Skip to main content

Beer Review #209 Anchor Bock Beer

One of the first craft beers that I ever had came from the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, California and I have enjoyed their beers ever since. I’m a fan of their Christmas beer series that has a new recipe each year. In addition, they serve Anchor Steam at Phillies games along with a large number of craft beers. During last year’s playoffs I didn’t drink a single Anchor beer to show my support for the Phils and my dislike of the Giants, but in the end, the Giants did what the Phillies couldn’t. I’ve finally brought myself around to drinking a beer from San Francisco again, and Anchor Bock Beer is as good of a beer as any to jump back in with.

This bock pours a deep ruby to mahogany color with a tan head. This beer is much dark then what I was expecting. Generally bock’s tend to be lighter in color and double bocks tend to be closer to the color of this beer. While this beer is dark, light does pass through the clear liquid. The nose is very sweet with some strong caramels and slight bread. There is not real hop odor on the nose to cancel out any of the sweetness.

Caramel is the first flavor that I noticed when drinking this bock. The caramel is super sweet but it fades into a nice chocolate roast flavor. Again, there are not hops in this beer to help cut through the sweetness, but the slight roast helps in this respect. I found this beer to have a cigar quality to it. There was just something in it that reminded me of smoking a cigar on my back deck.

I liked this Anchor offering. It was not what I was expecting from a bock as it was far darker and roastier than expected, but it was decent. This beer would be good on those cold spring days that are full of sun, but not warmth. (more…)

Beer Review #199 Vinyl Lager

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

The first beer that I opened from my spring samples of Magic Hat Brewing Company beers was Vinyl Lager. This lager comes in at a respectable 5.1% ABV. According to Magic Hat’s website this beer is classified as an amber lager. I would also suggest that you check out the page previously linked for the weird intro video for the beer. I don’t think that I have ever seen a intro video for a beer before, but the weirdness works.

Vinyl Lager pours a nice amber color with a thin, off-white head. It is crystal clear as expected from a lager. The nose has lots of nice caramels with a touch of sweetness. There is some nice bready flavors in there as well. I didn’t get any hops, but there was a slight fruity spiciness that I can only assume came from the hops in the beer.

On my first tasting I was surprised at how clean this beer tasted. There are plenty of caramels and some slight toffee but the sweetness is controlled. Once the sweetness fades a bit there are some really nice bread/biscuit flavors that come in. Just as you start really enjoying the bread/biscuit the hops come in and help dry the beer out. This is not a hoppy beer by any means, but the hops do assert themselves in a positive way.

I really liked how clean tasting this beer was. Each component had its time to shine and then was cut by a new flavor. When I first smelled this beer I felt like it was going to be a sweet, malty lager. What I got was a balanced beer that was not overly sweet. I can see myself enjoying this beer during a spring sunset when the cold air is pushing the warmer air out for the night. While there is nothing super special about this brew, it is solid and drinkable. (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…)