Understanding Cask Beer

| January 23rd, 2013 | 2 comments

Simply put, cask beer is a beer that is brewed and fermented, and then placed into essentially a small keg, where it is then conditioned and naturally carbonated through a secondary fermentation. The beer is transported to its serving location in this vessel and served directly from this vessel without the use of any additional pressure.

That being said, cask beer is delicious. Todd English’s PUB and Public House always have at least one cask beer available at any given moment. There are a couple other places in Las Vegas that also have cask beers available off and on. If you get the chance, try out one of these beers!

Here’s what to expect: (more…)

San Diego: Churchill’s Pub and Grille

| January 10th, 2012 | No comments

San Diego

Night 1:

We rolled into San Diego at roughly 5:30 PM and checked into our hotel.  We were both pretty beat from the day’s events, but we didn’t want to waste time.  I checked my Twitter feed and noticed that Ryan from Aces and Ales had recommended a pub called Churchill’s.  I was amazed to see it was only about a mile from the hotel!

We decided to take a walk and embark on our first stop for fine ales.


Aside from the outside sign, sporting the likeness of the man himself, the first thing I noticed was the old English telephone booth standing next to the entry way.  As we walked in, we were greeted by beer signs aplenty.  After being seated, we got our menu’s, including the extensive list of draft beer, which is, well, why you’re probably reading this in the first place.  Prices range from $3-$10 per glass, or you can get a 4oz.  taster for a fraction of the cost.

Evil Twin Soft X-mas with a Cherry on Top – Vanilla Imperial Stout w/ Cherries

Sadly, this beer was dominated by the sour cherry flavor, with only a minimal tasting of vanilla.  As the beer warmed, the coffee flavors began to sneak out, but overall it was disappointing.

 Karl Strauss Cask Conditioned Padre Porte

This was a bit underwhelming.  It had a standard porter flavor, a bit spicy, but the light body made it feel a little watered down.

Russian River Blind Pig IPA

-My wife exclaimed “This tastes just like it smells…DELICIOUS!”  …and I’d have to agree!  The grapefruit and pine notes come through in a big way, both in smell and in flavor, with a nice bitter finish.  This was my first experience with Russian RIver, and I cannot wait to get my hands on more of their brews! Highly recommended!

Karl Strauss Flan-Diddly-Anders Red

 -On first smell you get a nice nose full of maple and sweet cherries.  The flavor has a nice acidic sourness to it which give way to a bit of sweetness.  Not the best sour beer that I’ve had, but quite pleasant.

Monkey Paw Santa’s Pet Monkey – Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Porter

-The chocolate and vanilla flavors hit you right away with the coffee porter smell coming in shortly after.  The chocolate is by far the dominant flavor, as the vanilla seems to rarely come through.  All in all, a decent porter, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Coronado Stoopid Stout

-The coffee notes hit you right away, with a nice dose of chocolate, and a hint of grapefruit.  This stout is huge with a big coffee flavor, big alcohol, and a nice, unexpected hop overtone.  One fantastic stout!

Green Flash Fizzy Yellow Pilsner

-I’m not a fan of pilsners, however, alongside Tenaya Creek’s, this may be the only pilsner I’ve enjoyed.  It has great notes of lemon zest, malt, and even banana.  A fine, refreshing beer!

Karl Strauss Two Tortugas – Belgian Quad

-My wife and I both loves this one!  Smells and tastes like brown sugar and molasses, with a nice, rum-like finish.  Very complex and tasty!

Evil Twin X-mas in a NYC Hotel Room

-Bitter chocolate, smoky coffee, and toffee were the prevalent flavors here.  All shined through great, and each drink felt as if I was unveiling a new layer of flavors.  Quite a bold stout!

Not to be outdone, the food here was also great!  My wife raved about the clam chowder and scotch eggs, while I feasted upon an “Epic” grilled cheese sandwich.  If you are in San Diego, this pub is a “must go,”  and I’m sure it will be the first place I go on any future trips!  Great food, phenomenal beer selection, and top notch service…5 stars all around!

Coming soon:  Stone Brewery day 1

Top 10 (or 17) IPA’s of 2011

| January 6th, 2012 | No comments

India Pale Ale. Better known as it’s modern day, and less historically accurate cousin, IPA. One of the most popular craft beer styles in America, especially here on the west coast. In 2011, I had 52 different IPAs total. Of these 52 different IPA’s, I’ve managed to choose my favorite 10 that I had the pleasure of consuming this year. And by 10, I really mean 17. Enjoy, in no particular order:

Dogfish Head 120 Minute/90 Minute/60 Minute IPA/Aprihop

This might look like 4 different beers, but to me I see 4 different variations of the same beer. These are the most approachable of the IPAs, with more so a strong hop aroma and flavor rather than bitterness. 

The 60 and 90 are available year round. The 120 is only available a handful of times a year, and is hard to find when it is. Aces and Ales happened to get it on tap and Whole Foods and Khoury’s sold out of the bottles immediately. Aprihop is a variation of the 60 Minute with apricots thrown in, available in the spring time. 

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA/IPA

Stone IPA is one of my favorite IPAs and a great example of the “west-coast style IPA.” This is a strongly bitter beer with a bright, citrusy aroma. It is available nearly everywhere that sells beer and on tap at nearly all the PTs as well as Millers Alehouse and Yardhouse. 

Cali-Belgique is the same beer, but made with a Belgian yeast strain. This is the best Belgian style IPA I’ve had. The Belgian yeast adds a little bit more fruitiness to the beer that compliments the citrus flavors. 

Despite being a year-round brew for Stone, Cali-Belgique can only be periodically found in Las Vegas.

Lagunita’s Sucks Holiday Ale

Probably the heaviest hop aroma of all these beers, this IPA is incredible. Loads of sweet, citrusy aroma. Very sweet and smooth body and very drinkable. 

This is only a seasonal ale that was brewed in place of Brown Shugga’. This is still available in bottles around town and is currently on tap at Tenaya Creek Brewery.

Coronado Cask Idiot IPA

Neither the cask version, or the normal version is available in Las Vegas. I had this beer in San Diego. I never had the normal version, but the cask version was probably the smoothest IPA I’ve had. It wasn’t overly bitter and had a bit less aroma then the other IPA’s on this list. Being as it was on cask however, is what made this beer stand out from the rest. Soft texture, lightly carbonated and full of earthy, piny hop flavor. 

 Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin IPA/Sculpin IPA

Sculpin IPA is one of the highest rated IPA’s on Untappd. It is another “west coast style” IPA in that it has a strong bitter bite with huge grapefruit flavors and aromas. 

Ballast Point recently started distributing to Las Vegas, but are keeping Sculpin in California. 

If you visit the brewery in San Diego, they may have Habanero Sculpin on tap. This is a version of Sculpin with habanero peppers thrown in. The pepper flavors compliment the hop bitterness perfectly, and it adds a nice burning finish!

Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA

A truly incredible and unique beer. This one had mixed reviews from people as they felt that the citrusy hops didn’t go well with florally aroma and tea flavor. Like I said, it’s very unique and I thought it was awesome. Sadly, it was only brewed once and was never available in Las Vegas.

 Maui Flyin’ Hi.P.Hay/21st Amendment Hop Crisis

Technically two different beers from two different breweries, but I’m grouping these together as they were both amazing IPAs and both from cans. Both had amazing hop aroma bursting out of the can and a great citrusy flavor.

Maui Flyin’ Hi.P.Hay is apparently a limited release beer, but I feel like I saw it in town recently. Maybe not?

21st Amendment Hop Crisis is also a limited release beer and sadly, the brewery does not distribute to Nevada.

Dogfish Head Hellhound on my Ale

As you can tell, many of these IPAs are being described as “citrusy.” This beer actually was brewed with lemons! As such, it had a nice sweet lemony flavor pairing with the harsher citrus bite from the hops. 

This was a special release beer commemorating blues guitarist Robert Johnson. It was brewed twice last year and may still be available in town.

 Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Variation of the IPA style, a black IPA is both hoppy and roasty. This particular beer is probably the greatest black IPA there is. Very full bodied, soft texture and a wall of leafy hop aroma.

Brewed this summer for Stone’s 15 anniversary, there are no plans to brew this again. Good news is that it’s still available in town. I recently saw it at both Khoury’s and the Las Vegas Blvd Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, then you should try…

Stone Double Dry Hopped Sublimely Self Righteous Ale/Sublimely Self Righteous Ale

This beer is available year round in bottles and can be found on tap at Yardhouse. Sublimely Self Righteous Ale is very similar to Stone’s 15 Anniversary ale except there is a little less alcohol and less body making this less filling and more drinkable. Still has the wall of hop aroma that hits you right before your first sip, this is one of my favorite beers!

Earlier this year Aces and Ales had a double dry hopped variation. What this means is that there was even more hop aroma bursting out of the glass, making this an even more flavorful beer than it already is!


All of the above images were taken from the respective brewers’ websites.


Beer For Weddings

| April 23rd, 2011 | No comments

The royal family has decided that beer is for the lower classes and has banned any beer from being present at Prince William’s wedding. Specifically: “It isn’t really an appropriate drink to be serving in the Queen’s presence at such an occasion.” Since many associate beer with a drunken frat party with an endless supply of Bud Lite, beer can have a negative connotation. Many think of beer simply as the watered down taste of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. However, modern day craft beers have complex flavors that any alcohol enthusiast can appreciate. It is a shame the royal family does not see this, especially considering the history beer has had in Britain.

So, in honor of this, here are 6 beers that would be great at a wedding. While William and Kate have not shared their beer preferences, if any, these beers are wedding worthy.

Chimay Grand Reserve
This is a very smooth, amazing beer. It’s bottle conditioned, meaning that it is naturally carbonating and maturing inside the bottle. It is also brewed by monks in Belgium! How is this not classy?

Dogfish Head Midas Touch
This beer is fit for kings! The recipe for this was created by investigating the chemical compounds lining the inside of clay jars buried in Kind Midas’ tomb. It is brewed with honey and grapes, which gives it some white wine-like qualities. Dogfish Head states that this “will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike.”

Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu
Another beer from Dogfish’s ancient ales. Also brewed with honey, this is a very light, crisp and refreshing beer that could easily replace a white wine.

Dogfish Head Red & White
This is a witbier that is fermented with pinot noir juice. The added fermented fruit juice gives this beer a strong tart flavor making it a favorite amongst traditional wine drinkers.

Stone Old Guardian Belgo Barley Wine
This is similar to Stone’s normal Old Guardian Barley Wine, however this one is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain whereas the traditional Old Guardian uses and American yeast strain. The Belgian yeast brings out some floral and fruity characteristics in the beer which pairs perfectly with the strong, distinct taste from the barley and hops used in barley wines.

Coronado Brewing Idiot IPA
An unfiltered IPA from a small San Diego brewery. This beer is served on cask (aged and fermented naturally) giving this beer all the qualities of a good IPA with a smooth, soft texture.