Saturday, November 28, 2009

World's Strongest Beer!

Yesterday BrewDog, a Scottish Brewery, launched its most daring beer yet. (Their website is worth a visit!)

At a whopping 32% ABV, Tactical Nuclear Penguin - as the ale is called - is almost as strong as Whisky! BrewDog suggests the serving size to be the same as one would enjoy for spirits. (If you did that, wouldn't the remainder just go flat?!?)

It's doubtful that Mugsy & Jugsy will be among the lucky few to try this brew, as only 500 bottles have been produced, with half going on sale for £35 each! The other half will be offered at £250 with a share in the company also on offer -- no word on how much that's worth.

Looks like Beer Tutor will have to update its site, which currently lists Hair of the Dog Dave as the beer with the highest alcohol content at a miserly 29% ABV!

Mugsy and Jugsy wonder at what point exactly does beer meet the spirit world?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Beer: Palo Santo Marron
Brewer: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE USA
Type: Strong ale
Bottle: 12 fl. oz. bottle
ABV: 12%
Served in: Pint glass
Place of Purchase: Silver Liquor, Sherman Oaks, CA
Price: $15.99 per 4-pack

Recently, one of our Beeraucracy readers brought it to our attention that Mugsy and Jugsy had been focusing way too much on West Coast breweries, and he reminded us that there are some excellent breweries "East of the Rockies." Of course there are! And we are only too happy to drink (and review) them for you!

Having said that, Mugsy and Jugsy were also beginning to realize that there were a few too many Belgian and IPA reviews and not enough of all the other styles of beer. We're rectifying this immediately! (Although, we still reserve the right to review our favorite styles!)

The Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron calls itself a "Malt Beverage aged on Palo Santo Wood" and according to the bottle, this special Brown Ale is aged in handmade wooden vessels measuring 10,000 gallons - the largest brewing vessels built in America since before the Prohibition. This brew's distinctive caramel and vanilla flavors actually come from the Paraguayan Palo Santo wood used to make the tanks.
As an aside, "Palo Santo" means "Holy Wood" in Spanish (not to be confused with Hollywood, which is just over the hill from Mugsy & Jugsy's place!)

To quote directly from the bottle: "We have wood. Now you do too."

In every proper review, the Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouth-Feel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Palo Santo Marron


Mugsy: Dark! This beer looks like a cup of black coffee. Absolutely impossible to see through, even when held to light. Have to look very closely to see carbonation. Thin, but malty looking light brown head. One could easily mistake this for a glass of Coca-Cola. Lots of creamy head retention as glass empties.
Jugsy: Super dark black / brown - no light penetrates this brew! If I squint just the right way, I can see ruby tones near the bottom of the glass and a slight pinkish hue in the medium, tan frothy head. Leaves behind thick lacing.


Deep, roasted malt mixed with chocolate. Slight hint of vanilla also, maybe Bourbon vanilla? If sniffing this with the eyes closed, I would think it a glass of chocolate milk.
Jugsy: Sweet! Heavy chocolate, toffee and vanilla candy scents right off the bat. Caramel and coffee aromas are secondary. The faintest touch of roasted malts are present as well. If I were blindfolded and had to go on smell alone, I would think I was smelling a sugary iced-coffee drink!


Incredibly chocolaty, like cacao. Strong flavor of roasted malt. Tastes like those candy chocolate malted balls. Surprisingly, there's a little bit of hop flavor in there, too. Aftertaste is of vanilla. Tastes very much like a porter.
Jugsy: Definitely sweet and chocolaty. The beer equivalent of a coffee ice-cream flavored root beer float! Surprisingly sweet with a complex flavor palate. Toffee, chocolate and coffee flavors linger alongside toasty malts in the aftertaste. The vanilla flavor almost masks the high alcohol content. Very pleasant taste!


Very creamy & rich. Very heavy. Imagine drinking a bowl of melted chocolate ice cream that's been watered down with a porter. This is a meal - or at least a dessert - in a glass. Even though the hops are not incredibly present in the taste, there's a fair bit on the tongue.
Jugsy: Creamy, rich and smooth. Carbonation is mild. This is a heavy beer, but absolutely lovely to drink.


A bit too heavy to be a session beer, unless you're on the Arctic Tundra & throwing these back to keep warm! Also, the 12% ABV (12%!!!) would become prohibitive at some point. However, I'm only feeling a little bit of it right now. Guess I'll have to drink more!
Jugsy: If my taste-buds alone ruled this category, I'd drink it all night! However, due to the 12% ABV and the hearty nature of this brew, it needs to be relegated to the oft-neglected "dessert beer" category. One can only have so many root beer floats!


Quite complex and very well-rounded, balanced beer. If not for the "Brown Ale" description on the bottle, I would have thought this a porter or a stout. Would go well with rich desserts, fruitcakes or chocolaty treats. Would love to drink again, especially if the cost were just a little more affordable. (Feeling the 12% ABV now, by the way.) This beer would be great on one of those cold, winter nights in front of the fire with a girl named Jugsy.
Hmmmm... Gonna have to make that a reality... tonight!
Jugsy: I was not excited about reviewing this beer, despite generally being a fan of Dogfish Head, but Mugsy and I were determined to get out of our Belgian / IPA habit. Not excited, I should say, until I smelled it and became captivated by its curiously sweet aroma! This beer was a delight and a dream. For me, it's the first beer I've tasted that can truly be a companion for any dessert. I love it!


Mugsy: 8.05

Jugsy: 8.88

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hollywood Brew Fest

Just a quick mention about something that’s happening right here in Mugsy & Jugsy’s hometown of Hollywood, CA! In fact, some are even calling it the ground zero for beer in Los Angeles!

The Hollywood Brew Fest, an all-day festival celebrating small craft brewers, will be taking place tomorrow at one of our favorite bars in town, the Blue Palms Brewhouse!

The Beer Chick is even personally selecting the beers on tap for the event! That might well be worth the cost of admission alone!

The Brew Fest has all the makings of a great event – we’re going to do our best to swing by – but if any of you out there make it, please leave a comment and let us know about your experience.

Happy Friday the 13th and Happy Drinking!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sierra Nevada 2009 Anniversary Ale

Beer: Sierra Nevada 2009 Anniversary Ale
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA USA
Type: American IPA
Bottle: 12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in:
Pint glass

Place of Purchase: Silver Liquor, Sherman Oaks, CA
$2 per bottle (Supermarket sells them for $9.99 / six-pack)

As you might have noticed, Mugsy and Jugsy are big fans of Belgians and IPAs. Many of the best beers in these categories can sometimes be difficult to find. And what’s the point of reviewing beers if YOU can’t try them?! Exactly.

So, we’re very excited about the Sierra Nevada 2009 Anniversary Ale because not only is it a fine example of an American IPA, but it’s also widely available pretty much everywhere!

Drink it up!

In every proper review, the Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouth-Feel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Sierra Nevada 2009 Anniversary Ale


Mugsy: Deep golden honey color with lots of red highlights. Plenty of carbonation visible. Medium, creamy looking head that lasts. Looks delicious!

Jugsy: Deep amber with red tones; visibly carbonated with a medium, frothy head that lasts. Leaves lacing on the glass.


Mugsy: First off is strong scent of bitter hops, a little bit of sour, mixed with citrus; lemons and even a little orange. Very slight note of fruit, like peach comes from underneath the hops and citrus. Smells delicious!

Jugsy: Citrus and spice notes hit the nose first, followed by mild floral hops and a healthy dose of yeasty sourdough.


Mugsy: First of course are the hops - and a little citrus, which is to be expected; but the there’s so much more! Aftertaste is of warm, roasted malt with a hint of toffee at the end. Little bit of orange peel, too. Taste is hoppy but not “soapy” as so many IPA’s can be. Very complex flavors here. Tastes delicious!

Jugsy: The sharp, bitter hops attack the tongue – and, if I didn’t know better, I’d say this beer has Quinine (because the aftertaste is very reminiscent of Tonic Water!) Strong citrus – orange peel flavors – throughout. The spice notes, possibly cloves or cardamom, are buried somewhat in the abundant hops flavor. Complex taste.


Mugsy: Head is wonderfully creamy as you first bring glass to lips. The bite of the hops is there and the carbonation is big. This goes down so smoothly, with a crisp, fresh feel.

Jugsy: Creamy but not heavy. Full-bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Bitter aftertaste coats the tongue.


Mugsy: This one would be a perfect session beer. Not overpowering in its ABV nor too heavy on the palate. Refreshing and clean. Could drink this all night.

Jugsy: This is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. At only 5.9% ABV, this brew manages to incorporate the complexity and flavor of a much higher ABV beer. Could certainly enjoy this in any atmosphere.


Mugsy: Fantastic beer. Extremely complex, yet not overdone nor heavy. Thoroughly enjoyable beer! Wish I had purchased more than just the two bottles for Jugsy and me to review. Would go well with spicy foods, like Indian, Thai or Latin.

Jugsy: At first blush, it seemed surprisingly bitter for only 47 IBUs, but the bitterness mellows over time. The flavor blossoms upon warming – so let this brew rest for a while to taste its full complexity. Each sip made me more and more a fan of this Anniversary Ale. Good job, Sierra Nevada!


Mugsy: 9.0

Jugsy: 7.0

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'll take a Lowenbrau for $8,000, please!

We all know that rare bottles of wine can command hefty price-tags, sometimes even reaching the six-figure mark, according to Forbes Magazine.

However, Mugsy and Jugsy have never even contemplated a bottle of beer selling for thousands of dollars! What would that take? How unusual or rare would this prized beer have to be?

Turns out, pretty darn special! A bottle of Lowenbrau from the Hindenburg disaster is being auctioned this weekend and is expected to fetch between $4,000 and $8,000!

You can read the whole story here.

Now you know what to ask Santa to bring you this Christmas!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chimay Ale Red

Chimay Ale Red

Brewed by: Scourmont Abbey, Belgium

Bottle: 11.20 fl. oz. bottle

ABV: 7.0%

Served In: Tulip glass

Place of purchase: Lucky Baldwin's, Pasadena

Price: $6

In honor of L.A. Beer Week, Mugsy and Jugsy decided to get out of the house and enjoy a great brew with our fellow beer-lovers! We certainly have our favorite spots, and from time-to-time, we'll be reviewing "live" from various quality watering-holes. Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, CA, is a (beer & wine) bar with a fantastic selection of specialty beers and frequent Beer Festivals.

Mugsy and Jugsy can be found there often!

On this particular occasion, we went specifically to meet Chimay's Head Brewer, Dominique Denis, and review Chimay Red! As you can imagine, the Chimay was flowing liberally that evening - so much so that the pub ran out of proper Chimay glasses!

(Ironically, had we reviewed this at home, the picture would have displayed our authentic Chimay glassware!)

In every proper review, the Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouth-Feel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Chimay Ale Red


Cloudy brown with a thin head. Very muddy even when held up to the light.
Jugsy: Rich brown and cloudy in appearance. Opaque, even when held up to the light. Virtually no head.


Fruity and spicy. Notes of apricot and clove. Slight bit of yeast comes through.
Jugsy: Subtle. Fragrant yeast and light malts. The competing scents at the pub make it very difficult to differentiate aromas.


Strong taste of sour fruit, apricots and sweet malt. Slight funk from yeast in aftertaste. Hints of spices; cloves come through.
Jugsy: Seems like a good balance of malts, yeast and hops. Has a woodsy character with yeast and slightly bitter hops aftertaste. Slight cola aftertaste as well. Can certainly taste the alcohol. Some kind of spice I can't quite identify - cinnamon?


Little bite from the hops; goes down quite easily & smoothly.
Jugsy: Creamy and light / refreshing taste. Finishes with biting carbonation.


Certainly begin to feel the 7% ABV, yet the smoothness when it goes down makes this one I could drink over and over again throughout the night.
Jugsy: Goes down very easily. Flavorful but light. Can drink this all night.


This is certainly one of the great Belgian - let alone - Trappist Ales of the lot; a force to be reckoned with. Would go great with any rich meal or dessert. This legendary Ale's reputation is well-deserved. Would drink again any day of the week!
Jugsy: I'm told this is your classic Trappist Ale. If so, I like it a lot! Drinking Chimay on an empty stomach is not recommended! Once my french fries arrived, I was pretty sure I could drink this all night!

Mugsy: 8.25
Jugsy: 7

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Second Honeymoon? Why not!

Mugsy and Jugsy will be making some changes to our blog.
In addition to our weekly (nearly!) beer reviews, we'll be posting relevant information about beer, beer festivals, specialty craft beer news and anything else that catches our brew fancy!

To all the beer lovers in Southern California, here's something you just can't afford to miss: San Diego's first ever
And it starts today!

Did you know that San Diego county is home to over 33 working breweries??? With over 100 events planned for
San Diego Beer Week and new events added daily - including a Ten Year Line up of Stone Imperial Russian Stout at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, a Barrel Tasting Night with Lost Abbey and a Green Flash 7th Anniversary Party - Mugsy and Jugsy seriously consider a second honeymoon in San Diego this week!