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Beer Review #191 Alpine Spring

Whenever I want to buy a case of beer on the cheap I generally turn to a variety pack from Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company). Recently I picked up their new variety pack which had three new beers in it, Alpine Spring being one of them. According to the bottle Alpine Spring is, “a bright citrusy unfiltered lager.” I’m assuming that this is the new Spring Seasonal from Sam Adams as you can also buy single cases of this beer.

Alpine Spring pours a light orange color and has a fluffy white head. The unfiltered part is immediately visible as this beer is hazy. You can see though it around the edges of the glass, but you cannot make out anything in the middle of the beer. The nose is full of citrus odors. They are not as bright as an IPA for instance, but they are very pleasant. I also noticed some slight sulfur mixed in which is very common in lagers.

This beer begins with a nice citrus hop on the front end. Usually you flow from malt to hops, but I got hop right away on this one. After the hops faded out of the picture a lot of really nice bready notes came into the scene. Some slight honey mixed in there as well. All of the flavors mixed well .

This is a very drinkable beer. The citrus addition to a lager is an interesting one. My wife loves this beer but I’m not entirely sold on it. I think it is a good beer, but the citrus lager mix just sit totally right with me. The malt component to this beer is great. I would love to try this beer with a traditional German hop and see if it agrees with me more. (more…)

Beer Review #174 The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock

This will be the last beer review of 2011 on Brewery Reviewery. I still have a bunch of winter beers to get though during the weeks ahead, but I will get to them next year. I saw this beer while I was at the beer store last week and picked it up. My father-in-law also got me a bottle for Christmas. The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock is brewed by Boston Beer Company, aka Sam Adams, of Boston Massachusetts. This bock is part of their series of one-off production beers, meaning that this beer is brewed only once and is never rebrewed again. I have a feeling that a very successful beer in this series would be produced again (I’m looking at you Victory Dark Intrigue). To my knowledge Sam has three other beers in this series currently.

The Vixen pours a nice black color and has an accompanying tan head. I have no idea on the clarity of this beer as its darkness blocks out any light (or is it that it absorbs all of the light, science!) The nose is fully of chocolate with some sweetness in there as well. I didn’t get an chili odor and I looked all over for it. The bottle says “ale brewed with cinnamon and with spices and cocoa nibs added.” I didn’t find anything other than the cocoa on the nose.

The taste is full of chocolate as well. And when I say chocolate, I mean lots of chocolate, like a bigger version of their Chocolate Bock. Again, I wasn’t able to get any chili flavor. I tried this beer cold and at room temperature and there was no chili to be found. There was a slightly strange ending on this beer, but not a flavor that I would attribute to chilies or the other spices mentioned. The only thing I found other than chocolate was some heat as it warmed.

This beer comes in at 8.5% and comes in a “stylized” bomber (22 oz). The Vixen is a very smooth, fully flavored chocolate beer, but it is not chili beer. If you are scared off by the chilies, don’t be fearful of this beer. You will not find any chilies, but just some rich chocolatey goodness. (more…)

Beer Review #159 Sam Adams Black and Brew Coffee Stout

I have kind of been climbing the ladder in terms of darkness on this year’s Sam Adams Variety Pack. As the last beer of the pack this is the one that I was looking forward to the most. I have never had a coffee beer from the Boston Beer Company, where I have had other examples from Sam on the previous styles of beer. I suppose the last coffee beer that I had was Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Coffee is such a good ingredient in a porter or stout which is part of the reason I was looking so forward to this beer.

As I’m sure it is no surprise, this beer pours a black color with a tan head. The nose is full of rich coffee flavor with some chocolate tones. I didn’t get any hint of hops or anything other than coffee and chocolate. I think that coffee is one of those odors that covers up everything else in it’s presence. I’m not a coffee drinker, I believe that I have had only one cup in my life, but I love it in beer. Weird.

On my first taste I was happy with the amount of coffee delivered to my taste buds. It was solid, but not overpowering. The chocolate mixes in with the coffee in a very nice way. There is a smooth transition between flavors that I found very enjoyable. Unlike a lot of coffee beers which can give the bitter harshness of normal coffee, this beer was in no way bitter.

I really liked this one, it is certainly another solid beer from Sam Adams. The only thing that kind of bugs me (beer nerd alert) about Sam Adams beers is the vague description on the main logo. This one said “ale with coffee added.” No kidding, coffee in a coffee stout! I know that the neck label gives a lot more detail, but I would like to see a bit more imagination on their end for the main logo. Regardless of the label, this one is a solid coffee beer. (more…)

Beer Review #158 Sam Adams Chocolate Bock

The second beer that I had from the Sam Adams Variety pack this year was their Chocolate Bock. I had this beer when it came in a nice 750 ml bottle and had a metal logo glued to it. I remember liking it, but it has been a long time since I had it, and the review of the old Chocolate Bock never made it onto the site. So what better time to review Boston Beer Company’s “new” beer.

Chocolate Bock pours a nice dark brown color, not back, and has a tan head. The head was a few shades darker than the Holiday Porter’s head. The nose was fun of dark chocolate notes (shocker). I found it a bit ashy as well. After a few whiffs I decided that it smelled like Coco Puffs. A little weird, yes, but who doesn’t like Coco Puffs?

Sam describes this beers as an “ale with cocoa and natural flavors.” I have no idea what natural flavors they are talking about but this beer comes out with lots of nice chocolate tones. What I really liked was that there were many layers to the chocolate. There were periods where it seemed like a milk chocolate and others when it went to the more bitter end of the chocolate arena. I found it to taste a bit like a hoppy, cold hot chocolate. Another thing to note with this beer is how smooth it is. The chocolate flows in and flows out while hitting a number of different chocolate chords.

I don’t remember the chocolate offering so much to this beer before but I quite enjoyed it. Everything was very smooth and balanced. The flavors are bold, but they don’t scream at you. Another solid beer from Sam Adams that I would consider approachable to seasoned beer freaks and new comers. (more…)

Beer Review #157 Sam Adams Holiday Porter

Another day, another beer from Boston Beer Company. I recently purchased Sam Adam’s Winter Seasonal pack and in addition to the normal Boston Lager and Winter Lager they had a few other fun seasonal beers. I reviewed their Old Fezziweg early last year, but I haven’t had a chance to partake in their other winter beers. I will spend the remainder of the week taking a look at the other three beers in the variety pack.

Today’s beer is Boston Beer’s Holiday Porter. A porter is a perfect beer for this time of year. They generally are not heavy, but provide some solid malt and roasty character that can warm you up on a cold night. The beer pours a deep ruby color and has a light tan head. The nose is packed with smell. I found lots of caramel and toffee, which was then followed by some coffee notes. There are some slight noble hops in there as well. Finally I found some slight chocolate notes that were really nice.

Just as the nose promised, this beer is complex and deep. There is a lot of rich caramel with some solid chocolate. There is a nice interaction between the hops and malt where the malt leads in, is cut a bit by the hops, but still is a big player. As soon as you think that this beer isn’t going to have a hop kick to balance it out, the dry finish comes in and takes care of any sweetness.

I really liked this one. I am generally not super impressed with porters, but I enjoyed this one greatly. I would love to have this on a blustery November night while sitting with a good book. For such a complex beer, this one also comes off as being simple. It really opens up on each sip. (more…)