Before diving right into the heart of this blog and giving you my weekly beer reviews, I would like to start out by saying “Welcome”! I’m tremendously excited to be tasting and reviewing some of the best craft beers that the Firelands have to offer, and I’m even more excited to share these reviews with you and spread the word about some of the amazing craft beers being served up at local restaurants and stocked on local store shelves.
What better place than Mekong to begin this inaugural edition of Foaming at the Mouth? Located right off of Milan Road in Sandusky right in front of the Sandusky Mall, Mekong is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers over 100 different craft beers. Yes, you read that correctly, over 100 craft beers! Beyond this extensive bottle selection, you can enjoy 8 different draft beers that rotate weekly. I love the fact that the Kha and his crew here at Mekong have a different draft hooked up every time I come in here because I know that when I come in here I am going to be drinking the freshest draft beer that Sandusky has to offer. Ok, enough about me gushing over my bromance for the beer geeks here at Mekong and onto the the reviews. Kha gave me 3 different beers to try and I am here to share with you my experiences on each one.
I have only 3 rules for selecting my beers to feature in this blog and they are: 1 Ohio Brewery, 1 Seasonal Beer and 1 Owner’s choice. Kha killed two birds with one stone when my first beer was Hoppin Frog Brewery’s Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale. This beer is currently on tap at Mekong. I enjoyed this beer out of a 10 oz snifter, and could not have enjoyed it enough. I know it may seem a little early for fall beers, but it’s that time of year where the summer beers are sold out and the Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ales are taking their place.
Hoppin' Frog, hailing from my hometown of Akron, Ohio, is consistently voted as one of the best breweries in the world-and for good cause. Frog’s Hollow pours a very nice clear and bright orange. It keeps about a quarter inch of head with little no lacing (pretty normal for pumpkin ales). Stick your nose right above the head of the beer and take a good long smell. Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and vanilla will fill the air. After the first sip, the mouthfeel very smooth and creamy with a good carbonation-not too mild, but not enough to make the beer seem sour.
Once this beer hits your tongue, you’ll experience the same tastes you smelled after initially pouring the beer: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin....a tad bit of vanilla, and for me, I caught a very faint hint of caramel....mmmmm.....caramel.
I have to say that my favorite part of drinking this beer was the fact that the finish left a nice cinnamon aftertaste in my mouth, but not overbearing. It was incredibly smooth and easy to drink. This beer could get me into trouble as it weighs in at 8.4% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).
Next, I enjoyed a classic Tripel Ale brewed with spices by the name of Golden Monkey by Victory Brewing Company. Victory Golden Monkey is a classic craft beer that has been around for quite some time and is synonymous with the craft beer expansion. This beer pours a mostly clear golden yellow with aromas of lemon, lime, spices, orange peel and banana. It has a very light and fluffy head that lingers with about 1 inch with good, sticky lacing. Golden Monkey has a very creamy and spicy mouthfeel, and while not overly filling, is pretty full bodied. The taste is spicy and slightly bitter. I get hints of lemon, banana and orange peel. It’s fairly citrusy with a strong alcohol presence (weighing in at 9.5% ABV). Golden Monkey is a classic, and if your current definition of a craft beer that you enjoy is one of those wheat beers you put an orange in, stop into Mekong and give this one a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Last but not least, Kha’s owner’s choice was St. Bernardus Abt 12. This is an Abbey Ale imported from Belgium. It pours a very dark ruby, purplish color, but from the naked eye it looks as though it is almost black. It’s very hazy and has a light, frothy head that holds about a ½ inch retention throughout the drinking experience. The smell can be summed up in two words: dark fruits. Hints of black cherry, raisins, grapes and a little cranberry. This beer is a true treat once it’s poured into a glass and enjoyed. Cherry and grape are the two strongest tastes followed by a bit of raisin. It’s very smooth with a very light carbonation. My favorite part of this beer was the slight smokey finish I experienced after each sip. The smokey finish cut the sweetness of the dark fruit tastes which is what made it extremely drinkable and well balanced. With the smooth and mild finish, you would never know that this brew weighs in at 10% ABV. If you’re a fan of red wines or dry white wines, give this beer a try! You’ll really enjoy the grape flavors and smooth, dry finish.
Stop in to Mekong as they’re open seven days a week. You can find the aforementioned three beers that I reviewed as well as over 100 more! Also, make sure to ask Kha what 3 Floyd’s beers he has available that day and make sure you grab one, because they sell quick! 3 Floyd’s is one of the best breweries in the world and their beers are always extremely hard to get, but some how, some way, Kha always seems to be able to get some!
One more thing to mention as I wrap up this premier post of Foaming at the Mouth: Most craft beers tend to be higher in alcohol content and therefore, a buzz will come sooner than expected. Craft beer is not like the bright yellow foamy liquid you’re used to. So please, enjoy craft beer and enjoy it often, but most importantly-enjoy it responsibly.
Well, that’s all for this week folks. I’m already losing sleep over my excitement for next week when I will be visiting Jeff at a Sandusky staple that’s been around for over 30 years, Bayshore Beverage. Until then, always remember: Good beer makes the world a better place.