Strains of Strand

We're lucky to have had the opportunity to try some beer from Strand Brewing Co., from Torrance, CA. Special thanks to Galen for bringing this back to us. Galen is our foreign correspondent, who is currently out scouting for more beer in Indonesia. Good luck out there in the micro-brew capital of the Far East!

Musashi is the delightful beer that we're trying today (spoiler alert!). It's a Black IPA that smells, tastes, and feels nothing like any of the several hundred beers in our proprietary database. 

This wine is characterized by a red wine motif - but not your regular Cabernet! A blackcurranty, sweet, deep, red wine. Barrel-aged notes also reign throughout, so everyone is happy all around.

The pour is dark and intriguing. It's entirely opaque. A light crown of bubbles decorate this beer. Yummy. The taste doesn't last all too long, but it's quite pleasant. Beautiful malts. 

All around, all I can say is that this is a delicious beer. I'm looking forward to what's in store the rest of this year!


Today's beer is Deschutes Brewery's 'Armory XPA', an 'experimental pale ale'. As a long-time guinea pig, I thought this beer would be right up my alley.

The beer is slightly cloudy, and pours with a really thick head. I'm big fan of the beer's col on my pour - it definitely entices some of the flavors described on the bottle. I was hoping (no pun intended) for a little more pine-y bitterness to come out of the hops, but it's definitely more citrus-y and sweet than I would have wanted. I can, however, tell that the residual bitterness keeps me wanting another sip.

This is exactly what I want from a beer on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks, Deschutes! Also shoutout for managing to distribute to 21 states as an independent brewery. I'm not pointing fingers, but if I were, I'd point all ten of them.

Hop for Freedom

This review may somewhat break the mold in that I'm consuming the beer stragiht out of the can, and the words are coming straight to you. Je m'enfous (sp.?). We're drinking Evil Twin Brewing's Hipster Ale, an American Pale Ale straight out of Connecticut. I remember reading a long New York Times article about ETB's founder and his twin brother - time to finally put the beer where my mouth is.

Whether or not this beer has phenomenal head retention is TBD - but I will say that the carbonation in this beer tastes slightly different. The beer has a little bit more of a viscous texture than I was expecting, but it's actually turning out very nicely. I would imagine that the 'American' third of the name is a direct reference to the quantity of American hops invested in this beer. There is a very pleasant residual bitterness that I often only get from beers like Ninkasi's Total Domination or some double IPA's - but this balance between bitter and ethereal takes place at a calmer level. This beer is on the higher ABV end of the sessionable spectrum, but I would have at it all day if I had the chance/liver.

Final shoutout to the awesome can. I really enjoy the design motif of this sort of can - it must be really difficult to have labeling that distinguishes itself when you're on a beer shelf, but Evil Twin really sold it with this color palette.

I Drank the Mash


I was sitting at my desk, while thirst began to pounce
While my fridge beerheld a 22oz
From my brewfest glass, bubbles began to rise
A flavor profile without much surprise

I drank the mash, I drank the monster mash
The monster mash, it was Lompoc's Monster Mash
I drank the mash, it went down with a flash
I drank the mash, I drank the monster mash

Sips of which I can't get enough
Rich malts, chocolate, toffee, and other stuff
No head to be seen, t'wasn't my pour
Commenters, all none of you, don't be sore

I drank the mash, I drank the monster mash
The monster mash, it was Lompoc's Monster Mash
I drank the mash, it went down with a flash
I drank the mash, I drank the monster mash

Philippe is already having fun
Even though the drinking has just begun
However, this doesn't feel like an imperial
God I would love this with cereal

In sum, this beer, is pretty good
[Insert rhyme] [drop mike]

Drizzle Drizzle Drip Drip Coffee Milk Stout Stout

Well, it's cold and wet now. Time to flip the beer switch. It's warmth and comfort time!

Today we savor Stone's Coffee Milk Stout - the name alone should be words enough. This is a beer modeled after a latte - and at about a quarter the price of your regular Starbucks offering, maybe you're starting your day wrong?


This beer doesn't produce much of a head. It's dark, but not too opaque - I'm not scared of it. It's pleasantly carbonated, and spreads a very pleasant, light coffee flavor all over your palate. Unlike a lot of coffee beers I've had, this one doesn't over-texture, over-bitter the flavor profile - which might have something to do with the fact that it's a milk stout. I'm really enjoying the slightly chalky elements of this beer.

Drip drip.

If you do alter your routine, remember that this oen will have other effects before you get overcaffeinated.

Black Gold

To whom it may concern,

I write to you from far out West, where I appear to have struck on some of Milton's Black Gold. An inscription in orange ("10") can be found on the cap, obscuring a dogfish warning label This stout beverage is almost absolutely opaque - but it is far from liquid tar. It certainly has an impact on my writing style.

The Dogfish Head World Wide Stout is beer's equivalent of the bourbon caramel sauce that you pour on ice cream. It's almost as if molasses hopped off the fence and decided to identify itself as a liquid, but fell into a barrel of diluted EverClear. 

It hangs out on the tips of my teeth and the depths of my tongue in much the same way that dark chocolate can (and should, in my opinion!). Now that I've removed some of it from the glass, the aroma has gathered some space to collect itself, and I love it. Hello, chocolate. Hello, licorice. And a new sip compels me to welcome texture - perhaps at the expense of some erstwhile bubbles.

That should be all for now. I need to focus on this beer. Wish me luck.

Jedi Mind Tricks


Today's beer is Firestone Walker's Opal, a dry hopped saison/farmhouse ale. Despite the fact that I just cleaned my apartment, the scent of dry hops quickly dominated the off-brand Lysol. Much better.

The beer pours with a major crackly head (it snap crackle POPPED!), but there was very little head retention. By the time I finished typing this sentence, it was almost entirely gone. And I type with all my fingers. It pours with a rich, hazy straw color, almost exactly identical to the stripe at the bottom of the label, which is actually really cool.

Opal has strong citrus and herbal notes in the aroma. Part of what I'm smelling might be the anticipation of the carbonation lying ahead, but you can definitely tell that this beer will have a tingly mouthfeel. 

I've been sipping at it during the past few paragraphs to wait for the carbonation to die down, and it paid off. Not much of a strong malt profile, but that's perfect because this is a dry-hopped farmhouse saison and that would make absolutely no sense, so that's good! I really like the impacts of the dry-hopping. Since it's generally hard for me to approach farmhouse/saison style beers due to my inherent hop bias (which I'm hoping to wean this fall/winter), the hop character does make this a lot more approachable. The mouthfeel was overly carbonated for my taste initially, but that's what you get with a live bottle that you drink way too soon because patience is not one of your virtues, so you can only blame that on yourself and on your inability to approach new genres with an open palate.

But I digress. The beer has little-to-no head now, and is tasting better and better. I'm happy the semi-cicerone at Hop & Vine recommended this to me.  

I have two final questions:

1- What is the point of putting a seal around a bottle cap? Does it imply that the beer is live and bottle conditioned? Does it have a benefit if it is? (I'm serious - is there a reason?).

2- What does Firestone Walker mean? It just occurred to me that, taken literally, it's the label you could give to Pam from The Office, or that guy in Aladdin.

Tis the Season!

Table of 17, 22oz to myself. Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project produced Jack d'Or, and I'm inclined to like it.  It smells crisp, live - although I don't know if it is - and it looks just as clear as I wanted it to be. Beautiful head retention. The taste is smooth and very finely balanced. I can smell the sort of clarity that I associate with aluminum, but in a good way. I can also smell freshly cut grass, though that might be psychosomatic. 

i like this beer! Prost.




The Breakside Wunderlust is a beautiful, cloudy beer. Cirrus leads to cirrhosis in this stormy, somewhat bitter brew. Hop fresh, dive in, yum.



El Jefe

Tonight's mission. A beautiful Hefeweizen from Weihenstephaner. Cannot go into too much depth. Big, smooth head. Not puffy. Banana smell. Banana tastes. Potential presence of cloves. Maybe cilantro as well. Or soap but does not compromise beer. Cloudy flaxen yellow beer. Brewery claims to be world's oldest. Compliant with Reinheitsgebot. Compliant with taste buds. Over and out.

And a little something for Daddy (I'm sorry)

With Father's Day only days (weeks? months?) away, I decided to purchase Rogue's Dad's Little Helper Black IPA. The man on a the bottle, presumably the father of an equally thick-forearmed son, sports three ties, which I can only interpret as a hint towards the beer in the bottle. 

Left Tie (Checkered):

This tiled tie's textiles represent the texture of this here beer. Slightly burnt bread with griddle-lines, slightly burnt taste with bitter-lines, yum.

Middle Tie (Black):

Undoubtedly hiding an unbuttoned collar bursting with Man Hair, the dark depth of this tie mirrors how much darker this beer is than your regular IPA. This beer, like your dad, has stories.

Right Tie (Falalallaa):

The protozoic design of the right tie makes more sense the more I get into this beer. As of 8oz, my best hunch is that everyone has been through their own twists and turns. More often than not, there's an interesting story behind them. You just have to ask, and try to avoid dipping your tie in your beer.

Round up (Tie Knot): 

I'm growing to like this beer more and more over time. Combinations of styles aren't always my favorite -- complexity escapes me. But this beer brings the bitter bite of hops with the lovely textures of a very malty beer together nicely, and it makes me happy.


Honey Fayre

Hold ye corgi's leash and listen to the tales

Of a prissy wee beer from Wales

Honey Fayre, they wrote

Big head, little smell, I note

Weaker beers don't have less taste

And I certainly won't let this go to waste

Heavily carbonated, slightly intoxicated

Un-American, infrequently hydrogenated

For a brew so fair

It makes it hard to stare

Through the lightly biting ale

That the elves drink in Rivendale

Yes that's a LOTR reference

Welshisms are far from my preference

Of things to read, or things to drink

I wouldn't advise you to drink this, I think

Because you'll probably never find it

And if you did, don't buy it

There are worse, but not that many

So please don't waste your penny

Exotic beers aren't that uncommon

So get this into your noggin

This beer scores poorly

And I drink it sorely

/drops the mike, Welsh crowd boos, so do English majors/

Roguetegrity 5sq

This is for the rebels out there. The fighters. The yeast that doesn't quit. 

This is for the activist who has his day in court. The fool proved right. The little bubble that turns into a big bubble by the time it gets to the top as evidenced by this GIF. 

If you've ever fought for something you love, you'll understand.

If you've ever tasted a pale ale and thought 'man I love the aromas in this beer but I wish it had more flavor to it' or 'I'm not really sure if this is a pale ale or a blonde but it's pretty good' then you'll understand.

If you've ever stood up when someone told you to sit down, or if you've ever distinctly tasted grain and really enjoyed the texture, you'll understand.

Remember that when you're being put down, the laws of physics demand that you soar up. Remember that when you hide your beer in a metallic gray bottle, people are going to really want to know what's in it and it's definitely an interesting bottle design choice. Remember that if you want to dream, you shouldn't have too much beer because alcohol for some reason stops you from remembering your dreams. 

This beer's decent, but there are plenty of beers I'd order first.

Enjoyed Way Before 420

As it turns out, the Whole Foods bar has incredibly cheap beer. They must offset their losses with the grocery costs. So I was able to try The Stone's new(ish) 'Enjoy By 420' for $4. That's right - four United States dollars. And look at how pretty it is!


As it turns out, this Imperial IPA clocks in at 9.4% ABV, which I consider pretty decent for a grocery store beer.

The nose is richly, exquisitely herbal. I smell thyme, maybe a bit of lavender, and maybe some pepper? It's also just barely the slightest bit stanky - sum gud stank.

Poured with a really pretty head but I drank it too quickly to get a picture of it. The bubbles are adorable - if you imagine them as individual human beings, it's like watching the Sim's.

The taste - yup, there is quite the taste. It reminds me of the weather outside - it looks beautiful, but it actually has quite the bite to it. Mmmmmmmmmmmm me likey.

The mouthfeel is very pleasant - if this wouldn't screw up my career, I would intermittently cleanse my palate with this throughout the day.

Overall, gosh darn, I bet stocks of this run out before everyone gets the munchies.


Wise Utah Beer

Today's beer is Epic Brewing's Utah Sage Saison, Release #12, one of 'only a few thousand beers' ever released. I feel lucky and you should be jealous.

This beer pours with a beautifully thick head. Just absolutely gorgeous. Wafty thick bubbles fly up through a amber, cloudy, happy beer. Now that the head has settled, it's just a patchy quarter of what it was, but seems to have become significantly denser.

It smells like a yeasty, yummy spice rack. Cardamon, saffron, sage, allspice, all the spices you could ever want. I'm actually going to take a moment here to show you how the head is doing it's own ying yang thing. Take a gander at dat ying yang thang.

This mouthfeel is exactly what I wanted it to be. Oh boy let me tell you. It's creamy and rich while being light and not overwhelming. It's smoother than water. Even once it's gone, the spices still bite the tip of my tongue. Is that thyme I taste? 

Overall, a beautifully well balanced beer. Well done, brava, I could be ok moving to Salt Lake City. Maybe. 

Welcome to Bourbon County

The fine proprietors of the Bracket Room were nice enough to gift me with a bottle of Bourbon County Brand Stout, a beer made by Goose Island out of Chicago. At 14.9% ABV, I decided to suspend piloting any motor vehicles after cracking this one open. Whoa mama.

I had a really good time drinking this beer. The head is really thin with little bubbles that devilishly move around. You know that it's out to get you. Just check out the gif to the right. They're out to get me. The beer itself smells like a you're sticking your head inside a partially empty barrel of bourbon, with tobacco and horse saddles ridden with sweaty denim. It burns the nostrils. I'm excited.

The mouthfeel was actually surprisingly light, for a beer that looks so overwhelmingly dark and scary. The devilish bubbles felt like little flecks of black pepper bursting upon contact with my taste buds. It tastes like leather, bourbon (duh), and pepper, but I have to say that the alcohol content negated any strong flavors, so it ended up being a surprisingly mild - still D-lish - taste.

All in all, I actually have no idea how this beer is so light. All appearances and numbers point to the contrary; but it turned out to be a really balanced, mild beer for how strong it is. I like it, kinda.

DFH Part I: "My Immort Ale"

(I brought back a ton of amazing Dogfish Head beer from a visit this weekend, so this is the first of our multi-part series.)

I'm not expert on Delaware's local polities, but I'm pretty sure that Dogfish Head had more people in its tasting room last Saturday than the town it's in (Milton, Delaware) has voters. (For the record, Milton was a wonderfully hospitable little town, and every person I ran into was automatically added to my list of favorite people, bumping off many close friends and family. Visit Milton. Trust me).

Today's beer is the Immort Ale, an English Strong Ale that weighs in at a hefty 11% ABV - more of a Churchill than a Cleese. 

It pours out with a very dark maroon head - a regal maroon, although I may just be thinking in Britishisms now - but little to no volume to it. Although my nose was several decimeters away - they switched to the metric system, right? - I immediately caught strong notes of pine or oak, like a hound on the moore, sniffing out the boozy fox. A closer whiff gives my olfactory senses a barley-wine hue, the same aroma one would get from Admiral Trafalgar's quarters after he'd broken into the port barrels.

Finally, the first sip. By George, this is a strong quaff! I'm not quite sure where to begin. The mouthfeel is severely dry, reminding me of the Iron Lady.  It almost burns a little on the way down. There are hints of cherry, of vanilla, all punctuated by a somewhat sandy feel. 

This definitely tastes like a very approachable barley wine. If I were going to intro some chap or lassie to the barley wine genre, I'd certainly start them off with one of these. Do you like prunes? You'll love this. This is like prunes, but you have to keep them away from grandma.

There's a lot left in this pint. Cheers!


Plagiarizing: On The Wings Of Armageddon

Click on the beer and read.

Sometimes we come across a beer so good it goes beyond words. We had the honor of trying DC Brau's 'On The Wings Of Armageddon, and we couldn't have been happier. What an amazing beer. The following review should be read to the tune of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven


DC Brau makes sure all that bubbles is gold,

Flying On The Wings Of Armageddon.

When you taste it you know,  all your tastebuds go ‘whoa’

With a sip you can get what you came for.

Ooh, ooh, and you’re Flying On The Wings Of Armageddon.

There's a pretty decent head and its getting thicker yet

‘Cause you know their brewmasters ain’t kidding.

Hints of fruit in its breath, there's some guava that calls,

Holy crap I can’t wait to taste this.

Ooh, it makes me thirsty (x2)


There are feelings I get when I drink of the best,

And wow does this perfectly qualify.

In my glass I can see rings of latticework following me,

And the calling to finish this glass.

Ooh, it makes me thirsty,

Ooh, it really makes me thirsty.

And it’s getting mellow soon, those bitter hops are smooth,

And the mouthfeel balances I am so happy.

And a new beer will come for those with the foresight to buy a sixer,

And the garbage will be full of cans.

If there’s initially overpowering hops, don't be alarmed now,

It's just the calling card of an American Double IPA.

Yes, this is categorized as a DIPA, acronyms alarm ya

There’s a label for everything now

And it makes me thirsty.

If you have more than 3 of these you’ll get a hangover, don’t you know,

Those cans are calling their friends to join them,

Dear reader, if you can find this beer in your local area, then you should know

You’ll be flying On The Wings Of Armageddon

And as we savor amazing beer

Brewmasters sculptures on our walls

There is a double IPA we all know

Who shines kinda amber and wants to show

How everything still turns to gold.

And yes that is a urine joke

This beer ends way too fast

When all the rest are one and this one is all you want

To be in a can and not all gone.

And you’re Flying On The Wings Of Armageddon.

Blustery Bumbly Ouragon

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? That's what we tried to test today by pitting the worst storm to hit the Oregon Coast against Bill's Tavern's Chocolate Stout.

The pour is really pretty, revealing a very thin yet richly espresso head. Froth amongst the roaring waves of this stout. The aroma is of dark, 85% to 90% pure chocolate, with a hint of vanilla bean.

Mouthfeel s overwhelmingly pleasant. Smooth enough to pass as a chilled coffee, which is good because it's about 11:35am, but with enough carbonation that reminds you of your sin.

It tastes like homemade toffee on Christmas morning. Grandma's been drinking again.