Thursday, 30 November 2006

Review: Santa's Private Reserve Ale

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: B+

Appearance: Brownish garnet in color, pretty clear. Good head and lacing. Attractive-looking.

Smell: Aroma is hoppy at first, but after the glass has warmed it's definitely more malty, with sweet caramel and grain notes.

Taste: APA levels of hoppiness, nice malt character as well. Hops are citrusy, and a touch harsh. Finishes nice and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, clings to the palate.

Drinkability: Went well with a homemade chicken quesadilla (even the tortillas were homemade!)

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-30-2006 01:10:34

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Review: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Rating: A-

Appearance: very black in color, some head but not much in the way of lacing.

Smell: Appealing. Lots of chocolate in the nose - I think I got some up my nose I was trying to sniff so hard.

Taste: Too bitter and "not enough chocolate" for the relatives I shared it with at Thanksgiving, but their loss - it's delicious. Lots of dark chocolate flavor, some espresso in the background, and a not-insignificant amount of hops bitterness - you can tell that the bitterness comes from hops, not burnt grain, which I always appreciate.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Good.

Drinkability: Solid RIS, although a bit less hop character than there could be. A good dessert beer (for someone who's already a beer drinker), but not an introductory beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 23:34:30

Review: Scarecrow Ale

Scarecrow Ale from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Rating: C

Appearance: Paler in color than I was expecting from something classified as an English Pale Ale on BA - looks almost like a Kolsch, very golden in color. Looks very boring.

Smell: Aroma is light, hints of English hops and a little ale fruitiness, but not much. Weak.

Taste: I found this department a bit surprising - more bitter than I expected (expectations were low, granted) and with some flavor. English hops, some diacetyl, and some pear flavors present. Bitterness might be a touch harsh - perhaps because only Target (a high alpha variety) was used.

Mouthfeel: Light, but not quite to the point of watery.

Drinkability: Not bad, but either mis-classified or not to-style, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 06:10:18

Review: Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Rating: B

Solid example of an English IPA

Appearance: Surprisingly large quantities of floaties, despite not being particularly disturbed.

Smell & Taste: Some citrusy hops, slight diacetyl in the aroma. Flavor is along the same lines - some earthiness I associate with English ales. Not bad, and distinctly an English version of the IPA.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, slightly slick. Good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 04:53:48

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Review: Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel from Brasserie d'Achouffe
Rating: A

Appearance: Pale gold in color, not crystal clear but I'll attribute that to pouring into three glasses and dropping the bottle the previous day. The head is absolutely stunning. It's as if someone spooned meringue onto the beer in the glass. After finishing it, there was still another spoonful-worth of head stuck to the bottom of the glass, so sticky it wouldn't drop despite holding the glass upside down. Lacing is an understatement: there's a line of lace for every sip I took along the side of the glass. Most impressive head I've ever seen, including Duvel.

Smell: Hops and Belgian yeast, in about equal proportions. Since I love the aroma of both individually, it's no big surprise to love the combination. Hops are citrusy, yeast is... yeasty.

Taste: Triple, saison, or IPA? Much more bitter than your typical Belgian golden ale, but not AIPA levels by any stretch of the imagination. Some fruit, along with citrusy hops. The Belgian yeast plays well with the sweetness, while the hops give it enough backbone to make this one incredibly drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, perfectly carbonated, good finish.

Drinkability: This one is a real gem. I have to brew something like this soon. Dobbelen IPA Tripel? A British ale style, with Belgian yeast, and American and Czech hops? Who'd have thought?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-09-2006 15:24:54

Review: Samuel Adams Winter Lager

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

On the whole, seems more like a doppelbock than a winter warmer.

Appearance: Beautiful garnet in color, moderate head, and little to no lacing. Points for such a nice color, though.

Smell: Very much like a doppelbock. Malty, lager-clean, with a hint of spice.

Taste: Caramel notes, some spice in the background. Doesn't taste as good as it smells. Very little in the way of hop character. Hard to pick out individual spices - restrained usage.

Mouthfeel: Good body for a lager, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-09-2006 06:02:04

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Review: Maudite

Maudite from Unibroue
Rating: A-

Appearance: Rich brown color, with some gold. Attractive one or two finger head. Fairly clear. Retention and lacing, however, are both unremarkable.

Smell: Very nice aroma: more Belgian spice than Belgian funk. Apple. Darker fruits as it warms. A hint of citrus.

Taste: Great, impressive flavor. Nice malt flavor (caramel?), apples and oranges. Distinct herbal character as well. Alcohol is very well hidden. Dry, acidic finish, almost like a dry white wine if the flavors weren't completely different - very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation. Pleasant lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very good drinkability, although I'd imagine the 8% abv could creep up on you.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-02-2006 18:32:45

Beer Store Review: Gator Beverage

Gator Beverage in Gainesville, FL
Rating: B+

This place is practically across the street from the parking lot I use to go to class every day, so it's real convenient to stop at on the way home and pick up something new.

Selection is better than anywhere else I've been in Gainesville, with the exception of Ward's. All the standards: Unibroue, Flying Dog, Sierra Nevada, full selection of Rogue, Ommegang. Some DFH, but not all, and lots of Belgians and British beers (Samuel Smith, etc.), including some gift cases: for example, the St. Bernardus pack of 4 that includes a chalice. Lots of other random stuff, as well.

The behind-the-counter help has never been particularly interested/helpful, but I've spoken to the manager a couple of times about stuff they don't have. Both times, the answer has been "if I can get it, I'll get it soon."

I did get a Saison Dupont here that I suspect might have been skunked, but since it's the only one I've had I can't be sure.

Prices are reasonable.

Reviewed on: 11-02-2006 18:43:58