Tag Archives: Ale



Hola fellow beer drinkers, we are gathered here today to talk about the recent bottle of suds I explored, Brux, as in the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis yeast (don’t name your kid that!). Brux is a Belgian-style ale collaboration between Russian River Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing and I’m sure all of you are acquainted with these two breweries. Russian River Brewing continues to be highly regarded among craft beer circles whereas Sierra Nevada Brewing’s success at times gets them brushed as a macro brewer. I enjoy drinking beers from both breweries, in fact I like that Sierra Nevada is so accessible and I can walk into any grocer and pick up a case or six of their beers. Russian River beers on the other hand, can be a pain in the ass to find because of their limited availability and distribution.


The ale had a very simple aroma of citrus and banana mixed with the wild yeast funk. An aromatically pleasing ale that has a refreshing sip of bright citrus notes with banana and pear flavors, these last two add subtle hints of sweetness. You also get a bit of a grassy flavor with enough tartness to finish the sip; very enjoyable. The ale’s moderate carbonation wraps your tongue in all those pleasing flavors I describe. I enjoyed drinking this beer very much and turned out to be a nice pairing with the dinner I made that day. I have additional pictures below.



This Belgian-style ale has nice bright flavors, but nothing too overpowering and can easily be paired with lots of your home made dishes. For dinner this day I made a balsamic vinegar roasted chicken and a side dish of roasted root vegetables seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary, a very earthy dish that married well with the ale flavors. Overall the beer had great flavors but I was left hanging, wishing, waiting for those faint notes of pear and banana to crash the party. Four Beer Caps, it’s almost an excellent beer and I shall be buying one to cellar; let’s see if age will grant the extra Beer Cap.




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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Beer & Food, Empty Bottles


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Old Jubilation Ale


Old Jubilation Ale is of the Strong Ale variety made by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder Colorado.


Malt was the beers primarily aroma followed by roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some yeast funk, all combined with a strong alcohol presence. A malt backbone with some roasted notes, but the holidays don’t come to mind when I sip. I thought of a chocolate and nut biscotto when I first took a sip. Old Jubilation Ale has a nice creamy body and just the right amount of carbonation. The beer had a sweetness from the malt that I really enjoyed. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans are discernible, but its a boozy sip and the alcohol will overpower while the malt brings around. The finish is bitter from some hop flavor and leaves you with a dry mouth.



At 8.4% ABV, Old Jubilation Ale is one that can get you to bed early if you don’t mind what you’re drinking, so take it easy with it. The beer can be cellared for up to 2 years according to the bottle, I just might consider doing that to see how the character of the beer changes. I’ve enjoyed drinking this beer, but I was looking forward to some holiday spices in the beer, but it can go both ways as this can be an alternative to the heavily spiced winter warmer available at this time of year. Three Beer Caps for this one.



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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Empty Bottles


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La Merle

La Merle by North Coast Brewing Co

The Blackbird is the English translation of Le Merle, but it sounds better in French. This is probably one of North Coast’s cheaper beers at $7.49, but it’s a very good one. It is a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, a style I haven’t had much of, but I recall a few and I enjoyed them.

The ale had pleasant bright notes of fruit like green apple and pears, caramelized white sugar (reminded me of when my wife bakes), yeasty funk, citrus, and hop. One thing I really enjoyed about this beer is the carbonation; the bubbles made lots of the great flavors stick around. The apple and pear were present, the bread/yeast, and I really enjoyed the citrus/hop finish on it. When the beer warmed there was burn from the alcohol, but it wasn’t bothersome.

Took pictures of this beer outdoors just before the sunset and the sun was at a great angle and it made for great beer color that I think I’ve captured. The beer is very drinkable and I still wanted more of it after the bottle was gone; will pick up one of these again, maybe two to share with friends during the upcoming spring BBQ’s. Five Caps for this one, you’ll enjoy it, I guarantee it!

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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Empty Bottles, Five Beer Caps Club


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Chocolate Porter Bayhawk Ales

I was taking the road less traveled of craft beer when I stumbled upon this bottle of Chocolate Porter, brewed by a company that states they are Orange County’s oldest brewery. I had never heard of them but it was only $3.50, had to get one. I’m sure we’d all like to do this often, grab an unknown beer, but with craft beer being expensive and all, it makes the selection and shopping process a bit difficult; we all want to spend our hard earned money on something tasty and hopefully find new favorites.

Aromatically it was good, roasted malt and coffee, very pleasant on the nose but no chocolate. Taste of vanilla extract, roasted malt, and burnt cocoa beans. The beer had a weird acid/tangy type of thing going and I’m not sure if that has something to do with how long ago it had been brewed and bottled.

This beer has a very clean rinse on the tongue and I expect more from a chocolate porter. I expected something malty with dark notes and chocolate, especially if it’s in the name for crying out loud; some carbonation would be good too, something that will linger and coat the tongue. I’m not going to recommend you this beer, not even at $3.50 a bottle; ask the bartender to pour you something different or grab a bottle that’s next to this one. One Beer Cap for this poor chocolate porter.


Posted by on February 5, 2011 in Empty Bottles


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Christmas Ale 2010 by Anchor Brewing

Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale 2010

Anchor Brewing Company’s 2010 Christmas Ale, a winter warmer with a low ABV at 5.50%.  The low ABV makes it perfect if you want to enjoy a few of these ales during Christmas, especially if you want to stay up and wait for the Baby Jesus to deliver your gifts.  I visited Anchor’s website where I learned that they’ve been brewing this Christmas Ale since 1975, each years ingredients are different as the labels.  Take a look at the different labels through the years, here.

Cherries, nutmeg, malt, and I got a bit of funky yeast in the aroma.  The body of the ale was light, slight tartness with nice dark notes, plums, cherries, and malt.  The light body of the beer was great, nothing overpowering and great balanced flavors. It’s my first time having this particular Christmas ale and I really enjoyed it.

I had this with my Christmas dinner and it was great to sip on.  A few of our guests had it too and found the ale tasty.  I’ll be buying this every year and you should too, be sure to pick up a six and even gift one, help spread holiday beer for this Four Beer Caps ale.

Throw one back for me ~ Cheers!

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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Empty Bottles


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Alpha King by Three Floyds

A Pale Ale by Three Floyds with a great label; just look at it, the Hop King himself is flavoring the beer with his own hop-locks. There are times when labels mislead you, they look great and get you to buy the product, but they don’t deliver; quite the opposite with this one and if you’re a pale ale fan, you’ll be in for a treat. With Alpha King the Pale Ale is delicious, too bad this was the only beer I got with the trade, but I’ve been looking forward to it since I really enjoyed another beer by Three Floyds called Gumball Head.

An amber colored pour with medium body and an excellent bold aroma of citrus hop and malt sweetness. The hop flavor is citrusy and piney, but what I really liked in this ale was the presence of the malt, it adds sweetness to the character of the beer; a nice balance to the bitterness that shows up in the finish.

This is an excellent pale ale and will go as far as saying that it will rival in flavor any of your top five favorites; a perfect five beer caps is awarded for that reason. I’ve had this review up my sleeve for a number of weeks, but as I reminisce and write my final thoughts on it, I wish I were in Indiana to walk into a bar and get one poured from the draft; it’s that good!

Pour one for me!


Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Empty Bottles, Five Beer Caps Club


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Gumballhead & Pan Seared Lamb Chops

I’ve looked forward to having this beer, or any for that matter from Three Floyds brewery. This is a brewer that doesn’t ship to Kalifornia or Michigan, but since Indiana is just south from my beer bud Steve, he made magic happen and shipped me a couple of these; the one man team from CervezaPlease thanks thee.  I’ll take the time before I get into the beer, to inform Steve that in about a week or so, a small thank you package will be in the mail.

This is my second wheat ale I’ve had, the first being Oberon by Bells, which I mentioned would be next to review but Gumballhead is still fresh in the brain and I don’t have anything prepared for Oberon.  The aroma is of a pine hop, like when you pick up a pine twig in the forest and smell it.  For me, the aroma of wheat was not there, it was all hops, a bit of sweet notes, and a citrus hint.  I served myself the beer to pair it with a lamb dish I had prepared, but after the first sip, I actually thought I tasted bubblegum; I stopped drinking it after that first sip as I thought it wouldn’t go well with the meal. I’m sure tasting bubblegum was all in the name and had a psychological effect on me, but I didn’t want to ruin a nice meal, one that was prepared with strong herbs and feta cheese.  I was done with the meal and guess what happened? The bubble gum flavor was gone!  The beer had a good mouthful of carbonation with a slight bitter taste, fruity sweetness, and a citrus finish.  The dish below would pair well with the Gumball Ale or any Ale of your choice.

Now I force you to look at food porn from my lamb dinner, I’ll follow it a recipe, and I’ll end with my thoughts and rating of the beer.

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Fresh Mint Salad


1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 ounce)

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

8 lamb chop ribs chops or loins (about 2 lbs) cut 1″ thick

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 ts ground black pepper

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

In a bowl combine mint, parsley, feta cheese, and pecans; set aside.

Rub chops with 2 ts olive oil; sprinkle salt & pepper. Cook lamb on a skillet to desired doneness.

To serve, sprinkle chops with mint mixture.

Drizzle additional olive oil and lemon juice over mint mixture.

Serve with your favorite side dish or with salad greens.

This is a good medium bodied summer beer if you have an opportunity to try it don’t pass on it.  Too bad I can’t drive somewhere and pick this beer up as I really enjoyed it.  The beer is good and has a nice balance to it, but I think it’s missing a little something to make it a perfect five caps.  I have one more of these beers in the cellar so I’ll have to have it soon and savor it.  I’ll rate it four beer caps on the new Kalifornia Beer Rating System, KBRS for short.

Throw one back for me – cheers!


Much love and thanks to my baby mama @Hvnlydlite who assisted me with taking pictures while I cut the lamb.


Posted by on September 4, 2010 in Beer & Food, Empty Bottles


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