End of Days? No, Just a Total Eclipse

An eclipse is a sign of the apocalypse, if you believe conspiracy theorists and evangelical doomsayers. But that is not the case. I’ve seen two total eclipses (1988 and 1995 in Asia), excluding the one today, and yet we’re still around. So, no, the only End of Days that will be happening this day is the stout brewed by Pipeworks Brewing.

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Viewing the partial eclipse with End of Days imperial stout and my make shift eclipse viewer in the back of my car. 

Poured into a snifter, End of Days produced a thick, dark liquid, as black as the moon during an eclipse, and blocks any light from passing through. Although there is a brown hue at its edges. The head is tan, and very thin. At first, I thought my bottle was just cold. But when I agitated the beer when it warmed up, it still didn’t produce any head at all.

The aroma is strong with sweets, coming from vanilla, brown sugar, and both milk and dark chocolates. It has hints of cinnamon and pepper as well. From time to time, the smell of smoked malts also comes through.

The taste doesn’t mirror the smell, however. On the front, I was greeted by sweet vanilla. It was immediately followed by the bittersweet taste of cocoa and smoked malts. Then, just hot spicy peppers after that. Occasionally, the taste of booze pushes through all that spiciness as well.

End of Days feels really thick and syrupy on the mouth. It’s also a big beer (10.5% abv) that needs to be sipped and not chugged. Also, it’s too spicy to drink on summer days, even on a cool day like today. It made me sweat, sipping on it at the back on my car while watching the eclipse.

End of Days is a good beer. Albeit it wasn’t balanced, it has a lot of good flavors. It could’ve been a great beer if it’s: a) less spicy; and b) if I drank it on winter when the weather is below zero.

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An Astronomical Beer

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Astro Giant

We might not be one of the best beer cities here in the United States, but I’ll still continue to support our local breweries here in Chicago. Especially, Pipeworks Brewing, a local brewery that have been putting out excellent beers these past few years. If there’s any brewery here in Chicago that can put us on the craft beer map, I think, it would be them.

One of their recent releases, in collaboration with Rhinegeist Brewery (Cincinnati, OH), is Astro Giant, a 9.5% ABV Double IPA.

Poured into a snifter/tulip glass, the Astro Giant produced a glowing, slightly hazy and almost clear golden orange color; topped with a thin, white and creamy head that dissipated instantaneously.

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Liquid gold

The aroma is very hoppy, full of floral and tropical fruits, especially with pineapple and papaya. There’s a little bit of grassy bitterness in it, and some sweetness (candied pineapple or honey, maybe?) as well.

The taste pretty much follows the smell: candied pineapple and papaya. The bitterness, however, isn’t as grassy. It’s mostly citrus, like a lemon peel. It’s also much more sweeter on the tongue than on the nose, and less bitter than I thought it would

It’s a little bit heavier, and slightly cloying on the tongue, however. It’s more than what I’ve expected for an IPA, even with its medium carbonation. Still, for a 9.5% ABV, it’s drinkable.

Astro Giant isn’t the best DIPA that Pipeworks has to offer. It’s not Ninja vs. Unicorn, Sure Bet or Citra. But, overall, it’s still a worthy addition to their line of craft beers.

Best of 2015: Craft Beers

I’ve drank a lot of beers this year (1 bomber/week, at least). Some were bad. Some were okay. But a lot of them were great. So picking out the best beer from the bunch that I’ve tried was kind of a struggle. Anyways, here are my picks for the best beers I’ve tried in 2015.

The Runners Up

IMG_20413. Grand Guignol, Act Two
I usually like to drink my beer late in the afternoon. But this oatmeal stout, I like to drink this one in the morning. Why? Because it smells and tastes like breakfast. Its like having a blueberry pie and/or muffin with black roasted coffee.

IMG_2357.jpg2. Flight of the Angry Beast
I’m a big fan of Clown Shoes beers, and this is a mixture of their three beers that were aged in scotch and bourbon barrels. The taste of this beer varies on each sip. Sometimes, I’d get roasted coffee with caramel and toffee. On others, I’d get a smoky scotch and the oakiness of the barrel. It’s a very complex beer.

IMG_19731. Victory at Sea
Unlike Flight of the Angry Beast, Victory at Sea is not that complex. It only have two flavors: roasted coffee and vanilla. But these two flavors work in concert to please your tongue. Big roasted coffee in front, immediately followed by sweet vanilla, just enough to neutralize that bitterness of the coffee. Its a very balanced beer.

Beer of the Year

IMG_2003.jpgHopslam
There’s a lot of hype going on with this beer, and it deserves every bit of it. It’s not as hop forward as most DIPA goes, or a tongue bruiser as the brewery claims it to be. Like Victory at Sea, this is also a well balanced beer. It has a lot of hop bitterness upfront, mostly of grapefruit. But before it gets too bitter, the flavor gives way to sweet honey and caramel. It’s the one beer I’m eagerly waiting to drink again by the time of its release. That’s why it’s my pick as the best beer of 2015

So, these are my picks of the best beers this year. If you’re celebrating this new year’s eve, try getting some of these beers. I assure you, they won’t disappoint.

Honorable Mentions: Blot Out The Sun and Brett C.