Showing posts with label Odd Side. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Odd Side. Show all posts

Sep 26, 2018

Oddside Ale's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor

Old English 800, Magnum, Colt 45, King Cobra, Schlitz, O'Keefe's Extra Old Stock, Crazy Horse, St. Ides and Mickey's. Especially Mickey's. I drank my share of malt liquor in my misspent youth.

The name of the game was maximum buzzage on a budget. Flavor was not a huge factor in that game at all. All of them had a skunk essence to them in the way that they tasted (and smelled), finding the skunk essence that seemed the most palatable to inexperienced taste buds was as far as any of my friends or I went when it came to that aspect of them.

Over the past few years, I've spotted a craft brewery here and there offering a malt liquor. Every time I've seen one at a market I've grinned but, now being a "mature adult with an experienced palate" (or at least that's what I tell myself), I wasn't too sure if I could, or should, dip my tongue into such a style again.

"What the hell. Go for it" I told myself as I reached for Odd Side's Laughing Clown and brought it up to the counter. I mean, if for nothing else, they are one of my most favorite home state beer makers and each purchase of their stuff I buy puts some dough back into several different sections of the Michigan economy.

A semi-hard pour brings out a finger sized rocky head on this orangish yellow brew. It holds on for a few before melting into some a few clouds as a cap through the rest of the glass. Lacing is light and spotty.

The aforementioned familiar "skunk" scent that comes with the standard 40oz offerings of malt liquor is here but it is faint as aromas of freshly baked bread, sliced green apples, ground black pepper and brown sugar take the spotlight. "Hmmm. A cheap date but cultured and refined one too" was the thought that came to mind.

Such a thought is a good way to describe the flavor too. The skunk is one similar to that of Mickey's (and to some extent Heineken for those who may know what I'm talking about) but it's around the edges and not the dominant thing here. Instead, biscuit-like grains, lemon peel and a malty sweetness are the main event. There's a bit of malt and grain brawn throughout the beer along with a hint of corn adjuncts that I suppose need to be there to remind you that, after all, this is a malt liquor. It finishes dry and earthy with grassy and slightly bitter hop notes but nothing too sticky.

Laughing Clown may not be for the coulrophobic nor is it probably named in tribute to the band Ed Kuepper formed after he left the Saints, but I could find myself crushing a few cans of this quicker than I could get through a $2.69 GIQ these days.

Mar 27, 2017

Oddside Ale's Grandpa's Apple Pie

     Over the past few years Grand Haven, Michigan brewery has gone from a curiosity to me to one of my most favorite Mitten State beer makers ever. For instance, their Citra Pale Ale is one of the most perfect of the kind ever and every other thing they've done that I've tried from their regular rotation stuff like Bean Flicker and so on have been great too.
     With that being said, it's no surprise that their specialty, occasional and seasonal brews rock my socks in quite away too. Their sour series has been way top notch and everything that they've barrel aged has been done way more that awesome too.
     Their Granny's Apple Pie rolls out about once or twice a year and it is one that always makes it way to our fridge and onto our taste buds every time. It's one of those beers where a person says "It really does taste like apple pie" without exaggeration or hyperbole.
     What was missing from it? Nothing. Along comes grandpa though with an idea on how to turn it up a notch anyway. By taking the recipe and letting it sit a while in a rum barrel let me tell ya, Hoo-Boy! Does it ever get a kick in the behind.
     Pouring a little darker amber in color that Granny's is the first sign that this is going to be a little more about being a bit more rustic and burly. The head is minimal so there's no waiting around for that frilly stuff to go away before the sipping starts.
     The aroma is like hanging out at the apple orchard and heading straight to where they make the cider so you can breathe in the air. The tart, the tang and the cinnamon that's sprinkled over the doughnuts that are being baked just around the corner are all represented.
     All these are represented just as much in the flavor too. Cider forward for sure, but the spices do just what they're supposed to do without too much or too little of any of them. The barrel aging brings out an oaky & vanilla rum soaked thing, giving it a richness and taking a kick to another level.
     The milk sugars become more pronounced in the end, which gives the finish something like have a little dollop of ice cream. And what goes better with apple pie than that right?
     A lot of people will tell you that the best way to have apple pie is freshly warm from the oven. Beer is best served at a cooler temperature but don't worry, a few sips of this and you'll feel warm all over.
www.oddsideales.com   

Jul 22, 2015

Odd Side Ales Wheatermelon

     I'm not much of a watermelon guy. It's not some I hate or anything but even as a kid when handed a slice it wasn't really my thing. Between the weird stickiness that got everywhere and having to deal with spitting out seeds it just seemed there was too much effort involved with very little reward.
     My lady, on the other hand, is a fan. Whenever she picks some up at the store she always offers me some but for the most part I pass.
     One of the many things her and I do have in common though is being fans of Grand Haven, Michigan brewery Odd Side Ales. When they announced that bottles of their wheat beer brewed with watermelon would be hitting the store shelves for the warmer months this year she would give me the occasional reminder to keep an eye of for it.
     Eventually I did spot some around. I hemmed and hawed a little bit about picking some but knew, even with me not being in the water melon fan club, bringing some home would make for a happy lady.
     Pouring hazy orange with a reddish tint in color it looks like summer. The head was very minimal and faded fast but there was a little ringleft that stuck around for the most part through the entire glass. Not much as far as lacing was concerned.
     The smell was sweet and summery. Not really blatant as far as the watermelon was concerned but generally fruity. The aromas of fresh baked bread and a hint of banana that is usually typical in a wheat beer was there.
     Though the watermelon wasn't pronounced much in the scent it does make it's presence known on the first sip. The thing is though it didn't have me making the "Meh!" face the way watermelon usually does. It wasn't over the top and bursting with that musky weirdness but it did serve its job of being more than just an flavor accent it. It, along with notes of lemon and seasonal fruits like strawberries, gave the beer a fresh summer salad type of tartness without taking over and overshadowing the wheat beer base. It finishes clean.
     If you're seeking out some big fruit and booze bomb of a beer like a Short's Soft Parade, the subtleness of the flavors and a 4% abv of this is not going to make that list. For something crisp and refreshing to slip while hanging out in the sun (now that summer seems to have finally arrived here in Michigan) this fits the bill just fine.
www.oddsideales.com

Dec 22, 2014

Odd Side Merry Elf Ale

     After a long day of making toys elves like to unwind like the rest of us working stiffs. They want kick up the heels of their curly toed shoes and enjoy a brew. It is also nice to think that they aren't just settling for some kind of elfin' macrobrew that looks and tastes like something akin to arctic fox or caribou wizz, right?
     Pouring a clouded chestnut with ruby highlights in color with minimum head from a soft pour the aromas from the candy sugar used in this brew give the malts an overall scent of caramel at first. The smell of fresh baked wheat bread, figs and orange zest (obviously from the orange peel used in the brewing process) make their rounds on the nose too as the beer starts to breath a little more in the glass.
     Both the look and scent seem to have an overall Belgian Dubbel characteristic to them. This also rings true in the flavor. A sweet malt backbone plays host to candied dark fruits that predominate in the first impression of tasting. It is followed by notes of banana bread and chocolate in the middle. The orange peel is fairly hidden til the end where it adds a little twist of sweet and tartness to an earthy and herbal finish.
     Sure, leave milk and cookies out for Santa when he is out making his deliveries this week. Back at the workshop though, the elves are knocking these back.
www.oddsideales.com

Sep 20, 2014

Odd Side Ale IPA and Grapefruit Wheat

 
     Odd Side's Pineapple IPA pours a rich and luminous amber in color with a minimal head that melts fairly quickly. The pineapple comes out even before the nose is near the glass. Not not overbearing and is not unlike the smell when I slice up a fresh one on a summer morning. Giving it a more investigative whiff aromas of orange peel and caramel notes of the malt sit on top of a piney hop character.
As I sit here and write this it is one of the warmest days of the year here. I also just so happens, even though most people write it all off after Labor Day, that summer ends and fall starts in two days. Seems a good time as any to compile my notes on the last strays of these two I have had on the stash for later shelf in my fridge.

     A mix of tropical fruits such as tangerine, papaya and mango come into play first in the flavor along with the pineapple which though, based off the the scent, is not as dominant as expected at first. That is followed by some toasty grains and slightly sweet malts. A hop bitterness finds itself getting comfy with some refreshing fruit juices in the finish.
     As the beer breathes and adjusts to room temperature the pineapple seems to step up it's roll as the star of the show but still doesn't hop the limelight. Due to a bit of stickiness I don't know if I would have classified this as a beach beer but, then again, the weather kinda jacked most beach days this past summer. Either way I enjoyed my share of them for the season and it worked well while out in my backyard today while doing some end of the summer work and surveying the things I gotta do before the snow starts to fly.
     Though I have been a serious IPA head for many years and plenty of times over the last year it seemed that I have gotten a little jaded on the style. I like them getting ridiculous but there's been a few where I'm like "Calm down dude" in more recent times. This is a cool twist on the style though. It's different and in no way doing it over the top just for the sake of doing so. Looking forward to having some more of these when they come around again next summer.

     Slightly cloudy and gold in color Odd Side's Grapefruit Wheat produces a small foam cap as a head which slowly melts away. The smell of grapefruit is very faint on the nose but the bready and banana like characteristics that come with along for the ride when it usually comes to wheat beers is there. Giving it a little time to breathe some fruit scents come out but it seems to me more along the lines of white grapes along with a dint of earthy raw honey.
     The taste is dominant of that of a standard wheat beer. Light and easy summer drinking in that respect. The grapefruit flavor comes out much, much more in the flavor than it does in the smell but also leans more towards the rind of it than the juice. The finish has an odd sticky bitterness that doesn't seem to work right to these taste buds though..  
     Everything I've tried by Odd Side I have enjoyed immensely but there is something missing. Not saying it struck out when it went up to bat but never got past 2nd base for me either. Worth giving a shot if somebody offers one but no worries passing on investing 10+ bucks on a six pack of it.
www.oddsideales.com

Aug 10, 2014

Odd Side Ale's Lucid Dreams Red Wine Barrel Aged Dubbel Ale

     In business for the last four years (and bottling a variety of their liquids for about the past two) Grand Haven's Odd Side Ales has become one of the fastest growing breweries in the state of Michigan. With the amount of beermakers there are in the Mitten now (and, it seems, a new one opening up every week) and, that Odd Side's distribution is currently kept only within state lines, they must be doing something right.
     Aged in red wine barrels, this Dubbel style ale pours a hazy firebrick red in color with a two finger fizzy, bubbly head that melts into consistent ring that hangs through the rest of it's session. The smell of fermented grapes are obvious when giving it whiff followed by currants, a dash of black pepper, some toast, vanilla and a slight nudge of oak.
     Buttery and candied malts that are common in the Dubbel style come out in the front and back of the initial sip. What those flavors surround though, such as tart cherries, a medium tannic that is found in a lot of Merlot's along with a dash of tobacco and some light pepper notes, give this creamy but quite lively to the feel brew a curveball of complexities that makes it individual and unique. The barrel aged factor of it is somewhat muted all the way through save for the when it drifts it way in at the finish amongst a blend of farmhouse ale funkiness, red wine astringents and Dubbel sweet notes in the finish.
     If you know of someone who claims to be just a wine drinker that has a tendency to turn it's nose up to beer of any kind this may be the kind of thing that changes their mind and open them up to the many different offerings, ideas and interesting things the brewmasters of this country (and especially this state) are up. It's ain't no soda pop tasting wine cooler (or whatever those bright colored "malt beverages are suppose to be.) It also goes well equally with something to sip after doing yard work or a quiet fancy dinner with the sweetheart of your choice.
www.oddsideales.com

May 10, 2013

Odd Side Ale Citra Pale Ale

     Out of Grand Haven, Odd Side Ales is another of those Michigan breweries that has had those lucky enough to try their beers singing all kinds of praises. Like all raves of beers from the Mitten State-Yes, there is a bit of bravado and Michigan pride going but, like all Michigan beers that get such hype, what's in the bottle backs it up.
     Pours hazy golden in color. A one finger head is fizzy, melts moderately and leaves a snow drift looking haze behind. The scent smells like a tropical fruit salad. Very crisp & bright and booming with grapefruit, pineapple and mango.  
     Those scents carries through in the flavor as tangy orange peels, drops of lemon and pineapple juice come out all over the citra hops on top of the first few sips. "Quite juicy" is the simplest way I can put it actually as far as a first impression goes. A lighter malt provides a background of cheesecake crust and honey that accent the citrus top end quite well. The ending is slightly oily so it hangs around for a little bit but also keeps it from being super-sticky and giving the sides of the mouth and back of the throat the impression that it has been chewing on grapefruit peels for the last hour. The very end is clean giving the beer a sessionable quality and allowing it to go well with a backyard barbeque or something to hit the spot after mowing the lawn. Some might say I am going out on a limb for saying this but it is one of the most perfect pale ales I have not tried before in a few years.
     From what I have been told Odd Side is bottling select beers in limited qualities, featuring a different one every couple of months. Last time I was in the store I picked this up at it was the getting down to the last case. Needless to say I picked up the rest that was there and keeping my fingers crossed this will see a regular bottling schedule eventually because I could see it becoming a go to brew for many times to come.
http://www.oddsideales.com/