Saturday, April 16, 2011
A bottle that was brought to a small bottle share even was The Bruery Vitis Series: Pintolambicus, and I was able to get a glass of it. The beer pours a golden color with barely any head. The aroma is sweet with grapes and a pinch of vinegar. The taste is sour with vinegar, and by that I mean LOTS of vinegar, peach, grapes, and lemon. The is a wine flavor that comes through on the finish. The alcohol content is 8.4% ABV. The was a very fruity beer with a wonderful vinegar pinch in the mouth. I would recommend this beer for someone getting into sours, as it was not too intense and quite enjoyable.
I was able to try a glass of Jackie O’s Orange Oak at a small bottle share even amongst friends. The beer pours an unfiltered orange color with a filmy white head. The aroma consists of sour lemon, orange, and wheat. The taste is sour right on the front end with clementine, tangerine, and orange sweetness rounding out the flavor. The orange flavors really pick up a lot of the peel flavor from the fruit, rather than the juicy core. On the finish, a little bit of pineapple peeks through with an oaky flavor on the tongue. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. The orange aspects of this beer are wonderful, and it is relatively easy to pick all of them out, as everyone drinking the beer did.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Another beer I got to try in a small bottle share even was Trinity TPS Report, a beer with a great name that can invoke Office Space jokes while drinking. The beer pours a pale yellow color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists overwhelmingly of urine with hints of lemon and wheat. If you read that and thought urine doesn’t sound like an appealing smell for a beer, you are 100% correct and the aroma was very off-putting. I actually decided to move and taste the beer. The taste has some lemon, vinegar, sour apple cider, and wet blanket. The alcohol content is 4.8% ABV. While the taste of the TPS report was moderately enjoyable, the aroma was a very difficult thing to overcome. I’m not sure I would go after this beer again, so I’m going to have to ask it to move its desk down to the basement, mmmmkay?
As part of a small bottle share event, I got to try a glass of Jackie O’s Cabernet Cherryman. The beer pours a dark brown color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of cherry, vinegar, and has some chocolate hints. The taste is chocolate at first with a big sour cherry bite quickly enveloping the mouth. The finish brings on a pinch on the back of mouth, and a dark cherry flavor lingers in the after taste. I’m not sure of the alcohol content, but I would guess it to be around 6.0% ABV. I really enjoyed the sourness of this beer without it being overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the pinch in the back of the mouth is intense, but does not ruin the flavor of the beer, or the sweet dark cherry after taste.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
At Al’s of Hampden, I ordered a glass of Cricket Hill Bourbon Barrel Aged Paymasters Porter. The beer pours a red tinted dark brown color with a thin filmy off white colored head. The aroma consists of bourbon, toasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla. The taste is dry and chocolate with lots of bourbon up front. There is a drying finish that sucks moisture off tongue with coffee and vanilla accents. The alcohol content is 6.7% ABV. It was almost indescribably as to how this beer dried the tongue out, but you could possibly compare it to eating saw dust. However, it was quite a tasty beer.
I ordered a glass of Founders Double Trouble at Al’s of Hampden. The beer pours a golden color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, and spruce. The taste is big and bubbly with lots of grapefruit with sugar, tangerine, orange, and lemon flavors. The finish is dry with pine and spruce. The alcohol content is 9.4% ABV. This was a well put together beer with wonderful citrus notes paired with pine and spruce, and was quite refreshing. This beer might be added to my regular summertime beer drinking rotation.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I attended the PA Flavor festival, a celebration of Pennsylvania beer and food, on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Below are some tasting notes from the beers I had and some overall thoughts about the festival itself.
Voodoo White Magick of the Sun- The beer pours a golden color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists of wheat and plenty of Belgian spices to knock your socks off. The taste is smooth and sweet with lots of lemon and spices that tickle the tongue. The alcohol content is 6.75% ABV. This is a great beer and a great addition to the Magick family.
Roy Pitz Truly Honest Amber- The beer pours an amber color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of sweet caramel malts. The taste is sweet with spicy pepper and caramel malts. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. I thought that this was a really good offering in the amber beer category.
Church Brew Works Ambrosia Ale- The beer pours a golden yellow color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of wheat, lemon, spices and herb. The taste is light, lemon, and sweet with a great overall earthy flavor. Surprisingly, there is a sweet and tart finish. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV.
Marzoni’s Patchway Pale Ale- The beer pours an amber color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of fresh lemon and fine hops. The taste is dry with some caramel and bitter hops rounding out the flavor. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV. This was a decent beer, but not too memorable.
North Country Station 33 Firehouse Red- The beer pours a brown color with a filmy white head. The aroma is faint but there are hints of caramel in it. The taste is mostly caramel with some light faint hops and a night toasted malt finish. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV.
Sprague Farm & Brew Works Rustbelt Amber Ale- The beer pours a red amber color with a thin filmy off-white head. The aroma consists of caramel and dry pine hops. The taste is smooth with lots of caramel and a lightly dry finish. There is a toasted malt after taste as well. The alcohol content is not available online, but I would guess it to be around 5.5% .
Otto’s Slab Cabin IPA- The beer pours an amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is faint but has a caramel base and some lemon accents. The taste is dry and bitter with lemon and pine flavors, all leading to a sweet caramel finish. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV.
Spring House Breakfast Porter- This is a a small batch one-off production, made from combining the Planet Bean Coffee Stout and the Hickory-Smoked Bacon Maple Porter. The beer pours a black color with a lofty and frothy tan head. The aroma consists of coffee, vanilla, and maple syrup with some bacon hints. The taste is big on dry coffee with some vanilla hints and a sweet maple finish. The are remnants of bacon in the after taste. This beer was my favorite of the day, and I hope to encourage Spring House to make this beer again in the future. Based on the alcohol content of the two beers this one is comprised of, I would estimate the alcohol content to be 7.5% ABV.
Bavarian Barbarian Twisted Steel- The beer pours a black color with a tan bubbly head. The aroma consists of chocolate, coffee and bourbon. The taste is mostly bourbon but smooth and not biting with a great chocolate flavor. This beer was smooth and enjoyable, and tasted like bourbon on the rocks with chocolate hints. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV.
Bavarian Barbarian Bulldozer Golden Ale- The beer pours an amber color with frothy off-white head. The aroma consists of grass, pine, banana, Belgian spice, and caramel. The taste is banana and toasted malts with a creamy mouth feel. There were plenty of grassy hops on the finish. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV.
Yards Saison- The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon, wheat, grass, and pepper. The taste is sweet, consisting of lemon and sugar. The after taste brings out grassy and earthy hops. Overall, this was a great beer. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV.
Lancaster Rumspringa Golden Bock- The beer pours a golden color with frothy white head. The aroma consists of sweet malts, rye, and caramel. The taste is smooth and sweet with raisin, Belgian yeast, and a light pepper and spice bite. The alcohol content is 6.6% ABV.
Otto’s Apricot Wheat- The beer pours a golden color with a thin white head. The aroma is big on apricot with a little bit of wheat, but mostly sweet. The taste is huge on apricot on the front end, which makes it sweet, before some wheat flavors come in to play. I thought it was a little watered down on the finish, but had a good overall flavor. The alcohol content is 4.8% ABV.
My overall thoughts about the PA Flavor 2011 event were extremely positive. I was expecting to go to the event having had most of the PA breweries’ offerings, but I was surprised at the amount of new beers for me to try. Some breweries were a disappointment for me in the beers that they brought, such as Stoudt’s only bringing the Pilsner and Scarlet Lady; both are good beers, but I would like festivals to also provide something different for consumers to try.
My biggest props go to Spring House, especially since they created a new beer, albeit a mixture of two existing beers, for this event. The Breakfast Porter was the most memorable beer there, and I, along with plenty of people that I know, went back for several offerings of this beer. I hope this beer makes it into production again some time in the future. Furthermore, I would like other breweries to follow Spring House’s lead and create a beer next year for this event. Bavarian Barbarian also stood out because they brought their two newest releases, both of which I had not tried yet.
As far as the crowd, this was the perfect setting. There were roughly 750-800 people occupying an area that could have held double to maybe even triple that number. I did not have to wait in any lines for food or beer, and I left with a positive take on this event. The lines were so short that I visited everything I wanted to visit with about an hour to spare, leaving me time to go back to the stands that I really enjoyed. Next year, I would like to see a few more interesting beers at the event along with a few more people; but not enough that I have to wait in line for a long time.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I stopped in to Appalachian Brewing Company to try their one-off Raspberry Imperial Stout. The beer pours a black color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of chocolate malts with raspberries and vanilla. The taste is slightly sour and puckering with raspberry all built upon a chocolate base. There is a warming alcohol and vanilla finish and a quite tart after taste. The alcohol content is 10.0% ABV. The Raspberry Imperial Stout was surprisingly excellent and I was quite impressed with it. The slight tartness in the beer played well with the chocolate malts in the beer.
I received a bottle of Weyerbacher X Decadence in a beer trade, the tenth anniversary beer from Weyerbacher and released in 2005. The beer pours a dark amber color with a fizzy and bubbly off-white head that recedes rapidly. The aoma consists of a large helping of sweet honey, lemon peel, lime, and spices. The taste is very sweet and smooth with Belgian yeast, spices, honey, banana, lime, and lemon. The finish comes on strong with the bite of alcohol and dries out that mouth. The alcohol content is 13.0% ABV. I felt this beer took on the properties of a good tequila, sans the alcohol content, but was quite delicious. It was a little on the sweet side, maybe due to the age, but the one glass I drank was enjoyable.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I picked up a bottle of Cigar City Guava Grove from Al’s of Hampden. The beer pours an orange-gold color with a lofty and frothy white head that leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of wheat, lemon, guava, and slightly sour vinegar. The taste is huge is the mouth with lots of sour vinegar, guava, wheat, lemon, and a soft earthy hop bite. The finish has a big alcohol bite on it that helps pucker the tongue. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. Wow, this beer was amazing and has a wonderful sour and sweet balance. I enjoy how much it makes my tongue pucker, but not so much that it is not enjoyable to drink. I enjoyed this beer so much, that I went back and bought two more bottles, one to age.
I received a bottle of Goose Island Madame Rose in a beer trade with my friend Tim. This beer was acquired prior to the A-B/InBev takeover of Goose Island. The beer pours a dark amber color with an orange-red hue and a thin, filmy white head. The aroma consists of vinegar, sour cherries, Belgian yeast, and light malts. The taste is nicely tart with a frontal presence of sour cherries and a good amount of tongue-drying vinegar. On the finish, the beer sweetens a little bit with some Belgian yeast and the sweet side of the cherries. The alcohol content is 6.5% ABV. I liked hoe the vinegar and tart cherries in this beer were never overpowering or too tart, providing a wonderfully enjoyable sour beer. This is definitely on of my favorite sours, if not the best I have ever had.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I picked up a bottle of the Sierra Nevada and The Abbey of New Clairvaux Ovila Dubbel from Al’s of Hampden. The beer pours an orange/dark amber color with a lofty off-white colored head that dissipates rather rapidly. The aroma consists of sweet malts, raisin, Belgian yeast, and bread. The taste is smooth with Belgian yeast, raisin, fig, dates, and a big bready profile. You can definitely pick up on the Sierra Nevada influence in the finish with earthy hops. The mouth feel is very light and foamy with lots of carbonation. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. The Ovila Dubbel is a very solid dubbel with a great earthy hop accent, taking a solid Belgian style beer and adding a slight American twist to it.
I went to dinner at TJ Rockwell’s in Mechanicsburg, and I noticed that they had a house brew on their draft list. I inquired as to whom the brewer was, and the waiter responded that the Raging Rhino Pale Ale was brewed by Magic Hat. The beer was served with an orange, but seeing as how they put fresh blueberries into the Sea Dog Blue Paw, I should not have been surprised by this. The beer pours a golden color with an almost non-existent head. The aroma is light and malty with lemon and some spicy notes. The taste is light and spicy with plenty pale malts, a little butterscotch, and a light hop accent. It has a lightly dry finish and a bit watered down finish. I’m not sure what the alcohol content is, but I would estimate it to be around 5.5% ABV. While this beer is not very intense, I could see it being refreshing on the deck of TJ Rockwell’s in the warm summer months, and I believe this is what they were going for when they created this beer.