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.