Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hof ten Dormaal Blond

This is a 8.0% ABV Belgian farmhouse style bottle conditioned blond ale. It is from Hof ten Dormaal in Tildonk, Belgium. The grain and hops used in the beer are estate grown by Dormaal.

The beer pours a somewhat hazy honey golden in color. It has a tall, billowing and boiling white head. The aroma is pleasantly funky, floral, straw, barnyard and some wool blanket. The taste is a perfect unifying blend of the aromas in perfect harmony and balance, without any one predominating. It is sweet, yet bitter; floral, yet funky. It is crisply and finely carbonated and giggles on the tongue. This is a very fine example of a blond Belgian farmhouse ale.

Left Coast Trestles IPA

This is a 6.8% ABV India Pale Ale from the Left Coast Brewing Company of San Clemente, California. According to the bottle it uses CTZ and Chinook hops and is then dry hopped with Chinook and Centennial hops.

The beer pours a shiny and clear copper in color. There is a tall half-inch of thick white, to off-white, foam. The aroma is hop forward, lots of orange, citrus, with some tropical fruit and flowers. The taste has all the hoppiness of the aromas laid out on a bed of malt just perfectly balanced to support it. The finish is relatively bitter, with a grapefruit rind astringency and pucker factor. This is an all around  nice IPA.

Svyturys Ekstra Draught

This is a 5.2% ABV unpasteurized ale from Svyturys of Lithuania. The beer pours a dark golden in color. There is an inch of white foamy head. The aroma is  mild, grain and malt, a touch sweet, and a bit grassy with straw. The taste is a lightly sweet maltiness, a bit of sweet potato, a touch of straw, and enough grassy bitterness to not be too sweet. It has medium carbonation and body, with a distinct smoothness.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Svyturys Baltas

This is a 5.0% ABV baltas kvietinis alus, or white unfiltered wheat ale. It is from Svyturys of Lithuania. The beers pours a hazy golden and peach in color. There is a tall head of tight and thick white foam. It is reminiscent of the foam of shaken egg whites. The aroma is fruity and yeasty over toasted wheat. The taste is spicy, lots of clove, toasted wheat and tangy yeast. It is highly and finely carbonated. It is worth trying if you like white ales. However, I am not sure it stands up to the better Belgian and American white ales.

An older version of the bottle:

Prestige Lager

This is a 5.6% ABV lager from the Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti, founded in 1976. Haiti is not exactly a known hot bed of beer brewing, so I am curious to give this a try. High marks on the stubby bottle.

The beer pours a very clear and pale golden in color. There is quite a bit of carbonation, and a tall white head of foam that doesn't last particularly long. The aroma is light grain, light grassy hops, with a touch of straw. The taste follows the aromas, a touch of sweetness, ending with a light grassy bitterness. It drinks crisply refreshing with stinging carbonation. This does well for what it is, a light adjunct lager meant for drinking on hot tropical days.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hof ten Dormaal Winter 13

This is an 8.0% ABV Belgian farmhouse ale that has been wet-hopped. It is from Hof ten Dormaal in Tildonk, Belgium. They grow most of their own beer ingredients. The beer pours a somewhat hazy burnt orange and amber. There is a tall, roiling and boiling foamy head. The aroma is funky, yeasty, and floral, with some woolen blanket. The taste is sweet, yet crisp, floral, tangy, yeasty, with a bitter and dry finish. It is very finely carbonated and fills the mouth with its bubbles. This is very tasty and elegantly put together.

Bernard Premium

This 5.0% ABV lager is from the Bernard Family Brewery in the Czech Republic. It is bottle conditioned, with yeast added to the bottle for a final fermentation. The beer pours a dark honey golden in color. There is a tall head of fizzy white foam. The aroma is lots of straw, grass and grain, with a nice barnyard funkiness. The taste is lots of grain and straw, with a strong grassy bitterness on the finish. It is strongly and elegantly carbonated, with a pleasant sting to the mouth and throat. This is excellent, one of the best European lagers I have had in a long while.

Zamkove Extra

This is a 7.0% ABV strong lager from Poland. The beer pours an orange tinted dark golden in color. It is a bit hazy. There is a short head of white foam that is not long lasting. The aroma is lightly sweet grain, and some straw. The taste follows the aromas, there is a honey grain sweetness, with enough hops to prevent it from being cloying. It is fairly well carbonated. The sweetness turns a bit medicinal in the aftertaste. Okay as strong European lagers go, a little sweet, not great, but not terrible.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Belgium Cocoa Mole

This 9.0% ABV ale is brewed with cocoa and spices, including Ancho, Guajillo and chipotle peppers. It is from the New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado, and is part of their Lips of Faith series. The beer pours a medium dark brown. It looks a bit hazy, but it is dark enough that it is hard to tell. There are ruby tints around the edges. There is a short lived head of very light brown foam. The aroma is mole over a subtle dark ale. The taste is a burst of mole, cocoa, cinammon, and peppers. The peppers are not out front, but blend into the overall mole taste and add a nice simmering of heat on the finish. The mouthfeel is a tad watery for all the flavor, hard to believe it is nine percent alcohol. For a spiced beer that uses peppers, this is pretty darn good.

Khajuraho Lila's Lite Beer

This 4.5% ABV light beer is from Lilasons Breweries of India, and imported by Mantra America of Rockaway Park, New York.  According to the bottle it is India's first lite beer (they better watch out they don't get in trouble for calling it "Lite" instead of "light").

The beer pours a clear golden yellow in color. It is well carbonated, but has a short and thin white head. The aroma is grain, both sweet and tangy, a bit of sour feet, pretty gross overall. The taste is way better than the aroma. The taste is smooth grain, a bit of straw, with an effect that seeks to be creamy, but ends up watery. Oddly enough, if you drink this without smelling it, it actually makes a pretty decent light beer, but they've got to work on that initial aroma. Also, the aftertaste has a bit of a chemical element. So, bad start, good middle, weak finish.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Evil Twin Low Life

Evil Twin Brewing has its origins in Denmark, but its beers are actually brewed at ten different breweries around the world. It is imported by Twelve Percent Imports. This pilsner is 5.5% ABV and was brewed at Westbrook Brewing Company in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. 

The beer pours a very orange and amber tinted deep and dark golden. There is a tall head of thick foam, white to just off-white in color. The aroma is grassy, floral, grain and fruit, with a tangy bread dough quality. The taste follows the aromas, lots of grass and bread dough with a quite bitter finish. It is both well carbonated and full, yet flat and watery in the mouth at the same time. I am not sure how it is possible to do that, but they do.

According to the bottle: "we threw in a young, unacknowledged hoppy pilsner, gave it a limp, wrinkly flavor and finished it off with an insulting high price that will give you a foul feeling in your mouth. That's why we name Evil Twin Brewing's Low Life the Golddigger of Beers." There is certainly some hyperbole there, the beer is more good than bad.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


This is an 8.0% ABV Belgian tripel-style abbey ale from Brouwerij De Ranke in Wevelgern, Belgium. It is unpasteurized and unfiltered. The beer pours a somewhat hazy burnt orange and dark golden. There is a generous head of white foam, but it dies down fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet, candied sugar, orange, citrus, grassy, with wool blanket. All the aromas merge into a perfect blended unison, as does the flavors which directly follow the aromas. It has enough hops to challenge the sweetness and finish refreshingly dry. It is well and finely carbonated, with a lively mouthfeel. This is oh so good.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Widmer Brothers KGB Russian Imperial Stout

This is the 2013 vintage of the 9.3% ABV Russian Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing (we'll put aside for the moment the historical incongruity of using the Soviet KGB in the same name as Imperial Russia which met its demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, and instead concentrate on the beer).

The beer pours black as anthracite coal. There is a quarter to half inch head of thick dark brown foam. The aroma is sweet, tangy, creamy, mocha and dark chocolate. The taste has all the aromas, and adds a little more coffee to the mocha, lots of rich chocolate, cocoa, dark chocolate, milk chocolate with a decidedly bitter cold coffee bitterness on the finish. It is both creamy smooth and well carbonated. Oh, this is one nice stout; if it is the KGB, it is the hot female agent who is trained to get secrets by seducing you.

Fuller's Honey Dew

Fuller's is from London, England by the Fuller, Turner and Smith Griffin Brewery. This is a 5.0% ABV certified organic ale that is brewed with honey. The beer pours honey golden (no pun intended) and orange in color. There is an inch of  pure white foamy head that dissipates quickly. The honey is right out front in the aroma. I have tried many beers that use honey, but none has been so pronounced in the aroma. There is also golden grain and citrus and lightly floral hops. The taste follows the aromas, lots of rich honey and lesser grain and citrus. It is well carbonated and tingles the mouth. It has enough hops to cut the honey sweetness and finish dry instead.

Bellerose Biere Blonde Extra

This 6.5% ABV beer is from Brasserie des Sources of St. Amand les Eaux, France. It uses three varieties of hops. The beer pours a dark golden with orange tints. There is an inch of thick and foamy white head. The aroma is hoppy, grassy, floral, tangy, citrusy. The taste is floral, herbal, citrus over a malt base solid enough to hold the hops, but not to be obtrusive. It is well carbonated and drinks refreshing.

Ballantine Ale

Ballantine Ale first started brewing in Albany, New York in 1833. It moved in 1840 to Newark, New Jersey. It quickly became one of the top five brewers in America. It grew to be the third most popular beer in America by the 1950's.  It had celebrity endorsements that included Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway in his only commercial endorsement ever. They also sponsored the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Boston Celtics, even owning that team for a time. It's symbols include the "XXX" and the three rings of "Purity, Body, and Flavor" inspired by the interlocking wet rings left on the bar when founder Peter Ballantine drank a pint. The brand was sold to Falstaff in 1972, and then to Pabst in the early 1990's, where the brand remains today.

The beer is 4.85% ABV and pours a pure golden yellow in color. There is about an inch of white foamy head. The aroma is grassy, with herbal and floral aromatic hoppiness, crisp, grainy. The taste is slightly sweet grainy malt, with a tangy grassiness, lightly bitter on the finish. There is citrus over grain in the aftertaste. It is well carbonated, crisp and refreshing. This is quite enjoyable.

Here is a link to the Hemingway ad.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Taras Boulba

This is a 4.5% ABV extra hoppy ale from Braisserie de la Senne in Brussels, Belgium. If someone can translate and tell me what is happening on the label, I sure would like to know.

The beer pours a hazy yellow golden in color. It has been refermented in the bottle, which shows in its massive, billowing white head of sea-like foam. The aroma is grain, straw, flowers, funky, yeasty. The taste is  light golden grain, very floral, with a massively astringent and bitter finish. If you can't handle bitter hops, steer clear of this one. It is well and finely carbonated, typical bottle fermentation carbonation. This is palate cleansing, a hop zinger, refreshingly dry.

Man with barrel: Smeirlap!
Man on ground: Awel Merci! Taras Boulba es roezeg van kolaire! Zanne zaune es me een wolline getraut!

Konrad Eso Marzen

Konrad Eso Marzen is a 4.6% ABV marzen amber lager from Pivovar LibrecVratislavice in Librec, Czech Republic. The beer pours a light chestnut brown, like dark cream soda, but clear. There is nearly an inch of off-white, thick and foamy head. The aroma is malty, toasted, caramel, with a touch of nut. The taste is light toasted malt, light caramel, very grassy, bitter and dry. It is well-carbonated and tingly and leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

Konrad 14 Svetle Pivo

Konrad 14 Svetele Pivo is a 6.0% ABV lager from Pivovar LibrecVratislavice in Librec, Czech Republic. The beer pours a very dark golden in color. There is a moderately tall head of white foam that dissipates fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet, herbal and grassy. The taste is mineraly, grassy and bitter, with a metallic tang. There is a stinging carbonation. It has a surprisingly light mouthfeel. The aftertaste is fruity and bitter with a metallic tang, but all in a pleasant way.

Konrad 11 Svetly Lezak

Konrad Svetly Lezak is a 4.8% ABV lager from Pivovar Librec Vratislavice in Librec, Czech Republic. The beer pours a dark yellow and golden in color, yet clear. There is a tall, thick, white, foamy head that is fairly long lasting. The aroma is slightly sweet, grain, very grassy. The taste follows the aromas. There is much clean grass with a bitter finish. There is a pleasant mineral quality that is pervasive. There is a nicely bitter grain and straw aftertaste. It is well-carbonated, crisp and refreshing. The mouthfeel is neither too light nor too heavy. The more I drink of this, the more I like it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Belgium Biere De Garde

This 9.0% ABV biere de garde brewed with orange peel is from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado, in collaboration with Brewery Vivant of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is part of New Belgium's Lips of Faith series.

The beer pours a slightly hazy deep golden with a tint of orange. There is a short and thin head of white foam. The aroma is orange, both sweet and tart, like a candied orange, with a slight funky yeasty note. The taste is both fruit and grain, lots of orange, still some sweetness, but also a mouth smacking tartness that hits the back of the palate, and the bitterness of orange peel. The light yeasty funkiness comes forward on the aftertaste along with pleasant grain and lingering candied orange. The alcohol is apparent, but not obtrusive. It is subtly and pleasantly carbonated.

Tennent's Export Lager

This 5.0% ABV lager is from Tennent's of Glasgow, Scotland. The beer pours a clear, dark golden and yellow. There is a tall, raggedly foamy white head. The aroma is very grassy; fresh, hard grain in a metal bucket; and a touch of fruit. The taste follows the aromas, mostly grain and a very grassy bitterness, with a touch of lemony fruit, with the taste, but not the sour. It is well carbonated, but a touch watery in the mouth, and mildly bitter on the finish. Overall, a solid pale European lager.

Uerige Dusseldorf-Altstadt

This is a 4.5% ABV altbier from Uerige of Dusseldorf, Germany. The beer pours a deep amber to light chestnut brown in color. There is a tall head of off-white to very light brown foam. The aroma is grassy, nutty, toasted malt, with a bit of a tang. The taste is roasted and toasted malt, light nut and caramel, with an extremely grassy, quite bitter and fairly dry finish. It is well carbonated without being overly bubbly, and drinks very refreshing. Nice.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adnams Tally-Ho

This 9.0% ABV barley-wine is brewed by Adnams Southwold of Suffolk, and bottled by Martsons in Burton On Trent, England. It is a limited edition, brewed once a year since 1880. This is the 2012 vintage. If I like it, I'll get another bottle to age, according to the bottle, "it can be laid down like a fine wine."

The beer pours a deep mahogany brown with ruby and garnet. There is a short and thin head of very light brown foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, dark stone fruits, almost red wine, the alcohol is noticeable, a sweetness with notes of toffee, and a tang on the end. The taste is malty, both dark roasted and sweet, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, with enough bitterness to not be cloying. It is hefty without being heavy, the alcohol warms the mouth and it finishes quite dry. This one is worth a try.

The Perfect Crime American Blonde

The Perfect Crime beers are collaboration beers that involve Evil Twin Brewing along with various others. For this beer, the conspirators with Evil Twin are Stillwater Artisinal Ales and Twelve Percent Imports. It is described as a hoppy blonde ale, is 6.5% ABV, and is brewed at Scheldebrouwerij in Meer, Belgium.

The beer pours a dark honey golden with orange tints. It is extremely carbonated and has a massive head of thick, white, bubbling foam. The aroma is light yeast, bread dough, and flowers. The taste follows the aromas directly, with a finish that is refreshingly dry and moderately bitter. It has a crisp and pleasantly stinging carbonation. This would make a nice, refreshing beer on a hot day.