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12-18-00

Beer Review #311 G-Thing

12-18-03The good folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their winter beers. The first was a return to the line-up in Heart of Darkness. I still really enjoy that beer and I’ve actually gone to seek out more on my own accord. Today’s beer is named G-Thing. When I read the label my first thought was “that’s an awesome gingerbread man” and my second though, well more of a song, was Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t Nothing But A G Thang. Yup, I went there.

G-Thing pours a nice deep dark brown that I half expected in a winter beer. There is a slight tan-ish head, but not a ton going on. The note of this beer is really interesting. You obviously get some ginger, and a good dose of it. Being the ginger there are some really nice bready notes. This beer surprised me in it’s ability to capture as much malt as it did. I wasn’t expecting that much malt to come through when compared to the ginger.

On the first taste I was very open to the malt flavors. They flowed in nicely and exhibited some nice dark caramels and bread notes. The ginger spice comes in about halfway through the drink and makes for a wonderful addition. I will full admit that I’m not much of a ginger fan, but this beer stays in balance. I didn’t get much in the way of hops but the beer finishes dry. It reminds me of an English style beer in that the malt and body are there until the end.

It was pretty easy to drink this beer quickly. It was refreshing and had a nice mix of flavors to stay interesting as it warmed. With the holidays quickly approaching this beer would make for a nice drinker during a holiday party. With the cold weather that we have had here on the east coast, I have found myself turning to this style of beer. I think it fits the season nicely and fulfills the goals of a seasonal beer.

06-20-03

Beer Review #297 Torpedo

06-20-03I told you that I was on an IPA kick and today I have a “newer” IPA from one of the country’s largest brewers, Sierra Nevada.Torpedo is an “Extra IPA” (according to the bottle) that comes in at 7.2%. It can be found in both bottles and cans and had a uses a new hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada called Torpedo. A number of their beers are now being brewed with this method of hopping including Rhizing Bines.

Torpedo pours a light orange color. It has a thin white head and it is crystal clear. The nose has some slight hops but not much else. I was expecting this one to produce some much larger aromatics, but it just didn’t come through for me. Perhaps I had an older bottle or my senses were not locked in the day I tried this.

On my first taste I was really surprised to see the amount of sweetness that comes on the front end of this beer. I really like IPAs that transition to hops and don’t knock you out with the first punch. The hop flavor does come in midway through the beer and it kicks hard. The hops are very earthy and rich in flavor. There are some citrus notes in there but the main parts that I found were an earthy, dirty pine flavor. Torpedo finishes dry with some lingering bitterness.

I really, really like this one. This could become a go to IPA for me. It has all of the flavors that I really like, and while I didn’t get wowed with the nose, the flavor is solid. This is a full feature beer and the hop flavor is more complex than some I have tried recently. This beer has been out for a year or two now and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out. (more…)

05-14-05

Beer Review #292 White Monkey

05-14-03I didn’t mean to do this, but today’s review also comes from Victory Brewing Company. White Monkey is a “malt beverage aged in wine barrels.” A little more detail is that White Monkey is Victory’s Golden Monkey, aged in white wine barrels, hence the name, White Monkey. This bad boy rocks in at 9.5%. Once quick side note, I plan on doing a side-by-side with this beer and its base beer in a bit to see how it changes fully.

White Monkey pours a cloudy light orange color. It has a thin white head that isn’t much to look at. The nose is has a bunch of oak in it with some white wine in the background. I’m no wine guru so my descriptors for white wine are going to be very general. Sorry. There are some Belgian spices in there as well which is what really makes Golden Monkey a winner.

This beer starts with a nice touch of light sweetness that eases you into the beer. As the beer malt flavors fade the wine really comes out. It has a slight acidity and dryness that really changes how the beer drinks. As the beer moves through the flavor profiles, some of the Belgian spices come through, but they are much more reserved compared to the mother beer. The wine dryness comes in at the end and gives a nice sharp ending to the beer.

This is one interesting beer. I’m not sure if I totally dig it but I am glad that I tried it. I’m really interested to try a side-by-side and see if my thoughts on this iteration change. I think that this beer will do well with some aged and develop really nicely. (more…)

Beer Reviews #276 Ticket to Rye

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

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.

Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.

The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.

I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. (more…)

Beer Review #72 Lancaster Brewing Company Oktoberfest

Our second Oktoberfest comes all the way from Lancaster, PA (only an hour’s drive from where I currently live). I went to college out near Lancaster, and I gained a love of Lancaster Brewing Company. Almost two years ago I visited their location in Lancaster. I believe their bottled beers are actually brewed by the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I’ve had their Oktoberfest a few too many times, and three years ago, something was just off with it. I haven’t tried it since, but when I saw it at the store this year, I decided to grab it.

It pours a nice amber color with a thin off-white head that quickly fades. It is clear, as expected. The nose is malty, with some sweetness, but it is not as sweet as Brooklyn’s Oktoberfest. There are some notable bread aromas in there as well. On the first taste I really noticed how dry it was. There is a sweetness upfront, but the dryness kicks in and cuts it off. The toasty and bready notes do follow through-out the beer. There is a slightly sulfury aftertaste, but it wasn’t terrible. There is also a bit of heat to comes in at the end as the beer is drying out.

It is a decent Oktoberfest, but not my favorite. There is just something about the beer that doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it was the sulfur and dry combination, but it didn’t compare to other Oktoberfest beers that I’ve had. It does kick up the ABV compared to some other beers as well and comes in at a lovely 6.5%. Try it if you see it, but know that there are betters out there. (more…)