Friday, February 3, 2012

Beer Review: Stone Vertical Epic 11

Stone Vertical Epic is a yearly beer released on the day month and year of that year.  At first I was pretty excited about the thought of getting all the releases and trying them all in a vertical tasting.  Last years beer was a little bit of let down and this years release was even worse.

At some point Greg Koch is going to have to spend more time creating tasty beers and not so much time writing novels on the back of the bottles.  Greg you are not Sam, I don't know why you think you are.  Do what you do best add hops to the boil and call it a night.  I don't really know if they actually did a pilot batch before they brewed this, but I am astonished they bottled it and I am even more amazed I paid for it. 

Stone Vertical 11 pours out amber with a white head. Aroma of chocolate and spice.  Taste is dark malt, dirt and I guess spice.  Overall I didn't like this beer.  It had no balance and no real beer flavor.  The only beer like thing was the bottle it came in.  I would not recommend this beer to anyone. 

Sorry I am sure there are a few people out there that did like this beer or are Stone fans and liked it because it said Stone on the bottle. I usually try not to hate on craft beer, but I know Stone won't be hurting from this mini critique, but I do suggest they try something new.  That something new should be creating craft beer that tastes good. Sometimes pushing the envelope is a good thing and sometimes just creating something good is a good thing. 

Till next year.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Avery Brewing Dépuceleuse

I decided to brew up some beer this weekend and part of the brew was to split it in half and make a sour version.  I looked at a few different blogs and it was suggested to toss in the dregs of different soured beers to get those needed yeasts into the beer.  I figured it was a great reason to pop open a beer I've been holding onto for awhile.

Avery started a barrel program and apparently have a few different sours coming out.  I picked this bottle up during my Colorado Beerventure last year and have been excited to drink it ever since.

Dépuceleuse is aged in oak zinfindel barrels with sour cherries and 100% brett fermentation.  Aroma is sour and yet a little bit of fruit balanced out.  Taste sour and oak, which I am a huge fan off and finishes dry and tart.  Not a whole lot of funk in this beer.  It is very clean and the flavors are balanced and nice.  

This beer is on the high end of the spectrum, but the love and care they put into it is well worth it.  Loved this beer only wish I grabbed a couple more. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

BetterBeerBlog Lupulin for Lupus Fundraiser

Here is a copy and paste of a blog post of BetterBeerBlog for a fundraiser.  Peter is a great blogger and beer advocate for the Bay Area.  Hope to see some of you there.

2011 Lupulin for Lupus Fundraiser

Tied House Brewery & Cafe has been kind enough to allow us to host our annual Lupulin for Lupus “Pint Night” Fundraiser at their brewpub for the second year in a row. This page is to be a “living document” for the fundraiser. As some details become more concrete, the changes will be reflected on this page. So please bookmark this page for your reference. Details below:

Who: Tied House Brewing Company
Lupulin for Lupus 2011
954 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 map
When: Friday, October 7, 2011 @ 5pm
Cost: No cost to go, just pay for the beers that support the fundraiser.

What is the fundraiser?

The fundraiser is incredibly simple: buy a beer and help the cause. Tied House holds a regular “First Friday Firkin” in which they tap a cask of real ale on the first Friday of every month. Just buy a pint of the beer from any of the donated firkins and you’ll be doing your part to help find a cure for lupus. All proceeds will benefit the Lupus Foundation of America. If you don’t want to wait until the fundraiser to donate, you can do so directly to the Lupus Foundation of America by clicking here.

What is Lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus, better known as lupus, is a chronic, autoimmune disease. In the most simple of terms, people with lupus have bodies that attack itself. These attacks, or flares, can happen to any part of their bodies at any time. Some of the more common organs attacked include: the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and the nervous system. Lupus is also known as “the great imitator” as symptoms of the disease are often mistaken for other diseases.  It is sometimes known as “the invisible illness”, many people who suffer from lupus appear as if nothing is wrong on the outside but are suffering greatly within.
Lupus can be fatal. Although, with the proper diagnosis, the disease is highly treatable. Despite this, lupus has no cure. Many of the treatments today are focused on reducing flares as well as treating the individual symptoms.
No one knows for sure what causes lupus but there are several factors that contribute to it’s development: genetics, environmental triggers and reaction to drugs. Lupus is non-communicable, which means that it’s not contagious.

What is Lupulin?

Lupulin is the name of the glands within hops that produce a resin that contains the essential alpha acids and essential oils that contribute hop bitterness, flavor and aroma to beers. I thought that since “lupu” is in “lupulin” and “lupus”, it would be great to combine both for the fundraiser. Kinda cheesy, I know, but it is the most appropriate for what I’m doing and what I’m doing it for.

Who is Karen?

Karen D.Karen is the key, she is the inspiration and the reason I am doing this. Karen is a close friend of the BetterBeerBlog family. I’ve actually known her since she was 5, maybe 6 years old and she also happens to be Mrs. BetterBeerBlog’s BFF (best friend forever, in case you weren’t sure.) Karen is also living with lupus. But she isn’t the only one. This fundraiser is for her and for everyone else living with lupus.
Read more about Karen’s story in her own words at her Lupus Foundation of America Page of Hope.

Participating Breweries

The kindness and generosity of my local breweries never ceases to amaze me. Our little fundraiser would not be if it weren’t for the breweries below. Please take the time to click on the links below to learn more about these breweries and consider buying a pint or bottle of their beer next time you see them. If you’re a brewery and would like to participate in our little fundraiser, please email me at betterbeerblog[at]gmail[dot]com and we can discuss what you have in mind.
Tied House – Big thanks goes out to the Tied House for continuing to give this fundraiser a home. We can’t thank Carolyn, Sabio and Peter enough for helping us out. For the fundraiser, Tied House will have a firkin of their Maltopia Strong Scotch ale, perfect for those of you who aren’t into hops as I am.
Drake’s Brewing – My sincerest appreciation goes to Drake’s Brewing for participating in our fundraiser this year. Thank you John, Kelsey and Alexandra. Drake’s will be bringing a cask-conditioned firkin of their Alpha Session, a 3.8% NorCal Bitter brewed with Cascade, Citra, Summit and Simcoe and dry-hopped with Galaxy, Citra, and CTZ.
Firehouse Brewery & Grill – Firehouse brewmaster Steve Donohue will be back again this year with a firkin of pale ale dry-hopped with El Dorado hops! I don’t think I’ve tried these hops before so I’m definitely looking forward to this!


Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They provide the goods and services necessary to keep our communities going. We had several, outstanding local business donate to help our fundraiser last year. If you’re interested in helping to sponsor our event this year, please shoot me an email at betterbeerblog[at]gmail[dot]com. Thank you!
Wine Affairs -Ever feel a bit overwhelmed when browsing a wine shop or restaurant menu? How do you know which to choose? Is the wine worth the price, and more importantly will you like it? Wine Affairs answers those questions. Our mission is to take the guess work out of buying wine. Just minutes from downtown, Wine Affairs is the ideal place to meet friends, business associates or even that special someone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Orval Review

It has been quite awhile since I have posted on this blog.  I have been a little busy moving back to the Bay Area and planning my wedding, yep I got engaged.  So things have been busy and inspiration has eluded me the past few months.  But inspiration is a funny thing and today I was inspired to do this.  I decided to go into my back log of beers and pick one that honestly didn't get on my radar until just before I left the Emerald City.

Orval pours out hazy,  golden yellow with a nice white head.  Nose is sour and funky.  Taste is tart, with a musty barnyard flavor that barely covers the citrus notes of the hops.   Because Orval has such a light and dry mouth-feel, the hoppy/bitter finish really stands out in this beer. 

Overall I liked this beer.  It honestly wasn't what I had expected in terms of it being a sour beer because the hops were a bit of a surprise.  I am not sure what the hype was about and at $7 a pop, I could think of a couple other brews that I would enjoy more. But if you are a Belgian beer purist, cough up the dough and try a true original.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fundraiser for Bryan Stow

I found out about this event from fellow Bay Area Beer Blogger Better Beer Blog.  Peter does a fantastic job of organizing craft beer events as well as some fundraisers in the South Bay Area.  Not only am I a craft beer fan, I have been a die hard Giants fan since I could remember.  

This event is a fundraiser for Bryan Stow, a paramedic in Santa Clara county.  Bryan is currently in a medically induced coma after he was attacked by two Dodgers fans at Dodgers Stadium on opening day.  The two men that attacked him are currently at large.

The Tied House Brewery & Cafe will be hosting the event with the help of other bay area breweries.  All proceeds go to the Stow family.  Click on this link for event info on facebook.


954 Villa Street
Mountain View, CA 94041-1236
(650) 965-2739


Monday April, 11 from 6-10 PM


510 Brewing
Firehouse Brewery & Grill
Jack’s Brewing Company
Los Gatos Brewing Company
Rabbit’s Foot Meadery
Rock Bottom Brewery
Faultline Brewing
Tied House Brewery & Cafe


Just bring $15 and you get 3 tickets for 3 beers and appetizers.

Tell your friends, even if you not a Giants fan or your friends aren't craft beer fans.  This is a great chance to support a great cause. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stone Old Guardian Belgo Barleywine

Oh Stone.  Why do you do what you do?  I really was excited about trying this Belgo Barleywine, under the assumption that it was special much like its Belgo IPA and yet I was very disappointed with this beer.  Over the years I have become accustomed to Stone pushing the style boundaries, and this was a total let down.  This was a good beer and yet a total let down.  It should be called Stone Old Guardian Dubble and I would love it, but it is not.

My other gripe would be why in the hell is there a paragraph on the back of the bottle describing it's inception.  I find myself attempting to read this long winded monstrosity and finding myself completely overwhelmed and frustrated.  You make good beer, we get it.  Save some ink and lose your pretentiousness. 

I think this was an ok beer, I could think of over a dozen Belgian Dubbles that I would rather drink.  Next time stick to what you are good at, strong beers and IPA's.  


malt 3
hops 3
heat 2
flavor 3
drink-ability 3
overall taste 3

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Firestone Walker Double Jack

It has been a couple months since I have posted anything on this blog.  I will talk more about that in future posts, but right now is a post about Double Jack by Firestone Walker.  I am going to try out a new way to describe flavors, to simplify the posting and speed up the writing.  The rating system is from 1-5 for malty, hoppy, heat, flavor, drinkability, and overall taste.   For the 5 or 6 of the people that actually follow this blog, hopefully this will be a better rating system.  

Double Jack by Firestone Walker is part of their Proprietor Series, which is basically a 22oz seasonal release.   As seen in the photo above I went to school on the Central Coast and have a high affinity for FW beers.  I was a little nervous moving up to Seattle, because FW didn't distribute much out of California, but luckily Seattle is a hot market for breweries.

Double Jack is a DIPA or a Imperial IPA for those that may not know, Imperial means that it is higher in alcohol and usually higher in most everything else to balance that alcohol out.  I liked this beer a lot, but I like most FW beers a lot.  Was it better than Pliny the Elder?   Eh, maybe a side by side would reveal who would win, but I don't really think it matters.  I think it was hoppy and good and if you get a chance to buy it, you can let me know. 

malt 3
hops 4
heat 3
flavor 4
drink-ability 3
overall taste 4