Friday, February 27, 2009

Endurance Pale Ale, Endurance Brewing Co., Ipswich, MA

"Hello Darkness, my old friend; I've come to talk with you again." An appropriate opening lyric for this was the song that popped into my head when I walked into the bar and saw Endurance Pale Ale on tap. A few years ago, I received a mystery pack of beers for Christmas, and this was one of them. Now the picture above doesn't do it justice, but go to the website and check out the story of Endurance Pale Ale, it's great. After reading the side of the bottle, I chose this as the first beer from the mystery pack I'd try. At this point my beer rotation was strictly Busch Light, Bud Light and Harpoon IPA, but this mystery box and the Endurance Pale led me down a path not previously taken. The Endurance has a crisp citrus taste. The hops bitter the beer just enough to keep you on your toes and to distinguish it from its weaker British Pale Ale brethren. The ABV is not available for this beer, but I would guess it's about 5 if not 5.5%. The Endurance gets a solid 3.5 ranking.

Interesting side note, the Mystery Pack above also had my first Dale's Pale Ale? Best Christmas present ever? Perhaps…although Nintendo may have something to say about that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

He'brew Messiah Bold, Shmaltz Brewing Co., Saratoga Springs, NY

"Hava Nagila, Have Nagila, Hava nagila ve nis'mecha" Sorry, a little NHL '94 organ music flashback. Now, I'll admit my exposure to all things kosher is very limited. I had a friend who once dumped gefilte fish down the heater when he moved out of his dorm room and another who became enraged when he found out the Dunkin Donuts up the street from our apartment was kosher and he couldn't get a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich one morning whilst hungover. See, not too much experience with the kosher stuff, yet I managed to pick up a bottle of Shmaltz Brewing's He'brew Messiah Bold brown ale. Now, I figure when you start putting limitations on ingredients and preparation, you're gonna be disappointed in a product, kind of like sugar free candy or fat free cookies, not so with the Messiah Bold. There is a strong chocolate malt flavor which ends a little sweet. Despite the strong chocolate taste, the texture is very light. When I tried the Messiah Bold, I had it very cold, but think that this beer could possibly taste better if it were a little warmer. Did I mention that this beer is "Kosher Certified Rabbi Approved?" Also, the label is pretty sweet too. And despite its kosherness, it packs a 5.5% ABV wallop. The Messiah Bold gets a 3.5.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elm City Lager, New England Brewing Co., Woodbridge, CT

I have had great experiences with canned micro-brews lately, mostly in the forms of what Oskar Blues Brewing has been putting together, so I made an investment into one of New England Brewing Company's offerings. My experience with the Elm City Lager had an inauspicious start as once I cracked the beer open I was treated to a never ending volcano of foam, suds, and barley. This wasn't the best of first impressions, yet this 15 seconds of fun was the most exciting element of this beer. While I can save my Dale's Pale Ale for my finest brew ware china and feel totally comfortable in that decision, I do not feel the same about the Elm City Lager. The Elm City, lest you find it's original packaging inadequate, should not be served in anything better than a generic brand red Solo Cup, as a Solo cup would be wasted on this swill. The distinctive aroma is reminiscent of a stale belch from a two day old keg that has been left out in the sun. The taste is a watery knockoff off the mass brewed lagers commonly found in your grocers' 30 pack aisle. The ABV, a surprising 5.0%, would be a plus, one of the few, if any pluses. I can, with good conscience, rate this beer a 0.5, the lowest so far on the site.