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Beer moods

A post over at The Brew Club got me thinking about something I am going to call beer moods. In the post, Scott reviewed Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA and shared some thoughts about his experiences with IPAs. He said,

The Dogfish Head 60 was among my first craft beers, and quite frankly, I wasn’t ready for it at all!  As a matter of fact, I found it so much of an assault on my senses, that I wrote off the whole IPA scene until just last year.  What a shame.

The reason this caught my eye is that I was in the same boat when I first starting drinking craft beer. From my interpretation, IPAs are the beers that “hook” a lot of craft beer drinkers. I wonder why so many craft beer drinkers start with an IPA instead of ramping up to them. Why start at the extremes? An IPA is a aggressive beer with an acquired taste. Sure some people can take to them right away, but for many, they take time to appreciate.

In my own experience, I had someone who loved craft beer and guided me to learn the different beer styles. I was quickly a fan of IPAs but I really didn’t appreciate the first several that I had. There are some styles of beer that I like and crave more than others.

This is where the beer moods idea comes in. I really love hoppy beers sometime. Right now, I’m on a hoppy beer kick. But there  are other times where I don’t want anything hoppy. I want a malt forward beer or something with some spices. I seem to randomly go through these changes and I don’t understand why. Last year around this time I was on a Belgian beer kick. The strange part is that the moods kick in quickly and seriously deter me from trying the previous beer mood style.

Am I the only one who goes though these beer moods? If you do, what mood are you in now and how does it affect your beer drinking?

Beer Review #64 Summer Bright Ale

We have another summer beer to review today. This one comes from the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. This is another wheat style summer ale as well. Wheat lends itself to summer beers because wheat adds some unique flavors that work really well in a lighter beer. Summer Bright Ale comes in at a nice 4.5% which makes it very sessionable as well.

The beer pours with a thin white head and is slightly cloudy. The cloudiness is expected because of the wheat malt, but I would of expected a larger and more long lasting head. Wheat adds natural proteins to the beer that promote head retention. Generally wheat beers have big heads and many beers will have a slight bit of wheat malt in them to just promote a good head. Golden or straw is where I would place the color on the beer.

The nose has some slight biscuit with some malt. There was some bitterness, but no a normal hop bitterness that you usually get on a beer. Overall there isn’t a lot happening on the nose of the beer. The taste is a bit nondescript. There is not much malt or hops. There is some slight lemon or citrus in there, but not a ton. The finish of the beer is probably my favorite part of it. It is nice and bready which is a flavor that I like to have in a beer.

The mouthfeel is light and watery. This is a drinkable summer beer. It is light and not packed with flavor, but it is super sessionable and a foot into the craft beer world. I would recommend that you drink this beer cold as well. Unlike a lot of craft beers, this one doesn’t really open up to anything new when warm. It is much more refreshing cold as well. If you like lighter beers that don’t have a ton of flavor but are still considered craft beer this one is for you. Also, if you are looking to get into the craft beer world, this is an easy beer to tackle and would be enjoyable for you. (more…)

Rare does not always equal better

One of my friends from back home is as big of a beer freak on me. He is signal and does well for himself so he has a lot more of his disposable income being thrown at beer. I am truly jealous of his collection as I wish I had access to some of the same beers. Somehow he finds some really rare beers that I didn’t even know were possible to find in the Philadelphia market. He will routinely send me text messages on what beer he is drinking and what special beer he was able to find.

Lately his text messages have been about how overrated some of the rare or limited production beers have been. He contends that because the beer is rare, people treat it like it is something more special and rate it higher. In general I would have to agree with him. I think some of the most sought after beers build up such a reputation and a are so hard to find that they get killer ratings that might not be all that well deserved. I generally stick to the more available mass produced craft beers, but when I find a rare one I do get it. I have found about a 50/50 split between beers that lived up to the hype and ones that have not. Does anyone else notice that rare beers might not always have the most accurate ratings based on their rarity?

Beer Review #57 Old Scratch Amber Lager

Continuing with out week of Flying Dog comes Old Scratch Amber Lager. This beer may be a lager it according to the brewery it is fermented at medium temperatures to develop both ale and lager characteristics. If your not sure what that means hear is a quick review. Ales are brewed at warmer temps usually 60-70 degrees and because of the warmer temperatures, they have a quicker fermentation period which causes the production of a few esters that impart their own flavors on the beer past what the raw ingredients do. Lagers are brewed at lower temperatures usually 35-50 degrees and take longer, but also result in a beer that is much cleaner. These are just the basics because each style of beer could compose parts of another. From what I read, this beer uses a lager yeast at a higher temperature so you would expect it to be clean tasting, but also have more esters than a normal lager.

Old Scratch Amber Lager pours a beautiful amber color, I guess that’s were part of the name comes from. It had a nice off-white head and was perfectly clear. The nose was malty with some slight bread components. I didn’t really get any hops on the nose from this beer. There were some earthy components in there as well, which could of been mixed in with hops but they didn’t really stand out all that much.

On the initial taste I wasn’t hit with a lot of flavor. There is a little malt sweetness along with those bready flavors that were on the nose, but there really isn’t much else. Some slight caramel notes can also be found. The finish had a nice hop crispness to it. Nothing overwhelming, but dried out and finished the beer nicely. The mouth feel is light and watery, but it does have a very nice carbonation.

This beer is very clean. There isn’t a lot of flavor to be found but it is drinkable. Old Scratch comes in at 5.5% ABV and sports 19.5 IBUs. This would be a good beer for someone just getting into craft beers. While the flavor notes are not terribly strong, it blows away a mass production beer in every way. Even if you are not new into craft beer, this would be a good summer beer as well as it is light and refreshing. If you get it don’t be expecting to have your typical American Amber Ale, but a much lighter version that clean out very nicely.  (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…)