Monthly Archives: February 2013

Review of Brewery Vivant Big Red Coq

What’s up folks?  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying Brewery Vivant’s Big Red Coq (Ha, that sounded funny).  This Brewer’s Reserve Limited Release beer is brewed in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I can’t get any of these brews in my area, so I need to thank Chris Phillips ( for sending it to me.

The website,, gave an enticing description of the Big Red Coq.

We make four batches of this beer each year, once a quarter.  When it is gone, it is gone.  What started as a test batch specialty beer at our pub, has grown into one of our most sought after beers.  Plus there is so much fun to be had with the name.  Coq means rooster in French. 

Let’s give it a try.  Shall we?

This beer came in a 16 oz. can and it packed an ABV of 6.25%.

It poured to a very deep maroon/burgundy color with some ruby red hues showing through when held toward the light.  The cap was eggshell colored, smooth and soft. It was sized decently, the retention time was fairly nice and the lacing seemed to be sound as well.

The bouquet popped with some nice grapefruit and pineapple citrus, which commingled with just a wee bit of funky goodness and Belgian yeast.  Hints of pine added some more hoppy characteristics while a deep caramel malt added some additional sweetness.  I really liked this fragrance.  Very well balanced and harmonized.

The taste began with some toasted breads and caramel sugars.  The grapefruit and pineapple citrus mixed with the piny hops sat right in the middle while the Belgian yeast, funk and even some grassy components hit fairly hard at the back end.  The hop bitterness was of medium strength, however it was sturdy enough to really please the taste buds.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Smooth, dry, semi-chewy and slick.  The carbonation was lively, but not stingy.  Just a very minor amount of warmth was felt as the liquid worked it’s way across the palate.  A genuine amount of flavor was left behind for me to enjoy between sips as well.

Overall, I found this to be a very fine beer.  I’m not typically a fan favorite of “Reds”, however I really enjoyed this one.  I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that it was really “hopped up” and that it contained some of those Belgian funk and yeast components that I really like.  It’s definitely a unique take on a beer of this style.  If you guys happen to be hanging around in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and see the Brewery Vivant Big Red Coq sitting out on the shelf of a bottle shop I’d encourage you to pick it up and give it a try.  I think that you may really like it.  Again, thanks to Mr. Liquid Bread for sending this my way.  I’m most appreciative.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I’m grateful.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.05 out of 5
Grade:  A-  

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Brewery Vivant, Country: USA


Review of Short’s India Spruce Pilsner

Hello everyone.  I hope all is well.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the India Spruce Pilsner brewed by the Short’s Brewing Company located in Elk Rapids, Michigan.

I’ve only had the opportunity to try a couple of Short’s beers in the past, but I’ve found them to be very solid, so I’m hoping that this one holds true to my past experiences.

Let’s check the website,, and see what kind of information we can find about this beverage.

This Imperial Pilsner, fermented with local, hand-picked blue spruce tips is the quintessential symbol for Joe Short’s love of hops and craft beer. The spruce presence, rooted in historical brewing practices, is enormous and gives the beer a refreshing quality reminiscent of gin. This beer is impressively light bodied, considering the immense spruce flavors and the prodigious additions of hops.

Nice!!!  Let’s drink.

This beer came in a 12 oz. bottle and the ABV was around 7.0%.

It poured a very hazy, orangish/yellow color.  It looked a lot like pineapple juice to be honest.  The head was very large, frothy, soft and somewhat soapy.  The retention time was excellent and the lacing was thick, sticky and very clingy.  Quite a bit was left behind on the glass for the entire drink.  A very, very nice looking beer.

The aroma had a very forward, however very pleasing nose of spruce.  It smelled of pine needles for sure.  It was almost medicinal smelling.  Like a clean, sanitized Doctor’s office or something.  Some light Pilsner malt and breadiness helped counterbalance some of that and I even got some nice earthy tones and a touch of lemon citrus to boot.  Very unique.

The taste presented more of the spruce needles.  A bit resiny too.  The lemony aspects seemed to be a little more prominent as well.  I was even detecting some kind of spice. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what type though.  The flavor was considerably bitter, yet not over the top.  Very manageable I thought.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Dry and smooth, but crisp.  A wee bit of warmth was felt and the carbonation was of medium strength and agreeable.  A nice shot of flavor was left behind on the palate after each sip also.

Overall, this beer was favorable.  It’s as individualistic and different as anything I’ve really ever had.  The spruce never really died down as I went along and it became a bit difficult for me to drink toward the end, yet I had no trouble completing the bottle.  I’m guessing that my palate was just a bit distressed by the time I finished.  I doubt that this would be a beer that I could drink everyday, but I’m sure glad that I got the opportunity to try it.  I think you guys should pick up the Short’s India Spruce Pilsner if you get the opportunity.  I’d really be interested in hearing your opinion.  If you’ve tried it, did you like it?  Please leave a comment if you wish.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.7 out of 5
Grade:  B

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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Country: USA, Short's


Review of Anchorage Love Buzz

Well, it’s time for another craft beer review.  I want to thank you guys in advance for checking back in on the blog.

Today, I’m going to be trying a beer from the Anchorage Brewing Company situated in Anchorage, Alaska.  This one is called the Love Buzz.

Anchorage is easily one of my top 5 favorite brewers and I have yet to try a brew from them that has been disappointing.

From the website,, we find this delightful description of the Love Buzz.

A feeling overcomes, deriving of a most curious perplexity. A rich desire awakens to explore the contents of such delicate loveliness. Upon a deep connection with rounded lips, a bitter sweet complexity enters the soul…and so begins an amorous affair.

Heightened awareness envelopes the senses as the grandeur of such bold character develops. Caramel beauty exhibits itself, sprawling its full body widely upward, bubbling with excitement. Tantalizing effects of peppery bitterness grasps the tongue. Enchantment takes hold as a blanket of citrus slowly unfolds. As in any noteworthy love story, a subtle fruity sweetness of a rose emerges to the finish. A warm contentment grazes over, signifying a united marriage of balance and pleasure.

Fortitude has revealed itself to those who have encountered such an enriching experience. An experience so delectable, so defining, so unequivocal. An experience that is Love’s Buzz.

Ok.  Let’s drink.

This beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 8.0%.
It poured a semi-hazy to mostly clear orange color.  The head was white, decently sized with a solid retention time.  The texture was kind of fizzy and soapy, however it left behind some very nice lacing as it settled back into the liquid.  
The nose presented a very well defined aroma of funk and yeast.  Tones of pineapple fruit and orange citrus along with hints of red roses and oak.  A peppery spice was in there too.  I also found a hint of white grapes (pinot noir?) in there as well.  It seemed to be very fruity for the first half, but it really became more harmonized and balanced as it warmed and was allowed to breathe.  Like all Anchorage brews… the bouquet was phenomenal.  
The taste began with a medium strength funk.  Not really a musty funk per say, but a very pleasing “fresh” funk if that makes sense.  More of the yeasty/bready aspects came into play and I found a plethora of fruits.  Everything from orange, pineapple, lemon and grapes.  The peppery spice was involved, however it wasn’t overpowering in the least.  A very light oaky undertone was discovered and just a wee bit of tartness was experienced from the citrus aspects.  It also released just a minor relish of grassy tones.  Overall, very complex, balanced and….  good.  
The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Only the most subdued sharpness was to be had.  It was crisp, dry, refreshing and thirst quenching.  A little bit of warmth was felt, although I’m not for sure if that was from the peppery spice or the alcohol.  A flood of flavor was left behind on the palate after each sip.  
Well, the Anchorage Brewing Company has done it again.  The Love Buzz is awesome. This beer is chocked full of character.  Even though Saisons are typically relegated to the Spring and Summer season I do believe that I could have this at any point and time and be completely satisfied.  It’s very easy to drink and it’s complex enough to satisfy even the most advanced craft beer drinker.  I don’t know how Gabe Fletcher does it.  I have no idea how he, no matter what beer he’s producing, continues to knock it out of the ballpark.  I want to thank him for brewing these great beers.  I realize I’m just a county bumpkin from Kentucky, but I’m very fortunate to be able to grab these brews and enjoy them from time to time.  I’d highly recommend anything from the Anchorage Brewing Company.  Have you guys had the opportunity to try any of them?  What’s your opinion?  Feel free to leave a comment if you would like.  
Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  I really appreciate it.  
Until next time.  Cheers.
Score:  4.55 out of 5
Grade:  A+
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