Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin and Fall Beer Review - Florida Style!

Since I'm in Florida, my autumn equates to humid, hot and leave-less days. That doesn't mean I don't celebrate the season. I'm a sucka for a theme, especially anything fall related... Whether it's candles, decor, or beer - I want it! So, I made a trip to my Total Wine and selected some random pumpkin and fall brews to get in the spirit, all in the name of research (and my personal enjoyment). With football in the background, I began the tough job of reviewing.

 My rankings, in a very particular order:

5. Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale (PA)
Very dissapointed in this one. It was syrupy, way too sweet and thick. It felt like dessert, but a dessert that should be in cake or pie form. There was a flowery/perfume taste which I did not like. If you took maple syrup, some carbonation and a bouquet of flowers, you'd have this. Not a fan.

4. Summit Brewing Oktoberfest Marzen Style (Minnesota)

Not as bad as #6, but it was way too sweet for my taste. It was immensely syrupy, sweet as hard candy, and had a fake aftertaste. Sorry Summit.

3. Smuttynose Brewing Pumpkin Ale (New Hampshire)
This one was good. In one word: bountiful. It was piney, spicy and highly carbonated. I couldn't pick out individual spice notes, but more of an overall big, spicy blend. Thumbs up.

2. Abita Fall Fest Octoberfest Style Lager (Louisiana)
If I was someone that had to rake leaves outside, I would like to have one of these waiting for me afterwards. It was light, yet bursting with full flavor! It reminded me of a crisp, golden Pilsner. It has a large mouth feel, and was very refreshing. A+

1. Anderson Valley Fall Hornin' (Cali)
Oh yeah, I like this one. I want some more. This was in a can. I love beer in cans. To me, it's fresher. This was the clear winner. It was smooth, sharp with no overpowering taste of alcohol. It was a pretty amber hue, with notes of cloves and cinnamon. There was a very savory pumpkin presence, however, it wasn't super sweet. The taste was natural, and no artifical-ness. Clear winner of the afternoon!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Peace out summer. Football is back!!

I am so happy football season is back. There’s nothing like Sundays with friends, family, football, food and good beer. Factor in that I’m taking people’s money in my Fantasy league this year, and you’ve got one excited beer nerd. My draft party compares to none other. We have flat screens that display our picks, music, and profile photos. It is quite the production. It was held at Duffy’s in Deerfield Beach. Lucky for me they had Harpoon IPA bottles, and lucky for me that Duffy’s is 2-for-1! I’m expecting big things from my QBs Kaepernick and Eli Manning, RB Arian Foster and WR Pierre Garcon this year. Special little reminder for you losers in my league that read my blog: I’m taking money this year.


Nothing beats breakfast for dinner. One random night, I was in the mood for some bacon and eggs, so I paired it with a Collaboration Not Litigation Ale from January 2012 (Avery and Russian River). I thought the story behind it was great. Both breweries had beers named “Salvation”. Neither one was trying to give up their brew, so they joined forces and created this fabulous dark Belgian style, maple syrupy deliciousness. Good thing!


On my most recent haul, I picked up a few noteworthy bottles: Pyramid Black IPA, Erdinger Oktoberfest, Anderson Valley Brewing Fall Hornin’, Claymore Scotch Ale, Founders Porter, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, Terrapin Dos Cocoa, and Goose Island Matilda. Let me express just how EXCITED I was to see Matilda at my Total Wine. Totally made my day. I have such a weakness for a fine Belgian, or Belgian style beer. A good Belgian beer feels so indulgent; am I wrong? Porters are another weakness of mine. One of the best I’ve ever had, was Edmund Fitzgerald’s Porter from Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland. I’m really looking forward to trying the Founders Porter (Michigan), to make the whole “Midwest” brew comparison. I gave my Anderson Valley away to a guest, so I’m going to have to scoop up another one of those to try.

With getting back into the school routine, I was super excited (like everyone else) for the much needed Labor Day weekend! It was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had, and it’s not because of the beer selections. Just saying. I would love to elaborate, but this is a beer blog, so you’re only getting beer talk. My Lagunitas IPA on draft at Burger and Beer Joint, in Pembroke Pines was refreshing and crisp. I’m thrilled to have Lagunitas on tap near me! My Holy Mackeral Panic Attack at the Melting Pot, (yes, I said craft beer at the Melting Pot) paired perfectly with the massive amounts of meat, vegetables, and chocolate we consumed.  For the boat, gotta roll with the cans. I checked the beer fridge to see what I had in stock. Harpoon White UFO, and Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red Ale got to come with us to Hillsboro Inlet. 

Harpoon White UFO is like a grown up Blue Moon. The mouth feel is lighter, and I can taste the difference in quality. Oskar Blues, well, I love everything they do. They are on my list of top breweries. 

Other breweries that come to mind on that personal list of favorites are: 


The Bruery

Great Divide

Southern Tier 


Green Flash

Cigar City

It's too much pressure to name any others! There are just too many great beers and brewers out there, to name them all. 

Stay tuned for my next post, dedicated to fall and pumpkin beers! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, so it's fitting that the blog gets an entire entry about them. Cheers!