Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beer Review: Lancaster Milk Stout

Lancaster Milk Stout

My last still remaining beer from the wonderfully minimalist Amish. I gotta say that I like the idea of this. A stout brewed with lactose is a very cool idea. I have no idea what the action of lactose is with the fermentation process but I can tell you about the results. This pours a very dark brown with a tan head that seems to hang on for a while. Very light aroma is present with some coffee and cream smells. Pleasant appearance and aroma.

The most noticible thing about this brew is the light body. It looks like it would have a very heavy mouthfeel but the opposite is true. Its really light. Definite coffee flavors are also present. If this were work appropriate I would definitely consider having this in the morning with some... well I really wouldn't need anything else. This is a definite good beer. I am just not sure if the light body is an advantage or not, it leaves me wondering what it would be like if they bulked this one up. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get into stouts but cannot handle the more heavy variety yet (Imperial Stout).

Final Score: 78% (Flawed yet enjoyable)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Beer Review: Saranac Season's Best

Saranac Season's Best Nut Brown Lager

Finally got my hands on this. I love receiving the Matt Brewing Company newsletter because of how on top of the Saranac line I am. The downside is it really can take a couple trips before I find some place that carries this stuff. I wish I lived in Utica. I really gotta go up there and get a tour.

This beer is pretty standard Saranac. It has a noticeable hoppy flavor with a heavy mouth feel. About what I would expect but nothing out of the ordinary. I don't really taste any nut like qualities but my palette may not be as refined as some. Overall, this is a pretty standard beer from Saranac. If you like there stuff, try it. Just don't expect to be blown away.

Final Score: 73% (Good but not great)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Boston Beer Company Samuel Adams Boston Lager

There are many things I could say about this beer. It probably deserves at least a full page, but I am not going to give it as much. When I compare this to your standard light lager beer, this is leaps and bounds ahead. This beer revolutionized the concept of what American beer could be back in the eighties. Pours a copper color with a strong head that producing rings of lacing. Aroma is of rich Vienna malt and some definite hop aromatic bite. Very pleasant on the nose and eyes.

Flavor is classic Vienna goodness. The malt flavor is very full on this one. You can really taste barley, almost like biting into a fresh slice of bread. Maybe some light french toast? This taste combined with the sharp hop flavor and bitterness really develops into balanced bliss. The mouthfeel is very rich but not too much. I could drink a few of these in a sitting and still be happy about it.

I love a good lager and this beer never disappoints me. This is a benchmark that I go by for good balanced lagers. Another great thing is how available this beer is. You can go to almost any bar throughout the east coast (maybe west coast too) and find this on tap. This beer has gotten me through many otherwise dull bar scenes. Jim Koch deserves thanks for bringing back his grandfather's recipe.

Final Score: 91% (A Great Beer. Balanced, malty, hoppy, and rich. A Classic.)

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

I gotta say, I can't tell if its after all the Amish beer or what but this is really good. Its not the best beer I have ever had but it definitely holds its own. This is a dark ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and orange. Its actually not over spiced which really surprised me. I expected to be bombarded with cinnamon and orange and get no beer flavor at all. I am glad that this is not the case.

This definitely makes me think of all the goodness that the holidays bring. One of the best things about this is the smell. It really smells great. You get a great smell of cinnamon and ginger. Almost smells like a dessert. This is truly a great beer. I look forward to many more years with good old fezziwig ale.

Final Score: 84% (A Solid Beer. Worth the Time)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Beer Review: Lancaster Hop Hog India Pale Ale

Lancaster Hop Hop IPA

Hop Hog is definitely an attractive title for an IPA, even if it is made by the Amish. I didn't know the Amish knew anything about good times. This beer, like all of Lancaster's other beers is described as brewed naturally. This makes me wonder which breweries use preservatives. I never really knew there was a need with beer but I could certainly be wrong. I may have to investigate this more in the future. This beer pour a deep copper color and has a slightly hoppy odor.

This is really a below average IPA. It has some hoppy character but it is really not too strong. Certainly not worthy of the Hop Hog title. I feel that little hop gluttony has actually occurred here. But what can you really expect from such a conservative people? This kinda reminds me of a standard pale ale. Its not terrible but it really lacks that flavor you expect with a IPA. Beers like the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA really cream this poor attempt. I wouldn't get this again, even if it where half the price it is. Its just not satisfying.

Final Score: 62% (Unimpressive and Below Average)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Beer Review: Lancaster Strawberry Wheat Beer

Lancaster Strawberry Wheat Beer

I just picked up a 12 pack of the Lancaster Brewing Company's Variety Pack. I had been hesitant in the past due to the expensive price but as a reviewer I decided that this needed to be encountered. There were two thing that immediately frightened me, the low alcohol percentage (4.7%) and the description (Wheat Beer with Strawberry Flavor Added). As a brewing company that prides itself on naturally brewed beer with no preservatives this was a red flag. I really don't care if strawberry flavor isn't a preservative, I don't want fucking syrup in my beer. If you have some overwhelming craving for a fruit flavor, you should try brewing the beer with actual strawberry in it. Lancaster, don't play with my emotions.

This beer pours a nice golden color and has a moderate head. Thats where the good things end because when it really comes down to it the flavor sucks. I will give them credit for living up to my low expectations but I just don't know how to enjoy this beer. I feel like someone mixed a Budweiser with some strawberry soda. It just mainly tastes like soda, I really don't get much beer at all. If you like fruity drinks and really don't like beer, give this a shot. I do have to say that if you don't like beer I don't know why you would even be looking in the direction of this disaster. Try anything else but this. Get some soda if you want fake strawberries.

Final Score: 50% (One of the worst beers ever...)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tougher Reviews

I am going to just briefly state that I am going to be harder on beers. I love them and they love me back but not all beers can get a score above 80%. I am going to find flaws and make sure the unworthy ones get discovered. I really have too many that are getting high ratings and while I enjoy many beers... This can not stand.

Beer Review: Saranac Octoberfest

Saranac Octoberfest Lager

Let me first say that I have no idea why they spelt Oktoberfest with a "c". Maybe it has something to do with it being produced in America. I really couldn't tell you. Almost makes me want to inquire with the Matt Brewing Company. But I really shouldn't sweat the small stuff. They haven't completely gone away from tradition with the correct diamond pattern label.

This beer pours a rich amber color with a quickly dissipating head. What I love about this beer is that they have captured the real German qualities of Oktoberfest beer and made them affordable and easily accessible to people in the USA. This beer can definitely hold its own to the likes of Paulaner and Spatan. Those beers are great and can be wonderful but there is something about finding a great domestic beer that really rocks. This beer is rich and heavy and has the almost caramel quality flavor that good Oktoberfest beers possess. This is one that I will truly miss once spring and summer roll around. This is a beer that I could always look forward to and has the qualities of a beer that you could drink in quantity but it also could be completely satisfying in a one beer session.

If you have never had an Oktoberfest beer this is a good one to start with. It may not be a true Marzen beer but it really tastes like the purity law product. I give my sincere congratulations to those fantastic employees of the Matt Brewing Company yet again as they continue to produce the highest quality beer at the most affordable prices.

Final Score: 80% (America Fights Back!)

Beer Review: Saranac Imperial Stout

Saranac Imperial Stout

I finally managed to find this gem after a solid month of searching. I was about ready to give up when I finally found a grand liquor super store that had this and the always great Saranac Oktoberfest lager. I was more than joyous when realizing that it was also cheap. 6.99 for a six-pack of the Imperial Stout and 5.99 for the Oktoberfest. More than a bargain. I love the Saranac line. This beer is the second in their "High Peaks" line of beers which was created to produce a higher quality beer than they would typically produce. This one also has a 9% ABV so always show some respect.

Pouring this out of the bottle into my glass was a religious experience. I have never seen such darkness spew out of a glass container. I felt like I held a rift in time and space and now my glass was about to become an anomaly. This beer rocks. The head doesn't last long but I have never been bombarded with so many flavors at once. This is the Thanksgiving of beers. Like all good stouts this beer has a strong coffee flavor with some chocolate hintings. What I have yet to encounter in other stouts is the amazing complexity I have now found in this beer. It really is like fireworks in my mouth. Light can not escape this beer and neither should you.

Final Score: 90% (If you see it... TRY IT!)