May 11th, 2009 beckel
As I have a six-pack of their beer to go through so I thought I should try their most popular over the bar brew next. So here we are with Tommyknocker’s Pick Axe Pale Ale, lets see how it goes (bottled March 17, 2009). The beer pours a very attractive bright hazy orange color that is moderately translucent and appears a darker red (almost burgundy) when away from light. Head is white and about two and a half fingers that last for a few minutes leaving a nice light lacing around the glass. Aroma is full of sweet citrus that is somewhat fruity like candied orange, cherry, apple and even melon as well as some slightly bitter pine like hops and just a whiff of alcohol. If it weren’t for the bitter finish from the first sip I would be inclined to suggest that this beer tastes a bit like candy. Initial flavor is largely of citrus hops, particularly orange with a bit of sweet maltiness presumably from pale malt and a nicely bitter hop finish to balance the flavors. I appreciate how this Pale Ale seems to incorporate more hops than many do but frankly the citrus is a little more dominate than I would prefer and though I enjoy how the malt is used to balance the flavors present as opposed to the star of the show it sometimes it seems a bit flat. The body is this beer is light and the mouthfeel is very clean making this an unquestionably drinkable beer. With a 6.2 % ABV this beer isn’t going to hurt anyone and would be a great stepping stone into hoppier and more flavorful beers than your average Pale Ale. If you enjoy citrus hop flavors and are looking for a Pale Ale that has something a little different to offer this is really a quite good choice. With its drinkablilty it really is no surprise it is a local favorite. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
May 10th, 2009 beckel
The folks over at Tommyknocker Brewery from Idaho Springs, Colorado just recently started distributing to my state of Minnesota. So upon receiving an email yesterday from Alvey of The Four Firkins that they had their beers stocked for our drinking pleasure I figured I had no excuse not to give them a shot. I purchased a mixed six-pack and decided to start with their best selling bottled beer Maple Nut Brown Ale. This brew happens to have been bottled March 13 09, I always appreciate it when brewers date their bottles. This beer pours a nice dark brown color that is moderately translucent when brought to light. Creamy off white head is a solid two fingers and lasts for a few minutes leaving a bit of lacing around the glass creating a very nice presentation. Aroma has a very nice malt base with nuttiness and chocolate coming through quite strongly as well as some additional sweetness. Wow this is one interesting Nut Brown Ale. Smooth sweet chocolate flavors from the Chocolate Malts used in this brew are in the forefront of the flavor as is a very nicely distinguished nutty flavor as well as some very nice caramel flavors, likely a from a combination of roasted malt and the pure maple syrup used in brewing. I really enjoy the distinct nutty flavor present as i have yet to sample many Nut Brown Ales that I really think are suiting of the name. Further though this beer is a bit on the sweet side it is not overwhelming in any way at all and the Chocolate Malt is a delicious contrast. The mouthfeel of this beer is incredibly smooth and the body is rather light, with a 4.5% ABV this beer is incredibly sessionable. Originally I planned on buying a six pack of this beer but figured I would take the opportunity to try more of their beers with their sampler pack, now that I have consumed this beer, perhaps faster than any other I have yet to review I am a bit disappointed I don’t have any more in the fridge as I could continue drinking this beer all night. Guess I have another excuse to get some more in the future. I first heard about this beer when the guys over at BeerTapTV reviewed it and apparently got a bad bottle. They of course revisited the beer and had a much more pleasant experience here. Though this beer is quite sweet and not the kind of brew I would traditionally give strong praises it is unquestionably tasty, easy to drink and enjoyable to consume. I could see myself easily drinking far too many of these brews on a day out in the mines. Give it a shot and ride your bike.