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Beer Review #248 Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale

I previously posted about Boulevard Brewing Company’s Smokestack Series coming to my local beer store. I’ve enjoyed most of their beers but until I had a Smokestack Series beer, I wouldn’t have gone back to them for much. That all changed when I had a chance to try some of their “special” beers. Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale comes in at a wonderful 10.5% ABV and I hoped that it would fill my need to find a quality go-to quad.

This Belgian inspired beer pours a nice caramel brown with hints of orange coming through when held up to the light. The off-white head quickly dissolves back into the beer as expected of a beer with this amount of alcohol. The first thing I got off of the nose is heat. There is some light caramels in there along with a slight Belgian spice with fruit and melon. I was expected a bit more out of the nose but I also poured this one colder than it should have been, so some of the odors might have been masked.

The taste is really nice on this one. Smooth and dangerously drinkable. There is a fair amount of heat, but if you can get around it the Belgian spices sing and are wonderfully balanced. There is a lot of complexity to this beer. I went on a progression of heat and raisin to bready, yeasty notes.

I enjoyed this one a good bit. I’m not sure if I can call it a go-to quad, but it is pretty close. The flavor progression is very nice but the beer needs to be a little warmer for you to get the full offering of flavors. The balance was dead on. I can see myself getting this one again.

Beer Review #236 Amber 25

I’ve been a big fan of Stoudts Brewing Company for as long as I have been drinking craft beer. Stoudts was my local regional brewery in college and I have talked with the owner Ed Stoudt a few times. He’s a beer loving man who knows what he has, and doesn’t want to grow past the regional size. Stoudts Amber 25 is their 25th Anniversary Amber Ale. Yeah, they have been around that long. It’s funny to think that in the craft beer world, 10 years is a long time, let alone 25 years. There are only a few other industries that have such a short lifespan up to this point.

Amber 25 pours a nice amber color with a thin white head. This beer is perfectly clear. In my opinion, amber beers are my favorite type of beer to have be clear because as light pass through the clear liquid, it picks up a richness. The nose is packed with malty flavors. There are lots of great toasty and bready flavors in there, all of which I loved.

This ale starts with a nice malt flavor that features a few different degrees of caramel (no toffee). It then fades into some bready background flavors and exits. I didn’t notice any hop flavor to make note of. As the fall really starts to set in the flavor combination of strong malts really is a perfect fit. I can imagine sitting down on my deck outside as the sun is setting and the first cool breeze of the night sets in and sipping on this listening to some music.

This is a very nice beer. It doesn’t stand out if any particular way, but it is solid and drinkable. Congrats to Stoudts for being open for 25 years and here’s to another 25. (more…)

Beer Review #235 Somersault

It has been over six months since I last had a beer from New Belgium Brewing Company. For the most part, they haven’t had a lot of new beer in my neck of the woods. Sure they have the occasional Lips of Faith beers, but they are super expensive compared to other similar styles so I usually don’t pick them up. Although I will pick up as many bottles of Kick as I can find if I see it around, no matter the price. Somersault was a beer that I wasn’t planning on getting but I need something to complete my mix and match six pack.

Somersault is a golden ale style beer that comes in at 5.2% ABV. It pours a clear golden color with just a hint of orange. The head is thin and white and fades away pretty quickly. The nose is pretty bready with a hint of fruitiness. There really wasn’t much going on in the nose, but what I did get I enjoyed.

On my first taste I was surprised to find how light the malt tasted while still being sweet. Usually a really light malt character results in a malt lacking in actual flavor, but this one was sweet. There was a slight fruit flavor which could have come from the yeast or possibly the hops. To keep on the mindset of hops, this beer has none. I didn’t get any real bitterness or traditional hop flavor out of this one. I don’t know if I had an old bottle or if it just didn’t ever exist.

This beer isn’t bad but it is nothing to write home about. It is neutral enough for new craft beer drinkers to enjoy but it will leave most craft beer drinkers wanting. On a hot day this beer would probably be nice, but I don’t think I’ll be grabbing this one to complete a six pack again. (more…)

Beer Review #233 Summer Session Ale

The summer is quickly coming to a close, like in two days, but I wanted to squeeze one more summer beer review in before summer officially ends. I’ve been actively trying not to purchase seasonal beers to get a better selection of more widely available beers, but when I see a local brewery like Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD, I have to give it a try. Evo as they refer to themselves was originally located in Delmar, DE, but moved a few miles down the road to a much larger facility this year. My wife’s family lives just outside of Salisbury, so I’m a regular customer of Evo when visiting.

Summer Session Ale pours a nice golden orange color with a slight haze. There is a medium foam head sitting on top that slowly fades into a whisper of its former self. The beer has a nice summer smell with bits of orange and bread. It smells pretty sweet and I didn’t detect any hops in there.

On my first taste I was surprised that the sweetness wasn’t more. There is a very light malt component that gives way to some slight lemon and orange flavors. The bready smell carries through to the flavor as well and helps round out the malt flavor. There is a slight citrus hop on the back of this one but it’s not very bitter or assertive.

For a summer beer this one nice nice and very drinkable. I don’t think it is anything super special but it sure is refreshing. It also comes in at 4.6% so you can enjoy a few of these with no problems on a hot day. (more…)

Beer Review #232 Hex Ourtoberfest

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

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent to me in the sampler was an Oktoberfest, or as they call it an Ourtoberfest. I really dig Oktoberfest beers as they fit so perfectly in the fall chill that begins to take over the Northeast. I’ve reviewed a almost two dozen Oktoberfest beers since this site started and except for a few exceptions, I really dig these beers.

Hex Ourtoberfest pours a nice clear amber color with a slight off-white head protecting the liquid below. All in all, it looks like an American Oktoberfest. I have generally found traditional German Oktoberfest beers to be lighter in color and lighter in caramel flavor compared to their American counterparts. Hex is decidedly in the American range of Oktoberfest beers. The nose is exactly what I hoped it would be, bready, malty, and solid caramels. In addition to the malt there is a slight hop spiciness that trickles through the whole nose.

I was really excited to try Hex Ourtoberfest on my first sip and I wasn’t disappointed. Everything in the nose comes out right away in the beer. The caramels with hints of toffee flow through the beer as do the bread flavors. I often find a lot of Oktoberfest beers to be too far on the sweet side but this one is very balanced. The spicy hops that were in the nose are present in the flavor of the beer as well. The are solid in there with a slight pine component. They provide a nice counterpart to the vast array of malt flavors.

This beer comes in at 5.4% which I consider sessionable. I thought that this one was pretty good. The slight pine flavor on the hops wasn’t something that I was expecting, but it didn’t take away from the beer at all. If you are a fan of American Oktoberfests this one will float your boat. (more…)