Friday, January 30, 2015

First Impressions

Well coming off of my hiatus I saved around 30 what I called first impressions. They were not full reviews just tasting notes or first impressions of some beers that I had over the last year or so. 

However the file seems to be corrupted and I can only retrieve 9 of them. So here there are, some very short first impressions, in no particular order.

First Impressions:
Walker's Reserve - Porter

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Paso Robles, California, United States

American Porter
5.80% ABV

First Impression:
A nice robust porter; nothing over the top just a great tasking porter, the way it should be. I’m a sucker for a good porter. It’s one of those styles that get forgotten in the age of extreme beers. At any rate I bought a grower of this at State Line Liquors and it was good to the last drop.  

Oliver's Ironman Pale Ale
Brewed by:
Pratt Street Ale House_
Baltimore, Maryland, United States

American Pale Ale (APA)
6.20% ABV

First Impression:
Nice American Pale Ale. This is just a good overall good drinking beer, perfect, just what you want in an APA. Well at least just what I want in an APA.

Saison-Brett - Boulevard Brewing Co.
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Saison / Farmhouse Ale
8.50% ABV

First Impression:
Classic Belgian farmhouse flavors with an American attitude at 8.5 ABV. What a great beer. There is a little conflict when Farmhouse Ales are brewed at 8.5%. I would not want to serve my farmhands a high ABV beer like that and expect them to work. But I sure did enjoy this one, even if it is an historical conflict.

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale
Brewed by:
Green Flash Brewing Co.
California, United States

American Amber / Red Ale
7.00% ABV

First Impression:
Really nice Red IPA; not nearly as hoppy as I thought it would be. This Red IPA is nicely balance with great malt flavors and a nice hop bite on the finish.

Heavy Seas - The Greater Pumpkin
Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Pumpkin Ale
10.00% ABV

First Impression:
Very intense American Strong Ale (if that's a category). The impressive warming of the 10% ABV overtakes control of this beer leaving little to no room for the pumpkin flavors. All and all this is a very nice strong ale but not so much pumpkin.

Alpha King Pale Ale
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
Munster, Indiana, United States
American Pale Ale (APA)
6.66% ABV
First Impression:
This was a fantastic beer. I have to find this again and do a formal review on it. This was smooth but rich in character, an almost easy drinking beer but with a bit of an attitude. What a great beer!

Mighty Arrow Pale Ale
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

American Pale Ale (APA)
6.00% ABV

First Impression:
This is a really nice APA with a great hop complexity.

Fullers London Porter
Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
United Kingdom (England)

English Porter
5.40% ABV

First Impression:
Wow, what a nice rich smokey porter. I had this with smoked brisket on Easter. What a nice pairing.

Two Hearted Ale
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Kalamazoo, Michigan USA

American IPA
7.00% ABV

The beer pours a clear golden copper with a white to off white head.

The nose is very interesting with sweet pale malt aromas along with a very unique hop complexity. This is very inviting.

Wow, What a great first sip; sweet clean and refreshing with a fantastic hop bite.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale

Brewed by:
New Planet Beer Company
Colorado, United States

Gluten Free
American Pale Ale (APA)

5.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
Off Grid Pale Ale is a wonderful interpretation of the classic pale ale style. It has a distinctly deep amber color and great character and body. Three varieties of hops provide a wonderful aroma and a citrus and spicy hop flavor. This smooth gluten-free ale is made from sorghum and brown rice extract, molasses, tapioca maltodextrin, caramel color, hops, and yeast.

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$9.00 4 pack, ~$50.00 case

Drafted May 5, 2013
I’m in the process of some spring cleaning. Cleaning out the beer frig and beer cabinet of all those beers that I have not gotten around to reviewing. Some of these have been hanging around since last fall.
January 29, 2015
As I finally go to post this lost review I realize that I really did lose the pictures.

The beer pours a clear copper with amber hues and a very modest off white head.

The nose is nice with sweet caramel malt aromas with some grassy notes.

Not a bad first sip. This is not a great APA but it’s a fantastic gluten-free beer.

The taste starts out with a touch of sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a slight building hop robustness toward the back-end that adds a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. The finish is a little harsh with not your typical malt flavors but otherwise very pleasant and much better than most Gluten Free beers. There is also a nice hop bite on the finish.

I’m not going to give this a rating but this is probably  the best Gluten Free beer that I have had so far.

Fuller's ESB

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
United Kingdom (England)

Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
5.90% ABV

Commercial Description:
Bottle & keg (USA); Pasteurised.
First brewed in 1971. Ingredients: Pale Ale malt, Crystal malt and Maize; Target, Challenger, Northdown and Goldings hops.
Brewed at 5.5% ABV in cask and 5.9% ABV in bottle, ESB is a true liquid legend, and should be savoured as such.
ESB has a wonderful rich mahogany appearance. Taking in the nose, the beer is bursting with cherry and orange, balanced by soft malty toffee and caramel notes. The flavour delivers everything you would expect from such a full-bodied ale. The unique blend of Northdown, Target, Challenger and Goldings hops imparts grassy, peppery notes on the tongue along with intense citrus fruit characters of grapefruits, oranges and lemons. The blend of Pale Ale and Crystal malts in the brew give a biscuity, toffee element to the beer. A smooth, mellow bitterness lingers on the palate to give a superbly satisfying finish.

General Pricing:
500 ml bottles: ~$3.50 each
12oz bottles: ~$12.00 6 pack, ~$43.00 case

Drafted on 4-7-2013
This was an impromptu review. We stopped in at Stony’s British Pub for lunch. Stony had this beer on draft and I just happened to have my cell phone and index card to write one. So with the embarrassment of my family I proceeded to write this review.

The beer pours a clear amber with copper hues and a rich of white head.

The nose is wonderful with caramel malt aromas very inviting floral and earthy hop aromas.

What a great first sip; smooth clean and refreshing with a nice hop bite finish.

The experience starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. This is very easy drinking but building hop robustness toward the back-end causes a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow. This hop robustness builds but is not overpowering and is diminished during the swallow by the carbonation release. The finish is fantastic with caramel malt flavors followed by perfect hop flavors of floral sweet and earthiness. The final aftertaste is a touch of those wonderful hop flavors.

I love the great hop flavors without bitterness; what a great experience.

This is clean, easy drinking and somewhat light and very refreshing. I know that that sounds contradictory to the caramel malt flavors but this ale is wonderfully balanced.

The head has diminished to just a thin protective layer over the top of the beer and is leaving some very impressive lacing.

As the beer warms it just gets better; richer malt flavors along with smoother mouthfeel.

This may be my new gold standard for this style, sorry Scarlett Lady.

A+ | Fullers ESB is a very impressive British ESB. It is smooth and fairly rich caramel malt flavors that lead into a smooth easy drinking experience ending in a perfect finish of balanced malt sweetness with floral and earthy hop flavors that leave you soothed and refreshed yearning for that next sip.

I’m Back!

I’m Back!

Well, I really do not have a good excuse for my absence. There was a lot going on that took me out of the reviewing routine. Then it just seemed harder and harder to get back into it. Even though it has been more a year and a half since I have reviewed a beer I can assure you that I have not stopped drinking beer.
I will be posting a few lost reviews that I have drafted.
Then I will post what I can only call “Impressions”. These are not my typical full reviews but just a quick first impression of that beer.
I have several beers lined up to get back to full reviews. And I can’t wait.