• Tag Archives fullsteam
  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Nov/Dec 2014

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    I think this will be my last BOTM post, at least for now. I find myself much less willing to write in-depth beer reviews than I used to, and putting this out every month has become a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime. I’ll probably end up writing one-off beer reviews as I find new and noteworthy brews, which will be more thoughtfully written since I won’t feel under the gun to churn them out. Thanks to anyone who’s followed my ramblings this far, I hope to produce higher quality content in the future!

    Alright, on to the good stuff. I’ve had some fantastic beers in the last two months, so at least we’re going out with a bang.

    stoplight_grnTröegs Perpetual Imperial Pale Ale – 7.5% – bottle

    This is a tricky one, since even though there’s a big “IPA” on the bottle, the small print on the bottle indicates that this stands for Imperial Pale Ale. It’s confusing, but at least I know I’m not the only one, because when I checked into this beer on Untappd, I got TWO badges, one for Pale Ales and another for IPAs. It’s a mystery, but at least it’s delicious. It showcases its hops without smacking you in the face with them. Its pine and floral notes dominate, but they don’t overpower the malts, which often happens with American IPAs.

    stoplight_ylwStone Coffee Milk Stout – 4.2% – bottle

    While browsing my local Crafty Beer Shop, where every 6-pack is build-your-own, I decided to forego variety for once and get a full sixer of this one. Call it a fit of madness, but I’m partial to both coffee and milk stouts, and it was nearly winter, so I figured why not? Well, it wasn’t a total disappointment, since it’s really smooth, but I get more bitter, smoky malts than coffee, and there are simply other milk stouts that are far better.

    stoplight_grnStone Enjoy By 12.26.14 IPA – 9.4% – bottle

    To give Stone a chance to redeem itself after the Milk Stout, I got this Enjoy By because it put me in the Wintermas spirit, and it was a good decision. Powerful bitterness runs throughout this one, because it’s from Stone, but it’s well-balanced by the sweet caramel flavors from the malts and the grapefruit peel and pine flavors of the hops. Now I kinda want to get another bottle and wait until December 27th to drink it, because I live on the edge.

    stoplight_grnArjay Hinek’s Applewood Smoked Porter – 5.8% – draft

    I have the good fortune to be part of a mature Agile team at my job, and to have a phenomenal Scrum Master in Arjay. But beyond his Scrum cred, he’s also a woodworker and homebrewer. (It’s a little scary sometimes how much our interests overlap) This week he brought in his latest creation, a (nearly) sessionable porter flavored with home-smoked applewood. If you’re a regular follower of this series, you know that I really don’t go for smoky beers, but this one was really good. The malts have the reins, and the smokiness is very mellow, rather than the bitterness I’m used to. I think that’s due to most smoky beers getting their smoke flavor from over-roasted (read: burned) malts. The more you drink this beer, the more you feel like you’ve been sitting next to a campfire, and how can that be bad? Sadly, none of you can have any, but hopefully I’ll get to drink more someday.

    Arjay blogs about Agile at So Agile It Hurts Sometimes.

    Fullsteam Fellowship of the Barrel

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    Fullsteam Brewing in Durham is well-known as being one of my favorite local breweries. Even though I had a funky bottle of their IGOR last year, all other experiences with them have been fantastic, especially IGOR on draft. This year they threw a weekend-long tap takeover full of nothing but barrel-aged beers. Glorious, I know. If I could have stayed there for the entire time and tasted every beer, I totally would have. However, things like “feeding the animals (like Finnegan, up top)” and “fiscal responsibility” and “picking up my wife from the airport” got in the way. Sheesh.

    stoplight_grnFullsteam RABA Cack-A-Lacky – 5.5%

    Cack-a-Lacky is one of my favorite pale ales. It has such a nice bright ginger punch, it’s very effervescent, and the ABV is definitely low enough for this to be a lunch beer. Also it comes in cans, which is awesome. For this version, they aged it in Rhum Agricole (a.k.a. cane juice rum) barrels. Apart from a barely higher ABV (up from 5%) and a touch of woody depth, this basically tasted like standard Cack-a-Lacky. That is to say it was delicious, if not all that nuanced. If they do this again next year I’ll probably try something else in its place.

    stoplight_grnFullsteam 2013 IGOR – 9.0%

    IGOR, on the other hand, I will drink any time I can get my hands on it. Aged in a bourbon barrel, this smooth, chocolatey stout with great bourbon barrel notes was an instant favorite the moment I had it on draft.

    stoplight_ylwHaw River + Mystery Memorial Day 2012 – 5.4%

    This wild saison aged in brandy and red wine barrels was okay. I’m glad it was part of the festival, because they can’t all be pushing 10% ABV, but the red wine flavors were strange and a little over the top, given the already complex interplay between the mellow woodiness of the brandy and the sharp tang of the wild yeasts.

    stoplight_grnHighland McRooney Scotch Ale – 8.3%

    It doesn’t surpass Old Chub in my heart, but it’s still a delicious Scotch Ale, particularly with the addition of the whisky-barrel oak notes and the heightened ABV. It has that dense peatiness that you can feel in your teeth, which is something I love.

    stoplight_grnHaw River Major Arcana Sour Black Ale – 7.2%

    I definitely wasn’t expecting to see a sour at this event, but I’m glad I did, because this was an excellent beer. This is the first beer I’ve had where barrel-aging imparted a kind of lightness. Being a sour black ale, Major Arcana is a small-portion, small-sip kind of beer. The brandy barrel flavors, while not prominent, cut the sourness nicely and allowed me to experience the full range of flavors in the sour, rather than dwelling solely on the bite.


    perpetualOof, picking a winner this month is tough. I’m tempted to pick IGOR again, since it’s so fantastic, but I think that the Tröegs Perpetual IPA edges it out for me this time. There’s something special about that one, and it kind of renewed my interest in thoughtfully tasting beer. Maybe Pale Ales will be my next personal tasting focus, since historically they’ve taken a back seat to IPAs.

    Thanks for reading! As always, any recommendations are welcome in the comments.

    Happy Holidays!


  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Mar 2014

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    Another month gone already. Is it just me or did March pass more quickly than February? I blame Daylight Savings Time. This month I read The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes by Joshua M. Bernstein. Its title is quite a mouthful, but Bernstein knows what he’s talking about, and I love that he gives multiple examples of each of the beer styles he describes. I’ve learned so much about what to expect from my beer this month. I highly recommend it! I may even use it as the basis for some future posts. I’m playing around with the stoplight-style quality indicators on this post, so let me know what you think of them in the comments. Helpful? Cheesy?

    Befriend me on Untappd so we can revel in our beer love together!

    stoplight_grn Dogfish Head My Antonia Imperial Pilsner – 7.5% – bottle

    Very hazy for a pilsner, with an aroma of musty yeast, cedar, and a hint of orange. The flavor is bittersweet, woody and hoppy. It has a dry mouthfeel with good effervescence that fades into a lingering bitter citrus peel finish. I wouldn’t classify this as a typical pilsner – it’s so good though, definitely unusual, but a great beer. Always trust Dogfish Head to push a style in a great direction.

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  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Dec 2013

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    Last month of 2013! I had so many good beers in December, so many. With the exception of Fullsteam’s Igor, I can recommend every single one of these brews.

    Check out my Untappd RSS feed for more beery goodness!

    Boulevard Brewing Dark Truth Stout – 9.7% – bottle

    Pours a dark mahogany with a thick light brown head. The aroma is very malty with notes of toffee, banana and whiskey. The initial taste is vaguely sweet, but that’s quickly overwhelmed by bitter woodiness. Banana esters linger on the tongue as the bitterness fades into burnt oak notes and a lingering finish. It’s a little too burned-tasting for me, but it’s not bad by any stretch.

    Bell’s Expedition Stout – 10.5% – bottle

    This is a beautifully silky, oaky stout. Bourbon and dark malts in the aroma, and more of the same in the taste. The high gravity lends a nice burn in the finish, but it’s well-balanced by the sweetness and low carbonation. There’s even a good level of piney hoppiness in here. I think this is the best beer I’ve had from Bell’s. Continue reading “<span class="entry-title-text">Ted’s Beer of the Month: Dec 2013</span>” »


  • Ted’s Beer of the Month: Aug 2013

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    Rogue Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA – draft – 6.8% – smells like feet. No bueno. Tastes great though, very malty, the mark of a good black IPA. I think the lines at the place I drank this one were poorly cared for, since I noticed an off flavor in both this one and the Foothills Hoppyum I drank before it.

    New Belgium Pumpkick – 6% – bottle – Pours amber and clear. Smells just like every other pumpkin beer I’ve ever had: spicy, mildly fruity, low on the hop character. I must say that seeing pumpkin beer in my bottle shop in the middle of Summer is extremely strange. Anyway, New Belgium put their little European twist on the typical American pumpkin beer with this one. They say they added cranberry, but honestly I didn’t detect any. The spices are nice, but as I’m not a fan of pumpkin beers in general, this one’s pretty low on my list.

    Ommegang Hennepin Saison – draft – 7.7% – Hazy and dark yellow, it’s the pinnacle of a European saison. Very tart, with some orange rind bitterness and a heavy alcohol kick in the back of the throat. Reminds me a bit of Delirium Tremens. I think I like American saisons better though, since they tend to be slightly milder, and without that harsh tang that gets old for me about two-thirds of the way through the pint.

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  • Beer of the Month: Mar 2013

    I had a lot of beer last month, a large portion of which was at breweries, which is always a good thing. I’ve included links to the beers I’ve previously reviewed but had no new insights about. If you have any suggestions for improving the readability of these posts, let me know in the comments. Happy April / NC Beer Month!

    • Mash House Brewery & Chophouse – This is a really great restaurant & brewery in Fayetteville, NC. All the food we had was delicious, even if the beers weren’t world-changing. I had a four 4oz beer tasting tray. None of the beers had any sort of head or lacing whatsoever, which was disappointing, though not exactly surprising for such a short pour. Also, most of them had no aroma at all, or I had to really concentrate to detect even the slightest scent.
      • Blonde –  4.5% – lemon & banana on the nose, taste is soft cheese, maybe gouda. Crisp, almost cidery mouthfeel, light carb. The more of it I drink, the more gouda I get, to the point where by the end I’m drinking cheese. And just in case you think I’m crazy, I’m not the only one who thought this.
      • Irish Red – 5.0% – a little bit of grapes in the nose. Straightforward red, kinda earthy with a spice I can’t quite place. Second favorite MH brew.
      • IPA – 5.9% –  hoppy and floral, a pretty complex layering of the hops, and a very good beer overall. Best one of the 4 I tried at MH.
      • Hefeweizen – 5.0% – standard wheat beer, some more banana here, but definitely better than the blonde. I wouldn’t get this again, but that’s just because the IPA and Red are so much better. The mouthfeel was closer to an American wheat than a traditional hefeweizen, which is weird because this beer was so cloudy.

      Continue reading “<span class="entry-title-text">Beer of the Month: Mar 2013</span>” »