Beer Review: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

This right here is not your normal beer origin story. The folks at Dogfish Head have recreated this beer based off chemical residue on a 2,700 year old artificat found in the tomb of King Midas. Dogfish Head teamed up with a molecular archaeologist to decode this residue into the ingredients from which they created the recipe for this exotic brew. Continue reading “Beer Review: Dogfish Head Midas Touch”

If 6 was 9: Magic Hat vs. West Sixth Brewing

Updated with West Sixth’s response to Magic Hat at the bottom.

The beer world on the internet has been abuzz since yesterday morning. Around 11 am on May 21st West Sixth Brewing, a small craft brewery out of Lexington, posted the following link on their Facebook page and Twitter account: “No More Magic Hat“. Please take a few minutes to read that, we’ll wait. Ok, everyone back? Great. I’m going forward assuming you’ve read that so if you haven’t, then do so now. That post started off this mini-firestorm of Retweets, Likes, and shares, plus individuals and other craft breweries urging everyone to sign a petition which they’ll send to Magic Hat headquarters. In summary, West Sixth is claiming Magic Hat wants them to change their logo, which will put them out of business. There is some merit there; a brand means a lot. Once you have that recognition built, having to rebuild it could lose you a lot of business. West Sixth also claims multiple times that they “reached out” to Magic Hat and never heard back.

Magic Hat was initially mute and then began deleting negative Facebook comments from their Facebook page, which is always a bad move. Around 10 pm on May 21st, Magic Hat posted this link on their Facebook page: Claims Made by West Sixth Brewing Co.: Simply Not True [MagicHat has since removed that link].

Magic Hat vs. West Sixth

Here are the two logos; I flipped West Sixth’s so you can better see what the whole deal is about:

Magic Hat vs. West Sixth

Personally, I can see what the stink is about and feel that Magic Hat does have some very, very small claim. Remember that many of the logos in question don’t have the “West Sixth Brewing Company Lexington, Kentucky” words around it. While the compass/star/dingbat thing and # are very different, they’re in a similar place. And damn do those numbers look identical, especially with the ball on the tail.

Looking carefully at these two logos I now see that Magic Hat’s 9 has a star/dingbat thing in the middle of the number. Do I think these are identical? No. Do I believe that they’re damned close and would “cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods or as to the sponsorship or approval of such goods” if said consumer had an upside down can of West Sixth? Possibly. But that’s for a jury to decide.

False Claims

I want to take a look at some of the things said in each company’s statements. First off Magic Hat claims it was “blindsided” by the social media forces West Sixth gathered. Magic Hat also claims and proves (something West Sixth does not do) that they attempted to make contact with West Sixth and, in fact, did receive responses from them. So we can see West Sixth’s claims of never hearing back are bull crap, which to me is disappointing

A claim made by West Sixth is that Magic Hat wants “all their profits up until this point.” By looking at the letters provided by Magic Hat, we can see that it’s not the case. Magic Hat wanted “an accounting of all sales made … so an appropriate royalty could be determined.” West Sixth also say that their logo includes “West Sixth Brewing Company,” which as Magic Hat points out, is not always the case.

Magic Hat offers to allow West Sixth to continue using the number 6 if they remove the star (which they call a “dingbat”) and always include the words “West Sixth Brewing.” Personally, this seems like a good option to me as everyone would be happy and West Sixth would be reinforcing it’s brand name via the logo and the words. See below picture from Magic Hat’s provided letters

5-22-2013 8-15-11 AM

West Sixth then responds, agreeing to most of those terms and trying to get clarity on a few of them. Magic Hat’s response was saying they can’t provide clarity until they see West Sixth’s new logo that will replace the dingbat with a compass. More legal banter follows, and the agreement falls apart due to the cost to West Sixth to replace all the logos and the two sides being unable to agree on what exactly to change.

That last letter was February 27th; no further contact between the two parties is provided, so we are left to assume none occurred. Then on May 16th Magic Hat filed a lawsuit (linkage). I really can’t make too much sense of this through all the legal mumbo jumbo. Those letters sent back and forth were hard enough. But, it’s clear Magic Hat wasn’t happy with the proposed settlements and sued West Sixth over the logo.

However, I can read and do love this: “Plaintiff Magic Hat is one of the largest and most well-recognized craft brewers in the United States.” That’s some funny stuff. You want me to believe Magic Hat is more well known then Stone, Sierra Nevada, or Sam Adams?

My opinion on all this is that it’s damned fracking nonsense. I really view the issue as the U.S. Patent Office being stupid for allowing a  trademark on “#9.” I mean, seriously? They trademarked #9? And It was approved!?

Update: West Sixth has posted a response to Magic Hat’s post from last night. West Sixth’s new post can be read here. In short they accuse Magic Hat of ignoring them via letter, phone, and email and accuse Magic Hat of preferring to communicate over Facebook. West Sixth calls Magic Hat out on various claims they made and proposes to settle based on the terms I mentioned before (that is using “West Sixth Brewing” in all logos and changing the compass). West Sixth then goes on to show some of the proposed changes to the logo.

Beer Review: Rockmill Tripel

Rockmill is a semi-local brewery from Lancaster, Ohio. Lancaster is about 2 hours from here and slightly south-east of Columbus. They make the somewhat lofty claim that their local water ” is nearly identical in mineral content to that of Wallonia, Belgium, where Belgian ale originated.” They also use all organic ingredients in their beers. I’ve seen the Triple, Dubbel, and Witbier at various locations around town for a while now but have resisted trying them due to the $15 price. I drink a lot of beer and that gets expensive fast so when I’ve always opted for the $10 bomber/750 over the $15 one. I’m not sure why I changed my mind and finally picked this up but I’m glad I did!

Sorry for the poor quality

Brewery: Rockmill Brewery
Beer: Tripel
Style: Belgian Tripl
ABV: 9%
Calories: ~270 per glass

Super dense and cloudy orange brown with skim of white head.

Oh man, ultra pungent flowery aroma jumps out as soon as you pop the cork. Lots of spices, banana, cloves, loads of yeast, bit of bread.

Nice classic tripel flavors showing off some floral hops, much more banana taste, some other fruits like lemon and citrus stuff. Really nice and complex flavor.

Medium body with a pretty smooth feeling and a fair bit of carbonation.

No real sense of the 9% which is nice that you can enjoy this without it being in your face. Super awesomely complex aroma and taste are both very enjoyable. I strongly regret waiting so long to have this. $15 is kinda steep and is why I held off so long but honestly for a very small brewery making beers like this it’s not an unfair price. One thing to note was how hard it was to get the cork out. I’m not sure what that means but I had to get out the wine opener and fight with it a bit. Also kinda accidentally poured the yeast in and didn’t keep it separated too well.

This review was just on their tripel but coincidentally and unbeknownst to me  fellow Cinci beer blogger Queen City Beer Nerd has just posted a review of the dubbel. I picked this bottle up at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate and you can check the Rockmill website for other locations around town as there are a few too many to list here.

I enjoyed this so much that I’m going to find some time this summer to get out to the brewery and try their other beers. I will, of course, let everyone know what I discover out in the rural Ohio countryside!

Beer Review: Victory Silverback

After my recent post on Victory’s Storm King imperial stout the comments on reddit brought to my attention a delicious idea I’d never heard before. Turns out that at the Victory brewery you can order a beer called a Silverback, now you won’t find this on any store shelves, it’s a mixture of half Victory Golden Monkey and half Victory Storm King. The white head from the Monkey on top of the black body from the Storm King give this brew it’s Silverback name. I’ve had a black and tan before, Guinness stout & Bass pale ale, and quite enjoyed them. However I have no idea what to expect from a stout and a Belgian tripel except for one thing; both of these beers are over 9%,so I will be drunk!

I poured the Golden Monkey first and ended up using a bit more then half of that before I got to the Storm King. I’d read that this didn’t separate this well like Black & Tans so I tried a trick and poured the Storm King on a spoon over the Monkey, as you’ll see it didn’t layer well either.

Very interesting appearance for sure. Kind of a dark brown or purple color beverage with a milky white head with streams of brown from the Storm King.

Woah, pungent aroma with plenty of roasty malt action as well as some flowery hops. Oh and a strong dose of alcohol.

Taste is curious as well definitely picking more of the stout here then the tripel. Strong malt body and taste with citrus and pineapple hops not found in any other stout I’ve encountered. Hints of chocolate, caramel, orange peel, and lots of “zest”.

Holy carbonation Batman! I’ve had fresh soda flatter than this, man those are some tingly bubbles, all riding atop a smooth medium body.

This has to be one of the most interesting beers I’ve tried. Not nearly my favorite by any means but most interesting for sure, no style has ever come close to this menagerie of taste and flavors. They’re good and all but not great, and that carbonation is a little over powering. This is certainly worth a try just bring a friend to split it with. Remember what’s interesting isn’t always the same as what’s good.

Beer Review: Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

In the beginning of my adventure into stouts I had one of Great Divide’s Oak Aged Yeti bottles and didn’t think too highly of it. With all the other imperial stouts coming out recently I decided to pick up the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and give it my thoughts. First off here is Great Divide’s sales pitch:

CHOCOLATE OAK AGED YETI IMPERIAL STOUT is another revered incarnation of our legendary imperial stout. We toned down the hops a bit to allow cocoa nibs to contribute some pleasing bitterness, while vanilla notes from the oak combine with the cocoa to create an aroma and flavor akin to a gourmet chocolate bar. A dash of cayenne keeps things lively, adding just a bit of heat to the finish. Another great Yeti? Hell yes.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti”

Beer Review: Victory Storm King

Following up last week’s review of Victory HopDevil, their IPA, I’m switching tracks and trying their imperial stout, Storm King. First here’s what Victory says, then on to the review:

Emerging from the deepest shades of darkness, a rolling crescendo of flavors burst forth from this robust stout. The thundering, hoppy appeal of Storm King subsides into the mellow subtleties of roasted malt, exhibiting an espresso-like depth of character in its finish. An exquisite blend of imported malts and whole flower American hops merge harmoniously in this complex ale. Discover the dark intrigue of Storm King, as it reveals the rich, substantial flavors that it holds within.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Victory Storm King”

Beer Review: Rivertown Old Sour Cherry Porter (2013)

Rivertown’s Old Sour Cherry Porter is making the rounds at the stores again. This is, I believe, the third year for this beer and past reviews report it has being under carbonated and a bit flat. I have never personally had this before and am not really super psyched for it but extremely curious. Sours are a large uncharted territory for me as I’ve only had a few. That said I intend to give this beer my best and most unbiased review possible, a goal I apply to every beer I try. First off here’s what Rivertown says:

We combined our Imperial Porter with fresh dark Michigan cherries, and then aged it for over three months in a bourbon barrel inoculated with wild yeast. This is a bottle conditioned ale, and can cellar for over five years. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Beer Review: Rivertown Old Sour Cherry Porter (2013)”