Liquor store #2. Also, review of Sam Adams Cream Ale

We’re back for liquor store #2 of 4. I know you’re all excited, but try to calm down. Also, this review might be a little more appealing because I review a Sam Adams beer, which can probably be found anywhere in the country. Also, it’s pretty good, so you might actually want to go out and try it. Yes, it’s another stout. Yes, it’s the first of two Sam Adams beers I’ll be reviewing. But like I said before, the selection isn’t too great out here. I might as well go for quality where I can find it.

Liquor store #2:

This is the closest one to where I live. It’s also the most cramped. When I was there, it was me and the guy I’m guessing is the owner — a six-foot-something beef-eating linebacker of a man. There was barely enough room for me in the store. The beer selection was pretty minimal. Probably the third best of the four. But the large store owner was probably the most personable of the four. I saw a reasonably-sized stack of our town’s competitor paper sitting on the counter and when I asked him why he carried their paper and not the Journal-Advocate, he shrugged and said, “The other one’s free.” Can’t argue with that. What a great guy.

Sam Adams Cream Stout

Sam Adams calls it the cappuccino of beers. Beer advocate’s top gurus rate it as one of their favorites. I think it’s somewhere in between. Cream Stout is just as dark as Breckenridge’s stout, but its milk chocolate head is a little smoother, with a little less retention.

There’s a good heaping of chocolate and roast coffee smell, which makes me want to roll around in it a little bit. But the taste was a different, tamer beast. You get a little bit of sweetness up front, but it soon fades with mellow, roasty malt in the middle and back. Some coffee sticks around, but not too much.

Overall it’s a smooth, flavorful, drinkable beer. Not much to hate on. There a lot of sweet, smooth, subtle flavors in this one, which makes me like it a lot. What it’s missing is a fullness in the mouth feel. It’s such a dark beer with so much flavor that it’s a shame there isn’t enough body to keep it around a little longer. I’ll give it a 91 or a 92. It’s delicious, but I wouldn’t call it perfect.




My beer escapades in Sterling: Oatmeal Stout review, too

So I recently moved to Sterling from the beer mecca of Fort Collins, which I brought up in my last post. (And let’s be honest, if you’re reading this, you mostly likely helped me move at some point). And while Sterling is smaller and flatter than Fort Collins, I held hope that it might have the same selection of beers lingering around. And why not? It’s only, two hours away, right?

Nahhhh. The selection’s pretty sparse. But what the little liquor stores lack in quality of selection, they make up in personality. So far, I’ve been to three liquor stores with names like “Liquor” or “Discount Liquor,” determined to find beers I haven’t tried yet. So far, I’ve been successful. I won’t give the names of the liquor stores, so I’ll be free to make whatever comments I want without people coming after me. But I’ll give a brief, brief review of my experiences at each of them.

Liquor Store #1.

The first place I went was bar none the biggest I found in the city. Still, I’m not sure I’ll go back. There was wine in the sections labeled “Rum” and “Tequila” and vast open spaces, which I’m guessing were for all two of the liquor store’s patrons to roam around. Also, the person behind the counter, while personable, kind of scared me. I grabbed the first beer I could find that looked different and ran.

Breckenridge Brewery’s Dark Oatmeal Stout

This beer was a smooth, toasty, flavorful surprise. It fits the name, pouring jet black with a milk chocolate head that sits on top like a coaster. The smell is sweet and toasty, like a good oatmeal stout should smell. What really makes this beer so good is its incredible, effortless drinkability. It his sweet up front, and the chocolate, caramel and roasted barley malts (I checked the website, don’t worry) give it body and silky smoothness that flows down the gullet. A faint roasty flavor sticks around after awhile. It’s also at 4.95% ABV, which makes this a fantastically sessionable beer.

The good people of BeerAdvocate gave this beer an 83, but I think it’s more of a 90. No, I don’t think, I know. This is a 90. It does everything I think a milk stout should do. What keeps this from being a great beer is its lack of creativity. There’s nothing that really stands out in this beer to make it different from other oatmeal stouts. Even the name is generic (even if the label isn’t. Check it out). Any less of a rating would do disservice to its sheer tastyness; any more would give it more praise than it deserves.

It’s at least worth a try.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Happy St. Paddy’s day, everyone! I’m back! Kind of. I won’t spend much time on this, but I thought that even though I haven’t posted anything for the past two/three weeks I would be an absolute failure if I didn’t post anything for the Irish day of drinking.

So here goes. Today’s beer of choice is O’hara’s Irish Red, which is apparently a rarity in that it’s actually brewed in Ireland (if you can find another one, let me know).

Anyways, the beer is more of a dark amber than a red, but the color’s pretty vibrant and clear. Lots of carbonation too. It smells sweet and malty, but it isn’t too complex. Not too much in the flavor department either, at least on the front end. But it has a dry (almost stale),toasty malty backbone to it that makes it more interesting to drink than a Killian’s or a Wexford. Some of that maltiness sticks around at the end, too.The bottle says there’s “traditional hop flavor,” but I can’t really taste any of it. Maybe some “whisps.”

Overall, it’s simple with a sweet finish, but it has enough flavor and drinkability to be the perfect beer for a special occasion like tonight. Also, at 4.3% ABV, you can drink a few and not get into too much trouble.  I’ll give it an 87 out of 100. Excellent St. Patrick’s Day beer.

On another note, I’ll try to be more diligent in my posts. I’ve bee trying to settle into my new living situation in Sterling. I have a few more beers in store, so stay tuned.