Thursday, August 12, 2010

Avery Anniversary Lager - Seventeen Dry-Hopped Black Lager

I've recently been getting more into black lagers, also known as "schwarzbier" (German for... anyone?... Bueller?... black beer). I did have a Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager that I did not review, but it was absolutely delicious and will have to pick one up again. Combine that with my love for the Avery Anniversary series and my expectations become pretty high.

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel tulip glass that becomes impossible to see through due to its black-as-night color. TONS of tan creamy head that leaves some lacing on the glass as it recedes.

Smell: Piney hops and a bit of roasted malts, maybe some honey, then finishes with a little bit of fruit and citrus. Every time I go in for another whiff, I pick up something new, very enticing.

Taste: A swirl of roasted and chocolate malts are the undeniable backbone of this brew, but not overpowering. Hints of citrus hops, but extremely subtle. This is about what I expected since most of the hops from the scent are coming from the dry-hopping. However, it's just enough hop bite because the malts can definitely stand on their own.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with perfect medium carbonation, I don't like when something is overly carbonated and doesn't let the flavors of the beer shine through. This has just enough to tickle the palate while coating it. A tiny bit of bitterness on the aftertaste and almost no alcoholic bite, which leads to...

Drinkability: What a smooth beer! Some might see the black appearance and think it would give you the same chunky full bodied feel of a stout or porter. Some might see the 8.69% abv and think you wouldn't want more than one or two in a night. Some people would be wrong. This bomber is going down so fast I could go for another bomber of this or even a nightcap barleywine. I would like to have more black lagers before I give this a perfect rating, but if they are all like this one, I may have discovered my new favorite style. 9.5/10 and highly recommended next time you see this in your local beer store.

Glass type: Duvel tulip glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22 oz.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA

Been a while since the last review (I seem to say that before every post recently), but I wanted to make sure I reviewed this one from my most recent trip to Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA. I've heard some good things about it so I'm a little pumped.

Appearance: Pours a nice deep amber color with about half a finger of head. It has a great crisp look to it with a steady flow of carbonation rising from the bottom.

Smell: Strong hop aromas blast the nose on first whiff, a combination of floral and herbal hops with some spiciness. After a few more sniffs, that spice turns to sweet with a background of pine and fruit. I can't make out which fruit, maybe mango or pineapple?

Taste: Not what I expected, mostly a sweet caramelized malt flavor with just a hint of citrus hops, but not nearly as appetizing as the smell would indicate. The aftertaste has a strong bitterness to it (112 IBU's), letting you know this triple IPA isn't messing around. The after-aftertaste is of resiny hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, coats the palate and tongue, slight carbonation but good for the style, alcoholic bite, I would consider this a cross between a DIPA and a barleywine.

Drinkability: Between the 12% abv, the bitterness, and the alcoholic bite, this is certainly a nightcapper. I was a little let down because the scent was so full of wonderful aromas but the majority of flavor revolved around the sweet malt backbone. Then again, I should have remembered that this behemoth was a triple IPA. Maybe it's just not my style, maybe it was the batch, maybe I just need to have another one, but I give it a pedestrian 7/10. I really hope I'm off base with my review because I love Founders and everything they brew.

Glass type: Dogfish Head bullet glass
Serving type: Bottle, 12 oz.