Monday, July 30, 2012

Game On Get Out of the Penalty Box Pale Ale

This 6.0% ABV beer is from the Game On Brewing Company of Glendale, Wisconsin.  They have a line of sports themed beers.

The beer pours slightly hazy, copper and amber in color.  There is a tall, creamy, foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is malty, caramel, light plum-like fruit.  The taste is malty, toasted, caramel, with a bracingly bitter and dry finish.  The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated, crisp, yet smooth and creamy.  This is a decent English-style pale ale, I would drink it again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ommegang Art of Darkness

This is a limited edition beer from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York.  It is part of the Duvel family of ales.  This beer is 8.9% ABV and uses barley and wheat malts, and flaked oats.

The beer pours black in color with a large, billowing head of very light brown foam.  The aroma is roasted malt, brassy, yeasty, with some banana and clove.  The taste is dark roasted malt, the sweetness from the malt merges into the fruitiness of the yeast, and the fruit merges into the tanginess, which merges into the grassiness of the hops, which merges into the dryness and bitterness of the oakiness.  This beer is quite flavorful, yet very subtle, as it is exquisitely well balanced.  It is well and finely carbonated and tingles in the mouth.  Nicely done.

Lake Superior Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout

The Lake Superior Brewing Company is in Duluth, Minnesota, a city on the shores of Lake Superior.  The beer pours jet black in color.  There is a large, boiling, foamy head, light brown in color.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, tangy, yeast, light coffee and chocolate.  The taste is mocha, coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malt, with a sudden dryness on the finish that cancels out any possibility of being overly sweet.  It is well carbonated and drinks crisply refreshing, fairly uniquely for a stout.  I would love to try this on tap in Duluth.

Erie Brewing Railbender Ale

This 6.8% ABV beer is from the Erie Brewing Company of Erie, Pennsylvania.  This is a Scottish style ale.

The beer pours a deep copper and amber in color with an inch of thick and creamy head.  The foam is off-white in color.  The aroma is malty, caramel, somewhat nutty, fruity, like apples and plums cooked with just a hint of cinnamon or cloves.  It smells more like a nice malty Oktoberfest beer than a Scottish ale.  The taste is deeply malty, caramel, roasted, toasted, nutty, with just the whisper of a hint of peat smoke.  The taste is more like a Scottish ale than the aroma, but in the end it drinks more like an excellent Oktoberfest.  So, if you like a nice malty beer, definitely give this a try.  But if your heart is set on the "typical" Scottish ale, you might end up disappointed.

Lakefront Wisconsinite

The Lakefront Brewery is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  This is a summer weiss beer made with 100% Wisconsin grown ingredients (even the yeast is an indigenous Wisconsin strain).  It is 4.2% ABV.

The beer pours `a cloudy yellow and golden in color.  There is a massive, white, foamy, meringue-like head.  The aroma is toasted wheat, lemony, and lots of estery, banana-like yeast.  The taste follows the aroma, very strong lemon, very sour, lots of banana.  It is like eating banana bread and drinking tart, barely sweetened lemonade at the same time.  Although well carbonated, it is a bit watery and thin in the mouth.  However, if you like weiss beers, it is definitely worth trying.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Big Sky Olde Bluehair Barley Wine Ale

Big Sky Brewing Company is in Missoula, Montana.  This is a limited release (bottle 892 of 3,000) of their 2011 barley wine.  It is 10% ABV and is aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Even trying to open it slowly and gently, the beer opens with a massive champagne-like pop.  It pours a very dark brown, hardly even translucent, it appears it might be hazy, but it is hard to get enough light through it to tell.  It has a massive, roiling, boiling, climbing, towering head of thick light brown foam.  This will need some time to settle.  The aroma is sweet, malty, burnt sugar, vanilla, and oak.  There is light bourbon in the background, but not nearly as obvious as most whiskey barrel aged beers.  The taste is woody, burnt sugar malt, vanilla, with a very dry, bitter, and oaky finish.  The bourbon is very subtle in the flavor as well.  The alcohol is apparent, but not overwhelming.  It provides a warming sensation.

This is fine, a bit underwhelming, while you can definitely taste the oak, you wouldn't really know it was aged in bourbon barrels, as opposed to plain oak barrels.  I am surprised that bourbon added so little to the beer.  Perhaps it was not the first aging in the barrels?

Leffe Brown

This is a 6.5% ABV brown abbey ale from Leffe in Belgium.

The beer pours a deep mahogany, with ruby and garnet.  There is a very large foamy head, light brown in color.  The aroma is very yeasty, estery, lots of banana notes, and some earthiness.  The taste is malty and yeasty, banana, like banana bread, with a dry, woody and lightly bitter finish.  A little more yeasty than I like, but well done, and actually quite good even with the yeastiness not really to my taste.

Squatters Big Cottonwood Amber Ale

Squatters Beers are brewed by the Utah Brewers Cooperative of Salt Lake City, Utah.  This beer is 5.75% ABV and is named after a well-known Utah canyon.  A portion of the sales of this beer are donated to Save Our Canyons.

The beer pours a bright dark amber in color.  There is a tall half-inch to inch of thick and somewhat creamy head, off-white in color.  The aroma is malty, brown sugar, fruity.  The taste is malty, caramel, tea with lemon, and some cherry-plum fruit, with a fairly bitter finish.  It has a nice appropriately light carbonation.  This is very flavorful and an interesting amber ale, like a very flavorful English style pale ale.

Full Sail Limited Edition Lager

The Full Sail Brewing Company is in Hood River, Oregon.  This is recipe number 4 from their Limited series.  It is a 7.0% ABV single malt lager.

The beer pours honey golden in color with a tall head of white foam.  The aroma is bright and grassy, somewhat citrusy.  The taste is slightly sweet grain, crusty sourdough bread, grassy and citrusy, with an increasing bitterness on the finish.  This is a nice hoppy lager.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

This 8.19% ABV beer is from Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company of Lexington, Kentucky.  As its name implies this ale is aged in oak bourbon barrels for up to six weeks.  I am not sure what the "up to" means exactly, but let's give it a try.

The beer pours a bright copper and amber, light chestnut in color.  There is a tall half-inch of creamy, foamy head, just off-white in color.  The aroma is elegant, smooth bourbon, cherry, and a touch of oak.  The taste is smooth, creamy, fruity (cherry again), oaky, vanilla, malty ale, with nice bourbon throughout.  The aftertaste has the slight sting of bourbon and a sweet potato maltiness.  This is an easy drinker for a barrel aged beer.  If you like malty ales and bourbon, you had better try this.

Steelhead Extra Stout

Steelhead beers are from the Mad River Brewing Company of Blue Lake, California.  This stout is 6.5% ABV.

The beer pours a deep and completely opaque black.  There is a generous foamy head that is medium brown.  The aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, mocha, chocolate, sweet and creamy.  The taste follows the aromas directly, there is a wave of sweetness, then a dry wave heavy on the coffee.  It is well carbonated, but also drinks smooth.  There is an almost metallic tang on the finish.  It occasionally feels sugary in the mouth.  The aftertaste is dry and of very dark roasted malt, right up to the edge of burnt.  This beer is a bit of a roller coaster ride, but it has more ups than downs, and evens out as you drink it; overall solid.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Imperial IPA

The Big Eddy line of bold, strong beers are a special line-up from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  They started as an independent brewery in 1867, but have been owned by Miller (now MolsonCoors) for several years.

This Imperial IPA comes in at 9.0% ABV.  The beer pours a deep copper, and chestnut color, it is dark, yet bright.  There is a half-inch of creamy, foamy head, off-white in color.  It leaves thick and sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is intensely hoppy, quite a bit of pine, with very ripe melon and tropical fruit.  It sits on a heavy base of malt and there is a rye-like spicy note.  The taste is pine, lots of melon, citrus, a tart fruity note on the back, on a substantial, slightly sweet, malt base.  There is surprisingly little bitterness.  The mouthfeel is both tart and sweet, and it is relatively "light" in the mouth and drinkable for its high alcohol and intense flavor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summit Unchained 9, Dunkel Weizen

The Summit Brewing Company is in St. Paul, Minnesota and has been making craft beer since 1986.  This is part of their Unchained Series of limited release special batch beers.  Batch 10 Abbey Ale released today, but I am just getting to my bottle of Batch 9, a dark (dunkel) German-style hefeweizen.

This 6.0% ABV beer pours a cloudy light orange/brown in color.  There is a massive head of roiling and boiling light brown foam.  It is well and finely carbonated.  The aroma is yeasty, bright, brassy, tart, then becoming like a light, sweet banana bread.  The taste is roasted malt, nutty, with a light and balanced banana bread in the background.  This has nice flavors, and I like how it incorporates and highlights the yeast along with the dark malts, without letting the yeast overpower everything.  My only criticism is that it is a bit watery in the mouth.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Epic Brainless on Peaches

The Epic Brewing Company is in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This is part of their Exponential Series of special release beers and is 10.5% ABV (perhaps what makes one brainless?).  This was release #8 of Brainless on Peaches and there were only 1800 bottles in this release.  It is a Belgian-style ale, brewed with peach puree, and aged in French oak chardonnay barrels.

The beer pours dark golden in color with a tint of orange (perhaps peach?).  There is a massive, boiling, foamy white head.  There is carbonation like champagne on steroids.  The aroma is quite distinctively chardonnay and a lot of fruity tart yeast.  There is not nearly as much peach as I expected, in fact, almost none in the aroma.  The taste is the tarty fruitiness of yeast, followed by chardonnay, followed by more yeast, finishing in banana estery yeast.  The peach is faint in the aftertaste.  The aging in wood did not add as much oak and dryness as I expected.  The alcohol is not upfront, but slowly turns up the heat and lingers in the aftertaste.

I have had a couple of beers aged in chardonnay barrels, and I like the element that adds, but this lacks the peach and oak I would have expected.  It is somewhat disappointing, only because it doesn't seem to live up to its potential.

New Belgium Prickly Passion Saison

The New Belgium Brewing Company is in Fort Collins, Colorado.  This 8.5% ABV saison is brewed using prickly pears and passion fruit.  It is from their Lips of Faith series.

The beer pours a very bright, light copper in color.  There is a fast dissipating head of just off-white foam.  The aroma is tart and yeasty, spicy, just the lightest touch of estery banana.  I have to be honest, I don't know what prickly pear or passion fruit smell or taste like, so they may be noticeable in the fruit aromas, and they may not.  The taste is very yeasty, the banana esters even more pronounced, with a note of overripe tropical fruit that is probably the passion fruit.  The finish is tart.  This beer does not work for me.  I then took this over to my dinner, and it seems to do better with food than on its own.

Flensburger Pilsener

Flensburger Brauerei is in Flensburg, Germany.  This beer is 4.8% ABV.

The beer pours a pale yellow golden in color.  There is an inch of pure, thick, foamy white head.  The aroma is golden grain, straw, with a nice true pilsener funkiness.  The taste is grain, straw, grassy, funky, with a very bitter finish.  It drinks quite dry, but suffers from being a bit thin in the mouth.

Sea Dog Apricot

Sea Dog Brewing Company beers are brewed and bottled by Pugsley Brewing in Portland, Maine.  This apricot wheat ale is 4.7% ABV.

The beer pours a dark golden and amber/orange (dare I say apricot?) in color.  There is an inch of thick and foamy white head.  The aroma is apricots and apricot nectar over a just discernible bed of toasted wheat.  The beer reverses the aroma and hits you first with a really nicely toasted wheat, followed by a fresh-tasting wave of apricot nectar.  If you like apricots, apricot beer, or fruit beers in general, definitely give this one a try.  It is exactly what it says it is, wheat and apricot, and well done.

Founding Fathers Lager Beer

Founding Fathers Brewing Company is from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which would indicate it is contract brewed by City Brewing.  "Keeping America Strong One Beer at a Time"  Fifty percent of all the profits  are donated to families of those serving in the U.S. military.

The beer pours amber in color with a short white to just off-white head.  The aroma is malty, toasted, a touch of sweet potato.  The taste is malty, following directly on the aromas.  There is a very light nuttiness, and enough hops to cut any malty sweetness and finish dry.  This is decently drinkable, but not exceptional in any way.

Friday, July 20, 2012

General Washington's Tavern Porter

This is one of the Ales of the Revolution series from the Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It is made using an original recipe from George Washington (most of the Founding Fathers brewed their own beer, distilled their own whiskey, etc.).  It is brewed using molasses and is 7.0% ABV.

The beer pours a very dark brown, black in appearance, with hints of ruby on the edges when held to the light.  There is a half-inch of creamy light brown head.  The aroma is dark roasted malts, coffee, molasses.  The taste is dark roasted malt, a touch of coffee, light molasses, tangy, with a bitter finish.  The aftertaste is stronger coffee than the original taste and also bitter.  This is a quite nice porter; now we know how Washington was able to lead so many men.

Pretty Things Jack D'Or

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based in Somerville, Massachusetts.  They do not have their own brewery, rather brewing as guests at other breweries, a practice known as gypsy, or tenant, brewing.  This is 6.5% ABV saison style beer.

The beer pours a glowing, neon yellow in color.  It has fine champagne-like carbonation and a large, billowing head of white foam.  The aroma is yeasty, esters including banana, herbal and floral.  The taste is yeast, fruity, floral (marigold and geranium), tart, herbal, and very bitter.  The finish is nearly as dry and dusty as a liquid can be.  The aftertaste becomes almost like pine needles.  If you like the saison style in general, you will probably like this.  It is well done, but as you know if you read my blog a lot, very yeast forward beers just aren't to my taste.

Flat Earth Red Cape Ale

The Flat Earth Brewing Company is in St. Paul, Minnesota.  This beer takes its name from the red outfits worn by the infamous Vulcan Krewe that are part of the annual St. Paul Winter Carnival.

The beer pours a dark mahogany brown and ruby red in color.  There is a massive, thick, billowing, head of off-white to very light brown foam.  The aroma is roasted and toasted malt, nutty, then the tang of yeast.  Flat Earth makes yeast forward beers and this is no exception.  The taste is some roasted, toasted, nutty malt, overpowered by the tart yeast.  The aftertaste then allows the nice maltiness through and lets it linger.  A good beer overpowered by too much yeast.

Lucky Bucket Heartland Wheat

The Lucky Bucket Brewing Company is in La Vista, Nebraska (just south of Omaha).  This 4.8% ABV beer is made with golden wheat and citrus imparting hops.

The beer pours a bright yellow golden in color, slightly hazy.  There is a short head of pure white foam.  The aroma is lemony, tangy, on toasted wheat, almost shandy like.  The taste follows the aromas directly, very lemony over toasted wheat, a touch of yeasty tartness.  This drinks like a light shandy, with the mouthfeel of a full-bodied lager beer.  It is well and refreshingly carbonated.  Good for hot days.

Big Bay Wavehopper Kolsch Style Ale

Big Bay Brewing Company is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  "Life on the Water is a Little Sweeter."  This kolsch-style ale is 4.8% ABV.

The beer pours a golden yellow in color.  There is a very large white foamy head.  The aroma is golden grain, grassy, and a lightly funky and fruity yeastiness.  The taste follows the aromas quite directly, with a nice bitterness on the finish.  It is amply carbonated, somewhat smooth.  This is a tasty and refreshing beer that is a good representation of the style.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pretty Things Saint Botolph's Town

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based out of Somerville, Massachusetts (Davis Square, Red Line, Tufts University).  They are gypsy or tenant brewers, having no brewery of their own, they roam to host breweries to use their equipment.  This 5.9% ABV Yorkshire dark brown ale takes its name from St. Botolph, an Anglo-Saxon who lived in England around 700 A.D.  He built many stone monuments, and the words "Botolph's Stone" became the word "Boston", originally a town in Lincolnshire.  Their recommendation is to pour with gusto down the center of the glass, pause to allow the head to settle, and continue.

The beer pours a very dark brown, dark mahogany, touch of ruby when held to the light.  Pouring as the bottle directs leaves a massive light brown head, thick, creamy, foamy, and ragged from the settling and pouring alternation.  The aroma is malty, sweet, creamy, chocolate, mocha, sugar, coffee liqueur, hazelnut.  The taste is smooth, creamy, sweet, dark roasted, chocolaty, coffee, a hint of liqueur.  There is enough hop bitterness on the finish to keep this from ending too sweet, it holds all the sweet flavors in check.  In fact, the finish is quite bitter and even becomes dry.  This drinks, really, like a coffee-chocolate liqueur with a hint of the creaminess of Bailey's.  As much like a liqueur as a beer, but not as thick.

Finnegans Irish Amber

Finnegans beers are a chartiable venture, contract brewed by Summit Brewing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota.  100% of the profits of Finnegans beer goes to area charities to feed the hungry.  The cap has a shamrock with a halo, and the bottle says it is a "Soul Cleanser".

The beer is 4.75% ABV and pours a perfect, transparent, deep amber and light copper in color.  There is a half-inch head of off-white foam, somewhat thick and very lightly creamy, not particularly long-lasting.  It leaves layers of lacing down the glass.  The aroma is malty, toasted, nutty, tangy with a fruity edge, a bit grassy and with the sulfur note of good lagers.  The taste is malty, caramel, toasted and roasted, quite nutty, touch of caramel, light lager funk, with a light tang on the finish.  The finish is lightly grassy, bitter, and dry.  This drinks very smooth, easy, nicely carbonated.  It is light, yet flavorful, a great, drinkable session beer.