44. Westvleteren 12

What a nice vacation.  Took about a month off from computer-related activity, well most computer-related activity (I’m totally kicking ass in Angry Birds Star Wars) and took in some delicious beer to celebrate.

The “End of the World” came and went.  The Mayan calendar started over from the beginning.  Kinda like our calendar starts over at the end of every December.  I’m surprised the conspiracy theorists behind this one never considered that the Mayans just flipped over the calendar like we do.  Oh well.

To celebrate:  Pipeworks – End of Days

EndOfDaysSight:  Dark.  Like staring quietly into a black hole, moments before it swallows you whole.

Smell:  Sweet and malty with some coffee and chili pepper notes.

Taste:  Thick and creamy with lots of chocolate and coffee.  The sweetness slowly subsides and leaves behind the mild pepper burn in your mouth and throat.  That burns sticks around long after the beer is gone.

My overall grade:  A-

Nice and sweet, a good amount of booze and a chili pepper kick.  Also, cacao nibs, so I love it.

Christmas Eve was upon us.  I decided to stick with the local theme.

To celebrate:  Revolution – Fistmas (it sounds dirtier than it is)

FistmasSight:  Copper red in color with a little white head.

Smell:  Spicy with hints of citrusy hops.  Lots of pine.  Seemed like a true Christmas ale to me

Taste:  The spices and pine were the shining stars in this one.  They showed up early and stayed throughout.  A malty sweetness tries to take over in the middle, but ends up giving in just before the bitter hops show up.

My overall grade:  B

Not a bad beer.  It kept with the Christmas theme and didn’t deviate far from the plan.

Christmas Day showed up, and I had to show up with something special.

To celebrate:  Anchor – Our Special Ale (2011)

AnchorXmasMagnumSight:  Dark brown, nearly black

Smell:  Malty, spicy (think cinnamon and nutmeg), and lot of juniper and pine.  Like being out in the forest on a cold winter day while eating a gingerbread cookie.

Taste:  Lots of malty sweetness up front and then a crushing blow of spice and pine that eases away to a subtle hoppiness.

My overall grade:  B+

This magnum (the big bottle you see in the picture) was carefully aged for a year to become a wonderful Christmas gift.  And by “carefully aged”, I mean left in my in-laws garage for a year.

Since I’m a father now, Christmas is a little less exciting for me (I’m not complaining).  My daughter tends to be the focus, and my presents tend to be minimal.  However, I gave myself the gift of beer this year.

To celebrate:  Westvleteren 12

Westy12Sight:  Reddish brown in color with a thin bubbly tan head, and oh so fancy in its personal glass.

Smell:  Malty sweetness with a mixture of dried fruits and molasses.  There’s also a slight sourness lingering in the background.

Taste:  Malty throughout with a little bit of cinnamon.  Dried cherries seem to sneak in about mid-way through.  It has a tight boozy flavor in the finish and end up pretty dry.

My overall grade:  A+

This beer is incredible.  Imagine a more complex Rochefort 10.  Delicious from start to finish.

Now to hide away my other 5 Westys.

39. Magic Hat – Hex

Football is back!  It’s so good to waste away a Sunday afternoon again.  My beloved Patriots are off to a great start.  My former hometown team Redskins are showing a lot of promise.  My new hometown team Bears and looking a little shaky (better fix that O-line before Cutty gets killed).

This Sunday I’m hoping to catch some of the action while working my way through a growler from Half Acre.  I’m yet to pick up said growler, so who knows what I’ll actually end up with.

Good news for tonight:  I’m going to Festiv-Ale!

It’s the 6th annual Festiv-Ale to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  See?  My beer drinking does good things after all!

Over 20 local and national breweries will be passing out samples to satisfy my beer drinking ADHD along with many local restaurants keeping me from passing out.  It’s a win-win.

This week I “worked” through a couple more Oktoberfests, and finished off the last summer beer hiding in the back of my fridge.

First up, the Magic Hat Hex (Ourtoberfest)

Sight:  A nice bronze color, a little paler than some of the other Oktoberfests I’ve tried. A light thin head floating on top.

Smell:  Malty sweetness in the aroma with a little pumpkin pie spice

Taste:  Quite tasty.  Malty sweet with that pumpkin pie spice coming through.  Citrusy hops maintaining some balance and a slightly dry finish.

My overall grade:  B

A good overall Oktoberfest.  Nothing too crazy about it, but it did have that Magic Hat hops kick.

Next, Capital Brewery’s Oktoberfest

Sight:  Bronze in color with a thin white head (have you picked up on the trend yet?)

Smell:  Malty sweetness with a very mild spiciness lingering in the background.

Taste:  A malty sweet start that faded out fairly quickly and left the finish watery and bitter.  Decent flavor up front, but very disappointing at the end.

My overall grade:  C-

This one was a little disappointing.  It had so much potential and then it fell flat.  Too bad.

Deep in the back of my fridge I saw this guy staring my in the face.  Since summer is over, it was time to finish it off.  Revolution’s Coup d’Etat

Sight:  Pale yellow in color, lots of tiny bubble floating around in there.

Smell:  Very spicy, with a mixture of cloves and black pepper

Taste:  Very complex and spicy.  A big tangy flavor that hung out for quick a while and coated my mouth.  The finish was quite dry.

My overall grade:  B

A good finish to summer and a good lead into the cooler temps of fall.

Now, I gotta get ready for Festiv-Ale!