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Beer Review #206 Dundee Irish Red Lager

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the Dundee marketing team.

One of the Dundee marketing members contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I wanted some samples of their Irish Red Lager and I obviously said yes. I like free beer, but I love free craft beer. Dundee is a brewery that I am familiar with as I drank their beers quite a bit in college, before their current design, “throwback artsy,” existed. Dundee Brewing Company is located in Rochester, NY, home of a bunch of craft breweries. I was really happy that Dundee sent me this beer as the only beer of theirs that I can get in my area currently is their Honey Brown.

The bottle shows a ram being pained red which is a nod to the German bock. The label also says “malty and mellow,” just an Irish Red should be. The beer pours a light red color and has an abundant white head. As expected this beer is crystal clear. The nose is full of malt with some caramel and bits of biscuit mixed in. The nose is also noticeably sweet and does not have any hop character to speak of.

On my first taste I was surprised at how smooth the malt flows. I guess some advertising doesn’t lie. There is a nice addition of biscuit just as the forward malt flavor is fading. As the biscuit beings to assert itself a very nice, clean hop flavor comes in. The hops are not super strong but they do a nice job of sopping up the malt and really clean the beer out. There is some residual sweetness even with the addition of hops, but it is not an overwhelming sweetness.

To tell you the truth, I really liked this beer. There was nothing flashy about it, but it is an easy drinking beer. Who doesn’t like a beer that goes down easily now and again and bless the people at Dundee, they sent me three bottles so that the beer could go down easily three times. I’m usually not a fan of beers that stay sweet at the end, but this beer had a nice sweetness that, as the bottle describes it, was mellow. I haven’t had many Dundee products in a long time, but this beer will have me looking in their direction again. (more…)

Beer Review #199 Vinyl Lager

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The first beer that I opened from my spring samples of Magic Hat Brewing Company beers was Vinyl Lager. This lager comes in at a respectable 5.1% ABV. According to Magic Hat’s website this beer is classified as an amber lager. I would also suggest that you check out the page previously linked for the weird intro video for the beer. I don’t think that I have ever seen a intro video for a beer before, but the weirdness works.

Vinyl Lager pours a nice amber color with a thin, off-white head. It is crystal clear as expected from a lager. The nose has lots of nice caramels with a touch of sweetness. There is some nice bready flavors in there as well. I didn’t get any hops, but there was a slight fruity spiciness that I can only assume came from the hops in the beer.

On my first tasting I was surprised at how clean this beer tasted. There are plenty of caramels and some slight toffee but the sweetness is controlled. Once the sweetness fades a bit there are some really nice bread/biscuit flavors that come in. Just as you start really enjoying the bread/biscuit the hops come in and help dry the beer out. This is not a hoppy beer by any means, but the hops do assert themselves in a positive way.

I really liked how clean tasting this beer was. Each component had its time to shine and then was cut by a new flavor. When I first smelled this beer I felt like it was going to be a sweet, malty lager. What I got was a balanced beer that was not overly sweet. I can see myself enjoying this beer during a spring sunset when the cold air is pushing the warmer air out for the night. While there is nothing super special about this brew, it is solid and drinkable. (more…)

Beer Review #189 Revel Red Hoppy Ale

I love Stoudt’s Brewing Company of Adamstown, PA. They do an outstanding job of producing quality beers and I was lucky enough to have them within a half hour of my college. One of their beers was even on of my favorite beers of the year. When I saw a new beer of theirs on the store shelves I knew that I had to buy it. For some reasons stores know that if they put a new beer in the front of the store, I am going to get it. Darn marketing. Anyway Revel Red has a brightly colored label with the “V” being made out of bottle caps. Neat.

Revel Red pours a nice amber, dare I say, red color. It is perfectly clear and has a wispy white head. The nose has a slight hop kick to it with citrus and lemon being the two major components. I didn’t get any malt and I didn’t really find anything else. This beer just isn’t nosy.

Luckily the taste offered much more than the nose did. There was a slightly biscuit flavor on the front which was followed by a solid kick of hops. A nice tingle on the front of the tongue could be found in each sip. The hops started as a nice grapefruit and then a touch of pine was quickly added. While the kick of hops was solid, it wasn’t as strong as I was expecting. The hops leave easily and do not sit on the tongue very long.

This is a pretty good beer in my book but I didn’t find it to be anything special. If you are going to put “hoppy ale” in the name of the beer, that’s what I expect. Instead, I got a beer that left me down in the malt and hop departments. It’s worth a try, but I think this one needs to be refined a bit more. (more…)

Beer Review #186 90 Minute IPA

I have reviewed a lot of Dogfish Head beer on this is in recent month, but give a guy a break, I live in Delaware. I would be remiss if I didn’t support the First State’s first craft brewery. DFH makes some really great beers and they also make some beers that are just not my style, but you can never deny that they aren’t afraid to try anything (even if it is just for marketing purposes). 90 Minute IPA is the middle child of their famed IPA series, 60 Minute and 120 Minute being the other “young and older” beers respectively. DFH also makes a 75 Minute IPA but it is only released on draft and can be a bitch to find.

This IPA comes in at 9% ABV and is continually hopped from 90 minutes during the boil. It pours a nice orange-amber color and is crystal clear. The head is a soapy white with a good mix of bubble sizes. The nose has a nice hop odor to with with lots of floral and citrus notes. There is some slight sweetness mixed in behind the hops.

On my first taste I was surprised at the malt behind this beer. There is a solid malt backbone and some biscuit notes are there to add some nice depth of flavor. Before the malt really has a chance to settle in the hops come in and really give a good kick. The hops are in flavor what they were in smell, floral and citrus. I also got some grapefruit in there as well. The robust hops really dry out the beer well and help lead to a crisp ending.

I really dig this one. Of the “big three” this is my favorite. I found it to be nicely in balance and it had a really nice selection of flavors. For an  Imperial IPA this one is fantastic. If you haven’t had this one before, go get it! (more…)

Beer Review #183 Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale

Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA has been producing a special series of beers called “Ales of the Revolution” for some time now. Not too long ago I reviewed one of the other beers in the series, George Washington Tavern Porter. Aside from our founding fathers having an apparent fondness for taverns, this Yards series of beers have been very rewarding. Today’s beer was “crafted following Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe.” I’m a slight history nerd and I really dig American history stuff. It might be because it is short, but action packed, or because I just prefer our history to a never-ending list of Kings and Queens, regardless,  when I see historically based beers, I tend to pay attention.

Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale pours a nice clear orange color with a thin bit of off-white head. The nose is fully of biscuit malt along with a lot of rustic grainy odors. There are some dried fruits in there from the yeast esters as well. The nose alone on this beer gave me the feeling of something older. It had a rough elegance to it. The malts come in, hit with some earthy qualities and then part with some esters.

Upon the first taste I got a bit of malt upfront, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. Piney hops then kick in a bit stronger than I expected and clear the malt from the tongue. The beer finishes up pretty dry with hints of dried fruits accompanying the departing beer. There is a lot of subtle flavors going on in this beer that I very much enjoyed. This one comes in at 8%, but you wouldn’t know it by the flavor.

I really liked this one. As a semi-history nerd and a “red blooded American” I really appreciated this beer. One thing that I forgot to mention above was that some of the ingredients of their beer were grown on Thomas Jefferson’s Virgina estate. Cool. Try this one out if you have the chance, I don’t think you will be disappointed, especially if you have a taste for English ales. (more…)