Friday Night Tastings
So for the past 3-4 weeks, Friday has been the day where I go to the best beer store in my area and pick out some stuff that I've never tried before. I usually try to get something local, something from a different part of the US, and something imported from across the pond. The point is to expand my palate and get a better sense of particular styles before I attempt to brew them.
Seeing as I'm drinking all of this wonderful brew from around the world, I figured it would be nice to give a bit of a review for each brew, so that others who haven't tried it might be able to decide if it's something they'd like (before dropping $10 on a sixpack).
I invite all of the other members to join me for friday night tastings. Your beer doesn't have to be anything special or expensive either. After all, there is an a$$ ton of great craft beer out there that doesn't get distributed very far. So, I'm sure every area has at least something that's worthwhile to sample and comment on that might help another when looking for a new beer to try.
So, go out, get something new, drink it, then let us know how it was here.
***Disclaimer: I'm not an expert or judge. I've only done 12 homebrew batches, but I've been drinking good craft beer since before I was legal. When all my friends were buying Natural Ice, I was going for the local craft beer (I thank my dad for that). Everything I write is just my own impression of that particular bottle of beer at that particular moment. Many factors combine to make up the aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and overall impression of a beer. Taste preferences are a purely personal thing, so something which I or someone else says sux, may be the best beer in the world for you. All this thread is supposed to be is a sort of compendium of the HBT user's comments on particular commercial beers.
Now that I've rambled on a bit, let's get down to business.
On my list for tonight are:
Hacker-Pschorr "weisse dark" (Dunkelweizen) brewed in Munich, Germany
I've had plenty of Hacker-Pschorr, but never the dunkel. It has a nice wheat aroma, nothing really different than their regular weisbeir. Strong, creamy, slightly brown head when poured. Not very sweet, in fact it's dryer than I expected. There's a little bit of roastiness to the finish, along with a fairly strong wheat flavor (I like to call this flavor "wheat twang," as it somewhat reminds me of a subtle extract twang - not really sour, but crisp... and wheat-y).
Overall, a great wheat beer. I definately prefer this to their weizen. I have to admit though, I expected a dunkel to be maltier and more filling. I was under the impression that a dunkel was like having a meal to a german. TBH, I could drink 5 or 6 of these and still be up for a burger or steak.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 13/20
Would drink again: maybe
Rogue "Dead Guy Ale" - Brewed by Oregon Brewing Co., Newport OR
Impressions: Color is pale, very slightly orange/amber - maybe a 6-8 SRM. Not too strong of a head, but fairly white and rocky when poured. It has a noticeable hop aroma, but nothing like an american IPA. Also a "dirty" ale aroma - just that slightly sweet, fermented ale smell that some ales have, I don't know how to describe it really. The flavor of this beer is complex. Not bitter at all but I can definately taste hops. It's got some fruitness in the middle of your tongue. In the aftertaste I get some woody characteristics, it's really nice. I've never really sampled oak/wood aged beers but this may be one here. Hopefully someone who knows for sure will comfirm/deny.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 16/20
Would drink again: yes
Up next is the local brew:
Lake Louie "Brother Tim's Tripel Belgian" - Lake Louie Brewing, Arena WI
Impressions: Pale, golden in color. Not too much of a head, but it's pure white. I can definately smell alcohol in this one, along with a fruity characteristic that is similar to other tripels that I've had thusfar. My first impressions when tasting this is that it's dry, and it's alcoholic. Maybe it's because it's the final brew in tonights tasting, but I'm not picking up much more than that. Upon further examination (:drunk: ) I get some pink grapefruit-y flavors as it passes over the front/middle of my tongue. It's subtle, and as soon as the beer get's to the back of your mouth it's overwhelmed by the alcohol. It's almost like a candy flavor, sweetart-esque.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 14/20 (compared to the few other tripels I've had so far). For the other local Sconnies out there, I'd say it's slightly better than Ale Asylums' tripel, but not as good as the imported belgians.
Would drink again: probably not, unless I'm at the brewery (too expensive for a local belgian style).
*All ratings are based on a 20 pt system - otherwise there'd be tooo many 5's and 6's.
That's all for this week, folks. Now post your own reviews!
(sorry about the size of the pics. They don't need to be so big, but I'm too lazy to resize right now)
That's an awesome idea MB.
I'd say you're asking a lot from a bunch of Friday night drunkards (I think I speak for everyone).
My only contribution is that I had my first HobGoblin out of a can this week and it ROCKED.....
I've never seen a canned version of Hobgoblin Ale BM. I wonder if it tastes the same as the bottled version. By the way that is a good idea for those of us that are willing to go and report on a specific beer and post a comment for others to see. Maybe there should be a special slot for that post. Any mods wanna see about this?
Yeah, I saw that post BM.
Stop showing us that sandwich, your making everyone hungry! :mad:
Only Hob i've had was in a clear bottle. Nothing spectacular TBH, but it was up against Salvator that night :D .
Seriously though, it doesn't have to be a long-winded write up like I did. Any thought/comments is fine. I just imagine taking a vacation somewhere and not knowing which local brews are the "definitely-must-try" types. I think this thread could help.
Just for reference (my own mostly), here are the other beers I've tried in the previous month worth of Friday Night Tastings:
Bear Republic "Red Rooket" and "Hop Rod Rye"
New Glarus "enigma" and "Belgian Quadruple"
Capital "Vintage Ale"
Something from Ommegang (got messed up that night)
Schneider Weiss "hefe weizen"
Morschol (sp?) "schwarzbier"
Ale Asylum "Madtown Nutbrown" and "Ambergeddon"
Another note: don't be afraid to post a review about a beer that someone else has already commented on. Multiple P's.O.V are a good thing.
Edit: I just read rogue's dead guy description on their website. They don't mention anything about aging in/with wood. I swear I taste it though - this is a great brew. I had heard people talk about the pacman yeast, now I wish I could still get it. John Maier is on the Session this week, maybe I'll find out or ask.
Our selection last night:
East End Black Strap Stout – 6.5% Black as ink with a coco colored head..a really good looking beer in the glass. Big roasted and chocolate malt flavors and a burst of molasses in the middle. Light mouthfeel with a dry finish. A great range of flavors that doesn't end heavy or sticky. Good degree of complexity on the malt side of the flavor profile that bloomed as the glass warmed.
East End Kavass – 3.5% Cloudy with almost zero head, looked like swamp water. Distinct bready aroma. The flavor was grainy, bready & fruity with a light sour note, finished dry and spicy. Thin mouthfeel and very light on the palate. Both of us found this unique and very good (we both like sour beers). This would be a fantastic alternative to all of the boring wheat summer beers. A very refreshing drink in between our heavier selections.
Bullfrog Blackberry Hefe - 5% American style wheat with blackberries. Aroma was fruity and yeasty. Flavor profile was very clean with a light backing of fruit sweetness. I thought this was a good balance for a fruit beer, which I tend to find too flavored or extract overload. With the other beers on the table, it was hard for this brew to stand out.
Magic Hat Ravell Porter - 5.6% Sweet malty aroma of chocolates and vanilla. Flavor is similar with sweet milk chocolates, caramel and vanilla notes and a moderate/mild hop balance to keep it from being overly sweet on the palate and had a moderate-thin body. One of the better offerings from Magic Hat IMHO and I have no idea why they don't throw it in a mixed case to get it out there.
Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald Porter 5.8% The malt bomb of the table. Thick fuffy cream head. Loads of malt in the flavor, burnt sugar, roasted malts, coffee, nutty and loads of chocolate notes. Very sweet finish with a moderately thick body. Makes a very tasty desert beer.
Russian River Pliny the Elder - 8%, 100 IBUs. Beautiful yellow/amber color with white froth. Fresh hoppy aroma of citrus and spice. Flavor is initially lightly sweet malts then more hop than beers with much higher IBU ratings. Massive hop flavor that nearly overwhelms your senses. Finishes with a spicy pepper note and then clean and relatively dry. Absolutely fantastic IPA that made me smile with each sip.
Thanks for sharing Brewtool, good descriptions. My only request is that you include the location of where it was brewed, if possible. That way, readers can get an idea of what parts of the country they will be likely to find that brew. Also, if you'd like, give the brews a rating out of 20 pts. That way the casual reader can pick out the clear favorites without having to read all of the descriptions if they don't want to.
Keep it going!
the Bird makes a similar suggestion at post #4. If enough of us are interested, we could probably talk Tx into doing it.
This week for me is British styles - milds, ESB's, northern and southern brown ales(BJCP categories 9 and 11).
If anyone has any suggestions of things I should try to pick up, let me know.
See ya tonight, I might chill in the chat room while I imbibe and report (5-7pm central).
Remarks on last weeks tastings: After listening to The Brewing Network show last sunday with John Maier from Rogue (link) and reading up on their website, there was no mention of wood aging in the Dead Guy ale. However, I would swear that the beer has a dry, woody aftertaste. Anyone have any thoughts on where this flavor comes from?
Edit to post #4: the brand of schwarzbier was Mönchshof - good stuff.
Pics now, I'll edit in a report later.
I tried, but English styles are harder to get than I would've thought.
Harviestoun Brewery “Bitter & Twisted” – Brewed in Alva, Clackmannanshire (Britain).
Impressions: Surprisingly light straw color, fine-bubbled white head. Lots of grassy hop aroma in this one. Flavor is clean and very mildly fruity. Bitterness is fairly low, but I can still detect it on the back of the tongue. It’s also slightly spicy at the finish as well. Honestly I’m not a big fan of this one. It kind of tastes like a hoppy, grassy, BMC.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 9/20
Would drink again: nope. If I want hoppy brews there’s plenty of better stuff here in the US.
Samuel Smith’s “Nut Brown Ale”
Brewed in (Tadcaster) N. Yorks, England
Impressions: Deep mahogany in color and crystal clear. Moderate head - creamy and tan in color. Aroma is subtle, but I pick up a bit of nuttiness and also molasses. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Flavor is slightly sweet and fruity, definitely some nutty characteristics as well although it still finishes somewhat dry. The big thing that I get is a powerful brown sugar flavor towards the end of the swallow – followed by an alcohol warmth.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 15/20
Would drink again: yes – only $3.49 for a 550 mL bottle
Capital Brewery "Brown Ale"
Brewed in Madison, WI
This is a beer I’ve had before, but not recently.
It doesn’t have a lot of aroma, very little head as well that dissipates quickly. Color is amber to tan and absolutely clear. Flavor is expectantly malty for a Capital beer, but also crisp and dry in the finish. Maybe some Munich, I also taste some crystal in there as it warms up and loses some fizz. There’s a slight nuttiness when you swish it around and savor a gulp - slightly fruity if you swallow immediately. I’d call this a Northern Eng. Brown, but I really don’t know squat.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 12/20
Would drink again: Probably not. I prefer the sweeter brown ales over drYer ones. Lacks complexity, but it’s better than a Newcastle.
New Glarus "Fat Squirrel"
Brewed in New Glarus, WI
I love this beer. Let me say taht again.. I love this beer. Ruby-tan in color and clear. This beer has a nice malty and nutty aroma. Low bitterness, slightly sweet on the tongue. The beer lives up to it's label as a nutty brown ale - suitable for any fat a$$ squirrel around the neighborhood. Slightly fruity initially, yet yielding a complex malt character in the finish. Words cannot describe it. Come to WI, try a Fat Squrrel from a tap or bottle, fall in love. It's that simple.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 18/20 (fantastic)
Would drink again: Absolutely, daily...hourly if possible
This last one isn't really to English style, but hey, it was getting expensive for all that imported stuff. Besides, it's a personal favorite.
A couple more just to be sure I can't walk straight tonight.
Brewed in Nuremburg, Germany
Impressions: Light, fizzy head that dissipates rapidly, likely due to the high ABV. Very dark, ruby complexion - ~18-20 SRM. Aroma is all fruit and alcohol; reminiscent of plums or perhaps grapes. Flavor is very similar to an Optimator, but perhaps a bit sweeter. Fruity and roasty, highly alcoholic. No hot alcohol flavors though. Not much else to say, but it’s real good.
Newbie connoisseur rating: 16/20
Would drink again: yes, but I can get Optimator on tap locally… so….
One note: why on earth did they put "malt liquor" in small print on the label. It's demeaning - Brings me back to the OE days.
Sweet, sweet, alcoholic, alcoholic. I'm so messed up right now I couldn't tell the difference between an a$$hole and a cheescake. will review this one another friday :drunk:
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