Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beer Review: Guinness Draught

St. James's Gate Brewery Guinness Draught

This is the most classic stout on the planet. It isn't the original but it's prevalence throughout the world is impressive to say the least. Thank you Diageo. Having the innovative widget in the can is awesome. Such a nice touch. The nitrogen head forms perfectly and laces all over the glass (does anyone really not know what a Guinness looks like?). I don't get very much in the aroma department.

The flavor is ridiculously smooth for a stout, I think due in a large part to the nitrogen used for nitrogenation (carbonation doesn't make sense). The majority of the flavor is all coffee with chocolate thrown in. The roasted malt does it's job but doesn't go overboard. Some hop bitterness in the aftertaste. This all goes down so easy, makes it seem like this is a watered down version of what a stout should be. Isn't a porter a lighter version of a stout? This really should be called a porter if you ask me.

It may not be very deep but it does provide a great introduction to the darker beer styles. This is a beer that everyone should try at least once. For me, this is a beer that I will get occasionally in bars but really won't seek out. It isn't bad at all, just doesn't stand out after having experienced a couple of very rich stouts.

Final Score: 73% (Classic and Drinkable. Not Very Complex.)

Beer Review: Mama's LIttle Yella Pils

Oskar Blues Brewing Company Mama's Little Yella Pils

Love those cans. This is a definite craft beer take on a commonly watered down style. The name will try to tell you otherwise though. The pils pours a bright yellow color with a long lasting moderate head. The malt aroma dominates everything. Smells similar to how unfermented malt tastes. Very appealing.

The flavor of this yella is everything I could have hoped for. The bright malt sweetness hits you quickly and with force right before the hops take charge. This is one of the most floral tasting beers in the world. Oskar Blues really captures the hop aroma and flavor properly (the cans help).

I would definitely place this in the top three pilsners I have yet to try. Right alongside Stoudts and Victory. This is one of the best beers you will find for summer and I urge anyone who can find it to buy a case. This will refresh you in even the hottest weather. Not a bit of taste missing either. In my opinion this is one of the most consistent and outstanding breweries in the country and any can detractors would do well to try these.

Final Score: 95% (World Class Pilsner. Mama Never Had This.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beer Review: Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout

St. James's Gate Brewery Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout Ale

It is a rare year (or decade?) when Guinness comes out with a new brew. This stout is to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Sir Arthur Guinness signing the lease to the St. James's Gate brewery in Dublin. I do wish this was served in the classic widget can that the Guinness Draught inhabits. It may be little more than a novelty but it really is the little things that count. The new kid pours a very dark mahogany color with a with an average sized caramel head. The aroma is compiled mainly of roasted malt and alcohol. Classic stout.

The flavor really stands out from the original Guinness despite them both being Irish stouts. The 250 is really sweet. Large amounts of roasted caramel all over my palette. Very enjoyable and surprisingly drinkable. This is more of a cross between a traditional schwarzbier and a traditional stout. The sweet caramal flavor really combines well with the roasted barley. Even a slight grainy aftertaste. The hops are there only for bittering and you probably won't pay much attention to them.

There is nothing to complain about with this beer besides its limited edition status. I would really like to see this offered indefinitely. What would be even better would be to have this offered on draft as widely available as the classic Guinness Draught. Even throw in the Extra Stout while you are at it. The original is classic but I can tell you that I would be more likely to order stouts if there were more choices available in bars. This is a winner.

Final Score: 86% (Rich, Sweet, and Roasted. Manages to Stand Out.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Beer Review: Anchor Summer Beer

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Summer Beer

This is a classic beer. Although this is my first time trying it, this is the first American wheat beer brewed in modern times. Thank you Fritz Maytag for getting the ball rolling. This wheat beer pours a clear golden color with a very fluffy white laced head. A ton of wheat in the aroma.

The flavor is spicy and smooth at the same time, most likely due to the large percentage (over 50) of wheat malt used. What sets this apart from other wheat beers is the lack of noticeable citrus, banana, or clove flavors. You get wheat, some hop flavors, and a tiny bit of barley malt. Nothing too exotic by today's craft standards.

If there ever was a sessionable wheat beer this would be it. Exactly as a summer beer should be. This definitely has nowhere near the depth of an Imperial Stout but this really hits the spot on a hot day. More than enough character to keep thing interesting. If you are in the mood for a very clean and refreshing wheat beer this is a great choice.

Final Score: 80% (Refreshing, Spicy, and Smooth. Very Enjoyable.)

Beer Review: McSorley's Irish Pale Ale

McSorley's Brewery McSorley's Irish Pale Ale

This is to my knowledge my first Irish Pale Ale. The Sorley pours a not so pale amber color with a quickly fading head. Roasted aromas seep into my head. I know of the famous McSorley's pub in NYC and I assume this is the same brew served at the old ale house. I wonder how close this comes to the actual ale served on tap.

This is very different from your standard pale ale. Loaded with roasted malt flavors and having a very creamy mouthfeel, this beer will certainly wake you up. The hop presence is a bit subdued when compared to the robust malt flavor. This is almost a pale ale/porter hybrid. Hard to find a comparable beer, this is very unique. It does seem to be lacking some depth.

If you crave a dark roasted beer but don't want to go all out with a porter or stout this would be a good choice. The roasted malt presence is very strong and tends to dominate every sip. Despite the roasted flavor I would still say this is fairly balanced. The ale never seems to taste overly bitter or sweet, usually somewhere in between. Easy to follow one sip with another.

Final Score: 74% (Good, but Fairly Simple. A Solid Session Beer.)