May 30, 2011

Williamsburg, VA: Williamsburg Alewerk's Coffeehouse Stout

There's no place like home and there's no beer quite like a stout.  Finding my parent's house completely devoid of any kind of beer (save for 3 Coors Lights leftover from my brothers' 21st birthday - not drinkable), I ventured to the nearest grocery store and picked up a sixer of my hometown brewery's Coffeehouse Stout.  Having brewed a batch like this myself, I was curious to see how it would go down.  To make things even more interesting, this beer was made with coffee from Antigua, Guatemala, one of the places I'd been to on my recent travels and where I'd had a fair amount of the local coffee.

As it is, a stout is a pretty heavy beer.  For some, it may just be too much to handle.  This dark stout has so much coffee flavor, I think that someone who wasn't a big beer drinker, but liked coffee, could really get along with it.  And as someone who likes coffee almost as much as they like beer, I see this six-pack going down pretty quick.

While the coffee flavor is somewhat overpowering, this beer is surprisingly sweet.  It lacks the complexity and creamy texture of Guinness, but it might be a good place to start if you want to start exploring some brews on the darker end of the spectrum.

This and other Alewerks brews can be found in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, DC.

May 22, 2011

Chattanooga, TN: The Terminal's IBA

The other day my girlfriend and I visited Chattanooga, TN a straight shot down Interstate 24 from Nashville.  We went there to meet with an entrepreneur and gain some insights on starting a business.  He very graciously took us out to lunch afterwards at a brewpub down the road called the Terminal.

Situated in a wedge-shaped building near the center of town, this place just felt good from the moment we walked in.  Despite being shaped like a triangle, the space was organized well, with a bar on the ground floor and additional seating on two floors above and on a terrace out back.  Going upstairs for a seat, we were able to look down onto the brewery's fermenting tanks in the basement.  A nice touch.

I sampled a couple different beers, but decided to get a glass of their IBA, or Indian Brown Ale, because this was a style I hadn't seen before.  IPAs, or India Pale Ales, are pretty common, well-liked among hopheads - people who enjoy beers with heavy hop flavor and smell, usually described as floral or citrusy.  At my first taste I was a bit surprised - this tasted just like an IPA.  What's the point of going brown instead of pale?  I went for a second try, then I noticed the difference.  The hops cleared out to allow for a bit of that malty brown ale flavor right at the end.The IBA turned out to be both interesting and flavorful, the perfect accompaniment for my 'Macho Man' spicy chicken sandwich.  I recommend a visit to the Terminal for anyone passing through Chattanooga.

May 18, 2011

Nashville, TN: Yazoo Dos Perros

I'm back in my old stomping grounds of Nashville, TN, on the way back to Virginia from New Orleans JazzFest.  The brew I've chosen for my first review is Dos Perros, a brown ale from Nashville's own Yazoo Brewing Company.  I've had several from the bottle over the past few days, but last night I opted to get it on draft at my favorite bar in town, Broadway Brewhouse, to chase down a basket of their delicious Chipotle Chicken Wings.

Dos Perros exemplifies many of my favorite things about a brown ale: malty, not too hoppy, medium-bodied.  It's a perfect compliment to some spicy BBQ wings.  But I was surprised to find it served with a lime at the Brewhouse.  I don't know whether it was there more for taste or to remind us of this beer's Mexican influence (it's brewed with a portion of flaked maize), but I prefer this beer sans lime.  The acidity of the limes take away from the character of the brown ale, hiding that tasty caramel/chocolate malt flavor.

With or without the lime, Dos Perros is very drinkable and not too heavy.  It's a good option for filling your growler and a great place to start sampling Yazoo's lineup of standard styles before moving on to some of their more adventurous varieties.

IBUs: 21
ABV: 3.5%

May 16, 2011


by David Ackley

Welcome to the Local Beer Blog! The basic idea is this: wherever I go, I'll sample the local beer and tell you about it. And I'l let you know about other cool beer stuff, too.

Why 'local'?  When you buy local, you're supporting the local economy. Don't take my word for it, check out this article from I know I'd rather have my beer money go to the local microbrewery than to the execs and advertising campaigns for Coors or Anheuser-Busch. It just so happens that this is American Craft Beer Week, so get out and support your local brewery!

A lot of beer reviews will give a grade -- B+ or 8.7 out of 10.  I'm just going to drink the beer and let you know what I think.

Hope you dig it!