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Old 03-22-2009, 04:13 PM   #1376
MrWookie
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Time to try my goblet's namesake beer, Tripel Karmeliet. It's a little low on ABV for the style @ 8.4% compared to the more typical 9-9.5%. It cost me $9.89 for a 750 mL bottle. Hopefully it'll be a delicious way for me to enjoy my bracket doing better than HH's.



Oddly, it doesn't look like this beer is bottle conditioned. It didn't have much pop when I uncorked it, and it's a little shy on carbonation. Maybe I got a bad bottle? It's also totally clear, while most tripels are bottle conditioned and have yeast in the bottle, clouding the beer.



The aroma is mostly of a pale malt and a light grassy hopping, not of fruit, spice and yeast. I guess it doesn't taste spoiled or overly flat, but this was a pretty disappointing beer. It's lacking in classic tripel flavor, and it's not as delicious in other areas as Duvel. I guess I still can't rule out having gotten a bad bottle after Dr. Robinson's enthusiasm for this beer, but I'm not high on this. I'll give it , which includes some spite for disappointment.

Edit: Rereading Dr. Rob's notes about this, it's more likely I got a bad bottle. He said it was heavily carbonated, and while this wasn't flat, it wasn't by any means "heavily carbonated." Still, it's an open question whether I'll give this another shot. If one bottle at Beers of the World is old and stale, who's to say another bottle right next to it isn't? $10 is a bit much for me to blow when I'm risking getting a bad bottle.
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Old 03-22-2009, 06:03 PM   #1377
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

For how much I assume you spend in that shop, I'd think the manager/owner would throw you a good, fresh bottle if you told him you bought one off the shelf that was out-of-date.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:33 PM   #1378
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I might try working that angle next time I'm in. We'll see.

Tonight, I'm reviewing another of Dr. Rob's recs, but this one comes with a bottle cap on top: La Chouffe, the original. I've had the tripel/IPA blend, and while it was good, it wasn't my favorite, and I've had other beers, notably the Brooklyn Hopfenweisse, that do a better job of blending a bold, sweet, fruity, yeasty pale malt with a strong hop character. With Dr. Rob saying he preferred this even compared to the mighty La Fin Du Monde, though, I had to try it. It's fun to pop off corks, but the bottle cap on this one means it's more likely to be a good bottle. This was the most expensive beer on my last shopping trip at $10.85. It's 8% ABV.



This was definitely a livelier brew than the Karmeliet. It started foaming out the bottle as soon as I popped the cap, and I hadn't been rough with it at all. The head isn't that persistent, though. It's more like coarse champagne bubbles that dissipate rather than a thick creamy persistent head.



I could also smell the grassy European hops as soon as I started pouring. I didn't even need to stick my nose in the glass. Tasting it, I'm quite frankly shocked that Dr. Rob was so high on this one and so down on Duvel. To me, they taste like very similar beers. There's a little fruitiness in this: hints of apple, apricot, orange, but it's not as sweet or as yeasty as the LFDM, and it's missing the clove spice flavor, too. Reading the back, it looks like this is only twice, not thrice, fermented, so I guess it can't be a tripel by definition . Guess I should have checked. Not that that's truly to the detriment of this beer, but maybe I got the wrong one. Dr. Rob, is this the right one, or did I grab the wrong one and need to try again next time? Regardless, I might prefer this slightly to Duvel, but not enough for an extra half heart rating. . I don't think this is worth the extra $3 compared to what I paid for Duvel on sale, but I'm not sure what Duvel's regular price is. I wouldn't pay any more than $1 more for the La Chouffe.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:23 PM   #1379
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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With Dr. Rob saying he preferred this even compared to the mighty La Fin Du Monde, though, I had to try it...It's more like coarse champagne bubbles that dissipate rather than a thick creamy persistent head...Tasting it, I'm quite frankly shocked that Dr. Rob was so high on this one and so down on Duvel. To me, they taste like very similar beers. There's a little fruitiness in this: hints of apple, apricot, orange, but it's not as sweet or as yeasty as the LFDM, and it's missing the clove spice flavor, too. Reading the back, it looks like this is only twice, not thrice, fermented, so I guess it can't be a tripel by definition . Guess I should have checked. Not that that's truly to the detriment of this beer, but maybe I got the wrong one. Dr. Rob, is this the right one, or did I grab the wrong one and need to try again next time?
Yeah. You got the right one. The first time I had the La Chouffe, it was at a restaurant and the waiter told me it was a tripel. You are right, it is not, and I was confused. The comparison between the La Chouffe and Duvel is interesting. I think I need to dry Duvel again. I remember the Duvel being much hoppier than the La Chouffe. La Chouffe is almost like a champagne with heavier mouthfeel in terms of the carbonation. Being a PA, it is not as sweet as LFDM. I think what I like so much about the La Chouffe is the balance of fruitiness to the slight bite of hops.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:35 PM   #1380
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Duvel might have been a bit grassier in the hopping and a bit less fruity, but I still find it hard to think that someone could hate Duvel to the point of spitting it out and think La Chouffe is the best thing ever. Both are Belgian strong pale ales based on twice-fermented pilsner malts. Their yeast strains are probably a little different, and they likely use slightly different amounts of hops and coriander, but they're very, very similar styles of beer. They have much more in common than La Chouffe has with LFDM.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:05 PM   #1381
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Duvel might have been a bit grassier in the hopping and a bit less fruity, but I still find it hard to think that someone could hate Duvel to the point of spitting it out and think La Chouffe is the best thing ever.
I didn't hate it at all. My exact words were:

Quote:
I am not going to say it was bad, and I would drink it again if it were offered to me, but I would never spend money on it again.
I am still a noobish beer nerd, but Duvel was the second beer I added to this collection (when I was an ultra noob). I would say that now that I have really had a range, it would be good to go back and try Duvel to see if my interpretation is the same.



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Old 03-25-2009, 08:01 PM   #1382
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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I finally tried Bell's Hopslam last night at my local bar. Holy **** this stuff is amazing. For anyone that has tried Surly Brewer's Bitter, it's about the only other beer I can compare it too. Victory Hopdevil is close, but it's not as high in alcohol. Hopslam is a heft 10.00, and it's hoppy as hell.

At $14/6 pack at my local liquor store, I don't think I'll be buying any, but it's def a great strong hop bomb of a beer.

Overall: 5, with ease.
Haha a steal at $10/6 pack but not worth buying for $14?

I enjoyed this beer recently and spread out my 6 pack for about a month. It has a distinctive taste to it (maybe the honey?).

However, I still like FFF Dreadnaught more than any other dipa I've had. I had one of those Pliny the Elders last year and I really liked that too, but I'd have to try more to be sure it's a top favorite. I also like some of the dipas my local brewery, Flossmoor, brews.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:03 PM   #1383
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Ok, some quick beer reviews.

I'm in Columbus on vacation and have checked out 3 breweries in the last 2 days (all within a walking distance, albeit kind of far)

The Elevator Brewery - This was the first stop. The brewery is on two levels off of a main street (high street) in the north area of downtown Columbus. The building is very old and very neat. There is a mid to high class restaurant that goes along with the brewery.

I started off with a black lager (a little bland, but not bad, good malt taste) then had a dopplebock and a mocha porter. The other two were a little better, particularly the mocha porter. I also had an ESB they had as a monthly special, this was a homebrew contest winner's beer, and it kind of showed (not in a bad way). It was extremely overhopped for the style, but the aroma was amazing. Apparently some of the contribution to the aroma was from being continuously hopped (the bartender said even in the serving tank), but I really had trouble picking up much else out of this beer (in all fairness my taste buds weren't so fresh after having 3 beers prior to this one).

I'll probably pick up a growler before I leave from here (since I do everywhere) but they are a little on the high end for growlers (like 8 dollars for purchase and 10-13 for a fill). Ironically, 16 oz pints were only $2.50, so it was a pretty fair deal. Overall I'd give this place 3.5 stars, 3 if you don't value location/environment, 4 if you highly value it.

The Columbus Brewery Co - This place is located south of downtown, adjacent to the German Village (really cool area) in an area known as the Brewery District (there only appears to be one brewery here though, but it is a nice and unique looking section of town). I didn't have too high expectations for this place, as it kind of looks like a chain quality brewpub (restaurant on the other hand seems to be highly rated). I got a beer flight, which consists of 7 of their beers in sampler glasses for something like 5 bucks.

Their apricot ale and honey wheat were both above average in my mind (they aren't beers I usually have though). The pale ale was dry and didn't really standout. The 90 schilling wasn't bad, it had a nice malty complexity to it.

The 1859 Porter was disappointing, I was really looking forward to this beer but it was kind of watery and bland. The Columbus IPA actually appeared to be the freshest and best tasting beer out of their regular lineup, but the bitterness of the hops was a little intrusive, almost a strong perfumy and actual negative piney flavor. I asked the bartender what hops were used, simcoe for bittering and I think she said cascade for aroma, so I'm assuming it was the simcoe hops that kind of turned me off to this one. However, the malt backbone on this beer was pretty good and it all tasted fresh. Finally, the special on tap was a belgian farmhouse ale. I don't have a ton of experience with these beers, but this was a pretty good beer. I ended up getting a growler of the 90 schilling and I believe it was something like 13 dollars (including the glass). Overall I'll say 3 stars, maybe 3.5 but it's hard to justify a 3.5 bc I just didn't love the beer here. I'd put it a step above most chains I've been to but probably a solid two notches below the better breweries I've been to.

Barley's Ale House - Just went here this afternoon after a few miles of walking around. Definitely hit the spot. Sampler glasses were .75 cents each and I ordered 5 right away. First up was the pale ale, which had a nice fresh hop taste, though not overpowering. I assume the fruit in the beer was hops, but it added a subtle complexity to the beer. I had a really good scottish ale, then a centennial IPA. Not as good as Founder's (neither in the bottle nor the one I had on tap in Grand Rapid's) but a decent IPA nonetheless. I also had a rye IPA on cask, this was a delicious beer, I really enjoy beers on cask. Last was a double porter, clocked in at 11% (bartender said 12%). This was a deeply malty, slightly sweet beast of a treat.

I was told growlers were 4 dollars to purchase and 10-15 to fill and will probably pick one up before I leave.

The building was pretty nice, a little on the dingy side, even for an old historicish building, but I enjoyed it (particularly the RIS painting on the wall in the front). The location wasn't bad either, a few minutes north of Elevator brewery in the Short North art district (there's a really cool market behind the brewery that is definitely worth checking out if you're there). I didn't like the service much, the guy couldn't even tell me how many gallons or barrels their system was when I asked. Overall, 4 stars, maybe 4.5 if I lived in Columbus.

So overall, while for the sizable population Columbus may not be a beer town, there is definitely some good beer to drink here. Grapes of Mirth is located in the market behind the brewery and is a fantastic little beer shop with all sorts of top flight beers including alesmith (can't get that near me, I may grab a bottle before I leave town). If you're in Columbus and in the downtown area or near north/south, I would definitely recommend a pint or two at these places (though preferably Barley's if you can choose).
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:40 PM   #1384
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

A new beer from Weyerbacher caught my eye when I was out last. They call it Slam Dunkel, apparently a double dunkel wiezen. It's a 7% ABV beer for an affordable $5.89 for a 22. It seemed like an interesting purchase and an appropriately named beer for watching college bball.



It's a bottle conditioned beer, so it pours a nice cloudy brown. The head on this is a little bigger than it might truly be, since I swirled in the sediment before pouring the last in my glass. It's a pretty creamy head that sticks around decently, though.



The aroma is of dark malt and apple cider, including both apple and the spice of cider. The flavor is fairly sweet and very rich. It's got a woody, almost smoky flavor in it in addition to the apple and mild clove typical of a good Bavarian dunkel. This is a good beer. I'll give it . I think it's just a little too sweet to get a higher rating. Still, a 4 heart beer for under $6 for a 22 is a pretty good buy. If you're a lover of dunkels or weizenbocks, this is one not to be missed.
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:27 PM   #1385
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Ok, going to update my Elevator Brewery review b/c I went back there Thursday night.

Place is better on 2nd visit. I started with the ESB again, but still could not get much more out of it. Then I went back to the dopplebock, and I really got a lot of chocolate notes out of it and it finished with a hint of sweetness. I really enjoyed this beer the 2nd time around and ended up having 3 or 4 of these throughout the night.

I also played some pool in the back of the brewery. Turns out the upstairs is being rented out to a lawyer's office, so I was mistaken previously. The bartender was also top notch, as were the manager and a server I briefly spoke to. I found out they brew most of their beer off premise (moving across the street somewhere but it's not finished yet), though they had a very small mash tun and brew kettle right behind the bar that they regularly use. I thought that was pretty cool bc you could basically sit there one afternoon, enjoy a sandwich and a few pints while they are brewing a small batch of beer.

We had an appetizer while we were there, beef tenderloin sliders (basically beef tenderloin in some sort of fancy bread with some garlic, herbs and peppers on it). It wasn't much food for ten bucks (3 mini sandwiches, like half of a white castle burger type size), but it was very good beef tenderloin.

I ended up grabbing a growler of dopplebock before I left. I'm drinking that, along with 2 other growlers (one from each of the other two breweries) with some friends tonight, if they have any insight to add about any of these beers I'll be sure to add it in here.

On a side note, anybody from Michigan have this year's Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA yet? Was supposed to come out here in late February but last update I heard has it as like early April. I loved that beer last year and am hoping it's just as I remember it this year.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:14 AM   #1386
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

dear wookie,

I'm grunching this, but am fairly positive it hasn't been said. You need to try Ballast Point's "Victory at Sea". It's a coffee vanilla imperial porter and is 5 stars, so excellent.

love, snowden
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Old 03-29-2009, 01:46 PM   #1387
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Nope, I haven't tried that one. I haven't even heard of the brewery. Where is it made? I might not be able to get it.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:25 PM   #1388
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

it's made in san diego.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:30 PM   #1389
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Yeah, that's probably why I haven't heard of it. I can only get beer from the biggest CA breweries.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:31 PM   #1390
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Today is a beautiful day. Not because the snow has melted. Not because the sun is shining. Not because it's getting warmer out in South West Michigan. And not because I can finally start golfing again. Today is a beauitful day because today is the first day of the year that Bells Brewery releases its newly brewed batch of their summer bear called Oberon.

Bells Brewery is a local favorite in Kalamazoo that has become pretty big success lately and a lot of it has to do with the popularity of Oberon. All around Kalamazoo, people wait for "Oberon Release Day" when they ship the new batch of Oberon to the local stores and bars. Bells also owns a bar that is attached to its older brewary in downtown that is walking distance from my place and every year on the release day, theres an all day celebration at the bar and outside in their "beer garden" which is a little park like area with trees, pathes, a small stage for local bands and what not. Basically, its a good time and its one of the first things the people in Kalamazoo see as the end of Winter and the start of Spring.

If you're ever in Kalamazoo in the summer time, I'd suggest stoping by the Bar and having a drink. Its a real good crowd and on a nice day you can go outside behind the bar in the middle of downtown Kalamazoo and enjoy the day and get away from the concrete sidewalks, brick buildings, noisey traffic and what not and just relax. Everyone is really friendly and social and its just good times.

These are some quick pics I found online. Not the best but I don't have time to fish around. These pics are off the patio area right as you walk out the back of the bar. Beyond that little gazebo type deal, it opens up into a sort of grassy field with some tables next to trees and flowers and what not all fenced in right in the middle of downtown.












So if you've never had Oberon (and are of age), I invite you to give it a try if you can find it. The brewery ships to random spots around the country now and I think if you're further outside the midwest you might want to find a store locator and call around.



Last edited by MrWookie; 03-30-2009 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:44 PM   #1391
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I'd really like to add Bell's to my list of brewery tours. I may be in Michigan around August, I think I'll have to drive the 3 1/2 hours from where I'll be to Kalamazoo, has to be worth it right?

BTW, I've had a few Oberon's last Summer, and it never struck me as a beer I'd even buy a six pack of on a regular basis. I don't know why, I just didn't think it was anything special. I'd rather stock my fridge with $9 of Wienstephaner Hefe or something like that.

I guess this means I'll have to pick up a sixer and give it another shot!
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:29 PM   #1392
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Sorry Wookie, thanks for the edit.

The first time I tried Oberon, I didn't like it. At that time, I mainly thought of beer as your cheap bush light and bud/miller stuff and was drinking to party being in college so I didn't really have a good beer taste. Since that time, I have gradually branched out to better quality beers that I enjoy more nowadays.

Oberon is sort of a cult favorite around here and is extremely popular. A lot of people put an orange slice in their drinks. I think for me personally, the drink just reminds me of summer and good times. I mean, I like the beer but its the whole experience of being outside, having the warm sun on your shoulders, knowing you can waste the day away however you want and sipping on a nice cold Oberon.

If you make it to Kalamazoo, send me a PM and I'll walk down to the Bar and buy you a drink. Also, the bar serves several Bells beers that they don't even bottle and as far as I know the only place in the world you can buy them is at that one bar in Kalamazoo. I'm not very experienced with what makes them special but apparently they are. I went with someone more experienced and he pointed out what beers you could only buy at the bar and which ones were good. We sat outside all day and tried just about them all. They are all pretty strong for a beer, and needless to say, I was feeling good.
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:04 PM   #1393
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

sc000t,

When the 50's - 60's start hitting here, I'll buy a 6 pack of the Oberon and give it a review. If I make it down to Kalamazoo, I'll send you a PM and take you up on that drink!
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:41 PM   #1394
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I got a couple reviews to post tonight. This first is an old one that I didn't bother to post due to the imageshack issue. No pics, at least for now. I may post some on tinypic eventually. The review is a new one from Otter Creek: their attempt at a Russian Imperial Stout. I've found Otter Creek to be a little hit or miss, but their beer is usually pretty inexpensive, and that counts for something. This beer was $7.39, not exactly cheap, but that's not too bad for a 22 oz bottle of 10.6% ABV imperial stout. It's more than Brooklyn's BCS, though, so this will have to at least meet that standard to get any real note.

It pours as expect a very thick black with a thin brown head. What head it has is somewhat persistent.

The smell is good. I get a strong nuttiness, along with coffee, but there's a hint of cherry cough syrup that might kill this. Thankfully, I don't get the cough syrupy flavor much except for maybe the slightest suggestion of it in the finish. What I do get is a lot more coffee than the nose would suggest, and the nuttiness is behind it. For an imperial stout, this actually isn't all that sweet. Sure, it's sweet, but this is less so than most. It's also fairly hoppy. It's not as hoppy as, say, Victory's Storm King, which is one of the hoppiest imperial stouts on the market, but it's definitely present. The hoppy finish may help prevent this beer from being too cloying. All in all, I will say I prefer this to the BCS. The BCS can be a little too sweet and syrupy, and this avoids that. Still, as much as I'd like to call this a value pick in imperial stouts, I can get sixers of the BCS for $9 when it's in season, and I can get 4 packs of Old Rasputin for $9.50. Those are two excellent beers in this style that cost less per ounce and come in a serving size that won't take you out of commission for a night. I'll give this , but I'm not sure I'll be getting it again.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:49 PM   #1395
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

The second review is the beer I'm having with dinner: Bear Republic's XP Pale Ale. I got it on sale for $3.93 for a 22 oz bottle. Looking it up online, it looks like it's 5.5% ABV, perhaps on the higher side for a standard American pale ale, but a bit lower than I expected.

The beer pours a clear gold with a modest head, par for the style.

The aroma is fairly hoppy for an APA. I get mostly citrus. The flavor gives me a hint of grapefruit, but it's not as potent a hop flavor as I might have expected from the smell. This beer leaves a very dry flavor in your mouth despite it being a hair sweet on your tongue when you first try it. I would say I prefer this to Sierra Nevada's pale ale, but it's hard to justify the purchase of this one when it's almost double the price per ounce. I'll give this and a half , but that's part because of the cost and part because of the high price. A real pale ale lover might give it 3-3.5.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:51 PM   #1396
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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"I got it on sale for $3.93 for a 22 oz bottle."


"part because of the high price."
Oh, damn you Americans and your cheap, easily available, great beer
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:14 PM   #1397
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Today is a beautiful day. Not because the snow has melted. Not because the sun is shining. Not because it's getting warmer out in South West Michigan. And not because I can finally start golfing again. Today is a beauitful day because today is the first day of the year that Bells Brewery releases its newly brewed batch of their summer bear called Oberon.
Name-drop time!

I was drinking with Larry Bell one night, and we went from one bar to a next. He gets the first round and orders Oberon. I'm not a huge Oberon fan. I just don't dig the style, at all. The beer arrives and we dive in, and he surprises me with, "Well, what do you think?" referring to the Oberon. I take another sip, partly to stall and partly to taste it again, and all I can come up with in answer is, "Well, at least it tastes fresh."

From there we stuck to Two-Hearted until they ran out.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:26 AM   #1398
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

RDH,

Good call. The only Bell's beers I've had are the Oberon and the Two Hearted, and I much, much preferred the latter.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:26 AM   #1399
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Oh, damn you Americans and your cheap, easily available, great beer
High is relative. When I can get a sixer of SN for about 7 bucks, why pay $4 for single 22 oz bottle of something that's not that much better.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:54 AM   #1400
Bedreviter
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Originally Posted by MrWookie View Post
High is relative. When I can get a sixer of SN for about 7 bucks, why pay $4 for single 22 oz bottle of something that's not that much better.
I know, and I lived 4 years in North Dakota (one of the cheapest states in the US), so I know about all the difference in prices and economy. But now I live in a country where our equivalent of Budweiser is $1,5 for 12oz, and 0,5liter (17oz) of any craft beer is about 10$. So when someone refer to a $4 bottle of 22oz craft beer as expensive----> Mad at my government mind you.
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