Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beer Review: Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale

Flying Fish Brewing Company Farmhouse Summer Ale

I can't believe this is my first Flying Fish review. I like to buy local and they are located in the memorable town of Cherry Hill. The main thing I think of when I think of Cherry Hill is that the mall there offers very cheap sushi. A big plus in my book. This is also a very unique offering. You will find a ton of summer ales this time of year. Few that also happen to use Belgian malt and are bottle conditioned (aka carbonated naturally in the bottle using the yeast). The farmhouse brew pours a surprisingly clear golden color with a very solid head. Doesn't last for a ridiculous amount of time but I wouldn't really expect/desire this in a summer offering. Aroma of yeast, wheat, and cloves. Inviting.

The flavor is loaded with natural yeast flavor. I get a lot of clovey goodness upfront followed with a wheaty lemon flavor and some sweet barley malt. Not much in the hop department besides a lingering earthy aftertaste but it really isn't needed. I don't really see the farmhouse connection since this is noticeably different from a traditional Belgian Saison (farmhouse) ale. It may not be traditional but the depth of flavor renders any style questions negligible.

This is delicious. A very much above average summer ale for a very reasonable price ($7.99 a six pack). I recommend this to anyone who wants an easy drinking summer beer but wants some exceptional depth (who wouldn't want this?). This could easily become a summer staple for me. Don't miss out!

Final Score: 91% (Easy Drinking and Complex. A Belgian Creation. In Jersey.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beer Review: Saranac Summer Brew

F.X. Matt Brewing Company Saranac Summer Brew

I have never had a Radler (lager and lemonade) before and was a bit hesitant. I enjoy lemony flavors that can come out from certain strains of yeast but I don't know how I feel about mixing lemonade in. Seems too easy. Pours a VERY light yellow color with a minimal head.

Flavor is sweet. Loads of lemonade with a bit of malt and hop notes going on in the background. I really don't like when beer flavors are in the background. Especially when drinking a beer. There really isn't much to describe here, the malt flavor is paralyzed and the hops are in a coma. This is only for someone who doesn't like beer and is a huge fan of lemonade. But if that is the case why not just drink a lemonade?

I am glad they are still experimenting and trying to bring new flavors to America but this one can stay in Europe. This isn't horrible but it really doesn't taste like a beer. Drinkable only on the hottest of days and even then I would go for a pilsner over this. Lemonade and sweetness needs to be toned down a few notches. This might be good for the style but I really can't give a good score if there isn't anything positive to note.

Final Score: 55% (Very Lemony. Where is the Beer?)

Beer Review: Ottakringer Helles

Ottakringer Brewery Helles Lager

My friend from Austria recently brought two cans of this back. He said it is the equivalent to a Budweiser over there, being prevalent in almost every bar. The Vienna stunner pours a slightly hazy golden yellow color. Short lived but noticeable head without any lacing. Aroma is nonexistent.

The flavor is OK. Tastes very similar to a standard Euro lager (Heineken or Becks) with few differences. Clean malt flavor with a very brief hop punch. By brief I mean by the time you notice it, the flavor is gone. The malt flavor is a bit richer than a Euro lager but not a whole lot of difference. Bit of boiled vegetable taste going on. Fortunately not skunky.

Definitely a step up from the bland Budweiser but really nothing that you couldn't get in America in a better form. If you find yourself in Austria and want to try a domestic its worth a shot but don't expect to be wowed. I don't hate it but it doesn't get too much love. I am sure Austria has much better beer to offer.

Final Score: 61% (Light on Hops. Light in Malt. Light on Score.)

Beer Review: Long Trail Ale

Long Trail Brewing Company Long Trail Ale

The flagship brew from the very Eco-friendly Long Trail Brewing Co. I really admire their efforts to go green and still release a very affordable product ($7.99 a six pack). The ale pours a rich amber color with a long lasting head. Lacing is in the picture. The rich aroma is loaded with malt, malt, and more malt.

The flavor is extremely pleasing. The altbier style, when done correctly, delivers all the complexity of an ale with the balanced refreshing taste of a lager. This does indeed deliver. Loads of amber malt with a quick sharp hop bite followed by a clean creamy yeast finish. This really delivers on the amber malt, not as rich as the spectacular double bag but will still get you with loads of malty sweetness.

This is one of the best altbiers I have ever had. This is defintely the kind of beer you could buy a whole case (or keg) of and never once regret the decision. I would still pick the double bag over this but it is a close call and on warmer days this might win out. Everyone should try this at least once.

Final Score: 91% (Altbier Done Right. Great Job!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beer Review: Radeberger Pilsner

Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei Radeberger Pilsner Lager

Quite the name. I really don't want to type that again. I love a good pilnser and late spring is a great time to get them. This authentic German pilsner pours a light golden straw color with a very solid head. Not much in the lacing department. Aroma is very malty, no noticable hop aromas.

The flavor is solid. A surprisingly matly flavor hits you up front and is then countered with a moderate bitter hop flavor. Nothing too crazy but this is very well balanced and drinkable. The malt flavor is very deep and compelling. I don't know if its the water or some special mashing process but the flavor of the golden malt is just very pleasing. The hop bitterness really works well. This is how a pilsner should be.

This is a great pilsner. There are equally good American produced pilsners that are readily available but this is a very good alternative. While the style may not have originated in Germany, this is one of the best examples I have found. If you want a lighter session beer with a large amount of flavor this is one to seek out.

Final Score: 88% (Refreshing and Malty. Just Enough Hop Spice. Expertly Done.)