Archive for December, 2011


Day #364 – Deschutes The Abyss

December 31, 2011

364. To many it is merely a number. A number that doesn’t get used very often, has no real meaning or representation outside of being in-between 363 and 365, but to me it has meaning. It represents 364 days of hard work, planning, drinking beer and writing about it. It represents being on the precipice of completing a journey and achieving a goal that I set for myself 364 days ago. I am almost there. What better way to celebrate a year of beer than to finish up with a couple beers that are a year old? Today and tomorrow I will be featuring beers that are as old (or older) than this blog. I am SUPER excited about both….but first we have today’s beer.

Deschutes The Abyss


Holy Crap. This is one of the biggest, baddest beers out there on the market today, and I am pleased to have it sitting in front of me today. This is The Abyss, an imperial stout from Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, Oregon. It is 11% ABV and will knock your socks off if you aren’t worthy of it’s greatness. Keep in mind that I said I was only going to review beers available in the Dallas-Fort Worth market for this blog, and for the most part I stuck to that (with a few exceptions). I can happily say that I am sticking with that mantra today as I purchased this beer at Hall’s Grocery in Colleyville way back in March. At the time this was the first time The Abyss had been available in our market and I jumped on the opportunity to purchase one. It has since come once more a few months ago but does not last long. You can only find it at high end beer and liquor stores, and in small quantities at that. This is the 2010 batch, and says Best AFTER 11/13/11. I love that it has a reverse expiration date. Here we go! By the way, I am sharing this with 5 friends…the way any good beer should be enjoyed.

This beer is dark, there is no other way to say it. It has a dark black pour with a foamy tan head that looks like a loaf of bread. If you swirl this beer around it completely sticks to the side of the glass. Looks like straight motor oil and I love it!

Lovely chocolate aroma. Big notes of spice, almost peppery in a way with a licorice sweetness. Gentle perfumy scent as well. Note that I served this beer at just under room temperature and boy did it make the bouquet explode!

Taste is deep rich chocolate with bitter coffee. Very nice finish. Lovely. I sipped on this for perhaps half an hour, and I only had a few ounces of it in my glass to begin with. If you can find this beer, I highly recommend getting it, but please…do these 2 things for me. Well, 3 things.

1. Put it in your closet and forget about it for a year.

2. Serve it just under room temperature. (Think of it as a red wine)

3. Share it with friends.


1 more beer after today!!! Cheers!


Day #363 – Rochefort Trappistes 8 & 10

December 30, 2011

2 Days away! This project is finally coming to a completion and it couldn’t happen on a more impressive of a note. Today’s selection is a fantastic one, but there is more to celebrate than merely enjoying a good beer. I recently had a chat with a writer for the local paper, the Star-Telegram. Steve Campbell contacted me through my blog noting that he had been a long-time follower and was interested in doing a story on…well my story. I met with him on my birthday, over a pint and told my tale. The result is HERE, and for those of you who were brought here from Steve’s article, thanks for reading! Today’s selection will not disappoint.

Rochefort Trappistes 8 & 10

As today is a very special day indeed, I opted to feature not 1, but 2 awesome brews! Don’t worry, I didn’t break my rule of 1 per day as I shared them with a special person. 😉 Rochefort is one of the 7 breweries that officially carry the Trappist label, and they did not distribute to north Texas until very recently. I was super excited to find the 3 big ones here a few months ago and reviewed the Rochefort 6 as soon as I could. I decided to sit on the last 2 for a special occasion…and Day 363 seems special enough. The 8 is classified as a Belgian Strong Ale and checks in at 9.2% ABV. The 10 on the other hand is an Abt/Quadrupel and rings in at an impressive 11.3%! Very glad to be sharing these fine brews this evening.

Note: Both of these beers are bottle conditioned, meaning there is a small amount of yeast sediment remaining at the bottom of the glass.  Pour with caution, leaving the last quarter-inch in the bottle.


Rochefort Trappistes 8

This beer pours a fairly dark brown color that turns quite orange in the light. It appears slightly murky in the light as well, but still maintains a bit of clarity. I was careful to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle while pouring. It also forms a nice fizzy beige head which sticks around for awhile.

Aroma is lots of Belgian yeast and fruit tones. Dry smelling with some woody characteristics. Smells a bit strong but not alcoholic.

Flavor is dry wood and fruit. The fruit comes through as a grape/aged wine type taste. There is a big dry finish that leaves some bitterness lingering with a sharp tingle on the tongue. As it dries it almost starts to develop a chocolatey taste. Interesting, just a bit too dry.

Rochefort Trappistes 10

This beer pours a very dark brown color, and the murkiness on this one is very apparent when held to the light. Only a dark orange color comes through the light here. Tall fizzy beige head forms and disappears rather suddenly.

The aroma here is all dark fruit; plum, grape and raisins. Dark malts and sweet brown sugar with a woody balance.

The flavor is smooth, dark fruit again that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue. The tingle over the palate is noticeable immediately and almost pushes to a burn. The raised alcohol level here is certainly felt, but this one has more flavor to balance it out.


Thanks so much to Steve Campbell for lending me his ear and for sharing my story with his readers.  Only 2 beers left….CHEERS!


Day #362 – Saint Arnold Brown Ale

December 29, 2011

Wow. Day #362. I am so close it is crazy! Got yet another Texas beer on the menu for today, and it’s funny that I am finishing up this week with lots of Texas beers that are available year round here. I’m always shocked when I haven’t reviewed these beers yet for my blog, it’s just that I always see them so I always pass them up in lieu of something else. Glad I’m getting around to them now.

Saint Arnold Brown Ale


This is one of the year-round offerings from Saint Arnold. It is a Brown Ale at 5.3%.

This beer pours a very clear dark orange color with lots of carbonation. The carbonation forms a nice layer of white head at the top of the glass. I am using one of my favorite Saint Arnold glasses today as well.

The aroma is strong malts with a slight edge of toasted nuts/roasted grain and a finish of hops. Basically a solid blend of what goes into a beer!

The flavor is pretty tasty. I pick up the heavy malted backbone first with a nice edge of sweetness. The hop bitterness comes in near the finish to round things out. This is a solid brew and it’s unfortunate I have not drank more of this. This could EASILY be a regular 6-pack drinker.


4 to go…(including this one I guess I should mention)



Day #361 – Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale

December 28, 2011

Yet another Real Ale beer coming down the pipe for you today. However at the moment it is 11:46 pm and I have just gotten home from a long day. Needless to say…this will be brief.

Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale


This is one of the year-round offerings from Real Ale, and I’ve never gotten around to reviewing it because it’s alway available. This is an English Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV.

Bottle from Central Market poured into my Real Ale shaker. This beer pours a clear orange color with a fizzy white head. Lots of carbonation.

Aroma is bready grain,rye chips and wax candles. The good kind of candles though. Certainly hoppy as well.

Flavor is dry, slight bitter grain with an increasingly dry finish. Lots of hop flavor and bitterness but almost too dry. Better than originally thought.


5 left to go…


Day #360 – Real Ale Coffee Porter

December 27, 2011

I LOVE coffee beers. Absolutely love them. The more coffee aroma and flavor in my beer the better. So you can understand how excited I was when I heard that Real Ale was coming out with a coffee porter. I will be trying this both on tap and out of a bottle today!

Real Ale Coffee Porter


I am meeting with a very special guest today at the Ginger Man. You will find out more about this soon! Trust me, it will be very cool.

Real Ale Brewing Company came out with this beer quite recently, within a couple of years at least. It is a porter at 5.6% brewed with Katz Coffee.

This beer pours a very dark brown color with reddish highlights when put to the light. Foamy white head.

Aroma has lots of dark malts, roasted notes, dark Bakers chocolate and small bits of coffee. I want the coffee nose to be much more prominent.

Flavor is sweet and bitter chocolate. Some dark coffee as well with a bitter finish. Not bad at all but I want WAY more coffee!


6 to go…


Day #359 – Real Ale Sisyphus (2011)

December 26, 2011

I realized very recently that I had not yet reviewed this beer for my blog, and it was another shocking discovery. This is one of the only mass distributed barley wine that is made regularly in Texas. I’ve had it several times before, including a vertical tasting from 2004 – 2009 (excluding 2006 where it was not produced) which was incredible. Today I have picked up a fresh bottle of the 2011 batch.

Real Ale Sisyphus (2011)


As I mentioned before this is a barley wine from Real Ale Brewing Company out of Blanco, TX. The ABV ranges anywhere from 10% to 11.5% depending on the batch, but I believe this year’s was 10. Barley Wines are usually best when aged, but often times can have desirable (albeit different) characteristics when fresh. Since I do not have a year to age this one, I’ll enjoy it tonight.

I let this warm up to room temperature before trying it.

This beer pours a very slick burnt orange color with light carbonation. The bubbles are small and thin that makes a short lasting head. That’s alright and matches the style.

The aroma has lots of woody characteristics but also a fairly large hop profile. That’s what I was talking about when I mentioned that a fresh barley wine has different characteristics. You can definitely smell the alcohol as well.

The flavor is woody, dark fruit with a hoppy bitterness and light sweetness. There is a noticeable tingle on the tongue from the raised alcohol content. This beer is certainly not for the faint of heart!


7 to go…


Day #358 – Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!! As it’s Christmas I am spending all day with my family. This will be a quick post.

Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale


Brown Ale from Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, TX. 5.4% ABV.

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a foamy tan head. Almost a ruby color.

Light roasted aroma. Very light though. Some nuts and roasted malt nose.

Light watery mouthfeel. Taste is roasted malts and nuts, with a slight dryness. Has the metallic flavor of a German pilsner. This has never been one of my favorites which is probably why I have put it off for so long.


8 to go…