I know, it’s been a while since my last review. I’ve been so busy working and trying to find a civil engineering job in the Nashville area that I’ve neglected my poor blog. This beer review (J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale aged in Lagavulin Casks) comes courtesy of Aleksey’s Imports, who have provided me beer for quite a few reviews in the past, and to whom I am very grateful.
Posts Tagged ‘ale’
To be honest with you, I don’t have much experience with Belgian ales. Before I tried Biere du Boucanier, I hadn’t really had a beer with a sourness like that, but once I did, I wanted more. I bought this with that sourness in mind and, while I wasn’t thrilled with this beer, I got what I was looking for.
Goose Island is not a brewery I am very familiar with. I reviewed their Bourbon County Stout last year, and it was a great, nuanced beer with neverending depth of flavor. Recently, they sent me a press release about Matilda being available in the West, and they followed it up with a bottle of Matilda herself, to be reviewed on this blog.
Award winning spicy Belgian Pale Ale is now available to beer connoisseurs in the West
Chicago, IL, March 2, 2010 . . .The long anticipated release of Goose Island Beer Company’s Matilda on the West Coast is now official, announced the Chicago brewer today. A staple in Midwestern US beer markets since it launched there in 2005, Matilda will now be made available to craft beer drinkers in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico. The beer begins shipping today and is scheduled to hit shelves of better grocery stores and beer specialty shops throughout the Western US by the beginning of March 2010. Matilda will also be available on draught at restaurants and high-end pubs throughout the West. More: Goose Island’s Matilda makes her way West
What to say about Schlafly…they are a brewery I am still unsure of at this point. I really enjoyed their pumpkin ale, but I think I am generally just undecided about them right now.
About the brewery (from the Schlafly Web site)
In 1991, Anheuser-Busch had brewing plants in 12 cities and produced enough beer to fill 28 billion bottles. That same year, a burned-out building on the corner of 21st and Locust Street was resurrected as the city’s first new brewery in over five decades and Schlafly Beer was born. Unlike its much larger neighbor, The Saint Louis Brewery is dedicated to the notion that a local brewer can once again thrive in America’s brewing capital. And, although the brewery has grown steadily since its inception, it remains dedicated to the local market, brewing a wide range of traditional beers that pay tribute to the area’s great history. More: Beer Review: Schlafly Saison Ale
I love doing a beer review when I have no frame of reference for the beer. I got this beer as part of a silent auction package I won last year, and it’s been sitting in my closet ever since. I had heard of Founders Brewing Company before, as well as their Old Curmudgeon Ale, but hadn’t tried any of their products. I hadn’t read about this beer either, so I was completely without expectation or preconceived notion when I first cracked this open. More: Beer Review: Founders Old Curmudgeon Ale
I first had this Pumpkin Ale over Christmas, brought to me courtesy of Bob Jarrett over at The Wine Tree in Evansville, Indiana. He’s introduced me to several really good beers and is a member of my extended (through marriage) family. He makes me look like a beer novice with his knowledge of beer.
I have had good and bad experiences with Pumpkin Ale, so I approach each one with trepidation. Will this one be overspiced or will it be a beautiful example of this variety? One never knows.. More: Beer Review: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s episode of “Pirate Beers and the men who love them”! This beer came in a mixed variety pack of beers I bid on and won at a silent auction late last summer/early fall. They’ve been hanging out (aging? :D) in my closet for some time and I was finally able to try some of them recently.
This one was Biere Du Boucanier, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really, especially from looking at the bottle. I didn’t expect much, really. The bottle made me feel like I was about to enjoy a bottle of whole milk, not beer.
But then I tried it…
This pours to a nice deep, dark ruby brown color. It has a nice thick, pillowy beige head. Looks promising…
This smells of chocolate and roasted malt with hints of caramel. It smells very sweet but it also has a dryness on the edge of the nose. There are also hints of oak and dark, tart fruit.
The malty sweetness of this brew is offset by a subtle sourness that really grows on you the more you experience it. Tastes a little like good tart cherries barely coated in chocolate. This is a very smooth, medium bodied brew. The mouthfeel is slightly oily but with a crispness on the edge of the tongue. There are slight hints of the higher alcohol content on the finish, which almost gives it a whiskey hint. This warms the palate nicely.
This seems far more complex than I was expecting, with a lot to enjoy and experience with each swallow. The sourness of tart cherries keep it from being overly sweet. After drinking this beer, I found myself craving more beers that show this sourness to their character. I enjoyed it a great deal.
Recommended: Absolutely! I can still, days later, taste the sourness of this beer, and I want more!
Price: Unknown (part of an auction package)
I was in the market for some beer lately (imagine that!) and came across Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale. According to the bottle, portions of the proceeds of this beer go to support the Fisherman’s Fund. The Captain Sig in the name of the beer, in case you didn’t know, is Sig Hansen, of the crab fishing boat The Northwestern. The Deadliest Catch is one of my favorite shows, and Sig Hansen is my favorite captain on that show. So I had to try this.
By the way, if you like Deadliest Catch and the Hansen brothers as much as I do, check out the Northwestern crew’s Web site.
Rogue calls it an India Red Ale and it uses 2-Row Pale, Munich, Carastan and Chocolate Malts, Amarillo and Cascade hops, Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
A good solid pour resulted in a massive, billowy and light tan, three finger thick head. The beer itself is a dark caramely color and looks slightly cloudy in the glass. (Remnants of the Pacman Yeast perhaps?) The head leaves nice lacing on the glass as you enjoy this brew.
This has a good malty nose. I can smell coffee notes and the freshness of hops with floral hints. It smells very clean and fresh. Repeated deep sniffs give you more of the hops, including the citrus and grapefruit usually denoting the Cascade hops. Good bitter and floral notes are found as well.
This is one tasty brew! There’s a good roundness and well balanced flavor that give way to a nicely lemony and floral finish. The finish becomes more grapefruity as the beer warms, but as the hoppiness fades at the end of the finish, chocolate flavors linger. This starts off malty and sweet, but also brings clean and refreshing flavors to the party. This is a medium bodied ale.
Captain Sig Hansen should be proud to have his name associated with this beer, and with Rogue. Like Sig, Rogue doesn’t do anything half assed. They do what they do, and they do it big! This beer has a great depth of flavor and is just a very tasty brew.
Recommended: You bet! Very tasty and full of flavor
Price: $6.99 / 1 pint, 6 fl. oz. bottle
ABV: 6.2% according to Beer Advocate
This beer review is in honor of finishing this semester. Initially I thought I would try to find a beer whose name somehow related to school, but when I saw Brooklyn Brewery products were now available in Nashville, all bets were off! I only saw the Brown Ale and the Lager available, and being the brown ale fan I am, I went with Brooklyn Brewery’s Brown Ale. You know what they say, “Brown will never let you down”. Well, maybe someone somewhere said it once.
On to the beer….
According to the neck of the bottle:
Richly mahogany in color, Brooklyn Brown Ale is richer and hoppier than its mild and malty English forebears. Chocolate and coffee flavors punctuate the roasty malt background.
This pours with a light beige, two and a half finger thick head, consisting of somewhat loose bubbles and leaving, at first, only a tiny bit of lacing on the side of the pint glass. As you drink the beer, more prominent lacing is evident. It is indeed a mahogany color as the neck of the bottle mentions. Held up to the light it looks quite light bodied.
Excellent malty notes are the first thing you notice. There are definite oak notes and roasted and smoky notes, as well as a hidden sweetness. Smells terrific.
First reaction: there is more hop to it than I expected. (I didn’t read the neck of the bottle until I finished my first bottle.) There is definite oak in the taste, as well as a dry dusty dark chocolate profile. It seems kind of light bodied and smooth, but with a slight crispness occasionally making itself known. There is a little sweetness on the finish. The hops give it a dryness but not a bitterness or sourness. With the oak and the somewhat light body, this is sort of like a brown ale version of an dry oaky merlot.
This is an experience beer. An experience beer is what I call those beers that are unique and interesting, but not something you would drink a lot of. This is more for savoring and enjoying. It just gets drier as you drink it, and reminds you more and more of a merlot tinged with chocolate. Overall it is beginning to grow on me.
Recommended: This is not a beer for everyone. It is quite dry and is more a beer to try and to savor. I would recommend any beer connosseiur give it a shot.
Price: I paid about $1.75 per 12 oz. bottle.
When I decided to do a beer review tonight, I wanted to do something that’s different and unique and interesting. After much contemplation at one of my favorite places to buy beer, Midtown Wine and Spirits, I ended up buying Dogfish Head’s Raison D’Etre. I was not at all disappointed.
Here’s what Dogfish Head says on the bottle:
A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins and a sense of purpose
Now Raison D’Etre is French for “reason for being”. (Thanks Google!). This beer gave me a reason to keep doing beer reviews. I sometimes feel like after a while most beers all blend together, but this is a standout beer. Let’s begin, shall we? We shall!
This pours with a 1 1/2 finger thick light beige head with tiny tiny bubbles. This beer looks to me like it would be a crisp one. The color is indeed mahogany. There’s really no better description for the color.
I noticed a good sour nose upon pouring this beer, without even trying to smell it. When I actually smelled it, the sourness was mellowed and there were hints of sweetness as well. After a good couple of face-in-the-glass sniffs, I picked up on the raisin in the nose, but was personally unable to differentiate the raisin in the nose as green raisin as opposed to regular old red raisin.
I was anxious and quite eager to sample this brew. I’ve heard good things about it but have never tried it, until now. This has quite a creamy/oily mouthfeel and seems to be medium to full bodied. There is a slight hint at the finish of the higher alcohol content. The beer feels quite carbonated and alive in the mouth but it settles quickly. The flavor profiles are comparable to that of a good deep red wine, in some respects. There is a sweetness that precedes the soon-to-come slightly sour hop notes and strong flavors of raisin and dark plummy fruit. There is also a good amount of oakiness in the flavor. You almost want to chew this like a handful of raisins. It’s almost akin to drinking young, still quite moist raisins. This finishes neither clean and crisp nor creamy, but somewhere in between.
This is an excellent beer! The flavor profiles are varied and interesting and work well together. It feels and tastes like no other beer.
Recommended: Absolutely….this is a great beer, period. Very unique and interesting. Amazing. This is the kind of beer you take to a dinner party if you don’t want to take wine. Watch out for that higher ABV, though, especially on an empty stomach!
Price: $12.99 / 6-pack
A friend selected Boulevard Brewing’s Lunar Ale one night when he and his lovely wife (and young’uns) were at our house for a cook out, so I decided to review it for this blog. Thanks Chad!
According to the Boulevard Brewing Web site, this is an unfiltered brown ale. Here is more information:
Brewed using a unique aromatic yeast, this refreshing variety is best described as a cloudy brown ale with a complex, malty aroma and flavor, and a crisp, dry finish.
SENSORY DESCRIPTION: Very versatile beer. Light sweetness complements light foods and malty/smoky flavor can stand up to some spicier dishes. Flavor hooks: fruit, cloves, roasted malt
PAIRINGS: Lightly caramelized flavors from grilling chicken or seafood, roasted chicken or pork, stews, sausages, salads, and desserts including walnuts or almonds.
Let’s get on to the tasting…
This poured with a two-finger head consisting of small, tight bubbles that gave the head a somewhat fluffy or pillowy texture. The color seems to be that of a too weak coffee. The beer is somewhat cloudy from the yeast and appears quite carbonated.
Wheat is the strongest scent I picked up. It’s almost the only note, as a matter of fact. There are some spice notes. It really smells like a typical wheat beer.
The head is rich and creamy. This is medium-light bodied, not heavily carbonated and pretty smooth. This is kind of a one-note beer. You get a wheat beer flavor profile with slight teases of hop bitterness here and there.
Before cracking this open, I had no idea it was a wheat beer. Then after taking my tasting notes, I see on their Web site that it’s a brown ale, though it does have wheat in it. There’s really nothing exceptional about this beer to make me say, “Go try this today!” but there’s nothing wrong with it either. Overall, a drinkable wheaty beer.
Recommended: I’m not really going either way on this. Try it and see if you like it, but I won’t push this as a really good selection.
Buckbean Brewing Company was founded in 2007 in Reno, NV. They can their beer instead of bottling it for environmental reasons. According to their press release package, microbreweries only bottled their beers initially because the aluminum canning lines were not designed for smaller production, so glass bottles were their only option. So people began to equate glass bottles with good beer. I was not aware of any of this but I definitely prefer glass bottles myself, not that I drink out of bottles or cans. I pour whenever I can to open up the beer and catch all scents and see the color and clarity.
Anyway, on to the Original Orange Blossom Ale…
About the beer
According to the press release package I received with the free samples, this is “a bright zesty ale built from Munich and caramel malts, American hops and orange flowers.” According to their Web site, “…this copper colored ale combines the flavor and aroma of real orange tree flowers with a well-balanced, full flavored ale to produce a real treat for the senses.”
I’ve been drinking everything from my new pilsner glasses lately, but I wanted to try this from a pint glass. This poured with less than a finger of creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly. The color is very orange but it’s not completely clear. There looks to be some hint of cloudiness and it seems barely carbonated.
There are floral hops present, but the dominating scent is citrus. It smells strongly of orange oils or orange zest. Smells clean and sweet.
My first impression of this beer was that it was very light and shallow of flavor. You got the orange flavor and some malt and hop flavors and that was it. As I finished the first, and then the second, pint, I started appreciating this beer more. It’s very smooth and eminently drinkable. It is very light bodied, and the orange is the dominant flavor, but hops notes come through on the finish.
After the first couple of sips, I was preparing to come talk about how I wish it were fuller bodied and more complex, but in the end, I decided this was a uniquely tasty brew. It’s a very drinkable and refreshing brew, great for quaffing after you cut the grass or while grilling. The flavor is not that multi-layered but it is spot on. I’m already thinking about the next time I cut the grass and how good this would taste. In a nutshell, I am well pleased with the flavor and how refreshing it is!
Recommended: Yes. It is, at the very least, worth a first try. Drink a pint or two and see if the flavor doesn’t make you want more!
Sam Adams has had a home brewing contest the last couple of years, and at least one random person’s brew and one Sam Adams employee’s brew get bottled for sale. This is one of the 2007 winners, developed by Lili Hess, winner of the Samuel Adams employee homebrew competition.
According to the bottle, this beer is an ale brewed with natural grape flavor and maple syrup added. Lili Hess describes it this way: “It’s like you are drinking a pale ale after biting into a fresh green seedless grape.”
Here’s what I thought…
I poured this into a good pilsner glass with a little trepidation. I was afraid it would taste like grape jelly or be overly sweet. It pours with a loose thick head and a light golden coppery hue. The carbonation looks minimal and minimal lacing is left on the glass as the head dissipates.
This smells like a nice hoppy pale ale. There is a slight sweetness to the nose coming from the maple syrup. This smells clean and fresh, but doesn’t have an exceptional nose. Good, but not exceptional.
This has a good pale ale flavor. There are nice crisp hops but it’s a little sweeter than a typical pale ale, not dry or bitter. You can taste the green grape in the background and it really is nice. The maple syrup also starts coming through on the finish but it’s pretty subtle, so it’s not cloying. Good depth of flavor profiles here. It’s a light bodied brew and is crisp and clean. There is medium carbonation and a very clean finish.
It would be a very drinkable pale ale without the grape and maple syrup, but the added complexity and depth that come with the added flavors make it a standout among this type of beer. This is, I think, a pale ale to be savored more slowly than the usual pale ale. It could be a good session beer but it also is worth sipping and noticing in order to enjoy the interesting flavors.
Recommended: Yes, I would recommend this to any fan of pale ale looking for something new and interesting.
Price: I paid $8 for a 6-pack of this and the Weizenbock (the other winner) at a charity auction.