Saturday, June 24, 2017

Schell's American Pale Lager

This lager featuring Citra and Hallertau hops is from the August Schell Brewery of New Ulm, Minnesota. They are the second oldest family owned brewery in the United States (over 150 years and counting).   This was part of their spring sampler pack, the Biergarten (I love the graphic design of the box, looks very turn of the 20th century).

The beer pours a dark, honey golden in color. There is about an inch of white head, not particularly long-lasting. The aroma is a blast of citrus and mango skin, settled over toasted grains. The taste follows the aromas, mostly citrus and tropical fruit, but with some toasted grain, and a fairly bitter finish. The beer drinks smooth with a moderate carbonation that is a just-right fit. This is a successful hop forward lager from Schell's.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Toppling Goliath Xhops Teal 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 cloudy apricot, orange, gold in color. There is a large, tall, foaming head of white. The aroma is citrus, blueberries, apricots and a bit of earthy, yeasty muskiness. The taste follows the aromas, adding in mango skin. The finish is dry with a sneaky moderate bitterness. The beer drinks smooth, silky smooth, with some soft carbonation. Another well done, flavorful beer, with shining hops, from TG.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Confluence Blue Corn Lager with Chiles

This is a summer seasonal release from the Confluence Brewing Company in Des Moines, Iowa. This lager is made with blue corn from New Mexico, but this year they added ancho and jalapeno chili peppers. 


The beer pours a red tinted golden. There is a half-inch of white foamy head that fizzes away in a short time. Amazingly, the head has red streaks of chili in it. The aroma is roasted and dried red chiles, over corn, dry, cracked, fresh, with a hint of smokiness. The taste follows the aromas, adding a moderate heat that lingers at the back of the throat. The finish is abrupt and dry. The beer drinks refreshing, with a moderate sting of carbonation complementing the light sting of chiles. This is a quite nice chili lager.  


Friday, May 26, 2017

Ommegang Three Philosophers

This quadruple ale is from the Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. Ommegang is part of the Duvel family, and is essentially a Belgian brewery plopped down in New York State. I have had this before, but they recently came out with a Cellared Set three pack that covers three vintages.

2011 - This is a blend of 98% quadruple ale and 2% kriek cherry ale. The beer pours a dark brown with tints of red. There is a short and not long-lasting head of tan. The aroma is rich, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, cherry, old damp wood, and sherry. The taste follows the aromas, rich and malty, dark fruits, some oxidation, but pleasant and congruous with the beer. The beer is sweet, and finishes that way, but tempered slighlty by a woodiness that gives light bitterness and astringency. The beer drinks very smooth, with light carbonation. As the beer opens up, the cherries come through on the finish. This is very delicious. 





I also had the 2010 back in 2011: This 9.8% ABV Belgian-style quadrupel blended ale is 98% ale and 2% ale with cherries added.  The beer pours ruby brown, and barely translucent.  There is an inch of thick foamy  light brown head.  The aroma is sweet, nearly burnt caramel, molasses, cherry, yeasty and a bit of warm alcohol.  The taste is sweet, almost burnt, a bit of port wine, toasted french bread, caramel, some cherry.  It finishes surprisingly dry for its sweet taste.


Rockdale Light

This 4.2% ABV light lager is Walmart's store brand beer. It is brewed in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, I am assuming by City Brewing under contract. There is also a "Classic" version. 

The beer pours a solid golden in color. There is nearly an inch of white head, that fizzes down fairly quickly. The aroma is tangy, metallic, cooked vegetables, along with some “old beer,” like smelling a mostly empty can of cheap beer the next morning. The taste is like cooking canned vegetables and then fermenting them in a used gym sock, then watering that down until it became fairly mild. There is not bitterness, no discernible hops at all. The beer drinks with a crisp, stinging, strong carbonation. I have had beers that are more offensive, is that a redeeming quality?



Sunday, May 14, 2017

New Belgium Whizbang Hoppy Blonde Ale

This 5.7% ABV beer from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado features Mosaic hops.  


The beer pours deep honey golden. There is a half-inch of white head. The aroma is musky, citrus, mango skin. The taste follows the aromas, bursting with big, earthy, tropical flavors. The finish is dry with a moderate bitterness. The beer drinks with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Man, this really tastes good.  


Guinness Irish Wheat

From the famous Guinness Brewery, established in 1759 at St. Jame's Gate, Dublin, Ireland, comes this beer from their Brewer's Project, which has more varied recipes. It is 5.3% ABV and made with 100% Irish wheat.


The beer pours a hazed golden in color. There is an inch of pure white head, which dwindles down to a short soft layer of white. The aroma is citrus and light toasted wheat, with a light floral/banana yeast ester note. The taste follows the aromas, floral/banana, toasted wheat, and citrus all again. The beer drinks soft, smooth, with a mild to moderate floral bitterness on the finish. If you like wheat beers this is quite nice.  



Summit Pilsener

This 4.5% ABV pilsener style beer is from the Summit Brewing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. 

The beer pours a dark golden with nearly an inch of white head that is not particularly long-lasting. The aroma is grains, French bread, bread dough, with a touch of hay and honey. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, great flavor here. The beer drinks easy, smooth, with a perfect level of carbonation, neither too strong nor too weak. This beer, along with their Keller pils and their summer ale, are like a perfect summer beer drinking trifecta.


Central Waters Y2K Barleywine

This barleywine is from the Central Waters Brewing Company of Amherst, Wisconsin. They age it for two years before release.


The beer pours a very deep amber and brown/orange, gem-like dark citrine. There is half an inch of tan head. The aroma is rich, buttery, caramel and toffee, along with dark fruits and candied orange peel. The taste follows the aromas, there is a deep roasted note holding down the end, it is sweet, but ending very dry and bitter, with an oak like astringency. The beer drinks smooth with a soft background carbonation.  


Rockdale Classic

This 5.0% ABV lager is Walmart's store brand beer. It is brewed in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, I am assuming by City Brewing under contract. There is also a light version. Is it just me, or is the can trying to be Coors?

The beer pours a deep golden in color. There is about an inch of white had that quickly fizzes down. The beer is well carbonated. The aroma is cooked cereal grains, with light cooked vegetable and wet cardboard. The taste follows the aromas, is mostly cooked cereal grains, with just a bit of the off-note vegetable and cardboard. It is about a draw between sweet and dry, the winner alternates back and forth. There is no bitterness, not much hops in this beer. It drinks with a pleasantly stinging carbonation. For its price point, this is fairly benign, meaning, not terrible.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Breckenridge Stranahan's Well Built

This 8.8% ABV Burton style ale aged in Stranahan's whiskey barrels is from the Breckenridge Brewery of Denver, Colorado. Burton ale is an English style, a rich, dark, strong amber ale. 


The beer pours a hazy medium-dark brown. There is a short head of tan foam. The aroma is toffee, dark caramel, roasted, oak, vanilla, whiskey, cherry. The taste follows the aromas note for note. There is sweetness, but it comes to a distinctly dry finish, but with light to moderate bitterness. The beer drinks smooth, with medium carbonation. This is nicely done, flavorful and enjoyable.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hoof Hearted Miracle Toast

This 10.0% ABV Imperial Stout is from Hoof Hearted Brewing of Marengo, Ohio. It is made with maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. 

The beer pours black, with a quarter inch of tan head, foamy and creamy. The aroma is cinnamon, vanilla, sweet, with dark roasted malt, light chocolate, and coffee. The taste is a well balanced blend of all of the aromas, with a moderately bitter finish, more dry than sweet. The beer drinks very smooth and creamy, amazing that it is 10%.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Boone Valley Brewing Ol' Griz 2016

This 11.5% ABV barley wine ale is from the Boone Valley Brewing Company of Boone, Iowa. It is an annual release, and this 2016 bottle is 375 out of 519.

The beer pours a cloudy medium dark brown. There is a short head of tan foam, not particularly long lasting. The aroma is caramel, dark caramel, toffee, a touch of vanilla, along with some dark berry notes. The taste follows the aromas, rich, lots of caramel, toasted, with an oaky astringency. There is much sweetness, but the finish is mostly dry. There is a fair amount of bitterness in the finish. The beer drinks quite smooth, with almost no carbonation. I would like to try this aged, and also barrel-aged. I would guess that this will develop nicely in the bottle over time.  


New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA

This 9.0% ABV Imperial India Pale Ale is from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. It uses Mosaic, Delta, Bravo, Centennial, Cascade, and Calypso hops. It is one of several new year round beers they are offering.

The beer pours light copper in color. There is a billowing tall head of off-white foam. The aroma is passion fruit, melons, floral and citrus. The taste follows the aromas, adding in some deeper, rich tropical tones, like guava. The beer drinks very smooth and soft, with light carbonation. The finish is dry and moderately bitter, just tamping down what is some ample sweetness from the malt. This is pretty good, especially considering the price (it was just under $9 for a six pack) for decently tasty 9% Imperial IPA.  


Clown Shoes Archdruid

Clown Shoes Beer comes from the Mercury Brewing Company of Ipswich, Massachusetts. This is a 9.0% ABV red ale aged in Irish whiskey barrels.


The beer pours red and dark copper. There is a short head of tan foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, whiskey, sweet, tangy, oak. I am a bit worried about the tang; is it congruous to the named style? The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, but with a distinct sourness, something is not right here. A quick internet search shows that these bottles were contaminated and went sour. The beer drinks smooth. This actually made a decent malty red sour, in almost a Flanders red style, but I was in the mood for what the bottle said it would be, and unfortunately, it is no longer that.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Great Divide Yeti

This is a 9.5% ABV imperial stout from the Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado.

The beer pours black like used motor oil. There is a tall half-inch head of dark brown foam. The aroma is big, sweet, a bit boozy, chocolate and char, with dark fruits. The taste takes the aromas, kicks them up a notch, and adds in a big kicker of very dark roast and char. There is much sweetness, but enough hops to bring it to a mostly dry, and fairly bitter finish. The beer drinks smooth and round, with tingles of carbonation.  


O'Hara's Irish Stout

This is a 4.3% ABV Irish stout. It is from the Carlow Brewing Company of Carlow, Ireland.

The beer pours black, with dark brown on the edges. There is a short head of tan foam. The aroma is dark roasted malts, lots of chocolate, a bit of coffee and some char. The taste follows the aromas note for note. The beer drinks easy, with some fizz of carbonation. The end is dry with a moderate bitterness. This is very nice tasting, and easy to drink.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Warsteiner Grapefruit

This 2.5% ABV grapefruit radler is from the Warsteiner brewery in Warstein, Germany. 

The beer pours a lightly hazed golden and grapefruit skin in color. There is a fizzy inch of white head. The aroma is a blast of grapefruit juice, mouthwatering. The taste is grapefruit juice over toasted grain, both sweet and tart. The beer drinks smooth with moderate carbonation. This is very refreshing and a well done radler.  


Mistress Brewing Jackie Brown

This is a 5.0% ABV English-style brown ale. It is from the Mistress Brewing Company of Ankeny, Iowa. 

The beer pours a medium dark brown, yet clear, with very dark amber. There is a half-inch of tan foam, not long lasting. The aroma is toasted malt, followed by yeast esters, floral, cloves. The taste follows the aromas. There is a note of English-Style brown ale in there, but the rest of the Belgian/contamination notes are not right at all. It finishes oddly spicy, with a touch of soapiness. This is not good. I have tried three Mistress beers, and they better get better fast, or they won't last long. They are not currently good enough to survive in this very competitive, nearly saturated market.


Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale

This 5.2% ABV brown ale is from Big Sky Brewing of Missoula, Montana.

The beer pours a very dark brown with some dark ruby tints. There is a half-inch of tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, nutty, dark caramel. The taste follows the same notes as the aromas. There is just a bit of bitterness on the end, balancing out the sweetness of the malt. The beer drinks very easy; this is one quaffable brown ale. A solid standard bearer.  


Boone Valley Brewing Roxie

This 5.5% ABV Irish red ale is from the Boone Valley Brewing Company of Boone, Iowa. 

The beer pours medium brown, red tinged, dark copper tinged. There is a thin, short-lived head of tan. The aroma is malty, caramel and toffee, with some dark fruits. The taste follows the aromas, richly malty, much caramel, with some taste and tang of dark fruit, blackberry and raspberry. The finish is neither bitter nor sweet, in equilibrium. The beer drinks smooth, with intensely fine carbonation. This is very good, but could use just a wee bit more body for its wonderful flavor (but not too much, I like its drinkability; yes, nitpicking now).


Millstream Fuzz

This kolsch-style ale with peach is from the Millstream Brewing Company of Amana, Iowa.


The beer pours a cloudy pale and light yellow. There is a very short head of white. The aroma is a blast of peach nectar with a bit of toasted grain. The taste follows the aromas, blast of peach nectar, blast of toasted grain, followed by an alternating fade out of peach. There is a light to moderate bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks with a light smoothness. Many beers mixing fruit with another style of beer sound good, but don't quite meld together well. This is another.