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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 #88 K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Another winter beer review and another beer from the state of Maryland. Today’s winter seasonal comes from Flying Dog Brewery from Frederick, Maryland. This is not a brewery I am not unfamiliar with as you can tell from my Week of Flying Dog reviews.

Flying Dog’s winter offering pours a nice caramel color with an off-white head. It is perfectly clear and has plenty of bubbles that you can watch rise into the head (that sounds dirty). The nose is pretty straightforward; dried fruit and a bready smell. Simple and enjoyable are two words that I would use to describe the smell of the beer.

The flavor has a lot more packed into it than the nose would suggest. There is a nice dark caramel flavor, almost a burnt caramel that offers a good amount of malty sweetness to the beer. It is also a bit nutty which accents the slightly roasty backend. The toasty/bready aroma that I mentioned earlier is also present in the taste. What I really liked about this beer is that it ended on a very crisp note. Most beers that have a lot of malt flavor seem to stay on the tongue for awhile.

I really like this beer for the winter time. It comes in at 7.4% ABV so it provides that warming feeling. The roasty notes in the flavor profile make me feel like I should be drinking this beer around a campfire. I enjoyed it a good deal and I think you might as well. (more…)

Beer Review #60 Snake Dog IPA

We have reached the end of the week of Flying Dog. There have been a great number of different beers tried (5 to be exact) and I think that they were all pretty solid. Snake Dog IPA is as solid as the others. It comes in as the biggest beer of the bunch at 7.1% ABV and 60 IBUs. This beer is also dry hopped with Columbus hops. Exciting.

The beer pours an orange amber color and is perfectly clear. There is a large off-white head to goes along with the pour. The nose is full of hops. Go figure, a IPA that smells hoppy. These hops are very bright like the pale ale, it might do due to the fact that both beers are dry hopped, but I really have no idea.  These particular hops give off a piney smell more than anything else.There is some malt in there, along with some caramel, but the hops really dominate the nose.

On first tasting I was pretty happy with the malt backbone in the beer. It was strong enough to support the hop that dominates the beer itself. There are some caramel and bread notes, but you more just get the hop than most other things. The hops have a really wonderful mix of pine and citrus. Some beers really blow you away on the piney hops, which I really don’t care for, but Snake Dog IPA was a nice mix of both varieties of hop flavors. As far as balance goes, this one is a bit out of balance and learns more towards the hop end of things. For an IPA that is fine, and can almost be expected.

The mouthfeel is medium and creamy. I think this beer is very drinkable. It isn’t my style of beer as I am not a huge hop head but the beer has enough other features to offer that it was enjoyable. I have had better IPAs but just like the rest of Flying Dog’s beers it is a solid example of a style of beer. If you are looking for a good tasting of an IPA, this beer is for you. (more…)

Beer Review #59 Woody Creek White

Sorry for this post going up a day late. I start work in the late morning so I generally write up my posts after I get up in the mornings before I go to work. On this morning I found that my internet and TV service were down. When I got home from work they were both working, but I had the Philadelphia Flyers game on DRV so that took all attention away from beer blogging. My apologies.  Today in the week of Flying Dog we encounter Woody Creek White, which is their take on a Belgian Wit.

The beer ours a straw color and is cloudy. It also comes along with a nice fluffy white head. Everything about the look of this beer is spot on for what you would expect in a Belgian Wit. The nose is yeasty with slight hints of the Belgian yeast spice (clove, coriander, and some orange) along with a touch of malt sweetness. It almost has a musty feel to it, which is right up my alley.

On the first taste your taste buds are greeted with the clove and other parts of the Belgian yeast. It is pretty light on the malt but it is very sweet. I also got some slight bits of lemon in there as well. There are also some bready notes in there that stay on the aftertaste. In general the beer is nicely balanced and lets every part come though nicely. The mouthfeel is light and a bit watery, which should be expected.

I found this beer light and very drinkable. At 4.8% ABV and 18 IBUs it is very sessionable. I could see myself sitting on a deck drinking a few of these during a hot summers day. Speaking of which, it is supposed to be 106 F tomorrow, 106! So I may have the few of these that I have left and down them. If you enjoy Belgian Wit’s this is a great example of one. It is solid all the way around and would be a treat to anyone on a hot summer’s day. (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…)