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Beer Review #281 Dos Costas Oeste

04-04-02I have a new beer to talk about today and one hell of a story behind it. My wife actually picked out this bottle from a bottle shop near my parent’s house. We both love The Bruery and I have been itching to try something from Cigar City Brewing. She saw that this beer was a collaboration between the two and made it ours. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “a high gravity ale with coriander, ginger, and sweet orange peel, aged on grapefruit wood spirals.” It comes in at 9%. All of that sounds well and good, and then it came to opening the beer…

As soon as I opened this beer it escaped the bottle like a rocket, think coke and mentos. It splattered all over my kitchen ceiling, my countertops, and well, most of my kitchen stuff. It was clear that this bottle had an infection of some type that caused excess sugar that brewing yeast cannot process to be fermented. After an annoyed clean-up I had 4 oz. of my 750 ml bottle left. Awesome. I do want to note before I dive into the review that reviewing infected beers is not really my style. It clearly is not what the brewer intended it to be, but my 4 oz. was drinkable. So I reviewed away.

UPDATE: I contacted the brewery and they explained the situation to me. The folks at Cigar City (the actual brewer of the beer) did a wonderful job of making the situation right. The beer was recalled but some distributors have not returned what they were asked to. I have since contacted the bottle shop where I purchased it to let them know that they have potential bottle bombs on their shelves.

04-04-01

Dos Costas Oeste explodes pours a cloudy tan orange. There is no head thanks to what I noted above. The nose is sour with some slight hints of grapefruit. I also got some notes of pineapple, orange, and what I’m calling tropical funk.

The taste is funky. There is a slight toasty flavor upfront and then sourness comes in behind. The grapefruit from the wood spirals is also there but I didn’t get any notes of wood from the spirals. As most of the carbonation went out of the bottle when I popped the cap, the beer was pretty flat.

Even though this beer was infected and even though I only got a small bit of what I bought, I still like the overall flavor in this beer. It is very different and it didn’t taste infected. I’m not sure if it was supposed to sour like it did, but I didn’t think that it took away from the flavor at all. I wish I had a full bottle of this one to try and I hope that I get to taste a proper batch of this at some point in the future. Just remember, if you see this on the shelves and it has Dec 2012 on it, stay away and tell the store that it has been recalled.

Beer Review #244 Pumpkin Lager

I told myself that I wouldn’t buy seasonal beer this year, but I caved on the pumpkin beer front. Call it research for my pumpkin ale. When I saw Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager I grabbed it for two reasons, 1.) I never heard of a pumpkin lager and 2.) I never had anything from the Lakefront Brewery.

This beer pours a pale orange color and it is perfectly clear. A thin white head floats along the top for a moment and then fades into the beer. The nose has the typical pumpkin beer spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and clove) along with a touch of light sweetness. The bottle says that this is a “beer brewed with pumpkin and pumpkin spices.” I didn’t notice any true pumpkin odor but the spices were nice and seemed to be balanced.

There is a touch of caramel sweetness when first tasting this beer which is followed by some pumpkin flavor. The spices are very light and they don’t provide a bite that spices normally give to the end of a beer. I didn’t mind it but I would have liked a period to the end of the beer if you will. After a few sips I noticed a weird lagerish taste, like a flat metallic flavor. Not a fan of that.

Lakefront Brewery provided my first pumpkin lager and I’m left a bit torn. The first few sips were decent, but the metallic flavor just turned me off. I don’t think that the lager quality, i.e. sulfur, really works in this style of beer. I think I’m going to stick to a few other pumpkin beers next year in lieu of this beer. (more…)

Beer Review #80 Old Fezziweg

Samuel Adam’s is probably the largest brewery in the World who puts out seasonal beers. They don’t only put out one seasonal beer, but generally several. Winter time usually brings out their Winter Lager, but Old Fezziweg is another seasonal favorite from Boston Beer Company. This beer is a traditional winter warmer and comes in at 5.9% ABV. It is also brewed with several spices including ginger, cinnamon, and orange peel. Those spices and ingredients are typical of a winter warmer style beer, particularly an English version of the beer.

Old Fezziweg pours a dark ruby color with a thin tan head. It is clear, but dark enough to not alert you to the brewer’s skill. The nose is a bit flat, but there is some ginger in there. I also picked up a bit of heat, but it could of been from the spices. Overall there isn’t a lot going on upon first inspection. The taste is malty with some slight roast. The ginger again presents itself but I was unable to really find the other spices. There was a bit of a bite on the end, but I attributed it more to hops than spice.

This ale is pretty drinkable but it isn’t packed with flavor. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really suit my palette. I think this beer is nice for newcomers to craft beer because it is very reserved in terms of flavor. As a “seasoned” craft beer drinker I thought this one was a bit too “mass produced” feeling. It is a good beer, but I wanted more of everything (flavor, aroma, aftertaste, etc..) from it. Pick it up and try for yourself. It is a good starting point for beers of the style but there are other examples out there. (more…)