Archive for the 'Sweetwater' category
Man, I have not had a Belgian style quadrupel in a long, long time. There was a time when I’d grab all of these I could get my hands on (and there really aren’t that many). However, due to either my ignorance or a lack of this style on shelves, I haven’t touched one in a while. And, oh, how I have missed it! I was quite excited to see this particular offering from Sweetwater. Quad isn’t a genre I’d generally associate with this typically lighter and fruitier Georgia brewery. However, they always make a good brew, so I’m anxious to see what they can do with it.
This quad pours a rather dark brown with hints of purple throughout. When held up to a light, the beer is rather clear, which isn’t always a case with this variety. There is a thick caramel head that surges up on the pour and diminishes slowly, leaving spiderwebs of sticky goodness down the glass as it recedes. The aroma here is dark and sweet, full of grape and dark cherry, but with a thicker caramel hint to it, as well. In the mouth, this is pure flavor – reminding me of why I like this genre so much. There are a number of notes to this beer, and they are all so big and bodacious that it’s amazing they play nice together. On the front of the tongue, it’s a light fruity sweetness, reminiscent of dark grapes. As the beer progresses down the tongue, this sweetness is joined by some light toffee and molasses, then with more pronounced dark fruit with some acidity. Finally, a good biscuity sweetness settles over the tongue while an acidic burst kicks in as the beer goes down the throat. Finally, we’re left with a melange of the biscuity malt and light grape flavors in the aftertaste. Frankly, it’s just a lot to deal with, but the balance is surprisingly pleasant. There’s no need to pair this beer with any food, as it’s a dessert in it’s own right. This really isn’t a beer I’d generally reach for on a 70-degree March night, but I’m glad I did tonight. It’s tasty.
This new brew from SweetWater apparently has an interesting story. It sounds like this brew began as a Pilsner. However, during the fermentation cycle, the brew ‘blew a tire’, and an ale yeast was added to try and save the batch. Thus is born the “Road Trip”. Sounds like an interesting combination, and one I’m anxious to try!
The Road Trip pours an opaque golden color with little apparent carbonation, save in the thin stark white head. This actually looks very much like a Belgian witbier in the glass, although I imagine it won’t taste quite so similar. The aroma of this is actually very pleasing. It is lightly sweet with just a hint of lemon zest. There isn’t a lot of hop here, although some of that lemony scent may be attributed to a nice citrus hoppiness. In the mouth, this beer is a little crazy. Initially, the beer seems subdued and lightly sweet. However, about one second into the drink, there is an absolute explosion of bitter/metallic/hoppy/bladow! This flavor seems like a big combination of hops and pilsner malt and some odd creation resulting from the aforementioned recipe. This isn’t bad, but it also isn’t like anything else I’ve taste. The bitterness also has a sourness to it, so it might not suit someone into sweeter beers. However, hopheads or fans of a sour lambic might have a serious draw to this. It is very interesting, and quite tasty to the right palate. And, I have to give a hats-off to SweetWater for saving what would’ve been a botched batch. So, while I don’t recommend this to just anyone, I think any fan of adventurous brews might find this an interesting thing to try.
After the deluge of sampler packs that I reviewed a few weeks back, I find that I’m stranded in a desert where I feel lucky to find any drop of brew that isn’t brewed in Milwaukee. So, tonight I was happy to stumble upon the SweetWater Blue down at the local Kroger – they had been sold out of the SweetWater brews for the past few weeks. The Blue is a beer that I’ve always found pleasant, despite some friends of mine claiming that it really “ain’t all that”. Really, if it means that I’m a bit of a pansy for enjoying a fruit beer, so be it.
The Blue, in fact, doesn’t pour blue at all, so don’t get your hopes up for a color explosion. Instead, it pours a clear golden color. The “Blue” namesake is, in fact, indicative of the blueberries that are infused into this beer, and these berries are immediately apparent in the aroma that is lightly sweet and full of fruit. In the mouth, the blueberries are again on a prominent display. While the beer has a heavy initial carbonation burn that shocks the tongue a bit, that shock is quickly soothed by the cool sweetness of the blue. There is a light grainy sweetness to this that is rounded out by a big blueberry flavor. The aftertaste is actually very clean, with just a hint of the blueberry remaining on the tongue and almost no noticeable hop presence. All in all, I think SweetWater does a fabulous job of offering a fruit beer that showcases the fruit prominently without making it overbearing or tacky. Often such beers can taste fake or the fruit can come across tasting a bit syrupy. In this case, however, the flavor is fresh and authentic and subdued enough that you can easily drink a few of these. One of my favorite domestic fruit beers, in fact. Well done, SweetWater!
When in Georgia, it only seems right to support the local brewery, so here I sit with a tolerably cool glass of SweetWater “Georgia Brown” brown ale. The pour of this is a pleasing dark brown color that seems clean and well-filtered. The nose of this is quite rich with lots of hazelnut and dark malts. It is more pungent than the average brown ale, which just adds to the perceived decadence of this ale. In the mouth, this beer is sweet and delicious. Frankly, to put it shortly, this is like a Newcastle, only sweeter and slightly richer. There is, throughout the mouth, a great sense of hazelnut. There is a sweet bready malt flavor that streaks across the tongue. Towards the back of the mouth, we get a bit of toffee and a final sweetness that is almost cloying, but generally comes across as just plain rich. All in all, I think this is a great brown ale for a winter night. It is almost dessert-like in flavor, but the beer really washes quite clean and sits much lighter on the gut than its decadence would portend. I’m generally pleased with SweetWater’s brews, with a couple of small exceptions. However, this one is really a doozy. For a brown ale, it’s fabulous, and highly recommended.
Hello, all! You, my adoring fans, may or may not be aware that I have recently come into an employment situation that occupies a fair amount of my time (the wonderful world of government contracting!). For this reason, I’m finding less and less opportunity to seek out and drink quality brews. Furthermore, I find that there aren’t THAT many quality brews in middle Georgia. However, you can find a gem here and there, and thus I was excited to find SweetWater’s Hummer on the shelves in town. I have never tried the Hummer, but I’ve had occasion to read about it. And, being modeled after a Belgian white ale, a favorite genre of mine, I was anxious to try it. Plus, any beer that proclaims on the label, “Everybody Loves a Hummer!” can’t be all bad…
This beer pours a soft golden with noticeable residue floating around the liquid. The head is stark white but really doesn’t stick around very long. The aroma of this beer is exceedingly yeasty. Some folks may not like a big yeast dose on their beer, but I think it is great and quite indicative of the genre. On top of the yeast is a soft malt with just a touch of citrus aroma, but the predominance is a sweet and lively yeast. In the mouth, this beer doesn’t disappoint. The early sensation is a light carbonation burn on the tip of the tongue. After this, we are exposed to a sweetness that begins on the tip of the tongue and consistently expands through the mouth. Initially, the sweetness is light and mostly of a yeasty variety. However, as the liquid continues through the mouth, a light malt presence joins the yeast to expand the sweetness and grow it into the nasal cavity. In the aftertaste, we’re left with a pleasant coating on the back of the throat that maintains that unmistakable Belgian white flavor with just a hint of citrus. All in all, I think this is an excellent interpretation of the Belgian white variety. It is a bit sweeter than a Hoegaarden and might be too cloying for some drinkers. However, I like a good dose of yeasty sweetness in my beer, so I find this excellent. This is certainly my favorite SweetWater beer thus far, and an excellent offering from this Georgia brewery.
Okay, so I’m a little late on this one. I reckon the holidays have come and gone, but I only just spotted this Sweetwater number in Asheville over New Year’s, and I’m only now getting around to drinking it. It’s a shame that somehow Sweetwater gets distribution in the western part of the state but not over here in the Triangle…. it’s a crying shame, ’cause they make a tasty brew.
Anyway, enough moaning about it. This beer pours much darker and more viscous than I expected. It’s almost like an imperial stout in consistency, and the aroma carries hints of toffee and anise. In the mouth, this beer is quite toffee-like, with a light cinnamon and just a touch of anise. It has a rather thick mouthfeel and silky consistency. This is a rather good beer, but it isn’t blowing me away right now. It isn’t terribly complex, and tastes like lots of beers I’ve had before – I guess that’s the problem. When I have a Christmas beer, I either want something very spicy with a kick or something crazy and different. This is neither. I guess the bottom line is that this is a rather good beer, but I’m not in the mood to give it a great review right now. You might want to try this yourself if the above sounds tasty to you…