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Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

Anderson Valley Brewing Company makes a damned fine Oatmeal Stout.

Just don’t try to make sense out of the label, where seemingly incomprehensible phrases such as “not just shy sluggin’ gorms neemer” appear.

You see, back in the late 1800s, residents of Anderson Valley, CA discovered that life without PlayStation, The View, or Facebook was more boring than anybody had expected. When these rugged Westerners grew tired of whittling, square dancing, and planning their Visitor Center, they decided to ease the collective ennui in the most logical fashion imaginable — by inventing Cockney Rhyming Slang.

Or nearly so. Boontling, as their affected dialect became known, provides the words and phrases that inspire the names for AVBC brews. Barney Flats is the Boontling name for the Hendy Woods National Forest and its “awesome virgin redwoods” located west of the brewery (according to the label). By the way, “it’s not just shy sluggin’ gorms neemer” apparently means “not just for breakfast anymore” — a reference to this sweet and filling Oatmeal Stout.

I have to take a moment to remark on the head that filled my tulip glass when I poured this pitch black stout. The foam was two fingers thick and, from the top, had the appearance of coffee-colored whipped cream. And yet, from the side, you could see the foam was formed by densely packed and precisely placed bubbles. It looked like the cross section from a Memory Foam mattress. Though the spectacle lasted only a minute or so, it was without a doubt far more entertaining than confusing tourists by creating my own language.

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Victory Prima Pils

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

I like the sound of back to back Victories. So after yesterday’s Victory Golden Monkey, I’m going for a Victory Prima Pils.

The Prima Pils is a pilsner for hop heads. If you have any doubt, you need only look to the label — it gets right to the point with a huge hop as the focal point.

I have a beautiful pilsner glass that was handed down to my wife and me by my father-in-law. But my taste tends to pull me toward ales, and I rarely ever drink a pilsner, so here was a great opportunity to fill up that fantastic V-shaped vessel.

The “Brewmasters of Victory”, Bill and Ron, include a note on the label reading:

“Prima! An exclamation of joy. A recognition of accomplishment. Thought it’s spoken in German, it’s felt in all languages. It’s what escaped from our lips as we sampled the first brew of this mighty Pilsner beer. Though we’d been through a few in our years with other breweries, finally, with whole flower European hops and fine German malts we had achieved what we’d sought for so long. Prima… an exclamation of Victory! Prost!”

I’m a sucker for a good story, and the idea of these brewmasters laboring for years to achieve their ideal Pilsner appealed to some Platonic aesthetic deep within me.

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Victory Golden Monkey

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (8)

victory_golden_monkeyWith today’s unfortunate news of a Connecticut chimp going bananas, drinking a strong beer named after a Monkey could be considered — well — to be in poor taste.

So let’s just consider this an attempt to balance out the primate news cycle.

Victory Golden Monkey is a Belgian-style Tripel with a fruity aroma and a strong, herbal punch. And unless my nose and taste buds are fooling me, this Monkey has been eating bananas — beneath the distinctive Belgian yeast and the clove spices are banana esters.

The beer’s 9.5% ABV is quite apparent. The alcohol is present in the taste and the aftertaste. While I enjoyed the first several sips of the Golden Monkey, the alcohol taste became a distraction and the overall flavor began to fall apart.

Strangely, as the taste shifted — starting with floral, spice, and herbal extremes, but then becoming more bready, yeasty, and malty sweet — the aroma seemed to pick up the elements that the flavor lost.

According to the label, this beer is:

A magical, mystical Monkey whose golden soul glows with the wisdom of ages. This warming, flavored ale is rich in the spirited tradition of Belgian-inspired brewing. Our Golden Monkey is both playfully delightful and profoundly satisfying. Exotic spices from the East round out this global journey to joy. Get on board. This Monkey’s bound for glory!

Okay? Ummm… Am I missing something? What the heck does that mean?

I enjoyed the beer, but overall I didn’t find the Golden Monkey to be very consistent. Would I drink another? Yes, absolutely. Would I select this beer over other Tripels? Probably not.

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Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (5)

ipa-mondayJust when I thought I couldn’t be surprised by another IPA, I found myself in the sights of a Torpedo.

Torpedo Extra IPA was released in January of this year as Sierra Nevada’s first change to its list of year-round brews (since the brewery started in 1980). There’s been a lot of discussion about Torpedo in the beer community, and now I know what all the fuss is about. This beer had a huge flavor!

The Torpedo poured from the bottle looking like any other IPA — a nice amber, mostly clear and bubbly, with a narrow but fluffy head. But the strong citrus aroma, like a fresh sliced grapefruit (and maybe a touch of pineapple) was the first sign of something unusual.

And the taste, Wow! Such a “green” flavor; like biting into a delicious, extremely bitter vine.

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Categories : Beer a Day, IPA Monday
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Southern Tier Raspberry Porter

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

The lineup for this Valentine’s Day weekend was designed as a progression — first raspberry, then chocolate, and finally a chocolaty raspberry.

Though I’m not a fan of fruit beer, I could appreciate that Rübæus was very good for its style, with a full and genuine raspberry taste. And since the bold and outstanding Choklat was going to be a tough act to follow, I choose another Southern Tier brew — the Raspberry Porter — to close out the experience.

Alas, this is a case where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The Raspberry Porter from Southern Tier is a weak porter with so-so raspberry flavor.

You’ll wonder how I could have been surprised. Especially since the description on the website isn’t hiding anything: Read More→

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