Beer Reviews

Beer Review: Founders Blushing Monk (2015)

Producer: Founders Brewing Company; Grand Rapids, MI Style: Belgian Style Fruit Ale Price Range: $15-20 / bottle ( oz) ABV: 9.2% Appearance: Deep, bright red with a small fizzy white head Aroma: Raspberry, faint grass and straw Virginia Pour House Review: Founders Blushing Monk is one of the brewery’s seasonal releases that you pretty much have to get lucky in order to find. I did just that, spotting a bottle in the wild while picking up a keg. It is a Belgian-style ale fermented with pure raspberries. It pours a bright red with a fizzy white head and smells mostly of raspberry, with faint hints of grass underneath. The first taste is mostly raspberry and there’s a nice sourness to the berries. Upon subsequent sips, the raspberry is almost more apparent and the sourness really shines through. I could also discern some of the characteristics of the Belgian malts, with some …

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Beer Review: FiftyFifty Eclipse Imperial Stout (Buffalo Trace)

fiftyfifty eclipse buffalo trace

FIFTY FIFTY ECLIPSE (BUFFALO TRACE) Producer: FiftyFifty Brewing Company; Truckee, CA Beer Name: Eclipse Imperial Stout (Buffalo Trace) Style: Imperial Stout Price Range: $35 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 11.9% Appearance: Solid black, foamy tan head Aroma: Dark malt, cocoa, whiskey, faint honey sweetness Virginia Pour House Review: Light bitterness from dark malts, cocoa and coffee notes with nice blend of whiskey in the middle. Some bitterness and slightly boozy from whiskey but blends nicely with the dark chocolate and cocoa notes. Very faint sweetness from the honey, but almost indistinguishable. Nice mouthfeel, not thin and very little bitterness in the aftertaste. More honey notes come through the longer I sip. This is one fantastic beer. FIFTY FIFTY ECLIPSE (BUFFALO TRACE) Producer: FiftyFifty Brewing Company; Truckee, CA Beer Name: Eclipse Imperial Stout (Buffalo Trace) Style: Imperial Stout Price Range: $35 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 11.9% Appearance: Solid black, foamy …

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Beer Review: Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout

SUNDAY MORNING STOUT Producer: Weyerbacher Brewing Company; Easton, PA Style: Imperial Stout Price Range: $3-4 / bottle ( oz) ABV: 11.3% Appearance: Pitch black with a small coffee-colored head Aroma: Mostly coffee and roast, with a hint of bourbon Virginia Pour House Review: Weyerbacher hails from just about an hour away from where I grew up in PA. Their beers are mostly hit or miss for me, as mentioned in my review of their Maple Mistress Pumpkin Ale. So, how does Sunday Morning Stout stack up? It pours a pitch black color with a small foamy coffee-colored head. The aroma is mostly coffee with some roasted malts underneath and just the slightest hint of bourbon. The first taste bursts with rich bourbon, mixed perfectly with dark-roasted coffee and bitter black roasted barley notes. This beer is also viscous, leaving a coating behind in the finish. Subsequent sips are just as …

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Beer Review: The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments

10 Commandments Producer: The Lost Abbey; San Marcos, CA Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale Price Range: $12-16 / bottle (750 ml) ABV: 10% Appearance: Brownish-black with a healthy, creamy head Aroma: Slightly sweet, slightly sour, honey, raisins, cranberry, rosemary Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours an opaque, mostly black with a healthy creamy beige head. The aroma is slightly sweet and slightly sour, and notes of sour fruit come through. I get hints of cranberry, but the raisin is also present, along with the sweetness of honey and savory aroma of rosemary. The first sip is quite sour, with lots of raisin and dark fruit coming through. Notes of fig, cranberry, and blackberry come through early while the honey sweetens the middle, leaving a spicy rosemary finish. The mouthfeel is silky smooth in the beginning of the sip and it leaves the palate coated with a sourness in the …

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A Tale of Two Sculpins

I mentioned in a recent post that I scored some great beer from a friend’s beer shop in PA. Two of those beers are varieties of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, grapefruit and habanero. Having had both on tap at Ballast Point during my trip to California last summer, I thought I would do something different and review each one, then get crazy and combine them for a grapefruit-habanero blend. Here we go! Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA Producer: Ballast Point Brewing Company; San Diego, CA Style: American IPA Price Range: $3-5 / bottle (12 oz) ABV: 7% Appearance: Bright, clear, golden, with small white head Aroma: Grapefruit, orange, mango Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a perfect clear golden color with a small white head. The aroma is mostly grapefruit, but there are other citrus aromas at work here from the west coast hops, including some mango and orange. The first …

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Beer Review: Lost Abbey Deliverance

 Lost Abbey Deliverance Producer: Port Brewing Company; San Marcos, CA Beer Name: Deliverance Ale Style: Blended Stout Price Range: $15-25 / bottle (375 ml) ABV: 12.5% Appearance: Pitch black, small white head Aroma: Bourbon, brandy, cocoa, molasses, dark fruit, roasted malt Virginia Pour House Review: This beer from Port Brewing’s Lost Abbey is a blend of bourbon-barrel aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy-barrel aged Angels Share. It packs a punch at 12.5% ABV and the aroma is strong with bourbon and brandy notes. There is also some cocoa, roasted malt, and even a little dark fruit coming through in the aroma for me. The beer pours a pitch black with a small white ring of head that quickly dissipates. The first sip is mostly brandy for me, with some hints of cocoa nibs and roasted barley in the finish. On subsequent sips I get a little bourbon as well, but the brandy …

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Great Beer Reviews Forthcoming

Hey all. Just a quick post to let you know that some amazing beer reviews will be forthcoming. I finally stopped in at my buddy’s beer store in West Reading, Pennsylvania to take a look at his wares and I was not disappointed. Here’s a glimpse of the haul that I took home. In case you can’t see any of those, there are a couple of Ballast Point Sculpin varietals (grapefruit and habanero), Old Numbskull from Alesmith, a FiftyFifty Eclipse (Four Roses), Lost Abbey’s 10 Commandments (vintage 2012) and Deliverance, a single-hop experimental IPA from Flying Dog, and a couple of IPA’s from a small brewery in Massachusetts called Night Shift Brewing. This is going to be a good couple of weeks. And if you find yourself in southeastern PA, check out The Barley Mow in West Reading. I know it’s not local to Virginia, but it is an amazing store …

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Beer Review: Sly Fox Black Raspberry Reserve

 Sly Fox Black Raspberry Reserve Producer: Sly Fox Beer; Royersford, PA Beer Name: Black Raspberry Reserve Style: Fruit Beer Price Range: $12-14 / bottle (750 ml) ABV: 8% Appearance: Deep raspberry red, small foamy off-white head Aroma: Raspberry Virginia Pour House Review: Sly Fox is a small brewery from near my hometown in Pennsylvania. I reviewed their holiday ale as part of the 12 Beers of Christmas. I have always been 50/50 on Sly Fox, as their beers are hit or miss for me. This one claims to be an “Unforgettable Fruit Ale”. Let’s see if it lives up to that claim. The beer pours a deep red raspberry color with a small pinkish-white head. The aroma is all raspberry, nothing more and nothing less. There is raspberry throughout the taste, but it’s very subtle, not overpowering at all despite the strong raspberry aroma. There isn’t much else to the …

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Beer Review: Deschutes Black Butte XXVI

    Deschutes Black Butte XXVI Producer: Deschutes Brewery; Bend, Oregon Beer Name: Black Butte XXVI Style: Imperial Porter Price Range: $15-17 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 10.8% Appearance: Aroma: Virginia Pour House Review: This beer from Deschutes promises to be a highly complex one with a description that reads: “Ale brewed with pomegranate molasses with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with ale with cocoa nibs and cranberry added.” Whoa, that’s a lot of different things going on at once. Let’s break this down. It’s brewed with pomegranate molasses, which is apparently just a fancy way to say pomegranate juice. It comes from pomegranate juice boiled down into a thicker, syrupy substance. The beer itself is 50% aged in bourbon barrels and 50% brewed with cocoa nibs, which I’m assuming is a fresh batch. Finally, there is cranberry added, which I’m guessing was added post-brew in the fermentation phase, …

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Beer Review: Victory Old Horizontal (2013)

I was in Wegmans last week and noticed that they had Victory Old Horizontal, one of my favorite seasonal barleywines. Only when I got home and looked at the label did I realize that I actually had bought was a 2013 Old Horizontal, 15 months in the bottle already. I love this beer fresh, but have never had an aged version, so here goes!  Victory Old Horizontal (2013) Producer: Victory Brewing Company; Downingtown, PA Beer Name: Old Horizontal Style: Barleywine Price Range: $12 / bottle (22 oz) ABV: 11% Appearance: Dark amber, clear, foamy off-white head Aroma: Very malty, dark fruit, sweet Virginia Pour House Review: The beer pours a dark amber but is perfectly clear with a healthy off-white head. The aroma is all malt, with dark fruit notes like fig standing out. The aroma has a sweetness to it as well. The first taste is malty with dark fruits …

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