Red’s Rye P.A.

Founders Brewing Company produces some great craft beer, and this is no exception. Red’s Rye PA is a delicious rye India-style pale ale. I enjoyed a pint from a half growler of this delectable brew on tap from Beverage World. This red ale weighs in at 6.6% ABV, and is very nicely hopped with a 70 IBU rating.

From the Founders web site:


Serious hop bitterness, along with an unyielding grapefruit bouquet from the Amarillo dry-hop, balances the malty richness of four varieties of imported Belgian caramel malts. Pours a spectacular crimson with a creamy tan head. A generous addition of rye malt accentuates a spicy, crisp finish.

This ale pours up a rich copper colour with golden and orange hints around the edges. It provides a light tan head which dissipates fairly quickly without much lacing. The nose is greeted with delicious fruitiness: lime and mango, with peach skin, and eventually hints of honeydew rind. On the tongue, tart hoppy citrus flavours shine through a mild malt backbone. Again, crisp lime juice is pronounced with the aforementioned fruitiness accompanied by a delicious accent of bitter hops, and malted rye. The mouth-feel manages to be light and crisp yet mingles some smoothness along the way to a dry finish — very refreshing. The aftertaste is nicely hoppy with lingering malts. This is a very enjoyable and drinkable ale: recommended.

Beer Advocate rates this an A-/A and RateBeer rates it a 99/100. Well done, Founders Brewery.


Bigfoot Barleywine

BigfootBarleywineI enjoyed my first “barleywine” style ale this evening, the award winning Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. The Sierra Nevada description is as follows.

Our award-winning barleywine boasts a dense, fruity bouquet, an intense flavor palate and a deep reddish-brown color. Its big maltiness is superbly balanced by a wonderfully bittersweet hoppiness.

I’ll plan to do a full review on another occasion, but for now let me say that this well-crafted ale is highly recommended.


Ommegang Cup o Kyndnes

I enjoyed Ommegang’s Belgian-style Scotch Ale this evening. Its complexity was pleasant, evidencing good craftsmanship.

Ommegang Belgian Scotch

It poured up a dark ruby-brown, somewhat darker than I expected for an ale of this sort, and it had a nice tan head that lasted for a good bit. The nose had some of the sweet straw smells that reminded me of the Scottish ale tradition, but also an intriguing roasted orange aroma was present. I didn’t detect any of the banana esters that are typical of the Belgian style ale.

Medium bodied but a little watery on the palate, this ale was pleasantly complex with a wide variety of flavours. Here the Belgian musty fruits appeared along with some of the sweet caramel of the Scottish style. There were layers of distinctive spice which also revealed the Belgian tradition, mixed with tea flavours possibly from the heather with which this ale was brewed. I also detected a distinctive smokiness, like the pleasant aroma of wood smoke, that developed as I enjoyed this beverage! The label reveals that the brewers used a “wee bit of smoked malt” to achieve this.

At 6.6% ABV, I estimate this ale to be approximately 286 calories for a pint.


Stone Ruination IPA

Aggressively hoppy, this beer is profound for its well hopped bitterness and yet there is more to it than just its overwhelming hops.

Stone Ruination IPA

Stone advertises this beer as follows.

So called because of the “ruinous” effect on your palate! This massive hop monster has a wonderfully delicious and intensely bitter flavor on a refreshing malt base. One taste and you can easily see why we call this brew “a liquid poem to the glory of the hop!” Those who seek, crave and rejoice in beers with big, bold, bitter character will find true nirvana in Stone Ruination IPA!

This is certainly not an everyday beer. The hop experience is extreme (with a 100+ IBU), but anyone who loves hop bitterness (as I do) should enjoy this beverage.

Chill and pour gently to avoid stirring in the yeast sediment that results from being bottled unfiltered. Pouring with such care yields a glass full of clear medium amber coloured ale and a modest off-white foamy head, very pleasant on the eye.

The nose is greeted with strong hops full of the perfume of citrusy bitterness, almost floral, but also some nicely balanced malty sweetness. That malty sweetness is still detected at the front of the palate, but is overwhelmed by a blast of hops mid-palate resolving to a dry pleasantly bitter finish. Enjoying this medium bodied ale slowly allows for the beverage to reveal more of the malt at the front of the palate over time. From beginning to end, however, there is a dry hoppy finish that lingers long.

This IPA weighs in at 7.7% ABV and an estimated 240 calories for 12 ounces — a good strong ale, but not over the top. Given the hype, I seriously expected it to be less enjoyable than it was. There’s no question that this is designed for the hop-headed IPA lover, but Stone did a fine job of keeping it near the edges of the realm of reasonability. Recommended.


Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale

Estae.jpeg This organic ale is “wet hopped” but it manages to bring a lot more aromatic hop character to the front than a typical ale. The nose is crisp with grapefruit aromas. The taste begins with fresh herbal flavours mixing with the hops and blending on the palate with the delicious balanced malt sweetness. It is not overly complex — a very straightforward and enjoyable experience. In the mouth this brew is medium bodied with what seemed to me to be a low carbonation, yet it poured up with a nice frothy light tan head atop the beautiful copper coloured ale.

As an “Estate Ale,” all the ingredients for this ale were grown on the property of the Sierra Nevada brewery, making this a very unique project. It earns a well-deserved 98/100 score from the ratebeer web site. The Sierra Nevada web site gives the following description for this ale.

Here in the sun-drenched fields of California’s North Valley, the black soil is rich with promise. In winter, rows of barley seed are laid in the freshly tilled dirt. In spring, trellises are set for hops.

From our fields comes a remarkable homegrown ale, made with organic wet hops and barley grown at our brewery here in Chico and one of the few estate-made ales produced anywhere in the world!

This Estate Ale is rich with the flavors of the valley—featuring hops with earthy, grapefruit-like flavors and layered spicy aromas and barley with mild sweetness and smooth, toasted flavors. Together, these crops grow alongside the brewery to make a truly unique brew.


This beer comes in a 750 ml bottle. At 6.7% ABV, I guess-timate it has approximately 212 calories per 12 oz. serving.

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Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Celebrator.jpgI enjoyed this doppelbock a great deal. The Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock deserves its high marks. This particular beer even has its own (!

The commercial description is very accurate:

Celebrator has a creamy head of tight bubbles contrasting beautifully with its profound dark robe. It is full-bodied and velvety from half a year’s aging. Although it is strong, it is not overpowering. There is a wonderful and complex balance between the various malts, the alcohol and the subtle hops. A complex fruitiness of roasted malt and whole hop flowers make Celebrator great as a party drink with friends and family at celebrations. Despite its richness, it has a faintly smoky dryness in the finish.

This beer poured up very dark with ruby notes. The nose is sweet and bright. It reminds me of my favourite strong Scottish Ale with the warm sweet smell of wet straw. I found it to be medium bodied, with a good richness in the mouth. The hops are subtle and very pleasant. I appreciated the complex finish: there is a definite dryness there, but it is surrounded by rich malt flavours that last.