Friday, March 28, 2014

Ommegang, Hop House Pale Ale

From a local brewery in Cooperstown, NY comes a limited edition, Belgian-style, dry-hopped ale entitled “Hop House” released in December of 2013. Aside from being highly aromatic (due to their dry-hopping method of adding hops after fermentation), this Belgian-style ale rivals most with its notes of citrus and fruits and a drying, hop forward finish. The result is a burst of hoppy aroma that balances its maltiness.

Built on an historic hop farm of 136 acres, Ommegang Brewery has certainly captured the essence of hops in their Hop House limited edition beer. Back in the 19th century, Cooperstown, NY was the epicenter of U.S. hop production. That being said, Ommegang Brewery has quite a reputation to uphold in brewing some of their “hoppy” beers that are obligated to live up to their heritage.

I found this beer to be extremely enjoyable as a stand-alone session beer. Although they food pair it with salads, seafood, or spicy foods, this Belgian-style ale had much to offer in terms of independence and character. It has all the appealing elements you could want from a pale ale minus the typical, standard over-hoppiness I have found most pale ales seem to possess. Up front is a very citrus and/or floral aroma which is followed by a very smooth, hoppy finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and overall taste of this beer as pale ales and IPA’s are not usually not my “go-to’s”, but this particular pale ale has a lot to offer in terms of its overall color, aroma, and taste. This limited edition beer from Ommegang has perfected balance of hops and malts to provide a delicious edition to their already flourishing repertoire.

So for the fans of Belgian-style ales, I would have to recommend Ommegang’s Hop House as one of the beers you must try, not only because it’s a limited edition, but because it is an easy-drinking, perfectly hopped ale on the side of very enjoyable.

Personal Rating: 8.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Brooklyn, Brooklyn Blast IPA

Here's the lastest from our friends at Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1988. They pride themselves on brewing flavorful beers that enrich the life, tradition and culture of the communities it serves. This beer is made using using hops from both the United States and England to create their version of an IPA. 

If your look to pair this beer up with food, I would suggest cuisines including very spicy foods, especially Thai dishes, fiery Indian Vindaloos, Mexican dishes featuring habaƱero chilies, and Jamaican jerk chicken.

In general, IPA’s are commonly known to have an over abundance of hops usually detected up front in the beer and tend to overpower the malts used in the brewing process. Brooklyn Brewery seemed to hit the mark in finding a beautiful balance between hops and malts to create their Brooklyn Blast IPA.

Make no mistake about this IPA! Although it may be light in color with a slight amber hue, it has an 8.4% ABV content that is well disguised in a beer that could be underestimated. I found the Brooklyn Blast to have a very citrusy, hoppy flavor and a non-lingering, smooth finish. Brooklyn Brewery has certainly captured the essence of what an IPA should be in their version of the Brooklyn Blast. In general, IPA’s are not some of my favorites, but this one in particular comes highly recommended. I give this beer a 9.2 rating and suggest that any of the IPA lovers out there to give this one a try!  

Personal Rating: 9.2/10
Style Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Red Wines

Here's our Top 10 Red Wines That We Are Loving Right Now!

10. Camino De Navaherreros, Garnacha                                 Spain       $19.99
This is a super dry, light bodied Spanish red wine that pairs up great with lighter style foods such as chicken, pork or even salmon.

9. Monteregio Di Massa, Super Tuscan Red Blend                 Italy         $14.99
This Super Tuscan is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Franc. An incredibly complex red wine that has classic rose petal and dried herbs with rich red fruit.

8. Nieport Twisted, Red Blend                                                  Portugal    $14.99
A great big bold blend of grapes indigenous to Portual: Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca. A killer wine that is a steal under $20!

7. Ridge Three Valleys, Zinfandel Red Blend                          California   $24.99
One of the wineries that put Zinfandel on the map! A Zin blend of 65% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante, 1% Grenache that will rock your palate.

6. Pecchenino Dogliani, Dolcetto                                                Italy           $14.99
Italian Dolcetto at its best! The region of Dogliani produces superbly rich, ripe wines that are both elegant and full bodied at the same time. This evolves the the longer its open. 

5. Quinta do Portal, Mural Red Blend                                       Portugal    $10.99
Another great red blend from Portugal (always great bang for your buck)! A blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 40% Tinta Roriz and 20% Touriga Nacional that is rich and silky.

4. Caoba Reserve, Malbec                                                           Argentina  $14.98
Argentina is filled with great Malbecs, but this is one we consistently recommend due to its full bodied, spicy flavors that always delight the senses. Very consistent year after year!

3. Firestone, Syrah                                                                       California  $12.99
With Summer grilling season kicking off soon, we can't see a better wine to spend the season with. A rich, intense wine that has a touch of pepper on the finish that cries out for steak!

2. Goldschmidt Katherine, Cabernet Sauvignon                      California $19.99
A portion of this Cab used to go into the Opus One blend. Now it showcases its big, bold flavors of blackberry, cassis and blueberry with a well integrated tannin structure on its own.

1. Beckman Cuvee Le Bec, Rhone Style Red Blend                 California $19.99
A really cool blend based on the wines of the Rhone Valley in France. Made up of 46% Syrah, 36% Grenache, 11% Mourvedre and 7% Counoise. A rich but balanced delight for the senses.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stochasticity Project, Grapefruit Slam IPA

A new project from Stone Brewing Company. This beer doesn't have the classic stone look or even a mention of Stone Brewing on the label. When I first looked at the label, I thought it was just a bunch of random lines from a new brewery. Then I found a site that talked about it and highlighted the stone gargoyle hidden in the random lines. This make sense when you read the definition of Stochasticity on the back which is "There is no happenstance or coincidence. Dumb luck is a fallacy and randomness a commonly accepted mistruth. Much of what seemingly falls into place and seems so natural is a result of stochasticity, a concept embraced and exalted by this special and unpredictable series of beer, where exotic notions, ingredient and ideas coalesce at an interesting and often unexpected endpoint."

This is an Imperial IPA that lives up to the Stone Brewing connection that it has. A big, aggressive, extremely fresh DIPA (Double IPA) that has a long lingering finish. Rumor has it that this beer was released as a stone one off a few years back under the Runination Grapefruit Slam IPA label. This one reminds me of Stone's Enjoy By Series, which is based on very fresh beers shipped fast and meant to be drank right away. 

We opened this one in the store and gave everybody a sip. The hop heads loved it while everyone else thought it was to bitter. There was not much grapefruit juice flavor but a distinct bitter grapefruit flavor on the finish. A very delicious beer but not anything too different than what Stone normally puts out. I do love the brewery behind this named Koochenvagners Brewing Company. This looks like an homage to the names of the people behind this beer and Stone Brewing Company, Greg Koch (Kooch) and (en) Steven Wagner (Vagner). Overall, definitely a great value DIPA that delivers the goods and leave your taste buds all hopped up. This might not be back, so grab it while its still here.

Personal Rating: 9.9/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Saucony Brewing Company, Hop Suplex

A new brewery for us, but one that has been coming out with some really cool, unique beers. The last one that piqued my interest was named "Schnicklefritz" which is a Chocolate, Cherry Milk Stout. As a consumer, I picked this one up based on the awesome label and kicked up ABV (10%). 

According to the brewery, this is "Hop Suplex is juiced with six different hop varieties in the brew kettle and our slow, heavy weight dry-hop additions added by HopfenKubel. Hop Suplex Ale features Saucony's widest range of hop varieties and our most complex hopping schedule. Hop Suplex weighs in at 10% ABV compliments of a hefty grain bill, but a dose of honey balances the flavor and compliments the floral and strong citrus tones of grapefruit, melon, and gooseberry provided from our favorite selection of hops."

This was a total surprise beer that jumped out of the glass when I poured it. The super fresh, resiny hop aromas were so pungent it made me "Whoa" Joey-style. The color was a nice amber that was not the usual heavy handed malt base that these big double IPA's usually have. On the first sip, this beer rocked my taste buds with a complex pine, citrus, tropical fruit and grapefruit flavor followed by a delicious sticky resin flavor that lasted a very long time. I am a huge fan of this beer and can't wait to see what else this brewery has to offer. 

Saucony brewing won Rate Beer's Best New Brewery for Pennsylvannia for 2013. I have a good feeling that this brewery will quickly become incredibly popular, so snatch these up while they still flying under the radar. 

Personal Rating: 9.9/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at: