Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

I picked up a bottle of Brooklyn Sorachi Ace from Al's of Hampden based on several positive recommendations from friends. This beer is a saison with the addition of the Sorachi hop and fermented with a Belgian yeast. Be careful when popping the cork of this bottle, as it is ready to explode.The beer pours a golden color with a very lofty and foamy white head. The aroma consists of banana, lemon, pine, and fresh hops. On the tongue, the beer is alive and bubbly from the Champagne yeast. The taste is sweet and consists of banana, lemon, yeast, white grapes, and hints of pine. The finish comes in with a dry hop flavor. The alcohol content is 7.6% ABV. I thoroughly enjoyed the Sorachi Ace, as it was a lively and vibrant beer on the tongue. Once the carbonation settled down, the beer was packed full of wonderful flavors, especially the banana and grape. But Brooklyn did not leave out the pronounced hop finish, and I thank them for that.

Dogfish Head My Antonia

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head My Antonia from the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. My Antonia is a continually hopped imperial pilsner. The beer pours a vibrant yellow color with a very lofty and foamy white head. The aroma consists of lemon and pepper with a slight sour hop undertone. The overall aroma is very fresh smelling. The taste is very bitey at first on the outside of the mouth before the lemon and pepper flavors come out and wage battle on the tongue. As part of the undertone, there are hints of butter and sweet pilsner malts. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. Every part of this beer makes sure it announces it presence, which is quite an experience. The hops, malts, and alcohol all have there say at different points in the experience, and it is quite an enjoyable one.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dogfish Head Squall IPA

While in Ocean City, I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head Squall IPA. This beer is an unfiltered and bottle conditioned version of the 90 Minute IPA. The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head that has a good lacing on the glass. The aroma consists heavily of caramel and toffee with a good helping of lemon and light hints of pine. The taste is vibrant and sweet that is mostly caramel and toffee but then transitions into a slightly sour pucker and a smooth pine finish. The flavors are very similar to 90 minute IPA, but a little bit more citrusy and more toffee sweetness. The after taste leaves a toasted caramel flavor on the tongue. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. I thought that this was as good as an IPA as there is, especially with the high hopes I had coming from Dogfish Head. I highly recommend the Squall IPA if you can find it.

Southampton Keller Pils

As part of a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia, I received a six pack of Southampton Keller Pils The beer pours a pale gold color with a lofty and foamy white head. The aroma consists of sour hops, sweet malts, and light accents of lemon. The taste consists of a sweet malt backbone with a good sour hop accent. There are bits of butter, butterscotch, and lemon mixed in there as well. The carbonation balances the beer very well and is light on the tongue. The alcohol content is 5.0% ABV. I really enjoyed this pilsner, as it was light on the tongue but completely full of flavor.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mad Fox Molotov Hoptail Double IPA

Another beer I ordered while at Mad Fox Brewery was the Molotov Hoptail (love the name!!!!) Double IPA. The beer pours an orange-amber color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of caramel and lots of grapefruit and sugar. The taste is mostly grapefruit and sugar with some pine hints and a good caramel base. There is a dry but bitter finish. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 9% ABV. The Mad Fox Brewery is only around a year old, but they have provided a really good double IPA that could stand against some of the big dogs.

Mad Fox Wee Heavy

While in DC for the United-Union match, my friend Ryan enticed me to stay in the area and hit up Mad Fox Brewery for dinner. The first beer I ordered from them was a Wee Heavy. The beer pours a black color with a thin bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate with oak and alcohol. The taste is chocolaty with caramel and was very smooth drinking. There were hints of oak and hops with plums rounding out the flavor and a good alcohol bite on the finish. The alcohol content is 8.6% ABV. The Wee Heavy was a very delicious brew and a great start to dinner. The caramel and chocolate played very nicely with the plums and alcohol.

Breaking News: Troegs Blue Release Date

Troegs announced today via their website that the release date for Troegs Blue will be on September 16, 2010 at 10 AM. There will be 400 bottles available of the DreamWeaver with tart cherries and Brettanyomyces, with a 2 bottle limits and a cost of $23 per bottle. My only problem with this release date: it's during Great American Beer Fest. I am scrambling to have someone pick me up some bottles.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

East End Big Hop Harvest Ale

On my last trip to Pittsburgh, I picked up a growler of East End Big Hop Harvest Ale from the brewery. The coolest part of this growler pick up is that they added fresh hops into the growler before sealing the lid. This way, the hops will be able to soak into the beer and bring out a little more of a hop profile. The beer pours an orange-amber color with a foamy off-white head. The aroma is piney and hoppy with some caramel and lemon hints. The taste is sweet and smooth with caramel with a good delicate pine and pepper hop balance. The beer then finishes smooth with a pepper bite on the back of the tongue. The alcohol content is 7.4% ABV. This has become one of my all time favorite IPAs. The balance that East End achieved with this beer was perfect and the hops bit perfectly on the back of the tongue.

Gread Divide Hercules Double IPA

I went to Fat Head's in Pittsburgh and ordered a Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. The beer pours an orange-red-amber color with a faint thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of caramel, grapefruit, and mandarin and orange with pine. The taste is sweet with caramel, grapefruit, orange, and lemon with a pine bite on the end. The alcohol content is 10.0% ABV. I absolutely loved the great sweet grapefruit flavor in the double IPA and thought it was very well done. Overall, an excellent double IPA that is up there with some of the best.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fuel & Fuddle Pumphouse Pale Ale

I ordered a Fuel & Fuddle Pumphouse Pale Ale while at Fuel & Fuddle in Pittsburgh. This beer is brewed by Smuttynose for Fuel & Fuddle. The beer pours an amber color with a thin bubbly off-white head. The aroma consists of lemon and pepper hops with malty base. The taste is malty with lemon and bitter grapefruit but a good bitter hop finish. There is a pretty dry aftertaste. The alcohol content is 5.4% ABV. I thought that the Pumphouse Pale Ale was a good pale ale but not for non hop-heads. The hops were more in the foreground than in the background, but very enjoyable.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

The second beer I ordered while out at Fuel & Fuddle in Pittsburgh was the Great Lakes Blackout Stout. The beer pours a black color (duh!) with a thin filmy tan head. The aroma is faint but chocolaty. The taste is full of chocolate and espresso with a good cream finish and a bit of oak and licorice hidden in the background. Then it converts into a pretty strong and powerful finish. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. All I could think about while drinking this beer was “wow, wow, wow.” The sweetness is this beer was perfectly balanced with the bitterness of the espresso and some big hop flavors as well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

21st Amendment Back in Black

I ordered a glass of 21st Amendment Back in Black from Fuel & Fuddle in Pittsburgh (on Pitt's campus). It saddens me to think that I did not fully utilize this establishment when I was at Pitt, but it might also have something to do with the fact that I was poor and a college student rather than wanting to experiment with good beer. The beer pours a dark color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate and pine with cream and lemon. The taste is smooth and chocolaty with caramel and coffee hints and it finishes with a lemon and pine zest. Furthermore, the finish is lightly dry. The alcohol content is 6.8% ABV. The Back in Black was an amazing beer that I thoroughly enjoyed and started off my evening perfectly.

Russian River Damnation

I picked up a bottle of Russian River Damnation from Brass Rail in Campbelltown. The beer pours a vibrant golden color with a lofty foamy white head. The aroma consists of a good helping of banana with some pepper, pear, and apricot in the background. The taste is sweet at first with banana and apricot and then transforms into a bubbly alcohol punch. The carbonation bubbles shout out and the alcohol kicks a bit. A bit of pepper kicks in to balance out the sweetness before some white grapes come back again to make you forget about the pepper. The finish on the beer is a bit dry from the alcohol and carbonation. The alcohol content is 7.75% ABV. I enjoyed the Damnation a lot and thought the sweetness, carbonation, alcohol, and pepper balanced well and none of them overpowered the other.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Brew Works Devious Pumpkin Ale

I picked up a bottle of Brew Works Devious Pumpkin Ale from Pinocchio's in Media, PA, with high expectations for this beer. The beer pours an amber color with orange hues and a lofty foamy off-white colored head. At the conclusion of pouring, my first thought was “Holy nutmeg!” The aroma has a good helping of nutmeg with some pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice mixed in as well. The taste is vibrant and hits with a good bit of pumpkin at first before transitioning into a dry finish with cinnamon, allspice, and lots of nutmeg. The mouth feel is somewhat bubbly and carbonated, but it helps keep the spices from overpowering the pumpkin flavor. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. Another beer from the Brew Works, and another high quality impression left. I have thoroughly enjoyed every beer I have had from Brew Works, and the Devious Imperial Pumpkin Ale is no different.

Saison du Buff: A Comparison

I had the pleasure to be able to try all three versions of Saison du Buff from Victory, Stone, and Dogfish Head at the same time. I thought that this would be an interesting comparison to do and see if there are any variations in the three versions, especially since I did notice a few in my individual reviews of each beer. All versions were brewed with the same recipe but at each brewery's location. Therefore, a difference in water or brewing method could change the beer slightly.

When the beers were poured, the Stone version maintained head longer and was much more foamy The Victory version had almost no head compared to the other two. The Dogfish Head version had a good lacing. Looking at the colors, the Victory is slightly lighter in color and seemed more filtered and translucent. In the aroma, the Dogfish Head version is completely filled with citrus while the others are not, Stone had more butter and rosemary, and Victory hits more with sage and a slight butter accent.

I thought that in the taste, none of the beers had a big citrus profile except for Dogfish Head. There were faint hints available on the Stone version with the after taste. The Victory version finishes lighter and is not as intense on the tongue, but it did hit with sage more on the finish. The Stone version was a little more hoppy and hit with rosemary and the Dogfish Head version was slightly more citrusy with lemon and orange. Stone lingers on the tongue with the hops and on finish, Stone is the driest, Dogfish Head is the sweetest, and Victory is the smoothest.

In my opinion, I would rank Dogfish Head number 1, Stone number 2, and Victory number 3. The rank does not say that the Victory version was not a good beer; it was just the least intense beers of the three. I really enjoyed this tasting, especially with three friends and sharing opinions back and forth on the three Saison du Buff versions.