Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chatoe Rogue Good Chit Pilsner

Rogue Ales are brewed in Newport, Oregon.  Their Chatoe Rogue line uses an ingredient grown by the brewery itself.  This beer uses Liberty hops, and according to the bottle is "made with Rogue Farm barley that we Floor-Malted in small batches.  Floor Malting is an old fashioned, 8 day process that includes steeping, germination, raking, roasting, bagging and hands on love 24 hours a day. 'Chit' refers to the start of the rootlets that emerge from the embryo of the kernel once steeping is complete and germination begins."

http://www.rogue.com/

The beer pours a pure yellow golden, with a tall head of foamy white.  The aroma is crisp malted grain, the bitterness and aromatics of fresh grass and flowers, and a nice amount of lager funkiness.  The taste is richly malted grain, it is like drinking the smell of a brewery, with a very grassy and bitter finish, puckeringly dry.  It is well and crisply carbonated, but the large head adds a nice creamy element to the mouthfeel.  This is a quite good American pilsner.


Samuel Adams Griffin's Bow Oaked Blonde Barleywine Ale

Samuel Adams beers are from the Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts.

From the Single Batch collection, this 10.0% ABV beer pours a deep amber, burnt orange and copper in color.  There is a half-inch of thick, creamy and foamy head, that is off-white to very light brown in color.  The aroma is intensely fruity, mandarin oranges, tangerines, citrus peels, lots of fresh sawn wood, a bit of pine, a touch of melon and tropical fruit.  The taste is amazing, richly fruity, lots of citrus, tropical fruits, melon, apricot and kiwi.  This is like a combination of a very fruit forward New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a very buttery and oaky California chardonnay.  There is some sweetness, but it is offset by the tartness of the fruit and the oaky wood.  The mouthfeel is rich and creamy, with just enough carbonation to know that this is a barelywine beer and not a rich white wine.  This is amazing, unique and delicious.

Abita Mardi Gras Bock

The Abita Brewing Company is in Abita Springs, Louisiana.  If I recall correctly, their brewery was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

www.abita.com

This 6.5% ABV beer pours copper in color, with orange and amber.  There is a half-inch of foamy and creamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is malty, caramel, with some fruit and herbal spice from the hops.  This smells like a good Oktoberfest beer would.  The taste is richly and satisfyingly malty, just a touch of sweet potato, and the exact right amount of hops so that it finishes lightly bitter and not overly sweet.  This is really nice.

Sprecher Brewing Company Winter Brew Lager

The Sprecher Brewing Company is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was founded in 1985 by a former brewing supervisor for Pabst Brewing.
http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/
 
This 5.75% ABV dark lager pours very dark brown, almost black in appearance.  There is a half-inch of creamy, foamy head that is light brown in color.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, light coffee, a touch of dark chocolate and a hint of sweetness.  The taste is a nice, rich dark roasted malt, roasted, toasted, almost nutty, with a hint of perfectly balanced tartness on the end.  The mouthfeel is both creamy and carbonated.  This is a very tasty and drinkable dark lager.
 

Sprecher Brewing Company IPA2 Double India Pale Ale

The Sprecher Brewing Company is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  It was founded in 1985 by a former brewing supervisor for Pabst Brewing.

www.sprecherbrewery.com

This beer is part of their Premium Reserve line of beers and comes in at 7.72% ABV.  It pours slightly hazy, and copper-amber-orange in color.  There is a quarter-inch of foamy and creamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is overly yeasty for me.  It is very estery, with notes of banana, overripe, almost rotting, tropical fruit.  There is also tea and sweet caramel malt.  The taste is not as yeasty as the aroma.  There is overripe melon, tea with lemon, some yeasty and fruity esters, along with a very bitter finish.

Dundee English-Style Ale

The Dundee Brewing Company is part of the Genesee Brewing family out of Rochester, New York.

www.dundeebeer.com

This 5.1% ABV beer pours a slightly hazy, yet bright, orange golden in color. There is a short white head.  The aroma is light, some malt, some fruit, like apricot jam on a biscuit.  The taste follows the aroma and a light to medium amount of bitterness on the finish.  This is an easy drinker, tasty, but relatively "light" for the style.

Wychwood Brewery Wychcraft Blonde Beer

The Wychwood Brewery is in Witney, Oxfordshire, England.

This 4.5% ABV beer pours honey golden in color, with a touch of orange.  There is a quarter-inch of pure white foamy head.  The aroma is grassy and floral, aromatic, with a light touch of citrus, over a slightly spicy grain.  The taste follows the aromas, but with the grain and malt up front, followed immediately by a quite bitter, but not overly dry, grass and floral zest.  This actual drinks quite "wet" in the mouth for its bitterness.  A nice dark blonde English bitter.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pretty Things Hedgrow Bitter

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is in Westport, Massachusetts.

www.prettythingsbeertoday.com

This English-style special bitter is 5.4% ABV and pours an orange-amber-copper in color, with a half-inch of creamy and foamy head that is off-white in color.  A curtain of lacing is left down the glass as the beer is consumed.  The aroma is lightly fruity, plum jam, a touch of apricot, light toast, a bit of tea and the slightest touch of tobacco.  The taste is toasted French bread, with light fruit jam, a spot of tea, and a very bitter and dry finish.  (Made with all English hedge or hedgerow hops, responsible for the very bitter and dry finish).

Nevskoye - Beer; Imperial; Classic Ale

Nevskoye beers are brewed by the Baltika Breweries of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Beer - This is 4.6% and pours a dark golden yellow in color.  There is a half-inch head of pure white foam that leaves generous lacing down the glass.  The aroma is grainy, slightly sweet, creamy, with a floral note.  The taste follows the aromas, slightly sweet grain, a touch of lager "funk", light floral taste and floral bitterness.  The bitterness balances the sweetness, but neither overwhelms the other.  The mouthfeel is carbonated, but not overwhelmingly so, there is a definite creaminess.  It is somewhat crisp, yet creamy, at the same time.  This is a nice, but not great, Euro lager.


Imperial - This beer is also 4.6% ABV.  This makes me think the name is a poor translation, as an Imperial beer generally indicates a higher alcohol beer.  The beer pours yellow golden in color, paler than the regular Beer.  There is a relatively short head of pure white foam.  The aroma is light, with grain, a bit of lager funk and some floral notes and bitterness.  The taste is quite light as well, and follows the aroma.  The name is misleading for English speakers, as this in fact drinks like a light beer.


Classic Ale - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a dark yellow golden in color, almost honey-like.  There is a half-inch head of pure white foam that leaves fairly thick lacing, but not as thick as the regular Beer.  The aroma is deep, rich grain, old barn, touch of lager "funk."  The taste is follows the aroma, but is weaker, and with a slight sweetness.  The mouthfeel is carbonated, but not overly so, a bit creamy, but not as creamy as the regular Beer.



The Classic Ale has the best aroma and taste, but I wish its taste was as strong as its aroma.  The Beer has the best mouthfeel.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Port Brewing Company Midnight Expression Lager

The Port Brewing Company is in San Marcos, California.

http://www.portbrewing.com/

This 5.0% ABV beer pours pitch black with a massive, billowing head of dark brown foam, thick and almost creamy.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, with a tart note on the end, with a whiff of pure American craft lager.  The taste follows the aromas quite directly, very dark roasted malt, lots of coffee and a bright, slightly tart, lagery finish.

Uinta Brewing Company Baba Black Lager

The Uinta Brewing Company is in Salt Lake City, Utah.

www.uintabrewing.com

Featuring a "baba" black sheep, this beer is certified organic.  The beer pours pitch black with a tall half-inch of light brown head, foamy, thick and creamy.  There are sedimentary layers of lacing as the beer is consumed.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, hints of coffee and smoke.  The taste is deep, rich, dark roasted malt, coffee, with the perfect whisper of fruity, floral hops on the end to brighten the finish.  So often that is where dark beers go wrong, too tart or sour on the end, not in proportion to the main flavors.  This one gets it just right. The aftertaste follows the dark roasted flavors.  This is an excellent black lager, better than a lot of purported porters.

Twisted Pine Brewing Company Ghost Face Killah

With the same name as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, this beer is made with six varieties of hot peppers, including the world's hottest ghost pepper (and serrano, jalapeno, habanero, fresno, and anaheim).
The Twisted Pine Brewing Company is in Boulder, Colorado.

www.twistedpinebrewing.com

This 5.0% ABV beer pours honey golden in color and has a short and thin white head.  The aroma?  Hot peppers, hot peppers, and hot peppers.  Did I mention the hot peppers?  The taste is hot peppers, and smokey hot peppers, and then more hot peppers and then your lips burst into flames and then your throat bursts into flames and then your esophagus bursts into flames and then your stomach bursts into flames.  I love hot and spicy food, but oh my Lord, this is a hot, hot, hot beer!

St. Amand French Country Ale

St. Amand is a 5.9% ABV Biere de Garde style of beer that is brewed by Brasserie Castelain in Benifontaine, France.  This is a French farmhouse style of ale that roughly translates to "beer for keeping," as these beers were brewed with the intention of storing them for the warmer months of the year when conditions were not as good for brewing.  This is made with malt from Champagne and hops from Alsace.

The beer pours a deep, yet bright, orange-copper in color.  There is a large, thick, creamy, and foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is very malty, malted grain and sweet potatoes.  The taste follows the aroma, adding some caramel sweetness, but immediately and well-balanced by just the right amount of floral and grassy hop bitterness.  The mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing, well-carbonated, but also with a creamy element added by the thick head.  As the beer progresses, a woody/earthy note also becomes apparent.  A very malty, but very good, biere de garde.

Anchor Brewing Company Brekle's Brown Ale

The Anchor Brewing Company is in San Francisco, California.  They are a great granddaddy of the craft brewing movement, and have an interesting history. 

www.anchorbrewing.com

This 6.0% ABV beer is described as an all malt, single hop brown ale.  The single hop is Citra.  The name comes from brewmaster Gottlied Brekle, brewmaster from 1871-1888 (the brewery has a long history prior to its most recent incarnation).  The beer pours dark brown, with ruby and garnet.  There is a half-inch of thick, creamy head that is light brown in color.  The aroma is mostly malty, caramel, old sherry, a bit of cold coffee, with a light, aromatic hoppy note.  The taste is deeply malty, singed caramel, roasted, followed by a tangy hoppy note. The finish is both tart and bitter, and fairly dry, although the dark roasted maltiness remains as the aftertaste.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Les Trois Mousquetaires Kellerbier

Les Trois Mousquetaires is from Quebec, Canada.  Kellerbier is a kind of German unfiltered lager.

http://www.lestroismousquetaires.ca/  (in French)

This 5.5% ABV beer pours orange and dark golden in color with a half-inch head of thick, yet fizzy, and almost creamy foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is grainy, very earthy, slightly funky, with a fruity tartness.  The taste is of rich golden grain, grassy, a bit earthy and woody, with a tart citrusy note, and a very bitter and dry finish.  This is as complex of a lager as you are going to find.

From the bottle:  Kellerbier, meaning "cellar beer," is a type of unfiltered lager made by dozens of tiny breweries scattered about Franconia - Germany's most prolific and highly regarded brewing region.  Our Kellerbier is a full-flavored, unfiltered Pilsner that brings together the richness of Quebec barley and the smoothness of noble German hops, to create the perfect apertif!

The Three Musketeers, all for one and one for all!  I must not be up on my Three Musketeers, why are there four guys on the bottle?


Crabtree Brewing Company Eclipse Black IPA

The Crabtree Brewing Company is in Greely, Colorado. 

http://www.crabtreebrewing.com/

This 7.7% ABV beer pours pure black in color, with a large billowing head of brown foam.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, with sour and bitter notes.  The taste upfront is deep, dark roasted malt, lots of coffee, a touch of dark chocolate, then a much more light, airy, tart and fruity note, ester-like, finishing nicely bitter, but clean.  Compared to the black IPA's I have tasted, this is lacking the IPA part, but it makes a very tasty and clean finishing American porter.

Mad River Brewing Company Steelhead Double India Pale Ale

The Mad River Brewing Company is in Blue Lake, Humboldt County, California.  They make two lines of beers, Jamaica Brand and Steelhead.

www.madriverbrewing.com

This 8.6% ABV beer pours slightly hazy and a deep amber-orange-copper in color.  There is a short head of nearly creamy foam, off-white to very light brown in color.  The aroma is fairly subdued for the style, apricot jam and orange marmalade over toast.  The taste is caramel malt, wheat toast with fruit jams, and just a bit of a bubble-gum note.

Lakefront Brewery Fixed Gear American Red Ale

The Lakefront Brewery is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been brewing since 1987.

www.lakefrontbrewery.com

This 6.5% ABV beer pours slightly hazy, red-orange-amber in color.  There is a small head of very light brown foam.  The aroma is spicy and piney, over a solid base of malt and caramel.  The taste is a deep, rich juxtaposition of caramel maltiness and apricot, spice, pine, and fruits.  The finish is moderately bitter, with a pleasant aftertaste of lingering flavors.

I sampled this on tap at the 2011 St. Paul Summer Beer Fest.  It was good enough to stick in my mind as delicious despite all the samples tried that day.

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

The Samuel Adams line of beers are brewed by the Boston Beer Company of Boston, Massachusetts.  They are on of the granddaddies of the craft beer movement.  They have expanded quite a bit and are contract brewed at several locations across the country.

This 4.9% ABV beer pours a deep yellow golden in color with a half-inch head of pure white foam.  There is a medium amount of sticky lacing down the glass as the beer is consumed.  The aroma is crisp grain, grassy, floral, citrus rind.  The taste is rich golden grain, some floral and citrus, with a perfectly bitter finish, and a pleasant aftertaste where the main flavors and aromas mingle and linger.  This is a really nice American-style pils.

From the bottle:  ...brewed with all five Noble hops from the world's oldest growing regions.  Each of the hop varieties adds a slightly different aroma and flavor, from citrus and pine to spice and floral, resulting in a crisp, complex and refreshing brew.


Enjoyed it again in 2016, the bottle artwork has changed some:  The beer pours straw yellow and golden in color. There is about an inch of thick, white, foamy head that leave sticky lacing. The aroma is grass, straw, grain, flowers and honey. The taste follows the aromas note for note. The finish is dry and quite bitter. The beer drinks crisp and refreshing. This is a very nice Pils.


Blue Blood Brewing Comany - 834 Happy As Ale; 1327 Pod's ESB

The Blue Blood Brewing Company is in Lincoln, Nebraska and uses Nebraska grown hops (not exclusively, but some in every batch).

www.bluebloodbrewing.com

834 Happy As Ale - This 4.6% ABA beer pours a somewhat hazy dark orange-golden in color with a thin white head.  The aroma is spicy and herbal/floral, just a touch of fruit.  The taste is malty, lightly toasted and caramel, with a very bitter and dry finish.  As the bitterness wanes, there is a pleasing lightly fruity aftertaste.  It seems much  more bitter than its listed 35 IBU's.  Overall, a pretty good beer.


1327 Pod's ESB - This 5.6% ABV beer pours hazy, yet a bright and glowing orange and amber in color.  There is a short head of thin off-white foam.  The aroma is somewhat floral, and fruity, with fresh plums and dried apricots.  The taste is malty, light caramel, followed immediately by a floral and grassy bitterness.  The overall effect is refreshing, but very flavorful.  The taste is far better than the aroma, and this makes a very good English bitter.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Coney Island Sword Swallower

Coney Island Craft Lagers beers are brewed by the Shmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, New York. The Coney Island beers are all named after side show acts and proceeds benefit Coney Island USA.  There is much more information at their website. The label reminds of the Jim Rose Circus Side Show back in the grunge days.

Sword Swallower is an IPA style brewed with lager yeast.  It is 7.2% ABV.  The beer pours honey golden in color with a touch of orange.  There is a tall head of thick, almost creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is fruity, apricots and jasmine tea, honey toast.  The taste follows the aroma, it is sweet, yet bitter, with all of the aromas present in the taste.  It finishes smooth, yet bitter and dry.  This is very good, and I once had a taste on tap and it was even better.


Okoboji Brewing Company - Boji Beach Golden Rye Ale; Boji Blue Pale Ale; Midwest Charm Farmhouse Ale

The Okoboji Brewing Company is a new brewpub in progress in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  While they wait to get up and running at their location, they have already released some canned beers that were contract brewed for them (Boji Craft Beers) by the Great River Brewery in Davenport, Iowa.

Boji Beach Golden Rye Ale - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a dark golden yellow, getting a touch of orange, in color with a tall and long-lasting half-inch of thick, white, foamy head that adds a nice creamy touch to the beer.  The aroma is floral and grassy, a touch of sweetness, and a note of the rye, and sun tea with lemon.  The taste is deep rich grain, a touch of rye, flowers and grass, a touch of honey-yeast-floral sweetness, but with enough bitterness to finish dry and crisp.  There is also the sun tea with light lemon apparent in the flavor as well.  This is a good and flavorful American pilsner-like golden ale.


Boji Blue Pale Ale - This 5.0% ABV beer pours a deep copper and amber colored, with a tall quarter-inch of thick and creamy off-white head.  The aroma is malty, roasted, toasted, nutty and caramel, with some sun tea with lemon and a bit of orange.  The taste follows all the aromas, with primarily a deep rich maltiness, roasted and toasted, nutty and caramel, with an immediate second wave of hop bitterness that makes it finish crisp, dry and bitter.  This is a good English style pale ale.



Midwest Charm Farmhouse Ale - This 6.0% ABV beer pours copper, amber and dark orange in color, yet bright.  There is a thick, creamy head of foam, off-white to very light brown in color. The aroma is true to the style, very yeasty, with lots of estery fruits, overripe tropical fruits and melons, and a touch of banana.  The taste follows the aromas, lots of spice notes, and a moderately bitter finish.  If you like this style, this is a good one, but for me personally I am not a fan of yeast forward beers, they just aren't to my taste.


Avery Brewing Company Joe's Pilsner

The Avery Brewing Company is in Boulder, Colorado and was established in 1993.

www.averybrewing.com

This 4.7% ABV beer pours a hazy, yet bright golden yellow in color.  There is a tall, white foamy head.  The aroma is bright, grassy and lightly floral over grain.  The taste is grain and flowers with a bitingly bitter finish.  A nice American pils, but if you can't take bitter, stay away.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Green Flash Brewing Company Imperial IPA

The Green Flash Brewing Company is in San Diego, California.

Also known as their San Diego IPA, this beer is a strong 9.4% ABV.  It is made with Nugget and Summit hops.  The beer pours an orange-amber-copper in color.  there is a half-inch of thick, foamy, almost creamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is somewhat piney and spicy, with apricot and over-ripe melon.  The taste is malty and spicy with fruit.  This is well toasted rye bread with orange marmalade and apricot jam, with some pine cones thrown in for good measure, and a very dry and bitter finish.


Squatters India Pale Ale

The Utah Brewer's Cooperative of Salt Lake City, Utah brews both Squatters and Wasatch beers.  This 6.5% ABV beer is part of their Brewer's Reserve series.

2012:  Bottled on 2-23-12 and to be tasted here on 3-16-12, this is certainly a fresh IPA.  The beer pours a light orange-copper in color with a half-inch of thick white head.  The aroma is floral and grassy, a touch of fruity yeastiness.  The taste is toasted, floral and bitter.  This is a nice and tasty beer, but certainly not a hop wild American West Coast type of IPA.

2013: Bottled on 9-5-13 and tasted on 10-16-13. The beer pours orange and amber with just a tinge of haze. There is a half-inch of off-white head.  The aroma is citrusy, passion fruit, a bit floral. The taste is tangy citrus, strong passion fruit, over a toasted malt base. It is strongly bitter, lots of grapefruit rind in the finish, quite dry, medium bodied, with a very fruit aftertaste.  I like this even better this time.

Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA

Samuel Adams beers are from the Boston Beer Company of Boston, one of the grandaddies of the craft beer movement.

2012: This beer is a combination of a Belgian white ale and an IPA.   It sounds like an interesting combination at least.  The beer pours a hazy dark orange-golden in color.  There is a half inch of thick white foamy head.  The aroma is floral, herbal, somewhat spicy.  The taste is bitter and grassy, with a very fruity second wave of citrus and melons.  The white ale spices show up in the aftertaste.  This is pretty flavorful and interesting.


Trying this again in 2013, the label now says it is part of the Hopology Collection and notes it is a wheat ale brewed with apricots and spices.  It is 5.8% ABV. The beer pours a cloudy honey golden and orange. There is a tall half-inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is orange, apricot, malty, a touch of pine. The taste follows the aromas, after the initial wave of fruit and semi-sweet malt, it is a bit spiced. The finish has a bitterness that hits, backs off, and then creeps back up on you leaving grapefruit zestiness. Later, some of the apricot shows up in the flavor.
 

2016: Another new label, and party of the summer sampler pack. The beer pours a lightly hazed dark golden, apricot, and light amber in color. There is a very tall, very thick, foamy head of white. The aroma is citrus, apricot, bright and fruity, with a light pineyness. The taste follows the aromas directly, lots of citrus, lighter apricot and pine, with a citrus rind and grassy moderate bitterness on the end. The beer drinks easy and smooth, with soft carbonation. This is drinking really nice this  year!
 
 

Jester King Wytchmaker Rye India Pale Ale

The Jester King Brewery is located in the Texas Hill Country on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. 

This 6.8% ABV beer is bottle-conditioned and pours a very light copper and orange in color.  It has cyclonic carbonation, and not unlike many bottle-conditioned beers, and absolutely massive and billowing head of foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is fruity with yeast and hops, a tad spicy, a slight note of banana peel, creamy, lots of orange, and over-ripe tropical fruit.  The taste generally follows the aromas, with a grapefruit peel bitter finish.  The aftertaste is pleasant and reminiscent of the flavors, with a note of tobacco that also sets in.  This has a lot of similarities in flavor to Peace Tree Brewing’s Hop Sutra beer.  I am hard pressed to say if one is better than the other.  This is a very flavorful beer that has a lot going on, yet it remains accessible.


Samuel Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA

Samuel Adams beers are from the Boston Beer Company of Boston, one of the grandaddies of the craft beer movement.  This is part of a series of more limited release Single Batch Collection they are doing.

www.samadams.com

This 7.6% ABV beer pours black in color, with the darkest garnet around the edges when held to the light.  There is a half-inch of brown creamy foam.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, some sweetness, and aromatic hops.  The overall effect is like a dark, sweet and aromatic cigar before lighting.  The taste follows the aroma, with a second wave of coffee, almost chicory coffee, and a bitter and dry finish, with an aftertaste that has the sting like sucking on a fragrant and unlit strong cigar.


Widmer Brothers W'12 Dark Saison

Widmer Brothers is out of Portland, Oregon.

www.widmerbrothers.com

This beer pours medium brown in color, with a tinge of red.  There is a very short head of thin off-white to light brown foam.  The aroma is brassy, caramel malt, and fruity yeast, with some banana peel.  The taste is very yeasty, with much banana and some cloves.  If you like yeast ester beers, you should love this beer.  Unfortunately for me, that is not my taste.  This one failed for me, but Widmer Brothers does make some really good IPA variations.


Dundee India Pale Ale

The Dundee Brewing Company is in Rochester, New York, part of the Genesee Brewing family.

www.dundeebeer.com

This 6.3% ABV beer pours copper colored with a half-inch of thick and creamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is lightly malty, somewhat grassy and fruity.  The taste follows the aroma and adds some sun tea with lemon.  The finish is lightly to moderately bitter.  This is a "light" flavored IPA, more like an American pale ale.  This is not going to blow your socks off, but it is nicely drinkable.

Newcastle Founder's Ale

This is one of four "limited editions: that Newcastle will be offering, in an apparent seasonal rotation.  Their availability had been limited, but is supposed to be more national this year.  I really enjoy Newcastle Brown Ale, and was able to try their Summer Ale last year.  Newcastle originates from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.  However, through consolidation, it appears to not actually be brewed there anymore.

www.newcastlebrown.com

This pale ale pours a dark copper-orange in color with a minimal white head.  The aroma is somewhat malty, with malted grain and very light caramel, and somewhat hoppy, with a floral, grassy, herbal aroma, with some notes of jasmine tea.  The taste follows the aroma, and it drinks both sweet and dry at the same time.  Overall, I feel like this beer can't decide what it wants to be, but it does grow on me some as I continue through the glass.  I really like their Brown Ale and really liked their Summer Ale, but I'm not sure about this one.  The jury is still out for me.

McSorley's Irish Pale Ale

McSorley's is a famous pub in New York City that was established in 1854 and sits at 15 E. 7th Street. It is supposedly New York's oldest continuously operated pub. Women were not allowed access until 1970, and did not get their own bathroom until 1986. The floors are still strewn with sawdust. However, this bottled beer is now brewed in Utica, New York (which indicates contract brewing by Saranac-Matt Brewing Company).  The rights to the beer are apparently owned by Pabst Brewing Company, as it shows on their website as one of the beers they own (all Pabst-owned beers are contract brewed).
For some interesting history on McSorley's Pub see this link: http://www.mcsorleysnewyork.com/
The beer pours dark amber with red and orange tints.  There is a half-inch of thick, creamy head that dissipates slowly.  The aroma is malty, lightly roasted, toasted and nutty.  The taste follows the aroma, with some caramel in addition to the nutty, roasted, toasted malt.  There is enough hops to cancel any chance of being too sweet, and the beer finishes bitter.  This is quite a nice Irish ale.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tallgrass Brewing Company 8-Bit Pale Ale

The Tallgrass Brewing Company is in Manhattan, Kansas.  I think they are one of the most underrated breweries at the present time, with a line-up of very tasty and solid beers.  As their distribution grows, I think their popularity can only increase.

This "hop rocketed" pale ale is made with Galaxy hops and is 5.2% ABV.  The can is like an old 8-bit video game, thus the name.  The beer pours a very dark golden, with hints of orange, and hazy.  There is a tall head of thick off-white foam.  The aroma is floral, grassy, fruity with apricots, with a touch of yeasty spiciness.  The taste is drinkable maltiness oozing with floral, grassy and fruity hops.   The finish is dry and quite bitter, without being at all overwhelming.  The aftertaste has a pleasant fruitiness and a lingering bitterness.  This is a very tasty hop-forward American pale ale, one of the type that, if you are a hop head, is better than many an American IPA.

Boulevard Brewing Company Irish Ale

From the Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri (brewing since 1989), and just in time for St. Patrick's Day is a review of their Irish Ale.  Unusually for an Irish ale, this is bottle conditioned, and this one comes in at 5.8% ABV.

http://www.boulevard.com/

The beer pours a very deep and reddish amber in color.  There is a quarter-inch of thick, creamy and long-lasting head.  The aroma is malty, caramel and nutty, with some fruit and spice from the yeast.  The taste is richly malty, lightly roasted and toasted, more nut than caramel, and with a nice moderately bitter and dry finish.  I like the taste of this far more than the aroma.  It turned out to be a solid, malty Irish ale.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Baltika 4 Dark Lager

Baltika Breweries are based in St. Petersburg, Russia (the home of one of my favorite writers, Fyodor Dostoevsky). They are a very large Russian brewer.  I think it is fair to say that they are like the Budweiser of Russia.

(I tried to put a link to their US website here, but the site was blocked by my virus protection, so I did not put it, guess they need to update their site and make it more secure).

This 5.6% ABV beer pours a reddish brown in color with a tall quarter-inch of creamy head that is off-white to light brown in color.  The beer leaves a medium amount of sticky lacing down the glass as the beer is consumed.  The aroma is very malty, caramel and sweet potatoes.  The taste is slightly sweet, deeply malted, caramel, some roasted and toasted nuttiness, a touch of the sweet potatoes, but with a nice dry finish, with enough bitterness to keep from being overly sweet.  If you don't like a malty beer, and I mean a very malty beer, then you would not like this, but I think it is pretty good as a dark lager.