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April Beer Clubbing

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Tonight was beer club! For the uninitiated, beer club is a gathering of beer-minded individuals from my workplace who get together once a month for beer and revelry at a local BYOB. This time around, we went to a local Pizza place, got our fill of deep fried pizza pockets and other such delights, and naturally partook in lots of beer:

April Beer Club Selections
(Click for larger version)

For the sake of posterity, completely unreliable notes on each beer are below. Standard disclaimers apply, and other such waffling. Great, now I have a sudden craving for waffles. Thanks a lot. Anywho, in order of drinking (not necessarily the order pictured above):

  • Green Flash Le Freak - Labeled a Belgian IPA, I didn't get much in the way of hops out of this, but it remained a pretty solid Belgian Strong Pale nonetheless. Nice spicy Belgian yeast character. B
  • Ovila Abbey Saison - Bog standard saison material, nothing special at all, though certainly not bad or anything like that. Still, there wasn't much to make it really stand out in a setting like this. Mild Belgian yeast character, maybe a hint of lemon peel if you are really looking for it. B-
  • Stone Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA - Rock solid IPA that feels like it's actually made with grapefruit (as opposed to only hops that lend a grapefruity character). I don't actually know if that's the case for sure, but that's what it feels like. Beautiful nose, what seems like Stone's trademark hop profile, and a heaping helping of citrusy but astringent grapefruit. An interesting beer. B
  • Evil Twin / Crooked Stave Ryan And The Gosling - One of my contributions for the night, this is dominated by funky Brett. This is quite welcome in the nose, and the front end of the taste is fantastic, but the finish is very odd. That funk turns super earthy, almost savory in the finish, which brings this down a bit. Still an interesting beer to try though. B
  • Allagash Midnight Brett - Hey, look at that, a beer I just reviewed yesterday. And it held up rather well in this setting as well.
  • Ken's Homebrewed Honey IPA - Brewed with a bunch of New Zealand hops, this was quite nice.
  • Sly Fox Nihilist - An interesting take on the imperial stout style, huge carbonation, dryer than I'd normally expect, but a nice roast character, with hints of booze (but not overpowering). It's definitely a decent brew. B+
  • Kaedrin Bomb & Grapnel - Straight up imperial stout, this one compared very favorably to the Nihilist, definitely thicker and more creamy, less roast, but really quite nice. B+
  • Kaedrin Bomb & Grapnel (Bourbon Oaked) - Interestingly, I feel like the char that came through on early bottles has mellowed out, and the bourbon seems to be lessening the roast as well, making this an interesting blend of flavors. It's turned out quite well, though not at all like your typical bourbon barrel aged stout. Still, not bad for a first attempt, and quite nice on its own. B+
  • DuClaw Dirty Little Freak - Holy hell. Huge chocolate nose, like powdered cocoa. Less chocolate in the taste, as it takes a back seat to a big coconut character. Surprisingly not super sweet, and it works well enough I guess (certainly a unique beer), though I was a little disappointed. B-
  • DuClaw Cocoa Fuego - Brewed with dark chocolate and chipotle peppers, its the latter that seems to dominate this beer, even contributing a sorta smokey flavor that's pretty tough to overcome. There's some peppery heat that takes up residence in your jaw, but it's not punishing or anything like that. Not the worst hot pepper beer I've had, but not a beer that I connected with either. C+
  • DuClaw Hell on Wood - Ah, now this is more like it. This is DuClaw's excellent Devil's Milk barleywine aged on bourbon barrels, and it turned out reasonably well. Clearly not a top tier BBA barleywine, but it works really well on its own. B+
So all in all, quite a nice night. As per usual, already looking forward to next month... In the meantime, stay tuned for another .rar wale review tomorrow.

Evil Twin Aún Más Café Jesús

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Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is the Evil Twin of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (of Mikkeller fame)... I don't know if they're actually twins, but I'm going to go one step further and say that they're identical twins, because they both seem to have this beer brewing thing down pat. I haven't delved that deeply into Evil Twin's (rather sizeable) catalog, but I'm beginning to think that might be a good idea. If I can afford it, that is.

This beer began as something called Even More Jesus, a big, chewy imperial stout brewed in Denmark. But like his brother, Jeppe is one of them new-fangled "gypsy" brewers who walks the earth, soaking up excess brewing capacity wherever he can. So he took his recipe on the road, ended up at Cervesera del Montseny in Spain of all places, and rebrewed the beer. This time around, he also made a variant with coffee, which is what I have right here. As befitting its origins, he translated the name to Spanish, leaving us with this rather great beer:

Evil Twin Even More Coffee Jesus, but translated into Spanish with a bunch of accents and whatnot.

Evil Twin Aún Más Café Jesús - Pours a thick, gloopy, very dark brown color, almost black, with a beautiful finger of brown head. Smells deeply of coffee, some roast and plenty of dark chocolate. Taste starts off sweet, rich caramel and fudgy chocolate, with the roast and coffee peeking out later in the taste, though less prominently than in the nose. Mouthfeel is thick, full bodied, rich, and chewy. Medium carbonation, but tight enough to retain a creamy, fudgy feeling, well suited to the style. Overall, this is an excellent stout, and coffee lovers would go crazy over it. Even I'm having an excellent time here, and I'm not a big coffee guy... A-

Beer Nerd Details: 12% ABV bottled (11.2 oz) Drank out of a snifter on 12/14/13.

This stuff seems just as good as Evil Twin's much more famous Imperial Biscotti Break, though perhaps this warrants further, uh, "research" if you know what I mean. And actually, given my lack of interest in coffee, maybe the regular ol' Aún Más Jesús (sans the Café) would be something to try. If I can find/afford it. Anywho, I bought this because I thought it kinda/sorta might be a Christmas beer (it sez Jesús on the bottle), but apparently that's not the case. Well I'll just have to see if I can get a little more festive this weekend.

Before, During And After Christmas Beer

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Yet another Gypsy brewer? Apparently! Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is the man behind Evil Twin, and he is, in fact, the identical twin brother of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (better known as Mikkeller, probably the most famous Gypsy brewer). Strangely, they haven't collaborated on a beer yet, but perhaps someday... Evil Twin has only recently made its way to the US, but many of the beers have been much sought after. Jeppe doesn't seem to be quite as prolific as his brother, though he seems to be just as experimental (though sometimes those funky experiments don't quite work out so well).

The bottle for this one sez: "You might think this Christmas Beer is a Christmas Beer. But actually it is something so non-Christmassy as a classic Imperial IPA." Then at the bottom of the label, it says "Best before next Xmas." Well, there goes the during and after Christmas part, but hey, at least he's owning up to the weirdness of the beer's name (unlike those tricky Sierra Nevada folks).

Evil Twin Before, During And After Christmas Beer

Evil Twin Before, During And After Christmas Beer - Pours a very nice orange color with some yellow peeking through and a finger or so of white, fluffy head. Smells sweet with lots of fruity citrus hop aromas and even a little pine. Taste has a nice, strong sweetness to it, plenty of that pine and citrus in the flavor as well, with the bitterness coming out in the slightly sticky finish and aftertaste. Carbonation is a little lighter than usual, but still appropriate, and you get a nice biting hop character, not to mention some warming alcohol character. Overall, an above average DIPA, certainly something I would try again (perhaps during or after Christmas?)... if I could afford it! A-

Beer Nerd Details: 8% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a tulip on 9/17/11.

Another day, another great Gypsy beer. And another hit on my wallet. I guess that's bound to happen when a brewer makes small batches and doesn't actually have a brewery (and then we import the beer from Denmark). I'll most likely be keeping my eye out for more Evil Twin, but I don't expect to be going too far out of my way for this stuff...

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

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