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Beer Review #170 Corsendonk Christmas Ale

I have only reviewed one winter beer so far this year which isn’t surprising since I have a giant backlog of beers in my fridge. I finally got around to drinking a bunch of them recently and I had the chance to restock my collection last weekend. I was on the hunt for winter seasonal beers as some seasonal beers just seem to fly off the shelves. Today’s winter beer comes all the way from Turnhout, Belgium and is brewed by Brouwerij Corsendonk.

This beer is classified as a Belgian strong dark ale, but the bottle says only dark ale. The bottle also says 8.1% ABV so I guess that is where the strong part of this beer comes in. Corsendonk Christmas Ale pours a nice brown color with a fluffy off-white head. I actually had to stop pouring this beer to leave some in the bottle because the head was so thick from the high carbonation.

The nose was pretty spicy and herbal. There were some slight malt notes, but the spices did a good job of covering up the malt. I also got some slight pine notes in there, something I am not accustomed to smelling in any style of Belgian beer that I have tried. On my first taste I was surprised by the sweetness in the front end of this beer. The spices quickly come in and follow through the rest of the beer. I didn’t get any heat on this one, which I was partly expecting to have. I also noticed a bit of fig flavor buried inside of the malt.

Due to the high carbonation, this beer comes off as being very light in the mouthfeel. This one is pretty easy drinking but I found myself a bit underwhelmed. This felt like a muted Belgian beer for me. I don’t know if they brew this in the colder months or at colder temperatures than their other beers since the spices and esters are not super strong in the flavor. Generally colder temperatures will produce a “cleaner” beer with less ester production. In any case, I don’t think this one will be on my list next year. It was an enjoyable beer, but I wanted something a bit more punchy. (more…)

Beer Review #65 Alamo Golden Ale

I have a few Texas based beer reviews left to do before I can say that I am totally done with the state. This beer comes from Real Ale Brewing Company out of Blanco, Texas which is about an hour north of San Antonio. I am a bit confused about the beer though, as the packaging said it was made by Real Ale, but everything on the internet points to the Alamo Beer Company as the creator of the beer. Any help on figuring that bit out would be appreciated.

Alamo Golden Ale pours a straw to golden color, as expected. It is crystal clear and has a nice soapy white head. The nose has a slight malt sweetness and a hint of biscuit as well. There is a slight hop end but nothing overpowering. With a beer titled “Golden Ale” I didn’t expect a lot on the nose of flavor, but there were things that you could gather from both areas.

The taste is sweet and slightly fruity. There is also a bit of lemon in there as well. The back-end of the beer is very crisp and has a nice biscuity aftertaste. This beer isn’t throwing flavor at you, but it has some delicate flavors that work well in it. It sounds weird to say what I am about to type, but the carbonation adds a ton to this beer. It was just perfect for the beer. I don’t know what it was, but the carbonation made this beer tremendously enjoyable.

Alamo Golden Ale is super drinkable. It is on the light end with everything, so a seasoned craft beer drinker might not fall in love, but I enjoyed it. It is a great beer for a hot summer day, like those in Texas. I actually drank this beer while sitting under a covered porch of a 100+ day in Lubbock, and it hit the spot. The bottle and packaging have the following two things to say about the beer; “brewed with a fiercely independent spirit” and that it has a “smooth, almost velvety finish.” All I know is that it hits the spot on a hot day. (more…)

Beer Review #48 Noble Pils

Ever since I have been drinking craft beer, Sam Adams has been in my drink lineup. They released a new spring seasonal this year taking the place of the White Ale of last year. For this spring Sam decided to go with a Pilsner, a “nobel pilsner.” The reason they call it a Nobel Pils is becasue the hop varieties used in the making of this beer are said to be noble. You know how the periodic table of elements has the noble gasses, well hops also have a noble lineage.

The beer pours a nice golden in color and is perfectly clear. There is a bit more of a hue in it than a typical Light American Lager, but there isn’t a huge difference in how the two look. It also pours with a nice white fluffy head. The nose on this beer is actually somewhat complex for how simple a Pilsner really is. There is a sweet, honey-like malt with a splash of hop in there as well. It isn’t stale or sulfery smelling like a light of light colored lagers tend to have.

On the tongue the sweet malt is on the front and then there is a good hoppy finish. Some might compare this beer to a Light American Lager based on looks, but the malt is more complex and there is actually a hop finish. The hop finish might surprise some, but it is not overpowering and really complements the drink. Noble Pils is light in mouthfeel and has the perfect amount of carbonation.

I find this beer super drinkable. It is great for a warm spring day or on a hot summer day. I think this beer would appeal to a lot of beer drinkers crossing into the craft beer for the first time. As I have said before on this site, Pilsner is not a style of beer that I enjoy, but Sam Adams Noble Pils was a winner in my book. (more…)

Beer Review #40 2 Below Ale

Yet another New Belgium seasonal beer. I can’t help it, I generally like everything that comes out of that brewery. I was also super excited to find a seasonal brew in Lubbock, Tx. If you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you should know my struggles with finding seasonal beer in Lubbock. And for those of you who are new, Lubbock, simply put, is a hole. There is a complete lack of beer culture, but oddly enough they enjoy expensive wine. Go figure.

Anyway, I grabbed up a sixer of 2 Below as soon as I saw it. As most New Belgium Brewing Company beers have, the label was interesting looking. A nice picture of some freezing pipes with icicles coming down off of the top. Now onto the important part, the beer. It pours a light amber in color with a nice white head. The aroma is nice and strong with tons of floral hops. There isn’t much else to be found on the smell, mostly just hops and maybe some malt if you are really looking hard.

The taste is an explosion of hops, in a good way. The malt and the hops are balanced perfectly. The hops are clean and crisp. On the back-end of the beer there is a slightly bready flavor. You can also expect to finds hints of pepper and other spice in there as well. Unlike some hoppy beers, the hops goes through the entire beer and not just at the back.

2 Below has a light to medium mouthfeel with great carbonation. It is very drinkable but I kind of wanted something darker and richer tasting for a winter beer. The beer comes in at 6.6% ABV so it is not a “weak” beer but I want some more alcohol in my winter beer. The whole warming idea of a winter beer doesn’t really happen at 6.6%. It really is a great beer and I would highly suggest it if you have the chance. Again it is not my favorite winter beer, but it is a solid beer for anytime of the year. (more…)

Beer Review #39 Celebration Ale

Happy New Year and welcome back to BreweryReviewery.com. Today we are celebrating two things; New Years and our first anniversary. Yup, one year ago today we opened the site  and this marks the 175th post on the site since that date. And what better way to celebrate these two events than with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

Celebration Ale pours a nice orange-amber in color  and has a massive, fluffy, off-white head. There are lots of tiny, medium, and large bubbles to be found. The beer is also clear if you are into that type of thing. The nose of the Celebration Ale is complex and hoppy right off the bat. The most immediate smell is citrus hops. followed by a bit of pine odor, and there is also a bit of malt sweetness that sneaks in. Citrus hop is by far the most dominate smell with the others taking a back seat.

The beer’s flavor is also complex. The initial taste is malty while is immediately followed by a citrus flavor. The citrus hop flavor is very refreshing and fits in so well. Then the pine takes over. As I said on my last post, I remembered this tasting like a Christmas tree. And boy does it. The pine flavor dominates all of the early flavors. Even the aftertaste is pine. I find the pine to be not as terrible as I used to but it is still a bit too strong for my liking and it really crashing on the  tongue in a harsh way. I do like that the malt backbone is just strong enough to support the hop.  The interesting thing about this beer that more further you get into the drink the less of the pine flavor you get and the more of the citrus there is.

Celebration Ale has a medium body and nice, lasting carbonation. It comes in at 6.8%. This is surely not a beer for a newcomer to craft beer. Heck, this might not be for people who have had their fair share of craft beers. You have to be an IPA lover to enjoy this beer and also enjoy piney hops. Pine is not my favorite at all, it is probably the hop flavor that I least like. The saving grace for this beer, in my mind, is that the pine fades and the citrus comes through. IF you are a hop head and enjoy other Sierra Nevada products then this beer is right up your alley. (more…)