Monday, August 19, 2013

NInkasi Believer Double Red Ale

Things are going well in the Bay Area. Especially because there are hella breweries I've never heard of and I can consistently walk into a pub or bottle shop and find something I've never tried before. Also lots of Lagunitas, but that's a given. What I don't see everywhere is the abundance of Oregon beer that I'm used to via geographical situation. And that's fine. It's tough, but it's fine.

Nonetheless, after a few months of stoically overcast never hot never cold never raining and never cold but always chilly weather, I went off for a pint. And drank some California beer. Good stuff. No complaints. But after I split, biking off into the night, I passed by Eddie's Liquor on College Ave. and figured I'd maybe grab one for home. I was tired, worn out from a six-day work week wine bender and I wanted nothing less than a finely brewed beverage. Eddie provided. The cooler stocked mad 22's. Out of dozens, four were Ninkasi bottles. I chose my favorite: two bottles of Believer Double Red Ale.

Now, we all know that as the years pass my guarantee on Ninkasi loses favor. As the industry goes wild, everybody making different wild shit, barrel aging, quintupple hopping, obscure Bavarian recipe making, brew secret keeping, natural yeast cultivating, those Revofuckinglutinists in Eugene have tried and tried and tried and I've kept on wanting to try them, to make something obscure. And it hasn't really worked out except for Sleigh'r Dark Ale, in my opinion. The others are somehow always too hoppy, too light, too something, lacking something. I still like them. I'll drink the shit out of some Ninkasi any hour of the day, but when it boils down to it, the originals are where the quality lies. Oatis, Total Domination, Quantum, Tricerahops and Believer.

Especially Believer.

This has been one of my top five favorite beers since I started paying attention, which was right around the same time it dropped. Which makes us old friends. We've been homies for six years. Believer and me. Double Reds. The two of us.

Thanks for the nostalgia, buddy.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Life Brewing; Sweet As! Pacific Ale

Good Life Brewing: Sweet As! Ale

This weekend, I celebrated my 27th year on this earth. Luckily for me, my birthday weekend this year was full of sunshine, friends, sports, and good beer. The majority of this good beer that I was drinking (and just like any proper birthday, it was full of many different beers) on Saturday was this well-balanced ale.

I knew that I was going to have a fantastic day of events when I took my first sip of the Sweet As!, because not only was I spending the day golfing with two great friends, but also enjoying an amazing beer. The Sweet As! was so good, in fact, that I finished my 12 oz. can (scoff all you want purists, it didn't bother me one bit), but that may have more to say about my golf game.

The Sweet As! was a true, Oregonian summer ale: well-balanced with 15 degrees of original gravity and an eighteen IBU rating. With the white wheat and Vienna based malts, the Sweet As! carries a bit of lighter taste for an ale, making it the perfect compliment to a warm summer day.

Naturally, I ended up buying a six pack before heading to the park to continue the birthday festivities. As perfectly matched with a golf game as it was earlier, I realized while we had a four person home run derby, the true place to indulge in the brew is with a hat and a baseball bat in hand. Taking a swig, then rubbing some dirt on your hand to take away from the perspiration from the can to improve your grip on a wooden bat, before belting home runs left and right, is truly the best way to enjoy this beauty by Good Life.
The Details:

Brewers Good Life Brewing
Location Bend, Oregon
Style Summer, Pacific Ale
Original Gravity 15 degrees
IBUs 18
Beermigos Rating Contemplating the Meaning of Life with your Beermigos: Such a solid summer ale, a great option for those who want a lighter beer, but not the extends of a pilsner or lager.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Resident Spike Buckowski’s Red Rye Ale

By moniker alone, this beer had me sold from the outset. One, it is a red ale: my favorite style. And two, the guy who makes it shares a surname (if not the spelling) of perhaps the finest degenerate wordsmith rolling in his grave: Mr. Charles Bukowski. I had to write something. And I had to wait until I’d had several of these fine brews before I did so.

Slow Sunday afternoon.
Nothing like Mozart to
Chill the wind
Whipping down from the mountains
Extinguishing cigarettes
On the workaday weekend
Except maybe Schubert
To wash down these beers.

Alright, that’s enough of that. This is an excellent beverage with rich flavors, good rye-intensity and a solid hop-profile.  It even references baseball and Tom Selleck’s moustache on the back of the label.  How’s that for a taste of nostalgia? Only one problem, though.  Upon closer inspection, it seems as though the brewery is not independently owned as the marketeering would have you believe. Instead it is a second small-batch label from an Auckland-owned conglomerate, no doubt the brew-master’s pet project.

I think the master of debaucherous pulp fiction and rugged poetry would only approve because of the relatively high alcohol percentage and the fact that at least they’re honest about exploiting American-bred ingenuity and kicking them out of NZ when their visas expire.

Choice as, bru.

Beermigos rating: Ballpark Brew. The booze-factor, the American influence and the fact that they mention baseball right there on the label would make me want to crush about a dozen of these at the cricket, hopelessly try to understand what the fuck was going on and d then go out on the town to chase some women with my mates. I’m sure both the brewer and the writer would support this.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Yeastie Boys Digital IPA

Yeastie Boys is perhaps the finest brewery name I have ever come across. It makes me want to fight for my right to drink fine beer. And the Yeasties up in Wellington have every intention to fight alongside.

This Digital IPA is the third Yeastie Boys brew I’ve tried and perhaps my favorite.  I spotted in on a casual walk-by of the single-bottle selection cooler and thought it would perfectly compliment a Saturday afternoon read of the book I bought from a Maori guy selling them from a shopping cart in front of the grocery store. It was his book, a true account of decades as a leader of the Mongrel Mob gang. Really cool guy, signed my book, gave me his e-mail and told me to write him and tell him what I thought about it.  Digital IPA seemed appropriate for the circumstance.

To the beer: This is a fine beverage, well balanced and not overly hopped. In fact, the malt characteristics give it a nice, semi-sweet flavor with a pseudo-Belgic, banana-peel element, and the hops, native Motueka grown at the top of the South Island , are more fruit-driven and aromatic than the bittering properties of Cascade varietals my palate is accustomed to. That said, I would be surprised to find the IBU to be very high, though it is an obvious India Pale Ale in style. With a solid 7% alcohol by volume, it registers as one of the stronger beers available in New Zealand, where even premium bottles by micro-breweries tend to hover around 5%. Not that that is the most important factor by any means.

More important is the taste (excellent), the quality (outstanding) and the sensation it gives me as it tingles past my lips, down my throat and into my fingertips as they transmit this information across the world (digitalicious).

Bonus: the recipe is open source.  You can download it from the website at

Beermigos Rating: Burger and Brew Brew. This is an ideal complement to the kiwi-style burger, featuring standard toppings as well as pineapple rings, pickled beetroot slices and a fried egg.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Emerson's Bookbinder Ale

Welcome to New Zealand!

A few weeks ago I attended the Arrowtown Pints and Pies Festival on a weekend off from winemaking.  I caught a ride from strangers who work at a vineyard, but thanks to a mutual friend's disinterest in attending (he was worried about getting too drunk, again, with a pair of kiwi girls) I secured a spot in their vehicle for the beautiful drive through the Gibbston Valley.

Upon arrival, I lost them immediately.  First things first.  Beer.  Then a pie.  Being already familiar with Emerson's, a brewery I visited in Dunedin last go-around to New Zealand, I went for all the other ones I could find, washing down rabbit and mushroom pies, venison and cranberry pies, marsala chicken pies with a wide selection of local brews, mostly pilsners.  It was a warm day and it just felt right.  I felt kind of bad, though, for completely ignoring the Emerson's booth.

Today, though, I had the afternoon to relax and read.  During my trip to the grocery, I spied the perfect compliment: the Bookbinder English-style ale.  And it sorted me right out.

The Bookbinder is a smooth, mild, not-too-fancy beer with good balance, good weight and a surprisingly low alcohol percentage of just 3.7%, which meant I could focus on my reading without getting too buzzed after a 500ml bottle.

Beermigos Rating: Dinner with the in-laws brew.  Easy, refreshing with enough structure to stand up to a meal. Bonus: Dad will think he's cool for keeping up with your drinking skills and you can have about nine of them without hitting on your girlfriend's sister even once.

Glad to be back on the wagon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Redback "Original Wheat"

This beer gets its name from the infamous and deadly redback spider in Australia. These are little creatures that are much smaller than daddy long legs and they love to hide in little crevasses. Most people get bit without even knowing it because the spider was hiding under the couch or in their shoes. They start getting unbelievably sick and don't know why until after a trip to the hospital. Why they named such a delight after such a poisonous thing I don't know but it's a cool name.

After some research I still can't exactly pinpoint where the brewery is or how it started but evidence seems to point towards WA. I'll also assume this is true because people from WA take credit for it but there clearly is some rooting in Victoria and in the Melbourne region. It seems to mostly be with the Matilda Bay brewing company having a big standing out there. I looked at their beer list and actually some of the best Aussie beers I've noticed appear to be coming from this brewery. God stuff man.

Anywhom, Redback is delicious. I had a nice pint of it the other day for an impromptu afternoon beer cause I was feeling good. It's described as Australia's original wheat beer brewed from malted wheat and malted barley and a blend of saaz and ringwood hops (which I am very unfamiliar with).

This beer is meant to be refreshing on a hot day and let me tell you, it is refreshing on a cool autumn day as well. It has a rich creamy mouth to it. It has a lot of spice to it as well but the spice is balanced well with some woody undertones. There's definitely some bitterness on the finish but it compliments everything well. This is a relaxing, flavorful and refreshing beer for sure. But I will say, at the end when the beer became a little warmer, it was not nearly as refreshing or flavorful.

Beermigos Rating: In-Laws/ Girlfriend or Boyfriend - This beer is an impressive beer that will suit most tastes. The well balanced aspect of it with all the different flavors that aren't overwhelming shows sophistication and the unique international aspect of it shows worldliness which is a big bonus with Mrs' parents.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brass Monkey Stout

Well I've been in Australia for over 2 months now so I figure an Australian brew should be reviewed. I actually had a couple of notes on some beers that I had but somehow...I lost them. But not Brass Monkey Stout however. First let me say, Australian beer generally sucks a hairy nutsack. They don't like to have any beer over 5.0% because they have too many problems with the drunk public. I've only found 2 Aussie beers that were over 5.0% and this was one of them. They also just aren't flavorful like the beers that we usually review. Now this can be attributed to many factors. One people are going to buy them no matter what. A typical pint at a bar out here is $10 and everyone goes out and buys it, even backpackers. Two people want something cold and refreshing on a hot ass day not heavy and weighing them down. Three, like I mentioned before apparently they have a real problem with binge drinking and alcohol related problems here. Four is that I may just be accustomed to the typical west coast, particularly Northwest microbrews and their styles and may not be very open minded to the Aussie styles but I still think they're crap.

Anywhom, this is about Brass Monkey Stout. This is actually one of the better beers out here and one of the only two I've been able to find that's more than 5%. It's 6% ABV which is more than any other by a long shot. And it's the same price as all the watered down ones. It's sold solely at a bar called Brass Monkey in Northbridge, Perth, WA. It's their only homegrown microbrew. Straight up, this is a good stout.

You get roasted nuts, chocolate and coffee on the nose and then in the taste as well. It's got a very flavorful and smooth but lasting finish. It's the same Guiness style that needs time to accumulate foam head properly but it's even darker than that. Even though it's a Stout, my goodness it's refreshing. When I first arrived in Perth and had time to kill I stumbled onto this place and 2 of these. I felt pretty welcome after this for sure. It's interesting to have such a dark and rich beer that is refreshing at the same time. I can only assume that this was the idea with the brewers when they wanted to make a stout for WA people.

Honestly I would just put this at a good stout. It's interesting how refreshing it is rather than heavy but I don' think this would even pass in many bars in Oregon compared to the flavorful stouts there. I've had this again a couple of times and it doesn't have much re-drink value. I'm not even counting on beer to be good here. If I want some alcohol that tastes good I go for the wine because that's the best bet here. Now that's not to say there are absolutely no good brewers out here. Check out Burleigh Heads Brewing in Queensland. They've got good stuff. But the fact is the beer culture and appreciation is just not as complex as it is back in the States.

Beermigos Rating: Onesy Brew. Look it's good and all but it's not something to make a habit out of. It's enjoyable but nothing special.