I am finding that the US has far too many beers to choose from. The country is, of course, massive in size; some states have as many breweries (micro, macro and large scale) as most European nations, with so many breweries producing so many beers it is going to be difficult for a newcomer, or traveller, to get a good feel for the good breweries and aim for the good beers – the simplest task has been keeping away from the bad, generic beers. Before arriving in the US I was already making some advanced preparations and conducting research into the beer scene, reading books, reading other beer sites and generally getting the feeling that the task of finding good beer would be complicated by the numbers involved. Much like the outside world is waking up to the beers of Czech Republic, it should be noted that the US can not be pushed to one side and sneered at because they only produce a few varieties of dreadful American lagers, this is simply not true. One of the breweries I have drawn to is the North Coast Brewing, a bit far away in terms of distance from where I live, but their beers still find their way to local retailers; this has been from a mix of eye-catching labels and a strong ‘fan base’, plus it helps that the local drinks warehouse stocks a lot of the brewery’s bottles.
The Beer:9%, 75 IBU; Deep black in colour, no way of seeing light through it, thick, fluffy head that looks like blackening snow ploughed up from the sides of roads during winter; the aroma is one of a good mix of dark roasted malt and elements of harder liquors; the taste is strongly bitter, almost takes the inside of the mouth away from the first sip, you get the rich, dark roasted flavour in there, but this is a whirling mix of bitterness and coffee traces, the rest of the flavour that remains is hard; the dark-roasted-ultra-bitterness remains in the after taste.
As mad as a bag of frogs. If the brewer had dropped his bottle/create of imperial Vodka in the fermenter or bottling plant then you could understand the sheer harshness of the experience. This is such a hard hitting beer that the choice of any other name would have made it something else – the point being is that the name really fits the beers, or it is also somewhat difficult to bump off. Having read so much about this beer (yes, I do read about beer), most of it raving, I can add my voice (if the written word can be considered a ‘voice’) to stating that this beer is really something else, it is fabulous. Not sure if many other drinkers would quite suggest it is as mad as a frog or two in a bag.
Website: North Coast Brewing