Left Hand Brewing Company has been having fun putting their excellent stouts in bottles with nitrogen carbonation. My last example was reviewed here. I’ve seen very few breweries going the nitro route as it can be difficult and expensive. In most cases, nitrogen carbonated beers are done in a can with a widget, but not Left Hand.
Their normal Milk Stout is one of my favorites. It strikes all of the right balances and really shines as a example of the style. When I saw the nitro version of their Milk Stout, I bought a case, a rarity for me. The beer pours a smooth black. There is very little head what the resulting head is tan in color. The nose is sweet but chocolatly. The major chocolate note that I get is dark chocolate with some hints of milk chocolate. I didn’t get a lot of roast and there was no hop aroma to speak of.
On the first taste I was overwhelmed with how smooth this beer drinks. From start to finish this is a complete beer. A nice caramel and milk chocolate sweetness starts off the beer and then flows into a chocolate and roast explosion. The roast isn’t overly bitter, but it’s there and helps balance the beer. The chocolate is also bitter, the way dark chocolate is, and provides some great flavor. I love the progression of flavor in this beer. It leaves on a slightly sweet note with bits of dark chocolate bitterness hanging on. It’s a complete drink, plain and simple.
I love Left Hand’s regular version of this beer, but the nitro version kicks it up a notice. It has great flavor, balance, and drinkability. For a stout, it’s not overly thick or filling. It sits right in the sweet-spot of beers for me. I highly, highly suggest this beer. Continue reading
As I said last week, New Belgium Brewing Company always has something new on the shelves when I visit the beer store. This go around they had a new beer to me, Spring Blonde. The bottle says that it is a “Belgian Style Ale… Inspired by our anniversary bike trips through Belgium, Spring Blonde is a bright golden ale with a sweet, lemony start, oedaling to a pleasantly bitter finish.” It comes in at 6% ABV.
Spring Blonde, true to it’s labeling, pours a nice golden color. It has a thin white head and it is perfectly clear. The nose is sweet and slightly bready. There isn’t a lot else going on but I would consider the aroma grassy.
On the first taste I got a slight bit of sweetness upfront but there isn’t a ton of malt flavor to be found. After the sweetness fades, a bitterness kicks in and follows through the rest of the beer. I didn’t get much, if any, Belgian yeast notes but more of a lager, sulfur flavor. The bitterness doesn’t sit totally right for me. It seems a bit out of balance with the beer and doesn’t taste like other blondes that I’ve had.
I didn’t really get this beer. It shows promise but it is a bit out of balance in my eyes and it just doesn’t drink nicely. It’s a light beer on the tongue and drinks fairly easily, but it’s not for me. Continue reading
I always try to support local breweries in addition to other craft beer and I came across a new beer from Weyerbacher Brewing Company, a local brewery, and I decided to go for it. They make some outstanding beer and I was excited by the image of hops on the label. This bad boy comes in a 750 ml bottle and drinks at a healthy 7.5% ABV.
Viridis Lupulus pours a muddy orange color and has a medium off-white to light tan head. The beer isn’t clear at all but light does pass though and you can see a thicker-than-normal layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle. The nose is solid hops. They are mostly piney with some good citrus hints. The hops are sticky and super aromatic. The only other thing that escapes the hops is a slight bit of sweetness on the front-end.
On the first taste I got a slight bit of malt sweetness. The malt wasn’t very complex and didn’t leave a lasting impression. The hops roll in quickly after the forgettable malt and start slow and build to a sharp pine bitterness. It’s almost like a wave of hop bitterness. The wave starts with a slight citrus/tropical note and builds quickly to pine and then proceeds to wash out everything else. The climax of the wave is pointed and dominating.
I rather enjoyed this beer. The high carbonation mixed with the bitterness helps wash the beer off the tongue and leaves you wanting more. I would of liked to see a bit more complexity in the malt but the hops are really nice. This beer edges on the strong IPA to weaker double IPA realm of things. Drink this one up if you have the chance. Continue reading
New Belgium Brewing Company is one of the breweries that I can always count on to have something new on the shelves every time I go to the store. On a recent trip I picked up a few bottles of their new wheat beer titled Snapshot. It comes in at 5% and the bottle reads, “Snap! You just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a smile-inducing flash of tart at the finish.” Interesting.
The beer pours a beautiful golden yellow with a thick white head. As this is an unfiltered wheat beer, it’s pretty hazy, but not as hazy as a wheat beer with yeast in it (think Hefeweizen). It has a nice light sweetness to the nose along with your traditional wheat aroma. There is a light lemon citrus smell mixed in there as well. I didn’t get any Belgian yeast odors like clove or pepper. Continue reading
Left Hand Brewing Company has just started to be carried again at my local beer store so I have been trying a whole bunch of their stuff recently. I love their Milk Stout and their Nitro Milk Stout. I saw Wake Up Dead Nitro the other day and I grabbed it quickly. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout that comes in at 10.2% ABV.
Wake Up Dead Nitro pours a jet black color and comes with a thin tan head. The bubbles are super small thanks to the nitrogen carbonation. The nose is pretty blank. I really struggled to get anything from this one. Generally you expect some chocolates and roast and maybe even some hops, but I didn’t even get a hint of caramel off of this one. Weird.
On the first taste I was blown away by the malt flavor. There are lots of dark chocolates and roast going on. Some heat comes into the mix as the drink moves to the halfway portion. I also got some raisins and cherries which added a nice layer of complexity. There are some dark fruits that mix in at the end along with the return of the dark chocolate and the bitterness that it brings.
I very much liked this beer. It has a nice, complex malt and is everything that an Imperial Russian Stout should be. I wish it had a bit more on the nose, but I don’t know if that’s do to the nitro carbonation. If you are looking for a solid stout that has some ( a lot) of strength, this one is for you. Continue reading