Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box for the Holiday Season

Beer and chocolate? They aren’t two items normally mentioned in the same sentence. But what many do not realize is that the flavor of chocolate is highly complementary to the flavors present in beer, and I’m not referring exclusively to chocolate- accented beer. The truth is that many different beers match up quite nicely with chocolate and our friends at Boston Beer Company, makers of the Samuel Adams line of beer, have teamed up with a chocolate maker to show consumers just how tasty these two items can be.

The selected chocolate is TCHO, a San Francisco- based craft chocolate maker. With TCHO, Boston Beer Company introduces the Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box. Working closely with TCHO, Boston Beer has selected specific chocolates that pair up with different products from the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack. This sampler pack includes [Read more…]

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout: Full Bodied and Delicious

I love all styles of beer but as anyone close to me knows, I hold a special place on my palate for dark beers, especially stouts. I like the rich, roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate flavors commonplace to this style and I seize any opportunity to sample a new example of this style. But sometimes, when I crave a stout, I want something tried and true and the perfect example is North Coast Brewing’s outstanding Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.


Beer Bio:


Style: Imperial Stout

Calories: 303 (!) per 12 oz. serving

Carbs: 13 grams per 12 oz. serving

Alcohol Content: 9 percent alcohol by volume


Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is a very dark, almost black colored stout and a good pour will produce a large amount of foam likely to overflow your glass. The nose on this stout combines sweet, roasted malt, coffee, and even a hint of alcohol. The flavor follows the nose, with tastes of roasted malt along with coffee, chocolate, and a touch of fruitiness. The alcohol level of this ale is high, but it isn’t readily noticeable in the taste.


Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is a delicious example of its style and my favorite among the many great brews produced by California’s North Coast Brewing Company. This stout has a complex and delicious flavor profile that continues to please with each passing sip. The roasted malt and other qualities make it a great sipping beer, a great dessert beer, or the perfect companion to serve alongside a grilled steak or other hearty fare.  

Old Rasputin is big, bold, and delicious with a great flavor profile and nice balance between the malt and hops. I find that it tastes best if allowed to warm up just a bit, between about 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the complex flavors are the most pronounced and the taste is the most enjoyable. I also find that this stout has a very enjoyable aftertaste. Long after my final sip, I could still taste the roasted malt. It lingers for a while and continues to please the palate long after the final swig.

If there is one area of concern with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, it would have to be the alcohol level. At 9 percent by volume, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout contains about 80 percent more alcohol than the standard, 5 percent brew. What this means is that the alcohol can catch up with you very quickly. Drink four 12 oz. bottles and you have consumed an amount of alcohol equal to approximately seven bottles of beer containing 5 percent alcohol, so you have to be very careful. In addition to that, the calories in this beer are very high. It is one of the few malt beverages with more than 300 calories per 12 oz. serving and its caloric content is more than double that of the typical American mainstream lager.


Stouts are a real treat, particularly if the brewer has paid attention to detail and brewed the stout to be bold and beautiful. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is exactly that- a rich, full- bodied beer with much to offer and much to celebrate. It’s an award winning beer and it rates as one of my all- time favorite American made stouts and one of the best examples of its style found anywhere.


Rating: 10 cheers out of 10

Blue Moon Fall Seasonal: Which One Would You Choose?

Blue Moon Brewing, the craft beer branch of the widely known and distributed Coors Brewing, is preparing to launch a new seasonal beer for the Fall of 2012. Rather than leave the decision to management, Blue Moon is going to let the public select the newest release based on the results of a series of tastings held at select locations. There are three finalists under consideration:


Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale: This beer is a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg spices combined with caramel malts and real apple juice.

Blue Moon Blackberry Tart Ale: Made with blackberries, as expected, with a taste that balances between sweet and tart and is backed by a subtle malt character.

Blue Moon Dark Chocolate Bacon Porter: The most unusual in the group, this beer is brewed with added dark chocolate and hickory smoked bacon for a unique flavor combination.


Tastings will take place in only a few states but will begin very soon and continue through the end of March, 2012. The winner will be announced later, likely in April. Here is a list of cities, dates, times, and locations for these Blue Moon tasting events:


FEB 26, 2012

Milwaukee, WI

Noon – 4:00PM | Baconfest@ The Harley Davidson Museum


MAR 1ST, 2012

Arlington Heights, IL

5:00 – 7:00 PM | Fox & Hound Smokehouse & Tavern


MAR 1ST, 2012

[Read more…]

Austin Amber Ale is Less than Exciting

Austin, Texas is a city with attitude: A metropolis with an edgy and less conventional outlook that ranks highly on lists of favorite American cities. Anything that comes out of Austin, it would stand to reason, should be a little more eccentric than average and while this may be true in most instances, it is less than true with Austin’s Independence Brewery. And one good example of an Independence Brewery product that doesn’t deliver much excitement is Austin Amber.  

Beer Bio:


Style: American Amber

Calories: unknown 

Carbs: unknown

Alcohol Content: 4.9 percent by volume
Austin Amber Ale pours to a light copper color with a nose that features diacetyl notes with a little bit of caramel, citrus, and roasted malt.  The beer is well filtered, as evidenced by its completely clear body, and its light tan- colored head of foam is looks good at first, but doesn’t hold up for long.

As for the taste, Austin Amber Ale offers a few interesting flavors such as chocolate, caramel, and a lightly roasted malt flavor. The initial taste is earthy and bready and the sweet flavour profile is evident from beginning to end. There is very little hop character- only 14 IBU of bitterness- and the beer finishes without much aftertaste or much to remember, with a somewhat watery character.
Austin Amber Ale is a less than exciting beer product from Austin’s Independence Brewing Company and it is one of a handful of beer products I have sampled from this brewery to date. It is a simple beer that fails to make a positive first or second impression. The aroma is rather bland and the body of the beer has that “clear around the edges” look- a quality that is often indicative of a beer that is too watery. Looks aren’t everything, but in this instance, they are spot- on because the flavour is just as great of a letdown. I like the chocolate character present in this beer but I don’t like the overall sweetness level and the lack of any real hop character. Even the finish is disappointing. There is little aftertaste at all and in less than a minute, you can barely tell you were once drinking beer.

Austin, Texas is a city with many attractions and it is easy to see why so many visitors love the area so much and why so many new residents have decided to call Austin their home. Austin is known for its eccentric and unpredictable attitude, but these qualities are sorely lacking with Austin Amber Ale. Its bland flavor profile leaves you with a feeling of disappointment; an ultimate letdown for a product for which my expectations were so much higher.


Rating: 3 Cheers out of 10



Copyright 2011, Bryan Carey