Archive for the 'Blonde Ale' category
There have been quite a few Red Hook brews that have darkened the door sill of sevepack and yet we have only documented 3 reviews of their products. I can’t give a good explanation, only to say it’s likely we have sessioned their offerings rather than taking a few extra moments to put our thoughts on “paper.” And so tonight I’ll delve into the intricacies of Red Hook’s Blonde Ale.
This beer has a light colored, golden hue; as its name suggests. The smell is light but uncharacteristic of what I would consider a blonde ale. It is sugary-sweet but lacks the citric feel I’m accustomed to. It also lacks the crisp, biting sensation I expected. The taste is rounder and more outstanding than the taste but, again, not what I expected. There is little fruitiness, of any kind. Rather, I feel most of the flavor and sweetness comes from the degradation of the malt because it has a touch of saltiness added – in short, kinda sweet and buttery. There is a touch of lemon that is noticeable but not substantial. The crispness from carbonation and/or a subtle hop mouthfeel is virtually nonexistent. In my mind this is a thick, over-flavored pilsner and, with that being said, it doesn’t live up to its name. It is in stark contrast to other blondes that I’ve had. More specifically, it doesn’t have the ” Belgian-esque” feel that I like. However, I should note, again, that I’ve enjoyed Red Hook products on many an occasions. So, while at this moment I’m being critical and it doesn’t appear I like this beer, it actually tastes pretty good, it’s just not fitting into the genre. What does that mean? Well nothing really, only that in my mind they have mischaracterized a good tasting, drinkable beer. I’ll keep drinking it, but won’t refer to it as a blonde ale in the future.
This is the final offering from this month’s BOMC package. We actually had a very short review of this blonde ale posted from way back when we first started the website. Suffice to say to didn’t do this beer justice, so we took it down and tonight I’ll give it another go. Of note, according to the bottle’s back label this brewery began only 7 years ago (2001) and has already become a favorite among the folks in the southern portion of Belgium. I know there are a lot of young breweries in the states that would love to have as much success.
This beer is much darker than I would have imagined a blonde ale should be. It is exceptionally murky and the fluffy head rests very lightly on the liquid below. The smell is heavy with citrus and mint. This, unlike the appearance, is more in line with the genre. Just when I thought we were on the right track the beer took a major detour and now has me slightly confused. It’s not that the taste is terribly weird or complex but, again, it isn’t what I expected. There is a citrusy characteristic but it is overshadowed by spice and carbonation. I like my blonde ales light and mildly sweet, with bright citrus notes and a gentle mouthfeel. The spice flavors expand throughout the mouth due to an effervescent quality making the mouthfeel a little harsh. The harshness does mellow as the beer warms but it still still too much for a blonde ale. The aftertaste has a malty stickiness that clings to the back of the throat. Good news is it finishes relatively clean. Much like Ben’s experience with the other Geants brew this one doesn’t fit the genre it has been put in. To me this is more like a triple, although it isn’t quite big enough for that category either. I will agree with Ben’s theory that maybe the differences in styles are merely a result of the brewers interpretation. Overall this is a good beer. It smells and tastes fine but it loses points in my book because it isn’t a real blonde ale.
I’ve seen this beer on the shelves for quite some time now, and I’ve been tempted to buy it on a few occasions. But, honestly, any beer called “Sweaty Betty” puts me a bit ill-at-ease. But, honestly, I’m in the mood for a nice blonde ale, so I decided to see what Boulder has up their sleeve.
The Betty pours a hazy glowing golden color (not literally glowing, but you get the picture) with a fair amount of tiny carbonation rising to the surface. The aroma here is very nice. It is fairly thick for a blonde ale, but full of rich light malt and citrus zest, giving this a pungent but refreshing aroma. In the mouth, I’m immediately pleased. There’s some carbonation burn on the tip of the tongue that wakes up the taste buds. Shortly thereafter, we get a citrus-y sweet lemon zest flavor that rides atop a bready malt flavor that is unusually rich for a blonde ale. These flavors are both big all through the mouth, and then a more pronounced citrus sourness comes into play towards the back of the tongue. This flavor is another shock after the initial carbonation burn, and it keeps the beer both interesting and thirst quenching. This sourness stays in the mouth all the way through the aftertaste, giving it a finish much like a sour lemon candy. Honestly, I’m surprised by how big and rich this beer is, given its genre and appearance. However, I’m also surprised at how refreshing and thirst-quenching it is, given its richness. Altogether, Boulder has managed to blend 2 great attributes of a blonde ale into an excellent beer. Despite a kinda gross name, I could drink this stuff all summer.
Okay, folks, it’s time for another sampler pack that I picked up down here in the great state of Georgia. This time, we’re taking a run with the folks at FireStation5 brewery. Matty already took care of the Hefeweizen, so I won’t worry with it. However, I do have three other varieties that I’ll be commenting on. And, in case you were wondering, I’m still not finished with the JW Dundee’s sampler – I’ll be getting to those as soon as I’m able.
The blonde ale is very clear in a medium golden color. The aroma of this is quite biscuity with a hint of citrus. It’s a nice sweetness with just the right amount of citric scent to level it out. In the mouth, this is a fairly typical blonde, but with a bit of extra acidic kick. There is a nice lemon zest sweetness on the front of the tongue, and a great sweetbread flavor that hits around the middle. Towards the back of the mouth, the Golden Brigade hits us with a sharp blast of sourness that rears its head and just as quickly calms down, leaving a fairly sweet citrus flavor in the aftertaste. Overall, this is a pretty solid blonde ale. I won’t say that it’s really blowing me away, but it’s probably as good as any domestic small-bottle blonde that I’ve tasted in recent months. This would be exceedingly tasty on a hot day, as the extra citrus kick would make it extra thirst-quenching. If you see this on the shelf, don’t hesitate to give it a try – while you won’t lose your socks on the deal, you’ll certainly be satisfied.
I must first apologize for the lack of activity on the site during the past few weeks. It has become quite apparent that Ben is the driving force behind our beer blog; with me bringing up the rear, clinging to his coattails. As Ben mentioned in his post below he is out of town and without internet access until the middle of August and I have been left to manage the posts, or in this case lack thereof. But tonight I felt compelled to review a beer I picked up on our travels up north, which were chronicled a few months back. The label describes this as a dark blonde ale, a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me, comprised of two types of malts and hops and flavored with candy sugar and mustard seeds. What’s this going to taste like? Your guess is as good as mine. I remember Ben and Jay saying it was pretty good so it can’t be all bad if it has been given the seal of approval from two gentlemen with tastebuds as distinguished as theirs.
I poured the Wostyntje into my favorite goblet, none other than the Grotten Brown, and the color took me by surprise. There is nothing terribly dark about this beer at all. It pours a burnt, golden yellow, with a minuscule ring of foam at the top. The smell is sweet with the corriander characteristics of a true belgian blonde ale. There is also a hint of clove that compliments the citrusy aroma. The taste very light and at the front of the tongue is almost nonexistent. When the temperature of the beer is the initial defining characteristic there’s a high probability the end result will be disappointment. A malty-lemon bitterness does announce its presence at the back of the throat but in my opinion it is still subtle, at best , and at this point it si too little too late. There does seem to be a tiny bite in the aftertaste, suggesting the mustard seeds are attempting to play a role, but this isn’t adding anything to my experience. I would say the delivery is light and pleasant, but the taste does nothing to grab your attention. I hate to say this is a feeble beer but it really has nothing to offer other than its drinkability. In this case I am going to have to respectfully disagree with my counterparts, although this shouldn’t bring the folks at De Begenboog down because 2/3 of sevenpack reviewers believe in their product.
Lately, it seems that I’ve gotten tied up in beacoups craft brews and extreme brews from the US of A. However, it’s occasionally nice to step back across the pond and sip on some of these centuries old recipes that come from the likes of England, Belgium, Germany, etc. You have to figure that beers that have been around since before the US of A was even conceived must have something going for them. Now, in all honesty, I don’t know if the Troubadour is THAT old. But, it is an old Belgian brew, and so I was happy to pull it out of the fridge tonight with an eye to getting back to the old school.
This blonde pours a hazy amber-ish blonde. Honestly, it’s quite a bit darker than I expected, but a lovely hue. The aroma of this is musky and actually a bit sour. It’s a burly blonde in aroma and packs more punch than one would expect. In the mouth, this beer is again a bit of a surprise. There is just the slightest burn on the tip of the tongue. This burn subsides and gives way to a wild sourness on the tongue that, while not so crazy as a flemish ale, is quite a surprise. On through the mouth, there is a slight citrusy sourness reminiscent of orange peel, but without too much of a fruity essence. Finally, this ends with an aftertaste that is still musty and lingers with a bit more citrus. Overall, it isn’t what I expected from a blonde. However, the wildness of the flavor is interesting and light enough to be a lead in to even ‘wilder’ beers. Also, the musky flavors in the beer lend it an ‘old’ essence, as though this beer has been patiently waiting for a drinker for quite some years, and it feels like a bit of an event to be the one to drink it. The unique yeasts and flavors of these Belgian ales are inevitably a treat.
This blonde ale is the first of the beers I have tried from the Beer of the Month Club. The French are known for their fine wines and champaigne, but not so much for their beer. Those accolades are given to those countries to their northeast, so I hope this doesn’t disappoint.It pours a clear, golden-yellow with a very pronounced frothy head. The head diminishes rather quickly leaving a tiny white ring at the top of the liquid. It has a sweet, musky aroma with a hint of lemon peel. It isn’t an outstanding smell, just subtle enough to tease the nostrils. The taste is malt-centered with a mild hop backbone. The sweetness takes precedence over the first 2/3 of the tongue that then gives way to a bitter, nutty flavor at the back of the mouth. The taste is much bigger than the smell but that is to be expected with a lighter style blonde brew. All in all this is a crisp, refreshing brew that could easily be enjoyed on a warm summer day. Le Français finalement a bien fait quelque chose!
I bought this 3-4 months ago because Ben wanted to and now I am tired of it sitting in beer fridge so I am going to review it. Given that it is almost 2:00 am and I’m not compelled to do any research about this brew, bear with me as I stumble through this tasting experience, which probably won’t do this beer justice.
This beer is cloudy and golden which is what I expected from this brew. It smells citrusy and fruity and is quite delightful. There is definite berry flavor to this beer that is experienced throughout the entire taste. The taste is heavy with sweetness and mild in hoppiness. It reminds me of a dopplebock sans the intense maltiness. I would say it is a perfect beer for a summer afternoon and one that I would drink again if I didn’t have to pay $3.50 for a single 12oz. bottle. It isn’t an outstanding brew which in my opinion means it’s not worth its price tag but it is very tasty so in a pinch I would buy a couple of bottles at a time. By the way it comes with a “recappable” cap but given its small size and tasty goodness you won’t be tempted to do that. Cheers…
This French blonde is quite pleasant. While the aroma leaves a bit to be desired, the flavor makes up for that shortcoming. It begins fairly heavy for a white, due to the high-gravity of the beer. The initial flavor is sweet and carries to a surprising hint of bittersweetness at the back of the mouth. For a white, this wouldn’t make a good session beer. However, I think it would make for a great treat on a warm afternoon
One word came to mind when I first wrapped my lips around this interpretation of a dubbel blonde:
To be honest, I don’t even want to spend much time writing about this beer – I’d rather spend that time pouring this beer down the sink. Unfortunately, my morals won’t allow me to waste even bad beer, so I guess I’ll sit here and write a few sentences while I force this down my gullet. First of all, I’ve always been suspect of Ska Brewing company. I don’t like their marketing scheme; I don’t like their bottle art; and I usually don’t like their choice of varieties. However, I recently tried their IIPA, which was very good. So, I thought I might be in for a treat with this dubbel blonde, which is also a variety I enjoy. But, I was wrong. And, I think I know exactly what the problem is – the addition of wildflower honey to the beer. I have had honey wheats and other such honey-addled beers that I enjoyed. However, these guys used a honey that is dry and not very sweet, which gives this beer a burnt unpleasant aroma and a flavor to match. I can actually taste some of the citrus and sweetness that I like in this genre when the beer first enters the mouth. However, it is quickly kicked in the teeth by this bitter honey backbone that is literally overpowering. For completeness, I can say that the only thing about this beer that I don’t find repulsive is the color; everything else about it – from the label to the aftertaste – I find literally abhorrent. I will never buy this beer again.
I have fond memories of the Grimbergen Blonde Ale. I first tasted the Grimbergen Blonde on the banks of the Garonne river in Toulouse, France in a little cafe called Cafe des Artistes. At the time, I was fairly disenchanted with France after several months spent in utter confusion at listening to engineering lectures in a language that I couldn’t understand. So, I decided to spend the better part of my time sitting in cafes, reading War & Peace, and drinking either coffee or Grimbergen or often one-after-the-other. So, we can say that Grimbergen was, in a convoluted sense, a substance-abuse life raft amid my ocean of confusion. A delicious life raft at that. So, I’m really glad to see that this little bottle of goodness has finally made its way over to the US of A.
This beer pours a clear golden with a tint of orange. The aroma is fairly typical of the style – lightly sweet, hints of coriander and just a touch of cinnamon. In the mouth, I find this to be an exceptionally flavorful Blonde. There is a light bite at the front of the mouth that quickly subsides to a spicy sweetness that traverses the palate. Towards the back of the mouth, the malt character rears it’s head only to leave it’s mark sitting at the back of the tongue on the aftertaste. Meanwhile, at the front of the mouth, the spice lingers on the tip of the tongue, leaving nice but different impressions throughout the mouth. I appreciate that Grimbergen has made a slightly more complex variety of what can often be a simple brew. This beer will hold it’s own with a good Tripel, even, and that’s saying a lot. Highly recommended.
I am a big fan of this brewery and am rather pleased with this beer. It came as part of the Saranac 12-pack of Summer Ales that I happened upon while scouring the Harris Teeter beer aisle. The brewers categorize the Kolsch as a blonde ale that was created in honor of the beers created in Cologne, Germany for the past 1,000 years. It pours a pale, golden color with excessive effervescence. It doesn’t taste like most of the blondes I have had, rather, it reminds me of a pilsner with a touch of extra maltiness to create a sense of complexity. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, actually I have enjoyed it quite a bit and wouldn’t mind drinking a sixer or 12-pack whilst cooking on the grill.
In French, Sans Culottes translates literally into “Without Pants” – this is likely the reason I bought this beer. This is a typical French blonde beer, pouring a cloudy golden color with a rocky white head. The aroma is grainy and spicy – quite pleasant. The feel through the mouth is highly carbonated, and there is a distinct sweetness with a lot of grain on the tongue. The taste in the back of the mouth, as well as the aftertaste, has a tinge of sourness to it. This isn’t displeasant, and is typical of these French varieties, as they were initially suited to quenching the thirst of workers in the fields. To be honest, I’m not always impressed with French beers. However, this one is very refreshing and one that I would be happy to drink again. Actually, it seems like La Choulette brewery typically puts out pleasant beers, so hats off to them!