River Horse-Tripel Horse
As a traditional Belgian Tripel, Tripel horse is about average for the field. It pours golden brown, with a full head. On first taste, the beer is sweet and alcoholic. There are notes of butterscotch, caramel, and almond. As the aromas linger, there’s also a hint of orange and banana. There are even some slight herbs, but the sugary thick alcohol of the sweet yeasts dominates the palate. In fact, the beer is a little too alcoholic without providing the complex base of a true Tripel. However, for twelve or fourteen dollars a six pack, it’s a really good buy for a strong Belgian ale. As a result, it earns an A for price. In fact, I buy this beer a lot for small get togethers. If you’re interested in the Tripel style, you can easily find more definitive brews in presentation and originality. However, for casual drinking, you probably won’t find a better deal.
In Conclusion: There are better Tripels out there, but River Horse’s Tripel Horse is a lot cheaper than most of those.
Food Pairing: Spicy and creamy pork or poulty dishes, Greek food, and pungent cheese like Limburger or Taleggio.
“Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.”
The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone – More Brown Than Black IPA
Finally started taking pictures!
I realize I’m kind of in the minority here. Most people consider this to be an A. I just didn’t find it to be nearly as complex as most. It pours dark brown, with a medium head. The hops definitely have a lot of citrus, and you can taste the stone fruit, but it finishes dry and bitter. The malt give a solid base, while remaining light and allowing the hops to take control. However, beyond the citrus, I didn’t really find that much complexity for the variety of hops that went into its creation. For several dollars a bottle and as a special collaboration, I expected more. This would be a great standard IPA to have in your fridge, if it wasn’t so expensive. That being said, all the proceeds go to Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund, a non-profit that helps family’s affected by Hurricane Irene (which also destroyed the Alchemist brewery). For that, the beer gets an A+ for price. Who can feel bad drinking a beer that genuinely helps people?
In Conclusion: Not the best IPA in the world, but definitely worth trying for the cause. Everyone should buy at least one bottle to help Alchemist and the people affected by Hurricane Irene.
Food Pairing: Pungent and strong cheeses like Cheddar and Gorgonzola, fruit, particularly stone fruit, and sweet breads and meats.
“If the beer finishes a little bit dry, it makes you kind of thirsty. It makes you want to drink it again.”
-Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co.
Founders-Breakfast Stout-Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout
A rich and creamy Stout, brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee, all of which somehow taste through in the brilliant notes. Pours black and thick, with a warm brown head. When it first hits your tongue, you immediately taste the rich chocolate and Kona coffee, the aroma tantalizing the tongue with its contrast of creamy sweet and robust bitter. Then the beer slows down as the thick fullness of the oatmeal settles, and Founders still finds time to round out the whole experience with some very slight hops and herbal flourishes. This is by far the best stout I’ve ever had. That’s not to say I won’t have a better one in the future, but I’ve never tasted anything more full and scrumptious. For price, I also have to give this beer an A+. At around twelve dollars a four pack, it may be the best deal on a rich imperial stout you’ll ever find.
In Conclusion: This is the king of breakfast stouts. Founders has really made a masterpiece.
Food Pairing: Creamy Cheeses like Gouda and Brie and Smoked Meats.
“They who drink beer will think beer.”
Dogfish Head-Midas Touch
Made from a 2700 year old recipe found in the tomb of “King Midas”, this beer is nearly liquid gold. Midas Touch is a barley based brew with honey, grapes, and light saphron. It pours a hazy golden yellow, with a medium head. The beer tastes mostly of the honey and grapes, which is why dogfish head describes it as “between wine and mead”, but behind that is the grainy and creamy barley. Miraculously, Dogfish has found a way to balance the sweet fruitiness of this beer with savory spices. That was the real “Midas Touch”. For price it’s a B+ at about twelve dollars a four pack. As one of Dogfish’s ancient specialty beers, it’s pretty cheap, considering the others are only available in more expensive champagne bottles.
In Conclusion: A great beer for special occasions or special meals. Buy if you’re having a dinner party and you have friends who like white wine.
Food Pairing: Sweet and Succulent dishes with a lot of fresh herbs and spices. Pork, Fish, Risotto, Curry, and Goat Cheese.
“Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world.”
Flying Dog-Raging Bitch-Belgian IPA
As a Belgian-IPA, it’s not the best, but also definitely not the worst. Pours Clean Red Amber with a full head. Tastes a bit like a Belgian Blonde for a millisecond, but then the hops take over. If you don’t like hops, you won’t like this. There’s an assault of complex hops, acidic, piney, and pungent, with only a waft of Belgian style. That’s the reason why this beer gets a B+. It doesn’t quite live up to its Belgian title. Flying Dog makes a fairly good Tripel (Kerberos), and you think they could have brought a little more of that styling to this beer. That being said, as far as price goes (it’s something like twelve or thirteen dollars a six pack), this is definitely the best of the canis majors, and perhaps the best tasting. For price, this beer deserves an A.
In Conclusion: For price, one of the best beers you can hope to buy. It’s not really Belgian, but as a refreshing IPA, it’s almost perfect.
Food Pairing: Hearty and spicy foods. Steak, pork chops, lamb, savory breads, and bleu cheese.
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”