Thursday, May 31, 2012

St. Sebastiaan Grand Reserve

St. Sebastiaan beers are from the Br. Sterkens Meier in Belgium. It is described as a top-fermented abbey ale.

This 10.0% ABV beer pours a dark golden orange, somewhat copper in color, a touch of haze. There is a large thick, foamy head, billowing high, white in color that leaves thick and sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is fruity, yeasty, estery, some bubble gum and cotton candy, sweet fermented golden grain. The taste is golden grain and lightly fruity, yeasty, tangy, some alcohol apparent. It is finely and intensely carbonated, stinging the mouth a bit. It actually drinks fairly light for its 10% ABV. This is quite nice, but not mind-blowing in any way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Harpoon Summer Beer

The Harpoon Brewery is out of Boston, Massachusetts.  Their Summer beer "is a refreshing example of the German Kolsch style: golden, light-bodied, crisp.  Perfect for summer."  We'll see.

"Love Beer.  Love Life.  Harpoon."  Since they describe this as a Kolsch style, I will use my small, cylindrical German beer glass, not a true Kolsch glass, but close as I have.  This 5.5% ABV beer pours a crystal clear pure golden in color with a tall head of white foam.  The head rapidly dissipates.  The aroma is clean, bright, citrus fruits, grassy, lots of grain.  The taste follows the aromas, finishing with a nice bitterness.  It drinks very crisp and refreshing.  Its only drawback is being slightly thin in the mouth, it could use better head retention which might also assist the mouthfeel.  Despite that, the can did not lie, everything it said describes this beer quite well and it is a perfect summer drinker.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

21st Amendment Bitter American

The 21st Amendment Brewery has their beers brewed and canned at the Cold Springs Brewery in Cold Springs, MN.

This 4.4% ABV beer is a sessionable extra pale ale, a seasonal release, and features a monkey in space suit.  So far, so good.  The beer pours a nice bright orange-copper in color.  There is a tall quarter-inch of creamy head, off-white to light brown in color that leaves dense lacing down the glass.  The aroma is hoppy, tropical fruits, orange cream, tea with lemon.  The taste follows the aromas, the beer drinks flavorful, yet light, creamy mouthfeel, and a moderately bitter finish.  Very nice!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Boulevard Smokestack Series Rye-On-Rye

The Boulevard Brewing Company is from Kansas City, Missouri. Their Smokestack Series is a line of specialty and limited release brews. This 11.0% ABV blended beer is brewed with rye and then 67% of it is aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels (an excellent rye whiskey based on a Prohibition-era recipe previously illegally distilled in Templeton, in Carroll County, Iowa).

2012: The beer pours a medium to dark brown, with tones of copper, orange and a touch of ruby. There is a near half-inch head of thick and creamy foam that is off-white to very light brown in color and leaves a medium density of lacing down the glass. The aroma is much more subdued than many whiskey barrel aged beers. It does not beat you over the head with the fact that it was in a whiskey barrel, but it is still apparent. There is vanilla, wood, and smooth rye whiskey. The taste is slightly sweet, tangy, a bit of spice from the rye grain, vanilla, wood and rye whiskey. The alcohol is apparent, but smooth and not hot. The mouthfeel is creamy.

This drinks much like a smooth rye whiskey cocktail, say rye with vanilla cola, but much smoother, deeper, fuller, substantial and more balanced. This is a fine whiskey barrel aged brew. Boulevard brews a line of generally excellent beers and Templeton Rye is an excellent whiskey; the two merge together nicely.

The 2013-2014 notes are below.

2013 Release - I am not sure why this is the 2013 release since it became available in 2012. It is now 12.0% ABV. The blending proportions remain the same, 33% ale, 67% ale aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels.  The beer pours burnt umber in color. There is a tall inch of thick and creamy off-white head. Very thick lacing is left down the glass. The aroma is creamy and smooth rye whiskey, rye malt, spicy and toasted, some apparent alcohol and a bit of woody dryness. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, with rye whiskey, rye malt, oak, dark and sweet dried fruit with the alcohol being upfront, but well blended and incorporated. It is still nicely creamy and smooth, with big flavors, and one of my favorites among whiskey barrel aged beers.

2014: The beer pours a dark brown with a dark burnt orange and amber glow. There is a tall, thick, bubbly, foamy head that is light tan in color. The aroma is oaky, light rye whiskey, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, a tangy fruitiness, like tangerine or mandarin orange, with a spicy rye grain note. The taste follows the aromas directly, and adds an even stronger, but still well-balanced, note of rye whiskey. It has a soft and fine bottle-conditioned carbonation. It drinks rich and full-bodied, but not heavy. It is always nice to drink this beer. 

2018, still tasting great and a total bottle art redesign:

Big Sky Kriek

The Big Sky Brewing Company is in Missoula, Montana. Their 10.0% ABV kriek was brewed with cherries and then aged in French oak wine barrels with cherries. It is bottle conditioned and was a 2010  limited release, my bottle being number 1636 of 3600.

The beer pours a light brown and pink ruby in color. It is heavily and effervescently carbonated. There is a short head of light brown foam that fizzes away. The aroma is cherries and wood, vinous, leather, and oxidized red wine or sherry. The taste is surprisingly massive like an old peppery strong red wine, with the alcohol quite apparent. The first sip is almost overwhelming. It drinks with a warming sensation in the throat. Subsequent sips moderate and  the cherry comes to the forefront. After that first strange wave, the primary flavor is cherry. There is a pleasant woody note. The wine stays apparent, but more subtle. It is well carbonated, but quite dry.

The taste is better than the aroma, and I quite like this (obviously there are better Belgian krieks, but this is quite pleasant). I don't know what that first strange wave of flavor was, perhaps it just needed to get some air into it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Uinta Brewing Crooked Line 19th Birthday Suit Sour Cherry Ale

Uinta Brewing is from Salt Lake City, Utah. This beer was brewed to mark the brewery's 19th birthday. It is a sour cherry ale. "Earth, Wind, Beer"

The beer is 5.7% ABV and pours a reddish-pink salmon in color with a short head of off-white/pinkish head.  It is finely carbonated like champagne. The aroma is tart and fruity, vinous, like a rose champagne. The taste follows the aroma, it is tart and fruity, lightly cherry, as much like a very dry rose champagne as a cherry beer. This is a nice, delicate and interesting beer, but if you are expecting a kriek, this is not it.

Samuel Adams Longshot Derf's Secret Alt

Samuel Adams beers are by the Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts.  This 9.3% ABV beer is part of Samuel Adams Longshot homebrew contest, where each year they choose several home brewer's recipes for their Longshot release.  This is the recipe of Fred Hessler.

The beer pours dark brown and ruby, with a short head of light brown foam.  The aroma is malty, sweet, burnt sugar and caramel, toffee and nut.  The taste is not as sweet as the aroma, but still sweetly malty and the tastes match many of the aromas, just more roasted and toasted.  It has enough carbonation and bitterness to not be cloyingly sweet.  It is nice tasting for the sticke alt style.

Brasserie Dupont Moinette Brune

The Brasserie Dupont is in Tourpes, Belgium. This is a brown bottle conditioned and unfiltered ale that is 8.5% ABV.

The beer pours hazy and brown with an orange tint. There is a half-inch of creamy and foamy head that is light brown in color. The aroma is malty, roasted, toasted, caramel, both tart and sweet, leather and a vinous fruitiness. The taste generally follows the aromas, but is both tarter and fruitier. It has an effervescent carbonation and finishes dry, slightly bitter, with a clean and fruity aftertaste.

Abbey Val-Dieu Brown

This is a brown abbey ale from the Abbaye du Val-Dieu of Aubel, Belgium.

This 8.0% ABV beer pours a very dark brown, hint of ruby in the light, with a short head of off-white colored foam. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel, burnt sugar, a bit of wood, and old sherry. The taste follows the aromas, is sweet up front, followed by a wave of roasted and toasted malt, a touch of nuttiness, and just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness from getting out of control.  Pleasant.

Two Brothers Brewing Domaine Dupage

Two Brothers Brewing is in Warrenville, Illinois.  This is a 5.9% ABV French-style country ale.

The beer pours a burnt orange-brown in color.  There is a tall, boiling head of thick and creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is spicy, peppery, fruity, slightly sweet.  The taste is tart, fruity, tangy, and a little yeasty.   It is effervescently carbonated and quite dry.  This is a very nice example of the style and tasty to boot.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Boom Island Thoprock IPA

Boom Island Brewing Company is in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This 8.0% ABV beer pours slightly hazy and a very deep, dark copper, amber, burnt orange in color.  There is a large creamy, foamy head, off-white in color.  The aroma is hoppy, very ripe tropical fruits and melons, and the slightest hint of pine, over a very solid, semi-sweet malt base.  The taste follows the aromas fairly directly, it leaves out the pine and adds a tart note, but all the fruits are there over a solid malt base, with some caramel malt notes.  The finish is slightly tart, moderately dry and with only enough bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the malt and finish just this side of dry.  The aftertaste is pleasantly fruity, and a lighter reminiscence of the original flavors.  The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, neither overdone nor underdone.  This is a really nice and big IPA, seek it out.

Boom Island Silvius Pale Ale

The Boom Island Brewing Company is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This 5.5% ABV beer pours a hazy burnt orange and amber.  There is a massive, foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is grassy, citrusy, fruity, nutty and moderately yeasty.  The taste is surprisingly malty, quite nutty, toffee, with some yeast and grassiness, and a light fruity tart note.  The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated, light for its substantial flavor, and finishes lightly dry.  This is a very tasty beer!

Harviestoun Schiehallion

This is a warm fermented lager by Harviestoun Brewery of Hillfoots Village, Scotland.

This 4.8% ABV beer pours a bright and deep golden in color.  There is a short head of white foam.  The aroma is clean and bright, citrus, grassy, golden grain.  The taste is clean, light and fruity and grassy, citrus, over golden grain, with a crisply bitter finish.  This is a really great hop-fruity lager.  If you like New Belgium Shift, Narragansett Summer Ale and similar beers, you will really like this one too.

Hofstetten Kubelbier

The Brauerei Hofstetten is in St. Martin, Austria, brewing since 1229. 

The Kubelbier is their 5.6% ABV Zwickelbier, an effervescent form of kellerbier, or "cellar beer", an unfiltered, unpasteurized, yeasty, malty lager originating in Franconia in Central Bavaria. Zwickl is made the same way as kellerbier, but when aging the carbon dioxide is not allowed to escape, thus retaining its carbonation.

The beer pours a slightly hazy amber and orange in color.  There is an inch of thick, creamy and foamy head, off-white in color.  The aroma is malty, grainy, a touch of caramel, just a hint of sweet potato, with a light floral yeastiness.  The taste is deeply and richly malty, very grainy, the touch of caramel, a touch of tartness, and a bracingly bitter finish.   The mouthfeel is carbonated, yet creamy.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA

This beer is from Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay, Idaho.  It is 10% ABV.  It is apparently specially brewed for an importer/exporter, Kysela Pere et Fils.

The beer pours a very deep amber, dark copper, burnt orange in color.  There is an inch of thick, creamy head of off-white foam that leaves a medium density of lacing down the glass.  The aroma is big and jammy, orange marmalade, some tropical fruit, some pine, and strong sun tea.  The taste is heavenly, creamy, big jammy fruits, orange and tropical, lots of tea and crusty bread underneath, well-balanced.  The finish is perfectly bitter, moderating the sweetness that would otherwise come from all the fruit and almost caramel malt.  The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and surprisingly light for all the flavor and high alcohol content.  The aftertaste is long, lingering and pleasant, reminiscent of all the original flavors.  This beer is stellar, utterly delicious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Epic Brewing Company Intermountain Wheat Beer

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

This 5.0% ABV beer pours a slightly hazy orange and dark golden in color.  There is an inch of thick, creamy, and foamy white head.  The beer looks very attractive.  The aroma is zesty, bright, citrusy, with a light fruity yeastiness, and toasted grain.  The taste is toasted wheat bread with lemon curd spread on it, and a nice floral/grassy note.  There is a nice moderate bitterness on the finish, and a pleasant aftertaste reminiscent of the flavors.  It is nicely carbonated, not too much, not too little, with a nice creaminess added by the thick head.  This is a great American wheat beer, tasty, and an easy drinker.

Monday, May 21, 2012

St. Michaelsberg Kellerbier

This beer is brewed by Maisel Brau of Bamberg, Germany. This is a 4.9% ABV kellerbier,  or "cellar beer", an unfiltered, unpasteurized, yeasty, malty lager originating in Franconia in Central Bavaria.

The beer pours a coppery orange in color, very slightly hazy, and true to style has very little carbonation. The aroma is malty, slightly sweet, floral, a bit of fruity and spicy yeast. The taste follows the aromas directly, and finishes subtly dry, and quite bitter, although the bitterness sneaks up on you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Porterhouse Brewing Company Plain Porter

The Porterhouse Brewing Company is in Dublin, Ireland.  "100% Irish, 6 degrees off kilter."

This 5.0% ABV beer pours a very dark brown and ruby in color, appearing black if not held to the light.  There is a short half-inch of light brown head.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, very lightly sweet and tart, mocha.  The taste is a tangy roasted malt, mocha, yet bright.  This beer is hard to describe, but it is delicious.  The finish is nicely tart and bitter.  It ends dry, with a  lingering aftertaste true to the original flavors.

Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale

Alexander Keith's is a Canadian brewery.  Its beers in the US are brewed by InBev (Anheuser-Busch) and the bottle shows A Keith's Brewing of St. Louis, Missouri.  I don't know if they are still fairly independent in Canada and just brewed in the US by InBev, or if they are totally owned by InBev now. 

This 5.4% ABV beer pours medium to dark brown with a hint of ruby.  There is a short head of off-white to light brown colored foam.  The aroma is malty, toasted, caramel, a bit nutty.  The taste follows the aromas.  This is a decent brown ale, but it is a bit too sweet for me.

Great Lakes Brewing Company Conway's Irish Ale

The Great Lakes Brewing Company is in Cleveland, Ohio.

This 6.5% ABV beer takes its name from Patrick Conway, the grandfather of the co-owners of the brewery and a Cleveland police officer for 25 years. The beer pours a deep amber, copper in color, with a hint of ruby.  There is a short head of off-white to light brown colored foam. The aroma is deeply malty, toasted, lightly roasted, light caramel. The taste is a dream of roasted, toasted, creamy, caramely, deep and nutty maltiness. It is rich, lightly sweet, nutty, but with enough bitterness to finish just dry. This beer is amazing, delicious and a malt head's delight!

Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale

Alexander Keith's is a Canadian brewery.  Its beers in the US are brewed by InBev (Anheuser-Busch) and the bottle shows A Keith's Brewing of St. Louis, Missouri.  I don't know if they are still fairly independent in Canada and just brewed in the US by InBev, or if they are totally owned by InBev now.

This 5.4% ABV beer pours a dark honey golden, turning orange.  There is a quarter-inch of pure white foam.  The aroma is malted barley, peaty and lightly smokey.  The taste is fruity, cream and orange marmalade on toast.  Ever so slightly sweet, but finishing with a hint of dryness.  It is nicely carbonated, fully, but not overly.  This is a quite interesting beer.

St. Peter's Brewery Grapefruit Fruit Beer

The St. Peter's Brewery is in Suffolk, United Kingdom.

This is a wheat beer with natural grapefruit flavor added.  I love the oval shaped bottle of St. Peter's beers.  It is a faithful reproduction of an actual c. 1770 beer bottle.  The beer is 4.7% ABV and pours a dark honey golden with a tint of orange.  There is a short head of pure white foam.  The aroma is toasted wheat, lagerish, clean straw, grapefruit pulp, light grapefruit juice.  If you have ever had the Caribbean grapefruit soda, Ting, there is a hint of that in there.  The taste starts out as a really nice toasted wheat lager, crackers, straw, and then  immediately hits a wave of grapefruit pulp and juice, some rind, with a dry and bitter finish from both hops and grapefruit.  So many fruit beers just taste like the fruit used in them, this tastes both like beer and grapefruit.  It is excellent and makes a great summer refresher on a hot day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Piraat Ale

This beer is brewed and bottled by the Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Ertvelde, Belgium.

This 10.5% ABV beer pours an orange amber in color with a massive, bubbling, thick and foamy head that is white to off-white in color. The aroma is fruity, woody, herbal, tart and tangy. The taste is malty, earthy, woody, herbal, lightly fruity, tart, with a massively dry finish, slightly bitter. It is nicely carbonated, and drinks surprisingly easy for its high alcohol. This is a really well balanced and nice Belgian ale.

For some reason, the label on the 750 ml bottle is different than that on the smaller bottle.