A Season for Strong Beer

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

You have to admire a city where the rhythms of life revolve around excuses to tap a keg and raise a mug of good cheer.

Munich is one such city where the seasons are marked by festivities that involve a healthy amount of imbibing. Most of these beer festivals have their roots in Catholicism and are, more often than not, bound up with the arrival of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

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Beer Profiles: Uinita Detour IPA and Crooked Stave’s Trellis Buster

Profiled by Ken Carman

It’s a profile off! I thought these so similar that it would be fun to do this.

Crooked Stave Trellis Buster

For all the promo on the can this is NOT a double taste abv mouthfeel wise, or hop-wise. It IS a well balanced IPA with a very interesting hopping, if you accept the caramel. There is some significant caramel malt-like sense in this. I like it, but not the point. The body is low side medium, but the malt makes it seem higher. Carbonation is medium. The caramel malt sense on this heads out of style, really, as it warms.

I like it, but I would think traditionalists would be annoyed by all the caramel. Aroma is caramel and a very fresh hop sense. The hops are quite fruity in a tangerine/orange way. Reminds me of using those fruits instead of apple for a caramel apple one might get at a carnival. As it warms bitter comes out, but it’s still background. Finishes moderate: not quite sweet, not quite dry.

Head retention poor. Head color off white. Almost no head.
Continue reading “Beer Profiles: Uinita Detour IPA and Crooked Stave’s Trellis Buster”

Barleywine Commentary: Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine

By Ken Carman

I started this as a profile for PGA, but decided a commentary might be more appropriate. The Professor not only agreed but is hoping to make this a semi-regular feature with rotating writers.

Barleywines tend to be high abv. Yes, but this is higher alcohol-ish. Not much, but annoyingly so. But more than that I am going to abandon my standard BJCP-type review because, IMO, the 2015 Guidelines contributed to this. I understand that commercial versions of American Barleywine have gotten more hoppy, but this is what you get. It was annoyingly bitter, so much so it was hard to drink. And what the hell is wrong with having a sweeter barleywine? The bitter masks the rich goodness a great barleywine has to offer. Continue reading “Barleywine Commentary: Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Tasting Test

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Years ago Millie, my wife, was the first of the two of us to judge with a BJCP Master: Judy. I won’t offer her last name because my point here is not to drag anyone into this unwillingly. Judy was one of the first BJCP Masters and Millie told me she said if she had to take the test today she’s not sure if she’d do as well. There’s little arguing that the test has gotten harder, the style guidelines more complex. Somewhere I have one of the Guidelines from the 90s. It’s a short pamphlet less than half the width and less than half the depth of the current one, the categories quite simple in comparison, the descriptions the same.
 Yes, it’s all gotten more complex, for obvious reasons. The tasting test: now given separate up to Certified, should be about proving your judging abilities, or if already ranked your judging skills. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Tasting Test”

Deschutes Brewery: Bravely Done…Again!


By Stephen Body
The people you see in the photo above…Are these the staff of the best brewery in America?

If you read this thing, you know that I frequently scoff at the whole idea of “Best“. All those lists of “America’s Best IPA“, “Best Breweries“, “Best Beers“, all, to be diplomatic about it, a load of brainless crap. Why? Because they are NEVER – EVER! – anything but a judging of what’s around on one particular day or whatever breweries, beers, IPAs, etc., that the author or panel of “experts” knows of…and nobody – NO-freakin’-body – knows every brewery, every beer, every IPA in their own region, much less the entire country.

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STONE BREWING BERLIN: A ROCKY LANDING RIGHTED?

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

I headed out to Stone Brewing’s Berlin outpost in Mariendorf with less than great expectations. Stone’s arrival in Berlin had been anything but auspicious. During a press conference in 2014, co-owner Greg Koch presided over the destruction of a pallet of main-stream German beers crushed with a rock dropped from a forklift. The symbolism was lost on no one, and the exercise in cultural tone-deafness did little to endear Stone to the German drinking public beyond the craft beer converts in the crowd.

Koch came to have misgivings about this public display of arrogance, stating in an interview with Nina Anika Klotz of Hopfenhelden that it wasn’t a performance he was keen on repeating. He acknowledged that the stunt “was not meant as an insult toward beer.” His target all along, he claimed, was not the German brewing tradition per se, but rather the industrially produced beer lining the shelves of German discount supermarkets like Rewe and Lidl — beer, he emphasized, that was undermining the sterling reputation of German brewing.

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Weed killer in your wine and beer? That’s what a new U.S. PIRG study found

A new report by the public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG reveals that tests of five wines and 15 beers, including organic ones, found traces of the controversial weed killer glyphosate in 19 out of the 20.

They include brands like Coors Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Corona, Heineken, Guinness, Stella Artois and Samuel Adams.

“The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning given the potential health risks,” U.S. PIRG said.

Glyphosate, best known as an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization.

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Flagship February/Iron Horse “Irish Death” (WTF is this beer?!?)


By Stephen Body
Iron Horse Brewery, located in painfully windy Ellensburg, Washington, brews what is arguably (it keeps winning STATE-WIDE crowd-sourced “best of” contests, pretty much every year) the most undefinable, odd, compelling beer made in the Pacific Northwest. Rivaled only by Sound Brewery’s “Monk’s Indiscretion” for inspired eccentricity, Iron Horse “Quilter’s Irish Death” chuckles – darkly – at the whole idea of “category”. Is it a Stout? Nope, although it may be a bit Stout-ISH. Is it a Wee Heavy. Getting colder? Is it an Irish Dry Stout? Again, NO. It’s a tad lighter in weight and texture than any of those but at 7.8% ABV, it’ll work just fine as a Winter Warmer. So…is it one? NO.

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Judge Counter Points: New Belgium Tripel

Our judges: Jerry Wood, Certified BJCP and Ken Carman, Certified BJCP

  Let’s beginning, as us judges so often do, with AROMA. I noticed Jerry commented on a sweet aroma. I did not comment on sweetness either way even though I frequently do: Jerry did and I should have. Jerry found it very sweet in the aroma: honey-like, and slightly sweet in flavor. I don’t remember it that way: now I wish I had that second bottle Millie and I finished off to reassess for my own sake.
 This is why I write notes to myself on top of judging sheet when I’m practicing filling them out. I try to catch what I missed once I review what I did.
  Jerry found a mild solvent sense (“almost”) and perfume-y hop. We agreed on perfume-y but I didn’t get any sense of solvent. In fact I found the alcohol level a tad low. More on this in a moment.
 I also identified that the hops could be contributing to the pepper sense, which to me was overwhelming in the balance. Indeed my major issue was balance. We both had an 8 for AROMA. Continue reading “Judge Counter Points: New Belgium Tripel”