Category: Reviews

 North Coast Brewing – Ft.Bragg, CA – EST. 1988

Red Seal Ale – ABV 5.5% –  Copper color, nice thick head, hoppy & spicy finish

I LOVE this beer! It’s won 10 gold medals & 2 silver

“Red Seal has to be the finest American pale ale available nationally. Loaded with truly intense hop flavor, it’s not for the faint hearted, but a delightful reward for lovers of the style”.  -Ed Westemeier, The Cincinnati Enquirer


Starr Hill Brewing – Charlottesville, VA in Blue Ridge foothills – EST.1999

Northern Light IPA – ABV 6.5% – Copper color, crisp, fruity (tangerine?), mild aroma, creamy head

Very, Very tasty. Everything you’d expect from an IPA. It’s won 14  awards.

First opened in the historic Starr Hill Music Hall as a storefront.



 Cottrell Brewing – Pawcatauk, CT – EST. ?

State Line IPA – ABV 7% (i think) – Copper/Amber, low head, light hoppy taste but a good bite, mild, light floral/sweet smell

All in all a pretty good IPA. I would have preferred a larger head.

I couldn’t find any information on this company.



 Widmer Brewing – Portland, OR – EST. 1984

Drop Top Amber Ale – ABV 5.3% – Small head, malty caramel with some hops, slight spice aftertaste,  light, not much aroma. Overall great beer.

Widmer was the first to introduce 4 seasonal brews back in 1986. The world’s largest draft-only brewery, they began bottling in 1996. Gotta keep up with the demand, right? They have many more beers I will be sampling in the future.

I had this at the top of Sandia Peak (10,378ft) in Albuquerque NM. A definite must if you’re out there. There is a 2 drink limit due to the elevation.

I also added an addition to the BELL’S page and ABITA page.



 Chama River Brewing – EST ?

No history information found. Weird.

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Chama has 6 year round brews and 4 seasonal.   Their beers are only available on tap at the brewery/restaurant. So if you live in ABQ or plan to visit check it out. I’ll be there in 2 weeks and will definitely return. Their food is also fantastic, so you really can’t go wrong.

The 6 year round brews are: Continue reading

Dogfish Head – Theobroma

 Dogfish Head Brewery – Milton, DE – Est. June 1995

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ABV: 9% / 750ml bottle                  Style: Chile Beer / Ale

Color: Golden Honey/Haze

Taste: Sweet like honey, slight licorice, finishes with heat from chiles

Overall: Powerful, its good but you have to beer a serious beer drinker to thoroughly enjoy.  Not my fav, but good to sip on and figure out all the flavors you taste.  Drink it warm; sounds gross but it tastes better than being cold.

Theobroma (translated into ‘food of the gods’) is made with honey, cocoa, ancho chiles, and annato (basically licorice).  First pour results in a large foamy head, but then dissipates quickly. You definitely taste the heat from the chiles. I didn’t taste the cocoa at all, but it is classified as a “chile beer”.  I never knew there was a separate category for such.  This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. This is one of their Ancient Ales series. Continue reading

  Sierra Blanca – Moriarty, NM – Est. 1996

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 ABV: 5.2%                                     Style: American Amber/Red Ale

 Color: dark reddish copper          Taste: smooth, malty; almost no hops

Overall: Definitely have one again , really liked that it was so easy to drink.  Several reviews I read gave it a 3 of 5, but I believe it merits at least a 4.

Apparently, the owners do not want their history on the web, other than date established.  Although they do offer a vacation home in the mountains 3.5hrs south of ABQ which is stocked with a variety of their beers and they are complimentary.  You have to look at the place – Cool Ruidoso. This is my new spot I wish to visit.

Continue reading

 Santa Fe Brewing – Santa Fe, NM (duh) – Est. 1988

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ABV: 5.2%          

 2011 Rockies/SW Regional Champion, US Beer Tasting Championship

Style: English Brown Ale                       Color: Medium, golden brown

Taste: Flower aroma contributes to sweetness, nutty taste, mild and smooth with a nice hopback

 Overall:  Thumbs up!  I would definitely order again.”

Located right at the “top of the Turquise Trail” (which is a beautiful drive btw) started small of course.  In 1997 the capacity increased to 15 barrels progressing to the now 30bbl brewery.  Apparently its’ actual beginning was in the late 1800’s.  The company was incorporated under this name in 1892.  Their advertisements proclaimed their local brew “Guaranteed equal to any St. Louis or Milwaukee beer!”, but due to interstate refrigerated transport and national competition they closed their doors in 1896.  They would find out soon that it would not have mattered.  President Wilson’s passed his stupid law – Prohibition.  Did you know 1,568 breweries were closed?  It took 13 years for that law to be repealed.

Onward –  Using no preservatives or pasteurization they use hops shipped directly from Washington along with specialty malts imported from the UK. To quote:  “Our beers are natural conditioned in the bottle in which the beer undergoes a secondary fermentation that creates the carbonation naturally”.  They have a nice rounded collection including one called Chicken Killer Barley Wine.  I would LOVE to try this just for the name, which is also the reason I sampled our next beer….

NEXT: ROSWELL ALIEN AMBER ALE (yes you read that correctly)

Abbey Beverage – Monks’ Ale

 Abbey Beverage Company – Pecos, NM – Est. 2005?

ABV:  ??? – I could not find it anywhere

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Style:  Belgian Pale Ale / Enkel (single…as opposed to dubbels & trippels)

Color: Pale orange with slight haze; small head quickly disappears

Taste:  Lightly sweet, flowery hops and some spice. Starts with strong flavor but dissipates to a smooth, mild, dry finish.

Overall: Refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable.

Brewed on a small scale at the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a closed brewery (no guests are allowed) and under contract at Sierra Blanca Brewing Company in Moriarty. . Abbey Beverage Co. is believed to be the only monastic brewery in the U.S., and controls all the key ingredients and packaging materials at Sierra Blanca Brewing Company. The Monks themselves control 84% of the company. Continue reading

Abita Brewing Company – EST. 1986

Abita Springs, LA

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Founded in 1986, the Abita Brewing Company is 30 miles north of New Orleans in ….. Abita Springs.   It’s not a large town from what I remember but the pine trees are abundant.   Of course that’s true of the entire area.

In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer.   By 1994, they outgrew the original site (now their 100 seat brew pub) – I actually think I’ve been there. 1999?  That’s where I was introduced with their Amber (also, very good).

With the springs there water is pure and pristine and not altered in any way.  Abita Beer has no preservatives, additives or stabilizers and is cold filtered. Hand-crafted and brewed in small batches, producing over 109,000 barrels of beer annually. For you non-beer drinkers (not sure why you would be reading this blog, but hey the more the merrier) they also brew root beer…..over 6,000 barrels worth. Continue reading


    1874 / East Flanders, Belgium
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The name Gulden Draak comes from the Dutch words meaning Golden Dragon. It is named after the golden dragon at the top of the belfry in Ghent. In 1998 Gulden Draak was crowned the best-tasting beer in the world by the American Tasting Institute.

1874. Belgium. Ertvelde, East Flanders to be precise.  Lots of farmers brewing beer at home.  The “DE PEER” brewery was established with beer brewing as its main activity.   Farmers missed out on that opportunity.     Just a side note, I can’t say Flanders without thinking of Ned. Can you imagine Ned Flanders brewing beer?  Homer would be in heaven! Continue reading

1996 – San Marcos, CA / now Escondido, CA

Stone Brewing Company

Arrogant Bastard Ale

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This is the brain-child of Greg Koch & Steve Wagner who originally met in 1989 in Los Angeles, both in the music industry.  Greg had opened a rehearsal studio and Steve’s band was one of the first tenants.  A few years later they met again at a UC Davis weekend class – “Sensory Evaluation of Beer”.  Again they discovered a common interest – a love of beer and with similar tastes and ideals about brewing.  They kept in touch, got some investors to purchase new brewing vessels.  The ribbon cutting was July 26th and the first beer (Stone Pale Ale) was tapped in the tasting room. 

The first year total production was 400 Bbls; here’s the math: 1Bbl(barrel) = 31gallons.  So total output that year was 12,400 gallons.  Think of it in terms of a gallon of milk – 12,400 of those!  And that was only the first year.  In 2009 output was 98,500Bbls, or 94,658,500 gallons.  The brewery covers 55,000 sq.ft. which includes 22,500 sq.ft. of refrigerated area with an onsite bottling line.  Brewery capacity is expandable up 250,000Bbls.  Continue reading

Slight change in the line-up.  I decided to hold the DFH Theobrama for a later time as it’s a summer seasonal.  These 2 from Bell’s are winter seasonals and still available.

1983 – Kalamazoo, Michigan

Bell’s Brewery

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As a kid the word Kalamazoo never failed to produce giggles with my sis and I.   I have a vague recollection of maybe some cartoon character threatening to knock someone or something clear to Kalamazoo.  It was such a ridiculous name we never once thought it could be a real place.  Surprise!

Let’s be glad it IS a real place.   A city where in 1983 Larry Bell sold home-brewing supplies.  Information is sketchy between 1983 and 1985 so here’s my theory.  If it were me I would want to know the particulars of what I sold.  I detest a clerk who doesn’t know a thing about what he is selling.  Anyway, with all the materials at my disposal and to be more knowledgable to my customers thereby increasing sales, yadda yadda yadda….the mad scientist of beer I would become.  (Insert best evil maniacal laugh here).   Continue reading

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