Sunday, July 24, 2016

Innis & Gunn Rum Aged


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1651) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 24, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 33A Wood Aged Beer (base brew: 17A British Strong Ale)

AROMA: Sweet red fruits; some butterscotch essence; strong vanilla presence from the wood. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful burgundy hue; clear; CO2 visible. Large off-white foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Huge red fruit flavors, akin to fruit punch or sangria. Toffee flavor is quite prominent with butterscotch on the finish. Rum component is subtle, but noticeable and works as a nice complement to the base palette. Slightly metallic presence. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Body feels a little light at only medium proper. Slightly crisp, but smooth with a finish that’s probably a little too clean. No alcohol warmth. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not quite as robust as some of the better British strong ales, though the rum component is a nice enhancement. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Green Flash Dia De Los Serranos


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1650) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 23, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 20C Imperial Stout)

AROMA: Surprisingly mild nose; slight coffee; spice rack seasonings. Not fresh pepper. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Jet black; large dark tan froth. Plenty of lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly sweet imperial stout base. Plenty of dark malt; slightly roasty; more like dark chocolate. Minor dark roast coffee in the background. Little hop character. Strong warming sensation in the throat from the serranos. Lingering earthy flavor. Well balanced overall, though not amazing. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; smooth texure; medium-low CO2. No alcohol presence (heat from peppers probably overrides alcohol). 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A fine imperial stout with strong pepper presence. Probably better paired with food rather than drank by itself. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Brew Bus Rollin Dirty


2.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20ChadPolenz (1649) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 23, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 15A Irish Red Ale

AROMA: Mild/neutral nose. Slight amber/red maltiness. Light red fruit notes too. 6/12

APPEARANCE: Fairly dark magenta/burgundy hue. Tan foam almost completely dissipates. 1/3

FLAVOR: Subtle caramel malt flavor and sweetness; slight red fruit flavor (cherry, plum). Mild earthy hop character, but low perceived bitterness. No roasty or chocolate flavors. Nothing off-putting but nothing to really enjoy here. 10/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; low carbonation. Smooth and quaffable, with a dry aftertaste. Not refreshing. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not a bad beer, just a boring one. Not sure why they would include this style in their lineup. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 25/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Friday, July 22, 2016

3rd Wave 1st Wave IPA


2.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20ChadPolenz (1648) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 22, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Honey/lemon coughdrops (oxidized?); iced tea (tannins?); faint orange. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Orange proper hue; cloudy body but constant CO2 visible. Average, white froth and lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Moderate bitterness throughout; consistent orange peel/sherbet flavor. Strong honey/lemon flavor on the finish. Astringent aftertaste. Not awful, but little to enjoy. 11/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; crisp and tingly. Dry starchy aftertaste is a bit cloying. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Orange character is nice, but overall it’s unimpressive and seems amateurish. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 24/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

NOLA Irish Channel Stout


3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1647) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 21, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 20B American Stout

AROMA: Strong roasted malt aroma. Slight sweetness in the background (baker’s chocolate?). Very faint resiny hops. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black, no highlights. Large tan foam dissipates rather quickly. Decent lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Strong roasted malt right away. Dark chocolate flavor in the background. Moderate coffee flavor and bitterness on the finish. Aftertaste is initially sweet but becomes astringent. Faint tanginess. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; smooth texture (a little too bubbly to be creamy). No alcohol presence. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: More than a solid stout, but less than a stellar one. Definitely enjoyable and to-spec. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mantra Amour Rouge


3.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20ChadPolenz (1646) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 20, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 23B Flanders Red Ale

AROMA: Red, tart fruits (cherry and currant, especially); Light sweet presence of vanilla; sour, but not too intense. Very faint vinegar. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Burgundy/brown hue; dark but clear. Fine Co2 visible. Tan soapy head fizzles away quickly. 2/3

FLAVOR: Red fruits up front; almost juicy. Mild candy flavor on the back end. Sourness is restrained and appears mostly as a background note. Surprisingly chewy malty flavor as it finishes. Palette is mild overall. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body with low carbonation. Feels a little flat. Finishes [too] clean; no cloying acidity. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A commendable effort, but mild palette and low sourness bring it down. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 32/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

4 Hands City Wide

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ChadPolenz (1645) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 19, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 18B American Pale Ale

AROMA: Huge tropical and citrus fruit aromas (pineapple, passion fruit, grapefruit); slight candy aroma. No specialty malt notes or esters. Hint of grass. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Foggy amber/light orange. CO2 visible. Moderate, white, foam. Good lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly strong hop flavor with a bright juicy taste (tropical, citrus). Bitterness is moderately high bordering on IPA territory. Malt is mostly for support; little in the way of distinctive flavor other than subtle honey/lemon character. Slight earthy taste on finish seems odd; otherwise fairly clean. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; crisp but not spastic. Smooth texture; easy drinkability. Refreshing while in the mouth. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Borderline IPA, but really enjoyable modern APA that’s tasty and fun to drink. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Green Flash Cosmic Ristretto


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1644) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 18, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 9C Baltic Porter)

AROMA: Espresso; some dark fruit; slight musty odor. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Deep blood red to black proper. Large, tan foam with good persistence. 3/3

FLAVOR: Dark debittered malt throughout. Some dark fruity flavors linger in the background. Roasted malt/slightly burnt toast at the apex. Espresso and dark chocolate emerge on the finish with moderate bitterness. Slight tang. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium/full bodied; soft and smooth. Little alcohol warmth or flavor. Coffee taste lingers. Slightly watery texture. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An interesting take on Baltic Porter, but probably would’ve worked better as a traditional stout. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen (2016 re-review)

4.8
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
ChadPolenz (1643) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 17, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 10A Weissbier

AROMA: Potent Bavarian yeast esters of banana and clove; wheat imparts bready aroma. Some orange sherbet scent in the background. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy amber/orange, but translucent. Effervescent carbonation visible. Large, white, froth laces and retains well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately strong banana bread flavor throughout (wheat + esters). Clove is prominent as well and imparts a light peppery sensation. Faint orange juice concentrate as it finishes. Hops are used sparingly and complement the natural spicy sensation. Each sip is delicious. 19/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a nice viscosity. Mouthfeel is soft, comfortable and smooth. Effervescent but too thick to be crisp like a lager. Aftertaste is mostly clean with minor banana flavor. Very refreshing and easily quaffed. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Probably the best hefeweizen being made in the USA today and better than many German brews of the style. A near perfect beer. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 48/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Carton Boat Beer Session Ale


4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20ChadPolenz (1643) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 17, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 21B Specialty IPA: Session IPA

AROMA: Pineapple, grapefruit peel, faint garlic/onion in the background. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Pale banana yellow; murky body though no sediment. Large, off-white, soapy foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: A melange of citrus, tropical fruits and earthy spices. Grapefruit is prominent, but more of a peel than a juicy taste. Some pineapple flavor throughout. Strong dry spicy sensation (rye/garlic bread) probably due to Kolsch yeast. Not much distinctive malt character, though enough to offer a modicum of balance. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Plenty of body for only 4.2%. Light/medium intensity; texture is smooth. CO2 low/medium - not quite crisp, but not paper thin either. Highly quaffable, refreshing, and sessionable. Lingering spicy aftertaste. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Essentially a New England-style IPA as a session IPA. Works well as both. Lovely all around. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference in Tampa: Day 3

Sunday, July 10

sundayagenda

The last day of any #BBC is always bittersweet. Some people are reeling from hangovers, others are scrambling to make their flights back to the other side of the country, and still plenty of bloggers are there for the final few information sessions. Unlike the previous two days, the Sunday agenda is only a half day schedule and consists solely of workshops and presentations.

Best beer name, label, and description EVER!
Best beer name, label, and description EVER!
However, that’s not to say there wasn’t any beer drinking to be had. Because Friday night’s beer social and “Night of Many Bottles” was so epic, there was still plenty of leftover bottles and cans up for grabs. I had a feeling this was going to happen, since the same situation occurred three years ago at the Boston #BBC13. I planned ahead and bought a 60 quart wheeled cooler. I actually put it to good use other than looting the leftovers on Sunday morning; on Friday I brought about a dozen bottles of my homebrew to share. I dropped it off with all the other attendees’ bottles, but since I didn’t go to the bottle share I figured my bottles were long gone. Fortunately, nearly all of them were among the leftovers and I was able to have some fellow beer bloggers try my coffee stout homebrew during the morning sessions. That seemed like an appropriate beer to drink in the morning. I was happy to hear that everyone who tried the homebrew said they liked it. One person even rated it 5 stars on Untappd! I’m sure he was being a bit hyperbolic, though.

I was glad to see some of my homebrew was still there.
I was glad to see some of my homebrew was still there.
There were only two seminars Sunday morning: first was the story of a couple who pretty much started the nationwide trend of breweries hosting yoga. Second was discussion by several pro brewery reps about beer tourism becoming a legitimate part of the travel industry. After that was the announcement of the location for #BBC17 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Several representatives of the city’s tourism board were there to explain why the home of Miller, Schlitz, PBR, and other macro brands is actually a great craft beer town these days. They passed out free samples from Sprecher Brewing and some beer-flavored kettle chips (yum!).
Showing off shirts for my favorite bar and my homebrew club from back in New York.
Showing off shirts for my favorite bar and my homebrew club from back in New York.
I got home by 1pm that afternoon. I was very satisfied with my experience and I’d say it was probably as good as #BBC13 in Boston. Since I’m so close to Tampa, I do plan on going back to Ulele, Cigar City, Coppertail and Brew Bus at some point. I’m not sure which single event of the weekend was best, though there were plenty of memorable moments as you can probably tell from these rambling blogs. It was nice to meet other beer bloggers from across the country – the vast majority of whom I had not met previously.
EPIC HAUL!!!
EPIC HAUL!!!
And of course, one of the best things about #BBC16 was the epic haul of free beer and brewing trinkets I came home with. I mean, seriously, look at all of this!

Devils Backbone Striped Bass Pale Ale

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ChadPolenz (1642) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 16, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 18B American Pale Ale

AROMA: Piney, floral and green tea-like hop character. Some light maltiness, though not especially sweet. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Golden hue; near crystal clarity. Some Co2 visible. Small, white, foam; plenty of lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Lightly bitter and malty up front. Clean blonde/amber malt but no real specialty malt flavors. Hops impart a consistent spicy/grassy flavor throughout. Moderate bitter bite at the apex with a lingering dank bitterness. Solid, but not amazing. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; carbonation seems a little low for the style. Not refreshing, though it is smooth. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting pale ale that combines German and American ingredients and flavors. I like it. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fairhope Judge Roy Bean

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ChadPolenz (1641) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 15, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 20B American Stout)

AROMA: Strong iced coffee; sweet dark and roasted malt. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Black proper; slightly violet highlights but otherwise murky. Small tan foam; little lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Lightly sweet malt combined with iced coffee flavor throughout first half. Rather intense roasted barley sensation on finish coupled with dry bitterness. Slight astringency or earthy character. Coffee is used properly as a background spice and accentuates the natural burnt flavor of roasted malt. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; smooth texture; low CO2. Slightly bitter aftertaste. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A nice standard stout with coffee as a bonus flavor. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference in Tampa: Day 2

Saturday, July 9

You would think that after a night of binge-drinking, no one would be in the mood for seminars as early as 9am on a Saturday morning, but there was quite a turnout for them. Sessions included social networking strategy, working with brands, analytics, and content creation. These may sound boring and academic, but the event is called the Beer Bloggers Conference – so there’s definitely an educational component to it. In fact, I believe most first-time attendees are drawn to the event in order to learn how to become a better blogger. They’re not just going for all the beer and food (though I’m sure that has a lot to do with it).

saturdayagenda

As much as I enjoy the conference and the company that runs it, a complaint I’d have is that these educational components should be filmed and put online for anyone to see. Put it behind a paywall if you want, but it seems like a shame that this information should be so exclusive that only a few dozen people get to see it once a year. It would also be a disservice for me to try to condense the information of these workshops down into a paragraph or two because there’s so much information. Perhaps the presenters have their slides online (if I can find them, I’ll link to them here).

iPhone 2016 738

For lunch we all took some tour buses over to the World of Beer on Fowler Avenue near University of Southern Florida. This was a four-course beer and food pairing meal put on by MillerCoors. Now, I know many of you may be rolling your eyes at this: one of the world’s biggest macro breweries hosting a lunch for bloggers who most likely despise them? Well, nearly every #BBC has included a macro-sponsored event in some form, probably because those companies can more easily afford to host a shindig of this size. I’m sure they also do this to extend an olive branch to us beer snobs. Even their reps are pretty cool and don’t try to sell us on anything or compare their products to real, classy craft beer.

iPhone 2016 739

So can MillerCoors host a decent beer lunch? Yeah, actually they can. These four courses were pretty good, and so were the drinks that accompanied them. Leinenkugel’s Beergarten Tart was a nice starter/wannabe Berliner Weisse and the famous WOB hanging pretzel made a great appetizer. The Blue Moon Belgian Table Pils was a decent lager, but like most Blue Moon beers – was completely lacking in any Belgian quality. I remarked to the table that I’d probably like this beer more if I didn’t know who it was made by. The artisan sausage and cheese board made a nice charcuterie (then again, have you ever had a sausage and cheese board you didn’t like?). The main course was a little country-fried pork patty with a fried egg on top and some greens on the side. It was okay, though I liked the Pilsner Urquell much better (that may be an all-time favorite beer for me). The pretzel bread pudding and Crispin pear cider made a perfect desert – sweet, but not cloying. All in all, I’d say it was a very nice lunch. I also liked the fact that we were able to take home a bunch of free beer glasses, too.

FREE BEER GLASSES!
FREE BEER GLASSES!

After lunch it was back to the hotel for more talks; the highlight of which was the keynote speech by Stan Hieronymus – one of America’s most seasoned beer writers. He’s written several books, and he still works as a full-time journalist. Not surprisingly, he regaled us with tales of the days when he and Michael Jackson and a small contingent of authors were the only ones writing about beer for fun and/or profit. He also talked about the ethics involved in professional writing and soapboxed about the Oxford Comma for a little bit.

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 107

As the afternoon went on we had another beer-centric event, but it was also a highly educational presentation as well. Some of the brewers of Petrus – a brand of sour Belgian beers – talked about what goes in to making these beers: from picking the right ingredients, to the brewing process, to the science of using bacteria in just the right way, to the building of foeders, and finally to discovering the perfect ratio at which to blend them. It’s a lot of hard, meticulous, tedious work (and a lot of waiting). The time-lapse videos they showed were pretty impressive.2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 115

They gave each of us a six-pack of their “Sour Power” box which contains their three core brews and let us experiment with different blending ratios. Personally, I prefer the red the best as it has a delicious fruity flavor akin to sangria. The brown and the pale are pretty nice too. Experimenting with blends is a fun way of making a great product even better.iPhone 2016 740

One of the hallmarks of #BBC is the annual “Live Beer Blogging” event in which 10 different breweries each have a few minutes to pour and present their beer to 10 different tables. It’s essentially “speed dating” but with pro brewers (or reps) selling you on why their beer is great. I’m not going to go over all 10 beers we got to try, though I will say Cigar City’s “Decoherence” – an imperial stout with coffee and coconut aged in bourbon barrels – was far and away the best of them all (and something of a tease, since it’s not a beer you can buy in stores). JDub’s “Bell Cow” chocolate milk stout was also really nice and was much better than I remember it being when I tried it just a month or so ago.

credit: JJ Taylor Companies, Inc.
credit: JJ Taylor Companies, Inc.

Before we knew it, the evening was approaching which means it was time for the round of three mini beer dinners at three local breweries. Tampa’s own Brew Bus did all the driving and of course poured each of their beers on each leg of the journey. The group I went with wound up at Ulele Brewing first.

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 140

I had never heard of this place until Saturday evening, but I was quite impressed with it. The facility itself is beautiful, and was probably helped by the fact the perfectly landscaped lawn looked great in the golden sunset. We only had two beers paired with three small plates, but it was quite enjoyable.

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 147

Next up was Tampa’s claim to fame: Cigar City Brewing. I’ve been to their restaurant uptown, but this was my first time going to the brewery itself. We got a little behind-the-scenes catered meal and tour. Some people even got to try their world renowned Hunahpu imperial stout. I tried several of their tap-only releases from the tasting room. It seemed like we were only there for a short while, as we all climbed back on the buses en route to the final destination of the night: Coppertail Brewing.

My entry on Hunahpu's Imperial Stout from "The Handbook of Porters & Stouts"
My entry on Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from “The Handbook of Porters & Stouts”

I love the look of this brewery and pub: built into a very old industrial building, it’s got a vibe and look more commonly associated with something you’d see in New York, Chicago or Philly. There was another nice spread of small gourmet bites, though by this point I was getting so full from eating and drinking for several hours straight that I was starting to hurt.

iPhone 2016 741

When we arrived back at the hotel around 10:30pm I was exhausted. I seemed to be in the minority though. Twitter was full of chatter of #BBC16 attendees trying to organize even more drinking, bottle shares, cigar-smoking, karaoke contests, and other fun activities. Some people can party all night I guess; I can’t.

To be concluded…

Yee Haw Dunkel


4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1640) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 14, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 8A Munich Dunkel

AROMA: Toasty malts; dark chocolate; iced coffee; sweet but not cloying. Clean fermentation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep brown/black with red highlights. Small, tan, foam eventually dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Surprisingly sweet for the style; dark, toasted malt (not burnt or deeply roasted). Slight nut character in the background. Finish with strong toffee/chocolate flavors. Mild spicy hop bitterness for balance. Delicious. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body, but still quite crisp. Sweet but not cloying. Smooth and highly quaffable. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Almost a perfect beer. Impressive considering so few American breweries make this style. Probably the best of the style I’ve had. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale


3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20ChadPolenz (1639) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 13, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 1C Cream Ale

AROMA: Light sweet malt with a lemony character. Classic lager aroma in the background. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Crystal clear amber/golden hue. Off-white suds evaporate quickly and completely. 1/3

FLAVOR: General sweetness with a faint honey flavor. Oats may account for the sweetness. Some maize-like presence in the background, though not in the style of a cheap beer. Hops are quite low. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body with a thin, flat mouthfeel. Smooth, refreshing and quaffable. Clean aftertaste. Should have more body considering the ABV and higher CO2. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Pretty tasty for a cream ale, though might be better judged (and marketed) as a blonde ale. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 32/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

5 Rabbit 5 Lizard Latin-style Witbier


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20ChadPolenz (1638) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 12, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 24A Witbier

AROMA: Lime peel and some passionfruit. Sweet floral notes. Slightly tartness. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Pale banana yellow; extremely hazy. No visible sediment (or CO2). Small white foam almost completely dissipates. 1/3

FLAVOR: Mild tartness (akin to lemonade) up front which grows stronger throughout the swig. Passion fruit and lime are prominent; some coriander spice in the background (this could be considered a fruit or SHV brew). Solid wheat base and pale malt backbone. Innovative for the style. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; smooth texture. Crisp, but not spastic. Refreshing with a mild fruity aftertaste. Lot of flavor for only 4.3%. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Tasty, refreshing and sessionable. Controversial for the style. This would be great in cans. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference in Tampa: Day 1

Tampa is quickly becoming one of the biggest, most enthusiastic craft beer cities on the East Coast. Just a few years ago there were only a handful of breweries in all of Florida, but now the greater Tampa area is home to well over 50 production breweries, brewpubs, and micro/nano breweries. With the craft beer culture in this town growing exponentially and organically, it’s not surprising the seventh annual Beer Bloggers Conference was held here this past weekend.

fridayschedule
This was my second conference; I attended the 2013 gathering in Boston which was a lot of fun. I’ve changed and evolved a lot as a beer blogger and writer in just three short years. The biggest change is that I no longer do much vlogging, and have stopped doing video beer reviews altogether. Writing is a lot more demanding than simply shooting and editing video, and I’ve found I actually prefer taking the path of more resistance in recent years. To wit: I co-authored The Handbook of Porters & Stouts in 2014.

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 016
Anyway, back in 2013 I chronicled just about every minute of the conference and that was a lot of work. This time around I’m going to keep the recap pretty basic, so here’s we go:

DAY 1: Friday, July 8

2016 Beer Bloggers Conference 022

The conference (or #BBC16 for short) kicks off in the early afternoon with Julia Herz – the Craft Beer Program Director of the Brewers Association – giving the opening presentation. Not surprisingly, she talked about what a great time it is to be a craft beer drinker, brewer, and blogger. The numbers she presented were pretty impressive; so much so that they’re almost a little scary. At the rate the industry is growing, there’s a lot of concern that a “craft beer bubble” is getting ready to pop. Julia was able to assuage my fears with her presentation since it was so comprehensive, well-research and she’s a pretty charismatic speaker (though I can’t help but remain just a bit skeptical).

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There were two more beer industry talks that afternoon. First up [above] was a panel on the Tampa and Florida beer scene featuring Eric Criss, Mark Denote, Joey Redner – the founder of Cigar City, and Gerald Whalen – writer of the Beer In Florida blog and author of the book Florida Breweries. Then, there was an educational segment by an economist who works for the wholesalers. He offered some interesting and funny insights to the biz; his slide about breweries name was pretty memorable.

brewerynames

After a few hours of lectures seminars, it was time for our first beer drinking event. Green Flash held a tasting sampling featuring six of their beers as well as two Alpine brews (Green Flash now owns Alpine). They gave away two bottles to each participant and a cool little “swag bag.” One of the best beers I had at this Green Flash event (and of the entire weekend) was a magnificent bourbon barrel-aged imperial (13.5% ABV) coffee stout called “Lustrous Frumento with Coffee.” Apparently, it’s a tap-only release, so I’m thankful I got to try this limited brew. If this were in bottles I think it could garner a reputation akin to Founders KBS or Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.

greenflashbeerNOTE: 

Since the entire #BBC16 was beer-centric, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you there was a lot of beer being sampled over 72 hours. Unlike some of my other blogs, I’m not going to describe every single brew I drank nor every food item I ate.

I met fellow Floridian beer bloggers Kelli Matheny of aLadyCrafter.com and Linda Johnson of brewnymph.com

I met fellow Floridian beer bloggers Kelli Matheny of aLadyCrafter.com and Linda Johnson of brewnymph.com
After this event, we all went back to where we started for dinner. It was a buffet with four different breweries in each corner of the room pouring samples while the hotel’s chefs cooked up small plates. Funky Buddha’s French Toast Ale paired with a mini sausage and egg muffin was the best pairing of the evening. Cigar City was also pouring their Marshall Zukhov Imperial Stout which made a great liquid dessert.

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Dinner wrapped around 8pm, with a “beer social” scheduled for immediately thereafter (it’s essentially a little beer festival held in one of the adjacent ballrooms). Also, “The Night of 1,000 Bottles” went down at 10pm – a title which is no misnomer since pretty much every attendee brought beer from their region to share. Unfortunately, I missed these two events because I was in my room sleeping. That’s right, I’m just that lame. I got drunk pretty quickly and thought a two or three hour nap would be refreshing, but next thing I knew it was the middle of the night. D’oh! X(

Brew Bus Are Wheat There Yet?

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ChadPolenz (1637) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 11, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 18A Blonde Ale

AROMA: Orange citrus and passion fruit juice. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Pale hazy orange. Large chunks of sediment. Small, white soapy suds. 1/3

FLAVOR: Some citrus and tropical fruit notes (the most prominent flavors, but not to the extent of being juicy). Wheaty backbone is evident throughout; creates for light bready flavor. Mild hop bite on the finish. Definitely epitomizes a "pale wheat ale" but no such style exists in the 2015 BJCP guidelines. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; consistently crisp but not spastic. Too hoppy to be refreshing, though finish is mostly clean. ABV a little high for the intended drinking situation, but still quite quaffable. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Hop aroma and flavor make what is usually a boring style pretty interesting. I’d prefer a more truly sessionable ABV. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Funky Buddha Blueberry Cobbler Ale

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ChadPolenz (1636) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 7, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 29B Fruit & Spice Beer (base style: 18A Blonde Ale)

AROMA: Sweet vanilla and cinnamon. Blueberry faint. No base brew aromas. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Lavender/indigo. Hazy body. Small, white foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: General wheat beer up front quickly followed by blueberry cobbler flavors on second half. Palette is sweet - but reserved - with vanilla throughout and cinnamon on the finish. Blueberry is more of a background note, though completely authentic. No hops, though none needed. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body, though rather tepid. Texture is smooth but slightly watery. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Tastes more like blueberry cereal than cobbler, though it is tasty. Would probably work better as a porter than a wheat brew. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.