July 16th, 2008 beckel
As I took this beer out of the fridge I noted how little mention of its brewery is present and that I knew nothing about it. If you look at the very bottom in small print it states: Blue Dawg Brewing, Baldwinsville, NY. With a little bit of research I learned this is actually a brew marketed as a craft beer by Anheuser-Busch (I should almost say InBev I suppose.) No wonder the shopkeep said this was a popular beer. Oh well, it looks like an interesting one so lets see how it goes. This beer produces a vast amount of pink head. Color is a deep magnificent raspberry. Aroma is of intense blueberry, somewhat artificial seeming but pungent of berries in general. Mouthfeel is very light. Flavor is strange, definately of blueberry but also a difficult to describe perhaps malty carbonated flavor that has a slight hint of alcohol. Considering that this beer is 8% ABV, part of the reason I was initially attracted to it, it is not heavily alcohol flavored. This beer is a rather simple lager, and definitely a blueberry beer but it is surprisingly satisfying. I can’t say I would regularly pickup this beer, because it’s just not what I’m looking for, but I would gladly drink many of these had I not bought just one in a mixed six pack. Though I don’t give a flying fuck about A-B and am only concerned about the InBev takeover because I feel our country is selling out all of its industry, I actually have to give A-B some credit on this one. Good investment. If you like fruity beer, particularly simple lagers, you will most likely love this beer. Otherwise if you just want a strong easy to drink and surprisingly good tasting fruit beer this is a very good choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 15th, 2008 beckel
This is my first beer from Cold Spring Brewery out of Cold Spring, Minnesota who have been brewing since 1874. It was brought to my attention by the fine folk at Brew52.com. This beer is a bit different than most, their website states that it is 1/2 porter and 1/2 bock combined into one nice brown ale. Pours an interesting dark brown color with hints of rose when brought to light. The head on this beer is very minimal, under an inch and light in color. Aroma is interesting, traditional bock malt scents are predominate but it smells a tad bit like a porter. The flavor is even more strange than the scent, quite malty, almost sweet but more caramelized. The mix of these two beer styles gives a very different flavor, pretty decent, but a bit boring. Mouthfeel is medium. I’m glad I got only one of these beers in a mixed six pack, but I think after drinking a few in cooler weather this beer would potentially have a bit more to offer. If your a fan of malt or different brown ales this may suit your tastes. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 15th, 2008 beckel
Another great beer with gorgeous art work by Ralph Steadman from the Flying Dog Brewery. Their Classic Pale Ale pours a nice amber hue that presents orange and red colors depending on the light. Head is proper and fades somewhat slowly bearing a slightly off white color, the crystal malt likely aids in this.Â Aroma is smooth sweet and hoppy. The flavor of this beer definately has some pale aspects but it is filled with a lovely hop flavor that is barely bitter at all because of the sweet malt present. The sweet aroma adds delightfully to its overall taste of slightly bitter hops and smooth finish. Mouthfeel is light. This is what I feel an American Pale Ale should be, full flavored and packing a reasonable 5.5% ABV. If you like a pale ale but are looking for something more creative this is a grand choice. Likely an ideal beer to cook with if you would like some beer flavor, but not too much bitterness. Anyone who likes beer should try this one, even if it may be one of Flying Dogs simpler style ales, it is none the less one of their best. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 14th, 2008 beckel
Sierra Nevada is lucky to have an array of quality beers and good distribution throughout the United States. One that deserves a good amount of praise is from their limited selections: Big Foot a barleywine style Ale. This 2008 edition pours with a very impressive tan head. Color is a nice dark red almost slightly brown. Aroma is grand, bitterness is present as well as sweet roasted malt, light fermented fruits are lightly detectable. Mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy. Flavor is very intense. Coming in at 9.6% ABV the level of hop bitterness in this barleywine is no surprise, what is however is how nicely the sweet malt compliments the flavor. Definitely a strong beer but it has many sweet notes on the palate as well as including less sweet, almost burnt roasted malt flavors. This is a very good example of a properly balanced barleywine, if you like strong beers and intense complex flavors this one is definitely worth your time trying. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 13th, 2008 beckel
Boulevard Brewing is an interesting and rather large, craft brewery out of Kansas City, Missouri. They make some decent beers so when I saw a few of their big bottles, called the smokestack series, I thought I should give one a try. The Double-Wide IPA pours a very nice roasted red color with a good amount of somewhat tan head that is rather light in body. Aroma is a decent mix of malt and hops, somewhat bitter and a tad bit of fermented fruit. Mouthfeel is pretty light and the flavor is very intense. Bitter hop flavors are all over, almost a little much. The malt flavor adds a hint of sweetness but is not able to balance the bitter. This beer is classified as an IPA, but with 8.5% ABV one may be inclined to categorize it as a imperial IPA. Over all this is a decent Imperial IPA, but i feel it has much more potential if they could manage to balance it a bit better. If your looking for a strong bitter beer that should be available around most of the Midwest this is a reasonable choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 10th, 2008 beckel
This beer is not available in Minnesota, but my roommate delighted me when he returned from his cabin with a bottle of New Glarus Spotted Cow. This beer heading from Wisconsin is classified as a Cream Ale and is quite interesting. This cask conditioned secondary fermented ale has been enjoyed since before prohibition and has been enjoyed ever sense. Pours a light very yellow color that is quite transparent with very little head that fades rather slowly. Smells of pilsner malts, nicely sweet and sour at the same time. Mouthfeel is light and simple. Flavor is interesting, somewhat cirtus and carbonated though more is going on, you can almost taste the corn in this beer. A grand tribute to the Midwest. This beer reminds me a lot of a pilsner but it has a more complex flavor. Coming in at 4.8% ABV i would say this is a good session beer, though the professionals may disagree (looking for a lighter beer). This is a grand summer beer and would encourage anyone who ends up near Wisconsin to try it out. If you like simple beers that also have flavor this one is for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 9th, 2008 beckel
I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Tier tasting at the Blue Nile last night and sampling a few of their beers, their coffee stout is delicious, I’d say even better than Summit’s Oatmeal Stout but thats not what this is about. So today I am drinking Southern Tier’s Big Red an Imperial red ale. As the name suggests this beer pours a lovely red color. Head is plentiful but not too massive and light white in color. Aroma is very nice, largely of sweet malt. Their website suggests pouring this beer in a sniffer to enjoy the scent, and I understand why. Flavor is good and amazingly unbitter for its 93 IBU. Hop flavor is definitely present, but the malt profile is so intense it can be hard to tell. With the sweet malt flavor of this beer few will guess its 9.5% ABV. Mouthfeel is medium and very smooth. Though I prefer a more hoppy beer this beer certainly gets my approval and I would definitely drink it again. Anyone who likes a strong amber or a malty imperial ale will really like this beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 7th, 2008 beckel
This beverage isn’t exactly beer, and you probably won’t see too many reviews of its kind, but it is alcohol none the less. Also this blog isn’t about me, but about beer, anyhow last week I was taking my new BOB Yak bicycle trailer out on its maiden voyage (which kicks ass by the way) and after a sweaty ride to Surdyks and much indecisiveness I ended up in front of some Strongbow cider. This made me think of the joys I had while in England drinking a couple of these on the street before a Jack the Ripper tour. This is even further irrelevant because I then saw some Hardcore cider and decided to add that to my cart instead, as I remembered it being more dry and less sweet than the Strongbow. This cider pours a light apple juice color with only a bit of head even if you pour quite sloppily. Smells somewhat of fermented apples, but more of dry alcohol. Mouthfeel is light. As I hoped this is a refreshing drink. Tastes like apple juice with a carbonated alcohol in the end. With 5.5% ABV this seems like a great drink to choose if you don’t want beer, but still want something refreshing and alcoholic. According to the label this beer is brewed by The Hardcore Cider Company in Cincinnati, Ohio and distributed by Boston Beer Company obviously from Boston, Massachusetts but through some internet research it would seem it is simply a creation of Boston Beer Company. I have mixed feelings about the aforementioned company, but it is a decent drink and they do some interesting things for the craft beer community no matter how large they may be. They particularly get credit for their hop sharing program this year. If you looking for a cider, this one packs a nice light punch, give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 5th, 2008 beckel
Goose Island out of Chicago, Illinois make some pretty decent beers. The beer I am drinking now, Pere Jacques is the first of their limited availability line that I have tried before. It is inspired by a brewery tour trip the brewers took in Belgium, and named after the gentleman who personally allowed them to tour his abbot. This particular batch is vintage December 2007. Considering its Belgian inspired roots the head of this beer is a bit different. A bit tan and somewhat plentiful but it fades very rapidly. The color of this beer is great, deep dark cherry color that light is barely able to penetrate. Smell is mostly of fruits, perhaps cherry or cranberry to name a few, quite pungent and nice. Mouthfeel is rather light. Flavor is predominately of many fermented fruits and Belgian yeast, though malt sweetness is also very present, particularly in the finish. Alcohol is somewhat present. It is impressive how well the intense fruit flavor in the beginning is smoothed out by the malts in the end, well balanced indeed. This beer packs a 9% ABV but you probably wont notice. Not exactly a beer for hop heads with 26 IBU but don’t let that discourage you. Not a super complex beer, but it certainly contains many flavors and the malt and yeast used are very nice. As someone who isn’t super big on fruity ales, this one is darn good. Maybe not every day drinking, but definately a worthy choice when you want something sweet, but still a complex ale. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 3rd, 2008 beckel
Previously I have had the opportunity to try a couple of beers from Tyranena Brewing, all from their “extreme” line if you will which they call Brewers Gone Wild. Perhaps I was introduced to this company with a bit of a bias because big beers are what I love. None the less after my first sip of Tyranena’s Bitter Woman IPA I know my bias is not without reason. Brewed in Lake Mills, Wisconsin this beer pours a delightfully red amber color, when brought to light it is more transparent, but still very nicely colored amber. Head is modest and white, but may erupt if you do not pour carefully. Scent is intense , incredibly hop filled but not bitter. Flavor, where to start with the flavor. Initially this beer is almost sweet, but somewhat bitter as hops are certainly present. Flavor is very smooth and malty in the end which makes the flavor of this beer all the more interesting. Mouthfeel is light. Simply this is a must try beer. It is much more malty than I would typically expect (and prefer) in an IPA, but the flavor profiles are simply amazing. This is a well balanced beer, with the 5.75% ABV barely noticeable with the malty finish. I am excited to drink more of this beer with a variety of foods because I think the flavor will come out nicely in a variety of ways depending on your current palate. If you like India Pale Ales at all, or perhaps more so if you would like an IPA with more of an intense malt profile you really need to try this beer. Over all very flavorful and impressive for a year round beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.