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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 provideĀ  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 #81 Shiner Holiday Cheer

I made my first post about Shiner almost two years ago to the day. Shiner is one of the big Texas beers and at the time I was getting ready to move to Texas. Since that time, I’ve lived in Texas, and come back east and now live in Delaware. Surprisingly I can get this beer in Delaware. Shiner is brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery out of Shiner, Texas. On my last post about Shiner beer Lee from I Love Beer suggested that I try their Holiday Cheer. So I did.

Shiner Holiday Cheer pours a burnt amber color with a light tan head that quick fades back into the ale. It pours crystal clear as well. The nose is pretty interesting. The bottle says that it is an “ale brewed with peaches and pecans and with natural flavor and caramel color.” That’s a lot of “ands’.” The nose is peachy for sure. I didn’t really get anything else other than peach. The peach is super bright and vibrant. Most “fruit” beers don’t offer fresh smells, this one does. It also smelled like a fruit gum.

The taste doesn’t have a lot upfront. Peaches kick in during the middle part of the taste and continue through the rest of the beer. There is some nice biscuit in there as well. It has some slight nut character to it as well. I like it. The mouthfeel is light to watery, but it fits this beer nicely. It is a drinkable beer but I always fall into a trap with beers with fruit in them. The trap is that they are usually sweet and get undrinkable quickly. For my tastes, one glass was enough. It was easy enough drinking for more, but the sweetness would get to me. The side benefit is that I am going to be burping peaches for the rest of the day. Try it if you want something unique and easy drinking. (more…)

Beer Review #62 Drop Top Amber Ale

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company was one of the few Portland, OR breweries that my wife and I did not visit or taste on our honeymoon. I’m not sure why exactly we missed it, but we did. Perhaps it was because the town offers more breweries than one can visit in four days, but who knows. Anyway it is a brewery that is talked about a fair amount and when I saw one of their offerings in the store I decided to take a shot.

Drop Top Amber Ale pours an orange amber color and is perfectly clear. The color should not be to much of a surprise for a beer that has “Amber Ale” in it’s name. It also pours with a slight, off-white head. The nose on the beer is malty, fruity, and has a slight hop odor at the end. There are also hints of grape and orange in there as well. Not a super complex nose, but interesting.

The taste is malty upfront. Then some orange and fruity flavors follow. There isn’t much hop there, but the helps dry the finish out and adds a bit of crispness to it. Citrus also makes a delicate appearance in there. There is a strange malty aftertaste in the beer. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was an odd flavor to have in a beer. Maybe it was the fruit flavors rolling off the tongue but I didn’t really dig it to much.

Overall I think the beer is drinkable. It is not a normal amber ale. The malt and lack of hops is there, but it is much more fruity than what you would normally expect from the style. It comes in at 5.0% ABV so it is very sessionalable and great for summer. If you like fruit beers this one is not going to blow you away with fruit and if you like amber ales this one is going to throw another flavor combination at you, but it is a drinkable beer for most craft beer drinkers. Give it a try, it might not blow your mind but it is a good stepping stone beer if you are just getting into the hobby. (more…)

Beer Review #58 Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Day three of our week of Flying Dog and today we bring you Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale. There are a lot of Pale Ales out there today and the take on them can be very vaired. Depending on how the brewer designs the beer, it can be malty with slight hops or less malty with a fair bit of hops. Doggie Style does a nice job of giving a good malt body while also delivering on the hops. The hop component might be punched up a bit because of the fact that they dry hop this beer with “buckets full of Cascades for an unrivaled hop flavor and aroma.”

Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale pours a nice amber color and is perfectly clear. It also comes with a large off-white head. The nose of the beer hits you with hops. And they are bright hops. When I say bright hops I am referring to the fact that they smell fresh and clean. Often when hops age they have a staler odor to them and don’t really hit your nostrils. Bright hops on the other had have an unrivaled smell and you can feel the difference in your nose. Behind the bight hops is some slight malt.

On my first taste I was surprised about how much malt I could get. There was a nice mix of caramel in there as well. Soon after was the hops. The nice thing about this pale ale is that the hops are there, but do not overwhelm the beer. It is such a well balanced beer. The sweetness of the malt and the dryness/bitterness that comes from the hops mix and do a wonderful job of equalizing each other while not canceling each other out. I also noticed an ever so small hint of so heat (alcohol) in there.

The mouthfeel is light to medium and has good carbonation. Overall I would say this is an extremely drinkable beer. I enjoyed it a lot. It comes in at 5.5% ABV and rocks 35 IBUs. I generally tend to lean away from pale ales as the majority of them I have had recently lose all sense of balance and just overdue it with the hops. Not Doggie Style, it is wonderfully balanced. I could drink this in the fall, spring, or summer. If you are looking for a great example of a Pale Ale this is a beer for you. (more…)