Friday, August 24, 2012

Rogue Fifteen Thousand Brew Ale

This is a limited release (I have bottle 330 out of 1,515) brew from Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon.  It celebrates that they have had one brewer with them, John C. Maier, for all of their 23 years and 15,000 brews.  The bottle is hand signed by the brewer.  According to the bottle this was brewed in February of 2012 and it was released in August of 2012.  It contains 9 ingredients, including four malts, two hops, Belgian candi sugar, Belgian stout yeast, and water.  It comes in a ceramic 750-ml bottle, that is capped, but has a swing top.

The beer pours a pure, dense black in color.  There is a tall head of thick, almost creamy, light brown foam. The aroma is very dark roasted malt, dark cocoa, some coffee, slightly sweet and milky.  The taste is very dark roasted malt, bitter coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate.  There is sweetness, but it is balanced by all the dark roasted and bitter flavors.  It is surprisingly light in the mouth for all its massive dark roasted flavors.  The finish is bitter, bittersweet, and fairly dry.  They made a good stout for this special release.

Track Town Honey Orange Wheat Ale

This beer is from the Eugene City Brewery, an offshoot of Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon.  This is a brewery they reopened in Eugene, Oregon at the site of the Eugene City Brewery, originally built in 1866.  It was taken over by Henry Weinhard in 1890.  The original building was torn down in 1914 and rebuilt across the street. 

This wheat ale is brewed with honey and with natural flavor (I am assuming at least orange) added. The beer pours a hazy orange and dark golden in color.  There is a short creamy head of white foam.  The aroma is toasted wheat, orange, honey sweet, along with a fruity tartness.  The beer is slightly sweet toasted wheat, almost nutty, with an orange fruitiness.  The mouthfeel is light and creamy.  There is a honey and fruit sweetness in the beer, but enough toasted malt and hops to never towards too sweet.  There is a heavy orange aftertaste.  This is pretty solid, although not great.  It is worth trying, it is just not likely to blow you away.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Track Town Triple Jump Pale Ale

This pale ale is from the Eugene City Brewery, an offshoot of Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon.  This is a brewery they reopened in Eugene, Oregon at the site of the Eugene City Brewery, originally built in 1866.  It was taken over by Henry Weinhard in 1890.  The original building was torn down in 1914 and rebuilt across the street.

The beer pours a slightly hazy orange amber in color.  There is almost no head.  The aroma is fruity, plums and orange, slightly tart.  The taste is light caramel malt and light plum fruit, with just a hint of strawberry.  The finish is moderately bitter.  It is carbonated yet watery at the same time.  This is an English style of pale ale and frankly a mediocre job of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rogue Portland State IPA

Somewhat oddly, a beer made in partnership with a university, this IPA is from Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon.

The beer pours a somewhat hazy orange and amber in color.  There is an inch head of thick and creamy foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is citrusy, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, and light tropical fruit.  The taste follows the aromas with lots of tangy citrus fruits, tropical fruit, and the astringency and taste of strong tea.  It is well carbonated with a crisp mouthfeel.  The finish is quite bitter and achingly dry.  This is a very nice IPA.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Track Town 200 Meter Ale

This is an India Pale Ale from the Eugene City Brewery, an offshoot of Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon.  This is a brewery they reopened in Eugene, Oregon at the site of the Eugene City Brewery, originally built in 1866.  It was taken over by Henry Weinhard in 1890.  The original building was torn down in 1914 and rebuilt across the street.

The beer pours a hazy deep amber and orange in color.  There is a very large, very thick, creamy head of off-white foam.  The aroma is fruity, yeasty, lots of orange with some caramel malt.  The taste is fruity orange, caramel malt, lots of fresh sun tea with lemon, with an astringently bitter finish.  The aftertaste is reminiscent of the flavors and quite bitter.  The mouthfeel is smooth with a creamy element from the large, thick head.  This is an IPA for those who like the bitter.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hinterland Luna Coffee Stout

Hinterland beers are from the Green Bay Brewing Company of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  This 5.8% stout is brewed with coffee.

The beer pours pure black, with a tall head of light brown, creamy foam.   The aroma is coffee forward, over dark roasted malt, with a tangy sweetness.  The taste is creamy unsweetened coffee over dark roasted malt.  There is a tangy, coffee aftertaste.  This is stout for coffee lovers, those who like a strong, dark iced coffee, with a touch of cream.

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

This is a 9.0% ABV strong dark ale, bottle conditioned in the Belgian style, from Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, Canada.  The name means "three coins" and comes from the name of a village in Quebec that has spawned several legends, including that of the Black Horse.  A local bishop spawned a good devil in the form of a black steed that hauled all the rocks to build a church.  Someone removed its bridle when there was only one stone left.  The horse ran away and the stone is missing to this day.

The beer pours very dark brown, nearly black in appearance, with tints of ruby when held to the light.  There is a large foamy head, light brown in color.  The aroma is yeasty, lots of banana, spices, especially cloves, and doughy.  The taste is nicely sweet, not cloyingly so, and follows the aromas, with a bit of a tang on the end.  It is much like a fruitcake or spiced banana bread.

New Belgium Red Hoptober

This is a 6.0% ABV fall seasonal from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado.  It is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Eldorado hops.

The beer pours a medium-dark brown and deep copper, with tints of garnet.  There is a half-inch of somewhat creamy head, off-white to very light brown in color.  The aroma is a blast of hops, piney and citrusy, followed by deep dark roasted and toasted malt.  The taste follows the aroma with tropical fruity hops floating on rich and nutty dark roasted malt.  The hoppy layer and malty layer meld together quite harmoniously.  The finish is moderately bitter and a lingering aftertaste of the roasted and toasted malt, along with a hoppy tang.  This is worth a try.

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

This 5.4% ABV pale ale is from Founders Brewing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The beer pours orange and dark golden, near amber. There is a half inch of off-white head. The aroma is floral and fruity, oranges, apricots and plums, along with the funkiness of a German lager. The taste follows the aroma, adding sun tea with lemon, biscuits with a light sheen of orange marmalade and a moderately bitter finish. The aftertaste is of sweet and bitter tall grass and dried apricots.

This beer is simple perfection of the pale ale style, the flavors are subtle, not calling for verbosity, but it is hard to do justice with words regarding how good this beer is.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

This 5.0% ABV beer is a "crisp summer lager" from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, California.  The beer pours a pale light golden and yellow in color.  There is a large head of pure white foam.  The aroma is floral, bitter, fresh tall grass, honey and golden grain, with a nice lager funkiness.  The taste is semi-sweet malted golden grain, floral notes and floral bitterness, with a dry and bitter finish.  There is a nice lager funkiness.  This is one of the top American lagers, excellent.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Boulevard Saison Brett

This 8.5% ABV beer is part of the Boulevard Brewing Company's Smokestack Series.  Boulevard is out of Kansas City, Missouri.  This is a special limited release ale.  My bottle is number 19826.  Hmm, seems to me if there are at least 20,000 bottles, that is not much of a limited release.  Oh well.  According to the bottle, this started as a traditional Belgian-style saison, that was then dry hopped and bottle conditioned with various yeasts, including Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that gives earthy and sour notes.

The beer pours a bright golden yellow in color and well carbonated.  There is a tall head of thick white foam.  The aroma is massively floral, lots of marigold and geranium.  There is a light banana yeastiness.  It is hard to get much more than the flowers in the aroma.  The taste follows the aromas directly, massive flowers and a light banana yeastiness.  As it warms, the floral becomes increasingly funky, like animal pelts and animal urine funky (sorry Brett lovers, I just don't get it).  It has a very dry and moderately bitter finish. It has a tingly, almost explosive carbonation in the mouth. If you love flowers, you will love this beer.  I am a bit disappointed, it is pretty one-dimensional.

Yards Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

This 8.0% ABV beer is part of the Ales of the Revolution series from the Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This series recreates beer recipes of the Founding Fathers.   According to the bottle: "Based on Jefferson's original recipe, this golden ale includes ingredients that were specified and grown on his Virginia estate."

The beer pours amber and copper in color with a lot of carbonation.  There is a tall head of thick off-white foam.  The aroma is quite mild, some sweet caramel and lightly floral or fruity.  The taste is somewhat sweet, tangy, with a bitter finish.  I really do not get a lot of distinct aromas or tastes from this.  Overall, it is like a strong English bitter.  

Batemans Mr. George's Ruby Porter

This 5.0% ABV porter is from Batemans in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.  Porters take their  name from the men who originally preferred the style, the river and street porters of 18th century London.

The beer pours extremely dark brown to black in appearance, with ruby when held to the light.  There is a half to full inch of thick and creamy head, light brown in color.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, sweet and smoky, molasses and wet grain.  The taste is sweet and tangy dark roasted malt, light molasses, with a touch of dark chocolate.  Nice, but not exceptional in any way.

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde

This is a 9.0% ABV strong triple-style golden ale from Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, Canada.  The name means "the end of the world."  The beer is brewed with spices and  refermented in the bottle.

This beer pours cloudy, yet a bright and glowing yellow golden, with some tints towards orange.  There is a tall, thick, foamy white head.  The aroma is spices, particularly cloves, golden grain, yeasty, a bit of orange.  The taste follows the aromas, is smooth, very yeasty, adding notes of banana, with a fruity tang on the finish.  It is amply and finely carbonated, tingling in the mouth.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Unibroue Don De Dieu

This is a 9.0% ABV triple wheat ale from Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, Canada.  It is named after the ship that Champlain sailed up the St. Lawrence river in 1608.

The beer pours hazy, honey golden and orange.  There is a tall, fizzy head of thick white foam.  The aroma is toasted wheat, zesty, fruity, yeasty, with banana notes.  The taste is toasted wheat, slightly fruity and tangy, some sweet notes, banana, like a smooth, semi-sweet banana bread.  It has super fine and tingly carbonation from the bottle conditioning.  This is a very well done and tasty beer.  I am not a fan of yeasty, banana note beers, they just don't suit my taste.  So when I like one, I know it is very well done.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unibroue Maudite

This is an 8.0% ABV amber-red ale, brewed with spices, that is refermented in the bottle.  It is from Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, Canada.  La Maudite translates to the Damned.

The beer pours a somewhat hazy amber and ruby in color.  There is a massive, foamy, roiling, boiling head of very light brown foam.  The aroma is of Christmas spices, cloves, orange peel, roasted malt, zesty, fruity, yeasty.  The taste is zesty, spicy, tangy, earthy, malty, fruity, merging into a harmonious whole.  The mouthfeel is very fine and tingly carbonation.  The aftertaste is of a strong, red wine or apple brandy.  This is very well done.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Angry Cedar Chocolate Porter Ale

The Angry Cedar Brewing Company is from Waverly, Iowa and takes its name from the 2008 flood of the Cedar River.  "When life gives you water, make beer."

This 4.5% ABV beer explosively overfoams, with foam running over the top of the glass and streaming out of the top of the bottle.  It is black in color with a large light brown head.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee and some dark chocolate.  The taste follows the aromas directly, with lots of dark roasted malt flavors.  It is nice and dry and not at all sweet, which I prefer.  It is a bit watery in the mouth, although highly carbonated.  This has overall good flavors, but drinks a little thin and ends just not seeming complete in some way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Boulevard Love Child No. 2

This is limited release from the Smokestack Series from the Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri.  It comes in at 9.6% ABV and is made with sour yeasts and then aged in bourbon barrels. The label has a nice 1960's hippie era graphic feel (plus the stars are actually sparkly).

The beer pours an orangish-brown, and somewhat cloudy.  There is a short head of off-white to very light brown head.  The aroma is tart, earthy, sour, cherry, some wood and some whiskey.  The taste is cluck-your-tongue-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth sour, with a fruity tartness, and some dry woodiness.  The aftertaste is the tang of a really sour hot and sour soup.  This is a nicely drinkable sour ale.  However, I am disappointed that the bourbon barrels did not impart more sweet whiskey flavor to play off the sourness.  It seems like this had the potential to be more interesting and complex.

Sour beer purists, read no further - To test my theory that letting the bourbon barrel aging add a little more whiskey to this beer would have made it better, I added a wee bit of Templeton Rye to my glass. The addition of a little more whiskey flavor had the effect of both moderating, yet in certain ways, enhancing the sourness.  It was excellent.  If you try this and it is too sour for you, add a touch of your favorite bourbon or rye.

Cricket Hill Colonel Blides Cask Ale

The Cricket Hill Brewing Company is in Fairfield, New Jersey.  This beer is 5.5% ABV.  It pours amber and copper in color.  There is a tall half-inch of creamy, thick head, off-white in color.  The aroma is grassy, orange, tangerine, with some caramel malt.  The taste is light orange and tangerine on a bed of caramel malt, with a bright, grassy and bitter finish.  The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy.  This is like a strange hybrid of an English bitter and a light American IPA, but it is mostly enjoyable.  The aftertaste is a bit off-balanced.

Millstream Cabin Fever Doppelbock

The Millstream Brewing Company is in Amana, Iowa and has been brewing since the mid-1980's.  This beer pours a deep brown, with ruby and garnet tints.  There is a quarter to half inch of creamy foam, light brown in color.  The aroma is deeply and richly malty, dark roasted, caramel, sweet and a bit creamy.  The taste follows the aromas quite directly, dark roasted enough to give some light mocha coffee notes, with lots of malt and caramel.  This beer drinks smooth and creamy.  This is a very nice doppelbock.  Too many of them are overly sweet, even cloying.  This one is richly malty and sweet, but still well balanced.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

This 5.3% ABV beer is a seasonal release from the Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts, the makers of Samuel Adams beers.  Here it is early August and we have the Octoberfest beers coming out.  By the time it is really October, the winter seasonals will be coming out, and on and on through the seasons.

The beer pours a deep orange/amber/copper in color.  It is vigorously carbonated, with a tall head of creamy and foamy off-white head.  The aroma is malty, roasted and toasted, caramel, but also with a substantial bright and grassy hoppiness.  There is also a fruity tart note.  The taste is much more malt forward than the aroma, it is roasted and toasted, caramel.  There is a nearly burnt undertone which is somewhat off-putting.  It manages to be both flavorful, yet slightly watery at the same time.  There is a tartness which is nice in the aroma, but not match as well in the taste.  There are many better Octoberfest beers out there, this one has to be called disappointing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moylan's Kilt Lifter

This is a 8.0% ABV Scotch-style ale from Moylan's Brewing Company of Novato, California.  The beer pours a dark chestnut, mahogany brown, with tints of orange and heading towards ruby.  There is a half inch of fizzy, yet somewhat creamy head, very light brown in color.  The aroma is malty, roasted and nutty, caramel, combining with an earthy and fruity yeastiness that blends perfectly with the maltiness.  The taste is deeply rich malt, roasted, toasted, and very nutty.  There is caramel and sweetness, but a nice offsetting tang and dryness from yeast and hops.  This is a flavorful, and exquisitely malt forward, Scotch-style ale.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lindemans Pomme Lambic

This is a lambic, or spontaneously fermented sour beer, that undergoes a secondary fermentation with apple juices.  It is from the Brouwerij Lindemans in Vlezenbeek, Belgium.  It is imported by Merchant du Vin of Tukwila, Washington.  Under the foil is a bottle cap, under the cap is a cork.

The beer is 3.5% ABV and pours a dark honey golden with a bit of orange.  There is a large amount of fine, champagne-like carbonation.  There is a head of pure white foam that leaves thick and dirty lacing down the glass..  The aroma is apples, both sweet and tart, massive in a green apple Jolly Rancher kind of way.  There is also golden toasted grain and lambic sourness.  The taste is a mouth-exploding combination of sweet and tart apple fruitiness, along with an earthy, sour note from the lambic.  Although there are aromas and flavors not unlike Jolly Rancher candies, there is also a depth and complexity at work.  Excellent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lindemans Peche Lambic

This is a lambic, or spontaneously fermented sour beer, that undergoes a secondary fermentation with peaches.  It is from the Brouwerij Lindemans in Vlezenbeek, Belgium.  It is imported by Merchant du Vin of Tukwila, Washington.  Under the foil is a bottle cap, under the cap is a cork.

The beer is a mild 2.5% ABV and pours an orange honey golden in color.  It is well and finely carbonated, with a quarter-inch of thick and somewhat creamy white head that leaves layers of moderately thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is peach, peach, and peach, with honey and apricot.  There is some fruit-like tartness, but not as much as you might find in a kriek lambic.  The taste is full, exquisite, rich, sweet peach, followed immediately by a wave of tart peach and sour lambic.  It comes to an abrupt end and then has a long lingering aftertaste of equally balanced sweet and tart peach.  It has fine, tingly carbonation in the mouth, but also a nice richness.  This beer is wonderfully delicious.  If you like peaches an fruit lambics, give this one a try for sure.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lakemaid Beer

Lakemaid Beer is from the August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm, Minnesota (2014 - the bottle says brewed and bottled in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, so maybe Rapala switched the contract to Stevens Point brewing).  It is also sponsored by Rapala, makers of fishing lures, and part of the profits benefit the International Game Fish Association.  The bottles feature Lakemaids, the lake equivalent of mermaids, each one fashioned after a fresh water game fish.  My twelve pack had eight of the twelve Lakemaids.  Under each cap, you can see what fish you caught.  I randomly selected Miss Strugeon, and under the cap found I had caught a four pound walleye.

The beer pours a light yellow golden in color.  There is an inch of white foamy head.  The aroma is grassy, bitter, slightly floral hops, over golden grain, with a light touch of lager funkiness.  The taste is golden grain, lightly toasted, with the same grassy, bitter, floral hops as the aroma.  The finish is crisp, refreshing and moderately bitter.  While based on the presentation, you might call this a "gimmick" beer (and a great gimmick at that), don't be fooled into thinking the flavor is lacking.  This is a really nice regional American lager, the kind that Schell's is so good at making.  Whether you are going fishing or not, definitely pick this one up. (2014 - It is a little more on the malty side and a little less on the grassy side with the change in brewery, I preferred the Schell's version.)