Although we score beers on a five mug scale in our roundtables, I think the real test of a beer is "would I buy this again?". With that thought in mind, here's my latest beer diary.
10 January 08 Location: Locals Only
Stone Ruination IPA - This was my warm-up beer for the Founder's Dirty Bastard Roundtable. Transparent gold body, lacing, and a sweet nose. First taste reveals rotten egg, spoiled milk elements. I kept drinking it anyway, I've gotten those flavors in beer before. Loose mouthfeel for an IPA, works the top of the mouth, nice little bite, but the taste gets worse the more the beer warms. Something isn't right with this bottle... I've had this before and it wasn't like this. I'd buy it again just to know for sure - and because it's one of the only single-bottle IPAs available at my local liquor store.
Lakefront Brewery Fuel Cafe Coffee Flavored Stout - I've seen this on the shelves at PartyPak. This beer was originally brewed "especially for (Milwaukee's) Fuel Cafe". Sounds like a pretty cool place.
There's something sweet in the coffee nose of this one. Generally I pick up either heavy coffee or beef jerky flavors from stouts - despite being "coffee flavored", I'm getting a lot more jerky out of this beer. All in all, pretty forgettable, and not something I'd buy again.
If you're into this style, Gina and I are really fond of Schlafly's Coffee Stout - I'd say it's best in class stuff, at least off the taps in St. Louis. A growler of that is a guaranteed good time.
15 January 08 Location: Home
Three Floyds Alpha Kong Sextupple Belgian Strong Ale - Every time Gina and I are in PartyPak we end up picking up a bottle, saying "check out how much this is", and then having the clerk say "this Alpha Kong is $20 a bottle". Eventually Gina bought that $20 bottle, and I drank half of it.
The first thing that hits you about Alpha Kong is the way the nose just jumps out of the bottle or glass - strong, sweet fruits scents, with elements of apple, banana, and a hint of nail polish. A translucent cherry-wood color sits underneath a lively head that eventually settles to nothing. A silky/slimy mouthfeel work the roof of the mouth and tongue, with a taste that echoes the nose - apple, banana, and a fruity sweetness. There's an obvious alcohol bite in this (which shouldn't be surprising considering its 15% ABV), but it's not overwhelming. This is a really strong but well balanced beer - extremely easy to drink, but you wouldn't want more than one. My notes say "Gone too fast/Gone fast enough" - while extremely tasty, a beer this strong is dangerous. Half a pint and I was feeling it already. I'd give this 4.5+ mugs in a roundtable review. At $20 a bottle, this is probably a special occasion beer, but I'd gladly buy it again (for the first time).
One last note - Way back at Roundtable #16, we took a tour of Barley Island's facilities in Noblesville and were fortunate enough to sample two of their bourbon barrel beers - the IPA and the oatmeal stout. At that time I found them both a little overwhelming to my developing beer senses. Recently I came across Barley Island's bourbon barrel stout in an unassuming bottle at PartyPak, and I decided to revisit it.
Now, I can't be sure that this is the same recipe Barley Island was using way back then, but now I find the beer fantastic - a nice balance of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon, with a nice creamy mouthfeel. And at $6 for a 22 ounce bomber, not at all a bad price for a limited edition beer. This might be one worth checking out if you're a fan of the style. I've already bought it more than once.