It pours very dark. I’m not great with color, but it’s like a black plum sort of deal. And it smells dark, too. Not in the “roast your face with malts and alcohol,” but in a sort of “dark cherry, plum, Cab Sav” manner. And then seeing as how I know just a little bit more about wine than I do about color I immediately ran to Google to do a little research (and mostly to see if I was right). I was! “Subtle fruit flavors are complimented by rich Madeira wine notes.”
Hops – 2 There’s something to barely balance out the malt, but it’s fairly on the less hoppy side of porters.
Malts – 7 It’s not a YUGE malt bomb but it’s definitely there and it’s delicious.
Carbonation – 6 It’s there but it’s not too tingly. It actually helps break it up so that you’re not chugging a chocolate milk concoction.
Barrel House series
Ale brewed with pumpkin flavor and cocoa nibs and aged in bourbon barrels
As I write this, I’m still recovering from a cold that probably would have killed a normal person, so take everything with a grain of salt. And a lot of mucus.
Spooky pours a neat, dark color. Definitely different from a normal pumpkin beer but we can attribute that to the bourbon barrels. What’s very scary, though, is that there aren’t many spices on the nose.
Trader Joe’s Providential Belgian-Style Golden Ale
Pours a great bright, fizzy, cloudy almost orange color. Immediately smells like fruits, spices, sweetness, yeast and maybe some alcohol.
Hops – 3 Sure they’re there but that’s not the point here. They provide some nice balance
Malts – 6.5 It’s a belgian style ale. Tastes just like one.
Carbonation – 8 It says “champagne-like effervesence” and they’re right. It bubbled and fizzed just like it.
Character – 7 Okay so there’s not as much wallop to it as you’d think. But at the price point (cheap) it tastes fantastic. It doesn’t have much booze to it at all, no unpleasant aftertastes. What it does have is some spice, some fruit, malty sweetness and a nice touch of carbonation.
Palate – 8. It all comes together for a nice experience. Tastes like a decent belgian ale because it is one.
Overall – 7.5 Trader Joe’s specializes in almost-there replicas and this is no different.
My Imaginary Girlfriend IPA
6.1 % 22OZ Bomber
MIG Pours hazy golden color, sweet smell, very pleasant hop aroma. It can, however, do a 4G negative dive.
Okay, so up until now you have just expected no-nonsense (or at least relative levels of nonsense) reviews that give the reader a general idea of if they would like it, and what they would encounter. Today, I want to tackle a much grander issue; it’s one in the realm of beer journalism. Recently there was an attention-garnering post from “The Beer Wench”, who shall remain an unnamed employee of Green Flash (toward whom I bear no animosity). This isn’t going to be a tirade dissecting their audience-blaming, validation-seeking rant. Just a commentary on the journalism itself.
Schlafly Coffee Stout
The Saint Louis Brewery 5.7%
Pours black-hole dark with a generous, almost tan head.
You immediately smell the inside of a small coffee shop. Java, java, java.
Pours Gulf-of-Mexico dark, with a thin filmy head. You smell malts, chocolate, some yeast, and there’s something else. Something different.
At first taste you aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary for such a stout. But there’s a unique flavor that you’re not sure is really there. That’s when you read the bottle and find out they added a “dash of Cayenne” to “keep things lively.” You’re not entirely sure it belongs, and just as that insecurity hits, the rest of the bold flavors quickly put those concerns to rest. “It’s okay,” they tell you, “Great Divide knows what they’re doing here.” And they’re right. It’s like drinking a BARELY boozy-tasting designer chocolate bar. Or so I would imagine, if you had enough patience to melt one.
The Alchemist – Heady Topper DIPA 8%
The instructions on this can are absolutely foolproof: “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” So, I did. Opening the top releases an avalanche of delicious hops right into your nostrils. I can’t comment on how it pours, except into your mouth at a frighteningly easy rate. Make no mistakes, this isn’t out to convert those on the fence about big IPAs. This wants to tenderly pet your tastebuds to death in a Lenny-like fashion. This beer has multiple statements about how it’s best when fresh, and unfortunately I did let this one age a little while. If it’s even better than this when it’s young, I’m jealous of those who got to experience that.