Skip to main content

Beer Review #152 Penn Brewery Oktoberfest

I have finally reached my last Oktoberfest of the year to review. This will be my 10th Oktoberfest of the year. Not too shabby considering that I don’t review repeats. My last Oktoberfest of the year comes from Pittsburgh, PA from the aptly named Penn Brewery, also know as the Pennsylvania Brewing Company. Whatever the name, they have gone through some big changes in recent years, including opening, closing, outsourcing, and opening again. Whew.

Penn’s Oktoberfest pours a nice copper color (like an Oktoberfest should) and has a white head. The nose is fully of toasty maltyness. There is some background lager sulfur, but overall this one smelled pretty good. The nose only gave a hint of the malt that lays inside of this beer. There is some slight caramel up front, which is quickly followed by a toasted honey malt flavor. It was a really nice transition and something that I haven’t had before. There is no hop kick in this one, and the sweetness from the malt is allowed to sit a little to long for my liking. There is some since biscuit on the aftertaste which helped the beer in my book.

This isn’t one of my favorite Oktoberfest beers but it is pretty solid. The lack of hops really shifted the balance of this beer. It is just a little too sweet for my liking. If there were some additional hops added to this beer it would really be a winner. (more…)

Beer Review #151 Old Dominion Octoberfest

I’ve had a few Old Dominion Brewing Company beers since I moved to Delaware a year and a half ago. Most recently I had some of their beers when I was at the Good Beer Festival. Old Dominion is brewed about an hour’s drive down Route 1 from my house in Dover, De. I still haven’t gotten a chance to take a tour of their brewery, but I have a few free weekends coming up where a tour would fit in nicely.

The first thing that caught my eye about this Oktoberfest is that it isn’t spelled in the traditional way. See that “C” in there instead of the “K?” That’s not normal, in fact, I’ve never seen it on another Oktoberfest style beer. Old Dominion’s take on a Oktoberfest pours a nice copper color and it is crystal clear. The head is has a light tan hue to it, which was a bit darker than I expected. As a general rule of thumb on Oktoberfest beers I expect the head to be white the lighter the color. This one’s head was darker than most that are a similar color.

The nose is pretty straightforward with some slight malt and hoppy background. The hops were not like others, these hops were spicy and complimented the malt odor, not overpower it. The taste was more complex than the nose let on. The normal malt flavors lead into some very distinct caramel tones. The hops then come in and balance out the sweetness, but don’t take all of the sweetness away. The beer finishes with a nice biscuit dryness. I was surprised to find a little heat in this one as well.

I really enjoyed this one. For a beer that didn’t promise a lot based on the nose, it really delivered on flavor. Of note on the bottle, eight German malts and four hop varieties were used in the making of this beer. I guess that’s were the complexity came from. Good work Old Dominion, this beer will be on my repurchase list for next year. (more…)

Beer Review #132 Victory Summer Love

I’ve reviewed a fair number of Victory Brewing Company beer on this website. Part of the reason for this is that it is one of my “home” breweries. In college I lived 45 minutes away from Downingtown, PA, home of Victory. By the grace of God I was able to get their beers in Texas and now that I live in Delaware, the brewery is only an hour away. I was at their brewery two weeks ago and saw Summer Love on the tap menu. I never heard of it so I grabbed a six pack on my way out. Apparently this beer had previously been released a few years ago, but they recently had a re-release party.

Summer Love is styled as an American Blond Ale or Golden Ale. It pours a surprising </sarcasm> golden color with a wispy white head. The beer is perfectly clear as well. The nose is pretty intense for the style. By that I mean that it is super hoppy. I find a lot of Victory’s beers tend to be on the hoppy side of the style, but this one is really hoppy smelling. There is a lot of citrus/grapefruit hops going on. A light touch of biscuit can also be found, but the hops really dominate the flavor profile.

As much as the hops smell like they will overpower this drink, they don’t in the flavor arena. The hops are strong, but balanced enough with the malt to make this beer very drinkable. I found a nice honey-like sweetness mixed with some bready flavors in the front end of this beer, followed by a solid hop punch. The hops linger around a bit longer than I wanted on my tongue, but I think that is more do to personal preference.

Victory Summer Love comes in at a 5.2% ABV rating. It is nice and refreshing as any summer beer should be. I like that it doesn’t follow the typical orange Belgian flavor profile that is so prevalent in summer beers. I love the artwork on the label of this beer. It is slightly nostalgic in the way it is presented, but also shows a slew of summertime activities; camping, fishing, baseball, fireworks, etc. I feel like they also did some things just for the local area on the artwork. The Liberty Bell is on there along with some baseball themes. Obviously the Phillies have been a summertime tradition in Philadelphia and that trend is only growing. Philadelphia’s City Hall is on the back label as well. As a homegrown Philadelphian, I appreciate a brewery that acknowledges that locals. There is still a month left of summer, so try this on out while you can. (more…)

Beer Review #127 Flashpoint Pale Ale

When I first got into craft beer, one of the first breweries that I tasted things from was Hook and Ladder Brewing Company out of Silver Spring, MD.I was a bit confused when finding the location of this brewery, as their bottles says Wilks Barre, Pa, but their website and most other internet resources says the Silver Springs location. I’m assuming they contract brew with the Lion Brewing Company and that would account for the labeling on the bottle.

I’ve always liked the idea of craft beer “helping the greater good.” Hook and Ladder donates a portion of their profits to local fire departments. Since 2005 they have raised over $60,000. I would love to do something similar with my future brewpub, but I have a different group that I would want to donate to. But that’s a story for another time.

Flashpoint Pale Ale (great name) pours a nice amber color and has a thin, light tan head. It it perfectly clear and it looks very nice. A tad dark compared to most pale ales, but a good looking beer none the less. The nose is super malty with some strong smells of dark caramel. There is a slight citrus smell that is produced from the hops in the beer.

The nose promised malt, and the taste carries through on that promise. I got a lot of strong caramels, almost too strong. There was some slight citrus from the hops and also some slight biscuit. To go along with the hops and malt, the yeast gives a few dry fruity esters which is a nice addition to the beer.

I’m not sure how well this fits into a typical pale ale in terms of style. It was much more malt forward than what I would have expected. The flavors did mix very nicely and there was a good amount of complexity thanks to the strong malts and slight fruit. This probably isn’t an award winner, but it is nice to have a pale ale that isn’t all about the hops. (more…)

Beer Review #123 Blues’ Golden Ale

This beer was a bit of a surprise when I first saw it on the shelves of the local beer store. The main reason for this was the fact that it was in aluminum bottles, 22 oz. aluminum bottles. I’ve seen plenty of breweries using cans as their container, but the only place I’ve seen the aluminum bottles is at a baseball game. I was intrigued, so I had to purchase their beer (I actually got a bottle of each of their three brews).

Blues’ Golden Ale is brewed by 16 Mile Brewing Company of Georgetown, DE. This beer pours a beautiful golden color and it is perfectly clear. It also has a two finger white head. One of the nice things about a 22 oz. bottle is that you can’t get all of it into a single pint glass, so you have a little nightcap in every bottle. The nose was pretty nice for a beer that looks like a more vibrant American Lager. There is a nice honey-like sweetness with a strong biscuit aroma mixed in. In addition to the malt odors, there is a really nice fruity aroma that ties everything together nicely.

The taste is light and crisp. The honey that is offered in the nose comes through in the taste and the bread/biscuit really gets kicked up a few notches. There is a light fruity flavor much like that in a lowly hopped Pale Ale.

I didn’t find this beer aggressive in any respect, but that’s not a bad thing. Blues’ Golden Ale is a enjoyable beer that is easy drinking but flavorful. I would highly suggest this beer for anyone on a warm day, and to a newcomer to craft beer. (more…)