Archive for the 'Atlantic' category
I wanted to review Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale and Bar Harbor Brewing’s Peach Ale for this post. Unfortunately I took my time getting to the beers, and I have suffered the consequence for such “dilly-dally”. Though the beers have been sitting in my beer fridge the whole entire time, my beer samples seem to have passed their prime.
First up was going to be Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, which fortunately has already been reviewed by Ben. I believe his review does the beer more justice. Compared to Ben’s review of a “deep golden” body, my beer’s body was a hazy dark amber. Though the smell of blueberry was still present, it was followed by a spice aroma. This spice aroma, which resembled allspice to me, was also present in the taste of the beer and was noted as “spice: I didn’t like”. I do not remember this spice presence in the beer before (I had a six-pack but did not take notes from the rest of the pack), and Ben does not mention it either, so it leads me to believe the beer has past its prime. Ironically enough the beer’s label has a “Best Enjoyed Before:” section, but it seems to have gone unused by the brewery.
The Bar Harbor Brewing Peach Ale was going to be my next fruit beer review. Unfortunately this beer seems to have suffered a similar fate as the above Blueberry Ale. This beer too was a hazy, dark amber that possessed a head that quickly dissipated. Though a faint aroma of peach was present, it was followed by ash, and smoke. The beer review just went downhill from there. I only had one bottle of this beer, and having never had it before, there is the possibility the brewer meant for their Peach Ale to be smoky. However, I am leaning more to the conclusion of a beer past its due.
If there is one thing to learn from this post, it is: Do not try to age (purposely or not) these beers.
After a long interlude my travel beer reviews continue.
The rules for this fight were straight forward. Both beers were poured at the same time and into similar glasses (in this case pint glasses). I sniffed and sampled from one beer, and then did the same for the other. This was repeated until both beers were gone. The two contenders were Atlantic Brewing’s Mount Desert Island Ginger, and the other was Bar Harbor Brewing’s Bar Harbor Ginger Brew. Who triumphed in this battle royale? Lets find out.
The Mount Desert Island Ginger poured a slightly hazy golden with very lively carbonation. This carbonation gave the beer’s white head a nice thin, but complete, covering. The head even climbed the glass a little bit, but left no lacing. An enjoyable lemon essence, mixed with ginger and light malt provided an enticing aroma and made me dream of warmer days. In the mouth the beer was light and smooth. There was a nice ginger snap to the beer, a bit stronger then I was expecting when compared to the aroma, and a light lemon presence. The beer ended with a slight buttery taste.
The Bar Harbor Ginger Brew poured a clear light brown amber, which provided a very interesting contrast to the Mount Desert Island Ginger. Though less carbonation then the Mount Desert Island Ginger, it provided enough for a thin white head, which stayed around for the full session. The aromas are another contrast to the Island Ginger, with only a very faint hint of ginger, and the majority of aroma spent on lightly toasted and caramel malt. In the mouth the beer is a bit watery. There is also the continuation of the higher malt to ginger ratio in the taste. I found myself searching for the ginger and though a found a slight tweak of it, the majority of time I was tasting light-caramel malt with a slight tanginess. This tanginess reminded me of their Harbor Lighthouse Ale.
The “Ginger Belt” goes to… Atlantic Brewing’s Mount Desert Island Ginger. Though both beers were enjoyable and drinkable, the Mount Desert Island Ginger showcased the ginger aspect better, and that was its key to victory. For a food pairing with the “Ginger Belt” winner may I suggest chicken cooked with Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce and a side of jasmine rice.
I gotta be honest with you folks – I don’t even know what a “Real Ale” is. Maybe I’m a hack who parades as a beer reviewer, but I’m at least a hack that drinks a lot of beer, and I’ve never been confronted with a beer that labels itself only as ‘real’. So, I’m not going to bother and research the style – I’ll just review this from the hip and see if it works out.
The Real Ale pours a very deep brown that only shows its color when held up to the light. It is obviously, however, well filtered. The head on this is a light caramel color, but frankly doesn’t stick around for very long. The aroma of this is interesting – there is a great amount of smoke here with hints of bacon – it’s overall rather complex and hard to peg. The flavor here is along the same lines as the aroma. The first and most obvious presence is of smoky charcoal. There is a sweetness on the back of this that is actually a bit ‘porkish’, but the predominant flavor, front to back, is along the lines of what would happen if you put a chunk of burnt wood in your mouth. Now, I know that doesn’t sound fabulous, but it isn’t bad. Some folks are really into smoky beers, and they’re going to love it. But, overall, that’s about it. This has a relatively light mouthfeel, a smoky, meaty flavor, and a smoky aftertaste. Not something I’ll likely buy again, but I can appreciate it enough to get through this six-pack…
I’m just now starting to see a couple of Atlantic Brewing beers showing up on shelves here in NC. Frankly, I’m not sure if they’ve just gone under the radar, or if they’re just now showing up. The packaging isn’t especially flashy, so it could easily go unnoticed. At any rate, I’m glad I found a couple, and they’ll be going up on the site in the next 2 days. First up is the Blueberry Ale!
Some folks consider a fruit beer to be a bit girly. Even Matt, someone who I once thought was a respectable drinker, thinks that any hard cider is for sissies. I completely beg to differ. I think the use of fruit in a beer or a cider is just an opportunity to make something interesting, and these same beverages often have ABVs that can hardly be called “sissy”. The Bar Harbor Blueberry isn’t especially alcohol-packed, but I’m still excited to see what these folks do with the genre, since they consider this to be “America’s original blueberry ale”.
This beer pours a rather deep golden with very little debris and very little head. The aroma is very pleasant with tons of blueberry and some light sweet malts. In the mouth this is, in fact, a very delicious beer. The backbone is that of a decent American pale ale. There is a fair amount of malt that gives this a sweet taste and a soft clean mouthfeel. In addition, there is a substantial dose of blueberries that really round out the flavor and give the beer some nice kick. The blueberry here is anything but subtle, but also not overpowering. Certainly don’t buy this beer if you have any aversion to blueberries – that’d be a dumb move anyway. But, if you like blueberries, then this beer will give you plenty in a package that is light, sweet, and extremely tasty. I really can’t find anything sharp or distasteful about this beer, so I’ll gladly let it call itself America’s blueberry ale…
Frankly, my fridge has so overflown with small bottles lately, that it feels like an age since I opened a big bottle of something tasty. So, tonight I thought it’d be nice to take a break to enjoy a big beer in a big bottle that offers something a bit out of the ordinary – that beer is going to be the Atlantic Brewing Brother Adam’s Bragget Honey Barley Wine Style Ale. Yes, that’s quite a name, and I think they toss a lot of those words in there as descriptors because most of us don’t know what a Bragget is. However, were we to live about 1,000 years ago in Wales, it’d probably just be called Brother Adam’s Bragget – it’s a bit more palatable that way. Actually, what this is is a barley wine style ale that’s brewed with equal parts honey and barley. Personally, I’ve never had anything quite like this, so I’m anxious to see what it’s like.
This beer pours a pretty dark ruby color with almost no head to speak of. The aroma of this is cloyingly sweet – there is obviously a lot of honey here, although the sweetness also carries a sharper sugary flavor reminiscent of sugarcane. In the mouth, this beer is HUGE, and needs to be enjoyed slowly as a dessert beer. The major contributor here is a sharp sweetness that just grows and grows and grows. Again, you can taste honey here, but the ultimate sweetness is a bit sharper and refined, so it’s certainly not like spoon-feeding yourself honey. On the tip of the tongue, there’s actually a bit of a burn, but this quickly subsides and a uniform sweetness grows in amplitude all the way down the tongue until it slaps into the back of the throat. The combination of the sweetness and the alcohol in this is a bit abrasive, especially at the back of the mouth. However, the strength is welcome and makes this all the more suitable as a dessert beer. Basically, this is a huge dessert beer with lots of sweetness and a big helping of alcohol presence. Personally, I like it a lot, and it’s one of the best and more robust beers I’ve had in quite a while. I highly encourage you to pick up a bottle if it’s available in your area.