Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery: Oktoberfest

Why hello there world wide web! Remember me? I'm baaaaaaaaack...

So it's a sad, yet happy time in the world. Sad because it's the end of summer. No more beach, no more bikini's, no more mosquito bites (wait, that's not a good thing), but it's a great thing because it means it's the season of fall beers, more specifically, Oktoberfest...

So to kick off the season, I decided to go with one of my favorite breweries, Brooklyn Brewery. Surprisingly enough, it's never been reviewed by the find men at beercrusade. Right off the bat, I was quite happy with my choice. It poured a nice healthy amber color which immediately made me happy. It didn't have a particularly strong odor (in the glass or in the bottle), but that didn't worry me all that much.

Taste... well I think the best word to describe it is balanced. It's mostly a carmel/malt/hoppy flavor which worked perfectly for me. This was my first go round with the Brooklyn Oktoberfest, but I'd be very interested in trying it on tap. The only drawback for me, and it's not really a drawback, is that it's only 5.5%abv. I expect (or hope) for a little more from a fall beer.

I really don't think you can go wrong with this Oktoberfest. As a matter of fact, I'm going to give it a very strong 4. It goes down easy, tastes great, is a perfect color .... really, no huge drawbacks. Go out and try some, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer of Lager, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket, MA

I know, it's been awhile. I've been pretty busy with life stuff so the beer writing took a bit of a backseat. A few weeks ago I went on vacation to the great escape, Cape Cod. Very relaxing. While there I picked up the Summer of Lager. It immediately shot up the charts of my favorite summer beers. It executed all the attributes of a great summer beer well; it was light, crisp, hoppy and citrusy. Not to mention a 6.25% ABV! I spent the remaining week of my vacation trying to hunt this down again, but to no avail. It's a little bit late in the season and I see the Ocktoberfests already creeping into the stores, so if you get a chance, go out and try the Summer of Lager. It's a 4.0!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maple Nut Brown Ale, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, CO

No Mas. I give up, I have tried the Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale and the biggest conclusion I have drawn from this beer is that I don’t like beers where a good portion from the flavor is nut based. The Tommyknocker wasn’t overly nutty like the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, but it was nutty enough where it threw me for a loop. The Tommyknocker was very sweet, from the maple syrup, yet also very dry. I wish the flavor was a bit more sugary and chocolatey tasting, more of a brown sugar I guess. The 4.5% ABV was solid as I wasn’t looking to knock myself out with one punch. The Maple Nut Brown Ale gets a very even 3.0.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hazards Ale, Wineglass Bay Brewing

These days, Tasmania is more well-known for its wines than its beers. However, while vacationing on the Freycinet peninsula, I discovered a gem of a brew, Hazards Ale. Its brewers, Wineglass Bay Brewing, are wine makers by trade, but a trial endeavor into brewing proved so successful that they decided to continue producing and selling their creation, Hazards Ale. Made from local Tasmanian barley and hops, Hazards Ale tastes like a traditional English ale: flavorful and smooth, with a very slight, pleasing bitterness and 5.2% ABV. Sadly, it's distribution is limited, and you'll have a tough time finding it outside of Tasmania.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tule Duck Red Ale, Buckbean Brewing Co., Reno, Nevada

Welcome to the Buckbean Brewing Co. Rubber Match. The Tule Duck Red Ale is the third of the Buckbean beers I have sampled, and so far I have had mixed reviews on the brewery. With trepidation I poured the Tule Duck into my stein and watched the frothy head emerge from the reddish brown sea of beer. The Red Ale was creamy with good malt flavoring. The beer ended with a nice fruity hop tone. I find that most red ales can go either way, and this one is definitely at the top of the spectrum. Yes, it comes in a can. Deal with it. Buckbean seems to be available only in the Nevada and the states surrounding it, so next time you are in Vegas, search it out. With a 6.2% ABV, you’ll at least get your bang for the buck. The Tule Duck Red Ale gets a 4.0.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little Creatures Bright Ale

After last winter’s assignment in Austria and Germany, I decided to renew my contract as Beer Crusade’s foreign correspondent and moved to Australia. It didn’t take me long to identify my new go-to beer, Coopers Ale, but it’s already been reviewed (and justifiably lauded) here on BC. Another recent favo(u)rite of mine is Little Creatures Bright Ale. The Little Creatures brewery is located in Freemantle, on the west coast of Australia, but they distribute nationally and also operate a beer hall in Melbourne. The Bright Ale lives up to its name, with a clear golden color and bright clean flavor with just a hint of citrus. It rings in at 4.5%ABV, which is fine, as you may drink multiple in one sitting. I did have trouble categorizing it, as it isn't a true summer brew but is bolder than your average lager, but I'll give this golden ale a 4.0.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dogfish Head: Aprihop

Hmmm... let's think this through. On one hand, its a hoppy beer, which is usually a very good thing. On the other hand, it has a fruit in it's title, which is usually a very bad thing.

But keeping to form, Dogfish Head has produced yet another tasty treat of a beer. The Aprihop is an interesting blend of hops and fruits. I'm kind of impartial on the subject of apricots, but I'm a big big fan of hops.

When first opened, the fruity aroma is quite prevalent. At the first sip, the hops are immediately present with the fruity/apricot flavor pulling up the rear. I've gotta say though, the marriage between the two is quite good. The taste wasn't quite as powerful as the aroma, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually thought it was close to perfectly balanced with neither the hops nor the fruit dominating. I wanted to like this beer because I'm a big Dogfish fan, and I'm glad I was proven correct. And with a hearty 7%abv, it'll also put a smile on your face after a long day of work.
I originally planned on giving this beer a very solid 3.5, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. So I cracked open another bottle and decided to go ahead and give it a 4. To me, a 4 is something you won't be disappointed with, something that you won't hesitate to buy again, and something that you'll get the occasional craving for, and this fits all of those.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pick Axe Pale Ale, Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, Co.

I have had a pretty good few weeks in the free beer department; it's almost as if Karma is helping me out after dumping all that cash on the Utopias. My amigo Downtown, gifted me some Tommyknocker Pick Axe Pale Ale and I feel quite indebted to him. It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a good American Pale and I was definitely looking forward to putting this one into a tall glass. The Pick Axe poured a nice orange brown color with modest head. The beer led off with a bitter hop first impression, melding into a caramel apple malt hop combination. Finishing with a crisp tasting, solid even bitterness. The Tommyknocker is a great example of how American Pale Ales should be constructed. The 6.2% ABV only solidifies this beer’s standing. Now only if I can get Downtown to gift me a few more! The Pick Axe Pale Ale gets a 4.0

Friday, April 23, 2010

Copper Hook Spring Ale, Redhook Brewery, Portsmouth, NH

Based on past experience, I usually avoid Redhook Brewery products, as I find myself disliking them. But a good copper ale is one of my favorite things, and I decided to give the Redhook Copper Hook a try. My mistake...

The color is a very nice copper/amber, but the aroma and taste are awash with caramel maltiness, almost like they tried to make a beer to replicate a Sugar Daddy. There is a touch of hop bitterness to combat the sweet caramel flavor, but not nearly enough. The caramel hit is especially jarring in the first sip, but that might be expectation vs. reality.

The beer is easy to drink, if you can stomach the sweetness, with an ABV of 5.8%.

I'm curious to see if the west coast version of this beer (which is served year-round) is different than the east coast version (which is a spring seasonal). For the record, I'm drinking the east coast seasonal version.

Rating = 1.5

I guess this one reaffirms my personal feelings on Redhook...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Purple Haze: Abita Brew

Well, another week, and another beer.
Abita Beer's Purple Haze is a raspberry wheat malt beer. I know what you're thinking, fruit beers are never good. And for the most part you'd be right with that statement, and this one doesn't do a whole lot to disprove that.

Once I saw it was from Louisiana though, I thought, this beer has to be good. Mostly because I went to a bachelor party once in New Orleans and that place was fantastic, so why wouldn't a beer from that fantastic place also be great? That being said, there wasn't really a whole lot to it. Not a whole lot of aroma (smelled like any other nondescript wheat beer), not a whole lot of taste, and only a slight taste of raspberry. The color was an orangey/cloudy combination. Not that I was expecting a whole lot, but I was expecting more. It reminded me of your everyday domestic beer really. I wouldn't turn down another one if it was handed to me at a barbecue, but I don't see myself picking up another sixer any time soon either. It's 4.2%abv, doesn't exactly knock your socks off either.

So not surprisingly, I'm going to give it a 2. It is what it is, just another beer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Orange Blossom Original Ale, Buckbean Brewing Co., Reno, Nevada

With the temperatures in the sixties and the cherry blossoms in full bloom in DC, I decided to crack a brew on my porch and enjoy a lazy Sunday evening. Looking for something light, I picked out the Buckbean Brewing Orange Blossom Original Ale, breaking my unwritten rule of reviewing the same brewer twice in a row.

Cracking open the can, I was overwhelmed with the scent of oranges. I poured the orange brown elixir into my stein and went to work, that's if you consider sipping beers in wicker chairs working. And work it was, the orange blossom water dominated this beer, and my palette could not stand up to the onslaught of orange.

I had hoped the beer would resemble a light summery ale, instead I got something that resembles one of those Belgians I have a hard time with. Perhaps the hefeweizen and Belgian lovers would find this style more appealing, however I did not. It is very rare that I can't finish a beer, and this I couldn't make it more than halfway through.

The Orange Blossom Original Ale has a 5.2% ABV, and it receives the lowest rating I've given in a long time, 0.5.

I have another Buckbean Brewing beer in my fridge. I hope it resembles the Black Noddy Lager more than the Orange Blossom.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Island Creek Oyster Stout, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series beers were generally very good? I found an exception: Island Creek Oyster Stout.

Like most stouts, this one is dark brown/black with a thin tan head. There is a striking aroma of the ocean - primarily driven by the smell of salt water. This aroma sensation carries over into the taste, as the first thing you taste is tinged with salt. Happily, the salty flavor is quickly washed away by the taste of a half-decent stout, followed by a lightly hopped aftertaste. There is some unpleasant metallic flavor as well, unfortunately.

Comparing this oyster stout to the recently reviewed Flying Fish offering, I definitely give the nod to Flying Fish. I don't know if their oysters are better or not, but their beer definitely is.

Rating = 2.0

Interesting, but unspectacular...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Haverhill Brewery: Homerun APA

Remember when you were a little kid, and on Christmas morning you'd sprint down those stairs to open up your presents? As you sat there ripping off wrapping paper there was always that inevitable disappointment when you opened up the socks, thinking it was a Transformer. Well that kind of sums up how I felt about the Homerun American Pale Ale.

Don't get me wrong, it's fine enough, it's just that I was expecting more I guess. Haverhill Brewery is a local brewery (for me at least), which made me want to love it that much more (gotta support the local guys right). It was good, just not knock your aforementioned socks off good.
I was expecting lots of hops, and got maybe one hop. Nothing about the flavor, aroma or color jumped out at me. The only thing I really noticed was the aftertaste which wasn't all that great and just wouldn't go away. The best thing about this beer? The label... can't go wrong there. Next time, I suggest they put more effort into their beer though, and less into the advertising (although I guess it worked on me). I'm going to give the beer a blah 2. Sure it's beer, it'll get the job done, but I won't be running out to grab another six pack.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weyerbacher Fireside Ale

For the record, I'm a big Weyerbacher fan. If I could find a reason to travel to PA, I'd love to hit their brewery. I've had a bunch of their different brews and have yet to be disappointed, so when I saw the Fireside Ale on the shelf, I just had to give it a whirl...

The Fireside Ale is surprisingly aptly named. Meaning that it gives of a hint of a smokey flavor (nothing overpowering, just a taste) that actually really works. The light carbonation and wee bit of sweet caramel help this beer go down easily.

At 7.5%abv, and coming only in a four pack, this beer is perfectly packaged. Although the four pack tends to disappoint me (leaves me two less beers to drink, which is sad), I'm starting to get used to it as I'm seeing it more and more on the shelves. I'm going to give this beer a solid 4 because I really liked the smokey flavor and was shocked at just how good it was. Off the top of my head, I can't think of another beer where I could really taste the smokey flavor, but would love to try another one. Anyone have any suggestions?
Overall, I highly recommend picking some up next time you're out and about.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Black Noddy Lager, Buckbean Brewing Co., Reno, Nevada

So a couple of months ago I received an email telling me that there was a brewer in Nevada looking for some bloggers to post some reviews. I joined Twitter, sent a message and a few weeks later a box containing three varieties of Buckbean Brewing Co's beer showed up on my door. Due to the arctic cold that had descended on my doorstep this past weekend, I decided that the Black Noddy Lager was the way to go.

After travelling over 2,800 miles to reach my doorstep, I was a bit concerned whether the beers would tolerate the trip well, especially leaving the warmth of the Left Coast for the freezing temps of the East. I poured the Black Noddy into one of my favorite steins and hoped for the best. The Noddy was as black as advertised and poured with a monstrous tan frothy head. The taste matched its aroma of roasted coffee. There was a twinge of bitterness, but the beer finished very smooth. Halfway through my glass any concerns how the beer survived its Eastern journey were dispelled. Per my legal obligation I must mention that yes, this is a micro-brew served in a can. I’d have to say the biggest disappointment regarding the Black Noddy is that it only appears to be available in Nevada and California, which are two places I do not live. I think if you are looking for a dark beer with a Guinness feel, you wouldn’t be remiss to consider the Black Noddy. The Black Noddy gets a 4.0.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

312 Urban Wheat Ale

So I'm in my local beer store this evening, perusing the fine beer selection. My wife is being zero help, and keeps pointing out things I've already had. Luckily, a gentleman searching for his next six pack stepped up and recommended the 312 Urban Wheat Ale from the Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago.

Mr. Random Beerman, I salute you..

Like you typical wheat beer, it poured a very pale yellow with just enough head to get by. The smell of lemons immediately jumped out at me, but not in a bad way. It wasn't overpowering, just enough to get noticed. And boy did it go down smooth. No bitter aftertaste, just nice and sweet and smooth. Compared to other wheat beers, it doesn't exactly bring down the house, but for a nice drinking beer on a warm summer's nice, this would fit the bill perfectly. I'm going to give it a 3, but that's a good three, not a bad one. Once the weather turns nice where ever you are, pick up a six pack, grab a few friends and enjoy a pop or two out on the patio. And at 4.2%abv, you can afford to have a couple without getting the spins...

Mama's Little Yella Pils, Oskar Blues Brewing Co., Lyons, CO

So the Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils has been sitting in my fridge a few weeks. Even though I am a huge fan of Oskar Blues, I am not a fan of pilsners. Until recently, when Sam Adams Noble Pils has turned into my spring beer of choice. So after a long day of un-finishing my basement due to the Lord redecorating my basement from Sports Basement to Indoor Pool, I poured the Yella Pils into a stein and sat down. The beer is yellow, it's not pale, it's yellow. The Pils also poured monstrous head. My first sip revealed a very crisp, refreshing taste, followed by a bitterish twinge at the finish. There is a smoothness to the Pils you don't find in it's contemporaries. The Pils carries a 5.3% ABV, solid, and of course the media requires that I point out this is a craft brew that is served in a can as opposed to a bottle. Mama's Little Yella Pils garners a 3.5 in my book, appraoching a 4.0

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


But we're experiencing technical difficulties. Ok not really, it's just that I once again picked a beer (Ithaca Beer Co. Casca Zilla) that has already been reviewed. So instead of giving it the same review (I agreed with the previous posting of a 4), I'll run to the beer store tomorrow and find something new and interesting to try.

So sorry for the lack of a review today, but I'll have one posted Wednesday night.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ginger Wheat, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA

Part of the ongoing, limited-edition Harpoon 100 Barrel Series. The Harpoon Ginger Wheat is one of the most interesting beers that I've had in a while. As you can expect from the name, the flavor of ginger is prominent and unmistakable, as is the aroma. Yet the beer is good enough to be complimented by the ginger instead of being overwhelmed.

The ginger imparts an interesting spicy taste to the beer, and gives a sensation of warmth on your tongue. Of course, the ABV of 7.0% probably helps. The venerable Sam Adams Summer Ale has a similar spicy flavor. The Ginger Wheat is kind of similar to the Sam Summer, with hints of lemon and a lighter body, but with much more of the spice. It is actually quite a refreshing beer, and would probably be great with sushi.

Rating = 4.0

I've almost always enjoyed the Harpoon 100 Barrel beers and find them to be generally underrated. Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Best Ale:Strangford Lough Brewing Co.

Well with today being St. Patrick's day, I thought it would be fitting to review a beer called St. Patrick's Best Ale. I've never heard of it before and just happen to stumble upon it in the beer store today, so I figured why the heck not.

I must say I was blessed with the luck of the Irish. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good this beer is. It's brewed by the Strangford Lough Brewing Company out of Northern Ireland, so you know it has to be at least half decent. It's a relatively new company, so you might not have heard of them yet. The beer poured a nice rich amber color with a healthy head which lasted throughout the entire glass. It's odor was mostly malty with a wee bit o' fruit thrown in there.

I was really surprised with just how easily it went down. No bitter aftertaste, not overly carbonated, just a good drinkin' beer. I'd call it a very drinkable beer. Overall, I'm going to give it a solid 3. Nothing spectacular, just a respectable go to beer. And with a so-so 4.2%abv, it won't exactly knock your socks off, which isn't the worst thing ever. It basically allows you to have couple of pops and call it a night. If you're out and about and see it, I'd definitely recommend giving it a whirl.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Geary's Pale Ale, D.L. Geary Brewing Co., Portland, ME

I am always a little disappointed when I pick out a Pale Ale and it's more an English Pale than an American Pale Ale. That is the case when I picked out the Geary's Pale Ale. The Geary's was more bitter than malty. The malt was highlighted honeyish and dry apple tones. Still, despite all this, the beer was decent. The 4.5% ABV is decent.
Funny thing about this beer, at the bar Geary's was served, it was described as the first Microbrewery east of the Mississippi, something that is essentially said on the website as well. I think since Yeungling was America's Oldest Brewery, why isn't that considered the first micro brewery? Right? Oh well, the Geary's Pale Ale gets a 3.0.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Red Racer IPA: Central City Brewery

So I did it again...

Without realizing it, I seemed to have reviewed a beer that has already been reviewed. In my quest to seek out the ultimate canned beer, I didn't double check to make sure it hasn't already been tried...

Well too bad for you guys I guess, because I'm going to give you my two cents anyway. For the second week in a row, I'll be reviewing a wonderful canned beer. Red Racer IPA produced by Central City Brewery out of Vancouver. They seem to have a decent variety of beers, so I'm assuming I'll give each of them a whirl in due time. But as for the Red Racer, I say if you see it, buy it. Apparently it won the best beer in British Columbia in 2008-09, but isn't that kind of like being named the toughest guy in France? I mean who's their competition, Molson?

Overall though, it comes across very IPA'y, meaning that the hops jump out at you immediately, however, I seemed to be left with a malty aftertaste. If you're an IPA fan, you'll definitely want to check this out. And at a decent 6.5%abv, it's got a decent kick to it too. I'm going to give it a sold 3. I want to go higher, but my gut is telling me to stay with the three.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Imperial IPA, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Beer Crusade is lucky enough to have reviewed the West Coast IPA from Green Flash a few months ago. I consider myself even luckier to have the opportunity to enjoy that beer's big brother, the Imperial IPA.

As you'd expect from something with "imperial" in the name, this beer pushes the envelope on hop flavors and ABV (9.4%). The hops are ever-present in this beer, imparting a citrus-y flavor and a sensation of freshness. Despite the hop onslaught, this beer is very drinkable and quite tasty.

Frankly, I think this is a great beer, and a top-notch example of a Californian IPA. The biggest downside is that the alcohol is a bit "hot" at times, giving a touch of "burn" to the flavor and drowning out a touch of the hoppy goodness.

Rating = 4.0

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

21st Amendment: Brew Free or Die IPA

So three great things happened to me tonight. First, my wife's best friend called and they talked for about an hour enabling me to watch the Bruins and the Celtics without interruption. Second, LOST, the best show on tv, was on. And third, I discovered my holy grail of beers; a beer that tastes great out of the can.
I've had my fair share of beers out of the can, usually something see thru and cheap though. About seven years ago, we discovered Dale's Pale Ale which comes in the can and is absolutely fantastic. This beer however, gives Dale's a run for their money.
The 21st Amendment brewery is out in San Francisco and what a job they did with the Brew Free or Die IPA. I can't really comment on the color, because it never touched a glass, but what I can say is that the malt and hops jump out at you immediately at that first sip. Not overpowering, just a very nearly perfect combination. And at 7%abv, it's got a little punch to it too. It's not perfect, but wow is it good. I'm going to give this beer a strong 4, with no reservations. In a review posted last September, Beer Crusade gave it a 3.5. I happen to like it more than he does, so maybe I'll have to pick up a sixer and let KSA being the deciding vote...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cascazilla, Ithaca Beer Co., Ithaca, NY

Sitting down to watch the USA Canada Gold Medal Hockey game this weekend, I knew I had to have everything just right. Doritos? Check. Bugles? Check. Labatt's? Um, NO. I needed to have an American beer. I couldn't afford to leave things to chance, you know how Miller is from Millewaukee but owned by South African Brewing; so I went with an Ithaca Cascazilla Red Ale, born and brewed in Ithaca, NY a mere 5 hour drive from Lake Placid, home of USA Hockey's greatest triumph. Now I was ready for the game.
We've joked a few times on the site that IPAs are easy to spot because they often have hokey names derived from hops, Hop Devil, Hoptical Illusion etc. So imagine my surprise when I realize that the Cascazilla is not an IPA, it's a Red. Granted I had some beers prior to picking this beauty out at the store so my judgement may have been impaired. However popping off the cap of the brew you are immediately hit with an aroma of hops, so to the blind eye you may still be thinking IPA. However once the beer is poured and you see the rich dark color of the beer, it is clearly not an IPA. The picture on the left totally captures the foaming head that emerges from the glass as the beer is poured. The caramel malt synchs perfectly with the hops and creates a smooth flavor which ends with a just a hint of bitterness as the hops get in the last word edgewise. The beer also has a nice 7% ABV.
Now, the US didn't win, which was sad. But I found this great new beer, which was good. How good? 4.0 good. Definitely keep an eye out for this one because I won't be sharing the remaining 5 I have at my house.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bayshore Oyster Stout, Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, NJ

The Bayshore Oyster Stout is part of a limited series named after the exits on the Jersey Turnpike (Oyster Stout represents Exit 1). I've never had anything from the Flying Fish Brewing Co., but I'm going to keep them in mind.

The concept of a beer brewed with oysters is a bit bizarre. Would people with shellfish allergies be able to consume this beer? Is the oyster like a tequila worm, waiting at the bottom of the bottle? Is this going to taste totally gross?

Good news - no visible oysters in my beer, and the taste is actually quite good. The flavor and feel of this beer is definitely the highlight. There is a very nice maltiness, with a creamy and smooth feeling on the tongue. The aroma of smoked malt is pervasive, as you'd expect. Basically, this is a very smooth and creamy stout. I get a minor hint of salt, but I really have to think about it to notice. The creaminess successfully hides the 7.0% ABV.

Rating = 3.0

Oddly, I'll be reviewing another Oyster Stout next week. I received two as gifts recently, having never had an oyster stout.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Penobscot Bay Brewery: Old Factory Whistle Scottish Ale

So I know it's a little boring, but I'm reviewing beers from the same brewery in back to back weeks. In last weeks review, I gave their only other beer a simple 2. This week, well this week was better, but not ticker tape parade better.

Penobscot Bay Brewery's Old Factory Whistle Scottish Ale came in a 22oz bottle (as did it's brother beer, the blonde ale) and when poured into a Sam Adams glass produced a rather thick head. The beer itself poured cloudy, but quickly cleared up into a dark reddish brown color. I didn't immediately notice a whole lot of aroma to it though.

Normally, I'm a fan of a scottish ale, but this one was just kind of there. The first sip wasn't all that appealing to me, but after that the beer went down quite easily. Carmel seemed to be the predominant flavor, and I think it's abundance caught me off guard. After adjusting to that first sip, I rather enjoyed the rest of the beer. I'm going to give this one a middle of the road 2.5, but I'm reserving the right to review it again at a later date. It just wasn't what I was expecting and I think that threw me off a little. Methinks that next time I'm in Maine, I'll pick some up for my fellow Beer Crusaders to try, as I'd love to hear their opinions..

Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Victorious Dopplebock, Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA

So I didn't post last week, I was a bit under the weather, seems I got sick at Eileen's going away party. So the only alcohol I have been getting has been from the NyQuil. So even though I got sick, I had a fun time at the party drinking the Noble Pils and more importantly on the way home I visited one of my favorite liquor stores, Bauer Wine & Spirits where I found some Victory St. Victorious Dopplebock. I was excited to find the beer as Dopplebocks (aka Double Bocks) have always scored well with me in the past. I poured the St. Victorious into my usual stein and noticed the minimal head amongst the tiny carbonation bubbles. The beer tasted of coffee and left you with a bitter bite of hops and carbonation in the aftertaste. Although the beer is measured at 7.6% ABV, there wasn't an alcohol impact in the taste. The St. Victorious was good, but not great. I think if Victory had added some more chocolate malt to give it a richer taste to combat the bitterness I would have enjoyed it much more. That being said, I give the St. Victorious a 3.5.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Saranac Irish Stout, Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY

Saranac, a brand of the Matt Brewing Co. in upstate New York, has been around for a while (over 120 years), making them one of the oldest breweries in the US. The Irish Stout is one of their newest offerings, effectively replacing the Saranac Stout in the lineup. Not sure if the Irish Stout is also going to go into the venerable Saranac Black and Tan...

The Irish Stout is entirely what you would expect. Dark, nearly black body, tan head, mild aroma of toasted malt. The taste is spot-on, with maltiness, smokiness, and only a tinge of metallic/sour aftertaste. The sourness is quickly covered up by a slight sweetness, with a pleasant smoky finish. Basically, the Irish Stout is what you would expect: good quality beer true to the style.

The Irish Stout easily outpaces the Guinness 250 Anniversary, which I recently reviewed. I'd much rather have a couple of Irish Stouts.

Rating = 3.5

Great label, too...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Penobscot Bay Brewery: Whig Street Blonde Ale

Who out there loves a good blond? Me? I've always been a brunette kind of guy, and the Whig Street Blonde Ale kept true to my policy.

I'm not a huge fan of blonde ales, mostly because I haven't found one that totally tickled my taste buds. Most, in my experience, tend to be decent, but not exactly the most flavorful beer in the world. This beer poured a decent clearish amber color with little head. It went down smooth (as most blondes do), but there really wasn't much too it (another trait of the blonde). It was very drinkable, but not something I'm going to seek out. Mostly, I see this beer as a warm summer afternoon drink.

This would normally be the spot where I give you the alcohol content, but its neither on the bottle, nor on the website. I can tell you though, I had two glasses in one night, and my lightweight self didn't feel a thing. I'm going to guess it's somewhere in the high 4%abv. Not that it was a bad beer, but it just really didn't do anything for me, so I'm going to have to give it a rather mundane 2.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Feature

Hey Everyone check out the new feature on the blog. On the right hand column are links to all the brewers we have reviewed. Another handy feature that we hope you enjoy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baltic Porter - Leviathan Series, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA

The Baltic Porter is part of Harpoon Brewery's Leviathan Series - big beers sold in 4 packs. Somehow, despite our appreciation for well-made beers, we've managed to avoid reviewing anything from Leviathan (at least, since BC's review of the Imperial IPA in 2008).

Traditionally, a Baltic Porter is kind of a cross between a traditional English Porter and an Russian Imperial Stout. Basically, a well-made, smoky porter plus high alcohol and big presence. For this one, the ABV of 9.5% leads the way. From the first sip, there is a warming sensation, tempered by a slightly sweet flavor. The roasted malt aroma and taste dominates, including a nice smoked flavor. There is no real hop aroma or taste, and the scent of fruit (cherries?) and dark chocolate are very prominent.

For a beer with such a high ABV, this one is very easy to drink. Smooth and silky on the tongue. Very nice.

Rating = 4.0

There are a bunch of other beers from the Leviathan Series, and I've got them on my list. Based on the Baltic Porter, I'm looking forward to seeing what else Harpoon has in store.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sam Adams: Noble Pils

Two Sam Adams reviews in a row, sorry about that. Not the best of timing for my review, but it is billed as a spring beer, and February is the month where we could all use a taste of spring.

Noble Pils is the newest concoction brewed up by our wonderful friends over at Sam Adams. They used five different kinds of hops to brew it, and although my pallet isn't the most refined thing in the world, I swear you can taste each one, with some honey thrown in for good measure.

I hate to sound blasphemous, but this beer reminded me of a much better version of a Budweiser. It had a similar color and head, but more to the aroma and of course taste. It's a relatively normal 5.2%abv, so it doesn't pack much of a punch, but it does go down quite easily. I haven't had it out of the bottle, only on tap so far, but it has yet to disappoint. The taste makes me wish it was a warm summer day sitting out on the patio, but the cold snowy February night quickly brings me back to reality. Overall, I'm going to give it a solid 3.5. It was quite good, but not quite up to a 4 in my book, although I would be curious to hear what my fellow Beer Crusaders had to say.

Try it, you won't be disappointed...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Samuel Adams Utopias, Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA

Let’s be honest, if you throw some barley and hops into something, we’re most likely to give it a try, but the Samuel Adams Utopias is a different kind of beast. Dropping $150 to $200 on 24 ounces of beer seems a bit ludicrous, but at a world record 27% ABV you have to be getting your money’s worth, right? That being said, I picked up the Utopias at a local liquor store, despite the shuddering of my bank account and chose to suffer this challenge for the benefit of you, the readers. I would like to point out that finding a bottle of Utopias in these parts would be considered a modern day Labor of Hercules, no one was carrying it, and if someone did have it, well they were talking $200. After being shut out of pretty much every reputable liquor store I can think of, I was hit by a proverbial lightning bolt and called upon the liquor store near my office that is best known for selling singles of PBR to the area transients. My thought process being, if they can only afford singles, I doubt they are dropping the cash for the Utopias. On a dusty shelf high above the cash register, there laid my Utopias.

I immediately hit the beer forums looking for suggestions on serving and storage. Unlike typical beers, the Utopias can be resealed, and thus does not need to be drunk in one sitting. In fact when the forum thought this was my plan several frantic posts about alcohol poisoning were posted. I mean I’m dumb, but I’m not dumb. Thankfully one of the posters suggested I read the tag on the beer and order the free (+ shipping & handling) Utopias glass that Sam Adams had made especially for the beer. I patiently waited for my glass and once it arrived I looked forward to Saturday.

On Saturday I gingerly opened the brew kettle shaped bottle, popped off the underlying cap. A quick whiff of alcohol followed by sugary sweet maple syrup aromas caught my olfactory senses. I nervously poured out 2 ounces of perhaps the most expensive drink ever into my Utopias glass. The absence of carbonation was quite noticeable. The reddish brown liquid filled about a third way up the glass. I lifted the glass to my lips and hesitated. I was 98% scared, 2% excited or maybe the other way around. The beer had stopped me in my tracks and I questioned whether I had put the Utopias too high on the pedestal. My wife eyed me with an air of suspicion with a bit of a grin. She could read my mind and when she saw my expression as I raised the glass and took my first sip, she whooped “You Hate It!” I can only haphazard to guess my expression; I surmise it resembled the look on Roger Rabbit’s face whenever he drank alcohol. My eyes bulged, my nostrils flared, my ears whistled and my bow tie spun. But my wife was wrong. My palette was just not used to the senses I had just inflicted upon myself. The malt, the hops, and the alcohol layered one on top of the other as if it had been put together by one of the Old Masters. The initial taste was like candied dry fruits, prunes, plums and raisins. The alcohol made a fiery passage through the mouth and up into your nose. The bitterness of the hops mimicked the bitterness you’d typically find in a wine as opposed to a beer. The viscosity of the Utopias resembled something too silky to be liquid. And let it be known the beer is GOOD.

I spent nearly 40 minutes with my Utopias, taking small sips here and there, in my life I doubt a beer has ever lasted that long once it had reached my clutches; I am not one to nurse a beer. During this time I pondered the rating for the Utopias and it definitely had me twisting and turning. I typically don’t like reviewing beers unless I have had a full 12 ounces to sample, to catch everything in 2 ounces is tough. Also I had a hard time thinking about the Utopias as a beer, its more cognac than beer. Alas, I found myself calling this a 4.0. The Utopias I feel is something you have to be in the mood for, and it’s something I feel I will occasionally sip, but only at the right time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

250 Anniversary Stout, Guinness Brewery, Dublin, Ireland

Amazing, isn't it? Guinness was celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of their St. James Gate brewery, and decided to use the momentous occasion to introduce a limited edition stout. Great idea, really. Too bad it seems like a lot of marketing and only a touch of brewing.

As you'd expect from a stout, the 250 Anniversary is nearly totally black, with a light brownish head. It tastes just like a Guinness, but with a bit more to the body, almost like the difference between 1% and 2% milk. The aroma is unremarkable and a bit lost, coming through in spots with roasted malts and coffee smells. It is a bit stronger than the usual Guinness stout at 5% ABV, but not really noticeable.

Here's the thing: from the company that is synonymous with "stout", I expect something really special for their 250th anniversary. Like liquid gold in stout form. This beer is not nearly that good. You'll never tell your kids, "I had a Guinness 250 Anniversary, once, and I'll never have a beer like that again." And that is why I'm highly disappointed in this one.

Does this beer suck? No, you can drink it and enjoy a decent, quality product. Is it special in any remarkable way, like something that would be suitable for a 250th anniversary? No way. It'd be like getting a Fudgie the Whale cake for someone's 100th birthday.

Rating = 2.0

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boont Amber Ale

So I moved recently, which is good and bad. Good because I'm in a new place in a great location, but bad because I'm leaving the best beer store ever behind. Sure I could make the half hour trip over, and I'm sure I will from time to time. But for now, I have to go exploring in my new neighborhood. Tonight brought me a nice new treat, Boont Amber Ale.

Brewed by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in California, this beer... well this beer was basically a middle of the road beer. Nothing amazing about it, but nothing horrible about it either. Nothing that makes me regret buying the sixer, but nothing urging me to rush out and buy more.

At a rather pedestrian 5.8%abv, this beer doesn't pack much of a punch either. It did however pour a very healthy inch plus head and a great dark amber color. Everything about it was just.. okay. I feel like my fellow Beer Crusaders and I could have brewed this in our kitchen, so I'm going to give it an ordinary rating of 2.5. Like I said, nothing great, but nothing horrible.

Monday, February 1, 2010

India Pale Ale, Southampton Publick House Ales & Lagers, Southampton, NY

Looking out of the BC castle this weekend at the snow covered grounds, I was definitely hit with a tad of seasonal affective disorder, aka the winter blues for you guys not trying to busy yourself with big words. So when I opened my fridge I wanted a beer that would take me the way of summer and sun, and what better to do so than a beer from the Hamptons, Southampton Publick House India Pale Ale. The beer poured a frothy head with tiny little hop bobbles dotting the top. The coloring was a medium brown with an orange tinge and most importantly it smelled of beautiful hops. The Southampton hit me with a quick kick of bitter, that not only surprised me but dominated the malt. The hops definitely brought an apricot taste. The malt fought a good fight against the hops, but in the end the bitterness won out. Now, the Southampton wasn’t overly bitter to be disagreeable, but it had an edge that could have used a tad more hop balance. The 6.1% ABV is solid. As is the rating at a 3.0

By the way now that Jersey Shore has been renewed for Season 2, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jersey Shore: Hitting the Hamptons on next year and The Situation holding court at the Southampton Publick House.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Urbock 23, Schloss Eggenberg, Austria

In Austria, bocks are normally available only around Christmas and Easter. On the day before I left Vienna, I spotted a double bock on the shelf at the grocery store and decided it was my destiny to give it a try. Urbock 23 is a doppelbock made by Schloss Eggenberg and is most well-known for its high alcoholic content of 9.6%ABV. In fact, the label on the back of the bottle describes the brew as "the Cognac of Beers." (Not to be confused with "the Champagne of Beers," which is something else entirely.) The Urbock 23 is surprisingly light and clear in color with a subtle creamy flavor. For a high alcohol content beer, it is incredibly smooth. For this aspect, it earns my highest rating yet, a 4.5. If you're not careful, you could down a a bottle too many and end up wondering where you left your pants. I've always been partial to Belgians, but after the Urbock 23, I'm going to start keeping my eye out for double bocks.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Mission, 724 Huntington Ave, Mission Hill, Boston, MA

So the other day, I was in the city and decided to meet Pale Ale Guy for a drink. Unfamiliar to the particular section of the city, I used an IPhone application to pick the bar closest to where I was going to be and lo and behold it spit out The Mission, in Mission Hill, a neighborhood of Boston. The bar is very non-descript on the outside and was sparsely filled when I arrived on a late, lazy weekend afternoon.

Pale Ale Guy was already waiting at the bar and we had our pick of seats. I picked a seat with no taps in front of it and sat down to look at the beer menu. Immediately I was surprised. They had a beer selection of over 80 beers broken out by style, a very impressive list for a place that is pretty small to be carrying such a supply of bottled and draught beers. I went with a Flashback Brown from Boulder Brewing and sat back to enjoy.

As I mentioned, the bar wasn’t overly crowded, but I’d have to say the bar service was top notch. The bartender was knowledgeable on all beers served, was able to make suggestions based on my whims for the afternoon, and allowed me some small samples of the draught beers I was thinking about ordering, as well as some samples of things the staff thought I might like. When you have bartenders like this, it makes for an easy afternoon and you can really put down the beer list and let the bartender take care of you. Since moving to Boston, I have found these kinds of interactions with bartenders rare. Typically you have to build a longstanding relationship with a bartender to earn the perks Pale Ale Guy and I were getting, but I have found that in beer bars you are more likely to have these situations, especially if you are willing to take risks, speak somewhat intelligently about beer, and not order some mass market popular beer.

My only negative thoughts about The Mission are, I wish they would list Brewer, ABV and size of beer on their beer menu and the fact our bartender ended their shift without closing out with us and receiving the benefit of our appreciation. Of course once the bartender closed out so did we, as we enforced Vegas rules, when you’re on a hot streak with a dealer, you close out when they do.

In summation, if you are in Boston and looking for a good beer bar, I would definitely suggest you swing by The Mission. They have trivia Sunday nights and seem to be quite busy on weekend nights. The food was good and if I were to rate my experience on the beer scale I'd give it easily a 4.5.
It's been awhile since we've done a beer bar review, and we should do more of them, but after our experience at The Mission and the fact Eileen posted on Monday giving me a good excuse to skip my posting duties for Monday, I thought I'd contribute a bar review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sierra Nevada: Torpedo Extra IPA

Once upon a time there was a guy, and this guy loved him some hops. Then one day, this guy found Sierra Nevada Torpedo and lived happily ever after, the end.

Good story huh... I happen to know that guy and know for a fact that this beer was really quite very good. It really should come as no huge surprise though, Sierra Nevada tends to put out a consistently above average product. Matter of fact, I've only had one beer of theirs I didn't like, and that was the Christmas brew, about five years ago. I'm convinced I just got a bad batch or something though.

Some IPA's sacrifice the taste just so they can say they have "twice the hops", or whatever, but this beer does nothing of the sort. Very smooth tasting for an extra hoppy beer, so much so that although the hops are the dominant flavor, they're not the only flavor. It's scent is what you'd expect from an IPA, citrus-y, but it's not overly done. Really, this is one of the best extra IPA's I've had in a long long time.

If you're looking for some extra hops, try the Torpedo. I'm going to give it a 4, which may sound high, but trust me, you'll agree after tasting it for yourself. And at 7.2%abv, that doesn't exactly hurt it's cause.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Starobrno Altbrünner Gold, Starobrno Brewery, Czech Republic

My latest beer remains something of a mystery. While in Vienna, I attempted to order a local Austrian beer on tap and ended up with the Starobrno Altbrünner Gold. The fact that the brewery's name appears to be missing a vowel should have been a signal that something was amiss. It turns out that the Starobrno Brewery is in the Czech Republic, not in Austria. Since the website is Czech, I have no idea what it says, although I do find the music chipper. According to Google Translate, the Altbrünner Gold is "A beer in the style of the Brno tradition. It's been around for several centuries a symbol of the Moravian brewing. A tasty beer, a light amber color and full, hopfigem taste." Hofpigem? I'd characterize this brew with its 5.0% ABV as a light lager. It was okay but a little on the bland side, so I'll give it a 2.5 out of 5.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

840 Imperial IPA, Stone Coast Brewing, Portland, ME

This one is a bit of a mystery. At my local beer retailer, I noticed the Stone Coast Brewing Co. 840 Imperial IPA. I'd never heard of the brewery, even though they are relatively nearby in Portland, ME.

The beer is decent. Nice color, sort of brown-ish copper. There is a bit of sediment in the bottle, due to the secondary bottle conditioning that Stone Coast uses to raise the beer from an IPA to an IIPA. Tastes good too, with a heavy hop presence initially, followed by a slightly sour malt aftertaste.

Here's the strange part: Stone Coast apparently went out of business in 2008. Happens all the time, right? So why the heck did I find this beer in 2010? I guess that it is possible that another brewery bought the Stone Coast brand and recipes, but I can't find anything about it. I like to think that there is a beer distributor truck with Back to the Future capabilities, or something...

For a 2 year old beer, it was not bad. I have no idea if the apparent aging improved the beer or not, but at least it is a good story.

Rating = 3.0

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Echt Kriekenbier

And I wish I could pronounce it too.. that aside, what a splendid little beer I stumbled onto.

Echt Kriekenbier is a Belguim cherry ale. Now it's not quite as fruity as other framboise's I've had, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Underneath the ample cherry flavor was a pretty good beer, and the two flavors actually worked quite well together.

It poured a redish brown which produced a pinkish head of about an inch or so. That sounds kind of dirty, doesn't it? Nothing about this beer was dirty though, just plain goodness. Most fruit beers tend to overwhelm the pallet, killing the beer and giving off too much sweet flavor. This beer did a very good job of balancing the two tastes.

It weighs in at 6.8%abv, which isn't too shabby either. Overall, I'd say those crazy Flemmish folk are onto something good... I'm going to give it a 3.5. I'd like to go higher, but it's not quite a 4. I can see it being a good spring beer, sitting out on the patio, having a couple, before the heat of summer hits.

Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Bad Köstritz, Germany

Thus far, my favortie of the German beers has been the Köstritzer Schwarzbier from the Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei (Köstritzer Black Beer Brewery- "schwarz" means "black" in German and the umlaut was added for toughness), one of the few German breweries known for its dark beers. Despite the appearance, schwarzbier does not taste anything like a stout- it's more like a dark Belgian, in that it looks heavy but tastes lighter than expected and feels refreshing rather than filling. The flavor is roasty and malty but very smooth and not at all overpowering. If you're looking for a German beer that's little fuller than your typical pils or helles, Köstritzer Schwarzbier is an excellent choice. So far, I've only had it on tap but I will try to sample the bottled version as well. 4.8% ABV and a solid 4.0 on the Eileen scale. May the schwarz be with you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Augustiner Helles, Munich, Germnay

For my first Beer Crusade review, I deemed it appropriate to try one of Munich's most popular beers, the Augustiner Helles, straight from the tap. This light lager ("Hell" in German) is the top-selling variety from the Augustiner-Brau, a brewery in existence since 1328. The helles goes through double fermentation and like all beers from the region, is subject to the Bavarian Purity Law stipulating that the only ingrdients shall be grain, hops, and water. "He who knowingly violates these laws will be summarily fined!"

I found the Augustiner Helles to be light, mild, and inherently drinkable, which is a good thing considering it is typically served in one liter glass mugs. Its ABV is 5.2%, so a few too many mugs of Helles could earn you a visit to one of Oktoberfest's famed vomit troughs. I tend to prefer darker, more flavorful beers but something about drinking a giant mug of beer at 11:30am while surrounded by German men eating sausages scored the Augustiner Helles an extra half point in my book for a 3.5 rating.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Racer IPA, Central City Brewing Co., Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

My compadres in arms here at Beer Crusade and I have always shared info on liquor stores, but in the last 18 months or so we've found ourselves living in the same area which means we're constantly fighting over beer stores since we've been slowly depleting what's available to us. So as luck would have it, I was referred to 2 new stores this week and I am keeping them to myself. And one of the lucky stores provided me with this week's entry Red Racer IPA.

Now the picture doesn't show it, but if you check out the website you will see this is another canned beer, and like most of its predecessors on the site, it does not disappoint. The foamy goodness poured with a large head that took it's time to settle, and came out with a great orange hue. The hops provide a wonderful grapefruity citrus taste. That taste combines perfectly with the malt to create a strong tasting beer. There is heavy hop bitterness but not too much to detract from the beer. I tend to drink beers I am reviewing slowly, but I found myself gulping this one because it was so good. The 5.5% ABV is also solid. The Red Racer IPA gets a 4.5, look for the lady on the motorcycle in a store near you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

After Beer Crusade noted the lack of stout reviews, I decided to address the problem head on. Honestly, I'm glad that I did.

The Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is one of the best stouts that I've ever had. And they are quite serious about the blackness - this beer is totally dark, with no light coming through. This one pours into the glass like a cup of syrup. There is a very light aroma of bitter chocolate along with a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is terrific! Mildly bitter from the roasted malts, the flavor is mostly chocolate and coffee. There is a bit of heat from the alcohol, but not too bad. Brooklyn's website suggests that this beer would go well with chocolate desserts, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to try that combination. With an ABV of 10.1%, this beer is probably best described as "potent".

Rating = 4.0

Officially, this is an Imperial Stout, which is basically a stout with high ABV and strong malt flavors. This one fits the style very nicely.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brooklyn: Brown Ale

First, I would like to start off by apologizing to both my loyal readers. I'm in the midst of moving, and forgot to post my review last night. I did my penance by only having one drink tonight, as opposed to the usual 12 pack.

Now, I first discovered the Brooklyn Brewery about five years ago and immediately fell in love with them. Their book is fantastic and it's totally my dream to emulate their success. I haven't loved all their brews, but for the most part I've been a big big fan. Tonight I decided to try the Brown Ale.

I've never had it before, and I gotta say it wasn't too shabby. I'd compare it to the Sam Adams Brown, with a more chocolaty taste to it. It only has a 5.6%abv, which is a little low compared to some of my recent reviews, but I was pretty happy with it overall. The chocolate definitely dominated and you could still taste the malt, but I was a little disappointed in the lack of hops. I'm going to give this brew a solid 3. Not out of this world spectacular, but without a doubt worth a six pack purchase.

Big Announcement Number 2

First of all let me address the picture on the left, as you can see we totally dedicate all financial resources to our graphic design team. I almost just scrapped this version because the purple “B.C.” reminded me of Batman when the Joker went into the museum and started putting smileys and dollar signs on all the paintings (great cameo by Matthew Perry as "Man falls into soup"). This of course led to a serious internal discussion of which Joker was better, Nicholson’s or Ledger’s, after twenty minutes I forgot what started me on this Joker path and just left the picture as is.

Now for the Big Announcement Number 2, formerly Big Announcement Number 1 before it was scooped by Eileen. You all may recall a little tournament in May 2008 called the Major Beers Sweet 16 Tournament (see links here and here). Well for 2010 we wanted to do something a little different, we’re talking a Beer World Cup. The 2010 Beer World Cup will pit 16 beers across several continents against each other for World Domination. Now we still are in the planning stages, but there will be some simple guidelines in place, like beers will have to be in similar styles and representative of that particular country. Of course as we know more we will pass along the details. Apparently Belgium is an early favorite. Please offer any beer suggestions you may have, as of right now, we are limiting the styles to lager/pale ale.

So keep an eye out for more information!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Announcement Number 1

O.K. yes Big Announcement Number 1, means that there will be Big Announcement Number 2 soon, but here goes, Beer Crusade has signed up it's first Foreign Beer Correspondent. Trusted drinker Eileen over at Divine Comedy of Errors has agreed to sample some wares on her 2 week European tour (you can read about her trip here) and send us in some reviews. It's a tough job, but we think she's up to the task. So please join us in welcoming Eileen to the Crusade.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hefe-Weizen, Paulaner Brewing Co., Munich, Germany

So, when looking over my options this week on what to review I came upon another entry for Green Flash Brewing Co. and thought I was all set. However the KSA pointed out that I had reviewed a Green Flash last week and well that’s a little boring to use the same brewery two weeks in a row. Even more disappointing is that the only reviewable beer left in my fridge was the Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. Some of you may not find that to be disappointing at all, however part of the reason I brought in KSA and PAG was because I hoped they would cover the beer styles I didn’t like. Needless to say me and the Hefe-Weizen had a date later that evening.

Hefeweizen are unfiltered wheat beers, pouring the Paulaner into my glass I immediately noticed how cloudy the orange brown liquid was. This coloring was offset by a foamy rich head. I found the floral bouquet to be quite distracting and enhanced by the effervescence of the brew before me. The beer has a light banana wheat taste with a honeyish tinge. The beer finishes very dry and I find it to be unquenching. The 5.5% ABV is adequate.

I give the Paulaner a 3.0, pretty generous I might add as these beers are not my cup of tea.
Speaking of things not my cup of tea, I have promised a big announcement, and it will happen either tonight or tomorrow so keep coming back until it does. And no, it is not Jersey Shore related, although it could be just as awesome but without the hair gel.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frye's Leap IPA, Sebago Brewing Co., Gorham, ME

We've reviewed Sebago Brewing Co. products on this site before, and last time they pulled in a middle-of-the-road 3.0. Apparently that was the high point.

The Frye's Leap IPA is apparently the flagship beer at Sebago. Normally, with an IPA, you'd expect a hit of hop aroma. Not in this beer. All of the hops are concentrated in the flavor, making it a bit bitter, though there are interesting flavors of citrus and sort-of pine. There is a lot of residue in the bottle, much like a homebrew, leading to a cloudy visual presentation. The ABV of 5.7% is not bad, but nothing special.

Let's just say, if you brewed this beer at home in a Mr. Beer kit, you'd be quite happy. And I don't mean that to be a compliment...

With a name like "Frye's Leap", you'd think that the label would have a cool story about jumping off of a rock into Sebago Lake. Maybe they could even talk about how that jump came to be known as Frye's Leap. The boys in Sebago's marketing department apparently disagree. I feel lucky that we even get a picture on the label.

Rating = 2.0

I knew that it was a bad sign when the most prominent thing on their website is a picture of the food at their restaurants, like chicken ceasar salad or a nice reuben.