Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nogne - Sunturnbrew - Barley Wine

Nogne Sunturnbrew - Grimstad, Norway - 11% abv
16.9 oz dark brown bottle. A place for "Best fore" date but not stamped on label. Batch # 474.
It pours a spent motor oil black with a thin beige head and some splotchy lacing.
Smells of rum-soaked prunes and an odd whiff of camphor on a Band-Aid are released upon first pour. Smells of fresh rye bread, molasses, citrus peels and mixed fruit follow.
This huge-bodied sweet beast is certainly boozy! A big hit of Kahlua hit home beat feet fast. Caramel candy and bread pudding comes to mind as does honey and Vicks Cough Syrup. A medicinal taste of camphor and Band-Aids takes me down a road best forgotten, but it's not altogether unpleasant.
It's a bit on the thick side, so the drinkability factor comes down a notch.
Brie and crackers would go well with this.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel-Rigor Mortis Abt

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel-Rigor Mortis Abt - St. Jerome, Quebec, Canada - 10.5% abv
12 oz brown bottle. Indecipherable freshness date code.
Allagash glass.
It pours a muddy Coca Cola color with a thin, fast-fading beige head.
Fruity, yeast esters are quite potent. Smells of horse barn, cut hay, cloves, and citrus blend very well together. A nice warming gin-like perfume fuminess rises.
As in the aromas, there are big dominant flavors. Tart white grapefruit, strong gin, limes and a slightly astringent medicine taste slowly allow the sweet caramel maltiness to inch forward. Tastes of rum-soaked prunes and lemon zest peek through and lasts throughout. A little bit of wood, peppery spices and tobacco is noticed.
The mouthfeel is rich, slick and deeply satisfying.
Two of these powerful brews is plenty.
Rich creamy cheese and strong tasting salami goes well with this big, flavorful brew.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Haandbryggeriet - Aqauvit Barrel-Aged Porter

16.9 oz dark brown bottle. Bottled on 23.07.10
Poured into a Sam Adams fluted glass.
It pours a very deep and dark root beer-hued spent motor oil color along with a lively mix of large and medium sized tannish bubbles. Some patchy and webby lacing sticks and stays.
The aroma is a must smell... ASAP! Smells of fresh robust espresso and dark chocolate fumes fill the air surrounding the glass. A nice whiff of black licorice and Aquavit is quite noticeable and lasts throughout. A slight woody smell mingles with a bit of grapefruit rind.
The flavor is all over the damn place! Sorry to say, after the lovely aroma experience, the flavor profile sort of falls apart. There's coffee, Aquavit, citrus hops, green wood, dark chocolate, followed by an off-putting yeasty sourness. A bit of a copper metallic tang seems a little out of place. Porters, Baltic, Robust, or Imperial should not have any funkiness in the flavor department.
A change of yeast is called for here. I believe this would be a first class beer if only the sour/tart flavors were mellowed out.
Try pairing with ginger candies or very dark, bitter chocolate nibs.

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

It pours an old worn leathery amber color with a solid beige fluffy head and loads of lace. A strong floral hop aroma dominates while strong smells of rye crackers and whiff of alcohol creep up. This potent brew is just bursting with unrestrained flavors. Wild malt (6 row?) and edgy rye flavors are completely separate from sharp grapefruit, zesty orange peel, light lemon and a hint of metallic tanginess. A touch of toffee sweetness does little to counter sharp flavors, but that's ok. All of these sharp edged flavors are accompanied by a constantly noticeable alcohol kick tempered with honey. This beer is unrelenting in its wild character and never mellows or sweetens further, even when it warms. I love this stuff!
Goes well with sharp aged cheddar, lamb chops or any wild game. Might pair nicely with a rich creme brulee or Indian pudding.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What a way to Go!!!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The London Beer Flood occurred on October 17, 1814 in the parish of St. Giles, London, England. At the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road, a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping teenaged employee Eleanor Cooper under the rubble.

The brewery was located among the poor houses and tenements of the St Giles Rookery, where whole families lived in basement rooms that quickly filled with beer. Eight people drowned in the flood.

The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible. The company found it difficult to cope with the financial implications of the disaster, with a significant loss of sales made worse because they had already paid duty on the beer. They made a successful application to Parliament reclaiming the duty which allowed them to continue trading. The brewery was demolished in 1922, and today, the Dominion Theatre occupies a part of the site of the former brewery.

A likely joke that may have made the rounds back then;
Policeman: "I'm sorry to report this Mrs.Murphy, but your husband Mick fell into the brew vat in the brewery and sadly has drowned"
Mrs. Murphy: "Oh my, I hope he didn't suffer too much"
Policeman: We're not sure, but he did crawl out twice to use the bathroom."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan - Infinium

Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan Breweries - Infinium - Biere de Champagne (Biere Brut)
Brewed in Boston, MA 10.3% abv
50 ml dark brown bottle. Best before July 2011.
Served in an Orval goblet.
Pours a very clean tea-colored amber with slow fading fine effervescent white bubbles and some patchy and trailing lacing.
The initial aroma reminds me of an oaky Chardonnay with light smells of light-roasted malt and some citrusy hop notes.
This unique brew has a very tart fruity white grape at first taste. A slightly sweet malty taste slides through and gains ground as it warms. The hop profile is fairly simple with a little lemony citrus and a slightly resinous back-of-the-throat flavor. A taste of salt is present throughout. An ice wine-like taste provides an unusual, though agreeable alcoholic kick.
The extra bubbly effect fades within minutes of pouring
Champagne is not high on my list of favorite alcoholic beverages, though, it's the perfect drink to enjoy with friends and family on certain occasions.
This is just the beer for special times.
Enjoy with fine aged cheeses or, perhaps fruity, tart sherbet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Southern Tier - Robust Porter

Southern Tier - Robust Porter - 5.8% abv - Lakewood, New York
12 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
Poured into a Sam Adams fluted glass.
It pours a very deep root beer color with a moderately fading tannish beige head.
Smells of dark roast coffee, chocolate, rye bread and citrus peel.
This is a malt-forward brew. Cocoa, coffee, sweet vanilla, and malt dextrose dominate. A light grapefruit bitterness pokes through. A faint metallic tang is way in the background.
The body is velvety smooth, almost buttery in texture.
It's very gulpable.
The label lists this as a "Robust" Porter. I don't think so. It lacks any alcohol punch.
Pairs well with grilled burgers with cheddar, or vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Innis and Gunn - Oaked Aged ale

330ml Clear bottle. Best before 12/10
It pours a coppery/amber color with a fair-sized off-white head, along with some thin trails of lacing.
Smells of peaty Scotch are upfront. A sweet grassy malty aroma lingers in the background as does a whiff a mild citrusy hops.
A totally enjoyable separation of tastes are evident early. Separate smoky, sweet malt grain, citrusy and tea-like hop flavors and a slight metallic tang, slowly begin to mingle with an undercurrent of Scotch. A light alcoholic fuminess is noticed throughout.
Once the flavors meld together, this becomes a very tasty session ale.
Try with roast or smoked duck, or dark turkey meat...perhaps a drum stick.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Long Trail - Centennial Red

Long Trail - Centennial Red (Imperial Red) 7.9%abv - Bridgewater Corners, VT
22oz dark brown bottle. Brewed on date stamped on bottle
It pours a dusky teak amber color with an off-white, fast-fizzling head, along with loads of sticky lace.
A brisk breath of resinous hop aroma is released upon opening and after a sturdy pour. Woody malt and horse stable smells follow. Light citrusy and rummy perfume smells linger, then fade.
This brew is all about the potent Imperial Red flavors. The resiny hops and sweet malts are on equal footing. White grapefruit-like citrusy tang and a bit of a metallic bite are quite upfront. A thin honey sweetness rides a Triple Sec-like alcoholic fuminess.
This is a very good representation of the Imperial Red (although there doesn't appear to be an official style) style.
I would enjoy creamy cheeses, a hearty game stew, milk chocolate, ice cream or creme brulee and wild berries with this one.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cisco Brewers Inc - Santa's Beered

Cisco Brewers Inc Nantuket, Ma - Santa's Beered - Spiced Imperial Red - 9% abv
16.6oz Dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
Sampled in a Sam Adams fluted glass.
Pours a deep ruby-hued amber color with a full 2" beige head and some trailing and patchy lacing.
The initial smell is like an Imperial Red, with a big whiff of caramel malt and some spicy hop, along with citrus and mixed fruit cup. A faint smell of cinnamon and clove is noticed with some effort.
As in the aroma, the flavor profile resembles an Imperial Red. The big solid rustic malt body carries floral, citrus and resinous hops. A taste of molasses, spices, a touch of honey sweetness and a bit of a woody taste are all quite inviting. A warming alcohol presence blends and ties things together nicely.
For some reason, I feel this brew would pair very well with warm apple cobbler and vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Napa Smith Brewery - Lost Dog Red Ale

Napa Smith Brewery - Lost Dog Red Ale 7.2% abv - Napa, CA
22 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date. Poured into a Sam Adams fluted glass.
It pours a coppery amber color with a fast-fading off-white head. Some patchy and web lacing.
It smells of wet citrusy hops and fresh bread dough. A little whiff of alcohol is noticed.
A big dose of hops is upfront and in the finish. Citrus, metallic and resinous flavors are all quite potent. A sweet caramel maltiness inches forward. Tart berries and a gin-like alcoholic bite poke through.
It's a well-rounded brew with a fairly rich body.
Think spicy Jambalaya, hot wings or crispy pepperoni pizza.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Okocim Porter (Baltic Porter)

Okocim Baltic Porter - Brzesko, Poland 8.3% abv
500 ml (16.09 oz) brown bottle. No freshness date. Poured into a Sam Adams fluted glass.
It pours a very deep and dark mahogany brown color with a fast-fading tannish head along with some webby lacing.
A dark rummy alcohol fuminess is released at first pour. Smoky roast malt, burnt rye toast and a light citrusy smell blend quite well together.
The flavors are straight forward with little in the way of subtleties. Dark roasted malt, dark coffee, metallic and resinous hops, rum and figs are fairly equal. Some burnt sugar sweetness is perhaps a bit too prominent.
The body is just about right for the style. It's smooth, liquid and nearly oily. This particular Okocim offering is always very consistent. I look forward to drinking it when in the mood, and it never lets me down. It goes well with a smoked turkey thigh with stuffing and rich gravy.

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project - Hedgerow Bitter

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project - Pale Ale brewed with dwarf hops- Westport, MA - 5.6%abv
22 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date. Sam Adams glass.
The color is a cloudy, orange-hued amber with a big, frothy, foamy beige head, along with loads of sticky lacing.
A just chopped green woody smell is followed closely by a resinous and slightly floral hop aroma. A whiff of tobacco and dried hay lasts throughout.
The initial flavor is of tart and resinous hops. A bit of a cutting astringent metallic bitterness mingles with a citrus rind-like bite. A yeasty bread taste is noticed more as it warms. A little more caramel sweetness would help offset the bitter-forwardness of this brew.
The mouthfeel is edgy and bright. I imagine this ale would cut deeply into a sore throat.
Despite the edgy bitterness, it's fairly easy to drink. Nice!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Full Sail - Wassail

Full Sail - Wassail - Winter Ale 7.0%abv - Hood River, Oregon
12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
Love the name 'Wassail'. Dark mahogany with a very sturdy beige head and loads of sticky lace. A nice fruity aroma mixes well with sweet malt and floral hops. The sweet and smoky heavy malt blends nicely with the complex (berries, citrus and lightly metallic) hop bite. This is a balanced and hearty winter offering. I hope to find some more this coming winter. Thanks Genaro for bringing this back from his trip to Oregon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kasteel - Donker

Kasteel (Castle) - Donker Ale - Belgian Strong Ale Van Honsebrouk, Belgian - 11% abv
25.4oz dark green bottle. Bottled on date stamped on back label.
Poured into an Allagash tulip glass.
The color is a deep leathery brown color with a thin beige head and some sticky trailing lace.
Nice rich smells of chocolate malt, molasses, dark rum, resinous hops and banana bread all blend together.
The flavors lean heavily towards the malt end of the spectrum. Figs, dates, doughy brown bread and rum cake are deep and rich. Resinous and citrusy hops temper the sweetness somewhat. Velvety rummy alcoholic notes are quite present.
The body is fairly heavy and slightly oily (in a good way).
For such a heavy brew, it's very gulpable, and that could prove dangerous.
Donker is a funny name. A thick aged steak with a dab of blue cheese would pair nicely!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Polar - Pilsner-style Lager

12oz brown bottle. Poured into a standard 12oz glass. Porlamar, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela (Home of the World's Worst Drivers)
It pours a pale straw golden color with a fast-fading fizzy white head. Some trailing lace.
A grainy cereal smell rises and remains throughout. Some coppery metallic smell mixes with a whiff of floral hop and wet grass.
The flavor is a bit on the sweet grainy side. Some corn and a light metallic hop tang are actually not that bad.
The mouthfeel is just Ok. There's nothing wrong with it, yet there's not much to it.
I expected the worst and braced myself for a struggle to finish it. Then I had two more. When in Venezuela...
Pair with simple boiled or steamed hotdogs and potato salad. Grilled fish and vegetables go well too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lefebvre - Hopus Ale

Brewery Lefebvre - Hopus Ale Quenast, Belgium 8.3% abv
11.2oz stubby brown flip top bottle. Best before date stamped on back label. Served in Kapittel Watou stemmed snifter.
Pours a cloudy caramel toffee color with a fluffy white head and loads of sticky, clinging lace.
The smell is a little disjointed with sour yeast, dry hay, horse barn, oak, floral hops and gin.
The flavors are rangy as well, but with more complimentary results. Edgy astringent hops, lemon zest, gin, orange peel and Orange Lifesavers. A little metallic tang is noticed in the finish.
The mouthfeel is a little raspy at the first few gulps but mellows out as it warms.
For some reason, I feel this tart and bitter brew will go nicely with lemon tarts or bitter pineapple upside down cake.

Four + Brewing - Punk'N Ale

12 oz stubby brown bottle. Bottled on date stamped on bottle.

It pours a deep coppery amber color with a fast-fading beige head and some trailing and sticky lacing.
It does not give off enough pumpkin aroma, though there's plenty in the flavor profile. Secondary smells of wet hay, floral hops and citrus come and go.
The upfront taste is indeed pumpkin, and quite nice at that. A minor taste of sweet malt, orange Koolaid and metallic hops come through. It's sort of a Brown Ale with Pumpkin flavoring.
The body could be a little fuller, although it is a refreshing brew. This is the mildest Pumpkin Ale I have sampled so far.
It would go well with a Turkey sandwich with cranberry and stuffing.

Serving type: bottle

Fischer - Amber Ale

Fischer - Alsace Amber ale - Schiltegheim, France 6% abv
I guess I'm in the minority here for liking this beer, but I can't help's good...not great - good. It pours a tannish amber and holds a firm and rocky head with some trails and sticky lace. The malt aroma works itself through a mildly sulfuric hop smell. The full malt body is lightly caramel sweet. The hops provide and lime-like, lightly metallic and a faint tea-like qualities. A light mineral taste is noticed throughout. This is a balanced brew that finishes clean. Nice recapable bottle!
Try it with mussels and minced shallots and herbs de Provence steamed in this brew.

St Landelin - La Divine

St Landelin - La Divine - Biere de Garde Les Brasseurs De Gayant - Douai, France - 8% abv
25.4 oz brown bottle. Freshness Date stamped on label.
It pours a bright and shiny orange-hued amber color with a snow white finely bubbled head on top, with some patchy, clinging lace.
A yeasty citrus smell rises out at first pour. A musty basement smell follows. After that, a whiff of orange zest, dry hay and a bit of peppery spice. A hint of gin fumes seems to stay around throughout.
A taste of tart green apples is upfront. A complex mix of flavors include plums, caramel malt, citrus zest, coriander and again, gin comes to mind.
This is a well-rounded brew, that is slick, wet with a bit of a edgy bite.
I could drink this all evening, but at a well-hidden 8% abv, that probably is not a great idea.
Nice brew!
Goes very well with creamy cheeses, Fish and Spicy Chicken dishes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grand Teton Brewing - Sheep Eater Scotch Ale

Grand Teton Brewing - Sheep Eater Scotch Ale - Victor Idaho - 7.5% abv
33.8oz dark brown bottle. 2009 vintage.
Poured into a Sam Adams fluted glass.
The color is a deep ruby-hued mahogany with a fading tannish beige head. A little trailing and clingy lace slides into oblivion.
A very heavy smell of dark roasted malt, caramel candy and a dark rummy whiff are upfront. Smells of peat, molasses and berries are noticed throughout.
Big robust malty flavors carry tastes of creme brulee, chocolate covered cherries, dark rum-soaked pears and spicy hops.
I enjoy the the nearly oily, silky smoothness in the mouth and throat feel.
Such a large bottle, so smooth, fairly high octaine = Bliss.
Very nice brew, but expensive as hell.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rogue-John John Ale

Rogue - John John Ale Brewed w/ Juniper Berries and Aged in Spruce Gin Barrels.
Newport, Or. - 5.2% abv
One pint 6 oz brown bottle. No freshness date. Pint glass.
The color is a hazy orange-hued amber with a fast-fading white head and some trailing lace.
Smells of dry hay, dry malt, oak, lemon zest and resinous hop meld well together. A slight alcoholic whiff is noticed.
Sharp-edged citrusy bitterness slices through the malty sweetness without much effort. There really is the ginny perfuminess in the taste. Light flavors of oak, lemons, caramel sweetness and tart berries peek through.
There is a certain drying sensation in the mouthfeel.
It does go down well, although I really would have appreciated a bit more gin-like kick to this brew. Imagine this in an Imperial style...
This goes well with creamy cheeses, light poultry dishes, and mild seafood.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goose Island-Bourbon County

Goose Island Chicago, Il- Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - 13% abv
Served in a goblet
Brown 22 oz bottle. Freshness date.
Big thick spent engine oil black with a moderate sized, fast fading tan head. Some sticky and patchy lacing clings to the glass.
A strong alcoholic smell rises at first pour. Smells of dark coffee, chocolate, bourbon, piney hops and camphor remain potent throughout.
Wow! A taste of Kalua and bourbon jump straight out. Coffee, dark chocolate, malt and edgy hop bitterness follow.
The alcoholic kick is unmistakable.
Lovely in an extreme sense! Try with dark chocolate, rich vanilla ice cream, creme brulee, or creamy, aged cheese.

Serving type: bottle

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Divide - Smoked Baltic Porter

Great Divide - Denver CO. - Smoked Baltic Porter - 6.2%abv
22oz brown bottle. Bottled on date stamped on label.
Served in a goblet.
It pours a dark black coffee color with a thin tannish beige head. Not much lacing.
Smells of smoked peat, coffee, chocolate, dry hay, metallic hops.
A nice bitter chocolate malt taste is complimented by a liberal amount of smoky malt flavors. Tastes of coffee Kalua, flowery hops and a hint of burnt caramel blend well into the mix.
The body is slick, yet there is a under-lying astringent raspy mouthfeel. It's quite gulpable, though one is enough. Goes well with grilled or smoked meat, and really well with dark chocolate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Long Trail - Quercus Vitus Humulus

Long Trail - Quercus Vitus Humulus - French Oak-aged Ale brewed with French Grape Juice, fermented with Champagne Yeast - Barley Wine - Strong Ale - Middlebury, VT 12% abv. Poured into a fluted Allagash Ale glass.
22 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a ruby-hued copper color with a thin, fast-fading off-white head.
Smells are all over the place! Sparkling wine, toasted rye toast, aging, fermenting fruit bowl, spicy and floral hops and lemon zest. A hint of sherry lingers in the background.
The flavors are also varied and complex. Sangria comes immediately to mind. Dry malt, lemony, metallic and spicy hops add an edgy dimension. Orange liquor, doughy bread, lemon hard candies and honey temper the upfront, edgy flavors. A little natural woody flavor lasts throughout.
There's a bit of an unappealing astringent rasp in the mouthfeel, yet it abates a bit as it warms.
While it is certainly a beer with a big alcoholic bang, it's fairly gulpable, and that's a bit scary. This one could get the unsuspecting in a little trouble if he/she should drink two or more of these extreme beers.
Strong cheeses and hearty rye crackers or rich dark chocolate. You can pour a little over vanilla ice cream with shaved chocolate and crushed nuts.

Long Trail - Harvest

Long Trail - Harvest Brown Ale Bridgewater Corners, VT 4.6% abv
12oz brown bottle. Fresh date on label.
It pours a tan/cordovan with a smallish off-white head and some patchy and trailing lace.
The aroma is mostly of sweet malt and brown bread.
It's not as malty as one would expect after reading on the label about all the malts used in the brewing.
There's a light caramel sweetness and a taste of fresh marble rye, along with the essence of brown bread.
A sweet lime-like bitterness is matched by a taste of hard water and faint metallic tang.
This is a flavorful brew despite the fact that it is low in alcohol.
Nice stuff to quell spicy chili.

Weihenstephaner - Festbier

Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest - Freising,Germany - 5.8% abv
This is the World's Oldest Brewery (1040 AD)
The color is a cloudy golden amber with a medium-sized snow-white head and lots of sticky and trailing lace.
The smell is certainly German OFest-like. Grassy malt, citrus fruit, pears, minty herbs and a hint of vodka.
Sweet honey maltiness supports a nice blend of citric and spicy hops. A little fresh bread, mellon and hint of mint round things out.
The body is slick, almost buttery and so rounded and smooth.
You really should buy at least two of these beauties because it goes down so easy and delightful. Pair with brats boiled in fest beer with sauerkraut or weinerschnitzel and fried pototoes. Das is gud!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by Brooklyn Brewing. 5% abv
12 oz dark brown bottle. Freshness date stamped on bottle. Served in a pint tumbler.
A shiny copper ale-colored brew with a bubbly, fast-fading off-white head. Very little in the way of lacing.
The aroma is underwhelming. It could use a little more pumpkin punch, but overall it is a pleasing smell, with dry malt, floral hop and pumpkin and spice undertones.
As in the aroma, this brew could use a bit more pumpkin. A little more of an alcoholic kick would improve things too, I think.
A caramel maltiness and crisp hop bite compliment each other nicely. A faint taste of limes adds dimension, but again, more pumpkin would be just right.
It goes down quickly as it's a bit thin.
All in all, a nice pumpkin ale that could use a little more pumpkin.

Serving type: bottle

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pietra Bierre - Amber

Brasserie Pietra Furiani, France - Corsica
On tap from notes taken in 2009.
The color is a nice amber/gold color with a fast-fading white head. Some trailing and webby lacing clings the glass.
Smells of grain husk, nuts and hint of damp basement mix with a mild floral hop and caramel candy.
Sweet honey taste and nutty caramel malt are tempered a bit by the slightly citrus hop bite.
A little back-of-the-throat hop edginess gives a sprightly tingle going down. This is a refreshing brew, despite the well-hidden the 6% abv.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dogfish Head - Punkin

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Delaware Punkin Ale 7.0% abv
Someone should send a bottle of this to Shipyard, so they understand what a "Punkin" Ale is supposed to taste like. It pours an orange tinted amber with a fading white head. Pumpkin, nutmeg, allspice, malt and alcohol fumes (in that order) make up the aroma. The malt body could use a bit more oomph, but it's far more substantial than that weak-ass Shipyard. Flavors of pumpkin pie come to mind - as it should. Pumpkin and cinnamon dominate, as allspice, sugar and nutmeg offer a nice supporting touch. A mild lime-like bitterness seems almost out of place, but after a few gulps, seems to fit in with the "Punkin" gang. Warming alcohol provides the expected punch when you smell and taste it.
Nice fall ale. It pairs nicely with a nice rich autumn lamb stew with thick root vegetables and pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Troegs-Flying Mouflan - Barley wine-style Ale

Troegs - Flying Mouflan - Harrisburg, PA - 9.3% abv
22 oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
The color is deep, dark amber/mahogany. A very fast-fading caramel head becomes a thin ring.
A big whiff of rum-soaked plums hits with a bang. Caramel malt, citrusy and floral hop smells are present throughout. A light smell of milk chocolate is noticed.
Flavors of a mixed fruit bowl drenched in dark rum and port wine come to mind. Prunes, raisins, pears, tangerine and pineapple, with a hint of banana. Does this count for my daily fruit intake? The citrusy hops poke through, as does a nice rich malty taste. Sweet caramel candy adds the sweetness note.
As the label suggests, I will cellar one and see how things transform in a year. If I can wait that long.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Schneider & Sons - Aventinus

25oz dark brown bottle. Freshness date on label.
Pours a dark ruby-hued brown with a thick and lasting beige/tan head with loads of clinging lace.
A big sweet smell of molasses and brown bread, along with smells of cloves, bananas and citrusy hops.
The full malt body carries tastes of toffee, fresh rye bread, molasses, figs, bananas and peppery spices.
A light lemon and lime bitterness and countering pleasant basil-like herbal taste softens the hop bite.
A light sweet rum-like alcohol fuminess lingers in the background.
Nice complex, though well-structured brew!
Try with a mix of salami, sausages with grainy mustard and cheeses.

Huvila - Baltic Porter

Huvila - Malmgardin (formally brewed at Savolina), Finland - Baltic Porter 7.0% abv
1 Pint 0.9 oz brown bottle. Bast Fore (Best before date) not legible. Poured into an Allagash goblet.
A real beautiful, nearly impenetrable dark coffee color with a reddish hue when held to the light. Big billowy tan head with loads of sticky lace raises expectation.
A fairly potent smell of dark chocolate rises at first pour. Smells of roasted malt, coffee and rye bread follow. A light whiff of peppery hop is noticed.
Tastes of coffee, bitter chocolate and rye crackers are dominant. Tea-like and flowery hops linger. A mild vodka-like fuminess inches forward as it warms. There is an odd astringent tartness that seems a bit out of place, though not too off-putting.
The body is a little thin for the style, yet its roots are certainly Baltic.
It improves as it warms (as does most beer), but this improvement is very noticeable.
I wish I had bought 2 now.
Try it alone or with creamy cheeses. Would go well with vanilla or coffee ice cream.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oktoberfest 200th Anniversary-World's Largest Beer Festival

Oktoberfest 200th Anniversary 1810-2010 - World's Largest Beer Festival

The very first Oktoberfest took place on October 18, 1810 in a meadow bordering the town gates of Munich, Germany. It didn't start out to be strictly a beer festival. It just blossomed that way. The original celebration bash was created during the marriage of The Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later Ludwig I.) to Princess Therese of Saxon" Sachsen-Hildburghausen". The meadow was christened later in honor of the bride "Theresienwiese" (Meadow of Therese). There were horse races, music and a celebration of food, life and beer. Lots of beer. The party lasted five days…seven for some who were unable to find their way home. The beer was tapped in simple huts. This was a special, more potent brew known as a Marzen. It was brewed in March, aged in cool cellars (lagered) and tapped in the fall. While the king, his court and attendants celebrated the reception in their comfortable tents, the commoners partied in the open air. The fact that it rained the entire time was a testament to the quality and quantity of the beer. Despite sloshing around in mud-soaked pants for days on end, the weather failed to deter the thirsty revelers or dampen their spirits…so to speak. These hearty Bavarians took the opportunity to party seriously! Today’s Oktoberfest still takes place in Munich on some of the very same grounds. The horse racing no longer takes place, although there remains a small local produce and farming exhibition. The event now takes on a more carnival atmosphere with Ferris wheels and roller coasters and a little something for everyone, but there can be no doubt as to the main attraction.

Local brewers, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Hofbrau and Paulaner produce some of the most authentic representations of the style, while Lowenbrau, Augustiner and Ayenger set up tents (Beer Halls) for their particular take on the Oktoberfest style. The Munich Oktoberfest now runs 16 days. In this time 6 million visitors consume 6 million liters of beer and 400,000 of sausages. It is the world’s largest annual public event.

This year the event runs from September 18 – October 4, 2010. If you can’t make it to Munich, you can still enjoy an Oktoberfest beer or two. And you don’t need to soak your lederhosen to get into the spirit.

Cheers! And Prost!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kirkland-Hefeweizen (Costco)

12 oz brown bottle. No freshness date noticed.
It pours and amberish tan color with a fast-fading off-white head.
It lacks most of the distinct Hefeweisen aroma one would normally expect. A wet hay and cereal grain smell mingle with a light hop and dose of cloves.
It tastes more like a Vienna Lager than a Hefe. The body is well-rounded and the flavor is pleasant enough...just off the mark.
It goes down smooth and easy. The 5.5% abv is very well disguised.
This is the kind of beer someone might brew as to not offend anyone. And that's the problem with it. I do like the idea that a large chain like Costco would reach out to their customers with a sampling of a better beer than the mass-mega swill producers make, but it would have been even better if they perhaps went a little more bold-flavored and hit the style range a bit more.
All in all, kudos to Costco. Now get out there and brew something over-the-top!

Serving type: bottle

Saturday, September 11, 2010

BeerStyles-Beers from Ireland

Here's a clip from one of our "Beer Styles" shows.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Estella Damm - Inedit

Estrella Damm - Enedit - Barcellona, Spain - 4.8% abv
26.4 oz dark olive green bottle. Freshness date stamped on neck label.
Listed as a Witbier, more like a mild farmhouse.
The color is an opaque, foggy caramel candy with a rocky, firm white head. Patchy and trailing lace lasts throughout the glass.
Aromas of herbs and flowers are present at first pour. Smells of coriander and citrus follow and remain. A light whiff of wet cut grass seems out of place. A hint of banana sneaks in late.
The flavors are mild yet distinct. Orange Tang, herbs, and a little wheat in the background. Tastes of tart Chardonnay, citrus peel and limes are very pleasant. As in the aroma, a slight taste of banana is noticed as it warms.
This a very gulpable brew! Complex, but subtle. Unusual and difficult to compare.
Nice fringe beer!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nogne O - Brown Ale

Nogne O Brown Ale- Gamle Rygene Kraftstasjon - Grimstd, Norway - 4.5% abv
1 PT .9oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.

Pours an overly dark, almost Porter-like dark black coffee color with a thin, but creamy beige color, along with some patchy and trailing lacing.
A mild damp woody aroma fades fast. With some concentration, a whiff of dried chocolate malt escapes.

Tastes of strong coffee, toffee and scorched malt are upfront. Minor flavors of sweet grapefruit and a metallic bite lie beneath.

Oddly, for such a low abv brew, a light alcoholic fuminess is noticed.

A nice brew, just somehow floating about as a Brown Ale. Too dark for a brown, too mild for a Porter, perhaps it's a Dark Brown Ale?

Michelob-Amber Bock

I chose a pseudo-craft beer as my 100th review on BeerAdvocate in 2003. One of our duties as reviewers is to enlighten or warn the unsuspecting, so here goes. I sampled this horrible brew at The Tiki Bar, an outdoor grill on the beach on Marco Island. Michelob was test-marketing Amber Bock in several states and it was my misfortune for having vacationed in Florida at this time. It was a sunny and balmy afternoon. Bikini clad beauties were bouncing around, showing off what they had developed over the winter (quite a distraction from my relaxed reading and quite the chore of appearing disinterested with my girlfriend's harsh glare beating down upon the back of my neck). The smell of grilled shrimp and burgers wafted over me, exciting my remaining senses. I wandered over to the Tiki and noticed, with curious interest, Michelob Amber Bock on tap. Hmmm! How bad could it be? Well, despite my most excellent surroundings and laissez-faire attitude, the answer, to be kind is Disgusting!! Flat dark tan in color and rapidly vanishing off-white head. Sweet sugary malt and soaked corncob aroma. The pasty-mealy malt is difficult to swallow. This bland, sweet tasting, lightly hopped beer is in keeping with the A-B tradition of marketing over quality brewing techniques. Again A-B had the opportunity to enter the craft brew market by brewing a really fine bock beer. They chose instead, the road of mass-produced-type swill and major advertising campaigns. Argh! In case you’re still interested, the rest of my vacation went very well despite A-B’s attempt to ruin it.


12oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
Pours a deep red-tinted root beer-like color with a fast-fading light tan head, along with some wispy trails of lacing.
Smells of coffee and dark chocolate are present throughout. Light whiffs of barnyard hay and hints of citrusy hops come and go.
Fairly strong tastes of sweetened coffee with rich chocolate are upfront. Mild citrusy hop bitterness lends a little balance. As it warms, a light taste of prunes peeks through
A flavor of toasted rye bread is noticed. A light rummy alcohol fuminess adds a bit of interest.
Smooth...almost oily (in a good way) Nice easy-to-gulp Porter.
Well done!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project - 1832 Mild Ale

A recreation of a beer originally brewed on Brick Lane, London of February 27th, 1832
22oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
The color is a leathery, hazy copper with a thin beige head and loads of web lacing.
A strong aroma of caramelized sugar and barley malt are dominant. A sharp breath of citrusy and floral hops spring forth. A mild rummy fuminess fades in and out.
Tastes are simply, yet wide-ranging. This is an amazingly balanced brew. The sweet buttery malt, edgy citrus and metallic hop and floral flavors blend very well with a strong Grand Marnier/Triple Sec alcoholic kick. Subtle flavors of tart orange zest and doughy bread come to mind.
We love to see and taste the results of Dann Paquette's projects. Quite the brewer!
This is a nice strong ale to warm by the fire with. Sharp aged cheese or dark chocolates will pair nicely.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stout Beer Cake

Lucky me! My wife created a birthday cake for me made with Stone's Bitter Chocolate Stout (9.2% alcohol by volume). It's really quite good. Lots of chocolate flavors with stout flavors in the background. Lovely!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sierra Nevada - Tumbler Autumn Ale

Sierra Nevada - Tumbler - Chico, CA 5.5% abv
12 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
I enjoy this dark auburn, brown leathery color with a medium-sized beige head on top. Loads of sticky lacing cling to the glass throughout.
The aroma is mostly malt-driven, with dry grain, caramel malt and farina wheat smells. There is a bit of fruit and citrus peel to the hop aroma.
The flavors are under-whelming. I expected a strong, sweet malty taste with a solid hop blend for support, but was a little disappointed. It sort of reminds me of a New Castle Ale, except with a bit more of a hop and alcohol kick.
The body has an unexpected spritzy effervescence. I would like a little more solid, rich malty body in an autumn ale. Something to stand up to creamy, thick autumn stews, perhaps.

Sierra Nevada - Big Foot Barleywine

Sierra Nevada Big Foot Barleywine - Chico, CA - 9.6% abv
It pours a lovely sun burnt orange amber with a smallish but fairly long-lasting beige head.
Potent floral hop aromas burst out of the glass while pouring. A smell of spruce, malt and alcohol blend in.
Caramel and candy sugar sweetness are easily noticed. Doughy bread, rum-soaked raisins and a light taste of herbs begin to emerge, though settled in the background.
Sharp grapefruit, lemon zest and a bit of a metallic bite provide quite a bite. The piney esters of whole fresh hops and the big alcohol kick remain quite separate from the other tastes, which begin to mingle halfway through the glass. Bigfoot is an original Northwest American-style Barleywine. I hope that just because something else more extreme flavor-wise, or more potent in the ABV department comes along, doesn't relegate this wonderful brew to the back shelf. Long live the legend of Bigfoot

Paper City-Holyoke Dam Ale

On-tap at Daddy's in Hull.
It pours a deep ruby-hued amber (too dark for the style) with a fast-fading off-white head. Some sticky and trailing lacing.
The smell is for the most part, malt driven. Whiffs of dry grain and damp basement stand out. A light smell of prunes and citrus are in the background.
Flavors of sweet caramel malt and dextrose are upfront. Citrusy and tea-like hop bitterness are hidden under the layers of malt.
The style of this brew more closely resembles a mild Scottish Ale. In fact, with a little boost in abv, it would be a very nice Scottish ale.
This is a very drinkable brew. Just a bit off the mark if this is to be classified as an APA.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Le Merle-North Coast Brewing

North Coast Brewing - Fort Bragg, CA - Saison (Farmhouse Ale) 7.9% abv
16.9.4 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a hazy orange-hued amber color with a thin white head along with some flecks and patches of lace.
A nice range of smells from farmy, to musty basement, mixed fruit, nutty barley, floral hops and earth.
The flavors are as wide ranging. Tart fruit, zesty citrus, doughy bread with a dose of white Zinfandel wine all mix and play well together.
A bit of an astringent medicinal twang leaves a bit of a raspy mouthfeel, although not in an entirely bad way.
You can tell some care went into this brew. It's a Saison with a purpose in mind.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Corona Extra

Grupo Modelo - Corona Extra - 4.6% abv
You can see and feel the masterful power of the Anheuser–Busch marketing machine behind this cheap, watery, bland, corn-mealy, highly over-rated suds. Notice the bottle on its side in this image? It's best that way. Pour it out!
Rating – Listen to the warning bells going off in your head whenever someone tries to squeeze a lemon or lime wedge into your bottle. – It’s either flavorless or disgusting. This pale yellow swill with the fast fading white head holds a light pasty corn meal malt, almost flavorless light hops and a sweet wet corncob aroma and taste. An awful syrupy sweetness just adds to the absolute shittiness of this foul adjunct-laced septic waste. Even with the lime, it's a poor excuse for a beer. Retched!

Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Samuel Smith - IPA - England - 5% abv
“Top fermented in Stone Yorkshire Squares.”
It pours a brassy copper color with a fairly good-sized white head and some trails of lace. A floral hop aroma is front and center and light malty smell mingles with a faint whiff of cut hay. The biscuity malt body is lightly grainy with just a hint of caramel sweetness. This highly hopped ale displays a sharp grapefruit bitterness with a mild lemony sour taste. The light metallic tang provides some back of the throat edginess. A mildly herbal quality offers little reprieve from the bitterness, but does manage to provide an interesting angle to ponder.
This in the original IPA style and a very good example at that.

Harviestoun Brewery - Bitter and Twisted IPA

Harviestoun Brewery Ltd - Scotland - 4.2% abv
From a review in 2003
A real treat to find this at the NERAX 2003! Bright golden in color with medium-sized bubbles and a fast fading head. The lace is thin, but a little sticky. The hoppy aroma is slightly mellowed by hints of lightly roasted malt. Sharp, citrusy bitterness with an edgy aggressiveness. Mellows, sweetens and balances out toward the end of the glass. Very gulpable!


Reissdorf - Germany
16.9oz brown bottle. No freshness date. 4.8 abv
It pours a clean straw/golden color with a foamy, slow-fading snow-white head and some trailing and patchy lacing.
A mildly fragrant dry malt smell is noticed upon a fairly hard pour. A faint aroma of cut hay lasts.
A surprisingly sweet and firm malt body lives within its rather weak appearance. The delicate hop profile has a light lime-like quality with just a hint of a metallic tang.
This is a brew that requires a more careful examination to identify subtle flavors and fragrances. Nothing except the appearance profile jumps out as obvious or easy to characterize. Very approachable.