Archive for August, 2006
This is a dark wheat ale and I must admit I am extremely skeptical of this brew. I have had some pretty disappointing experiences with this style but I’m willling to give it another try. It pours with a deep ruby-like hue and smells crisp and surprisingly wheat-like. This by far the best dark wheat I’ve had but it’s still lacking in so many categories. This is a very simple beer whose citrus flavor lasts for milliseconds at most. After that you would think you had just drank tonic water because there is no taste to be found. At this point I’ve all but given up on finding a good dark wheat. There’s no body or lasting flavor to speak of and that, to me, makes for a terrible beer.
[Ed. Note - Pictured beer is the Moosbacher Kellerbier because just try to find a picture of the Schwarze Weisse. . . Go ahead - try. I'll wait.]
There is a mind-boggling malt-presence in this beer. This is part of Terrapin’s yearly “Monster Beer Tour” where they bring out the big brews for all of us big-brew fans. I always look forward to these brews, as Terrapin has a knack for taking odd American ingredients to produce a great beer. This particular beer pours a standard Pilsner golden. The surprise for this beer comes in the aroma. The amount of malt in the aroma is the most I have ever found in a beer. To anyone out there who homebrews, this beer smells like opening a can of DME and sticking your face in it. It’s not bad – kinda bakery fresh, like an aromatic dough. The flavor is good, but different. The primary presence is the doughy malt and sweetness. It coats the mouth and leaves you with a sweet aftertaste reminiscent of a rich sourdough bread. It’s very rich for a pilsner, and rather decadent in my opinion. I have tasted a few imperial pilsners at this point, and this one stands out because it forsakes the heavy hoppiness that I usually find. I’m a hop-head, so I miss the hops. But, I respect the fact that Terrapin shied away from the easy hop route and chose to highlight other characteristics in this imperial interpretation of a pilsner.
This review comes to you live from Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, NC. I got roped into picking up Matty from work to get him home in time for a stupid fantasy football draft, so I figured I’d make the most of it by tanking up on a couple of beers while I wait.
I chose a Kolsch today because it is a remarkably crisp, refreshing, and lightly sweet beer – perfect for a warm afternoon. This particular beer pours a slightly light golden and seem oozing with carbonation. The beer actually bubbles like a champagne in the glass. The aroma is a subdued smell of grains with very little hop presence. In the mouth, you are immediately hit with the light sweetness that covers the tongue. Towards the back of the mouth a slight metallic undertone emerges with just the lightest hop bitterness – barely noticeable. This beer is best enjoyed chilled and does a great job of refreshing one after a hot day in a house with broken AC.
So, I feel a bit guilty about this one. Any beverage on whose label I see “Kissed by Cherries” I must feel a tad guilty about drinking. However, I was influenced to try this brew due to the fact that it is manufactured by Rodenbach, a fairly reputable brewer of Belgian ales. It is quite apparent by the packaging that this is meant to be a breakout product for the young crowd. It’s packaged in 12 oz. bottles with black stylized labels with a twist cap and a promise of fruity goodness. Basically, they’re trying to be the refined person’s Smirnoff Ice. And, they pull it off.
The beer pours a ruby red color and instantly smells of sugar-fruitness (yeah, it’s not a word). The aroma is sugary sweet and smells heavy of cherry. This makes sense because, according to the label, this beer is a mixture of a Rodenbach Flemish Ale and pure cherry juice. In the mouth – no surprise. It tastes like a cherry drink that would be right at home alongside a Smirnoff Ice or a Bacardi Breezer. Admittedly, this tastes perhaps a bit more refined, as the juice tastes more natural and less contrived, and the beer does peek it’s head out just a tad. Nevertheless, it’s a very simple and sweet brew with a sour kick in the background. No doubt, the ladies will like this, and it is pallatable for just about anyone who enjoys sweet drinks. This might even be a good stepping stone to someone who is trying to segue into more complicated Belgian beers.
This is a bavarian style lager with which we at Two Times are very pleased. This beautiful golden liquid smells sweet with a hint of delicious creaminess. This is a light, crisp beer that delivers a miriad of flavors to different parts of the mouth. There is a fruit-like taste that develops over the front of the tongue and then it rounds out into a thick maltiness at the back of the throat. As the taste dissipates there is a slight metallic undertone that lingers until the next sip. This a more complex beer than most lagers, according to Ben, but one that I am very proud of. Several people have tried it and we have received excellent reviews. I, myself, think it is it quite refreshing and one that I would consider a session beer. Check back soon for the next Two Times beer review….
Taken literally, the name of this beer is French for “ball-buster”. The apparent intent of this beer was to brew a French Saison ale that was so sour that noone would want to drink it. However, as is often the case with beer, the more extreme you make the flavors, the more desireable you make the beer.
The pour of this beer is the usual golden of a saison ale, only a bit darker and a bit cloudier. The aroma is heavy with malt with a hint of lemon and grass – quite pungent, really. The flavor is where it gets interesting. This is essentially an Imperial Saison, which isn’t a genre that I would expect to discover. As you may know, saison ales were originally brewed to be especially sour and thirst-quenching, so that the farmers in the field would have a refreshing beer to drink after a tough day in the sun. In general, saison’s are rather sour, but this one takes it to the next level. When this initially hits your tongue, it has a rather sharp burn – partially from carbonation and partially from the hops. About the middle of the tongue, the burn turns into a heavy sourness that makes you want to pucker up. Then, you are hit with a malty sweetness at the back of the mouth that subsides back into a lighter sourness in the aftertaste. While this sounds a little weird, it is quite good – very refreshing, very tasty, and very unique. I never would’ve expected or even wished to drink an Imperial Saison, because this isn’t a favorite genre of mine. But, now that I’ve had this one, I would gladly repeat the experience. (And apparently I’m not the only one to agree, because this has taken top marks in more than one Belgian beer rating)
If I’m not mistaken, this is the first offering from the Ska brewing company to make it to Sevenpack. I’m not sure why this is the case – the folks at Ska make a number of tempting brews. I believe it must have something to do with the arguably gawdy label art. Just a thought.
This beer is a double IPA – one of my favorite varieties. And, to be honest, Ska does a very good job with it. The pour is a lovely ruby red, and the aroma is pungent with ripe floral hops – almost as much of a delight to smell as to drink. In the mouth, the beer has a relatively heavy mouthfeel. The first sensation I get is a malty sweetness, followed by a burst of very fresh floral hoppiness. In the back of the mouth, the flavor subsides into a nice hop bitterness that sticks around in the back of the throat long after the beer is gone. I think that the differentiator between this brew and comparable IPAs is just how fresh it tastes. I’m unsure what particular hops go into this, but the beer just tastes ‘green’, and that’s a good thing. While IPA fans into uber-bitterness might not like this as much as the competition, anyone who appreciates a very floral IPA with a solid malt backbone and decent hop bitterness should really give this a try. Quite a bargain at about $5.50 a bottle.
If you were to ask if I approve of good beer companies making attempts at ‘light’ beers, I would probably say that I don’t. I suppose the only redeeming quality of these beers are that they might be a stepping stone for domestic light-beer guzzling folk to branch into the wonderful world of craft brews. That being said, the Abita light beer is one of the better ‘micro-lights’ that I’ve had thus far. It pours a light golden and smells like a watered-down pilsner. The flavor is, as expected, a little flimsy. However, there is noticeable malt and hops in the beer, and no disappointing sourness or metallica overloads that you’ll find in most other light beers. So, as far as the genre goes, I’d say this is pretty good. But, as far as beer goes, I’d say this is watered-down. I’d be interested to try this alongside the Sam Adams Light, as it seems to be the big competitor in the domain of ‘quality’ light beers.
This beer is about as standard as beer gets. The beer pours a clear golden, as expected. The aroma is much like your standard lager – mild malt and mild bitter hops. In the mouth, this beer immediately hits you with a gentle malt sweetness that traverses the tongue to finish in a slight hop bitterness with a metallic aftertaste. I don’t think this is a great beer, but that’s probably only because it’s so plain. This is, in a nutshell, a ‘beer’. Nothing crazy, no fancy additions – just beer. And that’s about all I have to say about that.
It seems like this 12-pack sampler of Abita just never runs out. The Amber is, thus far, one of my favorites from the batch. The pour on this one is, as expected, a dark amber. The aroma is rather thick and smells of sorghum and horehound. In the mouth, there is a bit of initial carbonation burn. Through the mouth, there is a substantial flavor of woodsy sorghum, for lack of a better term. There is a malty sweetness that traverses the palate and sticks in the back of the mouth for the aftertaste. The mouth feel of this one is also rather thick – almost syrupy. This isn’t as crisp as many Ambers, but instead elects a more decadent thick sweetness. I doubt I would use this as a session beer, but as a one-off it is really quite nice.
This tasty little treat is a specialty brew from the folks at Abita. This is a beer that many of you have probably tried, especially if you’re either a girl or are into girly beers. The pour is a cloudy purplish hue. The aroma is very sweet and the presence of raspberries is very apparent. In the mouth, this beer tastes more like a flavored malt liquor than a beer. The fruity sweetness is quite powerful – on the edge of being “too much”. This sweetness last through the mouth, followed by a slight tartness and ending with a grainy wheat flavor that mingles with the sweetness in the aftertaste. Overall, I would consider this an original and excellent take on a fruit beer. It isn’t as complex or interesting as some I’ve had. But, it is tasty and refreshing, and there’s something to be said for that.
Okay, Sam, you and I are done for a while. I’ve taken a few licks for you tonight, and I feel like I’ve paid my dues. So, don’t come knocking until you have some seasonal brews that might be worth my while.
The final brew tonight from the 4-pack history channel of bad beers is an alcoholic root beer. I know what you’re thinking – “I like root beer – this should kick ass!”. It doesn’t. This is another historical beer from way back when that incorporates wintergreen, sassafras bark, and licorice. The pour is nice – it’s a transparent ruby color. The aroma is surprising – heavy with wintergreen. The taste is a difficult beast to tame – I reckon it has to do with the wintergreen and sassafras, because I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. To be honest, I don’t plan to taste anything else quite like it anytime in the near future. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’ve never felt more sympathy for our patriot forefathers than I do tonight. So, god bless you good fellows. Thanks for the hard work, and sorry for the awful beers.
Okay, Thomas Jefferson – I get it. When you guys came over here there weren’t any breweries, and there wasn’t any beer. That would make me desperate, too. So, you figured out that Ginger ferments really really quick and you could make some alcoholic booze in 2 weeks or less – I GET IT. The downside is that it tastes like Hall’s mentholyptus honey cough drops. Bummer. This beer pours a rather nice cloudy golden. But, it smells like a big pile of Hall’s. Then, you drink it. It taste the same as if you stuffed a Hall’s honey cough syrup into a lemon peel and shoved it in your mouth. It might cure what “ales” you, but it won’t taste worth a damn. Sorry, you guys; forefathers; whatever. I understand what you were doing here, but it just doesn’t cut it in 2006. Let’s put this one into the history books and CLOSE ‘EM.
“I cannot tell a lie – this Porter sucks.” Thanks a bunch, George, for setting a good example for us. Thus, I have to be honest about this beer. It’s a pretty bad porter. I hope hope hope that this is just Sam Adams’ way of giving us a history lesson on the beers our forefathers drank. If that’s the case, then this is perfectly acceptable. However, most aspects of this beer pale in comparison to modern counterparts. The pour is dark and oily, like any good porter. The aroma is full of licorice and dark malt. The taste starts with a hints of molasses, then disappears (leaving just a hint of licorice on the tongue), then – BAM! – here comes the taste of metal and anise; like somebody wrapped a big aluminum string of licorice just for you and stuffed it right in the back of your throat. This flavor sits on the aftertaste until you either take another sip or rinse it out. I think that, if I drank this in direct comparison to something like Bud Light, I would say it is delicious. However, I have consumed much better brews, and so this is a disappointment. Unfortunate, for sure.
This comes as part of a Sam Adam’s 4-pack of old-timey recipes from our forefathers. Judging from what I’ve seen from these thus far, our forefathers can have ‘em. This beer isn’t bad by any means. It pours the deep cloudy brown that I like from my dark wheat beers. The aroma is fairly musty but contains a bit of dark fruit. The taste is initially sweet with a lot of fruit flavor (Matt think’s it’s grape, and I can’t tell enough to say different). Going through the mouth, I find the sweetness dissipates into a light malty taste that goes down the throat and pretty much disappears. It isn’t a terribly complex beer, but my vocabulary can’t adequately capture the couple of flavors that I sense. The bottom line is that this is a fairly simple dark wheat that misses on many of the attributes that I seek in this genre, and adds a couple that I could easily do without. If this is a history lesson on how our forefathers once brewed, then I’m glad to have had it. But, like middle school, I’ll probably never go back.