Friday, September 25, 2015

Great Divide Orabelle

This 8.3% ABV Belgian-style ale is from the Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado. "Great Minds Drink Alike" is their motto. It uses orange peel and a bit of coriander (an imperial Belgian white ale?).

The beer pours a hazy yellow. There is a short head of white foam. The aroma is sweet, floral, yeast esters, fruity, with citrus. The taste follows the aromas note for note, sweet, yeasty, floral, but ending dry, and with a citrus tang. The coriander comes through on the aftertaste. The beer drinks smooth, with a tingling of carbonation. This makes a nice Belgian-style ale.


Confluence Oktoberfest

This seasonal release is a 5.6% ABV malt forward Oktoberfest beer.  The Confluence Brewing Company is in Des Moines, Iowa.

The beer pours a gleaming, gem-like burnt orange and amber. There is a relatively short and short-lived head of off-white head. The aroma is very nutty, with caramel, and toasted malt. The taste follows the aromas, nutty, roasted, light hazelnut, and caramel. The beer drinks with a light smoothness and a very tingling carbonation. This is an overall very good Oktoberfest beer. 


Omission IPA

This is a 6.7% ABV India Pale Ale. Omission beers are brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon. I believe they used to say they were gluten free, now there is a disclaimer that they are crafted to remove gluten, but that the gluten content can't be verified and there may be some gluten. They still use barley, but work to remove the gluten. I'm not worried about gluten, so I'll charge ahead.

The beer pours a deep honey golden in color. There is a tall, white, foamy head. The aroma is citrus, tangy hops, light mango and peach, over toasted, crackery malt. The taste follows the aromas, hitting all of the same hop fruit notes over the table water cracker malt. The finish is moderately bitter. The beer is easy drinking. This is a very good gluten free beer, and a decent IPA without consideration of the gluten.




Squatters Vienna Style Marzen Lager

This 4.0% ABV Vienna-style Marzen lager is from Squatters Beers. They are part of the Utah Brewers Cooperative out of Salt Lake City, Utah. The Marzen style is the traditional Oktoberfest beer. The bottle suggests pairing this beer with lederhosen!

The beer pours a gem-like orange amber in color. There is a relatively short head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, well toasted, roasted, nutty, and caramel. The taste follows the aromas, quite roasted, the caramel and nut starting to curve towards fruitiness, like a raspberry caramel with nuts. The beer drinks smooth and softly carbonated.


Schell's Firebrick

This is a 5.0% ABV Vienna-style amber lager from the August Schell Brewery of New Ulm, Minnesota. They brew a wide variety of beers, both under the Schell's label and as contract brewers.  In addition, they now own and brew the Grain Belt line of beers.  They are the second oldest family owned brewery in the United States (over 150 years and counting).  I think that Yuengeling is probably the oldest family owned brewery.

The beer pours dark amber and light chestnut brown in color. There is a relatively short head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, roasted, lots of rich caramel, a touch nutty, with light plum. The taste follows the aromas, nicely roasted malts, toasty, with the caramel and nuttiness. The finish is dry and lightly bitter. The beer drinks easy, with the carbonation of an American lager. You could really drink the Firebrick out of this beer!


Tasting good in 2016 too: The beer pours a clear amber and dark copper. There is a half-inch of off-white head. The aroma is toasted malt, caramel, with grassy hops. The taste follows the aromas, a bed of toasted and caramel malt, with a tangy and grassy hop finish. There is some sweetness, but the end is dry, with a light to moderate bitterness. The beer drinks both smooth and refreshingly carbonated at the same time; unbelievably slammable. This is fun to drink.


The bottle from their 150th year, 2010-2011:


The Brew Kettle Black Rajah

This is a 6.8% India Style Black ale that is "taming the savage hop." It has 70 IBU's and is from The Brew Kettle Tap Room & Smoke House Restaurant in Strongville, Ohio. It features Citra and Simcoe hops.

The beer pours very dark brown, to mahogany, to black. There is a thick, tall head of off-white to light tan foam. The aroma is very nice, a perfectly balanced blend of dark roasted malt, with notes of coffee, dark fruit, and musky pine. The taste follows the aromas note for note, again, a perfectly harmonious blend of the dark roasted malts and piney, musky hops. The beer drinks smooth, soft, with a light tingle of carbonation. The finish is only lightly bitter. This is a top-notch, excellent, black IPA; a must try if you like the style at all.




Exile Chill Clinton

This 8.0% ABV double hemp amber ale is from the Exile Brewing Company of Des Moines, Iowa. The label features dual Bill Clinton's playing saxophone, while a cloud of "something" roils in the background.  On the back, Bill says: When they ask "Did you inhale?" you can say "No...but I enjoyed some double hemp amber ale."

The beer pours a dark, yet gleaming, amber in color. There is a tall half-inch of off-white head. The aroma is grapefruit, caramel, dark fruits, and pine, with a touch of nuttiness. The taste follows the aromas, an odd, yet interesting, mix of dark fruits, caramel, pine, and grapefruit, with a bit of woody nuttiness. There is a quality of heavy oak to this although it is not barrel aged. The beer drinks smooth. The finish is dry, but only lightly bitter. All things considered, this beer doesn’t work that great for me, but it seems like it would be great if it were aged in any kind of whiskey barrel.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Schell's Oktoberfest

This is a 5.5% ABV seasonal release. It is from the August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm, Minnesota.  Schell's was established in 1860 and I believe they are the second oldest family owned brewery in the United States, behind Yuengeling. 

The beer pours a light and clear amber in color. There is an inch of thick, foamy, off-white head. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel, a light touch of nut, tangy, a touch of dark fruit. The taste follows the aromas, malty, sweet, caramel, a bit of a dark fruit tang, very light nut note, followed by a light grassy bitterness. The beer drinks fairly well carbonated, with some smoothness, finishing like a lager. There is a bit of a metallic note on the end that doesn’t fit in with the malt. Mostly nice, but not all the way there for me.

Back in 2009:


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Schofferhofer Grapefruit

This is a 3.2% alcohol by weight combination of hefeweizen and grapefruit flavor from the Raderberger Gruppe of Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

The beer pours hazy, the color of grapefruit skin. There is a tall half-inch of white foamy head. The aroma is grapefruit and grapefruit juice. The taste is straight up grapefruit juice, moderated in its tang and bitterness by some very smooth toasted malt. The beer drinks amazingly smooth, followed by a biting tingle of carbonation. This is a fine grapefruit hefe radler.


Rhinegeist Saber Tooth Tiger Imperial IPA

This is an 8.5% ABV imperial India Pale Ale that also has 95 IBU's. It is from the Rhinegeist Brewery of Cincinnati, Ohio. 


The beer pours a vibrant medium amber in color with orange tints. There is about an inch of thick white foam. The aroma is oranges, ripe fruits, melons, zesty, citrusy, with sweet malt in the background. The taste follows the aromas, lots of very ripe fruit, melon, somewhat tropical, zesty, citrus, oranges, and caramel malt. The finish is dry, almost astringent as fresh cut oak. The beer drinks smooth, with a soft tingle of carbonation. This is a nice DIPA.


Jackie O's Hop Ryot Rye IPA

This 6.5% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with rye is from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery in Athens, Ohio.

The beer pours a hazy yellow golden in color. There is a tall, foamy head of white. The aroma is bright, citrusy, and full of ripe tropical fruits, guava, passion fruit, and mango. The taste follows the aromas, lots of hop fruitiness over a well-toasted crackery malt, a touch of spiciness from the rye. The beer finishes dry with a moderate bitterness. It drinks very smooth, with a light, tingling carbonation. Oh man, this is the stuff!


Exile Oktoberfest

This 5.1% ABV seasonal release marzenbier is from the Exile Brewing Company of Des Moines, Iowa. 

The beer pours a light and clear amber in color. There is a half inch of off-white foam. The aroma is lightly nutty, caramel, and the straw note of a lager. The taste follows the aromas, but is far more rich, nutty, caramel, roasted and toasted malts, sweet, yet dry. For all the caramel notes, it finishes dry, with light bitterness. The beer drinks easy with a tingling of carbonation. This is a nice Oktoberfest. 

2016: New label, the beer pours looking the same. The aroma is quite nutty, very toasted, with rich caramel. The taste follows the aromas, a big blast of toasted, nutty, caramel malt. There is some sweetness in the malt, but the beer comes to a dry and moderately bitter finish. The beer drinks easy, a touch of smooth, yet carbonated, definitely quaffable. Prost, indeed!


 

Duvel

Duvel is a classic Belgian golden ale. It is bottle conditioned and has 8.5% ABV. It is from the Duvel Moortgat Brewery in Puurs, Belgium.

The beer pours golden in color, a touch hazy. There is a tall, bubbling, foaming, head of white. The aroma is bread dough, bread, honey, fresh straw, fresh hay. The taste follows the aromas, sweet and bready, toasted grain and honey, fresh hay. The beer drinks bubbly, intensely carbonated. The finish is dry with a light grassy bitterness. This is a classic beer that needs revisited from time to time.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Surly 1349 Black Ale

This black ale brewed with Ethiopian coffee and blackstrap molasses is from the Surly Brewing Company of Brooklyn Center (and now Minneapolis), Minnesota. It was brewed in collaboration with Lervig Brewery of Norway, and takes its name from the Norwegian metal band 1349.  

The beer pours black. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of dark khaki. The aroma is coffee, chocolate, with light cinnamon and black licorice. There is a tang of fruity hops in the background. The taste is an absolute blast of deep, dark espresso, incredibly dark and rich. There is dark chocolate, dark fruits, and an herbal note. It is like eating a dark roasted espresso bean covered in dark chocolate along with a ripe dark cherry also covered in dark chocolate. The beer drinks smooth and round with a light tingle of carbonation. 


The Brew Kettle White Rajah

This is a 6.8% ABV India Pale Ale that is "taming the savage hop." It has 70 IBU's and is from The Brew Kettle Tap Room & Smoke House Restaurant in Strongville, Ohio.


The beer pours honey golden in color. There is a half-inch of white head. The aroma is bright and citrusy, mango skin and passion fruit. The taste follows the aromas, lots of citrus, bright and tangy, but also with the bitter astringency of grapefruit. The finish is quite dry and bitter. The beer drinks crisply refreshing. This is an all around enjoyable IPA.


Four String Switch Blade IPA

This 6.5% ABV (and 65 IBU) India Pale Ale is from Four String Brewing of Columbus, Ohio. 

The beer pours dark golden and orange. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of white. The aroma is bright citrus, mango, light pineapple. The taste follows the aromas, bright and fruity, mango skin, with a touch of pine needles on the finish. The finish is very dry and quite bitter. It drinks with a nice tingle of carbonation, soft, yet intense, at the same time.




Exile IPA

 This is a 7.2% India Pale Ale from the Exile Brewing Company of Des Moines, Iowa. 

The beer pours orange amber in color. There is a massive head of bubbling, foam, off-white in color.  I would think this was too old by the way it pours, but it was just released. The aroma is lightly yeasty, not getting much else. Bad signs, of a bad bottle here. The taste is mild fruit and mild caramel. The finish is moderately bitter with some tangy citrus and grapefruit. The beer has a great mouthfeel, smooth and softly carbonated. No, the bottle is not bad, but I am not sure what this was supposed to be. An English IPA? A very mild American IPA? It is decent enough in the end, but I’m confused by this beer. 


Four String Brass Knuckle

This 5.75% ABV American Pale Ale is from Four String Brewing of Columbus, Ohio. 

The beer pours a light and gleaming orange-tinted amber. There is a couple of inches of thick, foamy, off-white head. The aroma is fruity and musky, guava, mango skin, melons and light citrus. The taste is light fruits, citrus, over well-toasted malt. The finish is quite intensely bitter. The beer drinks well and smoothly carbonated, refreshing and tingly. 


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Founders Redankulous Imperial Red IPA

This is a 9.5% ABV imperial red IPA with 90 IBU's from Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The beer pours a very dark amber to burnt umber. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of off-white to light tan. The aroma is sweet, with caramel, spicy, piney, dank, and fruity. The taste follows the aromas, roasted malt, sweetness, caramel, and dark fruits, battle with spicy, piney, fruity dankness. The finish is intensely bitter. The beer drinks smooth and round with a tingling undercurrent of carbonation. This is a very nice big red IPA. 


Confluence Blue Corn Lager

This is a 5.8% ABV summer seasonal release. The Confluence Brewing Company is in Des Moines, Iowa. This lager is made with blue corn from New Mexico (Iowa grows the most corn, but they found the blue better for their beer).


The beer pours a clear, yellow golden. There is about an inch of pure white head. The aroma is a touch sweet, fresh picked corn, grassy. The taste is sweet corn, cracked dry corn, a touch grassy on the end. The finish is moderately bitter. The beer drinks smooth, but nicely carbonated, giving a bit of a sting. This is a nice lager.


Great Divide Whitewater

This 6.1% ABV hoppy wheat ale is from the Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado. "Great Minds Drink Alike" is their motto.

The beer pours a cloudy yellow golden in color. There is an inch of thick, white, fluffy, foamy head that leaves sedimentary layers of sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is tangy, bright, citrus, along with melon, some pine, and some light earthiness. The taste follows the aromas, citrus an ripe fruit, along with pine and a bit of dankness. The finish is dry, astringent, and quite bitter, like biting into a grapefruit, rind and all. The beer drinks smooth with a soft tingling of carbonation. 


Confluence Big Hopi Red IPA

The Confluence Brewing Company is in Des Moines, Iowa. This is a limited release red IPA that was a 2015 Great American Beer Fest Pro-Am competitor. 

The beer pours amber and orange in color. There is over an inch of thick, off-white foamy head. The aroma is piney, spicy, malty, caramel, and dark fruits. The taste follows the aromas, lots of sweet caramel malt, throwing off fruit notes, along with spicy and piney hops. The beer drinks easy and smooth, lightly carbonated, with a moderately bitter finish. This is a nice one folks!


New Belgium Long Table Farmhouse Ale

 This 6.2% ABV farmhouse style ale is from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. 

The beer pours honey golden in color. There is a relatively short head of white foam. The aroma is estery, sweet, floral, funky, almost smokey. The taste is sweet, estery, floral, with a dry finish, lightly bitter. The beer drinks smooth and round with a light tingle of carbonation. This is a nice take on a big, slightly sweet Belgian farmhouse ale (as opposed to the drier, more floral versions).