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Beer Review #274 New Albion Ale

02-28-02I have a true craft beer for review today. Perhaps THE craft beer, well the first modern one anyway. New Albion Brewing Company opened in 1976 and shutdown in 1982. It was just ahead of it’s time when it came to craft beer in America. Today’s version is brewed by the Boston Beer Company, but it uses the exact recipe from the original brewery. I love seeing things like this happen, it helps carry on a true legacy in our young craft brewing industry.

New Albion Ale pours a pale golden color. There is just a slight hint of some haze in there. A think white head goes along with everything and it eventually fades to just a ring around the edge of the glass. The nose has some slight pine/citrus hops along with a light malt sweetness. You can smell that this beer uses cascade hops. After some quick research I found that this beer only uses cascade hops and American 2-row for the malt. This is referred to as a SMASH beer as it uses a single malt and single hop.

The malt flavor is very light on this one. The cascade hops come in soon after the malt leaves but they are not the same cascade hops that we are used to by today’s standards. They are very mild and do not showcase the bitterness and flavor range that most are used to. They are slightly piney and citrusy but they are not strong at all. They are very muted to my taste and they actually are a bit more grassy then I remember.

This one comes in at 6.0% ABV. It’s a highly drinkable beer and a really cool throwback to what used to be/before I was born. I love seeing how craft beer has evolved over time and this beer really puts things perspective. This isn’t a killer beer by any means and the hopping rate isn’t enough by today’s standards, but its a hommage to the love of craft beer. (more…)

10-18-02

New Belgium Brewing Company Skinny Dip Beer Review

10-18-02Skinny Dip is New Belgium Brewing Company’s summer beer. So why am I posting about it in the fall and not posting about Hotober? Well I have a bit of a backlog of reviews to get up and I just bought some Hoptober, their fall beer, so I realized that I needed to get moving on the beer reviews. Skinny Dip is classified as an American Blonde Ale and fits pretty true to form for the style.

It pours a dark golden color with a large, fluffy white head. The beer is perfectly clear as one would expect it to be. The nose is distinctly cascade hops with a little malt sweetness. There is an earthy smell to it as well, which I think is pretty common with New Belgium’s brews. There is also a bit of bread or cracker buried in the smell as well.

10-18-03The taste is nice and sweet, but there isn’t a whole lot going on. The hops from the nose are not very strong on the pallet and there is just a bit of spice on the back. Some of that bread smell is carried over to the taste, but not a lot. Skinny Dip is pretty light on the mouthfeel. The beer comes in light, fills the middle of your pallet, and then leaves off as light as it began. It is a solid summer beer, and here in Texas where it is still 75 in October, it was decent.

I bet this is much more refreshing on a hot day. Back when I first got this beer it was very refreshing. Today on the patio it was not quite up to snuff. It is light and easy to drink, surely a summer beer. I enjoyed the aftertaste it left in my mouth and it also had great lacing if that matters to you. It is worth a try on a hot day or if you enjoy lighter beers. (more…)

Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale Beer Review

09-03-06-01Last summer I was in Hawaii and had the joy of the Fire Rock Pale Ale. I haven’t had it since August, but I ran across a six pack here in Texas and I knew I had to try it again. Let me start off with what the brewery has to say about its beer:

“Fire Rock Pale Ale is a crisp, refreshing “Hawaiian-style” pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amounts of Galena, Cascade & Mt. Hood hops added to each brew.”

09-03-06-08I like that they refer to it as a Hawaiian-style pale ale because  I believe it is the only pale ale made on the islands. I remember reading the following somewhere, but I am unable to find it now, so bear with me. The brewery is located on the Big Island and there beer there is only served on the islands. The company is environmentally conscience and has another brewery on the mainland that produces beer for the rest of the beer for the states. If you know if this is false or true please let me know.

09-03-06-04Anyway, Fire Rock Pale Ale has a wonder aroma to it. It is mostly hops on the nose and a very citrusy hops at that. It pours a copper to light orange and has a bit of haze to it. The head on the beer is great, it diminishes somewhat, but lasted through my entire drink.

For a pale ale, there is a lot of body on the drink. Nice and malty with the hop carrying through the beer. It finishes smooth and the hop sits on your tounge for a bit. Unlike a lot of American Pale Ales this is a balanced beer that isn’t overly hopped. I think the biggest thing with this beer is that it is very drinkable. I remember sitting by the pool at my hotel with a six pack of this stuff and just loving the day away. If you happen to run into a six pack, go ahead and pick it up, I don’t think you will be disappointed. (more…)