Friday, February 29, 2008

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Longshot: Grape Pale Ale

Samuel Adams LongShot 2007 Part 1 - Grape Pale Ale

The first of my two part LongShot 2007 review series. This is a great idea. I love that Samuel Adams gives home brewers the ability to get their best brews all over the nation. This one is from Lili Hess of Hawaii. She happens to be a Samuel Adams employee too. Luckily this beer dispels any ideas of favoritism. This is a great beer. I had no idea what to expect when you mix grape and pale ale but I was pleasantly surprised.

This brew pours a dark copper color and has a modest head. No lacing present in my glass. This is almost similar to a Marzen beer. Has a nice muted aroma that comes in with a punch once you get a taste. It's very hard to describe the unique flavor. I can tell what the grapes and maple syrup contributed but I would never say this beer tastes like grapes or maple syrup.
Its kinda like a crisp marzen beer.

I would sum this beer up by saying that its a truly unique beer. A solid ale with a crisp rich flavor. It's like the beer does your tongue's work for you. Everything is immediately there, no digging required. Great job Lili!

Final Score: 82% (Effective and Unique, a Solid Brew)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Beer Review: Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

This is one bad-ass brewery. Every bottle has some awesome artwork containing unique and quality craft beer. This ale pours a deep amber color with persistent head and lacing. Aroma is strongly of hops (cascade?). I am trying to develop my hop sense and as time goes on I should get more adept at picking individual hops out.

Flavor is classic American IPA mixed with a richer than usual body. Tastes like they increased the amount of malt as well as the amount of hops used to construct this beer. A large citrus hop flavor present with a small amount of malt coming through. Enough hops to deliver the bite but doesn't overpower the flavor of the malt. The head retention is one of the strongest characteristics of this IPA, it just hangs around and all over the glass.

This is one to give the Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA good competition. I would like to review the two side by side at some point and crown a victor. I can find very few faults with this beer and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good IPA.

Final Score: 87% (A truly American IPA, Generous and Balanced Flavor)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale

Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale

I am definitely becoming a solid fan of the Brooklyn Brewery. They offer a very large range of brews. So far all of them with excellent quality. I haven't written a review for it yet but the Black Chocolate Stout was extremely good. They use high quality ingredients and are able to really add a kick to the normal beer experience. This brew decants a pale amber color with a solid head (see the picture). Aroma is strongly of citrus hops. Very exciting. Makes my mouth water. Lots of lacing, some extremely viscous head action.

I never really realized how much of a hop head I am but I am beginning to comprehend this truth. I love strong flavors. Hops offer up flavor and complexity. I was excited to try this as it is supposedly brewed in a similar style to the historical IPAs that were shipped to India rather than the American IPAs.

The flavor is really good. It has a thick mouthfeel offering up enough carbonation to fly around the world. Much heavier than I expected. I like this. I like extremes. The hop flavor is definitely there. Not overwhelmingly so but it is there. Really a large citrus hop presence. I don't know that I would say its a huge departure from any other American IPA I've had but it is more balanced. Its less focused on overpowering with hops and more focused on balancing out the malt. It really succeeds. This is a very good IPA and one at a reasonable price. Give this one a whirl if you want hops without as much bite.

Final Score: 79% (Very Good, A Somewhat Smoother IPA)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Double Bock

Samuel Adams Double Bock

This was a nice find. I love the variety of beers that Sam Adams produces but I don't like that I can only seem to find the same four (Boston Lager, Light, Cream Stout, and Black Lager) at every store I go to. It is always exciting to find a new beer to try. This is a great example of a good winter beer. Rich, dark, and malty. The high (8.8%) alcohol is also sure to keep you toasty and happy.

This one pours a dark brown color with a small head that leaves some lacing. Smells of malty goodness, like a fresh can of malt extract. Very strong malty flavor, I can't detect even a hint of hops. They are probably in there but I just get malt. This isn't actually a bad thing for this style. You really go for a bock to get the sweet warmth. Overall this is a very good beer. Complex flavor with a lot of body. This is a real sipper. You will not enjoy drinking this quickly. If you want to experience the warmth and richness of malt give this a try. This is probably the exact opposite of an IPA. I love both.

Final Score: 82% (Great Example of a Strong Bock, Might Knock You Around)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beer Review: Saranac Imperial IPA

Saranac Imperial IPA

The actual first in the Saranac "High Peaks" series but my second one to sample. I had to look long and hard for this one and the only place that had it was Monster Liquor in Glassboro, NJ. Great beer store if you can get to it. The Imperial title definitely means an experience. If you want hops and alcohol you are barking up the right tree. This bold beer smacks you with both. Ten malts and ten hops really do add up.

It poors a dark amber color with a persistent lacing head. Good sign of a hoppy beer. You can even smell the floral aroma of the hops used in this beer. Very noticeable citrus hop flavor with a strong bite afterwards. This is exactly what I look for in an IPA. Lots of hops and never a dull moment.

If this were available year round I would have another "go to" beer. Unfortunately it isn't. I hope they get smart and make it a staple of their brewery. I really love the offerings that the High Peaks series has been putting out and I am truly excited about whatever they come up with next. Any IPA fans would do well to try this if they can.

Final Score: 81% (Damn Good IPA)

Beer Review: Magic Hat Fat Angel

Magic Hat Fat Angel Ale

This is my first review of one of the Magic Hat beers. I have long seen them but haven't really had many before and decided that today was a good day to give it a shot. It definitely is interesting that they seem to avoid pigeonholing their beers into categories by calling them unique names like Number 9 or Cirus Boy. I wanted to see if there was any depth to this marketing glaze.

This pours a coppery color with a average sized head. Very malty aroma present. I went into this beer describes as a "paler shade of ale" with expectations of a rich hoppy goodness. I was disappointed. I am left with a very unique flavor that I would call "smoke house". I feel like I am drinking beer with BBQ sauce mixed in. This isn't as horrible as I would have thought but it really isn't great. I would not get this again. There are some malty flavors present but it all comes together in a very strange way. I will say though that their beer is as unique as the name.

Final Score: 59% (Not Divine)