Friday, December 19, 2008
A short time ago I reviewed Bischoff's Falkensteiner Ur-Schwarze, and found it somewhat lacking. Tonight I tried another bottle of Bischoff - this time it's their Ur-Weisse. It poured a pale golden color with a big white head. The head was more impressive than the one on the Schwarze. The nose on this variety was closer to what I would expect from a wheat beer - some citrus notes, and some banana too. The flavor also had evidence of bananas and clove from the Bavarian hefeweizen yeast. This bottle was more true to the style than the Schwarze was. It still wasn't up to par when compared to my favorite - Weihenstephan, but it was better. It was refreshing and enjoyable with my chicken.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
My digital camera decided it didn't want to take photos anymore, so I couldn't get a pic of tonight's beer in a glass. At least the bottle has a pretty label. It's Steelhead Extra Stout from Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, CA. It poured a deep ruby and brown color with one of the darkest colored heads I've ever seen. The nose is mostly roasted malt. This is a richly flavored stout, with lots of the roasted malt you'd expect to find, as well as strong coffee notes and some licorice. Mad River's Steelhead brand of beers is definitely worth checking out. I have their Double IPA in the refrigerator, so stay tuned.
Monday, December 15, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed a Schwarzbier from Kulmbacher Monchshof - a marvelous brewery in Kulmbach, Germany. Tonight I had another one of their brews - their Kellerbrau. This is a kellerbier - an unfiltered German lager. I've sampled kellerbiers from other brewers, but this is my favorite so far. It poured a deep cloudy golden color with a frothy white head. The photo makes the beer look darker than it actually was. Even with the big head, the beer was modestly carbonated, which is a traditional feature of a kellerbier. It was very smooth, with a moderate, but obvious Noble hop finish. Unfortunately, Monchshof seems to be hard to find in Florida, but I hope to try some of their other varieties in the future.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Tonight we had burgers for dinner, so I felt like a dark beer was in order. I selected Fuller's London Porter from the Fuller Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, England. This porter is a classic example of the brown Porter style. It poured a deep brown with a beige-colored head. The head was small, but lasting. This is a rich, roasty brew with generous notes of chocolate and caramel. I only wish I could make a Porter this good!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tonight I tried a beer from a brewer that's new to me - Erie Brewing Co. in Erie, PA. It's their Ol' Red Cease & Desist Wee Heavy. A Wee Heavy is a higher horsepower version of a Scottish Ale - more malt, more alcohol, more everything. Ol' Red has an abv of 10.1%, so it fits into the Wee Heavy category in that way. It poured a deep amber color with a smallish off-white head. Carbonation is somewhat low, and it has a medium to medium-heavy body. There's lots of malt and toffee flavor, with some dark fruits and an alcohol finish. Hop presence is pretty low. I'm very impressed with my first beer from Erie Brewing. I definitely need to try some of their other offerings.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Here's another brew I picked up from Whole Foods - Left Hand Brewing's Oktoberfest Marzen Lager. I've enjoyed everything I have tasted from Left Hand, and this was no exception. It poured a deep amber with a small off-white head. It was rich and malty, with a touch of dark fruit and a bitter finish. This ranked up there with the other Oktoberfests I've been sampling lately.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
World Market had a variety pack of winter brews from Ridgeway Brewing in Oxfordshire, England, but since I had already tried some of them, I decided to seek out the new ones elsewhere. I found "Reindeer's Revolt" at a local beer shop in Orlando. At $5 a 1/2 liter it was pretty pricey, but no more than it would have cost in the variety pack. This is an English Strong Ale, and has an abv of 6%. It poured a medium copper color with a fine cream colored head. It's a good looking beer. It smells mildly fruity and malty, and tastes of toffee, fruit and alcohol. It's a nice ale, but I'm not sure it was worth 5 bucks. The label was hard to resist.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I always look forward to this time of year, because it seems like the most interesting and flavorful beers are released during the fall and winter. Spring and summer are all about light mild beers, while the cooler months bring out the Oktoberfests, the spicy Winter ales, the Barleywines, and more. So I popped the top on Redhook's Winter ale with some anticipation. It poured a deep copper, nearly brown color with a small off-white head. It smelled of caramel and pine-scented hops. So far, nothing extraordinary. The first sip followed the same pattern. It was a pretty unremarkable ale, with the most prominent feature being the piney hops in the finish. As it warmed it became a little sweeter and more flavorful, but overall, it was just another ale. I was hoping for something more.
Once again, pizza was on the menu last night, so I went to the fridge looking for an IPA. I found a bottle of The Brookly Brewery's East India Pale Ale. I'm not sure what difference the East makes, but that's OK. The bottle shows 2 different locations for The Brooklyn Brewery. One of them is Brooklyn, while the other indicates that the beer was brewed in Utica, NY. I take that to mean that it's a contract brew by F.X. Matt in Utica. The ale poured a medium amber with a decent sized white head. The nose is malt and grass, while the palate is slightly sweet malt with lots of piney hops. No grapefruit hops in this one, which is a welcome change. I like the citrusy hops, but for a while there, I began to think it was a requirement of an IPA. This is a good solid IPA, and reminded me of the Saranac version. This is only the 2nd beer I have sampled from The Brooklyn Brewery, and I'm totally satisfied.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I am always amazed by German brewing tradition. Most German brewers follow the very strict German Purity law - the Reinheitsgebot - which says that beer must be made from water, malt, yeast, and hops. No other adjuncts can be added. Even so, they brew a wide variety of styles, all of which are uniquely different, and many are uniquely German. Tonight's beer is a German Dunkel, brewed by Klosterbrauerei Weltenburg in Kelheim, Germany. This is the 2nd beer I have tried from this brewer - the oldest Monastery brewery in the world. A while back I tasted their Asam Bock and reviewed it here. This dunkel is as impressive as the bock. It poured a crystal clear brown with a lasting off-white head. The aroma is of dark malt and fruit, and the palate is dark malt, a hint of raisins and cola, and some flowery hops. I am eagerly anticipating finding my next variety of beer from Weltenburger Kloster!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Although the word Porter does not appear on the bottle anywhere, this is essentially a brown Porter. It's described as a "Rich and Robust Dark Brown Ale", but I think it's roastier than a typical brown ale. Most of what I find in this ale is roasted malt, with a subdued amount of hop presence. I liked it fine, but it was not as unique as the last beer I tried from Shmaltz Brewing - the Freaktoberfest.
This beer is from a brewer I have never heard of - Belfast Bay Brewing Co in Belfast Maine. I've seen reports that it is actually brewed by Shipyard, but I'm not sure of the veracity of that info. Regardless of who brews it, it is a fine ale. It poured a deep copper color, with a small, white, rapidly diminishing head. The nose is mostly caramel and malt. The caramel and malt continues in the flavor, with plenty of hop bitterness in the finish. Belfast Bay also makes an Oatmeal Stout, so I'll be watching for it.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Sprecher Brewing Co. is located in Glendale, WI. They're unique in that they bottle all of their beers in 16 oz bottles. They also advertise on the label that their beers are "Fire Brewed". I'm not sure what that means exactly. This Oktoberfest is the first beer I have ever tried from Sprecher, and it was a good place to start. It poured a deep copper color with a pillowy head that lasted longer than most. The aroma is sweet malt, with floral hops. The flavor is also sweet and malty, with a nice touch of caramel and some hop bitterness in the finish. This one was a bit subdued when compared to the Freaktoberfest from a few days ago, but it's an excellent Marzen that's more true to the style.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
This past weekend, I took a trip to Knightly Spirits and spent 1/2 hour perusing their shelves for interesting beers. They always have a "bargain table" set up in the front of the store and in the past I've found a bunch of interesting imports and micros on this table. Tonight's beer came from that table. It's Bischoff's Falkensteiner Ur-Schwarze, which is a dark wheat beer. I confess that when I bought it, I thought it was a Schwarzbier, so I guess my reading skills were on hiatus that day. But that's ok - I like a good Hefewizen Dunkel, so I wasn't disappointed when I actually read the label today. When I twisted off the aluminum cap, there was no sound of escaping CO2, which didn't strike me as a good sign. It poured a chocolate brown, with a 1/4 inch tall head. A good hefeweizen should have a head that fills the glass, but this was far from it. The nose was a bit sour, and the first taste was definitely underwhelming. It was a bit tart, with just a hint of chocolate, and almost no Bavarian hefeweizen character. Whenever I drink a German wheat beer, I always compare it to what I consider the best brewer of these styles - Weihenstephan. Sadly, this doesn't come close. It's not a bad beer - it's simply mediocre.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I just discovered that a virus had attached itself to each of my Youtube videos in my blog, so unfortunately, I had to delete them all. I don't understand what happened, but I nuked all my funny commercials because I didn't want to deal with a !%#$ virus.
I picked this bottle up at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and haven't tried it til now since it was a 22 oz bottle. When I poured this, I was shocked to see it pour PINK! The head looked like cotton candy. I don't know what they used to give it the shocking pink color, but it didn't detract from the beer. This is some GOOD beer! The pink head lasted a good while, and the beer was very flavorful. There's a ton of malt in here, expertly offset by a generous batch of piney hops. There's plenty of toffee flavor and a nice bitter finish. I am really impressed with Shmaltz Brewing. They are also the makers of the "He'Brew" line of beers.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Another Pilsener tonight, this time from Saranac. Saranac spells Pilsener differently from most, which I more frequently see spelled as Pilsner. Just an observation, for whatever it's worth. I tried this tonight as a comparison to the Carolina Blonde I had a couple of days ago. I have to say that the main difference is in the hops. Saranac doesn't have a lot of hops in this beer, but it's hoppier than the Carolina. The bottle describes this as a wheat beer, which surprised me, since most Pilsners are not made from wheat. This beer is a bit fruity like a wheat. The beer was packaged in Saranac's 12 Beers of Summer collection, and it is a good summer beer - light, refreshing, easy to drink.