Saturday, August 6, 2011
I noticed that Appalachian Brewing Company was offering a cask of Trailblaze Organic Brown Ale with Amarillo Hops on my last visit, so I decided to give it a try. The beer pours a brown color with a frothy tan head. The aroma is strong with the smell fresh and clean hops that provide a lemon and pine front end of the nose with a toasted malt accent. The taste is smooth and creamy with lots of fresh lemon and pine. There is a solid caramel and toasted malt base, mostly focusing on the toasted malts. The alcohol content is 5.3% ABV. The addition of the amarillo hops to the brown ale provided a great and welcoming bitter accent to the beer, and this whole new dimension made the beer completely dynamic.
While at Appalachian Brewing Company, I ordered a glass of the small batch of Dunkelweizen. The beer pours a copper color with a frothy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of sweet malts, caramel, and a light pine accent. The taste is smooth a sweet with caramel, an enjoyable smoked malt accent, and a toffee finish with a little pepper accent. The alcohol content is 5.5% ABV. The beer is a bit dry, but not as watery as some dunkelweizens can be, which was appreciated. The smoked flavor was nicely done and wasn’t overwhelming, providing a nice dry and smoked flavor without making it seem like you ate a fireplace.
Friday, August 5, 2011
I ordered a glass of Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Harvest from Al’s of Hampden. The beer pours a caramel color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of the expected fresh hops, lemon, pine, rain, and caramel. The taste is sweet with lots of caramel as a base and a great lemon flavor which is similar to lemon cake. There is a pine and pepper finish that dries out the tongue. The alcohol content is 6.7% ABV. I’m not going to lie, I love fresh hops. With the Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Harvest, Sierra Nevada found a way to bring a fresh hop beer at another time during the year, and I want to thank them for that. The lemon flavors in this beer were unreal and overly enjoyable, and the aroma was heavenly.
I stopped in to Appalachian Brewing Company to have dinner with family and I received my free monthly mug club beer of the Mad Cameron White. The beer pours a straw yellow color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of lemon, cream, oregano and other spices. The taste is spicy up front with oregano before some lemon sweetness come out with a pepper pinch. There is a nice creamy finish as well. The alcohol content is 5.2% ABV. I was quite impressed with this Appalachian Brewing Company offering, as it proved plenty of spices up front and sweetened out nicely with some lemon citrus flavors.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I had my friend Eileen get me some bottles of East End Bigger Hop that I used as an excuse to get to Mount Washington in Pittsburgh to proposed to my (then) girlfriend (she said yes!). The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head that is about a pinky finger thick and leaves some lacing behind on the glass. The aroma consists of a soft caramel undertone with plenty of bitter hops giving off wonderful citrus notes including orange, lemon, tangerine, and grapefruit. There is also some pepper and pine mixed in as well. The taste is bitter with lemon, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit right up front. The flavor transitions into pine and pepper spicy bite before a sugary sweet grapefruit flavor pokes through with caramel undertones. The after taste is bitter and has a spruce flavor about it. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. I was always a huge fan of Big Hop and an even bigger fan of Harvest Hop, and I think this beer is up there with those two beers. The citrus notes that this beer hits is perfect and bitters nicely of a soft caramel base, making this beer all about the hops.
As part of the mixed case I picked up of Boulder Beer, I tried a bottle of Sweaty Betty. The beer pours a golden color with a very loft and frothy white head that lingers for awhile. I poured the beer in its correct manner, with the glass upside down on the bottle and flipping it over. The aroma consists of wheat, lemon, yeast, grass, weeds, and fresh grass clippings. The taste is yeasty and wheaty right up front with a slight sweetness but it is dry as well. There is a nice lemon zest associated with the beer and a slight peppery and grassy finish. The alcohol content is 5.9% ABV. This was a very nice blonde ale that has a good amount of citrus flavors, nice earthy tones, and a yeasty sweetness.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
My friend Deuane pulled out a bottle of Short’s Peaches & Cream while sharing some selection from his cellar. The bottle is vintage 2007 and marked number 290/820. The beer pours an amber color with a foamy off-white head. The aroma consists of peaches and cream (expected!) with some milk, apricot, caramel, and malts. The taste is smooth and sweet with lots of peach flavor. There is a slight pepper spice that accents the peaches nicely, and a creamy and milky finish. The best part is the lingering caramel after taste that also contains hints of apricot. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. This was a wonderful fruit-induced beer that didn’t carry along the bad stigma of fruit beers in that it was too sweet; the lactose really kept the fruit in check, but made it a wonderful dessert beer.
A beer that my friend Deuane pulled out of his cellar to share was Stoudt's Black Eye PA. The beer pours a cloudy caramel color with a frothy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of caramel, lemon, and pine. The taste is sweet and malty with a caramel sweetness, licorice, and molasses. As far as spices, there is a large pepper profile, which creates a dry finish. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. This was a spicy black IPA, and I really enjoyed the entire profile of it. It had a great sweet base to build off of, so the added spices were not overwhelming.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
My friend Deuane pulled out a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout while clearing some bottles out of his cellar and shared it with some friends. The beer pours a black color with a thin bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oak, and coffee. Right off the bat, there is an overwhelming flavor of bourbon, making the taste biting and dry on the tongue. Once the bourbon settles, there is plenty of chocolate, vanilla and roasted coffee grounds to sweeten up the tongue and apologize for hitting it so hard with the bourbon. There is a warming finish which reminds you of the bourbon that you just imbibed. The alcohol content is 13.0% ABV. This beer is a wonderful beer for anyone who likes bourbon (me) and the taste of fresh coffee (also me). Despite my description of the bourbon above and its intensity, it is not overpowering in anyway. It makes is presence known, hides in the shadows, and then returns for one last meet ‘n’ greet.
One of the best beers I tried the night that my friend Deuane pulled out of his cellar to share with friends was the Cantillon Fou’ Foune, a 2009 vintage. The beer pours a cloudy straw-yellow color with a bubbly white head. The aroma consists of vinegar, lemon, apricot, oak, and yeast. The taste is very sour with lots of bitterness and funk that was reminiscent of sour patch kids. There is a yeast base that sweetens the beer a bit, but the focus here is on the plenty apricot and vinegar that make the mouth pucker and are in the spotlight. Some lemon also comes out in the finish. The alcohol content is 5.0% ABV. This sour was a wonderful blend of apricot, lemon, and vinegar, obviously making the mouth puck a bit, but the amount of fruit flavor, especially after two years, was quite enjoyable.
Monday, August 1, 2011
A beer that I was very excited that my buddy Deuane pulled out during his cellar clearing party was Jackie O’s Vanilla Bean Rum Barrel Dark Apparition. This bottle was labeled 41/225. The beer pours a black color with a thin tan bubbly head. The aroma consists of vanilla, rum, milk chocolate, and also had the smell of a packed of hot chocolate. The taste is silky smooth with a sweet chocolate flavor, vanilla, and finished up with a nice warming rum finish. The after taste is where the caramel shines through and the vanilla comes back to sweeten things up a little bit. The alcohol content is 10.5% ABV. The smoothness of this beer was top notch and made it easy drinking despite the high alcohol content. It was nice and sweet, but not too much, and the rum gave off enough warmth to make you forget life’s problems.
My friend Deuane was clearing out some beers from his cellar and brought of some Surly Darkness, vintage 2008, to share with friends. The beer pours a black color with a tan bubbly head. The aroma consists of chocolate, toasted malts, vanilla, oak, and coffee. The taste is smooth, silky, and chocolaty, mostly consisting of dark chocolate, with vanilla, oak, and caramel flavors mixed in as well. The finish is a little dry with toasted malts and another taste of vanilla and oak. The alcohol content is 10.3% ABV. This beer is home to a flavor profile that is large and in charge on the tongue, but comes with an unmistakable smoothness. The alcohol doesn’t really make its presence knows due to the smoothness, making it really easy to drink.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I was able to sample part of a bottle of Krebs Signature Biere De Garde when my friend Deuane was clearing out his cellar. The beer pours a caramel color with a bubbly off-white color. The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, and pine. The taste is smooth and malty with lots of caramel and toffee, some apple, biscuit, and Belgian spices. The was some grassy and earthy hops balancing out the sweetness, and a slightly watery finish. This beer also had a very bubbly mouth feel. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I must say I was left neither satisfied nor unsatisfied with this beer. I think it was more malty and had a lot more caramel that most Biere de Garde beers, and I wasn’t a big fan of the finish. However, it was quite refreshing and an interesting take on the style.
While clearing out his cellar, my friend Deuane pulled out a bottle of The Bruery Trade Winds. The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of wheat, banana, pepper, and plantain. The taste started off with a sweet orange flavor and some banana before a light pepper accent with a spicy yeast came out to play. The finish was dry and spicy as well with some biscuit flavors. The alcohol content is 8.1% ABV. I would say this was an interesting an memorable triple, as it had a different flavor profile than most other triples. The amount of citrus flavors and off-centric spices were a new frontier for the style, and they worked quite well with the banana, pepper, and biscuits.