Saturday, April 17, 2010

Total Wine delivers

On a (planned) whim, I stopped by my local Total Wine last Saturday. I've been meaning to get in there for weeks. I love their single bottle section, and I was hoping to find a batch of new seasonals to try. What a good idea that was.

I picked up a bottle of 400 Pound Monkey from Left Hand Brewery. I'm not a big fan of primates, but they make a good beer. It's an English style IPA that likes to play around on the malt side of the tree. I think that's why I enjoyed it more than a typical IPA. The orange and bread like aroma was nice. The mixture of hops and caramel was the surprise. It has a nice mouthfeel, and a clean finish. While it might not be for everyone, and really doesn't fit into one particular catagory, it is an enjoyable beer. Grade: 3 Burps

I've been a fan of Odell Brewing Company from hello. I've been lucky enough to experience most of their beers over the years via Beerfests. To have it available on the shelf is a wonderful thing. Their Cutthroat Porter is one of my favorites.

I love me a nice, dark, and malty porter, and that is what you find in a pint of Cutthroat. I have enjoyed it before, and I will enjoy it again. I felt that I needed to give it the props it deserves. Now this isn't a seasonal, but to some a porter wouldn't qualify as a Spring beer. I beg to differ.

I'm a huge fan of dark and malty London ales, so I could be biased in my opinion. However, even the Queen enjoyed it. She seems to prefer the hops side of the spectrum (Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA), but she said it was good. How can you go against the Queen? I know I can't. Grade: 4 Burps

There was 1 bottle of North Coast Brewing Scrimshaw left. Lucky me. It's a pilsner style beer which surprised me. I'm not a guy who usually drinks a beer like this, but I was willing to give it a try. I'm happy I did.

It has a light and clean aroma, with an unusual medium body. Much more than I would have expected from a Pilsner. I wasn't expecting the dry, wheat overtones. I think that's what pleased me. It's a very drinkable beer. Grade: 3 Burps

But my favorite of them all was Garde Dog Biere De Garde from the guys at Flying Dog Brewery. I've said it time and time again, they just get it. I love these guys, and Garde Dog is another example why. Their interpretation of the French style "Beir DeGarde" is better than I expected. The temperatures are hitting the high 80's out here in desert lately, so this it perfect session beer on a Saturday night. Who am I kidding, it's a 5.5 abv from Flying Dog. You can have one any day of the week.

It's a nice, clean beer that's very easy to drink. A crisp floral aroma is what you notice first. The taste is lighter with a slight hint of hops, spice, citrus, and malt. I wouldn't call it a medium feel, but it's almost there.

This would be a great "cross over" beer for someone looking to experiment a little. To take that next step past Deschutes and New Belgium. This isn't a Kronenbourg 1664, it's a Flying Dog! Grade: 4 Burps

There you have it. 4 new beer reviews. Take my advise and give them all a try. I'm sure you will find one in there that you might add to your beer fridge on a regular basis.