Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Review: Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell

Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell from Augustiner-Bräu Wagner KG
Rating: B+

A Christmas present from a Bavarian friend, enjoyed on Christmas day at her place outside of Munich.

Appearance: Straw color, very clear, good head and retention, some lacing.

Smell: Predominantly grassy hops aroma, with a bit of herbal earthiness and DMS

Taste: Rather light. Grassiness, solid bitterness but finishing on a sweet malt note. Good, but not exceptional.

Mouthfeel: Light body, good carbonation. Good for the style.
Drinkabilitz: Very drinkable, and from what I hear an excellent value. I have seen this being drunk all over Munich.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-25-2007 22:14:01

Review: Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel

Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel from Klosterbrauerei Andechs
Rating: A-

Wow, first beer to review with the new system. Also, first beer reviewed from Germany on a German kezboard, with the z and y switched, so here goes...

Appearance: lighter in color than I was expecting, more orange or garnet than deep and dark. Big off white head with good retention, but leaving little lacing.

Smell: dark fruits, toast, brown sugar... surprised by all the fruit, in a lager. no hint of smoke, which i love in ayinger's celebrator.

Taste: raisin, brown bread, bit of roast & toast, brown sugar. malt is the star, but there is enough hops bitterness to balance. never becomes cloying.

Mouthfeel: medium body, bordering on full. reasonable carbonation.

Drinkability: I now have a second favorite Doppelbock. Glad to be in Bavaria at the moment, and looking forward to a brewery tour in a couple of days. Hopefully the beer there will be as good as this Andechs offering..

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-25-2007 22:06:55

Monday, 17 December 2007

Review: Black Sheep Ale (Special)

Black Sheep Ale (Special) from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
Rating: B-

Appearance: copper color with almost a pink tint. Good sized head with (oddly) large bubbles. Decent retention, some lacing.

Smell: Crisp, toast/biscuit malt aromas, earthy hops.

Taste: Solid but easy bitterness, hop flavors are subtle - herbal. Aftertaste is pleasant and lingering. Malt character is subdued - just a hint of toasted grain.

Mouthfeel: prickly carbonation, light-medium body.

Drinkability: easy drinking, good

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-17-2007 00:07:11

Friday, 14 December 2007

Review: McEwan's No.1 Champion

McEwan's No.1 Champion from Scottish Courage Ltd.
Rating: B+

Wasn't expecting this to be a scotch ale when I bought it. Not my favorite style, but we'll give it a go.

Appearance: Garnet in color, two finger off-white head with good retention, and lacing.

Smell: warm, hints of vanilla, with some hints of roast malt.

Taste: creamy, some toffee, slight molasses but balanced by hops bitterness. Some dark fruit. Very nice, actually. Not too sweet, which is my usual complaint for this style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy, good carbonation.

Drinkability: A good beer, by any measure.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-14-2007 17:54:08

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Review: Golden Champion

Golden Champion from Badger Brewery, Hall and Woodhouse
Rating: B

Appearance: honey colored, clear, moderate retention and some lacing. fairly attractive

Smell: intensely floral aroma. first sweet and perfumed, resolves to a more spicy/floral hop aroma.

Taste: reminds me of a Florida-brewed rose hip beer that I had once, except much better. Floral, but with a solid bitterness that keeps it from being too sweet. Malt brings up the rear, resolving to (again) a floral finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Much better than I was expecting after I saw this was an elderflower beer!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-12-2007 23:43:07

Review: Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer from Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd.
Rating: C-

Appearance: slightly more color than your typical example of this style, very little head retention. very clear.

Smell: grainy smell dominates. sweet. a bit of DMS early on but that fades. at least it comes out of a brown bottle!

Taste: sweet on the front of the palate but finishes with a husky dryness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly oily mouthfeel. Good carbonation level

Drinkability: Better than most lagers available on the Chinese mainland.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-12-2007 23:12:15

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Review: Kronenbourg 1664

Kronenbourg 1664 from Brasseries Kronenbourg
Rating: C+

I've really neglected reviewing since I got to England - I've been drinking plenty of beer, just haven't had the time to contemplate on it and do a serious review while drinking. I decided to get back in the habit, and unfortunately this was the only pre-chilled beer in the house.

Appearance: Pale gold/straw in color, big head which fades quickly. No retention or lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, green bottle smell even though it came out of a can. Grainy, green grass, alcohol slightly present.

Taste: Better than it smells. Grassy hops, dry graininess that keeps the malts from becoming cloying. Finishes dry, with a lingering hop finish that's not unpleasant. Pretty good for the style.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, light-medium body, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy-drinking lager, could be a lot worse. More hops than your typical Euro pale lager.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 12-11-2007 21:17:20

Friday, 19 October 2007

Consolidation Storm Brewing

With rising ingredient and shipping costs, a "consolidation storm is brewing" in the beer industry, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A week after two of America's iconic brewers said they will combine forces, two European titans, Heineken NV and Carlsberg AS, said yesterday that they have formed a consortium to bid for the United Kingdom's best-selling brewer, Scottish & Newcastle PLC...

The announcement followed news that London's SABMiller PLC planned to combine its U.S. unit, Miller Brewing Co., with the U.S. division of Molson Coors Brewing Co., creating a joint venture called MillerCoors.

In addition to the already cited rising costs, the moves are a reaction to "to shifts in beer-drinking habits across the globe. In Western Europe and the U.S., beer sales growth is sluggish amid increasing competition from wine and spirits."

Thanks to Howard for the news tip.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Review: Parkers Porter

Parkers Porter from City Of Cambridge Brewery Company Limited
Rating: C+

Looks like cola in the glass. Little head, little retention. Bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Smells weak, with some nut & caramel. Taste is cola-like, with some slight burnt character. Uninspired. Mouthfeel is light-medium, lighter than I was expecting. Carbonation is mild. Drinkability is low. I didn't want to finish the bottle and shared - which was met with a weak reaction. Won't be buying again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-22-2007 23:07:50

Review: De Ranke XX Bitter

De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
Rating: A-

Was happy to find this on my first trip to the beer store in Cambridge.

Appearance: Golden in color, a tad hazy (but I had walked it all the way across town...), exceptional head retention and lacing.

Smell: Hops: citrus, belgian yeast: spice.

Taste: Solid bitterness, with lots of Belgian yeast flavor. Finishes dry. Reminds me of my homebrewed Belgian IPA, but better.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: high!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-22-2007 23:03:40

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Bronze Age Beer Put to the Test

Two archeologists suggest that fulacht fiadh, bronze age mounds found in Ireland, were used for brewing ancient beer rather than for cooking, as previously hypothesized.

To prove their theory that an extensive brewing tradition existed in Ireland as far back as 2500BC, Billy Quinn and Declan Moore recreated the process.

After just three hours of hard work - and three days of patiently waiting for their brew to ferment - the men enjoyed a pint with a taste of history attached.

Three hundred litres of water were transformed into a "very palatable" 110 litres of frothy ale.

"It tasted really good," said Mr Quinn, of Moore Archaeological and Environmental Services (Moore Group).

I'm not sure how that "proves" their theory, but it sounds like a great way to spend a few days camping! They note that without hops, the brew was sweeter than they were expecting - I would add that after only three days of fermentation, there was probably a lot of residual sugar left that had not yet been converted. Perhaps their wives only gave them permission to camp out for three days?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Review: Engine No. 5

Engine No. 5 from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
Rating: B

I left a box of beer that included this one in the garage for almost three months under less than ideal storage conditions - two of the bottles went bad in that time (unless maybe they were purchased bad?) so I'm hoping this one is still good - last one out of that box. Let's see, pouring into a SA Boston Lager pint glass.

Appearance: Deep ruby/garnet color, darker than I was expecting for the style. Head has little retention, but leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Light in aroma, almost to the point of wondering if lager yeast was at work here. A bit of light grain.

Taste: No hint of spoilage - I'm relieved. Caramel, sharp bitterness that's of the kind that's difficult to distinguish between hops and burnt, bready/toasty finish that's quite nice. Grainy aftertaste. Better than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel: Just shy of medium body, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly well balanced, overall, and sessionable. Wish I knew the ABV.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-11-2007 22:56:57

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Review: Avery Anniversary Ale

Avery Anniversary Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Rating: B

I'd assumed that this was the current year's anniversary ale when I bought it, but I guess not.
Looks like a porter in the glass, dark brown with garnet tints, tan-colored head with mediocre retention and some lace. Aroma is surprisingly boozy - even more so than justified by this beer's 9.5% abv. Some light fruitiness and cocoa are also detectable. Taste is slightly cola-like in its carameliness, with some dark fruit and cocoa. Alcohol warming is noticeable for sure. Medium-full in body, good carbonation. Drinkability is moderate. Alcohol too much in the fore for me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-06-2007 04:28:10

Review: Juju Ginger Ale

Juju Ginger Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
Rating: B-

Appearance: fairly light in color, golden. clear.

Smell: Light, clean aroma, with ginger in the background - not as intense as I was expecting.

Taste: Ginger bite, ginger flavor, followed by.... nothing, a weak, watery finish. No hops flavor or bitterness to follow up on the ginger, no real malt character. Refreshing, I suppose, but left me wanting more flavor besides the ginger.

Mouthfeel: light-ish body, good carbonation

Drinkability: A fun idea, and more drinkable, perhaps, than SA's attempt at a ginger beer, but not something worth buying again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-06-2007 04:23:45

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Review: Old #38 Stout

Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

Appearance: Very dark, not quite opaque with brown hues. Good sized head, fair retention, some lacing. Good appearance.

Smell: a bit more fruit than I'd expect in the nose - not that that's a bad thing. Caramel, some cocoa powder and roast.

Taste: Profile very similar to the aroma just described, but with a good amount of hops bitterness as backup, and a bit of a boozy finish you can feel in your nose as you swallow.

Mouthfeel: medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: A very drinkable beer. Alcohol low enough to be sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-05-2007 02:43:19

Monday, 3 September 2007

Review: Brooklyn Brown Ale

Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Rating: B-

Purchased at Total Wine & More in Boca, poured into a SA Boston Lager glass.

Appearance: brown/garnet in color, clear, decent sized off-white head. mediocre retention. little lacing.

Smell: heavy in cocoa powder, malty. lighter than I was expecting.

Taste: malty, but not too sweet. same cocoa powder notes as in the nose. some nuttiness and a light hops bitterness. slight acidic edge. slight raisin aftertaste?

Mouthfeel: light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Average.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-03-2007 22:47:45

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Review: Hofbräu Maibock (Urbock)

Hofbräu Maibock (Urbock) from Staatliches Hofbräuhaus (Hofbräu München)
Rating: B

Appearance: poured from a green bottle, attractive amber color, good sized head. mediocre retention. surprised to see a few floaties.

Smell: fairly light aroma. some grassy hops. light malt.

Taste: Bit of honey, grassy hops. Some malty sweetness and a hint of toast. Slightly medicinal, alcoholic, bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly quaffable. Sessionable, surprising to see it's so high in alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-30-2007 03:41:25

Review: Honey Amber Rose

Honey Amber Rose from Beautiful Brews Inc.
Rating: C+

Appearance: Unsurprisingly, what color is it? Honey. Decent head, with little retention and no lacing.

Smell: honey, slight floral character - don't think I could place it as rose hips, though.

Taste: Overwhelmingly honey. I've made meads that had less honey flavor than this. No hops character to be noted. Slight floral finish, but I can't get over how much honey there is. You could put this on toast.

Mouthfeel: light-medium body, smooth, honey aftertaste

Drinkability: 12 oz is too much for me, I'm afraid. Honey flavor is overwhelming, and I like honey.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-30-2007 01:10:18

Review: Stoudt's Triple (Belgian Abbey-Style Ale)

Stoudt's Triple (Belgian Abbey-Style Ale) from Stoudts Brewing Co.
Rating: B

Appearance: light honey color, nice head that fades to a thin film that sticks around. Appears to be highly carbonated. No lacing.

Smell: spicy, belgian candi, phenols, alcohol. Lighter in yeast character than its European cousins.

Taste: sweet, but well balanced by hops. touch of vanilla at the swallow, hint of banana in the aftertaste. spice and alcohol. Alcohol a bit too intense.

Mouthfeel: medium body, carbonation high but it works.

Drinkability: Decent, but lacks the complexity of Belgian triples and the alcohol character is a bit too potent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-30-2007 00:03:25

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Review: Maple Nut Brown Ale

Maple Nut Brown Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery
Rating: B-

Appearance: deep garnet, very clear, good-sized head with poor retention and little lacing. nice color.

Smell: sweet, molasses, just a hint of maple.

Taste: Pretty sweet, with mostly malt, molasses and slight coffee. Maple shows up more in the finish than anything else, along with a hint of pancake breadiness. Very little hops - the sweetness is balanced by carbonation more so than bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-29-2007 00:26:43

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Review: Maharaja

Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Wow, didn't realize this was 9.7% abv before I opened it - whoops, guess I have to finish it anyway. I like the label and presentation as well.

Appearance: deep amber/honey color, very clear. Good sized head that exhibits good retention and lacing.

Smell: full of resiny hops, pine & grapefruit. Hint of malty sweetness in the background.

Taste: Resinous hop oil predominates. Delicious. Bready finish mingles with the sharp bitter aftertaste of all those hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation. Creamy, with a lingering aftertaste that makes you think the inside of your mouth has been coated by a hop-oil slick.

Drinkability: Good! Impressed by this one. Somewhat limited by the alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-28-2007 03:12:05

Review: Weihenstephaner Korbinian

Weihenstephaner Korbinian from Brauerei Weihenstephan
Rating: A-

I must say, I love the size & shape of the the Weihenstephaner bottle.

Appearance: very red, almost more ruby than garnet. clear, decent sized head but with poor retention and leaving no lacing.

Smell: Malty doppelbock aroma. Balanced. Little bit of caramel & toast.

Taste: Sweet malt, hint of alcohol. Some prune. Hops bitterness finally shows up at the swallow.

Mouthfeel: medium full body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: good, it's no Celebrator, but it's a very good, representative doppelbock. I didn't know it was so highly rated when I bought it, nor when I started drinking it - tend to think it's a tad undeserved, but still very good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-28-2007 01:35:14

Monday, 27 August 2007

Beer Bar Review: The Globe

The Globe in Hong Kong
Rating: B+

Get off the escalator at Hollywood, walk up parallel to the escalator, take a right, and it'll be down a few doors on the right.

Pretty small on the inside, heavy-duty tables and chairs. Atmosphere is very British, lots of expats playing darts, chatting over a pint. Only music is off the jukebox so it's often very quiet - which can be nice compared to the hubbub of LKF. Service is fairly prompt, beers are served in the appropriate glassware when they have it. Selection is decent but heavily skewed toward Belgians and English beers. There were a few things they didn't have consistently over a course of several weeks: Orval & La Chouffe, for example. They said only one distributor in HK carries them and he was waiting on his shipment. Only American beer available is Sam Adams. Didn't try any food, if they have it. Prices are reasonable, for the location and the selection.

Reviewed on: 08-28-2007 01:23:34

Beer Bar Review: Hong Kong Brew House

Hong Kong Brew House in Hong Kong
Rating: B

In LKF so you know it's on the louder side. Free peanuts available as you drink. Never had any food (if they have any). Good place to finish up a night after you've left an (even louder) club and have a decent beer. Selection is decent, with a good number of Belgians and one of the better selections of American craft beer in HK (not that that's saying much). Service is decent but unexceptional.

That said, I only tried one of the house selections, the pale ale, and came away very unimpressed. To be fair, I was expecting an APA and it turned out to be an EPA, but it was unimpressive enough to dissuade me from trying any of the other house beers. Points for effort, being perhaps the ONLY "brewpub" in Hong Kong?

Reviewed on: 08-28-2007 00:48:20

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Review: Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Gordash Brewing Company
Rating: C+

Purchased at the Whole Foods in Coral Springs, FL. Glad to be the 10th reviewer and gave this one a WR.

Appearance: surprisingly yellow in the glass with a small head and poor retention. Would benefit from either more color, or less - as is, not very attractive. Wheat malt to increase head retention?

Smell: As advertised, Belgian yeast aroma. Fruity with just a bit of spice.

Taste: Too sweet, candi flavor. Slight citrus.

Mouthfeel: least medium body - heavier than expected for the style, borderline syrupy. Carbonation on the light side.

Drinkability: Mediocre.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-26-2007 21:01:00

Friday, 24 August 2007

Review: San Miguel Dark Lager

San Miguel Dark Lager from San Miguel Corporation
Rating: B

I consumed a lot of San Miguel when I was in Hong Kong, so when I found myself missing HK back in the US, but with a better selection of beer available, I picked up this San Miguel Dark.

Appearance: A little bit redder than coca cola in the glass, pretty clear, good sized off-white head, decent retention, a little lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly spicy aroma, almost like a dubbel, over a sweet caramel/toffee base. Clean.

Taste: Mostly malt sweetness: caramel, molasses, but with a layer of dark fruit, and a bit of spice on the tongue. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Tasty and drinkable, good for the style.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-24-2007 18:28:46

Review: Andelot Cuvee Angelique

Andelot Cuvee Angelique from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Rating: B

Poured a nice garnet color. Fairly clear. Decent sized head, good retention, little lacing. Smell is pleasant: dark fruit, hint of alcohol, caramel, and spice. Taste follows the same pattern - finishes dry, but not as much spice as I might prefer. Belgian yeast character a bit more subdued than I was expecting. Alcohol in the background. Mouthfeel is medium body, good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-24-2007 12:01:58

Review: Jackman's American Pale Ale

Jackman's American Pale Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Boston Lager pint glass.

Appearance: An appealing orange color, clear, decent sized head, moderate lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly sweet, some biscuit & breadiness. Hops not as intense as I was expecting, but present: floral, some citrus.

Taste: More or less matches the aroma profile. Biscuit shows up at the swallow. Hop character is more subdued than I prefer in the style, and more floral than intense citrus. Bitterness is solid.

Mouthfeel: light-medium body, smooth & creamy, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, I was just expecting a bit more hop flavor.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-24-2007 00:56:54

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Review: Cold Hop British-Style Ale

Cold Hop British-Style Ale from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Rating: B+

Split a bomber with a friend.

Appearance: Deep amber in color, clear, good sized head. Some lace.

Smell: Ruby red grapefruit, with some hibiscus. Juicy.

Taste: Slightly reminiscent of Mexican agua de jamaica in its floral hop character. Grapefruit finish - not what I was expecting in an English IPA - better than I was expecting, in fact, although not sure how true to style that makes it. Some English yeast character.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Good

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-23-2007 14:09:50

Review: Redbridge

Redbridge from Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Rating: D+

Sampled with a friend who has several coeliac relatives.

Appearance: Honey in color, small head, no lacing, little retention.

Smell: Odd. Definitely different. Kind of berry and adjuncty/grainy.

Taste: Even odder. Too sweet. Bit of plastic, with a raspberry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light body, carbonation ok.

Drinkability: One of the strangest beers I've ever had - not something I would choose to drink. I'd rather have a glass of water.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-23-2007 14:04:55

Review: Moosbacher Alt Kellerbier

Moosbacher Alt Kellerbier from Private Landbrauerei Scheuerer
Rating: C+

Appearance: Attractive, rich honey color. Nice sized head, with mediocre retention. No lacing. My first kellerbier - surprisingly clear, for an unfiltered beer.

Smell: very light aroma, reminiscent almost of wheat germ, with just a bit of hop presence.

Taste: Fairly light flavor, grainy, with a bit of overripe fruit in the finish. Finishes dry. A bit light for me, mom was a fan, however.

Mouthfeel: thin, carbonation seems a little light.

Drinkability: Okay, paired well with a light grilled fish sandwich.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-23-2007 00:27:46

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Review: Chamberlain Pale Ale

Chamberlain Pale Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
Rating: B-

Admittedly suckered in by the Civil War-inspired packaging. Poured into my new favorite glass, the SA Boston Lager pint glass sent to BeerAdvocate Magazine founding subscribers.

Appearance: A rich amber in color, smallish head with mediocre retention. Clear. No lacing.

Smell: Weak hop aroma, not what I was expecting in a "pale ale" - I see now that it's classified on BA as an American Amber. Slightly soapy, Ringwood aroma, but not in an unpleasant way.

Taste: Malt profile says American Amber, yeast says English Pale Ale. Neither fits the APA I was expecting. Ringwood butteriness is apparent, decently bitter but lacking hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, slightly slick. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Moderate.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2007 17:04:28

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Review: La Trappe Quadrupel (Koningshoeven / Dominus)

La Trappe Quadrupel (Koningshoeven / Dominus) from Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V.
Rating: B

Bottle is very different from the one in the picture, but it appears to be the same beer.

Appearance: An orange tinted, clear garnet color, decent-sized head with mediocre retention. Minor lacing.

Smell: Typical dark fruits, plus berry, over a Belgian dark candi carameliness and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Fruity and malty, tastes almost "tropical" at the swallow, like a boat drink. Slightly tart. Alcohol is evident.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation as expected for the style.

Drinkability: Moderated by high alcohol and what seems to me an unnecessary tartness.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-21-2007 21:27:10

Review: Pig's Ear Brown Ale

Pig's Ear Brown Ale from Woodstock Inn, Station & Brewery
Rating: C-

Received from barleywinebrewer in the Little Guy BIF. Two of the beers he shipped spoiled in my garage while I was in Hong Kong (shame on me for not storing them properly), so I was glad to discover that this one (the last bottle) was still okay.

Appearance: deep brown, dark leather kind of color, clear, smallish head, little retention.

Smell: malty, slightly cidery.

Taste: Tangy, with some roast and caramel. Excessively tart, actually. If I hadn't had the recent experience of trying two beers that had *really* gone bad, I might wonder if this one had too. Finishes on a dry, cocoa powder note.

Mouthfeel: medium body, carbonation fine.

Drinkability: Mediocre.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-21-2007 18:37:12

Monday, 20 August 2007

Review: Meantime India Pale Ale

Meantime India Pale Ale from Meantime Brewing Company Limited
Rating: A-

Nicely presented, bottle and label both. Poured into my BA Founding Subscriber SA Boston Lager pint glass - first beer to Christen the glass.

Appearance: Amber color, good sized head with good retention. Clear. Good lacing.

Smell: earthy hops, sour-dough bread. Not overwhelmingly hoppy in aroma, but clearly dry hopped

Taste: nowhere near approaching AIPA levels of hoppiness, but perhaps better balanced for it. Complex flavor profile: fresh, herbal and slightly citrusy hops, full bready malt profile, reminiscent in some ways of a Belgian in its complexity - if they had used a Belgian yeast, this could be one of the new Belgian IPAs. Malts are sweet and full, but bitterness slid enough to balance it out. Finishes dry, pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: body not quite medium, carbonation right on.

Drinkability: high, I enjoyed this one and was sad to finish the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-20-2007 12:54:09

Review: James Boag's Premium Lager

James Boag's Premium Lager from J. Boag & Son Brewing
Rating: D+

Sampled at Outback Steakhouse - expectations weren't high, and they weren't disappointed. Pours from a green bottle a light yellow color, little head and no lacing. Mild, lagery nose, some apple and adjunct. Taste is cidery, bit of lemon tartness and vinous character. Mouthfeel is slick, body is light. Drinkability is weak - I quickly switched to Cooper's Sparkling, which while not great is heads and shoulders above this swill.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2007 23:47:53

Review: Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Rating: B

Sampled at Stubbie, in Gainesville, FL. Attractive, spare labeling. Appearance is light copper in color, smallish head with decent retention and little lacing. Smell is very standard for an American IPA: pine, citrus. Taste is along the same lines, but the hop character is not "juicy" - rather, dry. Decently balanced as far as malt/bitterness. Medium body, well-carbonated. Decent IPA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2007 23:42:14

Friday, 17 August 2007

Review: Old Chub

Old Chub from Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Rating: B+

I avoided this one for a while because I had yet to encounter a Scotch ale I particularly liked. Now I have.

Appearance: deep garnet in color, smallish head - I was initially concerned that my can wasn't carbonated because the "pop" was not very audible. Leaves a little lacing.

Smell: caramel, a little chocolate, and a hint of dark fruit. Lighter aroma than I was expecting.

Taste: Cocoa powder finish, enough hops bitterness to balance the malty sweetness that is inherent in the style. Not as much caramel as I was expecting. Bit of alcohol spice and warming, and a whisp of smoke that might just be the hickory ribs I'm pairing this with. I bet this would make an excellent glaze. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, smooth. Carbonation a little light, but I think it fits the style.

Drinkability: Good! My favorite OB beer now (Gordon is too expensive to be a favorite beer). Easy to drink.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-17-2007 16:55:51

Review: Fiddler's Green India Pale Ale

Fiddler's Green India Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company, The
Rating: B

The hoppiest beer I've had since getting back from Hong Kong last weekend - a refreshing change!

Appearance is surprisingly light in color, a light amber, with a good sized head with fair retention and minor lacing. Smell is of big hops - floral, pine, some citrus. I see that this is listed as an English IPA - could have fooled me, I'd call it an East Coast American IPA, from the aroma. Flavor is hoppy, cleanly bitter, piney. As it warms, sweet malts come more and more into balance. Mouthfeel is on the thin side. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-17-2007 09:59:43

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Review: Indian Brown Ale

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: A-

Appearance: dark garnet with a big off-white head, good retention and lacing. Attractive.

Smell: Clean - almost lagery so at first - but as it warms all kinds of aromas start coming out: nuts, sweet caramel malt - vaguely cola-y, and roast coffee.

Taste: Much more than I was expecting. Nuts and caramel quickly give way to a clean bitterness and roasty aftertaste. Hops are more than enough to compensate for the sweet malts here - I appreciate that I can actually taste the hops, unlike some other brown ales. Finishes clean and dry. Flavorful, but still light enough on the palate to be quaffable.

Mouthfeel is light-medium, carbonation just right, drinkability is high, despite the alcohol content (which is well-masked, anyway). Exceeded expectations: the perfect summer "dark" beer?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-15-2007 16:42:41

Review: Old Stock Ale

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: A

2007 edition
Received in a trade from barleywinebrewer.

Appearance: Effervescently carbonated, smallish khaki head on top of a garnet/leather body. Good retention. Lacing limited by alcohol?

Smell: Caramel and dark fruits, aroma reminiscent almost of a Belgian dark ale's malt profile, but without the distinctive Belgian yeast. Hint of biscuit/toast also reveals itself - attractive aroma, with just a hint of underlying alcohol.

Taste: Wow, very good. Sweetness of dark fruits (raisin flavours are balanced by hop bitterness), caramel at the swallow. Aftertaste is a New Belgium-esque biscuit. Complex, layered, delicious. Would not have guessed 11.7% alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth but carbonation seems a little excessive for this style and alcohol content.

Drinkability: Very good, sole limitation is the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-15-2007 07:27:28

Review: Blue Diamond Stout

Blue Diamond Stout from Guangdong Blue Ribbon Group
Rating: B-

4.7 percent alcohol, original gravity 13 degrees.

Appearance: coffee color, not quite opaque. nice off-white head, little retention but good lacing.

Smell: very light nose, just a little bit of caramel.

Taste: caramel, roast. bit of a sour edge. some chocolate at the finish. tastes better than it smells or looks.

Mouthfeel: light-medium body. carbonation on the light side. much better than i was expecting. A surprisingly decent Chinese dark beer, but I'm classifying it as a porter, not a stout.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-15-2007 02:59:01

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Review: Stoudt's Double IPA (India Pale Ale)

Stoudt's Double IPA (India Pale Ale) from Stoudts Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

The first craft beer I had after returning from two months in HK was a bad bottle, so I was thankful to see that this one (stored the same way) was still good and delicious!

Appearance: Lighter in color than expected in an East Coast IPA - light golden/amber, very clear. Good head with okay retention, good lacing.

Smell: Double IPA aroma - like pine needle syrup, sweet but pungent. Bit of juicy fruit. Very typical, what I expect in the style.

Taste: Sweet, with juicy fruit and caramel. Pine and citrus hops, but not quite bitter enough to balance the heavy malts in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the heavy side of medium, I'd say - carbonation could be a bit higher to compensate. Pleasant aftertaste & finish.
Drinkability is good.


Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-14-2007 04:55:28

Review: 2-6-0

2-6-0 from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
Rating: D

I debated whether to post a review for this one, but it looks like I was not the only one who had this impression, and with so few reviews, I'd imagine more input is better input as far as the brewery is concerned - good or bad. Appearance is fine, brown-amber in color, decent head & retention. Never drank enough of it to get a feel for lacing. Smell is sour, cidery, and reminiscent of over-ripe fruit. Not appealing. Wondering if I had a bad bottle. Taste matches: sour, over-ripe. Mouthfeel would have been fine for the style, drinkability is, unfortunately, poor - I've never poured so much beer down the drain before. If I was the only one describing the same thing, I wouldn't have posted this review, but apparently it wasn't a bad bottle - maybe a bad batch?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-13-2007 23:16:33

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Review: Beijing Beer Original Draft

Beijing Beer Original Draft from Zhongce Beijing Beer Company
Rating: D-

Pours a very pale yellow color. Good head that displays more retention than expected. Some lacing. Very clear. Smell is adjuncty, sweet and light. Tastes slightly better than it smells. Slight floral hops character comes through. Otherwise just a little sweet malt to bring flavor to the water. A glance at the label reveals not only rice as an adjunct, but corn too - woohoo! Not enjoyable. Mouthfeel is light, carbonation mild. Finish is clean. Drinkability is pretty low.
Apparently this company is owned by Asahi? According to the label, the original gravity is 10.5 degrees plato. Slogan (roughly) translated: "Authentic draft beer, fresh to the core"

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-09-2007 17:07:34

Review: Yanjing Beer

Yanjing Beer from Beijing Yanjing Beer Group Corporation
Rating: D+

It's pretty much impossible to spend any time in Beijing without consuming a lot of this stuff. Appearance is a rather bright yellow, very clear, no head retention to speak of. Slight lacing. Smell is sweet, of grain and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Taste finishes sweet, a little apple flavor. Light. Aftertaste is clean. Mouthfeel is light, carbonation about right for a beer meant to be consumed in quantity. Drinkability is decent, despite its other failings.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-09-2007 16:12:44

Review: Snow Beer

Snow Beer from China Resources Breweries Limited
Rating: F

Purchased and consumed in Beijing. Glad to see it was in the BA database already.

Appearance is light yellow, very fizzy. Big white, light head. Little retention once the carbonation settles down, but some lacing. Aroma is very light. Faint whiffs of vegetables and... is that soap? Flavor is worse than mediocre. Light, but what flavors are present are less than pleasant: cooked veggies, grass and a lingering astringent aftertaste. Mouthfeel is unpleasant - sticks to the inside of your mouth. I want to say "soap" again. Light body. Drinkability low. Won't be finishing the can.

For those searching for this beer with pinyin, it's "Xuehua pijiu"

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-09-2007 14:22:21

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Review: Victoria Bitter (VB)

Victoria Bitter (VB) from Carlton & United Breweries, Ltd.
Rating: C-

Had a bottle of this at Devil's Advocate in Wan Chai.

Appearance was yellow and fizzy, one-finger white head but with little retention and no lacing. Smell was light and unremarkable. Not surprised to see now that it's in fact a lager and not a bitter at all. Taste was along the same lines - lager, very light bitterness. Not horrible, but below average. Mouthfeel is light and fizzy, drinkability is below average - we were ready to switch bars. The "bitter" style is misleading enough already with breweries calling lagers "bitters."

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-01-2007 08:36:38

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Review: Hoegaarden Grand Cru

Hoegaarden Grand Cru from Brouwerij van Hoegaarden
Rating: A-

Had a bottle of this at the Sands in Macau to top off quite a nice day. Appearance is pale and very cloudy, light yellow/orange in color, good head and lacing, despite higher than usual abv. Smell is true to the description, full or orange citrus and corriander. Taste is sweet, heavy on Belgian yeast on top of the citrus and spice already noted. Alcohol is noticeable. Mouthfeel is on the thick side of medium in terms of body, well-carbonated. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:33:48

Review: Fuller's 1845

Fuller's 1845 from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Rating: A-

Purchased at City Super in Shatian. Appearance is rich and red in color, huge amount of carbonation and bubbles that exhibit exceptionanl retention and leave lace. Aroma is shockingly vinuous at first, slightly boozy. Dark fruits, earthy hops and sweet malts take over as it warms. Same can be said for the flavor - vinuous and boozy at first, but improving as it warms to a quite nice strong ale. Bitterness is well-balanced. Mouthfeel is medium body, well-carbonated. Drinkability is aided by the just-right alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:30:07

Review: Yebisu The Hop

Yebisu The Hop from Sapporo Breweries Ltd.
Rating: B

When I happened to come across a beer with a name like this in a Hong Kong grocery store, of course I had to get it.

Appearance was typical of the style, pale straw/gold, but with a nice head and decent lacing. Aroma was, true to packaging, nice: strong floral and spicy noble hop aromas. Granted my expectations were very low, but I was surprised by this one. Flavor was less impressive, but still decent and by no means objectionable in any way. Mouthfeel light-medium, good carbonation. Drinkability above average.

Definitely the best macro-brewed Asian beer I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:25:19

Review: Hong Kong Beer

Hong Kong Beer from Hong Kong S.A.R. Brewing Company Ltd., The
Rating: C

Purchased at City Super in Shatian. After my first negative experience with HKSAR Brewing, my expectations are limited - especially since this is by all indications a boring lager. Just about on the mark. Pours yellow, with a thin head. Light aroma, brown bottle so no skunk. Doesn't have the ridiculous extracty aroma of the first HKSAR beer I had, but not exactly exploding with malt or hops either. Flavor along the same lines. Mouthfeel and drinkability about average for the style. Gives me hope that there's still room in the HK market for craft beer. From reading the other review, seems like the bottled version might be a little better!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:21:26

Review: Bali Hai Premium

Bali Hai Premium from PT Bali Hai Brewery Indonesia
Rating: C

Had a bottle of this at an (amazing) Indonesian restaurant in Wanchai, HK. Appearance is yellow and fizzy, as you'd expect in the style. Smell is better than expected, a glance at the label reveals that this is an all-malt beer, no adjuncts. Taste is boring, but not offensive. Mouthfeel light and fizzy. Not bad, especially with spicy food.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-25-2007 05:16:38

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Review: Macau Beer

Macau Beer from Macau Beer Company Limited
Rating: D+

Had a pint of this on tap at the Sands Casino in Macau (where else?)

Pretty much your typical random euro-style lager. Not quite as pale in color as some other regional varieties (Pearl River, I'm looking at you). Decent head, little retention or lacing. Smell is very adjuncty - bad, with some grain. Flavor is better than the aroma, but not by much. Lacks any real offensiveness. Mouthfeel is light and fizzy. Drinkability is low. The same bar was serving Rochefort 10 - guess what we switched to after this one?

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 07-22-2007 03:58:49

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Review: Thunderhead IPA

Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Rating: B-

Decent but unexceptional IPA, sampled at Hong Kong Brew House in LKF, one of two IPAs available.

Appearance is clear and the expected amber/orange color. Decent head. Aroma is hoppy, but individual characteristics are not easily pried out - citrus and pine, yes, but not as clearly defined as in other IPAs. Taste is bitter, but balanced. Decent, but unexceptional. Same can be said for mouthfeel and drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:24:15

Review: Porter 39

Porter 39 from Brasserie Heineken
Rating: D+

Had one of these yesterday at a Vietnamese restaurant in Shatian, HK.

Pours out of a 25cl green bottle shaped like a miniature red stripe bottle. Looks like coca cola, except less carbonated and with less of a head. No retention or lacing. Aroma is of artificial-smelling caramel. A glance at the labeling reveals this beer contains maize, caramel, and coloring in addition to the traditional ingredients. Great. Flavor is underwhelming, to say the least. Adjuncty corn, lots of cola-like caramel, and a somewhat harsh bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium body, decent carbonation. Drinkability is low.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:20:46

Review: Aldrich Bay Pale Ale

Aldrich Bay Pale Ale from Hong Kong S.A.R. Brewing Company Ltd., The
Rating: C-

Sampled at the Hong Kong Brew House in LKF.
Appearance is a decent pale ale orange/amber color, with a very small head with little retention and no lacing. Smell is uninspiring - lots of caramel, distinctly smells like it's been brewed with extract, and little in the way of hops. Lots of fruit and caramel in the flavor - and little hops. Not the balance I expect or desire in a Pale Ale - actually though, I guess I was expecting an American Pale Ale. Knowing this is an EPA the flavor profile is much more forgiveable. Mouthfeel is of medium body, carbonation a little light. Drinkability is poor - not a great beer. After having this one, I decided against trying another one of the house beers.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 07-11-2007 05:17:10

Monday, 2 July 2007

Review: San Miguel Premium Lager

San Miguel Premium Lager from San Miguel Corporation
Rating: C

Lots of this available in Hong Kong for some reason.

Appearance: Macro lager looking, with a decent head - leaves lace.

Smell: Grainy, with grassy hops. Not incredibly interesting, but not unappealing either.

Taste: Not bad at all. No hint of skunk (huzzah for brown bottles), fairly refreshing, better than expected anyway. Pretty standard flavor profile for the style.

Mouthfeel: Light and fizzy, big surprise.

Drinkability: Likely to become my standby lager in Hong Kong, although that's not saying much given the typical selection.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:39:47

Review: Hite

Hite from Hite Brewery Company LTD
Rating: D+

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. A good thirst quencher.

Appearance: Very pale straw in color, decent sized head but little retention and no lacing.

Smell: smells like water, with the faintest hints of sweet malt.

Taste: The brand plays up being made from "fresh water" on the label, and to be honest one could be forgiven for mistaking this beverage for mineral water of some kind. Try it and struggle to find the malt and hops that it supposedly contains...

Mouthfeel: Light, fizzy - but not so fizzy that it doesn't go down easy.

Drinkability: Perhaps the highlight of this beer - you can drink a lot of it, and very quickly if you needed to. That said, why bother?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:34:08

Review: Carlsberg Special Brew

Carlsberg Special Brew from Carlsberg Danmark A/S
Rating: D-

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. Quite possibly the worst beer I've ever had.
Appearance is just as you'd expect: pale, clear, and yellow. Some head, not much retention though thanks to an 8.6% alcohol content. Aroma is surprisingly light, considering the assault on the senses that follows: light alcohol, malt. Tastes like someone took Bud Light and dropped in a shot of 151: horrible boozy aftertaste and finish. I found myself wincing after every sip. Mouthfeel is more or less what you'd expect in the style: light and fizzy. Really horrible, will actively avoid. Surprised it's not worse-reviewed on BA.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 07-02-2007 09:29:39

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Review: Sagres Cerveja Preta (Dark)

Sagres Cerveja Preta (Dark) from Sociedade Central de Cervejas
Rating: B-

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong.
Pours black, but not quite opaque. Reasonably sized head, some lace. Smell is predominantly of roast. Wasn't sure what to expect - definitely not a doppelbock, a schwarzbier maybe? Roast at the front of the palate, but little else to back it up. Finishes dry. Reminiscent of Xingu - must be a Portugese speaking thing. Mouthfeel lighter than expected from a beer this color, carbonation fine. Drinkability is reasonable - goes down easy, but not much to commend itself flavor-wise.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-27-2007 05:45:05

Review: Saigon Export

Saigon Export from Saigon Beer Company
Rating: C-

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong. My first Vietnamese beer, to my knowledge.

Yellow in color, clear, with a small head and no retention or lacing. Adjuncty aroma. Brown bottle, so no skunking. Taste is surprisingly sweet, definitely a tropical lager. Adjuncts are evident, mouthfeel is thicker than expected. Refreshing, I suppose, but more a soda that happens to contain alcohol than a beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-27-2007 05:41:11

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Review: Mackeson Stout

Mackeson Stout from Whitbread PLC
Rating: B

Purchased at Taste in Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong.
Jet black in appearance, fair-sized tan head. Some lacing. Aroma is predominantly of roast. Some coffee and a sour edge as well. Roast at the beginning of the palate, some coffee, slight sourness. Very distinct kahlua aftertaste. Medium body, carbonation fine. On the sweeter side, but finishes dry. Fairly drinkable, glad it's available here in HK.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 06-26-2007 14:14:06

Review: Budweiser Budvar

Budweiser Budvar from Brewery Budweiser Budvar / B.B.N.P.
Rating: B-

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong.

Appearance: Yellow in color, clear. Sizeable head, but little lace.

Smell: Smells like what it is, lagery, with grassy slightly skunky hop aromas. Flavor is of the same model, with some graininess thrown in. Mouthfeel is light, carbonation good. For all the controversy surrounding this beer, I was expecting something a little better. Not even a great czech pilsner.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-26-2007 14:09:43

Monday, 25 June 2007

Review: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout from Guinness Ltd.
Rating: B+

Purchased at Taste in Kowloon Tong.

Appearance is, as to be expected, jet black and opaque. Surprisingly dark tan head, decent-sized and leaves a good amount of lace. Aroma is of sweet molasses, with an underlying sharpness.

Lots of molasses in the flavor, with a coca cola aftertaste. Roast and chocolate are supporting. Much thicker mouthfeel than Guinness Draught (did a side-by-side: unfortunately, the regular extra stout was not available). On the sweeter side, but finishes dry, which helps drinkability. Carbonation is good. Drinkability is limited by the molasses, which I think would get cloying by beer #2.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 06-25-2007 02:34:12

Review: Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale

Olde Suffolk English (Strong Suffolk Vintage) Ale from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Rating: B+

Purchased at Taste in Hong Kong. Slightly different labeling.

One of the better written descriptions of aroma/flavor on the bottle that I've seen.

Very nice ruby/garnet color, smallish head, no lacing to speak of. Nose is of fruitcake, spice and caramel. Flavor can be described with burnt toffee, slight oak finish, and some raisin. Mouthfeel is slick, light-medium body. Carbonation on the light side but expected in the style. Drinkability is decent, might be the best beer I can readily purchase in HK so I'd better get used to it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-25-2007 02:26:53

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Review: Pemi Pale Ale

Pemi Pale Ale from Woodstock Inn, Station & Brewery
Rating: B

Thanks to barleywinebrewer for sending this one my way in the Little Guy BIF.

Appearance: Honey colored, smallish head, with little retention but good lacing (interesting combination, there...)

Smell: Sweet smelling, with honey and floral hops. A bit reminiscent of a bitter.

Taste: Sweet and floral, resolves to a solid hop bitterness. Finishes dry. I'm curious what hop variety was used here. Slight butteriness.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: This is an APA, not an IPA - or if it's an IPA, it's English - especially with those earthy/floral hops. Pretty tasty and drinkable though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-12-2007 21:02:35

Review: Cadillac Mtn. Stout

Cadillac Mtn. Stout from Bar Harbor Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Thanks to barleywinebrewer for sending this one my way in the Little Guy BIF.

Appearance: Very, very dark and opaque. Good head and retention, some lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly light aroma - I was expecting more depth. What's here is lots of roast/burnt malt, and some bitter dark chocolate. Breathing deeply reveals a boozy, alcohol aroma as well.

Taste: First few sips are disappointing. Lighter and less complex than I was expecting in a top 50 beer. Emphasis is on the roast. Not nearly as chocolatey as the label description makes it sound.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full, smooth, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable - goes down easy. That said, unremarkable and overrated.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-12-2007 15:36:12

Review: Icehouse

Icehouse from Miller Brewing Co. / SABMiller
Rating: D+

Sampled at (where else?) the Miller Ale House in Coral Springs. Might as well review it. One of those nights that $1 pints seemed like a good idea.
Appearance is wholly lacking in any kind of head - so obviously no retention or lacing. Very clear, but an unattractive yellow color.
Smell is light, lagery. Grain, sweet, and a hint of alcohol - this is an "ice" beer after all.
Taste is next to nonexistent. Slight malt, no hops flavor - just a little bitterness - and a faint touch of fruit.
Mouthfeel is light. Looked flat, but carbonation was actually fine.
Drinkability makes me wonder why I'm a beer-drinker tonight - and why I'm at this place again.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 06-12-2007 14:26:59

Review: Allagash Hugh Malone

Allagash Hugh Malone from Allagash Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Thanks to barleywinebrewer for sending this one my way. Nice label - if you're unsure of who Hugh Malone was, check hughmalone.com - short version, an Irish Republican hop picker, then Portland brewer who was known for using lots of hops in his beers. Some googling reveals that the chemical formula on the label is that of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Appearance: Darker than I was expecting, in color - orange/amber, slightly hazy. Good head, retention and lacing.

Smell: Big Belgian yeast aroma, an Allagash trademark I suppose, with plenty of spicy hops underneath. I was unsure that this beer was properly categorized, but after taking one whiff - it is. Grapefruity notes.

Taste: Much like the aroma. Definitely a Belgian ale first, and a hoppy beer second. The problem with Belgian IPAs seems to be letting *both* the yeast and the hops shine, flavor-wise. Research reveals Warrior was used - so probably an early addition, all bitterness, no flavor. That said, it works. Little Simcoe grapefruityness comes through.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation is fine. Alcohol not distracting.

Drinkability: Very good. Paired well with the seafood shishkabobs I was having.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-12-2007 14:21:02

Monday, 11 June 2007

Review: Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale

Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: A-

Appearance: Brownish purple in color, attractive. Smallish head. Little retention due to the high alcohol.

Smell: Aroma is sweet, crisp, with dark fruit and underlying hops.

Taste: Solid enough bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malts. Caramel, berry, figs, and alcohol are all part of the flavor mix. Finish/aftertaste are reminiscent of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-full body. Carbonation a little light, but makes sense for the style.

Drinkability: Good, but alcohol is high and becomes increasingly "hot" as the beer warms.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-11-2007 19:53:11

Review: Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A

Split a bottle of this with BA roller.

Appearance: Black as the night - maybe darker. Biiig dark-tan head. Good retention despite the high alcohol, and good lacing.

Smell: Somewhat boozy. Dark chocolate, some hint of vanilla.

Taste: Lots of dark, bitter chocolate. Roast and coffee follow up in the background. Vanilla shows up at the finish. Not nearly as bitter as I recall the original Yeti, I suppose the result of the aging.

Mouthfeel: So thick and creamy. Could be a meal. Carbonation is fine (actually, a little high, had to wait for the head to go down to take my first sip, but that gave plenty of opportunity to enjoy the aroma)

Drinkability: Smoother and more drinkable than the regular Yeti, but perhaps not as intense an experience.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-11-2007 19:03:27

Review: Gordon

Gordon from Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Rating: A-

Only my second craft beer from a can (following Dale's Pale, also from Oskar Blues)

Appearance: Very red in color, attractive, little bit of orange tinting. Good head, retention, and lacing.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, with fresh hops underlying.

Taste: Sweeter than I was expecting, but not unbalanced - plenty of hops to go around here. Alcohol is understated.

Mouthfeel: Full body but not syrupy. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: A solid DIPA, although sweeter than I generally prefer. And you have to love the idea of a DIPA from a can.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 06-11-2007 18:58:26

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Review: Headwall Alt

Headwall Alt from Tuckerman Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

Thanks to barleywinebrewer for sending this in the Little Guy BIF.

Appearance: Very rich, garnet color. Clear. Good sized head. Falls, but leaves a fine layer at the surface. Plenty of lacing.

Smell: Aroma is very mild, but that's to be expected in the style I suppose.

Taste: Malt, toast, hint of roastyness. Bitterness balances, but doesn't stand out. Some ale fruitiness remains, but finishes on a dry grainy note.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation. Smooth & creamy.

Drinkability: I like this one, quite drinkable. Alcohol unlisted, but likely low enough to be drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-09-2007 21:55:31

Review: Black Duke Dark

Black Duke Dark from Brewzzi Italian American Bistro & Microbrewery
Rating: C+

Sampled at the Boca Raton location, after an Amber/Pale Ale that I neglected to get the name of. Brown/garnet in color, clear. Miniscule head, little retention, no lacing (could be blamed on the pour). Very light aroma, some malt. Flavor was likewise light: malt, maybe a bit of chocolate. Body was light, carbonation was fine. Drinkability wasn't bad - goes down easy, just lighter than preferred.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 06-09-2007 21:47:25

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Review: Hoppin' Mad Trout Ale

Hoppin' Mad Trout Ale from Trout River Brewing Company
Rating: C

Thanks to barleywinebrewer for shipping this my way in the Little Guy BIF. Rather fruity label.

Appearance: More golden/yellow than the orange/amber I was expecting. Smallish head, exhibiting little retention. Hazy.

Smell: Strong berry-like fruit/yeast aroma. Slight herbal hoppy note.

Taste: That same berry flavor dominates. Bitterness shows up in the finish, but that's the only hint that this is a pale ale. Hop character is all very subdued. Unimpressive, on the whole.

Mouthfeel: Light mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Low. A bit disappointed in this one.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-07-2007 19:54:39

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Review: Black Dog Ale

Black Dog Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
Rating: B-

Surprised there are so few reviews. Glad I can contribute towards actually getting a rating. Confused by the label: originating in Montana, but the brewery listing is in California, and my bottle says it was brewed in Frederick, MD. What the...?

Appearance: Rough pour coaxed a decent two finger head, that exhibited good retention and lacing. Color is a little light of garnet, brown tints.

Smell: Biscuit and a sharp, vaguely sour malt aroma predominate. Hints of caramel and hops.

Taste: Mediocre. Bitterness is astringent, not flavorful. Biscuit-heavy malt profile. Some caramel, then a grainy astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely fits the style - malt dominates the flavor, same biscuit-heaviness that's so prominent in Fat Tire. That said, pick up Fat Tire or Nugget Nectar instead.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-06-2007 03:08:18

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Review: Gonzo Imperial Porter

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: A-

Had this one at Stubbie in Gainesville. Liked it so much I might pick up the oak aged version, currently at Ward's.

Appearance: Very dark brown/black, opaque, good head retention, some lacing.

Smell: Lots of chocolate, hints of espresso. Appealing.

Taste: Again, lots of bitter, dark chocolate. A little spice, coffee too.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! This one's a winner.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-05-2007 03:53:25

Review: Palone

Palone from Browar Okocim S.A. (Carlsberg)
Rating: B-

Drawn to this one by the label, an affinity for the porter, and the $1.99 price tag.

Appearance: Garnet tinted brown in color, good head, decent retention, no lacing.

Smell: Clearly a lager - light, malty aroma.

Taste: Bockish, slight toast and smoke. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation a little light.

Drinkability: I drank it slow, but it was decent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-05-2007 03:43:14

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Review: Atwater Salvation IPA

Atwater Salvation IPA from Atwater Block Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: orange/copper in color, as one would expect from the style. decent head and retention.

Smell: Citrusy hops dominate the aroma. Clear this is a hoppy beer.

Taste: A lot like the nose - citrusy hops dominate. Malt levels seem decent for an AIPA, but what this lacks is complexity. Very straightforward, this beer.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, carbonation is fine.

Drinkability: Drinkable, but not exemplary of the style.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-01-2007 23:02:27

Friday, 1 June 2007

Review: Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale

Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale from Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V.
Rating: B-

Reviewed by two Gators in a row, it would seem.

Appearance: Garnet in color, very clear, smallish head with little retention. Bizarre label.

Smell: Aroma is on the lighter side, sweet malts predominant - caramel, some nuttiness.

Taste: Enough sharpness of carbonation and hops bitterness to balance the sweetness of all these dark malts. Caramel, dark fruits (cherry?). A hint of nuttiness shows up in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation seems sharp on the tongue, but strangely didn't produce a huge head and there's not a consistent stream of bubbles. Medium body.

Drinkability: From a Dutch brewery, I was expecting something more along the lines of a British brown ale than a Belgian dark ale. Not what I was expecting, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 06-01-2007 22:51:11

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Review: Mythos Hellenic Lager Beer

Mythos Hellenic Lager Beer from Mythos Breweries S.A.
Rating: C

Sampled at a Greek restaurant (coincidentally of the same name) in Coral Springs.

Appearance: Poured from a green bottle, yellowish and clear in color, very small head with little retention, no lacing.

Smell: Strongly grainy, slightly sulfurous aroma. Not appealing.

Taste: Flavor is grainy, grassy and somewhat sharp hop character, especially in the aftertaste. Finishes on the right note, but aftertaste is unappealing.

Mouthfeel: More body than I expected, light-medium, nothing noteable.

Drinkability: Another boring euro lager, but since it was available at the Greek restaurant I was at, it was a natural choice.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-24-2007 18:08:53

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Review: Baltika #5 Gold

Baltika #5 Gold from Pivzavod Baltika / Baltic Beverages Holding
Rating: C

Appearance: Light golden in color, very clear. Big white head, but little retention and no lacing.

Smell: Sweet, grainy aroma. No hint of skunk, despite the clear bottle.

Taste: Very light, grainy like cereal. Enough hops bitterness to balance the light malt sweetness, but no real hop flavor. That said, probably not a bad lawnmower beer. Aftertaste is vegetative.

Mouthfeel: Light mouthfeel, carbonation fine.

Drinkability: For what it is - very light and boring - it's fairly refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-19-2007 23:50:35

Friday, 18 May 2007

Review: White Hawk Original IPA

White Hawk Original IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
Rating: B-

Appearance: Orange-amber in color, just as expected for an AIPA. Nice head, decent retention, some lacing.

Smell: citrusy and juicy hops, hints of malt but hops are definitely in the fore. Maybe a bit one-dimensional.

Taste: Much like the nose in profile. Bit of a bite to it, piney. The 7% alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, well-carbonated.

Drinkability: Average IPA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-18-2007 01:50:20

Review: ACME California Pale Ale

ACME California Pale Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: B-

Appearance: Different bottle than that pictured, more retro in theme. Pours fairly light amber in color, decent head, good retention, some lacing.

Smell: A little off-putting at first, some over-ripe fruit over citrusy hops.

Taste: Tastes better than it smells. A little lacking: sweet grain, enough hops bitterness to balance, but not a huge amount of discernible hops flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Wouldn't want another.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-18-2007 01:46:09

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Review: Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Rating: B

Came in a brown bottle rather than the clear one shown in the picture, and a more normal shape too..

Appearance: Smallish head over a rich, ruddy body. Some retention. Very clear, few bubbles streaming up from the bottom - appears lightly carbonated. Some lacing.

Smell: Fairly light aroma - sweet caramely malts, some ale fruitiness. Fills out a bit as it warms.

Taste: Some cola like caramel, and toasted malts. I don't really pick up any diacetyl. Some nuttiness in the aftertaste. Not molasses-y like Newcastle.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation on second thought is fine.

Drinkability: Sessionable - much better than Newcastle.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-17-2007 01:22:36

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Review: Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Rating: B

Appearance: Light orangey amber in color, very clear, one finger head with decent retention. Lighter color than I would expect in an English IPA, but spot on for an American.

Smell: More malt than expected in the nose. English (apparently it's Goldings?) rather than citrusy American hops.

Taste: Hops are much more assertive on the palate than in the nose. Bitterness is in the fore, hops flavors take a back seat - I guess that's the magnum at work. Finishes on a kind of odd berry note (distinctly reminds me, strangely enough, of the SA Longshot boysenberry beer). Interesting that malt and hops switched positions between the smell and the taste.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: I wonder what they were shooting for here. Historical authenticity might explain the emphasis on bitterness rather than hop flavor, but I would have expected a darker color and more malt, too, in that case. In any case, interesting but the supremacy of SNPA & Celebration remains secure.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-16-2007 22:01:22

Review: Warsteiner Premium Dunkel

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel from Warsteiner Brauerei
Rating: B

Appearance: Poured into a crystal pilsener glass, looks like rootbeer in color. Clear, with a very small head, and mediocre retention. No lacing.

Smell: grassy, less malt than expected from the color, and surprisingly (considering the low percentage), some alcohol.

Taste: Grassy, somewhat bitter hop character hits the tongue first, reminiscent of a pilsner. Malty finish that's almost reminiscent of malted milk balls, the way it leaves your mouth feeling. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light in body, well-carbonated.

Drinkability: Quaffable, but not memorable. Certainly an improvement over the regular warsteiner.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-16-2007 20:53:41

Monday, 14 May 2007

Review: Baltika #6 Porter

Baltika #6 Porter from Pivzavod Baltika / Baltic Beverages Holding
Rating: B+

Appearance: Very dark, opaque, good head, retention and some lacing.

Smell: Roast, coffee, chocolate - very typical porter profile, nothing in the way of smoke.

Taste: Lacks the hint of smokiness I expect in a Baltic porter. Fairly typical profile: coffee, chocolate, roast, hints of fruit & caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Wouldn't be bad as an introductory porter, though I yearn for a hint of smokiness... Solid for what it is, though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-14-2007 00:58:38