Tag Archives: microbrewery

Xocoveza Mocha Stout (beer)

San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. is one of the best microbreweries in America and their Xocoveza Mocha Stout is just one of many reasons why. The recipe was created by a guy named Chris Banker and it was good enough to win a homebrewing competition. Stone took his recipe and collaborated with Mexico’s Cervezería Insurgente to bring Xocoveza Mocha Stout to the masses. This is one of the best stouts that I’ve ever had. It has a rich aroma, full of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and toasted malts. It tastes even better than it smells. I get coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some cloves, and there’s a little bit of heat on the finish because they brew it with chili peppers. Chris Banker says that he was inspired to create a beer version of Mexican hot chocolate. He succeeded spectacularly. This is a very drinkable beer, even with the 8.1% alcohol content. It warms you up and leaves you wanting more. Too bad it’s a limited batch and it’s hard to find. I was lucky enough to get in on draft. I would definitely grab a few bottles to hoard if I come across any in a liquor store.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Fireside Chat (beer)

Fireside Chat is a winter spiced ale from 21st Amendment Brewery. 21st Amendment Brewery (also called 21A) is one of San Francisco’s best microbreweries and Fireside Chat is one of my favorite seasonals. The beer is named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous radio addresses. They even put a cheerful cartoon image of FDR sitting in front of a comfy fire. It’s an English-style brown ale brewed with spices. The aroma is of spice, cinnamon, raisin, coffee, cloves, and maybe a little vanilla. It tastes of sweet malt with allspice, cloves, cinnamon, figs, nutmeg, cocoa, vanilla, and coffee. It’s categorized as a Winter Warmer and that’s a great way to describe it. It’s perfect for those long, dark, cold winter nights that are soon to be in abundance. It also has a 7.9% alcohol content so you can stretch out a six pack with a friend. Get it, sip it, enjoy it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pliny the Elder (beer, not the Roman philosopher)

Pliny the Elder is the flagship beer from the Russian River Brewing Company. It’s widely considered to be the best Double IPA on the market. It’s proof that God loves us and wants us to drink. It’s a perfect beer. It has a fresh pine scent, with grapefruit and floral notes. Upon the first sip, you’re hit by piney hops and bready malt flavors, with hints of grapefruit. It’s got an 8% ABV, but you can’t tell because it’s so refreshing and easy to drink. People go crazy for this beer, and for good reason. It’s hard to find, so consider yourself lucky if you ever come across it. Don’t hesitate to buy it, it will change your life. I would consider it the best beer of all time, but Russian River also makes a magical beer called Pliny the Younger. It’s a Triple IPA with a 10.5% alcohol content that is only available on draft at a few select locations near their brewery, and it’s only available for two weeks in February. It’s on my bucket list. Until then, I’ll just have to settle for Pliny the Elder, but I’m ok with settling on perfection.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch-Style Ale

Moylan’s Brewery from Novato, California presents Kilt Lifter Scotch-Style Ale. It’s a good beer from a good brewery. It’s a solid 8% ABV, but you can’t taste the alcohol. It has a robust malty flavor with caramel and toffee notes, as well as dark fruit and hop spice. You also get hints of Scotch whiskey, smoke, and earthiness. It smells bready and malty with Scotch, toffee, caramel, and plum aromas competing for your nose’s attention. It is mildly carbonated and has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. There are a lot of things to like about this beer. It’s a beer that you can sip and discuss. I think you should try it. You can thank me later.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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High Water Brewing Hop Riot IPA

Hop Riot IPA is an India Pale Ale from San Jose’s High Water Brewing. It has a floral hop with hints of citrus and spices and malt. It has a bitter taste thanks to the grapefruit and pine hops, and it’s mellowed out by a malty backbone. There is a subtle orange flavor that gets stronger as you keep drinking. I don’t know why they call it Hop Riot IPA. You can taste the hops, but they aren’t rioting. It’s just your standard IPA, there’s nothing that really stands out about this beer. Its Alcohol by Volume content is a 7.3%, which is not that strong for a microbrewed IPA. This is High Water Brewing’s flagship beer, and it doesn’t get me excited for their other offerings. It’s alright. It’s decent. But you have made some major mistakes in life if this is your favorite beer.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA

Stone Brewing Co. has a habit of making amazing beers that you fall in love with. Unfortunately, they also make a lot of limited brews that you can only cherish for a little while before they disappear. 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA is one of their limited batches, brewed to celebrate their seventeen years in business. It has a great name. Götterdämmerung. It sounds angry and delicious, and it rolls off the tongue with a poetic ring to it. It has a hoppy, peppery scent, with citric notes of lemon and grapefruit. It has a zesty, tropical fruit taste with a malty backbone, and peppery/earthy/wooden/herbal undertones. It’s very bold and strong, but it’s still very drinkable and slightly sweet. It has a 9.5% alcohol content, so you’ll be ready for a nap after a couple of glasses. It’s a very enjoyable beer; I only wish that it were available all the time.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Oregon’s Rogue Ales is a popular microbrewery that receives national attention for their great craft brews. Hazelnut Brown Nectar is one of them. It’s award-winning. It says so on the label. It’s an American Brown Ale brewed with hazelnut extract. The hazelnut gives it a nutty aroma, and it also smells of chocolate and spice. It’s has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and it tastes of coffee, caramel, hazelnut, with a little bitter hops thrown in for balance. It’s a pretty good brown ale, but I don’t think it’s hazelnutty enough to have to have hazelnut in its name. Sure, you can taste it and smell it, but it doesn’t dominate the beer. The hazelnut is relatively subtle. It has an alcohol content of 6.2% so it makes for a good day drinking beer. It’s something that you can sip on and enjoy. I would pair it with a slice of toast and Nutella.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Brew Free! Or Die IPA

Beer is good and microbrewed beer is even better. If you want to try a delicious craft brew, I recommend Brew Free! Or Die IPA from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery. They were one of the first breweries to put an IPA in a can instead of a bottle. It helps to preserve the flavor and it’s also better to take to the beach. It is malty and hoppy and delicious. Plus it has a 7% alcohol content so you’ll be feeling good after a few rounds. This is a good beer with a great name. Except I always want to call it Brew Free! Or Die Hard IPA. I blame Bruce Willis.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Lagunitas Maximus

The Lagunitas Brewing Company is known for their IPA. Their Maximus India Pale Ale has more alcohol and is hoppier. Wikipedia says it has a spicy finish with a lot of rose petal. Maybe my palate isn’t sophisticated because I don’t taste the rose petal. I think Wikipedia is lying. Anyway, 8.2% alcohol is pretty decent; it can definitely make you sleepy. Lagunitas is a great microbrewery. If you ever see it at the liquor store you should grab it. And read the label; they usually have a funny and random rant printed on it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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