Archive for April, 2006
Hailing from Idaho Springs, Co the Maple Nut Brown has all the makings of a great brew. This brown-style ale is made with pure maple syrup. I expected a thick, chocolatey flavor that would further appese the palate with sweet undertones of maple. In keeping with the recent trend I was disappointed with my purchase. I found that this ale was more watered-down than I had imagined and the sweetness I was hoping for was replaced by a bitter, metallic taste. 4.6 is not only the abv but also the rating I would give this beer. I guess I would classify this as a “dessert” beer but if given the choice I would rather eat a piece of cake and chase it with a shot of Aunt Jemima.
My instincts usually whisper, “Avoid the pilsners,” in hushed tones while shopping in fine beer stores. “You will meet only disappointment. Light tastes unworthy of high prices. Go with hops, young man. Go with hops.” But here was an über pils—how could I resist? And one that warned of “Heavy Seas” no less. It was an irresistible siren song. So what a delight to discover no siren this brew. Unfiltered, it offers a delicious honeyed hew that pleasantly foreshadows a hint of honey in the aftertaste (but not an overpowering sweetness—merely evocative of mead). This über pils is thick, offering a heavy feel that is enhanced by its relatively low level of carbonation and its 7.5% alcohol content. In all, this “Small Craft Warning” I take instead as a “Big Beer Recommendation” which will make me more likely to try more brews from Clipper City.
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!
This is an IPA out of Bear Republic, a relatively small brewery in California. I consider this a great offering – The pour is a typical medium amber, and the aroma explodes with floral hops. The head is a bright white and has great longevity and sticks to the glass. From the potent aroma, I assume that this beer must be dry-hopped. The flavor is also bursting with hops with a heavier-than-usual bitterness on the tongue. The beer has a rather light mouthfeel, enters with a flowery sweetness, but quickly turns very bitter on the back of the tongue and sticks with you for quite some time. All in all, I feel like this is one of the better west-coast IPAs, and one that I would gladly drink again.
Holy Hell! A dark beer in f’ing Mozambique! This is, by far, the big winner of the Mozambique trip for taste and originality. This, from what I found, is the only dark beer produced in Mozambique. In addition, it’s good – quite good. It has a dark brown hue and a caramel head. The taste is sweet, in the vein of a Newcastle Brown. It goes down smooth, is rather refreshing for a dark, and isn’t too filling. Altogether, a great beer. The only competition that this might have is the Castle Milk Stout from South Africa which I was unfortunately unable to taste. When (if) in Mozambique, definitely drink this beer.
Laurentina, a Mozambiquan brewery, puts out what is, in my opinion, the best beers in Mozambique that I have yet tasted. This is a lager, like all of the other beers in Mozambique (or so it seems). However, this beer wins with a slight sweetness and a richer taste than the competition. Granted, this isn’t a LOT different than all of the other Mozambiquan lagers that I tasted. But, in repeated testings next to the competition, this wins out as my overall favorite, and the beer that I drank the most whilst in the area. I would recommend this even over some of the American counterparts – very good.
Hansa is a South African beer, and is a welcome divergence from the plethora of Lagers in the area. This is in the top tier of light beers that I enjoyed whilst in South Africa. It is mildly hoppy and quite crisp. This has significantly more flavor than some of the competitive lagers, and doesn’t have any real negative points. The only issue is that it could be considered bland next to some American Pilsners. Compared to the competition in Africa, however, I would consider this a great beer.
This South African lager has stereotypically been the most popular beer in South Africa. However, most people seem to agree that it is the equivalent, quality-wise, to a Budweiser. I suppose I would agree. It is a very non-descript beer with no great flavor. Rather, it is pleasing in the way that relatively bland lagers are, and would make a great session beer.
This is the most popular beer in Southern Mozambique. I find this a bit less pleasing than Manica, the Northern counterpart in Mozambique. This beer pours a bit darker, and has a meatier and more metallic taste than Manica. It is a good beer, but a bit heavier and less refreshing when compared to a lighter lager. Enjoyable, nonetheless, and a requisite drink when in the area.
This is a typically Mozambiquan beer, and is most popular in the North of Mozambique. This, I feel is preferable compared to the Southern competitor, 2M. It is a standard lager – golden and light. It is lighter and more refreshing than the competition, and doesn’t leave much of an aftertaste. A great beer after a long day riding in the back of a truck in the sun.
I spent a bit of time in Africa recently, so here’s a bunch of African beer reviews. One thing you will notice is that most of these beers are similar – it seems like African beer hasn’t gotten much beyond the standard lager. They got some fair lagers, though.
This first beer, Windhoek, was enjoyed while in Johannesburg. It is pretty standard – golden hue, little head, and a crisp lager taste. There were no other beers side-by-side to compare this with, so the nearest thing I can compare it to would be something like a Molson or Moosehead. Altogether, not bad.
As Ben noted earlier, Rogue rarely makes a poor beer. This beer is good… definitely nothing spectacular, but not bad at all. I purchased it on a complete whim whilst in Fort Thomas, KY at Party Source. Which, in case you’re wondering, is a warehouse full of beer, wine, and liquor… and some other party supplies. North Carolina should take note – this is the way to do it. Regardless, the beer poured a nice golden color with a decent amount of head which dissipated quickly. The taste is reminiscent of Harp with a nice crispness, but with a bit less metallic taste to it. I actually preferred it a bit more than Harp on this sunny afternoon. There was no noticeable aftertaste, but no taste of note either. Overall, while this was a good beer, I would not purchase 22 oz. of it for $5.99 as I did on this day. I went into it with no real thoughts… but after drinking it and thinking back to how much it cost, it certainly was not worth that. Otherwise, it was a good beer on a nice afternoon.
It should be noted that this is apparently a picture of an older label of the Kells Irish Lager. The new one is similar, but with the Irish gentleman facing a different direction. Perhaps Ben can find an updated picture.
This is another seasonal ale from the Boston-based brewery. It is an amber colored ale that mimics the characteristics of a dunkelweiss. Again, the taste has the potential to be quite appetizing but the metallic overtones prevents this from being so. This is a much heavier beer than the others and is reflected by the 8.8% abv. Despite the metallic flavors, the double bock is a beer that can be enjoyed if done in moderation. I would suggest drinking a few while watching a movie or something on tv, but this is certainly not a session beer. It’s worth a try but nothing special, especially when compared to foreign brews of the same variety.
This is the second of 3 beers from the Sam Adams brewery I will be tasting tonight. It lacks the bite that I like in a weizen and has an overbearing metallic taste. But there is something about this beer that makes me want to drink more. It is refresing and crisp with a hint of mango. It isn’t the best weizen I have ever had but at $5.99/ 6-pack I can certainly enjoy it.
The Summer Ale is a seasonal brew from the Samuel Adams brewery. It is light and resfreshing with a tangy citrus flavor that sets it apart from its domestic pilsner brethren. It should also be noted that it is much smoother with less carbonation. This opaque, golden ale can be enjoyed at any hour and on any occassion, but it is best suited for an afternoon relaxing in a hammock or cruising across a lake in a boat. It weighs in at 5.3% abv, hefty by pilsner standards (at least those sold in NC). I would say buy it on occassions when you want a “good” domestic beer instead of a Bud or Budlight. One should never drink Miller products and if you do then you are not worthy of the Summer Ale or any real beer for that matter. In conclusion, on a scale from 1-5, 4 domestically and 1.6 compared to all the beers in the world.