Beer Review: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout [North Coast]

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout [North Coast]

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Co. (Fort Bragg, CA)
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0%

I didn’t think it would happen so quick, but the recent decrease in temperatures has already had me craving a strong stout. What better way to satisfy this urge than with the legendary Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout?

This beer from North Coast Brewing Co. has won numerous awards and medals from all sorts of beer festivals, including SEVEN gold medals at the World Beer Championships. It holds an “A” rating on BeerAdvocate and a 100 overall score on RateBeer. The praise is unanimous.

Folks, this beer lives up to the hype. It is as dark as they come, almost motor oil in appearance, and it has plenty of ABV at 9%. Its aroma brings traditional smells of coffee and chocolate. The taste is a terrific blend of the two flavors, and has a creamy mouthfeel. As other complexities start to come through, the stout leaves a lingering myriad of flavors. The hops become noticeable, but are balanced out by an overlying sweetness. If you dig deeper, there are hints of dark fruits and molasses as well. Seriously, this is a never-ending adventure.

Old Rasputin’s alcohol content is noticeable, but never becomes overwhelming. This is a perfect winter beer, best for those days when you wish to remain indoors while watching the snow fall outside. Bold, rich and well-balanced, this Russian imperial stout is more than worthy of its reputation. Bring it on, Old Man Winter!


Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada (Chico, California)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%

It has been hot as shit lately in Chicago (and the rest of the country, for that matter), and the extreme humidity has led to an increase in my beer consumption. I can’t think of anything better than a nice, cold pale ale while braving the heat. I have been trying all sorts of quality summer brews in the past couple months, but today I decided to revisit a classic: Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale.

Introduced in 1980, this Pale Ale has rose through the ranks to become the second best-selling craft beer in the United States behind Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager. Many consider it a gateway beer into the wonderful world of hops, and it has managed to withstand the test of time after all these years.

Sierra Nevada describes their flagship beer as “a delightful interpretation of a classic style.” Its bottle label boasts that it is a completely natural ale with no additives. The company is proud of its ingredients, as it even makes sure to mention the fine layer of yeast in each bottle, which is the result of its bottle conditioning process.

When poured into a glass, the Pale Ale has a light amber color to it. Its aroma proudly flaunts hops — lots and lots of hops. It tastes exactly like it smells, with the Cascade hops delivering a strong citrus flavor with a bit of a spicy kick as well. The different tastes linger on the palette with mild to medium bitterness.

Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is easily drinkable, and it’s not hard to see why this is a common gateway choice for craft beer novices. I find it amazing that a beer of this quality is one of the most popular in the country, and it’s fantastic that this can usually be found even at less-than-impressive watering holes. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is the very definition of “an oldie but a goodie.”