So after finishing up the Red Seal, I did move on to a new beer as my second choice, which you’ll read about in a few weeks, however I did succumb and order the Red Seal again for my third beer.
The Red Seal gets a 4.0
You snooze, you lose, Knight of Saint Arnold, I am taking the vaunted 100th review spot. And the Mayflower Pale Ale is well deserving of this honor, because it epitomizes the essence of this crusade, which was to try and find as many good beers that are out there. Sure I can go into most liquor stores, pick up a six pack of Beer Crusade's lone Hall of Fame Beer, Dale's Pale Ale, but where is the fun in that? I want to find the next Hall of Fame beer.
Mayflower Pale Ale is good pale ale. It has light bitterness, good malt flavoring, solid citrusy tones and a decent 4.9% ABV. It's a good beer for pretty much anytime, not too heavy, not too light. It's a safe choice and safe choices like this get a 3.0.
I am sure you expected a Hall of Famer or a Zero for number 100, but honestly you just can't pick Hall of Famers by looking at them, if you could I am sure there'd be a lot less 2.0s on the blog.
Sometimes, a good thing can also have unintended consequences. For example, the trend in the past 5 or so years is to make "extreme" beers, with massive quantities of hops and malts, leading to huge, robust flavors in every sip. The downside of this extreme beer movement is that older beers, made in traditional styles, tends to seem weak by comparison.
The Pale Ale from Troegs Brewing Co. is one of those traditional beers. While it is a great example of a pale ale, it seems like it is stuck in the past. It doesn't have "hops that will make you pucker", or "more malts than a bakery" or "so much alcohol we can't sell it legally". Instead, it is a refreshing, classic beer, and I definitely was impressed. It comes in at 5.4% ABV, with an attractive straw yellow color and a fresh, clean aroma. It ranks very high on the "drinkability" scale, with an easy-drinking taste and nothing offensive. You'll probably want to enjoy more than one of these beers.
Ranking = 3.5
Octoberfest beers are one of my favorite styles, and the 2009 Octoberfest beers are starting to arrive in stores. I'm going to start concentrating on Octoberfest. Let me know in the comments if there is a particular favorite of yours that I should try.
Just had to post this on the heels of KSA's brilliant Sierra Nevada Porter review. But I just read an article that two of our favorite brewers are collaborating on 2 beers. Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada are joining forces to brew two special beers this fall. Distribution will be limited, so keep an eye out. You can learn more here: Guess we have to make that road trip to Chico after all?
Hope everyone enjoys the weekend
I'll be honest. I'm a fan of Sierra Nevada. I generally think they do a great job with a number of different beers, and in general, you can't go wrong with their stuff. I'd love to tour their brewery some day...
So when I came across a "new" Sierra Nevada Porter recently, I was excited to try it. I figured that it would be terrific, and I was right. It is very much what a porter should be: dark brown color, flavors of smokiness and chocolate, a touch of hop bitterness. ABV of 5.6%, which is appropriate for the style. This is a great beer.
Here's the funny part: Sierra Nevada has been brewing this beer for 25+ years, and I've had it plenty of times before. But the label was recently redesigned, leading to intense confusion on my part. The current label can be seen to the left, and the old label is here.
I think the new label is a big improvement. The beer is still fantastic.
Rating = 4.0
Who's up for a trip to Chico, CA for the brewery tour?
Wachusett Brewing Co. in Massachusetts is definitely best known for their Blueberry Ale. It is their best seller and arguably their flagship product. They do make some other beers, many of which are worth a taste.
One of the newest products from Wachusett is Ryde Beer. Its made in a rye beer style, where rye is used in addition to grains and hops to create a unique flavor. It clocks in at 5.0% ABV. It is a pretty good example of the style, with a slightly sweet flavor and the sensation of lightness or freshness. But rye beer itself is not terribly popular, and this beer is a decent example of why that is the case. Mostly, the beer is "just there". There is nothing thrilling about it, really. It is easy drinking and not at all offensive, but that's not saying too much.
Rating = 2.0
I got this beer in a Wachusett mixed 12 pack, with Country Ale, Blueberry Ale, and Green Monsta Ale (which was reviewed last year). Everything but the Ryde Beer was well above average. But then, almost every mix pack has a sub-par component.
OK I admit it, if I am not driving the Lagunitas bandwagon, then I am riding shot gun. I am a huge fan of their beers. In fact if I were stuck on a deserted island and could only choose one brewer, I’d be hard pressed to choose between Lagunitas and Dogfish Head. The New Dogtown Pale Ale did not disappoint and has reaffirmed my devotion to this brewer. The Dogtown is on the lighter side of pale ales. It is very smooth. I would characterize the bitterness as unassuming, it’s there but chilling in the background. The flavor of the beer is definitely a combination of apples and hops, with the apple flavor paramount. The beer has a 6.4% ABV which is no joke. I give the New Dogtown a 4.0