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07-16-03

Beer Review #301 Imperial French Style Ale

07-16-02I’m always on the lookout for new beers and beer styles to sample and try. When I came across the Lavery Brewing Company’s Imperial French Style Ale, I just had to purchase it. It comes from Erie, PA and Lavery has a bit of a history of making some different styles of beer that you normally don’t find. I’m also a bit partial being from Pennsylvania.

Lavery’s Imperial French Style Ale pours a hazy straw color. This beer comes packed with carbonation which results in a thick white head. This nose has a slight hop around that was nondescript. A wet hay aroma cane be found along with some Belgian-like spice. A grassy note can also be found. It has a Belgian IPAness to it.

On the first taste I was really struck by how bright the hops were. The nose didn’t really let on that bright hops were to be found in this beer, but upon tasting, there they were. The hops are packed with citrus and have notes on lemon. There is a slight Belgian yeast note that comes out the more the beer warms. There is also a slight sourness mixed into the flavor that I rather enjoyed. All tolled, the malt wasn’t very powerful, but the hops and yeast notes make this an interesting tasting beer.

In my notes I wrote, “a very nice, confused beer.” It’s like a Belgian IPA with a funkier yeast than what you normally find. The hops are on par with other beers in the style by the yeast is more unique than others that I have tried. If you like IPAs, and more specifically Belgian IPAs, this will be an enjoyable, drinkable beer for you. I’m excited to try more of their stuff in the future. (more…)

06-14-03

Beer Review #296 Blind Faith

06-14-03Along with Elder Betty and HiCü, Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me Blind Faith, an IPA that comes in at 6.2% ABV. Magic Hat puts out a lot of IPAs as part of their IPA tour and this is one that I’ve had the chance to try before. I’m on a bit of a IPA kick right now so a free IPA made me super excited.

Blind Faith pours a deep orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin off-white head. The nose has a good amount of hops. The hops are pretty grapefruity with other citrus flavors in there. I guess the best way to describe them is floral and bright. I didn’t get much in the way of malt; just hops.

On the first sip I was really to find that this beer has a malt backbone. There are some light caramel flavors to begin with that lead into some bready flavors. A light hop flavor of citrus comes in and reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The citrus is light and really warms the beer up and then a good smack of pine flavor comes in at the end to clean it all up and assert the IPAness of the beer.

I’m always a fan of a balanced beer and this one fits the bill. The hops are clean and bright and pack a good helping of flavor. The malt balance is spot on as well. While I’ve had better IPAs before, this is solid and could be a staple of some other breweries. (more…)

06-01-05

Beer Review #293 Hoppy Bock Lager

06-01-03I’m always on the prowl for an affordable new beer when I go to the beer store. New Belgium Brewing Company anyways has something new from their Lips of Faith series, but they generally are not affordable. A month or so ago I discovered Hoppy Bock Lager, which was affordable and came in a 22oz bottle. A hoppy lager sounded a little gimmicky to me, but what the hell, a solid affordable beer is always worth seeking out.

Hoppy Bock Lager pours a clear golden color and has a thin white head. It really looks like a pilsner or the like and not like something that is going to be super hop forward. This guy also comes in at 6.9% ABV which is a few ticks higher than what  I was expecting. The nose had a slight malt/bread component that is typical of a bock. For a beer that has hoppy in the name, I wasn’t overly impressed with the nose. There are some citrus notes, but why you say hoppy, I want hoppy.

There is a decent malt presence on the first sip of this beer. The bread really comes out, and as we all know, I love a bready beer. The hops come in halfway through but they don’t jump out. The hops are there but they aren’t crazy. I would describe the hop flavor as floral, but not bright. Hoppy Bock Lager also had a grassy flavor going through it that I didn’t particularly care for.

This beer just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find the hops bright or excited. They were a bit too toned down for a beer that says it is hoppy, and according to the label, comes from New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen. This beer didn’t stand out and while a drinkable beer, is not repeat worthy for me. The quest continues. (more…)

05-12-03

Beer Review #291 Victory Swing

05-12-03We had our first set of warm days and it’s been pretty beautiful out for the last week or so. When it gets nice out like this saisons call my name. Swing brewing by Victory Brewing Company, is the first “session saison” that I have ever seen. It comes in at 4.5% and I believe that it is new to their line-up this year (though I’ve been known to be wrong before0.

Swing pours a cloudy golden color. It starts clear, but as the yeast get distributed, it becomes milky. A fluffy white head comes along with the pour and makes the beer look very presentable. The nose is really interesting as it has Belgian spices, sweetness, and some grassy hop odors. In addition, it has a touch of saison funk with some wet hay aromas. Really an interesting nose that draws you into the beer.

Upfront, this beer is super spicy with lots of Belgian spices, mainly clove, going on. Soon after a citrus hop flavor kicks in and adds a new dimension to the beer. The beer then transitions to include all three components of the nose to end out. I wrote in my notes that it has a “spicy/grassy/hoppy finish.”

This is by no means a traditional saison. It is much hoppier than you would normally expect out of a saison and doesn’t have a delicate body. It’s an interesting combination that works but it’s not something that I totally dig. Victory likes to hop everything and I think this beer would have been more enjoyable had it had less hops and more balance. (more…)

Beer Review #277 Hop Notch IPA

03-20-02Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City has really been expanding in my area. A few years ago I was only able to purchase their 750 ml bottles, but now I get their normal beers along with seasonal releases. I was recently in New Jersey to attend a birthday party and I picked up a six-pack of their beer in Jersey. Hop Notch IPA might not be a new beer, but it is a new beer to me and I’m always on the lookout for a new IPA. This one comes in at a nice 7.3% ABV.

Hop Notch IPA pours a hazy orange color. It has a two finger off-white head that never truly fades away. The nose is packed with big, bright hops. Pine and citrus are the two primary hop odors. A decent malt sweetness is mixed in there as well. It just smells like an IPA. Big, bold, and hoppy.

The taste starts with a decent malt sweetness. There are some slight caramel flavors that are quickly ripped away by the hops. The hops start as a slight citrus and grapefruit combination and then fade into a pine flavor. It ends on a sharp piney note that dries out the drink nicely.

This is one of the more enjoyable IPAs that I’ve had in awhile. There is a solid hop punch along with a balanced malt body. While aggressive, it stays drinkable. Well don Uinta. (more…)