DBR Beer Year in Review (Part 1 – The Beers)

dbr 3Ah 2014, a year of much stuff, many things, and plenty of beer. It is the year that I transitioned from a purely video beer blog to a Web site featuring beer and brewery reviews, taking on a major commitment to the beverage that I love. This commitment will continue into the new year with plans for more brewery and event reports/reviews, plenty of thoughts on brews both new and aged, and a few new features I hope to get off the ground.

But now is the time to reflect on the beers of drinking past, and to that end I’ve compiled the list of my favorite beers of 2014. These are beers that not only impressed me with their quality over all other beers I had last year, but are the ones that I will be looking forward to in 2015 as well.

Continue reading “DBR Beer Year in Review (Part 1 – The Beers)”

Bell’s Brewery – Venus Review

VenusAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Style: Blonde
ABV: 7.5%
Cost: $3 (12oz)
Glassware: Pint
Temp: 45°F
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: Hunger-N-Thirst

Quick Take: Venus tries to take the concept of the blonde and turn it into something you’ve never experienced before. In that regard, it’s successful. In making it a beer I want to drink again, it fails miserably. There is an audience for it, but I can’t say for certain who it is. All I know is that if this is what peace tastes like, I’ll take war every time.

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3 Fonteinen – Oude Gueuze Review

3 Fonteinen Old GeuezeAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Drei Fonteinen
Style: Gueuze
ABV: 6%
Cost: $22 (750ml)
Glassware: Flute/Champagne
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Year Round
Purchased@: Hunger-n-Thirst

Quick Take: I’ve never had a beer that marries an aroma and taste so perfectly like Drei Fonteinen’s Oude Gueuze. Amazing follow through creates a near perfect sour/barnyard Gueuze that goes to the precipice of excess and lets your taste buds dance along the cliff edge. This is my current sour benchmark and the absolute pinnacle of sours for me, even over Cantillon.

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New England Brewing – Gandhi-Bot Review

Gandhi BotAll You Need to Know

Brewery: New England Brewing
Style: DIPA
ABV: 8.8%
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Pint, Tulip, Teku
Temp: 50°F
Availability: Varies through Year
Purchased@: Beer Trade

Quick Take: If you like a lite tropical fruit front and a basic malt body that keeps the fruit from hitting too hard, Gandhi-Bot might be the DIPA for you. It’s one I could see getting a case of for summer drinking and appreciating what it has to offer. It’s almost a session DIPA that has a spectacular aroma, but lacks the follow-through, resulting in a simply good, not great, beer.

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Southern Tier – Pumking (Rum Barrel Aged) Review

RumkingAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Southern Tier
Style: Pumpkin Ale (Rum Barrel)
ABV: 10.7%
Cost: $18 (24oz)
Glassware: Snifter, Goblet
Temp: 45°F
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: The Fridge

Quick Take: Southern Tier took a very popular and minorly flawed pumpkin beer, one that I’m quite fond of I might add, and made it better. The use of rum is an intelligent and well-considered addition that doesn’t really turn the beer into something entirely new, but enhances the flavors that are already present. For fans of Pumking, it’s a no brainer and worth trying, even at $18 a bottle. If you never understood the hype or prefer a meatier pumpkin beer experience, this might not change your mind. My personal opinion is that the rum is so well-integrated, it seems like it was always there and exactly what Pumking should be. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to standard Pumking after trying this, but given how difficult it is to find, I might not have a choice.

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