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.