Sawtooth Ale Review

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

ESB [Type 45] 5.3% ABV

I had this on at the Yardhouse near University of Phoenix stadium. Not a bad beer, but damn, Yardhouse is proud of their selection! $6.50 for a pint on a Sunday afternoon.

A milder, easier beer than I was expecting. I would drink one of these on a hot afternoon, which it was. I think I'd probably pair it with something a little less potent than the BBQ burger I had though.


Left Hand Sawtooth Ale Review

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Oggi's Torrey Pine's IPA Review

Oggi's Torrey Pine's IPA

7.6% ABV

I had this beer as well as the California Gold at Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company. The Torrey Pine's IPA was my after-dinner beer. This one is pretty strong, very hoppy in the common style these days. A proper IPA, but not bad flavor for all that.


A typical IPA. Good for what it is. I do not prefer the strongly hoppy brews, although I can enjoy them. I also don't need to keep the beer from spoiling on the ocean voyage.


Made in the Shade 2009

Made in the Shade Beer Festival

June 20, 2009

The beers are listed in order of tasting, so the effect of increasing concentrations of EtOH can be taken into account.

1. Coopers Lager, ABV 5.0%, pretty light, would be good if it were really hot, but rather tasteless.

2. Barrio Razzbery. The Magistra Scientia really liked this one, it was good, not too sweet.

3. Baltika Dark Lager, ABV 5.6%, a very nice dark lager, flavorful without being too heavy. 

4. Moosehead Lager, more of a palate cleanser than anything else. I really do just buy this when it's on sale.

5. Sam Adams Hardcore cider, light and refreshing, with just a little bit of tartness.

6. Spaten Optimator, a double bock, ABV 7.2%. One of my favorites.

7. Warsteiner, German pilsener, ABV 4.8%. Another favorite of mine.

8. Old World Brewery Nitro Blonde. Truly nasty, I don't know whether I had a bad batch or it was just really terrible. I actually poured this on the ground.

9. Carlsberg, Danish pale lager, 5% ABV. 

I stopped giving ratings at this point, anything that wasn't awful tended to taste pretty good.

10. Golden Pheasant, Slovak pilsener. Crisp is the best word to describe it.

11. Barrio Copperhead

12. Sam Adams Hardcore

13. Sam Adams Blackberry Wheat

14. Gordon Biersch Marzen

15. Big Sky Summer Honey

16. Pyramid Thunderhead

17. Fox Barrel Pear Cider

18. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, very strong vanilla flavor.

19. Oak Creek King Crimson

20. Fox Barrel Apple Cider

Blue Moon Belgian Style Pale Ale

Blue Moon Belgian Style Pale Ale

Belgian Pale Ale [Type 16] 4.6% ABV

This beer used to be sold as Pale Moon. Not too bad, I like this beer better than the Agave Blonde in the same mixer pack. Not often actually pale, Belgian Pales are often maltier and sweeter than the English pales or the pilseners they compete with. I would have liked a bit more of that characteristic Belgian yeastiness or sourness, but this is probably not the brand to be that adventurous.  Poured a dark copper with a massive head on it.


Blue Moon Belgian Style Pale Ale Review

It was OK. I liked it better than the Agave Blonde, but I wouldn't seek out this beer either. I have higher expectations from a Belgian Pale.

Widmer Brother's Hefeweizen Review

Widmer Brother's Hefeweizen

American Style Hefe [Type 7] 4.9% ABV

Not bad. I'll glady drink a few of these. I scored a nice glass at a beer tasting a while back, so I thought I might as well enjoy the beer in its own glass. A golden, unfiltered, American hefe. No bananas or cloves here. Really not too much in the way of spices. It has a great head. An easy-going beer for easy-going times. 3 beers.


Widmer Hefe Rating

New Belgium Snow Day Ale Review

New Belgium Snow Day

Dark IPA [Type ] 6.2% ABV

This is New Belgium's dark IPA or cascadian dark ale. Among beers of this style, I think I like the Beaver Street version better. The beer is quite dark, but the hops dominate completely. You smell hops, you taste hops, and the finish is hops. The feel is pretty light, nicely carbonated.


My preference is for more balance in the force, I mean the hops. I like dark IPAs with a bit more malt, but that's just me.

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Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale Review

Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale

English Brown Ale [Type 47] 5.0% ABV

Newcastle has been making limited editions recently, a trend that that I wholly support. In the summer, there was Newcastle Summer Ale, and now we get this malty brew. Despite being red, it is a brown ale, like Newcastle itself. It tastes much like Newcastle, but it has more body and more bite. Hence the name. It is brewed with rye malt, giving it a bit more bitterness than typical for a brown.


I like Newcastle, so I generally like Newcastle variants too. I think the Newcastle Summer Ale was my favorite of the three, but I am a fan of the Werewolf too.

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1 Door Flemish Style Sour Ale

Hermitage Flemish Sour Ale

Oud Bruin [Type 42] Flemish Style Sour Ale 7.0% ABV

Ahh, sour beers. How do I love you? This is an Oud Bruin, an old brown ale. It is called old because it is aged for up to a year. During the aging process, the characteristic sour flavor develops from secondary fermentation. This style is less sour than the Flanders Red, another sour Belgian. 

This beer had a beautiful ruby color. It was lovely to see the light shining through it. The head was thin. I had expected more, but I don't know how long this bottle sat on a shelf before I found it. The beer was sour, but less so than several I have had. It is a little sweet too, a taste of cherries.


I liked it, but I've had better. I think I prefer the Flanders Red style of sour beer a bit more. This is the first example of this style I have tried, so I should try a few more before I settle on that opinion, but I like a bit more sour in my sour beer. This beer was understated, muted. A good beer, but not amazing.

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3floyds Gumball Head Beer Review

3floyds Gumball Head

American Wheat [Type 7] 5.5% ABV

A local Chicago beer brewed in Munster, Indiana by 3floyds. It is named after a comic book character. I had this in the Weathermark Tavern in the South Loop neighborhood.


Sweet with a clove finish. A lot peppery. Surprisingly spicy, pretty hoppy. Pretty good, but I am often looking for a little less kick in a summer beer that I can sip on the porch.

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Samuel Adams Rustic Saison Review

Samuel Adams Rustic Saison

Belgian Farmhouse (Saison) [Type 9] 4.35% ABV

A clear, golden ale with a soft fruity and yeasty nose. The Saison style is a summer beer brewed with great variety, following traditional methods of brewing in Wallonia. They tend to be a little sour, but not overwhelmingly so. Since they were meant to be stored until summer, they tend to have a stronger hop element.


A good summer beer. Light and refreshing, a little sour and a little spicy. Nice for sitting on the veranda in the afternoon.

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Victoria Beer Review

Victoria Vienna Lager

Vienna Lager [Type 62] 4.0% ABV

I've been seeing this beer in the supermarket recently, so I thought I would buy a six-pack and see how it tastes. It is made by Modelo Cerveceria in Mexico. Pours a nice copper color, with a short white head. A pleasantly beery smell.


Nice dark malt, although a very light flavor overall. It gets better as it warms up just a little bit. Fridge temp is probably a bit cold. Has a bit of a buttery finish. If you like Corona, you will probably like this too. I think this is a perfectly respectable beer, although it might be nice if it were a dollar less a six-pack.

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Beer Club March 2011

Beers of Central and Eastern Europe

Baltika #5 Gold

5.3% ABV, Euro Pale Lager. [Type 12] A pretty good lager, tastes a lot like a Heineken. 3 beers. I'd drink it.

Stout homebrew

More delicious homebrew that we have had in months past.


5.0% ABV, Czech pilsner [Type 37] An alias for Budweiser Budvar. The other Budweiser. Similar to Pilsner Urquell, a light refreshing beer. 2 beers.

Werewolf Lithuanian

A Belgian dark ale [Type 29]. 8.2% ABV. Sweet and sour. Pretty heavy. Not the best Belgian I've had. 4 beers.

Primator Dark Lager

Munich Dunkel. [Type 39] 4.8% ABV. Has that distinctive German maltiness.

Primator Maibock

A Hellesbock, or light bock beer. [Type 13] 7.5% ABV. Strong, malty, some fruitiness. A fun beer.

Baltika #4 Dark

The Baltika version of a European dark lager. [Type 39] 5.6% ABV. Sweeter than the Primator.

Okocim Full Pale

A Polish pale lager [Type 12] 5.6% ABV. This is a pretty good lager. Tasty and creamy, a pleasant beery taste. 2 beers.

Baltika #8 Wheat

Type 14. 5.0% ABV

Primator Double Bock

Amazingly strong doppelbock. [Type 26] 10.5% ABV. Pretty thick and sweet, a bit like cough syrup.

Celebrator Ayinger

Another doppelbock. 6.7% ABV. Everyone remembers this as the goat beer.

Old Rasputin

A Russian Imperial Stout [Type 50] 9.0% ABV. More bitter and stronger than a mere Imperial Stout.

Stone Mogul Madness Review

Stone Mogul Madness

Dark IPA [Type 30] 6.6% ABV

The Magistra bought this for me at McGaugh's Smoke and Bottle. It is pretty similar to the Beaver Street Cascadian Dark Ale, and the man at the store said he sold the head brewer this very beer [among others] when he was thinking of making the Cascadian dark.

This is hoppier than the Cascadian dark [no surprise]. The hops are strong pine and floral scents as soon as you pour it. The flavor is quite bitter. Not too much, but I like the Beaver Street version better. Sorry, local perference.


A good beer, but hoppier than I would want it. But, if you love you some Cascadian hops, this is really the beer for you!

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Beer Club February 2011

Belgian Ales

Always a favorite of mine, we return again to Belgian Ales. We had a particularly good selection this year, with two kinds of Golden Carolus, a new front runner for my favorite Belgian brand.

Belgian Ales February 2011Cuvee van de Keizer Rood

10% ABV Golden Ale [Type 3]. Tastes like cherry and apple. Dry and crisp. One beer.

Lost Abbey 10 Commandments

A California Beligan Style brewery, Lost Abbey makes strong, often hoppy beers. This one tastes like raisins and honey. A Belgian dark ale [Type 29] 9.0% ABV. Three beers.

Golden Carolus Hopsinjoor

A hoppier version from Golden Carolus. A Belgian Pale [Type 16], perhaps shading towards the IPA. 8.0% ABV. A great pale ale, with fruit, hops, a dry finish, and lots of fizz. One beer.

Belgian homebrew

Sweet smelling with a cherry finish. Mellow overall. Two beers.

Adriaen Brouwer Finest Dark [Type 29] 8.5% ABV. Sweet, with a quick finish. Pretty easy drinker. Two beers.

Delirium Nocturnum

Pink elephants on parade. Belgian dark, 8.5% ABV.


Belgian pale [Type 16] 10.5% ABV. Belgian sourness followed by sweet cherry.

Dogfish Head Red & White

Belgian wit [Type 4] 10.0% ABV. An usual beer due to the presence of pinot noir juice and aging in oak casks. It combines the qualities of a white beer with a red wine. Very unusual, but very good. One beer.


Belgian pale [Type 16] 8.0% ABV.


Belgian pale [Type 16] 8.4% ABV

And three for which I have no notes other than name, for some reason.

Corsendonk Pale Ale

Lost Abbey Lost & Found

Delirium Tremens

Bridgeport Café Negro Coffee Porter

Bridgeport Café Negro

American Porter [Type 48] 5.5% ABV. Surprisingly thin for a porter, the mouthfeel is watery. The roasted, chocolaty malts complement the coffee. This beer needed to warm up. I had it right out of the fridge, and my fridge is cold. I let it sit and had it with dinner, and it got better. If you let it sit for a bit, the beer thickens a bit and the roasted malts come out stronger. It gets just a tad of a bitter finish too.


I was going to give it a 4, but I think I'll go with a 3 instead. This is a decent porter, but far from my favorite. It improved much after it warmed.

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Wingwalker Amber Ale Review

Wingwalker Amber Ale

Amber Ale [Type 44] 4.5% ABV

A nice amber ale from New York, brewed by RJ King. I picked this up in California, it isn't sold in Flagstaff that I know. It has a good color and a thin head. A little sweet, the malt predominates with very little hop flavor. A little sour on the finish, but nice and creamy. The body is a little thin.


Fat Tire is the amber I judge all other ambers by. Is this beer as good as Fat Tire? No. Is it a good beer? Yes. I wouldn't mind this beer at all. However, I would pick Fat Tire everytime if given the choice.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Review

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

IPA [Type 30] 6.8% ABV

Another beer gift from Owen and Aza. Pretty hoppy, as all of Sierra Nevada's offerings tend to be. I did enjoy it however. It was sweeter and maltier than a lot of IPAs, with a hint of spice but not too much.


I enjoyed this beer but I wouldn't seek it out. Those who like their beer hoppy will be pleased, and many of the rest of you should like it too. A good winter rendition of the IPA.

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Beer Club, California Youngberg Edition

We are out in California for Christmas, and I had the chance to try several beers for Christmas. We purchased a bottle of Samuel Adams Infinium, the new champagne beer produced in collaboration with Weihenstephan. We were given a bottle of Heritage 100 2010 from BJ's Breweries. We also enjoyed a glass of BJ's Grand Cru 2011. 

Samuel Adams Weihenstephan InfiniumSam Adams and Weihenstephan set out to create an entirely new type of beer. This beer is brewed under the restrictions of the Reinheitsgebot, only water, barley, hops, and yeast. A second fermentation is used to add carbonation, like champagne, so the beer has has the dry crispness typical of champagne. 10.3% ABV. Slightly sweet, with a slight wet dog scent. The taste is amazing. I would recommend this beer for almost anyone. Well worth $20. 1 beer.

BJ's Heritage 100A small batch beer from BJs Breweries. This was given to me by a relative who works for BJs. The beer is fresh hopped, so unlike previous editions it cannot be aged. The scent is wet dog up front, and ends up citrusy. This is a golden ale, think of a watered down trippel. Less body, less hops. 5.7% ABV. Three beers.

BJ's Grand CruWe enjoyed the BJ's Annual Grand Cru at BJ's Restaurant. This is the 2011 version, 10.0% ABV. A Belgian Gold Ale, it is sweet and spicy, exceptionally delicious. I ate BJ's open face chili cheeseburger with this, and found it an excellent combination. 1 beer.

Beer Club December 2010

Stouts and Porters

December 2010 Lineup

Porters come from Merrie Old England. The first recorded examples of the style are from the 1700s. They were blended beers, a combination of a stale or old ale, a new ale, and a weak or mild ale. Various flavors could be achieved by different blends. After blending, the beer is then aged for several months in wooden maturation vats. This was a beer of the the Industrial/Scientific revolution. The name reportedly comes from the popularity of the beer with the transportation workers of London.

Stouts are a kind of porter, or vice versa. Stouts are porters with blackened or roasted grains. Sometimes, this grain is not actually malted. Originally, stout referred to the strength of a beer rather than its style, but over time the roasted flavor of the most popular stout beer, Guinness, helped to spawn a style that can range from mild to extremely alcoholic.

Sierra Nevada Fritz and Ken's Ale

A 30th anniversary beer from Sierra Nevada, they teamed up with the founder of Anchor Brewing to create this Imperial Stout [Type 36]. Imperial or double stouts combine fruity flavors with strong roasted grains and high alcohol content. This one tasted of cocoa, hops, and nuts. It has a noticable alcohol warming as well. 9.2% ABV. 1 beer.

Rogue Chocolate Stout

An American take on the Stout style [Type 35], this beer tastes much like a chocolate soda from a soda fountain. It has a solvent taste to it, with a slighty rancid and coppery finish. 6.0% ABV. 3 beers.

Rogue Double Chocolate Stout

Another Imperial Stout, the double chocolate stout is smoother than the chocolate stout. It is a darker beer, with more of a cocoa flavor. 8.0% ABV. 2 beers.

Rogue Double Mocha Porter

Previously known as XS Imperial Porter, this is a robust porter [Type 48]. It is much less sweet than the chocolate stouts, with a bit of an alkaline finish. 8.2% ABV. 3 beers.

Stone Smoked Porter

As smoked beers go, this one is pretty mild. A standard porter [Type 34]. The smoke flavor is suggestive rather than overwhelming. Slighty bitter and metallic. 5.9% ABV. 3 beers.

Anchor Porter

A little bit nutty, 5.6% ABV. 2 beers.

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

This beer is a little unbelievable. 18.0% ABV! It is priced to match. The flavor is unusual, vinegar and mustard, with yeasty notes. Pretty good for the alcohol content. Fun, but probably only worth drinking on a lark. 1 beer.

Oatmeal Stout home brew

A home brew brought to the tasting. It is an Oatmeal Stout [Type 49]. Good flavor, easy drinking, but a little watery. Not bad though. You could down a large number of these.

Kalamazoo Stout

Made with brewer's licorice, it says. This concerned me at first, but the licorice flavor is quite nice. Very subtle. A bit of a fruity taste, like apples. 6.0% ABV. 2 beers.

Home brew

Another home brew, but unfortunately an undistinguished one.

Black Butte Porter

A passable porter, but it really pales in comparison to the other beers available tonight. 5.2% ABV. 4 beers.

Left Hand Milk Stout

A sweet stout [Type 35], of the milk stout sub-type. It has added lactose for extra sweetness. Very smooth and flavorful. One of the fan favorites of the night. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.

Lump of Coal

A foreign/export stout, this type was created to be shipped across the ocean on steamships. [Type 22] Tends to be stronger to survive the voyage. 8.0% ABV. 4 beers.

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

You can smell the chicory, a good addition to this style. A tasty beer, with a pleasing but unusual flavor combination. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.

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