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Beer Review #289 Sprung

04-28-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company puts out a lot of really nice beer, and their selection is only growing. I recently had one of their barrel aged beers, which was a little sweet for my tastes. I have several other of their limited/season beers waiting to be reviewed and Srung happen to be up today.

Srung is an “ale brewed with hibiscus, chamomile, and honey.” It comes in at a nice, sessionable 4.9% as well. Sprung pours a light amber color and has an off-white head. There are some floaties in there which I wasn’t expecting but it is thanks to the yeast used to carbonate the beer. The nose is very pleasant, with some really nice bready/toasty notes. There is some slight honey along with some slight malt sweetness to be found as well.

On the first taste I was really surprised at the about of bread flavor to be found. I was expecting some of the additions to take a larger roll upfront, but bread wins out. A bit of honey can be found as well. Midway through the drink, a nice sweetness builds in on the backend of the beer. A slight hop flavor (just a bit of bitterness) cleans out the sweetness and end the beer.

I really liked this one. It is well balanced but still malt forward. It’s hard to find a beer that is malt forward without being overly sweet, but this one does it. The bread/toast flavor is very nice as well and really fills out the beer. Sprung is still on shelves so buy it while you can. (more…)

Beer Review #278 Rum Barrel Golden Ale

03-26-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD is undergoing a lot of change. I remember when they started in Delar, DE/MD as a small brewery, but now they are quickly expanding. They always seem to have something new out and their distribution is growing slowly. It’s been really interesting to watch a brewery start from nothing and grow at the rate that Evolution has. As part of that growth, they have gotten into barrel aged beers under the name Migration Series. With the brewery located in the eastern shore of Maryland, geese are a staple of the area, and the series name/logo work perfectly.

Rum Barrel Golden ale comes in at a rocking 10.5% ABV. According to the bottle, I have bottle number 754 of 1200 bottles produced for this particular beer. The bottle says, “ale aged in oak rum barrels,” which isn’t a surprise given its name. This beer was also released last year, but I just got around to opening it up now. It pours a dark golden to orange color. It has a thin off-white head and is super hazy. There is a nice yeast cake at the bottle of the bottle once you muster the courage to drink enough of a 10.5% beer to get there.

03-26-04

The nose has a good rum smell with some spiced rum odors mixed in there. It is very sweet on the nose and there isn’t a drop of hops to be found. I was half expecting a more complex nose, but it is not surprising that rum and spiced rum aromas dominate. On the first taste I got a nice mix of rum flavor and sweetness. This beer is super sweet and there isn’t much that dries it out. The spiciness that I noticed in the nose comes in at the end of the beer to clean it up a bit. A good amount of oak flavor mixes through the beer with hints of vanilla and wood resins.

This is an interesting beer. There is a lot going on and the oak flavors that mix into the beer are exactly what barrel aging should be about. The oak compliments the beer, but it is not the star or overdone. I just wish this one dried out more than it did. It stays really sweet and it made getting through the 750 ml bottle a bit more of a challenge than I would have liked. Overall this is a good beer and with a few tweaks I think it could be a real winner. (more…)

Beer Review #263 Secret Spot Winter Ale

01-22-03We had a nice bit of snow last night here in northern Delaware, and by nice I mean a coating. It’s been a pretty dry winter thus far and I’m not happy about it. Secret Spot Winter Ale boasts a snowboarder on the logo and screams snowy winter. Brewed by Evolution Craft Brewing Company this beer is going to get snow to me. The weather works that way right? No? Crap.

Secret Spot pours a nice orange copper color and has a thin white head. The nose has a slight bit of citrus hops. As I took a deeper breath of the beer I found a lot of malt notes. You have your typical malt flavors along with a subtle toasty and bready odor.

On the first taste I got a really nice malt flavor. There are some light caramels but mainly a standard malt backbone. The hops then come in an provide a really nice citrus flavor. The hops are very clean and don’t bite like traditional hops. They gently mix in with the malt and slowly make themselves more apparent. The transition is very smooth and enjoyable.

For a normal beer I really like this one. It’s drinkable and a bit different. The hop transition is so smooth that it added a new layer of intrigue for me. This beer does not say winter ale to me. It’s no robust in any way and it is not a stick to your ribs kind of beer. As a beer I like it, but as a winter beer it doesn’t measure up. Change up the release time of this one to the spring and I think you have a real winner. (more…)

Beer Review #233 Summer Session Ale

The summer is quickly coming to a close, like in two days, but I wanted to squeeze one more summer beer review in before summer officially ends. I’ve been actively trying not to purchase seasonal beers to get a better selection of more widely available beers, but when I see a local brewery like Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD, I have to give it a try. Evo as they refer to themselves was originally located in Delmar, DE, but moved a few miles down the road to a much larger facility this year. My wife’s family lives just outside of Salisbury, so I’m a regular customer of Evo when visiting.

Summer Session Ale pours a nice golden orange color with a slight haze. There is a medium foam head sitting on top that slowly fades into a whisper of its former self. The beer has a nice summer smell with bits of orange and bread. It smells pretty sweet and I didn’t detect any hops in there.

On my first taste I was surprised that the sweetness wasn’t more. There is a very light malt component that gives way to some slight lemon and orange flavors. The bready smell carries through to the flavor as well and helps round out the malt flavor. There is a slight citrus hop on the back of this one but it’s not very bitter or assertive.

For a summer beer this one nice nice and very drinkable. I don’t think it is anything super special but it sure is refreshing. It also comes in at 4.6% so you can enjoy a few of these with no problems on a hot day. (more…)