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Beer Review #86 Brooklyn Winter Ale

The Brooklyn Brewery is one of the first breweries that I fell in love with when I got into craft beer. They helped open my eyes on many different beer and always gave a good example of what a style should be. I also read their book which was a good read and very informative. I’m not going to lie, unlike many of the beers that I review on this website, I’ve had today’s beer many time. I simply love it.

Brooklyn Winter Ale is another Scottish Ale style beer in the winter category. Hibernator was also in the same boat, but I don’t think that it did a very good job of delivering on a winter style beer. Let’s see if this beer falls into the same trap or not.

To begin with it pours a rich redish brown with a off-white head. It is perfectly clear as well. The nose has a lot happening. It has lots of malt, grain, and some biscuit notes as well. I dig beers that have a smell along the lines of this. My first taste (not really true) was pretty malty. There is a nice biscuit aftertaste that hits the right note with my flavor palette. There are a fair amount of noble hops in there as well. Much more than what the nose would let you believe.

My only problem is that this beer doesn’t give me the feeling of winter. Sure it is malty, more so than Hibernator, and it tastes great, but is isn’t hitting the winter note. I’ve purchased this beer many times, because it is a good beer, but winter, not so much. It comes in at 6.1% ABV so it is in the session range as well. Try it out if you like malty beers with a good hop finish and great aftertaste. If you are looking for spicy winter ale, keep looking. (more…)

Beer Review #71 Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest

I’m sorry I’m getting to these so review so late, but here they are non-the-less. I am dubbing this week as the “Week of Oktoberfest Beers.” I have five of these beers that I have not had the chance to post yet, so they will be coming out each day this week until I run out. Then it will be onto pumpkin beers, where reviews for that style are sadly behind as well. Anyway, onto the review of Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest.

This Oktoberfest pours an amber color and comes with a slightly off-white head. It is perfectly clear, and that should be 100% expected for the style. On the nose you get your typical Oktoberfest smells; caramel, sweetness, little to no hops. I did not detect any heat in the nose. Brooklyn’s also seemed to be a bit more sweet smelling than others that I have tried.

On the first taste the sweetness jumped out at me. It was pretty maltly, but not done out of the style. There are some nice bread notes in there which I love as well. The beer has a very nice, smooth finish which made it very drinkable. I could easily see myself putting away a few of these beers.

On a lot of Oktoberfest beers the maltness of the beer eventually turns me off from drinking too many of them. Out of all of the styles of beer I have drank, I find Oktoberfest beers to be the most filling. They are even more filling than imperial stouts or barelywines in my book. I’m not sure why that is, but that is how my stomach handles them. Brooklyn’s beer comes in at 5.5% which seems to be on par with other Oktoberfest beers. At this point in the season it might be tough to find, but it is a solid, drinkable Oktoberfest that I think most would enjoy.


Beer Review #53 Brooklyn Local 1

My little hiatus from posting has not stopped my love of Belgian beers in the slightest. Today’s Belgian beer comes all the way from Brooklyn, NY, home of the Brooklyn Brewery. Don’t you love it when the brewery’s name and location match? Anyway I don’t think that it any secret that I love most of the beers that I have ever had from the Brooklyn Brewery. On this site I have only reviewed their Pennant Ale ’55, but I have enjoyed a great number of their beers that we hastily drank before the appearance of this blog. I have also read their book, which is also wonderful if you were wondering.

Brooklyn Local 1 comes in as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, which essentially means it is a Belgian beer that has a high ABV and hops that are stronger than you would expect on a normal Belgian beer. It pours a straw color and is 100% cloudy. Lots of sediment to be found and a delicious fluffy white head to go along with it. This beer looks the part of a wonderful Belgian. On the nose the Belgian yeast stands out, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is a slight sweetness that is on there as well which I found refreshing.

On the tongue I first noticed the Belgian yeast and the spicy flavors that go along with it. As I dug more into the beer I noticed the malt more and more. It was very sweet. Perhaps that comes from the German malts that are used in making the beer instead of the typical Belgian malts. The hops also come from Germany. Local 1 is a very clean beer. The hops, Belgian yeast, and the malts balance each other out nicely and the hops really help clean your tongue from any left over flavors. The aftertaste was also a nice mix of lemon, grassy flavors, a slight hop bite, Belgian yeast, and some warming alcohol.

For a beer that comes in at 9.0% ABV this beer really did not feature much in the way of heat. It was very hidden and only noticeable on the aftertaste and a bit when the beer really warmed up. The body was in the medium range but it was highly carbonated, so it was tough to get a really sampling of what it would of been like had it had normal carbonation. The beer is something that I think any Belgian beer lover would love. It is clean but features everything a Belgian beer should. Perhaps the most surprising part is how well the ABV is hidden. If you are not careful this beer could easily sneak up on you. It also comes in a caged and corked bottle which added to the “must buy” factor for me.

The Brooklyn Brewery also makes Local 2 which I have had in the past and really enjoyed. It is another Belgian style beer, but much darker and much more bold. If you see anything with Brooklyn Local 1 or 2, get it and I don’t think that you would be disappointed. (more…)

Beer Review #34 Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55

11-12-05A few years  ago when I started to like the whole craft beer thing I bought a sampler case from the Brooklyn Brewery. At the time it was the most expensive case of beer I bought, coming in at $34.95. I have since passed that mark for expensive cases, but that really doesn’t mean much. A good beer can be found in a $25 case and a bad beer can be found in a $100 case. Price doesn’t really equate to quality in the craft beer world.

When I got that variety case from Brooklyn Brewery I loved the Pennant Ale ’55. Ever since I have been wanting to get just a six pack so that I could have it again. My local store carries Brooklyn Lager and occasionally Brooklyn Pale Ale, but I have never seen the Pennant Ale 55′. I walked in the other day, and there it was. I have got to tell you that I was more than excited. I quickly brought it and $8.99 and a short ride later and it was all mine to drink.

11-12-03Brooklyn Pennant Ale 44′ pours a golden amber in color with a slightly off-white head. The head is thick and lasting and a thin head will remain through the entire beer. There are a lot of small to medium bubbles and the beer is perfectly clear. The nose is very malty. Biscuit, toast, and bread were what I picked up in the malt area. There was a slight hop aroma, being slightly floral, but not overpowering and not bitter at all.

On the first taste the malt was the first thing that I noticed. There is a lot  caramel notes along with bread. A few other toasty notes were found, but they were not overpowering. The hop of course comes on the back-end and provides a nice bite to the caramel of the malt. It is not a overly hoppy beer, but has a strong finish. I also picked up a slight metallic flavor in there, that I didn’t remember from before when I had drank it. Perhaps I just had an old six pack as seems to be common for good beer here in Lubbock.

The mouthfeel is medium in body, but very round. It starts light and grows quickly on the tongue, and then leaves quickly. It finishes very dry. Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55 is named for the Brooklyn Dodgers and when they last won the Pennant. It is a very drinkable beer that is also enjoyable. If you like round body, caramel filled, dry finish ales, then this beer is for you.  I’ve probably had better from this style of beer, but Brooklyn Brewery makes a strong entry. (more…)

Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

This is the first book review we have had on this site. There are sure to be many to follow as I have done a lot of reading on the subject of beer, but this was my most recent accomplishment, so let me share a little bit. First off, this isn’t a new book, it has been out for a few years. I actually found it in my local Borders back in PA. I was a bit surprised becasue beer books at Borders tend be be geared to beginning homebrew or one of those Idiot’s Guide things. They generally seem to have more cocktail and wine books than anything.

The manger of the store is actually a beer nut, and she wanted to see how the book would sell since she loved it so much. During checkout she talked to me for awhile about beer and what I drank and asked if I homebrewed. She also asked for any other beer book suggestions and I shared a few that I thought would be good. Brewing Up a Business (still haven’t read it) seemed like the one that would be most like Beer School (didn’t read it at the time), but I digress.


Beer School is written by founders of the Brooklyn Brewery, Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. Both were English majors in college and came together to found a very successful brewery. The book hits on a lot of levels, if you are into brewing, starting a brewery, or business in general you should enjoy this book. They take you through their trails and success and are quick to point out where they were just plain lucky. I find that a lot of entrepreneur type books do not give enough credit to people who have helped them or where they have gotten lucky, Tom and Steve acknowledge both.

The beginning of the book covers their pasts and their foundation for starting the company. They then move into the founding of the business and the ground rules they went in under. They highlight the areas where they felt that special attention needed to be paid, like their logo. They also go into their distribution problems and cash flow. I’m not going to tell everything that happened because I want you to read it for yourself. The book is just downright readable. I wasn’t able to put the book down.

Not too many business books go into problems faced by a stolen forklift battery charger, or getting robbed at gunpoint, or dealing with the mob (yeah the mob!). I would of loved to have worked for these guys at the time. They required their sales people to read Micheal Jackson books and held tasting sessions. Perhaps the part I most enjoyed is that they wanted to give back to their community and let their employees shine. They tell a good story and you will not be disappointed by the read. You can get the book on Amazon for about 12 bucks new. Don’t worry I don’t make a dime on the sales (nor do I on any product I mention on this blog) I just really enjoyed the book and think it is a worthy read for anyone.