Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

Hitachino from the Kiuchi brewery in Ibaraki, Japan is a fantastic brand. They make a lot of very interesting beers that push the limits of tastes, flavors, and styles. They're always worth a shot, but they can be rather expensive.

This one, the Red Rice Ale, has a coppery color and a firm alcohol bite on the tongue. It is citrusy, yet has an element I can only describe as a distinct fermentation presence. It feels strong. Oddly it has a faint aroma that is very unique...maybe it's that I know it's Japanese but it smells like that very cloudy unfiltered sake. Makes sense though given that sake is fermented from rice and this is a rice beer.

This beer warms you up going down. It's extremely unique, but I'm not sure I could have more than 2. Certainly the star of this show is the rice (take that, Budweiser!) not hops or malted barley. I could see drinking this on a nice summer day, but it's not exceedingly smooth.

All in all pretty decent.

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Magic Hat HI.P.A

This is a seasonal beer from VT-based Magic Hat. I haven't been too wowed by Magic Hat but I had to try this one after reading about it in a magazine. Wow its very hoppy. Extremely bitter and flavorful. Its great if you love hops but I found the aftertaste to be a bit rough if you don't keep drinking. A few other people tried it and weren't big fans, but admitted it grew on them. I liked it and its definitely for people who like big hops. I've had others that were more balanced but this is a good one to test your taste buds with.

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Bitter xx

Belgian golden ale. The hopiest beer of Belgium. De ranke brewery at 124 old rabbit club.

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Riverside Marketplace

The beer shelf at my local bodega. They have a surprising assortment of fantastic beers, but then they dilute it with 40's and Smirnoff Ice. Too bad...

But, it's great to have a decent selection right around the corner. This is why I love Manhattan.


Pinkus Unfiltered Organic Hefeweizen

I've drank many, many German wheat beers. But, most of them are the same 3 or 4 brands. It's nice to try a different offering every once in a while. This one is organic, which I think is interesting. Organic is not a huge trend in beer for some reason.

At first glance this beer was very clear and yellowish, much like an American Pilsner. But after stirring up the sediment and pouring it in, it obviously clouded up and got a little closer to what I expect from a hefeweizen. This beer has a nice fizziness to it and smells fruit. It's a little lighter than some wheat beers I've had, which could be great on a summer day. The flavor is nice and hits you at first, but then rapidly fades away.

This is a pretty good beer, but a little to light and undeveloped in my humble opinion.

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Stella Artois

Oh Stella, I remember when you were a new rare novelty. Once a delightful Belgian surprise, now this beer is everywhere and unfortunately availability has not been good for my opinion of it. Perhaps it's because the more I've seen it and the more I've consumed it I've realized its not that great. I put it in the same category now as bud, coors, and heineken. Although I'd much rather drink it than that other piss. But let's face it, this is piss...Belgian piss. Ok I'll stop bashing it. It's a luxury brand for people who drink coors light. At this very moment I cringed as the backwards cap-wearing frat boy orders bud over stella. (I mean come this day and age must we stoop so low? That shit is made with rice and corn!) At any rate, I think Stella is indicative of the US popularization of Belgian beers. That is a great thing. Its just unfortunate that most people's Belgian experience doesn't get past this brew. Its not bad in a pinch, but my next order is back to Sam. It just has more flavor. But when I get back to NYC I'll revert back to this popularly unknowns asap.

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Brooklyn Brewery IPA

Flight is delayed so I was very happy to find a place with this Brooklyn IPA. I drink a lot of Brooklyn but I don't think I be had this one, which is weird given my love of IPAs. At any rate its a pretty good offering. Nice light color, smells good, and easy to drink. Its got that edge to it that is representative of IPAs. I get a hop aroma and a bit of bitter, but not too much of that fresh green hop flavor I've com to love from the hop crazy micros. Make no mistake this is a good beer from a brewery that continues to impress and grow. But if you're like me and love that big bitter hop flavor then this will not knock your socks off. But I'd go for it over most brews typically on tap.

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Samuel Adams lager

So this is an airport beer. I'm sitting at LGA and they actually have an ok selection for an airport. I asked for Spaten but the menu was old and they don't have it anymore. So I went with the Sam Adams draft instead. This is my go to for commercial beers for some reason. I like its color and its taste. Its just got character where so many massies don't. I mean its not great and its a last resort but really it's pretty solid. I mean good color and I swear I actually get a bit of good hops. So while many people might disagree I think that in a pinch it's a good one to go for. Of course I try to avoid being put in such a pinch, so I still just rate this one as "Not Bad".

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Arcadia IPA

Arcadia Ales is from Michigan and they put together some tasty brews. This IPA I had at The Half Pint near Washington square park. It was really great. Nice color, nice flavor, good hops. Not much else to say but that it's just pretty good. It was nicely balanced, not overly aggressive with the hops, and just tasted nice and refreshing.

Give it a try if you see it.

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Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

This Imperial IPA from Dogfish Head says it ages well, but I'll never know because I drank it. On the label, they clearly state this is "The Holy Grail for Hopheads". Well, I'm not so certain of that. It's interesting and you can tell it's painstakingly crafter, but it's just not my style I don't think. My favorite is the 60 minute and when I feel like less bitter the 90 minute is worth every penny. The 120 minute is just a bit over the top.

Dogfish Head says this is continually hopped for 120 minutes then dry-hopped every day for a month. Wow, that's a lot and it sounds beautiful. But my problem is it's just to sweet, malty, and syrupy. It has a beautiful reddish tint, like a regal robe or something. But it's very sweet and the malt is evident in the earthy, musty smell. I'm not sure what the abv is, but I'm betting it's rather high.

For being hopped so long, I don't sense what I normally sense. Perhaps this is due to an amateur palette, but everything is overpowered by the malt in this one.

Now don't get me wrong, this is one everyone should try. But I'd put it as a special occasion beer for drinkers who really know what they're doing.

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Long Trail IPA

I love Long Trail, their standard beer is fantastic. In some weird way it's one that I remember as really getting me excited about beer. I remember having it for the first time on a trip to Killington, VT. It was delicious and I still buy it.

But this isn't that beer. This is their IPA. I was really excited because I love Long Trail and I love IPAs. But sadly it left me a little flat. I mean, it's good and I'd drink it again. But with so many great IPAs out there it didn't really stand out from the pack. So get it if it's on the beer list and there aren't many other options. But there's other IPAs that I prefer out there.

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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Had it last night at Blue Smoke on 27th St. This is one of my favorite IPAs. It has a strong hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. But it's nicely balanced so it doesn't hit you over the head and leave you reeling. I don't have detailed tasting notes, but I can tell you it went great with the Kansas City dry-rub!

Update 3/15/08:
Man, this is a great beer! My local bodega started stocking it, which is awesome (although it's super expensive there). This is probably my favorite Dogfish Head. It just has so many things going for it. Beautiful color...not too light and not too dark. The hops is clearly evident, but it's there to make this beer good...not to make sure you know they used a ton of hops. It's supremely balanced. The bitterness sets off the malt beautifully.

I can't stress enough that this is one of my favorites. I could drink it all night long over and over again.

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Arcadia Hop Rocket

The label of this beer says it's made with English 2-row barley and Pacific NW hops. It's a nice, slightly cloud beer with a deep amber color. It has a vigorous carbonation, and reminds me a lot of Harpoon IPA, but is slightly sweeter. It has a very floral aroma that is matched by a subtle hops bitterness; the gf says it stings the nose a little. It's not overpoweringly bitter thanks to a healthy heaping of malt, which I assume is where the amber color comes from.

Overall this is a great IPA and I would definitely buy it again. The only thing is I detect a slightly off aftertaste. My advice is to just keep drinking it and that will probably go away.

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Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Whoa. Let me start by saying I'm not really a stout drinker. I bought this beer because I read an article about it proclaiming it's virtues and it's high alcohol content (supposedly, something like 18 or 22%). This beer is super dark, it's a black hole from which light does not return. My bottle had a very low level of carbonation and not the nitrogen-type you get with Guiness. Unlike most stouts I've had, this beer is super sweet. It's like a Belgian Trippel. The aroma reminds me of a red dessert wine. Phew, you can tell it's really alcoholic, but this sweetness pretty much covers it.

When I look at this it kind of reminds me of a cola, and the alcohol hits you in the corners of my neck a little bit. I get the sense this would give me a nasty hangover. Fortunately I'm only going to drink this one. I recommend people give this a try for the novelty, but I probably won't go for it again.

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