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Beer Review #84 Santa’s Private Reserve

I really like Rouge Ales and their beers. I visited them when I was in Portland, Oregon and I had a great time. I was also treated to a wonderful variety of quality beers. Santa’s Private Reserve is a beer that I’ve been wanting to try for awhile but I’ve only ever seen it in Lubbock, and I saw it there in July. Something told me not to get it because it was sitting in the fridge for a bit too long.

When I happened upon it at my new favorite beer store, I grabbed it up. This ale is an American amber style beer. Which means that it should be a bit malty and have a nice finish. Because it was brewed by Rouge and Rouge is based in the west coast, hops are going to be stronger than an east coast American amber. Redish, amber is the color that the beer pours, which fits in well with style. It is crystal clear and has a light, slightly off-white head that sits on top of the tasty treat.

The nose has lots of floral hops. I really couldn’t get much else other than hops. That’s not always a bad thing, because these hops smelled very nice. On the first taste I got some lightly roasted malt followed by some piney, spicy hops. The hopss very not harsh at all, but very smooth and balanced. I found this beer to be very enjoyable. The malt flows right into the hops and then the aftertaste. I love it when beers have their components flow right into each other. Rouge did a great job with this beer and I would love to have some more again very soon. (more…)

Beer Review #55 Full Sail Pale Ale

When my wife and I look our honeymoon to Portland, Oregon we had our first taste of Full Sail beers. Since living in Texas, I have gotten to taste them more regularly since they distribute here. Full Sail Brewing Company is based out of Hood River, Oregon and is completely employee-owned by 47 employees. Full Sail Amber is one of my favorite amber beers, in fact I think it may be the most classic example of an American Amber Ale out there. These guys don’t mess around when it comes to making quality beer.

Full Sail Pale Ale pours a bright amber color with a nice white head that lasts all the way through. As you expect from a pale ale it is perfectly clear. The nose has some nice hoppy aromas with bits of sweetness from the malt and also a few bready smells as well. Very clean and nice to say the least.

On the taste of the beer you will get the malt sweetness up front, with come bread/caramel, then followed by the hops. The hops are very crisp and leave easily and without any fuss. Some of the bread flavors hang around long after the hops are gone, which I really enjoyed. Unlike some Pale Ales that try to be something special, this one seems to take a straightforward approach and succeeds very well. The whole KISS principle worked very nicely here. The balance was perfect and the taste is everything a pale ale should be. Unlike an IPA where the hops leads the way (but should still be balanced) a pale ale can be slightly hop forward or slightly malt forward. This one leads a bit towards the hop end, but the balance is right there.

This brew is medium bodied and is slightly creamy. In terms of drinkability it is spot on. A wonderfully drinkable beer great for any time of the year. As I said before nothing on this beer jumps out at you and says this is something “wild and crazy” but it is a great example of a wonderfully brewed pale ale. I highly recommend it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. (more…)