Saturday, September 18, 2010
I stopped into Teresa's Next Door Cafe to get a glass of Victory Village, a collaboration with One Village Coffee. Most coffee beers are presented as a stout or porter, but Victory took a brown ale and mixed in some fresh coffee. The beer pours a brown color with thin foamy off-white head. The aroma is big on fresh ground coffee and it very much smells like a coffee shop. The taste is smooth roasted malts and a good helping of coffee. On the finish, there beer is smooth and creamy, not bitter at all from the coffee. The alcohol content is 5.1% ABV. The Victory Village is really delicious and different due to being a brown ale. I hope they bring it back and bottle it for all to enjoy, because this is one of the most solid beers I have tried, especially in the coffee category.
I ordered a bottle of Founders Old Curmudgeon from McGrath's in Harrisburg based on the recommendation from Katie the bartender and Adam my roommate. The beer pours a red amber color with a foamy off-white head. The aroma consists of caramel and toffee with hints of pine hops. The beer tastes very similar to the aroma and has a nice pine hop bite. The alcohol content is 9.8% ABV. I thought that the Old Curmudgeon was an amazing beer. The most surprising aspect was how smooth drinking the beer was for the alcohol content. The caramel and toffee masked it well, making this a dangerous brew.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I ordered a glass of Jolly Pumpkin Oro De Calabaza, a Biere de Garde, from O'Reilly's in Harrisburg. The beer pours a pale yellow color with a faint filmy white head. The aroma consists of lemon with wheat and orange citrus. The taste is full of lemon, citrus, pepper, green apple, and tangerine. There is also a nice meringue finish with a bite of yeast. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. I thought the the Oro De Calabaza was refreshing and delicious and a great summer time beer. It was also very well done in the Biere De Garde style and I would recommend it to anyone venturing into this style.
I ordered a Dark Horse Too Cream Stout from O'Reilly's on nitro in Harrisburg. The beer pours a dark black color with a lofty foamy head. From the pour, I thought it looked very similar to Guinness. The aroma consists of chocolate with faint espresso. The taste is big on chocolate with a great coffee and cream finish. There is a lightly dry after taste. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. The Too Cream Stout was a very good stout, and I would not hesitate to order this again. There was a great presence of coffee and cream that balanced the bitter chocolate very well.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
While at O'Reilly's in Harrisburg, I noticed that they had the Stillwater and Olivers collaboration, Channel Crossing Volume 1- Belgian Bitter, on tap. The beer pours an amber color with thin filmy off-white head. The aroma consists of candisugar and yeast. The taste is sweet with toasted malts, candisugar and yeast. There is a nice sour cherry undertone that really makes for a dynamic brew. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I thought that this was a delicious brew and I was very surprised at the sour cherry undertone, but it is what made the beer very enjoyable.
I ordered a glass of Rock Art Belvidere Big IPA at O'Reilly's in Harrisburg. The beer pours an amber caramel color with a frothy white head. The aroma is sweet caramel with a big floral hop punch that is very noticeable from far away. Also, there is a faint hint of toffee in the aroma background. The taste is sweet with caramel. The pine hops are big in this beer with toasted caramel and toffee on the finish and a bitter hop bite. The after taste is a little dry but holds on to caramel, so it is also somewhat sweet. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. I thought that the Belvidere Big IPA was delicious and refreshing without being too bitter. It probably is somewhat too hoppy for those that don't enjoy hops, but for those that do, it is a great beer.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I picked up a bottle of East End Wooden Nickel Saison when I visited the brewery in Pittsburgh. I've heard many good things about this beer, so I was very excited to give it a try. The beer pours an orange color with a bubbly head. The aroma is yeasty and Belgian with candisugar, banana, and apricot. The taste is sweet and smooth, with plenty of flavors including raisin, apricot, banana, yeast, and candisugar. The was very little carbonation in this beer. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I was really amazed at this beer as it was not a typical saison. Most saisons are light on the palette, but the Wooden Nickel was much heavier, but was very enjoyable.
I picked up a liter bottle of East End Illustration Ale when I was in Pittsburgh and visited the brewery. The Illustration Ale is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The beer pours a dark brown color with tan bubbly head measures about the thickness of a penny. The aroma consists of chocolate malts, raisin, tea, and light caramel. The taste is sweet and smooth with a good helping of raisin, dry chocolate, toasted malts, and tea. The flavor transitions in a light alcohol bite on the sides of the mouth and finishes with a dark chocolate flavor and yeast. Hidden in the darkness of the beer is a light sour cherry flavor that balances out the sweetness very nicely. The after taste is dry and remnants of raisin and hot chocolate linger. The alcohol content is 9.4% ABV. I really enjoyed the variation of flavors in this beer, from the sweet raisin to the bitter chocolate and sour cherry. Each flavor was well balanced and complimentary of the others.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
My coworker Jack picked me up a bottle of Williamsburg Alewerks Coffeehouse Stout while on vacation in Virginia. The beer pours a rich black color with a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, alcohol. The taste is big of chocolate with a good cream accent. The beer finishes with a dry coffee accent that also has a bite of espresso. The alcohol content is 5.4% ABV. This beer was not overly packed with coffee, which was surprising but pleasant. Rather than hitting with coffee, there is a good chocolate flavor that finishes with coffee and cream as an accent, not a feature.
I swiped a bottle of Trader Joe's Bavarian Style Hefeweizen from my sister's fridge when I was dog sitting (Let's see how well she reads the blog). The beer pours an orange-golden color with a lofty foamy white head. The aroma consists of orange peel, coriander, banana, pepper, and yeast. The taste is smooth and full of flavors including orange, coriander, pepper, banana, and a good helping of Belgian yeast. The finish on the beer is a little watered down and it leaves a faint mandarin orange after taste. The alcohol content is 5.3 % ABV. Overall, not a bad Hefeweizen. I must say I was a little reluctant about this beer since it came from Trader Joe's, and I haven't had anything from a retail store before. The flavors were nicely balanced in this beer and there were plenty of them to keep the tongue happy throughout the experience.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I picked up a case of Troegs Scratch 33, titled Saison de Mueze, a Belgian style saison from the brewery. The beer pours an orange-copper color with an lofty foamy off-white head. The aroma is sweet with orange peel, coriander, Belgian yeast, Belgian spices, and a faint hop hint. The taste is smooth with a great orange citrus bite on the sides of the mouth. Beneath the citrus lies some coriander, Belgian spices, and a good yeasty and biscuity finish. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. What an interesting take on the saison. I love the Belgian yeast side to the beer, but the beer is powered by the orange, citrus, and coriander flavors. Everything about this beer screams excellence and it is completely satisfying.
My coworker Jack brought me back a bottle of Williamsburg Alewerks Brewmaster's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Porter, an imperial porter, from his vacation in Virginia Beach. The beer pours a black color with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists heavily of chocolate, toasted malts, licorice, and caramel with hints of oak and bourbon. The taste is smooth and creamy with lots of chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, and caramel. The finish hits a bit on the oak on bourbon. The alcohol content is not posted online, but I would estimate it to be around 9.0% ABV. This is a really smooth drinking beer, with only the bourbon accents kicking the back sides of the mouth. It was really enjoyable and I recommend this to anyone that can get their hands on it.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I picked up a bottle of AleSmith YuleSmith Holiday Ale from Al's of Hampden. The Holiday Ale is brewed twice a year, once for the winter holiday season and once for the summer holiday season. The summer version is an Imperial/Double IPA. The beer pours a golden color with a foamy and massive head. The aroma consists of lemon, pine, pepper, orange, and apricot. The taste is smooth and powerful before exploding with hop flavor. There is a bit of sweetness on the front end with caramel and toffee and some light hints of apricot and orange. The flavor transitions into lemon and pine and a toasted caramel finish. The after taste is sweet and lightly dry, and the brewer's yeast is very prevalent. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. AleSmith has again impressed me with another excellent beer offering. This Imperial/Double IPA is perfectly balanced and not overly sweet or overly hoppy. I hope this review makes your mouth water, and if it does, there is only one way to quench your summer thirst: with a YuleSmith Holiday Ale.
I picked up a six-pack of Kona Wailua Wheat in Ocean City while I was on vacation. If you are wondering, yes I poured this beer the proper way that a wheat beer should be poured: glass upside down on bottle, tilt, and pull bottle out of the glass ahead of the beer stream. The beer pours a golden color with a lofty and foamy head with lots of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of wheat, orange, lemon, and passion fruit. The taste is sweet and smooth with a wheat flavor coming out at first, then turning to a passion fruit tartness that does not overwhelm. The finish again is sweet and has some butter and toasted cracker notes to it and is somewhat dry. The alcohol content is 5.4% ABV. I was recommended this beer by my coworker Mike, and he did not disappoint with his recommendation. The beer is light and refreshing for the summertime, yet complex and flavorful. If you can locate this beer, I recommend trying it.