Friday, December 31, 2010
I ordered a glass of Rogue Santa's Private Reserve while out for my birthday in Pittsburgh at Buffalo Blues. The beer pours an amber color with a filmy white head that is barely present. The aroma consists of caramel and sweet malts. The taste is sweet at first before toasted malts kick in and dry out the mouth. Helping the dryness as well is that cinnamon comes out to play as well. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. All of the flavors in this beer come together is a nice spiciness that is balanced well with sweet malts.
On my birthday weekend in Pittsburgh, I ordered a glass of Philadelphia Brewing Winter Wunder at Buffalo Blues. The beer pours a dark amber color that is almost brown with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists of toasted malts with chocolate accents. The taste is chocolate with toasted malts and a good pine hop accent. The 6.5% ABV. The Winter Wunder is a delicious brew that has a good balance of toasted malts and chocolate without sacrificing the hops in the beer.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
While at Bocktown in Pittsburgh, I ordered a glass of Penn Brewing Company Brewer's Choice Rye P.A. The beer pours a dark amber color with a frothy white head. There is a malty aroma with caramel and rye dominating the nose. The taste is big on caramel with a wonderful rye accent and a good dry pine hop bite on the finish. The after taste left in the mouth is dry but quite pleasant. The alcohol content isn't available online, but I would estimate it around 7.0% ABV. I really enjoyed the caramel and rye interaction on my tongue, as they are complete opposites yet compliment each other quite well. Overall, this is a very drinkable beer with great flavors.
While out for my birthday in Pittsburgh at Buffalo Blues, I ordered a glass of Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA. The beer pours a red amber color with a filmy white head. The aroma is sweet with light hints of caramel. The taste is big on caramel and toffee but the finish is lightly watery and leads way to a slight hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. While I noticed that the beer received mostly positive reviews on Beer Advocate, I thought that the Hop Ottin IPA was very disappointing. Overall, there was not enough oomph in the finish or enough hops to balance out the caramel sweetness that comes on the front end of the beer.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I was given a bottle of East End Coffee Porter (known as Eye Opener Coffee Porter, but don't get Scott from East End started on that one) for my birthday from my friend Brad. The beer pours a deep black color with a frothy mocha color head. The aroma consists of rich dark chocolate with hints of fresh coffee roasting in the nostrils and some molasses. The taste is smooth and immediately hits with the rich chocolate that was in the aroma before dark roasted malts kick in mixed with a wonderful helping of coffee. The finish on the beer is dry and some molasses kicks in with a mocha and cream flavor. The after taste has a sweet sugary coffee flavor and the toasted malts linger on the tongue. The alcohol content is 6.8% ABV. The Coffee Porter has a delicate and perfect balance between coffee and chocolate, especially the rich dark chocolate. On a long winter's night, this beer is a perfect chocolaty treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
I picked up a bottle of Stone Lukcy 13asartd (read: Stone Lucky Bastard) from Al's of Hampden and was really excited to try it. This beer is a blend of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale, and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale for the 13th Anniversary of the Arrogant Bastard. The beer pours a read amber color with and frothy white head. The aroma consists of sweet malts with caramel, oak, cherry, flowers, and light hints of lemon and grapefruit. The taste is big and explosive with a big bag of floral hops that provide a nice helping of lemon and grapefruit. Following the hop bomb, a nice smooth caramel flavor comes out on the tongue that is also candy-like. The finish brings out some oak flavors with a hint of of orange and orange. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. The Lukcy 13asartd is an amazing beer that has so much going on for both hop heads and with a wonderful sweet background. The citrus accents are very pleasant and really provide a nice balance to this beer that even has the oak accents peek through.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I stopped in to Al's of Hampden to pick up a growler of Shmaltz Brewing He'brew Rejewvenator 2010 (Year of the Gape). The beer pours a purplish red color with a bubbly off-white head. The aroma consists of sweet malts, grapes, and floral hops. The taste is sweet and malty, grape juice accents, some Belgian yeast, candisugar, and a slightly sour finish. The mouth feel is big and bready and the after taste lingers in the mouth with an earthy and floral bite. The alcohol content is 8.2% ABV. The addition of the grape juice definitely makes this beer lean to the sweet side, but not in a bad way. There is a lot going on, so a second glass is recommended to full gather all of the flavors.
My coworker Greg was home in Long Island and decided to pick up a growler to bring home of Greenport Harbor Anti-Freeze, a winter warmer. The beer pours a brown color with red hues and a thin a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of toasted malts with some nutmeg hidden in there. The taste is mostly toasted malts with cinnamon and nutmeg accents. The Anti-Freeze has a dry but warming finish and a light dry chocolate flavor peeks through in the after taste. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would estimate it to be around 7.0% ABV. Greenport has only been around for about one year, and they have provided a solid winter warmer that does not over do any of the spices placed in the beer, which is very commendable.
Monday, December 27, 2010
I stopped in to Al's of Hampden to pick up a growler of Avery DuganA Double IPA. The beer pours a golden amber color with a lofty foamy white head. The aroma consists of sweet and sugary grapefruit and a great pine accent. The taste is smooth and creamy with a wonderful grapefruit flavor that taste like sugar has been placed on top of it. The pine flavor comes on the finish and balances out the sweetness delicately. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. The sweet grapefruit balance with the alcohol content and pine hop bitterness in this beer was up there with best of the double IPAs that I have every had.
Another beer I ordered at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party was Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA. The beer pours an orange amber color with a filmy white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit and sugar, similar to cutting a fresh one on a Saturday morning and dousing it with sugar. The taste has plenty of grapefruit as hinted in the aroma with some pine and lemon hop accents. The caramel base to the beer was extremely pleasant and was balanced with a light bite. The alcohol content is 6.7% ABV. Two Brothers has provided a wonderful IPA that smells and taste like fresh grapefruit, a very enjoyable experience for me.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I felt lucky that TJ's, for their 7th Anniversary Party, was able to acquire some Troegs Scratch 38- India Pale Ale, the second in a series of four IPAs testing for the new Perpetual IPA release. The beer pours a golden color with a lofty and foamy white head. The aroma is grassy with plenty of fresh grapefruit hops. The taste is smooth and creamy with a light caramel flavor. There is a good lemon and pine accent on the finish, providing a wonderful balance to the caramel that doesn't bite the tongue too hard. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I feel like with this second IPA, Troegs is inching closer to a wonderful IPA release. I think by the fourth, they will have provided one of the premier IPAs available, but that is a very bold statement.
One of the highlight beers at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party was a beer brewed for them by Sly Fox called 7th Anniversary Ale, a British Pale Ale. The beer pours a golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma is lightly hoppy with some wheat mixed in there, but is not very powerful. The taste has a lot of pale ale malts that are lightly toasted and a good, fresh, bitter hop bite. The alcohol content is 5.4% ABV. Overall, the 7th Anniversary Ale was very delicious and refreshing, and at 5.4% is was the most sessionable beer on the menu.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
The beer that I most anticipated at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party was Troegs Mad Elf Randallized with brandied cherries. For those of you not familiar with a Randall, Dogfish Head created a vessel that bars can add ingredients to run the beer though, changing the complexity of the beer. Some people have thought of this as a gimmick and an insult to the original intent of the brewer. My take: it allows for beer bars to do some interesting things with the beer that you wouldn't get from the brewery. If you don't like the idea, simply order the original beer that is not Randallized.
Anyways, the Mad Elf pours a bright red color (it seemed brighter than normal Mad Elf, but is that possible?) with a foamy white head. The aroma is big on the cherry with a sugary sweetness, most of the alcohol being covered up by the cherries. The taste is sweet and smooth with no alcohol bite at all which was completely surprising. There is bit of a brandy accent but definitely was not overwhelming nor did it change the beer much. The alcohol content of Mad Elf is 11.0% ABV, so I would assume this to be similar, even thought it is possible that the brandy could have added some alcohol content. From the Randall, the Mad Elf had so much cherry flavors that made it amazingly delicious and allowed the chocolate to come back on the finish with brandy.
One of the beers I ordered at TJ's 7th Anniversary party was the collaboration from Port Brewing and Pizza Port called Older Viscosity. The beer pours a black color with a thin tan head. The aroma is full of bourbon with some chocolate nibs and cocoa. The taste is in your face and upfront with bourbon before smoothing and sweetening to a wonderful and delicate chocolate flavor. There is a light toasted malt accent with some coffee and and toffee. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. The beer had such warming qualities, both in the cheeks and the throat, that it is one of the perfect winter beers to drink. The chocolate flavor in it is immaculate and the bourbon just completes the package.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Of all the beers that were on the draft board at TJ's in Paoli 7th Anniversary Party, the Hitachino Nest XH, Sake Aged Strong Ale, caught my eye. The beer pours a red amber color with a foamy off-white color head. The aroma is sweet citrusy with orange and tangerine being the dominant aromas. The taste is sweet and smooth with a carbonation bite, sweet orange and tangerine flavors, sweet malts, and caramel. The sake comes out to play on the finish. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. Overall, the XH aged in sake barrels was delicious and provided a wonderful fruity taste complimented by the perfect amount of carbonation.
I ordered a glass of Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodisiaque at TJ's 7th Anniversary Party, and even though the keg kicked mid-pour, I still got enough of a sample to do a review. The beer pours a black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of vanilla and sawdust, which sounds worse than it was. The taste is smooth and silky with lots of milk chocolate and some dry coffee on the finish. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV. What an amazing beer the Aphrodisiaque was. It was like silk being poured over the tongue with a wonderful compliment of sweet chocolaty flavors.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
At the 7th Anniversary Event at TJ's in Paoli, I ordered a glass of Allagash Interlude, an American wild ale. The beer pours an orange color with absolutely no head. The aroma consists of yeast, cherry, and is slightly sour. The taste is smooth and sweet with cherry, grape, and a slightly sour finish. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I thought the Interlude was really good and was only lightly sour, similar to a jolly rancher and did not make my face pucker. I highly recommend this beer if you are hesitant to drink a sour beer, and it has a great sweet balance as well.
I picked up a bottle of Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Al's of Hampden on a whim based on my love of the Great Divide beers I had in Denver. The beer pours a golden amber color with a lofty foamy head that laces to the glass. The aroma consists of fresh lemon and bitey pine with a light caramel background; this is a spring morning in the forest. The taste starts with a light caramel base before a big lemon wave takes over the tongue. On the finish, the fresh pine accents come into play and really round out the flavor. The alcohol content is 6.1% ABV. The Fresh Hop Pale Ale was a wonderfully crafted beer with a lovely helping of fresh hops, a great lemon accent, all built on top a solid caramel base.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I ordered a glass of Terrapin Gamma Ray, a wheatwine, from Shady McGrady's in downtown Harrisburg. The beer pours a golden orange color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists orange and candisugar. The taste is sweet and big with lots of orange, banana, candisugar, and some lemon cream. There is a light alcohol bite on the finish and the after taste is a bit dry. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. I was quite impressed with my first wheatwine and I enjoyed the fruitiness aspect of the beer alongside the candisugar sweetness.
I stopped in to Appalachian Brewing Company to try the beer that won ABC's Home Brew Contest, Montebello Farm Belgian Dubbel. The beer pours a dark copper color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma is big with raisin, alcohol, and fig. The taste is sweet and has lots of raisin, fig, caramel, and candisugar. Some Belgian yeast and spices hit on the finish. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 8% ABV. Overall, I thought the beer could be perceived as a little watered down in the body but made up for the lack of body on the finish with a great amount of spices.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I received a bottle of Thornbridge Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout from Lee of Hoptopia in a beer trade. The beer pours a dark black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, and molasses. The taste is sweet and dry with a large dark chocolate profile, some coffee and molasses accents, and a very dry and bitter chocolate finish. The alcohol content is 7.7% ABV. The deep and dark chocolate profile of the Saint Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout is quite enjoyable in a bitter and sweet heaven.
I was given a bottle of GBGH (Go Big or Go Home) Brewing Pain in the BIPA in a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia. The beer pours a dark amber color with a lofty and foamy tan head that seems to keep growing as the beer settles. The aroma consists of sweet chocolate malts balanced nicely with fresh pine hops that also have hints of grapefruit. The taste has a good chocolate and coffee base that finishes dry with a good helping of pine hops. The grapefruit comes through in the finish as well, which sweetens up the bitter hops. The after taste is bittering with coffee and pine. Lingering long after drinking is a bit of a mint flavor which was quite surprising and enjoyable. This beer has a great amount of carbonation that allows the flavors to fully envelop the tongue. The alcohol content isn't available, but I would guess it to be around 7.0% ABV. I was very impressed with the first home brew from GBGH and look forward to future releases. The chocolate and pine flavors really came out in this beer in their own right and made it an enjoyable brew.
Monday, December 20, 2010
On my first visit to Honeygo Wines, I picked up a bottle of Brewery Van Steenberge Witches' Brew Golden Ale. The beer pours a golden color with an extremely lofty and foamy off-white head that leaps out of the glass, due to the bottle conditions. The aroma consists of sweet candisugar and Belgian yeast with hints of grape. The taste is sweet and bubbly with a lot of Belgian yeast and candisugar and a lovely light bubbly mouth feel. The is an earthy hop finish with the beer that balances out the sweetness and the alcohol bites the sides of the mouth. The alcohol content is 9.3% ABV. While the sweetness in this beer is quite excellent, the earthy hop balance is what is most surprising and enjoyable.
My girlfriend picked up a bottle of Lagunitas Censored (aka The Kronic), a rich copper ale, from Honeygo Wines in Maryland and gave me some to try. The aroma consists of sweet with lots of caramel and toffee. The taste is sweet and full of caramel and toffee that is lightly toasted. The alcohol content is 5.9% ABV. This is somewhat of a bready brew, but the caramel and toffee really sweeten the overall flavor of the beer.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I picked up a bottle of Terrapin So Fresh & So Green, Green from Al's of Hampden. The beer pours a honey amber color with a a frothy white head. The aroma consists of a sweet caramel base with fresh pine and earthy hops; there is also a light accent of lemon. The taste is lightly malty with some caramel and tea flavors with a light hint of honey. The hops are fresh tasting and add an earthy component to the beer. The alcohol content is 6.6% ABV. This beer is light-bodied and very easy to drink. The freshness put this beer on another level and adds the great tea and honey accents.
I grabbed a bottle of White Birch Belgian Style Pale Ale (Batch Number 7) from Al's of Hampden, especially since I have heard very good things about this beer. The beer pours a straw yellow color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of grapes, Belgian yeast, candisugar, and wheat. The taste is smooth and sweet with a grape flavors coming on the front end before the Belgian yeast and candisugar hit the tongue. The mouth feel is very bubbly and the beer finishes slightly dry. The alcohol content is 7.8% ABV. I really enjoyed how bubbly and sweet this beer was, especially with the grape flavor that comes in the beer. I recommend trying this beer if you can get your hands on a bottle.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
While at Al's of Hampden, I ordered a glass of Coronado Idiot IPA. The beer pours a golden color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit, pine, and sugar. The taste is smooth and creamy with a very round mouth feel. There is lots of grapefruit in this beer, which gives it a rather sweet start with a bit of tangerine shining through before transitioning into a bitter pine finish. The alcohol content is 8% ABV. The Idiot IPA was an amazing beer and my ideal type of India Pale Ale. I love the grapefruit profile and the transition from sweet to bitter.
Al's of Hampden tapped a keg of Terrapin Capt'n Krunkles, and I hurried over to grab a glass before it was all gone. The beer pours a deep black color with a frothy tan head. There is a faint chocolate aroma, but it is not very prevalent. The taste has a toasted malt base with lots of carbonation, chocolate, and pine hops. A lot of sweetness comes out of this beer in the form of espresso and molasses. There is a drying finish with earthy hop accents. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I thought the Capt'n Krunkles Black IPA was amazingly delicious and provided a wonderful balance of sweetness and bittering hops.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I was at Ceolta's in downtown Harrisburg to check out a band and I noticed that they had bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, so I ordered one to give it a try. The beer pours a black color with a lofty foamy tan head. The aroma is big on chocolate, which is not as prominent in the regular Guinness, coffee, dark fruits and cream. The taste is bubbly and carbonated with a chocolate base. The chocolate flavor transitions into a sweet dark fruit flavor with creamy accents before transitioning to a dry coffee finish. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I really enjoyed the Foreign Extra Stout, even more so than Guinness, but if I had one complaint I would say that the mouth feel was a little too bubbly.
I stopped in to McGrath's in downtown Harrisburg and ordered a glass of Copper Crow [no website, formerly the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery] IPA. The beer pours a copper color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with a lot of lemon, pine and pepper. The taste has a nice sweet caramel base before bittering to lemon and pine with a bitey and piney finish. The alcohol content is 7.3% ABV. I wasn't blown away by this IPA, and the beer may actually be too bitter for its own good. The hops really dry out the mouth and can almost cause a pucker.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Waiting in line at the Troegs brewery at 6:00 AM for a beer in 20-degree weather makes the anticipation for the beer rise exponentially. The beer waited for was Splinter Black, a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs and turbinado sugar and aged in oak barrels with Ugandan Gold vanilla beans. The cork pops off of the bottle and the beer pours a thick, dark black color that looks like syrup with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists of a truck load of chocolate with hints of vanilla and the oak smells like the lumber yard of a Home Depot (which is quite therapeutic to me). The taste is bright and awakening with lots of roasted malts, plenty of chocolate, a nice vanilla accent, and a sugary sweetness. The finish of the beer is a little dry but with a chocolate sweetness. Lots of carbonation comes out to play in the after taste with a roasted malt after taste. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. Wow, is this beer smooth and silky across the tongue with a wonderful and delicate chocolate flavor. The roasted flavors balance well with the dry chocolate infused in the beer with the perfect splash of vanilla. If you have a chance to grab this bottle before it's gone, do not pass up the opportunity.
I picked up a bottle of De Struise Brouwers Black Albert from Al's of Hampden. The beer pours a black color with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate, vanilla, and toasted malts. The taste is smooth and full of chocolate, a good toasted malt accent, vanilla, and a big alcohol bite. The finish kicks in with some coffee dryness and molasses sweetness. The alcohol content is 13.0% ABV. Despite being a big beer, this brew really has a smooth and sweet character to it. There are hints of the alcohol bite, but the chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and molasses really focus in the profile of the beer.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Luckily, I was able to reserve a case of the Samuel Adams-Weihenstephan collaboration Infinium from brass Rail in Campbelltown. A lot of hype has surrounded this beer, so naturally high expectations followed. The cork pops off of the bottle with a loud pop similar to champagne; a good start. Pouring into the glass, the beer pours a golden color with a very foamy white head. The aroma consists of apple, grape, pear, lemon, and wheat. The taste is light and bubbly on the tongue with a sweet fruity flavor that has bits of apple, pear, lemon zest, and grape. The finish of the beer has a crisp, bubbly bite, again similar to champagne, with a white wine (read grape-like) finish. The alcohol content is 10.3% ABV. Did the Infinium live up to the hype. In simple terms, yes it did. The press surrounding the beer advertised it as a champagne-like beer with a good helping of fruits. Overall, the Infinium was a crisp and clean beer that was enjoyable to drink, and I cannot wait to share it with others on New Year's Eve.
As part of a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia, I received a bottle of Mikkeller Big/Worse. The beer pours a copper color with a bubbly off-white head. The aroma is sweet and consists of raisin, fig, dark fruits, and dark bread. The taste is sweet at first before the alcohol really punches the tongue. Caramel, raisin, fig, and dark fruits come into play before a drying hoppy finish. Hints of oak linger in the after taste. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. This is no pansy barleywine. The alcohol makes its presence known and really warms the throat, but does have great balancing flavors of caramel, fig, and dark fruits.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I acquired a bottle of the Mikkeller/Brew Dog collaboration I Hardcore You from Lee at Hoptopia through a beer trade. The beer pours an orange-copper color with a lofty frothy white head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts with lemon and pine fresh hops that really infiltrate the nose. The taste is sweet and lemony at first before transitioning into a bitter pine hop bite. There is a bit of underlying toffee and the finish is somewhat grassy and warming. The after taste brings back the bitter hops and a light lemon splash. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I thought the blending of this beer was masterful between the breweries, and the caramel sweetness was perfectly balanced with bitter lemon and pine.
My coworker Greg picked me up a few bottles of Blue Point Pumpkin Ale when he was home on Long Island. The beer pours a golden color with amber hues and a frothy white head. The aroma consists of nutmeg and cinnamon with sweet pumpkin undertones. The taste is sweet and creamy with pumpkin on the front end before transitioning into light cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg spices. The finish is lightly watered down, so the spices don't bite as hard as they do with some pumpkin beers. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 6.0% ABV. This is nicely balanced pumpkin beer that doesn't dry out too much on the finish.
Monday, December 13, 2010
I ordered a glass of Rogue Mogul Madness from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore. The Rogue Mogul Madness is a Black IPA and pours a dark brown color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon and pine with caramel. The taste is dry with lemon and pine, spruce, and a good caramel finish. Overall, the beer is big on lemon but not as black in color as expected. The alcohol content is 6.2% ABV. I enjoyed the lemon and pine profile of this beer as it balanced out the caramel sweetness from the beer. The spruce accents only made it more enjoyable to drink.
My girlfriend ordered a glass of Peak Organic Winter Session Ale from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore and allowed me to try the beer. She is a big fan of organic foods and was really excited about the prospect of an organic beer. The beer pours a copper color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with peaches. The taste is really focused on peaches that are almost cobbler-like with some accents of caramel and a good malt flavor. The alcohol content is 5% ABV. I was somewhat surprised at the peach flavor in this beer, especially a sweet peach cobbler flavor, but it was quite enjoyable. However, I almost find the beer to be an oxymoron, as winter beers are typically higher alcohol content and not sessionable.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
My girlfriend ordered a glass of Mikkeller Yeast Series: Brettanomyces from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore and allowed me to try it. The beer pours a dark amber color with a lacy off-white head. The aroma consists heavily of grapefruit with grapes, yeast, and toasted caramel. The taste is smooth with toasted caramel at first before it transitions into a dry grapefruit flavor. There is lingering pine and spruce flavors on the finish. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. I really enjoyed the Brettanomyces Single Yeast beer from Mikkeller, but the dryness from the grapefruit can easily put off several beer drinkers. It really bitters on the finish and can really tire out the palate quickly.
While at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore, I ordered a glass of Flying Dog Single Hop Imperial IPA (Simcoe). The beer pours a golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit and sugar with pine hints. The taste is big on grapefruit, tangerine, sugar and caramel. There is a gritty hop bite with pine, almost chewable, with a sweet after taste. The alcohol content is 10% ABV. I am a big fan of simcoe hops, and this beer completely delivers. I felt that the gritty and chewable hop bite was very interesting, but still very enjoyable.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I ordered a glass of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine from 1999 at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore. The beer pours a copper color with a thin white filmy head. The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, and light pine. The taste is huge on caramel with excellent pine, lemon, and grapefruit accents. There is a hint of grape and raisin on the finish and the after taste has oak accents. The alcohol content is 9.6% ABV. I thought that the hops have subsided over time in the Bigfoot but provide excellent balance to the sweetness of the caramel. While the hops mellow over time, the beer becomes a wonderfully sweet tasting beer.
On my first visit to Max's Taphouse, I ordered a Cape Ann Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout. The beer pours a dark brown color with red hues and a thin filmy tan head. The aroma is sweet has a lot of pumpkin flavors, cinnamon and chocolate. The taste is big on toasted malts and chocolate with a good sweet pumpkin accent. The beer finishes dry with alcohol, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The alcohol content is 6.7% ABV. I was surprised at how the big the toasted malt flavor was in the beer, especially after the aroma hinted so much at the pumpkin flavor. However, the Pumpkin Stout was a completely enjoyable beer with a wonderful balance of malts and pumpkin, all with a great spice accent.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I secured a bottle of Westvleteren 12 in a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia and I decided to share it with my buddy Ed who brought over a bottle of Westvleteren 8 to share with me. The beer pours a dark brown color with hints of amber and a frothy tan head that laces nicely on the glass. The aroma consists of sweet Belgian yeast, malts, pear, and grapes. The taste is smooth and creamy with a light bubbly mouth feel. There are bits of raisin, Belgian yeast, sweet malts, pear, grapes, a light toasted malt accent, caramel, and a good breadiness that keeps the beer on the tongue. The finish is smooth yet warming with a light alcohol bite and an earthy hop accent. The alcohol content is 10.2% ABV. Not all beers live up to the hype that is attached to them, but the Westvleteren 12 certainly does. It hides the alcohol content well while letting you know that it is there, it provides a sweet treat with a well balanced earthy hop finish.
My girlfriend ordered a glass of Stillwater Artisanal Ales Cellar Door while we were at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore. The Cellar Door is a saison/farmhouse ale brewed with sage. The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head. The aroma is big on sage with wheat and lemongrass. The taste is sweet and has a big lemon profile with earthy tones and wheat. There is a drying and bubbly sage finish. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV. The Cellar Door was a perfect example of the farmhouse style, and the sage accents really pushed the beer over the top.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
My buddy Ed brought over a bottle of Westvleteren 8 to share with me. The beer pours a brown-amber color with floating flakes of yeast and a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of grape juice, bread, and Belgian yeast. The taste is smooth and sweet with a lot of breadiness on the tongue, some raisin, and the grape juice flavor that was in the aroma. The finish has a nice hop bite on the sides of the mouth that leaves earthy flavors lingering. The after taste is quite warming on the back of the throat. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. The Westvleteren 8 was a wonderful drinking beer that provide a wide range of flavors ranging from the sweet malts and yeast to the dry earthy hops.
My girlfriend's boss Jay gave her a bottle of his home brewed pumpkin ale for me to try. The beer pours a brown color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of lots of cinnamon and nutmeg with a background of pumpkin. The taste is dry and malty with a healthy dose of cinnamon that dries out the tongue. The finish kicks in with some pumpkin and caramel and the after taste dries out again with nutmeg. No alcohol content is available but I would assume it to be around 7.0% ABV. This was a very good pumpkin beer that focused on the spices with the pumpkin accenting the rest of the beer.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The final beer in the Shmaltz Brewing He'brew Jewbelation pack was the Vertical Jewbelation. This beer is a blend of all seven Jewbelation beers (8,9,10,11,12,13, and 14) and then aged in Sazerac 6 Year Rye Whiskey Barrels. The beer pours a black color with an extremely lofty tan head, much more so than any of the other beers in the series. The aroma consists of sweet chocolate, both dark and milk, with some rye, toasted malts, and coffee. The taste is sweet and smooth with a large helping of chocolate, bits of coffee, molasses, and licorice before some alcohol and rye kick in. The after taste is a little dry but some chocolate manages to linger and mixes in a light whiskey flavor. The alcohol content is 10.5%. The entire time drinking this beer I thought what a wonderful blend Shmaltz has created. There is a great mix of dark and milk chocolate with some alcohol and rye mixed in there, leaving a sweet and dry flavor.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The final anniversary beer (but not the final beer) of the He'brew Jewbelation pack from Shmaltz Brewing was the He'brew Jewbelation 14 (14th Anniversary Ale). This beer has 14 malts and 14 hops in it in celebration of the 14th Anniversary. The beer pours a thick black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of lots of chocolate and an alcohol tingle on the nose. The taste is big and malty with tons of silky smooth chocolate, a toasted malts flavor, and a light hop bite. The finish is chocolaty as well, but brings in an accent of coffee with a milk cream finish. The alcohol content is 14.0% ABV, matching the anniversary number. I really enjoyed the amount of chocolate in this beer which was relatively sweet but not overpoweringly so. The alcohol is present on the tongue, but doesn't not overwhelm any of the flavors.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Continuing my celebration of Hanukkah, I opened a bottle Shmaltz Brewing He'brew Jewbelation 13 (Bar Mitzvah). The beer pours a black color with a thin filmy tan head. The aroma consists of milk chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, and a light alcohol bite. The taste is smooth with a lot of milk chocolate up front, in comparison to the dark chocolate flavors of the other Jewbelation beers. The toasted malts peek through on the finish before the alcohol bite kicks in to attack the tongue. The after taste allows the chocolate to linger and then the coffee flavors dries out the mouth. The alcohol content is 13.0% ABV that matches the number of the beer in the series. The Jewbelation 13 (Bar Mitzvah) had a wonderful milk chocolate flavor that was well balanced with the alcohol content, and at 13 percent, this beer is sure to get the party started for Hanukkah.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Shmaltz He'brew Jewbelation pack led me to the Jewbelation 12. The beer pours a black color with a filmy tan head. The aroma consists of toasted malts, chocolate, molasses, and coffee. The taste is big on chocolate just before the alcohol kicks in and really packs a punch. Following the alcohol, some molasses, coffee, and toasted malts peek through. The after taste keeps the dry coffee and brings back the chocolate. The alcohol content matches the number in the series at 12.0% ABV. Wow, this beer was the perfect beer that was somewhat balanced in flavors but not afraid to kick in the teeth with some alcohol. I enjoyed the chocolaty goodness with the touch of coffee that is both sweet and dry.