Since being founded in 1996, Stone has made its mark on the craft beer world. Starting in San Diego, they’ve since become so popular a 2nd brewery was opened in Richmond and even a 3rd in Belgium. Thier beers show the West Coast roots, being hop dominated with above average ABV’s. Called an “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” twice by Beer Advocate, the accolades keep coming from this SoCal legend.
ABV: 7.3% IBU: 70
Pour: A rustic deep red color with plenty of carbonation swirling up.
Head: A firm off white head raises and lingers, sticking to the side of the glass as it slowly disappears.
Nose: Plenty of pine notes here, followed by hints of lemon. Bread like aromas of malt on the back end.
Palate: Nice and balanced, rich malts lead to crisp pine needles. Medium bodied with a sticky resin like feel that coats your mouth.
Overall: I’m a big fan of Red IPA’s, most brewers have found the perfect balance of hops giving that IPA feel with a strong malt background to give weight and Stone really hit the mark on this one. This was one impressive brew, the malty backbone makes this IPA one to enjoy on those cold nights until spring is in full swing. A nice pairing with spicy chicken, tangy chesses or even pound cake with a little fruit on top.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints
In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan founded the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood. Fifteen years later, 21st Amendment is sold coast to coast, offering a lineup that consist of nearly a dozen different beers. The newest addition to their year-round portfolio is Toaster Pastry, an homage to the brewery’s former life as a toaster pastry factory.
The beer pours a slightly hazy amber red color with golden orange highlights. The thick two finger off white head shows great retention. Once the head dissipates a moderate amount of lacing remains a top the beer as well as along the sides of the glass.
Aromas of biscuity malts, caramel and toasted bread definitely makes you think of a toaster pastry. Hop notes of pine, grapefruit and tropical fruits are in no short supply. There is a hint of strawberry, but it is mostly overshadowed by the hops.
The palate is flooding by the hops found in the bouquet. Grapefruit, pine, pineapple and lemon notes are all notable. There is definitely a sweetness that carries hints of strawberry jam. The biscuit malts make an appearance along with notes of caramel and toast. You can pick up on the typically flavors of a toaster pastry but the flavors are balanced with the hops to create a surprisingly drinkable beer.
21st Amendment did a great job paying homage to the toaster pastry while maintaining their dignity as a brewery. Try this one with Munster, roasted duck or strawberry cheesecake with graham cracker crust.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
The O’Fallon Brewery was founded in 2000 by Fran and Tony Caradonna. Over the next several years, they continued to grow their brands and today offer a dozen year-round and limited release beers. From Scotch Ale to a Peach Wheat beer, they have something for everyone. Hemp Hop Rye Amber Ale is one of their year round offering.
The beer pours an amber color with rich orange hues when viewed directly against the light. The one finger off white head dissipates rather quickly. Once the head has dissipated a minimal lacing is left behind.
Aromas of sweet fermented fruits are lifted by a sweet caramel note. Biscuity malts intertwine seamlessly with an aroma of rye bread. Earthy and citrusy hop notes add complexity and aid in balancing the sweetness.
The palate shows the same sweet fermented fruit as the bouquet. Notes of caramel and malts are greeted with a nutty earthy note from the hemp seeds. The citrus and earthy hop notes from the bouquet are kicked up with the addition of white flowers and black pepper. The rye spice is noticeable but not overwhelming. The finish is dry.
An interesting beer from O’Fallon’s Brewery. There are many components yet the beer is rather easy to drink. Try pairing this one with Gouda, Pork with apple compote or flan.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out of 5 Pints
The Magic Hat Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by Alan Newman and Bob Johnson in Burlington, Vermont. Since the early 90’s they have become one of the biggest names in craft brewing. With a huge portfolio of year round and seasonal brews, Magic Hat truly offer something for everyone’s palate.
They are also well known for their variety packs, which often feature specialty, rotating and seasonal brews. Night of the Living Dead is their current variety pack which contains three each of the following four beers: Séance, DeVEILed, hI. P. A. and the flagship No. 9. We are excited to taste our way through all four offerings. This week DeVEILed is in the spotlight.
The beer pours a dark amber brown. In the glass it appears a deep mahogany color with reddish/copper hues. The cream colored one finger head is quite frothy. There is minimal retention and barely any lacing.
On the nose you are slammed with notes of rich roasted malts. Along with the malt notes there are aromas of roasted nuts and caramel. A powerful aroma of dark ripe fruit (namely black cherry and fig) kicks in and harmoniously interacts with the caramel, nut and malt notes.
On the palate the aroma of the fruit is never realized. However, all is not lost. At first you pick up a sweet nutty caramel note. The caramel nuttiness stays and is met by deep, rich roasted malt notes. On the mid-palate a heavy smoky flavor is intertwined with a note of burnt coffee. It is also on the mid-palate where you detect earthy and piney hop notes that add a slight bitterness. The finish showcases much of the same with a light hoppy bitterness and an obvious robust smokiness.
DeVEILed is a very interesting beer with a lot going on. I think Magic Hat’s description sums it up fairly well, “A rich and robust amber ale. Hiding just beyond its malty core is a crisp, clean, hoppy aura that will open your eyes to the other side.” This would be a match made in heaven for a Smoked BBQ Brisket. It would also pair well with grilled portabella or bread pudding.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory
Newcastle calls this brew the “formidable beast.” Available for the first time in New Jersey, Newcastle Werewolf was surprisingly a “formidable” beer. Newcastle Seasonal beers have been brewed in Edinburgh at the Caledondian Brewery starting in 2009, but their flagship Brown Ale has been in production (at a different site) since 1927.
Newcastle says the beer is naturally “blood red,” but that is a slight exaggeration of the true color. When the pour begins, it appears to be amber, but as it amounts in the glass there are definite red hues. The head is a thick creamy white and dissipates quickly.
On the nose, there is a dominate aroma that is reminiscent of white grape juice. After sitting for a little while, the initial sweet grape notes begin to fade and a light bready, nutty aroma emerges.
The mouthfeel is notably creamy. The carbonation level is slightly higher than most, masking some notes that might otherwise have been detected. The first discernible quality of this medium bodied brew is a strong malt character. The malt mixes with a light note of sweet red berries that give way to a mid palate of sweet almond notes. The nutty flavors linger and co mingle with a bitter hoppy note on the finish. The finish is comparable to that of an ESB.
It was surprisingly complex. Far more than expected from a widely distributed brand. Newcastle claims that the beer has “dual character” and after tasting, that claim is confirmed! There really are two+ sides to this beer. There is a slightly sweet “human” character commonly seen in a fruited Wheat Beer that is cut by the classic, bitter and “beastly” ESB flavor profile with a little bit of a typical Nut Brown Ale during the dramatic transformation. This is a great conversation beer and a must have for any Halloween party!
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory
Rogue’s Chipotle Ale pours a deep clear amber, with orange and golden hues when held up to the light. It develops a modest white head which dissipates but sits on the surface of the beer until it is gone.
There are no overwhelming aromas in the nose. The most prevalent notes are bread, malt, yeast and smoked green pepper. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a Rauchbier, a German beer with a signature smoky flavor developed by drying the malted barley over an open fire. It’s not quite that intense, but one can’t help but draw a comparison.
The body of the beer is pretty thin, with a modest carbonation that lends it a rather creamy texture. As with the nose, the predominant flavors that come across the palate are the malty sweetness and breadiness typical of amber ales. This gives way to smoke and charcoal, with a hint of green pepper running throughout. I don’t pick up any heat from the peppers, so I’m guessing that the seeds were either removed before the peppers were added to the boil or that the capsaicin was somehow neutralized.
The smoked pepper makes what would otherwise be a rather unremarkable amber ale. The body’s a bit too thin for my liking, but the smoky taste of the beer combined with its drinkability make it interesting enough to try if the opportunity presents itself.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Pints
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory.