Monday, May 31, 2010

Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Beer: Midas Touch
Brewed by: Dogfish Head
Style: Traditional Ale
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 12
Bottle: 12 fl.oz.
Served in: Wine glass or pint glass
Place of purchase: this was a birthday gift for Jugsy (Thanks Ara & Leon!)
Price: unknown

Mugsy and Jugsy hope that this Memorial Day finds you relaxing, enjoying a good brew, and perhaps contemplating the finer things in life. To that end, we bring you a review inspired by the legendary King Midas, who had the ability (or so the story goes) to turn everything he touched into gold!

Dogfish Head touts this brew as the "actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world!" They followed an ancient recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas and by their own admission, this brew lies "somewhere between wine & mead... and will please the Chardonnay or beer drinker alike."

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Dogfish Head Midas Touch


Darkish yellow color. Very slight amount of carbonation visible. Thin head that dissipates to an even thinner head. Looks like a lager. No lacing left on glass.
Jugsy: Amber in color with a very slight murkiness. Practically no head to speak of, but very visibly carbonated during pour, although now appears normal.


Sweet scents of honey come to the nose first. Sweet, dessert wine aroma is next. Extremely sweet smelling, almost like candy.
Jugsy: Smells fragrant and sweet, like a spicy, perfumed essential oil. Floral smells and honey -- smells like mead! Sweet malted barley and light orange blossom scent permeates throughout. If this brew has any hops, I can't smell them.


Sweet! The muscat grapes predominate this. Almost tastes like a very mild, slightly carbonated muscato wine. There is a slightly sugary after taste, but it's not overwhelming. Doesn't taste at all like other beers from any other styles that I can think of.
Jugsy: Yeast and barley flavors hit all at once, but in an unexpected way. Tastes more like wine than beer. Yeast and muscat grapes are strong middle-notes along with the spices (the label says it's saffron).


The sugary content of the beer makes for a bit of a coating on the tongue. Goes back easily, if not somewhat watery.
Jugsy: This beer is neither rich nor watery. Has a tongue-numbing effect after a few sips, though.


The 9% ABV would keep you to drinking only a couple before moving on to something else. Also, the high sugar content coupled with the high ABV would make for a pretty nasty hangover!
Jugsy: Definitely not a brew you can continuously throw back, and not merely due to its 9% ABV, but its sheer overpowering taste! Really drinks more like wine than beer.


Definitely a neat concept. Not bad overall. May be a little too sweet and little too watery for me. Drink this one cold and finish before it warms up to any degree! Would purchase again at least once, just for fun.
Jugsy: I was really excited to try this beer after finding out about its ancient recipe and heritage. The beer smells amazing and unlike anything I've smelled before, but the actual taste is somewhat disappointing. There's a sharp taste to it, more reminiscent of wine, which nearly always gives me a stomach ache, as this beer is doing now. It's possible the bottle was mis-handled and the taste spoiled; I can't be sure. Definitely should not be drunk on an empty stomach!


Mugsy: 5.5

Jugsy: 6.0

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wolaver's India Pale Ale

Beer: Wolaver's India Pale Ale
Brewed by: Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, Vermont
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 55
Bottle: 12 fl.oz.
Served in: Pint glass
Place of purchase: Wades Wines, Thousand Oaks, CA
Price: $1.50 / per bottle

In celebration of American Craft Beer Week, (May 17-23, 2010) we thought it would be nice to review a craft beer from a small brewery in Vermont. Wolaver's takes beer back to its basics, and by that we mean organic and unadulterated beer!

Not only do they use a minimum of 98% organic ingredients to make their beers, but they also have a laundry list of sustainable "green" practices: everything from feeding their spent grain to local livestock, to treating their wastewater themselves with an in-house management system! 'Don't know about you, but we were impressed!

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Wolaver's India Pale Ale


Medium golden color. Creamy head that dissipates quickly, however, leaves lacing on glass.
Amber and copper hues, slightly murky with a medium, frothy head -- no visible carbonation whatsoever.


Lots of sweet malt with a subtle hint of hops. There's a little bit of yeast in there, too. Sweet malt definitely dominates here. As the beer warms, there's a slightly funky smell that becomes noticeable. I can only imagine it's from the yeast.
Jugsy: Incredibly yeasty and rich smells hit the nose first. Something approaching "funk" but more distinctive. Aromas of apricots, licorice, dried cherries and vanilla beans combine for a striking fruitcake aroma. Slight scent of hops, but not as much as I would expect from an IPA.


Bitterness from piney hops hits the tongue first, followed by sweetness from malt. There is an unpleasant aftertaste, however. Almost chemical (ridiculous, of course, as this is organic!) I think it's from the yeast but it's hard to tell.
Jugsy: Initial taste is yeasty, like the aroma. Middle-notes include dried apricot and light citrus-orange(?) taste. Hops come through near the finish. Hint of piney hops appears and disappears, leaving a bitter finish.


Sting on tongue from the hops remains in the mouth for a little bit. Very watery finish.
Jugsy: Feels very creamy going down. The lack of carbonation makes for smooth and easy drinking. Bitter coating on tongue is only mild and dissipates quickly.


Mugsy: 6.5% ABV makes this easy to drink all night, but I wouldn't necessarily want to. The unpleasant aftertaste, smell and watery finish ruined it for me.
Jugsy: From a taste perspective, this brew is bold and flavorful -- maybe too much so for a typical session beer. And at 6.5% ABV, that might be for the best. All in all, a pleasant and drinkable beer.


The more subtle bitterness level reminds me more of a British style IPA as opposed to American style. That's fine with me, however, I just can't get past the aftertaste and smell. I really do believe that it's coming from the yeast. Maybe this bottle had seen too much light or become too warm in the store. I can't be sure, but I do know that this is not a very enjoyable beer for me. I wouldn't purchase it again. I've had other beers from Wolaver's that I don't remember being at all bad. This one surprised me.
Jugsy: While this isn't at all what I would expect from and IPA, it isn't a bad beer! The funk is kind of growing on me! However, since Mugsy just mentioned that he doesn't even want to finish this beer due to an awful aftertaste (words I seldom hear!) it occurs to me that the bold funk of this brew is not everyone's cup of... well, beer! Proceed with caution.

Mugsy: 2.9

Jugsy: 5.75

(Hey, they can't all be winners, right?)

Happy AMERICAN CRAFT BEER WEEK from Mugsy and Jugsy! Click HERE to sign the Declaration of Beer Independence!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Beers at the Toronado Pub in S.F.!

For some time now, whenever Mugsy and I would mention San Francisco in the vicinity of beer lovers, they would invariably ask, “Have you guys been to the Toronado? They have an amazing beer selection!” We heard this over and over – and wondered to ourselves, “What is this fabled Valhalla?” and “Will it actually live up to our expectations?”

In a word, friends, YES.

The Toronado is not a fancy bar. You wouldn’t take a woman there on your first date (unless she was a devout lover of quality beer). It’s not the kind of place where you casually meet up with co-workers after a hard day. No. The Toronado is a beer bar for beer aficionados. The walls are adorned with old beer advertisements from around the world along with a bumper sticker proudly proclaiming, “No Crap on Tap.” Indeed! The lighting is dim… the seats, not terribly comfortable, but what it lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for in the sheer variety of tasty craft beer selections.

For your reading pleasure, we’ll include a mini-review of some of those brews here.

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Beer: Death and Taxes

Brewed by: Moonlight Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Style: Black Lager

ABV: 5.0%

Bottle: On draught

Served in: Pint glass

Place of purchase: Toronado, San Francisco, CA

Price: $5

Death and Taxes


Mugsy: Black, opaque. Very thin head. Some lacing on glass.

Jugsy: Dark brown with little to no head and not

much carbonation.


Mugsy: Roasted malt, coffee – almost chocolaty, like Quik chocolate milk mix.

Jugsy: Sweet chocolaty malts, possibly even the sweet smell of dates. Very light scent of roasted coffee; overall scent is of chocolate and fruit.


Mugsy: Sweet roasted malt with a fair bit of hops. Slightly chocolaty with a nutty finish.

Jugsy: True to its smell, chocolate malts hit the tongue first. Taste of hops in the finish and hops / yeast aftertaste. Also some dried fruit flavors, prunes, perhaps.


Mugsy: Bit of sting from bitter malt and hops. Goes back quite easily, like a lager should.

Jugsy: Drinks light – a bit on the watery side with a thin mouthfeel.


Mugsy: Could drink all night. Not too heavy. Quite refreshing, actually.

Jugsy: This is a drinkable “everyday” beer.


Mugsy: Would order again in a heartbeat. Tasty and refreshing. Don’t let it get too warm, though. Savor, then throw it back!

Jugsy: The taste reminds me of Black Hart Irish Stout, only fruitier. I wouldn’t seek this out, but I wouldn’t turn it down, either. It’s a good beer, but with a name like Death and Taxes, I expected something slightly more bold and creative.


Mugsy: 7.7

Jugsy: 6.5

Naturally, with such an extensive selection of brews from which to choose, Mugsy and I wanted to try all sorts of different things on our own as well! So, we’ll break with tradition a little bit here and include some solo reviews. You’ll notice that one of us had a few more brews than the other!

Beer: Grand Cru

Brewed by: Brouwerij Rodenbach, Belgium

Style: Flanders Red Ale

ABV: 6.0%

Bottle: On draught

Served in: Tulip glass

Place of purchase: Toronado, San Francisco, CA

Price: $6

According to its website, the “Award Winning Rodenbach Grand Cru is a blend of ‘young’ beer (33%) and an older beer (67%) that has matured in oak vats. It is the high percentage of the older ripened-in-oak beer that gives it the complex and intense bouquet with a very long aftertaste like a Grand Cru wine. This is a complex beer with lots of wood and fruity esters, wine-like and with a balsamic vinegar aroma. A sharp taste, fruity, refreshing and with a balanced Madeira-like sweetness.”

The late Michael Jackson bestowed upon this beer the titles of “World Classic” and “the Burgundy of Belgium.”

Grand Cru


Mugsy: Dark, coffee brown with a very thin head. Thick lattice-work of lacing.


Mugsy: Malt vinegar! Slight scent of alcohol and a slight hint of citrus; sweetens as it warms.

Jugsy: I can vouch for the strong vinegar smell – whoa!


Mugsy: Malt vinegar! Extremely sour. Slight hint of sour cherries, sour blackberries..

Jugsy: Okay, I had a sip. Just one. (That was all I could handle.) Who put vinegar in my lambic and why?!?


Mugsy: Little sting from the bitterness, otherwise goes back easily. Aftertaste is quite overwhelming and stays in mouth for a long time.


Mugsy: Only in small doses. Far too sour for me.

Jugsy: Saying this beer is “sour” is actually being kind. I love vinegar, but not in my beer glass!


Mugsy: Interesting to try but otherwise far too sour for my palate. Wouldn’t say no, but probably would not order again. Not complex.

Jugsy: I don’t really understand people who think this brew is drinkable. After one sip, I absolutely refused to have another taste.


Mugsy: 3.5

Jugsy: 1.0

Partly to get rid of that awful vinegar aftertaste and partly because we were getting pretty hungry after drinking our beers and watching patron after patron bring in what looked to be utterly delicious sausage sandwiches from the place next door, we decided to take a little food break. If you find yourself at the Toronado, we highly recommend getting a sandwich from Rosamunde Sausage Grill. They have everything – including vegan sausages – you can add sautéed onions and mustard and it comes in a warm & toasty sourdough bun. Heavenly!

Beer: Blind Pig IPA

Brewed by: Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.0%

IBUs: 72

Bottle: On draught

Served in: Tulip glass

Place of purchase: Toronado, San Francisco, CA

Price: $5

Blind Pig IPA


Jugsy: Golden amber with some carbonation visible. Thin head dissipates quickly.


Jugsy: Nothing but an influx of fresh, piney hops! Smells like an Evergreen forest in a glass!


Jugsy: Smooth and bitter, with an overwhelming hops punch. Can’t taste much else when it’s cold, but as it warms, an apricot flavor emerges. Hops aftertaste.


Jugsy: Very smooth. Not watery at all. Fair amount of carbonation present. Leaves a bitter hops coating on the tongue. Tastes like it has a higher ABV than it actually does.


Jugsy: Very drinkable, but only for pure hopheads!


Jugsy: I really enjoy the beers I’ve tried from Russian River Brewing, Pliny the Elder being my favorite so far. Blind Pig is not a balanced brew by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think that was ever its purpose. It’s difficult to taste anything but hops. I really like it, but it’s definitely not for everyone!


Jugsy: 7.2

And… possibly saving the best for last (of the beers at the Toronado, that is) – Mugsy ordered another fine brew and, as always, offered me the first sip (ever the gentleman!) The Dubuisson Scaldis Quadrupel. Oh, so good!

Beer: Scaldis

Brewed by: Brasserie Dubuisson Frères, Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium

Style: Belgian Style Quadrupel Ale

ABV: 12.0%

Bottle: On draught

Served in: Tulip glass

Place of purchase: Toronado, San Francisco, CA

Price: $7

Dubuisson Scaldis Quadrupel


Mugsy: Golden amber, tan. Thin head, lacing on glass is a lattice-work


Mugsy: Lots of yeast, fruity scents: passion fruit and figs


Mugsy: Honey drizzled on top of sweet fruit. Slight hoppiness comes through. Passion fruit and ripe fig strong aftertaste.


Mugsy: Delicate. Balance is sweet with slight hint of hoppiness.


Mugsy: Like drinking fruit juice. Could get you in to trouble very easily. Easy to drink. Watch out for the hangover.


Mugsy: Beautiful balance of honey, fruit, yeast and hops. Fruitiness may be a little heavy-handed, though. If anyone hasn’t bottled the Greek God’s gift ‘Ambrosia’ as of this writing, then Scaldis may be able to take the copyright.


Mugsy: 8.90

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beer Run for the President!

Beer run for President Obama!

According to one of the many news articles on the subject, Obama "kiddingly" asked for BEER during a visit to Maine.

Kiddingly?!?! We think not!

From the podium, while addressing a large crowd, President Obama mentioned Bill Milliken, a small business owner -- that business being Maine Beer and Beverage -- and said that he hoped he'd get some free samples in exchange for the publicity!

Way to use your position of power, Obama! Mugsy and Jugsy approve!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale

Beer: El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale
Brewed by: Stone Brewing
/ 21st Amendment Brewery/Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Style: Dark Ale
ABV: 9.5%
Bottle: 12 fluid oz.
Served in: Tulip glass
Place of purchase: Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA
Price: $5.00 (or so - we weren't counting at this point....)

Figs and Fennel and Chia - oh my! Just some of the ingredients in the latest Stone Brewery collaboration. This time it's Stone Brewing meeting up with 21st Amendment Brewery, in San Francisco, CA, and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, CA.

Jugsy and I tried this one on tap when we were at the Stone Brewery. However, we decided to just enjoy Jugsy's birthday and not concentrate on reviews. We purchased bottles of this collaboration and reviewed them at home, once we were sober!!!! As mentioned on the bottle, "(We) tried to capture some of the historic flavors of the old El Camino Real by brewing this beer with fennel, chia, peppercorns and mission figs. It was a fun beer to brew, and in some ways took us back to the 4th grade, when our schoolteachers first introduced us to the history of California and its Missions.

Jugsy and I are both very proud NATIVE Californians. You don't find much of our kind around these parts. Let us review the kind of beer that famous Brother and Monk Junipero Serra may have enjoyed (at least we hope they let him drink beer!)

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale


Black, as the name would imply. Completely opaque, even when held to the light. Medium sized, beige colored head that dissipates somewhat quickly, leaving a thinner but lasting small head. Very little lacing left behind on glass.
Jugsy: Brown/Black with a hint of dark red. Medium tan/pink head dissipates relatively quickly, leaving lacing behind. Dark and completely opaque in appearance.


Mugsy: Strong nose of piny hops mixed with coffee. Smells woodsy. Ever so slight scent of anise or licorice. Begins to smell fruity as it warms.
Jugsy: Initial aromas are of multi-layered hops, coffee and roasted malts. Sweet black licorice comes through as the beer warms a bit. Overall smell is fresh (slightly piny) with rich coffee, chocolate and herb sweetness.


Hops and roasted malt come first. Next on the palate is light taste of chocolate and then fruit. The fruit flavor intensifies as the beer gets warmer. Fruits like prunes or sugary dates. Very complex. Definitely becomes sweeter and less bitter as it warms.
Jugsy: Bitter hops and roasted malt hit the tongue first, then quickly give way to a bittersweet chocolate flavor. Definite taste of licorice and something herbal - lavender, perhaps? Complex flavors reveal something different in each sip. Aftertaste is of bitter hops, coffee and licorice.


Mugsy: Very light on the tongue. I wouldn't describe it as watery, due to the sweetness, but definitely not heavy like a stout or porter. Quite refreshing, actually.
Jugsy: The flavors make for a bold mouthfeel, neither heavy nor light. Carbonation is significant and the bitter, numbing hops only add to the sensation.


Very easy to throw back, especially when on the colder side. As it warms, the sugary taste of the beer may become a little off-putting. Also, at 9.5% ABV, this is one that you would want to sip and not slug.
Jugsy: While the El Camino (Un)Real is a very enjoyable and drinkable beer, both the complexity in palate and high ABV (9.5%) make this a specialty rather than a session beer. It's clearly meant to be savored and sipped to be properly appreciated.


Complex, especially when it's colder (mind you, not right out of the fridge cold - ales should be enjoyed between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the ale). The sweetness becomes dominant as the ale warms which is unfortunate, as I really liked the original mix of hops, malt and fruity, chocolaty sweetness. Whatever the case, would I drink this beer again? Absolutely. I would just drink it quicker! Is this my favorite Stone collaboration? No, but that's not my point here. It's obvious that the guys at Stone, Firestone Walker and 21st Amendment had a blast coming up with this fabulous concoction that includes mission figs, fennel and chia (ch-ch-ch-chia!) seeds. This is a great example of the kind of fun, out-of-the-box ideas about brewing that we get from Stone (and their collaborators) that make their beers stand out above so many others. Nice work, folks! This would pair well, with rich foods like roasts, stews, or saucy dishes.
Jugsy: El Camino (Un)Real? Named so perhaps because the flavors take you on a journey that's familiar yet mysterious at the same time. The taste can best be described as kaleidoscopic, as new flavors jump out unexpectedly and dance for a moment on your tongue. I can't imagine what food would be able to hold its own against this beer. I say, drink it on its own (but on a full belly!) and allow yourself to explore the dark.

Mugsy: 7.65

Jugsy: 7.77

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just a little something...

Just a little something to keep you entertained until we put up our next post... which will either be a review of the new Stone collaboration "El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale" or the "Sawyer's Triple Ale" (whose proceeds go completely to charity - more on that later) or, we were toying with the idea of reviewing a He'Brew beer in honor of Passover. Any thoughts?

It's true what they say, "So many beers, so little time!"

We know that we review a lot of Stone brews and some of our followers on the East Coast get frustrated from time to time, but you're likely to see even more in the near future, since that's where we went to celebrate Jugsy's birthday this past week! The folks at Stone are as lovely and welcoming as their brews.... Stay tuned for our interview with Dan, the Tour Master at Stone (at least, that's what we call him!) There's a lot of typing involved for us on that one, so it might take a while ;-)

In the meantime, we thought we'd offer up an "appetizer" of sorts. Since so much is often said about the pairing of wine and cheese, we thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the heavenly combination of beer and cheese! It's not entirely new, as a commentator on the AOL article this morning said, "Beer and cheese have always been a matching pair in my book. Forget the fancy stuff... any kind of beer goes with any kind of cheese. At the high end: Guinness and brie. At the low end: Bud Light and Cheetos. The flavors just seem to compliment each other in a way that wine does not."

There's also a pretty cool pairing on the Kegerators blog. Mmmm. Wonder what would pair well with vegan cheese???

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smithwick's Irish Ale

Beer: Smithwick's Irish Ale
Brewed by: Guinness & Co., Dublin, Ireland (originally brewed by Smithwick's, Kilkenny, Ireland)
Style: Irish Red Ale
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Bottle: 12 fluid oz.
Served in: English pint glass
Place of purchase:
Trader Joe's
Price: $6.99 per 6 pack

So, here we are, the middle of March. The 17th, to be exact. Why do I have a strange inclination to eat boiled potatoes and soda bread while listening to The Pogues and drinking beer? OK, I always have an inclination to listen to The Pogues and drink beer, but all of it combined speaks quite strongly of - - Saint Patrick's Day! The celebration (at least here in the U.S.) of all things Irish: wearing o' the green and tons of other Irish stuff, most importantly, drinking. Yes, drinking. Drinking beer. And drinking whiskey (notice the spelling, boyo?) Wait, that's a whole different blog!

OK, back to drinking beer. Jugsy & I, having been to the British Isles (including Ireland) many, many times, did some very serious searching for a beer to review at this specific time. Of course, we could have chosen Guinness Stout or Harp Lager (both fine beers!) but we decided on a brew that is not as readily available, or at least, is not as well known, here in the U.S.

Smithwick's Irish Ale is celebrating it's 300th anniversary this year, having started its brewing operation at the St. Francis Abbey brewery in Kilkenney, Ireland in 1710. A family tradition of brewing resulted over the next 300 years and gives us the beer we have for review today.

In passing, here are a couple of famous Irish sayings - ones that we love; just to get you in to the St. Patty's Day spirit:

"There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head.
If a man doesn't drink when he's living,
How in the hell can he drink when he's dead?"

"Here's to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer and another one!"

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.

Smithwick's Irish Ale


Deep bronze color. Dark amber when held to light. Creamy looking head that dissipates quite quickly. Slight bit of carbonation visible. Very little lacing left on glass.
Jugsy: Clear, copper/red in color with a thick, frothy head that dissipates to a thin, white head. Very little carbonation can be seen. No lacing left behind.


Mugsy: Slight bit of yeast. Some malt comes through also. Not a strong aroma at all.
Jugsy: Delicate scent of mild yeast and hops. Smells slightly sweet and fresh, a hint of peppermint candy and pine cones.


Mugsy: First and foremost is a "cheesy" taste. I can only assume that this is attributable to the yeast. Slightly sweet malt is present, as well. While the hops couldn't be detected with scent, they do come through here, if only very slightly. Slight toasted nut after taste and very slight chocolate, caramel and coffee become present as the beer warms.
Jugsy: Unusual combination of yeast (Irish soda bread?) and roasted coffee/malts. There's a skunky bitterness from the hops that becomes a very pronounced middle-note before the yeast and coffee re-appear. Aftertaste is bitter sourdough. As the beer warms, a distinctly nutty and pleasant taste (and aftertaste) emerges.


Mugsy: Quite a nice feel. Very creamy. Slightly bitter bite on the tongue. Goes down without any "soupiness" but with just enough substance to make sure you know that this has some weight to it. As beer warms just past its perfect temperature, it does get a little watery feeling, though.
Jugsy: The initial expectation is of creaminess, but this beer actually ends up being a little on the thin side.


Mugsy: At 4.5% ABV, it would obviously be no problem for a serious beer drinker (who me?) to throw back many of these, however, the watery finish as the beer warms past its point of perfection is a slight turn-off for me and makes me think twice. Guess I'll just have to drink the next several Smithwick's much more quickly!
Jugsy: At 4.5% ABV, this is a classic "session" beer and I'm pretty sure Mugsy would have to drink a gallon of it just to feel a buzz! The beer needs to warm somewhat in order for it to reveal its full character. Quite drinkable!


Mugsy: Quite well balanced. Not overdone on any aspect, making this an obvious choice for the first pint at the pub on the way home from work. It all comes down to, as mentioned so many times before, "would I drink this beer again?" And the answer is "Yes - but I wouldn't necessarily seek it out." Not a bad beer by any means (and believe me, I've had some pretty bland beers in the British Isles), I just feel that there are so many better, more interesting beers out there on which I would rather spend my money. Let's put it this way - the next time I go shopping for a great beer, am I going to head straight for the Smithwick's? If it's St. Patty's Day, then it would certainly be one of the two or three Irish beers I would select. Otherwise, no. However, the next time I find myself in Ireland or anywhere in the British Isles (as Jugsy and I often do, believe it or not) then Smithwick's would definitely be one of the beers on rotation at the pub. Would pair very well with rich St. Patty's day foods and equally well with rich, creamy desserts.
Jugsy: I'd love to be in Ireland, drinking this ale alongside a talkative, old pub-regular, nestled in the supernaturally green and misty countryside. There's something in this beer that I can't put my finger on, but when I taste it, I know I'm drinking either an Irish or a Scottish ale. Yeast strain, perhaps? Peaty water? I don't know, but it makes me a bit nostalgic.

Mugsy: 5.0
Jugsy: 6.0

From both of us at Beeraucracy, we wish you a very happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Belgian Beer Tasting - 10 Brews

Belgian Beer Tasting! (a.k.a. 10 Beers for $5!)

We know it’s been a little longer than usual since we’ve posted a review, but rather than give you a long story about pipes bursting and flooding our home, we figured we’d just give you more bang for your buck! (We realize it’s free to read our blog, so really… you’re getting a heck of a lot of “bang” for nothing!)

Last Thursday, one of Mugsy & Jugsy’s favorite purveyors of fine beers (and other spirits), Wades Wines, hosted a Belgian Beer Tasting. Jason, or “the beer guy” as Jugsy refers to him, selected 10 Belgian brews for the tasting and provided lots of cool information to all the curious tasters in tow. (Did we mention it was only $5?!?!)

Beers were presented in a specific order according to the complexity of taste and alcohol by volume, in general, lowest to highest. We struggled over whether or not it was fair to assign a point-value as we would normally do, simply because the environment and amount served was not conducive to the proper attention and appreciation that beer usually requires. So, bear that in mind before taking our ratings too seriously on these!

Without further ado, we present our mini-review of 10 beers!

Belgian Beer Tasting – 10 Beers for $5!

Beer #1 – Bavik Belgian Pilsner

Mugsy: Hoppy, clean – 4.5

Jugsy: I didn’t even bother to take notes on this one. It tasted watery and weak. 4.25

Beer #2 – Poperings Hommel Ale

Mugsy: Funky, citrusy, very yeasty, piney – 6.7

Jugsy: Amber/murky, funky yeast, mild piney hops, citrus, bitter, barnyard funk, aftertaste of yeast & hops – 6.4

Beer #3 – Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Mugsy: Funky, quite hoppy, quite citrusy & sweet. Not like standard American IPAs – 6.0

Jugsy: Clear/amber, frothy head, sweet, fruity yeast and floral hops, creamy, smooth & balanced flavors, yeast & hops blend beautifully. Drinks light & slightly sweet – 7.25

Beer #4 – Petrus Oud Bruin

Mugsy: Slightly sour, some malt, a little hops; maybe a little too sour for me – 5.75

Jugsy: Clear brown, some head, roasted malt & yeast smell, very funky sour yeast and malt flavor; not pleasant to drink – 4.5

Beer #5 – Malheur 10 (Tripel)

Mugsy: Super murky & super funky, very citrusy – like orange, smooth, sweet and creamy. Can definitely taste the ABV. Quite balanced between sweetness & hops. Fruity – 7.5

Jugsy: Amber/opaque (murky), lots of fruity yeast, smell of fresh citrus; smooth, creamy, fruity with a nice hop balance. Delicate, sophisticated flavor, and I’m feeling the ABV. Sweet and light. Love it! -- 9.0

Beer #6 – Grimbergen Dubbel

Mugsy: Malty, sweet, hoppy – 6.5

Jugsy: Clear brown/copper, malty/hoppy, initial taste is dusty/smoky; nice hops middle, fresh piney/yeasty finish – 6.7

Beer #7 – Brasserie des Rocs Gran Cru (Belgian Special Brown Ale)

Mugsy: Smells sweet, malty. Slightly sweet, definitely brown sugar – 7.0

Jugsy: Slightly murky/brown, coffee, malt, yeast scents. Wow! Coffee and sweet barnyard funk! Brown sugar, coffee, rotten fruit – good brew but not for my taste – 7.0

Beer #8 – Tappistes Rochefort 10 (Quadrupel)

Mugsy: Malty, sweet, fruity & slightly hoppy, sugary finish – 7.6

Jugsy: Dark brown, slightly murky, roasted malt & candy sweet scent, roasted malts and bitter hops, coffee and piney hops. Very complex, piney aftertaste with coffee grounds – 8.5

Beer #9 – Malheur 12 (Quadrupel)

Mugsy: Sweet, funky smell; lots of barnyard funk, sweet, sugary -- brown sugar, coffee can be tasted and roasted malts. May be a bit sweet for me – 6.9

Jugsy: Clear, reddish brown, sweet, malty, brown sugar smell, licorice. Very sweet taste with funky yeast, slight roasted malt flavor. Nice aged brandy feel – 8.25

Beer #10 – St. Louis Kriek Lambic

Mugsy: Cough syrup. 2.5

Jugsy: Sweet, funky, sour smell & taste. Not very pleasant. Like dessert wine that’s gone “off” – 4.0