Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

chocbock

A friend of mine brought over a couple of bottles of this to a party we hosted on Saturday.  I’m not a big fan of chocolate flavoured beers (I added the extra “u” to be pretentious) so I was a bit hesitant to try it.

But it actually surprised me.  I was expecting an almost overwhelming chocolate taste or something on the coffee side.  I don’t know why.  But the chocolate in this bock is nicely understated.  It’s very malty and meaty…not something you normally hear about a beer.  But meaty was the first thing that came to mind.  Maybe the slightest hint of hazelnut?  I dunno.  I’m pretty terrible at identifying shit like that.  I really liked that it wasn’t bitter like so many chocolate beers I have had.  In fact, I would say this is my second-favorite chocolate beer after Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  That’s a good beer, my friends.

As understated as it is, I still consider it to be a dessert beer.  Certainly not a session beer.  Maybe some fruit or some cheesecake to go along with it.  Yeah…I could see that.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

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Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly

oakipa

That’s a mouthful, eh?

Sometimes I just dive into a beer without really thinking about it.  We watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall tonight (very good, by the way) and I opened a large bottle of this brew to enjoy while watching the flick.  I should have paid a bit more attention to the bottle, because this was definitely one to savor.

It’s an Imperial IPA, and Imperial generally means big alcohol.  This didn’t disappoint.  It comes in at a hefty 11.0% ABV and it packs a punch. But at the same time it is also very drinkable.  I love a good contradiction.

The kids at Southern Tier really get it when it comes to specialty brews.  This one excites, enhances, and any other “e” word you can think of.  It’s THAT good.  Big hoppy first bite that mellows (must be the oak) as the beer warms up.  One of the reasons that I wish I had read the bottle before starting it is that they recommend drinking the beer at a slightly warmer temperature.  That’s when it excels.  Ohhh…another “e” word.  Excellent!

Like the picture above suggests, I would imagine that it would go great with cheese.  I wasn’t eating anything as I already had a belly full of BBQ from a local joint.  Deep fried pickled jalepeno slices, waffle fries and a great jerked chicken sammy.  So this IPA was more of a dessert for me.  That’s how I roll.

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Guinness

Today, there is only one beer.  Enjoy!

guinness

Elysian Avatar

Man, I love this beer.

The kooky kids over at Elysian took a normal IPA and jasmined it up (yeah, I went there).   Pretty bottle, too.  This is an extremely floral IPA that tastes like a bowl full of flowers.  In a good way.  A drinkable brew with an ABV of around 5.60%, this big-flavored IPA is only sold in, well, big bottles.  Good for sharing, I always say.

Had a couple of these on Saturday night to go along with a bunch of these so it was a fairly drunken night.  But that didn’t stop me from appreciating the wonderful flavor of this brew.

We have a few left over from the night and I am going to cherish them over the next few weeks.  Yum!

My Rating: 9 out of 10

T.J. Finley’s

Friday night we went out for barbecue, as we have been apt to do for the past month or so.  Usually we head out to a place in Smithtown called Famous Dave’s, and last week we went out to BobbiQue ( a joint that will get it’s own post here one of these days).  This week, however, we tried Smokin’ Al’s in Bayshore for a change.

As far as BBQ goes, we like Famous Dave’s a whole bunch.  Nothing extraordinary, but everything tastes really good.  BobbiQue has decent ribs, but I’m not a fan of their brisket and the smoked sausage has been up and down.  The big difference between both of those two places is the atmosphere and the beer.  Dave’s is a national chain and it feels like a TGIF.  And the beer selection sucks.  Standard run of the mill crap.  BobbiQue, on the other hand, is all about the beer.  Check out the beer menu on their site…it’s awesome!  And it helps make up for their slightly inferior BBQ.

So we wanted BBQ and good beer Friday, but we had just been to BobbiQue and we didn’t feel like driving all the way to Patchogue.  So we settled on Smokin’ Al’s in Bayshore instead.  As soon as we got there we realized we may have made a mistake.  The beer selection was roughly the same as Famous Dave’s.  Crap, in other words.  The BBQ was hit and miss.  The hits were the spare ribs and smoked sausage.  The misses were the beef ribs (too much work for not enough meat), baby back ribs (the sauce was too sweet) and the chopped brisket (same sauce as the baby backs).

So while our tummys were full, our experience was just so-so.  We really needed a good beer or two.

Good thing that T.J. Finley’s is only about a block away.  T.J. Finley’s is a part of Drew Dvorkin’s growing empire of good beer bars that includes The Dead Poet and George Keeley in Manhattan.  It’s doesn’t have quite the selection that George Keeley boasts, but it’s pretty damn good.  Especially for Long Island.

Gia started with an Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout on cask while I went with a Lucky lager in the funky bottle. Felt like something light after that big meal and we love the kids over at Lucky.  The Imperial Stout was a bit heavy for me (duh), but Gia loved it’s smoky flavor.  Nothing on the draft board really inspired me and I was really in the mood for an IPA next so I went with a safe choice, Magic Hat’s Lucky Kat.

The atmosphere of the joint was decent.  The place looked great and there was a nice, young-ish crowd there.  The music, however, was a bit loud for my liking.  Good beer is best accompanied by good conversation.  Loud music can sometimes hinder that, but at least they were playing good stuff.

Overall, I would highly recommend the joint.  And not only because we personally know Drew (who is a great guy, by the way).  If you happen to be hanging out on the South Shore of Long Island, you probably won’t find a better beer bar west of Patchogue.  Give it a go.

Magic Hat hI.P.A.

I’ve never really been a big fan of the beers out of Magic Hat Brewery in Burlington, Vermont.  Their #9 is a seminal brew carried by just about any bar, pub or restaurant that you can find on the East Coast.  It’s an apricot-tinged pale ale.  OK…nothing great.  But some folks absolutely adore it.  Circus Boy is a decent hefeweizen.  Again, nothing spectacular.  Jinx, Rocky Rolles, Fat Angel, Lucky Kat…all decent.  Just nothing that I would faun over.

However, I really do love their hI.P.A. after trying it for the first time this past weekend.

hipa

As the cutesy name suggest, hI.P.A. is a seasonal Spring IPA from Magic Hat.  The “hI” is also short for “highly hopped” as the hops on this one come on strong early and often.  Very floral nose full of fruit becomes a medium-bodied rich looking brew in the glass.  What was nice about this IPA, as compared with some of the other hi-hopped brews out there, is that it wasn’t overly bitter in any way.  The bitter was there at the end, but it was balanced very nicely.

Oh and the ABV is 6.80%, so it isn’t too strong.  Not that you can’t handle strong beers.  I’m just sayin’.  Definitely one of my favorite IPAs on the market right now.  Check it out.

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Lagunitas Sirius

sirius

I know.  It’s been a while.  But I’ve been going through a whiskey phase and I haven’t been tasting very many new beers.  It’s something that I mean to remedy, and I started last night.  Purchased a couple of new six packs for an Oscar viewing party.  OK…it was more like Gia and I drinking a few beers and having snacks while I live-blogged the Oscars.  Anywho.

Sirius is a Spring Release Ale from Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma California.  A Cream Ale with an ABV of 7.60%, so it is on the strong side when it comes to drinkability.

It poured an almost bright orange color (ok…copper) with a distinctive pine hops aroma.  I was actually confused by that because I wasn’t sure what the distinction of a “cream ale” was going to be.  Malt or hops?

Turned out to be a delicious combination of both.  A smooth mouth feel with a bitter hop taste (not too strong) on the finish.  It definitely had a creamy flavor as it sat on the tongue.  That sounds a bit disgusting, doesn’t it?

I had it with some stuffed cherry peppers (prosciutto and provolone) and horseradish hummus.  Sounds good, right?  So I would suggest pairing it with those items, and only because I am too lazy to figure out what else it would taste good with.  Or you know what?  Just drink it on it’s own.  It’s damn fine either way.

My Rating: 8 out of 10