Saturday, November 13, 2010
As part of the sampler pack that my girlfriend picked up, I tried the Long Trail Ale. The beer pours a golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with soft fresh hops underneath the sweetness. The taste has sour hops hit on the front end with a smooth caramel finish that dries out the tongue a bit. The aftertaste leaves a bit of earthy hops. The alcohol content is 4.6% ABV. There is nothing too intense in this beer, but it was an easy drinking and smooth beer.
Friday, November 12, 2010
As soon as it was available, I stopped into Westy's in Camp Hill and picked up a case of Stone Vertical Epic 10-10-10. The beer pours a vibrant golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of grapes, sweet Belgian yeast, and a hint of pepper and Belgian spices. The taste is sweet and smooth with a sour grape bite on the side of the mouth with a great Belgian yeast flavor profile. The finish is smooth, with some grassy and earthy hints. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I really enjoyed how this year's Vertical Epic really took on the profile of a sweet white wine while maintaining a solid Belgian beer base. The sweetness wasn't too overpowering, and a slight sourness balanced everything out.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Al's of Hampden tweeted that they had four-packs of Founders Backwoods Bastard in stock, so I made the trip to get some. I previously have reviewed the Dirty Bastard, and this is the same beer aged in bourbon barrels. The beer pours a brown color with a foamy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts with raisin and oak accents. The alcohol also tingles the nostrils. The taste is sweet and smooth with a big bourbon and oak bite on the tongue. On the finish, some raisin and caramel peek through and the after taste is dry and tastes just like bourbon. The alcohol content is 10.2% ABV. The Dirty Bastard was a very enjoyable beer, but the Backwoods Bastard even topped that. I really enjoyed how the bourbon really played with the caramel and toffee in the beer without overpowering the flavor.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
My girlfriend picked up the Long Trail sampler pack for a tailgate, and I set aside one of each of the bottles to review. The first beer I tried was the IPA. The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon and pine hops with a light malty backbone. The taste has a nice caramel malt base with a good lemon accent and a pine hop finish. The alcohol content is 5.9% ABV. Nothing in this beer attacks the tongue, so it will not go over well with hop heads, but could be used as a transition beer for those that fear hops.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
My roommate and I decided to go in on all four Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole beers, especially since Al's of Hampden was running a special on all four for $30.
The first beer sampled was the Black Hole aged in rum barrels. The aroma consists of chocolate, vanilla, and honey flavors with a great rum accent. The taste is a dry, biting flavor with oak and rum hitting on the sides of the mouth. As a spoiler, this was the best one of the four in my opinion, but really close to the Bourbon. I personally like rum better as a spirit, and I thought that it was really complimentary to the beer.
Of the four beers, the Whiskey barrel aged beer had least head. Most noticeably, the beer had a potent whisky and oak aroma that really covers the chocolate, vanilla, and honey present in other versions of the beer. Furthermore, the dry, smokey flavor overpowers the flavors in the beer and even has a dry and smokey finish. Of the four, this was the least favorite as the whisky and smoke took over the beer and made it really difficult to drink a whole (or half) glass.
The bourbon barrel aged Black Hole had a similar aroma to the rum, but I thought it was a little sweeter. There was a a little bit of smoke and oak in the taste with a good sweetness added, all while maintaining the dry chocolate finish. I would say the bourbon barrel aged Black Hole was just as good as the rum barrel aged beer, but I voted the rum aged beer slightly higher.
The final beer was the Black Hole aged in wine barrels. Most noticeably, this version sticks the most to the glass. I thought it has somewhat of a subdued aroma but the chocolate seeps through with a hint of grapes. The taste starts with chocolate and leaves a sour bite in the back of the mouth. Overall, the chocolate and grapes work well together, and leaves a nice dry finish similar to red wine.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I stopped in to the Troegs tasting room to sample a glass of Scratch 34- Tim's Belgian Brown. The beer ran in to some issues with carbonation prior to bottling, so as of now it was only available on draft in the tasting room. The beer pours a brown amber color with a thin filmy off white head. The aroma consists of sweet malts and raisins. The taste is big and malty with chocolate and caramel flavors coming through. There is a good lemon and pine bite with some Belgian spices sneaking in there on the finish and a slightly bitter finish. The alcohol content is 7.8% ABV. Overall, the beer was a little heavy for those of you that really enjoy Belgian style beers, as this is a partial brown ale. However, it was a great mash between two styles.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
A beer I noticed on the menu at Al's of Hampden was Bullfrog Busted Lawnmower, a saison, and I decided to order a glass. The beer pours a pale golden color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of lemon with rosemary. The taste is lemon, cream, rosemary, and pepper. The alcohol content is 6.2% ABV. I thought the Busted Lawnmower had a similar profile to Saison du Buff from Stone, Victory, and Dogfish Head, just not quite as intense. This beer was very delicious and a good substitute if you cannot find the Saison du Buff collaboration.