What am I thinking? Am I crazy? Why am I reviewing a Kirkland beer? Well, the story is I was in Costco and found a multipack with several flavors and a cost of 0.87 per bottle. I figured, why not see if this beer is any good. And if its not? What's the worst that can happen? Well, my tastebuds could fall out of my mouth. I could go blind. I could absolutely hate it.
Lucky for me, none of those happened. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that this beer was mild, not too hoppy, and, of course, priced right. If you're on a budget, this would be a beer of choice. Think about the price of a case of Bud Light and the price of this multi-flavor pack...and it's a no brainer! This is worth the try.
Couple of details for you:
Here's the thing. While I enjoyed this beer, I also have a hard time giving a Costco or Kirkland brand a high rating. I don't know why, but I'm struggling with it. Anyone think I should rate it higher even though it's a national retailer's brand?
Due South's Mariana Trench (2017)
Due South's Mariana Trench (2017) is a one of my favorite beers from this brewery. They have mixed the base with other flavors, but this is the best version of it. Bourbon barrel aged, this beer is a bit heavy in the mouth, strong vanilla and chocolate flavors with a light molasses mouthfeel. Smells heavenly and tastes like it should. Another great beer from Due South. This beer gets me excited to go back to the brewery and try another one.
Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
CBS is an Imperial Stout that has been tainted (in a good way) with coffee and chocolate (apparently imported chocolate) and then aged in bourbon barrels that were recently used to store maple syrup. How appropriate that this special release was done so in the month of December. This beer starts with a chocolatey flavor but you can almost feel the maple syrup once it's down the hatch. This is one of the few beers I've had that once it's in my mouth, it feels light as air. Careful though! 11.7% will sneak up on you quickly. It's worth the $30 a bottle, but you should probably have a friend to share it with. I'm writing this as I am half way through the bottle...probably good I'm not at the bottom of the bottle as I write this.
Founders - Backwoods Bastard Review
Founders has consistently found a way to brew awesome beers. Forgive me, but if I have a choice between another beer and a Founders beer, I'm picking Founders. This time, I chose their Backwoods Bastard. While one of my favorites, not everyone will like this beer (sorry Founders). You'll want to like Scotch or Bourbon if you're gonna try this one...oh, and the wee heavy part...they're not joking. At 11.7% and "cave aged in Bourbon barrels," Backwoods Bastard is one of the better beers you'll find.
I've wanted to try Mariana Trench for a few years now. It sounded so good. I didn't even care which year I'd try. Last night, I had the chance to try it at Due South. They were doing a "Black Friday" event (get it, black beer for black Friday) where they were selling glasses of the 2016 stash. Am I glad I had the chance to try it. This beer is very good. Dark, mysterious, and full of flavor. I highly recommend. Due South is located in Boynton Beach, FL.
Left Hand - Wake Up Dead Nitro Stout
One of my new favorites! This beer is very smooth. The perfect mix of chocolate, fruit, and licorice along with the nitro makes this a beer to remember. When you exhale after drinking, you get a hint of coffee and the licorice jumps out. Don’t worry though, if you don’t like licorice, you may still like this beer, as it does not overpower the taste at all. With the high ABV (10%), it can get dangerous quickly. Try this with a scoop of Publix (if you have them nearby) Black Jack Cherry frozen yogurt/ice cream. Holy cow! The cherry ice cream and the Russian Imperial go hand in hand....but if you don’t have that, try a handful of dried cherries or chocolate chips or both!
Follow the advice on the bottle...”Our hard. Admire & enjoy.”
So the story goes that after Hurricane Irma passed through south Florida in September, one nun in Miami “made it her mission to clear debris.” This beer is thus a tribute to those in South Florida who had to cut and maim the once beautiful trees that were in their back and front yards to get out. Irma created a mess, even though it was only a Category 1 storm in Miami. We were weeks without rubbish pick up, the smell of the preserve near our house was rank, and the power was out for 2 days. Honestly, it was nothing compared to Puerto Rico.
KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders
This, by far, is my favorite beer. It's tough to describe and easy to drink...but only if you enjoy a boozy flavored coffee beer. It pours dark (almost black) with a light brown foam that disappears reasonably slowly. It smells like a light roasted coffee. This beer is boozy, so one is usually enough. This beer is hard to find because it is release in late March. I was able to try it last time I was in Michigan, but I also was able to find it in April (2017) in Total Wine (finally!). Nothing made me happier until I realized how much I was going to pay. Worth every penny.
NOBO stands for North Boynton...something the area has become known as. The owners decided to name their brewery after North Boynton, but shortened it to NOBO. Clever. One thing you'll want to know is on most Fridays, they release special smaller batches of beers. They're trying new things and this is a great way to get feedback and decide if they want to make a larger batch or hide their mistake. They find this to be very effective and most people are very happy to help give them feedback. For example, on Friday October 13, 2017, they're releasing Cherry/Key Lime Funky Monk. This should be interesting.
Looking for food? Food trucks are there every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The rest of the days (for now), you can take advantage of Papa John's special. Tell them you're at NOBO and they'll deliver a $10 two-topping pizza in short order. I've done it and was impressed! A great add to good beer.
Hours: Monday: 3 - 10pm, Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday: 3 - 10pm, Thursday: 3 - 10pm, Friday: 3 - 11pm, Saturday: 12 - 11pm, Sunday 12 - 8pm
For our first visit, we stopped into Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, FL. Founded in 2013, Saltwater is a forward thinking brewery, renowned for their use of a biodegradable 6-pack can holder. In keeping with their environmental conscientiousness, Saltwater supports several ocean-based charities such as CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, and MOTE.
While most local breweries are tucked away in hard to find industrial districts with little or no signage, Saltwater is located right off I-95 and is easily visible from the Atlantic Avenue exit. Their sign is prominently painted in the side of their building, emitting an air of inclusiveness for beer connesuiers and novices alike.
When you first walk in, you feel like you're in an old waterfront bar (reminds me of a few places on the west coast of Florida). I could almost see the old weather worn fisherman sitting in the corner. While many breweries have more of an industrial, no frills atmosphere, Saltwater is comfortable, with a social crowd. You can hang out outside and enjoy the weather, and play traditional bar games like corn hole. The restrooms are clean and the place is welcoming. When I ordered my first flight, I asked for some help and the barkeep gladly helped me make my selections.
One thing that sets Saltwater apart from other breweries is that it features live entertainment. We went on a Saturday evening and were a little surprised when a band began to set up. I expected more classic rock given the decor, but this act had a kind of a jazzy groove sound.
Saltwater Brewery's signature beer is their Screemin' Reels IPA (7%, 75 IBU, IPA). I'm not much of an IPA guy, but I found this one to be mild and palatable. It's lighter than most, but still has that hoppy flavor. They describe it having a happy start mixed with tangerine and a smooth finish...but I didn't taste the tangerine. I enjoyed this one and could drink a few of these in an afternoon. Saltwater offers a variety of the Screemin' Reels in Raspberry, Grapefruit and Mango versions. I tried all of them, and the original was certainly my favorite.
My Favorite Beer:
LocAle (3.7%, 12 IBU, Golden Ale) - The LocAle is a beer you could drink all day long...whether on the beach, boat, or your own backyard, it goes down easily. With the low alcohol content, The LocAle is easy to enjoy without dehydrating on these hot Florida summer days and nights. To get the most out of this one, pair it with Asian, spicy, and/or Mexican food. I really enjoyed it and think you will too.