Archive for January, 2011

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Day #30 – Samuel Adams Noble Pils

January 31, 2011

30 days have come and gone, and yet here I am…still writing….still drinking beer.  Good to know I’ve made it this far.  Only 11 months left to go right?

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Well I’m still working on polishing off that Samuel Adams mix pack I picked up a few weeks ago so here comes another one from Boston Beer Co.  This one is called Noble Pils, which is a Bohemian Pilsener brewed using only noble hop varieties.  What are noble hops you ask?  That’s a good question, I’m glad you asked.  Noble hops come from a certain portion of Europe which covers parts of Germany and Czech Republic.  Only 5 of the hop varieties in the world are labeled “noble” and this beer uses all of them.  These varieties are: Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter, and Hersbrucker Hersbrucker; from Germany. The Noble hop variety from Bohemia in the Czech Republic is Saaz.

This beer is classified as a Bohemian Pilsener which is basically a light lager with a higher level of bitterness.  They are all usually brewed using some portion of the noble hop varieties.  It should be served in a flute or a footed pilsener.  I have chosen the footed pilsener glass.

This beer pours a very clear light golden color with a small white head.  There is a bit of carbonation emanating from the bottom of the glass but not a whole lot.

The aroma is dry/tart grain that is pretty present.  I also want to say a “peanutty” aroma, but when I say that I don’t actually mean a nutty smell, but heavy in protein like peanuts.  Also a heavy earthy hopped aroma.

The flavor is bitter, biting hops with some dry grains.  Bit of protein flavor also as well as the smell.  Dry finish and metallic flavored.

This is much easier on the palate than a sharply hopped IPA or even a pale ale, and the grain level helps to balance things out a bit.  This is an interesting beer for having all 5 noble hop varieties in it.

Cheers!

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Day #29 – Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

January 30, 2011

Closing in on the first month now.  It doesn’t seem like I’ve been doing this for that long already but either way, a month is almost up.  This blog has been slightly difficult on my schedule at times, and when I’m out and about it can be very hard to find a computer!  I can honestly say however that the positives greatly outweigh the cons.   Plus I have a great excuse to drink great beer daily!

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is another brewery based out of California; this one out of Chico.  They are the 2nd largest craft brewery in the United States today, surpassed only by Boston Beer Co.  They are best known for their flagship beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  You can surely expect to see this beer at some point in the near future.

The Celebration Ale is one of Sierra Nevada’s special holiday brews.   It is classified as an IPA and only comes out once a year.  It’s 6.8% alcohol so you can expect this one to be slightly warming.  Shockingly enough, out of all the glassware I own, I do not have a single Sierra Nevada glass!  I’ll have to remedy that eventually but for now I’m substituting a Summit shaker.

This beer pours a very crisp color of bright orange with lots of fizzy carbonation clinging to the edges of the glass.  There is a large foamy head that sits atop the beer as well.

The aroma here is pretty upfront and present.  It has a large hop element that does not seem to dissipate as well as a solid grain based nose.  Definitely sappy hops and resin notes.

The flavor is immediately dry and bitter hops with a touch of sweetness near the start.  This immediately morphs into a very dry, bitter lingering finish that can become quite cumbersome.  The flavor is nicely hopped, but the finish just lingers far beyond it’s welcome.

Cheers!

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Day #28 – Smithwicks Ale

January 30, 2011

Day 28 is coming in just a tad late.  I was quite busy today and am just now finding time to write a review.

Smithwicks Ale

Today is a classic beer, Smithwicks Ale.  It was originally brewed by the same company that started Guinness but now is brewed by Dundalk out of Ireland.  This company split from the original Guinness Brewer St. James Gate and now concentrates on Smithwick’s and Harp.  This is classified as and Irish Ale, and is considered by many to be the end-all of Irish Ales.  We’ll see how it turns out.

This beer pours a clear orangish-red and has a nice, tall white head atop it.  It forms well inside this Guinness English Pint, which is the appropriate glassware for the style.

The aroma is lots of sweet malts, dry grains and a bit of mossy tendencies.  It smells sweet, but also has a briny character to it as well.  Interesting.

The flavor is fairly nice.  Starts off with a dry grain and semi-sweet malt that morphs into a bitterness that prevails throughout the end to the finish.  There are some sweet notes in this but they pale in comparison to the dryness that edges out the end.

Interesting and not bad, but I would liken it to a very quick drink to get you to the next beer.

Cheers!

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Day #27 – Lagunitas Brown Shugga

January 28, 2011

Another California company tonight, this time from the community of Petaluma. Lagunitas is a swiftly growing brewery that has a wide distribution across our area. They were founded in 1993 and consider their IPA to be the flagship beer.

Today I am reviewing their Barley Wine, named Brown Shugga. The story behind this beer was they started making a batch of another beer they make, when something went haywire. Lucky for us, it turned out to be a good mistake, and they bottled this new barley wine recipe as the beer you see before you now.

A Barley Wine beer is not actually a wine at all. It is a very high gravity concoction brewed with high amounts of malts and base grains. They are usually characterized by woody flavors and aged dark fruits. As it is very high in alcohol, this style is highly praised by beer enthusiasts everywhere. It should be served in a snifter glass.

Here we go…

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

It pours a very pretty color of amber red with a nice foamy white head. It appears to be sticky and viscous.

The aroma is pretty nice as well. It starts with a fair balance of biting hops and woody notes. There is also a fair amount of sweet malts and sugar on the nose. Not as upfront sweet as I was expecting.

The flavor starts off with a kick. The hops provide a sharp bite along with the higher alcohol levels. Sweet malts and brown sugar come through after with a fair mix of woody notes. It finishes much the same but is quite good.

Barley Wines are certainly to be enjoyed, but they must be enjoyed responsibly. Please take your time and sip on it, like you would a fine scotch or sherry. It will continue to change in complexity as it warms. No need to rush through something this good! My girlfriend likes it, and so will you. 🙂

Cheers!

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Day #26 – Magic Hat #9

January 27, 2011

Today I’m reviewing a beer from a suggestion I got from a friend, Richie.  Keep the suggestions coming as this is fun!

Magic Hat #9

Magic Hat is based out of Vermont and have recently begun distribution to the north Texas area, as of the last few years.  Their company is well known for taking risks and using odd ingredients for brewing.  They use lots of vegetables and fruits to brew which often times lead to very unique concoctions.  #9 is their flagship beer, and is classified as a Fruit Beer.   It should be served in a flute glass, but I’ve got a sweet Magic Hat #9 shaker glass.

The beer appears to be quite clear with lots of carbonation.  The bubbles are unceasing from the bottom of the glass.  It pours a light orange color that touches on copper, with a light white head.

The aroma has a big element of fruit, namely blueberries and raspberries.  It also has a strong dry grain nose to it.  Fairly straightforward after the fruit smell.

The flavor is also fruity, but very quickly turns to a dry bitter taste.  It has a slight touch of metal that also lingers on.  The fruit flavor is most definitely a blueberry type taste but it does not last long at all.  The finish is by far the largest drawback as it tastes a bit of cardboard and oatmeal.

I’m fairly certain this is a bad bottle, as I’ve had this beer before and it was nowhere NEAR in this condition.  Sometimes that happens, which is sad because one bad experience could turn a consumer off of a particular brand.

Again, thanks to Richie for the suggestion!  If anyone else has suggestions for beers for my blog post them in the comment section below or on my facebook page….if you’re my friend.

Cheers!

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Day #25 – Saint Arnold Winter Stout

January 26, 2011

Another Texas brewery today, and this is one of the larger breweries in our state.  The 2nd largest anyway, behind Spoetzl (Shiner) at 30,000 barrels produced last year.  They recently moved into a new location in downtown Houston which has around a 100,000 barrel max capacity.  Saint Arnold distributes all throughout the DFW area, and you will see lots of them from me in the future.  Today is their winter seasonal, which I have not tasted in several years.  Looking forward to this one!

Saint Arnold Winter Stout

This beer is classified as a stout.  Just a regular, plain ole’ stout, but that is a bit different from what most people think of when they hear the word.  Of course most people think of Guinness when they hear stout, but that is how the Irish define a stout.  American versions are usually higher in roast qualities or higher gravities (abv).  This is my first review of the style.

At first glance this beer appears dark brown with a very tall brown head, but when you hold it to the light it turns a gorgeous shade of ruby red.  Very lovely indeed.  It also seems to be very creamy by the amount of legs on the side of the glass.

The aroma here is roasted and creamy, with lots of dark malts and even a touch of English bittering hops.  It has a nice dusty, dark chocolate element to it as well.  Nice to smell.

The flavor is dark malt, roasted chocolate and cocoa beans with a nice, toasted bitter finish.  It has a creamy mouthfeel with a tiny bit of hop bite near the back and sides of the palate.  It finishes with a nice dark chocolate flavor.

Wow, what a different time makes!  The first time I had this beer I remember hating it, but tonight I am very happy with this.  I also made sure to warm this beer slightly before I opened it.  A general rule of thumb is that the darker a beer is, the warmer the temperature it needs to enjoyed at.  Around 50 – 55 degrees is the nice target area.  Just take the bottle out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes or so and it’ll be fine.  This is a nice beer to enjoy and should be sought out.  Support your local brewery!

Cheers!

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Day #24 – Harpoon Winter Warmer

January 25, 2011

2 dozen beer reviews under my belt and still going strong. On the road again to pick up a new glass…and it turns out to be a glass that I already have 2 of. 😦 It’s not even that appropriate for this particular beer, as it’s labeled with one of their other beers. Oh well. Here’s what I’m going to do then: Since I am in a festive mood and celebrating 24 reviews, I’m going to give something back to you, the reader. The first person who comments that they want the glass on this post will get the glass pictured FOR FREE! Kind of a thank you for checking out my blog.

On to the beer…

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Another beer from Harpoon, this time I’m enjoying it on tap. This particular beer is also available in bottles widely distributed across the area.

It is classified as something a little strange, Spice/Herb/Vegetable. This style is usually applicable when a sizable portion of the ingredients are one of those three things. In this case, this beer is brewed with a couple of spices, cinnamon and nutmeg. Brewing with spices can sometimes be dicey, as even the smallest amounts of a spice and drastically change the flavor and aroma. If the ratio is incorrect, the beer could turn out extremely overbearing. Let’s see how Harpoon did here.

The pour is a clear copper orange color with a decent sized foamy, off-white head. There is no sediment apparent in the appearance.

The aroma isn’t overbearing thankfully, but it does have a strong gingerbread scent. There are some sweet notes with a maltyness present as well as a soapy characteristics. I did just wash my hands though…..

Flavor is dry and pretty spicy. Floral flavors like decorative soap (it wasn’t my hands) and lots of ginger. The cinnamon is felt in the finish but is incredibly dry and bitter. The Ginger also morphs into a plastic-like mouthfeel and taste.

Uh…so I usually try to leave my reviews open-ended so that the reader may form their own opinion, but it’s difficult in this case. I will say if you find yourself with a crapload of gingerbread cookies to eat, and are simultaneously craving a beer, reach for this one!

Cheers!