Monday, July 8, 2013

White Star Alehouse, Round 1
Red's Rye PA & Dark Side Vanilla Porter

Jess and I decided to take a little trip over to White Star Alehouse in Cedar Rapids. They have 100 different beers to try and have some pretty good food, too. Their chicken avocado egg rolls are amazing! If you are ever in town, you should hit them up just for the egg rolls. Of course, hit them up for the beer as well. One thing could have made the experience better. The people behind us ordered calamari. It was some stanky stuff, too! Not just stinky. Stanky. It made smelling the beer a somewhat difficult task for me. Jess fared alright.

We each drank two beers here - and also reviewed each other's. So bear with us as we divided our eight beer reviews into two posts. Here's Round 1: Founders Red's Rye PA and Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter.

For the first round, I went with trying something new: Red's Rye PA. Meanwhile, Jess ordered an old favorite of hers: Dark Side Vanilla Porter.

Founders Red's Rye PA

Brewed by: Founders Brewing Comany | Michigan, US
Style | ABV: Rye Beer | 6.60% ABV

Founders Red’s Rye PA is pretty darn good.  About the only smell I could manage between the wafts of nasty calamari was rye.  I love rye whiskey so, this was a very pleasant surprise.  It was clear but about as dark as brown apple juice.  It tastes pretty much like what the bottle says.  There is a nice hop and rye taste with a pleasant but slightly bitter aftertaste that fills your entire mouth.  It was also pretty darn smooth for an IPA.  I give this one 4.24/5, pretty darn good.  Check it out!  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. 4.24/5 | look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I first tried (and fell in love) with Red's Rye PA at the Iowa Craft Brew Fest a few weekends ago. I've been craving its rye and hops ever since. At White Star Alehouse, G got a tall glass of this deliciousness... on-tap. Appearance-wise, the beer is a beautiful, clear, reddish, amber brown with a slight head of off-white. It smelled of rye and hops right away. Nothing too complex, but earthy, bitter, and a very subtle citrusy-sweet. Rye reigns supreme in its taste, followed closely by a nice maltiness and delicious hoppiness. It was also dry, tasting of its fragrant earthiness and a teeny bit of spice. Plain and simple: it tastes GOOD! Medium bodied, it's deliciously smooth with a little fizziness. I love this beer. It's made me a big fan of rye and hops. And it's definitely one of my new favorites. 4.6/5 | look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Side Vanilla Porter

Brewed by: Empyrean Brewing Company | Nebraska, US
Style | ABV: American Porter | 5.70% ABV

Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter is a pretty interesting beer.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of coffee or chocolate beers.  Something about them just doesn’t tickle my taste buds like other beers do.  This beer is very dark. In the glass, it appeared completely black and no light was showing through.  The head is tight and smooth.  Since my nostrils were infused with the calamari smell, getting a good whiff of this beer was kind of difficult.  I’m sure normally it has a pretty complex smell.  I was able to get chocolate out of it.  I was pretty surprised at how much I liked it.  It definitely had a chocolate flavor with coffee and vanilla thrown in.  The beer was very smooth without a bitter aftertaste.  While not my favorite beer in the world, Dark Side is very good.  I give this one a 3.64/5. I could drink one or two but would have to move to something else later.  If you are a fan of porters, Dark Side is a solid choice. 3.64/5 | look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Oh, Dark Side Vanilla Porter. This is one of the beers that converted me into a beer drinker... tempting me over to the "dark side" of brews. It was always on tap at a favorite bar me and my friends often frequented in my former college town Ames, Iowa. I've tried it from a bottle, but it's just incomparably better on tap. So I was psyched to see it at White Star Alehouse... and get a nice, tall glass of it. It's a near-black, very dark brown with a finger or so of beige head, but with little retention or lacing. It smells of dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee, vanilla, and a little smokey. It tastes like it smells: dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, malty, and creamy. It's pretty thin, very smooth, and a little dry. It's very drinkable and doesn't have much carbonation. I love the roasted vanilla, chocolatey aftertaste it leaves behind. This is still one of my go-to beers. I love the combination of dark chocolate vanilla, malts, and coffee. It's delicious and rich, without being too sweet. It's earthy, drinkable, and smooth enough to drink all night... which I often did back at good ol' Es Tas. 4.14/5 | look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Stay tuned for our 2nd Round at White Star Alehouse!

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