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Beer Review #273 Saint Saltan

02-26-03Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

Magic Hat Brewing Company was nice enough to send me some samples of their spring seasonal variety pack. Included is today’s beer, a Rye IPA, and a second yearer Pistil. I’m not going to re-review Pistil as I have already done it here, but it was much more flavorful then I remember it being. I remarked last year that it would be nice on a warm day, but I had it while it was sleeting out and found it very quenching. Anyway, on to today’s beer, Saint Saltan which is a Gose that comes in at 4.6%. The brewery has the following to say about the beer:

A pious piece of a seldom-brewed German style, Saint Saltan is tart, light and crisp. Salt and coriander combine with traditional Hallertaur hops to create a holy and sessionable sipping experience.

Saint Saltan pours a nice golden color with a slight haze that clears as the beer sits. There is a thin white head that also fades as the beer is allowed to breathe a bit. The nose is nice and bready along with some honey malt odors. It is actually a little grainy and smells fresh. I didn’t get any hops or anything else to make note of. The earthy grain smell is wonderful on this one.

On my first taste I was actually surprised to taste a nice bit of salt. Usually I’m not a fan of salty beers (especially in IPAs) but this beer’s salt component is minor, but noticeable. The slight salt then fades into a mild sour note. As I continued to drink the beer the salt and sourness faded away and some really nice malt flavors came out. Nothing on this beer is super assertive in the flavor department but each piece says quiet and comes out in stages. It was really interesting to taste the flavor progression on this one. You usually don’t get sour notes that fade away, but they really do on this one.

This beer is easily drinkable and enjoyable. At 4.6% you could easily knock a few of these out in a sitting. It’s not my preferred beer style per say but I did find myself disappointing that they send a limited number of samples. If anyone from Magic Hat is reading this I would like to demand more free samples /sarcasm. This beer is pretty solid and I think that I would enjoy it while watching my Phillies fail in Spring Training. (more…)

Beer Review #237 Responders Ale

16 Mile Brewing Company is becoming on of my favorite local breweries. Sure they don’t turn out the volume or variety of their neighbor Dogfish Head, but they do turn out quality, drinkable beers. The owner of 16 Mile, Chad Campbell recently did an interview with the guys from the Better Beer Authority, check it out here.

Responders Ale pours a clear golden straw color. It has a nice dense white head that does not quickly fade. The nose has a good helping of malt along with a complimentary citrus odor from the hops. There are also some hints of honey mixed in there.

A nice light malt flavors kicks this beer off and is followed by the additional malt notes of honey and bread. The hops come in at the end and provide  a small kick. They scream citrus and do a nice job of balancing out the malt. I still think this beer is a bit malt forward, but there is nothing wrong with that.

This beer comes in at 4.1% so you can easily down a few of these. The beer was designed as a thank you to emergency responders. I really liked this one. It has a fresh quality that can only come from a locally brewed beer. I think this one fits in perfectly into the summer beer category. I wish that I would have tired this earlier so that I could have enjoyed more of them. (more…)

Beer Review #222 Spotted Cow

I have another beer from New Glarus Brewing Company for review today. My buddy Mike, who brought me the beer, described Spotted Cow as “the Fat Tire of Wisconsin” and “the next Fat Tire.” He went on to say that this is a drinkable beer with mass appeal, but with a craft beer “attitude.” I’m always excited to try a craft beer that offers a lot of drinkability to the general public, but also has craft beer roots.

Spotted Cow pours a beautiful clear golden color with a solid white head. The head withstands the want to collapse for a bit and then gives in and dissolves into the beer below (kind of like Leo in Titanic… Burn?). The nose is sharpy bready with some nice malt undertones. I didn’t get a hint of hops anywhere in the nose, which I guess isn’t surprising for a beer that was made to be drinkable.

The bread odors carry through to the flavor of the beer and really dominate the majority of the beer. The bread is solid and changes a bit from a nice bakery fresh bread to a slightly stale bread flavor. I really enjoyed the transition and the stale bread flavor is no knock, it went fit perfectly into the progression of this beer. There is a slight hop bite at the end but just enjoy to provide a change from the bread.

This beer is very easy drinking and appears to be pretty straightforward. There is nothing that jumps out in this beer, but that’s not always a bad thing. For what this beer was “sold” to me as, I very much enjoyed it and I think many others would as well. (more…)

Beer Review #71 Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest

I’m sorry I’m getting to these so review so late, but here they are non-the-less. I am dubbing this week as the “Week of Oktoberfest Beers.” I have five of these beers that I have not had the chance to post yet, so they will be coming out each day this week until I run out. Then it will be onto pumpkin beers, where reviews for that style are sadly behind as well. Anyway, onto the review of Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest.

This Oktoberfest pours an amber color and comes with a slightly off-white head. It is perfectly clear, and that should be 100% expected for the style. On the nose you get your typical Oktoberfest smells; caramel, sweetness, little to no hops. I did not detect any heat in the nose. Brooklyn’s also seemed to be a bit more sweet smelling than others that I have tried.

On the first taste the sweetness jumped out at me. It was pretty maltly, but not done out of the style. There are some nice bread notes in there which I love as well. The beer has a very nice, smooth finish which made it very drinkable. I could easily see myself putting away a few of these beers.

On a lot of Oktoberfest beers the maltness of the beer eventually turns me off from drinking too many of them. Out of all of the styles of beer I have drank, I find Oktoberfest beers to be the most filling. They are even more filling than imperial stouts or barelywines in my book. I’m not sure why that is, but that is how my stomach handles them. Brooklyn’s beer comes in at 5.5% which seems to be on par with other Oktoberfest beers. At this point in the season it might be tough to find, but it is a solid, drinkable Oktoberfest that I think most would enjoy.


Beer Review #50 Gordon Biersch Märzen

Being that March is almost over, I figured that I should put a review of a Märzen up here. Märzen is German for March beer. See you learn something new everyday. This particular brew is made by Gordon Biersch out of San Jose, California. Right off the bat, if you are a fan of subtle, malty lagers, this on is for you.

The beer pours a nice orange amber color and it is perfectly clear. There is a slightly off-white head to goes along with it. The nose was actually pretty full for a lager, as most lagers tend to be kind of stale on the nose. The things I picked up on the nose was malty, bready, and toasty notes. There was a sweetness about the nose that I really enjoyed. A single note of hop could be found towards the end, but I really had to search to find it.

On the first taste the bready notes from the nose overrun the palate. The rest of the malt washes in as well after a few sips. There is a slight hop finish that tasted like Hallertau, which is one of the classic if not the most classic German hop. There is also a slightly honey-like flavor in the beer, which I really enjoyed. There is a very clean finish that leaves a great aftertaste.

Gordon Biersch Märzen comes with a medium body and nice carbonation. The carbonation seemed a bit lower than a normal beer, which really let the malty flavor shine. It is super drinkable and a great beer for March. I really loved every drop of the six pack that I purchased. If you like malty, clean beers that are more complex than the nose would lead you to believe then this is a beer for you. I also have a love of quality German lagers. Call it my German ancestry or my eastern PA roots, but I really love almost any German style of beer. This is one of my new favorites and I am glad that I found it in the season it was supposed to be drank in. (more…)