The Four Beers of February

So I probably bought more than four six-packs in February, but honestly, these are the four I remember off the top of my head.

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SAM ADAMS BLACKBERRY WITBIER

When I took the brewery tour this past August in Boston, the wonderful people were giving away samples of a new “Brewmaster’s Collection”.  The choices were between this and a coffee stout.  The coffee stout was meh, so I convinced my whole family to vote for this.  I know, if you are a dude who likes hearty beers, hoppy beers, beers with a kick, you’re saying “Fruity wheat beer?  I’ll pass”.  Pump your brakes son, while this may draw comparisons to Leinie’s Berryweis, or any number of other raspberry wheat beers (Abita and Sea Dog make em too), this is a different experience.  It’s not my favorite, I’m not sure if I could drink more than two in a row, but it’s something I can appreciate at least.  I wouldn’t begin to guess what to pair it with food wise, I’m not good at playing that game, though I would guess a salad or something equally light would be nice, where the sweet wouldn’t be shunned.  The aftertaste is where the blackberry notes hit, but when you are drinking it, its all wheat beer.  Very neat trick.  Bought at Arena.

LION STOUT

I saw this at Hyvee (known for good international selection), and immediately decided I must have it.  I think lions and bears are majestic creatures, and totally awesome.  I mean you saw the picture right?  I figure if they had big enough balls to put a sweet lion on the cover of their weird shaped box (it’s a bit taller than a boulevard box), the beer must be alright.  Also, its from Sri Lanka.  I know nothing about that country, other than people tell me M.I.A. has heritage there.  (Overrated and overplayed, but whatever, she didn’t brew this beast, so I won’t count it against ‘em).  Basic flavor is your standard stout, reminded me of the Ethiopian stout called Hakim I had at Ras Dashen in Chicago over winter break.  Quite chocolatey, not your thickest stout, but not watery by any accounts, and pretty sweet too.  Of course, notes of coffee are present, and it has a nice tan head.  8% alcohol.  Roar.

SCHLAFLY EXTRA STOUT IRISH STYLE

Love me some seasonals.  Bust out the Irish stouts and reds.  I like how Schlafly designs their limited release boxes.  I didn’t like this as much as the stout above.  Not a bad beer by any means, if you’re looking to celebrate St. Patty’s with a dark one, this is a worthy choice, I just thought the lion was so badass.  I’m a horrible reviewer, if you can’t tell.  Anyway, I’ve been into stouts a lot lately, so it gets hard to differentiate between them.  One major difference, this one is lacking the chocolate after taste I got from the Lion stout.  Bought at Gerbes.

O’DELL BREWING CO. EXTRA SPECIAL RED (SINGLE BATCH SERIES)

According to a quick google search, O’Dell stopped making their single batch series last fall, which if true, is terribly sad.  This is the best red I’ve ever had.   I love a good red; I don’t drink it enough actually.  Goose Island’s seasonal held that title since last year, but this one is just too good.  If the only red you’ve ever had is Killian’s, you need to get your hands on this.  Don’t get me wrong, I love $1 Killians pints at McNallys on Mondays as much as anyone, but for true enjoyment at home, the flavor is just so full.  It’s got great color, a nice head, and the aftertaste is one of the best of any beer I’ve tried.  I’d almost call it spicy?  Similar to Schlafly’s No. 15 or New Belgium’s Mothership Wit.  Apparently the recipe is inspired by the way ancient Egyptians brewed something similar.  I’m a huge fan of Egypt now.  Bought at Hyvee.

what i’m listening to:

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Though I did an buttload of dishes tonight, to no music (Brittany was shocked), I wrote this entire review listening to Kevin Devine and Great Lake Swimmers.  I’ve been back into folk lately.

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