Disclaimer: 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. Continue reading →
I have reached the 250 beer review mark. I consider myself accomplished, my wife and parents think that I drink too much. Today’s beer review is the second of three beers that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me. The bottle says that this beer is an ESB, or Extra Special Bitter, with spruce. I’m not generally a fan of spruce flavored things as it makes me think about tree sap a bit too much. Extra Special Bitter is a bit of a misnomer for many newcomers to craft beer. They are expecting something really hoppy, and an ESB just isn’t that. ESB is an English beer style that, while significantly more bitter than an English Mild, is not all that bitter in the grand scheme of things.
Wooley pours a wonderful clear orange color. It has a thin white head that clings to the side of the glass. The nose is nice and malty. It’s an interesting mike of sweet and dry that you often find in English style beers. There are also some dried fruit odors that are probably the result of the yeast strain used to make this beer. There is a slightly spicy hop smell that lingers in the background along with a slight hint of spruce. Since the spruce was so light in the nose, it gave me hope that it wasn’t going to overwhelm the beer/my taste buds.
There is a nice dose of malt and biscuit on the front end of this beer. It is followed with the fruity esters found in the nose, mainly small bits of plum and cherry. The hops come in on the second half and do a nice job of replacing the other flavors in a balanced way. The hops are slightly spicy and the spruce gives a nice resin taste that adds to the bitterness. Everything mixes nicely to give this beer an earthy quality that I always enjoy.
As I said at the beginning of this review, I’m usually not a fan of spruce flavored anything,but this beer does a good job of keeping that flavor in check. I really enjoyed sipping on this one while getting caught up on episodes of American Horror Story. This beer comes in at 4.5% and I can imagine downing one of these after shoveling some snow when you don’t want something heavy but you also want something with some balls. It’s refreshing and crisp, while delivering plenty of flavor. Continue reading →
When I lived in Texas I had access to the typical Boulevard Brewing Company beers. Their Unfiltered Wheat was a staple in on of my friend’s beer machines (converted Pepsi machine… awesome). I was never a giant fan of that particular wheat beer but I did enjoy a number of their other beers. The only real problem that we had was in getting fresh beer. Lubbock, Texas isn’t exactly a craft beer haven and thus any craft beer that there was to be had was often mistreated.
They recently started distributing beer to my favorite beer store and I jumped at the chance to grab a few beers from their famed Smokestack Series. I grabbed three or four different brews, reviews coming, but today’s beer is Long Strange Tripel. This was my summer of Belgian beers so it made sense to try this on out first.
Long Strange Tripel comes in at an impressive 9.0% ABV. It pours a brilliant gold with a fluffy white head. There is not haze in this tripel. The nose is a great balance of Belgian yeast spice and sweetness. There are some really nice hints of dried fruits in there that I normally don’t notice in a tripel.
This beer begins with a nice soft malt flavor that quickly leads into a peppery spice. There are all types of Belgian spice and I genuinely enjoy most of them, but pepper by itself is not one that I care much for. I like when the pepper mixes with the other normal Belgian notes but by when it has to stand on its own, I find it to be a bit of a strange flavor to go with a beer. The aftertaste is very earthy, almost dirt-like. Love it.
This is an excellent tripel but not one of my favorites. The spice notes are a bit to strong for my liking and take away from the rest of the beer. Don’t get me wrong, this is an above average tripel, it’s juts not my cup of tea. Continue reading →
For today’s review I have another beer of the Ovila series from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. This series of beer is brewed in conjunction with a group of monks in California. The Saison that I had from this series a few months was outstanding. I have actually picked up a few more bottles because I like it that much.
This Dubbel pours a nice brownish color with an off-white head. I couldn’t really tell if it was clear or not (not that it matters). This beer looks exactly like what a Dubbel should. The nose is fully of caramels and other sugars. There are some dark fruit odors in there as well. I didn’t get much in terms of spiciness, but I did find that it had an earthy quality to it.
The caramels follow all the way through to the taste and add a slight bit of toffee to the beer. The dark fruits also come back and really exhibit plums and cherries. The Belgian spices from the yeast come in at the end and add a nice peppery note that help clear out some of the sweetness of the malt.
I really liked this one as well. On my last visit to the beer store I saw two new beers (to me) in the Ovila series that I will be picking up. My tasting notes on this beer end with, “feels authentic.” I’ve had several Dubbel’s in Belgium and this one helped take me back there. Continue reading →
I wish I had more money, because I have fallen in love with The Bruery and their wonderful beers. I’ve only had three of their beers to date (including today’s), but I have really enjoyed what I have had. They all have a unique and distinct taste that I have really enjoyed. The only problem I have is that their beers only come in 750 ml bottles in my area (not sure if they do anything else) and they are a tad bit on the expensive side compared to my normal purchases.
Saison Rue is a “Belgian style ale” that is “brewed with rye and brettanomyces.” Brettanomyces or Brett as it is often called is known to cause some “funk” in beers. Basically it is a wild yeast that has been “used” in Belgian brewing and often can sour or add a farmhouse quality to a beer. The reason I put used in quotes in the previous sentence is because the yeast occurs naturally in the air in parts of Belgium, and traditional Belgian brewing dictates that the wort is cooled on shallow copper tables which are exposed to the air. The yeast in the air gets into the wort and you have spontaneous fermentation happening. With modern brewing we know exactly what is going on, but hundreds of years this little nugget was all a mystery.
On to the beer review! Saison Rue pours a clear golden-orange color with a fluffy white head. The nose is slightly sour with some heavy wet straw odors. There are some farmhouse spice smells in there as well. I didn’t get any hops which is not surprising considering the style of beer.
On the first sip I was really happy to find that there was a nice malt flavor. The flavors were clean and earthy at the same time. A slight sour taste then comes in but it is not an overwhelming sweetness; just a light touch. The malt is mildly sweet but it gets cut right at the end of the beer as the Belgian spices kick in. There is a really nice balance of farmhouse and sour notes in this beer.
I really dig this beer. It is simple while being complex. There is a lot going on in this beer but it doesn’t seem like it as first. As this beer warmed, the flavors and odors really came to life and took this beer to another level. I highly suggest this beer to anyone looking for something special. This one will be on my repeat list for sure. Continue reading →