- Written by Devon
We here at DrinkCraftBeer.com are working to help the craft brewing industry and the brewers who make it. We love to give exposure to any new beers we've tried and liked. Beer costs money, though, and we're not made of it... not by far! Luckily sometimes breweries will send us sample of new offerings that they are excited about. We're not going to ignore any of these, but we are going to be 100% honest about them... especially since we don't get any advertising spend or money in any form from any of them. This section will have a little bit of both, beers we've bought and beers we've been sent to try.
We'll give you any information we have about the beer (basically the style, anything interesting about the story, etc...), some quick tasting notes, then we'll each give you our frank assessments of how we liked it. Hopefully this new feature will help! So, with that said, on to the beer!
Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale
Appearance: Dark Ruby-Brown
Smell: Smeet malts with a tiny hint of fig
Taste: VERY smooth, very low bitterness, though it does have a touch of roasted malt flavor. Smooth and very mild vanilla tones as well as notes of dried fruit, can't say if either of those are actually added, but the flavors are there. A bit metallic on the finish, but not in a bad way. A very unique finish, that neither of us can really pin down
Devon's Take: I really like it and wish we had more. I'm not one for sweet beers and this definitely has some sweet tones but the smoothness and slight bitterness of the malt really balance this beer for me. It's not over spiced like many other winter beers and for that it makes it a good beer to have a few of for me.
Jeff's Take: I thought it was pretty good. Up until the finish it's pretty great. I don't love the dry raisiny metallic finish, and for that I'd probably get sick of this after one or two. A good beer that reminds me of a dark English pub ale, although I probably wouldn't session it. One of the better winter offerings, though, as it doesn't have spice and is smooth as hell.
Flying Dog Collaborator Double Bock
(Check out OpenSourceBeerProject.com for Flying Dog's story about this beer)
Appearance: Brownish Copper in color with a tan quickly dissipating head.
Smell:Very sweet and bready with mild hints of alcohol
Taste: Both of us were actually caught off guard on the first taste. With a double bock you expect a certain malt sweetness and roundness to the flavor. This beer is a bit of a surprise and doesn't taste nearly as sweet as it smells and also has a stronger hop finish that many double bocks out there. Lower carbonation that is indicative of the style.
Devon's Take: To be honest, I'm not sure where I stand on this beer. First off, I'm not a fan of double bocks in general, though there are exceptions. I do really like the finish of this beer. The hops are nice addition but for me there seems like there's something missing, but I can't put my finger on it. I think if it was a little more viscous that might do it.
Jeff's Take: I took my first sip and was quite surprised... thinner than a double bock and hoppier. More of a hoppy Oktoberfest almost. I dig it and could drink a good bit of it. Easier to drink than a traditional double bock... It's like a session double bock, and I'm a fan.
Flying Barrel Aged Horn Dog Barleywine
(This is a very limited batch of their Horn Dog Barleywine that they aged in whiskey barrels, only available at the brewery. We were lucky enough to receive some.)
Appearance: dark and cloudy
Smell: Whiskey. A LOT of whiskey. Strong oak tones and a hint of vanilla
Taste: The whiskey is surprisingly controlled, while it's definitely there the lack of booze coming through tones it down a lot. This is a very sweet barley wine and if you go in expecting aggressive hops you'll be disappointed. However, if you take this beer as it is, without any preconceived notions, it's quite good. It's incredibly smooth and somehow covers all of the booze. Neither of us can recall a a barley wine that covers the booze this well. TONS of vanilla on this one and a good bit of oak. Almost no carbonation... slick, smooth and pretty interesting. This would be great to split after a big meal.
Devon's Take: There's a lot of whiskey in the nose which is almost overwhelming. This beer took me more than a few sips to figure out. In the end I liked it though, but only in a 6oz serving I'd say. It's quite sweet and a bit viscous, with very intense flavors would be better paired with food.
Jeff's Take: Holy whiskey! So much vanilla oak and whiskey in this, without any booze! I'm not a whiskey fan, but I love whiskey barrel aged beers. I think this is a really good one, too. The whiskey taste is surprisingly subdued. I would love to drink this again... as long as I can split a 12 oz bottle with somebody else.
So that's our take, what's yours? Be sure to let us know over in the forum.
- Written by Devon
Founders Brewing has been open for just over 10 years now and in that time they’ve garnered national acclaim for many of their beers. The Kentucky Breakfast stout has an almost cult following selling out before it even hits the stores in many cases. Our trip out to the Midwest certainly wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the brewery. We stopped by a day before our interview with Dave Engbers just to relax and try some of the beers only on tap at the pub. Our bartender, Melissa, was great and let us sample a variety of their tap offerings. For those of us not fortunate enough to live near Grand Rapids, Michigan, let's just says we’re missing out. We found a Frangelic Stout, a rich stout with hazelnut tones that was incredible, along with one of the best porters we’ve ever had. We returned the next day eager to ask about some of these offerings and if we’d see them in a bottle. It’s here where we meet up with one of the owners of Founders Brewing Company, Dave Engbers.
- Written by Jeff Wharton
And, straight from the mouth (or, rather, keyboard) of Larry Bell, here is the news that makes our last two Bell's stories make sense!
Bell's is currently in negotiations with two wholesalers to bring beer into Illinois. These two wholesalers would cover a very specific territory and distribution would not cover the entire city of Chicago. Initially, a handful of draft accounts will be started. At that time we expect to be sued by National Wines and Spirits of Indianapolis to stop distribution. The Executive VP of NWS has told me he intends to make a lawsuit as lengthy and as costly as possible. It will be up to the judge. So.. we may be back as Kalamazoo, we may be back as some other name, or we may not be back at all. Thank you to all who have been driving to Woodman's and others in WI, IN and southern Michigan. Please do not beermail me, as I will not be able to answer them for awhile. Just stay tuned as this thing plays out.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
We here at DrinkCraftBeer.com say good luck Larry and Co.! Someone needs to work to make franchise law more fair! Distributors shouldn't have all the power. It's a system that worked in the past, but is now outdated and needs to be looked at again.
- Written by Jeff Wharton
UPDATE WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Well, while I admitted defeat earlier, I actually did call the winners accurately! The winners of the Samuel Adams LongShot Contest 2007 were:
- Mike McDole - Double IPA
- Rodney Kibzey - Weizenbock
I was right all along! Supposedly the Double IPA is a Pliney the Elder clone... Can't wait to try that. And I always love a good weizenbock. Look out for this pack!
Oh yeah, and the Employee Winner was the Grape Pale Ale... I was hoping for the Rye IPA with Honey as we brewed one of those as our second recipe ever, but oh well. I'm intrigued by this offering. As long as it's not Smuckers Jam and beer, it could be good!
PAST WRITING ON THIS SUBJECT:
So, the results of the Samuel Adams LongShot Contest are almost ready to be made public. From their site:
The results are in! Congratulations to Mike McDole of California, Rodney Kibzey of Illinois, Dave Pobutkiewicz of New Jersey, and David Jackson of Georgia for being selected as finalists in the 2007 Samuel Adams® American Homebrew Contest™. All four will join us at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver where we’ll announce which two will be included in the LongShot® variety pack.
If you find yourself at the GABF, please be sure to stop by the LongShot booth to meet the finalists and vote on the 3rd brew to be included in the LongShot variety pack from our Samuel Adams employee homebrew contest.
We here at DrinkCraftBeer.com, however, already have the results (or at least a very good tip on them). I'm going to put my money on Mike McDole with his Double IPA and Rodney Kibzey with his Weizenbock! Although, the fact that the other two finalists were named Dave supports our theory here that Dave's brew beer. Check out our interviews if you want proof, there's a lot of Daves in there. But, back to the LongShot Contest, those are the labels they have received approval on from COLA, so that's what I'm betting on.
For the employee beer, I'm going to guess the Maibock will win, even before they do voting at the Great American Beer Fest. Good luck to everyone, but I'm pretty happy with those results. Samuel Adams could use a hoppy beer in their arsenal.
For those who care, the people who didn't win brewed:
Dave Pobutkiewicz - Helles Bock
David Jackson - American IPA
Let's see if my predictions pan out.
*** OK, so looks like my predictions may have been a little hasty, to say the least. They have approved 4 labels for the Homebrew Contest, and 2 more for the employee contest, as well as a third keg label. Also, the regional winner who brewed a Helles Bock, his entry is now called a Maibock, hence the above confusion about it being an employee brew So, now we have the possible winners as:
Maibock (was reported originally as a Helles Bock)
Grape Pale Ale
Weiss Beer with Orange
Rye IPA with Honey
Good luck to all!