Saturday, April 9, 2011
I ordered a bottle of Stone Old Guardian Belgo online because I wanted to compare it to the original Old Guardian. The beer pours a ruby color with a foamy off-white head that almost leaps out of the glass and completely laces the glass. The aroma consists of raisin, tangerine, plum, candisugar, and Belgian yeast. The taste is smooth and sweet with a wonderful raisin, fig, tangerine, plum, and date flavor. The Belgian yeast kicks in on the finish, as well as a nice alcohol bite on the tongue. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. While some people may have called this a gimmick in creating a Belgian version of the Old Guardian, I would say it was a well done gimmick. I really enjoyed the Belgian yeast component to this beer, as it brought out the fruitiness and alcohol bite in the beer.
As part of a beer trade with Tim Dean, I received a bottle of Goose Island Matilda. The beer pours a golden color with a lafty and frothy white head that leaves a wonderful lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of Belgian yeast, candisugar, pepper, and banana. The taste is bubbly and light on the tongue with a big Belgian yeast profile, candisugar, banana, pepper, and other spices. The finish brings out an earthy hop balance with a slightly sour lemon twist. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. The Matilda is a perfect example of a Belgian ale, and I hope that Anheuser-Busch/InBev does not alter this recipe one bit. The carbonation balance in the beer is what seals the deal.
Friday, April 8, 2011
To cheer me up, my girlfriend bought me a bottle of White Birch Wrigian. The beer pours a brown color with a bubbly off-white colored head. The aroma consists of faint raisin and Belgian yeasts. The taste is rather pedestrian with a bit of wet cardboard, raisins and some Belgian yeast comes through a bit. The finish is lightly bubbly and a little dry. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I have heard how things at White Birch are up and down, and this beer definitely hits on the down side. I’ve like the other beers I’ve had from White Birch, but this beer never drove home an enjoyable flavor.
As part of a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia, I received a bottle of Southern Tier Cuvee Series Part 3. The beer pours a reddish amber color with a thin and filmy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of sweet malts, raisin, cherry, oak, and yeast. The taste is sweet and cherry right up front with lots of cherry flavor. The finish brings a little bit of roasted malts, raisin, and a bit of yeast. The after taste lets the oak flavor linger on the tongue with a cherry goodness. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. This beer, which sides on the sweet part of the palate, is smooth and cherry-filled. I enjoyed the oak finish and after taste, as it helped calm down the sweetness of the beer.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
As part of a beer trade with my friend Tim, I received a growler of Captain Lawrence Captain’s Kolsch. The beer pours a pale golden color with a frothy white colored head. The aroma consists of sweet malts with a lemon zest. The taste is is smooth and sweet with a big malty profile and a lemon zest finish. A little bit of pepper comes in to play in the after taste. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV. As a style, the Kolsch is one of my favorites, as it needs to be perfectly done and clean to taste great. Captain Lawrence hit the Kolsch style on point, and this is a wonderful beer.
Al’s of Hampden tapped Dark Horse Tres, a blueberry stout, and I decided to order a glass of it. The beer pours a black color with a thin filmy tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate, blueberry, and toasted malts. The taste is big on toasted malts with chocolate and coffee. The finish brings out the blueberry flavor and is slightly sweet, providing a great balance to the toasted malt bitterness. The alcohol content is 4.5% ABV. While some people may shy away from a fruity beer, this beer perfectly balances a sweet blueberry flavor with a chocolate and toasted malt base.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I ordered a glass of Ithaca Flower Power from Al’s of Hampden. The beer pours an orange-gold color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists of orange, tangerine, and passion fruit. The taste is fruity with passion fruit, pineapple, orange, and tangerine. The finish bites the tongue with pine and spruce hops. There is a nice and dry after taste that is most appreciated for a hop lover. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I think this beer also really benefited from being fresh, as it was tapped less than three weeks from being kegged. The addition of the passion fruit flavor really pushed this beer over the edge, and I will seek it out again.
Blue Point Rastafa Rye was recently tapped at Al’s of Hampden, so I stopped in to order a glass. The beer pours an orange color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of caramel with rye, lemon, and pepper. The taste is sweet with caramel but a lot more hoppy than most ryes. There are also lots of lemon, rye, and pepper flavors in the beer as well. The beer has a dry finish due to the rye. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I really enjoyed this rye beer, as it had a wonderful caramel sweetness and an intense, yet enjoyable, hop accent.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
When I saw that Al tapped the Ommegang/Brasserie d’Achouffe collaboration Gnomegang, I immediately rushed over to Al’s of Hampden to get a glass. The beer pours a yellow gold color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of Belgian yeast with pepper, cloves, and banana. The taste is big and peppery with a good amount of Belgian spice, banana and yeast comes into play to provide a nice sweet balance. The after taste brings back peppery and earthy hops that dry the mouth. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. The light bodied and well carbonated beer has a wonderful spice taste that is balanced well with the sweet Belgian yeast. If you can get your hands on a bottle of this beer, I highly recommend doing so.
While at Al’s of Hampden, I ordered a glass of The Brew Works Monkey Wrench, a saison. The beer pours a light gold color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma is faint but has lemon and earthy hops. The taste is light and grassy with a wonderful lemon accent. There is a peppery finish that dries out the mouth. The alcohol content is 7% ABV. I thought this was an excellent beer and a very clean saison. It has a great earthiness to it that is complimented nicely with the lemon flavor.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I went out for my friend Tom's birthday when he was in town and we went to The Warwick Hotel & Restaurant in Hummelstown, PA. I ordered a glass of Widmer Hefeweizen while there. The beer pours a golden color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of lemon, wheat, and and hint of pepper. The taste is surprisingly smoky with some lemon and wheat accents. The after taste retains the smoke flavor and it lingers for a while. The alcohol content is 4.9% ABV. I'm not sure if there was something in the line or not, but I had to reference Beer Advocate to see if others picked up the smokiness; no one else has with the exception of the two other people with me at The Wick. The beer had a bit of a BBQ style taste in the mouth, and was not what I expecting, but a decent tasting beer.
I picked up a bottle of Full Sail Bump in the Night, a Cascadian Dark Ale, from Discount Wine and Liquors in Boonton, NJ. The beer pours a cranberry-amber color with a frothy off-white color head that leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of pine, spruce, lemon, chocolate, and toasted malts. The taste is smooth with a roasty malt flavor at first with some burnt caramel before a very bitter pine, lemon, and spruce hop flavor kick in. Following that, a burnt toast flavors comes out of the beer on the finish. The after taste leaves some caramel and chocolate linger in the mouth. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV. This was one of the most interesting and dynamic Cascadian Dark Ales/Black IPAs. The toast flavor took me by surprise, and it was not as bitter as I had expected.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I acquired a bottle of Captain Lawrence 5 Years Later Ale from Hoptopia in a beer trade. The beer pours a really dark brown color with a lofty and frothy tan head that laces to the glass and lingers for a while. The aroma consists of toasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, licorice, and coffee with cream. The taste is bold and powerful with lots of chocolate and coffee take precedence on the front end of the tongue. A sharp and bitey pine and lemon hop bite then envelops the tongue and dries out the mouth. The after taste of this beer keeps with the dry theme and bring back coffee and dark chocolate. The alcohol content is 10.0% ABV. Overall, I was most impressed with the hop content in this beer and how biting the hops were. The hops were able to dry out the mouth just prior to the alcohol kicking in, providing an overall warming experience.
As part of a beer trade with Lee from Hoptopia, I received a bottle of Brouwerij de Molen Black Damnation II- Mocha Bomb. The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a very frothy and tan head, with a great lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of heaps of coffee with deep black Belgian chocolate taking over the nostrils. The taste is bold and chocolaty with lots of coffee, espresso, toasted malts, and a hint of vanilla. The finish is drying with a nice bite of bourbon alcohol. The alcohol content is 12.0% ABV. Wow, what a powerful punch of dark chocolate and coffee that is packed into this one bottle of beer. I loved the dryness of the Belgian chocolate, and the bourbon alcohol kick at the end doesn’t hurt either.