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

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Review: Baltika #8 Wheat

Baltika #8 Wheat from Pivzavod Baltika / Baltic Beverages Holding
Rating: B-

Two four packs of Baltika products were available at the local Fresh Market, each with a different selection. I picked this one, more or less randomly - might have to come back for the other one.

Appearance: Pours with a very big white head! Golden in color. Good head retention. No lacing.

Smell: Clove is the most recognizable wheat beer aroma present, some banana and grain as well. I'm curious what temperature this was fermented at, my guess is lower than typical ale temperature, since the aromas are a bit lighter than I would have expected.

Taste: Solid wheat beer flavor profile. A bit tough to classify, I wouldn't think it's hoppy enough to count as an American Pale Wheat, but it's not cloudy so not a hefe - maybe a kristalweizen, but I'd expect more bubblegum... Fair malt backbone. Banana finally shows up a bit in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium in body, carbonation not as high as it looked immediately when poured.

Drinkability: Quaffable. I'm looking forward to trying the porter more.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-13-2007 02:51:28

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Review: Steelhead Double IPA

Steelhead Double IPA from Mad River Brewing Company
Rating: B-

Appearance: Darker orange/amber in color with a decent head. Yeast floaties, despite having been in the refrigerator for a while. Not much lace.

Smell: Aroma is unsurprisingly heavy on hops, citrus, assertive...

Taste: Dominated by aggressive hops. Not a well-balanced double IPA, in my opinion - and same for the friend I was tasting with. The hops are there for the sake of being obnoxiously bitter rather than for flavor, which is fairly indistinct. Some malt sweetness, but it's easily overwhelmed. Need a significant pause between sips before you feel like taking another. This from two regular IPA drinkers. Disappointing.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body, carbonation seemed fine.

Drinkability: Struggled to finish one bottle. After reading some other reviews, I wonder whether the brewery is having problems with consistency: some say barely any hops, others say vinegar, others (like me) are astonished by the lack of balance.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-10-2007 16:50:55

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Review: Trappistes Rochefort 8

Trappistes Rochefort 8 from Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy)
Rating: A-

Appearance: Garnet in color, clear. Lots of carbonation clinging to the inside of the glass. One finger white head, exceptionally fine and smooth-looking. Retention is lacking, however.

Smell: Raisins and a whiff of.... red wine vinegar? Some spice and sweet cake aromas as well.

Taste: Malt character is rich and cakey - bready, but sweet and light. Spice, alcohol is well concealed. Finishes nice and crisp. Very good. Some graininess in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! Fairly light for the style and easy-drinking.

Serving type: bottle

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

Friday, 4 May 2007

Review: Affligem Blond

Affligem Blond from Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
Rating: B+

Appearance: Gold in color, clear, big head with good retention. Some lacing.

Smell: Very typical Belgian Pale Ale kind of aroma: spice, Belgian yeast, faint fruit and alcohol.

Taste: Citrus and some spice, not as "Belgian" tasting as the nose suggests.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation on the high side.

Drinkability: Drinkable, for sure, and at 7% easier to session than Duvel or La Fin (though not as good, to be sure).

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-04-2007 17:26:46

Review: Xingu Black Beer

Xingu Black Beer from Cervejaria Sul Brasileira
Rating: B-

Appearance: Very dark, little head with hardly any retention and no lacing.

Smell: Hardly any aroma at all. I know this is a lager, but come on - maybe a slight whiff of malt, but that's it.

Taste: Obviously malt dominated, but avoids being sweet. Finishes on a dryer, spicy note. Very slight roast.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, not-quite-medium in body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Surprised that this is "the beer" from Brazil that you always see. Not awful, but not something I'll order again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-04-2007 17:23:23

Review: Doppelbock Dunkel

Doppelbock Dunkel from Brewery Castle Eggenberg
Rating: B-

I'm a bit surprised there are so few reviews of this one. Sampled at Stubbie in Gainesville, poured into a tall, thin Kulmbacher glass.

Appearance: Dark mahogany color, some head with decent retention, little lacing.

Smell: Typical dopplebock aromas: malt, but lagery-clean. Some caramel and alcohol.

Taste: Sweet malts, rounded off with hints of cocoa and caramel. A bit more alcohol than I prefer in the flavor, finishes on that note. Kind of a strange finish, really, not sure it's the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad, but the Optimator I had before this one was better.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-04-2007 17:17:04

Review: Troublette

Troublette from Brasserie Caracole
Rating: A-

Appearance: Exactly as one expect for the style, hazy and pale gold. Nice head. At Stubbie, served in a unique Troublette glass.

Smell: Citrus, spice (corriander) and plenty of Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste: First thought was that it was surprisingly dry for the style, something I approve of. Typical wit flavors, same profile as the nose. Light and easy-drinking, not a "heavy" wit - I could drink more than one bottle of this.

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

Drinkability: High - a nice very drinkable witbier.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-04-2007 17:07:04

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Review: Chateau Jiahu

Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B

Split a 750ml bottle of this while watching a good Hong Kong movie.

Appearance: Very hazy, pale golden - almost like a witbier or hefeweizen in color and haziness. In terms of head, very meager - little retention, no lacing.

Smell: Interesting for sure: sweet-smelling fruitiness, but not sickly at all. Better than expected aroma.

Taste: Also better than expected - much better than the Midas Touch, in my opinion. This one is vinous, with some spice and herb notes. Fruit. Very different kind of malt character. Not too sweet, despite the lack of hops.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, carbonation okay.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good for such a strange beer. The story is a plus, too.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 05-01-2007 17:32:59