Oktoberfest officially ends on Monday, but here in the states it seems like we take the name to heart. In the past week or so I have seen more Oktoberfest beers hit the shelves than when the festival officially started. My first Oktoberfest beer review of the year comes from Erdinger Weissbrau of, appropriately enough, Germany!
This one was a bit of a surprise coming out of the glass. You generally expect an amber colored beer with a slightly off-white head, but Erdiger Oktoberfest pours an “orange” straw color. It had a slight haze to it and a really, really fluffy head if you couldn’t tell from the pictures. The nose was exceptionally grainy. It is nice and malty, with the sweetness that you would expect from a German lager.
The beer tastes pretty close to what the nose promises. The malt is grainy and raw tasting. There is a slight fruit presence, almost estery. There were no hops in the nose, but there are some hops on the end. They really help to balance out this beer.
This beer is not what comes to mind when you hear Oktoberfest, but it is damn tasty. There is a nice balance and the unexpected fruity flavors in the background really added a lot to the beer. It comes in at 5.7% so bottoms up!
I have reviewed a number of New Belgium Brewing Company beers in the past, but that was when I lived in Texas and had access to their brews. Since I moved back east, I haven’t been able to purchase any of their beers as they do not distribute to the four states I have access to (PA, DE, NJ, and MD). This month marks a change in my ability to get New Belgium beer as New Belgium is now distributing to Maryland. New Belgium Brewing Company is one of the largest craft breweries around and they really have a focus on green everything. They currently have their brewery located in Fort Collins, CO. There are some rumors that they will be opening a new, second brewery on the east coast in order to reduce shipping and the like. Asheville, NC seems to be the area they are targeting.
They are offering a few of their normal beers in 22 oz bottles for awhile while they test out the new market, but they also decided to ship three of their beers from their “Lips of Faith” series of beers. Today’s review, Kick, happens to be one of them. Kick comes in at 8.5% ABV and the bottle says that it is, “75% ale brewed with pumpkin and cranberry juice” and “25% ale aged in wooden barrels.” I’m not sure if I ever had a beer with cranberry juice in it before. Sweet.
Kick pours a flat orange with a slight haze and a white head. The nose is very sour, thanks to the cranberry juice I’m sure. There is some sweetness but the sourness really cuts it out of there. On my first taste I didn’t get any pumpkin in the flavor profile. There are lots of sour notes but not much pumpkin. There are some slight spices as the beer warms, but they really sit on the back-end of the beer after the sourness drops off of the tongue.
I really liked this beer. I have been on a sour beer kick for awhile and this one just helps add to my new love of the style. If you have New Belgium beer available in your area I suggest you try this one out. Continue reading
I mentioned that I went to the beer store looking for pumpkin ales and that I found one from Clipper City Brewing Company. What I didn’t mention is that I actually bought two pumpkin ales from Clipper City Brewing Company. The Great Pumpkin is another imperial pumpkin ale, but this time it is aged in bourbon barrels. They also kicked it up a percentage point, to 9% ABV, just for fun. I’d never had pumpkins and bourbon before, so this was an interesting experience.
The Greater Pumpkin pours a nice orange color. It is not as burnt looking as its predecessor. The white head and clear beer as still there though. The nose is a mix of bourbon and bourbon. Seriously this thing smells boozy and wonderful. There isn’t much else but as it warms there is some slight oak notes that appear in the nose.
On the taste I found that the spices present in the last beer were toned way down in this one. Either that or they were covered up by some other flavors. The bourbon is strongly in there and mixes nicely with the pumpkin flavors. There is a fair amount of heat in there as well and some vanilla. It is a weird combination of flavors but somehow it works out nicely.
For a beer labeled “The Greater Pumpkin,” I actually liked the previous beer more. This one doesn’t have enough pumpkin and has too much bourbon. The heat is more noticeable than the last beer as well. Don’t get me wrong, this is still an enjoyable beer, but it is not one that you can drink a lot of. Again, grab it while you can as I don’t think these will be sticking around too long. Continue reading
I’ve made it no secret that I really enjoy the vast majority of Clipper City Brewing Company beers. I probably had about a dozen or so of their styles, but this is only the fourth review of theirs to make it on this site. I only live an hour or so from Baltimore (right down 95) so I feel like I have some allegiance to this brewery. For better or worse, I try my best to review things fairy without bias.
I was at the local beer store this past weekend, with the intention of loading up on pumpkin, fall, and Oktoberfest beers. One of the first ones I saw was this beer, The Great Pumpkin. How could I not buy a beer named “The Great Pumpkin?” The cartoon for which this beer is named is one of my favorites. I college my philosophy professor even had us do a study into The Great Pumpkin. I can’t remember the reason for the study, but I do remember liking it. I digress.
The Great Pumpkin pours a nice burnt orange color with a thin white head. This beer is also crystal clear. This baby rocks in at 8% and the label reads it as an imperial pumpkin ale. I guess this goes along with Clipper City’s Heavy Seas line of big beers. The label also says, “beer brewed with pumpkin and spices.”
The nose on this imperial ale smells very much like a pumpkin pie. The spices are distant, but present. There is some sweetness there as well. I didn’t get any pumpkin meat like what you can find in some pumpkin beers. I also didn’t notice any heat in this imperial offering. On the first taste those distant spices come rushing up and kick you in the face. They are a bit strong, but not totally overwhelming. There is a nice pumpkin pie finish to the beer along with some heat.
This one is a slightly different pumpkin ale than what you normally see. There are not a lot of imperial pumpkin ales out there right now and this one does a pretty good job at helping to define the “style.” It is a drinkable beer but the spices are a bit heavy handed in my eyes. Grab it while you can and be careful, these babies only come in 22 oz bottles. Continue reading
I have yet another beer to share from Wolaver’s Organic Brewing, errr, Otter Creek Brewing. This one comes in the form of pumpkin ale, since it is now pumpkin beer season. I always go through a love/hate relationship with pumpkin beers around this time of year. I think part of the reason for this is that, frankly, there are not a lot of great pumpkin ales on the market. A lot of them are just normal ales with pumpkin pie spice added, that or the balance that needs to exist in this style of beer just doesn’t happen. I think it is a rare thing to find an outstanding pumpkin ale, but very easy to find one that is alright.
With my rant (was that really a rant?) complete, let’s see how Otter Creek Brewing of Middlebury, Vermont handles their pumpkin ale. They brew this beer with pumpkins from Vermont. The beer pours a nice orange color with a white head and a crystal clear body. The nose smells like a pumpkin ale. I got clove, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon on the spice end with some actual pumpkin meat in there as well. I’m always a fan of a pumpkin ale when it is more than just spices.
The taste is lacking in any malt character. The pumpkin pie spices are there, but they are not overpowering. I didn’t get any of the pumpkin meat either. I found the taste pretty underwhelming compared to the nose. This is a pretty decent pumpkin ale, but again, nothing really stands out. It does what it says but doesn’t have the wow factor that I had hoped for. It’s good if you are looking for a straightforward pumpkin beer but for me, it didn’t do anything to separate itself from the crowded shelves of other pumpkin ales. Continue reading