Sunday, 31 December 2006

Review: Saxo

Saxo from Brasserie Caracole
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pours light golden in color, huge white head that sticks around for a long time. Some lacing. Cute label.

Smell: Lots of Belgian yeast aroma, with citrus, some spice and fruit. Rather more citrusy than other BPAs.

Taste: Much like the aroma. For an 8% beer the alcohol is fairly well hidden. A bit rough around the edges, rather more "in your face" than others.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation on the high side.

Drinkability: Okay, but not quite "good" - glad I split the bottle. La Fin or Duvel win out any day.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-31-2006 19:33:10

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Review: The Czar

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Appearance: Poured out of a bottle indicating 2006 production. Very dark, with purple highlights. Some head, with limited retention and lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits, alcohol, a bit of molasses or caramel, maybe. A bit medicinal, however.

Taste: Slightly medicinal with some anise notes. Alcohol is present, but I wouldn't have guessed over 12%. Dark fruits and some spicy hops.

Mouthfeel: A big bodied beer. Carbonation on the lighter side, as expected in the style.

Drinkability: Good, but I think would probably benefit from cellaring. I dislike anise and liquorice, and I found those flavors present here. Maybe next time I'll set a bottle away instead of drinking immediately, and see if those fade with age.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-28-2006 23:48:39

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Review: Organic Münster Alt

Organic Münster Alt from Brauerei Pinkus Mueller
Rating: B-

Interesting... Definitely not what I was expecting, from beginning to end.

Appearance: Color is lighter than I expect in an alt, more of a gold or straw than the amber to dark brown specified on the style page. Somewhat hazy. Good head and some lacing.

Smell: Grainy, citric, with some ale fruitiness. Not as much malt, and not as mellow as I'd expected...

Taste: Grainy, acidic citrus, not as highly hopped as the last alt I had.. Some fruitiness. Nothing in the way of caramel malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Acidic, on the lighter side.

Drinkability: This seems like a weird altbier to me... Acidity seemed a little much and hurts drinkability. Not bad, but I won't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-20-2006 21:49:35

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Review: Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A

This is one delicious beer. I've been wanting to try a harvest ale for a while, and it didn't disappoint.

Appearance: Looks like the kind of color you expect from an APA or IPA , a rich coppery orange color with a good head that thanks to lots of hops leaves lots of lacing.

Smell: Hops hops and more hops - the fresh kind, resiny and oily. Very intense and lasting - can't wait to taste!

Taste: Taste is a bit surprising. With the huge hop aroma, I was expecting something more bitter, but checking the label I see this is only 55 IBU's - an APA, not an IPA then. For what it is, absolutely delicious. Tons of hop flavor, but well balanced. I wouldn't have minded some more bitterness, but I can't possibly complain about what I got. Not harsh at all, intensely flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Hop flavor sticks to the inside of your mouth. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-16-2006 19:19:45

Review: Midas Touch Golden Elixir

Midas Touch Golden Elixir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B-

This is an odd beer...

Appearance: Described as "Ayers rock"-colored, slightly hazy. Nice head and some lacing. This is the most normal part of this beer...

Smell: Has a very different aroma. There's a character there that's very tough to describe. Honey and vinuous grapes are present in the nose, but there's something else in the background - maybe that's the saffron?

Taste: Again, very different. Almost savory on some level - again, perhaps the saffron? Honey and fruity grapes again... Not much in the way of hops, which I guess is no surprise.

Mouthfeel: Good, no complaints at all.

Drinkability: Maybe I'd grow used to it after a couple more bottles, but too different to want to buy again. Glad I've tried it, though!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-16-2006 19:12:55

Friday, 15 December 2006

Review: Wild Hop Organic Amber Lager

Wild Hop Organic Amber Lager from Green Valley Brewing Company (Crooked Creek)
Rating: C+

My dad picked this up thinking he had something new and interesting on his hands - I felt bad telling him it was an AB product and that I'd heard it wasn't too good... Tricky tricky, the label even says Green Valley is based in California, not St. Louis. That said, I'm NOT an across the board BMC hater - if they brew something good, I will gladly buy it without worrying how it affects the "craft beer scene" - ultimately, people buying good beer is good for craft beer, no matter who makes it. Anyway...

Appearance: Golden honey color, two finger head, actually leaves some lacing. Not bad looking at all. A little on the light side for a Vienna lager perhaps?

Smell: Aroma is... almost totally absent. Very mild, what is there suggests sweetness. Definitely a lager yeast.

Taste: Nothing objectionable, but bland. Not enough flavor! Some toasted malt that's pleasant, mildly hopped, not wildly.

Mouthfeel: No complaints regarding carbonation or mouthfeel. Seem right for the style.

Drinkability: As my dad put it: "expensive football beer." It's not bad, and it goes down easy like you might want a beer to while you're watching football, but for the amount you're paying, buy something with flavor. Luckily, the juicy steak we ate with this had enough flavor to compensate!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-15-2006 01:25:17

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Review: St. Bernardus Prior 8

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Rating: A-

Appearance: Kind of leathery brown in color, fair head with some good lacing. Clear.

Smell: Nutty, dark fruit, some Belgian yeast and caramel. Not as strong an aroma as I'd hoped, but might improve as it warms.

Taste: Slightly acidic, hint of bubblegum on the hint of the tongue at first but that fades quickly to other flavors. Nice and crisp. Some spice and dark fruit as well. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp. Carbonation on the high side.

Drinkability: Good, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-13-2006 04:40:37

Monday, 11 December 2006

Review: Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Rating: B

Appearance: Rich garnet color, impressive off-white head that leaves a good bit of lacing. Fairly clear. Unfortunately, the rest of the beer never quite lives up to its appearance in the glass.

Smell: Pine, caramel malt, roast, spice, and an herbal character that reminds me a bit of the aroma of the gruits from that brewery in Scotland.

Taste: Pine resinyness is the first thing to hit the tongue, with spices galore, a hint of anise, some roast in the finish... It seems like there's just too much going on here. Judging from the reviews, it looks like many will disagree, but I think this beer winds up seeming unfocused, like they threw a bunch of holiday-related things in hoping the flavors would jive, and they didn't quite make it. Maybe it would mellow with some age, although with an ABV of only 5.5%, it's not likely.

Mouthfeel: Big rich body, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-11-2006 23:25:27

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Review: Bison Organic Chocolate Stout

Bison Organic Chocolate Stout from Bison Brewing Co.
Rating: B

Very dark, with some garnet and orange highlights. A rough pour produces a nice head, but pouring "properly" will produce little-to-none. Nothing in the way of lacing.

Smell: Lots of cocoa powder, with dark chocolate and coffee notes. Smells good.

Taste: Something of a let-down after the aroma. Do not serve this one cold! It will improve greatly the closer to room temperature it gets. Initially sweet chocolate up front, but then... nothing, very light flavor on the middle, before a swallow and a bitter chocolate aftertaste. As it warms, the flavor stretches out and becomes much more balanced, and other characteristics start to make themselves known, like roast and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than it needed to be, perhaps, but not bad.

Drinkability: When cold? Low. When room temp? Good. Not a chocolate beer to give to a chocolate lover and expect them to like it, though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-07-2006 18:10:35

Friday, 1 December 2006

Review: McEwan's India Pale Ale

McEwan's India Pale Ale from Scottish Courage Ltd.
Rating: B-

Somewhat orange tinted garnet in color, very clear. Nice head and impressive lacing.

Smell: Fair bit of diacetyl in the nose. Hop character is mild and earthy. Not what I've come to expect in an IPA, but this is the British version after all.

Taste: Diacetyl is present, but not to the point of distraction. Hint of smoke, especially in the finish. Aftertaste described by a friend as vinous. Some bitterness, but not much in the way of hop flavor at all. I know not to expect lots of hops in an EIPA, but I expect more than this, at least.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than one would expect, given the amount of malt flavor present. Light-medium body, lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: On its own, easy to drink but not exceptional and not a great example of the style. Paired with some Irish porter cheese it worked pretty well, though - keeping it gaelic here.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-01-2006 21:19:44