Archive for April, 2007
This is probably the most mediocre beer of the evening, thus far. It isn’t terrible, but I don’t really like it. It has a characteristic bitterness, but no hop burn or spice to accompany it. Basically, it tastes a bit stale – this is typical of some traditional German ales, which I’m not too keen on
I kid you not: This glass of dusky sunshine tastes like Fruity-frickin’-Pebbles. I’ll concede that it is possibly the best $7 pint of kid-cereal flavored beer I’ve ever purchased from an airport bar, but it should go without saying that there aren’t many competitors vying for the title
It pours like murky Tropicana with a thin white fillet weld of head circling the top. It smells exceedingly sweet and citrusy, and the first sip is a candy coated explosion inside your dome. There’s minimal carbonation present, making this a very smooth drink, but the alcohol adds a nice little tingle to your sugar-saturated palate.
In the land of taste associations for beer, breakfast cereals are pretty difficult to rank in terms of relative pleasantness. On the one hand, this is very sweet and (surprisingly) refreshing. On the other hand–and I can’t stress this enough–it does in fact taste like Fruity Pebbles. I can’t decide if I want to go outside and have a few of these while basking in the sunshine, or if I would rather watch cartoons and make a fort out of couch cushions. I think if we can find one more wheaty brew that tastes like something it shouldn’t, we can officially inaugurate a new style of beer here on SevenPack. Stay tuned, readers!
[Update: A bit of research reveals that Leinie is actually one of the Leinenkugels of the eponymous brewing company out in Chippewa Falls, WI. It weighs in at a cereal strength 4.9% abv, and the consensus seems to be that this is is a Belgian style Witbier. Good enough for the girls I date.]
This is a very unique beer for me. Hommel is apparently the Belgium term for hops. However, this is categorized as a Belgian golden ale. This is as if you mixed a strong IPA with a light Belgian Tripel. You get an interesting amalgam of syrupy sweetness coupled with strong hoppy bitterness. This is a rather good beer, if a little bit confusing. Definitely worth a try, if only to see what it’s like
“Smells like a buttermilk biscuit” -Matt
I really don’t feel the need to say much after Matt’s short and fairly accurate review because, frankly, this does smell kinda like a buttermilk biscuit. It’s because of all the malt. As I’ve said before, these River Horse brews are all malt-forward. And, given that an ESB is typically pretty malty anyway, this thing is just a regular malt bomb. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty – but the sweetness is almost overbearing and the richness is more than you typically expect from an ESB, so go into it with those expectations. Honestly, this is as close to a dessert beer that I’ve found in this genre. It’s really quite decadent, and that’s about all I have to say about it. If you’re into smooth mouthfeels and rich, sweet-bread flavors, then you’ll dig this beer. And, hey, there’s also a fair dose of hops in here, if you’re into that. On top of all that, the dark ruby color is very pretty and, as Matt established, there’s a very rich aroma to work with.
Initially, I was skeptical of this beer. It seems like a hybrid between a hefeweizen and a ‘meatier’ ale. Upon first taste, I was a bit displeased, but it grew on me through the mouth. Eventually, this becomes a mix of hoppiness merging to a wheat sweetness and finishing with a hint of fruit. Very nice, and a more substantial variety within this genre.
If I had to pick a single word for this beer, it’d be ‘tartastic’, or maybe ‘retarted’. That’s because this is a really tart beer. . . get it? Seriously, as far as white beers go, this is the tartest and sourest I’ve yet found. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised – this is apparently a French interpretation of what they call a Celtic white beer. It tastes to me, rather, like these guys took a barrel of Belgian white and a barrel of French saison and just mixed the two together. It does pour a nice cloudy orange hue with a thick white head, and the aroma is, as expected, very sour. I don’t see any need to go into much more detail than I already have about the taste. But, basically, it’s citrusy, slightly sweet, and extremely sour and tart. ‘Nuff said. All in all, I’d say this is a decent beer for someone who enjoys both white ales and saison ales. However, I’m not blown away by this, my first taste of Celtika Brewery.
This is a mediocre hefeweizen. It maintains a likeable sweetness, but has a slighty musty bitterness that may result from the bottling. Altogether, I like it – but the previous Ayinger offering is much more desirable
Anyone who has spent some time drinking or researching craft brews knows that Russian River gets mad props from almost anyone you ask. My problem is that I can’t hardly find any of their beers within the states around NC. I managed to find a bottle of Damnation in VA a while back, and then I stumbled upon this bottle of Salvation in DC. I still want to try the loads of other beers they, make, but I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder. While I haven’t had most of these beers, their reputation has made me quite fond. So, hey, you guys – if anyone wants to setup a beer trade involving some Russian River brews, just let me know.
This beer pours a dark brown with hints of ruby around the edges. The aroma reminds me of caramel and banana, with maybe a hint of licorice. In the mouth, this is a very full and fairly complex beer. The mouthfeel is a big winner – it is silky smooth and fairly thick, filling the mouth and coating the tongue. The initial flavor here is a shock on the tip of the tongue that tingles slightly and a caramel flavor quickly follows. On through the mouth, a caramel/toffee sweetness remains, giving the beer quite a decadent flavor. In addition, there are hints of banana, a bit of anise, and some dark fruit. There is also a certain subtle ‘holiday spice’ that rears its head. So, yeah, there are a lot of flavors here. It makes for a fairly complex beer, but it isn’t overwhelming. It is sweet, rich, and delicious, and there is that fun tingle that hits on the front of the tongue and continues through the mouth, giving it a kick that a lot of dark ales can’t muster. So, bottom line is that I really like this beer, and I can’t wait to try more. And, while I don’t necessarily think this could be considered an abbey-style ale, it’s the best I could come up with giving our current set of categories. Now go buy it. Seriously, you guys.
Now we’re talking! This hefeweizen is from Bavaria, the home of hefeweizens, and is the best of the bunch so far. This beer is sweet, cloudy, and light. It would make a perfect drink for a summer afternoon, a winter morning, or your mother’s birthday. Highly recommended
I ain’t gonna lie to you, I’m not the biggest fan of American wheat ales. Most frequent readers of SevenPack (I’m sure there are a couple of you out there) will know that I’m especially partial to a good German Hefeweizen, and I will almost always reach for the German wheat variety over the American. The Germans achieve a fabulous smooth and citrusy sweetness that hits me just right. The Americans tend to brew a more abrasive and metallic version of the same = not for me. So, going into the Oberon, I was a little wary, knowing that this is an American take on a wheat ale. I’ll go ahead and give you the verdict up front: It’s no German, but it IS a great beer, for an American wheat.
The beer looks cloudy and golden, much like the majority of wheat beers on the market, but perhaps just a tad darker. The aroma carries a heavy scent of orange – much heavier than I expect. In fact, little else makes it through. And, it’s not an artificial or overly-sweet orange aroma. Rather, it smells like a big bucket full of sliced oranges – very earthy and authentic. In the mouth, you will taste that metallic flavor that generally turns me off of American wheats. However, it isn’t the predominant factor here. Rather, there is a good amount of orange citrus in the flavor and a smooth light grain flavor. Also, the mouthfeel is very smooth and just a little bit thicker than many wheat ales. The thing I really like about this is that it does taste very natural – it isn’t too sweet or artificial. Also, it is complicated enough that you can enjoy it slowly and savor the flavor, whereas some of these wheats taste good but are far too chuggable due to their simplicity. Good job, Bell’s, and recommended especially to those that generally like American wheats anyway.
Next on our list is this wheat ale from St. Petersburg, Russia. This one is considerably different than the previous. It loses the spiciness in favor of a light sweetness. This beer is more refreshing, in my opinion, but also a bit more bland. Tasty, but I think there are better choices in this genre
Hey, you guys. Two words: Jolly Pumpkin. Seriously, these guys make a mean beer. This will be number 4 for me, and every one I’ve had has been both true to the traditional style and slightly askew, in a good way. What this results in is a tasty beer that isn’t easily paralleled in the market. A lot of folks try to pull this off, but few breweries can do so in a fashion that is, as far as my experience indicates, very consistent.
This particular beer is JP’s take on a Belgian white ale. It pours a cloudy dark golden color with a slight bit of debris. The aroma does contain the expected sweetness and hint of citrus. However, it also contains a big blast of tartness that slightly shocks the nose and leaves you curious about the taste. Well, sure as the wind blows, the taste follows suit. Drinking this beer is sorta like drinking a more traditional Belgian white while you’ve got a cheek full of Sweetarts. There is a citrus bite, a bit of spice (coriander and orange peel, if I’m not mistaken), and a light sweetness. However, there is this big burst of tartness that is impossible to ignore. This tartness mingles with the sweetness to give us this Sweetart flavor that, while strong, isn’t cloying or overbearing. In my opinion, this flavor makes this beer exceptional refreshing and thirst-quenching. Furthermore, it sets the beer far apart from other white ales that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. This is a great beer, and I’d be totally psyched if the whole Jolly Pumpkin line would gain distribution in NC so that I wouldn’t have to work so hard to get them.
This, a wheat lager from the Czech Republic, is a unique find. I don’t expect much from the Czechs in this variety, but they actually deliver quite well. It has a mild sweetness and a bit of spice, almost peppery, that gives the beer a nice kick. Job well done by our Eastern Europeans, although I wouldn’t encourage them to dedicate too much of their energies into this type of exploration
The folks at Weyerbacher certainly have made quite a name for themselves in their small time in the North Carolina market. Well, at least amongst the Sevenpack drinkers, that is. This abbey style quadruple had tempted my fancy on several occasions, but I finally found the perfect time to try it out. I’m honestly not too sure of the difference(s) – except for the aging in an oak barrel – between this and the Blasphemy. I haven’t sampled the Blasphemy yet, so I can’t really compare the two on those levels.
The Quad pours a beautiful deep copper, almost caramel color. The head was plentiful, initially, but dissipated quickly. The beer comes in at a robust 11.8 abv – I expected the flavor to be much more sweet, and for the alcohol to be very present in each sip. The alcohol flavor was much less than I expected, and I think this is a good thing. The beer is not overwhelming, but allows for a smooth drinkability that, I think, is uncommon for quadruples. The beer is medium-bodied, and the mouthfeel reflects this. The taste is smooth and sweet throughout, with a nice bite at the end of it. The flavors of banana, candies, and fruit are present throughout the tasting. I think the bite is more reflective of the alcohol content than anything else – it’s not overwhelming by any means, but you can certainly tell it means business. Emily remarks that it has the complexity of a decent port without the heavy sweetness.
All in all, this is a very good variation of the quadruple. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good, all-around version of a little heavier Abbey style ale. I continue to be impressed by Weyerbacher’s exceptional brews – everyone I have had has been interesting and all-around pleasant. On a random side note, I would say that this label/marketing is much better than their other varietals, and perhaps that is why it caught my eye earlier than others.
It’s far too late in the evening for this beer, but I’m doing my best. This is a burly beer. It smells abbey, it tastes dark amber with port hints. I could perhaps pick out more elaborate or obvious flavors if my palate wasn’t obliterated. All things said and done, I think this is a good beer. But, I won’t likely recognize it’s merits until the next tasting