Ahh the Tramp Stamp, that famous female upper-ass tattoo of the late 90’s and early 00’s, the female counterpart to men’s tribal tattoo. Both were a hot fad until people realized they had these tattoos forever and these tattoos made them look a bit like a douche. Luckily this beer won’t make you look like a douche, unfortunately it doesn’t last forever. While in Atlanta for Christmas my dad took my brother and I to The Beer Growler. While they had over 50 some beers this one immediately stood out to me. First for the brewery name then the beer name. I knew I’d heard good things about Clown Shoe’s beer but couldn’t remember where I heard it or what beer I’d heard about. As soon as I took a taste of the sample they gave me I knew this was going in my growler. I ended up buying a bottle of it and filling my growler with it again before leaving town. That growler is getting drunk tonight for New Years Eve, but before all that gets going read my thoughts after the jump.
After knocking back the standard Guinness Draught and the special Guinness Extra Stout I was excited to finally get a chance to try the Foreign Extra Stout. The Foreign Extra Stout is the highest rated Guinness product on RateBeer.com and is otherwise widely regarded as their best product. This is one of the oldest variants of Guinness available and is basically their extra stout with a kicked up level of hops for export, quite like how Pale Ale became India Pale Ale. I’m pretty psyched for this beer!
With some family in town I picked up a Mt. Carmel Porch Pack. The Porch Pack is Mt. Carmel’s 12-pack style sampler containing the IPA, Nut Brown Ale, Blonde Ale, and Amber Ale. By the by I think Porch Pack is a great name for a 12-pack as opposed to ya-know a 12-pack. Mt. Carmel also has a whole “porch” thing like porch sitting at the brewery and other porch related events. Having a brewery at a farm house had certain advantages, like porches.
I stopped by Rivertown earlier today to grab a pint of the Winter Ale (review here) while I was there I got my growler filled with their Roebling Imperial Porter off of the nitro tap. I did this because I’ve had a few Roeblings over the year and never given them a full review but also as part of the winter of my of dark content. I also scored 2 bottles of Gueuze, but more on that another day.
There are a number of bridges crossing the Ohio river in Cincinnati (or Covington/Newport if you wanna be a Kentuckian about it), one of which is a big yellow arch (the big mac), another purple one for people (cleverly named the purple people bridge), and another old fashioned looking one with 2 big towers and suspension cables. That last one is the John A. Roebling suspension bridge. Most notable for being the precursor to the Brooklyn bridge it’s also the oldest bridge in Cinci, and is a damn fine piece of construction that has been carrying traffic for almost 140 years! Ok.. honestly I never new any of that before having 2 pints of this beer and doing some Googling, it’s a pretty cool story and I suggest everyone check it out knowing being half the battle and all that. But you’re not here for history, so on to the beer!
I had never heard of Fat Heads or their Head Hunter until a new beer-friend hooked me up with a 6-pack of random bottles. When I found out this was from Ohio and that it had won this crazy number of medals I got pretty excited. Here are some of those awards:
- 2012 World Beer Cup American Style IPA – Silver
- 2011 Great American Beer Fest – American-Style IPA – Bronze
- 2010 Great American Beer Fest – American Style IPA – Silver
- 2009 Draft Magazine – Top 25 beers in the world
But I don’t buy into the hype of awards all too much. From what I’ve seen there are loads of competitions out there and if you find one specific enough you’re guaranteed a medal in it. Bottom line though is that this beer has some clout and hype behind it, time to find out what I think.
My last encounter with Green Flash left me less than thrilled by their Tripel, and honestly this is probably not the best for me to follow it up with. It’s another Belgian, but a Belgian Pale Ale infected with brett… So this beer takes a bit of explaining to do.
First off what is a Belgian Pale Ale? Belgian pales first came about after World War 2 to compete with the lighter, less bitter styles from other parts of Europe. For a country most well known for ass kickingly strong tripels and quads the pale is their daily session beer.
Second question is what the heck is brett? Even people who have been into beer for years may not have heard of this. That is because it’s historically viewed as a contaminant and introducing off-flavors. Though it is a common attribute in lambics and saisons, sour beers, which are growing in popularity and are somewhat of a current fad… they are also something I don’t particularly like.
Basically this style is something akin to an “infected” Belgian bud light. Time to find out what exactly this crazy thing is
I had decided to focus on locally available beers but then an awesome new beer buddy decided to rock my world and hook me up with some tasty offerings. Firestone Walker Brewing Company is one of those legendary California breweries, but it’s still kinda climbing the ranks compared to some places like Stone or Russian River. Just looking at Rate Beer there are 22 beers from Firestone with 90+ scores. They won the World Beer Cup for mid-sized brewery in 2004, 2006, and 2010. The Union Jack has won 12 awards since 2008 ranging from bronze to gold from competitions around the world.
My friend scored this beer for me a few days before all those Stones came in and I decided to take a break from the Stones and give this a go. Green Flash is rapidly growing as one of my favorite breweries. I only discovered them recently due to a friend (the same friend who hooked up the Hop Head Red) and luckily, unlike some other recent breweries I’ve found, Green Flash is widely available in Ohio! In the past I’ve had their Palate Wrecker DIPA (review here) and The Hop Head Red (review here) both of which I loved it. I’m excited to try my favorite beer style from one of my new favorite breweries. On to the beer!
Beer: Ruination IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 7.7%
Pours a great color that I want to call sunset brown. Those yellow/golden/orange hues of sunset mixed with with a light brown color. Topped off with loads of tiny bubbles that forms like Voltron into an ample head.
That’s a hell of a smell. Very intense hop armoas getting up in your face with lots of pine, citrus, and some alcohol.
The taste isn’t as “ruinous” as described, again according to the Stone book the blurb on the bottle was written at a time when it was one of the more bitter beers on the planet, now though it doesn’t seem nearly as extreme. Don’t get me wrong it’s very aggressive and up front with lots of bitterness and bite. But it’s also balanced out (very slightly) by some bread malts. Oh and all those bitter hops come with more citrus flavor. Not to be forgotten there is significant alcohol warmth which I find quite pleasant.
Mouth feel packs a medium body and mild carbonation, not too much to write about here.
And now I begin to see the reason for the name Ruination, my palate feels trashed from this long and intense after taste. This is definitely something to end a night on because ANYTHING else will taste off. Per Stone’s book (review pending by the way) this beer was the first bottled (not first overall) Double IPA. I’m not sure how verifiable that is but it seems likely as it came out in 2002 and wither it’s first or second it’s still pretty cool to have an early beer from a now relatively common style. All that said I don’t really think this is an amazing beer and I’m in no rush to drink it again. I can see it as a nice reality check for what extreme beers can be or maybe as a nice shock to the system after drinking a string of lagers.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This beer was sent to me for free by Stone. To our readers, and any breweries interested in sending me stuff, giving me free beer impacts the review in only 1 way. That way is that I WILL review the beer and I WILL write a blog post about it. Giving me free beer does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it or anything like that.
I have a slightly shameful thing to admit, thus far I have not been a fan of Stone beers. My first encounter with them, with Arrogant Bastard in fact, had been when I was still relatively new to the big wide world of craft beer. We were out at an early lunch on a Sunday and I saw this beer I’d never heard of before, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and I figured I’d give it a go. Yeah… not a good lunch beer. I didn’t take any notes like I would do now but I remember finding it very over aggressive. I also recall having the IPA, the Sublimely Self-Righteous, and the Ruination before… never caring much for any of them.
When I was at the Beer Bloggers Conference Randy Clemens the “Social Media Linchpin” (great job title) at Stone took part in a panel about networking with breweries. During the panel he mentioned how he will send beer to bloggers and never see anything from it. As soon as the panel was over I hoped up and introduced myself and first told him the above about my history with Stone, I then told him any beer he sent me would get a fair review and a post on the site. Stone is a far away brewery that actually has a big presence in Ohio (coughWhereYouAtNewBelgiumcough) and I know a lot of people around here really like Stone. He said to email him and he’d see what he could do. I forgot about it and didn’t think of it again till I got this weird email from UPS that someone was shipping me something, well that something arrived today and it was this: