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Beer Review #128 Red Sky at Night

It wasn’t long ago that I reviewed Clipper City Brewing Company’s Heavy Seas Summer Ale.I quite enjoyed the beer and found it to be a nice beer to drink when the temperature is pushing 90 degrees. I have another beer from Clipper City Brewing Company today. This Baltimore, MD brewing company seems to have something new on the shelves every time I go to the beer store. Today’s ale is a Saison Ale style of beer and comes in at a respectable 7.5% ABV.

I’m assuming the name for this beer comes from old saying, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” This beer doesn’t exactly pour red, but rather a rich orange color. It is slightly hazy and has a nice, fluffy white head. The nose is pretty straight forward for a Saison. There are your typical Belgian spices along with some raw yeast aromas. There is some nice sweetness mixed in there as well. I thought that the nose was slightly grassy as well.

Upfront this beer offers a nice amount of sweetness.  The malty sweetness almost reminded me of a hard candy-like sweetness. I’m not sure if they used any Belgian candy sugar in this beer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The sweetness then gives way to a spicy note that cuts through and dries the sweetness wonderfully. While this Saison is a bit high in ABVs compared to a “typical beer,” I found it surprisingly balanced. It was light in flavor but each component complimented the others.

I really enjoyed this beer. It was very subtle in most respects and shows a great deal of restraint by the brewers. It is really refreshing and I would be happy drinking this beer at anytime of the year. (more…)

Beer Review #120 Heavy Seas Summer Ale

I have only reviewed one previous beer from Clipper City Brewing Company out of Baltimore, MD, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I live about an hour away from the brewery and I have had many of their beers that have not been reviewed on this site yet. One of my favorites is Loose Cannon which I think is an outstanding beer. Clipper City has a bit on an identity problem in my book since they label everything “Heavy Seas” but the fine print shows Clipper City. Even the major beer review sites are not sure what to call them.

From my understanding, Heavy Seas was originally supposed to be a line of their beers that were “big beers.” They were high in ABV, malt, and IBUs, but it seems that all of their beer are now labeled Heavy Seas. This includes their Summer Ale which is not particularity strong in any category. It comes in at a tiny 4.3% ABV.

This summer offering pours a nice golden color and is perfectly clear. There is a nice two finger white head to go along with the rest of the beer. The nose is pretty complex for such a simple looking beer. I didn’t get any hop notes, but there was a lot going on in the malt department. There was first a honey-like sweetness which is then followed by a grainy odor. Everything was very clean and pleasant smelling.

On the first taste I really liked how drinkable this beer was. It wasn’t strong in any particular area, but the whole beer was well balanced and perfectly suited for the summertime. As the nose hinted, there is a good light sweetness to the malt. A slight hop balance kicks in and cuts the sweetness. Once the two main components fade away you are left with a nice biscuit aftertaste. As I said before, this beer is wonderfully drinkable. I have enjoyed more than a few on this 90+ days here on the east coast. (more…)