We were invited to a Chinese New Year's Party (Feb. 9) in town, and the husband of the host couple is a really good homebrewer and beer aficionado. In short, there's always something good to drink at the party. This year was no exception, but for me there was only one new beer:
41/365: Samuel Adams Dark Depths:
Nice fresh and floral-grassy hops with light chocolate, coffee, and roasted bitterness. Dark brown-black with medium sized light tan lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts medium malty and sweet with chocolate, toasted barley, and soy sauce. Big floral-piney bitter hops and lasting bitterness. Smooth nutty bitter finish and after. Black IPA 78/100The next couple of beers were ones I had in the basement, one from a sampler pack brought to me by my father-in-law, and the other part of a '24 Beers of Xmas' mixed case I bought from a fellow homebrewer.
42/365: Rickard's Dark:
Dull dusty grain, a bit of oxidized caramel and no discernible hops. Coppery dark brown clear with creamy-foamy lacing tan head. Medium-light body with medium-light carbonation. Starts medium sweet with brown sugar, caramel, and light grain dust. Mild astringency with nutty bitter finish and some lingering sweetness. Chalky after. Porter 48/100
43/365: Uinta Hop Notch IPA:
Very nice nose - spicy-floral hops, oily and resinous. Mild caramel and malt sweetness. Orange peels. Deep orange-amber clear with creamy off-white, huge lacing head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Starts fairly dry. Big hop flavor from start to finish. Bursts of resin, orange peel, and apricot. Light nutty caramel malt notes. Big bitter finish with lasting bitter after. India Pale Ale (IPA) 80/100
I visited Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewing in Duncansville for lunch one Saturday in February, and in addition to a few old favorites, I tried Bill's new Red Ale brewed with El Dorado hops.
44/365: Marzoni's Red Ale (El Dorado):
Spicy hop nose, a bit pungent and resinous. Some toasted malt and light caramel. Deep coppery brown clear with thin off-white head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts lightly sweet with toasted grain, caramel, and brown sugar. Big herbal-spicy hop notes, light carbonic acidity. Big bitter finish, spicy and piney with lingering bitter after. Amber Ale 72/100
One of our homebrew club alumni, Jon Defibaugh, left Indiana a few years back to pursue a career in brewing. He brewed his first beer with my equipment in my kitchen, and went crazy from there by cranking out terrific stuff at his house. He moved to Philly, and started by working with Tom Baker at Earth Bread + Brewery. Last year, he moved over to Ardmore and has been head brewer for Jean Broillet at Tired Hands. Well, towards the end of February, Jon came back to Indiana for a visit a brought a bunch of goodies - cheese, bread, and beer, beer, and beer. A few of us got together and had an amazing evening.
45/365: Tired Hands HandFarm:
Great yeasty funky nose - Brett, light lactic notes. Awesome bouquet with a hint of lime zest. Light yellow-amber clear with light head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts and stays dry throughout, with citric-lactic acidity. Tons of Brett and yeasty bitterness. Big hop bitter finish with grapefruit. Great saison with a little bit of oak, too. Saison 84/100
46/365: Tired Hands Guillemot Nebula:
Bourbon, red wine, fruity acidity, light funk, mild lime and peach, vanilla. A beautiful marriage of aromas. Dark brown-black clear with thin lacing head. Heavy body with medium carbonation. Starts tart with red wine, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Wonderfully tart and complex but not cloying or overpowering - well rounded. Saison 90/100
47/365: Tired Hands Guillemot Prunus:
Great nose with tons of cherry. Fruity, woody, and tart, with light funky notes, vanilla and oak. Coppery brown clear with thin tan lacing head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts tart with cherries, oak, vanilla, and citrus. Nice tart funk, with some chocolate and soy sauce. Light bitter chocolate finish with lasting, mildly astringent tart after. Saison 86/100
48/365: Tired Hands Singel Hop Saison, Amarillo:
Great hop aroma, fruity with onion and light pale malt sweetness. Pale golden yellow clear with thin white head. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Starts medium dry, peppery with fresh hops. Grassy, herbal, clean. Medium acidity at the finish with great hop flavor. Light bitter after. Saison 82/100
49/365: Tired Hands LiddleFiddle:
Funky-nasty hop aroma (nasty in a good way) that is just fantastic. The nose gives me the munchies. Mild sweetness and tons of pine, funk, and ozone. Pale golden clear with light haze, topped with thin foamy head. Medium body and carbonation. Nice dry saison with tons of fresh hop character. Big bitter finish and funky after. Delicious. Saison 86/100
50/365: Tired Hands Entropic:
Bretty, hoppy, and meaty. Light lactic and mild sweetness. Hazy pale with thin white head. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Medium bitter start. Lots of Brett in this one. Light funk and big bitter notes but not harsh. Astringent finish with mild bitter after. Sour Ale/Wild Ale 80/100
51/365: Tired Hands Ego Disillusionment:
Aroma is a mix of apples, sauerkraut, and milk with tea. Chardonnay and carbonic brightness. Hazy-cloudy pale straw with thin rocky head. Light body with medium carbonation. Tart, funky, sour and lactic. Kiwi chardonnay and apple cider flavors. Just a nice, tart weisse. Bright. Berliner Weisse 80/100
52/365: Tired Hands MotherAnimal:
Smells of roasted barley and spent coffee grounds. Caramel and sweet with light alcohol and broth. Coppery brown with thin creamy lacing head. Medium-heavy body with high carbonation. Alcohol warming. Vanilla, coffee, toffee, and caramel. Sweet and thick with light alcoholic coffee. Big sweet after. Not cloying, but a little too sweet. Barley Wine 76/100The day after this awesome tasting, I had lunch with a colleague at Benjamin's here in town. They have a pretty good tap selection now, and I went with a new IIPA from Victory.
53/365: Victory Ranch (Centennial):
Nice grassy-fruity fresh hop nose. Apricot, grapefruit, sugary syrup and light caramel. Medium golden amber clear with thin foamy off-white lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts medium sweet with caramel and brown sugar, neutral fruity character but also with notes of apricot and tons of hop flavor. Big bitter finish and lasting bitter after. The higher gravity was not apparent. Imperial/Double IPA 78/100
Every year, in February, to celebrate both Dana's and my birthrdays, we usually go to Pittsburgh for a Friday overnight, with a dinner at Casbah, followed by touring around Pittsburgh on Saturday. Casbah is part of the Big Burrito restaurant group, and for your birthday they'll send you a $30 coupon to use the week before until the week after your birthday. Unfortunately, our birthdays don't quite overlap, so we never get to use both of them. (oh, and you can't use it on Saturdays) On Saturday, we had lunch at Mad Mex (another Big Burrito restaurant), which always has good stuff on tap. I enjoyed two draughts for lunch:
54/365: Helltown Idle Hands:
Great fresh hop aroma, sweet and grassy with apricot and pear. Some pine and herb notes, too. Hazy medium amber with thin white lacing head. Medium body with medium to heavy carbonation. Starts nice and sweet with apricot and pear notes. Light brown sugar and caramel, too. Sweet bitter finish with nice lasting bitter after that’s not too harsh. Imperial/Double IPA 82/100
55/365: Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout:
Sweet espresso nose with vanilla, oak, chocolate, light molasses, and a hint of smoke. Dark black opaque with dark brown lacing foamy head. Medium heavy body with heavy carbonation, fizzy and alcoholic warming. Light chewy. Starts sweet and roast with burnt malty caramel, smoke, oak, vanilla, and chocolate. Rich, malty, and hot. Big warming. Big bitter chocolate finish with roasted burnt malt tang. Oak and smoke after, with lingering sweetness and carbonic tang. Imperial Stout 80/100
And finally, to catch up on the rest of my new beer notes to date, I had the following in my cellar at home (except the St. Stefanus, which Dave and I shared courtesy of Tim at the Coney).
56/365: Rickard's Blonde:
Pale lager aroma, beany with some noble hops and a light corn or vegetal aroma. Mild oxidation. Orange amber clear with thin off-white lacing head. Medium light body with medium carbonation. Starts a bit dry with some caramel sweetness, mild papery notes, and little hop presence. Finish is smooth with light sweet after. Pilsener 50/100
57/365: St. Stefanus Blonde:
Light Belgian wheat ale nose, mild esters and yeasty notes. Some honey and orange blossom sweetness. Golden clear with creamy-pillowy white lacing head. Medium to light bodied with medium to heavy carbonation. Kind of weak in flavor but medium sweet with light fruity esters and mild carbonic bite. Yeasty chalky finish with medium sweetness and very little bitterness. Mild after. Belgian Ale 64/100
58/365: Rickard's White:
Nice fruity aroma with apricot nectar, orange peel, and coriander. Kind of sweet with mild floral notes. Cloudy medium amber with thin white head. Medium to light watery body with heavy carbonation. Starts with fruity and floral notes, orange peel and coriander. Pale malt and wheat sweetness with light dry finish. No discernible hop flavors. After is a little chalky but pleasant. Belgian White (Witbier) 58/100
59/365: Fat Head's Bumbleberry Honey Blueberry Ale:
Mix of real and fake saccharin blueberry aromas, fruity and a bit earthy. Sweet with no discernible hop character. Light honey. Medium golden amber clear with huge creamy-pillowy lacing off-white head. Medium bodied with medium to heavy carbonation. Starts somewhat dry despite the sweetness of the aroma. Notes of blueberry, honey with a berry-skin bitterness in the finish along with some hop bitterness. Light sweet albeit watery after. Fruit Beer 56/100
Whew! Finally caught up. Next up ... ??