milk, dulce de leche caramel, crème brulee, Jericalla Mexican custard, banana cream pie, grilled bananas, clove spice, toffee, capirotada raisin bread pudding, rye bread, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, plantains, almond joy notes, oatmeal cookies, stone fruit plums, peach hints, brownies and cookie dough ice cream.

Flavors:
Rich Vanilla, Flan, sweetened condensed milk, dulce de leche caramel, crème brulee, Jericalla Mexican custard, banana cream pie, grilled bananas, clove spice, toffee, dark fruit figs, prunes, raisins, marshmallows smores, bourbon, oak, fruit cake, toasted coconut, rocky road ice cream, macadamia nuts, hazelnut nectar, maple notes, cinnamon, capirotada raisin bread pudding, rye bread, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, plantains, almond joy notes, oatmeal cookies, stone fruit plums, peach hints, brownies, cookie dough ice cream, Danish cream, cheese cake, chocolate cherry cordials and chocoflan.

Aftertaste:
Finishing with smooth vanilla, Cheesecake hints, bourbon, toffee, caramel, dark fruit, oak, flan, Jericalla custard and crème brulee. No alcohol in the taste, medium to full deep brown crimson body, syrupy, smooth, creamy and velvety mouthfeel and a sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Damn exceptional! While I agree that I lean more towards the Mash & Coconut, this is definitely at the league or above the Mash & Coffee. So much dark fruit and flan flavors it ridiculous. This is the kind of beer that, especially since it was released to the public, you want to get several bottles of. Some to enjoy whenever and some to just cellar to see how it will do in 5, 10 or even 15 years from now. A high recommendation on this one.
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Anime Corner:
Alia and Megaman X by Capcom was used in this pairing because I wanted to use her and X in a Bruery pairing and I think the colors of them fit well with beer’s label, ingredients and flavors. X would be like the original Mash and Alia by his side is the vanilla. I definitely like to go all out with the different possible pictures to pair well with the characters I choose.
14543951_10103598556386120_5062825453135283139_o
Sources:
http://keichan411.deviantart.com/art/Aya-Commission-290959370
http://orig01.deviantart.net/0996/f/2007/282/b/f/bfa4cbe2d9101c4c.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d4/a3/c3/d4a3c3c667c665333f92bd364be6a530.jpg
http://img10.deviantart.net/a37a/i/2008/256/7/7/maverick_hunter_alia_by_louisblack78.jpg

 

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Tropical Platypus by Almanac Brewing

13559112_10103365060887970_4783664572929258138_oRating: 5.5/6

Tropical Platypus by Almanac Brewing is 6% ABV American Wild Ale Dry-Hopped Sour Ale Aged in Wine Barrels with Kiwi, Mango, Lime and Passion Fruit.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

This special tropical ale is brewed in celebration of City Beer Store’s 10th Anniversary. Inspired by their adorable Platypus mascot, this equatorial sour blonde ale is aged in used wine barrels and oak foeders with an array of tropical fruits. We selected barrels with fruit-forward characters, and amplified those notes with the addition of kiwi, mango, lime and passionfruit. We tied the whole blend together with the addition of aromatic Galaxy hops from New Zealand. The finished beer is a tropical explosion, worthy of our duck-billed inspiration. Pair with celebratory anniversaries, pupu platters and white sand beaches.

When Almanac was in its infancy, City Beer Store was already a craft beer institution in San Francisco. They constantly fought for the craft beer industry and provided a home for new breweries looking to make a mark. In fact, they were the first to sell Almanac’s beer. This beer honors 10 years of providing a home for craft beer.

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==Introduction==

Obtained this one from Craftshack.com along with other great beers. This one intrigued me because I made a tropical IPA with similar ingredients and trying this may give me an incite as to what to expect. The brew is a small bottle as with many of Almanacs delicious beers but with that being said, I will be taking my time analyze this one as I do with others but more importantly, try to take some flavors that may relate to my homebrew that will be ready in sometime in July 2016. The mix of fruits sounds so damn delicious but as a sour, I will have to see if it can compare to other sours I have had in the past. Let’s take a look. Cheers!

Aromas:

Tropical fruit kiwi, pineapple, mango, guava, dragon fruit, margarita notes, lime peel, lemons, limes, white wine grapes, passion fruit, stone fruit peaches, apricots, banana hints, clove hints, coriander hints, vanilla, oak, floral hop notes, lavender, cane sugar, chardonnay, peppercorn and wine grapes.

Flavors:

Rich Stone fruit peaches, apricots, sour apples, tropical fruit kiwi, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, margarita notes, lime peel, lemons, limes, white wine grapes, concorde grapes, chardonay, peppercorns, waffle cone, cranberries, dark cherries, citrus, grapefruit, grassy, mild pine, floral and earthy hops, tangerine gummies, vanilla, oak, caramel, banana hints, clove hints, coriander hints, lavender, hibiscus hints, guavas.

Aftertaste:

Finishes dry with minor hints of tropics, limes, lemons, stone fruit, wine grapes, grapefruit, citrus and dank hops and sour funky notes. No alcohol in the taste. Hazy Pale Straw body, Crisp, refreshing and effervescent mouth feel with an easy drinkability.

Overall:

A very awesome and very exceptional sour showcasing so much tropical goodness. This is one of the best sours up there with the great ones I really love. The beer does shows a lot of flavors which I would definitely wanna see in my beer as it is supposed to be a tropical fruit IPA. However, this being a sour and oak aged is super well balanced and made. The balance of tart and sweet comes together very nicely. I highly recommend it if you love sours and especially dry hopped tropical sours.
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Anime Corner:

Marino from Megaman X Command Mission was chosen in this pairing as I could not find a platypus but her colors represent all the tropical flavors of the beer. Even though she is not a platypus, her hair is long like the platypus tail and the holder that holds her sword is almost like a platypus bill. It is a stretch but I think the pairing works well.

Sources:
http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/12/127136/1753558-marino_perspective_cged_by_liline.png

http://img00.deviantart.net/09ea/i/2014/289/8/8/marino_by_wing_maiden-d830zf1.jpg

http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb209/redninja4/Megaman/1234659355039.jpg

Mega Milk by Arcade Brewery

10386964_10102431998971530_1585259680488785642_o 10429436_10102431999360750_6255404506098397491_nRating: 4.75/5

Mega Milk by Arcade Brewery is a 5.3% ABV Oatmeal Stout.

Label:
Batch #10
A Sessionable All-Season Stout for Any Wily Situation.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
From the depths of space arrives the Mega Milk Stout. An oatmeal milk stout, brewed with debittered black malt, delivers a wonderfully light and sessionable beer with outstanding mouthfeel. Even the most devout pale ale drinkers should take a trip to the dark-side with this one. The Mega Milk Stout will be one of Arcade Brewery’s initial offerings Coming 2014!

==Introduction==

Holy crap, this is freaking awesome and I immediately had to get it as soon as I saw the label for it. It is freaking Mega Man X. I got this one at www.wineandcheeseplace.com and I was surprised. I had never heard of Arcade Brewery but judging by their label’s art work, they are really video game inspired. The fact that they brought Mega Man X into the beer world takes me back to my child hood days of playing lots of video games and all the Mega Man games especially. Maybe my love for the character could make me enjoy the beer better, maybe not, but still, THIS EXISTS! Cheers!

Aromas:
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, chocolate milk shake, Duvalin chocolate, Nutella, vanilla, caramel, coffee hints, espresso hints, cookie dough hints, hints of dark fruit raisins, figs, prunes, cherry hints, chocolate brownies, hints of tobacco, milk sugar and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Dark chocolate, coffee hints, espresso hints, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, milk sugar, duvalin chocolate, nutella chocolate, oatmeal cookies, mild cookie dought, mild smokey notes, vanilla, caramel, mild dark fruit raisins, figs, prunes, chocolate brownies, chocolate turtle truffles, molasses, anise hints, toffee, tobacco hints, pecan pie hints, rye bread, brown sugar and hints of tres leches/three milks cake.

Aftertaste:
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel, charred notes, earthy notes, dark fruit hints and hints of Nutella. No alcohol in the taste, creamy smooth body, easy to drink and pitch black body.

Overall:
This milk stout is very good and really solid with a pretty good deal of complexity, not too overly sweet but just enough to keep stuff balanced. It is not the best milk stout I have ever had but that does not matter as it is still awesome and it represent Mega Man in the beer world. I saw that they have a Bourbon Barrel Aged one but on tap at their brewery. One day, I hope to try it. For now, if you can find this one and love the Mega Man series, definitely pick this up.

Anime Corner:
Megaman X and Alia from the Megaman X series were used in this pairing for the obvious reasons ofcourse, the label art work that is basically Megaman X. I used alia since she is a bad ass and has the same move set as Megaman X in the 8th installment. Megaman also has a pose like Pancho Pantera from the Choco Milk chocolate milk I used to drink as a kid. Oh yeah and the one here, I did for the lulzs. You see, there is this manga where this girl is wearking a shirt that says Mega Milk, like the name of the beer so yeah you can see, its anime related. Anyways, this beer kicks ass!


Sources:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d4/a3/c3/d4a3c3c667c665333f92bd364be6a530.jpg
http://eroc2277.deviantart.com/art/Alia-317289381
http://i.imgur.com/PmewDfi.jpg

Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale by Coors Brewing

10615414_10102005956733590_6022947761193374494_n 10612956_10102005955750560_4645246927305597780_nRating: 4/5

Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale by Coors Brewing is a 5.5% ABV Herbed/Spiced beer.

Label:
In the Street markets of Mexico, our founder and head brewmaster, Keith Villa, first experienced a refreshing, creamy drink known as Horchata. Our cinnamon-spiced ale is his interpretation of this delicious Latin treat.
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An Horchata beer? Well yes it is possible. I have actually tried 2 horchata beers in the past and both have been very exceptional. While I understand Blue Moon is considered ‘crafty’ by some, I am always open to try new beers. Especially those that catch my attention. Now I have only reviewed few blue moons that have caught my interest. Because there is a lack of Horchata beers, I definitely did not want to miss out on an opportunity to try this one. Expectations aside, I can only know that this may or may not be as good as what I have tried before. Regardless of this fact, I will do my best to break it down for ya and maybe see if you would like to try it.

Aromas:
Cinnamon toast crunch cereal, apple jacks, Citrus, coriander, biscuit bread, brown sugar hints, vanilla hints, caramel hints, apple jacks cereal, rice milk notes, honey, cereal grains, pilsner malt, apple cider notes, lemon peel and wheat.

Flavors:
Citrus, lemon peel, vanilla hints, caramel hints, cinnamon toast crunch cereal notes, biscuit hint, cereal grain, rice milk horchata, rice pudding, sweetened condescended milk, apple jacks cereal, honey, apple pie hints, earthy notes, graham cracker, wheat bread, milk sugar and flan hints.

Aftertaste:
Cinnamon lingers for a very long time. Like you just ate some cinnamon toast or apple jacks cereal other than that it has a dry finish. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink crisp and refreshing.This beer has a light body with a light mouth feel. Good for the summer or even what is left of it but mainly for Fall.

Overall:
This ended up being pretty good I was quite surprised. At first, the cold may give you more of a cinnamon and grainy cereal taste but as you let it warm up, the rice, sweetened milk sugar and more cinnamon come out to play to hide the grainy taste. Despite this, it keeps stuff balanced so nothing is too overwhelming. Possibly, the best Blue Moon variant I have ever had. This beer started to grow on me the more I had it. I would recommend at least a try if you are skeptical. It may change your mind.

Anime Corner:
Cinnamon from Megaman X Command Mission was used in this pairing not only to pair with the colors of the label but also the color of the beer and the ingredients. Cinnamon is the obvious reason and just the fact that she is blonde fits with the colors and the flan and vanilla hints as well as the other flavors of the beer. She is the healer in the game so by choosing her I wanted to imply the pleasantness of this beer. Makes you feel better as you give her a chance.

Sources:
http://31.media.tumblr.com/2a42f392c6413336905ad9eaa25aa508/tumblr_mrk1lmpm1x1rl0xtno1_500.jpg
http://liline.deviantart.com/art/Cinnamon-7474209

Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker

67440_10101000887021350_237952427_nRating: 3.75/5

Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker is a 5% ABV British Pale Ale.

Description:
Our patented Firestone Union uniquely incorporates 60-gallon American oak barrels into the fermentation process that yields beers of extraordinary character and complexity. This system improves the fullness of the palate, balances hop character and lends a clean briskness to the finish. The influence of the toasted oak also imparts unique hints of smokiness and vanilla, as well as a subtle fruitiness to the flavor profile. 
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Aromas are of mild citrus, grassy and earthy hops, biscuit, caramel, butterscotch, and a slight smoke or campfire oak. The flavors of this beer are of caramel, anise, slight grapefruit hops, slightly citrusy, earthy, smokey, oak, toasted bread and black tea. I think this beer speaks better in the taste than its fragrance. Not quite as nutty as an amber ale but leans more towards an amber ale that is lightly oaked and smoked. For a beer that is 5% ABV, way better than an average lager. Definitely above average beer with some great flavors to keep stuff interesting. Served all year long.