Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sheaf Stout

This 5.7% ABV stout is brewed and bottled by Carlton & United Beverages Limited, South Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

I don't recall seeing this beer any other places in the United States, but for some reason it is ubiquitous in the Twin Cities area, which is where I picked up this bottle.

The beer pours pure black with a quarter to half inch of light brown creamy/foamy head that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, some sweetness, with a smokey edge that imparts a hint of Scotch whisky.  The taste is dark roasted malt, a touch of coffee, slightly sweet but with a dry finish.  There is a touch of malt vinegar.  There is just the right amount of carbonation for the flavor.  This is a very drinkable and enjoyable stout.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kennebunkport Brewing Co.(KBC) - Wheat Beer; IPA; Winter Ale; Porter

This is brewed and bottled by Pugsley Brewing of Portland, Maine (So it looks like the Federal Jacks brewpub started Kennebunkport and has it contract brewed by Shipyard; that folks is often how the beer industry works).

Wheat - This 5.1% ABV beer pours dark golden in color, highly effervescent, with a small white head.  The aroma is light, fruity, some apricot and red plum jam, a bit of malty grain, slightly sweet.  The taste is slightly sweet, biscuity, some light fruit, with a dry and bitter finish.  The mouthfeel is smooth yet well carbonated.  This is a nice wheat beer and would be a good summer drinker.

IPA - This 6.2% ABV beer pours a dark copper, burnt orange in color.  There is a half-inch of thick, creamy and foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is a bit strange, kind of sour,yeasty, burnt caramel malt, spoiling fruit.  The taste is richly malty with some fruit overtones and a bitter finish.  The taste is light years better than the strange aroma.  This is a decent drinking beer, but a failure as an IPA.

Winter Ale - This 6.7% ABV beer pours a deep ruby brown with a tall half-inch of light brown foam.  The aroma is roasted, toasted, nutty malt tinged with a bit of caramel.  The taste is like the aroma, lots of roasty, toasty, nutty malt, a touch of caramel, with enough hoppy bitterness to finish crisp and dry.  This is a really nice nut brown ale.

Porter - This 5.6% ABV beer pours dark black in color with a tall half-inch of light brown foam.  The aroma is roasted malt, a whiff of coffee, with a slight tang.  The taste is a deep, rich, roasted dark malt, some light coffee and dark chocolate.  This is a really tasty and enjoyable porter, especially for a store discount brand.
I picked these up at Trader Joes.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

El Bait Shop - Des Moines, Iowa

On the edge of downtown Des Moines and attached to The High Life Lounge (a retro kitsch temple of classic cheap beers and comfort food), El Bait Shop has one of the best beer selections you will ever find. They have about 105 beers on tap and over one hundred in bottles.

The selection is not just large, it is special and varied, and I guarantee you will find a beer that you have never had, and a beer you can't believe they have on tap. I had three beers (Old Man River Brewing Backpocket Gold Coin Helles Lager of McGregor, Iowa; Goose Island Summertime Kolsch Bier; and Great River Brewing Hop-a-potamus of Davenport, Iowa) and reached my 1600th different beer while at El Bait Shop.   There were several more I wished I had the time to try. Man, I could spend a whole weekend here. The beers were fresh and the food is good bar fare (wings, apps, burgers, sandwiches, etc.). The wait staff while I was there were very knowledgable about craft beer.

If you love beer and are ever in Des Moines, you must not miss this place.  Highly recommended!

Update - I was able to go again on June 20, 2011.  There are so many beers here I want to try that it gets a bit dizzying.  However, I noticed that they have a great idea in that you can try pre-picked flights of beers, or pick your own flight of six different beers for only $8.  The pours appear to be about a 4-5 oz. tasting pour.  I tried Empyrean Brewing Super Nova Summer Ale, Great River Saison, Capital Brewery Dark, Summit Stout, and Rock Bottom Brewery Helles Bock and Danish Farmhouse Ale.  I also tried the Big Sky Double India Pale Ale and the Great River Farmer Brown.  There were still several more beers I was dying to try, but the flight helped me try quite a few.  As at my last visit, not only were the staff beer knowledgable, but most of the persons sitting at the bar were very knowledgeable about beer as well.  An impressive place that any beer lover should make a goal of visiting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dave's Brewfarm Select Golden Lager

Dave's Brewfarm brews in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

This 5.5% ABV beer pours dark golden with a small white head.  The aroma is sweet, honey, light floral and a slight green apple note.  The taste is malty, a bit sweet, a slightly spicy zestiness and a bitter aftertaste.  This is a disappointing lager, too sweet, not enough grainy maltiness, no lager funk, and the hops are all bitter with no crisp freshness.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Old Bobby Lager - Old Bobby Ale

Although these appear to be English style beers, they are in fact made by Baltika Breweries of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Old Bobby Lager - This 4.5% ABV beer pours a pale golden, straw in color.  It is highly effervescent has a small pure white head that leaves some light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is fresh, clean, lots of grain, with a bit of apple.  The taste is a crisp, refreshing light tasting lager, some grain and just a touch of lager funk and hop bitterness.  There is not much aftertaste.  The heavy carbonation burns the tongue.  There is nothing wrong with this, it is an enjoyable light lager, but it is fairly non-descript.

Old Bobby Ale - This beer is also 4.5% ABV.  It pours a light brown, copper, ruby, amber in color with a half-inch of slightly off-white foam.  The aroma is caramel, slighty burnt, slightly roasted, and some light dark fruit.  The taste is slightly sweet with the caramel and fruit.  This is quite mild, nice, but just a tad too sweet for my taste.  I would like it if it finished just a bit crisper, drier, more bitter.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier

Brewed by the Brauerei Heller-Trum in Bamberg, Germany.

This beer pours golden in color with a quarter to half inch of rapidly dissipating head.  The aroma is smokey, grain and toast.  The taste is a very smokey lager, not much other than smoke.  Schlenkerla is famous for their smoked beers.  According to the label, "It is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer.  Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes 'Helles Schlenkerla Lager' a unique representative of the classic lager beer style 'Bavarian Helles'." 

Well this is not subtle smokiness to me and now I remember why I did not like their smoked beers, just way too damn smokey and not much else.  I will say though, this would be good with some smoked gouda cheese and some other savory and sour snacks.

Rogue - Juniper Pale Ale; Mogul Madness Ale; Chatoe Rogue Creek Ale; Dirtoir Black Lager

The Rogue Brewing Company is in Newport, Oregon.

Juniper Pale Ale - This beer is brewed with juniper berries and pours a dark yellow golden in color.  There is a short head of white foam.  The aroma is full malty grain, hop bitterness, with grass and herbs.  The taste is of a nice full-flavored lager, with an herbal and bitter hop finish.  A solid beer.

Mogul Madness Ale - This beer pours a very dark brown, with a tint of ruby.  There is a quarter-inch of creamy off-white to light brown foam.  The aroma leans just to hop forward, piney, over a base of dark roasted malt, nearing coffee.  The taste is dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, hops, and pine.  The finish is slightly tart, bitter and dry.  This is a beer both heavily malted and hopped.

Chatoe Rogue First Growth Creek Ale - This is an ale brewed with cherries, it is part of the Chatoe Rogue, "Grow the Revolution", GYO or "grow-your-own" series.  These are beers made with their own estate grown hops and barley.  The beer pours a medium to dark brown in color with some red tints.  There is a tall quarter-inch of light brown creamy, foamy head.  The aroma is malty, some caramel, and an earthy, tangy, and slightly fermented cherry.  The taste is a deep, rich, succulent cherry, somewhat sweet and somewhat tart, over a solid caramel malt base.  The aftertaste is rich cherry.  If you like cherry beers, this is one to try. 

Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager - I am guessing the name of this beer is a take on the word "terroir" that is often used with wine.  It describes the way in which you can taste the place, the earth, in this case the dirt, of the area where the grapes of a wine were grown.  Thus, "dirtoir."  This beer pours jet black, blacker than the deepest depths of the darkest cave.  There is a quarter-inch of dark brown foam.  The aroma is dark, nutty, coffee roasted malt.  The taste is a very deep, dark, roasted malt, with coffee and very dark chocolate notes.  They call this a black lager, but it is much more like a deep stout in taste.

Shiner - Blonde; Light Blonde; Old-Time Alt; Holiday Cheer; Hefeweizen

Shiner beers come from the Spoetzel Brewery in Shiner, Texas (pop. 2,070).

Blonde - This beer pours a light and sparkling gold in color, very clear, with a small white head that rapidly dissipates.  The aroma is slightly sweet grain, a touch of floral, with a lightly grassy bitterness.  The taste is the slightly sweet grain with some apple and just a touch of bitterness.  The beer is well carbonated and stings the tongue.

Light Blonde - This 99 calorie beer pours a very pale golden, like the color of champagne.  There is a large white foamy head that leaves sticky lacing of light to medium thickness down the glass.  The aroma is malty grain, straw, a bright and fresh grassiness.  The taste follows the aroma.  This is very light drinking, but flavorful for the genre.  One of my new faves for a light beer.

Holiday Cheer - This is a dark wheat beer brewed with peaches and pecans.  It pours medium brown, ruby and garnet in color.  There is a half-inch of thick and foamy head which is off-white in color.  The aroma is peaches and light pecans, hint of caramel.  The taste is peaches, nutty, bit of caramel.  This is the beer equivalent of eating peach cobbler.  This is different, but really good.

Old-Time Alt - Part of their Brewer's Pride Selection of limited edition brews, this beer pours a dark copper to burnt orange in color with a quarter-inch of off-white to light brown foam. The aroma is malty, somewhat roasted, a bit of caramel. The taste is very malty, caramel, a touch of yam, with a slightly bitter finish. If you like a malt bomb, this is a good one for you.

Hefeweizen - This wheat beer is brewed with orange peels, lemon peels and honey.  The beer pours a hazy orange-golden in color.  There is a tall head of thick white foam.  The aroma is wheat malt, yeast, and light honey.  The citrus peels are not prevalent in the aroma.  The taste is yeast forward, honey on wheat toast.  It is well-carbonated and stings a bit on the mouth.  The citrus peels are most evident in the aftertaste.

 (The Family Reunion six pack)

New Belgium Brewing Company - Somersault; Belgo; Fresh Hop India Pale Ale; Dig Pale Ale

The New Belgium Brewing Company is in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Somersault - This 5.2% ABV beer pours golden in color with a pure white head of foam that leaves fairly thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is clean and fresh, some grain, a touch of honey and fruit, and an aromatic, grassy zestiness.  The taste is slightly sweet, slightly tart, biscuit with apricot jam but with a finish that is more tart than sweet.

Belgo Belgian Style India Pale Ale - This 7% ABV beer pours a light copper with orange and golden.  There is a half-inch of creamy and foamy white head.  The aroma is spicy, fruit, yeast, some malt.  The taste follows the aroma, quite yeasty, spicy (cloves and light banana esters) with a very dry and bitter finish.

Fresh Hop India Pale Pale - This 7.0% ABV beer is part of their Lips of Faith Series.  The beer pours a bright and clear golden-orange-copper in color.  There is a tall half-inch of thick, foamy head, just off-white in color that leaves sticky lacing of medium density down the glass.  The aroma is hop forward, citrusy, citrus peels, a bit of tropical fruit and a bit of yeastiness.  The taste is creamy tropical fruit, citrus, grapefruit peel.  There is a bit of strong tea with lemon in the taste as well.  The finish is strongly, but appropriately, bitter.   The aftertaste is fruity, like the taste.  This is a really good American IPA.

Dig Pale Ale - This is a new spring seasonal that comes in at 5.6% ABV.  The beer pours a dark amber and burnt orange in color.  There is a quarter inch of off-white head.  The aroma is relatively  hop forward, lemon and tropical fruit on a good malt base.  The taste is deliciously hoppy, lemon peel, tropical fruits, not bitter, but dry, like lemony English tea.  A very tasty American pale ale due to its hop forward nature.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dog Bite High Gravity Lager

Brewed and canned by Rock Wall Brewing Company of Rochester, New York (which would make me bet it is contract brewed by Genesee Brewing).  If the three headed dog (Cerberus) looks familiar, think  Fluffy, from the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, who guarded the hatch to enter the path to the stone.

This 10% ABV beer pours golden in color, well-carbonated, and with a half to three-quarter inches of light, fluffy, and rapidly dissipating white head that actually leaves a medium lacing down the glass.  Any beer of this type that is as high as 10% is generally scary, so let's see how this one goes.

The aroma is a bit fruity, sweet, candy-like, cotton candy and a bit of circus peanuts candy.  There is a slight bit of green apple.  Now that is not a great aroma, but it is actually better than I expected.  The taste is sweet and sour at the same time, reminiscent of the aroma, but does not cause one to gag.  Seriously, for a cheap 10% beer, this is about as good as you can hope.  Its praise is that it is not immediately nauseating and remains barely drinkable.  That being said, my hat's off to anyone who can drink the entire 24 oz. can without hurling.  I poured about half of the can into a glass, took one more sip, and had to drain pour the rest, just too gross.

Wychwood Brewery King Goblin Special Reserve

The Wychwood Brewery is in Witney, Oxfordshire, England.  They make a nice line of English ales.

This 6.6% ABV beer pours medium to dark brown and burnt orange and is translucent, but not transparent.  There is a tall quarter-inch to short half-inch of creamy off white foam that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is interesting, as much lager as ale.  There is grain, caramel, dark fruits, earthiness, molasses, some aromatic zestiness, but all fresh and clean.  The taste is a subtle combination of all the aromas with a bit of nuttiness and with a crisp, zesty and bitter finish that also has some grassiness.  It is well-carbonated, with a refreshing sting in the mouth, yet still smooth.  This tastes nothing like I expected it would, but it tastes very good and is a refreshing ale, especially for 6.6%.

Fort Collins Brewery 1900 Amber Lager

The Fort Collins Brewery is in , you guessed it, Fort Collins, Colorado.

This beer pours a light and shiny copper in color with a very small head.  The aroma is light fruity, tangy, metallic, but in a pleasant way.  The taste is malty, fruity, caramel, a bit of roasted nuttiness and a bitter finish.  There is a fruity and lightly nutty aftertaste, followed by a malty aftertaste.  The bitterness lingers.  This is a very nice amber lager.

Anchor Brewing - Summer Beer; Liberty Ale; Porter; Humming Ale

The Anchor Brewing Company is in San Francisco, California and is one of the "grandfathers" of the American craft beer movement.

Summer Beer - This 4.56% ABV beer pours dark golden, slightly cloudy, effervescent, with a quarter inch of pure white foamy head that leaves medium to heavy lacing down the glass.  The aroma is fresh, nice grain, an apricot jamminess and some spicy, zestiness and a touch of lager-type funk.  The taste is large and clean, lots of malt grain, some honey or jam sweetness, fruit, and a bitter hops finish.  Damn, this beer is awesome and I could drink it all summer.  This beer is all malt and 50% is malted wheat.

Liberty Ale - This 6.0% ABV beer pours light copper/amber/orange in color with a half inch of fluffy head that is just off-white that leaves medium to heavy lacing down the glass.  The aroma is extremely fresh and clean, with a light touch of fruity hops,  a light touch of malt and a bit of tall green grass.  The taste is very fruity, and a lot of roasted, caramel malt with a slightly bitter finish.  The mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy, but still light.

Porter - This beer pours deep black with ruby around the edges.   There is a tall inch of brown head that is thick, creamy and foamy.  The aroma is slightly sweet, dark roasted malt, milk chocolate.  The taste is dark roasted malt, chocolate, a touch of coffee, a touch of raspberry like fruit, all well balanced and blended.  It has a dry and somewhat bitter finish.  It has been a long time since I have had this beer and it is a damn, damn, fine porter.

 Humming Ale - This beer pours an orange-amber-copper in color with an inch of thick, off-white foam that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is hoppy, spicy, grapefruit, citrus, a touch of tropical fruit and yeast.  The taste is fruity, creamy, apricot and grapefruit, over a solid malt base, a bit of caramel and a medium bitter and dry finish.  This is a tasty and hoppy beer, but well balanced on its malt.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sierra Nevada Brewing Ruthless Rye IPA

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is in Chico, California.  I think they are one of the finest across the board craft breweries in the United States, in that everything they make is drinkable and a good representation of its style, even though they don't make many whales.

This 6.6% ABV and 55 IBU beer pours a medium brown and dark orange in color.  There is a tall, thick, somewhat creamy, off-white head.  The aroma is a perfect balance of toasted rye malt and hoppy fruits, light tropical and melons.  The taste follows the nice balance of the aroma, spicy toasted rye, rye toast, and a fruity hoppiness, sweet, yet tangy. It has a dry and moderately bitter finish, with a thirst-quenching grapefruit juice note.  This is solid, quite good.

Shipyard Brewing Company Chamberlain Pale Ale; Summer Ale; Blue Fin Stout; Double Old Thumper Ale; Pumpkinhead

The Shipyard Brewing Company was established in 1994 and brews out of Portland, Maine.

Chamberlain Pale Ale - This beer pours a sparkling copper-amber in color with a big somewhat pillowy head that leaves medium lacing in the glass.  The aroma is creamy, yeasty, biscuity and fruity with a cherry and plum type of fruit.  The taste is malty, creamy, nutty, hazelnut with a slightly bitter finish.  The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy to start, but the effervescent carbonation cuts through at the end to tickle the tongue and throat.  This is a really delicious pale ale and I would love to try this on tap in Portland, Maine.

Summer Ale - This beer pours golden in color with a half-inch of pure white foamy head that dissipates fairly rapidly.  The aroma is subtle and hard to define, slightly fruity, slightly grainy, slightly aromatic, floral, bitter.  The taste follows the aroma.  This beer is tasty, yet hard to pick out and discern a lot of individual elements.  It has a little bit of everything in the aroma, but together makes a nice whole.  It is less sweet and a little more bitter (in a good way) than many summer ales.

Blue Fin Stout - This beer pours an intense, deep, opaque black with a quarter inch of light brown head that leaves medium to thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is slightly sweet, chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malt.  The taste follows the aromas, it is more dry than sweet, and has the bittersweet, tart finish common to stouts.

Double Old Thumper Ale - This 11.2% ABV beer pours copper colored with brown and ruby.  There is a quarter inch of creamy off-white head that leaves light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is very fruity, lots of jammy apricot and some aromatic and tropical fruit notes.  The taste is sweet, but not cloyingly so, there is a good balancing bitterness on the finish.  This is a slightly sweet, dense scone slathered in a sweet, but tangy apricot jam.  This is delicious and exceeds my expectations.  This is made in cooperation with England's Ringwood Brewery

Pumpkinhead - It seems like everyone is now coming out with a pumpkin beer.  This is Shipyard's version.  The beer pours a dark golden, amber, with a tinge of orange-copper.  There is a quarter inch of white foamy head.  The aroma is spices, cloves and nutmeg, on top of a malty base of grain and clear, but mild, pumpkin.  The taste is much stronger pumpkin, spices, the grain less forward.  This is much like a liquid pumpkin pie, but not so sweet.

Granite City Brewing Company - Brother Benedict's Bock; Northern Lager; Duke of Wellington Pale Ale

Granite City Brewery is a chain of brewpubs in the Midwest.  I have been there once and their beer and menu were both good and to my taste.  They have now started to offer some of their beer in bottles apparently contract brewed at the Minhas Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Brother Benedict's Bock - The beer pours dark brown with just a bit of ruby translucence at the bottom of the glass.  There is a quarter inch of creamy off white head.  The aroma is malt, sweet, slightly roasted and with a bit of malt vinegar.  The aroma reminds me of many of the ales I tried in Scotland.  The taste is nutty, malty, slightly sweet and a tinge of malt vinegar.  This is a delicous beer.  Although they call it a bock, it is a lot like many Scottish nut brown type ales too.  It also has some similarities to Huber Bock, but is better, more balanced.  This is interesting to note because it says the beer is brewed in Monroe, Wisconsin.  Granite City is not based out of Monroe, but the Minhas Craft Brewery, brewer of Huber Bock, is based there.

Northern Lager - This beer pours an orangish honey golden with a small white head.  The aroma is redolent of malted barley, like the malting room of a distillery, slightly sweet, aromatic,  pungent.  The taste is extremely malty,with a touch of sweet potato.  This beer tastes like walking past a large brewery.  It has impressive maltiness, but as a lager, could use more hop bite and bitterness on the finish to help balance it out.

Duke of Wellington Pale Ale - This beer pours a medium dark brown, orange and dark copper in color.  It has a short thick and creamy head of off-white to light brown foam that leaves thick and sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is caramel, light molasses, dark fruit like plums and raisins.  The taste is dark caramel malt, nearly burnt toast, some fruit and a bitter finish.  A decent take on an English pale ale.


Zipfer is brewed by Brau Union Osterrich in Linz, Austria.

This 5.4% ABV beer pours a dark honey golden and well carbonated but with only a quarter inch of rapidly dissipating head that does leave light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is straw, fall grain, slightly grassy and floral, with a medium lager "funk".  The taste is strong, grain, straw, lager funk, with a bitter finish.  The carbonation provides a bit of bite on the tongue and sting on the back of the throat, in a refreshing way.  This is a nice German style lager.

Remember when Michelob came in bottles this shape in the 1980's?  The bottle indicates Zipfer has been around since 1858, wonder if Michelob took their idea from Zipfer?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mahouse Brewing company - Hopburst IPA; Honey Pilsner

The Madhouse Brewing Company is in Newton, Iowa.

Hopburts IPA - This beer was released on May 12, 2011 and I am trying it on May 13, 2011.  It is 7.2% ABV and pours a glowing orange-brown-copper-amber and a touch of ruby, with a quarter inch of rapidly dissipating head that leaves little to no lacing.  The aroma is hop, fruit forward with tropical fruit, melon, a touch of pine and slightly sweet, strong tea with lemon.  There is also a bit of spicy rye-like malt.  The taste is sweet, but not disproportionately so, nowhere near cloying.  There is a ton of melon and cantalopue and some tropical fruit.  There is the slightest bit of pine, and just a touch of the tea with lemon that is more apparent in the aroma.  There is also a bit of the spicy rye-like malt that shows up in the aroma and provides balance.  The mouthfeel is round and smooth but could stand a little more carbonation. If you like a very melony, tropical fruit type of hop forward IPA, then definitely try to get a taste of this.  Delicious and a hopheads delight!

According to the bottle:  Hopbursting is a relatively new brewing technique in which the vast majority of hops are added to the kettle late in the boil in order to achieve enhanced extraction of hop components (i.e. Hopbursting gives you tons of hop flavor and aroma).

Honey Pilsner - This is made with Iowa honey from the Ebert Honey Company apiary.  This 5.0% ABV beer pours honey golden with a half inch of pure white foam that leaves light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is slightly sweet, a touch of honey, lots of clover, a bit of yeast banana ester, over a smooth and malty grain.  The taste is clover, yeast banana ester and a touch of citrus.  The mouthfeel is flat, this needs a lot more carbonation.  This would make an interesting yeasty Belgian-style beer, perhaps a saison, but it is not at all what I would expect from a pilsner.  It lacked the carbonation, the grain, the "funk" and the crisp finish of a pilsner.  A honey pilsner makes me think it will be a slightly honey-sweet pilsner, and it was not that.  This was a beer fail for me based on how it describes itself.

Sapporo Reserve

This beer pours dark honey golden in color with half an inch of pure white foamy head that leaves light to medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is clean, grain, a bit of straw, some zesty hoppiness and a slight metallic tone.  The taste is a wave of grainy malt followed by a bitter hoppiness.  The mouthfeel is smooth, but finishes well-carbonated to the point of stinging the tongue.  This beer is a simple, basic, lager that would best be had with some salty, tart or spicy food.

Jaguar High Gravity Lager

Brewed and bottled by Mountain Crest in Monroe, Wisconsin. This means brewed by the Minhas Craft Brewery (gotta love it when a brewery doesn't even claim their brew on their website).

This 8.3% malt liquor pours a golden yellow in color. There is an inch of foamy white head. (I know this beer is not made for a glass, so I used a really short one; hell, this beer puts a paper sack to shame.) The aroma is strangely fruity for a lager. There is light cherry, green apple, sweet corn, and a bit of grass. I hope this tastes better than it smells. The taste is about the same. Overly sweet, strange fruit notes, but not terribly obnoxious for the style and maker. There is an alcohol burn in the gut as the beer continues. There are occasional odd notes of malt, but they are then consumed by burning alcohol circus peanuts candy flavors.

I have had this once before, (only repeating by accident) and it was much worse then. They have cleaned up the really bad chemical notes. While better than it used to be, if your goal is to get drunk cheap, there are still much better-tasting alternatives that aren't much more expensive (MUCH better alternatives).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Furthermore Brewing Proper

The Furthermore Brewing company is in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

This beer pours a light copper-amber-orange in color with a quarter inch of head. It leaves light to medium lacing down the glass. The aroma is fruity, cherry and fruit punch over light grain.  The taste follows the aroma.  It is well-carbonated and bites the tongue.  There is nothing wrong with this beer, in fact it is quite tasty, but it just doesn't inspire me to say too much about it.

Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale

The Brooklyn Brewery is in Brooklyn, New York.

This 5.0% ABV beer pours dark golden in color with just a hint of orange.  There is a billowing head of pure white foam that leaves medium-thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is a yeasty and slightly spicy breadiness.  The taste is sweet, grainy malt, touch of honey, and just a tinge of a smokiness.  This is a nice summer ale.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kirkland Signature Beers - India Pale Ale; Pale Ale; Amber Ale; Belgian Style White

The Kirkland Signature beers are brewed and bottled by the New Yorker Brewing Co. of Utica, New York.  This may mean they are contract brewed by Matt Brewing.  Kirkland Signature is the store brand "craft beers" of Costco, available as a case consisting of four different six packs.

India Pale Ale - This 6.5% ABV beer pours a dark copper/amber/brown, glowing and translucent with a quarter inch of thick off-white foam that leaves considerable lacing down the glass.  The aroma is dark fruit, cherries, plums, and caramel malt.  The taste follows the aroma and has an extremely bitter, yet somehow watery, finish.  There is some tea with lemon in the aftertaste.

Pale Ale - This 5.4% ABV beer pours a medium copper and amber in color with a small head of white foam.  The aroma is light biscuit to scone with red plum jelly.  The taste is somewhat malty and fruity with a slightly bitter and dry finish.  As like the IPA, there is a bit of tea with honey and lemon in the aftertaste.  For a store brand, this is a good approximation of an  English-style pale ale.

Amber Ale - This 5.7 % ABV beer pours medium brown, translucent when held to the light with a bit of orange around the edges and a slight head.  The aroma is burnt caramel, cooked broccoli and a touch of manure.  I hope it tastes better than it smells.  The taste is watery burnt caramel with a touch of sharp rye.  This is the bum steer of the Kirkland Signature lot.

Belgian Style White - This 5.4% ABV beer is brewed with spices in the traditional style of a Belgian white beer.  The beer pours orange in color with a bit of copper and amber.  The head is very slight.  The aroma is very fruity and spicy, orange and coriander predominate.  The taste is of a light wheat type malt with lots of orange and coriander.  The mouthfeel is a bit slight and watery, but if you like white beers, this has very good flavor, it could just use more body and carbonation.