Tag Archives: California

Frogs Tooth Sangiovese

Wine review!  I know it isn’t craft beer, but hey, we like good wine here too, right?  I know I do.   CaseMates.com sent me a bottle of Frog’s Tooth’s 2016 Sangiovese to try in advance of today’s offer, so I figured I’d post my review here as well for readers who are interested in the wine world as well.

FrogsTooth_2016_Sangiovese

First – This is a young wine, significantly more so than the other 2016 Cali Sangiovese examples I’ve had recently (Benessere and Pedroncelli) and to really bring out its strengths it will need to either be laid down for awhile, or spend a few hours in a decanter.

We drink our reds warm, so after it arrived Thursday afternoon, it went into the wine fridge to be chilled to a balmy 64F.   Popped it Saturday evening and left it to sit for an hour before pouring, and then for another half an hour in the glass before trying it. I’d give the tasting notes, but really it suffices to say that it wasn’t ready, so put a stopper in and left it for another go on Sunday.

Sunday evening, tried a taste and it wasn’t noticeably different, so the rest of the bottle went in the decanter for two and a half hours or so.  That, and a bit of time in the glass made all the difference.

The alcohol is fairly high at 15.3% ABV, and it’s noticeable in all phases, though it moved  from overpowering in the first tasting to a consistently present undertone in the final tasting.

The nose has pronounced cherry, and I got some leather, my wife got some earthy notes.

In the middle the cherry notes dominate.  I also got a bit of plum and a tiny hint of vanilla. Acidity is on the high side, though it dropped a bit after the decanting.  It’s tannic, and the tannins are still firm and well structured and give it a substantial drying finish.  The body is full and robust.

Ultimately, it was a really nice, straight-forward wine, balanced and full bodied, not a lot of complexity but a cherry central theme very much in keeping with the style of a California Sangiovese.

Green Flash Cosmic Ristretto

Cosmic Ristretto is a Baltic Porter brewed with espresso and Belgian candy sugar. The head is foamy rather than creamy. There’s coffee and licorice on the nose. Tons of coffee and molasses in the middle, brown sugar and star anise in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a relatively high 8.2% ABV. This is an exceptional beer.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Dia De Los Serranos

Day of the Serranos. A double stout from Green Flash brewed with Serrano chiles. The nose is malty and sweet. The middle starts as a deliciously sweet imperial stout with chocolate and a bit of coffee, and the coffee remains as it fades to a finish where the spicy hot chile oils creep up on you. I don’t know that “delicately spiced” as the bottle label indicates is exactly accurate…The heat is not subtle at all. It is also not, however, overdone. It’s perfectly balanced between sweetness and spice. The body is medium and the alcohol is a biggish 8.8% ABV. Fantastic beer for those of us who love spicy food and drink.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

stone-citracado-ipa

Stone brews a special IPA for their anniversary each year, and this year, their 20th, it’s Citracado IPA, an Imperial IPA brewed with citra hops and avocado flower honey. Like all Stone beers, the hops are important. This one is one of the hop bombs, so if you like Ruination, this might be for you. The nose is floral and citrusy, with orange and grapefruit notes. The middle has a ton of lemon and grapefruit, and sweetness from the honey over a big malty backbone that give it weight. It fades to grapefruit rind and pine bitterness in the finish, and is never subtle. The body is heavy and the alcohol is 9.0% ABV. This is a special beer, brewed for a special occasion, and it more than does it justice. This is an outstanding beer.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

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Grapefruit Sculpin is a variation on Ballast Point’s sublime Sculpin IPA, with the grapefruit turned up a notch or ten. The grapefruit is definitely the signature note here, and while not overpowering, is in evidence throughout. The nose has the essence of grapefruit oils, along with some lemon and floral notes. The middle has tart and sweet grapefruit, fading to bitter rind and a hint of pine in the finish. Every bit as good as the original Sculpin, and because I personally love grapefruit, I might even like this one better. The body is medium and the alcohol is a nice 7.0% ABV.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Stone 5th Anniversary IPA – Encore Series

stone-5th-anniversary-ipa

For their 20th anniversary, Stone has produced a special beer, and packaged it with encores of their 5th, 10th, and 15th Anniversary IPAs. Today I’m reviewing the encore series version of the 5th Anniversary brew. In Stone Tradition, this is a hop-bomb of a west coast style IPA. Orange, mango and apricot on the nose, massive amounts of lemon and grapefruit in the middle and tons of raw pine in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is not unreasonably stiff at 8.5% ABV. I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to try the original, but the encore is still an amazingly well executed, wild example of a big west coast IPA.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Sierra Nevada Dunkelweizen Bock

A member of Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude series, Dunkelweizen Bock is a traditional dunkelweizen, a dark wheat German beer style. A classic style that you don’t see that often these days. The head is heavy and sticky and hangs around. The nose is malty and bready with some banana. The middle is sweet with molasses and has oodles of the characteristic cloves, and the finish is sweet banana bread. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.2% ABV. This is a really nice heavy winter beer for those inclined to indulge in sweeter styles.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.