Thursday, 31 August 2006

Review: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock from Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
Rating: A

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark garnet color, with a great big tan head that exhibits very nice retention. Fairly clear. Some lacing. A fine looking beer.

Smell: Caramel, biscuit, and a touch of smoke.

Taste: An explosion of flavor on the tongue. Malt dominates, but it's something to celebrate. Molasses, toast, and a hint of smoke at the swallow. Finishes very clean - lager yeast at work. Spicy hops aftertaste. Alcohol fairly well hidden, I think.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth.

Drinkability: A very good beer, no doubt about it. Now to decide what to do with the white goat thing that came with it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-31-2006 00:27:55

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Review: Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale

Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale from Heather Ale Ltd. / The Brewery Craigmill
Rating: B

Appearance: No idea what to expect when I pour it... Pours a fairly normal color for an ale, kind of a honey color, very clear... Below average head, but good retention.

Smell: I had kind of assumed this was a pure gruit, without any hops, but as soon as it was poured into the glass, I could detect a hint of hops aroma, and sure enough it's listed as an ingredient. Aroma is fruity, with a hint of promised acidity - vinous? Fairly reminiscent of more mainstream wheat beers. With some caramel malt, as well, I think.

Taste: Slight berry flavor on the tip of the tongue, with the light flavor of wheat, and an herbal finish that I can't exactly place (label indicates bogmyrtle and meadowsweet, whatever those are). Earthiness and acidity can be noted as well, maybe tea-like tannins? Whether it's the hops or one of the other herbs, it's enough to balance the sweetness of the malt and berries. Finishes nicely dry.

Mouthfeel: "Soft" mouthfeel, if that makes sense, with a light-medium body. Carbonation seems just about right.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable. A tad on the light side perhaps, but it's still flavorful and interesting, so the lightness helps drinkability if anything.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-29-2006 22:04:42

Monday, 28 August 2006

Review: Trappistes Rochefort 6

Trappistes Rochefort 6 from Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy)
Rating: A-

This is the first of the Rochefort flight that I've been able to try.

Appearance: Pretty dark brown, with orange highlights. Moderate head, with exceptional retention.

Smell: Lots of fruit in the nose, both dark (fig, raisin) and tropical. A little bit of sourness towards the tail end of the aroma that makes me think of lambics. Slight alcohol and hops presences as well.

Taste: Yum. Dark fruit, maltiness that is reminiscent of a dubbel, followed by some spice character. A little biscuit in the finish, with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, but with fairly high carbonation that cuts it nicely.

Drinkability: Very high.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-28-2006 21:44:24

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Review: Yeti Imperial Stout

Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Appearance: Absolutely opaque, darkest head I think I've ever seen. Pretty big head,

Smell: Some dark fruits, definitely. Raisin and fig characteristics are evident, along with some hops in the background.

Taste: Bitterness is a lot more assertive than I'd expected, and maybe even more than I might have prefered. Dark chocolate and dark fruits as well. Quite an intense beer. Alcohol is fairly present.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Fairly light in the way of carbonation, but in a way that seems fitting for the style.

Drinkability: This wasn't a favorite when I shared it with the neighbors - "too bitter!" went the refrain. I liked it, but that said I drank it slowly, and probably a little bit more than I would have prefered. "Intense" is the word.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 02:31:52

Review: Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Young's Double Chocolate Stout from Young & Co's Brewery PLC
Rating: B+

This one was just okay for me, but my none-beer-drinking neighbors all seemed to like it a lot - more than they liked Yeti Imperial Stout ("too bitter" or Rogue Chocolate Stout ("too beery" - which surprised me, I love that one)

Appearance: Opaque black in the glass, tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Nice and malty aroma, with dark chocolate undertones.

Taste: Roastiness is the predominant flavor, but there is some dark chocolate in the background. Bitterness is light.

Mouthfeel: Fairly creamy mouthfeel. Light-Medium body.

Drinkability: Everyone else seemed to like it more than I did, but definitely not bad.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 02:11:25

Review: Silver Jubilee

Silver Jubilee from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

My mom picked this one up for me - nice coincidence, because I've had several saisons lately and I'm trying to evaluate how I like the style.

Appearance: somewhat cloudy honey color, big head that leaves nice lacing. appears to be highly carbonated.

Smell: some citrus and grass, along with a distinctive Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste: Lots of spice going on, some citrus background. Not as "funky" as Dupont, more along the lines of Hennepin. Bitterness shows up right after the swallow - well balanced. Alcohol is pretty well-hidden.

Mouthfeel: Fairly highly carbonated, but by the end of the bottle less so. Body is fairly light.

Drinkability: Fairly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 00:04:27

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Review: Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale

Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale from Butte Creek Brewing Company
Rating: B

I wasn't sure what to expect in an "organic" beer, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Appearance: Nice amber color, good head and lacing. Pretty clear.

Smell: Citrusy hops, but quite a bit of malt coming through in the nose, making me expect something more like an APA than a real IPA.

Taste: The taste isn't as malty as the nose. Citrusy hops, toasty finish. Some caramel malt in the aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden, I wouldn't have guessed this was over 7%.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, good carbonation.

Drinkability: I liked this one. Not sure the "organicness" had any impact on flavor at all, it tasted just fine to me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-26-2006 21:21:36

Friday, 25 August 2006

Review: Snake Dog IPA

Snake Dog IPA from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: Pours a particularly orange color. Good head and lacing. A nice looking beer.

Smell: A good amount of citrus hops aroma.

Taste: Tastes pretty good to me, some biscuity malts and a good amount of bitter hop character.

Mouthfeel: Good body and carbonation, no complaints to be heard here.

Drinkability: A drinkable IPA, but I think I prefer Flying Dog's APA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-25-2006 01:12:22

Review: Pipers Pale Ale

Pipers Pale Ale from Dunedin Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: Orange amber color, decent head with some lacing but not much. Comes in a nice 16 oz brown bottle that I'll be sure to reuse for homebrew.

Smell: pine hops on a biscuity malt base, with some mineral character as well

Taste: A good malt base that makes me think this is APA is jsut leaning to the APA side of the amber/APA divide, but that might be because I thoughtlessly preceded this with an IPA. Hops are perhaps a touch harsh.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body, good carbonation, but for me by the end of the 16 oz bottle it was a little light in that respect.

Drinkability: Not a bad APA, my dad stopped by the brewery and picked up a four-pack and a glass for me, so it's got good associations.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-25-2006 00:45:49

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Review: Kingfisher Lager

Kingfisher Lager from United Breweries - UB Group
Rating: D+

Appearance: Typical macro lager color, with a small head that leaves no lacing. Not great looking.

Smell: Vaguely adjuncty, with some straw and malt notes

Taste: Malt is definitely dominant here, with not enough hops to balance. The hops that are present are kind of skunky, I guess the green bottle is to blame. As it warms up, rice flavors definitely show up.

Mouthfeel: Lower than usual carbonation for the style - it could have used more. Body is a little heftier than typical for the style.

Drinkability: I'll pass, thanks. I've had three Indian beers now and none of them have been at all impressive - for the sake of the subcontinent, I hope it's just that the good stuff isn't being imported.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-24-2006 00:23:43

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Review: Chocolate Stout

Chocolate Stout from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: A

Split four ways, a big bottle of this disappeared pretty quickly.

Appearance: One of the darkest beers I've seen, absolutely opaque. Off-white head, good lacing.

Smell: Smells like the cocoa powder used in baking. Lots and lots of chocolate aroma, from beginning to end. Hard to pick out anything else, though.

Taste: Chocolatey and malty. As if Ovaltine had been stirred into the glass. The label cites "natural chocolate flavoring," I'm curious exactly what they used. Bitterness shows up at the swallow, where it finishes dry. Surprisingly not a "sweet" beer, despite all the chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is tame, as it should be for the style. Creamy mouthfeel, with medium body.

Drinkability: This would be a great dessert, but it worked well as a mid-afternoon snack too. Dry finish helps drinkability a lot.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:27:41

Review: Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison)

Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison) from Brewery Ommegang
Rating: A

What a great beer, this is definitely going to be a regular purchase.

Appearance: Gold in color, not particularly clear. Good head and lace.

Smell: Earthy aroma, with some citrus and spicy hops.

Taste: So good, so balanced. Complex without being busy. I was expecting to find the "farmhouse" flavors to be a little more assertive, and that it would make this style more of an acquired taste, but I didn't find that to be true at all. It's not too sweet, like many Belgians tend to be. My new favorite Belgian-style ale, for sure.

Mouthfeel: Light body, not at all syrupy. Good carbonation. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: Paired with a meal of chicken, sauteed mushrooms, homemade creamed spinach, and gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce, this was delightful. More please.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:16:51

Review: Mojo IPA

Mojo IPA from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Rating: A-

Appearance: Typical IPA kind of color, orangey amber, slightly hazy. Good head and lacing.

Smell: Lots of aromatic hoppiness in the nose, lots of citrus.

Taste: Big blast of hop flavor and bitterness. Lots of citrus and resiny hop character in the taste. Hops are obviously the star of the show, butseems pretty well balanced on the whole. The bitterness isn't harsh.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body, good carbonation. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: High! Session IPA? Definitely.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:05:06

Review: Duchesse De Bourgogne

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Rating: B+

"Interesting" is the word that seems to fit this beer best. It's the first really sour beer I've had, so comparison is tough, but I'll do my best. Pours an interesting garnet brown color, little head, fairly clear. Aroma is interesting: dark fruit and vinegar. Not particularly sweet in the nose, which is promising. Taste upholds that conclusion - not overly sweet. Every sip is puckering, but not to the point where it's not enjoyable. Lots of character: tart, fruit and wood, but nothing is too dominant. Mouthfeel is good, not syrupy at all. Carbonation seemed right. Drinkability is the tough part. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I was splitting a bottle because I probably wouldn't have wanted to drink the rest of it on my own. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 19:54:41

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Review: Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pours an attractive orange/amber color with a decent head with good retention.

Smell: Lots of citrus hops aroma, hard to pick up much else.

Taste: A well balanced APA, in my opinion. Hops are dominant, quite resiny and citrusy. Definitely dry-hopped. Finishes nice and dry, something I always appreciate.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, with good carbonation. No complaints at all.

Drinkability: Definitely sessionable, quite a good APA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 22:35:44

Review: Warsteiner Premium Verum

Warsteiner Premium Verum from Warsteiner Brauerei
Rating: B-

Pale gold color, with good head and some lacing. Not much in the way of smell, just some random hints of malt and hops. Taste is pretty nondescript. Nothing at all objecitonable. Slightly grassy and citrusy hops on a malt base. Mouthfeel is fairly light, with pretty good carbonation. Drinkability is moderate. I'd take it over an AML any day, but probably not something I would pick up in the store.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 22:23:14

Review: Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale

Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co's Brewery PLC
Rating: B

Appearance: garnet in color, small head with little retention and little lacing.Not much in the way of head is expected for the style, though, so good marks.

Smell: Raisin and caramel aroma, with a hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: semi-sweet, raisins, caramel malts, licorice and bitter hops with a fig finish. Some alcohol present, as well. Finishes dry, which I like.

Mouthfeel: medium body. good carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: not my favorite barleywine, but not bad. it took me longer than I'd anticipated to get through the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 03:36:07

Friday, 18 August 2006

Review: Old Milwaukee Beer

Old Milwaukee Beer from Pabst Brewing Company / G. Heileman Brewing Co.
Rating: D+

Appearance: Pours a very very pale gold color, with a big dense head that shows good retention and surprisingly good lacing.

Smell: not appealing at all, macro-y in the worst sense. Adjuncts, a hint of hops.

Taste: Watery at the front of the palate. Harsh bitterness in the middle. Cloyingly sweet at the finish. Bad aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Watery, but with less than typical carbonation for the style that doesn't make up for it.

Drinkability: Do I have to finish the glass? Tastes better when chugged - that says something.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-18-2006 00:14:21

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Review: Corsendonk Agnus / Abbey Pale Ale

Corsendonk Agnus / Abbey Pale Ale from Brouwerij Corsendonk
Rating: B+

One of the few interesting things available at the store I stopped by... Paired it with a fresh salad and shrimp scampi over orzo.

Appearance: pours a pale gold color, mostly clear with some haze (probably hadn't had enough time to settle after traveling). Nice big head, good lace. Pretty much what you expect from a Belgian golden ale.

Smell: It's amazing how distinctive Belgian yeast smells. Lots of that Belgian character, sweet citrus, some spicy hops in the background.

Taste: not as complex as a tripel should be, but not bad.Sweet at the front, but finishes nicely on a dry note. Some fruit and yeast flavors, and a bit of spice. Some alcohol, as well.

Mouthfeel: On the high side of the carbonation scale, light-medium body.

Drinkability: Above average for sure, but (at least at the price I paid for it) too expensive to want to buy again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-17-2006 15:03:27

Monday, 14 August 2006

Review: 60 Minute IPA

60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: A-

Appearance: Pretty light in color, more gold than amber or orange. Moderate head, which leaves nice lace. Fairly clear.

Smell: Fresh hops aroma, of course. Pine and citrus. Some sweetness in the background.

Taste: Bready, bitter - a little sweeter than I remember it being the first time I had it. Hop notes are citrus, spice and grass.

Mouthfeel: A little thicker in the mouthfeel than I'd expected. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, sessionable, but expensive.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-14-2006 22:06:06

Friday, 11 August 2006

Review: Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale

Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale from Tuppers' Hop Pocket Brewing Company
Rating: B

Appearance: Amber-orange color, one finger head, decent retention. Some lacing. Not as clear as it could be, but jostling during transportation is probably to blame.

Smell: fresh hops aroma, but more subtle than I was expecting. Very "clean" smelling, with some caramel malt present as well.

Taste: More like a watered down DIPA than an AIPA. Sweet malts are the first thing to hit the tongue. Doesn't finish as dry as I prefer. Hard to describe the hops characteristics, as one particular flavor doesn't sound out. The aftertaste is quite piney, though.

Mouthfeel: Thicker mouthfeel than I was expecting. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad, but not great. DIPA-light is a good description.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-11-2006 01:26:54

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Beer Bar Review: Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill in Washington, DC
Rating: B

Great atmosphere, something for everyone with the bookstore, cafe, and bar, well-divided into distinct areas so the noise from the bar doesn't penetrate the bookstore or cafe too much. Unfortunately, the group next to us was pretty loud. The service wasn't bad, but she did seem a little rushed. Also, you need to get a token from your server in order to use the bathroom - irritating! The first two things I ordered on tap were out, so selection is an issue. Nice that they attempt to have 18 taps at all times, though. As far as food goes, we only had dessert, but what we had was good - the mixed fruit pie with cinnamon ice cream in particular.

Reviewed on: 08-11-2006 00:05:50

Monday, 7 August 2006

Review: Samuel Adams Black Lager

Samuel Adams Black Lager from Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
Rating: B+

Appearance: Looks like a stout in the glass, very dark with a nice off-white head that displays good retention and lacing. It lives up to its name.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, initially reminded me of a macro for some reason, but as it warmed chocolate was definitely detectable. Not very complex, but surprisingly appealing for a lager.

Taste: Interesting. Only schwarzbier I've had, and it seems like a stout for climates too cold to use top-fermenting yeast. Very similar flavor profile, anyway. Roast, chocolate, but not burnt. A touch of caramel in the finish. Good bit of sweetness, reminiscent of a cream or milk stout. Enough hops to finish fairly dry. No dark fruits present, though, must be the lager yeasts and temps.

Mouthfeel: moderate body, carbonation seems right.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I think if I want a seriously dark beer, I'll go for an ale and get a broader array of flavors. Thickness detracts a bit from drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-07-2006 01:37:10

Review: Fordham Copperhead Ale

Fordham Copperhead Ale from Fordham Brewing Company
Rating: B

Appearance: Nice looking copper/amber-colored beer with good head and lacing.

Smell: Subtle aromas of bready malt and earthy hops.

Taste: Flavor is well-balanced, but mild. Finishes nice and dry.
Mouthfeel and
Drinkability: no complaints in this department, decent mouthfeel and sessionable. Accessible. The world needs more good altbiers: when the top three in the style are all from the same brewery, a style is not being brewed widely enough!

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 08-07-2006 01:12:33

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Review: Oyster Stout

Oyster Stout from Fordham Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Served at the Rams Head in Historic Savage Mill.

Appearance: Very dark garnet, with a nice one-finger head with decent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, but subtle nose all the way around.

Taste: much more hoppy/bitter than I expected, which almost made up for the scarcity of chocolate/coffee flavors. More hop character than I'm accustomed to see in a stout, the bitterness here comes from hops, not burnt grain.

Mouthfeel: lighter than I prefer in a stout, but it helps drinkability

Drinkability: not bad, light enough to session.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 08-06-2006 04:01:40

Friday, 4 August 2006

Review: Chimay Première (Red)

Chimay Première (Red) from Bières de Chimay (Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont)
Rating: B+

Appearance: Dark brown with garnet highlights. Big two finger head with good retention. Nothing in the way of lacing.

Smell: Aroma is surprisingly spicy, with some malt and belgian yeast underneath.

Taste: This is a beer to let warm up. The warmer it got, the more flavorful it became. Spicy, then bready yeast and malts. Bitterness seems well-balanced. Finishes dry, which I like.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, improves as the carbonation fades

Drinkability: Could use a little bit more in the flavor department, but drinkability is good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-03-2006 23:14:33

Thursday, 3 August 2006

Review: Blanche De Chambly

Blanche De Chambly from Unibroue
Rating: B+

Appearance: Nice pale straw color, lots of bubbles, two finger white head that lasts. No lacing.

Smell: belgian yeast, spice, and orange.

Taste: Light, crisp. Good summer beer. Not as spiced as I was anticipating, corriander and orange are subtle. Hops are spicy and well balanced. Good stuff!

Mouthfeel: light-medium body, with high carbonation. works for the style.

Drinkability: light, refreshing, thirst-quenching. Good introduction for a non-beer drinker.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-03-2006 01:26:10

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Review: Redhook Sunrye Ale

Redhook Sunrye Ale from Redhook Ale Brewery
Rating: C+

Appearance: golden color, surprisingly small head, but decent retention and looks like good lacing.

Smell: reminiscent of a macro, but with some rye and fruitiness as well.

Taste: tastes better out of a glass (not surprising), but still very light. i'd put this in the "kolsch" style, more than any other. Imagine a macro, with some lemon, toast, fruit and a (very minor) rye sharpness.

Mouthfeel: watery. undercarbonated, for being so light.

Drinkability: "light and refreshing," as the packaging says, i suppose. I bought a six-pack of this. I won't again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-02-2006 22:54:03

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Review: Harpoon IPA

Harpoon IPA from Harpoon Brewery
Rating: B+

Appearance: Lighter in color than i was expecting, golden color, very nice head, clear. leaves lots of lacing as you drink.

Smell: hops presence isn't overwhelming, but it's there. yeast and malts come through too. hops are kind of floral, not very aggressive. soap?

Taste: more hoppy than I remember it being the last time I tried it, but since it was following Smuttynose IPA that night I'm not surprised. An IPA balanced for sessionability. Hoppy, yes, but not an assault on the taste buds (however welcome it may be!). Fruitier than your typical AIPA.

Mouthfeel: aftertaste lingers, carbonation is good.

Drinkability: Goes down easy. Drinkable, sessionable, better than I remember.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-01-2006 22:57:23

Review: Carlsberg Elephant Beer

Carlsberg Elephant Beer from Carlsberg Danmark A/S
Rating: C-

whoa! I picked this up on a whim not realizing it was "malt liquor" at 7.2% abv. classified as a euro strong lager here, I'm hoping it's just complying with some labeling laws.

Appearance: pours golden, darker than your average EPL, big white head with good retention and nice lacing. about as good as you can expect from this style, really.

Smell: skunky, sweet, not appealing at all. i think i'm picking up corn, but that might be a result of having seen "malt liquor" on the label.

Taste: doesn't taste quite as bad as it smells, but not good either. kind of sweet, hops toward the tail that are kind of harsh. alcohol is apparent.

Mouthfeel: more syrupy than the pilsner/EPL i was expecting here, too thick, really. that said, carbonation seems okay.

Drinkability: man am I sorry I got suckered into buying this one. I wanted a nice pilsner before going out tonight, and I wound up drinking a malt liquor.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-01-2006 21:19:51