• Ted’s Beer of the Month: Oct 2014

    Sierra Nevada Snowpack

    Whoops, looks like I lost a month there. September wasn’t very interesting anyway, I mostly drank a lot of Big Boss Harvest Time, because it’s Fall and it’s delicious and I do what I want. On to October! This month I came across  Sierra Nevada’s Snowpack 12-pack, which contains these 4 winter-friendly brews…

    stoplight_grnCoffee Stout – 6.2%

    A thick, dark beer, this simply-named coffee stout smells great, with the coffee aroma coming through first, followed by a combination of dark roasted malts and fruity smokiness. Fruity smokiness may sound crazy, but its my nose, so stop judging me! I forgot about it let it warm up a bit before drinking it. Because I’m fancy. The flavor is understandably coffee-heavy, but there is a delicate caramel sweetness that comes along with the mild piney bitterness. I’m still not a fan of smoke flavor in beers, so this is not my favorite coffee stout. Still, it is well-balanced and a nice wintry beer.

    stoplight_grnBoomerang IPA – 6.7%

    The aroma is dank and herbal, and it has an impressively bitter punch right off  the bat. It’s very hoppy and resinous from start to finish, with grapefruit peel and pine flavors taking turns at the forefront. The malts provide a baseline sweetness, but mainly get out of way to let the hops shine. The finish is dry, and the bitterness lingers a long time. I wouldn’t put this IPA in my regular rotation, but it’s a good occasional beer for when you’re feeling especially bitter.

    stoplight_grnPorter – 5.6%

    Starting out with a malt-forward aroma with notes of chocolate and floral hops, this is a balanced porter with  great carbonation and a dry mouthfeel that just keeps pushing those malts to the forefront. More chocolate and coffee flavors come into play as it warms, with the hops giving a bitter nudge that’s just enough to offset the mild sweetness. The finish is moderately dry, and bitter. It’s a great example of the style, and maybe my favorite of this bunch.

    stoplight_grnPale Ale – 5.6%

    A good old standby, it has a snappy pine aroma underscored by caramel malt sweetness. The flavor has a mix of piney and mild citrusy hoppiness and caramel sweetness, with moderate bitterness coming in about halfway through and lingering for a while. The finish is sweet but well-balanced. I don’t like it as much as Torpedo, since as an American in my 20s I’m conditioned to love gratuitous levels of hoppiness. Still, it’s a good anchor for this 12-pack, and a good, easy-drinking beer to have around.

    The Verdict

    First of all, Happy Halloween! Also, I have no major complaints about any of these beers, they’re all pretty great! This is an excellent variety pack, particularly if you’re as ready for winter as I am.

    And while I’m not a huge football fan in general, I’m incredibly proud of my Mississippi State Bulldogs, for getting our state and our university some of the recognition it deserves!

    ha1lstate



  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Aug 2014

    August! My birthday month! Sorry this post is so late, but I had a 5-day vacation right at the end of the month that threw me all out of whack. More on that in next month’s post.

    stoplight_ylwSam Adams Blueberry Hill Lager – bottle – 5.5%

    A hazy, yellow-orange lager with an aroma that’s a mix of light malts and sweet blueberry-like scents. It’s not a great smell, to be honest, a little garbagey. The flavor is sweet, with a pretty good blueberry flavor. The hop bitterness is very mild, and the main issue I have with the flavor is the low-quality aftertaste, just like any big-name lager. The finish is sticky, which I attribute to the sweetness of the blueberry. I haven’t had (or can’t recall) any other blueberry beers to compare this one with, but if you really like fruity brews, this one’s probably worth a try.

    Natural Selections: The Wake County Science & Brewers Expo

    Now that my wife Lindsey and I are official Raleighnians (it’s real, look it up), we’re trying to get more involved with the city. To that end, and also for my birthday, we went to the Natural Selections beer expo at the Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences. Billed as “a one-of-a-kind evening of beer and science,” the three-hour event included a swath of local breweries, some big, some small, and a couple of talks about the science of beer. Sadly, because of timing, we chose to go get dinner rather than attend the talks. They sounded very interesting, but spending 3 hours tasting beer on an empty stomach is really not a good idea, so we stuck to tasting in the time we had before and after dinner.

    Here is an account of the beers I tried, based on the brief notes I took on my phone while walking around trying to look only mildly antisocial, rather than unbelievably antisocial. I doubt it worked.

    stoplight_ylwLynnwood Brewing Concern Hop on Top IPA – 7% – draft

    Bright bitterness with lots of pine and citrus. Heavy carbonations and a sticky finish. It’s an interesting beer, but not something I’d want a whole pint of.

    stoplight_redAviator Brewing Saison de Aviator – 6.5% – draft

    Oof. There’s something wrong with this batch, or maybe just this keg. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before, but if so, it wasn’t anything like this. It’s cheesy and soapy, a little like a Flintstones vitamin actually. That’s fine as a vitamin flavor, delicious actually, but as a beer flavor? Not so much.

    stoplight_ylwBig Boss Oyster Gose – ABV Unknown – draft

    This is the most intriguing beer I had all night. It’s tart and salty, and it does taste like oysters. Definitely a small-portion, special mood kind of beer. Gose is such an interesting and versatile style. So far I’ve had a rosemary gose and a marionberry/hibiscus gose. I’d love to try more of them, any suggestions?

    stoplight_redGizmo Brewing Wild Wasp IPA – 6.8% – draft

    Musky and powerfully bitter. Some citrus notes too. I say leave that yeast in the wasp, it’s doing more good there than in here.

    stoplight_grnWhite Street Scottish Ale – 5.5% – draft

    A good solid Scottish ale, though it tastes like what most people would call a scotch ale. There seems to be a good bit of difference of opinion when it comes to what defines scotch vs scottish ale. All I know is that all of the scotch ales I’ve had have been earthy and rich, and the Scottish ales have all been sweeter and lighter. Regardless, it was a good beer.

    stoplight_grnRaleigh Brewing Big Squeeze – 6% – draft

    I’ve had this beer before, at a work function, but I don’t think I wrote about it.  It’s a really nice wheat beer, and the blood orange adds a fantastic tartness. I really think more beers should be infused with blood orange. More blood oranges for everyone!

    stoplight_redSub Noir Paul’s Brewtique Witbier + Lavender – 4.5% – draft

    Lavender is not my thing in beer, apparently, since this beer did not appeal to me. It tasted either like soap or perfume, neither of which is in the Pros column for me when it comes to beer flavors.

    stoplight_grnSub Noir Ginger Tripel – 9% – draft

    The ginger was surprisingly powerful in this beer. I thought it was tasty, though I admit I got it mostly to wash the taste of the lavender beer out of my mouth.

    stoplight_redFortnight Brewing Blonde Ale – 5% – draft

    Yuck. I can’t believe this had to be my last beer of the night. Simply terrible. This beer will definitely keep me from paying Fortnight a visit if I’m ever in the area.

    Busy Bee Sourfest 2014


    To further enhance the beer-fueled nature of my birthday weekend, I convinced my wife and some friends to go to Sourfest with me. It was crazy in there, but we managed to find a table up in The Hive and we sat down to enjoy some tart tastiness.

    stoplight_grnNew Belgium Love Felix – 7.5% – draft

    It’s not quite as sour as La Folie, and much lighter in color and body as well. It has some great cherry flavors and is incredibly refreshing. I could drink this all day.

    stoplight_grnBFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien – 11% – draft

    As soon as the bartender handed me my glass, he wiped this beer off the board, so I consider it a minor birthday miracle. An incredible beer. It’s mellow and tart, and I honestly would not peg it at 11%. It’s so smooth, with heavy oak and dark fruit flavors under the tartness. By the way, BFM stands for Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, and I’m keeping an eye out for their beers from now on.

    I guess I have to pick a winner, so…

    1408916518283Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien it is! Far and away the best beer I had this month.

    Leave a comment and let me know what I should be drinking in September!