Saturday, January 23, 2010

What we're drinking tonight: Boulevard Smokestack Bourbon Barrel Quad

Don't get too excited. We did not buy this in Birmingham. A friend sneaked this limited-edition Boulevard brew across the state lines and was kind enough to share. It's part of Boulevard's Smokestack Series of limited edition beers.

If the label on the 750 ml bottle is to be believed, ours was No. 4,525 out of only 11,384 bottles capped in January, 2009. Boulevard calls the Bourbon Barrel Quad an "abbey-style quadrupel" aged with cherries in bourbon barrels for up to a year.

Ours poured a cloudy amber with plenty of sediment and a small, thin head. It smelled strongly of bourbon and tasted the same. The 11.8% alcohol was easy to spot on the tongue as well as hints of vanilla and a bit of cherry. 

Certainly a beer worth trying it you can catch one while out of state, but not one we'll miss once it's limited run is over.

[Photo borrowed from RateBeer]

What we were drinking last night: Bell's Hopslam Ale

I rushed home after work last night, knowing there were several cold, green-labeled bottles of this almost legendary beer waiting for me. It pours a mostly-clear yellow with only a little head and has an overpowering smell of hops.

First taste impression: Wow. I may never taste anything again. Do I even have a tongue left? Yeah, it's still there as evidenced by that distinct taste of grapefruit lingering on my palate.

Second taste? More of the same. Surprisingly, the beer's 10% ABV is not at all evident. Nor is the honey the label says is used in the brewing process. Or maybe "ALE BREWED WITH HONEY" only means that someone named Honey helps out at the brewery.

Either way, this is an extreme case of hops overload that should be tried at least once by hopheads. Just be warned it's gonna knock your taste buds out of whack for several hours.

By the way, not only does HiPS have a few bottles left, but we hear Dee's and Vulcan Beverage also have some on hand.

Friday, January 22, 2010

HiPS has Bell's Hopslam!

At least they did about 30 minutes ago. The guys at HiPS say they only have three cases, two of which have already been sold. Act quick if you want to try Bell's limited release, 10% ABV, double imperial India pale ale. Even at $17 a 6-pack, it won't last long.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Free the Hops ain't done yet

     While Alabama's hops may be freer than they were, they're still relatively restricted. That's why Free the Hops is, again, taking on the Alabama legislature. This time, FTH is hoping to change laws concerning brewpubs. Currently, Alabama law allows brewpubs to only sell on premises. They can't bottle or sell kegs to distributors. The law also says in-state breweries cannot sell beer on the premises. Nor can they conduct tours of the facility with samples of their product.
    Silly? Well, yeah. It is Alabama after all. Go check out all the details at Free the Hops and, if you're into beer like we are, plan to attend their statewide meeting Jan. 23 at the "usual place." Email them for less vague directions.

What we're drinking tonight: Hercules Double IPA

   Dropped by HiPS on the way home from work and picked up a half-gal of Great Divide's Hercules Double IPA. A couple of years ago this might have been on our all-time favorite list. It's definitely hoppy, with the 10% alcohol adding a smidge of sweetness. The reddish-brown color is topped with a thick, creamy head that leaves plenty of lace. All in all, a really good beer.

   But now, in the post-Good-People age, this ranks well behind Snake Handler. We realize it's almost getting cliché for us to compare beers to  what's coming out of Good People, but seriously, Snake seems so much more balanced and drinkable than Hercules. Overall, the Great Divide IPA comes across as acrid and simple compared to Snake. 
   Don't get us wrong. Great Divide makes some seriously good beer, and Hercules is an excellent DIPA. And until HiPS gets Snake on tap, this is the best DIPA you'll get there in a growler.