Friday, September 14, 2007

Three Reviews By JM

I'm pleased to post three reviews from a CBR veteran. I would also like to note that the CBR met recently in Chicago to taste a wide variety of beers. We tasted four from the Founder's Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI ( — Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (reviewed below), Reds Rye Ale (also reviewed below), Rübæus Raspberry Wheat Ale, and Devil Dancer Triple IPA (sporting a whopping 13% alcohol by volume!) Individually we enjoyed some more than others, but we all agreed that each beer was outstanding for its style. Hats off to Founder's!

Thanks to JM for these reviews and thank too for all the great comments in the com-boxes. We're off to a fantastic start!

Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is brewed by a local Grand Rapids brewery (Founder's), and I'll be quite curious to head down there sometime in the next few weeks to actually try this beer from the tap.

The pour was very deep amber, and the initial scent was a very powerful - almost overpowering, in fact - alcoholic odor. Just beneath that scent were traces of generic "roastiness" and perhaps some caramel.

The first mouthful, as might be expected, contained a burst of that alcohol flavor that was so strong in the odor. It was almost too much, honestly - made the beer just ever-so slightly over-bitter. Fortunately, the mouth-feel was very creamy, with just a bit of carbonated bite, and the after-taste contained hints of dried fruit (mostly raisin), toffee, and that unidentifiable "roastiness" again.

It was quite addictive, actually, and I had to stop myself from drinking too much, too fast. I wanted to enjoy it, at $9.50 for the six-pack. Plus, the almost 9% alcohol content warranted a bit of patience in drinking. Something about that combination of the caramel/toffee, dried fruit, and scotch-style "zing" made me want to keep putting more in my mouth. The high alcohol content created a warming sensation in the belly, and that lasted for nearly an hour - very much like drinking real scotch.

Founder's own review of the beer is pretty close to reality: 'Dirty Bastard is complex in the finish with hints of smoke and peat paired with a malty richness, finalized with a good bit of hop attitude. This beer "ain't fer the wee lads".'

Red's Rye Ale: Wow! Hello, hops! As soon as I cracked the cap off of this bottle and started pouring this sweet amber-brown liquid, the room smelled like grapefuit and flowers. I did something a bit different this time and drank the beer at room temperature, to see if the flavors were any more pronounced. This made the mouthfeel a bit more creamy, I think, and the flavors did seem a bit more "present", as suspected.

The immediate splash of fruit and flowers in the mouth soon gave way to a very strong rye flavor, which really made this beer interesting. If the fruity-floral top notes were a bit of "mouth candy", the rye made it more mature and full. Not much of a finish on this one, though.

About 3/4 of the way through the glass, some of the malty/rye bitterness faded away and - I hadn't noticed this before - a very noticeable but not overpowering raspberry and wheaty kind of flavor started to shine through. Those last three or four swallows were wonderful. The 6.8% alcohol content wasn't really noticeable in the flavor, but I don't think I'd drink more than two in a night. Overall, a nice mix of citrus, berries, and malt. I give it a 9.5.

From the Founder's web site:

"Pours a spectacular crimson red with a creamy tan head. Brewed with four varieties of Belgian caramel malts imparting a sweet richness. Red's Rye is impressively balanced with its hop bitterness and huge citrus bouquet achieved from the immense amarillo dry hop. The generous amount of malted rye used accentuates a spicy crisp finish."

Genesis 10:10--The label is what attracted me the most, I'll admit it. The beverage description did its part to add to the seduction: "brewed with our chosen specialty malts, hops, brewers yeast and pomegranate juice." Yes, pomegranate juice.I figured, what the heck, I'm a modern Catholic who's hip to the new wave of Jewish-Catholic relations, at least, insofar as it means drinking a beer brewed by "He'brew - The Chosen Beer" company (Schmaltz Brewing Company). The brew is called Genesis 10:10 - which reads, speaking of Nimrod, "The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." I'm sure the meaning of this verse in correlation to the beer's name becomes clearer and clearer the further into the bottle you get. The color is a deep shade of red. It almost looks like wine if you're not paying attention. A fair bit of lacing, and a nice creamy head tops it off.It's not too bad, but I doubt I'd buy it again. The promised pomegranate flavor is there, but its very subtle, and gets quickly overpowered by the boat-load of hops bitterness. Actually, by "pomegranate" I mean generic fruity-ness; it's not readily distinguishable as pomegranate juice. The malt is pretty overpowering as well, which makes for a slightly bitter aftertaste. Hard to describe this one, frankly, because it keeps changing the more it warms up. The fruit becomes much more pronounced the warmer this beer gets. Very interesting. I would drink it again if someone offered it to me. But I probably wouldn't spend money on it again.


Aunty Belle said...


This here is a fine and oddly amusin' site...Catholic boys is always the best at havin' fun..mayhap it is the Chesterton in ', wait, is it Belloc?

chestertonian said...

It's both, Aunty. ;-)