Boulevard Brewing Scotch on Scotch Beer Experience

I admit it. I’m a sucker for barrel aged beers. Especially anything that has touched a whiskey barrel. So when I recently spotted Scotch on Scotch  by Boulevard Brewing on the beer shelf I knew I was buying it. This beer is being introduced in 2017 and is part of their Smokestack Series. Boulevard describes the Smokestack Series as:  “A collection of bigger, bolder, more complex beers, these delicious, higher alcohol offerings are perfect for sipping or sharing.” Other beers in the series that are favorites of mine are Bourbon Barrel Quad, The Sixth Sense, and Dark Truth.

Scotch on Scotch is described by Boulevard as:

OAK-AGED IMPERIAL SCOTCH ALE

Based loosely on Snow & Tell and inspired by our love of Rye on Rye, Scotch on Scotch is an Imperial Scotch Ale aged on Scotch barrel chips. A massive malt presence is created by layering caramel and amber malts with just a touch of smoked malt for additional complexity. The exposure to oak chips following primary fermentation allows Scotch on Scotch to coax rich woody, char and vanilla notes along with the essence of Scotch whisky into a hearty, warming beer, a liquid fireplace of sorts. Hopping with Magnum, Chinook and Northern Brewer hops contributes a spicy earthiness to Scotch on Scotch.

The ABV for this beer is 9.6%.

My Experience

First off you’ve noticed I’ve named this post “Experience” rather than the typical “Review”. I think that sharing my experience is a better perspective than attempting to do a review. Who am I to say that a particular beer is good or bad, or how it rates against other beers in the same style. But I can document and share my experiences with the beer.  And my experience ? Take one of my favorite styles of beer,  Scotch Ale. Throw in some “whiskyish wood”  flavors, bump up the alcohol, and finish that with some smoky malt sweetness. I’m drooling as I write this. Did the beer meet my expectations ? Oh yes. More accurately, Oh Hell Yes. This beer really hits my beer hot spots. Whiskey barrel flavors (but not too boozy). Big malt tastes. Light flavors of smokiness. Higher alcohol (you knew that was coming!). Assuming I can find some remaining bottles on the shelves, I will buy this again.  I paid $16.99 for a 4 pack of 12 ounce bottles. At that price it does fall into the ‘need to think about that’ portion of my beer price scale. After all, I can get some pretty decent beer for $12 (for a 6 pack).  But it was so damn good I know I’ll be buying it again.

Why is it named the Smokestack Series?

As I sipped and savored my Scotch on Scotch I wondered why Boulevard named their line of stronger  beers the Smokestack Series. It turns out that the brewery has a 36 foot tall smokestack which has become a landmark for the brewery in the downtown Kansas City area.  They wanted to pay tribute to the smokestack and their urban roots in the community. There you have it. One more beer question answered.

Boulevard Brewing Company is located in Kansas City, MO.   https://www.boulevard.com/

A Florida Beer Festival with a Twist : Florida SMaSH Beer Festival

An upcoming beer festival sounds quite intriguing.  Take 40 breweries, all from Florida, and give them the same Hop variety and Malt variety to use. Whoever comes up with the most creative and tastiest beer wins. Each festival attendee gets 3 tokens to vote for their favorite beer.   There will be beer other than the “competition beer” available from the breweries as well.   Besides the beer, the nice thing is that proceeds are going to The Sharing Center, a very worthy charity.

The event takes place on May 13, 2017 in Longwood Florida from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.

 

Head on over to the festival site for all the tasty details:

http://www.floridasmashbeerfestival.com/home/

 

The Bad News

I can’t be there. Due to a previously booked family event I won’t be able to attend. Would love to hear from those that do attend how it turned out.

 

The Good News

Since I can’t be there, there will be more beer for everyone else!

Top Five Largest Craft Breweries in the U.S.

Top 5 Largest Craft Breweries in the U.S.

The Brewers Association recently released their annual “Top 50 Craft Breweries” list for 2016.  This list is based on beer sales volume. I was a bit surprised by the top 5. In the top spot is Yuengling. I don’t think the typical beer person (we know who we are) would really consider Yuengling as a craft brewery. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to drink a lot of Yuengling, especially during lawn mowing season, which here in Florida is 12 months long. And it is my typical  order when the other tap offerings are the usual suspects from the mega beer corporations. But craft ? Hmm.

Numbers 2, 3, and 4 on the list are Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams), Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and  New Belgium Brewing Company.  Those three breweries make sense being on the list as they have a lot of production capacity as well as a wide distribution.

Number 5 is a bit of a shock. Gambrinus. Uh, Gam-who-us? I had to look that one up. Gambrinus is based in San Antonio Texas and they own several craft breweries. The most notable one is the Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, which makes the Shiner line of beer. The most well known is Shiner Bock. They also own the Bridgeport Brewing company in Oregon, as well as the Trumer Brauerei in California.  In the past the company was also responsible for importing,  and marketing Corona beer to the U.S.. They basically created the entire Mexican beer in the clear bottle craze, much to the delight of lime farmers everywhere.

As for Florida breweries on the top 50 list, Zippo. No, there isn’t a brewery called Zippo. Zippo as in Zero.

You can view the entire list at the Brewers Association site: https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/brewers-association-releases-top-50-breweries-of-2016/

A Major Change in Beer Living.

While the title of this post reads changes in Beer Living, its really more about changes in my life. Last week I was informed that the position I had held for over 25 years was being eliminated. Talk about shock. I definitely abused the beer inventory in the fridge that night, and several subsequent nights. Friends and co-workers (ex co-workers now) have asked me what I’m going to do and my answer is along the lines of I’m not sure. But one thing I am certain about, is I will have a lot more time to focus on Beer Living.

Coasters Belgian Beer Fest Week!

This weekend is the annual 3 day Belgian Beer Fest at Coasters Pub & Biergarten in Melbourne Beach Fl.  I believe this is the eighth edition, and I’m lucky to have been to the previous seven. No doubt it’s one of my favorite beer events in Florida. I’ve written about it several times in the past so I won’t bore you with my ramblings.  You can search for them by selecting ‘Beer Festivals’ in the Categories search window on the right side of this page.

It was a bit more challenging getting a hotel room this year, but I think things are all worked out now. I’ll fill in some of those details in a post fest write up.

Scroll down to see the keg list for this years event. As kegs run out, new ones from this list will take their place. So don’t expect to see all of these on tap at any one time.

And please, don’t finish all the good ones on Friday…..

8th Annual Belgian Beer Fest at Coasters Pub & Biergarten Keg List:

Abbey de Rocq Brune

Abbey de Rocq Grand Cru

Alvinne Morpheus Wild Undressed

Bavik Pils

Bink Grand Cru

Brasserie de Bocq 1858 saison

Brasserie de Silly Scotch Barrel

Brouwerij de Halve Maan Brugges Bok

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Triple van de Garre

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Barbe Ruby

Corsendonk Christmas

Cuvee de Trolls

De Glazen Toren Saison Derpe Mere

Delirium Argentum

Delirium Tremens

Gouden Carolus Classic

Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Kaiser

Gulden Draak Brewmaster Reserve

Kasmatten Wipers Times 16

Kasteel Barista

Kerkom Grand Cru

Kwak

La Guillotine

Lindeman’s Framboise

Lucifer Golden Ale

Nice Chouffe

Nostradamus Brown Ale

Ommegang Rosetta

Oud Beersel Stille Lambic 2014

Palm

Petrus 40-40-20

Petrus Sour Quad

Piraat Rum Barrel

Prearis GrandCru 2014

Rince Cochone

Saison Dupont

St Bernardus Triple

St. Bernardus Abt. 12

St. Bernardus Pater 6

St. Bernardus Witbier

St. Bernardus Xmas

Straffe Hendrik Triple

Straffe Hendrix Quad

Straffe Heritige 2014

Struise Black Albert 2015

Struise Blue Monk 2013

Struise Pannepot 2012

Triple Karmeleit

Unibroue La Terrible

Val Dieu Cuvee 800

Val Dieu Winter Ale

Wittekerke Wit

 

Belgian Tuesday: Merry Monks

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could have only  one style of beer with me, it would be a Belgian Tripel.  The only drawback would be that I wouldn’t really care about getting off the island , at least until the beer ran out. This beer, Merry Monks, would be near the top of the list. Merry Monks is made by Weyerbacher Brewing, in Easton, PA.

Merry Monks by Weyerbacher Brewing

From the Weyerbacher website: “Merry Monks, 9.3% ABV, is a Belgian-style Tripel. Pilsner malt combined with an Abbey yeast strain yields a remarkable and complex flavor packed with notes of spice, banana and pear. Nicely balanced, with a moderate to dry finish.

Merry Monks is bottle conditioned which imparts a special effervescence to the beer and a creamier carbonation. The ongoing fermentation inside the bottle will change the character of the beer as it ages and you’ll find it becomes dryer with age. You may want to lay down a few bottles for future evaluation. We suggest storing at cellar temperatures (around 55°F) and away from light.”

Any attempts by me to describe the taste would be a disservice to the beer. Its bright golden color hides the 9.3% ABV within. As with a lot of Belgian style beers, Hopheads may not be a big fan as the IBU is a mere 15. But i could drink this stuff all day. At least until I ‘tripple’ over myself.

In my rating system, Merry Monks is  a strong buy and  is quite worthy  of my beer money. I paid $12.49 for the six pack. 

That’s all for now as I’m headed back to Google Islands to scout out a suitable stranding spot.

Thursday Stout: Sriracha Hot Stout

I was reading an article somewhere that mentioned that stouts were really hot right now. Wow, they weren’t kidding. I offer before you (actually I don’t because I drank it all), Sriracha Hot Stout, made by Rogue Ales Brewing. Yes, stout with Sriracha hot chilli sauce added.  This 22 ounce bottle was a Christmas gift and I have been wanting to try it for a few weeks.

Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout

This beer as an alcohol content of 5.7% ABV and an IBU of 55.

Notes from the bottle (and website):“ROGUE Sriracha Hot Stout Beer, made from Huy Fong original hot chili sauce and sun ripened Rogue Farms ingredients, is ready to drink with soups, sauces, pasta, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein, or anything you’d like to wash down with a spicy kick.

Dedicated to the Rooster.”

My first thought when reading that was , wow, John Wayne’s character from True Grit had a beer dedicated to him. Cool.  But then I realized it was the other rooster. The one on the Sriracha hot chilli sauce bottle.   

The beer bottle itself is a great design. Sharing the same colors and type of design as the hot sauce bottle, even down to the green cap. If you saw this in Costco or some other warehouse club you might pick it up thinking you actually had the hot sauce instead of a beer.

Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout Bottle Cap

I know what you are thinking, enough of all this spicy humor, how spicy is the beer? Well, truthfully, it is not that hot. Of course everyone’s hot levels are different but I didn’t get a lot of heat from this. The initial taste is very stoutish and then a bit of a different flavor and  heat comes in on the back end.  As far as a stout goes, it is quite enjoyable. The flavor of the Srirachi sauce is present but just enough to mellow out the hop flavors. It actually reminded me of an oyster stout I had a couple of years ago. Just a flavor lingering under the surface.

The label was government approved in January 2015, so the beer came out sometime after that. Interestingly there appears to have been several other Sriracha named beers in this same time frame. Harpoon Brewing had Barcade Sriracha Blonde, and Flying Dog Brewing had a Srirachi Pale Ale. I guess Srirachi  was hot back then. Insert rimshot sound here.

Conclusion: While I enjoyed the flavors of the beer, it is probably not going to be in my regular buying rotation.  I guess in the framework of my rating system, I would drink this again, but I probably would not buy it. 

Belgian Tuesday: Á Tout Le Monde

When I first thought about which beer to have for my first official Belgian Tuesday, I wasn’t thinking of this beer.  I thought maybe a nice Belgian Tripel, or perhaps a La Fin du Monde or a McChouffe. But then I saw this one bottle looking very lonesome in the back of the fridge. Á Tout le Monde made by Unibroue. From the label it is a Belgian Styled Dry Hopped Saison. The fact that it is a saison explains why there was only one bottle in the fridge. I remembered I had seen this new beer from Unibroue, one of my favorite breweries, but was a bit wary of the saison style. Saisons and me (hmmm…new book title???) aren’t on the same page so I typically stay away from them. So instead of buying the standard four pack I only bought the one 12 ounce bottle ($3.49).

From the brewery website:“ Brewed in honor of the friendship and mutual passions of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Unibroue’s Brewmaster Jerry Vietz, and inspired by the most popular hard rock song to feature a chorus sung entirely in French, À Tout le Monde Ale is dedicated to all the friends of heavy metal music and Belgian Style ales in Québec and throughout the world. The label proudly features a symbol that is synonymous to Megadeth, their well-known mascot Vic Rattlehead”

Beer Notes from Unibroue: Delicately Spiced. Citrusy and Slightly Tart with hints of tropical fruit such as mango and lychee.

The alcohol is 4.5% ABV and the IBU is 22.

My notes on the beer: As a thirst quencher out in the sun I think it would work well. Drinking the beer I found a very dry finish and a taste that didn’t linger long. The taste starts out like a stronger belgian style, but then fades almost immediately to that dry lighter finish with an underlying flavor that I can’t put my finger on. That final flavor is what turns me off of most saisons. Granted, some are way more funky and earthy than this one, but it still doesn’t work for me.

Unibroue is located in Chambly, Quebec, Canada. They have been brewing beers since 1990. I  first discovered their beers in 1994 on a trip to  Quebec. That beer in question was La Fin Du Monde and it still is one of my all time favorite beers. Thankfully it is in good distribution here in Florida so it is on my regular beer drinking rotation.

Á Tout le Monde will not be in my regular rotation. Nothing at all against the beer itself. I’m sure as saisons go, its a good beer. After all, Unibroue made it so has to be a good beer. But the style just isn’t my cup of tea, uh glass of beer.

Thursday Stout: Stern Line Oatmeal Stout

As part of the new posting schedule, Thursdays are now known as Stout Day.  For this first one I’ve selected a Florida beer,  Stern Line Oatmeal Stout by 3 Daughters Brewing. This oatmeal stout has an 5.2% ABV and an IBU=34.

From the brewery website: “Our Stern Line Stout boasts a dense and creamy texture, smooth body and a slightly dry finish. The oatmeal enhances the beer and makes it fuller than a traditional stout and less formidable than an Imperial Stout. With a pleasing blend of dark-roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate and lightly toasted oatmeal flakes, the flavors are unfathomably deep.”

This is  an easy drinking stout. I detected coffee as well as  chocolate flavors, but neither one of them were overpowering. I found the bitterness to be lower as well. Probably as much from the coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt as from the hops.  The addition of oatmeal gives it a fuller body feel so that it doesn’t taste too thin. Quite drinkable.

This is one of the 4 core beers from 3 Daughters Brewing  that have fairly wide distribution in the Florida market. You can find them in grocery stores like Publix as well as the usual liquor stores. I paid $10.49 for this six pack. These are only available in cans which I tend to prefer over bottles.

The other 3 core beers are: Rod Bender Red, Bimini Twist IPA, and Beach Blonde Ale. Notice the beachy/watery/fishing theme for the names ? For you non-fishing people out there, Bimini Twist is a type of knot used in fishing and is not a dance craze sweeping the Bahamas.

3 Daughters Brewing is located in St. Petersburg Florida and have been open since late 2013. Government label approval for Stern Line Oatmeal Stout  was in September of 2015 so it was first available in cans sometime after that.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t give out number or letter ratings when I taste beer. That is way too beer geeky even for me. Instead I condense my thoughts down to one thing. Would I buy and drink this beer again. And the answer is YES.  

 

 

A Bit of a Self Challenge

It is quite apparent that I have not done much writing here on Beer Living lately. It is not that I have been of out of the “beer life” or anything like that. I guess I’ve suffered from a very long case of writers bock, uh, block. So in an effort to get over that, I’ve come up with  a plan. To help me with the ever present ‘what the heck should I write about today’ question, I’ve come up with the following schedule of topics. On Tuesdays I will spotlight a Belgian style of beer, and on Thursdays I will spotlight a stout style of beer.  I’ll  try and select Florida or regional offerings, that may not be as well known in places other than Florida. The Belgian beers will include both beers from Belgium, as well as beers brewed around the world in some of the classic Belgian styles.  I do plan on some occasional bonus days as well. Maybe a Seasonal Sunday. Or a Hoppy Friday. How about a Sour Monday.

 
Stay Tuned.