Monthly Archives: December 2011

Review of Flashback India Style Brown Ale

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Flashback India Style Brown Ale produced by the Boulder Beer Company located in Boulder, Colorado.

I have reviewed a few Boulder products on this blog before and have thought that they were solid, however I’ve never tried or even seen this brew before, so I’m eager to taste it.

From the website,, we learn this about the Flashback India Style Brown Ale.

Citrusy with a prominent hop aroma, finishes clean, crisp and dry with dark roasted flavors from the biscuit and chocolate malts perfectly complimenting the bountiful cascades.  

Sounds pleasing enough.

This brew comes in a 12 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 6.88%.

The beer poured a mostly clear, light brown to copper/orange color with some burnt orange highlights around the edges.  The slightly off white head was very thick, bulbous, frothy and rocky.  It had very nice retention and it left some decent looking lacing too.  Very attractive standing in the glass I must say.

The aroma brought forth a very mild grapefruit citrus intermingled with a more robust, dark, earthy tone.  It kind of smelled like a caramel apple with an inclination of light sweetness.  Toasted biscuit and bread crumb hints were easily noticed as well as an underlying nuttiness.  It was decently complex, however nothing too crazy was noticed.

The taste seemed to let the caramel sweetness stand out a touch more.  Some toffee was noticed as well.  A nice, citrusy hop bite (grapefruit) and bitterness jumped out for a few moments, although they weren’t strong enough to stand in the way of the toasted biscuits and caramel.  As the brew warmed I grabbed a slight “woody” flavor, which gave way to even further morsels of nuttiness.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  It was suitably dry and smooth with a minute crispness.  This brew left a pretty good amount of flavor behind, but not as much as most typical “India” styled beers.

The Flashback India Style Brown Ale is a solid beer.  It wasn’t anything extraordinary, yet it was nothing to overlook either.  It showed fairly well I thought.  It’s easily drinkable with a good dose of flavor.  The brew wasn’t quite as balanced as some others that I’ve tried, but that wouldn’t stop me from enjoying a couple of these during a session.  I doubt this would be the first beer I would reach for if presented with several options, but it’s not a bad substitute.  If you see it… sure, give it a go.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  Have a safe and happy New Year.  Until next time.


Score:  3.7 out of 5
Grade:  B    

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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Boulder Beer Co., Country: USA


Review of Boulevard Double-Wide IPA

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying a Boulevard Double-Wide IPA produced by the Boulevard Brewing Company located in Kansas City, Missouri.

This is part of their “Smokestack Series” and it will actually be the first time that I’ve ever tried a beer from this brewery…. but I’ve heard good things.

Let’s see if we can find some information about this brew from the website,

The classic India Pale Ale is a traveler’s beer, aggressively hopped to withstand the long, hot ocean voyage to the British East Indies. Our Double-Wide I.P.A. also travels well, and is right at home in the most exotic ports of call of the Midwest. While this modern-day prairie schooner may not resemble a graceful sailing sloop, our liberal hopping regimen does make her virtually “twister-proof,” with toffee and caramel notes balancing out the lingering bitterness. Enjoy this beer fresh to best appreciate the complex blending of hop aromas, ranging from minty to citrusy, with subtle hints of pine.

Sounds tasty!!!

The Double-Wide comes in a 12 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 8.5%.

The beer poured a hazy, deep, dark orange to amber color.  It had an enormously sized, eggshell colored head that was very fluffy, frothy, soft and semi-rocky.  The retention time was super and the lacing looked pretty good too.  Nice looking beer here.

The aroma matched the description very well.  A nice hop punch by way of some grapefruit and pineapple citrus mixed with very floral and piny distinctions.  Maybe even a touch of orange in there too.  The caramel and toffee malts really came to life once the brew started to warm and develop.  Very nicely balanced, pleasing and not overly complicated.   

The taste came off a little more piny than citrusy I thought.  The citrus was still accounted for with the grapefruit and pineapple, but it just seemed a little more relaxed.  No matter because the piny aspects were very well represented.  This brew had more than enough bitterness to suit me.  It seemed a touch lighter on the caramel also, however I began to notice some toasted bread crusts at the back end, which gave it a little bit more of an “earthy” and “round” flavor profile.  Nice.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, slightly sticky, chewy and crisp with a light bite.  A tiny bit of warmth was represented and plenty of flavor was retained and enjoyed in between sips.

Well.  I think we have a winner here.  Well made and very nice.  I think this could be a “go-to” beer for me no doubt.  It was super easy to drink and it had more than enough aroma, flavor and feel to satisfy me or most any craft beer drinker I’d say.  It wasn’t overly hoppy, yet it wasn’t underscored either.  It sat right in the middle.  I want some more.  The only problem is that I can’t find it very easily.  I also think that this brew could be enjoyed at anytime during the year, although it might be best suited for those warm Spring days.  So, if you guys see the Boulevard Brewing Company’s Double-Wide IPA, give it a shot.  I think you will like it.

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  Have a good one.  Until next time.


Score:  4.25 out of 5
Grade:  A-   

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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Boulevard, Country: USA


Review of Bell’s Java Stout

Thanks for checking in another craft beer review guys.  Today I’m going to be sampling the Java Stout produced by Bell’s Brewery, Inc. located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

I tend to really like Coffee Stouts, so I’m hoping this one strikes my fancy.

For the commercial description of this Winter seasonal let’s turn to the brewery’s website,

Java Stout uses a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally for us by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor. Possessing an unmistakable aromatic punch, Java Stout has long been one of our most popular stouts.

Let’s sip.

This product comes in a 12 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 7.5%.

Well, after an overly aggressive pour by me (sorry about that), I noticed that the beer was dark brown to mostly black in color.  It had a tan colored head that was very large, smooth, creamy and soft.  It looked a little like the top of a chocolate milkshake.  The cap retained its size and shape for a tremendously long time and as the head worked its way down it left behind some nice patchy lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

With the first whiff I was definitely getting hints of roasted coffee along with other roasted malts of toast and grain.  Just a touch of chocolate and maybe a smidgen of oatmeal were noticed also.  It had a slightly charred and burnt biscuity/bread characteristic commingled with a relaxed nuttiness.  Something akin to almonds I thought.  Not bad on the aroma.  It seemed suitable and balanced.

The taste seemed to reveal a bit more of the bitter chocolate.  I still had no problem getting savors of coffee, but they didn’t seem as forceful as they were in the nose.  More of the nuttiness and toasted grain was noticed, which seemed to give it a very “earthy” and “round” profile.  As the brew warmed it began to take on a creamier texture and taste that only added to the softness of flavor.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied and verging on thin.  It definitely was not as dry as I would have liked either.  It was smooth and creamy and it left a decent amount of flavor behind on the roof of the mouth and tongue, however I was expecting a thicker, more chewy feel.  Oh well.   

Overall, I think this is a decent little Coffee Stout.  I wouldn’t say that it’s the best representation of style out there, but it gave a noble effort.  I’d say this brew is worth a try.  I know I wouldn’t turn it down if it were offered to me.  Everything seemed to be balanced well enough and nothing seemed out of place or off putting.  It fits well with the cooler months and it’s a breeze to drink.  I had it finished in no time.  So, if you can get Bell’s Java Stout, try it, and let me know what you think of it.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I hope all is well.  Until next time.


Score:  3.65 out of 5
Grade:  B 


Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Bell's, Country: USA

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