Saturday, December 18, 2010
While at Al's of Hampden, I ordered a glass of Coronado Idiot IPA. The beer pours a golden color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit, pine, and sugar. The taste is smooth and creamy with a very round mouth feel. There is lots of grapefruit in this beer, which gives it a rather sweet start with a bit of tangerine shining through before transitioning into a bitter pine finish. The alcohol content is 8% ABV. The Idiot IPA was an amazing beer and my ideal type of India Pale Ale. I love the grapefruit profile and the transition from sweet to bitter.
Al's of Hampden tapped a keg of Terrapin Capt'n Krunkles, and I hurried over to grab a glass before it was all gone. The beer pours a deep black color with a frothy tan head. There is a faint chocolate aroma, but it is not very prevalent. The taste has a toasted malt base with lots of carbonation, chocolate, and pine hops. A lot of sweetness comes out of this beer in the form of espresso and molasses. There is a drying finish with earthy hop accents. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I thought the Capt'n Krunkles Black IPA was amazingly delicious and provided a wonderful balance of sweetness and bittering hops.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I was at Ceolta's in downtown Harrisburg to check out a band and I noticed that they had bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, so I ordered one to give it a try. The beer pours a black color with a lofty foamy tan head. The aroma is big on chocolate, which is not as prominent in the regular Guinness, coffee, dark fruits and cream. The taste is bubbly and carbonated with a chocolate base. The chocolate flavor transitions into a sweet dark fruit flavor with creamy accents before transitioning to a dry coffee finish. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I really enjoyed the Foreign Extra Stout, even more so than Guinness, but if I had one complaint I would say that the mouth feel was a little too bubbly.
I stopped in to McGrath's in downtown Harrisburg and ordered a glass of Copper Crow [no website, formerly the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery] IPA. The beer pours a copper color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with a lot of lemon, pine and pepper. The taste has a nice sweet caramel base before bittering to lemon and pine with a bitey and piney finish. The alcohol content is 7.3% ABV. I wasn't blown away by this IPA, and the beer may actually be too bitter for its own good. The hops really dry out the mouth and can almost cause a pucker.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Waiting in line at the Troegs brewery at 6:00 AM for a beer in 20-degree weather makes the anticipation for the beer rise exponentially. The beer waited for was Splinter Black, a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs and turbinado sugar and aged in oak barrels with Ugandan Gold vanilla beans. The cork pops off of the bottle and the beer pours a thick, dark black color that looks like syrup with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists of a truck load of chocolate with hints of vanilla and the oak smells like the lumber yard of a Home Depot (which is quite therapeutic to me). The taste is bright and awakening with lots of roasted malts, plenty of chocolate, a nice vanilla accent, and a sugary sweetness. The finish of the beer is a little dry but with a chocolate sweetness. Lots of carbonation comes out to play in the after taste with a roasted malt after taste. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. Wow, is this beer smooth and silky across the tongue with a wonderful and delicate chocolate flavor. The roasted flavors balance well with the dry chocolate infused in the beer with the perfect splash of vanilla. If you have a chance to grab this bottle before it's gone, do not pass up the opportunity.
I picked up a bottle of De Struise Brouwers Black Albert from Al's of Hampden. The beer pours a black color with a foamy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate, vanilla, and toasted malts. The taste is smooth and full of chocolate, a good toasted malt accent, vanilla, and a big alcohol bite. The finish kicks in with some coffee dryness and molasses sweetness. The alcohol content is 13.0% ABV. Despite being a big beer, this brew really has a smooth and sweet character to it. There are hints of the alcohol bite, but the chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and molasses really focus in the profile of the beer.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Luckily, I was able to reserve a case of the Samuel Adams-Weihenstephan collaboration Infinium from brass Rail in Campbelltown. A lot of hype has surrounded this beer, so naturally high expectations followed. The cork pops off of the bottle with a loud pop similar to champagne; a good start. Pouring into the glass, the beer pours a golden color with a very foamy white head. The aroma consists of apple, grape, pear, lemon, and wheat. The taste is light and bubbly on the tongue with a sweet fruity flavor that has bits of apple, pear, lemon zest, and grape. The finish of the beer has a crisp, bubbly bite, again similar to champagne, with a white wine (read grape-like) finish. The alcohol content is 10.3% ABV. Did the Infinium live up to the hype. In simple terms, yes it did. The press surrounding the beer advertised it as a champagne-like beer with a good helping of fruits. Overall, the Infinium was a crisp and clean beer that was enjoyable to drink, and I cannot wait to share it with others on New Year's Eve.
As part of a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia, I received a bottle of Mikkeller Big/Worse. The beer pours a copper color with a bubbly off-white head. The aroma is sweet and consists of raisin, fig, dark fruits, and dark bread. The taste is sweet at first before the alcohol really punches the tongue. Caramel, raisin, fig, and dark fruits come into play before a drying hoppy finish. Hints of oak linger in the after taste. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. This is no pansy barleywine. The alcohol makes its presence known and really warms the throat, but does have great balancing flavors of caramel, fig, and dark fruits.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I acquired a bottle of the Mikkeller/Brew Dog collaboration I Hardcore You from Lee at Hoptopia through a beer trade. The beer pours an orange-copper color with a lofty frothy white head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts with lemon and pine fresh hops that really infiltrate the nose. The taste is sweet and lemony at first before transitioning into a bitter pine hop bite. There is a bit of underlying toffee and the finish is somewhat grassy and warming. The after taste brings back the bitter hops and a light lemon splash. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I thought the blending of this beer was masterful between the breweries, and the caramel sweetness was perfectly balanced with bitter lemon and pine.
My coworker Greg picked me up a few bottles of Blue Point Pumpkin Ale when he was home on Long Island. The beer pours a golden color with amber hues and a frothy white head. The aroma consists of nutmeg and cinnamon with sweet pumpkin undertones. The taste is sweet and creamy with pumpkin on the front end before transitioning into light cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg spices. The finish is lightly watered down, so the spices don't bite as hard as they do with some pumpkin beers. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 6.0% ABV. This is nicely balanced pumpkin beer that doesn't dry out too much on the finish.
Monday, December 13, 2010
I ordered a glass of Rogue Mogul Madness from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore. The Rogue Mogul Madness is a Black IPA and pours a dark brown color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon and pine with caramel. The taste is dry with lemon and pine, spruce, and a good caramel finish. Overall, the beer is big on lemon but not as black in color as expected. The alcohol content is 6.2% ABV. I enjoyed the lemon and pine profile of this beer as it balanced out the caramel sweetness from the beer. The spruce accents only made it more enjoyable to drink.
My girlfriend ordered a glass of Peak Organic Winter Session Ale from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore and allowed me to try the beer. She is a big fan of organic foods and was really excited about the prospect of an organic beer. The beer pours a copper color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with peaches. The taste is really focused on peaches that are almost cobbler-like with some accents of caramel and a good malt flavor. The alcohol content is 5% ABV. I was somewhat surprised at the peach flavor in this beer, especially a sweet peach cobbler flavor, but it was quite enjoyable. However, I almost find the beer to be an oxymoron, as winter beers are typically higher alcohol content and not sessionable.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
My girlfriend ordered a glass of Mikkeller Yeast Series: Brettanomyces from Max's Taphouse in Baltimore and allowed me to try it. The beer pours a dark amber color with a lacy off-white head. The aroma consists heavily of grapefruit with grapes, yeast, and toasted caramel. The taste is smooth with toasted caramel at first before it transitions into a dry grapefruit flavor. There is lingering pine and spruce flavors on the finish. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. I really enjoyed the Brettanomyces Single Yeast beer from Mikkeller, but the dryness from the grapefruit can easily put off several beer drinkers. It really bitters on the finish and can really tire out the palate quickly.
While at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore, I ordered a glass of Flying Dog Single Hop Imperial IPA (Simcoe). The beer pours a golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit and sugar with pine hints. The taste is big on grapefruit, tangerine, sugar and caramel. There is a gritty hop bite with pine, almost chewable, with a sweet after taste. The alcohol content is 10% ABV. I am a big fan of simcoe hops, and this beer completely delivers. I felt that the gritty and chewable hop bite was very interesting, but still very enjoyable.