Thursday, September 23, 2010

River Horse Brewing Company

The River Horse Brewing Company is in Lambertville, New Jersey. 

Unfiltered Lager - Pours honey colored and cloudy.  Nice crisp lager aroma of malt, grain, with a touch of yeast and aromatic hops.  Has a slightly sweet taste, almost like a blonde ale or a malt liquor.  It is malty, finishes round and smooth rather than crisp.  5% ABV.

Summer Blonde Ale - Pours light golden in color, with the slightest bit of cloudiness.  The aroma is clean, slightly sweet, and slightly floral.  The taste is crisp, a touch of sweetness, but not in a heavy way with a light hint of honey.  4.5% ABV.

Hop Hazard Unfiltered American Pale Ale - A light copper in color, slightly cloudy, with a massive foamy head, the aroma is slightly metallic and citrusy.  Furiously carbonated, it has a floral taste of hops that predominates, with just enough malt to keep it from finishing too bitter, with a slight aftertaste of yeast. 6.5% ABV.

Hop-A-Lot-Amus Unfiltered Double India Pale Ale- You got to like the name on this one, keep in mind that their logo is a hippopotamus.  This is a hippo-like 8.5% ABV.  It pours a reddish-brown and copper color and is cloudy.  For a double IPA I am surprised that it is not more aromatic.  It smells like slightly sour fruitcake with a bit of caramel on it.  It is insanely and cloyingly sweet and very heavy on the malt, the hops are all bitter and not much flavor.  I can't say I liked this beer very much.

Shipyard Brewing Co. XXXX IPA

This India pale ale pours a translucent dark copper in color and has aromas of citrus, carmel and fruitcake.  Taste is citrus, a hint of lime, fruit and burnt caramel.  It smells sweeter than it tastes.  It has a violently crisp and bitter finish.  It is heavy on both the hops and the malt.  It is a monster without being too overbearing.  9.25% ABV.

The Shipyard Brewing Company is in Portland, ME.  I picked up this 12 oz. bottle at Beer Crazy in Urbandale, Iowa.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale

This is a 5.5% ABV aptly named "Autumn Brown Ale" from Sierra Nevada.  This was in this year's fall pack.  Sierra Nevada is from Chico, California, but now has a new brewery in Mills River, North Carolina. Let me just say up front that I think Sierra Nevada has long been one of the most consistent craft brewers in the country.  Although they don't make a lot of "whales" it is rare that one of their offerings does not please.  Even styles that I don't particularly like, I find that they do well.

The beer pours a deep brown, with tints of near garnet. There is an inch of thick, foamy light tan head. The aroma is mild, roasted and toasted malt, light fruit, like plums with a touch of bittering hops. The taste is roasted and toasted malt, nearing dark roasted, mild char, nutty, earthy, a hint of sweetness, with a crisp, dry finish, mildly bitter. It drinks easy, with a refreshing, mildly stinging carbonation. This reminds me of burning leaves in the distance on a cool fall evening, very drinkable and enjoyable.

2010 bottle:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Game Day Light and Game Day Ice

Game Day Light and Game Day Ice are the proprietary beer labels of 7-Eleven and sold exclusively at their stores.  They are contract brewed by City Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  They come in 12-pack cans and 24 oz. cans.  I picked up these 24 oz. cans at a 7-Eleven just off of Interstate 80 in Joliet, Illinois and they were each 99 cents.  I was anxious to give these a try due to my surmise that they will not be available too long.  Only time will tell whether they can last for the long haul.  I seriously doubt it.  Apparently 7-Eleven had a proprietary beer several years ago that was either an "import" or a bit higher end and it did not last long.

Has anyone else tried these beers?

Game Day Light - Pours a light golden color with a half inch head that dissipates rather quickly, but not as immediately as many cheap beers. Aroma is slightly sour, tangy, metallic, only a hint of grain.  Flavor is of watered down cheap lager that is bland, but at least not offensive like the aroma.  This beer won a Gold Medal at the 2010 U.S. Open Beer Championships in the American Light beer category.  Frankly I expected a lot more of it due to that, but it is basic City Brewing swill.  It is at least in the drinkable swill category as opposed to the undrinkable swill category.

Game Day Ice - Pours golden in color, with an aroma that is both sour and sweet at the same time.  The taste is sweet, yet sour apple at the same time and metallic.  This is pure swill.  It is terrible.  Seriously, who is the 7-Eleven exec who tried these beers and thought it would be a good idea to contract them as their proprietary beers?  They are shameful and pathetic.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yards Brewing Company

Yards Brewing Company is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the City of Brotherly Love.

Brawler Pugilist Style Ale - Dark brown in color with a nutty aroma.  Roasted malt flavor of caramel, almonds and hazelnuts.  4.2% ABV.  According to the bottle:  "Crafted in the style of an English session ale, this malt-forward, ruby colored ale is great for when you want to go a few rounds."

IPA - This pours a cloudy but bright copper color with a nice creamy foam head.  The aroma is of resinous pine hops and tropical fruit.  It has a creamy smooth mouthfeel.  The taste is hop forward, as an IPA should be.  It is light floral and tropical fruits, with a sweet yet crisp malt finish.  This beer is well balanced and absolutely delicious.  This beer is top notch.  7% ABV.  From the bottle: "IPAs were originally brewed to survive the epic sea voyages from England to India.  Ours is no different.  Hailing from a firm malt background and loaded through and through with hops, this beer will surely survive the journey from your fridge to your couch."

ESA - Extra Special Ale - This pours a dark brown with a hint of copper, hard to tell if it is slightly cloudy or just translucent from being so dark.  It has a sweet malty aroma with a hint of brownie in it.  Flavor of dark roasted malt, a bit of coffee mocha ice cream.  6% ABV.  From the bottle: "The first beer we ever crafted - intended for the cask ale connoissuer.  Extra special ale is a roubust and hearty amber ale with a malty body and aromatic hop finish."

Philadelphia Pale Ale - Golden in color and cloudy with a massive head, this beer has hop forward aromas of citrus and tropical fruity.  It tastes of grapefruit and mango with a slightly bitter dry finish.  This beer is delicious.  I really enjoyed both of their hop forward offerings, this and the IPA, they are both exceptional.  4.6% ABV.  According to the bottle: "Not to be boastful, but we honestly believe that all other ales pale in comparison to this one.  Crisp and hoppy, Philadelphia Pale Ale is brewed with Pilsner malt and American hops, which imparts a surprising citrus aroma."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BG Premium Beer - Beogradsko Pivo - Serbia

This is brewed in Belgrade, Serbia.  I found it at Wise Guys Discount Liquors in Merrillville, Indiana which happens to have a large Serbian church and community center just down the street.

It pours a honey golden color with a half inch of foam. It has a deep aroma of fresh grain and straw with a musky component.  It has a rich, heavy lager malt flavor that tracks the aroma and has a gently bitter hop finish.  This is a really nice European style lager.  5% ABV.

Genesee Brewing Company - Genny Light; Genesee Beer

The Genesee Brewing Company is from Rochester, New York.  It was founded in 1878 and has always been on of America's largest regional breweries.  High Falls Brewery purchased Genesee in 1990. Apparently in addition to the Genesee beers, the GBC also does a lot of contract brewing. They do the Dundee line and apparently do some brewing for Sam Adams, among others.

Genny Light - This beer pours a light golden color with a half-inch head that dissipates quickly but not entirely.  It has an aroma typical to a cheaper beer, there is a hint of sour there.  The taste is better than the aroma.  The sourness in the aroma is not present in the taste.  It actually has a nice creamy mouthfeel.  For a cheap light beer it does in fact have some flavor.  There are some better cheap light beers out there (Hamm's Special Light, Schmidt Light, Old Style Light, Old Milwaukee Light), but there are many way worse ones.  As is often the case, it has more flavor than say Bud Light or most of the other major macro lights.  This is especially true considering it only has 96 calories per can.  Overall, a good American macro adjunct lager light beer.

Genesee Beer - The beer with the old school label that is so plain, it almost looks generic.  The beer pours honey golden with a half inch of white foamy head that dissipates leaving some light to medium lacing.  The aroma is corn, cooked vegetables, slightly sweet and grassy, with a bit of a green apple note.  The taste is deeper and richer than the aroma would indicate, grain, like slightly sweet cheap white bread and some ever so light bitter hops on the finish.  It ends both dry and slightly sweet.  Middling, not great, but not bad.  Like a lot of "cheap" beers, this one tastes better straight from the can which bypasses any off aromas.  From the can, this tastes a bit like Red Stripe.

Southern Star Brewing Company Pine Belt Pale Ale

This pours a reddish copper color.  It is cloudy with some sediment.  The can says it is non-filtered.  It has a fruity malt aroma with just a touch of hops.  The overall effect is very fruity, like tropical fruits with a hint of sour.  The taste is malty, fruitcake and caramel.  This is definitely not a typical American style pale ale that veers toward hop forward.  It is more like an English ale. 

I am not a huge fan of a big yeast taste, so when I tried this again I left the yeast sediment in the can.  It was even more balanced and enjoyable to me that way, but some people like a real yeasty beer.

The beer is brewed in Conroe, Texas.  I picked it up at Pete's Liquor Bucket in Merrillville, Indiana.

Kentucky's Finest Horse Piss Beer

Yes folks, you can now say that you have drunk Horse Piss, and that it was in fact, pretty good.

Pours a light copper/golden color and is slightly cloudy.  Aroma of sweet fruity malt.  It is definitely malt forward.  It is fairly light, perhaps a bit undercarbonated, and tastes as it smells, sweet and fruity maltiness.

It is made by the BBC Brewing Co. of Louisville, Kentucky.

So what is with the name?  A percentage of the sales of the beer and merchandise are donated to help disabled jockeys and adoption programs for race horses.  Currently available in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio.  I picked this up at Pete's Liquor Bucket in Merrillville, Indiana.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fuller's - London Pride Pale Ale; 1845 Celebration Ale

Fuller's is brewed in London, England by the Fuller, Turner and Smith Griffin Brewery.

London Pride Pale Ale - 4.7 % ABV.  Pours a copper color with a quickly fading head.  Has a pleasing fruity aroma like a sweet yet slightly tart tropical fruit.  Taste is malt forward with a fruity caramel tinged flavor that has a crisp bitter finish and a nice aftertaste of the malt flavors.

According to the bottle:  "Fuller's London Pride is an award-winning English classic pale ale, rich and smooth, with a good malty base and well-developed hop notes in the finish.  The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, has been brewing fine ales since 1654.  The Fuller, Smith & Turner partnership, dating back to 1845, brews an excellent range of award-winning ales, many of which are available in the USA, including London Pride pale ale and the world's original ESB."

1845 Celebration Ale - This 6.3% ABV ale is bottle-conditioned and brewed from a 19th century recipe.  The beer pours a dark amber, light brown in color, with a small off-white head.  The head has unusually large bubbles.  The aroma is strong of dark caramel, toffee, some roasted nut.  The taste is toffee, roasted nuttiness, almost a coffee note, burnt caramel, but with a finish that is very dry and not sweet.  A nice full-flavored English ale.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dos Equis XX

Ambar - Pours a brown-red amber color with a thick foamy inch of head.  Slighty sweet, fruity aroma.  Taste of roasted malt, but watery.   Very light in flavor.

Apparently consumed by the most interesting man in the world.  "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis...stay thirsty my friend."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This European macro is the flagship of Heineken, who is a massive brewer now.  I think beer purists probably disdain it a little sometimes, seeing it as too big, like the European Budweiser.  Is it the greatest lager in the world?  No, but it is more flavorful than any American macro. 

It pours a pure golden in color with a tall head of fizzy white foam that disappears quickly.  It has an aroma of grain and straw with a slight musk, lightly sweet, lightly grassy.  The aromas are light compared to many European lagers.  The taste follows the aromas, with more lager funk and less sweetness in the taste than in the smell. It is medium bodied with a noticeable, but not overbearing carbonation.  Solid, yes, mind-boggling, no.

The can has tiny raised ridges in the green portions, all the easier to grip, I guess. Gimmicky, yet awesome at the same time.

Stella Artois

I have to admit, this Belgian lager, Stella Artois,  from Leuven, Belgium, is one of my favorite lagers and has been for a long time.  I remember first drinking it from draught in a pub in Scotland in 1992.  It was nice to see it become so popular in America about a decade later.  It is now fairly easily found in the US, not only in bottles, but also on tap at many bars.

It pours a sparkling dark golden color.  There is a tall head, white and thickly foamy. It leaves an even lacing all around as the glass empties.  It has a light aroma of grain and a straw-filled barn on a cold day.  There is a hint of musk.  Tastes of grain and fresh straw with a crisp hop finish that is just bitter enough to provide a refreshing balance to the malt grain. It is moderately carbonated, but also has a smoothness.  A great session beer.

May 2013 - I hadn't had a Stella in quite awhile. I know it is trite to say this, but I think it is true.  The flavor of this beer has been dumbed down recently under AB-InBev control.

Love this old school bottle.

Long Trail Ales

From the Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont.  "Take a Hike"  "A Taste of Vermont"

Long Trail Ale - It is dark copper in color with a malty and slightly fruity aroma.  The tastes are subtle in this, slightly sweet, slightly fruity, slight caramel malt.  It is very light and refreshing.  This is a nice amber ale.  From the bottle: "This full bodied amber ale is modeled after the 'altbiers' of Dusseldorf, Germany.  Our own top-fermenting yeast and cold-finishing temperature result in a complex, yet clean, full flavor."

Long Trail Pale Ale - Bright copper in color, slightly cloudy, with a nice foamy head.  It is very hoppy in aroma, with floral, fruit and pine.  The taste is hop forward, floral, citrus, a bit tart, with a good underlying balance of malt.

IPA - Golden honey colored and cloudy.  This beer is unfiltered.  Pours with a huge foamy head.  Aroma of citrus hops and yeast.  Must be some secondary fermentation due to the yeast in the bottle, this beer is massively carbonated.  Taste is extremely balanced for this type of IPA.  While it is hop forward, they are not wildly dominant, nor is the yeast.  Taste is generally fruity, citrus hops with a slight bitterness, but not much, it is well balanced by the malt.  While flavorful, it is lighter than your average American IPA.  It is a bit unique for the style.  It grows on me with each sip.

They are a very environmentally conscious brewery and you can see their various efforts here:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Flying Fish Brewing Co.

These beers are brewed in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

ESB Amber Ale - Pours a honey golden color with a hint of copper.  This is malt forward with a hint of caramel in the taste, but it is not sweet.  The taste overall is very light.  Not a lot of flavor going on here.

Extra Pale Ale - Much like the ESB except  not as malt forward.  Really not very much going on here.  I expected more hops, and more flavor overall.

HopFish India Pale Ale - Same color as the other two.  This has a very nice pine, citrus aroma of hops.  It has a good citrus, tropical fruit hops flavor.  It is nicely balanced with malt and has a slightly sweet, tangy finish that is not at all bitter.  For all its flavor it drinks very light.  This one is the clear winner of these three.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brau Brothers Brewing Company - Scotch Ale; Sheep Head Ale; Old No. 56 Light Beer; Forgotten Flem Farmhouse Ale; Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale

Brau Brothers comes from Lucan, Minnesota, population 220 according to the bottle.  I tried several of the Brau Brothers a few years ago and frankly was very unimpressed.  They have some new beers out so I thought I would give them a try again.  I am glad I did.  Overall, the new ones were good.

Scotch Ale-  This  pours a dark copper in color.  It is very malty and there is a hint of smoke in the aroma.  The taste is roasted malt forward without being sweet.  There is a peaty, smokey taste and it has a long lingering finish.

Sheep Head Ale- This is also a dark copper in color.  It has a floral hops aroma.  It is hop forward in taste with a nice malt balance, but it is ruined by a strange sour finish.  I did not like this one.

Old No. 56 Light Beer - This is an all malt light beer named after the 1956 fire engine they have in Lucan, Minnesota.  This beer pours a very pale straw and golden in color with a slight white head that leaves light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is very slight, a little grain and a bit sour.  No more going on in the taste than in the aroma.  For a "craft brewed all-malt premium light beer" this is a big disappointment.  Stroh's Light, Schmidt Light, Old Milwaukee Light, just to name a few are way tastier than this.

Forgotten Flem Farmhouse Ale - This bottle-conditioned beer pours light orangish-brown and copper in color.  There is a quarter inch of creamy foam that is barely off-white and leaves heavy lacing down the glass.  The aroma is yeasty, bubble gum, a hint of banana and some caramel malt.  The flavor follows the aroma.  There is a strong after taste bitterness at the back of the throat.  If you like yeasty beers you will probably find something to like here, but it doesn't appeal to me very much.

Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale - This beer pours medium brown and ruby in color.  There is a slight head.  The aroma is smokey, peaty, with scotch whisky like qualities.  There is also detectable malt, both sweet and tangy.  The taste follows the aromas.  This drinks like a nice Scottish brown ale with a smokey peatiness.  The smokiness is not overdone and leaves a pleasant aftertaste, like Scotch whisky without the alcohol burn.  This is a very interesting beer.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hepworth and Co. Brewers - Pullman First Class Ale; Iron Horse Pale Ale; Classic Old Ale

Pullman First Class Ale- This bitter pours a dark golden honey color which is cloudy, with a one inch foamy head that leaves a nice lacing.  It has a floral hop aroma.  The taste is subtle with a touch of sour fruit, a hint of caramel and scone malt, and a bracing long bitter finish.  4.2% ABV.

Iron Horse Pale Ale - Pours the same dark cloudy golden honey color of the Pullman.  The aroma is fruity, like a hint of cherries.  Has a fruity taste of dark cherries with a bitter hop finish.  4.8% ABV.

Classic Old Ale - Pours a very dark brown, with an aroma of cocoa power and almonds.  Taste is rich roasted malt, hint of coffee, nuts, and rich brownies.  It is malt forward but well balanced and not overtly sweet.  For all its flavor, it is surprisingly light and refreshing to drink.  This is one great British ale.  4.8% ABV.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

St. Bernardus - Pater 6 Abbey Ale

The Brouwerij St. Bernardus is in the Watou province of the West Flanders region of Belgium.  Surprisingly for Belgian breweries, it was founded only in 1946.

Pater 6 Abbey Ale - This Belgian Abbey Ale pours a reddish-copper-brown, cloudy, with a massive foamy head.  As the head goes down it leaves extensive lacing on the glass.  Smelling this beer evokes what my brain identifies as the quintessential "beer" smell.  The taste is full of subtle flavors of sour fruit, caramel roll, malt, grain, in a perfect balance to hop bitterness. 

There are many Belgian beers I have tried that I have not liked.  There are the ones that are too sour and there are the ones that are too sweet for my taste.  I give it to the monks though, I have really liked the Abbey ales such as the St. Bernardus line and Trappistes Rochefort.

Eisenbahn Vigorosa Unfiltered Wheat Doublebock

Eisenbahn doublebock sounds German but this beer is brewed in Brazil.  It is 8% ABV.  It pours dark brown, nearing black and slightly cloudy although not much light comes through to show just how cloudy.  It has aroma of caramel, cola and bread.  It smells sweet.  It has a dark malt flavor, definite sweetness and caramel.  This is about as sweet as I can take in a beer without finding it cloying.  But there is enough roasted malt taste and hops to make it bearable for me.  I am not a fan of super sweet beers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Schell's Maifest

This 6.2% ABV maibock is from the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm, Minnesota. They make a large range of beers, and now also brews the Grain Belt line of beers including the relatively new Grain Belt Nordeast.  The bottle says they are the second-oldest family owned brewery in the United States.

The pour beers a dark golden to copper color with a nice creamy head.  This is a malt forward brew.  It is slightly sweet with caramel and a bit of toasted french bread with just enough hops to put a little bitterness in the finish.  This beer is Minnesota "nice."  Is it great?  No, but yeah ya betcha it's pretty nice.

I hear that the brewery throws some good festivals, and I would love to get there some time.

Drinking even better in 2017: The beer pours a light, gleaming, amber and copper in color. There is a half-inch of white head. The aroma is malty, yet grassy, caramel, light fruit, and a light tang. The taste follows the aromas, rich in caramel malt, yet with a grassy, dry, moderately bitter finish. The beer drinks very smooth with soft carbonation. Overall, this is quite enjoyable. 

Craft Beer in Cans

Thirsty in Texas commented on the Keystone post about cheap versus craft beer in cans.  Here was my comment back:

I have had experience with quite a few of the canned craft beers. I have to say my experience has been very positive.
There are two reasons for the increased use of cans in craft beer. First, the cans keep out light and oxygen better and thus the beer stays fresher and better tasting longer. Secondly, they are much lighter and more compact and less energy is needed so they are supposedly more environmentally friendly, and just plain easier to transport.
I think cans are still associated mainly with cheaper beer but this is changing fast, just like the concept that wine with a screw top must be cheap.
For a good explanation of one brewery's decision to switch to cans go to
Good beers I have tried in cans (I believe these all only come in cans):
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Oskar Blues Gordon Ale

Oskar Blues Old Chub Scottish Style Ale

Tallgrass Oasis Ale

Tallgrass Ale

Tallgrass IPA

21st Amendment Brewery Brew Free! Or Die IPA

Butternuts Pork Slap Pale Ale

Butternuts Snapperhead IPA

Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout

Colonial Pub Pints Pale Ale

Colonial Pub Pints Brown Ale

Great River Brewery Roller Dam Red Ale

Great River Brewery 483 Pale Ale

Maui Brewing Company Big Swell IPA

Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager

New England Brewing Company Atlantic Amber

Ska Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA

Ska Brewing ESB

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils

Sly Fox PhoenixPale Ale

Thunderhead Brewing Company Cornstalker Dark Wheat

Thunderhead Brewing Company Golden Frau Honey Wheat

Caldera Pale Ale