Friday, August 28, 2009

Samuel Adams Imperial White

On a recent trip up to the Thousand Islands with my girlfriend, we stopped at a Wegman's near Syracuse (the same store where I picked up a Cascazilla last year). I picked up a four-pack of the second beer from Sam Adams' Imperial Series to be reviewed here. I love that Sam, considered one of the more mainstream brewing companies, is dabbling into imperial brews. They always seem to be ahead of the curve compared to the other big brewers, which is a great testament to Jim Koch and Bob Cannon, head of the R&D department at the brewery.

Appearance: A dark golden copper color with half a finger of head that doesn't stick around long, a little hazy with a moderate amount of carbonation rising from the bottom.

Smell: Starts with a strong fruity apricot and orange smell, a little hint of spice and a tiny bit of banana, overall a good scent.

Taste: It's almost a reversal of the smell as the spiciness really takes the forefront and overpowers any of the fruity flavors, which don't emerge until the final moments of the sip and in the aftertaste, citrus flavors on the finish to try and balance out the huge alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a full-bodied witbier that begins creamy but ends with a dry coating and the alcoholic bite I mentioned earlier, smooth and not too heavy.

Drinkability: I think the goal of Jim & Co. was to go for a big, bold witbier, with bold being the key word. To me, it seems like they took your generic wheat ale, said damn the torpedos, full fruit/spice/alcohol ahead, and waited to see what they got. Each ingredient made its presence felt, but there was no subtlety, no chemistry and balance between them. On top of this, you definitely know you are drinking a 10.3% abv brew, making it a chore/deathwish if you want to polish off a four pack in an evening. Overall, a noble attempt by our friends in Beantown, but not one of my favorites from the imperial series, let alone from their entire offering. 7/10

Serving type: Bottle
Glass type: Witbier glass

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen

Alex and I made a stop at Shangy's in PA and picked up a case of this beauty and Founders Double Trouble. We were stoked to see both of these cases and decided to split them between the two of us. After enjoying most of the case in one afternoon between us, we found it only appropriate that we do a collaboration review of this newly released, highly anticipated brew.

Appearance: Pours a golden cloudy yellow/orange with about a finger of fluffy head, sticks to the glass.

Smell: A strong orange/fruitiness and some lemon zest with a hint of spicy esters, along with a natural yeast scent.

Taste: Banana and clove flavors as the label would suggest, along with the lemon zest that we smelled, and the subtle spiciness that doesn't overpower this wonderful combination of flavors.

Mouthfeel: We have two complete opposite interpretations of mouthfeel; Alex feels that the unfiltered nature of this open fermentation brew gives it a thick quality but not overpowering, however I feel that it is pretty light despite it being unfiltered. We both can agree that there is zero alcohol aftertaste, providing us with a smooth summer drinking experience.

Drinkability: A perfect summer session brew, we could drink this all day (and did), and at 4.8% abv, have the ability to move on to the heavier stuff once the sun goes down. We could not be happier with Sierra Nevada's continued inventiveness, and love that they are moving that creativity to their new year-round brews like this hefe and the Torpedo Extra IPA. We give it an 8/10.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

21st Amendment IPA

Micro beer in a can? Yes sirree! Gone are the days where the only way to drink a can, such as Natty Light, is by shotgunning. My first quality craft bib in a can was from the talented Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado (I have had their Dale's Pale Ale, GORDON!, Ten Fidy & Old Chub). This time, I had my eyes set on trying something new for me: 21st Amendment Brewery - IPA. Picked up a six pack at Whole Foods, Paramus, NJ for $9.99 before tax.

Appearnce: Cloudy peach amber that poured a fat finger of head into my tulip glass. The miniature carbonation bubbles are having quite a party that I am about to crash.

Smell: Knock knock. Whose there? 7. 7 Who? 70 IBUs screaming up your nostrils! Piney hops followed by faint caramel malt breeze.

Taste: Impressive creation that is well balanced between the crisp, bitter piney hops and sweet malt finish.

Mouthfeel: A hair bit over carbonated but it goes down quite smooth with the medium-light body. There is an alcoholic bite bringing up the caboose of the drink.
Drinkability: Strange finding, but I prefer this beer cold, even though I get more flavors and answers as it warms up into proper IPA drinking temperature. It makes love with our liver at 7.0% abv and I would definitely have more than one in a night (or day). 8.5/10 hophead rating for me!