Monday, November 30, 2015


I don't know if you've been sitting around mourning it the way I have, but it seems to me that the "imperial red" style has sorta gone the way of the dodo this past year. Everyone wants to make a saison or "wild up" their beers in 2015, and that's totally all right by me - but whither the malt/hop taste explosion of the now-disappearing imperial red ale? I have been flyin' the flag for these every since my first Lagunitas Imperial Red or Green Flash Hop Head Red some years back, and it seemed like around 2010 just about everyone was futzing around with some high-ABV, hopped-up red ale. Maybe that's the problem - too much futzing, not enough selling. I've certainly yet to come across another "beer writer" willing to gobble these up without care for the brewer the way I am.

So then I trip over my shoelaces at the beer store and find myself face to face w/ this lovely "TOASTER PASTRY" tall boy can, made by our pals down the proverbial street, 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY. It's been two and a half years since I last checked in with them, as this February 2013 post attests. They've been plotting this 7.6% imperial red in the intervening years, and here it is, a stovepipe can pint of toasted, biscuity malt ale that's bready where it should be and pleasantly hopped to boot. It's a warm brownish red that says autumn full fucking stop. Maybe a little sweeter than it is malty, which takes at least a full point off, and I'd hesitate to call it "imperial" given how quote-unquote sessionable it tastes. But I liked it just fine. I'd welcome a hearty return in 2016 to more experimentation with red ales, as it seems I'll never make it to Denver again to break bread with these fellas. Who wants to let me know in the comments if there are any other imperial red winners out there right now? 7.5/10.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


This is a big big bottle of big boy brettanomyces beer from Vermont. The folks who make is - why, they're called LOST NATION BREWING, and they hail from Morrisville, VT. They've staked their claim on "honest, small batch beer", and by all rights I think they can legitimately stick with that claim. I get the picture that bottles aren't really their stock in trade, and that you really need to head up to Morrisville to get the cut of their jib, which is why it was extra-nice this one, this "LAMOILLE BRETTA" showed up my mailbox courtesy of you-know-who

It's their normal saison, which they call Saison Lamoille, refermented with Brett. It debuted in my house with a massive head of foam that never actually settled down, possibly because it had been shipped across the country to make its way to my mouth. Nice light funk, very yellow in color and crisp on the swallow and really clean-tasting. It's herbal, a little spicy and with citrus/grapefruit lingering in the background. Wait, this is a "sour saison"? Sure enough, but one that doesn't cling to the tongue in the manner in which you're likely familiar. This is a football-game sour saison, a big fast-n-light quaff that even your knuckle-dragging yahoo pals might be able to handle. Accessible, not "barnyard". My Cantillon tour guide a couple months ago might've thrown up, this is so incredibly drinkable. I'll be wanting some more of these in the mail, please. 8/10.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Beer Samizdat's been seriously missing in action this past month. Sorry it's been so long since I rapped at ya. At times I'll vacillate between the all-documenting beer obsessive who ticks and catalogs every beer-related jot and titter, and the guy who pops open whatever's in his garage craft beer fridge without really thinking about it much. This last month tilted toward the latter. That certainly doesn't make for interesting blogging - nor reading.

I have a backlog of reviews where I did pay attention that I'll get to in due time. I'll start with this BREAKSIDE BREWERY "India Golden Ale" that my pal Chris picked up for me on a recent Oregon trip. Now that was a delicious malt-forward double IPA. Yes, it is indeed a true 2xIPA, but with a much yeastier golden ale profile, with some serious Belgian action sneaking in - much like the Houblon Chouffe I remember (which, granted, I don't think I've had in over five years). Breakside's is fruity, floral and like I said, malty. If there's a fruit to be plucked from the flavor profile it's probably mango, so we're talking almost a tropical/golden/yeasty DIPA here. Good on ya, Breakside. 8/10.

As for the rest of Beer Samizdat's lost November? I can remember the most recent beer to also dazzle me - the one I drank two nights ago - and funny enough, it was from MODERN TIMES, who've always been just good-enough in my book and nothing particularly noteworthy. Well, that was until "ONEIDA", their "hoppy, sessionable pale ale". First one from them that's really nailed it - a dry and hops-laden easy sipper that would make a nice go-to every Tuesday night. Looks like it may be a seasonal and that that season's already passed. Next year!

I know I had a CALICRAFT "The City" in there somewhere. That's a great friggin' beer. I wrote about it before here. You know what was really special, folks? The SANTE ADAIRIUS RUSTIC ALES "Jose Pimiento" one-off that I grabbed a couple of bottle of last month when I was down there. I shipped one off to Mark at Kaedrin Beer Blog, so let's let his "A" review do the talking for both of us, OK?

I'll start to pay better attention, starting right now, and will be back in this space before you know it.