Sunday, July 31, 2016

Great Divide Hoss

This is a 6.2% ABV Oktoberfest style lager from the Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. It uses rye, and used to be called a Rye Lager.

The beer pours a clear and gleaming copper and amber in color. There is a short head of light tan foam. The aroma is malty, nutty, caramel, toffee, and light hazelnut. The taste follows the same notes as the aromas, malty, nutty, clean, light notes of dark fruits, with a dry finish, lightly to moderately bitter. The rye adds a spicy note to the finish. The beer drinks smooth with light carbonation. This is a very good Oktoberfest style beer.

 
From when it was the "Rye Lager": The beer pours a dark copper-amber in color with a bit of orange.  There is a small head that is very light brown in color.  The aroma is fresh and clean, a bit of tall green grass.  There is some fruitiness and just a bit of zesty spiciness.  The taste is somewhat sweet, a hint of rye bread, dark fruits, and a crisp finish with a dry bitterness.  This is a nice take on a Marzen.



Fort Collins Red Banshee

The Fort Collins Brewery is, not surprisingly, in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is their 5.3% ABV red alt ale.

The beer pours amber and red in color. There is almost no head, what little there is has a very light tan color. The aroma is mild, malty, caramel, very light toffee, light plum. The taste follows the aromas, adding in some nuttiness. The beer drinks easy, soft, with a tingling of carbonation. The finish is dry with light to moderate bitterness. Mild, malty, and enjoyable.


Had this back in 2011: This beer pours dark brown and ruby, but translucent.   There is a quarter inch of off-white head that leaves light to medium lacing down the glass.  The aroma has roasted nuttiness, a touch of caramel (slightly burnt) and some dark fruits.  The taste is very malty, slightly sweet, fruity, very nutty, with a bitter edge on the finish. 


Deschutes Armory XPA

The Deschutes Brewery is in Bend, Oregon. This is their 5.9% ABV experimental pale ale brewed with Citra.

The beer pours an orange tinted amber in color. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of off-white. The aroma is citrus, citrus rind, caramel, with just a hint of pine. The taste follows the aromas, a blast of citrus, grapefruit, flesh and peels, over a strong base of toasted and caramel malt. The finish is dry, with grapefruit rind and pine needle astringency, and a moderate bitterness. The beer drinks with a fine, yet crisp, carbonation, very refreshing in effect. This is a nice pale ale. If you don't think different breweries can do totally different things with the same hop, compare this to Toppling Goliath's Citra pale ale, pseudoSue (not in the same universe).


 
 
 

Kona Lemongrass Luau

This 5.0% ABV ale brewed with ginger and lemongrass is from the Kona Brewing Company of Kona, Hawaii (although now brewed on the mainland as they are part of the Craft Brew Alliance). 
The beer pours a gleaming golden in color. There is a short and short-lived head of white foam. The aroma is definitely lemongrass and ginger, tangy and spicy. The taste is a mild golden ale spiced with lemongrass and ginger. The finish is dry, but not very bitter. The beer drinks refreshing, with crisp carbonation. Straightforward, it is what it said it would be, and nothing more, and in this instance, that is okay.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Arrogant Bastard Southern Charred 2015

This 12.7% ABV ale is from the Arrogant Bastard Brewing Company (think Stone Brewing) of Escondido, San Diego County, California. It takes their double bastard ale and ages it in bourbon barrels.

The beer pours a hazy dark amber to light brown. There is almost no head. The aroma is bourbon, sweet, malty, fruity, caramel, with some toasted and roasted notes. The taste is malty, caramel and dark fruits, followed by a wave of bourbon, with a spicy finish, then warming alcohol. There is the dry, tangy, astringency of oak in the aftertaste. The beer drinks smooth with soft carbonation. This is bold and flavorful, yet also a smooth bourbony sipper.

 


Fort Collins Brewery Far Away IPA

The Fort Collins Brewery is, not surprisingly, in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a 6.5% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with Cascade, Columbus, and Chinook hops, and then dry-hopped with Centennial and El Dorado.

The beer pours hazy, golden orange and dried apricot in color. There is a half inch of white head that leaves a fine curtain of lacing. The aroma is juicy, melons, citrus, tropical fruits, tangy and fruity. The taste follows the aromas, fruity, tangy, juicy, with a dry and moderately bitter finish. The beer drinks very smooth, a pleasure in the mouth. So, this won't blow your mind, but it is absolutely solid in every regard.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Arrogant Bastard Who You Callin' Wussie Pilsner

This 5.8% ABV pilsner beer is from the Arrogant Bastard Brewing Company (think Stone Brewing) of Escondido, San Diego County, California.

The beer pours a clear golden yellow, a bit of sun-bleached straw. There is an inch of pure white, foamy head. The aroma is floral, citrus, toasted grain, light barn straw. The taste is a blast of citrus and floral, a touch of honey under citrus tart, bread dough, with a grassy finish that is moderately to strongly bitter. The finish is dry. The beer drinks very crisp and refreshing. This is one very fine hopped up pilsner.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Toppling Goliath Mosaic Dry Hopped pseudoSue Pale Ale

This is pseudoSue pale ale that features Citra hops, from the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company of Decorah, Iowa, that is dry hopped with Mosaic hops. pseudoSue is one of my favorite beers of all times. I also love Mosaic hops, particularly what TG does with them. So, I am highly anticipating this beer.

The beer pours a lightly hazed honey golden in color. There is a tall, foamy, somewhat fizzy, head of white foam. The aroma is big and juicy, mango skins, guava, passion fruit, with some earthy dankness. The taste follows the aromas, rich, earthy, very ripe, fruity, a fruit market in a tropical nation. The finish is dry with a moderate bitterness. The beer drinks very smooth with a soft carbonation. It is hard to do justice to the wonderful flavors in this beer. It is a true TG classic, rearranging the synapses in your brain, adjusting what beer should taste like, what it does taste like, in that perfect TG world we lucky ones get to visit from time to time.

Toppling Goliath Xhops Silver Pale Ale

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. This is the most recent release in their X-hop series of pale ales using experimental hops.

The beer pours a clear and gleaming golden in color (second pour is hazy, but the flavor profile doesn't change). There is a very tall, foamy, and a bit fizzy, head of white. The aroma is citrus, tangy fruit, dank, earthy, spicy, passion fruit, and guava. The taste follows the aromas, but adds in much more big, ripe, round, tropical fruits, guava, mango skin, passion fruit. There is an earthy, fruit skin note, along with a bit of cinnamon. There is definite ripe fruit sweetness, but the finish is dry, with a low to moderate bitterness. The beer has a pleasantly plump body, perfectly attuned to holding up the very large flavors. The beer drinks smooth, but with a carbonation crisp enough to add refreshment. This is a classic, big, ripe, Toppling Goliath APA. This is in the top 3 to 4 X Hops varieties for me.
 
 



Summit 30th Anniversary Keller Pils

This 5.1% ABV keller style pils is from the Summit Brewing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. It is brewed to celebrate their 30th year.

The beer pours a very pale, sun-bleached, golden yellow straw in color. It is hazy. There is a tall, foaming head of white. The aroma has lager funk, bread dough, grassy, floral, delicious. The taste follows the aromas, bread dough, floral, a touch of citrus, a touch of honey, with a grassy bitterness of moderate intensity. The finish is dry. The beer drinks very easy, smooth, but with a refreshing, tingling carbonation. This is one really great American take on the pils style.


Schell's Fort Road Helles

This is a German helles style lager from the August Schell Brewery of New Ulm, Minnesota.  It is the limited release selection in their Biergarten summer sampler pack. Schell's brews 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 a very clear golden yellow. There is a half-inch of white, fizzy head. It is well carbonated. The aroma is grassy, hay, a touch sweet, a touch floral, bready. The taste follows the aromas directly, just the right mix of sweet bread maltiness, and grassy floral hoppiness. The beer comes to a mostly dry and lightly bitter finish. The beer drinks very easy, smooth, but also with a crisp carbonation. These are the beers where Schell's shines.


Boddingtons Pub Ale

Boddingtons is originally from England. It is now an AB-InBev brand. This 4.7% ABV ale uses a nitro widget to try and impart the traditional hand pulled creaminess.

The beer pours a light amber and copper in color. There is a tall, thick, very creamy head of white to just off-white. The aroma is mild, trapped under the thick head, giving off light caramel malt with a plum fruit note. The taste is caramel malt, touch of toffee, with a light note of dark fruits. There is a mild, grassy bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks very smooth and easy; one of the more successful nitro widget cans I have had.
 
 

Spaten Lager

This is the 5.2% ABV lager from the Spaten brewery of Munich, Germany.

The beer pours a light yellow golden. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is lager funk, straw, toasted grain, light honey touched bread. The taste follows the aromas. The finish is dry and lightly bitter. The beer drinks easy, with moderate carbonation and classic lager mouthfeel. There is not much to say here, just a solid classic German lager.
 

Dos Equis Roja

Roja, or red, in Spanish, is a 4.5% ABV red lager from Dos Equis. It is a limited release and as far as I know only available in the seasonal sampler twelve packs from the Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma of Monterrey, Mexico. 
The beer pours dark amber with a red tint. There is a half-inch of light tan head. The aroma is malty, caramel, sweet potato, fruity tang, with a bit of an unpleasant chemical note in the background. The taste follows the aromas. The chemical note is in the aftertaste. The beer drinks easy with moderate carbonation. This would be a decent easy drinking, somewhat more malty than usual Mexican lager, but for that strange note at the end of the aroma and taste.

Odell IPA

This is the 7.0% ABV flagship IPA from the Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The beer pours honey golden with apricot tones. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of off-white. The aroma is citrus, lemon, tropical fruit, mango, passion fruit. The taste follows the aromas note for note. The finish is lightly to moderately bitter. The beer drinks smooth, easy, with soft carbonation. This is a solid IPA.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Leinenkugel's Original

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. This is their 4.7% ABV original Chippewa Pride lager.

The beer pours a clear yellow golden in color. There is an inch of white head, not long lasting. The aroma is golden grain, toasted, lightly sweet, a touch grassy, a touch of straw, with a bit of lager funk. The taste follows the aromas. The finish is very lightly bitter. This is a light, clean tasting American lager, with good, albeit light, flavors. The beer drinks easy, well carbonated, but not overly so. This is a classic, solid, American adjunct lager.

 
 
 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

North Coast Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve 2014 Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged

This 13.75% ABV beer takes the Old Stock Ale from the North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California, and ages it in rye whiskey barrels.  This is the 2014 vintage.

The beer pours ruby and garnet, dark brown. There is a short head of tan foam. The aroma is spicy rye whiskey, brown sugar, molasses, with a bit of dark fruits in the background. The taste follows the aromas, malty, some dark roast, sweet brown sugar and molasses, rye whiskey, with just enough oak to prevent a too sweet finish. The beer drinks smooth with fine and tingling carbonation. It is interesting how much more roasted and dark this beer is compared to the wheat whiskey aged and the regular Old Stock Ale.

 
 
 


North Coast Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve 2014 Wheat Whiskey Barrel Aged

This 14.44% ABV beer takes the Old Stock Ale from the North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California, and ages it in wheat whiskey barrels.  This is the 2014 vintage.

The beer pours a very dark amber, to brown, with a garnet tinge. There is a short, light tan head. The head is surprisingly fizzy. The aroma is whiskey, oak, fruit, brown sugar, sweet and tangy. The taste is a well-balanced collection of the aromas, malty, caramel, brown sugar, whiskey, with fruity tang and oak astringency. The beer drinks smooth with a fine tingling of carbonation. Although sweet, the finish is as much dry, and it never becomes cloying. This is a very nice sipper, and even better with the barrel aging.



North Coast Old Stock Ale 2015

This is a 11.9% ABV old ale from the North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California. I have the two 2014 barrel aged versions, and wanted to try this first as a baseline comparison.

The beer pours a dark amber and copper in color, with a garnet tinge. There is a short head of light tan foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, cherries, plums, warming alcohol, and the rind of tangerines. The taste follows the aromas, malty, sweet, fruity, with just a tang at the end. There is a touch of vanilla and wood. The beer is very sweet, but not cloying. The beer drinks smooth, with a fuller body. The finish is just this side of dry. This is a pleasant sipper.

Kalona You Be You Imperial Stout

This is a 10.2% ABV imperial stout. It is from the Kalona Brewing Company of Kalona, Iowa. Their motto: "Heavenly Beers Brewed by Mere Mortals." 

The beer pours black. There is a relatively short head of light brown foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, raisins, sweet, char, dark chocolate. The taste follows the aromas, but blends them together more harmoniously than in the aromas, the char is a bit more amped up in the taste, but it all holds together well in a dark roasted, delicious whole. The finish is moderately bitter, and a battle between sweet and dry. There is just enough body for all the flavor.

 



Confluence Stavropol Russian Imperial Stout

The Confluence Brewing Company is in Des Moines, Iowa. They have been commercially available for some time on tap and in howlers sold at liquor stores, but do release some bottled specials. This is a 8.7% ABV Russian Imperial Stout.

Stavropol is a sister city to Des Moines, and this is their second beer inspired by a sister city. The first was their Shijiazhuang Lager.

The bottle begins to overfoam before I can pour, and when poured comes out almost all foam. The bottle then begins to overfoam again and I have to pour it into a second glass which then comes out as more beer than foam. The beer pours black in appearance, with a dark brown head. The aroma is dark roasted malt, char, but very tangy, perhaps more tangy than intended. The taste is deep, rich dark roasted malt, char, coffee, dark chocolate, dark cocoa. The finish is dry, moderately bitter, and with much less tang than in the aroma. The beer drinks with a nice full body, but is overly carbonated, very stinging.
 
 

Tecate Light

Tecate is from the Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma of Monterrey, Mexico. This is the light version of their flagship lager.

The beer pours a very clear and incredibly pale yellow golden. There is an inch of white, fizzy head that fizzles down to nothing. The aroma is toasted grain, grassy hops, with a tangy, somewhat metallic note. The taste follows the aromas, adding in a light fruity note. The finish has essentially not bitterness. The beer drinks very easy with a stinging carbonation. This is a drinkable, serviceable light Mexican lager.

Deschutes The Stoic

The Deschutes Brewery is in Bend, Oregon. This is the 2015 bottling of their 10.9% ABV Belgian-styled Quad. It is brewed with pomegranate, with 16.5% aged in oak wine barrels, and 16.5% aged in rye whiskey barrels.

The beer pours amber and dark dried apricot in color. There is a short head of off-white foam that is not long lasting. The aroma is tangy, fruity, pomegranate, sweet, vinous, woody, with very light rye whiskey. The taste follows the aromas, fruity, sweet and tangy, with light wood and barrel notes. The body is smooth, but also has very tingling bottle conditioned carbonation. Warming, but not at all overwhelmed by its high ABV. This is an enjoyable sipper.

   

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Avery Pump[KY]n

The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado was established in 1993. This is a big 15.0% ABV porter brewed with pumpkin and spices, and aged in bourbon barrels. The spices used are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.

The beer pours extremely dark brown to black in color. There is a half inch of creamy tan head that shortens, but is long lasting. The aroma is pumpkin and spice up front, followed by bourbon in the middle, with some dark roasted malt in the background. The taste follows the aromas, in the same order of intensity. The taste is very, and surprisingly, sweet. This needs more intensity in the dark roast of coffee and char to cut down on the sweetness of the finish. It drinks very warming. The mouth is very smooth and round.