Archive for the 'High Falls' category
Ben has reviewed a bunch of J.W. Dundee beers here on sevenpack, so I found this news release quite interesting. Dundee Brewing, a part of High Falls Brewing, has started the “Save the Honey Bee Program”. Due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) honey bees are disappearing at alarming rate. This is a problem considering “one-third of the food we eat, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts, requires honey bees for pollination”. J.W. Dundee is raising awareness and funds for this plight in many ways, including the website: http://www.dundeeforthebees.com/ . It is an interesting cause to get involved in and not many people are aware of the situation. Hopefully with more recognition of the issue a solution can be found.
For more information about CCD, besides the “Dundee for the bees” website listed above, there is this interesting Nature presentation “Silence of the Bees”.
Since today is the “official birthday” of the beer can, I thought it would be interesting to review one of the styles of beers that was first canned, the cream ale style. Fortunately I was able to find Genesee Cream Ale in a can while on a recent trip to New Hampshire. This beer would probably fall more in the “retro-beer” type, since it was first brewed in 1960, rather than the “craft beer” type, but that is a slight deviation of the “beer can theme week” I am willing to live with.
The beer poured from the can into a pint glass gives a nice 2 fingers of pillowy white head, which ever so slowly dissipates into a thick covering that climbs the walls of the glass. The body of the beer is a clear, light yellow with a ton of little bubbles. I was quite amazed at the number and rate of bubbles, noting it looked like champagne (though in a pint glass).
The nose of the beer is rather one dimensional with the smell of fresh grain. This one dimensional aroma characteristic follows through into the taste with the taste of grain and little else. Though the mouthfeel of the beer was very light, it had a very smooth beginning and middle with some tingling at the back of the throat. I was surprised by this, having expected a mouthfeel that was going to be very active due to the amount of bubbles seen in the beer’s body.
For my first cream ale, I found this beer pleasant. I’ll admit I was not blown away by it and the beer is rather one dimensional, but I was expecting something along those lines. I am not about to go racing out to purchase more of it, but given the proper time and conditions I could see purchasing it again. I also find the history aspect of the beer to be interesting, being able to taste where American beer was a few decades back.
(To note Genesee is no longer brewed by Genesee Brewing Company, since they changed their name to High Falls Brewing Company in 2000. Ben reviewed a bunch of High Falls beers a while back.)
Today we’re doubling back a bit to a beer I’ve had in the fridge for a while, namely the JW Dundee IPA. Now, you may recall that I was quite impressed with this whole sampler pack from High Falls brewery, and I’ve been especially curious about the quality of the IPA. Well, I cheated and drank one of these the other day before writing this review, and I’ll go ahead and give you the spoiler – this is a really killer IPA.
The beer pours a dark golden with some very dense debris – not too cloudy, but obviously not completely filtered, either. The aroma of this is what first grabbed my attention – it is very hoppy. The hop aroma is an interesting blend – it isn’t totally flowery and it isn’t necessarily the musty aroma indicative of English hops. Rather, it’s a combination of both. There are definite hints of wet floral hops and there is a metallic musty backbone that gives this a really pungent and well rounded nose. In the mouth, this beer isn’t a slouch, either. There is immediately a burst of flowery sweetness and a citrus kick. On through the mouth, the beer develops its hoppy bitterness. Again, there are elements of fresh wet hops and there is a metallic bitterness – I’m not entirely sure what hops were used in this, but it seems to comprise a myriad of hop elements. Through to the aftertaste, the metallic bitterness takes over and washes down the throat, leaving an aftertaste but overall a remarkably clean finish. I’d consider this a very flavorful and unusually refreshing IPA, and I’d gladly make this a daily drinker. A great finish to this sampler pack, and a steal even if it cost substantially more than the $12 I paid for the 12-pack sampler. I REALLY hope we see more from High Falls along these lines!
Frankly, I think we’ve all had this beer before. It was probably during college, and you probably bought it because you knew that girls would drink it. Either that, or else you bought it because you still hadn’t gotten accustomed to the taste of the domestic swill that you were probably drinking at the time, so you took the Honey Brown route to get to a beer that you yourself could stomach. Both indicate that the Honey Brown is a beer that is at the same time a beer that can pass as dark and manly, but can also appeal to the girly sweet tooth that everyone has, to a certain extent. Either way, the truth is that the Honey Brown is a part of most of our beer education, in one way or another, so it’s worth having here on SevenPack.
The pour of the Honey Brown actually isn’t that brown at all. Rather, it’s quite a light ale with just a hint of brown coloration and a non-existent head. Similarly, the aroma doesn’t share very much at all with brown ales. There is just a hint of dark malt richness on the head, but this is cut by a honey sweetness that is more predominant. In the mouth, there is no denying that the beer tastes good in a way that will appeal to many folks. There is a dark malty sweetness, reminiscent of a dark rich sweetbread. This quickly is joined by a more cloying honey sweetness that coats the tongue and the back of the mouth. This honey sweetness becomes quite strong in the aftertaste – almost too strong – however it does back off a little bit before the aftertaste mellows into a lightly malty flavor with a fair amount of sweetness. The honey flavor in the aftertaste, for many, will be too much – but, to a person accustomed to sweeter, fruitier beers, it’s a logical transition into the beer world. So, my bottom line is that this beer is too honey-sweet for me to drink on a regular basis these days. However, it really isn’t a bad brew. For what it is, it’s fairly well balanced. Furthermore, this is a great transition beer for someone looking into craft brews for the first time. That being said, I think this beer serves a great purpose, and I can understand why it sells so well. Good job, High Falls, on creating a stepping stone beer to bring more folks into the world of good beer – I really hope that this offering brings more interest to your other beers, which I have been very impressed with…
Moving on down the line, we have a High Falls brew that sounds pretty interesting. I recall having maybe 1 or 2 other pale bocks in the past, but this is, in no way, a common brew. I’d be interested to know why High Falls decided on this particular genre – seems an odd choice for a brewer that, with the exception of their honey brown, seems to stick to common varieties. Regardless, I’m excited about it, and I intend to drink it.
This beer pours a very clear dark golden, and smells of big light malts. In the mouth, this beer is very malty. This pile of malt gives a tasty sweet-biscuity flavor with a full mouthfeel. In fact, for a light lager, this beer has the mouthfeel of a big dark ale, and it’s a little surprising. The first sensation is actually slightly bitter with a nutty flavor. However, it seems that the beer’s sweetness increases exponentially as the beer moves through the mouth. By the back of the tongue, the sweet-bread flavor has reached terminal velocity. In the aftertaste, this sweetness sticks around and hangs out in the back of the throat for a long while. I have to say that this is the most interesting beer yet from this variety pack. It looks light and airy, but tastes big and malty. Also, for a domestic beer in a 12-pack, this beer is much more impressive than you expect. My hat’s off to High Falls for this gem.
Third up from our High Falls sampler pack is this traditional American amber lager. This is one that I’m least intrigued by because, frankly, amber lagers don’t generally carry a lot of deviation. Rather, most of ‘em are quite similar. They’re tasty and enjoyable as session brews, but not typically something that inspires my imagination. Nevertheless, I’m not one to leave a beer behind, so here are my impressions!
The amber pours a clear….er…amber color. In the nose, this is mostly dark malts with some consistent caramel hints. In the mouth, this tastes like a maltier version of a Killian’s Irish Red. It is sweet, it has a lot of dark malt flavor, it has hints of toffee and caramel, and it has a rather full mouthfeel – all these characteristics are fairly consistent through the mouth, leaving you with a solid aftertaste that sticks around for a fair while. Really, it’s a great amber, especially for the money. So far, every beer out of this variety pack has been spot on, which honestly surprises me. High Falls has done a great job of nailing these varieties on the head, and even making them a little more flavorful than most of their domestic brethren. I have no choice but to recommend them whole-heartedly!
When it comes to American pale ales, it’s hard to compete with the 500 lb gorilla that is Sierra Nevada. And, there’s nothing wrong with that – Sierra Nevada makes a fabulous beer and they run a respectable company. However, I’m always happy to try out new entries to the market. And, whether or not it is actually new, I just recently saw this version from High Falls Brewing on shelves here in Georgia, so I’m giving it a go…
This Pale Ale pours golden and clear with just the slightest bit of debris. So, it’s noticeably cloudier than a golden ale, but not so cloudy as many pale ales out there. In the nose, this beer is very malty. The malt is musty and sweet and is actually more pungent than what I recall from Sierra Nevada. It’s really a good aroma – strong and balanced. In the mouth, this is a pale ale by the books. The initial sensation is very malty with a surprising amount of hop bite. On through the mouth, the musty malt and hops are strong and well balanced, making a beer that is truly a pleasure to drink. There is an odd kick to the bitterness that I’m having trouble placing, and I hope it comes to me at a later date so I can tell you about it. But, the end result is a beer that is very good and bigger than you’d expect from a pale ale from JW Dundee. This is really a beefier beer than the Sierra Nevada, which tempts me to give it a higher review. The bottom line is that this is quite akin to the Sierra Nevada that you know and love, but turned up to 11. So, if you like more flavorful pales, then give this a go!
Alright, folks – I’m gonna break off a quick one for ye. Recently, I found myself coming into a variety pack from the folks at High Falls Brewing Co. More specifically, these folks make the JW Dundee’s Honey Brown that you’ve all probably had during your college undergrad years. Turns out, they may also make a number of other beers, including the Hefeweizen you see here. I’m hoping to review each of the beers in the variety pack, if I can find the time. So, while I’m not sure about the history or origination of these beers, I’ll let you know what I think of ‘em.
The Hefe pours a relatively clear light golden color with tons of debris in the bottom of the glass – if you were to agitate this adequately, you’d probably get a much denser beer. The aroma is sharp and SweeTart-ish. In the mouth, this beer is both sweet and tart all the way through the mouth. The journey starts with a tartness that then moves to a light wheaty sweetness around the middle of the tongue, and then the sharp tartness revisits us at the back of the mouth and sticks in the aftertaste for quite some time. All in all, this is a simple beer. It’s tasty, but only offers a couple of decent sensations. Granted, it’s an American Hefeweizen, which (in my opinion) often fades in comparison to their Bavarian counterparts. So, you can’t expect me to be crazy about it. Soooo, I guess it’s pretty good for an economically priced American wheat. But, I wouldn’t write home about it.