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