Posts Tagged ‘games’

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Round One

Game Five:                Bell’s Oberon v. 21st Amendment Bitter American

9. Yeah, I know. If I hate wheat beers so much, why do they keep ending up in the competition? I don’t know either, so there. Bell’s is a terrific brewery, and Oberon was one of the first varieties I tried during my 100 Beers 2011 challenge, and I liked it – best wheat beer I can ever remember drinking. My first Oberon was almost exactly two years ago. And today? It starts with a nostalgic summer beer aroma, only a slightly cloudy pale yellow hue, and a bright crisp flavor with just a tang of pungency at the end. How is this a witbier? Better yet, why aren’t all witbiers like this? Delish, refresh, and a perfect session beer for today’s “sunny and seventy-five” weather.

10. Ah, the Bitter American – another favorite that has been worth purchasing several times in the past. (I remember my first time with this one, too. I had been debating Tea Party politics with a friend earlier that day, and the name of this ale seemed to speak to me.) I found it odd that this very different ale is identical in appearance to Oberon. But the pleasant hops aroma and crisp IPA flavor set it apart, and there’s a stark bitterness at the back of the tongue. Bitter American is an Extra Pale Ale that is about as highly-hopped as I ever like it; a good beer to satisfy my occasional IPA desire.

*** Winner:          This was a very, very close battle. I had so much trouble picking one over the other that the game went into extra innings. Finally, after exhaustive analysis, I declare Oberon by the narrowest of margins – and now I can drink all the rest of the Bitter American now that it has been knocked out of the tournament! What? Are you saying that may have biased the call?

Game Six:                Sweetwater Brown v. Highland Little Hump Spring Ale 

11. Sweetwater Brown. Well, it is brown. Also clear, with very little head or lacing, and a nice little old-style beer aroma. The first sip gives you a much stronger punch than you expect, with a hint of bitterness at the back. A pleasant and not overtly strong dark beer. It’s an odd turn that brings the Brown from Sweetwater (a brewer most known for a solid line of IPAs) up against the…

12. Little Hump Spring Ale from Highland (a brewery I most associate with their oatmeal stout); sort of like playing weak sister against weak sister. Little Hump is a bright yellow, hoppy and refreshing ale. Completely unexpected, with a clean highly drinkable mouthfeel and almost no aftertaste despite the weedy style of hops.

*** Winner:          Little Hump Spring Ale. I have high expectations for the Highland varieties because of their dark beers, and thought a light summer style would be out of their reach, so Little Hump was more than I had hoped for. Sweetwater Brown just wasn’t very interesting in comparison, even though it’s a good beer that’s very enjoyable and is always welcome in my frig.

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Round One

Game Four:                 Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale v. Pyramid Discord 

7. Lagunitas Brewery gets a second chance for the title with the new-on-the-shelf, oddly-named Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. This clear copper ale with a nicely frothy head and great lacing smells hoppy, tastes creamy. There’s something about it that’s kind of sticky/sweet, though. Gets more aggressive as it warms, and finishes with a fairly bitter aftertaste – which ties in nicely with the great backstory. They call it an American Strong Ale on beeradvocate.com, but should probably be in with the ESBs.

8. Pyramid Discord is a dark IPA that pours like a great stout; even the frothy tan head sticks around, although as just a skim after several minutes. Smells decently hopped and tastes slightly more so. Blindfolded you would guess the color to be dark golden, because it tastes like the good IPAs or 2Xs, has the bitterness as well, and lacks creaminess. The malts only step up as it warms and provide almost a cigar character as you swallow.

*** Winner: Discord – which is odd because I thought, head-to-foamy-head, any Lagunitas brew was going to beat down and punish any Pyramid brew. Discord wasn’t very exciting but it was really good. I often enjoy the bitter style that Undercover represents, and it is a good ale I’ll probably have again, but the stickiness was too off-putting to win this challenge.

Round Two

Game Two:                Pyramid Snow Cap v. Pyramid Discord

It’s the battle of the Pyramids! This much anticipated showdown should be exciting, as I’ve very much enjoyed both varieties.

Sadly, Snow Cap may have reached its expiration a week earlier than the date printed on the bottle. Or maybe I had previously paired it with a highly complimentary meal – several times. Or maybe I suddenly fell out of love with Snow Cap. Whatever the case, during this session it had an unpleasant witbier aroma and flavor. I noticed no improvement as it warmed, either.

With no serious competition this round, Discord could win the game with its beautifully effervescent pour alone. Thankfully, there is some character there to back up its good looks. I have really enjoyed the way the malt-ness and ale-ness still comes through in what is unmistakably a well-hopped IPA.

*** Winner: Discord. I get the impression that Pyramid Brewing Co. gets sneered at by the microbrew elite, but this seasonal Dark IPA is one that I plan on purchasing in the future, like I do with Watership Brown – Discord’s next opponent. The next round should be interesting.

2013 Brackets: Insanity v. RHWB

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Fun, Hobbies
Tags: ,

I’ve changed things up a little and made the 2013 Beer Brackets page no longer password protected. Every one or two “games” will now appear as a regular mini-post on the main blog page, but the full article with updated posts and the brackets chart will remain available at the game page by clinking the link below. Don’t worry, that’ll make more sense as the tournament advances.
I’ll try to remember to include “Brackets” in the title so those not interested in this topic can easily skip it.

 Click here for the full article. 

Round Two

Game One:                Watership Brown v. Insanity

This matchup between the $1.50/12oz Watership Brown and the $3.79/12oz Insanity would be a David and Goliath story on any other blog. I’m honest enough to say that in a blind taste-test, I am unreliable guessing which beer is the “most premium”. There are some low-end beers I enjoy and some high-end beers I just couldn’t finish, and vicey-versy. These two brews rank among my favorites and I had no bad things to say about either one in their first round challenges. I’ll use a snifter glass for this competition.

WB smells good and malty like a porter and starts with a pleasant bitter flavor. This time I get a slightly burnt aftertaste, which is probably that “chocolatey note” the brewer was talking about. If so, it’s a raw, unsweetened dark chocolate. WB gets pleasantly spicy as it warms (but not as flavorful as Insanity), settling in to a solid example of the type but with American style (that’s the hops coming through).

That first blast of aroma from Insanity is so infused with whiskey and plum that it is surprising. Even the air above the glass is sticky-sweet. The color is as dark as WB, only opaque. All that prepares you for the heavy robustness of the first sip. Insanity is like a thick hot toddy (yum) but is probably even higher proof – it has an APV of 11.1, which is over 20 proof. Truly Insane.

Winner: Red Hare Watership Brown. I’ll probably get grief for this one. I really do like Weyerbacher Insanity, and can imagine there will be times I would purchase it. But there are such narrowly defined situations in which this is enjoyable that the win has to go to Watership Brown. challenge.