Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ploughshare Plague of Locusts Oak-Aged Barleywine Ale 2015

This is a 10.2% ABV barleywine ale that was aged in American and Canadian whiskey barrels. It is named after the 1874 and 1875 locust plague that hit Nebraska. It is from the Ploughshare Brewing Company of Lincoln, Nebraska (now shuttered, sadly).

The beer pours a cloudy dark brown. There is a short and not long-lasting head of light tan. The aroma is big, rich, malty, caramel, toffee, zesty, spicy, citrusy, woody and oaky, some dark fruits, dark cherry, and vanilla. The taste follows the aromas, it is huge, rich, bright, deep, sweet, but with enough oak astringency to keep it under control. There is loads of malt, caramel, dark fruit, oak, wood. The beer drinks very smooth, with a just discernible soft carbonation. My God, this is an excellent barleywine. What a shame this brewery closed!  


Ska Modus Mandarina IPA

The Ska Brewing Company is from Durango, Colorado. This is their 6.8% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with Mandarina Bavaria hops and orange peels. 

The beer pours a deep amber. There is over an inch of light tan foam that leaves sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is toasted malt, caramel, with mandarin orange sitting zestily on top. The taste follows the aromas, rich toasted and caramel malt, with zesty, citrus, bitter orange on top. The finish is quite dry and fairly bitter. The beer drinks smooth with some soft carbonation.  


Ska Euphoria Pale Ale

The Ska Brewing Company is from Durango, Colorado. This is their 6.2% ABV pale ale.

The beer pours an orange tinted amber and copper. There is over an inch of off-white head. The aroma is mango, a bit of passion fruit skin and guava, with a light touch of earthy muskiness, over caramel malt. The taste is a battle between the malt and hop notes of the aroma, adding in a grapefruit and tangerine citrus, bitter, tang. The finish is moderately bitter, a touch astringent. The beer drinks easy, smooth, with a subtle, tingling carbonation. This is very good.  


Back circa 2011:  This beer pours a very dark copper and amber to medium brown.  There is a small off-white head.  The aroma is grassy, fresh herb, citrus, on a caramel malty base.  The taste is malty, tea with lemon, plums, biscuit, with a quite bitter and dry finish. This was more an English pale ale then, it seems they have hopped it up. 



Ska Pinstripe Red Ale

The Ska Brewing Company is from Durango, Colorado. This is their 5.2% ABV red ale. 

The beer pours a dark reddish amber in color. There is a relatively short head of very light tan foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. The taste is strong caramel and toffee malts, followed immediately by a wave of bitter, astringent, grapefruit and grassy hops. The finish is moderately bitter, in a grapefruit rind way. The contrast of malt and hops here is refreshing. The beer drinks smooth with softly tingling carbonation.  


Back in 2011: This beer pours a reddish-copper in color with a small head.  The aroma is slightly fruity, malty, a bit of caramel.  The taste follows the aroma, and also adds a bit of unsweetened tea as the beer finishes somewhat bitter and dry.


Ska True Blonde Ale

The Ska Brewing Company is from Durango, Colorado. This is their 5.0% ABV blonde ale made with honey.

The beer pours a golden yellow with just the lightest haze. There is a tall head of white foam. The aroma is bready, grassy, floral, bright. The taste follows the aromas, honey kissed bread, light, bright, and crisp, with a light to moderately bitter grassy finish. The beer drinks easy, refreshing. This is an easy going drinker with a pleasant taste.   




Avery Out of Bounds Stout

The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado was established in 1993. This is their 6.3% ABV stout, the can says for "Experts Only."


The beer pours black in appearance, very dark brown when held to the light. There is a half-inch of tan, somewhat creamy foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, a bit of dark fruits, char, and light coffee notes. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same dark roasted malt notes, char, dark fruit, and some bittersweet dark chocolate. The finish is quite bitter. The beer drinks fairly smooth, with tingles of carbonation.  


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Funkwerks Apricot Provincial

This 4.2% ABV sour ale brewed with apricots is from Funkwerks of Fort Collins, Colorado. 

The beer pours a very hazy light lemon meringue yellow. There is a very tall, fizzy head of white. The aroma is funky, leathery, wet wool blanket, floral, with light apricot. The taste is fruity, tart, some apricot, with lighter floral and funk. There is little to no bitterness. The beer drinks with a fine, tight, intensity of little bubbles. This is pretty enjoyable.  


Bass Pale Ale

William Bass Breweries was a long time British brewery from Burton-on-Trent. They were acquired by AB InBev and their beers distributed in the US are now "brewed in the tradition" of the original brewery in Merrimack, New Hampshire. This used to be one of the main British import ales you could find back in the day, when it was actually an import. 


The 5.1% ABV beer pours bright and clear, dark amber and dark copper. There is nearly an inch of off-white to very light tan head, somewhat fizzy, and not particularly long-lasting. The aroma is caramel malt, plums, a bit tangy, just a touch of nuttiness. The taste follows the aromas, malty, caramel, a bit fruity. The finish is somewhat bitter. The beer drinks smooth with soft, tingling carbonation. This maybe uses the same recipe as before, but it sure doesn't have the same heart. It is sad to see iconic beers come to this. 


Ballast Point Bonito Blonde Ale

This 4.5% ABV blonde ale is from the Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, California. 

The beer pours a deep golden with a tall head of white foam. The aroma is bready, hay and straw, with a light citrus note. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes. The finish has light bitterness. The beer drinks easy, with a just-right crisp carbonation. This is a simple, straightforward, and satisfactory blonde beer.




Avery El Gose

The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado was established in 1993. This is their 4.5% ABV gose, a German-style sour beer. It usually uses salt and coriander, this version uses salt and lime. 


The beer pours cloudy, in fact some floating chunks in there. It is honey orange to dried apricot in color. There is a very short lived head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is tart, along with citrus tart, fairly mild in the aroma. The taste is tart, but as not tart as it smells, there is citrus, with the lime and salt evident. The overwhelming effect is of biting into a grapefruit. This is bitter and astringent. The beer has very little carbonation and any mouthfeel is erased by the tartness. I would not call this one of the better gose beers I have had.


Iowa Legendary Rye Aged

Iowa Legendary Rye is made in Carroll, Carroll County, Iowa.  It is based on a prohibition bootlegging recipe from the Templeton area. A relative of the distiller's used 100% rye. This is their aged rye whiskey, 80 proof.  

Like their white unaged
, the initial aroma is surprisingly fruity, in this case I get a lot of cherry. However, this is not as bright, more rich with caramel and vanilla, along with oak. This is also quite spicy. The taste follows the aromas, there is a definite sweetness, but the finish is mostly dry, and moderated by the astringency of oak.  


They have the white, two aged versions, and now a rye vodka, in addition to some really sharp looking new bottles (not shown here, at least until I get some).



Iowa Legendary Rye

Iowa Legendary Rye is made in Carroll, Carroll County, Iowa.  It is based on a prohibition bootlegging recipe from the Templeton area. A relative of the distiller's used 100% rye. This is their clear, unaged white rye whiskey, 80 proof.  

The aroma is shockingly fruity. There is lots of grape and berries, sweet, but also spicy. It reminds me a bit of Wray and Nephew white overproof rum. There is also some grassiness, like fresh cut tall bluegrass. The taste follows the aromas, surprisingly bright and fruity, but with a very spicy finish. I also get some bread dough notes. I would imagine creative mixologists could really go crazy with this. The finish is quite dry, with the woody bitterness of fresh sawn wood.  

They have the white, two aged versions, and now a rye vodka, in addition to some really sharp looking new bottles (not shown here, at least until I get some).



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bell's Brewery Lager of the Lakes Bohemian Pilsner

Bell's Brewery is in Comstock, Michigan. This is their 5.0% Czech-style pilsner.


The beer pours a clear and glistening gold in color. There is a tall, thick, long lasting head of white foam. The aroma is fresh, crisp, hay, bread dough, and crusts of French bread. The taste follows the aromas, adding a floral note, a touch sweet, a touch tangy, a bit bready, with a dry and moderately bitter grassy finish. The beer drinks crisp and refreshing. This is a top notch lager.  


From 2011: This beer pours a light honey golden in color with a small white head.  The aroma is grain, corn, a light grass and straw.  The taste is grainy malt with an aromatic and bitter hop finish.  This is a solid basic American lager.


Ballast Point Pumpkin Down

This 5.8% ABV Scottish ale with pumpkin and spices is from the Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, California. 


The beer pours a deep brown and dark orange garnet. There is a relatively short head of light tan foam. The aroma is full of pumpkin and fall pumpkin spices, with some dark roast. The taste follows the aromas note for note, mostly pumpkin spices, with some pumpkin, and bit of dark roast. The flavors are intense, and the body feels watery in comparison, not doing a good job of holding them all up. The beer drinks smooth with moderately crisp carbonation.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Farnam House Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Belgian Golden Strong Ale

This is an 11.0% ABV Belgian-style golden strong ale aged in chardonnay barrels. It is from the Farnam House Brewing Company of Omaha, Nebraska. 

The beer pours a hazy, deep, dark honey golden in color. There is a relatively short head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is sweet, honey, loads of buttery, fruity, tangy, vinous chardonnay, with a nice note of oak, and a touch of Belgian yeast. The taste follows the aromas note for note, and the beer drinks rich and sweet, followed by fruity, vinous, and oaky. Despite the sweetness, the oak astringency brings it to a dry to semi-dry finish. There is little to no bitterness. The beer drinks with a soft, smooth, and rich mouthfeel. There is light, soft, tingling carbonation underneath. This is delicious and elegant, especially for chardonnay lovers.  


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wasatch Nitro Pumpkin Ale

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

The beer pours a dark amber and burnt orange. There is a half-inch of creamy, tight nitro head, off-white to very light tan. The aroma is full of pumpkin spice, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie. The taste follows the aromas, and is very creamy, this is liquid pumpkin pie, liquid pumpkin spice drink. The beer drinks amazingly smooth and creamy. This is quite enjoyable and a liquid pumpkin beer desert.

Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout

From the famous Guinness Brewery, established in 1759 at St. Jame's Gate, Dublin, Ireland, comes this 6.0% ABV take on their Export Stout, to celebrate 200 years of sending it to America. They used a recipe from 1817. 


The beer pours black, with a tall, thick, foamy, somewhat creamy head of tan. The aroma is dark roasted malt, smokey ashes and char, black licorice, star anise, with a creamy sweetness. The taste follows the aromas, very dark roasted, rich, smokey. There is sweetness, but the finish is dry, with a light bitterness. The beer is smooth, with a tingling of carbonation at the back of the throat. This is well done and delicious.


Avery Ellie's Brown Ale

The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado was established in 1993. This is their 5.5% ABV brown ale.


The beer pours a very dark brown and dark ruby, nearing black. There is an inch of thick, foamy, light tan head. The aroma is sweet and nutty roasted malt, with overtones of dark fruits. The taste is roasted malt, even to a touch of char, some sweetness, dark fruits, but with a dry finish, moderately bitter. The beer drinks very smooth, with lightly tingling carbonation.  


Paulaner Original Munich Lager

This 4.9% ABV lager is from the Paulaner Brewery of Munich, Germany, brewing since 1634. 

The beer pours golden in color. There is an inch of pure white foam head. The aroma is golden toasted grain, straw, hay, honey, and bread dough. The taste follows the aromas, a very full flavored lager. The finish is mostly dry, with a light to moderate grassy bitterness. The beer drinks smooth, very quaffable, with tingling carbonation.  


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Campanology Brewing Harmony Foretold

This 6.0% ABV wheat ale with cucumber flavor is from Campanology Brewing of Waunakee, Wisconsin. It appears to be a Trader Joe's store contract brew (so I am guessing by Octopi Brewing, does anyone know for sure?).

The beer pours a hazy honey golden. There is an inch of white head. The aroma is mild, light cucumber, toasted wheat, light floral. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, but with a surprisingly bitter finish that is also quite dry. The beer drinks smooth, soft, and easy, with light to moderate carbonation. Pleasant, but not thrilling.   


Fulton Pils Continental Pilsner

This 5.3% ABV Central European-style pilsner lager is from the Fulton Brewing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ten percent of the profits of this beer go into the Ful10 fund that provides micro loans to entrepreneurs. 


The beer pours a hazy golden yellow. There is an inch of white foamy head that leaves layers of lacing down the glass. The aroma is straw, hay, French bread crusts, with a musky lager funk. The taste follows the aromas, a little more bread, a little more mild, but with a bitter grassy finish. The beer drinks easy, smooth, refreshing, with a “just right” moderate carbonation with a bit of a sting. This is as much like a European pilsner of any domestically produced version I have tried.  


Backpocket Newbo New Bohemian Lager Citra Pils

This 5.9% ABV beer is from the Backpocket Brewing Company of Coralville, Iowa. They now also have locations in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. It is made with Citra hops in a Czech pilsner recipe. Its name comes from the NewBo (New Bohmeian) neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, long home to many people of Czech descent. 


The beer pours a lightly hazed deep golden. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is toasted grain and bright floral and citrus, there is French bread, bread dough, a bit of sourdough, and just a bit of barn straw lager funk. The taste follows the aromas, a nice amalgam of bread grain and floral/citrus, with a touch of honey, and a fairly bitter grassy and dry finish. The beer drinks crisp, refreshing, and easy. Nicely done!




Friday, September 22, 2017

Shiner Golden Ale

Shiner beers come from the Spoetzel Brewery in Shiner, Texas (pop. 2,070). This is a 4.6% ABV golden ale. 

The beer pours a deep golden in color. There is over an inch of white foamy head, a bit fizzy, with lots of fine carbonation covering the glass. The aroma is grassy, herbal, citrus, over toasted golden grains, with a touch of hay. The taste is citrus, especially lemon, over toasted grain, with a light floral and honey note. The finish is semi-dry, with a light bitterness. The beer drinks very easy, nicely carbonated, but not overly so. I really like that label, great retro style.  


Founders DKML Imperial Malt Liquor

This is a big 14.2% ABV imperial malt liquor.  It is from Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is brewed using corn, dry-hopped, and then aged in bourbon barrels. 

The beer pours a bright copper and amber in color. There is a half-inch of thick, fluffy, off-white head. The aroma is vanilla, oak, bourbon, caramel, biscuits, and bread dough. The taste follows the aromas, sweet, bready, malty, with loads of bourbon barrel notes, especially vanilla and whiskey, with an astringent and moderately bitter oak finish. The beer drinks soft and smooth, medium bodied. This is really delicious!