Friday, November 26, 2010

Witches' Brew Golden Ale

Let me be the last to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it was filled with plenty of pumpkin pies and pumpkin ales. We should all be thankful that we live in a time where we have so much variety in our choices of great beer...oh yea, and thankful for family, friends, loved ones, yadda yadda. Anyway, I heard good things about this Belgian beauty and want to give it a try.

Appearance: After popping the cork (I love uncorking beers, don't know why) it pours a clear crisp golden and orange color with plenty of suds rising to the top to form massive amounts of fluffy head thanks to the bottle conditioning (but does not stick around for long).

Smell: Smacked in the nose with citrus hops, orange, some spices, and almost a champagne style smell. There are some other fruits in there, maybe banana, and a bready yeast smell as well. Delightful.

Taste: Some great flavors in this one, bananas, oranges, lemons, and spices. Pineapples also come to mind as it warms up a bit as the spices also come more into play. There is the slightest bit of sweet candy malt in the background, but just enough to let the hops do their thing.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, smooth, thin, a little watery for what I would expect from most tripels, sufficiently carbonated, a gentle warming alcoholic aftertaste, not as biting or harsh as you might expect.

Drinkability: This might be the easiest drinking tripel I've ever had. Everything about this beer is so pleasant that going through a 750mL bottle is no problem, though you might feel it later at 9.3% abv. The Belgian brewery this beer comes from is Brouwerij Van Steenberge. Obviously this is the first brew from them I've had, so if anyone has recommendations of their other beers, let me know. I highly recommend picking this one up if you see it, even if you're not a Belgian fan. 9/10

Glass type: Duvel tulip glass
Serving type: Bottle, 750 mL

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Port Brewing Anniversary Ale

Time for another (quick) Port Brewing review...HUZZAH!

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden amber color with a couple inches of head. Trails of carbonation rising to the top.

Smell: Strong floral hop scents with some fruit, oranges, lemon zest, and others. Almost no malt to speak of.

Taste: Huge fruit hop flavor, grapefruit maybe, with hints of spice and fruit zest. The bottle was right, a true hop monster, especially as the brew warms up.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and a little oily coating on the palate from the hop oils, well carbonated, an alcoholic and hop bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: The smell and taste are fantastic, but the alcoholic aftertaste makes more than one bomber a little hard to pull off. It's probably better that way since the abv is 10%. Definitely a beer that belongs towards the end of a night of drinking. This beer definitely grew on me as it got warmer...or as the alcohol got to my head. 9/10

Glass type: Dogfish Head bullet/pint glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22 oz.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA

Fresh hops! Fresh hops everywhere! Fresh hop ales and IPAs are the new black for craft beers. Take any ordinary ale, fresh hop it, and BLAMMO...instant upgrade in bitterness, aromas, and oily texture. I'm not complaining; hell, almost every time I see fresh hop on the label, I pick it up and give it a try...just like this little fella which I got from Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

Appearance: Perfect crisp golden color with 2+ fingers of fluffy lacy head. Slightly opaque, though I don't see any bits of sediment floating around.

Smell: A nice mixture of pine and floral/herbal hops, as well as some citrus/lemon scents as a complement. I was hoping for a little more pronounced hop aromas but that's ok. There are also hints of sweet malts that you can guess will be the backbone on the taste.

Taste: Yup, a light caramel malt background then a kick to the teeth with bitterness. Any of the hop flavors you would expect from the smell though is overpowered from raw hop bitterness, though. A slight let down for some, a big positive for hopheads.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation, and a little oily from the hop resins, just what you would expect. One of my favorite parts from fresh hop ales is the oily coat over the palate you get while drinking them.

Drinkability: One bomber for me tonight is no problem, and I wish I had bought a second. This beer could almost qualify as a session beer at 6.5% abv (especially for other hopheads who would welcome the bitterness with open tongues was right). The bottle date was 9/21/10, maybe drinking it two months from the bottle date affected the lack of (extreme) hop aromas, but it did not take away from the experience too negatively. 8.5/10

Glass type: Dogfish Head bullet/pint glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22 oz.