Monday, May 28, 2012

Gonzo IPA

Gonzo IPA
Homebrew
An Original Recipe Brewed and Bottled in Newark DE by John and Gonzalo

Background:
My dear friend Gonzalo is moving to Mississippi by the end of the summer. We have been talking about homebrewing for a long time so we had to so something before he left. Gonzalo is a huge Hophead; I don’t think you can make a beer too bitter for him. So my goal was to create an IPA recipe that was aggressively hopped but I also wanted it to have some hop complexity and malt balance. So what I came up with was Gonzo; a 6.7% ABV 101 IBU American IPA.

Gonzalo and I had a blast brewing and bottling this beer at his house. It was a little rushed so we could debut it over the Memorial Day Weekend.

The Debut:
Several friends were over Gonzalo’s house for the first tasting and a birthday party for yours truly. Here are a few pictures.

Admiring the first time Gonzo Aromatics


The First Sip 

 
Hey did you see my picture on this bottle?



Proud Papa!

 
Ah that intoxicating Gonzo aroma. 


Cheers to Gonzo and Gonzalo!

The beer was a great hit. Actually I was amazed that it turned out just the way I wanted it to. Probably beginners luck since this was my first original recipe.

I may do a full review but here is a good idea of the beer’s character. 

The Description:
Gonzo is an original recipe American IPA homebrew by John, brewed and bottled by John and Gonzalo.
Gonzo is generously embellished with 5 American Hops, Cascade and Chinook for bittering along with Centennial, Amarillo and Willamette for flavor and aroma. Then just for good measure we dry hopped with more cascade and Willamette. The aggressive hops should be moderately balanced with equally generous quantities of American Two Row, Caramel/Crystal and Belgian Aromatic malted grain.

   
The Beer:
The beer poured a deep amber with ruby hues and a very rich white head. The nose was intense with pine, grapefruit, floral and citrus hop aromas with a hint of caramel malt. The taste was surprisingly good. I did manage to create the hop complexity that I was going for; even the earthy Willamette was noticeable on the finish. And yes there was a nice malt background to it. Of course the final aftertaste was a lingering hop bite.



Final Thoughts:
This whole experience was just a blast. I had so much fun working on the recipe and brewer this beer with Gonzalo.

Thank you Gonzalo for being such a good friend and inspiring me to create the Gonzo.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pumpkin Ale Compitition


Pumpkin Ales Head to Head
Last night at Gonzalo’s we had in impromptu Pumpkin Ale Tasting. He had several Pumpkin Ales left over from the fall and I had another Spiced Harvest Ale that the Wilson's gave me.

So here was the lineup:

Spiced Harvest Ale, Herbed / Spiced Beer, 6.60% ABV
Brewed by: Fordham Brewing Company, Dover, Delaware USA

Punk'n Ale, Pumpkin Ale, 4.00% ABV
Brewed by: Four + Brewing Company, Salt Lake City, Utah

Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, 5.00% ABV
Brewed by: Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York

Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Ale, 8.00% ABV
Brewed by: Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Easton, Pennsylvania

The cool thing was that I have had and reviewed each of these in the past. So this was a good head to head competition. Here is how it went down.

Fordham, was the clear winner for the best pumpkin flavor.

Post Road, that was my Gold Standard for this style may be a better overall beer than Fordham but it could not match the authentic pumpkin taste of Fordham.

Wyerbacher, had the most spice intensity and the biggest beer at 8% but it did not have the overall enjoyability as the Fordham or Post Road.

Punk’n, had clearly come in last out of the group.

So this tasting finally did it. My new Gold Standard for Pumpkin Ales is Fordham’s Spiced Harvest Ale.

It was tough to topple Post Road. It was one of my first and my favorite pumpkin beer for many years. But it was clear doing a head to head with Fordham that Fordham had the better Pumpkin Ale.

It was a cool little tasting, thank you Gonzalo and the Wilson family for making this possible.

 

Bourgogne Des Flandres Brune / Bruin


Bourgogne Des Flandres Brune / Bruin

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Timmermans-John Martin N.V.
Belgium

Flanders Oud Bruin

5.00% ABV




Commercial Description:
Bruges’ typical brown ale, matured 6 months in oak casks.
(RateBeer.com)

Background:
This was gift from my friend Gonzalo. I really enjoy the Flemish Reds like Rodenbach Grand Cru and The Duchesse. However this will be my first Flemish Old Brune.

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

The nose is exquisite with dark malt aromas with notes of dark fruit and the most wonderful underlining Flemish Funk, sour notes.

Wow, what a fantastic first sip; sweet rich and creamy with that classic Flemish sourness. Gotta love that Belgian Funk!

The experience starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front followed by the most wonderful rich, creamy and tart mouthfeel as this ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is almost easy drinking but the building tart/sourness creates a sizable hesitation on the top of the swallow. The finish is fantastic with rich dark malt flavors and that classic Flemish sourness. There is also a real complexity in this finish. It’s like a blend of old and young ales. The finish is also “wine-like” with sweet notes of cherries and oak. The final aftertaste is some lingering dark fruit and sourness.

Wow this beer really has a lot going on. The subtle complexities are amazing.

We are now at 62 degrees.

As the beer starts to warm it is really opening up. Every sip has a new experience in it.

The notes of oak and cherries are really coming out now along with an underlined sweetness. I would suspect that the sweetness was alcohol but this is only a 5% ale.

There is an interesting whiskey-like feeling from this ale at these warmer temperatures.

I think I’m going for a B+ on this one. That may be low but I do not much on this exact style to compare it to and the Flemish Ales is a very demanding category. It is an excellent ale but it’s not as well crafted as other Flemish ales like Rodenback, The Duchesse, or Gaverhopke Extra. 

B+ | Bourgogne Des Flandres Bruin is an excellent Flemish Ale with rich dark malt flavors with complex notes of dark fruit, oak and cherries that has a silky smooth mouthfeel and an exquisite Flemish Sour finish. I will have to look for more of this style.

Southern Tier IPA (India Pale Ale)




IPA (India Pale Ale)

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
Lakewood, New York USA

American IPA

7.30% ABV





Commercial Description:
IPA stands for India Pale Ale and ours is an American version of the classic style. IPA’s namesake lies in its colonial roots. British soldiers on their way to India dark a lot of beer, but found it would go stale on the long voyages. Meanwhile, brewers knew that by adding more hops, the beer would stay fresh. Voila! A new style was born and it is one we are proud to brew. Southern Tier IPA is a triple-hopped on its journey to your glass for a fully aromatic experience.
(RateBeer.com)

Background:
This was gift from my friend Gonzalo. I have never had this IPA so I can’t wait to see what it’s like.

Review:
The beer pours a light copper with orange hues and a white head.

The nose is modest for and IPA with light pale malt aromas along with citrus and floral hops aromas.

Gee, could I be turning into a hop head? That was another great first sip.

The taste starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness followed by an almost cleansing middle of the sip but with some hop robustness building toward the back-end. The back-end is somewhat easy drinking with only a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. The finish is clean crisp and refreshing with pale malt flavors and a nice complexity of floral, pine and citrus hop flavors. The final aftertaste is just a hint of that lingering hop bite.

All and all this is another great American IPA that is done well without being overdone.

There is also a nice malt balance to this ale. I think I’m picking up a touch a caramel malt sweetness in the finish.

The head has diminished to a very thin almost patchy layer over the top of the beer and it is leaving some very decent lacing.

This is another B+ to A IPA. It is also a warm afternoon so maybe and IPA is just what the doctor ordered.

A | Southern Tier IPA is an excellent American IPA with just enough bite to be clean and refreshing without being overly bitter, balanced nicely with pale malt flavors with a touch of caramel.




Wolaver's India Pale Ale


Wolaver's India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Middlebury, Vermont USA

American IPA

6.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
This robust India Pale Ale follows British tradition by using bountiful amounts of fresh hop cones to produce a crisp clean character; blending Magnum, Crystal and Hallertauer hops with generous amounts of Munich and Carmel malt.
(RateBeer.com)

Background:
This was gift from my friend Gonzalo. I am a big fan of Otter Creek/Wolavers so I can’t wait to see what this is.

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

The nose has a very refreshing with an inviting aspect to it with pale malt aromas and light floral and citrus hop aromas.

 What a great and refreshing first sip.

The experience starts out with a pale malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a sharp tingling and robust hop build up as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with just a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. The finish is almost an explosion of hop flavors. The hops are sharp but not very bitter and certainly not overpowering. There is also a nice pale malt background in the finish. The final aftertaste is a slight lingering hop bite.

The head on this beer has reduced to a thick protective covering over the top of the beer and the lacing is excellent.

This is an impressive little IPA. It’s another great example of a beer being well done without being over done.

IPA’s are not my favorite style of craft beer but I cannot find anything wrong with this one. This is an all around great IPA. To me anything more in bitterness and it would not be enjoyable.

A- | Wolaver’s India Pale Ale is an excellent, clean, crisp and refreshing American IPA with nice pale malt flavors and a dry hoppy bite that is bitter without being excessive.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Homebrew Dave’s Imperial Rye Saison


Homebrew 
Dave’s Imperial Rye Saison

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA

Saison/Farmhouse Ale

8.8% ABV





Style Description:
Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there's been a massive revival; especially in the US.
This is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.0-8.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)

Background:
This is another home brew from my friend Dave. So far I have been impressed with all of Dave’s beers. This one in particular really sounds interesting. I can’t wait to see what it tastes like.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy light copper with golden hues and an off white head.

The nose is fantastic with pale malt aromas along with earthy notes of citrus and that unique Belgian yeasty esters.

Wow, what a great first sip; great malt flavors and wonderful notes of citrus and spice all riding on that classic Saison yeastiness.

This great experience starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing mouthfeel as this ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with and almost effortless swallow. The finish is amazing with all the expected Belgian flavors and a touch of Rye that truly sets it apart. That is followed by that classic Saison farmhouse funk; that earthy/yeasty uniqueness that comes from the Saison yeast. And the complex finish still has more with interesting notes of spice and citrus; again esters from that great yeast.

This is impressive!

As refreshing as this is there is also an interesting warming. I assume that is from the 8.8% alcohol.

It is starting to warm and open up a little. Man, this is good. As it warms it’s becoming smoother and richer. The sweetness of the alcohol is finally making its presence known at this temperature.

We have only warmed to 60 degrees. I can’t what to see what happens when it really warms up.

The Rye flavors are also becoming more predominated as it warms.

I have let this warm to 69 degrees.

The ale is just exquisite at this temperature. Smooth with sweet malt flavors and warming sweet alcohol.  Good to last delicious warm drop.

A+ | Dave’s Imperial Rye Saison is a fantastic Saison with exquisite pale malt flavors with a touch of Rye that leads into an delightful mouthfeel followed by the most exquisite finish with all the classic subtle Belgian complexities, notes of citrus, spice and that unique Saison earthiness. This phenomenal ale is a real masterpiece.

Bock Damm



Bock Damm

Brewed by:
Damm S. A.
Spain

Bock

5.40% ABV








Commercial Description:
Is the Munich Black, a beer created in 1888 following the ancient Munich tradition. It is distinguished by its intense toasted flavour with a sligthly sweet final touch, an equilibrated beer without the excessive bitterness that other beers of its category have.
(RateBeer.com)

Background:
My friend Gene was in Barcelona Spain on business and brought me back on of these unique bocks. I can’t wait to try this one.

Review:
The beer pours a clear but almost opaque dark chestnut brown with rich ruby hues and a rich tan head.

The nose is nice with modest dark roasted malt aromas.

Hey that was a nice fist sip. It’s not a robust bock but it sure is good.

The taste starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front followed by a very pleasant smooth mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is a carbonation release during the swallow what adds a refreshing aspect and also masks some flavors. The finish is very nice with rich but smooth dark malt flavors with notes of toffee and a touch of chocolate. The final aftertaste is some lingering roasted malts. There is no noticeable hop presence in this beer.

This is a very nice Bock. I am impressed with the richness of this beer while also maintaining such a refreshing easy drinking overall quality.

This is going to be one short review. This beer was so easy drinking it’s gone already.

That last sip was at room temperature. It was rich and smooth to the last warm drop.

A | Bock Damm is an excellent Bock, rich but also refreshing and easy drinking with dark roasted malt flavors and a smooth mouthfeel that leads into a nice refreshing finish with notes of toffee and a touch of chocolate.

Home Brew Aaron's Abbey Ale



Home Brew 
Aaron's Abbey Ale

Brewed by:
Marty
Bear, Delaware, USA

Dubbel

5.8% ABV

27 IBU




Style Description:
The Belgian Dubbel is a rich malty beer with some spicy / phenolic and mild alcoholic characteristics. Not as much fruitiness as the Belgian Strong Dark Ale but some dark fruit aromas and flavors may be present. Mild hop bitterness with no lingering hop flavors. It may show traits of a steely caramel flavor from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar. Look for a medium to full body with an expressive carbonation.
Traditionally a Trappist Ale, many brew similar "Abbey Dubbels" to try and emulate the originals (Trappist Westvleteren 8, Westmalle Trappist Dubbel & Chimay Première).
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 6.5-9.0% 
(BeerAdvocate.com)

Background:
Marty came to my last beer event at Holy Saviour and gave me one of his home brews. I can’t wait to see what it’s like. Just starting out in home brewing its good for me to see the possibilities by tasting the fruits of someone else’s labor.

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

The nose is very inviting with sweet caramel malt aromas and citrus notes.

Wow, what a great first sip; smooth with great flavors and spicy notes.

The experience starts out with a touch of caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by an almost creamy mouthfeel as this wonderful ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The finish is fantastic with wonderful pale and caramel malt flavors with fruity and citrus notes. There is also a very interesting earthy yeastiness and spice in the finish. The final aftertaste is a hint of those wonderful malt flavors with just touch of spice.

What I nice beer.

The malt flavors and spice notes are getting more predominate as the beer warms and opens up a little.

The citrus notes are also becoming more pronounced as it warms.

Now I’m starting to nurse this because I don’t want this experience to end. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this ale.

There is a unique earthiness and spiciness to this ale that I just love. I assume this is all from the Belgian yeast but I’ll have to check with Marty.

The head on this beer never quit, in fact that is the only thing left in the bottom of the glass.

A | Aaron’s Abbey Ale homebrewed by Marty is “Simple Elegance” in a glass with wonderfully rich malt flavors that lead into a silky smooth mouthfeel and finishing with subtle earthy and spicy complexities of the finest Belgian Ales with a modest alcohol level that leaves you refreshed and asking for more. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brewer's Art Resurrection



Brewer's Art Resurrection

Brewed by:
The Brewer's Art
Baltimore, Maryland USA

Dubbel

7.00% ABV




Commercial Description:
During the fermentation of the first batch of this Abbey-style dubbel, the yeast «died» and was «resurrected» by brewer Chris Cashell. This beer is not unlike those that certain Belgian monks have been brewing since the 16th century. Made with five types of barley malt and lots of sugar, this beer is quite strong and flavorful, without being too sweet.
(RateBeer.com.com)

Background:

This was a leftover from the Holy Saviour Beer Event. I have had this several times in 750ml bottles but I have never had this in a can. We are vacationing/house sitting/babysitting at Cecilia’s and Gonzalo’s and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up of some long overdue reviews.

Review:
The beer pours a chestnut brown with orange hues and an off white head.

The nose is nice with rich dark malt aromas with notes of dark fruit. There is little to no hop aromas on the nose. There is also an interesting underlining sweetness on the nose.

What a nice first sip; sweet rich dark malt flavors with an almost creamy mouthfeel.

The experience starts out with nice dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue followed by an extreamly smooth mouthfeel as the rich ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking for a Dubbel with an almost effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with rich dark malt flavors and notes of dark fruit. The final aftertaste is of lingering dark malt sweetness.

All and all this is a very good Dubbel. However this can does not seem as good as their 750ml bottles do. It just seems to be lacking some of that Belgian complexity that I’m use to in the style and I thought I tasted before in their bottles.

This beer reminds me of the Grimbergen Dubbel with lighter malts and a more refreshing quality to it than most Dubbels.

Well this is a solid B for sure. I’m going to review the 750 bottle and compare notes.

B | Brewers Art Resurrection is a very good Dubbel with great dark malt flavors that leads into a rich almost creamy mouthfeel, finishing with notes of toffee and dark fruit.

Trail Blaze Organic Brown Ale



Trail Blaze Organic Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Appalachian Brewing Company
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA

American Brown Ale

5.30% ABV





Commercial  Description:
Trail Blaze is an all-American, all-organic beer micro-brewed using the finest organic ingredients. Our deep copper colored American Brown Ale has smooth roasted caramel flavors balanced by an evident hop bitterness and aroma. Trail Blaze is environmentally sound, all ingredients are grown to the highest organic standards, it’s healthy and it just plain tastes better!
(RateBeer.com)

Background:
This is a leftover from the Holy Saviour Beer Event. I didn’t get a chance to taste it at the event so I’m really looking forward to this review. We are vacationing/house and baby sitting for Gonzalo and Cecilia. This has given me time to catch up on my backlog and get a few back deck reviews in.

Review:
The beer pours a dark but clear chestnut brown with ruby hues and a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is nice with caramel and toasted malt aromas with woody notes of nuts along with floral hop aromas.

What a nice first sip. Nothing overpowering or even eventful but that first sip was just right for an easy drinking American Brown.

The taste starts off with a caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by a very pleasant almost creamy mouthfeel as the ale rolls over the tongue in mid-sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the flavors. The finish pulls it all together with great caramel and toasted malt flavors followed by just the right amount of hops to give you a bite without bittering. There are also great subtle notes of oak, nuts and dark fruit on the finish. The final aftertaste is just a hint of those wonderful toasted malt flavors.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this beer. What a nice surprising treat. Sorry that didn’t sound right. I guess that I wasn’t expecting this to be this good. It certainly is underrated on the web.

Well, I am obviously doing more drinking than writing since the glass is just about empty.

As the last few sips warmed up and the woody notes are becoming more pronounced along with the great malt flavors. All of the flavors in this beer are subtle enough that it maintains an interesting refreshing quality.
That last sip was fantastic. My only regret is that I don’t have any more of these left.

This is another great example of a beer that is done well and not overdone. So many times American craft brewers push their beers out on the edge. That’s not bad but it’s also not necessary. We seemed to have lost the art of a simple good tasting beer. Well, this one is it for me a perfect simple American Brown Ale. Gotta Love It.

This is a solid B+ maybe even an A; what a nice American Brown.

A- | Appalachian Trail Blaze Organic Brown is an excellent American Brown with subtle caramel and toasted malt flavors with a very smooth but refreshing mouthfeel that carries into a wonderful finish with woody notes of oak, nuts and dark fruit all the time maintaining a unique refreshing quality.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stoudt's Triple (Belgian Abbey-Style Ale)



 


Stoudt's Triple

Brewed by:
Stoudts Brewing Co.
Adamstown, Pennsylvania, USA

Tripel

9.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
A strong, full-bodied Belgian Abbey-style beer. The traditional yeast strain that is used imparts a rich array of spicy and fruit-like flavors. The prominent clove and melon notes are complemented by the sweetness and alcoholic warmth of the beer. The appealing color of glowing orange makes this brew irresistible.
(RateBeer.com)


General Pricing:
12oz bottles, ~$13.00 6 pack
Posting Note:
This was reviewed on May 2 but not posted until May 22, 2012.
Sorry about the stock pictures. I can’t seem to find the review pictures.

UPDATE: 02-16-2013
I just found the pics for this review. Not very good quality. They were on my cell phone.



Background:
This has been one of my long time favorite American versions of the Classic Tripel. When I added to the draft beer list for the Holy Saviour Beer Event I realized that I have never reviewed it. So this is a little catch-up, Beer Event preparation and a long overdue review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy pale yellow with golden to orange hues and a very rich and creamy white to off white head.

The nose is classic Belgian with sweet pale malt aromas with light fruity and citrus notes ridding on a yeasty background. There is also that unique touch of earthiness to the nose that’s common in Belgians.

Wow, that’s a nice triple; what a great first sip. That was sweet fruity and warming all in one mouthful.

The experience starts out with a light pale malt sweetness up front followed by a very pleasant almost creamy mouthfeel as the sweet ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking for such a strong ale. The swallow is deceivingly effortless. The finish is fantastic with sweet pale/pilsner malt flavors with sweet light fruity and citrus notes along with sweet warming alcohol. That is all ridding on an earthy bed of yeasty goodness. The final aftertaste is just a hint of that earthy yeasty note.

This is going to be short review since the glass is almost empty already.

I’m not sure what happened to the haziness but this beer is crystal clear now. It’s a nice golden yellow but crystal clear.

As this beer warms you can really appreciate the 9%. What was stealthily masked is now making its presence known.

A | Stoudt’s Tripel is hands down one of the best American made renditions of this classic Belgian Abbey Style Ale. It’s hard to believe how they capture the essence of the style without the traditional 750 bottle conditioning/re-fermentation. This Tripel is fantastic with rich but light pale malt flavors followed by an almost creamy mouthfeel that leads into an exquisite finish with sweet warming alcohol and notes of citrus and fruity esters all riding on a yeasty earthiness.






Home Brew Simcoe IPA



Home Brew Simcoe IPA

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA

American IPA

6.60% ABV






Style Description:
The American IPA is a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and / or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate to medium bodied with a balancing malt backbone.
(BeerAdvocate.com)

Posting Note:
This review was done on 4-2-2012 but not posted until 5-22-2012.

Background:
We have been talking and sharing homebrews at work. Well, I’ve been doing the talking and they have been doing the sharing. This is another homebrew offering from my friend Dave. It’s an original recipe American IPA with a single hop, Simcoe.

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

The nose is great with rich floral hop aromas along with nice caramel malts.

What a great first sip; nice malt flavors with a great hop finish that is not overpowering.

The experience starts out with malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a hop robustness that builds during the middle of the sip towards the back end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The hop robustness really comes together in the finish. There is also a nice malt backbone to this ale. The hop flavors are very nice with floral and citrus notes. There is a good bite on the finish but it’s not bitter and not overpowering. The final aftertaste is of slight lingering hop flavors along with a touch of malts.

All and all this is a great IPA. I’m not a hophead and this is right up my ally.

There is an impressive variance of hop flavors all coming from this single hop ale. If I didn’t know up front I would have guessed that multiple hop verities would have been used.

The head on this beer has not quite and the lacing has been impressive.

Well, I’ve been doing more drinking that writing and this refreshing little homebrew is gone.

A- | Dave’s Simcoe IPA is a great IPA accentuating all the great hop flavors from this single hop brew with a nice malt backbone this IPA is also nicely balanced and sure to please.

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA




Jai Alai IPA

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Tampa, Florida, USA

American IPA

7.50% ABV







Commercial Description:
Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt whilst the ball travels at speeds up to 188mph! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dubbed this game, with its ball traveling at racecar speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a bustling Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. Pair Jai Alai India Pale Ale with Beef Empanadas, Deviled Crabs and other spicy dishes.
(RateBeer.com.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$10.00 6 pack

Posting Note:
This review was done on 4-18-2012 put not posted until 5-22-2012.

Background:
My friend Gonzalo was in Florida visiting relatives over the Christmas Holidays and brought me back a few local beers. It’s taken me a while to get to them. At this point I am just about done.

Review:
The beer pours a golden copper with orange hues and a white to off white head.

The nose is nice with sweet pale malt aromas along with an interesting complex floral and citrus hop aromas.

That was an interesting first sip; very hoppy but not very bitter.

The experience starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue. There is a building hop robustness that builds towards the back-end. There is a sizable hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is pretty intense with some pale malt flavors but mostly all hops. The hops are complex with citrus, pine and grapefruit notes. The final aftertaste is also all hops.

Well for an American IPA this is about as good as it gets. Although for me this is pretty one sided having no malt balance.

As I continue to drink this beer it seems to be getting better or I’m just getting use to the hops. At any rate I am enjoying this more now that it’s warmed and opened up a little.

I’m picking up more malt flavors and noticing the complexity of the hops. At first it was just in your face hops on the finish. It has mellowed some with temperature.

I guess I have to go for a higher grade than what I enjoyed it at. This is part of my dilemma when reviewing a beer that is good in style but not quite the style that I enjoy.

B+ | Cigar City is a very good American IPA that any hop head will certainly enjoy with it’s over abundance and complex hop bitterness on the finish. This one is pretty much all hops so don’t expect balanced ale.

Monk in the Trunk Organic Amber Ale



Monk In The Trunk

Brewed at:
Thomas Creek Brewery
Greenville, South Carolina, USA
For: Inlet Brewing Co
Jupiter, Florida USA

American Amber / Red Ale

5.50% ABV


Commercial Description:
Formerly brewed for Inlet Brewing Co. (ex Jupiter Brewing Co.) by Orlando Brewing Co., now by Thomas Creek.

This unique copper-colored ale derives its fruity, slightly spicy aroma from authentic Belgian Abbey yeast. The subtle nutty and malty sweet flavors sing in harmony with the freshest organic hops vailable. Monk In the Trunk devotees are known to chant about its most intriguing quality, true drinkability. (RateBeer.com.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$9.00 6 pack

Posting Note:
This review was done on 4-17-2012 but not posted until 5-22-2012.

Background:
My friend Gonzalo was in Florida visiting relatives over the Christmas Holidays and brought me back a few local beers. It’s taken me a while to get to them. At this point I am about half way through.

Review:
The beer pours light copper with orange hues and an off white head.

The nose is very inviting with pale malt aromas with notes of sweet fruit and citrus along with a very pleasant light floral hop presence.

What a nice first sip; clean and refreshing with nice pale malt flavors and citrus notes.

The taste starts out with a pale malt sweetness up front followed by the most pleasant cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with sweet pale malt flavors along with refreshing light fruit and citrus notes. There is also a very pleasant floral hop presence on the finish; just enough to dry and refresh without bitterness. The final aftertaste is just a hint of pale malt and citrus.

All and all this is a very enjoyable beer.

As this ale warms I’m picking up more of a caramel malt aspect. The citrus and yeasty notes are also becoming more noticeable now.

We are only at 65 degrees and this beer just keeps getting better.

I’m not getting the complexity of the Belgian styles but this ale has all the right flavors and fruity notes.

This has been a very enjoyable experience.

Well, this one was so good it never make it to room temperature.


I’m going for a B+ for this delightful American Amber Ale.

B+| Monk in the Trunk is a delightful Organic American Amber Ale with sweet pale malt flavors with a touch of caramel followed by a very refreshing easy drinking mouthfeel ending in citrus and sweet fruit notes on the finish.

Florida Beer Florida Lager



Florida Lager

Brewed by
Florida Beer Company
Melbourne, Florida USA

American Amber / Red Ale Lager

5.10% ABV






Commercial Description:
GABF 2011 Bronze winner, Florida Beer Florida Lager, Florida Beer Co., American-Style Amber Lager    2011
Florida Beer Company Florida Lager is a tropical inspired craft lager. Florida Lager uses only the finest ingredients presenting a complex yet balanced full, rich flavor. A perfect blend of 2-row and caramel malt with German Tradition and Northern Brewer hops. (RateBeer.com.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$9.00 6 pack

Posting Note:
This review was actually done on 4-16-2012 but not posted until 5-22-2012.

Background:
My friend Gonzalo was in Florida visiting relatives over the Christmas Holidays and brought me back a few local beers. So the next few reviews will be Florida brews.

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

The nose is modest with light pale/pilsner malt aromas with grassy and citrus notes.

Well, I guess not a bad first sip for a lager.

The taste starts out with light pale malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence as the beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is pleasant but non-eventful with light pale malt flavors along with a nondescript dry finish with a touch of citrus. There is also that typical lager harshness on the finish. There is little to no final aftertaste.

So as far as pale lagers go, this one is not too bad. I know it's listed as an Amber but this looks and taste more like a Pale Lager.

There was not much going on for this beer. It’s not bad it’s just a very plane lager.

On the other had it warmed up without developing any off flavors and that’s a big plus for me. I still a little disappointed. I guess I expected more from a GABF Bronze Metal Winner.

I’m going or a B- on this one. There is not much too this beer but then again there is not much to the style.

B- | Florida Lager is a very pleasant American Lager with enjoyable pale malt flavors, easy drinking with a refreshingly dry finish with a touch of citrus and little to no aftertaste.

Orange Blossom Pilsner


Orange Blossom Pilsner

Brewed at:
Thomas Creek Brewery Greenville, South Carolina, USA
For:
Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC
Orlando, Florida, USA

Fruit / Vegetable Beer

6.50% ABV



Commercial Description:
Bronze Winner at GABF:
Category: 10 Specialty Honey Lager or Ale
Bronze: Orange Blossom Pilsner, Unique Beers, Orlando, FL

A honey beer using 30% Orange Blossom Honey. The yeast ferments the sugar in the honey and leaves behind a dry, crisp beer with a delicate orange blossom and honey character.
(RateBeer.com.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$9.00 6 pack

Posting Note:
This beer was reviewed on 4-12-2012 but not posted until 5-22-2012.

Background:
My friend Gonzalo was in Florida visiting relative over the Holidays and brought me back a few local beers. So the next few reviews will be Florida brews.

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

The nose is pleasant with grassy pilsner malt aromas and notes of sweet citrus and honey.

What a nice and refreshing first sip.

The taste starts out with light sweet pilsner malt flavors up front followed by a cleansing effervescence as the beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is very pleasant with pale malt flavors and sweet notes of citrus and honey. There is just a hint of citrus on the final aftertaste.

All and all this is a very enjoyable beer. The citrus and honey add a unique refreshing aspect to the experience.

This beer does have a hint of that lager harshness as it warms but that still takes a back seat to the refreshing qualities of the beer.

B- | Orange Blossom Pilsner is a nice refreshing summer beer with interesting notes of citrus and honey.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Jalehouse Light



Jalehouse Light

Brewed by:
Jalehouse Beer (Turtle Distributing Co.)
Sarasota, Florida USA

Light Lager

4.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
This light lager offers a full body taste, clean crisp flavor and a subtle hop aroma. Created using an American style Hallertau hop and two-row malt to ensure a refreshing finish with no after-taste.
(RateBeer.com.com)

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

Posting Note:
This review was from April 12, 2012 but not posted until May 21, 2012

Background:
My friend Gonzalo was in Florida visiting relatives over the Christmas Holidays and brought me back a few local beers. So the next few reviews will be Florida brews.

Review:
The beer pours a pale straw with yellow hues and a diminishing bright white head.

The nose is modest with some light pale malt aromas with sweet citrus notes. There is little to no hop presence on the nose.

Not a half bad first sip. Sorry, from the looks of this I was expecting something much worse.

The taste starts out with a pale malt sweetness up font, followed by a cleansing effervescence as the beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is really nice and refreshing with pale malts and citrus notes. There is very little of a final aftertaste, just a hint of citrus.

This is really a nice beer. Yes, it is extremely light but it does have a nice summer light malt flavor with very refreshing citrus notes on the finish.

I am really enjoying this. It will make a nice refreshing summer picnic beer.

What a great summer session.

I’m not getting that typical lager harshness. This is sweet, refreshing and quite enjoyable.

I realize that here is almost nothing to this style but this is actually quite good with nice pale malt flavors and citrus. I think this is the best light lager that I’ve had.

It is warming a little and it is not picking up any off flavors or harshness. That’s another plus in my book.

What a nice little beer. I would certainly have this again on a hot summer day.

Well, here I am again struggling with a rating. Even though my ratings are by style it is still difficult for me to give a beer like this an A, even though it deserves it by style. OK I just talked myself into it. I’m going to give this an A for a Light Lager.

I can’t believe the beer snob just gave an A to a Pale Lager but compared to everything else that I have had in this style it is an A for sure.

A | Jalehouse Light is an excellent Light Lager with nice pale malt flavors with refreshing citrus notes making it a thirst quenching perfect summer session.

Schlafly Irish-Style Extra Stout


Schlafly Irish-Style Extra Stout

Brewed by:
Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room
Saint Louis, Missouri USA

Foreign / Export Stout

8.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
This full-bodied and full-flavored rich, dark ale has a malty sweetness balanced with plenty of hops to create the perfect stout.
(RateBeer.com.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$12.00 6 pack, ~$44.00 case

Posting Note:
This review took place on April 12, 2012 but not posted until May 21, 2012.

Background:
The gang at work contracted State Line Liquors to put together a basket of cheer for me when I was home with a nasty case of the Shingles. Robert Murray at SLL did a great job in personally selecting beers for me. I was planning on doing this one on St. Patrick’s Day but I ended up brewing that weekend. I have been thoroughly impressed with Schlafly and can’t wait to try this one.

Review:
The beer pours an opaque stout black with no light getting through the glass and a fairly rich tan to cocoa head.

The nose is very nice with rich dark roasted malt aromas that carry notes of dark fruit and chocolate.

Wow, what a great first sip; rich dark roasted malt flavors with a smooth mouthfeel and sweet finish. This is nice!

The experience starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by the most pleasant mouthfeel as the rich ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a perceived robustness at the top of the swallow that is easily overcome on the back-end. There is a slight carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the rich flavors. The finish pulls everything together nicely with rich but smooth dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, toffee, and dark fruit followed by a classic Irish dry hop stout finishing note. The final after taste is classic lingering dark roasted malts.

What a great little beer. Again and again I’m thoroughly impressed with the simple elegance of the Schlafly beers. If these are their standard offerings I can’t wait to try some of their high-end 750’s.

As this warms I’m picking more smokiness from the roasted malts and the sweetness from the alcohol. This just keeps getting better and better.

Sorry I’m not doing much writing on this one. I’m just soaking up this wonderful beer, relaxing in the lazy-boy.

I just noticed that the bottle says that this is a special release. I certainly hope that it becomes and annual seasonal.

We are not quite to room temperature and this just keeps getting better as it warms.

Now with less carbonation the mouthfeel is velvety smooth.

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

We are almost done and I don’t feel I did this beer justice.

With each sip I seem to be slouching lower and lower in my seat with the warmth and comfort of this beer.

Well, all good things must come to an end and so to must this review, especially since I have an empty glass.

This is a solid A+ for a Foreign Export/Extra Stout. Actually this may be my new gold standard for the style.

A+ | Schlafly Irish Style Extra Stout is an outstanding Foreign Export stout with smooth rich dark malt flavors and a silky smooth mouthfeel followed by the most incredible warm and comforting finish. You will set back, relax and sink into your lazy-boy when you encounter this phenomenal little stout.