Friday, November 20, 2009

Beer Review: Saranac Maple Porter

Matt Brewing Company Saranac Maple Porter

This is a beer I am excited for. If it is anything like the caramel porter I am in for a treat. I have never heard of or encountered a maple flavored beer but I have to say I really like the idea. Sweet maple flavors combined with dark roasted porter can't be bad. This may be a novelty beer but I really don't care. All I care about is how it tastes. I never said I was too good for novelties. The porter comes out a dark amber color with a solid white head. Aroma is pure maple.

First sip... wow. Like the stellar caramel porter the maple flavor is not hidden at all. Even if it is added flavor this is not lacking anything maple. I feel bombarded with breakfast flavors that I very rarely actually eat. I am more of an eggs and meat guy than a pancake and syrup guy but this really works. Ironically, the typical beer flavor of this beer is dominated by the maple. Sounds bad but in my opinion it really isn't. I crawled up this beer mountain for maple and the top is by no means lacking. I may be ranting but it also could be beer bliss.

This is a great beer. One that I would buy a case of if I had the option. I wouldn't want this year round but this is a great winter treat. The beer lives up to its name and offers a rare flavor experience that inspires greatness. This is a great part of the 12 beers of winter and one I will try to enjoy as much as possible. Drink this with breakfast and you may win the lottery by lunch time.

Final Score: 93% (Unique and Flavorful. Dark, Rich, and Full Maple.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beer Review: Saranac Rye IPA

F.X. Matt Brewing Company Saranac Rye IPA

My second review of the new brews in the 12 beers of winter mix pack from F.X. Matt. The Saranac line seems to be including more rye beers lately and I can't help but be happy about this. Rye is underused and too rarely experienced. The spicy character really adds some depth to the malt flavor that can't be replicated by any yeast that I am aware of. This India pours a golden color with a nice full head. Lacing abound.

Sweet and spicy. The flavor in this brew is awesome. Very aggresive hop flavors swirl around your palette while the rye malt brings you back home. This is a big, bold, and hoppy beer that is as close to balanced as you really want an IPA to be. One of these days I have to get a nice rye sandwich and pair these up. Maybe with some Russian dressing to mix things up.

If you are craving a serious helping of hops and want something a little different from your usual IPA this will hit the spot. I love these mix packs. F.X. Matt has the right idea with the constant rotation of their brews. New and long lost brews really keep things interesting.

Final Score: 87% (Spicy and Hoppy. Not a Single Punch Pulled. Delicious.)

Beer Review: Saranac Black Lager

F.X. Matt Brewing Company Saranac Black Lager

My first review from the new 12 Beers of Winter from Saranac. I always love Black Lagers. This iconic Bavarian style is always rich in flavor yet immensely drinkable. A fantastic choice for winter sessioning. I hope this lives up to my high expectations. The lager pours a very dark amber color, not quite black but damn close. Aroma is loaded with chocolate.

First taste impressions.... very drinkable. Smooth with a very rich mouthfeel. Slightly malty flavors high you first with a very creamy carbonation feel following. I also taste a very large hop bite. This is somewhat similar to last years India Brown Ale, just tweaked slightly off to the malty side. Roasted caramel flavors are floating around but you really have to do some digging.

This is an enjoyable beer despite it not quite tasting like a traditional black lager. This definitely tastes more like a brown ale brewed with lager yeast. I expected a little more depth but this is by no means a bad beer.

Final Score: 71% (Lackluster and Light on Flavor. Needs More Roasted Malt.)