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Mike Simpson

2014-01-06 17.00.49  Green Flash

  Le Freak Ale

  ABV: 9.2%

  IBU: 101

One of my favorite craft breweries is Green Flash. I recently purchased a bottle of Le Freak because I was enthralled     with the pink label. I thought to myself, what brewing company would plaster a big pink label across a bottle of beer? Than an epiphany crossed my mind…This beer must be damn good! Normally I stash craft beers away in the garage refrigerator and wait for the perfect time to enjoy them. Not with this one, I opened it as soon as I got home and started taking notes. Not long after that, I decided that this is one great tasting beer.

Appearance:

Le Freak has a great appearance, which reminded me of chillin on Coronado Island while watching the sunset. The beer has a light golden orange color with faint hues of red. The head on the beer forms fast and is bold. Every glass I poured   had approximately 2 inches of head that exhibited a slightly off white color.  

Aroma:

Belgian yeast is the lead aroma of Le Freak with notes of citrus and pine. The hops are closely followed by honey, lemon zest, orange, and a hint of Honeydew melon.  

Taste:

The high carbonation of this beer, which is from bottle conditioning, leaves the tongue feeling alive with a bubbling sensation. However, the beer is not harsh. It is sweet, smooth, and velvety.  I experienced immediate flavors of orange and pink grapefruit. Le Freak has a slightly bitter hoppy finish that left me wanting more of this smooth brew.

While I was enjoying this beer I asked myself again why the pink label. I pondered this question for a few moments and concluded that the label might be referencing the smooth pink grapefruit flavor I experienced in the beer. I also thought about why Green Flash named the beer Le Freak. If I were to brew this beer I would have a hard time naming it because of what it is. The beer is a combination of an American Hopped Ale that is made with fruity Belgian yeast aromatics. In my opinion Le Freak is the perfect name for this delicious beer. If you haven’t experienced this beer I suggest you do. Just be cautious because it is smooth and potent!

 

 2013-12-21 15.53.25           Last week I was cruising around Orange County and stumbled across a small specialty deli and liquor store called Mesa Food and Liquor. I decided to stop in and see what they had to offer. As I traveled aimlessly down the aisles, I noticed a craft beer section in the Merchandising refrigerator. I am always looking for craft beers that I have never tried, so I took a look and low and behold, I saw a beer from Stone Brewing that I was not familiar with. This one is called Vertical Epic 12.12.12. This beer was released by Stone over a year ago, but I thought it was worth reviewing after I tried it.

Before I get into this review, I should point out that I am an IPA guy. I will try almost any craft beer, but I prefer beers that are not thick, dark, and smoky. I personally do not like the feeling I get when I drink my dinner, if you know what I mean! I have worked as a professional chef for the past 24 years, and I believe that I have an experienced pallet that is constantly seeking out new challenges. After reading the label on Stones Vertical Epic, I thought this should be an interesting experience for my taste buds.

Appearance:

Vertical Epic is a Belgian style Ale that has an opaque black appearance that reminds me of a star free night in the country. The head on this beer is a light cream color that is almost a light brown.

Aroma:

The aroma of this beer reminds me of Hanger 24s Pumpkin Porter. My senses were immediately met with the aroma of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and a small track of cloves. I also experienced notes of molasses, espresso, and vanilla.

Taste:

For me, the aroma and taste of this beer were very similar. I experienced heavy flavors of Allspice which has a combined flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a hint of juniper berry. The beer also had a slight espresso taste, and I could almost taste oak which I thought was strange as the beer was not aged in oak barrels.

Palate:

This is a full bodied beer that has a slight hint of dry hops and a somewhat bitter finish.

Conclusion:

I thought this beer was very good, and it reminds me of the smell and comfort of the holidays. I can envision myself watching a game on Sunday and sipping on this beer while enjoying a slice of warm apple pie. If you have not tried a the latest release of Vertical Epic, I suggest giving it a shot as 2012 was the last year of production for the series.

10.25.13Stone Enjoy By 10-25-2013 IPAHave you ever looked at the best by date imprinted on a bottle of beer and wondered if the beer actually tastes better before that date or if the brewery is simply engaging in an ingenious marketing plan? In order to wrap my brain around that quagmire, I decided to conduct an experiment and consume a common brand of beer well after the expiration date. After cracking open the bottle and putting it to my lips, I was met with a flat, un-flavorful, and appalling taste. I had to ask myself if the same would be true with Stone’s Enjoy By 10.25.13 IPA.

On a recent trip to the Stone Brewing Company with the Official Beer Blog, I pulled a stool up to the rustic bar and ordered an Enjoy By 10.25.13. I am here to tell you that this beer is all about the hops! My first encounter was a sharp explosion of hops that reminded me of Eddie Van 10.25.13Halen’s guitar solo in Eruption. The hops in this beer completely overwhelmed my pallet with the taste of pine and left me with that familiar short lived numb feeling. According to Stone Brewing Company the beer was brewed with a multitude of hops, including super galena for bitterness. Hops used for flavor were comprised of New Zealand simka, Cascade Citra, and Amarillo hops. Once the brewing process was complete the brew master dry hopped the beer with New Zealand and Australian Galaxy hops.

Following the explosion of hops I immediately was met with sweet tones of honey, orange peel, and a hint of wild flowers in the lingering finish. This double IPA has an even color that looked like a spectacular amber and orange sunset dipping below the mountains between Escondido, California and the Pacific coast. The head on this beer is an

off white color and contains intricate interlocking leggings that appear to wander slowly down the edge of the glass. The mouth feel is truly the pinnacle of this double IPA. It is a medium bodied beer that is bursting with carbonation and is extremely easy to drink.

In my opinion the argument of whether this double IPA lasts beyond the Enjoy by date is not a debatable topic. My supply of Stone’s Enjoy By 10.25.13 will be long gone before the calendar turns to 10.26.13!

 

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