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Paddy Pale Ale

The Wild Onion Brewing Co. Paddy Pale Ale Beer Review

The Wild Onion Brewing Co. was started in Lake Barrington, IL in 1995. An interesting fact from their website states that Wild Onion Brewing Company's Paddy Pale Aletheir name is based off an old Potawatomi word for the local land, “Che-Cau-Gua,” which means “the land of the wild onion,” or “stinking onion” when translated properly. On to the beer review!

Paddy Pale Ale claims to have been brewed in tribute to a couple of old rail-working, beer drinking Irishmen who wanted for a long time to start their own brewery. It’s an American Pale Ale brewed a hundred years later in their honor. It looked intriguing to me. I mean, look at the can; it’s cool, no? Those guys on the can looked like they were enjoying their brew, so I thought I’d give it a try.

After pouring it, I must say the appearance excited me. It poured a rusty orange colored brew with a bit of haze.  Sadly, all I can say is, meh. The beer smelled like Mandarin orange (the small ones). I almost smelt a malty goodness, but then it disappeared into a sort of hay or grassy smell. Then back to orange. For a pale ale it was sub-par I guess. I gave it the benefit of my doubt, though, and awaited my first sip. Again, all I can say is, meh. It tasted pretty much how it smelled, like oranges. This time I did, however, taste the malt. It wasn’t overbearing, the orange taste was though.Paddy Pale Ale head It was pretty smooth at first as well; with a pale ale I expect some bitterness. It came, but at the end of the beer.

As you can see, the look of the head and beer itself is very appealing. It actually looks like it would be a very good, refreshing beer. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best pale ale I’ve ever had either. Basically, an average beer but not as decent as most average beers, if you can understand that. At 5.6% alc/vol, it’s a beer I want to drink after I’m already good and drunk. It’s a beer you drink when eating drunk food, the ones with all the grease.

Beer Rating: 2/5

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Goose Island’s Matilda

Goose Island Matilda Beer Review

Goose Island Matilda

 Matilda is a Belgian-style Ale brewed right here in Chicago by Goose Island. I was hesitant to even get this beer, being $10 a 4/pk, but I did anyway. I can’t resist a local beer review. Visually, the packaging is, for lack of a better term, intriguing. The sharpness of the label just made me want to taste it. I can tell you right now, I was not disappointed.

The appearance, like the labeling, is sharp. You can see through it but you can’t tell it’s clear. The color is honey-like or amber. Same consistency as amber, a light amber rather; you can see through it but you can’t see far. When the light shines through, it’s actually quite beautiful. Maybe designed to be a summer beer.

The smell is what’s complex. Malty. I smelt some type of citrus, maybe tangerine. Maybe orange peel. Yeast. I also got some type of spice. I don’t know what. I want to say vanilla or/and clove. I also tasted honey. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe some combination of honey and clove. Either way, it definitely worked. I also got some floral hops.

It actually tasted more like an IPA at first but it didn’t leave my mouth dry like IPAs usually do. I got the hop bitterness but the malt was more prevalent. It was sweet, not bitter. It tasted pretty consistent with the smell, malty. Definitely got the citrus flavor and some of the honey.Goose Island Matilda Head The elusive spice is also present, wish I knew what it was. Basically in line with what most Belgian-style ales taste like. I should say, however, and I am going to sound like a snob, but, it lacks something. I’ve been to Belgium, Brussels and Bruges specifically, and I’ve sampled the beers. Although this tastes similar to some, it doesn’t taste like what I would want from a Belgian brew. That being said, I will say that I want to drink this again. At 7% alc/vol it doesn’t fill the stomach or make you feel like you’ve had too many after just one, like many Belgian ales do.

I would definitely recommend this beer, it’s a great craft brew from a great local brewery. If you are looking to indulge, looking to get something a little more pricey, a little more exotic, get this beer. I should re-mention that if you want an authentic Belgian Ale go elsewhere, but if you want a pretty darn close substitute, spend the extra buck and pick up a pack of Matilda.

Beer Rating: 4.5/5

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Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA Beer Review

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA - Upland BreweryI had the original Dragonfly IPA, so when I heard there was a Dragonfly Black IPA I knew I had to do a beer review. Brewed wonderfully by Indiana’s Upland Brewery, it is one of my favorite IPA’s of all time. I really do like the selection they serve up, if you are ever in Indiana I suggest picking up a few six packs of whatever Upland brews you can find.

Komodo Dragonfly pours a very dark, frothy drink with minimal head. I thought it would be thicker than it appears, making me think it would be a bit easier to drink. I was right, the only problem is I thought it might have been too light. That’s OK. It was good nonetheless. The smell was a bit different from most IPA’s. I smelt malt, roasted malt. Maybe even caramel and chocolate. I was really expecting roasted hops or something to that extent. I smelt piny hops, but not as much as the other things I described. Maybe the hops needed to be more prevalent or even over-bearing to drown out the other flavors. When I think IPA’s I think hops, no I expect hops, that’s all.

The taste, however, made up for the smell. I tasted the hops and they were very well mixed with the flavors of the smell. I could definitely taste the malt and the caramel at first, but the hops came out more towards end to me. Maybe because that’s what I wanted to taste. Either way it worked. There is also a lingering taste of chocolate I think. Maybe even roasted coffee. I would have rather ended it with hops alone, but the mixture of chocolate and piny hops is a unique blend.

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA Head - Upland Brewery It went down pretty smooth. It’s 6.5% alc/vol but I didn’t taste any of the alcohol. I would have liked a little more of a bite, though, like IPA’s usually display. There wasn’t as much head as I was expecting either. I really did like this beer and hope to find it again. They don’t distribute to Chicago sadly, so I will have to make a trip to Indiana the next time they brew a batch.

I would recommend you drink this with a burger. Your favorite comfort food will do, but I had mine with a grilled cheeseburger and it was great.

Cheers!

Beer Rating: 5/5

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Beer Review

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutBrewed by North Coast Brewing Company, Old Rasputin is one of my favorite beers. Not only are these guys making great beers they are part of a great initiative. They support Jazz music. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy an Old Rasputin than to listen to Jazz music while drinking it.

Now, on to the beer review.

As I mentioned, Old Rasputin is literally one of my top 3 beers of all time. That makes me biased, but it’s my beer review :). I like everything about this beer. The dark, rich color. The wonderful taste it leaves in your mouth. The thickness of the drink and yet the smoothness it goes down with.

The smell. The smell is amazing. It has hints of so many things; vanilla, coffee, chocolate and malt. I will go so far as to say even milk. Very rich. Very. The taste is even better. Almost velvety, the drink is smooth and, as I mentioned, seems milky. Maybe milk chocolate? You can definitely notice the presence of the roasted malt but is balanced by the slight bitterness of the hops they use. I prefer it cold but I have had it at room temperature and it is just as good either way. I have had it on tap as well, simply amazing. This beer is 9% alc/vol and you can feel it on the way down. The taste of the beer itself, however, makes the alcohol taste non-existent. It’s a nice anomaly.Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Head

As I stated earlier in the post, one of the reasons why this is one of my favorite beers is the appearance. Just look at the color. Look at the head. It’s perfect. It’s, dare I say, Heavenly. You must, I repeat, you must take a sip while the head is still there. That’s the only way to experience this beer. Indulge. Just do it. You can thank me later. Being that it’s a week away from Christmas, this beer is perfect for the season. It warms the insides so to speak. Definitely a beer to share with family and reminisce about old times. When it first hits your taste buds the flavors are that of malts, molasses and overall rich sweetness. Then coffee and chocolate. And or chocolate. It’s really unique. It finishes bitter; the hops. This is what really makes it such a well-rounded beer. I don’t like beers that are too sweet and I don’t like beers that are too bitter; this has both. I really like it. The name of the beer suits the taste; it’s just as complex and mysterious as Rasputin, the man himself.

As far as beer goes, this is among the best. Among the elite. If you don’t drink stouts or don’t like them, you’ll like this. If you do like stouts, this is one of your favorites [or at least it should be]. I think this beer is great to end the night with. Drink with dessert. Drink alongside a big piece of chocolate cake. Maybe even before or after drinking a nice White Russian. I did. Let me tell you, both have similar flavors and the pairing is unbelievable. Try it; don’t do it fast. Enjoy the subtle flavors of both. Enjoy the after affects.

Cheers!

Beer Rating: 5/5

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