Friday, August 31, 2012

Starr Hill Box Car Pumpkin Porter




Box Car Pumpkin Porter

Brewed by:
Starr Hill Brewery
Crozet, Virginia USA

Pumpkin Ale

5.20% ABV







Commercial Description:
Boxcar Pumpkin Porter is a traditional English-style Brown Porter with pumpkin added to the mash. Light spicing allows the subtle flavors of pumpkin and roasty porter to shine through. Boxcar is a session beer at 5.2% and very drinkable.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.00 6pack

Background:
I stopped in State Line Liquors the other day and noticed all the fall seasonals that are coming in. A six pack of Tumbler and a few other singles jumped into the cart. So it looks like the next few reviews will be some fall seasonal beers.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of chestnut hues peeking trough the bottom edge of the glass. This beer also produced a fairly rich tan to mocha brown head.

The nose is nice with rich dark roasted malt aromas and very pleasant aromas of pumpkin and spice.

Not a bad first sip. The beer is highly carbonated that gives it a nice refreshing aspect.

The experience starts our with a touch of dark roasted malt sweetness up front followed by a tingling effervescence as this highly carbonated ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking for such a dark and rich ale. However there is a sizable hesitation at the top of the swallow. There is another carbonation release during the swallow that masks a lot of the flavors but also adds a lighter almost refreshing quality to the experience. The finish is very nice with rich dark roasted malt flavors followed by pumpkin flavors and finally pumpkin spices. The final aftertaste is of dark malts and pumpkin spice.

All and all this is a very good pumpkin ale.

As the beer warms the pumpkin flavors and spice are becoming more pronounced.

The pumpkin flavors in this porter are not just spice there are real natural pumpkin flavors in this beer.

There is a touch of bitterness in the taste. I assume it’s a slight roasted malt bitterness. It clearly does not taste like a hop bitterness.

This has warmed to almost room temperature now and it is still very good.


A- | Starr Hill’s Pumpkin Porter is an excellent Pumpkin Ale with rich dark roasted malt flavors, highly carbonated with a medium body mouthfeel that leads into a rich finish with continuing rich malt flavors followed by real pumpkin flavors and rich pumpkin spices. 

Shiner Oktoberfest





Shiner Oktoberfest

Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, Texas USA

Märzen / Oktoberfest

5.80% ABV







Commercial Description:
Here in Shiner, TX (pop. 2,070), we’re suckers for tradition. Which is why this classic Oktoberfest brew is made with the highest quality two-row barley, Munich and caramel malts, along with German grown Hallertau Tradition and Hersbrucker hops. It’s our way of honoring our ancestors and the beer they loved to celebrate with. So raise your stein to tradition and enjoy this utterly classic brew.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$7.00 6pack

Background:
I stopped in State Line Liquors the other day and noticed all the fall seasonals that are coming in. A six pack of Tumbler and a few other singles jumped into the cart. So it looks like the next few reviews will be some fall seasonal beers.

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

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

Not a bad first sip. Not impressive but still pretty good with nice German malt flavors.

The taste starts out with a touch of caramel malt sweetness on front followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is modest for an Oktoberfest but very present with light caramel malt flavors a touch of floral hops and a nice earthy almost nutty note. The final aftertaste is just a hint of caramel malts.

This is not the most flavorful Oktoberfest but is has all the right stuff.

B- | Shiner Oktoberfest is a nice Oktoberfest, fairly light and refreshing with nice German Malt flavors with an earthy caramel malt finish.

Stoudts Amber 25




Stoudts Amber 25

Amber 25

Brewed by:
Stoudts Brewing Co.
Adamstown, Pennsylvania USA

American Amber / Red Ale

4.80% ABV




Commercial Description:
Light bodied, refreshing brew uses a small amount of caramel malt to give it a nice amber color with a hint of sweetness. Lower hopping rates and a smooth dry finish make this the perfect session beer to help you celebrate 25 years of Stoudt’s beers. 6 pack holder also indicates their Karnival Kolsch yeast is used. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$11.00 6pack

Background:
I stopped in State Line Liquors the other day and noticed all the fall seasonals that are coming in. A six pack of Tumbler and a few other singles jumped into the cart. So it looks like the next few reviews will be some fall seasonal beers. I’m not sure if this is a seasonal but it jumped into the cart with the others.

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

The nose is nice with sweet malt aromas with notes of toasty caramel. There is also a nice earthiness on the nose along with some floral hop aromas.

What a nice, light, refreshing but somewhat hardy first sip.

The experience starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence as this ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks some flavors and adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is very nice with pale and caramel malt flavors along with a unique earthiness followed by a clean hop bite without the bitterness. The final aftertaste is just a hint of this earthiness and caramel malt flavors.

This is a very nice Amber Ale. It is clean and refreshing with good pale and caramel malt flavors with a light hop bite and unique earthiness that I assume if from the yeast.

A | Stoudts Amber 25 is a very unique American Amber Ale with nice pale and caramel malt flavors, a smooth, light and refreshing mouthfeel, finishing with an earthiness and light floral hop bite. What a great American Amber!



Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale


  

Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale

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

American Brown Ale

5.50% ABV




Commercial Description:
Sierra Nevada uses malt within days of roasting at the peak of its flavor to give Tumbler a gracefully smooth malt character. Two-row pale, crystal 40, chocolate and smoked malts give it a malty complexity. Challenger hops in the boil add balancing bitterness, while more Challengers and some Goldings give just enough hop flavor in the finish to balance all that malt.
(RateBeer.com)

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

Background:
I stopped in State Line Liquors the other day and noticed all the fall seasonals that are coming in. A six pack of this Tumbler and a few other singles jumped into the cart. So it looks like the next few reviews will be some fall seasonal beers.

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

The nose is nice with toasted malt aromas along with subtle hop aromas and a touch of smokiness.

What a nice first sip; hardy with a nice hop bite and smoky nutty notes.

The taste starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by an almost cleansing effervescence as this hardy ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is nice smokiness and hop robustness that develops as you get to the back-end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the flavors. The finish is where this experience is pulled together. The finish has nice toasted and caramel malt flavors the leads into a very pleasant smoky note followed by a nice hop bite. The final aftertaste is just a hint of toasted malts and smoky notes.

All and all this is a very nice fall beer. I’m really enjoying this experience.

As this beer warms the malt flavors and smokiness are becoming more pronounced.

A- | Tumbler is a very good American Brown Ale and an excellent Fall Seasonal with hardy toasted and caramel malt flavors, pleasant medium body mouthfeel concluding with a nice smoky finish and hop bite.

Victory Summer Love




Victory Summer Love

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company
Downingtown, Pennsylvania USA

American Blonde Ale

5.20% ABV





Commercial Description:
Brewed locally at the Victory Brewery in Chester County, the Summer of Love Ale is a golden ale made with pale malts, German hops and Brandywine River water. This specific style of beer was chosen because it has a broad appeal and will be accessible for casual beer drinkers, but will still retain exciting hop notes.

The brew has a vibrant and refreshing pale color derived from its lean and refreshing malt body. And the initially floral aroma of hops segues into a well integrated, refreshing hop dryness of European heritage.
(RateBeer.com)

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

Background:
I bought a 6 pack of this a few weeks ago to have at a family picnic. I did have one at the time and thought it was pretty good. I somehow managed to save one to review.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with rich bright white head.

The nose is nice with sweet pale malt aromas and nice floral hop notes.

The taste starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That only last for a split second and is replaced with a tingling effervescence and hop bite as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a hop robustness that guilds though the middle of the sip into the back-end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that cuts the hop robustness and adds a refreshing quality to the taste. The finish is nice with very light pale malt flavors and a very robust floral hop bite. There are also some citrus notes that try to peek through the hops. The final aftertaste is all hops.

This ale has all the bite of an American IPA but the light pale malts are quite refreshing.

However I think that this would be more refreshing if it was a little less bitter.

The head has diminished to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer and the lacing is quit impressive.

For me the hops seem to be a little overpowering. The light pale malt flavors are getting lost in the bitterness. There is really no balance at all to this ale.

This is not a bad beer. If fact most hopheads will love it. I just think it would be more enjoyable and refreshing with less hops. There are nice subtle citrus notes that are getting lost in the bitterness along with the mild pale malt flavors.

Sorry I’m afraid that this beer is a little one side and not very balanced for me.

B- | Victory Summer Love is a very light pale ale with an aggressive hop bite. Actually the hops really do overtake the pale malts and diminish the refreshing aspects of the ale. However most Hopheads will love it. 

Shock Top Belgian White



Shock Top Belgian White

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

Witbier

5.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
We’ve shaken up traditional tastes by brewing  a spiced Belgian-style wheat ale with real orange, lemon and lime peels, and then added a little coriander spice to the mix.  This uniquely-crafted and award-winning ale is unfiltered to create a brew that is naturally cloudy with a light golden color and a smooth, refreshing finish.
(ShockTopBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$7.00 6pack

Background:
I really don’t know where this one came from. I just saw it in the beer fridge and decided to add it to this round of summer beer reviews. I have had this once before but it was so long ago I really don’t remember anything about it.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy light yellow almost straw with pale golden hues and a fairly rich bright white head. This is highly effervescent with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is modest but pleasant with sweet pale wheat malt aromas and notes of citrus and a touch of banana.

OH my, what a bad first sip. I’m not sure what’s wrong with this but it has some really bad flavors. It’s like an Adjunct (junk lager) wheat beer. Not Good!

I really don’t want to do a play by play but I’ll attempt it anyway.

Right up front when you expect some type of malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue you get a bland grassy taste. That is followed by an uneventful mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. There is a grassy harshness that builds in the middle of the sip into the back-end. This harshness forces a substantial hesitation at the top of the swallow removing any refreshing aspect to the experience. The harshness continues into the finish making this is very unpleasant experience. There are some pale wheat malt flavors but they are subtle and almost take a back seat to the grassy harshness. The final aftertaste is more of that grassy off flavor and a touch of citrus.

This has not been a good experience. It can’t quite give this an F but I can give it a D for sure. This is not a good Witbier or even an American Pale Wheat Ale.

D- | Shock Top is probably the worse tasting Belgian Wit that I have ever had. There are some pale wheat malt flavors but they are overshadowed by a harsh grassy flavor throughout the taste from the beginning to the finish. Not a good beer at all.

Natural Brew Hand Crafted Draft Root Beer




Natural Brew Hand Crafted Draft Root Beer

Brewed By:
J.M. Smucker Company
Chico, CA 95927

Root Beer Soda







Commercial Description:
Natural Brew® Draft Root Beer is brewed in small batches with the finest natural ingredients, including sweet birch, licorice root, sarsaparilla, and - for an unexpectedly rich and creamy flavor - pure vanilla.
(natural-brew.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$6.00 6pack

Background:
I got this root beer from my friend Ray. I originally was not going to do a review on this but since I did review Old Dominion Ginger Ale I figured on reviewing this Root Beer also.

Review:
The root beer pours a clear dark brown, not very opaque with amber hues and a diminishing fizzy white head.

The nose is very sweet with caramel root beer aromas.

Wow, What a disappointing first sip; this is very sweet with caramel and cinnamon flavors mixed in with a little root beer.

The taste starts out very sweet up front followed by an almost cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The overall mouthfeel is not smooth and creamy like you would expect in a root beer. This mouthfeel is light and somewhat refreshing with a lot of carbonation. The finish is pleasant but a bit of let down. The root beer flavors are modest at best followed by caramel and an odd cinnamon note.

All and all this is not a very good root beer. If you’re looking for a good craft root beer try Old Dominion Root Beer.

D | Natural Brew Draft Root Beer was a major disappointment with it’s over carbonation heavy cinnamon and caramel flavors that overtake any natural root beer flavor. I cannot recommend this product. If you are looking for a good Root Beer try Old Dominion from Dover DE.

Old Dominion Ginger Ale





Old Dominion Ginger Ale

Brewed by:
Old Dominion Brewing Company
Dover, Delaware USA

Ginger Ale Soda







Commercial Description:
This bright combination of mild ginger and citrus flavors give this Ginger Ale a unique and old fashioned flavor with real character. We use pure cane sugar & natural ginger flavor to make this soft drink a one of a kind.
  • Made with Pure Cane Sugar and Natural Ginger
  • Non-Alcoholic
  • No caffeine
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Available in Bottles Only
(OldDominion.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$6.00 6pack

Background:
I thought I would do something a little different and review a soda for a change. This was a gift from my good friends the Wilson’s. Humbly I have to admit that the Wilson's have turned me on to more good beers than I have them. On one of there trips to the brewery they found this soda. Knowing that I love Old Dominion Root Beer they gave me a Ginger Ale to taste. I course I have to do more than just taste it, I have to give it a full review. I am not a connoisseur of soda or beer for that matter but I am a sucker for a good Ginger Ale so I’m really looking forward to tasting this one. 

Review:
It pours a clear straw with a hint of golden hues and a little to no head.

The nose is very nice, sweet with a very pleasant Ginger aroma.

Wow, What a great Ginger Ale.

The taste starts out with a natural sugar sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a cleansing and very refreshing tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that keeps the experience clean and refreshing. The finish, if you will, is great with natural cane sugar sweetness and the most pleasant real ginger flavor. The final aftertaste is just a hint of ginger.

This is a perfect Ginger Ale. So many times soda is so overly carbonated that it leaves you bloated, even when poured into a glass. This is highly carbonated but not overly carbonated.

I also have to comment about the sugar. It’s just perfect not too sweet leaving a clean and refreshing taste.

Yes, there is good carbonation and great pure cane sugar sweetness but it’s the natural ginger flavor of this ale that sets it apart. Real ginger flavor has a uniqueness to it that you don’t get in the mass produced Ginger Ales.

It’s hard to get worked up about a soda but this Ginger Ale is a class act.

This is an A+ for me, what a great Ginger Ale.

A+ | Old Dominion Ginger Ale is fantastic with wonderful pure cane sugar sweetness, perfectly carbonated for a refreshing mouthfeel and finishing with superb natural Ginger flavors that really set this ale apart from all the mass produced Ginger Ales.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Samuel Adams Alpine Spring


Alpine Spring

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Boston, Massachusetts USA

Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier

5.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
Samuel Adams Alpine Spring is yet another addition to the brewery’s Small Batch series. For this entry, Sammy & Co used the more traditional labeling. Starting in late October, you’ll see the first of the Small Batch hit the market – Tasman Red, Third Voyage, Griffin’s Bow, The Vixen. (Vixen just won GABF gold.) This unfiltered lager is perfect for spring. Noble Tettnang hops, grown in the foothills of the Alps, give the brew a bright citrus and floral aroma flavor. These are balanced by the slightly sweet crisp notes of two-row pale and honey malts. Cheers! Note - LCBO beer called Samuel Adams Spring Lager is the same product as this
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.00 6pack, ~$30.00 case

Background:
I’m finally catching up on some spring and summer beer reviews. This was left over from a gift crate of beer that my co-workers got for me at State Line Liquors when I have home sick with the Shingles back in February. I’m not sure what this is going to be like but the fact that it’s a Keller / Zwickel Bier is intriguing.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with orange hues and a very rich bright white head. This beer is highly effervescent with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is modest but very pleasant with pale malt aromas with citrus notes.

That was a nice refreshing first sip.

The taste starts out with a touch of 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 extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is light and refreshing with pale malt flavors, light floral hops followed by citrus notes. There is very little of a final aftertaste just a hint of citrus.

All and all this is a very nice and refreshing experience.

The head has reduced but not by much. It has diminished to leave a thick protective cover over the beer and nice lacing on the glass.

As this beer warms it’s picking up more fruit sweetness that I did not notice before.

There is also a little harshness and a slight earthiness that is coming out as it warms.

B+ | Alpine Springs is a very refreshing  lager with pleasant pale malt flavors, cleansing effervescent mouthfeel followed by a great finish with light malt flavors, floral hops and citrus notes.

Shipyard Applehead Ale



Applehead

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Portland, Maine USA

American Pale Wheat Ale

4.50% ABV







Commercial Description:
Shipyard Applehead is a crisp, refreshing wheat ale with a delightful apple aroma and subtle cinnamon flavor. This beer is available in 6-packs, 12-packs and on draft. “We asked Pumpkinhead fans what other flavors would they like to see and their answer was apple,” said director of sales and marketing, Bruce Forsley. “We listened to what our fans asked for and created Shipyard Applehead. Master brewer Alan Pugsley has combined the subtle sweetness of cinnamon and apple with a clean, refreshing wheat ale to create a whole new beer experience.”
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$9.00 6pack, ~$32.00 case

Background:
I’m finally catching up on some spring and summer beer reviews. This was left over from a gift crate of beer that my co-workers got for me at State Line Liquors when I have home sick with the Shingles back in February. One of my favorite summer beers was Corsendonk Apple White. It was a one year only apple wit from Belgium. I was very excited to see another apple wheat beer. I can’t what to see what this is like.

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

What a unique nose full of apple and cinnamon with a touch of pale malt aromas. I can’t wait to see what this taste like.

Man O Man that a unique first sip. Full of apple and spice but light and refreshing. Very interesting!

This experience starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up font on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is nice with pale malt flavors along with apples and cinnamon flavors with citrus notes and light floral hops. The final aftertaste is of lingering spice.

This was a little more intense than what I was expecting but I am still really enjoying this experience. I couldn’t drink this everyday but it’s a nice specialty beer.

The apple flavors a really nice on this beer and the cinnamon spice on the finish is pretty nice also.

B+ | Shipyard Applehead Ale is a very good tasting Fruit / Vegetable Beer with great real apple flavors and a very refreshing effervescent mouthfeel followed by a nice finish with pale malt flavors, real apple flavor and heavy cinnamon spice on the finish with a touch of floral hops and citrus notes.