As much as I love all the innovative, creative and just plain off the wall crazy beers in the world right now… You have to respect the classics. I’ve said this countless times throughout my blog posts over the years. In the midst of trying all the new craft beers on the shelves, perfectly good benchmark brews can be overlooked. It’s a good idea to revisit these brews regularly to be able to more appreciate and understand today’s craft beers. It’s good to understand styles and how brewers are building upon and evolving them. I was recently reminded of this when I found a very generous package at my front door last week. It was a twelve pack of Pilsner Urquell!
It pours clear and golden, with a finger and a half of pure white foamy head. The aroma is grassy, with notes of fresh bread, pale malt and grain. The flavors are sweet caramel and toast upfront, then balanced by a grassy hops bitterness. The finish is long, bitter, clean, crisp and dry. Absent are any of the weird cloying or metallic flavors that you get with macro Pilsners. It sports medium body with sharp carbonation. With an 4.4% This was a session beer before session beers were cool. This is surely not a beer to be overlooked or taken for granted. Pilsner Urquell wrote the book 175 years ago and set the bar for the style. If you haven’t had one lately, it would behoove you to treat yourself to this fantastic staple in Pilsner history. Here’s to good beers!
Years ago I reviewed a very popular Banana Beer. It was a fun novelty, but I didn’t love it. Nor have I had it since. It just seemed too candy-like for me. Faux banana flavor was not what I was looking for. Fast forward to present day, a fellow beer enthusiast co-worker of mine told me he would hook me up with a banana beer that actually tasted like real banana. He assured me I would enjoy it. Here goes…
Andean Brewing Co Kuka Banana Nut Brown Ale pours a deep mahogany color with red edges. I had to pour rather aggressively to get a head to form. The head was foamy, one finger thick and tan, but disappeared quickly. The aroma brought on two things very quickly. First, a lot of malt. Second, freshly peeled banana. The taste is brings on toasted malts, a slight nuttiness and ripe banana. At times vanilla and cocoa or present. The mouth feel is thin to medium with sharp carbonation. The 5.5% abv made this very easy to drink. The finish is sweet with lingering banana. Overall, I would gladly revisit this beer. As opposed to the one I previously tried years ago. This has restored my faith that bananas and beer can come together harmoniously. I can even think of a few baking applications for this brew. If you come across this one, be sure to check it out! Here’s to Good Beers!
***Note: At the time of this post, Andean Brewing Co.’s website seemed to be having issues. Their active Twitter page was linked instead.
So, it’s almost been 6 years since I started this blog. I really didn’t start getting in to Craft Beer until 2008-ish. So I most certainly missed most of the Vertical Epic series that Stone released every year from 01.01.01 – 12.12.12. I’ve only had 09.09.09 – 12.12.12, and (This is starting to look like a math problem.) I may have even reviewed a
couple one of them. Now one has been re-released, and luckily for me it was one I missed out on the first time!
Stone Brewing 20th Anniversary “Encore 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale“. It pours a golden orange color with a small white head. The aroma is full of citrus fruits and piny hops. The taste follows the hoppy, citrusy aroma pretty closely with the addition of a peppery bite. The mouth-feel is medium with sharp carbonation, and the 8.9%abv adds another layer of sweetness. The finish is hoppy and dry. I’m glad Stone chose this from the Vertical Epic Series to do an Encore. Hopefully the will re-release more from the series. Don’t miss this. Here’s to Good Beers!
Happy New Year all! I hope 2016 brings you great times and many tasty beers. Now that the holidays are over, I’m ready to get back to reviewing non-holiday ales. To start things off, I found a new beer from a brewery that really impressed me in 2015. Also, the name for this brew… Well, it’s a playful.
Abita “Bad Mother Shucker” is an Oyster Stout brewed with Louisiana Oysters. It pours dark brown with a tan foamy head. The aroma is earthy with chocolate malt, molasses and Brine. The flavor starts sweet with oatmeal, then turns a little bitter like baker’s chocolate with a salty finish. That is exactly what I would expect this beer to taste like. So many times I pick up an Oyster Stout and don’t find any hint of saline in the flavor whatsoever, and that disappoints me. However this absolutely filled my expectations. The mouth feel is full with moderate carbonation. The 8% abv is controlled very well and never overpowering. The finish is dry, bitter sweet and salty. This is a very interesting beer. Abita seems to be doing a lot more interesting beers in my opinion as of late. I very much look forward to seeing what they have in store for 2016. Again, happy New Year everyone. Here’s to Good Beers!
Christmas Eve… it’s too late to ask if you have been “Naughty or Nice”. If you’ve been nice, good for you. If you’ve been naughty, might as well own it. Here is a little review of a beer that pairs well with Naughty!
Flying Dog “Naughty” Belgian Style Dark Ale brewed with habanero peppers and orange peel. It pours cola color with a thin foamy head that instantly vanishes. The aroma presents the sweet smells of caramel, dark sticky fruits, brown sugar, and spice. The taste is initially just as sweet as the aroma… then the heat starts in and quickly takes over. The spice, orange peel and habaneros play really well together. The burn is not completely overwhelming, which is nice. The mouth-feel is full and creamy with sharp carbonation. The 9% abv is masked pretty well by the heat form the peppers. The finish is hot with lingering notes of orange peel and spices. Leave this one out for Santa! Here’s to Good Beers!
Happy Festivus “The Holiday for the Rest of Us”. Yes, December 23rd is Festivus. Is this a real holiday? Well, that can be debated. It’s definitely been a “thing” since 1997, when it was presented in an episode of Seinfeld. To learn more about this completely non-commercial holiday click this link OR click here and watch this video! … Now that you are up to speed, may I suggest a Festivus beer?
Manayunk Brewery “Festivus” pours a dark copper color, with a thin fizzy tan head. The nose is packed with holiday spices like cinnamon, clove, mace and a touch of dark fruit.
The taste follows the smell closely with fruit and spice. The sweet plum, raisin and fig flavors in conjunction with the spices, kind of remind me of fruit cake… It’s a Festivus miracle! It has a medium body with light carbonation, and the 7% abv makes this a great Winter Warmer Ale. The Finish is dry and spicy. Happy Festivus! Here’s to Good Beers!
I hope everybody’s Christmas season is enjoyable thus far. I know mine has been incredibly busy. However, I shan’t neglect my tradition of Christmas / Holiday beer reviews! Following up on last weeks tasty stout review, I give you another stout review! This one comes from a yearly Christmas series being done from an incredible brewery in California. Sadly I’m just having my first beer from the series now. I missed out on the 7 previous ones, but I hope to pick it up from here and continue forward every year until they’re finished the series in 2019.
The Bruery “8 Maids-a-Milking” Imperial Milk Stout is the 8th installment in their “12 Days of Christmas Series”. It pours solid black with a thin tan head. The aroma is cheery with chocolate malt, caramel and hints of licorice. Taste is joyful with chocolate, roasted coffee and slightly hoppy with a touch alcohol. The mouth-feel is full and slick with moderate carbonation. The finish is delivers a dark fruit kick with merry dose of heat from the 11.3% abv. This is one to stock up on to make a Christmas staple for years to come! Here’s to Good Beers!
When I last posted we were all getting ready for Thanksgiving. Now that the leftovers have been eaten and we’ve had to much Pumpkin Ale, it’s time for holiday beers! As a child I loved to sip hot chocolate this time of year (as I’m sure many of you did and may still)! As an adult we have more options. Options that can take our beloved childhood memories and traditions to new levels.
Stone Brewing Co‘s “Xocoveza” is a stout brewed with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg according to the description. It pours midnight black. It sports a one finger thick foamy, brown head. The aroma is heavenly with coffee and bitter bakers chocolate. The taste starts out just like the aroma, but the peppers bite the back your tongue. It’s not an overwhelming heat, it’s not going to make you sweat but it’s just enough to let you know there’s some actual real peppers in this. The cinnamon and nutmeg come through in the aftertaste. The mouth-feel is full with sharp carbonation. The abv is 8.1% and never seems that high. The finish this is bitter sweet bitter dark chocolate for the sweet vanilla cinnamon nutmeg flavor. Quite honestly, this is the best Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout I’ve ever had. Here’s to Good Beers!
It’s hard for me to believe that this is the 5th installment of my yearly Pumpkin Ale Top 10 List! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you are all enjoying whatever beer makes you happy this holiday! Here is the list of my favorite Pumpkin Ales from 2015. As always, if some brews from last year’s list did not make this year’s list; it’s not because I am not a fan of those beers anymore. It is only that I didn’t get a chance to revisit them in 2015. Don’t forget to leave a comment on your thoughts of this list or past Top 10 lists, and leave suggestions on pumpkin beers I should look out for in 2016! Here’s to Good Beers!
1: 21st Amendment “He Said”
2: Troegs “Master of Pumpkins”
3: Buffalo Bill’s “Black Pumpkin”
4: Steven’s Point “Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale”
5: Southern Tier “Rum Barrel Aged Pumking”
6: Downeast Cider House “Pumpkin Blend”
7: Two Roads “Roadsmary’s Baby”
8: Manayunk “Yunkin’ Pumpkin”
9: Applewood Winery “Naked Flock Pumpkin Cider”
10: Big Muddy Brewing Co “Pumpkin Smasher”
Returning to my annual fall pumpkin beer series, I chose to explore another pumpkin cider. I did enjoy the last one I reviewed, so I was much less hesitant to check out another one. You all know what pumpkin brews I have been checking out. Feel free to leave comments and share your thoughts on my past reviews or leave suggestions on great brews I should look out for!
Applewood Winery Naked Flock Pumpkin Ultra Premium Hard Cider pours clear yellow with a fizzy white super thin head. The aroma is pleasantly Autumn with apple cider, honey and spicy Yeast. The taste follows the aroma for the most part with the depth of flavor I believe is attributed to the use of pumpkin meat. This cider is incredibly drinkable. It has a thin and watery mouth-feel. The finish is delightful with more great apple cider honey and spice. Don’t go into this really tasty cider expecting pumpkin pie. Realize that pumpkin meat without spices has very little flavor but offers complex sugars that are great for yeast to consume in the fermenting process! That really comes through in this. This is a great fall cider. Here’s to good beers!