Monday, May 16, 2011

Porter time

I do love the dark beers, so this week Im trying another porter. This is the Walkers Reserve Porter, from Firestone Walker Brewery in California.
It starts off a beautiful opaque coffee color, with plenty of foam and a tan colored head. The aroma is a bit weak, but you can definitely smell the sweet malt and fuggle hops. The first sip comes across smooth and drinkable. Its lightly sweet, with plenty of body, almost like a milk stout. You get some deep toasted coffee flavors along with hints of date and walnuts. The hops are a nice counterpoint, but not overpowering, just enough to give it some sour bite at the end. I could easily put down a couple of these.
Look: 5 - opaque black
Aroma: 3
Taste: 4 - sweet and drinkable
Feel: 4 - plenty of body

Monday, May 9, 2011

Classic Porter

If you know me, you know I like the dark beers. Today we have the Porter from Butte Creek Brewing in Montana. The bottle says its organic too.
It's a great color for a porter, deep chocolate brown with a solid creamy head. The aroma has lots of malt, and hints of brown sugar, chocolate, and fuggle hops. The first taste has plenty of malty flavor, but what catches me right away is the watery mouthfeel. I had expected more body from a porter, this struck me as thin. The flavor is still excellent, with deep coffee and bitter hops all the way through. Very drinkable.
Look: 4 - classic opaque brown
Aroma: 3 - malty
Taste: 3 - layers of porter
Feel: 2 - watery
Total: 3

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring beer

With Spring come the bock beers! Traditionally, bocks were brewed by monks to drink during Lent. They were required to fast during this time, so they would make stronger, richer beers to give them calories. This is a classic, the Spaten Optimator Doppelbock from Munich. Beers ending in "ator" are typically strong sweet bocks.
It pours a deep dark coffee color, with a light head. The aroma is sweet and malty, even a bit medicinal, and you can tell the alcohol content is high. I get notes of raisin and even banana in there. The flavor pours across your tongue, very strong and heady, with lots of sweetness. The medicine flavors come out, but not overly strong, and you get some fruity notes in there too. The aftertaste is more alcohol than hops, which isnt necissarily a bad thing.
Look: 4 - deep coffee
Aroma: 3 - sweet
Taste: 2 - a bit too medicinal for me
Feel: 4 - thick
Total: 3.25

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Spring Seasonal

Spring does bring some delicious beer styles, like bocks; but an IPA is not a beer you normally associate with Spring. The Pyramid Brewing Company has gone one farther, making an Imperial IPA for their Spring seasonal beer this year. Lately, American brewers have used the word "imperial" to mean a stronger, heavier version of a regular style. This one weighs in at 8.5% alcohol, a tad bit higher than you'd expect from an IPA, but nowhere near the 10-11% of some other 'imperial' beers.
This one pours a deep gold color, with plenty of carbonation and nice head. The aroma is clean and fresh, and does put you in mind of spring. Nice hop aroma there, you get some floral and spice notes. The flavor... wow, is HOPPY. The bitter and spice really takes over from the first sip, almost too much at times. There is a good strong body underneath to support it, and some lingering sweet maltiness there too. Certainly not one you can drink quickly, but worth a try.
Look: 4 - deep gold/orange
Aroma: 3 - spring!
Taste: 2 - overpoweringly hoppy
Feel: 4 - tons of body
Total: 3.25

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beer for a Cause

Good beer that also supports a good cause? I'll drink to that!
This week I discovered the SOS "Save Our Shore" Pilsner from Abita Brewery in Louisana. Ive admired their beers before, and this one is special. All proceeds go to coastal restoration for the gulf oil spill of last summer.
This is a bottle conditioned wheat pilsner, thus the golden and cloudy look. The aroma is refreshing and clean, with some nice hop spiciness and a good sweet malty undertone. The first taste, in a word, is creamy. Lagers typically have a smooth, slippery mouthfeel, but this takes it to another level, and tickles your tongue with creaminess. The flavor is lightly sweet and citrusy, plenty of body, and hints of peach, orange, and spice. The sterling hops give it a good touch of bitterness on the back end, not overpowering but enough to let you know this beer means business.
At 7% alcohol, its enough to make you happy too!
Look: 4 - cloudy gold
Aroma: 3 - sweet and spicy
Taste: 4 - balanced malt and bitter
Feel: 5+ - creamy!
Total: 4

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What beer drinkers drink when they're not drinking beer

What would that be? Why hard cider, of course! This is the Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider, from California.
It looks deceivingly simple, like an apple juice with a blush of pink, and moderate carbonation. The aroma is heavy on the apple, and lightly sour, with just hints of berry hidden in there. The flavor comes through also heavy on the apple, which is to be expected, as its primarily an apple cider with berry added. You get a nice crisp dry feeling on your tongue, then residual berry flavors creep out on the back end. Very smooth and refreshing.
Look: 3 - apple blush
Aroma: 4 - lots of apple
Taste: 4 - great balance of fruit and sour
Feel: 3 - crisp!
Total: 3.5

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flemish Red

Continuing the theme from Monday, is another fine beer from Belgium. This is a Flemish Sour Red Ale, named Monk's Cafe, from the Van Steenberg brewery. Its an oak aged young sour ale, which is a style that hasnt really caught on in the US, but should.
Its a lot like Monday's beer, which is a very good thing. It pours a bit darker, but with tons of carbonation from the cask and bottle conditioning. The aroma is heavenly, lots of fruit and a bit of sourness, like an apple cider. The taste is where these beers differ. Where the Ichtagems was more of an apple and pear flavor, this one is more sour cherries and oak. It goes down very smooth with lots of carbonation, a good dose of sour and sweetness from the malt in the aftertaste, and hardly any hop flavors at all. Highly drinkable, and leaves you wanting to open another.
Look: 5 - deep red with lots of foam
Aroma: 5 - fruity!
Taste: 4 - juicy sour cherry
Feel: 4 - smooth and carbonated
Total: 4.5