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042715_00

Schlafly Golden Ale Beer Review

042715_01I came across a Schlafly special release beer at the beer store yesterday and I grabbed a six pack to try it out. Schlafly Golden Ale, brewed by the Saint Louis Brewery, is a Belgian Style golden ale that hits at a surprisingly high 7% ABV. This is their spring/early summer release beer and this style of beer┬áties in nicely with the changing of the season. I’ve been a big fan of Schlafly beers in the past which is by I purchased this beer over several other worthy competitors.

Schlafly Golden Ale pours a beautiful golden color. It is perfectly clear and has about one finger of white head that collapses relatively quickly. You really can’t get a nicer looking Belgian golden ale than this beer. It’s very photogenic and I may have spent too much time grabbing pictures of this one. The nose is full of Belgian esters, mainly banana and fruit. There is a little malt in there and some heat but the main thing that shines though are the esters. This beer smells like a Belgian ale in all of the best ways. It’s clean, round, and full.

The beer is nicely carbonated. I noticed a tickle on my tongue on when taking my first sip. The Belgian esters flow right from the aroma to the taste. They give the beer a great flavor that is fruity and estery at the same time. The beer gains a nice peppery flavor as well which really adds some complexity. ┬áThere are some light biscuit and wheat flavors that the malt offers up to help add to the beer. This golden ale ends on a grassy, spicy hop note that cleans out the beer and makes it finish with all of the right things. The aftertaste left behind is wonderful. It’s fruit, spicy, and slightly sweet.

I enjoyed this beer a great deal. My only complaint would be that I would like to have just a bit more body. It seemed slightly watery to me, but that could just be my preference in a golden ale coming through. I really liked this beer from start to finish. It’s super drinkable and would be easy drinking in the late spring, early summer timeframe.

04-03-00

Beer Review #324 Spring Blonde

04-03-03As I said last week, New Belgium Brewing Company always has something new on the shelves when I visit the beer store. This go around they had a new beer to me, Spring Blonde. The bottle says that it is a “Belgian Style Ale… Inspired by our anniversary bike trips through Belgium, Spring Blonde is a bright golden ale with a sweet, lemony start, oedaling to a pleasantly bitter finish.” It comes in at 6% ABV.

Spring Blonde, true to it’s labeling, pours a nice golden color. It has a thin white head and it is perfectly clear. The nose is sweet and slightly bready. There isn’t a lot else going on but I would consider the aroma grassy.

On the first taste I got a slight bit of sweetness upfront but there isn’t a ton of malt flavor to be found. After the sweetness fades, a bitterness kicks in and follows through the rest of the beer. I didn’t get much, if any, Belgian yeast notes but more of a lager, sulfur flavor. The bitterness doesn’t sit totally right for me. It seems a bit out of balance with the beer and doesn’t taste like other blondes that I’ve had.

I didn’t really get this beer. It shows promise but it is a bit out of balance in my eyes and it just doesn’t drink nicely. It’s a light beer on the tongue and drinks fairly easily, but it’s not for me. (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 #235 Somersault

It has been over six months since I last had a beer from New Belgium Brewing Company. For the most part, they haven’t had a lot of new beer in my neck of the woods. Sure they have the occasional Lips of Faith beers, but they are super expensive compared to other similar styles so I usually don’t pick them up. Although I will pick up as many bottles of Kick as I can find if I see it around, no matter the price. Somersault was a beer that I wasn’t planning on getting but I need something to complete my mix and match six pack.

Somersault is a golden ale style beer that comes in at 5.2% ABV. It pours a clear golden color with just a hint of orange. The head is thin and white and fades away pretty quickly. The nose is pretty bready with a hint of fruitiness. There really wasn’t much going on in the nose, but what I did get I enjoyed.

On my first taste I was surprised to find how light the malt tasted while still being sweet. Usually a really light malt character results in a malt lacking in actual flavor, but this one was sweet. There was a slight fruit flavor which could have come from the yeast or possibly the hops. To keep on the mindset of hops, this beer has none. I didn’t get any real bitterness or traditional hop flavor out of this one. I don’t know if I had an old bottle or if it just didn’t ever exist.

This beer isn’t bad but it is nothing to write home about. It is neutral enough for new craft beer drinkers to enjoy but it will leave most craft beer drinkers wanting. On a hot day this beer would probably be nice, but I don’t think I’ll be grabbing this one to complete a six pack again. (more…)

Beer Review #234 Big Wave Golden Ale

This is my fifth beer review of Kona Brewing Company. For the most part I have had good experiences with one notable exception. This is the first new beer that I have seen from them in some time (I really want to forget that brown ale) so I grabbed a bottle or two when I was at the beer store. One thing I do want to say about Kona before I get to the beer review is that I love their style. Their bottles feel like Hawaii. As someone who digs bottle art and marketing in general, I appreciate what they can capture on a small bottle.

As expected of a beer name Big Wave Golden Ale this beer pours a clear golden color with a solid white head. The first thing that struck me about the nose was the citrus aroma with a slight hop twinge. Usually citrus hops scream out, but this one had a strong smell of citrus without the hop craziness. A nice malt sweetness and bread mix into the citrus to really make this a round nosed beer.

On the first taste citrus makes a reappearance with a nice light lemon flavor mixed in. A light hop flavor carries all of the way through the beer. It is by no means strong but it does present itself from front to back. There isn’t a lot of hop flavor even as the beer warms. I think the light hop flavor knocked out any malt flavors that existed.

This was a lighter beer that I found very refreshing. The citrus hops very crisp at the end of the drink and really cleaned everything up well. I think this beer makes up for my past experience with Kona. (more…)