Friday, May 03, 2013

Bar Review: Two More from Tallgrass

Special Edition

Tallgrass Brewing Company out of Manhattan, Kansas, has captured my attention. They've crafted some excellent brews, and sell them in pint cans. Cans are metal, and a pint is the perfect amount to drink when it's not the weekend.

The grocery store where I used to buy beer regularly only carried two out of the Tallgrass roster, but I recently made it out to a very fine liquor store and found a much wider selection. I've discovered the brewery is a bit more hit-and-miss than I expected. Just a warning: I don't read much about beer, or even try all that many different kinds (compared to some), and I don't follow the seemingly accepted AASTMO style of reviewing. I don't even pour it in a glass first. That seems like kind of a snobbish thing to do. It's not wine.

Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat

Buffalo Sweat is one of my favorite beers. It's a delicious oatmeal cream stout that I reviewed a while ago, and I keep coming back to it. So, when I ran across Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, I had to try it. I've enjoyed at least one vanilla stout in the past. Our local brewery Empyrean makes Dark Side Porter, and it's by far their best. So, adding vanilla to an even better stout seems like a no-brainer.

The first drink was good. It was sweet, almost like a dessert. The second drink was not as good. After that, it started to taste like pennies in my mouth. It's terrible. It's the Special Edition of Buffalo Sweat, and the vanilla bean is Greedo shooting first. The only thing that can make it drinkable is to eat something salty between each sip. To make matters worse, it cost a dollar more for the 4-pack. I've still got one more of these, and I'm not looking forward to it.

8-Bit Pale Ale

8-Bit Pale Ale has a very cool-looking can that pays homage to old-school video games. That's enough to catch my attention. It's tagged as a "hop-rocketed" ale. Drinking it, I found that it tastes pretty much like their IPA, with that citrus fruit effect, but strangely bland. Again, it's the Special Edition. This is not atrocious by any stretch; it's not the Mos Eisley cantina meddling or switching out the real Anakin for the douchy prequel one. It's more like replacing the awesome miniature ships with CG special effects. I can live with that, and sometimes simplicity is a good quality in a beer, but it doesn't have any character.

I am absolutely not going to keep bagging on this brewery. I tried two more that impressed me very much. I'll get into those another day.

The Verdict:
Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat: 1 out of 5 stars
8-Bit Pale Ale: 3 out of 5 stars

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