Saturday, December 31, 2011

Leikeim - Schwarzes; Kellerbier; Premium; Steinbier

Leikeim beers are brewed and bottled in Germany by the Brauhaus Leikeim.

Schwarzes - This 4.9% ABV beer pours a very dark black in color, with a half inch of light brown head.  The aroma is malt, grain, straw, with a bit of roasted sweetness.  The smell is predominantly of German lager.  The taste follows the aroma, with a wave of lager taste, followed by a more subtle wave of dark roasted malt, almost coffee.  The finish is dry.  This is a nice black lager.

Kellerbier - This beer is also 4.9% ABV and pours a hazy orange in color.  There is a quarter inch of white, fairly dense, foam that leaves layers of sticky lacing on the glass.  The aroma is malty, earthy, nutty, grain.  The taste is a deep, rich, toasted, nutty maltiness, but still more like a lager than a nut brown ale.  God this beer is good.

Premium - Yet another 4.9% offering from Leikeim.  This beer pours a pale golden yellow straw in color.  There is a quarter-inch of white foam.  The aroma is grain, corn, slightly sweet, with a touch of grass and apples.  This smells much more like an American lager than a German one.  The taste is much better than the aroma, a rich, deep grain with a pleasingly bitter finish that counteracts the slight sweetness in the malt.  This is a tasty lager, but is missing the "funk" that is normally found in German lagers (I, for one, enjoy that funkiness).

Steinbier - This 5.8% ABV beer pours a hazy orange-amber in color with a quarter-inch of white head.  The aroma is very malty, slightly caramel sweet.  The taste is deeply malty, roasted, toasted and nutty, with a crisp and bitter finish.  Excellent.

Wintertraum - This 5.4% beer pours a crystal clear yellow golden in color, with a quarter-inch of pure white head.  The aroma is slightly sweet grain with a bit of apple and grass.  The taste is grain and corn with a smoothly bitter finish.  This tastes like an above-average American adjunct lager.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Boom - Bohmerwald's Majesty; Imperial Pilsner

Boom beers are from the Explosion Brewing Company of the Czech Republic.

Bohmerwald's Majesty - This beer is named after the Bohmer Wald, a heavily forested mountain range.  It is a high alcohol doppelbock, at 8.8% ABV.  It is brewed with rye malt, beet sugar and the oak-aged and blended.  Supposedly.  The beer pours amber-copper in color with a short head of just off-white head.  The aroma is sweet to very sweet, some grain, sweet potatoes and a touch of circus peanuts candy.  The taste is a background of Euro lager overwhelmed by massive sweetness.  The finish is both cloyingly sweet and a bit bitter.  Perhaps a note of oaky woodiness, perhaps just the suggestion of the label.  This is a cheap tasting, overly sweet, Euro trash lager.

Imperial Pilsner - This 8.5% ABV beer pours a light amber in color, with orange tint.  There is a small white head.  The aroma is sweet cereal grains and a light smokiness.  The taste is grain, and a whopping grassy, dry, bitter hop flavor.  The bottle says there are four kettle additions of Zatec hops.  This is the first high alcohol European lager that has added enough hops to overcome the sweetness that usually results from the high alcohol.  Decent, but not great, but at least not overly sweet.

Samuel Adams/Weihenstephan Infinium

This is a champagne-like beer from a collaboration between the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) and the German brewer Weihenstephan of the Bavaria region (the world's oldest brewery).  The beer complies with the 1516 German brewing purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, and uses only malt, hops, water and yeast.  In this case, it uses a champagne yeast.

www.samueladams.com/infinium

This beer is strong at 10.3% ABV.  It pours orange-golden in color with champagne-like bubbles and foam.  The aroma is fruity, assorted melons, a touch of floral honey sweetness.  The taste is also fruity, sweet, yet with a fruit tartness.  The finish is quite dry.  This beer is unique, interesting and tastes good.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nebraska Brewing Company Apricot Au Poivre Saison

The Nebraska Brewing Company is in Papillion, Nebraska, part of the greater Omaha area.

This is a 6.8% ABV bottle-conditioned Belgian-style saison ale that is brewed with apricots and pepper and then aged in Chardonnay barrels for six months.  The beer pours an orange-golden in color, hazy, with an inch of thick, tightly foamy head that is white to just off-white in color, and leaves thick, sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is yeasty, white wine, with a hint of fruit and oak.  The taste is well-constructed, the tastes of the yeast (fruit, butter, earthiness) meld into the tastes of the wine barrel (chardonnay with its fruit, buttery, and oak notes).  There is then a note of the apricot.  The pepper is unobtrusive.  The mouthfeel is light, with a smooth creaminess aided by the thick head of foam.  A complex, interesting and tasty beer.


This was individual beer number 2000 that I have tried.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

James Younger 1876 Rye Ale

This is brewed for the Bank Beer Company of Hendricks, Minnesota by Brau Brothers Brewing Company of Lucan, Minnesota.  It is brewed in honor of the defeat of the James Younger gang in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876 after a botched bank robbery.  Jesse James was once a member of the gang.

http://www.bankbeer.com/

This beer pours a hazy medium dark brown in color with hints and tints of ruby and orange.  There is almost no head, what is there has an off-white color.  The aroma is rye, spicy rye, roasted rye and a bit of dark fruit.  Yep, this is a rye beer.  The taste is a nice roasted, toasted, nutty malt, and a bit of rye toast.  The flavor is better than the aroma.  This beer is decent, but not great.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Imper Ale - Bionda; Chiara; Ambrata

Imper Ales are brewed and bottled by Fabrica Della Birra Tenute Collesi in Apecchio, Italy.

Bionda - This is an unpasteurized ale that is 6.0% ABV.  The beer pours a honey yellow golden in color with a half-inch of vibrant, foamy, fizzy white head that leaves heavy lacing down the glass.  The aroma is grain and flowers, with a champagne note.  The taste is lighter, more delicate than expected, malt, floral, yeast.  There is a slight bitterness at the end, and a grainy creaminess in the mouthfeel, probably from all the fine carbonation.  An interesting beer!

Chiara - This unpasteurized ale is also 6.0% ABV.  The beer pours a pale yellow golden, lightly hazy and very fizzy with a half inch of bubbling, foaming white head that leaves fairly thick lacing.  The aroma is crusty bread, lightly floral, yeast, a tart note like sourdough bread.  The taste is bready and yeasty, without the yeast being overbearing, fruity.  It has a lingering aftertaste that is true to the flavor.  Complex, but very drinkable.

Ambrata - This is an unpasteurized amber ale that is 7.5% ABV.  The beer pours a bright amber to burnt orange in color.  There is a quarter inch of very light brown head.  There is very ample carbonation.  The aroma is airily malty, some yeast, fruity in the way of a buttery, oaky chardonnay.  The taste is slightly sweet, fruity, raisins, yeast, with a dry finish. 

Brigand 1798 Belgian Ale

This 9.0% ABV beer is made by the Castle Brewery in Van Honsebrouck, Belgium.

The beer pours a cloudy light brown and orangish with a quarter inch of tightly fizzy head that is just off-white in color.  The aroma is tart and malty, lightly fruity.  The taste is richly malty, with a fruity tartness on the end.  The aftertaste returns to the original malty taste.  An interesting Belgian ale, worth trying.

Jumping Cow Amber Ale

This is a Trader Joe's beer brewed by the Steinhaus Brewing Company of Paso Robles, California.

The 5.4% ABV beer pours a very dark copper, burnt orange in color, with a short head of off-white foam.  The aroma is nutty roasted malt, somewhat fruity, a bit like an Oktoberfest beer.  The taste follows the aroma.  If you like nice tasty and drinkable Oktoberfest beers, you will like this amber ale. 

New Planet Tread Lightly Ale

New Planet is a line of gluten free beers brewed for New Planet by the Fort Collins Brewery of Fort Collins, Colorado.  A portion of the profits from the beer goes to trail restoration.

www.newplanetbeer.com

This 5.0% ABV beer is brewed with water, sorghum, corn extract, orange peel, hops and yeast.  The beer pours golden in color, crystal clear, with a small head of white foam.  The aroma is like almond pastry with light orange peel.  The taste follows the aroma, ends on a strange tart note and leaves an unpleasant bitterness and aftertaste. 

I have tried several gluten free beers and the only one I found drinkable was St. Peter's Sorghum beer.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

La Goudale Biere de Garde

This 7.8% ABV biere de garde is brewed by Gebrouwen Door: Les Brasseurs de Gayant of Douai, France.
Biere de Garde is a traditional French farmhouse style of beer, brewed in the winter for summer consumption.

The beer pours a dark, almost orangish, golden in color with a short white head that leaves thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is slightly sweet, fruity, more malty than hoppy.  The taste is hard to characterize, malty, fruity, bread and jam.  A nearly perfect balance of malt and hops. 

Guineu - Riner; Montserrat

Guineu beers are brewed and bottled by Ca L'Arenys of Barcelona, Spain.

Riner - This beer pours a dark yellow golden in color with a massive head of white billowing foam.   The aroma is slightly champagne-like, grain, tart, yeast.  The taste is lighter than the aroma, but has the same notes, with a light, very dry, and moderately bitter finish.

Montserrat - This 6.5% ABV beer pours a very dark brown to black, with a half-inch of light brown creamy, foamy head.  The aroma is very dark brown sugar, old spoiled sherry, light raisins, and a whiff of vomit.  The taste is light years ahead of the aroma, it takes the pleasant notes from the aroma and adds them to a dark roasted and nutty malt.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hook Norton Brewery Double Stout

The Hook Norton Brewery is in Oxfordshire, U.K. and has been brewing since 1849, and their brewery is still powered by a steam engine.  Their beers are considered "real" English ales by CAMRA (the British organization, Campaign for Real Ale).

http://www.hooky.co.uk/

This 4.8% ABV beer pours densely black, with a massive, towering head of light brown foam.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, smokey, chocolatey.  The taste is a delicious dark cocoa, dark roasted malt.  The finish is dry with no off-putting tart notes.  This is a deep, rich, delicious stout.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oud Beersel Oude Kriek

The Oud Beersel Brewery is in Beersel, Belgium and brewing since 1883.  This 6.5% ABV beer is their kriek, a Belgian ale that is made by blending old and young lambic (sour) ales, and then letting it age with whole cherries steeping in it.  Can you age it?  According to my bottle, it is best before October 28, 2029!

The beer pours a cloudy, deep red in color, with a tall half-inch head of tight, pink foam.  While it lasts, the foam adds a creamy element to the mouthfeel.  The aroma is champagne, cherries and an earthy and oaky sourness.  The taste is redolent of cherries, both the deep and sweet kind and the very tart kind.  The finish gives sour notes along with light wood and earth.  It drinks quite dry, with a fruit-tart aftertaste.  An extremely drinkable and enjoyable kriek.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saison Dupont

This 6.5% ABV saison is brewed by the Brasserie Dupont in Tourpes, Belgium.  Saison is a Belgian farmhouse-style ale that was developed in the days before refrigeration to be brewed in the winter and consumed in the summer.  It thus must be hardy enough to last until summer, but still drink refreshing.

The beer pours a hazy yellow golden in color, with a slight tint of orange.  There is a large, billowing head of white fizzy foam.  The aroma is grain, straw, grass, lemony fruit and a bit of barnyard and yeast.  The taste follows the aroma, with just enough dry bitterness on the finish to act as a counterpart to the tartness.  This is a well-balanced, tasty, delicious and refreshing beer.  Too many saisons are unbalanced and overwhelmed by their yeast for my taste, this one is a gold standard.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cervesa del Montseny - Lupulus Hoppy Iberian Ale; Malta Pale Ale

Cervesa del Montseny is in Seva, Spain.

Lupulus Hoppy Iberian Ale - This 5.4% ABV beer pours a cloudy dark yellow golden with massive, fine carbonation.  It has a billowing mountain of thick and bubbly white foam.  The aroma is sour, tart, and yeasty.  The taste is far less sour than the aroma.  The taste is grain, grass, flowers and a sour tartness.  There is also an earthy note.  The taste is far superior to the aroma.  An interesting beer with a lot going on in the flavor, many subtle notes.

Malta Pale Ale - This 5.1% ABV beer pours a cloudy burnt orange and amber in color.  There is a massive, roiling, boiling, bubbling head of towering foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is tart, sour and malty grain with burnt caramel and sherry notes.  The taste follows the aroma, with the tartness present, but not as forward as in the aroma. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

He'Brew The Chosen Beer - Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.; Reunion Ale '11; Genesis Ale; Messiah Ale; Origin Pomegranate Ale; Jewbelation Twelve: Jewbelation Fifteen

The He'Brew line of kosher beers is from the Shmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, New York.

Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. - This 10.0% ABV beer is a double IPA that is brewed with rye malt and in honor of Lenny Bruce.  The beer pours a medium brown to very dark copper in color with a half-inch of creamy foam that is light brown in color and leaves lacing of a medium density down the glass.  The aroma is malty, the spiciness of rye, with jammy fruit on top; lightly toasted rye bread with lots of red plum jelly.  The taste follows the aroma, with a medium bitter finish and a lingering aftertaste that is true to the original flavor.  This is a thick, intensely flavored beer.

Reunion Ale '11 - This 7.3% ABV beer is a collaboration between Shmaltz brewing and the Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Georgia.  It is a dark imperial ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chili pepper.  The proceeds benefit the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research.  The beer pours black in appearance, extremely dark brown if held to a light.  There is a tiny bit of light brown head that dissipates almost immediately.  The aroma is spicy, like a very strong cola or light Dr. Pepper, with notes of the cocoa and vanilla and an almost smokey coffee note.  The taste is massive, dark roasted, toasted and nutty malt, coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, intense cola, sweetness, bitterness, and then at the end a slow and subtle build-up of heat from the chili.  This is quite an interesting beer, and if you like a strong collection of full flavors, you should love this one.

Genesis Ale - This beer pours a light to medium brown with an orange tint.  There is a half-inch of off-white to very light brown head.  The aroma is malty, caramel and dark stone fruits, noticeable hops and a bit of spiciness.  The taste is malty, caramel, slightly sweet, roasted and a bit nutty, with a nice bitter and dry finish.  This is a really nice and drinkable ale.

Messiah Ale - This beer pours very dark brown to black in color.  There is a short head of light brown foam.  The aroma is slightly sweet, dark roasted malt, a touch of tartness.  The taste is deep, dark roasted malt, coffee, dark cocoa, Guinness-like, but even more flavorful.  Excellent.

Origin Pomegranate Ale - This 8.0% ABV beer is an imperial amber ale that is brewed with pomegranate juice.  The beer pours a cloudy brown-dark orange-dark amber in color.  There is a thin head of off-white to light brown foam.  The aroma is malty, burnt caramel, old and oxidized sherry and port.  The taste is bitter and burnt, following the aroma, with a bit of pomegranate in the back.  I know that some people love beers that taste like this, but to me it is horrible and undrinkable.

Jewbelation Twelve - The Jewbelation beers are anniversary ales that He'brew makes.  This is the 12th anniversary version, made with 12 malts and 12 hops and is 12% ABV.  The 15 came out in 2011, so this must be from 2008.  The beer pours black in color, dark brown with just a hint of ruby on the edges when held to the light.  There is a half-inch of light brown, creamy head.  The aroma is vanilla, dark caramel, molasses, alcohol, sweet and medicinal.  The taste is intensely malty, dark roasted, burnt caramel, a bit of molasses, sweet, but with enough hop bitterness to not be cloying and to finish dry.  There is an aftertaste like overly sweetened chicory coffee.

Jewbelation Fifteen - This is the 15th anniversary ale, with 15 malts and 15 hops and 15% ABV.  Wow, they won't be able to keep this up too much longer.  The beer pours very dark brown to black in color.  There is a short head of dark brown foam.  The aroma is roasted malt, dark caramel and vanilla.  The taste is very sweet, tingling the back of the throat.  There is caramel and roasted malt.  Frankly, it is so sweet, it is hard to get a lot of differing flavors from it.  The 12 was more interesting, perhaps this would do better with a couple of years age on it.








The glass came in the holiday gift pack that includes nine bottles, the Shamash bottle above is empty.  The gift pack includes Hanukkah candles, the idea being that you can make a menorah with the candles and your empty beer bottles.  The Shamash would hold the service candle, first lit and used to light the other candles, which are ignited in succession, one on each night of Hanukkah. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Castello Premium Lager

Castello is a 5.0% lager from Birra Castello in Italy.

The beer pours dark yellow golden in color, well-carbonated, and with a short head of white foam.  The aroma is grain, wet straw and a touch of barnyard, lager "funk."  The taste follows the aroma, with a long and lingering flavor.  It drinks smooth and almost creamy.  The first second I tasted this beer, I startd to think it was a low-average Euro lager, but it progresses into a nice long-lasting flavor and a good smooth and round mouthfeel that make me like it quite a bit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Steel Toe Brewing - Provider Ale; Rainmaker Double Red Ale; Dissent Dark Ale

Steel Toe Brewing is a new brewery (2011) in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Provider Ale - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a hazy yet glowing yellow golden in color.  There is a tall quarter-inch of pure white head that leaves layers of light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is flowers, honey and yeast.  The taste is honey sweet grain, a touch of fresh tall spring grass, and a floral finish with just a touch of bitterness.  This is light in the best way, a tasty and sessionable beer.

Rainmaker Double Red Ale - This 6.5% ABV beer pours medium dark brown and ruby in color, heading dark, but still almost transparent.  There is a short head of light brown foam.  The aroma is pine and citrus peels, over a roasted caramel malt.  The taste follows the aroma and adds a note of rye bread.  The finish is bracingly bitter.  A flavorful and hoppy red ale.

Dissent Dark Ale - This 7.0% ABV beer pours dark black, opaque, with a little ruby dark brown on the edges if held to a light.  There is a quarter inch of medium dark brown foam.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, dark chocolate cocoa, acidic coffee.  The taste is very dark roasted malt, cold and strong coffee.  The finish is very bitter, dry, with a light tart note.  I don't like sweet stouts, so this dark, dry version with the smoothness of added oatmeal is nice.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Birra Moretti

This is a 4.6% ABV Italian lager.

The beer pours pure golden with a small head of white foam.  The aroma is grain, straw, and barn.  The taste follows the aroma, a touch of sweet, floral and grass, with a bitter finish.  A solid, but not remarkable, Euro lager.

Friday, December 9, 2011

San Miguel; Light; Cerveza Negra; Red Horse Beer

The San Miguel Brewery is in the Philippines and has been in operation since 1890.  It had never crossed my mind that soldiers in the Spanish-American War (1898) might have been drinking San Miguel, but they probably were.

http://www.sanmiguelbeer.com.ph/

San Miguel - Their Pale Pilsen beer, this is 5.0% ABV.  It pours golden in color, no darker than the light.  There is a short head of white foam that leaves light lacing on the glass. The aroma is similar to the light, but more grain and less apple.  The taste is slightly sweet, grain, very light fruit and a light funky, bitter note on the end.  Much more flavorful than the light, this is not a great lager, but it has a fairly unique and interesting taste.

San Miguel Light - This beer pours a dark golden in color with a half-inch of pure white foamy head that leaves some lacing down the glass.  The aroma is light grain with apples.  The taste is watery, light grain, apples.  There is a bitter aftertaste.  This is a 100 calorie, 5% ABV light beer, and it is unremarkable.

Cerveza Negra - This 5.0% ABV beer pours black in color with a small light brown head.  There is some brown and ruby on the edges if held to the light.  The aroma is somewhere between the regular and the Red Horse, with a touch of roasted, toasted malt.  The taste is a bit sweet, some roasted and toasted malt.  Not much going on here.

Red Horse Beer - A higher alcohol offering from San Miguel, this 7.0% ABV beer pours a dark yellow golden in color, yet crystal clear.  There is a slight head of white foam that rapidly dissipates.  The aroma is grain, apples and wet straw.  The taste is a sweet yet tart grain, with some bright fruitiness and a hint of the funky wet straw.  While this is fairly typical of the high alcohol type of lager, it does have some unique and interesting notes of flavor that put it just a notch ahead of most of its kind.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jenlain Noel

Brewed and bottled by the Brasserie Duyck in Jenlain France, since 1922.

This 6.8% ABV French Christmas Ale pours a deep and dark copper in color, glowing with orange tints.  There is an off-white head that is short lived and dissipates very rapidly.  The aroma is intensely fruity, very citrusy, citrus fruit peels, over a caramel malt base.  The taste is a tangy and tart citrus blend, lime, grapefruit and orange over a counter balancing sweet caramel malt base.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  This is a tasty and pleasing beer that shares similarities to some other styles of beer, but remains unique. Highly recommended.

Czechvar

This 5.0% ABV beer is brewed in Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic.  This used to be known as Budvar, but apparently Budweiser put a stop to that.

The beer pours a dark honey golden in color and is well carbonated.  There is an inch of thick white foamy head.  the aroma is of grain, straw, barn, earth, honey and  light floral.  The taste follows the aroma.  A nice solid European lager.


2017: The beer pours dark golden, but clear. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is full of lager funk, crusty bread and honey. The taste follows the aromas, bread, with honey, floral sweetness, with lager funk, and a grassy, bitter finish. The beer drinks smooth and refreshing, with a moderate carbonation. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Isle of Skye Wee Beast Scotch Ale

The Isle of Skye Brewery is located on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

This 7.0% ABV beer pours copper colored, with an orange tint.  There is a quarter inch of off-white head.  The aroma is slightly fruity and sour.  The taste is fruity, soapy and sour.  This is nothing like a Scotch ale.  This beer is either way off or is infected.

Crabtree Brewing Company Serenity Amber Ale

The Crabtree Brewing Company is in Greely, Colorado.

This beer pours a medium to dark brown, dark amber, tint of dark orange in color.  It is translucent but not really transparent.  There is a short half-inch of creamy foam that is very light brown in color.  The aroma is slightly sweet, grassy, and some varied fruit.  The taste is roasted and toasted malt, hint of coffee, slight tart note, with a very creamy and smooth mouth-feel.  This beer is not great, but it is flavorful and drinkable.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coney Island Freaktoberfest

This is from the Schmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, New York.  Proceeds from the Coney Island beers help Coney Island USA in its mission to "defend the honor of lost forms of popular American arts and culture..."

http://www.schmaltzbrewing.com/

This 6.66% ABV beer is brewed with six malts and six hops.  It pours red in color, like a vampire's drink in an old technicolor movie, with a large head of light red/pink foam.  The aroma is very malty, some sweet potato.  The taste follows the aroma and has a bitter finish.  Cute concept, blah beer.


Northern Reserve Ice Lager

This is from the Northern Brewing Company, part of Cold Springs Brewery in Cold Springs, Minnesota.

This 5.8% ABV beer pours a very yellow honey golden in color with a cyclone of carbonation in the glass.  There is a short head of white foam that leaves sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is malty, sweet potato, and a hint of banana.  The taste is like sweet banana bread.  I can't say this is a bad beer, but I can't really say what it is, other than strange.  That being said, I would not seek it out again, it doesn't bear repeating for me.





Saturday, November 19, 2011

Boulder Beer Company Cold Hop

The Boulder Beer Company is in, surprise, Boulder, Colorado.

Cold Hop - This is a British-style ale that was the 7th release in their Looking Glass series.  The beer pours a glowing burnt orange in color.  There is a quarter-inch of creamy off-white head.  The aroma is citrus and stone fruits over a malty base, with a light touch of caramel.  The taste is an explosion of both malt and hops, following the aromas, but the malt is sweeter in the taste.  There is creamy maltiness, aromatic fruitiness, strong iced tea with lemon.  This beer is an explosion of flavors, teeteringly balanced between hop and malt.


Copper Bell Lager - Copper Bell Light

These beers are store brands for Whole Foods and are brewed by Brewmaster's Choice of Rochester, New York (contract brewed by Genesee).

http://www.copperbellbeer.com/

Lager - This 4.5% ABV beer pours a very clear yellow golden in color.  There is a half-inch of white head.  The aroma is grain, sourdough bread and light apple.  The taste follows the aroma directly.  The aftertaste is true to the original flavor.  The beer is well-carbonated, but has a creamy malt sensation on the finish as well.  Not great, but not bad for what it is.

Light- This 3.9% ABV beer pours a pale, yellow golden in color.  There is an inch of pure white fizzy foam that leaves layers of medium density lacing down the glass.  The aroma is somewhat grassy and herbal, a bit of straw.  The taste is fairly mild, grain with some fruit and spice.  It drinks like a lightly flavored apple-cinnamon scone.  There is a malty creaminess on the finish that is nice.  It actually has a pretty good aftertaste.  Not a great light beer, but not bad for a store brand.



Crow Peak Brewing Co. - 11th Hour IPA; Pile-O-Dirt Porter

The Crow Peak Brewing Company is in Spearfish, South Dakota, in the Black Hills.

www.crowpeakbrewing.com

11th Hour IPA - This 6.5% ABV beer pours a glowing burnt orange, deep amber, light brown in color.  There is a quarter-inch of creamy and foamy head, off-white in color.  The aroma is piney, resinous, some cantaloupe and tropical fruit.  The taste is extremely, mouth-puckeringly bitter, obliterating most flavors.  Some of the aroma is in the aftertaste.  This beer smells better than it tastes.  I don't mind a very bitter IPA if it follows after the flavors, but here it overwhelms everything.

Pile-O-Dirt Porter -  This 6.0% ABV beer pours very dark brown to black.  There is very little carbonation or head.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, some coffee, and a tart note.  The taste is extremely dark roasted malt, coffee grounds, with a tart note that ends in a dry finish.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Imperial Jack Double IPA; Thumper American IPA; Mystical Jack Traditional Ale

From the Rhinelander Brewing Company of Monroe, Wisconsin (Minhas Craft Brewery).

http://www.rhinelanderbrewery.com/

Imperial Jack - This 8.5% ABV beer pours a glowing amber-orange in color, somewhat hazy.  There is a quarter-inch of thick off-white foamy head.  The aroma is zesty, floral, some stone fruit, and a burnt caramel maltiness.  The taste is malty and fruity, with an herbal zestiness.  Not a hop forward IPA, drinkable, but not great.


Thumper American IPA - This 6.8% ABV beer pours a very dark copper and burnt orange in color.  There is a tall half-inch of thick and creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is somewhat spicy, pungent old orange peels, and a touch of over-ripe tropical fruit.  The taste is caramel and old orange peels.  Somewhat bitter on the finish.  Not a good example of an American IPA.

Mystical Jack Traditional Ale - This 7.0% ABV beer is inspired by the Jackalope.  According to the bottle, "is this beer for real?"  Well, let's see.  The beer pours extremely dark brown to black in color.  There is a quarter inch of light brown head.  The aroma is sweet, dark caramel and raisins.  The taste is dark roasted malt, burnt caramel, sweet, but relatively light drinking.

Four In Hand - IPA; Winter Brew

The Four In Hand beers are brewed by World Beers of Rochester, New York.  I am guessing this means contract brewed by Genesee.  They are available at Whole Foods.

http://www.fourinhandbeer.com/

IPA - This 6.3% ABV beer pours copper-amber-orange in color.  There is a short head of off-white foam.  The aroma is spicy, malty, and half-vomity.  The taste is malty, a bit of fruit, bitter.  Not a good beer at all.

Winter Brew - This seasonal ale brewed with spices is 6.2% ABV and pours a deep brown with orange tones, just shy of transparent.  There is a short half-inch of thick and creamy head that is off-white in color and leaves layers of lacing of medium density down the glass.  The aroma is malty, a touch of caramel, grassy, some light fruit, and light spices, mostly cloves.  The taste is richly malty, caramel, a touch of tartness, the spices very mild.  The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.  This is a nice winter ale on the light and drinkable end of the spectrum.

Pyramid Brewing Co. - Thunderhead IPA; Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Pyramid Brewing Co. brews in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Berkeley, California. 

http://www.pyramidbrew.com/

Thunderhead IPA - This 6.7% ABV beer pours a light, bright amber and copper in color.  There is a very small head.  The aroma is fairly light, some zestiness and malt.  The taste is lightly fruity, zesty, and light caramel malt.  I was expecting a hop forward West Coast style IPA, the bottle calls it a "hop heaping India Pale Ale."  Afraid not.

Snow Cap Winter Warmer - This 7.0% ABV seasonal ale pours a medium-brown, dark ruby in color.  There is a quarter-inch of light brown creamy foam.  The aroma is sweet caramel, malt, light fruit, a bit like a caramel apple right before you bite into it.  The taste is deep roasted malt, dark caramel, some light fruit on the end.  This is a good winter warmer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cable Car Brewing Company - Pale Ale; Winter Brew

The Cable Car Brewing Company is in Rochester, New York.  I believe this line is a store exclusive to Whole Foods and I am guessing it is contract brewed by Genesee.

Pale Ale - This 5.3% ABV beer pours a glowing light copper in color with a half-inch of just off-white head.  The aroma is fairly light, grassy and light citrus over malt.  The taste follows the aroma, some sun tea with lemon, drinks light and refreshing.  This has a nice flavor and is refreshing, but very light.

Winter Brew - This seasonal ale brewed with spices is 6.3% ABV and pours a very dark copper-amber, burnt orange in color.  There is a quarter inch of creamy off-white head.  The aroma is malty, almost burnt caramel, a touch of dark fruit, the spice is there but not discernible as individual spices.  The taste is almost burnt caramel, dark fruit juice, slightly sweet, spices not very apparent.  The fruit comes to the fore as it warms, cherries and dark berries.  The finish is somewhat bitter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Epic Brewing Company - Pfeifferhorn Lager; Spiral Jetty IPA; Mid Mountain Mild Ale; Capt'n Crompton's Pale Ale; Copper Cone Pale Ale

This is the Epic Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah (not the Epic brewing from New Zealand).

http://www.epicbrewing.com/

Pfeifferhorn Lager - This 5.3% ABV beer is part of their Classic Series and pours a golden yellow in color with a tall half-inch of thick and foamy white head that leaves sticky lacing of medium density down the glass.  The aroma is strong: grain, straw, and freshly broken stems of tall grass.  The taste follows the aromas, it drinks very flavorful, but still drinks easy.  The finish is dry, but not heavily bitter.  This is a really excellent American lager.

Spiral Jetty IPA - This 6.6% ABV beer pours dark golden-orange in color with a short white head.  The aroma is citrusy, fruity, zesty, with some maltiness.  The taste is fresh grass, zesty, a bit of citrus, over a grainy malt base, with a very bitter and dry finish.  Not super hop forward, but an interesting and refreshing take on an IPA.

Mid Mountain Mild Ale - This 5.0% ABV beer is release #6 from their Exponential Series.  The beer pours light brown and orange, slightly hazy, with a negligible off-white head.  The aroma is malt, caramel and plum fruit.  The taste follows the aroma, like a biscuit with jelly, and just a bit of bitterness on the finish.


Capt'n Crompton's Pale Ale - This 5.8% ABV beer is dry-hopped with Cascade hops.  The beer pours a glowing orange-amber in color with a short head of thick, creamy foam.  The aroma is hoppy, floral, somewhat grassy and bitter.  The taste is malty and floral, with an apricot jamminess.  The finish is moderately bitter, the mouthfeel is creamy.  This is a damn fine pale ale.

Copper Cone Pale Ale - This is release number 13 in their Elevated Series and clocks in at 6.0% ABV.  The beer pours a dark copper-amber-burnt orange in color, and somewhat hazy.  There is a short head of creamy off-white foam.  The aroma is malty and yeasty with a light fruitiness.  The taste is malty, slightly sweet, caramel, with a moderately bitter finish.  There is a creamy mouthfeel and an aftertaste of sweet dark tea with a touch of lemon.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rahr & Sons Brewing - Ugly Pug; Gravel Road

Rahr & Sons Brewing is in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Ugly Pug Black Lager - A schwarzbier or black lager, this beer pours black in appearance, ruby and dark brown around the edges if held to the light.  There is an inch of off-white to light brown foamy head.  The aroma is roasted, toasted malt, just a hint of smoke, nutty.  The taste is dark roasted malt, some coffee and dark chocolate, with a tart note on the end, followed by a bone dry and bitter finish.  A very flavorful and tasty black lager. 

Gravel Road German-style Altbier - This beer pours a very dark brown, with ruby tints, translucent but not transparent.  There is a large billowing head of off-white to light brown foam.  The aroma is  malty, caramel, and slightly yeasty.  The taste follows the aroma with enough bitterness and dryness in the finish to prevent being overly sweet.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sloeber Ale

Sloeber is brewed by the Brouwerij Roman in Oudenaarde, Belgium.

This 7.5% ABV beer pours an orange-yellow golden, slightly hazy, with a tall half-inch of white foam that dissipates fairly rapidly.  The aroma is grain, flowers, a hint of yam, and a whiff of whiskey sour.  The taste is malty grain, floral, again the hint of whiskey sour, with a lightly bitter finish.  It is very drinkable, but yet also drinks as if its alcohol were much higher than 7.5%.  This is a very nice light Belgian ale.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Belhaven Scottish Stout

The Belhaven Brewery is in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. 

http://www.belhaven.co.uk/

This is brewed from a traditional Scottish recipe from the 1800's.  This 7.0% ABV beer pours pitch black, with a quarter-inch of light brown head that is thick and creamy.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, cocoa, a touch of smoke and whiskey, with a tart note.  The taste is deep, dark, rich roasted malt, dark chocolate, dry with a tart note.  An intensely flavored, yet still drinkable, stout.

Hub City Paradise Ale

The Hub City Brewing Company is in Stanley, Iowa.

I tried several of their beers when they first came out.  They had quality and consistency issues at that time and I have not tried any of their beers in a few years.  However, they are still around, so have they gotten better?

This beer pours a dark yellow honey golden in color with just a tint of orange.  There is a large inch high thick and foamy white head.  The aroma is malty grain, floral, and yeast.  The taste is very yeasty over a malty, wheaty (not sure if it actually has wheat) base.  This is not really to my taste (I dont' favor yeasty beers), but it is very drinkable nonetheless, and in fact very good for its style.