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Beer Review #99 Midwinter Warmer

Happy first day of spring. While spring has finally come, I have one last winter beer to share with you. This beer comes all the way from Fort Collins, Colorado by way of Equinox Brewing Company. Equinox started as a homebrew store and has grown into a full fledged brewery. My buddy Pete sent me this beer a month or so ago to sample. This is a special ale because of how it is made,

A bold, rich aroma and layers of complex flavors entice the senses. Deep, smooth malt character rounds out a warming finish. Aged for 3 1/2 months in a bourbon cask, a cabarnet cask and stainless steel before blending. The flavors and overall complexity increases as the beer warms

Midwinter Warmer is a barleywine style ale that rocks in at 10% ABV. It pours a nice brown color, with a thin, off-white head. No light makes it though this beer as it is quite cloudy. The nose is very sweet with caramel notes a plenty. There is some dried fruit in there along with some of that 10% ABV.

The first taste gives a strong hop back-end that was hidden in the nose. The sweetness is strong and the caramel mixes very nicely with the dried fruity esters produced by the yeast. The heat is there throughout the drink, but it isn’t harsh, rather warming. This is a thick beer, bold in every way. This was bottled in a a bottle that was around 16 oz or so. I didn’t write down the exact size of the bottle when I was reviewing this beer. I wish it came ins 12 oz bottles just because it is so thick and high in alcohol. My only real complaint is that the bottled version of this beer was a bit under carbonated but I have heard that kegged version are more up to par as far as CO2 goes. Finally a winter beer that deserves the name. (more…)

Beer Review #61 Mighty Arrow

Summer may have started on Monday, but today I have a spring beer to review. I said in my last post that I had a backlog of beer reviews, I figured that I should get my last spring beer out of the pipeline before I start moving forward with the other reviews. Might Arrow comes from New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The beer is actually named for a dog that “ran the brewery” for 12 years. The brewers that the following to say about their beloved Arrow.

This is our brewed tribute to Arrow, Kim’s Aussie/Border Collie mix who ran (literally) New Belgium for 12 years. When she wasn’t patrolling the brewery grounds, she was famous for her office visits: She never met a tummy rub she didn’t like. Atta girl Arrow.

Might Arrow pours a nice bright orange color and it is perfectly clear. A wonderful fluffy white head compliments this beer. The nose is full of bright hops with some hints of grapefruit in there. You can absolutely notice the cascade hops that are used in the beer. Other than the hops there isn’t much to the nose. The typical earthy New Belgium yeast that you can smell on most of their beers, is not present on this ale.

After tasting the beer is as hoppy as the nose promises. It is not as highly hopped as an IPA but on the hoppier side of a pale ale. The earthiness that I didn’t pickup in the nose is there on the taste. You can almost always tell a New Belgium beer from another brewery’s because of their yeast. Holds true on this beer. There is a nice balance in the beer as well. It is still on the hoppier side, but is nicely in balance.

This beer is super drinkable. I absolutely loved it. I wish this was a year-round production. This is an mind-blowing beer, it is just very solid and a joy to drink. It comes in at 6% ABV is it is sessionable as well. Sorry that this review came out after this beer is out of it’s production schedule but if you find it grab as much as you can of it. You will not be disappointed. (more…)

Importance of commerical beer to the homebrewer

My partner in brewing crime, Pete, made it down earlier this week to visit for a few days. Pete is an avid homebrewer and not only got me hooked on homebrewing, but also craft beer. As he is currently living in Fort Collins, Co, I think you can see that he is surrounded by some good beer people.

Within an hour of Pete arriving, we headed down to the beer store to stock up for the few days he was around for. We got all kinds of good stuff that will show up on the reviews here soon. Pete and I got to talking about how he homebrews so much (I believe he has 10+ cases of homebrew in his closet right now) that he hasn’t bought any new commercial beers in quite some time. His job requires that he is away from home for 3 weeks and then back at home for three. It is an ideal schedule for brewing. He brews furiously for three weeks, leaves, comes home, bottles what he made, and drinks the stuff from the last go around. Repeat.

Anyway, we were talking about how he doesn’t really try anything new, just beers from the Fort Collins breweries and his homebrew. While there is an impressive selection of great beer offered by the four or so breweries in Fort Collins, he is still only having beers from four breweries. He said how nice it was to have some other commercial brews to widen his taste buds and also to get a good sample of what a production beer of a certain style should taste like.

I fully agree with him. As a homebrewer I love drinking and making my own beers, but I am always searching for new beers to try. Part of it is because I love drinking new beers. But more than that, I think it is the fact that I want to have a solid palate and know what goes into a certain style of beer. I also like seeing a twist of a style and getting to experience something that I would never brew myself.