Victory Brewing Co. of Pennsylvania is a good brewery with a very solid lineup. Their harvest/winter seasonal, the Yakima Twilight Ale, is definitely worthy of discussion.
The brewers are using only hops from Yakima Valley in the state of Washington, which is one of the most productive areas for hops in the U.S. The theory is that they are using the very last of the hop harvest for the year. Cool concept...
Most hop-centric beers seem to go with an IPA or a pale ale style, as those types of beers can really showcase the hop flavors. Victory is instead making a strong ale with very prominent malt flavors including a very aggressive, high-alcohol sweetness. Can this combination of hops and extra-sugary, toasted malt turn into something special?
Sadly, not for me. The high ABV of 8.9% and the sticky, caramel-like sweetness failed to compliment the hop bitterness. There are definitely interesting flavors, including a very nice fresh citrus from the hops, but they all seem to exist as separate elements of the beer, rather than combining to make an overall positive experience.
Rating = 2.5
Great concept, and I was initially thrilled to try something that was highly hopped but not an IPA, but overall a so-so beer.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Victory Brewing Co. of Pennsylvania is a good brewery with a very solid lineup. Their harvest/winter seasonal, the Yakima Twilight Ale, is definitely worthy of discussion.
Everyone is doing Top 10 lists this time of year, so I thought I'd put together Beer Crusade's Top 10 of the year in reverse chronological order.
1. Harpoon Winter Warmer - posted by Beer Crusade, this winter seasonal is a Boston favorite. Get yours soon before the winter season is over. I recommend trying it on draught. Rating 5.0
2. Lagunitas Brown Shugga' - posted by Beer Crusade, no Beer Crusade list is complete without Lagunitas. This deep brown ale is also only available in winter so make sure you pick it up, keep an eye out for the high ABV. Rating 5.0
3. Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial IPA - posted by Knight of Saint Arnold (KSA), this beer combines copious amount of hops with a complement of malt and high ABV. Rating 4.5
4. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - posted by Pale Ale Guy (PAG), this beer was previously reviewed by Beer Crusade and received a 4.0. PAG provided his take and took it up a notch. Much like Lagunitas, Dogfish Head is a mainstay on Beer Crusade and PAG has reviewed several of their beers since joining the blog. The Punkin' is a October seasonal and PAG gave it a 4.5.
5. Lagunitas Red Ale - posted by KSA, another Lagunitas no surprise. KSA was surprised how quickly he went through his six packs of this beer. Another Lagunitas high octane ABV beer, with a cherryish aroma. Rating 4.5
6. Sam Adams Double Bock - posted by Beer Crusade. OK, another Boston beer, maybe a little homerism? This chocolate bottle of goodness has some cherry undertones and packs some punch. Rating 4.5.
7. Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager - posted by KSA, definitely wins best website, hookerbeer.com. and best marketing, "The Hooker Store". It also wins for great taste. Seems seasonal's are dominating the list. KSA rated this a 4.5.
8. Arcadia Ales Hopmouth Double IPA - posted by PAG, although he felt the beer was more of a "1.75 IPA", PAG loved the amount of hops Arcadia was offering. Rating 4.5
9. Smuttynose IPA - posted by KSA, the Smuttynose immediately became one of KSA's favorite high hopped beers. Perhaps the presence of slight tobacco flavoring made this beer a little too addicting? Rated 4.5
10. Blue Hills Brewery IPA - posted by Beer Crusade. Another Mass beer, it's official I am a proud supporter of local businesses. As I mentioned before, most people in Boston compare their IPAs to Harpoon, and this beer rivals it's neighbor to the north quite well. I tried their Red IPA last night and that didn't disappoint either. Blue Hills was one of the biggest surprises on my beer radar this year and I am glad the IPA made this list. Rating 4.5
I hope you enjoyed 2009 as much as we did, and we look forward to 2010.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Harpoon Winter Warmer has dominated my life a bit lately, me the KSA and Pale Ale Guy were talking just last week about Winter Warmer and how the serving temperature changes the taste of the beer. Fortuitously, the following day I get an email from Harpoon saying that Harpoon Head Brewer Todd Charbonneau was participating in an online chat. So I asked Todd what the ideal serving temperature of Winter Warmer was and here is his response: "I think somewhere around 48F is perfect. If you take your WW out of the fridge about 15-20 min. before pouring it into a glass, the flavor rounds out and the aromas are a bit more concentrated." Good to know right? Another thing that I'd like to point out about the Winter Warmer is this, it's better on draught, this might be a personal opinion, but if you compare bottles to draught, in this case draught wins.
Now, it probably confounds people how it took me this long to review Winter Warmer, after all how did I miss doing it last season? The answer? I don't know. I knew I was going to cover it this winter though, and as I saw that I was fast approaching my 100th review, I knew I had my 100th review choice. (This just in, yes this is my 100th review.) Every time I see Harpoon Winter Warmer hit the draughts for the first time I am reminded of the DJ Big Boy quote above because that is exactly how I feel. The coppery ale is wonderfully dark, it is spiced perfectly with nutmeg and cinnamon that makes you feel warm inside, and it pours a good amount of head. I am not one for fruit beers, so it amazes that the sweet malt, the cinnamon and the nutmeg appeal to me so much. It is the perfect beer for a cold winter's night. I used to love when Harpoon had it's Winter Harpoon Fest and was so devastated when they cancelled the annual event after 2003, I held my own in 2004 with the Winter Warmer on draught of course. The 5.9% ABV isn't too concerning if you are only having one, but to paraphrase my friend Leo "I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass (word omission) on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently." And yes, it's hard for me to just have one Winter Warmer, because it is that good.
The rating is a no brainer, 5.0, Hall of Famer. And as the days get longer, time is running out on this beer, so you should head to the nearest pub that serves the Winter Warmer on tap and order one.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
When I poured the Reading Premium Beer into my stein and saw the golden yellow translucence and smelled the aroma of barley and hops I knew immediately what I was getting into. A retro beer. What's a retro beer you ask? A retro beer is a local brew that essentially, if not all together, disappeared in the 80's and 90's due to the big brewer boom and has since resurfaced as a boutique beer trading on the nostalgia of its drinkers. Narragansett would be a similar example. In fact the Reading Brewery closed before I was even born in 1976 before recently resurfacing. For some reason retro beers always make me think back to the scene in Dazed and Confused when the keg kicks and Tuesday's Gone plays. Undoubtedly one of the saddest moments in the film. To keep this tangent going, is it weird that I remember the beer delivery guy's name from the movie is Ben? It is weird? Oh, then never mind.
Anywho, the Reading Premium pours with minimal head with a nice golden yellow coloring with very little carbonation. The malt is sweet tasting, but suited more to canned beer than bottled. There is no ABV available, but I'd imagine it to rival Bud Light. The Reading Premium is more in line with a macro-brew than a micro-brew tastewise and the rating reflects it. All in all the Reading Premium gets a 2.0.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Another beer with a hop-based pun in the title (flower = hop flower for the slower readers). The Ithaca Beer Co. in upstate NY makes a solid hop-focused IPA. The most remarkable element of this beer is the intensely citrus aroma and taste given off by the hops. It is probably a very nice IPA, but the smell of lemons/grapefruit, combined with the nearly overpowering taste of citrus is the primary focus of this beer. The malt does appear as a sweet flavor, but the balance is tilted towards showing off the hops.
Despite my criticism, this is a tasty beer, and the 7.5% ABV is definitely welcome. The hops are very dominant,and I think that you need to be ready for it.
Rating = 3.5
I had this in a bottle. I'm wondering if the beer enjoys a better balance out of a keg, but I've never seen an Ithaca product on tap in my area...
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Fresh hop beers (a.k.a. hop harvest beers) have been reviewed here previously, so it should not be surprising to see another review. Great Divide Brewing Co. is taking a very different approach that most other fresh hop products.
The Fresh Hop Pale Ale is basically a very nice pale ale that happens to use fresh hops. The brewers don't try to choke you with hop flavor, but rather have created a well-balanced and drinkable ale. The hop taste is definitely assertive, but not overpowering. Drinking this beer, you can definitely taste the ingredients, instead of a glass of hop extract with hints of beer flavor in the background.
The ABV, at 6.1%, is appropriate for the style, as is the copper color. The fresh hops give the beer an interesting earthy flavor, making me think of clean air and green grass. While this sounds odd, it is a positive sensation.
Rating = 4.0
All in all, a very solid, well balanced beer which exhibits the different taste profile of fresh hops without clearing your sinuses with "quadruple hop flavor". I'd buy this beer if I saw it again. Of course, it is only available for about 2 months every fall.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Much like you, I was a tad disappointed in no post on Friday, these things do happen after all. And since KSA didn't pull an Angelina and just ditch me completely, I let it slide. Afterall, unlike the T-Shirt Shop at the Jersey Shore, missing work because of hangovers is just one of the hazards of the Beer Crusade. One last Jersey Shore point before I continue, total BS move by MTV to use Snooki's beat down to promote the show and then unveil that it is pulling the punch from this week's broadcast.
OK on to the beer, I checked out the Mad River Brewing Jamaica Brand Red Ale this past weekend. I figure my yard is covered in snow, I deserve something to take me away to a better place, like Jamaica. The Jamaica Brand poured reddish brown into the stein with a monstrous head. A little surprising, even though it's a red ale I was expecting something a little bit lighter. Definitely had some strong malt flavoring, possibly some rye and other spiciness. The hops also added some nice bitterness, similar to the bitter taste you get from coffee.
Now I know the company website is terrible, but that demerit is clearly offset by the 6.5% ABV. While I was looking for a lighter ale, I have to say this is a pretty solid amber/red ale so I was pleasantly surprised. I rate the Jamaica Brand Red a 3.5.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
This week I took time out of my TV schedule to sample the Blue Point Brewing Co's Hoptical Illusion, an IPA. You know it's an IPA because the name incorporates "Hop" in a fun pun-like way.
The Illusion pours into your glass with that nice orangy brown coloring, and a modest amount of head. Upon sipping you get a great sense of bitterness and malt flavor, but these die down about half way through the sip so the beer ends up being more bland than its initial sip impression.
The beer label incorporates the unfinished pyramid and the All Seeing Eye/ Eye of Horus that you find on the US One Dollar bill. These symbolize strength, duration, divine providence etc. The 6.8 ABV is definitely a sign of strength, but I found the overall taste not enduring at all. I did find the label a bit quirky, as if it were a clue in a Dan Brown novel or National Treasure movie. Unfortunately there was no treasure map on the back. Yes I peeled it off to check.
All in all the Hoptical Illusion gets a 3.0
Thursday, December 3, 2009
To be honest, I've never had anything from Moylan's Brewing Co., so I wasn't sure what to expect. After a couple of sips, it was clear that I've been missing out on something great.
The Hopsickle Imperial IPA clocks in at 9.2% ABV, but the real story is the impressive and dramatic amount of hop flavor that is packed into this beer. I'm not always the biggest fan of the "super hop beer" trend, as it seems like some breweries are taking a questionable product and dumping hops into it. I can say with conviction that this is not the case with this beer.
As this beer goes into the glass with a nice caramel color, your nose is assaulted with a lively citrus-y hop aroma. There is also a touch of malt in the background of the scent, almost as a reminder that this is a beer and not a glass of hop extract. The taste is dominated by hop flavor, sweet at first but increasingly bitter and astringent as you swallow the beer. But, the malt comes through again, ensuring that the bitterness doesn't become overpowering. But, unlike the malt flavor, the bitterness stays with you, practically coating your tongue in hops. The alcohol is notable, mostly because it serves to balance out some of the bitterness. I wish I bought two bottles...
I feel like I could grow hops just by spitting on the ground after this beer.
Rating = 4.5
After all of the Octoberfest beers that I had this fall, the Hopsickle is a welcome change of pace.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
The Loose Cannon had great caramel coloring when poured into the stein. There is an immediate hop presence, but the pale and Munich malts maintain pace and really drive home a great crisp taste.
The 7.25% ABV is surprising. Because the malt and hops any semblance of an alcohol flavored kick.
The Hop^3 Ale has quickly jumped into the fray for one of my favorite IPAs, and the 4.0 rating is definitely justified.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
This one is the fall seasonal for the Ipswich Ale line of beers. The Ipswich Harvest Ale tastes like a combination of an IPA and a malty octoberfest-type beer. Interesting concept, but overall, the hop flavor washes out everything else.
Going into the glass, the chestnut brown color is inviting and enticing. The cloudy consistency helps to give this beer an earthy quality. Nothing is terribly prominent in the aroma, but hints of hops are certainly evident. The beginning of a sip of this beer tastes of sweetness and malt, and brings in the earthy sensation. But the heavily hopped finish drowns out everything and imparts a solid, astringent hop flavor to the beer.
Rating = 3.0
Solid beer from a good brewery. Definitely give Ipswich a try if you have a chance.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
This is the second Yuengling beer that has sampled poorly with me. This is surprising to me for two reasons, one everyone I know in the Mid-Atlantic states swears by all things Yuengling. And two, I have consumed an inordinate amount of Yuengling in my life. I think I am going to have to take on the Black & Tan if I can find it, I think I remember actually liking that one.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I found this beer in a 21 oz bottle at a Trader Joe's, which has a surprisingly varied beer selection. For the good of the site, I decided to review it, particularly since it was not another Lagunitas product for us to review.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is definitely the most unique beer that I've had in a while. As the name suggests, this beer is brewed with a special Japanese red rice. Additionally, sake yeast is added, as ale yeast is not able to turn the sugars from the rice into alcohol.
When poured into a glass, the red rice gives the beer a pinkish-red color, but it's not like it looks like a pink lemonade. It is unmistakably a beer. The best visual comparison would be something cloudy, like a hefeweizen, with a hint of pink. Like I said, very unique.
The aroma is similar to other Japanese beers, like Sapporo or Kirin, but with a noticeable sweetness. Some beers have a sweet aroma that is like the smell of sweet bread, but the sweetness in the Red Rice Ale is lighter and much less malty.
The taste is probably the most interesting part of this beer. There is a sharp, clean taste, and the sweetness from the aroma carries over into the flavor. But the good news is that the beer is not over-powered by the sugar. There is much less sugar taste than the aroma would lead you to believe. Interestingly, I can't detect any hop bitterness, which is usually used as a counter to sweet flavors. The well-balanced taste is able to hide any hint that this beer carries a 7.0% ABV. Impressive...
If you like Japanese beers, definitely give this one a try. The best comparison would be to say that this is like a Japanese craft brew as opposed to the mass-market Sapporo. Good stuff.
Rating = 3.5
Next time I have sushi, I'm going to have to get another bottle of Hitachino Nest...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Just to be upfront with everyone out there, I have never been a big fan of stouts. Chocolate stouts I usually like even less. Maybe it's just because I have yet to find a good one, or maybe it's just because I'm a wuss and don't like the dark beers. Either way, just wanted to be honest.
Harpoon's Chocolate Stout was an interesting brew. It poured a very dark, black color with a nice amount of head. Immediately the smell of chocolate and malts, which to me, smelled more like coffee hit you. The taste again, was coffee like to me. I could never drink an entire bottle, but a couple sips here and there, sure, it's pretty good. Otherwise it's just a little too overwhelming for me. I'm going to give it a 2, but that's mostly because I'm not a stout guy.
I did do a little experimenting though. I was sitting around the dinner table with my wife, mother in law and father in law. They suggested, jokingly, that since it reminded us all of a beer coffee, why not ad milk. So we did. At about a 4 to 1 beer to coffee ratio, the chocolate stout tasted and smelled exactly like a carbonated Bailey's. To continue with the coffee theme, we added a spoon full of sugar ( i hear it makes the medicine go down), and boom, sugary Bailey's. Weird I know, but oddly very tasty. Don't judge me, just try it if you happen to be bored...
Monday, November 16, 2009
The first thing that comes to my mind when sipping the Widmer Drifter Pale Ale is that this beer has some kick to it. The Drifter has some dark, deep malt flavoring. The hops provide an apply, apricot flavor before delivering an enduring bitterness. The 5.7% ABV is nothing to shake a stick at either. The Drifter gets a 3.5.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Another Lagunitas review, and another great beer!
Hop Stoopid is the Lagunitas answer to super-ultra-hoppy beers such as the Dogfish Head 90 Minute or 120 Minute. While Dogfish does a remarkable job of making a highly hopped beer into something drinkable, there are many competitors who end up wasting excess hops on bitter beer. Lagunitas goes in a slightly different direction. Instead of using actual hops (or hop pellets), they use hop extract, which is essentially the desirable parts of the hop flower in a concentrated liquid form.
The result is very different than most other high-hop beers. The aroma is understated for a double IPA, and probably has less hop aroma than Harpoon IPA. But the flavor is much more pronounced. The hop bitterness is there, but there is also a notable sweetness, both of which conspire to hide the alcohol (8% ABV). The hop taste is most similar to a wet hop beer, like Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale (which I love). Well done and highly recommended!
Rating = 4.0 (edging towards 4.5...)
I'm surprised that hop extract is not more popular with home brewers. Or maybe my experience is centered on hop pellets.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The famous "Red Label" Sparkling Ale from Coopers Brewery! Direct from Australia for my pleasure!
The Sparkling Ale is top-fermented and bottle-conditioned, leading to a hazy glow of sediment in the glass. The aroma is a bit musty, probably from the bottle fermentation and yeast, but also has a nice fruit and malt component. The yeast carries over to the taste, as there is a bit of sourness in the beginning of the sip. But the lively and effervescent flavor of the beer wins out, with the taste of fresh fruit (pears?) and a clean, hop-balanced finish. Drinking this beer is actually quite refreshing. I wish I had the foresight to enjoy this beer on a hot summer afternoon, as I'm sure that it would be fantastic. Next year...
The ABV comes in at 5.8%, which is somewhat amazing, since I can't really detect any alcohol. Usually with an ABV that is getting towards 6%, I can sense some alcohol "heat", but this one stays refreshing and smooth.
Rating = 4.0
The Coopers Brewery website is fantastic, by the way. My favorite fact: Brewery founder Thomas Cooper writes to his brother in 1862, "Dear Brother, We are now engaged in the brewery business." I'm still waiting for my brother's brewery pronouncement...
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Another solid product from the most talented brewers in Petaluma, CA! Imperial Red Ale is one of Lagunitas Brewing Company's seasonal releases for 2009. This is a fantastic beer. Originally, I purchased a six pack, planning to save one to review for the site. Well, that first six pack was gone before I knew it, and the one from this review is the tail end of the second six pack. Like I said, fantastic beer...
The color on this one is red-ish brown, with a short cream-colored head. There is a prominent aroma, mostly suggesting hops, but also some toasted malt scent. I'm getting a bit of ripe cherry aroma too.
But it is the taste of this beer that makes it a winner. With a solid 7.8% ABV, you'd expect some kind of alcohol presence or "heat", but that isn't present with this beer. The strong hop aroma doesn't directly translate to the taste, as the malt flavors win out, with a bit of that fruity taste (in a good way). The hops are there in the aftertaste, balancing everything out. Delicious!
Rating = 4.5
Superlative! Track some down while it's available!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Ooooh boy, where to start...
So I was asked to try the new Bud Light Golden Wheat beer, and to keep both our faithful readers happy, I complied. Next time anyone has a suggestion though, can you at least try to make it a good beer? Pretty please?
I tried this beer both out of the bottle directly and poured into a glass. The bottle states that it is brewed with coriander and citrus peels which means you should be able to taste or smell each of those ingredients. Well, I must have missed something because I didn't get either, whether it be in taste or smell. It tasted closer to a Miller Lite than a Bud Lite to me.
It did however look pretty in the glass. It poured a nice healthy hazy orange color with a decent amount of head. But at 4.1%abv, there's really not much of a kick to it either. It didn't taste very good, and it'll take 10 of them to get anything close to a buzz. So really, what's the point? I'm going to give it a 2, and that might actually be a little generous.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Disclaimer: I like porters. I like dark beers. I like vanilla. I like coffee.
Atwater Block Brewery in Detroit, MI is apparently trying to ruin all four things for me. Their Vanilla Java Porter is not good. Initially, it seems like the aroma of vanilla could lead towards a good combination in this porter, but the aroma was the highlight for this beer. The taste, from the first sip to the sip right before I poured the rest down the drain, was not pleasant. A friend of mine describes porters and stouts as "metallic", noting the strange sensation of metal in the aftertaste. This one is tastes like it was brewed in an iron mine.
To top it off, the first bottle that I opened was dramatically overcarbonated, erupting onto my kitchen floor. Not a fortuitous beginning.
The only redeeming factor is the healthy 6.0% ABV.
Sadly, I bought a six pack. Now I need to invite over some people who don't read the blog and try to get them to drink the rest of these beers.
Rating = 1.0
I don't think we'll be having Atwater Block Brewery as an advertiser on the site anytime soon...
PS - thanks to some guy on Flickr for the image.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Well I have the adult equivalent. Every fall I wait for it, and every fall it comes along… John Harvard’s Harvest Spice Ale. Mmm mmm good!
Harvest Spice pours a copper color, with a healthy head. The beer just has all the smells and tastes of a nice warm meal on a cold rainy day and the spices just attack your pallet with that first sip. The beer is normally served with cinnamon sugar on the lip of the glass (think margarita) which may sound unappealing, but it’s actually like a party in your mouth. The combination of the spices and the sugar is as good as it gets really
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find it’s abv, but without knowing the specific number, I’m going to say that you won’t be disappointed. Overall, Harvest Spice is getting a very solid 4 from me, and I highly recommend you run out and try it.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
drink that? Well I did, and the Beck's is pale with a sweetish
aftertaste. The beer toes that fine line of is it or isn't it
skunked. Most green bottled beers face this dilemna. The beer also
has a bitter twang. The ABV is 0.5%. Truthfully if you like Beck's
Alcoholic, you'll like Beck's Non-Alcoholic however, I do not so it
gets a 1.5.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The World's Oldest Brewery?!? I feel like I've heard this claim about 50 times from different European breweries. But a quick check suggests that these guys have a decent claim to the title. And I thought it was all marketing baloney...
Weinhenstephaner Festbier is a pretty good Octoberfest beer, even though it seems to deviate from the traditional style a bit. First, it is a pale yellow color and a bit cloudy after the pour. The aroma, while initially musty, settles down into a nice German hop/malt combo. The taste is good, but not great, and seems watery at times. There seems to be quite a bit of fizzy carbonation, which I think is odd for this style.
The ABV comes in at 5.8%, good and healthy.
Rating = 3.0
All things considered, this one would probably be good for drinking in enormous German steins. It goes down nice and easy.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I'm running out of review dates in October, and there are still several good Octoberfest beers to review. So, I'm going to do some quick-hit reviews to try to cover everything.
Hofbrau Octoberfest from Munich, Germany is a classic European Octoberfest beer. Sadly, it comes in a green 33 ml bottle (11.2 oz), effectively "pouring some out for the homies" on your behalf. The beer has a yellow-gold color, which is very different than most American Octoberfests and their rich chestnut-brown colors. The flavor is also a good contrast, as it tastes quite crisp and light, with a bit of green apple in the aftertaste. And the ABV of 6.2% is also quite nice.
On the downside, it kind of tastes like an American lager, like Yuengling or something. Not quite what I expected, I guess. That, and the missing .8 oz, bring the rating down a touch.
Rating = 3.5
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Irish Cultural Center
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It only seems fitting to review a German beer as one of the Octoberfest reviews. Spaten Oktoberfest claims to be the "world's first Octoberfest beer", which seems a bit dubious as it was first brewed in 1872 while the first Octoberfest celebration was in 1810. Hmmm...
The beer is well made, but might suffer from being a bit too "classic" or something. It has a nice walnut/amber color, and a very malty aroma. The aroma is initially very strong (almost too much), but it fades after the first few sips. Malt and sugar are very prominent in the flavor, as you'd expect from this type of beer, and there is a light taste of hops in the aftertaste. The hops, while definitely in the background, help to balance out the sweetness. The beer is very easy to drink, almost like a light beer, and at 5.9% ABV, you might want a second.
In comparison to some of the other Octoberfest beers that have already been reviewed, this one doesn't quite stack up. It is definitely a nice beer, but the better American offerings leave this German in the dust.
Rating = 3.0
Is this the best that Germany has to offer? We'll find out, as there are more reviews of German and Bavarian Octoberfest beers to come...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
So a few months back, I found a sixer of Sam Adams Double Bock in my fridge. Seriously, this is the life of a beer reviewer, you come home and you find strange beer in your fridge. You don't question these things, you just accept it and move on. Now, I could tell you what bock means, let alone double bock, but I leave the beer science to the other guys. Here is what I know, Sam Adams dumps a half pound of malt in each one of these bad boys, powerful stuff. The Double Bock, is double chocolatey goodness, with the consistency of a high minute Dogfish offering. There is a little cherry background that gives the beer a sweetish aftertaste, don't worry, it's not too sweet. The 9.5% ABV means the amateurs should leave this beer alone. However, if you like dark, chocolatey beers, this is one to keep an eye out for. This baby is a 4.5 in my book.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I like Harpoon a lot, and I typically enjoy their beers very much (despite my previous Harpoon Crystal Wheat review). But the Harpoon Octoberfest isn't as good as it could be.
It does have a very nice amber color, and it pours out with a creamy, firm head. But the taste of the beer is underwhelming. The carbonation is OK, but something about the body of the beer feels thin or watery. The malt taste is prominent, as you'd expect for an Octoberfest. The hops add very little aroma, but do impart an interesting spicy flavor. Altogether, it feels like something is missing.
Rating = 3.0
This isn't a bad beer. The ABV of 5.5% suggests that you can enjoy more than one. Maybe my expectations were too high, knowing that Harpoon has the skill to put out some great beers.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I started out with such high hopes, I really did. I intended on reviewing the Nashoba Valley Brewery Oktoberfest. I had two bottles, and both were flat. Flat as can be. You have no idea the level of frustration I felt, as I was really looking forward to reviewing it.
Luckily, I bought a mix six pack and had a couple other brews to choose from, so I went with the Bolt 117.
The Bolt 117 is essentially a better version of Coors. It poured a golden color with a slight cloudiness to it, with able head. The first thing you taste is the malt, with a secondary taste of a hint of fruit. Like I said, it's a slightly better version of Coors.
At 5.2%abv it doesn't have much kick to it, but it gets the job done. I'm going to give this beer a 2.5. Middle of the road really. Not all that great, but not horrible either. I'll probably try it again, as I'll probably make another trip out to the brewery to buy more non flat Oktoberfest. We'll see about that though...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Octoberfest from Samuel Adams is one of my favorite fall beers. It has an excellent brownish-orange color, a full, malty aroma, and a smooth, rich taste. It is easy-drinking and definitely reminds me that autumn is on the way.
However, when compared to other Octoberfest offerings, some of the lesser qualities of this beer are revealed. First, it is a bit too sweet, almost to the point of being sugar-syrupy. Second, the malts lean towards a toasted flavor, helping to give the beer its brown-bottle color. But the toasted malt flavor is somewhat overpowering, drowning out the hop flavors almost completely. Lastly, the ABV of 5.4% is fine, but I wonder if a higher ABV would help to cut into the sweetness. You almost want to drink something hoppy to chase away the sweet-malt taste.
Despite the noted deficiencies, this beer is a classic American Octoberfest beer. It holds up well in comparison to Octoberfest beers from Germany, which is the highest compliment.
Rating = 4.0
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Now, if you have spent any time in the Mid Atlantic states, you will have heard of a little beer called Yuengling. Their distribution is limited, their reputation is not. Yuenling lays claim to an all important title, America's Oldest Brewery, since 1829. And people rave throughout the land to this beer's awesomeness. When poured into a standard pint glass, the lager has a light amber hue, and is populated with carbonation bubbles throughout. The ABV is a modest 4.9%. The taste is brief as you can grasp the amber malt but you're left smacking your lips looking for more flavor. The beer's reputation is bigger than its taste. Of course my friends will think this review is blasphemous, but it is they who are not true to themselves. Now, Pale Ale Guy skewed his review of Corona, more favorably due to the beer's reputation as a summer good time beer. I, however, feel that Yuengling needs to do more than just sell Americana. The Yuengling gets a 2.0.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Left Hand Brewing Company out of Colorado makes a bunch of very good beers, like their Sawtooth Ale and the Milk Stout, so I had fairly high expectations when trying their Oktoberfest beer. Unfortunately, disappointment awaited...
Right out of the bottle, it appears that this is going to be a good beer. It has a nice copper color and a bit of a white foam head. But, an odd metallic scent presents itself in the aroma. Not a good sign, and even worse, this metallic sensation continues into the flavor of the beer. It definitely has the characteristic malt flavor of an Octoberfest beer, but there is also the unwelcome metallic taste. The negative aspects are almost all in the aftertaste, and you can really get a feel for it as you swallow the beer. Maybe there is something wrong with the malt?
At any rate, the aroma/taste issues definitely outweighed the positive aspects of this beer.
Rating = 2.0
"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it." - On the Waterfront
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
The Brown Shugga’ comes out of the bottle a shade of cherry and brown. The viscosity of the beer is silky, a sure sign to me that this beer is packing an alcoholic punch. While the alcohol is not overpowering, you can sense its presence in each sip you take. There is also a tang of bitterness, but once again not much. The malt flavor is a brown sugary delight, combined with the hops it is reminiscent of a caramel apple you’d get at a county fair. I found the Brown Shugga’ to be quite addicting, much like its heroin counterpart, I blame this on the sugary base of the beer. In fact I liked it so much I had another right away. Of course with the aforementioned 9.5% ABV, it knocks you down pretty quick.
Now for those unfamiliar with my rating style, it can be found here. This is a little important because as you see from the Lagunitas website, this beer is not available until October 2009. So how did I get a bottle of it early? I didn’t. I loved this beer so much last winter, I stocked up on it so I’d never run out. How I avoided reviewing it so far, I am not sure. So as far as a rating goes, I am gonna have to give it the illustrious 5.0. If I were you, I’d keep an eye out this October when this beer arrives on shelves, a good indicator whether your store will carry it or not is if they carry any of the year round beers from Lagunitas.