Friday, September 30, 2011

Kokanee Gold Amber Lager

From the Columbia Brewing Company of Creston, British Columbia, Canada.

This beer pours a dark amber/light brown in color with a sparse off-white head.  The aroma is malty, grassy, with a bit of malt vinegar tartness.  The taste follows the aroma with a bit of caramel and a hint of nuttiness.  Pretty good amber lager for its genre.

Scuttlebutt Brewing Company Gale Force IPA

The Scuttlebutt Brewing Company is in Everett, Washington.

This 5.25% ABV beer pours a copper-orange-amber in color with a small light brown head.  The aroma is lightly hop fruity and yeasty, peaches, grapefruit, a touch of tropical.  The taste follows the aroma, on top of a solid base of slightly sweet malt, with a dry and bitter finish.  This is more of an English-style IPA than a West Coast hop bomb.

Fish Tale Organic -Wild Salmon Pale Ale; IPA

Fish Tale beers are by the Fish Brewing Company of Olympia, Washington, which according to the bottle cap is brewed in the "Republic of Cascadia."  These are USDA certified organic beers.

Wild Salmon Pale Ale - This 5.5% ABV beer pours a copper-amber in color with a slight off-white head.  The aroma is delightfully hop forward, with citrus, grapefruit, pineapple and tropical fruit, there are some yeast notes, all over a light cracker-biscuit-caramel malt note.  The taste is fruity, hop forward, citrus and tropical, over a light, sweet scone malt.  It is very flavorful, but drinks very light.  There is a light to medium bitterness on the finish.  If you like really hop-forward American style pale ales then this one is for you.  Delicious for a hop head.

IPA - This 6.5% ABV beer pours a glowing copper-amber-orange in color with a half inch of thick and creamy off-white head that leaves thick and sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is delicately fruity, citrus and tropical with a touch of yeast.  The taste is also lightly and delicately fruity, citrus, tropical, some floral, a bit of yeast, all on a light caramel malt base.  This also feels light in the mouth.  This is a nice beer, but hop heads will actually prefer their pale ale.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hook & Ladder Brewing Company Flashpoint Pale Ale

The Hook & Ladder Brewing Company is brewed and bottled in Wilke Barre, Pennsylvania (contract brewed by Lion?).  Part of the sales of the company are donated to a local burn foundation.

This beer pours dark copper, brown and orange in color with a half-inch of creamy very light brown head.  It seems slightly hazy.  The aroma is malty, fruity, and has what I can only describe as a near vomit smell.  The taste follows the aroma.  A terrible pale ale.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hofbrau Munchen Oktoberfest

This is the Oktoberfest beer of the Hofbrauhaus in Munchen (Munich), Germany.

The beer pours a dark golden in color with a half inch of pure white, thick foam.  The aroma is grassy, earthy, straw, grain, herbal, and lager "funk."  The taste follows the aromas.  This is not as roasted malty and slightly sweet as a lot of Oktoberfests I have had.  It leans more to the German lager side, but it is still very flavorful.   The mouthfeel is creamy and the finish is dry and moderately bitter.  If you like flavorful German lagers, you should like this one.  I know I enjoyed it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Saint Arnold Brewing Company - Amber; Oktoberfest

The Saint Arnold Brewing Company is in Houston, Texas.

Amber - This beer pours amber in color with copper and orange.  There is a short half-inch of white head that leaves light to medium lacing on the glass.  The aroma is fruity, malt, caramel and a touch of yeast.  The taste follows the aroma, although the yeast is not present in the flavor, but some toasted, nutty  malt is.  The mouthfeel is well carbonated, yet smooth.  A nice drinking amber ale.

Oktoberfest - This beer pours a dark yet glowing amber, copper-orange-light brown in color.  It has a small and rapidly dissipating head of off-white foam.  The aroma is malty, caramel and lightly fruity.  The taste follows the aroma, and is marginally the beer equivalent of a caramel apple, but not so sweet nor fruity.  The mouth feel is highly carbonated, with a sting, but then round and smooth in the finish.  This is not a super flavorful beer, but it is a tasty easy drinker.

Austin Beerworks - Pearl-Snap; Fire Eagle American IPA

The Austin Beerworks is, not surprisingly, in Austin, Texas.

Pearl-Snap - This is their German-style pilsner.  The beer pours dark golden in color with a cyclone of carbonation.  There is an inch of white foamy head that leaves light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is spicy, zesty, fruity, almost tropical, clean, grassy, and includes fresh grain.  The taste is fruity, citrus and tropical, clean grain, and a zesty bitterness, along with some yeast in the aftertaste.  This beer is amazingly delicious and imminently quaffable.

Fire Eagle American IPA - This beer pours copper in color with a short head of off-white foam.  The aroma is fruity and spicy, apricot, plum jam.  The taste has a rye bread like maltiness and a fruity flavor, following the aromas with a very light citrus and tropical note.  Well-balanced and enjoyable.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Independence Brewing Company - Stash IPA; Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout

The Independence Brewing Company is in Austin, Texas.

Stash IPA - This beer pours a dark orange-copper in color with a short head of creamy off-white foam.  There is sticky lacing of medium to thick density.  The aroma is grapefruit, grapefruit peel, citrus, a hint of tropical fruit and a spicy note.  The taste is grapefruit, citrus, tropical fruit on a solid malt base with just a touch of spice in the finish.  The aftertaste is the fruit and bitterness.  The mouthfeel is full, smooth and round, yet dry.  This beer is really delicious.

Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout - This beer pours as dark as used motor oil, with a barely existent head of dark brown.  The aroma is very dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, black coffee, very sweet.  The taste is ultra dark chocolate and a touch of dark fruits.  The very dark roasted malt adds a hint of coffee.  There is quite a bit of sweetness, almost cloying.  This one is a sipper.

Real Ale Brewing Company - Rio Blanco Pale Ale; Lost Gold IPA; Oktoberfest; Firemans #4 Blonde Ale

The Real Ale Brewing Company is in Blanco, Texas, in the Texas Hill Country.

Rio Blanco Pale Ale - This beer pours an orange-copper in color and is slightly hazy.  There is a small head of off-white foam that leaves sticky lacing of medium density down the glass.  The aroma is light, fruity, a nice and light touch of zesty yeast, and a toasted malt base.  The taste is fruity, plums and pears, with a nice base of toasted and nutty malt.  It has a smooth and round mouthfeel.  There is a pleasant medium bitterness in the aftertaste.  This is a delicious beer.

Lost Gold IPA - This beer pours a hazy orange-amber-copper with a slight off-white head.  The aroma is lightly fruity, floral honey and apricot, a touch of orange.  The taste is richly malty, with sweet, yet tart fruit.  The mouthfeel is slightly metallic and light, the only drawback to this beer.

Oktoberfest - This Bavarian style lager pours a burnt orange-amber brown, almost a hint of red.  There is a slight off-white head.  The aroma is malty, caramel and over-ripe fruit.  The taste is rich and malty, caramel, roasted and nutty.  This is a delicious Oktoberfest beer.

Firemans #4 Golden Ale - This beer pours yellow honey golden in color, lightly hazy.  There is a small head of white foam.  The aroma is grain, pumpkin and spice, coriander and cloves.  The taste is light malted grain and citrus fruit, with a medium bitter finish.  The mouthfeel is a little light.  Not incredible, but quite tasty and very drinkable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brasserie Thiriez - Blonde; Extra; Amber

Brasserie Thiriez is located in Esquelbecq, France. 

Thiriez Blonde - This is a dry-hopped French farmhouse ale.  It is 6.0% ABV and pours orange-golden with a half-inch fizzy head of white foam that quickly dissipates.  It is massively carbonated.  The aroma is rich malty grain, clean straw, and light grassy and floral hops.  The taste is richly and deeply malted grain, herbal, grassy and floral hops and a fruity tartness.  There is a distinct earthiness as well.  Despite all the carbonation it drinks smooth, soft and round in the mouth.  This is a very nice beer.

Thiriez Extra - This is another take on the dry-hopped French farmhouse ale.  It is 4.5% ABV and pours a dark golden in color, slightly hazy, with a massive foaming, bubbling, white head.  The aroma is tart, champagne like at times, yeasty, floral, citrusy, but over a grainy, bready, maltiness.  The taste is tart, citrusy, grassy, earthy, yeasty, with a bready maltiness.  There is a moderate bitterness on the finish which is very dry and with a bit of oaky wood.  This is an interesting and complex beer with a multitude of flavors going on.

Thiriez Amber - This 5.8% ABV French farmhouse ale pours a cloudy yellow, amber, golden, orange in color with a massive, foaming, bubbling, boiling head of just off-white head that turns into sea foam consistency.  The aroma is tart, citrusy, yeasty, grainy, and fruity.  The taste is earthy, malty, grainy, somewhat roasted, not nearly as tart in flavor as the other varieties.  Like the others, this is a very complex and interesting tasting beer.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Carlsberg originated in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1847.  It is now centered out of Frederica, Denmark and is one of the world's largest brewers, the Carlsberg Group

This 5.0% ABV lager pours a bright and pure golden yellow color with a whirlwind of carbonation. There is an inch of pure white head that leaves layers of thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is malty, toasted grain, straw, bread, with a dry lager "funk."  The taste is grain, straw, lager funk, crusty bread, dry with a very slight bitterness, and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.  The body is very light, well-carbonated. The only negative is a light metallic note on the finish.  Overall, this is a solid European lager.

The Orkney Brewery Dragonhead

The Orkney Brewery is in Quoyloo, Stromness, Orkney, Scotland.  The Orkney Islands are in the far north of Scotland.  I have had several of their brews and they are generally very good.

This 4.0% ABV beer pours as dark as the blackest, moonless, starless night.  There is a half inch of light brown creamy and foamy head that leaves sticky lacing of medium density down the glass.  The aroma is smokey, peaty, dark roasted malt, like a peaty island Scotch whiskey, but without all the alcohol.  There is a hint of salty, briny sea in the aroma.  The taste is not as smokey as the aroma, it is very deep, dark and rich smoke roasted malt, without being overpowering, a bit of slightly burnt toast made with high quality crusty bread and bitter dark chocolate.  The finish is smooth and dry.  This stout is unique in its well-balanced smokiness.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Epic Brewing Company -Armageddon IPA; Lager; Pale Ale; Mayhem

This is the Epic Brewing Company of Auckland, New Zealand (easily confused with the brewery of the exact same name in Salt Lake City, Utah).

Armageddon IPA - This beer is 6.66% ABV (according to their website, this is the number of the yeast).  It pours an orange copper in color with a creamy, bubbly, foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is fruity and spicy, stone fruits and rye bread, floral, slightly sweet.  The taste is floral, somewhat fruity, the spicy rye note is there, slightly sweet, malty in the back.  I bet this is incredible fresh on tap in New Zealand.  There is no dating on the bottle, but my guess is this loses something on the long trip from New Zealand.  Due to this, it is interesting but not worth its high price.

Lager - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a pale golden straw with a whirlwind of carbonation and an inch of foamy white head that leaves layers of lacing down the glass.  The aroma is slightly sweet, floral, grassy, some citrusy fruit, malty grain and a bit of straw.  The taste follows the aromas directly with a bright and clean finish that has just enough bitterness to keep it crisp.  Despite its high carbonation the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy more than biting carbonation.  This is an excellent lager.

Pale Ale - This 5.4% ABV beer pours a hazy orange-copper in color.  There is a half inch of foamy and sticky head that is off-white in color and leaves light to medium sticky lacing.  The aroma is fruity, cherries and plums, on a malty,scone-like base.  There is a slight spiciness as well.  The taste is fruity, malty and slightly funky.  A solid English-style pale ale, but not exceptional.

Mayhem - This 6.2% ABV beer pours a hazy orange brown with a short head of off-white, somewhat creamy foam.  The aroma is malty, rye-like and sweaty socks/vomit minus the acidity.  I really do not like the aroma of this beer.  The taste is malty and a bit fruity, with some of the nasty funk from the aroma, but not as apparent as in the smell.  I'm not really sure what this beer is trying to be; a strong pale ale?  It is not very much to my taste.

Guinness Black Lager

From the famous Guinness Brewery, established in 1759 at St. Jame's Gate, Dublin, Ireland, comes their brand new Black Lager.

This beer pours an extremely dark brown to black, opaque, with a quarter inch of creamy and foamy light brown head that leaves some light yet sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is very malty, deep and rich, not with a super dark roast but with the full maltiness of the malting room of a whiskey distillery.   The taste is malty in the same way as the aroma.  The flavor is full yet light.  There is quite a bit of carbonation.  Interesting, and very drinkable, but not super flavorful or exciting.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stack High Gravity Malt Liquor

Stack is from United Brands, the people who brought you Joose (the high alcohol, high caffeine fruit flavored mess that got banned).  It is brewed in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, probably by City Brewing.  This monster comes in at a whopping 12% ABV.    Well, here goes nothing...

This beer pours a neon glowing orange-copper-dark golden.  There is an extremely rapidly dissipating small head.  The aroma is massive alcohol for a beer, sweet, fruity, a touch of caramel, a hint of whiskey, like a cocktail.  The taste is massively sweet, almost more sweet potato than fruit, alcohol readily apparent, but not as intense as in the aroma.  It is easier to drink than I thought it would be, but it is cloyingly sweet, and this is definitely a whopper to be feared. 

Budweiser; Bud Light; Bud Ice; Bud Light Platinum

The famous and ubiquitous Budweiser and Bud Light  from Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, Missouri.  Brewing since 1860, they are now owned by InBev, a Belgian company.

Budweiser - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a very pale golden in color with an inch of white foamy head that leaves light lacing down the glass.  The aroma is very light grain, some fresh cut apple, and just a hint of hops.  The taste is light grain and a touch of hop bitterness.  Mild flavor, but not off-putting in any way.  The mouthfeel is both smooth and carbonated at the same time.

Bud Light - Bud Light is the top selling beer in the United States.  I admit I am biased against Bud Light, it is everything that is wrong with beer and mob mentality.  So many people think beer begins and ends with Bud Light.  I have not tried it in a long time, but will give it a go here with as open a mind as possible.  The beer pours a very light golden with a small head of pure white and fizzy foam.  The aroma is very light grain, a touch of wet cardboard, and a slight apple fruitiness.  The taste is...the taste is...the taste is hard to discern, a tiny touch of grain and a lot of carbonation.  Its taste is like the watered down aftertaste of beer.  It is crisply refreshing with its carbonation, but it is entirely boring, almost entirely lacking in flavor.
Bud Ice - This 5.5% ABV beer pours a slightly pale golden in color with a small and very fizzy white head.  The aroma is wet cardboard and very light grain, a hint of both sweet and tart.  The taste is very light grain and straw, a hint of sweet and tart apple.  The aftertaste is like wet cardboard that was rubbed with old apples.  Not very good. (Oddly enough the Bud Ice website takes you to a Budweiser website, where if you press on the link for the "Bud Family" of beers, there is no Bud Ice shown.  Strange.) 2016 and trying it again: The beer pours a dark golden color, with a tall head of white foam.  They have improved the beer in appearance and head. The aroma is sour apples and wet cardboard, still bad in this area. The taste follows the aromas, adding in some grain mush, better than the aroma, not entirely unpleasant. The mouthfeel is both soft and smooth, yet intensely carbonated at the same time; an overall good mouthfeel. This is not great, but better than it was when I last tried it.
Bud Light Platinum - This 6.0% ABV beer (very high for a "light" beer) has 137 calories in a 12 ounce bottle. The beer pours a very pale yellow-golden in color, crystal clear and well carbonated. There is a quarter inch of white foamy head that dissipates quite rapidly. The aroma is sweet and fruity grain, like malt-o-meal with fruit syrup. There is a touch of grassy hops. The taste is sweet, light malty grain, a touch of fruit and grass. There is an almost taffy-like aftertaste. This is not something I would seek out. If I was going for the zone this beer sits in, I would rather split the difference and have Old Milwaukee ("lighter") or Olde English 800 (high alcohol with less sweetness and better flavor).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Red Pig Mexican Ale

This is brewed by Cerveceria Mexicana, the brewers of the Mexicali beers.

The beer pours medium brown with a ruby-orange tint.  There is a small head of very light brown foam.  The aroma is light, a bit of roasted malt, very dark, almost burnt caramel, and a touch of dark fruit.  The taste follows the aroma fairly directly with a slightly bitter finish.  The extra flavor this has over Mexicali dark comes mostly at the expense of a burnt note.  I would probably rather just have the Mexicali dark.  Actually, the more I drink this, it would probably be good to mix one bottle of this with one bottle of Mexicali dark and drink that.  I just might give it a try on another night.  I will report back if I do.

Next night:  poured the two together.  It pours medium brown with a ruby tint and just barely transparent.  There is a small off-white head.  The aroma is light, roasted, toasted, nutty.  It worked, all the flavor of the two without the burnt note, and just enough bitterness on the end.  The flavor follows the aroma, roasted, toasted and nutty malt, with a dry finish.

Mexicali Beer - Original Formula; Special Dark

Mexicali beer is by the Cerveceria Mexicana, since 1923.

Original Formula - This beer pours honey golden in color with a tall quarter-inch of white head that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  .  The aroma is moist grain, a bit of straw, and a touch of funkiness.  The taste follows the aroma with wet grain and straw.  There is a slight bitterness on an otherwise smooth finish.  Not great, not bad.  In addition, I've got to say that I find their logo and bottle cap design compelling and an interesting use of the colors of the Mexican flag.

Special Dark - This beer pours very dark brown, opaque, except around the edges.  There is a tall head of very light brown creamy and foamy head that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is roasted, toasted malt, slightly nutty.  The taste is roasted malt, a bit nutty, with a slightly burnt toast and lightly bitter finish.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brewer's Cave Toasted Black Barley Ale

This is from the Blue Diamond Brewing company, contract brewed by Cold Springs Brewing Co. in Cold Springs, MN.

This beer pours dark brown with ruby tint, mostly opaque except around the edges.  There is a small off-white head that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is roasted, toasted, slightly nutty malt, clean and bright, with just a hint of caramel sweetness.  The taste is caramel, roasted malt, with a slightly burnt edge to it.  The mouthfeel is light for the flavor.  The aftertaste is a nice roasted and nutty malt.  It is too bad the initial taste is not more like the aftertaste.  They do start to meld together as the beer is consumed.