Beer Review: Braunem Mantel (Two Plumbers)

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The Name:

Two Plumbers is a haven for all things geek. As a natural extension of this theme, the brewery names its beers after diffrent geek, game and sci-fi things that its owners and head brewer are in to. This one is named from the sci-fi series Firefly and though I haven’t yet taken the dive into that particular nerdy fair yet, the bartender tells me that the name is German for brown coat. Brown coats apparently play into the series in some way. Putting my inept knowledge about sci-fi aside, this is about the beer which is an American Brown.

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A glass of Braunem Mantel with a healthy drink taken from it because I was to excited to remember to take the picture first.

The Beer:

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I love this Brewery/Bar. I even did a full review of it on this blog (https://craftbrewcountry.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/bar-review-two-plumbers/). That being said. Because I am a regular here I have, to the best of my knowledge tried every batch of this beer that they have released to the patrons and it is easily my favorite. It appears that I’m not the only one who likes it because they are constantly running out and brewing more! This glass was poured for me by the lovely bartender Steph. It pours with a thick creamy tan head that sits in your glass for ages like a malty whipped cream topping. The color is a lovely dark chocolate brown.

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Pictured here is Steph. Sorry the quality isn’t great. I had already had a few too many to notice at the time. She’s prettier than the picture give her credit for.

The nose is earthy sweet and roasty. the roasted quality comes through strongly but it is balanced perfectly by the sweetness that goes with it. Taking the first sip you notice that it has just the right amount of carbonation to open up the palate while not being so bubbly as to distract from the dark malt qualities of the beer.

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I had Steph pour me another in a snifter to get a better feel for the nose.

The malty sweetness is balanced beautifully by the hop profile which is ideal for the style. The hops are present but only to provide balance. It is the kind of subtle balance that you hardly notice but if the hops where gone it would be glaringly obvious.

I can’t really see what could be improved here but as I have tasted a number of batches of this with each having subtle diferences, they must be tweeking it ever so slightly from batch to batch. I give this batch 4.75/5!

Six Pack Sunday #2

 

Six pack sunday

Hello every one and welcome to another six pack Sunday! I dropped by a local liquor store that has a fantastic beer selection and picked up six new brews to enjoy and review. Most of these I haven’t tried before so it should be a fun night. We are going to do a bit of traveling tonight so on to our first beer:

Franziskaner Hefe Weissbier

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5%

Ibu 4

This brew comes to us from Munich Germany. It pours a beautiful golden yellow that is a bit more translucent than I would expect from this style. The head is big, bubbly and a bright white. The nose has a subtle sweetness with strong banana and a light aroma of cloves. The taste is strong with banana which is typical for this style. If the beer claims that it is a German Hefe Weisbier, and it doesn’t taste like banana then they are doing something horribly wrong. The cloves are fairly restrained in the taste. I poured this only slightly below room temperature as this is the proper way to serve this style of beer so there wasn’t a lot of change to the taste profile as it warmed. Unlike a bitter IPA, this beer doesn’t need to be served ice cold and is best at room temperature. Over all, I like this beer and this style was my introduction into the world of beer. It is what got me comfortable with branching out and trying more styles. 4.25/5

 

Hangzhou Quiandaohu Beer Co. Lucky Buddha

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 4.8%

Ibu. Unknown

This is my first beer from China and just like all of their toys at the dollar store, it doesn’t stand up. Don’t ask me how to pronounce the name of this brewery and honestly, I looked and couldn’t find much information on them other than the fact that the brewery is named after a near by lake. The beer caught my eye because of its really cool bottle. It is in the shape of a little green Buddha and if that isn’t a good reason to buy it I don’t know what is. Unfortunately the bottle was about the most impressive thing about this beer. It’s a pilsner, pours a ghostly yellow and you almost wouldn’t be able to tell It’s in the glass. I am not at all familiar with Asian beers so maybe the funky smell is normal but to be honest, it was off putting. As “interesting” as the odor was, I almost wish that it carried over to the flavor because it really doesn’t have much. I suppose you could drink a bunch of these on a hot summer day but the bottle is the only reason to buy it and now I have one so there is no need to sample it again. 1/5

 

Leffe Blonde

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Poured from an 11.2oz bottle

Abv. 6.6%

Ibu. 20

Continuing our world travels, we stop by Belgium to sample a Leffe blonde, the flagship beer of the Leffe brewery. I’m a sucker for a nice bottle with a foil wrap but I usually find that my expectations are too high. This however is a fine beer for a fine bottle. It pours a rich yellow almost drifting into orange. The head is big, pure white and just keeps going and going fed by a constant stream of tiny bubbles that give it the look of champagne. Cloves are strong in both the nose and taste which was surprising from a blonde. This beer is bright on the tongue and really pleasant to drink. 4.5/5

 

Charleville Brewing Tornado Alley Amber

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5.6%

Ibu. 27

We’ve been traveling the world on this six pack Sunday but I’m feeling a bit homesick. We have also been keeping on the lighter side so far. I’m thinking that we need to start heading to the darker side of the force and we are coming back to the states for this one. This is a big American amber with a rich dark red color. The head is a light tan that dissipates quickly. The nose is deep and malty with a strong fruity aroma. Cranberries maybe? The Flavor profile is complex with this one. If I had a few of them I could really nail it down. I get the malty character I got on the nose as well as the cranberries, but not the harsh tartness that you expect from cranberries. The complexity of the palate makes this less easy drinking than a lot of ambers I’ve had but sometimes it’s nice to have a more contemplative experience. 4/5

 

O’Fallon Cherry Chocolate

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5.7%

Ibu. 10

Staying in the US I decided to try an interesting idea from an old favorite brewery O’Fallon. I say that this is an interesting idea because this is a dark ale with cherry and chocolate. Now I do love the taste of chocolate in a beer but it can be easy to mess it up and I find that cherry in anything alcoholic tends to taste like cough syrup, so lets see if O’Fallon managed to pull a rabbit out of their hat. It pours like a soda (It’s soda not pop and if you dare refer to all soda as coke I swear I will slap you. Get it right!) by this I mean that it pours very fizzy but it doesn’t really retain any head. In my mind this is a bad omen but i’m trying to keep an open mind here. As for the nose, they really nailed what they where going for. It smells like a cherry tootsie pop. Strong, strong very strong super sweet cherry aroma with a muted chocolate mixed in. Ok lets give it a taste because it is warming and I’m getting a feeling that that might not be a good thing. (keep an open mind Alex) Wow! The cherry is much more restrained than I would have expected from the nose! In my mind this is a good thing. The chocolate is also dulled down but not in a bad way. Ok so you are enjoying a cherry tootsie pop. The thought of those old commercials comes to mind. You know the one I mean. “Mr. Owl how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? One…. Two…. Three…. crunch….. three.” Just like the smarmy looking cartoon owl, you crunch into it and take most of the cherry candy coating with you. What is left is a chunk of tootsie roll with little bits of candy around the stick. You pull the rest off the stick with your teeth. This last bit is exactly what this beer tastes like. I’m not sure how many of them I could have in a row, but this is an excellent choice for your friend or significant other who “doesn’t like beer”. We all have one and it’s infuriating. 3.25/5

Guinness Black Lager

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Poured from a 11.2oz bottle

Abv. 4.5%

Ibu. 22

Ok, another example of Guinness branching out. I swear I will do a collection of the standard offerings of some of these breweries but I’m putting it off because it sounds boring to review a beer that I’ve had countless times. However we are traveling abroad again. Ireland the land of four leaf clovers guinness, jameson and……… Is that it? Surely not. America is lousy at teaching you about other cultures. Wow am I getting distracted. The beer. Pours black as its name suggests with a medium tan head that goes away in a few minutes. The nose has a surprisingly strong smell of toffee and a lot of caramel. I hope it tastes like it smells. The bottle says drink it ice cold so lets dig in. I had to sip this three times to get a grasp on what I was tasting. The toffee comes in powerfully at the start with a light earthy middle and finishes with a lightly sour mouth feel that we have come to expect from Guinness. Overall I had given up hope on Guinness’s attempts to break away from their flagship beer but this one has brought me back. This Is a rich creamy beer that I just don’t expect from a lager. 4.25/5

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today. We did a world tour and I added a few badges to my untapped account in the process. I hope you found this edition of six pack Sunday entertaining and useful.  I will try to put posts up more regularly. If you like the blog please share it with your friends. You can go ahead and highlight the URL in your address bar and copy and paste it in an e-mail or text to your beer loving buddies. Go ahead and do it now while you remember. I’ll wait…………. Did you do it? I’m not hearing the sound of clicking. Well I’m sure you will get around to it. Good Night. I’ve got to go work an overnight shift tomorrow so I’m going to bed. Maybe after one more beer. Bye!

 

Whiskey Review: The Pogues

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I know I know, “But Alex, this is supposed to be a beer blog. Why are you reviewing a whiskey? After only two posts you’re already selling out on what you started.” Well I say shut up. A man can have more than one passion. When I was young(er) and naive I thought I didn’t like beer. This ridiculous notion led me to adopt the wonderful world of whiskey as my spirit of choice and even though I mainly drink beer now, I still enjoy a nice whiskey from time to time. Well tonight I’m in a whiskey mood. (editor’s note: unless it is from Scotland I’m going to refer to it as whiskEy not whisky. I might do a post on what exactly is the difference another time.) So tonight I decided to drop by an AMAZING liquor store near me that has a great selection of pretty much everything. I went in with the idea of putting together a mix your own six pack for six pack Sundays (which will be available for your reading pleasure tomorrow) and I decided to look around their whiskey section. I was staring slack jawed and warmly happy at their Irish whiskey selection when the focus of tonight’s post caught my eye and I had to try it! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you (drum roll)…….. THE POGUES!!!!!!

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This, according to the label is the official whiskey of the band by the same name. If you aren’t familiar with the band, hop onto the your music pirating platform of choice and give the song If I Should Fall From Grace With God a listen. Go ahead I’ll wait…………. pretty fuckin Irish right!? Well I’m not going to focus on the band. This is about the whiskey and just like the band, its pretty fuckin Irish!

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For the sake of tasting every little nuance of this spirit I’m having it on the rocks. I prefer to drink my whiskey straight (remember kids, if you can’t drink it straight you shouldn’t be drinking it.) but I do find that you are treated to more depth of flavor when you drink your whiskey with ice or a splash of water.

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This is a good example of the Irish style (Irish whiskey being my preference) smooth and forgiving. You get light smoke and oak on the nose that cuts through the alcohol. Taking my first sip (from this glass) I get the smokey oak flavor up front as I would expect but following that I get a definite tangy almost citrus sensation. This flavor is followed by a finish of hints of vanilla. As my ice melts, the vanilla becomes more and more prominent. The balance of flavors cut through the bite of the spirit’s 80 proof making this a smooth easy drinking whiskey that could get you into trouble.

In summary: I love Irish whiskey, and this is a great one. Ignoring the gimmicky fact that it is associated with a popular band, this whiskey gives me everything that I expect from a quality Irish whiskey and I don’t expect the bottle to last long. I picked it up for $38.99

 

Bar Review (Two Plumbers)

Hello everyone! Its been a while since my last post so I decided to put up my first bar review. I am definitely going to be gravitating towards brewery bars on this site because I am fortunate enough to live in an area that has a lot of breweries. Both long standing breweries and new ones that seem to be popping up all over the place. But that’s not to say that I won’t be reviewing a few regular bars if they have something that makes them stand out. So for my first bar review I have chosen Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade!

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Two Plumbers creatively named after Mario and Luigi,  download  is part of a revolution in the St. Louis area. For those of you that aren’t from the STL area it is widely known that St. Louis has a large number of craft breweries plus one of the biggest macro breweries in the country, Anheiser Busch. The revolution that I mentioned is the growing realization in the surrounding areas that places directly outside of the STL county line don’t have the beer scene that St. Louis has. In an effort to remedy this situation, a whole host of micro brewery venues have been opening up in the St. Charles county area about 25min west of down town St. Louis. In 2017 alone at least a half dozen such venues are set to open in the area. One of the first of which was Two Plumbers. So lets dive in to what Two Plumbers is all about.

Atmosphere:

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Two Plumbers has a party friendly atmosphere with ample space to hang out and talk. The big draw that makes this venue so unique is the arcade angle. True to their namesake they have at last count 34 vintage game cabinets including fan favorites like Mrs. Pac-Man, Gallaga, Super Mario and Donkey Kong. They also have a wall of 11 pinball machines that I have to say I’ve become pretty addicted too since this place opened. The arcade aspect of this venue is an amazing idea as it gives their patrons something fun to do other than drink and talk and it provides a deep nostalgia for their patrons that remember playing these games as kids.

The People that make it happen:

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Meet Rob, the Owner. Rob is always seen hanging out at the bar, talking to patrons or fixing games as problems arise. Rob is a friendly approachable guy that can talk at length about anything from businesses to beer to star wars and beyond. He isn’t at all smoke and dagger about the bar and he has been more than willing to give me the inside scoop on what they are working on and what new beers I can expect to come out in the future. He is an all around good guy. If you decide to stop by, say hi and tell him where you heard about the bar from.

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Meet John the head brewer! Seen here with significantly less beard than I am used to. As the head brewer he is responsible for making all of the top quality libations in your glass. He isn’t always at the bar but I’ve seen him there often enough that I have gotten to pick his brain about beer and the brewing method. Once, he and I got to talking and the subject some how came up of artificial bacon flavors. I postulated to him that it was impossible to make a bacon flavor that actually tastes like bacon instead of just smoke and pork. (There is a difference and if you can’t tell then you aren’t my friend) He got all excited and ran into the back where they keep all of there brewing equipment. He soon brought out a taster glass of wort from their St. Porkins porter named after the legendary rebel pilot who tragically died fighting to take down the empire. This was their special release for May the 4th. As he is a big fan of smoked beers it seems that he is always trying to make new incarnations of the style that are palatable to the average beer drinker. Which is no easy feat. He happened to pull it off wonderfully this time. This story is to highlight the personable nature that has made this bar one of my favorites.

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Rob is seen here on the left working on one of there fabulous brews!

The Beer!!!!

Two Plumbers really stands out as a brewery. I have made an effort to try every one of their beers at least once and it seems like their in house selections are very popular with the patrons. Sometimes it seems like it can be hard to keep their beer on tap for long but they always have new brews coming out. I have been a fan of almost every beer they have released so far with some of the more hoppy selections not being to my taste. But I understand that not everyone is as malt forward in their tastes as I am. Below I will provide just a couple of the beers that they have come out with and if you want to be kept up to date on new releases I recommend that you follow them on twitter. They are always good about posting new beer releases, new game additions, specials and new merchandise that they have available.

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This is the Ol’ 42 Hefeweizen. You just can go wrong with a cold hefe and this one is the meaning of life the universe and everything!

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This lovely lady is Pauline the honey blonde ale. Pauline is every ones favorite damsel in distress.

Since their house beer sells out so quickly they always have a great selection of guest taps. I mean this as the highest praise when I say that they are snobbish about beer. One of their lovely bar tenders Steph informed me that I will never see anything like bud light on their menu! This means that they have a great variety of local craft brews and beyond to offer. I have tried some beers on there menu for the first time that quickly became some of my favorites and I have been clamoring to find them elsewhere ever since to no avail.

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In conclusion this brewery bar is doing everything right. I highly recommend that you check it out if you are ever in the area and bring some friends. Don’t forget to tell them who sent you. Also I recommend carpooling as there is limited parking and this bar is really taking off.

For more Bar and beer reviews check back in to Craft Brew Country and keep a look out for my first home brewing post coming soon. I haven’t decided what my next batch will be yet but whatever it is I’m looking forward to sharing the craft with you!

The pictures in this post were borrowed from twoplumbers.com and their twitter account.

Six Pack Sunday

Hello everyone! This is my first post on this blog and I would like to kick it off by introducing six pack Sunday! This is where I will review and discuss six different beers. Now I’m not doing this every Sunday as that would be an awful lot of a good thing. So look at it as a little treat that will pop up randomly at any time. So long as it is a Sunday. So let’s get started.

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Guinness Irish Wheat

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5.3%

Ibu. Unknown

This beer pours very light and slightly cloudy as you would expect from a wheat. It has a quarter inch slightly off white head that doesn’t hang around very long. On the nose it has a slight citrus sweetness with hints of banana. The banana doesn’t come through on the taste but initially you get the citrus that hangs around and evolves from sip to swallow. In conclusion it is an all around solid wheat but….. anyone could have made this. Why did it have to be Guinness? As a proud Guinness fan I just can’t abide this decidedly non- Guinness addition to their line up. As its own brew I give it a solid 4/5 but as a Guinness I have to admit that I’m disappointed.

Breckenridge Brewery Oatmeal Stout

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5%

Ibu. 36

It pours a rich soil brown with a strong head that hangs around for a while and laces the glass as you drink. The nose is strong with coffee and chocolate. There is a light earthiness as well. The taste…… HOLY SHIT IS IT CHOCOLATY!!! (disclaimer: I don’t believe in censorship so there may be course language. If any kids are reading this do your homework this is a blog about beer you shouldn’t be here!) Following the taste of pronounced chocolate is an acidity and light bitterness of black coffee. As this warms the sweetness of the chocolate mellows and the bitters open up adding complexity to this brew. In conclusion I loved this beer. I would give it a five but i also dont believe in perfect scores. There is always room for improvement. 4.75/5.

O’Fallon Bottlehouse Brown

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 4.9 %

Ibu. 20

This pours with a tan head that holds through the first sip. Like other English browns this has a strong earthy, nutty, woody scent. Thicker than a kolsch much thinner than any porter or stout worth its salt. It has a strong zingy carbonation that is a good representation of this style but in my experience O’Fallon brewery does a good job of capturing the essence of any style. I like to describe the English brown style as dirty and stepped on. In a good way! This libation follows in that mold. It has a nutty earthy character that sweetens as it warms. (editor’s note. If you aren’t experienced in a variety of styles, here is a general rule of thumb. If the beer in your glass is dark, sip it and as it warms over time it will slowly reveal its true character to you. If however it is light, drink that fucker while its ice cold because it will assault you when its warm.) Over all O’Fallon does its usual trick of providing a good baseline on a style without bringing much that is new to the table. That isn’t an insult. If you pick up an O’Fallon brew, you are getting a solid beer without any of the fuckery that could ruin it. 3.75/5

New Holland Full Circle Kolsch

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 4.9%

Ibu. Unknown

I was completely unfamiliar with this brewery. The first on this list so far. It pours with a pure white bubbly head that fades a fast as it came. This is one of the clearest beers that I have tried. It’s like the ghost of a beer. Not much on the nose. Maybe a little pine, but that could just be my imagination. The taste is crisp and clean with a bit more body than I expected. Strong carbonation adds to the refreshing nature of the beer. All and all this isn’t a beer to write home about but it would be a great addition to a beach party or a BBQ. 3/5

Goose Island Fulton and Wood My SHOUT Sparkling Ale

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5%

Ibu. 32

Untapped has this listed as an Australian Sparkling Ale. I have to admit I have no experience with this style, but let’s give it a try. Pours with a white head that sticks around for about 30ish seconds and sticks to the side of the glass. It is a light orange color in the glass. On the nose i’m getting light pine hops which worries me. (full disclosure: I’m not a fan of hoppy beers. I’m much more drawn to rich malty stouts. So you won’t find many posts on this blog about IPAs) The taste is watery but not in a bad way. You get the pine right up front but in the middle and end there is something unique. What is that? It’s slightly tangy but not in the way an orange is. The bottle says “hints of apricot” so maybe that’s it. Whatever it is I like it. Over all I was surprised by this beer. It isn’t nearly as hoppy as the aroma led me to believe. 4/5

Alright, last one and to reward myself I’m baking brownies. Which should pair well with…..

Deschutes Black Butte Porter

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Poured from a 12oz bottle

Abv. 5.2%

Ibu 30

Pours with a thick creamy head that goes away surprisingly quick but leaves remnants along the edge of the glass. This beer is black as the night is long. I admit I am getting a bit of interference from my brownies baking but putting that aside I’m not getting a lot on the nose. A bit of malt, a bit of roast. But that’s about it. Oh shit the brownies are ready! Be back in a sec……… OK I’m back. While I was away I took a drink of water to give this beer a fair shake because my mouth is a ridiculous mix of styles at this point. Giving this beer a fresh sip I can definitely taste the roasted grain on front street but following that I get a strong acidity. This Acidity balances the dark roasty quality nicely. All and all I’s say that I’ve tried much better porters than this but I’ve also had blander fare in my day. 3/5

Well that’s it. If you are reading this, thank you for hanging with me to the end of this post. Be sure to check back in soon. We have more beer reviews, Posts about my own home brews, Recipes on what to do with all that spent grain instead of throwing it away and lots more to come! Good night and drink some water before you go to bed!