Saturday, April 24, 2010

Negra Modelo




Negra Modelo

Brewed by:
Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.
Mexico

Munich Dunkel Lager
5.40% ABV



 




Commercial Description:
This dark vienna-munich type beer has had extraordinary acceptance in international markets. Exports to the U.S. began in the early 80´s, and have since attained great success in Europe, Australia, Central and South America.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 Pack, ~ $27.00 Case.


Background:

A little deviation from the Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning. I just stopped for something to have for dinner and thought I would write a review while waiting. I have had this once before at a party and thought is was pretty good. So before I even get started I must thank my good friend Gonzalo for introducing this beer to me. I’m looking forward to doing a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a very dark amber with ruby and orange hues with a fairly rich off white head.

Nice sweet toasted malts on the nose. There is also a slight hop aroma as well.

We are starting this review at 55 degrees. I guess it warmed a little on my way home.

The taste is very flavorful and refreshing at the same time. This is very nice indeed.
It starts out with rich toasted malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue then a very nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back-end goes down smooth making this is very easy to drink. There is a nice malty sweetness during the swallow. The finish is fairly dry with just the correct amount of hops to dry but not to leave a bitter aftertaste. The final aftertaste is very pleasant with toasted malts almost coating your mouth similar to stout but without the malt bitterness.

As rich as the beer is, it is also very refreshing. The end of the first sip leaves you craving another and then again another. And since this is such an easy drinking beer it is effortless to comply.

We are now at 66 degrees. This beer is warming well; it is not as refreshing but still very good with nothing unpleasant whatsoever.

Since I bought a six pack I think I’ll have another while I work on my final thoughts.

Ahhh, this second one is even better then the first. I guess that is mostly due to the fact that I’m just enjoying it not analyzing it.

This is one very nice Dunkel. I am enjoying this as much as any authentic German Dunkel that I have had.

I’m going to wrap this up with a B for the German Dunkel from Mexico.

This is a very pleasant easy drinking dark lager. I have really enjoyed this and highly recommend it to any Dunkel or Schwarzbier lover. For that matter this would be a great introductory beer to the Dark Lagers. So if you like a Lager this is just a smoother with rich malts version, so give it a whirl.

Update 11-21-2011
I was looking over my beer pictures and realized that I took new pictures of this beer in the authentic glass. I updated the pictures above. These are the originals.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

  
Raging Bitch
Belgian-Style IPA

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery


Frederick, Maryland

 

Belgian IPA
 

8.30% ABV





Commercial Description:
Flying Dog Brewery will celebrate its 20th Anniversary a few months early on Friday, September 25th (the brewery turns 20 next year). The brewery will be sampling the new Raging Bitch Belgian-style India Pale Ale at the Flying dog Brats And Gonzo party in Denver that day as part of the Great American Beer Fest happening that week (unscramble the FBAG acronym to get GABF). More info about the fest can be found on the official Flying Dog blog. The beer also appeared on draft at this past weekend’s Gonzofest party. Al from Hop Talk was in attendance and reported on his blog, “I understand it’s made from an augmented Snake Dog wort with an exclusive Belgian yeast strain (called Diablo) and dry-hopped with a load of Amarillo hops. They’re calling it a Belgian IPA. It was really good. It had that hop bite from a big, bad American IPA with the banana and bubblegum from the Belgian yeast.” Some may remember a beer called, Raging Bitch Birch Beer, that Flying Dog introduced on April 1st. Whereas that low-gravity series beer was a joke, this beer is anything but at 8% ABV (60 IBU). Propaganda from the label: “Two inflammatory words…one wild drink. Nectar imprisoned in a bottle. Let it out. It is cruel to keep a wild animal locked up. Uncap it. Release it…stand back! Wallow in its golden glow in a glass beneath a white foaming head. Remember, enjoying a RAGING BITCH, unleashed, untamed, unbridled – and in heat – is pure GONZO!! It has taken 20 years to get from there to here. Enjoy!” – Ralph Steadman
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 6 Pack, ~ $29.00 Case.


Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. This one is a recommendation from my daughter Monica and boyfriend Michael. I don’t know anything about this beer other than they liked it and It’s classified as a Belgian IPA by beeradvocate.com. Typically Belgian IPAs are much of an oxymoron for me and I don’t particularly appreciate this new style.

But I will keep an open mind and palate for this review.


Review:

The beer pours a nice copper color with amber hues and a fairly rich white to off white head. This beer is also highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the class.

This is a very interesting nose. Rich caramel malts, plenty of hop aromas, some very interesting spice and fruit notes, plus something that smells yeasty and Belgian.


Interesting, very interesting. There is a lot going on in this sip it may take a while to try and dissect this one.

Up front on the tip of the tongue are sweet caramel malts then a nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip along with a building hop presence. This continues to build as the hop bitterness intensifies during the swallow. The finish seems to dry slightly but remains very hoppy. This is also one of those beers that have multiple hop characteristics throughout the tasting experience. The final aftertaste is again mainly a hop bitterness but there is also a yeasty aspect to the final aftertaste.

I am a huge fan of the Belgian styles but I’m not sold on this new Belgian IPA style. I’m all for the Belgian inspiration but I’m not sure how the rich malty Belgian characteristics play with the overly bitter American IPA hops.

Sorry to digress back to what’s in front of me.

I really think the hops are just too overwhelming. Especially as this warms the hops seems to be more predominate. I’m not a hophead and hence not the ideal target audience for this style.

I do have to admit that this is a well crafted ale. It’s not exactly my style but it is nicely done.

The head and lacing on this beer has just been incredible. There has always been a nice protective film over the top of the beer and the lacing is quite impressive.

I am getting to the end of this beer. It is now at 66 degrees and for what it’s worth it is warming well.  Although the hop bitterness seems be getting stronger on the finish it is still not picking up anything unpleasant.

Well I have to make a decision here soon I’m running out of beer and this is the only one I have.

So for an overly bitter American brew I’ll take this one any day over most of the American IPA’s. The main problem for his is that the excessive hop bitterness does not make this easy drinking or refreshing. The hops completely dominate this beer; the Belgian yeast and malts are not even players in this experience. Now that is just a down right crime for someone who appreciates the subtle complexity and esters of the Belgians.

I have drafted several posts about this Belgian IPA style of beer but I have not posted anything yet. I get babbling on and it never reads right. I guess that’s what I need to do to get this contradiction in styles off of my chest.

So for right now, did I or did I not like this beer? That is the question.

Well, I guess so?

For all the American brewed Belgian IPA’s that I’ve had this was the best, hands down. No that doesn’t make it an A since this is a quantum leap away from those authentic Belgian hoppy brews like Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel and Pirraat Ale, two hoppy Belgians that I really enjoy.

So, in trying to stay faithful to this style I will give the Raging B a B.

This beer will be highly enjoyed by any Hophead. And I’m glad for that because it is far better than most American IPA’s.  But….

My final recommendation is that you should try one of the Authentic Belgians like Houblon Chouffe and Pirraat Ale if you are interested in a hoppy Belgian.


In closing, I just realized that it may not be the bitterness but the actual American hop flavors that I don’t like in this style. I’ll have to look into this further as I ed-ja-ma-kate myself about hops.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Erie Brewing, Mad Anthony's APA


Mad Anthony's APA

Brewed by:
Erie Brewing Co.
 

Erie, Pennsylvania

American Pale Ale (APA)
 

5.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
William Crisp Malts; Columbus, Fuggles, and Northern Brewer Hops. 12.8º P - 51.6 IBU’s.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing
:
12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 6 Pack


Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. I bought a six pack of this when friends were over back in early march. I thought is was pretty good at the time and kept one in the fridge to review. So lets see how the Erie PA APA holds up to full review.

Review:
The beer pours a pale amber with golden/orange hues with a white head.

This beer has a very pleasant nose; a nice caramel malt sweetness with citrus hop notes. This really smells great for an APA very inviting without an overpowering hop presence. I can’t wait to see if it’s as refreshing as its nose invites.

Sweet caramel malts on up front on the tip of the tongue but that only last for a split second followed by a nice effervescence over the tongue. This mid-sip effervescence is also laden with a building hop experience. By the time you get to the top of the swallow you expect this to build to an overpowering bitterness but it doesn’t. It seems to mellow during the swallow. There is different hop experience on the back-end of the swallow that leads to a dryer hop finish, once again not too overwhelmingly bitter. The finish is also a rich hop experience; still fairly dry and not overly bitter. The final aftertaste is hoppy but still seems to be somewhat refreshing. There are at least 3 possibly 4 different hop flavors in the tasting experience. The nose, mid-sip, back-end and finish all seem to have a distinct hop flavor or note different from each other.

As much as I’ve been taking about hops I want to be clear that this beer is hoppy but not overly bitter. But this bitterness does seem to be a little much for the style. Well, at least a little much for my preference.

The head has diminished to just a patchy island with a ring around the glass. It is however leaving some lacing.

The beer has warmed to 63 degrees. It is not as easy drinking as it onece was. The finish is also picking up some unpleasantness.

I seemed to convince myself during this review that the hops were not overpowering. But actually I think they are. Not that they are overly bitter but at no point in this review did I mention the malt aspect of this beer. I just realize that is because it’s not there. So, even if this is not overly bitter the hops do dominate the entire experience. Only on the nose and in the upfront tip of the tongue taste were the malts really noticeable in this brew.


This is not a very easy drinking or refreshing APA; especially now that it has warmed a little. There is just a little too much hop bitterness during the swallow for it to go down smooth. And the finish is not as refreshing as it could be.

All and all this is not a bad beer. The hop profile in this beer is more than what I have seen in some American IPA’s. I suspect that that is too much for this style but hops are my weak link when it comes to tasting and reviewing beer. I even bought a hop appreciation kit to lean more about the different hop styles. I really need to do more homework on the subject.

So based on other American Pale Ales that I have had and liked, I’d have to give this one a C. It is a very drinkable beer but it’s not up there with some of the other APA’s.

I really can’t recommend that you try this one but I do recommend that if you are interested in this style of beer than you should one of these:
Samuel Adams Boston Ale, B-
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale B+

Dales Pale Ale, A+, My gold standard for this style.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fordham Queen Anne Kölsch



Queen Anne Kölsch
 

Brewed by:
Fordham Brewing Company
 

Dover, Delaware

Kölsch
 

5.00% ABV

 





Commercial Description:
Just in time for Spring, Fordham brings you a delicate and refreshing top-fermenting Kölsch ale that is sure to please the palate. With a straw golden hue, medium hop bitterness and a dry finish, our craft interpretation of this German style ale would have been hailed by Queen Anne herself. 5.0% Alcohol by volume. Brewed with select European & American malts & hops.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 6 Pack


Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. Well, this is another one that was hiding in the fridge. I bought this on a whim about a month ago and really liked it. I really like this style of beer it has an almost nostalgic taste to it, similar to the nostalgic taste of a classic Pilsner. It’s like the American heritage of our German Beer Roots.

I do have to apologies upfront for not having the appropriate glass. This style of beer is usually drunk in tall cylindrical glass called a "stangen" (rods). This is one glass that I have to add to my collection. The closest thing I have is this smaller cervoise, more like an oversized flute.
  
Review:
The beer pours a pale golden straw with a bright white head, and highly carbonated.

Very nice “kolsch” nose on this brew. It is slightly different and very unique to this style of beer. There is an earthy German aroma to it, almost skunky but also being very pleasant. There is also a slight hop presence and some sweetness but it is all behind that earthy “Kolschness”, whatever that is.

This is nice, very nice. Very light sweet pilsner type malts upfront then a very clean and refreshing effervescence over your tongue in mid-sip. Those earthy flavors start to make themselves known just before you get to the swallow. This is a fairly easy breaking beer through the swallow. The finish is light with a crisp or sharp hop bite but I would not consider it bitter. It’s more like an old fashion pilsner bite or crispness.  There is slight aftertaste; it’s more of that earthy almost skunky bite. Sorry I’m not doing this justice. This is a very nice and refreshing beer. I’m just having a hard time explaining that classic Kolsch flavor. It is a unique somewhat earthy somewhat skunky taste. But all and all this is a very clean and refreshing beer.

Let’s try this. Take a good clean pilsner like Pilsner Urquell and add an earthy background to it.

I am really enjoying this beer. It is a bright sunny spring day; late afternoon on a Sunday in mid-April. We have about an hour before Sunday dinner and this beer is just hitting the spot. The beer is clean and refreshing, not necessarily light but not heavy enough to spoil dinner. (Yeah, like a beer can spoil dinner.) This is just a perfect mid-day beer.

I’m drinking this one kind of fast since it is so refreshing. I’m down toward the bottom of the glass and the beer has warmed to 60 degrees. It is warming well, there is absolutely nothing unpleasant about this beer. It can probably go another 10 degrees or so but we won’t know since I’m killing it now.

This was a very nice rendition of the Cologne Germany classic Kolsch.

I’m really not sure what to do for a grade. This is the first Kolsch that I have given a full review on. I’m going to go for a B for now. That may change once I review a few of the authentic German Kolsch’s.

I do recommend this beer. Anyone that likes a classic pilsner will like this also. It does have some earthier notes to it but it remains a clean, crisp and refreshing beer.

A Kolsch is a mixed style so it is widely appealing to both Ale and Lager lovers.   

Here are my recommendations for an authentic German Kolsch:

Reissdorf Kolsch, Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf, Germany;
Nice Kolsch, very clean and refreshing beer.

Gaffel Kölsch, Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co., Germany;
This is my gold standard or the Kolsch style.

Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

 
Bohemian

Black Lager
 

Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, Texas

Schwarzbier
 

4.90% ABV







Commercial Description:
A Bohemian Black Lager is a rare and delicious style of beer, referred to in Germany as "Schwarzbier". Shiner Bohemian Black Lager remains true to this old-world style by using imported Czech Saaz and Styrains Hops and select roasted malts to make it our darkest beer. First brewed to commemorate our 97th anniversary, this Bohemian Black Lager remains true to the old-world heritage of the German and Czech immigrants that settled Shiner. Prosit!
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $6.00 6 Pack, ~$22.00 Case

Background:

Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. This was an inexpensive 6 pack pickup by my son John, BierVlog (link). He left me one to try and it’s been sitting in the bier cabinet since before Easter. So since I’m in my spring drinking, I mean cleaning, it’s time to give it a whirl.

Review:
The beer pours a very dark brown almost opaque with deep amber hues and a fairly rich off white to tan head.

Very inviting nose with toasted almost roasted malt aromas, some notes of chocolate and maybe a little coffee. There is also a nice hop aroma on the nose; subtle but noticeable. This is very inviting I can’t wait to dive into it.

Wow, what was surprising first sip. It is very malty but not too sweet, rich like an English Porter but without the ale esters. This is going to be hard to rap myself around this one. The bottom line on the first impression is that this is a good black lager. It’s funny I keep expecting that malty aftertaste like you get in a robust porter or stout but it’s not there. This beer has a fairly clean dry finish. Ok let’s try the play by play.

Sweet roasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue then a very rich but almost creamy mouthfeel in mid-sip with a building malt robustness. By the time you get to the top of the swallow it starts to turn back to a sweet roasted malt flavors and this is where you start to pick up some drying hop flavors as well. The finish is also a little confusing to me. Just when you expect a rich maltiness you get a hop drying effect and it also seems like an effervescent effect that provides a fairly dry finish. The final aftertaste is of pleasant roasted malt flavors along with that dry hop (not bitterness) flavor and that almost refreshing lager yeast taste, also fairly dry.

This is nice; I am really enjoying this beer. Although I have not reviewed it yet it reminds me of the Saranac Black Forrest. The malty character is also similar to an American Brown but again this is a lager not an ale.

Now at 64 degrees and the malts are even more pronounced than they were when cold. It is not getting unpleasant but it is much more robust.

It’s pretty much at room temperature now at 69 degrees. This is still a drinkable beer at this temperature. It is a little harsher but I still would not call it unpleasant or offensive.

I will have to take a further look into this style. I just looked at my spread sheet (more beer madness now over 520 entries) and I do have several of them on there. This is the first one that I have done a full review on.

This is a very easy drinking rich malty lager. It does have a different malt aspect than a Dunkel or a Bock. This is not a refreshing beer but it is a satisfying beer. I highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes a basic lager but wants to kick it up a notch on the malt scale. This is not a bitter beer and it does not have the robustness of a Porter or Stout Porter. It is your basic lager tasting beer with a lot more rich malt flavors in it.

I’m going to give this a B for now. This rating may change as I review more of this style.

Don’t be afraid of the dark, try a Black Lager/Schwarzbier, its bark is much worse than its bite.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pacifico Clara


Pacifico Clara
 

Brewed by:
Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.
 

Mexico

American Adjunct Lager
 

4.80% ABV





Commercial Description:
Pacifico, a pilsener type beer, dates back to the beginning of 1900’s. Since 1985, Pacífico has been exported mainly to the West Coast of USA, where it has gained strong recognition.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 Pack, ~$28.00 Case

Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning
Continues. This is another beer given to me by a friend to review; this time my friend Gene. I know nothing about it and have no idea what to expect. Although I did just look it up to find out that it’s an Adjunct Lager, not a good sign.

Review:
The beer pours a clear pale golden straw color with a bright white head. Although the head diminished quickly there is a fair amount of carbonation evident by a lot of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

There is not much on the nose of this beer. I am picking up a light malt aroma put it has a very grainy/grassy background to it. There are also some light hop aromas on the nose.

Well, I didn’t know what to expect and I’m still trying to figure out what I got. All and all it’s not much but I was bracing myself during that first sip for something awful if it appeared. But it really didn’t; for an adjunct lager this is a drinkable beer. Let me give you the play by play on the sip.

There is a slight malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue followed by a very cleansing effervescence that just tingles your entire tongue in mid-sip. It is not until you get to the back-end that you start to pick up any flavors and they are not much. There is a pilsner malt flavor that starts to come there during the swallow. This light malt flavor carries though to the finish accompanied by a nice dry hop bitterness. Nothing overpowering just a typical pilsner drying hop finish. The final after taste is fairly dry with a grainy/grassy taste to it. This grassy taste is tolerable now at 49 degrees but expect it to get unpleasant a little later.

Will I guess I’d have to have Bud or some other Adjunct Lager to compare this too but I haven’t had a Bud in quite a while.

So far there has not been anything offensive or unpleasant about this beer. I really don’t care for that grainy flavor but that is from the adjunct grains and this is an Adjunct Lager. That is the some flavor that is in all of the American Macro Lagers, so this one is not unusual in that respect. It may be unusual that a self proclaimed beer snob is reviewer this but that’s what friends are for.

We are now around 64 degrees and it is getting pretty unpleasant.

Yeah, it’s getting down right nasty now at 67 degrees so I think I need to kill the rest of this.

Well, I survived the Pacifico Clara Adjunct Lager. I’m not sure what to do now. I really do not recommend drinking adjuncts but if that’s your thing then this is a drinkable beer. It is possibly more drinkable than Bud and some of the other Macro Lagers, I really just don’t know.

As you know I rate by style and this is truly the first American Adjunct Lager that I have reviewed so I’m going to pass on a letter grade. I may pick up some adjuncts over the summer and review them just for the heck of it. But with all the good beers out there I really don’t know if I want to spend the time of a style of beers that I know I’m not going to enjoy.

At any rate, it is what it is. And a guess it is a good representation of what it is. I certainly did not find it offensive until it warmed up to 67 degrees, for whatever that’s worth.

For anyone that likes this style of beer I strongly recommend that you try an authentic German Pilsner or Czech Pilsner since back in the day that is what our American Beers were based on. And Pilsner Urquell is my personal gold standard or this style of beer.

So there you go Gene. My best shot at an American Adjunct Lager review.

Leinenkugels 1888 Bock


1888 Bock

Brewed by:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
 

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Bock
 

5.10% ABV
 





Commercial Description:
Leinenkugel 1888 Bock, a luscious brew, originally created to serve lumberjacks, will be available for all who want to try its excellent boutique of Caramel, Pale and two-row Chocolate malts. Cluster hops add a touch of citrus character and when combined with Munich malts and a 20- to 25-day cold lagering process, you have a truly timeless beer. (ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 Pack, ~$28.00 Case

Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. Well, this one was actually in the fridge. I bought this with other bocks in February and I’m now just getting around to reviewing it.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark amber with ruby hues and an off white head. The beer is fairly effervescent with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

There are some nice toasted malts on the nose along with a slight hop aroma. But there also seems to be a grainy or grassy note to the nose of this beer. Nothing bad, it just makes me a little suspicious.

Boy, that was a big let down. I kept anticipating flavors throughout the whole tasting of this beer and they never really came. It starts with a very nice somewhat toasted malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. But that is only for a split second. In fact it may only be a perception or anticipation and not the real thing. The perceived malt sweetness does not continue or carry though the rest of the sip at all. There is a nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip but this again does not seem to have a positive effect on the experience. The back-end is just flat in flavor. It is very easy to drink because there is nothing to it. The finish is fairly dry and also lacking flavor. The final after taste is of that suspicious grainy/grassy note that was detected on the nose.

From the rich look and nice aromas of this beer you are expected a better sensory experience than what you are left with. It is really an odd experience it’s like drinking a Coke but tasting nothing but water. Well, not quite but you get the idea.

This is one of those “Must Drink Cold” kind of a beer. It has only warmed to 61 degrees and it is picking up a fair amount of unpleasantness already. This may be a short review I don’t think I can handle letting this warm up much more.
The faster you try to drink it the worse it gets. There is still not much going on in the sip but all the unpleasantness seems to build up for a hellacious finish.

Now at 64 degrees and it is just about undrinkable. This is the first beer out of 137 reviews that I am really having second thoughts about finishing. I’m not sure if it’s really that bad or I’m just not in the masochistic mood. 

If I don’t finish it, it’s an F for sure and I really didn’t think this would get this bad when it was cold.

OUGH! Maybe it will still be an F.

Wow, how does a beer go down hill so fast? 3 to 4 degrees is the difference between this beer being drinkable and not. Something is wrong with that.

So what do I do for a bottom line? On one hand it is drinkable maybe even somewhat enjoyable when it’s cold.  On the other hand it’s down right atrocious when it warms. On the other hand… I feel like the Tevye, the father in “Fiddler on the Roof”. I ran out of hands and in crying TRADITION, TRADITION, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a dismal failure.  

I still can’t bring myself to give this beer an F rating so I’m going to give it a D-. I’m not sure what the logic is I just ran out of hands.

Leinie has had some hits and misses but they missed this one by a mile.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat


Coastal Wheat

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company

(Samuel Adams)
 

Boston, Massachusetts

American Pale
Wheat Ale
 

5.3 ABV



Commercial Description:
Hazy and golden in color, this brew is a fresh twist on the popular Hefeweizen style. Eureka and Lisbon lemons, from three growing regions in California, balance out the wheat malt character, resulting in a crisp and refreshing wheat ale with subtle lemon flavor. Cheers!
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 pack, ~$28.00 Case

Background:
I don’t even remember buying this one but it ended up in my spring cleaning of the bier cabinet. I had the Blue Moon, Honey Moon earlier and thought I would stay with the wheat’s and do the Sam Adams. I’m generally not a big fan of Sam Adams but I will keep and open mind.


Review:
The beer pours a pale golden straw color with a white head. The beer is slightly cloudy but not your typical wheat beer unfiltered cloudiness. There does seem to be a lot of carbonation with a lot of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

There is not a lot on the nose. There is a very light malt presence with some citrus and clove notes.

The head has just about disappeared and I haven’t even gotten to the first sip.

Boy, I don’t know what Sam Adams is thinking about with this one. “a fresh twist on the popular Hefeweizen style”; this is a far cry from a Hefeweizen so it’s a pretty big twist. OK, here’s the play by play.

The taste starts out with sweet wheat malts up front on the tip of the tongue then a nice effervescence over the tongue but the effervescence is not cleansing or refreshing because there is a building sweet citrus taste along with it in mid-sip. Usually something like citrus flavors are not realized until the back-end and finish. The back-end is even more confusing. There is something odd that makes this beer hard to swallow. That may be harsh, (pun intended) but it is not as easy drinking as you would expect. The finish is not bad but once again it is not refreshing either. There is another odd almost metallic taste in the finish and in the final aftertaste of this beer.

This is just not a clean or refreshing summer beer. It’s not necessarily bad but it certainly is not good either.

I keep taking another sip hoping that it will be better then the last but it’s not. Isn’t that a definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I guess I’ve just bought into the Samuel Adams hype and expected a real craft beer here.

This is now at 67 degrees and I’m not letting it warm any further. The oddities are now turning down right unpleasant. I actually just got a shiver from drinking that last sip.

I may have to put Sam Adams in the same category as Michelob for suckering me into trying their beers. The good news for you is: If I try them then you don’t have to.

The best I can do for a rating on this one is a D.

Sorry Folks I cannot recommend this beer to anyone. Even if you consider this an American Pale Wheat (which it is) and forget their Hefeweizen twist reference it still is not a good beer. The bottom line is that this is not a refreshing beer and it has some very unpleasant notes.

If you are looking for a real refreshing summer wheat ale do yourself a flavor and pour a Blue Moon Honey Moon.
   
This Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat is a Craft Beer without the Craft.

Blue Moon, Honey Moon Summer Ale


Honey Moon
Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Blue Moon
Coors Brewing Company
Golden, Colorado

American Pale Wheat Ale
5.20% ABV







Commercial Description:
Ale brewed with honey & orange peel.
Welcome the season with Honey Moon Summer Ale, the winner of the gold medal in the Specialty Honey Lager or Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival 2006. This ale is brewed with clover honey, orange peel, pale malt and malted white wheat. Compliment any summer gathering with this crisp, refreshing ale.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 pack, ~$28.00 Case

Background:
I am continuing my  beer cabinet spring cleaning (drinking), which has brought me to beers that are gifts or suggested by friends to review. But before we start on this review I have to say a few words about Blue Moon in general.

Blue Moon is a Belgian inspired wheat beer or Wit from Coors Brewing Co. essentially a Hoegaarden knockoff. Since its great success they have come up with a whole Seasonal Collection series of wheat beers. And they are all too some degree successful.

Blue Moon is so successful in fact that I have noticed a pattern with its drinkers. They seem to be “Beer Snobs” in the making. This beer has given a tremendous amount of people a taste of craft beer, and they like it. Not that Blue Moon is that exceptional but it is widely available and affordable. It’s a nice drinkable beer that seems to awaken the palate and has its drinkers looking for other good beers. It truly seems to be the first step into the World of Craft Beer.

Review:The beer pours a crystal clear pale straw color with a bright white head. It is also highly effervescent with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Wow, this nose is surprising. Sweet light malts with some citrus notes and a nice flowing hop aroma.


There is not much to the taste but this is a very clean and refreshing beer. There won’t be much of a play by play but I’ll try to give you some more detail on the experience.

Sweet light wheat malts up front on the tip of the tongue, this may be honey also, then a very clean and refreshing effervescence over the tongue at mid-sip. There is not much on the back-end; it is just a very easy to swallow, easy drinking beer. The finish is very clean, almost crisp with a very nice and refreshing aftertaste of light wheat and citrus notes.

All and all I am pleasantly surprised by this beer. This is a very refreshing summer ale.

It is also warming well. It is now at 66 degrees and there is nothing whatsoever unpleasant about this beer.

At this warmer temperature I can pick up more of the citrus in the finish and aftertaste and it is actually quite nice.

This is one beer that I may end up buying this summer. It will be a good beer to have on a hot summer afternoon. I don’t think it’s as refreshing as a Shandy (link) but that’s just me.

The final sips were at 68 degrees. It was less refreshing since it was less carbonated but I must say that it still did not pick up any unpleasantness. It was smooth, clean and refreshing to the last warm drop.

Well, I rate by style and I have to call it like I see it, so this is a solid B+ for me. I need to drink and review more of these lighter summer beers in order to have more accurate ratings by style but as it stands now I’m sticking to a B+. Surprising as that is; this is a very good refreshing beer.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone looking for an easy drinking summer beer. But be careful it may be the first step to unleashing the “Beer Snob” in you.


Final Thoughts:So on a more personal note; I must thank the Wilson Family for giving me this beer. To be quite honest I would not have bought this beer on my own. I guess that’s a sad reality to being a beer snob. The road to more excellent craft beers is paved with little gems like this one. So we, no I, need to slow down and enjoy these little treasures that are easily overlooked. The more we consume these beers the more large brewers like Coors and others will realize that there is a thirsty market out here for good, drinkable and affordable beer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Victory Old Horizontal


Old Horizontal
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company
 

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

American Barleywine
11.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Luxuriously rich in character, this warming winter ale delivers over 10% alcohol in an oh-so-seductive manner. Deliciously fruity flavors lie under a bracing hop nose.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $14.00 6 pack, ~$52.00 Case

Background:
This is another later winter early spring left over. It has been a chilly rainy April day here and I knew since lunchtime today that this was the perfect beer to review tonight; a big beer barleywine to take the chill off.

Review:
The beer pours a nice amber color with orange hues and a fairly rich off white head. This beer is also highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Rich toasted malts and hop aromas on the nose along with sweet alcohol notes.

We are starting this one out at 49 degrees.

Ahhh, the perfect beer for a chilly rainy night. This is a straight up classic barleywine style ale. The taste starts with sweet toasted malts upfront on the tip of the tongue. Then toward mid-sip you start to realize that this is no lightweight. There is a building hop and malt bitterness, well, it’s more like a heartiness throughout the middle of the sip. The back-end continues this feeling with nice earthy and hoppy flavors. The finish is quite dry with a distinct hop bitterness and alcohol; neither is overpowering just a classic barleywine finish. The final aftertaste is that unmistakable barleywine ending. It’s almost like an imperial/double IPA but less better and drier. I don’t know what that is but it is very distinctive to this style of ale. It’s not a refreshing finish but a most satisfying one.

This beer also has a very nice warming effect. Again, this is a perfect beer on a chilly spring evening to sit down with after a long day at work.

This beer also had some sediment floating around the glass. I did not read whether this was bottle conditioned or not so I just poured the entire bottle into a cervoise glass. It could just be partially filtered, I’ll have to look that up later.

This is not an easy drinking beer; don’t miss-understand me it’s not suppose to be. It is not one of those beers that you are going to slam down and open another. At 11% ABV this is more of a sipping beer, well, at least it’s not a guzzler.

Now at 58 degrees the rich malts are making themselves more known.


-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


Did you miss me? Sorry I took a break from the review to eat dinner. Actually I miscalculated how much time I would have before dinner and thought I could get a review in. But I ended up missing dinner with the family and thought I would grab something before the kids cleared the table.

But, as fate would have it…
Dinner was boneless pork tenderloin chops baked with apples and served with buttered egg noodles. This was actually a half decent pairing. The rich malts and hops in the beer cut through and it’s a nice contrasting pairing to the sweet apples and pork. The beer was a little strong for the meal but the contrasting flavors make for an interesting pairing.

The real bottom line is that I need to stop for a “Dog House Special” for reviewing beers when I should be eating dinner with the family.  Oh, the “Dog House Specials” are those quick, easy to grab bundle of flowers that are at your local market or florist. I use them a lot. Just ask my better half.

OK back to the review.
We have warmed to 65 degrees now so let’s see how she is holding up.

The head has completely diminished to just a patchy island floating around the top of the glass.

Hmmm, in some respects it is a little harsher and in other respects it’s a little smoother. The middle of the sip is much smoother with an almost creamy mouthfeel. I assume that is from the lack of carbonation. The back-end is pretty much the same but the finish is a little harsher. The hops and alcohol seem to be more predominate at this warmer temperature.

This is still a very enjoyable barleywine, even at this temperature.

The final sips were at 68 degrees and still quite exceptionable. This is a very good barleywine. My only dilemma is that I have not reviewed too many barleywines and I do not have a gold standard to compare this to. I will have to make it a point to drink more Barleywines next season (winter).

So as it stands this is a solid B+ for me. This has everything that I like in a barleywine. A good warming alcohol presence, a nice balance of rich malts and bitter hops, and of course that classic barleywine finish (that I need to do more homework on).

If you are interested in tasting a barleywine I highly recommend this one. It is a big beer but it is also nicely balanced. This is very similar to an imperial/double IPA but a little less intense with a much dryer and distinctive finish.

Saranac Irish Red


Saranac Irish Red

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company
Utica, New York

Irish Red Ale
4.50% ABV









Commercial Description:
Did you know that Irish Reds get their deep garnet color from generous amounts of crystal malts? Carefully selected batches of 2 row malts are specially kilned to develop their sugars and then roasted to produce their wonderful caramel and toffee notes that accompany the rich color. You’ll find the complexity and drinkability of Saranac Irish Red to be second to none. Enjoy!
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:

12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6 pack, ~$25.00 Case

Review:
OK, get out the tiny violins this is a sad story.

I lost this review :(

More’s the pity, the old boy lost one.
I had a fully typed out review ready to post and realized that I typed the next review over it and then saved the file. It’s gone I tell you, gone to the digital waste bucket in the sky.

And why, you may ask, am I even bothering to tell you?  Well, since you asked.

I really did like the beer. More importantly I think a lot of people would like this beer.

It was not an excellent craft beer but it was a very easy drinking, pleasant version of an Irish Red Ale. It warmed well and finished nicely. There was nothing unpleasant about this beer.

I’m not going to remember what I said so I won’t even bother trying to recreate it. I do remember giving it a B- or C+. Even now I still can’t decide.

This is a good beer if you are looking for an inexpensive introduction to the Irish Red Style. Nothing over the top just an good easy drinking Irish Red.

OK, you can stop playing the violins now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Michelob Irish Red




Michelob Irish Red
 

Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

 

Irish Red Ale
5.70% ABV






Commercial Description:
The Irish Red Ale is an all-malt ale brewed with toasted caramel malt to naturally produce its signature red color. Its fruity nose and initial malt sweetness is a classic interpretation of the style.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $6.00 6 pack, ~$22.00 Case

Background:
This was one of those impulse buy’s during March. I almost bought a 6 pack but put it back and just got one bottle. To be honest I am scared to try this one. I have not had a good “craft beer” yet from Michelob. But I’ll give this a whirl anyway, who knows we may be surprised.

Review:
Well so far so good. It pours like an Irish Red with a clear deep amber color with ruby hues and a fairly rich off white head.

There is not much on the nose, some sweet caramel malts and a slight flowing hop aroma. There is nothing special on the nose but more importantly there is nothing unusual or offensive either. Who knows this may actually be drinkable.

OK, time to eat crow; this really isn’t too bad. Sweet caramel malts upfront on the tip of the tongue then a nice effervescence over your tongue in mid-sip. The back end is quite enjoyable; easy to swallow with a very pleasant dry finish. This is one of those beers that has just enough hops to provide a fairly dry finish without a lingering bitterness. The final aftertaste is a little odd but also not too bad. There is a lingering almost candy sweetness to the final aftertaste along with a toasted malt notes.

Since I was not expecting much I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. It is not a superior Irish Red but it is a very drinkable Irish Red. And I have to assume that is what Michelob was going for, an easy drinking beer.

This is definitely a “must drink cold” type of a beer. It has slightly warmed, now at 59 degrees and it is already picking up some unpleasantness. At mid-sip and throughout the swallow there is now a harshness that wasn’t there earlier. It’s just much harder to swallow. This odd harshness also carries through to the finish.

In just a few degrees this beer has gone from easy drinking to almost difficult to swallow. I don’t think I can let it warm too much more.

Now at 63 degrees and any sign of that once easy drinking beer has completely left the glass. This is now getting harsh and not enjoyable at all. Even the almost candy malt sweetness has completely disappeared.

Well, they got me again. I feel like an old Warner Brothers cartoon character with a big “SUCKER” written over my forehead. Or you know when their head actually turn’s into a lollypop. Yeah that’s me playing the Michelob sucker again.

For a final rating it’s a D. It really started out as a high C but that didn’t last long. This is not a bad beer if you drink it ice cold just don’t let it warm up on you. Sorry there is no recommendation on this one. There are too many good Irish Reds out there, so don’t waist you time on this one.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

McSorley's Irish Pale Ale


McSorley's
Irish Pale Ale
 

Brewed by:
Lion Brewery, Inc.
 

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Irish Red Ale
5.50% ABV







Commercial Description:At McSorley’s ale is well. McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale is from the old house at home. Established in 1854 in NYC and brewed by McSorley’s Brewery in Wilks-Barre, PA. Brewed in the tradition of the historic walls of McSorley’s Old Ale House. It took 116 years, the pressure of public opinion and ultimately the authority of a court order for McSorley’s to surrender. By the mid 1970s, McSorley’s allowed woman inside the bar at 15 E. 7th St for the very first time. Ah, but the owners did not completely forgo tradition, women would wait until 1986 to get their own restroom.
(ratebeer.com)


General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 6 pack, ~$29.00 Case


Background:There seems to be a multitude of credits and confusion on who actually brews this beer. There is no doubt that brewer is licensed by McSorley’s of NYC but it seems like it was farmed out to Pabst Brewing Company who farmed it out to one of their subsidiaries. The bottle say’s McSorley’s Brewery, Latrobe PA. So from that I would assume the old Rolling Rock brewery that was bought out by Pabst. Rate beer claims it is brewed by Lion Brewery, Inc. in Woodridge, Illinois. Beer Advocate claims it is Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. It doesn’t really matter but it’s usually a bad sign when a beer is farmed out like this. So let’s see what it’s like.

Review:The beer pours a pale amber with reddish hues and a white to off white head. Nicely carbonated with a fair amount of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

This particular cervoise glass has a sharp recess in the bottom and it is collecting the co2 and releasing a steady stream of tiny bubbles just as if it were etched.

There is a nice little nose on this beer. Nothing unusual or over the top just a very nice nose, caramel malts and a slight hop aroma, very nice indeed.


Now that’s a drinkable Irish Red, well, this may technically be an Irish Pale but at any rate it’s pretty darn good. Much better than that stuff I had last night, Harpoon Irish Red link.

Nice caramel malts upfront on the tip of the tongue then a pleasant cleansing effervescence over the tongue. The back-end is smooth and easy to swallow with a fairly dry hop finish. There is not much of a lingering aftertaste; slightly hoppy but not bitter with a pleasant malt sweetness.

This is a very easy drinking beer, nothing special just a nice pleasant brew.

This beer is also warming well for a pale ale. It is now at 72 degrees. It is picking up a slight off taste to it but it is still quite drinkable.

All and all I’ll have to go with a C+ maybe a B-. This is a very enjoyable Irish Red. Hey it’s not O’Hara’s Irish Red but then again neither in anyone else.

Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning

What’s in Your Bier Cabinet? 
I’ll show you mine if ...

Well a lot of beers have accumulated in the beer cabinet and the fridge in late winter and early spring. That means that I have to do some Spring Cleaning i.e. drinking. Plus Belgians go on sale in a few weeks at State Line Liquors so I have to make room for them. Right? At any rate I thought I would give you a preview of what reviews are coming and what is aging/cellaring.

So here is what’s in the beer cabinet.
First what’s Aging/Cellaring in the cabinet.
After the accidental aging success of Criminally Bad Elf I decided to purposely try to cellar some brews.
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009
    Not you typical cellaring beer, I just want to see how the hops mellow after one year in the cabinet.
  • Dogfish Head World Wide Stout 2009
  • Brooklyn Monster Ale, Barleywine 2009
  • Samichlaus:
    I am cellaring 5 bottles of this unique brew, 1 bottled in 2006, 2 bottled in 2008 and 2 bottled in 2009.
  • Allagash Black Batch # 10, 2009
  • Stone Vertical Epic 09-09-09
  • Otter Creek Imperial IPA 2009

In the cabinet: Gifts, Requests and Recommendations to Review
  • Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat
  • Honey Moon Summer Ale
  • Shiner Bohemian Black Lager
  • Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Belgian Style IPA
  • Pacifico Mexican Lager

In the cabinet: Specials that I bought to review

  • Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout (imported by 12 percent imports)
  • La Botteresse Noire (black), Belgian Black (imported by 12 percent imports)
  • Stille Nacht 2009 (silent night), De Dolle, 12% ABV Belgian Christmas Ale
  • Bashah, Brew Dog/Stone collaboration, Black Belgian Style Double IPA
  • Courage, De Dochter Van De Korenaar, (imported by 12 percent imports)
  • Froach 20th Anniversary Heather Ale, 11% limited release.

In the Fridge to Review:

  • McSorleys Irish Pale Ale (reviewed ready to post)
  • Michelob Irish Red
  • Saranac Irish Red
  • Leinenkugel 1888 Bock
  • Victory Old Horizontal, Barelywine
  • Pauwel Kwak, Bosteels classic Belgian Strong Pale Ale.
  • Old Rasputin XII, North Coast’s 12 Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout
    I’m trying to resurrect the BierVlog for this one!
  • Fordham Queen Anne Kolsch
  • Mad Anthony APA, Erie Brewing Co. Erie PA

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Harpoon Celtic Ale



Harpoon Celtic Ale
 

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery
 

Boston, MA

Irish Red Ale

5.40% ABV







Commercial Description:
This Irish-style ale features a deep amber color, a smooth, malty, and complex flavor with a moderate hop finish. Our tribute to the classic Irish red ales, Hibernian Ale is the perfect beer for all your St. Patrick’s celebrations.
(ratebeer.com)


General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 6 pack, ~$28.00 Case


Background:

This is one of several beers that I picked up around saint Patties Day. After having O’Hara’s Irish Red  I knew there would be no real comparison. Now that several weeks have passed it’s time to review this and several others that have accumulated in the fridge and beer cabinet. I have never had this before and don’t really expect much.

Review:
The beer pours a clear reddish amber with a white to off white head. The beer is fairly effervescent with a good amount of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

There is an odd aroma on the nose of this beer. First I thought it was sweet caramel malts but it‘s more artificial almost chemical like. There is also a slight hop aroma but there is nothing inviting about this nose.

This is not good. I know that I didn’t expect much but I thought it would be a better than this. OK I’m not saying much and I am just coming off of the most exquisite Artisan Ale last night Piet-Agoras (add Link) but this is not good. I’ll attempt to give you the normal play by play but it is already warming up, the head has completely disappeared and I’m not looking forward to it.

The taste starts off with what you think is a caramel malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue but just for a split second. Then just when you expect real malt sweetness it turns foul. By mid-sip it’s more like battery acid then you sense a carbonation over your tongue in the hopes that it gets rid of that taste but it doesn’t, it only gets worse. By the time you get to the top of the swallow fight or flight enters your brain and you have to decide to swallow or spit. I choose to swallow since I did not have a spittoon handy and did not want to carry it to the sink. On the back and of the swallow and finish it even gets worse. There is a very bad metallic taste to it then just a hint of that chemical sweetness that was on the nose but then you are left with a very unpleasant aftertaste.

Sorry Harpoon but I did not like this one and do not recommend this to anyone. It’s not quite an F, I did manage to swallow it but it is a D- for sure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Piet-Agoras


Piet-Agoras
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Alternatief
Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
9.00% ABV


Imported by:
12 Percent Imports


 


Commercial Description:
Another beer made at Alvinne for/by ’t Alternatief. Very hopped with Saaz hops to 44 IBU.
(ratebeer.com)

Commercial Description:
•  Style: ? (i.e. none.)
•  Abv: 9%
•  Format: 11.2 oz bottle, 201 keg (limited)
•  Color: cloudy amber, lingering off-white head
•  Tasting Notes: fruity aroma with caramel; bold and sweet-tart palate, sourish, fruity; long, lingering, dry hoppy finish
(12 Percent Imports)

General Pricing:
11.2oz, 330ml bottle, ~ $5.50

Background:
I have never had this beer before. It was left in by the Easter Bunny in my Easter Basket. Doesn’t the Easter Bunny leave you beer in your Basket? I guess Santa doesn’t leave you beer in your stocking either. Boy that’s a shame.

At any rate this is another beer imported by 12 percent imports. I have not had bad one yet from their imports so I’m really looking forward to trying this one.

Review:
The bier pours a cloudy amber with an extremely rich off white head. This Bier is highly effervescent with tons of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

This may be the most inviting nose I’ve ever had in a Belgian. Smooth but rich caramel malts with that classic yeasty Belgian background. It’s got a special calling to it and I can’t wait to except the invitation.

Wow, that’s a classic Flanders Ale; rich with sweet caramel malts and that wonderful legendary Flemish sourness. This bier has a lot going on; let me attempt a better play by play of this sensory phenomenon.

Sweet caramel malts upfront on the tip of the tongue. Then a slight sourness and effervescence comes over the tongue in mid-sip accompanied by a creamy mouthfeel from the rich head aided by the tulip glass. The back end has a building tart and sourness but it’s not overwhelming. The finish is surprisingly dry; there is just enough of a hop presence to dry the tart/sourness but not leave bitterness. There is a lingering final aftertaste that is more caramel sweetness then tart along with nice bready/yeasty flavors. Your entire mouth seems to be coated with this yeasty sweet aftertaste.

This is one phenomenal bier! People use the term complexity when describing a beer. Believe me when I say you don’t know complexity until you try something like this. Every continuing sip is a different experience.

The head on this beer never quit and this is the most impressive lacing I think I’ve ever seen.

The bier is now at 69 degrees. Oh my, I don’t what this experience to end. I am always impressed when a beer warms well but this is outstanding. This bier at 70 degrees is better then it was chilled.

The one thing I neglected to mention in this review was the alcohol. It is masked so well I had to go back and look at how much was in here. It is another tribute to the artistry and craftsmanship on this exquisite ale to mask 9% this way.

The head has finally diminished to just a thin protective layer over the top of the bier with still a sizable ring around the edge of the glass.

The final few ounces are at 73 degrees. Just phenomenal! This has got to be close to the panicle in the artistry of well crafted bier. The complexity and artistry of this bier is truly outstanding.

Now you will have to like that Flemish tart/sourness to enjoy this bier. So if you are a fan of the Flemish style of bier you MUST try this one. A solid A+ for me, this in one phenomenal bier.

Now for the Lees
These lees look intimidating. They are very dark, thick and cloudy almost opaque.

There are sour, funky and yeasty aromas on the nose. Well here it goes. Man you can almost chew these lees. There is a strong bitter sourness to these lees. This just continues to prove my point that you should not pour the lees directly into the glass. These lees would have definitely changed my experience with this exquisite bier.   

Final Thoughts
I wondered why 12 percent imports had a ? next to Style in their commercial description of this beer. Now after reviewing this exquisite brew I understand.

This beer does not fit any category in style or class. So here is how this beer sums up to me. You have your everyday “Macro Beers” that we use to call “Premium Beers”. Then you have “Micro Brews”; these are the smaller volume brews, some good some bad but usually always better than the Macro Beers. Next you have “Craft Beers” these are Micro Brews with superior craftsmanship. Now, I think there is one more level left that this beer would fall into. That level can only be described as “Artisan Beers”; these are the most artistically crafted micro brews that are head and shoulders above all others. This is the only thing that comes close to putting this beer into a category. As for as a style it’s an Exquisite Belgian, well, I guess that will need some work.

I’ve babbled enough about this brew. I do highly recommend this bier to anyone that is interested in trying a real Artisan Brew.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter 2010
Whoo What a Day,

Well, as you might expect holidays aren’t just beer drinking days in my house, they are real beer events. And you can see from the previous post  even the Easter Bunny gets into the act.

I had a few personal conversations and recommendations on what beer to have with Easter Dinner. Like in all things with beer it’s a matter of personal taste. So without knowing someone’s taste in beer it’s hard to give a solid recommendation. What I can tell you is what I had to drink on Easter.

Breakfast/Brunch
We have a fairly large brunch with Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Scrapple, Eggs, Wild Berry Pancakes, Home Fries, plus an All in One dish that is most of the meats above and potatoes with just enough egg to hold it together. 

With such a hearty breakfast I went for the Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout. This was the first time that I had this beer. It may have been a little to much for breakfast but it was a good beer. I have had other stouts for breakfast and I think I would have preferred the Lancaster Milk Stout; it is a little smoother and less overpowering for breakfast. The Mikkeller was an excellent stout and I need to buy it again and give it a full review.

Mid-Day Thirst  Quencher
Sitting around digesting that large breakfast we needed something to quench our thirsts and what better than my favorite “Every Day Belgian”, Leffe Blonde. There is nothing special about this beer it’s just an easy drinking dependable Belgian Pale/Blond and reasonably priced at ~ $30.00 a case. 

Late afternoon we packed up the cooler and headed over to my dad’s house. Yeah the beer snob was in true form. I took over 4 different beers and a box of appropriate glasses to serve them in. Yes the beer madness is getting pretty bad.


Easter Beer Dinner
So we had more Leffe’s with our appetizers (in authentic Leffe Glasses), plus I brought over some Lindemans Framboise (Raspberry Fruit Lambic) for the ladies, served in Lindemans Flute Glasses.

For the Entree we had Pauwel Kwak; a nice Belgian strong pale that goes well with lighter meats. This bier generates a rich head so I brought over some Belgian Tulip glasses to serve it in. I have a bottle of Kwak left over so I will be doing a full review in the near future.

For Dessert we had Southern Tier Choklat. Normally I would serve this Imperial Stout in a brandy snifter but I did not have enough of them so I substituted the tulip glasses instead. This is a very rich chocolate stout. I did not seem to enjoy it as much as the rest of the family did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an excellent beer but it did not generate that wow factor. I do have another bottle of this so I will also be reviewing it in the future.

Well, Thanks the low-down on John’s Easter Beer madness.

Happy Easter Everyone



Below are some details about the beers.

Beer Geek Breakfast
Brewed by:
Mikkeller
Denmark
American Double / Imperial Stout |  7.50% ABV
Brewed at Nøgne Ø, Norway.

Commercial Description:
Recent batch of this has been brewed by Mikkeller at Nøgne Ø.
An oatmeal stout with 25.0% oat-based ingredients and a nice touch of gourmet coffee. A beer that goes extremely well with breakfast.
Ingredients : Water, malt (pils, oat, smoked, caramunich, brown, pale chocolate and chocolate), roasted barley, flaked oats, hops (centennial and cascade), ale yeast and gourmet coffee.

General Pricing:
600ML bottle, ~ $11.00


Leffe Blonde
Brewed by:
Abbaye de Leffe S.A.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Leffe, Belgium
Imported by:
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Belgian Pale Ale - 6.60% ABV

Commercial Description:
Filtered. Uses Vieux Temps yeast which gives the clove-like flavour.
"Leffe Blond is a pale abbey beer, with a full, sunny, golden colour. It has a smooth and full bodied taste and a rich creamy head. Like all the Leffe beers, it is a ’connoisseur’ beer that is easy to drink."

General Pricing:
11.2oz, 330ml bottle, ~ $8.00-$10.50 6 pack, ~$29.00-$38.00 Case


Lindemans Framboise
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Lindemans
Belgium
Lambic - Fruit |  4.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
A clean natural tasting brew with undertones of fresh raspberries and a wonderful aroma.

General Pricing
750ML Bottle, ~ $10.00


Pauwel Kwak
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels
Belgium
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.10% ABV

Commercial Description:
Full-bodied Belgian Specialty Ale. Amber in color with beautiful foam and slightly sweet, seductive malt character. Rich, satisfying Belgian experience.

General Pricing:
750ML Bottle ~ $11.00


Southern Tier Choklat
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
Lakewood, New York
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
“the ancients called it ‘food for the gods’“ The Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, unfolds a complex web of mystery around a beverage known as xocoatl (ch-co-atle). At Southern Tier, we’re not surprised that hieroglyphs of the ancient Maya depict chocolate being poured for rulers and gods. Even through the many voyages of Columbus, the mystical bean remained nothing more than a strange currency of the native peoples. Moving through centuries, the circular journey of cacao has been realized in our brewing house, encompassing the complexity of the darkest, bitter-sweet candy together with the original frothy cold beverage of the ancient Maya to bring to you our Blackwater Series Choklat Stout. We have combined the finest ingredients to tempt your senses & renew the power & interrelation of history in every bottle.

General Pricing:
22oz bottle  $8.50

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Baskets 2010

Happy Easter!

Hey, check out these Easter Baskets. It’s funny how the Easter Bunny knows what beers to but in everyone’s basket.