Category Archives: Reviews

We have to sample a little to be good at what we do.

Newcaslte Werewolf: Formidable Beast – a “blood red ale”

When I ran across this beer  that fit my theme so well and noticed that it was seasonal, I thought I had better grab it while I could.  As a seasonal beer, I expect it to only be available through October.  I am already a Newcastle fan so it wasn’t a struggle to get me to try it.

Newcastle Werewolf describes itself as a blood red ale and reported as an Irish red from several review sites.  It fits that bill well.  It has a deep amber red color with a light cream color head that lasted as long as the beer did in my hand.  It had a sweet malty smell with perhaps a hint of fruitiness and diacetyl.  Hop aroma was very light.

It fills the mouth with a contrast of sweet malty goodness and spicy rye.  It has a little bit of body to it causing it to stick to the mouth, then as it breaks away.  A pleasant but potent bitterness replaces it.  I am left with the desire to take another taste in anticipation the refreshing front end of the next drink.

If you are a rye beer fan or like to experiment, give this one a try.  I’ll be enjoying more of them this season.  They represented the werewolf of the English countryside well and I tip my glass to Newcastle and the Caledonian Brewery company; partly in respect, but partly because I am ready for my next beer.

4.5% ABV,  23.4 IBUs according to

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Reviews


The Ale of Destiny – Official Beer of Gen Con Indy 2012, Sun King Brewery

I have already had a couple of opportunities over the week to try the Ale of Destiny, Gen Con Indy’s 2012 official beer.  This Belgium dark ale was brewed by Sun King Brewery for the convention and named from one of 1400 submissions.  ABV 6% IBU 28

I had the opportunity to have this beer on a couple of occasions already and will welcome more as the weekend progresses.  My experience varied a little from beer to beer, probably due to a spicy jambalaya I had before one of them.  It is a dark brown beer with a cream color foam and excellent head retention.

As I put it to my nose I was thrilled to catch a hint of smoke that made me first think of bacon.  I wasn’t expecting to have another smoked beer this week, so I was doubly thrilled.  The hops were subtle but present.

The beer was crisp, yet had a mouth feel you would expect from a good brown beer.  The flavor of ham seemed subtle at first, but really came out; especially after I started into the steak I had with it.  A light bitterness set in around the tongue as I drank.   It certainly had that Belgium beer flavor that I have not yet learned to describe, but I hope that if you know Belgium beers, you’ll know what I am trying to say.  Larger gulps revealed phenolic flavors.

This beer will remain on my list as a favorite.  It had a unique flavor that will remain in my memory and I hope I will have the opportunity to have it again in future, despite its special nature.  By the description of the beer on their web site, it also seems that the folks at the Sun King Brewery play along nicely with us and that is also a plus.  Look under the specialty section of the beers.

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Reviews


Beers of the RAM, Indianapolis, IN

What better place to start this adventure than at Gen Con Indy, 2012 – The Best Four Days in Gaming.  I have been going to Gen Con Indy for years and had always appreciated the way the RAM Restaurant and Brewery re-skins their outfit to the gaming themes of Privateer Press, specifically the miniature war game, Hordes.  My recent interest in beer drew me back to the brewery for a closer taste.

It once made sense to dedicate an entire post to the sampling of one beer and to really take time to go into some detail, but the answer I seem to give more often or not when asked to choose a beer, is “yes.”  The sampler it is.   I was fortunate to be joined by my Pulp Gamer Prime Co-Host, Scott Forster.  I hope my insights are able to give you a head start in choosing your beer this weekend.

The first beer we tried was on the menu as the Cygnar Blonde and normally goes by the name Indy Blonde.  This was probably one of the more flavorful blondes I have had.  It was crisp, clean, and refreshing.  The menu describes it well as delicately hopped and it represents them very well as it had a sweet character I found in most of their beers.  After finishing the sampler, I had another pint of this blonde to finish my meal with.  When I put the pint to my nose, the hops first hit me reminding me that it was present, but not overpowering.  On a hot day of travel or setting up for the convention, this is a great choice.  ABV 4.4% SRM 6.0 IBUs 20.

The Hellion Hefeweizen, usually called the Big Horn Hefeweizen was probably one of the most citrusy Hefeweizens I have had.  My palate is not yet sophisticated enough I guess to pick up on the banana-clove flavors or the aroma of the restaurant was just yanking my nose around but I did detect fruitiness and of course that character of wheat you would expect.  If you are a wheat beer fan, you will not go wrong here.  I loved it.  ABV 5.2% SRM 8.0 IBUs 15.

Monoth’s Fury, also known as Buttface Amber Ale was again a good sample of an Amber Ale and represented the RAM well.  It was a sweet amber that I could see having a pint of in the near future. ABV 5.8% SRM 22 IBUs 25.

Blackbane’s Ghoast Ale (71 Pale Ale) was not as hoppy as I was expecting, which is very much a good thing.  I am not a huge hophead.  I like my beers balanced and this one was.  Sometimes, Pale Ales can lean a bit too far on the hoppy side for my taste.  I could detect the hint of spiciness credited to the rye.  I have brewed with rye before and this always catches my attention.  ABV 5.5% SRM 12 IBUs 40.

Raseth’s Red, or what is also known by the natives as the Big Red IPA was actually quite pleasant to me as well.  As mentioned before, I am not a huge hophead but didn’t turn my head away from this IPA.  It had the hoppy character you would expect but it doesn’t blow you away with it. This is also why I like heavier and darker beers, too.  It tends to balance out the hops.  This may be what has happened here as it is a little darker than most IPAs I have had in the past.  ABV 6% SRM 15 IBUs 65.

The Primal Porter was more than I expected.  I love porters, and especially smoked porters.  Finding one just meant I had picked the growler I wanted to take with me back to the room.  You can smell the smoke; you can taste the smoke.  The chocolate and roast undertones of this brown porter also come through quite well.  ABV 5.1%, SRM 80, IBUs 28.

Worldwrath’s Omnipotent Ale was especially made for this weekend to characterize its namesake.  They were looking for something mystic and earthy and captured it well in this black pale ale.  The bitterness of this deceptive beer rests gently in the back of the mouth gradually after it is sipped.  The menu claims a citrusy hops but I was getting more of a piney or a resin flavor.  It did find the chocolate and roast undertones on my pallet.  Black IPAs have a fun deceptiveness about them because you expect something so dark to be thick, but they taste more like their more pale brethren, but they always have some character of the dark malt to give them a very distinctive flavor.  Well done, RAM.  ABV 4.8% SRM 46 IBUs 40.

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Reviews