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04-28-00

Beer Review #327 Two Hearted Ale

I have an oldie but a goodie up for review today. Bell’s Brewery out of Michigan is one of the most respected craft breweries around, yet I haven’t reviewed a single one of their beers yet. Part of it is that they are hard to find in my area and the other part is that I usually drink them before I can get a review flushed out. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is one of the “classic” craft beers in the US.

The beer pours a nice orange color and has a few floaties in it. A thin off-white head also accompanies the liquid below. The nose is very floral with some bright hops. The hops are slightly tropical with citrus but also have a nice dank aroma to them. The odor isn’t overly sweet like many IPAs and it captures the hops wonderfully.

O04-28-02n the first taste you don’t get a lot of malt. There is some sweetness but it isn’t well defined. The hops come in quickly and provide some wonderful flavor notes. Tropical fruits, citrus, and grapefruit dominate the flavor arena for a bit before a strong pine hop comes in and cuts any sweetness present. The piney note is an exclamation mark on the beer and really separates the beer into two areas, pre-pine and post-pine. The post-pine flavor is very nice and slightly spicy. I also got the slightest amount of heat towards the end of this beer.

Bell’s has done a wonderful job with this beer. The hops are shown off so nicely that it’s hard to fully explain with text. I love all of the different flavors and aromas of hops showcased in this beer. It is a pleasure to drink and I hope that I can experience more of their beers in the future.

 

03-03-00

Beer Review #315 Olde School

03-03-02With yet another snowstorm hitting the east coast my mindset is squarely in barelywine mode. Unlike a lot of people, I love barelywines at anytime of the year, but there is something special about them as the snow is falling. They tend to be filling, warming, and just wonderful in all of the ways needed to survive the winter. Dogfish Head makes a ton of beers, but Olde School is one of my favorites. It comes in at 15% and is solidly in the “sipper category” of beers.

The beer pours a nice orange to amber color and is a bit on the cloudy side of things. It has a medium off-white head which lasts for longer than expected, being a high alcohol beer and all. The nose is complex and full, as a barelywine should be. The first thing that I get from this beer is grape and dried fruits. There is a bit of a sour funk in there, but in a big beer kind of way. If that makes sense. There is a lot of sweetness to the nose along with a slight heat. I always expect heat on a beer of this strength, but Olde School has a light touch on the nose in this respect. There are no real hops to the nose from what I can smell.

The taste is big on the malt. There is a slight roast on the end but a round caramel flavor comes in and really makes this beer chewy. The dried fruits are there along with some dark undertones to add a nice layer of complexity. There may not be a lot of heat on the nose, but it is very noticeable when tasting the beer. It’s a bit on the “too much” end of the scale, but all of the other components really draw me back. The hops make an appearance nicely in this beer. They are mixed throughout and give the beer a nice earthy flavor. They are bitter, but not over the top and help balance out the massive malt.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I really dig this beer. I think it fits in with the season and the barelywine style of beer. The bottle says “beer [that] ages with the best of ’em” and I think that’s 100% true. I have bottles of this beer that go back 3 years and it’s interesting to see  how the beer changes over time, but that’s a post for another time.  (more…)

07-28-02

Beer Review #303 Sixty-One

07-28-04Dogfish Head recently added a new beer to their year-round group of beers and that beer happens to be the subject of today’s review/ Sixty-One is a “continually-hopped India Pale Ale brewed with Syrah grape must.” Dogfish certainly takes advantage of their continually hopped process at their brewery and adding grape must is an interesting addition to an IPA. This IPA comes in at a healthy 6.5% ABV.

Sixty-One pours a purplish-red and it is perfectly clear. There is a thin purplish-red head that sits on top of the liquid below. In all honesty, it looks like carbonated, watered-down wine. There is a hop nose to the beer but it isn’t sharp or overly bitter. There is some grape in the background but more than anything, a very strong earthy aroma comes out of this beer.

On the first sip I was really surprised at the amount of grape flavor that hits your tongue. The grape flavor stays through the whole drink and a hops enter at the very end. The hops are very nondescript, but come across as a bit earthy and have general bitterness. The beer finishes dry with a bit of a wine flavor.

This sure is an interesting beer, but I’m still not sure if the marriage of hops and grapes works out. The grape flavor is actually pretty nice and edges on being too powerful but the hops just don’t work for me. I would like to try a toned down version of this beer but as it sits currently, this is not one that I’ll be getting again. (more…)