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Beer Review #91 Snow Goose Winter Ale

I will appoligize in advance for this beer review. The reason: the brewery it is made at is closed. Snow Goose Winter Ale was brewed by Wild Goose Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland. When I heard the name of the town where it was brewed I knew that another brewery was located there as well, Flying Dog. Apparently Flying Dog purchased Wild Goose in 2006 and shutdown the brewery at some point recently. The reason, Flying Dog is so heavily in demand that they didn’t have the capacity to brew the Wild Goose brand. It’s a shame too, this is a solid beer.

I read a story that they are looking to find someone to contract brew the beer I am about to review along with their IPA. I hope all goes well for them because Wild Goose has been around since the start of the craft beer movement. On to the beer (that you can’t have).

Snow Goose Winter Ale is a classic English style Winter Warmer. It pours with a deep ruby to amber color. A whiteish head accompanies the beautiful color of the beer. The nose is remarkably malty with lots of toasty aromas coming from the glass. There is a lot of caramel in there as well. There are no hops to speak of from my nose’s perspective.

The taste follows the nose for a bit and then takes you by surprise. The nice malt flavor is there with plenty of biscuit to go around and the a really wonderful hop flavor hits home. It is so well balanced that I was taken aback. I was expected a nicely bodied beer that had some good toasty flavors, but the hops came in and dried it out. Lovely.

This beer has a lot more to offer than what the nose would lead you to believe. I love toasty beers, and this one does a great job of delivering on that promise. And at 6.3% ABV, it doesn’t rock your socks off. I really hope they find a home for this beer soon, because it is a solid Winter Warmer. (more…)

Beer Review #49 Hobgoblin

For some reason I have been in an English beer kick for the past few weeks. Maybe it is because I have been watching a lot of Band of Brothers on HBO recently, but I am really digging the English style ales right now. Unfortunately Lubbock does not offer much in the way of English style ales, however I did find the subject of today’s review, Hobgoblin from the Wychwood Brewery. The Wychwood Brewery is located in Oxfordshire, England and they make about two dozen or so different beers since I last checked.

Hobgoblin pours a dark brown to ruby color and has a thin off-white head that quickly fades into the beer. It is perfectly clear and the head that started with the pour comes in medium sized bubbles. Just like most English ales the malt is showcased on the nose. Toffy and caramel are a few of the highlights, followed by the malt itself. There is also a slight hop smell in there as well.

After tasting the beer, Hobgoblin was exactly what I wanted. Biscuit, malt, nut, and a slight hop bit were all there to be found on the tongue. Sadly my bottle also had a few skunk flavors in there as well, but there did not overpower the beer like some skunk can. I am going to blame Lubbock on the skunk and not the beer itself. There was also some dried fruit in there, mainly grape. The mouthfeel was very thin and the beer was lowly carbonated.

Hobgoblin is very easy to drink and exceptionally dry. When people who have not tried a lot of beers see a “darker” beer the immediately assume that it is thick and high in ABV. This beer is a great example of how assuming things makes an ass of of… well you know the rest of it. It comes in at 5.2% ABV and is almost watery. I found it very easy drinking and a sure thing for anyone who appreciates English ales.

Hobgoblin comes in 500 ml bottles that have a unique design to them. I don’t know about you, but an interesting shaped bottle and almost make be buy a beer without loving the style. Luckily this beer did both for me. If you have a chance to pick it up, I suggest grabbing a bottle or six pack (they sell those too) as you will not be disappointed. And make sure that you are getting it from a place that replaces it’s stock regularly, skunked beer is no good.  (more…)