Thursday, October 31, 2013

Freigeist Pimock

"Freigeist" is apparently German for "free thinker" (I believe literally "free ghost" or "free spirit"). This beer is a 5.3% ABV Rhineland Weizen from Freigeist, the experimental offshoot of Cologne’s small brewery Braustelle, a part of the Brauerei Goller of Zeil Am Main, Germany. According to the bottle, they "break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany's unique, historical beer styles." This beer is a weizen with less fruity esters and more hops, different than the Bavarian Weizen, making this a "pimock" or "outsider."

The beer pours an orange honey golden and copper-amber in color. There is an inch of thick and creamy white to just off-white head. The aroma is malty, caramel, with straw, and a light barnyard funk. The taste follows the aromas, lots of malt, light fruitiness, straw, it drinks like a malted up German lager. It has a refreshing, but not overwhelming carbonation, medium bodied, with a lightly dry finish, not very bitter. This is a unique beer and very tasty.


Ellicottville Oktoberfest Lager

The Ellicottville Brewing Company is from Ellicottville, New York. Their beers are brewed and bottled by the Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York. This beer is 5.6% ABV. On the last day of October I try the last Oktoberfest beer I have on hand.

The beer pours a clear and bright copper in color. There is a short head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is malty, bright, grassy, caramel, lightly fruity, it really makes me want to take a drink of it. The taste follows the aromas, lightly malty, bright, grassy, with a light bitterness and a light nuttiness. It is light to medium bodied with a crisp carbonation. This is refreshing.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Freigeist Hoppeditz

"Freigeist" is apparently German for "free thinker" (I believe literally "free ghost" or "free spirit"). This 7.5% ABV beer is a Doppelsticke Alt from Freigeist, the experimental offshoot of Cologne’s small brewery Braustelle, a part of the Brauerei Goller of Zeil Am Main, Germany. According to the bottle, they "break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany's unique, historical beer styles." This beer is named after the traditional burning puppet at Dusseldorf's Karneval. It is described as a "subtly-smoked extra-hoppy version of the city's classic 'Special Old Ale.'"

The beer pours dark brown, dark chestnut to light mahogany in color. There is over an inch of thick, creamy light brown foamy head. It is well carbonated in the glass, but does not sting in the mouth. The aroma is malty, dark caramel, molasses, tobacco, and dark dried fruits, with just a hint of smokiness. The taste follows the aromas directly. It has a medium mouthfeel and is fairly smooth on the mouth. There is a moderate bitterness on the finish that takes the sweet directly to dry. The aftertaste is nutty, with the merest hint of smoke, like a fall day roasting nuts while someone burns leaves far in the distance. This is very good.



Freigeist Abraxas

"Freigeist" is apparently German for "free thinker." This 6.0% ABV beer is a smoked Lichtenhainer Weisse from Freigeist, the experimental offshoot of Cologne’s small brewery Braustelle, a part of the Brauerei Goller of Zeil Am Main, Germany. According to the bottle, they "break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany's unique, historical beer styles." This is styled after an eastern German tart wheat beer once known as "Lichtenhainer." It is sour and complex with a balancing smoky maltiness.  Let's see about that, shall we?

The beer pours a cloudy honey golden in color. There is a tall and thick head of white foam. The aroma is smoky like a peat fire. The taste is a moderate and pleasant sourness battling the smokiness, all over campfire toasted wheat. It is refreshingly carbonated. The finish is tart. This is quite the interesting beer. Straight sour berlinner weisse can be overwhelming, straight smoky rauch biers can be overwhelming, combine the two, and the sum is more than its parts. Still, this is not for the weak of palate. If you seek only a German lager, stay away. The more I drink, the better it gets, as the contrasting parts start to balance out on the palate.



Tallgrass Zombie Monkie Robust Porter

This is a 6.2% ABV porter from the Tallgrass Brewing Company of Manhattan, Kansas. If their beers are available to you, definitely give them a try if you haven't already, they have a very solid lineup. This "apocalyptic" beer is "relentlessly tasty" and "inspired by approximately true events," whatever that means. It will apparently inoculate you against zombies, so you better stock up.  The design on the can is raised and rough, it is called "tactical grip" and is to "prevent slippage while fleeing."  Good to have.

The beer pours a dense and pure black, even when held to the light. There is a tall, thick head of creamy light brown foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, mocha, and a bit of tang on the end, both metallic and creamy. The taste follows the aromas, coffee notes with the bitter finish that coffee would bring; dark chocolate notes, but with a creamy finish that milk chocolate would bring; and just a bit of charred wood in there. The finish is bittersweet, moderately dry and moderately bitter. 

I feel the zombie virus kicking in, I am now infected, but instead of searching for brains, I am searching for more Zombie Monkie porter…




Millstream Oktoberfest

This is a 5.7% ABV Oktoberfest lager from the Millstream Brewing Company of Amana, Iowa. They have been brewing since 1985.

The beer pours a clear, deep, yet bright, chestnut brown, copper and amber in color. There is a short, and short-lived, head of off-white foam, just a touch creamy. The aroma is malty, caramel, nutty, light plum-like fruit, with a grassy end. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, first a blast of nutty caramel malt, and then a dry and grassy finish, moderately bitter. The taste is a very pleasant amalgam of caramel, nut and plum and berry fruitiness. There is sweetness, but also a fairly dry and bitter finish. The beer drinks smooth with a light and tingling carbonation. This is exactly what you want from an Oktoberfest lager.



I like the previous version of this label better:

Trying again in 2017: The beer pours copper and amber in color. There is a short head of light tan foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, with a bit of nut and dark and berry fruit. The taste follows the aromas, malty, caramel, fruit, nut. The finish is dry, with a light to moderate bitterness. The beer drinks easy, smooth and moderately carbonated. 


Friday, October 25, 2013

Wasatch Pumpkin Ale

This is a 4.0% ABV seasonal pumpkin ale from Wasatch Beers, from the Utah Brewers Cooperative of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is brewed with pumpkin and spices.

The beer pours a deep, glowing orange tinted copper and amber. There is a short and thin head that is off-white, fairly fizzy, and not long lasting. The aroma is full of spices, coriander and nutmeg, pumpkin, earthy, pumpkin, a bit like a not very sweet pumpkin pie. The taste is  toasted grain, pumpkin, spices, like pumpkin pie made with beer instead of water. The finish is quite dry. It has a tingly carbonation and a medium-bodied mouthfeel, highly carbonated, almost soda like. This is pretty good, especially compared to a lot of the pumpkin ales out there. My only wish is that this had a smoother, fuller mouthfeel to go with its great rich flavors.

2013 bottle:

2014 bottle:


Mendocino Pumpkin Ale

This is a 5.0% ABV pumpkin ale brewed with pumpkin, spiced and cocoa nibs from the Mendocino Brewing Company. The company is from Ukiah, California, but many of its beers are brewed and bottled in Saratoga Springs, New York, like this one.

The beer pours a deep copper in color, along with amber. There is a short, thin head of off-white to very light brown foam. The aroma is spices mostly, along with light to moderate pumpkin notes. The taste is mostly spices, a bit of pumpkin and amber ale. The cocoa nibs are detectable, but add as much dryness as flavor. It is surprisingly dry and bitter. This is not very good.


Southampton Publick House Pumpkin Ale

This 5.0% amber ale is brewed with pumpkin and spices. Southampton Publick House is from Long Island, New York, but this is bottled at Saratoga Springs. (Is it just me, or did Pabst own them for a time?)

The beer pours a deep orange tinted copper and amber in color. There is a short head of off-white to very light brown foam, with a bit of creaminess to it. The aroma is heavily spiced, a hint of pumpkin, over a malty and caramel sweet amber ale. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, spice, malty amber ale, bit of pumpkin, but with a surprisingly dry finish. It is fairly strongly carbonated, giving a bit of a sting to the tongue. This is one of those many "let's make a pumpkin ale to make a pumpkin ale" pumpkin ales; formulaic, with the pumpkin and spice seeming like add-ins rather than brewed as a whole from the ground up around the pumpkin.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boxer Ice

This is the 5.5% ABV ice version of Boxer Lager from the Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. This is a very low priced beer.

The beer pours a light honey yellow in color. There is about an inch of white fizzy and foamy head. It is very highly carbonated. The aroma is a bit of maltiness, corn, sweet, light green apple and a chemical note. The taste is corn, cooked corn, sweet, with a strange sour tanginess, then finishing sweet, with a very light grassiness, with added chemicals. The mouthfeel is also strange, carbonated first, then, not a thickness, but a touch of a syrupy or sedimentary note. There is a fleeting glimpse of a  nice malty note in the aftertaste.  I didn't think regular Boxer was too bad for a cheap beer, but this stuff is hard to take. Beers like this are so obviously meant to be drunk from the can, which allows for masking of some of their more vile notes.




Sunday, October 20, 2013

Upright Brewing Four

This is a 4.5% saison-style farmhouse table beer from the Upright Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon. It is made with pale and wheat malts, rolled wheat, Hallertauer Mittelfruh hops and saison yeast.

The beer pours golden and yellow in color with a touch of haze. There is a very tall, fizzing, foaming, bubbling head of white foam. The aroma is yeasty, floral, grassy, with a bit of fruity tartness. The taste follows the aromas, and adds a light bread dough, biscuit note. The taste is delicate, the finish is quite dry. There is a fizzing carbonation that tingles in the mouth. This is a very refreshing beer.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lakefront Oktoberfest Lager

This 5.8% ABV seasonal release is from the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The beer pours a deep, but clear, copper in color. There is a medium head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, toasted and roasted, caramel and toffee, a tad nutty, a hint of spice. The taste follows the aromas. It is slightly sweet, but with enough hops to control the sweetness, lightly bitter and grassy on the end. This makes a fairly solid Oktoberfest beer.


The 2011 bottle:

Schlafly "T" IPA

This is a 7.2% ABV "Tasmanian" style India Pale Ale from Schlafly, brewed and bottled by The Saint Louis Brewery. It uses 100% Galaxy hops from the Tasmania area of Australia.

The beer pours a clear yellow golden in color. There is an inch of pure white foamy head. The aroma is a blast of fruity hops, tons of citrus, passion fruit, tropical fruits, mango and pineapple. The taste follows the aromas, putting lots of fruity, tropical  hops over toasted malt. The finish is moderately bitter and dry. If you like a blast of fruity hops, get your hands on this one.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Oude Quetsche Tilquin

This a 6.4% ABV spontaneous fermentation ale from Gueuzerie Tilquin in Rebecq, Belgium. They take and blend beers from other Belgian breweries, in this case mixing lambics (brewed with wild yeasts) that are one, two and three years old. This beer is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and refermented in the bottle. It ferments with purple plums.


The beer pours a hazy light brown and pink salmon in color. There is a short, and short-lived, head of white to off-white bubbly foam.  There is a powerful aroma, tart, fruity, sour, plums, earthy, with some woodiness. The taste is a powerfully tart sourness, with some unripened plum; damp, fresh earth; and woodiness. They must have used some very tart plums in this, I think it is possibly even more sour than their guezue.




Sunday, October 13, 2013

Deschutes Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

This beer is brewed and bottled at Deschutes in Bend, Oregon, and done in collaboration with the Great Lakes Brewery of Cleveland, Ohio. It is part of a celebration of 25 years of brewing by several breweries of the "Class of '88." This is 9.1% ABV and made with smoked malts.

The beer pours an extremely dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby and garnet. There is a short head of off-white to very light brown foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, sweet, tangy and smoky like peat smoke. The taste follows the aromas, sweet dark roasted malt, a light mineral tang, and a dense smokiness, almost salty, like strongly smoked bacon. The bottle says a subtle smoky flavor, but you could make barbecue sauce with this beer.


Guinness Red Harvest Stout

This is a seasonal release from the Guinness Brewery of Dublin, Ireland. It pours from a can with a gas widget. The beer pours nearly black, very dark brown, bit of ruby. There is a half inch to inch of extremely creamy head of pale light brown foam that leaves a curtain of thick lacing down the glass. The aroma is roasted malt, tangy, mineral, light caramel, light dark fruits. The taste follows the aromas directly, a touch of nuttiness. It drinks very smooth and creamy.  The finish is lightly to moderately bitter, dry, with a mineral tang. This is excellent and refreshing.

(Of course, there is no information about this beer on their website. Why is it always the largest breweries that have the least up to date websites? They'll spend millions on ads, but can't even keep their own websites updated.  I don't get it.)


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Squatters Chasing Tail Golden Ale

Squatters Beers are part of the Utah Brewers Cooperative out of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Beers in Utah used to be limited to 4.0% ABV, and this beer, like several of Squatters older styles, keeps that alcohol level.

The beer pours a pure honey golden yellow in color. There is about an inch of thick, foamy, white head. The aroma is light golden grain, floral, with a tangy yeastiness. The taste follows the aromas, light grain, lightly toasted, light fruit/floral and a touch grassy. Have you gathered, this is a very light beer in all respects? Still, much  more flavorful than say, Bud Light. The first couple times I tried this, probably about three years ago, it struck me as similar in taste (not color) to Grain Belt Nordeast. Now I am not as sure of that comparison. Have I changed, or the beer?


Really liked this in 2017 out of the can: The beer pours a lightly hazed deep golden. There is a very short head of white foam. The aroma is bright, toasted grain and citrus, light orange and tangerine. The taste follows the aromas, bright, citrus, grain, with just the lightest herbal earthiness. The finish is lightly bitter. The beer drinks smooth, moderately carbonated and refreshing. This is really good!


Leinenkugel's Orange Shandy

Leinenkugel's Brewing Company is from  Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  They began brewing in 1867. Leinenkugel's has been owned by Miller for some time now (who is now owned by MolsonCoors).

The beer pours a cloudy orange golden. There is a short head of egg white foam. The aroma is toasted wheat, orange juice, and a bit of creamy cereal maltiness. The taste follows the aromas directly. This is what it says it is, nothing more and nothing less. It is like a toasted wheat lager mimosa. It is too overwhelmingly orange juice for me.


Lost Coast Indica IPA

This is a 6.5% ABV India Pale Ale from the Lost Coast Brewing Company of Eureka, California. The beer pours amber and copper in color. There is an inch of thick off-white foam. The aroma is citrus, orange, very ripe melons and a touch of tropical fruit, with a hint of bubble gum in the background. The beer drinks smooth and round, lots of orange, with melon and light tropical fruit. The finish is moderately bitter and dry. This is a nice and easy drinking IPA.


Summit Oktoberfest

The Summit Brewing Company is in Saint Paul, Minnesota and they have been brewing since 1986, definitely making them a grand daddy of the craft beer movement. While they don't really do any "whales", they are solid across all styles and make really drinkable beers. I think of them as the Sierra Nevada of the Midwest.

This marzen style beer is 6.6% ABV and pours a gleaming copper in color.  There is a tall off-white head of thick foam that leaves medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma is malty, caramel, toffee and yam, biscuity, somewhat fruity, like a floury scone with red plum jam, followed by a bright and grassy finish.  The taste follows the aromas, malted grain, light sweetness like caramel and yam, a touch of nuttiness, with a brassy finish. Drinkable as always, pretty good, but could use just a slightly drier finish.

Tried this again in 2014, although the website lists the ABV at 6.7% ABV, my bottle says 7.1% ABV. The beer pours a clear copper and amber in color. There is over an inch of foamy light tan head. The aroma is toasted grains, a bit nutty, a bit of caramel. The taste follows the aromas, adding in some berry-like fruitiness. Malts are forward, but not overly sweet, very light grassiness on the finish. The beer drinks smooth, with ample, refreshing carbonation.

2013 bottle:

2014 bottle: