beer: charleville hoptimistic ipa

Today I finally open my blog up for a guest post. Friend and fellow blogger Ryan Hudak of In Search of Beer offered to write a beer post for me.

Being that Brian’s blog here has “beer” in the title but not really in the posts anymore, I thought I would help out and donate a little beeriness (more of which can be found on my blog, In Search of Beer). I received this particular beer, from Charleville Vineyard and Microbrewery in Missouri, in a beer exchange with a fellow blogger. I wanted something I wouldn’t be able to get at home, and this certainly fit the bill.

The beer poured dark orange with a thick, foamy yellowish head. It had a very soothing, floral, and piney hop smell that didn’t hint at much bitterness.

But, the bitterness was certainly there, and almost overpoweringly so. The first few sips were surprising, as the smell didn’t hint at this much bitterness. Underneath, though was a strong citrus flavor, but also a slight soapy flavor.

The beer would have benefitted from more balance. There was a subtle maltiness that could have been stronger to help with the bitterness of the hops. More balance would’ve elevated this IPA from good to great. If I ever go to St. Louis, I would order this again if there was nothing else, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it.

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fat head’s saloon

Last weekend was spent in Pittsburgh and on recommendation of several friends, I checked out Fat Head’s for lunch on Saturday.  My friends know me well, since they recommended a place with an awesome beer list and lots of food.

head hunter

The wait was almost an hour so to kill time I hung around and drank one of their house brews.  I started with the Head Hunter.  The Head Hunter is a 7% abv IPA which was quite tasty.  Once we were seated, I ordered another one of their house beers, this time the Happy Holidays.  I really enjoyed this one.  It was a delicious spiced Christmas ale.  At the time, they only had three house brews available, the Head Hunter, Happy Holidays, and Kulmbacher.

the southside slopes

I stared at the menu for a while trying to figure out what I wanted to eat.  I sure was hungry but damn were there so much to choose from.  Their menu has several burgers, melts, salads, and headwiches to choose from.  Yup, they’re named headwiches since they’re pretty massive sandwiches.  I decided on The Southside Slopes which was a sandwich consisting of kielbasa, fried pierogies, American cheese, grilled onions, and horseradish.  The sandwich came out with a very generous helping of homemade chips.  I found the Southside Slopes to be just alright.  Maybe I overhyped it in my head?  It wasn’t terrible though.  I’m convinced that if I return to Fat Head’s and have several drinks everything on the menu would be a great decision.  I do want to try some of their other headwiches too.

Fat Head’s Saloon
1805 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
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beer: sierra nevada hoptimum

Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum is a 10.4% ABV, full cone IPA. Hoptimum was released earlier this year and I grabbed a bottle from the local store since they only had a case of it. I thought it was alright. It’s one of the hoppier beers I’ve had in a while.

Unrelated to the taste…the label was pretty cool. It’s literally a portrait of a hop head.

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beer: russian river pliny the younger

As soon as word got out that Russian River Pliny the Younger was going to be at the Khyber Pass Pub (thanks Foobooz), I knew I had to be there. Since it’s a super rare beer and only released once a year, tickets were sold at $15 to benefit the Philadelphia Free Library Youth Literacy Program. Each ticket was for a 10 oz. tulip of Pliny the Younger. I was lucky enough to snag the last three tickets thanks to a friend who happened to be at the Khyber for dinner.

one of the last three…

The beer is a triple IPA and is 11% ABV. Despite being 11%, it sure didn’t taste like it. It was pleasantly hoppy with a citrus sweetness and went down smooth. If only I were able to order another round…

I definitely enjoyed Pliny the Younger. Glad I didn’t have to go through huge crowds of people in an uncomfortable environment to try it!

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beer: flying fish exit series

Such a beautiful sight.

Flying Fish has only released six different exits so far (in the order of release):

Exit 4 – American Trippel
Exit 11 – Hoppy American Wheat
Exit 1 – Bayshore Oyster Stout
Exit 16 – Wild Rice Double IPA
Exit 6 – Wallonian Rye
Exit 13 – Chocolate Stout

Exit 4 is available year round and Exit 13 is the current release. Recently, I was lucky to get one of each since a local store had a couple bottles in reserve. The only one I haven’t tried is the Exit 11. My favorites are the Exit 13 and Exit 16.

Has anyone else tried any of the Exit Series beers? What do you think?

Find out more about the Exit Series here.

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