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Beer Review #318 Old Horizontal

03-13-02It’s no secret that I am a big supporter of Victory Brewing Company. They are one of my local favorites and I genuinely enjoy the vast majority of their beers.  They are in the process of opening up a second brewery as they cannot expand anymore at their current spot and they also have been releasing some new beers. Today’s beer is not new, but it has returned to production after missing the last year because of capacity issues, Old Horizontal. I have previously reviewed the oaked version of this beer, Oak Horizontal. Let’s see how the original stacks up.

Old Horizontal, get name, is a barelywine ale that comes in at 11%. For some reason my bottle is a 22oz and not a more responsible 12 oz. The beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a light tan head. The beer is perfectly clear and looks great through the light. The nose is complex and deep. The first thing that I got was a nice malt sweetness. The malt quickly gives way to an array of hops. They are piney and earthy in smell and hit the nose hard. It’s not IPA hoppy, but it’s hoppy for a barelywine. I don’t get any heat on the nose.

The taste starts light but finishes with a punch. The malt is present in this beer with a nice caramel and biscuit flavor that is distinct  and enjoyable. A heavy hand of hops comes in and knocks out any malt sweetness whatsoever. The hops are bright and pungent. I mainly get pine from them along with some pine sap flavors. There are some dark fruits hidden in the back but the hops really mask them. I also get a good dose of heat mixed in with the hops. This beer lets you know that it is in charge and lives up to its name. (more…)


Beer Review #313 Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale

01-20-03Since I haven’t been posting too much in the past few months thanks to life, I have a solid backlog of beer reviews to get up. This beer goes back to the early fall, while the leaves were still on the trees and I remembered what warmth felt like. Seriously, this winter is brutal. Today’s beer review comes from my favorite up and coming (although they may have arrived at this point) brewery, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They have a Migration Series of beers that are always interesting. When I saw a year old bottle of Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale at the beer store, I grabbed it up. I was lucky too, because before I left the store they were out. Such is the life and luck of a beer drinker.

This beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a slightly off-white head. Despite what my pictures show, this beer is clear. The nose is full of wine aromas. It is dry and “wine-grapy.” There is a slight heat to it which caught me off guard as this beer comes in at only 7.2%. I didn’t get a lot of barrel character on the nose nor did I get any bugs. The bottle says “a Belgian style ale aged in oak chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces.” I did get a few muted Belgian spices on the last whiff.

On the first taste I was hit by lots of Belgian flavors. There are some nice peppery notes along with the typical helping of Belgian spices. There is a great sweetness to this beer. It’s sweet, almost candy-like, in how it presents itself. As the sweetness comes in the wine character from the barrels comes in. It has a strong chardonnay flavor that dries out things nicely. The beer ends on a mix of Belgian spices and white wine.

This is a really interesting beer that I’m not sure if I dig or dislike. It reminds me a bit of my initial feelings on White Monkey. I only had one 750 ml of this beer and I feel that I would really begin to appreciate it after a second bottle. Looking back at my notes, it’s clear that I enjoyed this beer, but was caught off guard with it. I’m not a wine guy by any means and this beer strongly features something that I’m not familiar with. I’m a big fan of the Migration Series from Evo and I will continue to enjoy their experiments. (more…)

Beer Review #245 Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Not your typical beer review for today. No I don’t have a super rare beer that was aged in wine barrels for 12 months with flakes gold. Today’s beer review comes from Blue Moon Brewing Company, also known as Coors Brewing Company. I don’t review a lot of macro breweries as they don’t put out a ton of different beers, but I do occasionally bump into them (or a brewery gets bought up by them).

Harvest Pumpkin Ale pours a burnt orange color with a thin white head. It’s actually a really pretty color for a beer. The nose has a bit of pumpkin pie spice but not enough to scream pumpkin ale. There are some toasted malt notes along with a slight sweetness in there as well.

I was surprised to find that the spices carry over into the actual flavor of this beer. I’ve found that a lot of beers that smell as if they were lightly spiced pumpkin beers don’t carry that flavor into the actual drinking part of the beer. The spices are not strong by any means but there are there. The toasted notes follow  through along with a decent and balanced malt sweetness.

I actually enjoyed this one a bit. While it doesn’t really say pumpkin beer to me because of how light the spice flavor is, it’s a drinkable beer. This is a good transition beer for a newcomer to craft beer (even if this isn’t a craft brew). This one comes in at 5.7% in case you were wondering. While I probably will not venture down this beer’s road again, I can say that it was much better than expected.

Beer Review #167 Lagunitas Maximus

This will be my first review of a Lagunitas Brewing Company beer on this site. I have enjoyed a few of their beers over the years but sadly this is the first time I’ll be writing about one of them Lagunitas Brewing Company is located in Petaluma, California which is about an hour north for San Fransisco. Those Californian’s are known for their love of hops and Lagunitas Maximus officially comes in as a double IPA. I’ve had good and bad experiences with double IPAs in the past, so this was more of in impulse buy than anything.

Maximus pours a nice burnt orange color with a slight bit of haze in the glass. There is a fluffy white head protecting the liquid underneath. The nose isn’t as loaded with hops as I expected. There are surely there, but other odors come out as well. I found the nose to be very candy-like and sweet. The grapefruit hops helped balance out the sweetness in the smell, but it was still pretty evident. I also got a little heat, which is to be excepted for an 8.2% beer.

On my first taste I was pleasantly surprised that there was a forward flavor. Before I got to the hops or any real body, there was a good amount of sweetness. The hops then build in, but do so nicely. They don’t bite, but build. The hops I found to be slightly grass and piney. They didn’t have a strong flavor in any direction, but seemed to be a bit more subdued for a beer like this. The heat in the nose could be found on the back-end of this one.

I found myself liking this double IPA. The hops are very smooth and don’t “rip your face off.” My only problem is that it gets a little to boozy for me as it warms but I guess that is going to happen in a high alcohol beer. (more…)