News Flash – Mammoth Brewing Company (Update!)

One more travel post and then I think I should be back to actual cocktails next week (next Monday to be exact). This week’s post, though, is a bit of a new feature. Almost exactly a year ago, I visited Mammoth Brewing Company in Mammoth, CA, and sampled all of their beers. And, last week, I visited again! Many of the old classics were still there, but there were a few new concoctions that I’ll discuss below. So, consider this a companion piece to the old entry.

The Originals

Golden Trout Pilsner

Golden Trout Pilsner – 5.5%

This was there last year. Still just sort of a typical pilsner. Very drinkable but I didn’t love it this time. Unlike last time, apparently.

Golden Trout Pilsner

Yosemite Pale Ale – 5.5%

This may have been there last year? There was a pale ale, but it was called “Paranoids Pale Ale.” It seems from my comments that it might be the same thing but renamed. Piney nose, strong hops but not overpowering.

Wild Sierra Session Saison

Wild Sierra Session Saison Ale – 4.5%

Either I’ve learned a lot about beer in the past year or my tastes have changed. I liked this a lot, as a basic belgian style ale. There was a hint of pine in the aftertaste (that was supposed to be the main flavor) but not a huge amount of uniqueness otherwise. Again, this is different from how I described it last time.

Double Nut Brown Porter

Double Nut Brown Porter – 5.5%

This was there last year, but in the meantime I’ve discovered an interesting distinction — we had this bottled, earlier in the week, and I liked it a lot as a smooth deep coffee and chocolate porter. However, on tap, the coffee comes out even stronger and so does the bitterness. You lose the caramel and toffee notes, and as such I really didn’t like it much. I wonder what the difference is… maybe just the batch?

Epic India Pale Ale

Epic India Pale Ale – 6.5%

This was there last year. And, I made the same comment I made this time — I don’t love the taste but it was the perfect color for beer. It’s what you picture when you think of a pint.

IPA 395

IPA 395 India Pale Ale – 8.0%

There last year, still great. Such a weird mix of flavors, but the sage tempers the bitterness and makes it very tasty.

Imperial Root Beer

Imperial Root Beer – Non-Alcoholic

Technically we had this last year, separately, but it wasn’t part of the tasting. This was incredibly sweet, and much more like a cola or even cream soda (vanilla) than root beer. As such I kind of liked it. It still smelled like root beer, but was a very different taste.

The Seasonals

XCitra Session IPA

XCitra Session IPA – 4.0%

This was new, and was also horrible. Smelled and tasted incredibly hoppy, and was weird and thin and I hated it.

Dos Osos

Dos Osos – 7.5%

We had this before. Still good, with a strong coffee nose but a nice cinnamon-y taste. A good weight and thickness while still remaining crisp.

Orange You A Peelin' Porter

Orange You A’Peeling Porter – 5.5%

This was new as well — though they had a blood orange flavored IPA last year. This had a super interesting, almost savory smell. Tastewise, there was a lot going on but it actually worked really well together. So much so that I couldn’t pull out individual flavors.

Gooseberry Sour

Gooseberry Sour – 7.0%

We had this last year, but it was still really good. Smelled like cranberry or concord grape juice, and was easy to drink despite being a sour. Like kombucha, almost, or that French fizzy lemonade. Yum.

The PiC and I agreed that those last two seasonals were our favorites, and the first seasonal was by far the worst. And, I’ll definitely come back in another year’s time to see what else is new! Stay tuned for part 3.

News Flash – Vail Brewing Company

The Board of Majesty

In honor of National Beer Day today, I give you our latest trip to a brewery — this time in Vail, Colorado. We sat down at the aptly named Vail Brewing Company for a couple hours last week, and were loathe to leave, and not just because there was a snowstorm brewing outside. It was their second birthday, and they had great live music, a charming atmosphere and, above all, some interesting and tasty beers. Here they are, in no particular order.

Brown, English, Stout

(From left to right)

Down River Brown – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 40 SRM

This was super drinkable, and had a nice malty flavor with almost no hops (though a higher IBU than I would have expected). Not a huge amount of flavor overall? But it was nice to sip. I liked this more than the PiC.

Us and Them English Ale – 6.0% ABV – 40 IBU – 14 SRM

This was also very nice. Caramel notes, with more hops but still sweet. I generally like ESBs so I’m biased, though the PiC actually liked this more than me. A little dryer than usual, perhaps? The hoppy bitterness lingers longer than I would like, but it’s overall very nice.

Brother From Another Udder Stout – 5.9% ABV – 29 IBU – 40 SRM

This had a very strong coffee smell, but no taste of it — thankfully. Really nice and thick, with a silky texture. The PiC described it as smoky and burnt, which I agree with. We asked the bartender, and it’s an oat chocolate vanilla milk stout. Many adjectives, but it at least made the name make sense.

Warmer, Blonde, Raspberry

(From left to right)

Hut Trip Winter Warmer – 5.7% ABV – 18 IBU – 27 SRM

This was number one on both of our lists. It had a really interesting smell, of chocolate and cinnamon, but really didn’t taste that way at all. It was a Very nice. Interesting smell, chocolate and cinnamon. It was made with vanilla black tea, herbal chai, and cinnamon, and you could taste the chai especially. Colorwise, it was dark for a warmer, but I think that’s because of the tea?

Hot Mess Blonde – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 4.5 SRM

Like the raspberry blonde (below) without the raspberry. It was a little sweeter and rounder, and also a bit wheatier which doesn’t really make sense. It was much better without the fruit, and it was our third choice overall. There was a touch too much hops, perhaps, but that’s me being a wimp about bitterness.

Pink Vail! Raspberry Blonde – 5.4% ABV – 4 SRM

This was good! But still number six for us. It wasn’t super fruity, and had some nice hoppy notes. Very easy drinking, with a twist. The PiC wished there was a little more raspberry, but I was okay with it — almost just an aftertaste.

 

American Light Beers – Special Report

3-Light-Beer-Shootout

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we decided to add an additional element to our Monday celebration. We took five American light beers, and did a blind shootout with 5 friends and family members to see if we could tell the difference, and to see if we liked any of them. [Spoiler alert: no and no.] The blind shootout is an idea we stole from the guys over at the Totally Beverages and Sometimes Hot Sauce podcast (GFY). Go check it out if you haven’t heard of them. If you’re a fan of this blog, you’ll probably enjoy that as well.

The shootout was much harder to implement than I had expected. We had to match up each beer with a label on the bottom (a different number of dots for each one) and label 7 cups with the same label on their bottoms. Then we poured each beer in to the appropriate cups, and swapped each row around with others until we had no idea which column of cups went with which beer. Since we couldn’t see the labels, this wasn’t too hard, especially since all the beers looked the same in the glass, but it still took a few rounds of “one person leaves the room and the other mixes them around.”

So what did we test? Well, this was partially decided by what was available in the store. I am a weirdly proud fan of classic Budweiser (not Bud Light) but unfortunately there weren’t enough small quantities of normal beer [What is the opposite of light beer? Full beer?] so we went with the light ones:

  • Bud Light
  • Miller Lite
  • Coors Light
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Natural Light

Continue reading “American Light Beers – Special Report”

Mammoth Brewing Company – To Go

Time for the second in my series of breweries that have bears in their logo. This one makes slightly less sense than Big Bear Lake Brewing, but I’ll take it.

As some of you may know, I was actually living up in Mammoth for the past month. This made it a little tricky to create any drinks in my minuscule Airbnb kitchen, so that’s why you’ve been seeing all these reviews. I’ll get back to the cocktails soon, I promise. Anyway, the one thing I could do was taste all 15 beers available at the Mammoth Brewing Company. So I did. Continue reading “Mammoth Brewing Company – To Go”

Big Bear Lake Brewing Company – To Go

Door-Logo

I’m renaming this category! I’ve been traveling a lot lately, so there are more and more of these alcoholic postcards to write. Hence, “To Go,” which seems fitting, especially after our New Orleans experience of To Go booze.

Anyways, we were in Big Bear a few weekends ago, and of course we stopped in to their brewery — the Big Bear Lake Brewing Company — for a flight. It wasn’t a huge place, only 6 beers to try, but it was nice enough. They did have a very questionably “patio” that we chilled on with our friends; it was only about 1.5 people deep at maximum, but we could look out onto the oncoming rainstorm which was kind of fun.

(I’ve put a photo of their own tasting notes at the end of this post, if you’re interested.)

Barely Legal Honey Blonde – ABV 6.5%
This actually tasted like a sort of nutty, roasty mead. We didn’t taste licorice, though the card we got with it said that we should. Very malty, not hoppy at all. Nice!

Half Wit Belgian Wit – ABV 6.0%
I did not like this at all. It smelled like bananas, and had a similar aftertaste, which really wasn’t great.

Black Raspberry Session Pale Ale – ABV 4.3%
It smelled like raspberry but tasted like nothing. Hoppy, gross nothingness. It also wasn’t very bubbly, but that may have been because the tender poured it out of a pitcher for some slightly unclear reason. Our least favorite.

Ode to Winslow Chocolate Porter – ABV 6.6%
This was fine. Chocolate and coffee flavors like a classic porter / stout type drink. As you would expect.

Watergate Session Pale Ale – ABV 4.2%
Way too hoppy. But not many other flavors — almost watery. I hated it, but you could at least tell that there wasn’t much alcohol in it so you could drink a lot of it. If you liked that sort of thing.

Whispering Pine Belgian IPA – ABV 7.0% / IBU: 68
Still hoppy, but at least has flavors, unlike the other ones. The hops keep going and going on the aftertaste, but at least there’s a pine flavor to go along with them to make it a little better.

Well, we didn’t really love these. The Honey Blonde was the best of the bunch, but who knows — if you like IPAs more than I do (I feel like most people do) maybe you’ll like the brewery. And it’s still a fun place to go, even if you don’t like the beer.

Beer-Tasting-Notes