Tag Archive: Road Trip Of Awesome

Green Man Brewery: India Pale Ale (USA: IPA:6% ABV)

Visual: Pale amber with a dash of off white head.

Nose: Light pineapple and grapefruit. Hop prickle with a nettle style and moderate apricot.

Body: Solid bitterness and greenery. Pineapple and cream. Jelly babies. Pumpkin. Touch of gooseberries. Toffee and honey.

Finish: Cream and hops. Pineapple. Very drying and growling hops. Gooseberries. Apricot and honey.

Conclusion: Over the years, if I’ve learned one thing it that if there is one beer America does well it’s IPAs. This is a big example of the style with a huge range of flavour and aromas from the hops used.

Fresh gooseberry hops seem slightly NZ in style, the apricot and cream is closer to the expected USA style and the growling bitter kick has a dose of greenery that I associate with the UK style. This really is a good example of what IPAs should do. The apricot flavours amongst cream give a great sweetness to cut through the big hop balance without compromising them. The beer isn’t quite up with Racer 5 or Wipeout IPA but it is only a spit distance away and is crafted with enough difference from those two to make it worthwhile. A very fresh beer but with a texture that is thicker than a lot of the USA IPAs I’ve tried this trip which gives the hops a good base to grip and work against.

In fact for a USA beer it really does have a surprisingly thick texture and it is used to great effect. A lot of draft beers I’ve tried so far can seem slightly too thin but this one kicks. The honey sweetness also seems unusual, giving a twist on the style and another level to enjoy.

Frankly a great IPA, my hats off to Green Man for this one, just behind my all time favourites and still one of the top IPA’s I’ve had

Background: Apparently a English style IPA is what they were aiming for with lots of English malts, Target and Kent Golding hops and then honey malt from Canada (or so the description on ratebeer says). I knew none of this at the time of review, glancing at the beer menu photographed above afterwards. Instead this was beer tried at Asheville at the great Jack Of The Wood pub (The pub of legendary lambic sauce dessert). At the same pub during the road trip of awesome one of my travelling companions joined in a bluegrass jam with his harmonica for more fun memories. I find , having returned to the UK, that my photos were all pretty much out of focus. Sorry. Green man is just one of the many breweries that make their home in the beerville that is Ashville. A very nice place for a wandering beer geek to visit.

Founders: Breakfast Stout (USA: Imperial Stout: 8.3% ABV)

Visual: Black with dashes of coffee brown head.

Nose: Real bitter coffee. Smoke. Roasted nuts. Generally quite bitter.

Body: Bitter chocolate and coffee. Smooth creamy nature. Very good texture. Slick but viscous. Chocolate fondue with toffee traces.

Finish; Dry. Coffee and milky chocolate. Nice roasted nuts and a light roasted hop character.

Conclusion: After KBS I was very happy to see this on tap.  Without the bourbon ageing you get a beer that keeps more to the chocolate and coffee with less of the flourishes, however despite that the texture really helps to sell it.  There is a great mix of slick to grip in such a way that there is no impediment to the bitter coffee coming out to play.

In nearly all ways I will say the KBS is better, as the extra ageing gave it much more room to play. This still does well, with just a hint of toffee sweetness to smooth it out. What you do get from the slightly more simple brew is a finish that never seems to end. You just get coffee floating over the tongue for a seeming eternity. For a strong beer that is a great benefit, an incentive to slow down and take your time. Which I tried to do despite the massive range of great beers that were before me at the time.

Overall an excellent Imperial Stout, in around the same area as Alesmith’s Speedway Stout in that it only suffers in comparison to the massive range some of the top Imperial Stouts have in their flavours.  Unlike Speedway this beers smoothness does a much better job of offsetting the weight and bitterness.  For such a heavy head spinning beer the texture does a great job of keeping it easy to drink.

Very good indeed.

Background: Drunk at the “House Of Brews”. An amazing place with an insane number of bottles and a great place to hang out and enjoy a few beers.  There was such a great vibe that I kept the review quite short so I had more time to talk with everyone there.  I have previously drunk KBS which is a bourbon aged version of this beer, which is a great beer so had high hopes for this on tap. According to ratebeer this is made with oats, chocolate and two types of coffee.  Thanks to everyone, staff and fellow drinkers at the House Of Brews, it made for what was one of the most fun nights of the trip. Oh, I nearly forgot Ratebeer lists this as one of its top 50 highest rated beers, which despite that charts massive Imperial Stout bias is still an impressive feat.

Boston Beer Company: Samuel Adams: Oktoberfest (USA: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Slightly bronzed amber, the glass filled to the brim leaving but a thin dash of head around the edges.

Nose: Dry malt and rye. Light glacier cherries underneath.

Body: Dry and crisp. Light cherries and fruitcake. Toffee sweetness and good malt. Some very light dry liquorice. Light pineapple hops.

Finish: Harvest wheat. Almonds. Dry liquorice. Slight shrimps and thousand island dressing (That last one could be environmental, see background)

Conclusion: How should I review this beer, as an Oktoberfest, or as a beer in itself? Lets go with as a beer in itself, but note that this varies quite heavily from the usual German take. It is much more fruity while still keeping the dry refreshing elements of the style.

Ignoring the most unusual element of the tasting, mainly because I believe it was introduced from the environment rather than the beer itself (Shrimp?), then we find a beer that is quite close to what I would expect of the darker lager style I normally associate with Samuel Adams. It does work well, a touch overly fizzy but not heavily so. The fruitcake flavours combined with Oktoberfest crispness cuts a nice balance between refreshing and flavour.

As I found with a lot of beers this trip, the beer was initially over chilled resulted in muted flavours, but the USA heat meant that it didn’t take long to reach only nicely chilled.  When taken at that point it is quite a pleasant beer that mixes the better elements from the darker and lighter lager styles.

I like this one as a refreshing pint that doesn’t bore you.

Background: Drunk during the road trip of awesome. Samuel Adams is a beer that got me through many visits to America before craft beer became easily available so a chance to drink their Oktoberfest seemed one not to miss. This was drunk near the beech, which I think may account for a few extra flavours which may not entirely have originated in the beer.

Moon River: Turtle Moon Rye-Zin (rye-‘zn) (USA: Hefeweizen: 3.9% abv)

Visual: Very cloudy orange brown with a light white dust over it for a head.

Nose: Banana. Quite wheat filled and with light cloves.

Body: Banana bread. Slightly spicy, Rye bread. Spiced blood orange. Cloves. Wheat and toffee.

Finish: Banana. Pancakes. Slightly spicy.  Moderate bitterness. Dried spice jar. Quite a dry texture with it.

Conclusion: I had tried a slightly lackluster hefeweizen the day before from a different brewery which had left me with the question of if the USA could do the German style justice.  Also could they stop putting fruit in it, contrary to popular opinion that is not a common German tradition and it fecks up the beers head. Anyway this little eye opener then turned up.

The basic gist of the German weisse has been taken and kicked to a spicy place. It is like a spicy bourbon influenced weisse, which I take to be the ryes influence. The beer keeps nicely to the traditional banana and cloves properties, the beer is cloudy, and there is no fucking fruit in the glass. So far so good.

The addition of elements as if from a dried spice rack is interesting and could very easily be overwhelming, but used here in moderation is a welcome element. It is worth also how differently this beer hits the eye, it has a much darker colour than expected and a real cloudiness that makes the beer nearly opaque.  When the first bite is taken with the eye this whets the apatite.

It’s not a beer that will unseat the top hefeweizens, but it is different enough to make its own impact. It takes the idea of the light cloves element and ramps it up to make for a beer that leaves your tongue neatly seasoned by the end.  Not a beer I could have a lot of, the spice that makes it initially enjoyable does get irritating near the end of a pint.  In a smaller glass though it would be perfect. I do wonder what the base weisse would be like on its own, it seems to have not so much bitter as banoffee influenced taste, a solid one to work from for such an experimental beer.

Overall a great fun experiment and a solid beer.

Background: Rate beer has this listed as rye-‘zn, the Moon River board as Rye-Zin.  A lot of confusion already.  We visited the Moon River Brewpub in Savannah on the Road Trip Of Awesome.  This was a collaboration with Terrapin Brewery. A Hefeweizen made with rye added. That was such an odd idea I had to give it a try. Moon River also do an excellent IPA which I intended to review but never got the chance to do so.

New Belgium: Fat Tire (USA: Amber Ale: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Browned banana skin to gold. Moderate frothy white head.

Nose: Biscuity and ovaltine. Malt biscuits. Lightly bitter. Dried apricot.

Body: Moderate bitterness. Malty ovaltine. Dried apricot back. Banana touch. Some light nettles. Toffee sweetness.

Finish: Malt biscuits and light greenery. Bitterness. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: Murphy was very taken by this beer, and I will admit it is pretty good. It has a very malty ovaltine style and moderate bitterness. Oddly despite it’s inspiration it doesn’t really remind me much of any of the Belgium styles, being much more restrained and aimed towards a session style.

The hoppiness is very restrained which results in a very calming drink, without the weight you usually get with beers of the nightcap style. The dried apricot so common of American beers here gives a nice but understated sweetness along with some ripe banana touches. The flavours contained actually remind me a little of my experience with cream ales in the lightness of character but contains more range than most of the beers of that style I have encountered.  I am not taken to raptures over the beer, and I’m not as enamoured as my fellow road trippers on this one, but it does sooth and puts a decent experience out.

When it does use hops it has an almost nettle like style to them, greenery rather than the more defined hop flavours. It gives a slight growl to the beer without altering the flavours from the malt profile too much.

The main flaws for me is the lightness of the style means it doesn’t shine in any one point, and that the flavours do get a bit dull after a while, a bad sign in a beer that seems intended for the session ale market. It really isn’t a beer I would have more than one of at a time, but for one bottle it is nice enough.

Background: The first review of the Road Trip Of Awesome.  This one seemed to be one of the more common beers of the trip. Its presence was nearly ubiquitous for the trip, this particular bottle was just picked up from a petrol station (sorry, gas station).I’d never managed to get my hands on New Belgium beer before (and oddly apart from Fat Tire didn’t see that many in the USA either) so thought it was worth a shot.

just a short update, back in the UK safely having dodged a teeny tiny hurricane that caused our plane to take a bit of a diversion. Between the last three days being spent in New Orleans, and a near 25 hour journey getting home I’m a tad nackered, but normal service should resume shortly. Quite a backlog of reviews from the trip so things shouldn’t be dull around her any time soon.

Nashville and Knoxville down.  Only a short stop in Knoxville where we hit the prohibition pub for some music and a wind down.   Barely managed to buy a drink all night due to the friendliness of the locals (including one great moment where I asked if they did half pints of beer, and the bar staff said “Technically no” then poured me a small glass and gave it to me for free.  Always a way to help a good mood.)

Nashville was busy as hell with a college American football game on while we were visiting. The place is filled to the brim with good local breweries and live music. Seriously, you can barely walk into a joint without some kind of music going on. Saw a great rendition of “The devil went down to Georgia” in one bar.  Met a fellow beer writer and blogger (albeit with him having many many years of experience over me) at the Blackstone pub and had a great chat. Due to dodgy wi-fi I’ve not had a chance to check out his site yet, but if it’s half as a knowledgeable as talking with him it should be a good one.  Boscos also had a great set of bar staff to talk to, and I have the horrid feeling I messed up my mental calculations and tipped less than I intended there. If you are reading this, many apologies. (I’m still not used to tipping here and fear I vary between wildly over and under tipping)

Found a good few beers Michael Jackson recommended in Nashville, and the people here are justifiably proud of their friendliness and music. I still don’t understand American Football though.

Next up Memphis then Baton Rouge

For anyone looking for the usual beer reviews, they are temporarily on hold due to the road trip of awesome – don’t worry, I’ve got a good chunk of reviews done which I will write up when I get back to England.

Road Trip Of Awesome: Beer City USA

Asheville has a lot of beer. A serious amount of beer. The few days I’ve been here I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is available. Highlights include The Asheville Pizza and Brewing company, who do a mean black IPA and a teeth kicking pale ale aged over Jalapeños. Really friendly crowd there as well, both staff and patrons. Wish I could spend more time just soaking up the booze and chatting there

Another highlight was Jack Of The Wood bar which had a great range of local beers, a chance for Stevo to join in a bluegrass jam with his harmonica, and the best dessert had on the trip. A chocolate stout brownie with cream and a raspberry lambic sauce. Heaven. Seriously heaven.

Next up is Knoxville then Nashville

See you all on the road.

Charleston round up. Despite getting a few reviews in here there was a whole wealth of stuff tried that I didn’t reviews that’s worth a mention. Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon, insanely rich and sweet Bourbon- I only got to try a friends glass and it was a delight. Good chunk of brewpubs here as well, no showstoppers found yet, but most were good. What really sold the place was the House Of Brews at 1537 Ben Sawyer Blvd. Basically just a normal house with nice range of taps, and an insane range of bottles. Best beer experience and social experience of the trip so far with great company, the guy serving us was great as were the other drinkers and the amount of beer was insane. Thanks to everyone there for making us so welcome, just wish we had more time.


Next Up: Asheville

Road Trip Of Awesome Update

Quick Roadtrip Update

In Charleston now – last night at Savannah hit the Moon River Brewing Pub, had some shrimp and some nice beers. Very much liked their IPA though didn’t get a chance to review it. Got a few other reviews in already which will be put up when we get back.

Thought for the day: Holy shit how big are meals over here! Even I get full.

Pic Of the Day. The fellow road trippers enjoying a sample tray of beers at Moon River

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