Monday, 27 February 2006

Review: Bitter & Twisted

Bitter & Twisted from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Rating: B

I'm assuming this came out of a bottle since that's how it was listed, but I was never brought the bottle. Appearance is average, straw color, not a whole lot of head. Appealing hop aroma, with some fruitiness. Not as much bitterness as I expected, but a strong fresh hops flavor. Little bittering hops, lots of dry hopping? I guess it's an English IPA, not an American, so it suits the style. In the aftertaste, a little grassiness comes up. Might have spent a tad too long on the dry hops, maybe? I liked this one, so did the girlfriend.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-27-2006 02:22:21

Review: Wee Heavy

Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Rating: C+

I recently brewed a Scotch Ale of my own, and I know it's supposed to be sweet, but this one really didn't do it for me. Not quite opaque in appearance, slight reddish tint when held up to the light. It looks good, for what that's worth! Overly sweet aroma and taste - not a bad thing in the nose, but too much for my palate, at least. For me, the malt was really overwhelmed by that sweetness. I had a hard time finishing it. The girlfriend (who enjoys darker beers) mentioned an unplesant aftertaste. I was pretty surprised to log on and see how well it's rated. My opinion, here, so don't put too much stock in it, but if you don't have much of a sweet tooth, I'd steer away from this one. If you do, maybe you'll love it as much as most reviewers seem to have. I'll be sure to give it another chance, though.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 02-27-2006 02:09:02

Review: Boddingtons Pub Ale

Boddingtons Pub Ale from Boddingtons
Rating: B

I have a soft spot for Boddington's, but I'll try to be objective. This was only the second time I had a chance to sample it on tap. Absolutely beautiful when poured, quickly settles into three layers: frothy head, a middle layer of creamy tiny bubbles, and a growing layer of just-beer at the bottom.

Not a whole lot going on in the smell department, but nothing bad either. That's probably this beer's weakest point. Tastes of malt, with a little bit of bite to it. Mouthfeel is where Boddingtons really shines. Creamy - I often find myself drinking these faster than I should to get the creaminess out of that middle layer, before it settles out. This time I took my time, and it does lose something if you wait too long and miss that creamyness. I could drink a lot of these - it's a consistent, tasty and reliable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 02-27-2006 01:58:02

Review: Brooklyner Weisse

Brooklyner Weisse from Brooklyn Brewery
Rating: B-

Served with a lemon wedge, which threw me off a bit, but in a Brooklyn Brewery glass. Not very cloudy - it seems like this is partly dependent on whether a wheat is served on tap or not. Wheaty and citrus nose... I didn't come away with a whole lot of the banana that reviewers have mentioned, but citrus and some cloves for sure. For me, the flavors that have a chance to shine in wheats weren't as complex in this one as in some other wheats. Not a bad beer, but not a sessioner.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 02-27-2006 01:47:18

Sunday, 26 February 2006

Beer Bar Review: St. Andrews Pub

St. Andrews Pub in New York, NY
Rating: B+

Fun place! Dropped in after a Broadway show to kill a few hours. You'll hear accents from all over the British Isles, from both the staff and the patrons. Live Celtic music on Saturday night from 9pm - 1am, which we were lucky enough to hit. The music really added to the atmosphere. Not sure what it'd be like without music - some of the golf decor didn't really do it for me.

This is actually more of a scotch bar, really. Extensive list of the Scotches carried, presented in a nice binder. The beers available are listed in chalk above the bar. Only one micro's offerings are available, those of Brooklyn Brewery, but the focus is on British and Irish beers: Belhaven, Guinness, Boddingtons, etc. Stella Artois and Budweiser available, too - fortunately they were having a problem with the Bud tap last night. Dining room is in the back, but we didn't eat there so I can't say anything about the food. Raw bar oysters available at the bar. The place is too narrow, very limited seating in the front, but apart from that you're either on a stool at the bar or standing. Staff is helpful and friendly. Mixed bag on glassware... my Brooklyn Weisse came in a Brooklyn Brewery glass, but Boddingtons came in a Miller Lite (!) glass and a Laphroaig scotch came in a Glenlivit glass. Prices were a bit steep, but it's NYC so it's expected.

Reviewed on: 02-27-2006 02:35:51

Monday, 20 February 2006

Review: Victoria

Victoria from Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V.
Rating: B-

Pours a nice dark honey color, could almost be called orange. Heavily carbonated but it seems like my head had a hard time forming and dissipated quickly. Points for color, points off for lack of head.

Aroma doesn't have much going on... malt stands out, but on the whole pretty mellow.

Interesting - the hops doesn't come out much in the nose at all, but it really comes out in the mouth. Opposite for the malt. Initial bite of bitterness and carbonation, but resolves to a pleasant hops finish.

Pretty light lager mouthfeel, hops aftertaste is quite nice. I could drink quite a few of these. As far as macros go, this is a very solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-20-2006 23:16:39

Sunday, 19 February 2006

Review: Budweiser

Budweiser from Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Rating: C-

Considering the amount of Bud I've had in college (for better or worse) it's surprising it's taken me so long to actually jot down some notes and review it, but here goes:

Appearance is prototypical AML, heavily carbonated straw. Grainy and malty smell, slightly sweet, Bud reminds you that drinking beer is like drinking bread. That breadiness dominates the taste, along with hops bitterness. Highly carbonated, malt finish... Not a whole lot to be said for a beer everyone knows so well. I don't care what anyone says, on a hot day when you're fishing or sailing, Bud out of a can has a certain charm. Still a hell of a lot better than all of the light beers out there.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 02-19-2006 07:26:21

Review: Bootie Lager

Bootie Lager from Bootie Brewing Company
Rating: D-

Amusing label, pretty much the only reason to buy this beer. Drank it straight from the bottle, so I can't really say much about the appearance otherwise - giving it the benefit of the doubt w/ an average score. Not very carbonated.

Smell is pretty... weak... not a whole lot going on. some malt, but that's it.

Taste is pretty watery, with some malt and fruity characters present. No bitterness to speak of, they really cheaped out on the hops with this one. After one, the taste got kind of sickly sweet. It was difficult to finish. The mouthfeel is also very watery - some more carbonation would have helped. Flavored water - not at all recommended, except for the conversation value because of the label.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-19-2006 07:17:50

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Review: Stella Artois

Stella Artois from Stella Artois
Rating: C+

Pours a nice straw color, lacing is thin but lingers for a while on the glass. Looks like it's pretty heavily carbonated.

Nothing really stands out in the nose... a little bit of the citrus in the nose

A pretty light beer, taste-wise. Hops bitterness lingers on the palate.

Mouthfeel is sharp - more carbonated than I expected. Light, but the nice bitterness and carbonation make Stella a potential session beer, if nothing else as an alternative to an AML.

Good middle-of-the-road example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-18-2006 02:49:47

Sunday, 12 February 2006

Review: Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
Rating: B-

Amber color, But wasn't poured into a good glass so not a whole lot else I can describe as far as appearance goes, I'm afraid. Nice looking bottle, though.

Tasted this with a cold, so I can't really comment on the smell, I haven't been able to smell much of anything the last few days...

Hops and molasses flavors come through strongest, but there's something else there that I haven't been able to place. It seems like every reviewer is calling it something different, but there's something interesting going on here...

Mouthfeel and drinkability are average, nothing particularly notable. Interesting beer, worth a tasting for sure.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-12-2006 05:55:43

Review: Old Speckled Hen

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Rating: B-

Pours a nice clear honey... Nice looking.

Doesn't smell very pleasant to be honest... difficult to place, but not particularly appetizing.

Taste is intriguing. Starts out creamy, then the hops come out, and there's a butter and caramel finish. One of the friends I was sampling this with said it reminded him of how he would imagine the "butterbeer" in Harry Potter.

Mouthfeel is creamy at first, but resolves to mild wateriness...

A decent brew, but not for drinking in large quantities.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-12-2006 05:49:06

Monday, 6 February 2006

Review: Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock from Spoetzl Brewery
Rating: C+

Pours a dark but not opaque brown, not a whole lot of head.

Alcohol comes through a little too strong in the aroma, I think, with malt & caramel kind of subdued.

Nothing special about the taste: malt, caramel, alcohol, pretty straightforward and unremarkable. Not as much substance as you'd expect from a bock. Same for mouthfeel - pretty light mouthfeel considering the color and style of this beer.

All of that said, this is a beer that you could knock back pretty quickly. Not good enough to savor, not bad enough that it's undrinkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-06-2006 04:02:17