Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ommegang Gnomegang



Gnomegang

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
Cooperstown, New York, USA

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

9.50% ABV







Commercial Description:
This delectable blonde ale is a co-creation of two famed farmstead breweries: Brewery Ommegang and Brasserie d’Achouffe. It employs five fine malts, two noble hops, and both of the distinctive Chouffe and Ommegang yeasts. You’ll enjoy the smooth drinkability, fruity aromas and flavors, and warming finish
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$14.00 Each

Background:
I was just shopping at State Line Liquors for something different and I noticed some new labels from Ommegang. This collaboration caught my eye since I’m a huge fan of d’Achouffe.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy golden straw color with a bright white head.

The nose is nice with light malt aromas, floral hops and citrus notes.

That was a nice first sip; light malt sweetness with some fruity notes and a very warming finish.

The taste starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the ht tip of the tongue. That is followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking for a 9 plus percent alcohol ale. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing quality to the experience and also masks some of the flavors at this point. The finish is impressive with sweet light malts with spice and citrus notes along with the most noticeable hoppy presence all on a bed of yeasty goodness. The hops are very pronounced but at no point are they overpowering or for that matter bitter but they do provide a nice bite to this sharp finish. The hop sharpness dissipates fairly quickly and leaves that classic sweet malt yeasty Belgian aftertaste.

All and I’m really liking this beer.

As this beer warms and opens up it is much smooth with more noticeable flavors. At first I could only since the warming effect of the alcohol now that we have warmed up a little you can really taste the sweetness from it. Although it is still pretty well masked; you would not suspect 9.5 ABV more like 7 if that.

This is a pretty impressive ale.

There is an interesting light malt coating that is left throughout the mouth; similar to that of a stout but with lighter and sweeter malts.

The warmer this beer gets the sweeter and more delicious it gets. We are now at 66 degrees and this beer is opening up nicely. This may be my favorite offering from Ommegang.

I am savoring this for all it’s worth. This is smooth with an almost velvety mouthfeel and finish. Even the powerful bite seems to have been taken over by the richness and the alcohol. O Man, what a nice beer.

The complexity of this beer is remarkable. At first this was like a Belgian IPA with a warming finish. Then it turned into an easy drinking Belgian Strong Pale as it warmed up a little. Now it is exquisitely smooth and sweet like a beer liqueur.

This is hands down an A+. This was an amazing experience. The complexity really gave me three different beer experiences all in one bottle.

Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel




Ovila Abbey Dubbel

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, California, USA

Dubbel

7.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
Ovila Abbey Dubbel is brewed in the abbey tradition, and perfect for the re-birth of spring. Clear and deep copper in color, this Abbey Dubbel has a complex and rich malty sweetness with hints of caramelized sugar. The aroma is a heady and layered mix of fruit and spice, with hints of clove, raisin, and black pepper from the use of an abbey style yeast
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$11.00 Each

Background:
This was the third is a set of beers that I got from Jim for my birthday. I have never had this beer from Sierra Nevada before so I am really looking forward to trying this.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy brown with ruby hues and a modest off white to tan head.

The nose on this ale is also modest with just a few faint aromas of toasted to roasted malts and secondary touch of sweetness and some yeasty notes.

Not bad. This beer has a lighter overall mouthfeel and body than I expected. But there is a nice caramel malt finish and aftertaste.

The taste starts out with just a hint of malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by pretty uneventful middle of the sip. As this beer rolls over the tongue it does not leave much of any impression. The back end is fairly easy drinking with a carbonation release during the swallow. The finish is nice but once again there is not much flavor. The finish has some modest but very pleasant toasted malt flavors along with a touch of floral hops and yeast. The final aftertaste is a modest lingering caramel malt flavor on a yeasty note.

We are still pretty cold at 53 degrees maybe this will pick up some more flavor as it warms.

Well, this is warming but it’s not getting any better. I guess that’s not fair. This is not a bad beer I just expected a richer experience since this is an Abbey Dubbel.

The flavors are not bad at all. There is a light almost refreshing aspect to this beer that has setting me back from actually enjoying this beer for what it is not what it isn’t.

So this is a very easy drinking Dubbel with nice toasted almost roasted malts on the finish.

Now that it has warmed and opened up I am picking up more flavors including some spicy notes on the finish.

 Another really nice thing about this beer is that it has not picked up any off flavors and we are close to room temperature now.

All and all I am really enjoying this beer. It is light in body and mouthfeel for the style but it is a very nice drinking beer.

I’m actually going for a B on this beer. I warmed up to it as it warmed up. All and all this is a nice tasting Dubbel, light but nice.

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde




La Fin Du Monde

Brewed by:
Unibroue
Quebec, Canada

Tripel

9.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Bottle conditioned.
"The end of the world. The excellence of triple fermentation through a blend of special yeasts gives this malt beverage an exquisitely robust flavor of exceptional refinement." (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$8.00 Each

Background:
This was another birthday gift from my friend Jim. I have had this Tripel several times before but I have never reviewed it. So let’s see how the End of the World holds up to a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with a white head.

The nose is classic Belgian Tripel with light pilsner type malt aromas, citrus notes all on a bed of yeast.

OH My! What a great first sip.

The experience starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by the most pleasant mid-sip experience. This exquisite ale washes over the tongue with just the right amount of effervescence and a slight building robustness of a higher alcohol beer. There is a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow but that is very short lived as this wonderful beer slides down the throat with a velvety ease. The finish is exquisite with a sweet light malt complexity, mild hops, yeasty notes and just a touch of citrus. There is a slight sweet aftertaste of yeast and light malts.

The simple elegance and subtle complexity makes that an impressive beer.

Every sip seems to give you a new experience; especially now as this beer is warming and opening up a little.

Well, this bottle is almost empty so I’m obviously doing more drinking than writing on this review.

The last few sips of this exquisite ale were at 72 degrees and it was delicious to the last warm drop.

This is a solid A to an A+. This is truly one of the best Belgian Tripels on the market today.





La Choulette Blonde




La Choulette Blonde

Brewed by:
Brasserie La Choulette
France

Bière de Garde

7.50% ABV







Commercial Description:
Her little sister, is golden, the fine and dense foam. Rich and fruity aromas offer a good balance between malt and yeast. It is soft on the palate with a bitter sweet, just persistent.
(Google translated from Lachoulette.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$10.00 Each

Background:
This was birthday gift from my friend Jim. I have never had a French Biere before so I am really looking forward to trying this. So let’s see what this French Blonde has in store for us.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with copper hues and a bright white head.

The nose is delightful with sweet caramel malt aromas, a tough of floral hops and sweet background that seems like alcohol but this is only 7.5 percent. At any rate there is a nice sweetness on the nose that I can’t quite but my finger on.

Wow, that was an interesting first sip. This is really close to a Belgian Abbey Blonde. I don’t know why but I was expecting some thing much different. It really makes sense that a French Blonde would be close to a Belgian Abbey Blonde.

The taste starts out with sweet caramel type malts up front on the tip of the tongue. Then there is the most pleasant almost creamy mouthfeel over the tongue during the middle of the sip. There is a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow. At this point it seems like a big beer not something that is only at 7.5 %. The finish is great with rich but very sweet caramel malt flavors and just a hint of floral hops. The final aftertaste is of sweet light malts on yeast.

This is really drinking like a Belgian Strong Pale. Again I don’t know why that is surprising.

The thing that is really surprising is the rich malt flavors and the smooth creamy mouthfeel on this Blonde Ale. Once again this is more like a strong pale not a blonde.

The head has diminished to a thin protective layer over the top of the beer with a ring around the edges. It is also leaving some pretty impressive lacing.

This was a very enjoyable experience. I’m going for an A on this beer. The rich flavors were extremely impressive for a Blonde Ale.

La Rullés Triple



La Rullés Triple

Brewed by:
Brasserie Artisanale De Rullés SPRL
Belgium

Tripel

8.40% ABV







Commercial Description:
For this beer, we searched the body and bitterness into a free beer tasting. The ideal marriage will surprise you.
It as 8.4% and is available in 75 cl bottles and on tap.
(Translated from larulles.be)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$12.00 Each

Background:
I bought this at State Line Liquors the other day to evaluate for my upcoming Belgian Bier Banquet. I have already decided not to have this at this year’s event but since I have it we might as well give it a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy straw color with a fairly rich bright white head.

The nose is striking with strong floral hops with a tough a citrus and of course some light malt aromas. I did not realize it but this smells more like a Belgian IPA not your typical Tripel.

Wow, what a great first sip. This beer is one nice Belgian IPA.

The experience starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. Just after that there is a nice effervescence over the tongue during the middle of the sip. There is also a building hop robustness in mid-sip toward the back-end. This is not a hop bitterness just more of a robustness. This robustness builds even through the swallow but still not bitter. The finish is fantastic with rich complex hop flavors and light malts with just a touch of citrus notes all on a yeasty background. I love the hop flavors without the overwhelming bitterness, just a healthy bite. The final aftertaste is just a slight lingering floral hop flavor.

All and all this is a great beer. I am pleasantly surprised. Not that it’s good but that I wasn’t expecting a Belgian IPA.

The head on this beer has not quit. It has reduced to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer and the lacing is very impressive.

As this beer warms and opens up a little it is getting more robust, well, maybe robust isn’t quite right, it’s earthier. Funny it has almost picked up a saison type earthiness now that it has warmed a little.

I’m really impressed with this experience.

Each time I add a little more to the glass it produces a nice head and that head adds a creaminess to the mouthfeel.

When American brewers try to hop up Belgian style ales they usually are not that good. But when Belgian Brewers hop up their ales you get fantastic beers like Houblon Chouffe, Piraat and this LaRulles Tripel. What a great experience.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this beer.

We have warmed to 67 degrees now and this beer is just getting better.

This has been such a great experience

This is a Solid A Maybe even an A+. Even though this is classified as a Tripel is so hoppy that it should be classified as a Belgian IPA.

La Chouffe




La Chouffe

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Achouffe
Belgium

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

8.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Bottle conditioned.
Golden Ale, strong, spicy, lightly hoppy, with evoluting taste. Natural Beer, bottle refermented, unfiltered, not pasteurised and without any additives
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750ml bottles: ~$12.00 Each

Background:
I bought this at State Line Liquors the other day to evaluate for my upcoming Belgian Bier Banquet. I have already decided to have this on draft at the banquet but I figured a full review would not hurt.

Review:
The beer pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with a bright white head. This bier is highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the class.

The nose is delightful with sweet light malt aromas with sweet fruit and citrus notes.

Wow, I forgot how good this beer is; light sweet and refreshing with citrus and yeasty notes.

The experience starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue then the most pleasant effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is extremely easy drinking and refreshing with an effortless swallow. The finish is also refreshing with light malt flavors, a touch of spice, sweet citrus notes and a slight floral hop bite. There is very little of final aftertaste just a slight light malt flavor and citrus note.

The alcohol is artfully masked in this beer. This beer drinks like a light refreshing 4 or 5 percent blonde not an 8 percent strong pale.

Well, I’m doing more drinking that writing on this review. I’m just chilling enjoying this nice Belgian Ale.

There is really not a whole lot to say about this beer. This is just a straight up solid Belgian Pale Ale. I enjoyed drinking this so much I didn’t even get out my thermometer to see how warm it was getting.

It did get a little more robust as it warmed and opened up a little and the carbonation released. However it never picked up any off flavors. This beer stayed smooth and refreshing to the last warm drop.

What can I say but a solid A for this enjoyable Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Struise Tsjeeses

 

Struise Tsjeeses

Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers
Belgium

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

10.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Deep to orange blond abbey triple winterbeer which has been lagered for 8 months on different stonefruits. Tsjeeses was born out of a 5 year brew experience regarding x-mas beer without being capable of finding a suitable name up to now. With the name came a face, a caricature actually, that was drawn on the day Urbain, our brew master and master brewer, drank too many Tsjeeses's. Every time he drinks one, he says "Tsjeeses, what a beer". Therefore the name is more an expression of stupefaction than a curse. We have had already many discussions around the pronounciation of "Tsjeeses". Very close would be that you say "cheeses" or cheese in plural. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
330ml bottles: ~$8.00 Each

Background:
I bought this at State Line Liquors the other day to evaluate for my upcoming Belgian Bier Banquet. I have since decided on other beers to have and then realized that I did not do a “Christmas in July” beer review. So I figured I would use this one.  I have had this before at tastings but I really do not remember anything about it.

Review:
The beer pours a deep copper orange color with a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is exceptional with deep caramel malt aromas, sweet orange fruit esters, citrus and spice. This almost smells like an alcohol laced orange candy.

Ahhh, you can’t see me but just melted into my chair. What a remarkable first sip.

This exquisite experience starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by the most pleasant mouthfeel as the beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. By the time you get to the back-end you realize that this is no lightweight. There is a hesitation and almost clinching at the top of the swallow. The swallow has a slight carbonation release and a building robustness of a great Belgian Strong Ale. The finish is absolutely phenomenal with exquisite caramel malt flavors, fruity notes, some spice, and sweet alcohol all on a bed a yeasty goodness. The final aftertaste is a lingering malt sweetness with a hint of alcohol and spice.

There is the most wonderful creamy coating that is left throughout the entire mouth.
The beer has warmed to room temperature and it is just as exquisite now as it was chilled actually more so.

This is a solid A+. An exquisite Belgian Strong Pale that was delicious to the last warm drop. Rich malt flavors along with notes of fruit and spice and sweet alcohol made this a very enjoyable experience.
  

Kasteel Tripel




Kasteel Tripel

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Belgium

Tripel

11.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
A golden craft-beer, brilliant, topfermented, refermented in the bottle.
An exceptional blend of malts and quality hops, an elegant nose and a particularly smooth flavour.
11% ABV.
Should be served at 9°C.
(www.vanhonsebrouck.be)

General Pricing:
750 ml bottles: ~$8.00 - $9.00 Each

Background:
I have had this beer several times before. Actually this is one of my favorite Belgian Tripels. This is our favorite beer to have when we have Maryland Blue Crabs and that’s just what we did two weeks ago. This particular bottle was left over so I figured I would give it a formal review.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden straw color with a bright white head. This is nicely carbonated with tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is classic Belgian with light pilsner type malt aromas, light fruit sweetness, along with citrus notes all on a yeasty background.

Oh Man-O-Man is that a great Tripel.

The experience starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by the most pleasant light effervescence over the tongue during the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with just a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. The top of the swallow also has a slight earthiness and yeastiness to it. The swallow has an additional carbonation release that masks some of the flavors. Behind that effervescence there is a building robustness, mostly from the alcohol. The finish is exquisite with light malts, citrus, coriander spice, sweet light fruit esters and sweet alcohol. This is all riding on that classic Belgian yeastiness. The final aftertaste is subtle but contains citrus, spice and yeast.

This is one of my favorite Belgian Tripels but it seems like a whole new experience drinking, no savoring it in this way.

Side Note:
This is our favorite go-to beer when we have crabs so this was a logical choice to have with my spicy pulled pork sandwich tonight. The spiciness of the beer compliments that spice in the pulled pork but it also has a smoothing effect that makes it a perfect match with spicy foods.

OK back to the review.

We are now at 68 degrees.

Unlike my last few reviews this beer has gotten better as it warms. The carbonation has diminished leaving a much richer and smoother ale. As modest as the flavors are they seem to be richer now at this temperature.
  
AHH, smooth and tasty to the last warm drop.

This is a solid A for me. It’s not the most complex or the most refreshing Tripel but it has the most unique spice and alcohol notes that make it one of the best in my book.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

16 Mile Amber Sun Ale



Amber Sun Ale

Brewed by:
16 Mile Brewing Company, Inc.
Georgetown, Delaware, USA


American Amber / Red Ale

ABV ?




Commercial Description:
Amber Sun Ale– Roasty finishing malts, balanced with just enough bitterness provides a traditional amber ale that is dark red to the eye, but not heavy on the palate. 16 Mile names this premium amber ale for the famous sunsets found at the Breakwater Lighthouse located off of Lewes Beach, Delaware.
(16milebrewery.com)

General Pricing:
22 oz Aluminum Bottles: ~$3.00 Each

Background:
I received a bottle of 16 Mile from by friend Gene as a gift then I went to State Line Liquors and purchased the other two. I’ve heard good things about these beers but I have never had them before. So I’m really looking forward to tasting these unusual bottle shaped cans of beer.

Review:
The beer pours a dark amber with ruby hues and a fairly rich tan head.

The nose is pleasant with sweet caramel malt aromas and floral hops.

Not a bad first sip; sweet caramel malt flavors and a slight hop bite but there is also something odd on the finish.

The experience starts out with a malt sweetness up front followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking but there is an extreme harshness that develops during the swallow. The finish has some very nice caramel almost toasted malt flavors but this is masked by a harsh off flavor that is not appealing at all. It’s hard to comment about the final aftertaste because by that time there is a chill that comes over me after I take a breath.

Each sip gets increasingly harder to swallow and now the finish is almost unbearable.

We are only at 62 degrees and this may be another 16 Mile that I will not finish.

If this was only a 12 oz bottle I would have easily finished it. But this 22 oz bottle/can is too much for me. I’m just not going to torture myself any further.

I’m not sure this is bad enough for an F it was quite drinkable during the first few sips. However this needs to be ice cold in order to enjoy it and I don’t keep any of my beers ice cold. 

This is certainly a D- at best.

It is possible that this was a bad or faulty bottle/can. I feel I need to review this again if the brewery starts bottling in glass bottles.


16 Mile Old Court Ale



Old Court Ale

Brewed by:
16 Mile Brewing Company, Inc.
Georgetown, Delaware, USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

ABV ?





Commercial Description:
Old Court Ale– An American ale that reserves its right to be different. A bit lighter in body, Old Court provides a citrusy hop aroma and caramel finish. 16 Mile names this ale for Sussex County’s original courthouse, which has been serving judicial needs since 1791. Today it stands on South Bedford Street just south of The Circle in Georgetown, Delaware.
(16milebrewery.com)

General Pricing:
22 oz Aluminum Bottles: ~$3.00 Each

Background:
I received a bottle of 16 Mile from by friend Gene as a gift then I went to State Line Liquors and purchased the other two. I’ve heard good things about these beers but I have never had them before. So I’m really looking forward to tasting these unusual bottle shaped cans of beer.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark amber with ruby hues and an off white head.

The nose is nice with caramel malt aromas along with floral hops and an underlining earthiness.

Not a bad first sip but there is an underlining harshness to this beer.

The taste starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front, then a cleansing effervescent over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking but there is a unique harshness and hesitation at the top of the swallow. There is a carbonation release during the swallow that masks any flavors. The finish has some nice caramel malt flavors and a slight hop bite to it. But there is also a harshness to the finish. The final aftertaste has some malt sweetness but mostly a green apple tinge or harshness.

All and all this is not a very enjoyable beer. It really drinks more like an Adjunct Lager than an All Malt Grain Ale.

This beer is only at 56 degrees and it has really picked up some off flavors. This is just not good.

This may be a first and not in a good way. This is my 285th review and this may be the first beer that I don’t finish.

It is hard to believe that a craft beer can taste this bad at 61 degrees. I am really having a hard time swallowing this beer.

Well this is it. 16 Mile has produced the first beer in 285 that I’m not going to finish. I just am not going to torture myself any more.

If this was a 12 oz bottle I would have been able to finish it. But it was not worth trying to force 22 oz.

I’m not sure an F is fair but a D- seems too generous. This beer started out as a drinkable ale but it sent down hill fast. Each sip continued to more harsh until at only 61 degrees I could not take it any more.

Now there is a possibility that I got a bad bottle/can. I heard that they are moving to standard 12 oz glass bottles. I may review this again when that happens.

16 Mile Blues’ Golden Ale



Blues' Golden Ale

Brewed by:
16 Mile Brewing Company, Inc.
Georgetown, Delaware, USA

American Blonde Ale

ABV ?






Commercial Description:
Blues' Golden Ale- A mellow, yet refreshing golden ale with balanced layers of flavor. The crisp and clean finish of Blues’ Golden Ale makes it the perfect complement to any meal. 16 Mile names this golden ale for The Delaware Blues who fought in almost every battle of the Revolutionary War. A monument in their honor is located Outside of Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware.
(16milebrewery.com)

General Pricing:
22 oz Aluminum Bottles: ~$3.00 each

Background:
I received a bottle of 16 Mile from by friend Gene as a gift then I went to State Line Liquors and purchased the other two. I’ve heard good things about these beers but I have never had them before. So I’m really looking forward to tasting these unusual bottle shaped cans of beer.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with copper hues and a bright white head. The beer is highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is pleasant with light pilsner type malt aromas and with a gentle swirl a sweet floral hop notes are released. This nose seems like it would be a very refreshing beer, how inviting.

Well, that first sip was so carbonated that I really did not pick up much of anything just a slight light malt sweetness.

Humm, I’m not too sure about this one.

There is very little of any flavor up front. There is a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end seems to have an odd malt flavor during the swallow. That is contrary to the carbonation release that is also during the swallow. The finish is just not very good. There is an odd off flavor in the finish that is very unpleasant. This carries into the final aftertaste as well.

It’s funny that the first few sips seemed pretty good. But the off flavors seem to be getting stronger and stronger as I drink this beer.

Odd this is almost like an adjunct.

We are only at 63 degrees and this beer is picking up a metallic aftertaste.

Man, this is actually getting hard to drink.

I did finish this 22oz bottle but it was not very enjoyable.

This is a D+ to C- for me. I really expected a better beer. It was pretty drinkable at first but as this warmed it just got worse. It quickly developed off flavors and a metallic aftertaste. 







Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yards Saison



Yards Saison

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Saison / Farmhouse Ale



6.50% ABV



Commercial Description:
Saisons were historically brewed to keep the farmhands happy and hydrated during the warm summer months. Crafted using Belgian pilsen malt and candi sugar, this golden Belgian style ale is a refreshing change from your usual beer lineup.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
They gave me a surprise 50th birthday party in May and had this beer on draft. I thought it was great. I was just at State Line to pick some weekend beers and a 6 pack of this just jumped into my cart. So I figured I would take my time with the first one and give it a formal review.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with copper hues and a modest white head.

The nose is modest with earthy pilsner malt aromas with pleasant floral hops. I’m not picking up any Belgian Funk but the nose is very inviting.

AHH Man that is good; very effervescent and refreshing with a unique earthiness.

The experience starts out with a sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back and is very easy drinking with just a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow. During the swallow almost into the finish you start to feel a robust earthiness. This earthiness of malts and hops seem to almost explode in the finish. The final aftertaste is that lingering malt earthiness.

It’s not Saison Dupont funky but it’s pretty darn close.

That first one went down so fast I’ll have to have another as I work on my final thoughts.

Well obviously I’m drinking more that I’m writing on this one. The second is almost gone also.

This is a solid B+ maybe even an A. What an enjoyable Saison with a rich leathery earthiness and fairly clean finish. What a nice refreshing beer.

Evolution Craft Brewing Primal Pale Ale



Primal Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
Delmar, Delaware, USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
A golden, dry, slightly hoppy pale ale. Refreshing & Balanced. Notes of Pine & Citrus in the aroma, earthy middle, clean finish 28 IBU’s, 4.9 ABV.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
This is the only Evolution beer that I have not had. I was at State Line Liquors the other day and picked up a 6 pack. I have liked all of the other Evolution beers so I’m really looking forward to trying this one.

Review:
The beer pours a clear pale copper with yellow hues and a white head.

The nose is nice with delicate pale malts floral hops and light citrus notes.

Wow, something took me by surprise on that first sip. There seems to be an interesting complexity or at least a uniqueness to this beer.

The experience starts out with a malt sweetness up front then a most interesting tingling effervescence over the tongue. You expect this to build to a hop bitterness but it doesn’t, it diminished by the time you get to the top of the swallow. There is an interesting robustness during the swallow along with a carbonation release. This is also unusual since most carbonation releases mask flavors not enhance them. The finish in mostly malt sweetness which is also confusing since there whole experience has be building up to what you would expect as a bitter hoppy ending.

All and all I really like this beer. I realize that it doesn’t sound that way from the above description.  

There is very interesting earthiness to this beer. It’s almost like an Alt beer.

I’m going for a B to B+ for this one. It’s not the most refreshing American Pale Ale but it has a very unique quality to it. That robust earthiness in this ale that really makes unique and appealing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Twin Lakes Greenville Pale Ale

Greenville Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Twin Lakes Brewing Co.
Greenville Delaware, USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.50% ABV

Commercial Description:
Greenville Pale Ale is a traditional American style Pale Ale, rooted in the Pacific Northwest brewing heritage. The light colored medium bodied ale uses whole flower cascade hops with all natural two row barley malt. This produces a light Pale Ale that explodes with rich full flavor. This refreshing ale has an immediate floral-citrus taste that comes from using the cascade hops.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:

Background:
This was a gift from my friend Joe. I did not know that Twin Lakes bottled or canned anything. All this time I thought it was kegs only. Now I’m really interested in trying something from Twin Lakes. Let’s see how this Pale Ale is.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper color with orange hues and a fairly rich white to off white head.

The nose is nice with sweet caramel almost toasted malt aromas with a very pleasant floral hop aroma. There is a very interesting sweetness to the nose. This is very inviting I can’t wait to dive into it.

That’s a nice, pleasant and refreshing American Pale Ale with just the right amount of hops and malts. This is very nicely balanced.

The taste starts out with just a touch of sweetness up front then the most refreshing cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with a fairly rich caramel malt flavor with a nice hop bite. I would not call this a bitter finish just a nice bite to it. There is very little of final aftertaste just a slight lingering malt and hop notes.

As this beer warms it is picking up a more robust malt flavor. The flavor now is more of that of an Alt beer or Old Ale. It’s not bad but it is a surprisingly different flavor for just a few degrees shift in temperature.

The head has diminished to just a slight ring around the glass but it is leaving some pretty decent lacing.

We are now at 68 degrees and the robustness in almost unpleasant. The final aftertaste now has a unpleasant metallic aftertaste. I’m not sure what makes a beer go down hill so fast. This was a very enjoyable beer with it was cold.

All and all I’m still going for a C+ to B-. I still think that this is a good beer but it does not warm well.




Rodenbach Grand Cru

 
Rodenbach Grand Cru

Brewed by:

Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium

Flanders Red Ale

6.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Bottle: Filtered.
A blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 of beer aged 2 years in large oak vats. The more important proportion of oak matured beer contributes to its fruity taste, complexity and intensity. The finish is worthy of a great wine.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
750 ml bottles: ~$9.50 each

Background:
I bought this beer to evaluate for my upcoming Third Annual Belgian Beer Banquet, more on that later. I am looking to turn up the Belgain Funk a little bit in this year’s offerings. I certainly can’t purchase a keg of this until I give it a good sampling. So lets see how this measures up for a Flemish Red.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown with rich ruby hues and a modest off white to tan head.

The nose is exquisite. Mahogany comes to mind although I realize that that’s a typical aroma. The nose is full of sweet dark malt aromas with dark fruit esters rich wood notes and good dose of Belgian funk (sourness). Man, I can’t wait to see what this taste like.

Wow, No, I really mean WOW! This is just amazing. Rich dark malts with sweet fruity notes all raiding on that classic Flemish Red sourness. This is extremely complex; it’s going to be difficult for me to do this justice.

The experience starts out with sweet dark malts and fruit up front. That is immediately followed by a tart sourness that continues to build throughout the middle of the sip. The back of you jaw starts to quiver a bit by the time you get to the top of the swallow on the back-end. There is a carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the flavors of this exquisite ale. The finish is astounding; everything comes together on the finish and makes this a most unusual and exquisite experiences. The finish is full of rich dark malt flavors with sweet dark fruits and a powerful sour ending. The final aftertaste is of sweet dark fruit along with a yeasty sourness. There is also a rich caramel malt and sweet dark fruit coating that is left throughout the mouth. This is similar to that stout coating but in this case it is sweet and sour; classic Belgian Funk.

This is one exquisite ale. Of course this taste is not for everyone. It is a very unusual blend of rich dark malt, dark fruit on a bed of sourness.

This is solid A+ for a Flemish Red. An outstanding ale with rich dark malts, exquisite dark fruit esters a rich nutty wood flavor mahogany, all on a sour bed of Belgian yeast.

Bavik Wittekerke




Wittekerke

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bavik
Belgium

Witbier

5.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
Authentic Belgian Wheat Ale
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
11.2 oz, 330 ml bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
I bought this beer to evaluate for my upcoming Third Annual Belgian Beer Banquet, more on that later. I am looking for a good Wit to start off the line up of 6 draft beers. I have never had this one so I’m really looking forward to it.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy straw yellow with a very rich bright white head.

The nose is delightful with wheat malt aromas with notes of citrus.

Wow, what a great Wit. That first sip was light and refreshing; just perfect on this hot summer day.

The experience starts out with sweet wheat malts up front then the most refreshing mouthfeel effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The rich creamy head stays with you and adds a silky mouthfeel. The back-end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is light and refreshing with just a hint of citrus on top of light wheat malts. There is very little of a final aftertaste there is just a slight sweet wheat flavor with a citrus note.

My only problem with this beer is that I only bought one to review and it is just about gone already.

I held the last couple sips to warm a little. It is a much richer experience as it warms. There is a definite improvement in the malts and spicy notes of this beer at warmer temperatures. But it still maintains an excellent refreshing quality.

This beer may rival Blanche De Bruxelles as my gold standard for a refreshing Belgian Wit. 

I’m going for an A maybe even an A+ on this one. This is an extremely refreshing Belgian Wit with excellent wheat malt favors with nice citrus and spicy notes.

Evolution Craft Brewing Lot No3 IPA


Lot No3 India Pale Ale         

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
Delmar, Delaware, USA

American IPA

6.80% ABV






Commercial Description:
This American style IPA is aggressively hopped at a rate of over 2lbs. per barrel. Big notes of citrus and pine compliment a reserved but firm malt backbone. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
My friend Jeff commented on my last Evolution review from Facebook and then recommended this one. Jeff and I have very similar tastes when it comes to IPA’s so I had to give this a try. I stopped in at State Line Liquors after work today to pick up some of the Canadian craft beers that were on sale. It just so happened that a 6 pack of this ended up in my cart. So let’s see how good this IPA is.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper with amber hues and a white head.

The nose is very assertive with hop aromas of pine and citrus along with a sweet caramel malt aroma.

Wow, that’s an IPA! Why can’t all American IPA’s taste more like this one with a great malt background and assertive but not overly bitter hops?

The experience starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is instantly followed by a tingling effervesces over the tongue during the middle of the sip. There is also a building hop robustness during middle of the sip toward the back-end. The assertive hops are strong but not overpoweringly bitter. This hoppy robustness seems to diminish on the back-end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking for such a robustly hopped ale. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow what adds a refreshing aspect to this beer. The finish is amazing and surprisingly balanced. There are very rich and robust malts and hops on the finish. The hoppy flavors on the finish have some complexity with pine and citrus notes. This along with a malt backbone makes this a very impressive IPA. There is a final hop aftertaste but it is not a lingering  bitterness. I realize that this sounds like a contradiction but the excellent malt balance adds to the aftertaste enough to mellow out the bitterness.

Wow what a great IPA. It is almost imperial in nature with an ABV just under 7.

Well the first turned into the second and now I’m going for a third. Sorry but I’m doing more drinking than righting on this one.

I really did not expect to like this beer so much. This may out seat the Great Divide Titan as my new gold standard.

Since I’m not a hop head it is exciting for me to find an IPA that I really like. I’m going to have to have this head to head with the Titan to see which one I like the best.

This is an A+ for sure. You will be hard pressed to find an IPA this good.

Update:
A few days after this review I purchased a 6 pack each of the Great Divide Titan and the Evo Lot #3 and took them over to my friend Gonzalo’s. We did a thorough sampling of both. The color of both beers was almost identical. The head on the Titan was much more substantial. The nose and flavor made us both decide that we liked the Evo Lot #3 best. So I guess I have a new gold standard for American IPA’s.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kirkland Signature India Pale Ale


Kirkland Signature India Pale Ale

Brewed By:
Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
Issaquah, Washington, USA

American IPA

6.50% ABV





Commercial Description:
Coppery brown with rich, malty character-this perfectly brewed amber ale gets its good looks from the dark-roasted crystal malt that we import from England. To give it some Western flair, it is moderately hopped with hops straight from the Yakima Valley in Washington. ABV 5.7% Bitterness 25 IBU. Contract brewed for Costco by the Gordon Biersch Brewing Company under the brewer name Hopfen Und Malz (for the west coast market) and since mid 2009 by Matt Brewing as "New Yorker Brewing Co." (for the east coast market).
(RateBeer.com)

Note:
Contract brewed by The Matt Brewing Company under the label New Yorker Brewing Company, Utica NY.

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$19.00 case

Background:
Just on a whim I picked up a variety case of this beer at Costco the other day. I bought one of these a couple of years ago. At the time I thought the beers were drinkable but I never reviewed them. I also noticed that this case has a few new beers that were not in the old one. Well, this is the last of the beers in the variety case. So far they have all been just average beers. Let’s see how the IPA is.  

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

The nose is nice with caramel malt aromas along with a predominate but pleasant hop aroma. The hops are the main thing on the nose but do not seem overpowering.

That first sip was not bad. It does not seem as well balanced as I would like it but it’s a good basic American IPA.

The taste starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front for just an instance followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a building robust hop bitterness toward the back-end. The swallow is fairly easy for a hoppy IPA. The finish is typical American IPA with some caramel malts but mostly a robust hoppy bite of pine with grapefruit hop flavors. There is a lingering hop bitterness on the aftertaste that stays with you. It is not completely overpowering but it is lingering.

The head has diminished to just a protective layer over the top of the beer. The lacing on the beer is quite impressive.

All and all this is a pretty good American IPA, well, as far as American IPA’s go. Of course IPA’s are not my favorite craft beers but this one is drinkable.

The IPA is not very well balanced but then again I find that most American IPA’s aren’t well balanced. This is not quite battery acid hoppy but this is a very bitter beer.

This beer is getting a little harsh as it warms up. I don’t have my thermometer but this is now getting very close to room temperature.

I’m going for a C+ on this one. It’s not a bad IPA but it is not well balanced and very hoppy with a lingering pine bitterness.  Actually if you like the typical American IPA you will like this one.