My Neighbor Stumblefoot

Stumblefoot is a small brewery operating out of an industrial park near my house. We usually bike there because it’s a close and flat ride. Every once in a while, we decide we’ll hit it up and see what’s new. They have a few regulars on the menu, but they like to experiment and frequently have several new items on the menu.

We came here last weekend and had a flight.

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Schwarz Black Lager: This is a smoky, smooth, yet light beer. I don’t usually like lagers, but this one has enough flavor and texture to be plenty enjoyable. It’s well balanced and is comparable to a light porter. (If you were looking for a porter, you’d be disappointed, but as a lager, this is a very pleasant surprise).

Vixen Dunkel: This is a dunkelweizen with predictable banana and caramel notes. The description mentions clove, which is not very prominent. It’s another smooth and balanced beer, and smells like a standard dunkel.

Apollo IPA: This is where things fall down for Stumblefoot. If I recall, I do like the Grassyass IPA, but it’s not particularly notable, and the Apollo similarly did not impress as an IPA. It’s fruity, tart, with citrus and Belgian tones (described as orange and passion fruit). It quite honestly has an edge that is reminiscent of a rubber band.

Cascade IPA: Another weird IPA, unfortunately. It has a chemically taste, and does not meet the expected hoppiness level of west coast IPAs. It’s more like a pale ale. It’s again rubbery like its predecessor, Apollo.

Back to Black IPA: This one is hoppy and malty. It’s sort of like a black and tan, and is not bad on the taste buds at all. It’s a little bitter and smoky, but again, if you’re looking for a standard IPA, it’s not the characteristically hoppy kind.

Moho Stout:  One of their better ones. Choclate, caramel, coffee, and smoky. Not very thick or hoppy.

A Few Notable Beers over the Holidays

From the Stone Stochasticity Project – Master of Disguise. I caught sight of someone drinking it at a Christmas party and had to try some myself. This is a blond stout, and it’s the first I’d ever heard of one or tried one. It was smooth and nutty. The color was deceiving, as it was sort of a golden color, yet lacked the hoppiness or assertiveness that is typical from Stone. The name sort of speaks for itself: it tastes like a stout, but is blond in color (that’s a glass of it to the left, barely visible in the picture below). It’s a full and rich flavored beer.

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Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry, and Chocolate ale by Rogue is an American brown ale. My dear friend brought a bottle of this over for my birthday, and I did not drink it until about a week later (had to clear my palate from all the beers I did consume on my birthday). Beer Advocate gives this a 79, which is just “ok.” I rather liked it, though it’s a little bit on the sweet side for me. Then again, that’s to be expected from the raspberry and chocolate. I didn’t taste the pretzel at all. It’s a little bit thin, but overall, its flavors make it a nice cozy beer to share during the holiday season.

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Affligem Tripel. Nothing new about this one. I’ve had it many times, but it’d been a while. It’s a Belgia tripel with notes of orange and spices. It has a floral quality and an ABV of 9%, though the flavors hide it. It’s full-bodied, with a nutty edge.

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Lost Abbey’s Red Barn Ale. Also not new, but it was another lovely bottle brought to us (by my brother-in-law) for my birthday. This is a floral, light, Saison/Farmhouse style beer. According to the Lost Abbey website, this beer is lightly spiced with ginger, orange peels, black pepper, and grains of paradise. It’s a golden/orangish color. I tasted slight notes of apple.

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Back To The Bellows (Again)

Last time we were at The Bellows, I posted about a lovely Hangar 24 Essence IPA. We were back at Bellows again recently, and had a couple of more gems.

The first was the Avery IPA, a West Coast IPA with an abv of 7%. Avery is located in Colorado. Beer Advocate gives the Avery IPA an 87% (“very good”). It was hoppy and very floral, with a sharp bitterness. It came to our table with a big thick head.  The beer has a crisp and fresh feel overall.

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Next, we had a Serpent’s Stout, made locally by Lost Abbey (pictured above). You can’t usually go wrong with Lost Abbey; almost all of their beers are pretty amazing. At their inception, Lost Abbey tended to specialize in Belgian-style beers, though I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case any longer. I do have to say I appreciate a lot of their Belgian-style beers more. Serpent’s Stout was OK. It’s an 11% Imperial Stout. I could definitely perceive the alcohol flavor. The beer was malty, with coffee tones, thick lacing, thick head, rich texture, and a sort of metallic edge I could have done without. However, Beer Advocate considers it world class, so my opinion may be in the minority.

The Worst of Belgium

Pictured above is one of many awesome Belgian beers.

This past weekend, I went to the grocery store to pick up some veggies, and happened to walk down the beer aisle. There were several good beer deals, so I ended up with a couple of 6-packs of IPAs, as well as a pumpkin ale. However, I happened upon this offending display:

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The “best” of Belgium? Really?! True, Leffe is not bad. The first time I had it, I was at a little dive in Brussels, and it was one of the most amazing beers I’d ever had – up to that point. Even now, I like both the blond and brune versions from time to time. And to be generous, no one can deny the Hoegaarden and its lemony touch is pleasant on a hot summer day. These are not at all remotely close to being the best Belgium has to offer, but at least they are acceptable, even good beers.

Then we get to the heinous, egregious, and unforgivable inclusion of Stella. You have got to be fucking kidding me. You know they call that shit “wife-beater” in the UK, right? It’s like the Bud Light of Europe. It’s flavorless, ugly, wretched, piss. Given the choice between drinking Bud or Stella, I’d actually take the Bud – not because of the flavor, mind you. They are equally piss, except the Bud is cheaper. Let me ask you – would you rather drink cheap piss or expensive piss?

That’s what I thought. And I like how they refer to this as a “celebration of Belgian beer.” No, not so much. More like a funeral march.