Monday, March 30, 2009

Pils, Czech Style Pilsner, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma California

This Saaz hopped lager is a lot different from the Pilsner from yesterday. I love Lagunitas beers, but lagers have a tough time getting on my good side, so let's see. Yesterday's was a surprise, so you never know....

It pours a pale wheat color with a thin head.

The aroma is very mild caramel, hop and brown sugar.

The taste is refreshing and crisp. Mild honey and mild orange are present in the body with a soft straw-ish flavor.

The palate resets quickly, it is mildly sweet with mild hop and finishes dry.

Unfortunately, this beer wasn't as dynamic as last night's Pilsner. It is a soft flavored beer and would be best suited for a hot afternoon in the spring/summertime...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown Pennsylvania

A few busy weeks and a cold that kept me from properly tasting fine ales and once again, I'm back...Our next beer is a bit of a change up from the winter beers and barleywines enjoyed recently. The Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company is Downingtown, PA is 5.3% with hops that include German and Czech whole flowers and 2-row German Pilsner malt. It is available year round with fairly consistent distribution all over. Let's give it a try....

It pours a bright wheat color.

The aroma is sweet with grapefruit and hop.

It is bright and clean with definite hop in the medium body. The grapefruit tones develop in the body and follow to the finish. An easy drinker with some nice honey tones and hop that balances well while drinking.

The aftertaste is bitter. The hop gives a little more punch and the bright citrus fruit tones work nicely with the bitterness. It is a full flavor beer that has a lot of character.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale, Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake California

And I'm back...

Our next ale is a first for me - we return to the wonderful world of Barleywine. This one is 9.1 % with 96 IBU's and as it says on the bottle brewed in 2008 "celebrating the harvest".

It pours a deep caramel with a thin head.

The aroma is sweet sugary malt with mild vanilla tones.

Delicious. The full body is balanced, so the sweetness isn't overwhelming. It is roasty and slightly smoky in the finish. It's thick, but retains a nice freshness, as well. The roasted malt and bitterness are a nice complement to the alcohol tones that accompany the finish. There is a slight grapefruit flavor that develops in the body and is slightly noticeable in the aftertaste as well.

The aftertaste is roasty, but also fresh - surprisingly so for a barleywine. The bitterness and sweetness seem to balance themselves out and a nice general malt lingers nicely.

This is an excellent barleywine - something to try out for sure. I found mine at Belmont Station here in Portland and I think their beers are fairly available on the West Coast.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2008 Trader Joe's Vintage Ale, Unibroue , Chambly Quebec

I'll admit the first time I saw "Trader Joe's Vintage Ale" a few years back, I chuckled. However, after noting that it was a Belgian style ale from Unibroue, I gave it a try. This year's, a Abbey Dubbel style has rested here for a few months. As it states on the bottle, this is one to age for a few years to develop the character. We'll give it a shot and I think I'll keep one in the Beer Den for later....

It pours a deep brown with a reddish hue and a big tight head.

The aroma is mild spice complemented with yeast and a hop earthiness. It smells like a Belgian - full bodied and lots of notes to be enjoyed.

It has a full body with a smooth silkiness. The flavors develop nicely, offering up a nice general spice mild peppery-ness in the body. The yeast and sour notes develop in the finish. It ends with a nice hop bitterness and sour yeast that lingers nicely on the palate and alcohol in the throat.

The aftertaste is a nice sour and alcohol taste.

The bottle mentions that it is produced by traditional top fermentation. There is a lot of subtle and bold flavors that develop during drinking. It is available in the 750 ml bottles from Trader Joe's.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Menage A Frog, Issaquah Brewery, Seattle Washington

Well, let's line up another Belgian Style Tripel Ale - this one from the West Coast. The Issaquah Brewery still operates in Seattle though it is now a subsidiary of Rogue Ales. They use Abbey Yeast and this beer arrives with 30 IBU. It's available in the 750 ML. bottle from Rogue and I'm sure if you are close to Issaquah, you can find it with ease. I have a feeling it will be worth seeking out -

It pours a bright straw colored with a nice head.

The aroma is yeast with white pepper with mild orange peel and slight coriander.

This is a nicely balanced Belgian. It starts crisp with some hop and yeast that develops into a nice citrus/orange peel in the medium body. It finishes with yeast and alcohol. These flavors along with a general white pepper that follows throughout blend nicely and develop in a balanced yet characteristic way.

The aftertaste is alcohol with yeast and a nice bitterness that lingers lively on the tongue.

As it says on the bottle "Take a flying Leap, Leap, Leap!" If you come across it - Do not hesitate! Order and....


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tripel, Southern Tier Brewing, Lakewood New York

Our next beer comes from a brewery that continues to prove itself. The Southern Tier Brewery, located in Lakewood, NY, has had their beers reviewed a few times on this blog, to much satisfaction. Their Tripel Style Belgian Triple Ale is fermented 3 times - twice in the brewery and once in the bottle. Let's give it a try....

It pours a brilliant amber with a thin tight head.

Big yeast aroma with mild citrus - with mild orange peel and hop.

It begins with yeast and in the medium body, there is a hop bitterness that builds through the finish. Mild citrus holds in the body along with some general spice. It is silky smooth a little thick like honey, but it has big alcohol tones in the end.

The aftertaste is held with yeast, bitterness and alcohol.

It is 9% and available in 22 oz bottles. It is a bit hard to find, I did see a few at Bottleworks in Seattle. If you come across any of their beers - DO NOT HESITATE - buy and enjoy!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Moonstone Porter, Six Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA

Our next beer comes from the Six Rivers Brewery in Mckinleyville in Northern California. It was a present from my sister, who was there a while back with her husband. They enjoyed the Six Rivers Brewpub, giving their beer, food and view a great review. Indeed I received a text picture and it did look great! I am looking forward to checking it out on our next drive down 101 - for now I will enjoy the Porter. This is my first from the brewpub that, until now, I didn't know about...

It pours opaque with a small tight caramel colored head.

The aroma is quite mild. There is subtle malt and sweetness with vanilla.

The moonstone porter has a nice full body. It has a characteristic smoothness that is complemented by a not-too-sweet vanilla flavor. Roasty malt arrives in the body along with some mild hop. It isn't too coffee or chocolate in the finish, but holds to the malt roastiness with a very very mild smokiness to it. A mild yeast holds lightly on the tongue.

The aftertaste is nice and malty. It leaves a roastiness in the mouth.

A great porter, it holds up nicely, with a personality to it. It is 6.9%. I'm not sure what kind of distribution they have, this was a 12 oz bottle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Independence Hop Ale, Rogue Ales, Newport Oregon

Once again, let's return to Rogue. This is an ale brewed in honor of Independence, Oregon which, according to the bottle, is the "Hop Capitol of the World!". This hopped up pale ale features Two-Row, Munich, Caramel Wheat and Carafoam malts. It has Fresh unkilned Centennial and Cascade Hops with Rogue's Pacman Yeast. It has 80 IBU's...Let's sample -

It pours a nice deep copper.

The aroma is earthy hop with mild citrus.

It has a big hop that arrives in the body. It is smooth in the beginning, but finishes with the big bitterness. It is dry and the malt is more prevalent in the finish. There is mild grapefruit and mild apricot in the hop body.

The aftertaste is a good clean hop bitterness that lingers nicely.

This is a great refreshing beer - definitely for the hop lovers. It's not overly bitter of flowery with the hops, but has wonderful character in it's dryness and finish.

Rogue ales are available all over!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing, Denver Colorado

Beware the Yeti!
I'm not one for warnings, so let's venture forth.....

It pours opaque and thick with a thin caramel colored head.

The aroma is BIG roasted malt with mild vanilla and chocolate tones.

The full body is creamy with big roasty malt. It is fairly smooth for being so thick. There isn't much sweetness in the slight vanilla that arrives in the body of the bear. It manages to stick to the malty hearty side of things. The beer dominates the palate. It is bitter in the finish.

The aftertaste is bitter chocolate - thick and malty.

This is a great imperial stout, I like that it steers clear of the sweetness. There is also an Oak-Aged Yeti that is worth the search. Great Divide has very good distribution and you should be able to find it in both beer stores and finer grocery stores in 6 packs and 22 oz bottles -

Track one down!