Anyways, the Mad Elf pours a bright red color (it seemed brighter than normal Mad Elf, but is that possible?) with a foamy white head. The aroma is big on the cherry with a sugary sweetness, most of the alcohol being covered up by the cherries. The taste is sweet and smooth with no alcohol bite at all which was completely surprising. There is bit of a brandy accent but definitely was not overwhelming nor did it change the beer much. The alcohol content of Mad Elf is 11.0% ABV, so I would assume this to be similar, even thought it is possible that the brandy could have added some alcohol content. From the Randall, the Mad Elf had so much cherry flavors that made it amazingly delicious and allowed the chocolate to come back on the finish with brandy.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
The beer that I most anticipated at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party was Troegs Mad Elf Randallized with brandied cherries. For those of you not familiar with a Randall, Dogfish Head created a vessel that bars can add ingredients to run the beer though, changing the complexity of the beer. Some people have thought of this as a gimmick and an insult to the original intent of the brewer. My take: it allows for beer bars to do some interesting things with the beer that you wouldn't get from the brewery. If you don't like the idea, simply order the original beer that is not Randallized.
One of the beers I ordered at TJ's 7th Anniversary party was the collaboration from Port Brewing and Pizza Port called Older Viscosity. The beer pours a black color with a thin tan head. The aroma is full of bourbon with some chocolate nibs and cocoa. The taste is in your face and upfront with bourbon before smoothing and sweetening to a wonderful and delicate chocolate flavor. There is a light toasted malt accent with some coffee and and toffee. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. The beer had such warming qualities, both in the cheeks and the throat, that it is one of the perfect winter beers to drink. The chocolate flavor in it is immaculate and the bourbon just completes the package.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Of all the beers that were on the draft board at TJ's in Paoli 7th Anniversary Party, the Hitachino Nest XH, Sake Aged Strong Ale, caught my eye. The beer pours a red amber color with a foamy off-white color head. The aroma is sweet citrusy with orange and tangerine being the dominant aromas. The taste is sweet and smooth with a carbonation bite, sweet orange and tangerine flavors, sweet malts, and caramel. The sake comes out to play on the finish. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. Overall, the XH aged in sake barrels was delicious and provided a wonderful fruity taste complimented by the perfect amount of carbonation.
I ordered a glass of Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodisiaque at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party, and even though the keg kicked mid-pour, I still got enough of a sample to do a review. The beer pours a black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of vanilla and sawdust, which sounds worse than it was. The taste is smooth and silky with lots of milk chocolate and some dry coffee on the finish. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV. What an amazing beer the Aphrodisiaque was. It was like silk being poured over the tongue with a wonderful compliment of sweet chocolaty flavors.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
At the 7th Anniversary Event at TJ's in Paoli, I ordered a glass of Allagash Interlude, an American wild ale. The beer pours an orange color with absolutely no head. The aroma consists of yeast, cherry, and is slightly sour. The taste is smooth and sweet with cherry, grape, and a slightly sour finish. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I thought the Interlude was really good and was only lightly sour, similar to a jolly rancher and did not make my face pucker. I highly recommend this beer if you are hesitant to drink a sour beer, and it has a great sweet balance as well.
I picked up a bottle of Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Al's of Hampden on a whim based on my love of the Great Divide beers I had in Denver. The beer pours a golden amber color with a lofty foamy head that laces to the glass. The aroma consists of fresh lemon and bitey pine with a light caramel background; this is a spring morning in the forest. The taste starts with a light caramel base before a big lemon wave takes over the tongue. On the finish, the fresh pine accents come into play and really round out the flavor. The alcohol content is 6.1% ABV. The Fresh Hop Pale Ale was a wonderfully crafted beer with a lovely helping of fresh hops, a great lemon accent, all built on top a solid caramel base.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I ordered a glass of Terrapin Gamma Ray, a wheatwine, from Shady McGrady's in downtown Harrisburg. The beer pours a golden orange color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists orange and candisugar. The taste is sweet and big with lots of orange, banana, candisugar, and some lemon cream. There is a light alcohol bite on the finish and the after taste is a bit dry. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. I was quite impressed with my first wheatwine and I enjoyed the fruitiness aspect of the beer alongside the candisugar sweetness.
I stopped in to Appalachian Brewing Company to try the beer that won ABC's Home Brew Contest, Montebello Farm Belgian Dubbel. The beer pours a dark copper color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma is big with raisin, alcohol, and fig. The taste is sweet and has lots of raisin, fig, caramel, and candisugar. Some Belgian yeast and spices hit on the finish. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 8% ABV. Overall, I thought the beer could be perceived as a little watered down in the body but made up for the lack of body on the finish with a great amount of spices.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I received a bottle of Thornbridge Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout from Lee of Hoptopia in a beer trade. The beer pours a dark black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, and molasses. The taste is sweet and dry with a large dark chocolate profile, some coffee and molasses accents, and a very dry and bitter chocolate finish. The alcohol content is 7.7% ABV. The deep and dark chocolate profile of the Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout is quite enjoyable in a bitter and sweet heaven.
I was given a bottle of GBGH (Go Big or Go Home) Brewing Pain in the BIPA in a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia. The beer pours a dark amber color with a lofty and foamy tan head that seems to keep growing as the beer settles. The aroma consists of sweet chocolate malts balanced nicely with fresh pine hops that also have hints of grapefruit. The taste has a good chocolate and coffee base that finishes dry with a good helping of pine hops. The grapefruit comes through in the finish as well, which sweetens up the bitter hops. The after taste is bittering with coffee and pine. Lingering long after drinking is a bit of a mint flavor which was quite surprising and enjoyable. This beer has a great amount of carbonation that allows the flavors to fully envelop the tongue. The alcohol content isn't available, but I would guess it to be around 7.0% ABV. I was very impressed with the first home brew from GBGH and look forward to future releases. The chocolate and pine flavors really came out in this beer in their own right and made it an enjoyable brew.
Monday, December 20, 2010
On my first visit to Honeygo Wines, I picked up a bottle of Brewery Van Steenberge Witches' Brew Golden Ale. The beer pours a golden color with an extremely lofty and foamy off-white head that leaps out of the glass, due to the bottle conditions. The aroma consists of sweet candisugar and Belgian yeast with hints of grape. The taste is sweet and bubbly with a lot of Belgian yeast and candisugar and a lovely light bubbly mouth feel. The is an earthy hop finish with the beer that balances out the sweetness and the alcohol bites the sides of the mouth. The alcohol content is 9.3% ABV. While the sweetness in this beer is quite excellent, the earthy hop balance is what is most surprising and enjoyable.
My girlfriend picked up a bottle of Lagunitas Censored (aka The Kronic), a rich copper ale, from Honeygo Wines in Maryland and gave me some to try. The aroma consists of sweet with lots of caramel and toffee. The taste is sweet and full of caramel and toffee that is lightly toasted. The alcohol content is 5.9% ABV. This is somewhat of a bready brew, but the caramel and toffee really sweeten the overall flavor of the beer.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I picked up a bottle of Terrapin So Fresh & So Green, Green from Al's of Hampden. The beer pours a honey amber color with a a frothy white head. The aroma consists of a sweet caramel base with fresh pine and earthy hops; there is also a light accent of lemon. The taste is lightly malty with some caramel and tea flavors with a light hint of honey. The hops are fresh tasting and add an earthy component to the beer. The alcohol content is 6.6% ABV. This beer is light-bodied and very easy to drink. The freshness put this beer on another level and adds the great tea and honey accents.
I grabbed a bottle of White Birch Belgian Style Pale Ale (Batch Number 7) from Al's of Hampden, especially since I have heard very good things about this beer. The beer pours a straw yellow color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of grapes, Belgian yeast, candisugar, and wheat. The taste is smooth and sweet with a grape flavors coming on the front end before the Belgian yeast and candisugar hit the tongue. The mouth feel is very bubbly and the beer finishes slightly dry. The alcohol content is 7.8% ABV. I really enjoyed how bubbly and sweet this beer was, especially with the grape flavor that comes in the beer. I recommend trying this beer if you can get your hands on a bottle.