Saturday, January 9, 2010

East End Snow Melt Winter Ale

On my last visit to D's Six Pax and Dogz in Pittsburgh, I ordered a pint of East End Snow Melt Winter Ale. The beer is a dark brown color and is opaque. It smells of caramel, toffee, and coffee with slight hop hints. The taste is full of flavors including roasted malts, caramel, and coffee. The alcohol content is 7% ABV. I thought that this beer was very good all around and smooth with slight spice bite. All of the flavors are well balanced and very complimentary of each other.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Appalachian Brewing Company Volks Weizenbock

I stopped in to Appalachian Brewing Company for my monthly visit and ordered the Volks Weizenbock. The beer has a dark amber color to it. The smell is sweet and fruity that is pretty heavy on the yeast. The taste is very sweet and light and very refreshing with hints of banana and caramel. The beer finishes a bit creamy. The alcohol content is 7.2% ABV. I thought that it was a decent beer but may be a little too sweet for my palate.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout

I grabbed a 22-ounce bottle of Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout in New Jersey on my last visit. The beer pours thick and is a dark black color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma is a rich sweet chocolate flavor. The taste is smooth and a dry bitter chocolate with light caramel on the back of the tongue on the finish. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. I thought that the Choklat was a thoroughly enjoyable beer and the chocolate dominates the beer flavor. I would say that this is a chocolate lovers must drink beer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Left Hand Fatde to Black Volume 1- Foreign Export Stout

Another bottle I picked up at Brass Rail was the Left Hand Fade To Black Volume 1- Foreign Export Stout. The beer pours dark black and very thick and has a light tan head. The aroma is malty and chocolate with light hints of milk. The taste is dark bitter chocolate and it has a light cream finish. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. I thought that the beer had a very good deep chocolate flavor and almost tastes like a s'more. I would highly recommend this beer, as it is great tasting and very smooth drinking.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sierra Nevada Torpedo

I was given a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo by a coworker to try. The beer has a golden color with almost no head. The aroma is full of floral hops. The taste is lightly malty and sweet with a good balance of accent hops. There are slight accents of lemon and caramel as well in the flavoring. I thought that it wasn't a hop overpowering IPA. The alcohol content is 7.2% ABV. I thought that the Torpedo was a decent IPA, as it was delicately sweetened with caramel but still had a nice complimentary hop bite.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Top 15 Albums of the Year (2009)

Here is my 2009 Top 15 Albums of the Year

15. MuteMath- Armistice (August 18, 2009)

I really like the variety of sounds used on Armistice. “Electrify” (my ringtone) and “Spotlight” lead my favorites on the album, but it is a very upbeat and fast paced album. It really is a good album to throw on while driving around town with the windows down in the warmer months.

14. Jet- Shaka Rock (August 21, 2009)

After the letdown that was Shine on, Jet followed up with Shaka Rock and succeeded in my opinion. “She's a Genius” was the perfect song for a first single, as it pulled my attention to the band again. “Black Hearts (On Fire)” and “K.I.A. (Killed In Action)” are often played while I am working out as pump up music, and there really aren't any bad songs on this album.

13. Taking Back Sunday- New Again (June 2, 2009)

I was expecting a bit of a let down with the album New Again, but I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the entire album. “Sink Into Me”, “New Again”, “Capital M-E”, and “Everything Must Go” really hold this album together and keep me coming back to it.

12. Street Sweeper Social Club- Street Sweeper Social Club (June 16, 2009)

I have always been waiting a return to electric guitar for Tom Morello, as I wasn't that interested in The Nightwatchman. I really enjoy the sound of Street Sweeper Social Club, as it bring Tom back to a Rage-like sound. I became attracted to the band with “Clap for the Killers”, and I honestly like every song on the album. I saw them open for Nine Inch Nails, and they are every bit as good live as they are on the album.

11. After Midnight Project- Let's Build Something to Break (Ausugt 11, 2009)

Following hearing the first single “Take Me Home”, I could not wait for After Midnight Project to release their album. While I like most of the songs on the album, “Scream for You” really sticks with me and I really enjoy the lyrics. This album has not received a lot of press, but I do like this band and I recommend giving them a listen.

10. Thousand Foot Krutch- Welcome to the Masquerade (September 8, 2009)

Thousand Foot Krutch has been putting out a solid album with each release, and Welcome to the Masquerade is no different. “Bring Me to Life”, “E for Extinction”, “Fire it up”, and “Outta Control” top my favorites on the album. My only question is this: Did they steal the song “Forward Motion” from Meese or do they give them writing credits? I have not been able to locate this answer.

9. Saosin- In Search of Solid Ground (September 8, 2009)

I appreciated the first album from Saosin, but I really am starting to like these guys a lot more after this release. “Changing”, “I Keep My Secrets Safe”, and “Say Goodbye” top my favorites from the album. This is a great driving album, and it has taken me through many road trips this year.

8. Inward Eye- Throwing Bricks Instead of Kisses (August 18, 2009)

A new band that I am really digging right now is Inward Eye. I was totally hooked when I heard the song “Shame” and that guitar riff will stay in my head all day long. I also really enjoy “Blind Paranoia”, “Day After Day”, and “Don't Paint it Blue”. I eagerly anticipate their second release even thought I am sure it will not be until 2011.

7. Jay-Z- The Blueprint III (September 22, 2009)

In what was likely the most anticipated album of 2009, Jay-Z did not disappoint with The Blueprint III. “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys has received a lot of attention and rightfully so. There are so many good songs on the album it is difficult to list them all, but I really enjoy listening to “Reminder”, “Run This Town”, and “On to the Next One”. This album has received a good amount of play in my car and will continue to do so.

6. Weezer- Raditude (November 3, 2009)

Weezer really knows how to make an album. They come back with each one and tweat their sound slightly so it's not the same as the previous but don't deviate too far from their core. There's only two exceptions to that rule on this album. The first, “Can't Stop Partyin'” featuring Lil' Wayne, worked and worked really well. The second, “Love Is the Answer”, did not work and is a little boring of a song. I'd also like to add that the bonus tracks are just as good as the songs on the album, especially the song “Get Me Some”.

5. Muse- The Resistance (September 14, 2009)

I have been eagerly awaiting a new Muse album, and The Resistance did not disappoint for the most part. I'm not a fan of the three Exogenesis Symphony songs on the album, mostly due to the fact I listen to most of my music in the car and it is not driving music. However, the rest of the songs make up for these three enough to put this album at number five on my list. “Uprising”, “MK ultra”, and “The Resistance” are among my favorites on the album. I really can't wait to see this guys live at Madison Square Garden in March.

4. Chevelle- Sci-Fi Crimes (August 31, 2009)

What a solid album Sci-Fi Crimes turned out to be for Chevelle. Every song is so powerfully driven, making this one of the best driving albums of all time in my opinion. “Jars”, “A New Momentum”, “Fell Into Your Shoes”, and “Letter From a Thief” lead the driven album and receive regular rotation at the gym for me. This album has been played very often in my car and is a staple of long roadtrips.

3. Breaking Benjamin- Dear Agony (September 29, 2009)

Breaking Benjamin, a solid band from Northeastern Pennsylvania, released Dear Agony late this year and hit a home run with it. Every song is solid and not one let me down while listening to it. “Anthem of the Angels” has become one of my favorites on the album, along with “I Will Not Bow” and “Dear Agony”. This is exactly the type of album I expected from Breaking Benjamin, and I can't stop listenting to it.

2. Silversun Pickups- Swoon (April 14, 2009)

I would argue that Carnavas was a solid album from Silversun Pickups, but that means that I have to say that Swoon was a great album. The unique sound from the vocals to the hard driven guitar work, this album is a complete package. “Panic Room” is an excellent song, but it can't top “The Royal We” in my book on this album. I am also a huge fan of “Catch and Release”. If you get a chance to check out Silversun Pickups live, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to see them again open for Muse.

1. Manchester Orchestra- Mean Everything to Nothing (April 21, 2009

This album has been played in my car at least once a week since it's release. I liked Manchester Orchestra prior to this album's release, but Mean Everything to Nothing launched Manchester Orchester to new heights by showcasing their talent. The first single “I've Got Friends” was a pretty big hit, but I immediately took a liking to “Shake it out”. I would like to recommend seeing their live set, as it is one of the better that I have ever seen.

Honorable Mentions: Wolfmother, The Parlor Mob, Eminem, The Urgency


Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures

I liked the single, but the rest of the songs sound the same and are really repetitive.

Kasabian- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

A couple of good songs, but not as good as previous albums.

Arctic Monkeys- Humbug

A couple tunes that stuck, but no where near the creativity of previous albums.

Maximo Park- Quicken the Heart

A couple of listens and I just couldn't get hooked on this album.

Boaks Two Blind Monks

I grabbed a bottle of Boaks Two Blind Monks at Brass Rail. The beer is a dark amber color with a tan lofty and bubbly head. The aroma is roasted malts and oak. The taste is oaky with hints of bourbon and sour fruits. It is also full of sweet toasted malts. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I thought that this was a very smooth and sweet beer and I really enjoyed the beer. The oak flavors balance the sour fruits really well and make drinking this beer an enjoyable experience.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Struice Tsjeeses

I picked up a bottle of Struice Tsjeeses at Brass Rail. The Tsjeeses is a Belgian Christmas Ale and has a copper color. There are lots of yeast flakes floating around and it has a light foamy head. The smell is full of alcohol and has banana accents. The taste is full of banana flavors with spices consisting of pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. It also has hints of honey, orange, and yeast. The alcohol content is 10.0% ABV. This was a very excellent beer and I highly recommend it. The beer was very smooth drinking with a great alcohol bite and plenty of flavors.