Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale

This 7.5% ABV ale is brewed with pumpkin and spices. Whole Hog beers are by the Stevens Point Brewery of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

The beer pours a medium dark brown, with amber and orange. There is a short head of off-white foam. The aroma is pumpkin and spices, some flour, an overall effect of liquid pumpkin bread. The taste follows the aromas, but is kicked up a notch. There is spices, nutmeg and cinnamon, pumpkin, just scorched caramel. This is like drinking a pumpkin bread. It has moderate carbonation that tingles on the tongue. This is a quite good pumpkin ale, it would benefit from a creamier mouthfeel to complement its flavors.


Saranac Pumpkin Ale

What better to have on Halloween than a pumpkin ale? This 5.4% ABV pumpkin ale from the Saranac Brewing Company of Utica, New York is brewed with cinnamon, allspice and cloves. The beer pours a dark amber, dark chestnut in color. There is a short head of light off-white foam. The aroma is spices, with the cloves most evident, followed by the cinnamon. The taste is light pumpkin, vanilla and spices. It is well carbonated and tingles in the mouth. Better than some pumpkin ales, not as good as others.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weihenstephaner Oktoberfestbier

This 5.8% ABV Oktoberfest beer is from the Weihenstephaner brewery in Freising, Bavaria, Germany. According to their bottle they are the world's oldest brewery.

The beer pours a clear, slightly dark golden, and yellow in color. There is over an inch of thick pure white foam. The aroma is slightly sweet, golden grains, with some straw and lager funk. The taste follows the aromas directly, with a bit of honey sweetness, lots of grain, straw, funk and a crisp grassy bitterness that cuts off the sweetness and brings it to a dry finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy to start, then a tingle of carbonation, followed by that crisp, dry finish.

If you are looking for an amber colored, roasted, very malty Oktoberfest style beer, well, look somewhere else, because this is not that. But, this is one hell of a good German lager.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

This 8.0% ABV India pale ale is from the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, California. It has 102 I.B.U.'s. The beer pours a glistening copper in color. There is a tall head of thick off-white foam. The aroma is hop forward, with lots of citrus, orange and pine. There is a lighter tropical fruit note as well. The taste follows the aromas, adding tea with lemon. The aromas and taste are nice and clean and bright. The finish is strongly, but smoothly bitter, and astringently dry apropos of a grapefruit rind. This is an all around solid IPA.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Southern Tier Imperial Pumking

This 8.6% ABV ale brewed with pumpkins is from the Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York. According to the bottle this beer is an ode to Puca, a creature of Celtic folklore who would waylay nighttime travelers by tossing them on its back and giving them the ride of their lives.

The beer pours a glowing coppery orange in color. There is a tall half-inch of thick and somewhat creamy foam that is off-white in color. The aroma is massive, enthralling, malty, pumpkin, spices, floury, slightly sweet, creamy, richly dessert-like. The taste matches the aromas, tons of pumpkin and malt and spices, creamy. This is like drinking a rich, creamy, pumpkin and chai tea, except cold and held down by malty ale. This blows every pumpkin beer I have ever had straight out of the water. I doubt any other pumpkin beer of the season will top this. If you are going to try only one pumpkin beer, make it this Pumking. Wow.


If you like this, make sure to try their Imperial Stout with pumpkin called Warlock.

Pipeworks Blood of the Unicorn

This bottle is Batch #42 of this 8.5% ABV Imperial Red Ale from the Pipeworks Brewing Company of Chicago, Illinois. The beer pours medium dark brown with ruby and garnet. The color of unicorn blood perhaps? There is a tall, thick, foamy light brown head. The aroma is strong tea with lemon, a touch of tobacco, and some fruit, mostly cherry. The taste is dark roasted malt, lots of caramel, with a dry, well-roasted and toasted finish, and an astringent bitterness. This has a nice strong roasted maltiness that brings a hint of ash and smoke, without actually being smokey. 


AleSmith IPA

This 7.25% ABV India Pale Ale is from the AleSmith Brewing Company of San Diego, California. The beer pours a crystal clear orange amber and copper in color. There is an inch of thick, somewhat creamy off-white head. The aroma is hoppy, with orange, citrus and pine, and a touch of tropical fruit. The taste follows the hoppy aromas, sits on a solid bed of malt, with some caramel, and then finishes with an astringent grapefruit rind bitterness. It drinks with a light mouthfeel despite its large flavor. This is a well-constructed IPA.


Half Acre Gossamer Golden Ale

This 4.2% ABV beer is from the Half Acre Beer Company of Chicago, Illinois. The beer pours a dark golden yellow in color. There is an inch of pure white foam. The aroma is bright, grassy, citrusy, over golden grain. The taste is solid, toasted, golden malt, bread dough, followed by a wave of bright, grassy, bitterness, with a nice lingering citrus fruitiness. It drinks nicely carbonated, crisp, dry and refreshing. This is a wonderfully drinkable golden ale!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

This 9.0% ABV ale with natural flavors is from the Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. It is part of their Pugsley's Signature Series. According to the bottle it uses Pale Ale, Wheat, and Light Munich malts, along with Willamette and Hallertau hops. The bottle also points out that pumpkin has natural tannins. I had not heard that before. Tannins are a natural plant preservative that provides a bitter, astringent flavor in drinks such as beer and wine. Interesting note, the bottle suggests adding this to their Blue Fin stout for a winter warmer.

The beer pours a glowing orange and copper in color. There is an inch of thick, foamy, off-white head. The aroma is of spices, predominantly nutmeg, with some pumpkin, over a malty ale base. There is a sweet potato note to the maltiness and a creamy element, even in the aroma. The taste is rich and dessert-like without being overly sweet. There is nutmeg and pumpkin, reminiscent of pumpkin pie or bars. There is a slight warming sensation from the alcohol, but it blends nicely into the spice and pumpkin. There is a light, tingly carbonation. It is exceedingly dry and somewhat bitter on the finish. This is a very good pumpkin beer (but I don't know that any compare to Southern Tier Pumking).


Drake's Aroma Coma IPA

Drake's Brewing Company is in San Leandro, California. This 6.75% ABV India Pale Ale is a summer seasonal. I'm getting to it a bit late, hopefully it still holds up. It has Cascade, Chinook, CTZ, and Citra hops.

The beer pours orange and honey golden in color. There is a tall head that is thick, foamy, and off-white in color. The aroma is tangy, zesty, tropical, with a hint of pine. The taste follows the aromas, lots of tropical and citrus, held down by a good toasted malt base with a hint of caramel. It is moderately to heavily bitter (80 IBU's) and dry in a grapefruit rind, tonic water, kind of way. I would love to drink a bottle of this the day it is released.


Pipeworks Standard Issue India Pale Ale

This bottle is Batch #35 of this 7.5% IPA from the Pipeworks Brewing Company of Chicago, Illinois. According to the bottle it has "an armory of hops to combat its malt backbone, and it is "ready for the trenches" "whether you're in a fox hole or your local watering hole." Seems a little extreme, but maybe the beer stands up to such verbiage.

The beer pours an amber and copper in color, like an unused artillery shell. There is a veritable mushroom cloud to thick, billowing off-white foam. (I think the bottle has affected my writing.) The aroma is a frontal assault of hops, battling against a base camp of malt. The hops are tangy, spicy, sharp, with tropical fruit, flowers and citrus. The taste is a nice blend of toasted and caramel malt and the fruity, zesty hops, with tea and lemon. The finish is powerfully bitter and very dry. Hold on tight to this Standard Issue IPA, or its recoil will smack you in the face, but used properly, it will serve you well. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Revolution Oktoberfest

The Revolution Brewing Company is in Chicago, Illinois. Their Oktoberfest offering is 5.7% ABV. If you ever get the chance to visit their brewpub, go, it is a nice place to hang out, with good food.

The beer pours a glistening dark amber in color. There is a short head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, light sweet potato, a touch of smoke, with a tang on the end. The taste is also malty, following the aromas, with a light touch of tangy fruit on the end. There is a nice amount of hops on the finish to balance the sweetness of the malt and to finish quite dry. It is perfectly carbonated, mild, not taking away from the malt, but enough to tingle. This is a good Oktoberfest beer, and one of the better I have tried this season.


Three Floyds Broo Doo

The Three Floyds Brewing Company is in Munster, Indiana. Many of their beers are highly coveted by beer enthusiasts. This 7.0% ABV beer is a wet hop harvest ale and comes in at 80 IBU's. Is that a troll doll? And what exactly is that unicorn doing to that lady? Anyway, on to the beer...

The beer pours a light copper and chestnut in color. There is a tall, thick, foamy and long-lasting head that is off-white in color. The aroma is heavy and wet, loads of tropical fruit, over-ripe melons, fresh brewed sun tea with lemon, with a touch of pine cone. The taste is zesty, spicy, fruity, with all the fruits of the aroma and a quite bitter finish. For all the flavor is has a nice, light feel in the mouth. It is nicely carbonated, giving a tingle through the weight of the flavors. 




And in 2015, fresh from a trip to the brewery: The beer pours light amber, dark golden, with an orange tinge. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of white to just off-white. The aroma is juicy, citrusy, pithy, lots of orange, along with passion fruit and mango skin. The taste follows the aromas, big and juicy. The beer drinks very smooth, with a soft tingle of carbonation. The bitterness is light and grassy. This is very enjoyable.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Half Acre Over Ale

This 6.0% ABV brown ale is from the Half Acre Beer Company of Chicago, Illinois. The beer pours a medium dark brown, with hints of ruby. There is an inch of thick and foamy head, very light brown in color. The aroma is nutty roasted malt, sweet like brown sugar, with a brightness leering at tart, but not touching her. The taste is dark roasted malt, nutty, not drinking coffee, but at least walking by the shop. There is a brightness to the finish, not tangy, but metallic in a good way. The finish is moderately bitter and quite dry. I posted an extra picture because I had to show the dirigible, not too many of those on beer labels.




Three Floyds Gumballhead

The Three Floyds Brewing Company is in Munster, Indiana. Many of their beers are highly coveted by beer enthusiasts. This is a 5.6% ABV American wheat ale that uses American red wheat and Amarillo hops. It is named after the underground comic cat created by Rob Syers.

The beer pours a slightly hazy dark honey golden in color with an orange tint. There is a large, foamy, thick head that is just off-white in color. The aroma is a touch spicy, with strong lemon, and toasted wheat. The taste is rich toasted wheat, lemon, with that touch of spice, giving the overall effect of toasted rye bread with lemon curd. The finish is moderately to quite bitter, and dry. The aftertaste is lemon and toasted wheat. It makes for a fine American wheat ale.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Eastern Shore Brewing Knot So Pale Ale

Eastern Shore Brewing is from Michaels, Maryland. This is a 6.8% ABV India Pale Ale that is made with Simcoe, Columbus and Cascade hops.

The beer pours a slightly hazy copper and amber in color. There is a short head of somewhat creamy off-white head. The aroma is very floral, a tart cherry juice like fruit, and a touch of yeasty earthiness. The taste follows the aroma, this drinks like a very earthy, yeasty kriek. So, as an IPA, this is a total failure, but it is actually an interesting tasting beer. I don't know if I got an odd bottle, or if it is always like this.


Flying Dog Under Dog Atlantic Lager

This 4.7% ABV lager is from the Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Maryland. The drawings on their bottle are from Ralph Steadman, famous illustrator for Hunter S. Thompson. There is a quote attributed to Hunter on the bottle, "Good people drink good beer."

The beer pours a clear and pale golden yellow. There is an inch of pure white head. The aroma is golden grain, straw, grassy, and lager funkiness. The taste is grassy, grain, straw, a touch of sweetness, followed by a bracingly bitter finish. It drinks crisp and dry. This is an excellent American lager.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mountain Livin' Pale Ale

This 5.7% ABV pale ale is from the Crazy Mountain Brewing Company of Edwards, Colorado. It uses Simcoe and Citra hops. The beer pours copper and amber in color. There is a short head of off-white foam. The aroma is hop forward, tropical fruit, mango in particular, light tea with lemon and just a whisper of fresh pine. The taste is tropical fruit over toasted malt, with a perfectly bitter and dry finish. This is a top-notch pale ale, with a great balance of hop forward fruits and a solid toasted malt base. Do not pass this one up if you see it.


Keweenaw November Gale Pale Ale

The Keweenaw Brewing Company is in South Range, Michigan. This pale ale takes its name from the November storms that can ravage Lake Superior. The lighthouse on the can is Gull Rock Lighthouse which is just off Keweenaw Peninsula.

The beer pours a nice orange amber in color. There is an inch of off-white head. The aroma is mandarin orange and light citrus over light caramel malt. The taste is caramel malt, light tea, with a grapefruit rind bitterness. This is easy drinking.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny ABA

The Duck Rabbit Craft Brewery is in Farmville, North Carolina. They specialize in dark beers, and this is their 7.3% ABV take on the black IPA, also known as an American Black Ale or ABA. (Look carefully at the picture on the bottle from two different angles to get the duck-rabbit thing.)

The beer pours black in color with a very large, fizzy, yet thick, head of light brown foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, mocha, tangy, sweet, milky, with a fruity hoppiness. It smells like a dark chocolate covered piece of fruit, orange or cherry. The taste follows the aroma, first being fruit covered in dark chocolate, then becoming coffee, and finally ending with a blasting bitterness. It is well carbonated and tingles on the tongue, with a bit of creaminess from the large head.






Ommegang Biere D'Hougoumont

This 7.3% ABV Biere de Garde is aged on maple and oak wood staves and is from the Brewery Ommengang in Cooperstown, New York. Ommegang is part of the Duvel family, and is essentially a Belgian brewery plopped down in New York State. This uses French ale yeast, eight malts, and French Strisselspalt hops.

The beer pours a dark amber, orange and copper. There is a tall, foamy head that is off-white to light brown in color which dissipates quite quickly. The aroma is malty, light caramel, nutty, toasted, paired with a tart fruitiness, yeast with tang and earthy, strawberry and unripened plum. The taste follows the aromas. The finish is quite dry. This doesn't blow me away, but it is extremely well done and another tasty beer from Ommegang.


Intercourse Paradise Pale Ale

Intercourse gives you Paradise! (pale ale that is). Intercourse Brewing Company is in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is named after a dry town in Pennsylvania that is named Intercourse. My guess, then, is that this is contract brewed by the Lion Brewery.

This 5.2% ABV beer pours a light amber in color with a short white head and little carbonation. The aroma is malty, a bit of light sweet potato, like a large brewery in the distance. The taste is malty and bitter. Sorry, I'll take the other intercourse.


Fegley's Brew Works Always Sunny Pale Ale

Fegley's Brew Works have three locations in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Always Sunny is a 5.2% ABV West coast style pale ale brewed at the Allentown works. It uses Summit, Chinook and Cascade hops.


The beer pours dark golden in color, with a tinge of orange. There is a thick, foamy white head. The aroma is fruity, citrus, orange, a light touch of grapefruit peel. The taste is crisp and quite bitter, lots of grapefruit and citrus, tea with lemon. It finishes dry and bitter. This is like the gin and tonic of pale ales, crisp, dry and bitter, with that thirst-quenching in a dry way going on.




Friday, October 19, 2012

Odell Pond Hopper

This is an 8.9% ABV double extra pale ale that is a collaboration between the Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado and the Thornbridge Brewery of England. It uses British malts and American hops. Almost everything out of Odell is awesome.

The beer pours an orange tinted honey golden in color. There is a tall, thick and foamy white head that leaves thick and very sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is hop fruit over rich malt, with large and round tropical fruit, very ripe melon, and tangerine citrus. The taste is a tangy and slightly sweet wallop of all the fruits from the aroma. It has a resinous quality and is redolent of extremely ripe tropical fruit, when it is just before the edge of going bad, but at the peak of flavor and aroma. In the back is a full maltiness, a touch of caramel, and a note of tea. There is low bitterness. The beer has a nice tingling carbonation that helps cut through the very full and thick flavors. The aftertaste is a pleasant lingering of tropical fruit. This is a sensual beer. Watch out, it just might make your pants drop to the floor.