There’s something about drinking seasonal brews that make me feel exclusive. Part of that is the fact that they actually are exclusive, the other is that it shows that craft beers are living, breathing things, that age and  have a moment-in-time. Now, I’ve never been one to be able to tell the difference between this years _____ (insert beer name here) and last years, but I would one day like to be able to!

I’ve had beers by Odell Brewing Co. before, and I must say I’m a fan. My favorite of theirs, is their IPA – big surprise! This is definitely a full bodied ale, perfect for us northern folk. It’s seriously a mouthful. It’s not crazy strong, at 6.1% ABV, but it definitely is a contender. I wouldn’t say Isolation Ale is necessarily sessionable because it’s filling, but I could definitely have a few, especially since it gets dark at like 5:30pm now, and you know the cold & nasty is right around the corner.

I can definitely taste malts galore with this ale, proving that seasonal ales have an established quality. I would for sure recommend this one to anyone I know and I will soon be heading to Lake Wine and Spirits for a six-pack! I guess winter won’t be that bad if I have access to Odell Brewing Co.’s Isolation Ale! I also have to mention that I highly consider listening to Dooomtree’s own, Paper Tiger’s Made Like Us album when enjoying your next brew!

(8.5/10)

Read more people’s opinions and reviews at the Uptown Beer Guild!


Maybe I should start by explaining why I’ve been reviewing so many beers as of late. I became a member of the Uptown Beer Guild and was one, in a group of people, picked to receive a Citizens Six-Pack, which is a mixed six-pack chosen by Lake wine & Spirits, a somewhat new liquor store in Uptown, Minneapolis that has a huge selection – especially in craft beers!

This week’s review is New Belgium’s Trippel Ale brewed with Coriander. I really like New Belgium’s beers. All of their beers are unique, both in taste and style – the Trippel is no exception. Out of the beers I don’t usually gravitate towards, I would say Belgian beers are growing on me the most. Especially the Trippel, coming in at 7.8% ABV – it’s got bite, bitter flavor and it’s bottle conditioned.

Unfortunately, not too long ago a friend of mine told me his opinion of Belgian-style beers and I haven’t been able to shake it. Hopefully, expressing my viewpoint won’t tarnish others’ opinions, but I must agree with my buddy (thus far). And that is, that all Belgians taste like a yellow fruit that “sounds like” shashana.

Ever since I heard that, I agree and taste “shashana” in every sip. I’ve also discovered that I only order Belgian beers when I’m at a place where I feel/think I’m cool (e.g. The King and I Thai, The Bulldog Uptown, etc.) So, my knowledge is continuing with Belgians. The Trippel definitely has spice, and is not a beer for the sensitive taste bud.

If you like belgians, this Trippel is a golden, crisp slice of strong flavor that you can just tell goes back to the middle ages. I definitely would get this beer again, because it’s a good quality Belgian without the spendy pricetag!

(8/10)

Read more people’s opinions and reviews at the Uptown Beer Guild!


I recently went on a trip to Norway and the local breweries there specialize in two types of beer: lagers and pilsners. So, with the light, crisp flavor of those beers still in my temporary memory – I can definitely say that this beer brought me back to the motherland.

Although this is a Spanish beer, I don’t think pilsners have the flexibility or versatility of ales – so it’s no surprise that they all taste fairly similar to me. Crisp and bubbly, pouring this clear, pale beer, all I can think is that it looks and smells like any other pilsner I’ve tried. It had a head that I wouldn’t even call foamy, it just about disappeared before I could snap my picture. I don’t even know how to describe this, there’s not much flavor and at 5.2%/5.5% ABV, it’s not a very strong beer. I guess I view it as Stella Artois’ little brother because it’s similar, but less skunky, which is the main reason I enjoy  Stella.

I seem to be finding myself between a rock and a hard place with this one, because it was my first beer of the night after getting home from work – I seemed to have “downed” it fairly quickly. It was refreshing, I’ll give it that. Maybe if it wasn’t my first beer of the evening I would have drank it slower, but I’m pretty sure having an IPA before tasting this beer would have demolished my taste buds enough for the evening to make this lightweight even more flavorless. (After re-reading this, I realize that this “first beer” talk may sound like I have a drinking problem, but I can assure you, I do not!)

I probably wouldn’t ever get this again in a typical circumstance. Maybe that’s because my appreciation for this style of beer is not quite there yet? Either way, I think I’m going to have to give this beer two ratings. One for how I think it compares to the european lagers I’ve recently had, and two, how I rate it in my personal opinion on the overall beer spectrum. All this to say, I think I’d rather just stick with Stella Artois when I’m in the mood for a light one.

(8/10) in comparison to other light lagers/pilsners

(5/10) overall

Read more people’s opinions and reviews at the Uptown Beer Guild!


The current temperature is 65˚, cloudy and drizzling. As we near the end of October, it’s important to take a few moments to enjoy Minnesota’s fall season before, do I dare say… the snow comes! There’s no better way to embrace a beautiful fall day than by enjoying a nice dark beer – Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter to be exact.

Busting out the tulip glasses, I pour out a thick, black river of delight. I notice Fragrances of chocolate and roasted malts right away and a healthy head that lingers. I have had a hand-full of porters before, but I think I’ve only ever bought a six pack of porter once – needless to say, they’ve never been my favorite. I think it’s because when I’m in the mood for a thick, dark beer I usually go right to the stouts. As my enjoyment and knowledge of beers develops, so does my appreciation and desire for more unique flavors. You can only have so many ales, right? (Well, maybe not.) Porters in general bring that smokey-esque, dry, roasted flavor, and Deschutes’ porter is no exception.

This beer has a dry factor to it, though it also has a slight smoothness. Definitely more carbonation than your typical stout too. At 5.2% ABV and 32 IBUs, I wonder the potential this porter could have with a higher ABV? It’s definitely drinkable, but dark beers, such as this, usually make me feel full much faster, so I’m fine with only having one.

If you enjoy coffee, tobaccos, chocolates and flavors of those types – which I do – I think you’ll really enjoy the Black Butte Porter. It’s a very balanced beer. None of the flavors overpower your palette, but a roasted aftertaste will hang around. So grab a book, put on some music, be sure to pour this one in a glass and enjoy Deschute’s tasty Black Butte Porter!

(7/10)

Read more people’s opinions and reviews at the Uptown Beer Guild!


Nothing excites me more than an IPA – except for a double IPA (DIPA)! Mad River Brewing Co.’s Steelhead Double India Pale Ale is a beautifully smelling, slightly-creamy ale that has hops coming out of its ears (not to mention the sediment twisting about in the bottle). As always, I took a sniff after popping the top, experiencing a heavy hops presence with a citrus twist. This is another large beer coming in at 8.6% ABV.

As I pour this DIPA into a glass, I first notice its cloudy substance and its orange hue. I also noticed the head to be on the smaller side after emptying the contents of the bottle. At first sip, I am greeted by a medium-to-near full body with a balanced flavor of extreme hops and malt. It’s hard to ignore its sweetness, but if you’re a fan of IPA’s at all, you’ll be used to it. Caramel and pepper flavors also join the party!

With a great finish, the bitterness stays with you to the end. If you enjoy hoppy beers (aka self-proclaimed Hop Heads) then you will not be disappointed with Steelhead DIPA. It’s a full-flavored – teetering on heavy – beer that definitely brings a lot to the table. I can’t believe how many quality breweries are out there that I’ve never heard of. In the same regard, I can’t believe how many of these brewery’s websites and design work do not represent the same quality of what they are brewing. Step it up, guys!

This beer is definitely worth trying. I can’t wait to taste more from Mad River Brewing Co.

(8/10)

Read more people’s opinions of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale through the Uptown Beer Guild!


I’m not going to lie, as a graphic designer this beer caught my eye! Now don’t go thinking that’s necessarily a good thing, especially for a beer called Eye of the Hawk. So obviously there’s a big ugly eagle on this beer’s label, but this brewery’s design and packaging is the kind of bad that’s slightly OK. Maybe if my first sip of this ale wasn’t pleasant my opinion would be different. The label is tacky (drop shadowed-text and all) but I had hope in this beer which made me somewhat attracted to the awkward design. What actually grabbed my attention most about this beer when building my own six pack tonight was the brewery, Mendocino Brewing Company (which I had never heard of) and the big fat 8.0% ABV I saw on the side of bottle.

With my custom apple logo pint glass (that my wife made for me) ready, I opened the bottle and took a good sniff. I could definitely tell right away that this was a big beer! I’ve been working on pouring the perfect beer (1-1.5″ of head) all summer and I must say, I think I’ve got it down perfectly. Excited for my first sip, I took one more smell and then got down to business.

Right away I could taste sweet caramel notes with a lingering bitter-tartness after I swallowed. This ale didn’t knock me off my feet as much as I would think an 8.0% abv beer would. With a red amber color, the medium bodied Eye of the Hawk is surprisingly drinkable for a beer of this caliber – almost to the point of being dangerous if you were to drink several, unknowingly aware of it’s power. Although, it is a little rich for my taste, where 1 or 2 would be about all I can handle for a typical night. Maybe that’s due to it’s warm finishing flavor – slightly reminiscent of Founder’s Dirty Bastard – but obviously not a scotch-style ale.

I read the brewery’s description of Eye of the Hawk on their website and learned that this select ale is bottle conditioned. This is a process where yeast is added to the beer during bottling, creating natural carbonation and an additional fermentation process. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a beer that was bottle conditioned, but I have tried several cask beers at local pubs. Now knowing that this ale is bottled conditioned, I guess I can tell that it’s slightly less carbonated – but I don’t think I would have necessarily been able to pick that out on my own.

Is this beer worth trying? Definitely. Would I buy it again? Yes. Would I recommend that they redesign their packaging to better represent a serious, legitimate craft-brewery? Absolutely. I’m excited to try more, bird-friendly brews from Mendocino Brewing Company!

Rating: (7/10)


This will be a somewhat short post, but I definitely want to expand on this subject more (later). I recently caught an episode of a new tv show on TLC called Sister Wives. This show is a documentary-style, unscripted reality show that follows a polygamous family. Not knowing much about polygamy, I decided to do a little research on the history, purpose and practice of it. First of all I want to clarify something that I myself didn’t know, and that is that Mormons in general no longer follow, nor do they believe in polygamous/plural marriages. Only Mormon Fundamentalists, people who believe and follow select fundamentals from early Mormonism still practice polygamy, and not even all of them. The Church of Latter Day Saints and mainstream Mormons no-longer follow or condone plural marriages. So to clarify, it’s a pretty small number of people who do. I will get more into the history and beliefs of Mormonism in my next post.

What I wanted to write about is what I observed and how I felt when watching this show. Kody Brown has 4 wives, in the episode I saw he had 3 wives (he’s been married to them for 20, 17 and 16 years) and was courting a woman who was his fiancee in the episode, but recently married Kody. Kody has had children with 3 of his wives and the wives have brought children into the family from previous marriages, etc. From what they communicate on the show, a big part of why they chose this lifestyle is to have a big family and lot’s of children. I think that’s great and exciting, I just don’t see how it can be healthy to go about in the context of polygamy (technically polyginy,which is a man having more than 1 wife).

Just in the 20-something minute episode I saw, I noticed both the wives and children lacking attention from Kody. I know it’s a television show, so I’m sure it’s not a 100% accurate view of them. It was really sad though, because his first wife of 20 years told Kody when they went out to dinner for their 20th anniversary that she still deals with feelings of jealousy and lack of love due to Kody’s other marriages/wives.

Kody later in the discussion discusses how she was on board with this lifestyle and that she was the one who was excited for him to start courting his most recent wife and that it’s unfair and a bit of a double-standard that she now feels jealous every time he kisses her. (I’m sorry that I don’t know the wive’s names, I will learn them for my next post.) Hearing this woman tell her husband of 20 years this was heart-breaking. And then to watch Kody throw it right back in her face! And I’m sure that Kody was less bothered by it because he receives value and self-worth through his other marriages.

I’ve been happily married for just over three years now, and it’s hard enough for me to give Loran the love, quality-time and appreciation that she deserves, and most the time I don’t. I just can’t understand how one man can (i.e. thinks he can) be a loving and supporting husband to 4 wives at the same time – he has to be emotionally spread soo thin.

I’ve been thinking about all this since I watched the show yesterday, I’ll write more and if you have any opinions or have any knowledge about polygamy, please share – otherwise stay-tuned.

peace, kevin.