Beer Profile: My Bloody Valentine


Profiled by Tom Becham for

Let it never be said that I don’t admit my mistakes, or that I don’t try to be fair with beer. That is one reason why I always give any particular beer at least two tries. Beer is so easily spoiled that it is almost a miracle to find it in the right condition upon drinking.

Some time ago, I had written the following:

“Our second AleSmith encounter was during lunch at the Stone Brewing Bistro and World Gardens in Escondido (more on the Stone experience later on). Unfortunately, this resulted in my tasting the first AleSmith beer I didn’t like. It was a red/amber ale of about 6% ABV called My Bloody Valentine, but it should have been called “My, What a Bloody Mess”. The first hint of trouble was the beer’s appearance. While it was the proper hue of red for its style, it had a cloudy, turbid look that was disturbing, and absolutely no head. It had a very strong grapefruit hop aroma. The mouthfeel was like mud, and quite off-putting. The flavor had a decent malt backbone, with resiny, grassy hops dominating the aftertaste. All in all, it was a thoroughly unpleasant drinking experience. I would like to give AleSmith the benefit of the doubt on this one, and attribute the faults with this beer to Stone’s shoddy keg maintenance. At some point, I shall have to give My Bloody Valentine a second chance.”

So, one would obviously grasp from that paragraph that I usually love the beers of Alesmith, but that My Bloody Valentine was somewhat less than stellar. I am now happy to admit that my initial impression was probably due only to some hygiene issues with the keg and/or lines when I initially had the beer on tap. The bottled version was fantastic!

I had some trepidation when I first saw this bottled in my local liquor store early in February. Nonetheless, having a “two tries” policy, I felt I had to give My Bloody Valentine another shot, and am I glad I did.

This was the first bottling of the beer, it having only been available on tap before now. And I do think that Alesmith has changed the recipe a bit, too, and worked out a few bugs.

On the pour, this beer is now more of a reddish-brown, with a small head (about a finger-and-a-half) appropriate for an English Bitter. The head dissipates somewhat quickly which isn’t unexpected for a beer of (honest to dog) 6.66% ABV.

The aroma is still hoppy, but not as potent as on my first try of this beer. Now, it smells not floral, as the label states, but still somewhat grapefruit-y. In fact, if you are familiar with Anchor’s Old Foghorn Barleywine, it is almost a dead-ringer for that beer, aroma-wise.

The flavor is much improved, as well, and starts with a toffeeish, bready malt, followed by a mellow and pleasant resiny hop bite. I want to say these are Noble Hops, but this version of the beer is so well-blended, that it’s difficult to tell.

Finally, the greatest improvement lies in the mouthfeel. It is no longer muddy and disgusting. It is still a bit on the “chewy” side, but not overly so, given the overall structure of the beer.

The finish is pleasing, balanced perfectly, and fades slowly.

All in all, I am greatly pleased I gave this beer a second chance, and wholeheartedly give it a 4 Glass rating.3361242-simple-drawing-of-a-pint-of-beer-isolated-on-white3361242-simple-drawing-of-a-pint-of-beer-isolated-on-white3361242-simple-drawing-of-a-pint-of-beer-isolated-on-white3361242-simple-drawing-of-a-pint-of-beer-isolated-on-white

Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “prefecto.”

From the Bottle Collection: Wild Dog Double Pale Ale

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

Wild Dog Brewery
4607 Wedgewood Blvd.
Frederick, Maryland, 21703
United States

Flying Dog was founded in 1990 by George Stranahan.

I do remember this being nice and smooth, and the 9abv being so background you didn’t know until it hit you. The color: pale, somewhat amber with ample body: but surprisingly not as much as one would expect to cover a 9abv beer that doesn’t seem 9%. Often a brewer will hide that abv behind heavier malt sense, or hops, this didn’t seem to have either. And: excellent tiny rock head that faded fast.


Here’s some more history and facts…
Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection: Wild Dog Double Pale Ale”

Brew Biz: Werts and All

 This is the entrance to Mayday Brewing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The picture on the left: the complex from the entrance looking east, right is the complex from the entrance west. The shadow in the picture on the left is the ghost of Gasper the Friendly Gueuze who used to work here. We just happened to catch a picture of him as he stared fondly at what has happened to his old haunt: wishing he could have a Mayday beer too. Nah, just me taking a picture. Yes, the building is huge. Mayday occupies 12,000 of the 100,000 square feet, but they don’t own the building and soon, hopefully, other businesses will be moving in. A church is already being built, inside: where you can genuflect on your way to having a beer, or wash yourself of your sins after washing down a pint. Actually I’m guessing they’ll be open different hours, but more on that later.

Mayday Brewing
521 Old Salem Hwy
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37129

Written by Ken Carman

 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

Written by Ken Carman

  Millie and I sailed down I-24 to Mayday in our Honda Element a couple weeks ago: the GPS lady with her annoying only mid-range digital whine interrupting the conversation, occasionally. I highly recommend anyone from out of town heading there who doesn’t know Murfreesboro intimately use a GPS and input the address.Yeah, the GPS lady can be annoying, but their location is a bit odd even for someone like me who made regular business trips to Murfreesboro in the 80s to pick up freshly pressed records, and then spent time culling business contacts there in the 90s..
 But be careful. Don’t take everything she says as gospel. If you come from the east and the lady tells you you’re arriving at the address, drive just a little further and look on your left. From the east apparently the GPS lady thinks that Mayday is owned by hobos who brew their batches on the railroad tracks, their John Hartford cupped hands, around brew-tin cans down this Murfreesboro back road.
 Yeah, I managed to slip a song reference in there.
 With the size of this place a thousand or more train hopping, Gentle on My Mind singing, hobos could live here. But, ssh! …don’t tell THEM. Save it all for craft beer lovers.
 Tis holy water.
 Our interview was at four. Nothing better than to be greeted by one of the owners at the door: Pamela Nelson.
 But you just don’t walk in the door of the brewery, or the tasting room, if you parked in the big parking lot. This is a huge complex that for the past 57 years has gone through 5 plant expansions, 8 changes in ownership. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

New Hampshire Cuts Red Tape To Put Nanobreweries On Tap

 Throwback Brewery co-owner Nicole Carrier and assistant brewer Chris Naro pour beer for customers at their North Hampton, N.H., taproom. Picture: Emily Corwin/NHPR

Throwback Brewery co-owner Nicole Carrier and assistant brewer Chris Naro pour beer for customers at their North Hampton, N.H., taproom.
Picture: Emily Corwin/NHPR

Written by Emily Corwin for NPR

As beer drinkers demand increasingly obscure beers with ingredients like jalapenos or rhubarb, smaller and smaller breweries are stepping up to the plate. New Hampshire is one state helping these brewery startups get off the ground, with new laws that make it easier for small-scale breweries to obtain licenses and distribute their craft beers.

Among those benefiting: Nicole Carrier and her partner, Annette Lee, of North Hampton, N.H. A year and half ago, they were just enthusiastic home brewers. Now, they spend much of their time rinsing equipment and mixing ingredients at their brewery, Throwback. As in, a throwback to the days when communities were smaller, and all food was local food.

Carrier still works for IBM, while Lee left her job as an engineer to start the brewery. With two full-time employees, Carrier and Lee produce 360 gallons of beer a week. That’s about what bigger craft breweries throw away.

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Grand Canyon Hop Bomber IPA: Get Flavor-Bombed


Written by Zachary Fowle for


Beer: Hop Bomber India Pale Ale
Brewery: Grand Canyon Brewing Co.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.5 percent

One of my major complaints about Arizona’s breweries is that they seem afraid to innovate. For all the different breweries in the state, the consumer still has very few Belgian ales to choose from — and not a single sour. Novelty is rare, so when a brewery does come out with something new and interesting, I applaud it.

See also:
Bear Republic Racer 5, In Beer And Whiskey Form
Budweiser Black Crown: The Poor, Desperate Man’s Yeungling

This week’s acclamation goes out to the Flavor Bomb, an invention from Grand Canyon Brewing Co. in Williams, Ariz. Sent to shelves in December, these tiny plastic vessels are made to be stuffed with additional ingredients — wood chips, cocoa nibs, hops — and added to a bottle of beer before capping.

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