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04-24-00

Beer Review #326 Natural Selection Ale

I can always count on Flying Dog Brewery to have a new beer available when I go to the store. This trip’s selection is Natural Selection Ale, which a a beer brewed by Flying Dog, but made in collaboration with Evolution Craft Brewing Company. I really can’t say enough about both of their breweries and the fact that they joined forces for a beer makes me down right giddy. This beer rocks in at 7.6% ABV and was made in three parts. Part one was the original beer which was then (Part two) taken and aged in cherry wood barrels at Evolution, and finally (Part three) dry hopped with Galaxy hops at Flying Dog. It seems like a lot of work and beer movement to make a beer, but I love when new things are tried out in the craft beer world.

This beer pours a hazy brown color. Hazy might be a bit nice, this beer is downright cloudy. It has a thin off-white head that sticks to the edges of the glass. The nose is nice and hoppy with the right amount of sweetness mixed in. The hops have a bit of a floral punch and really present a full, rich aroma.

On the first04-24-03 taste you get just a slight amount of sweetness in the front but it is quickly followed by a large train of hop bitterness. The hops provide a nice kick of bitterness but also contribute a great citrus/tropical flavor to the beer. There are some hints of wood behind the hop wall, but you really have to look for them. The beer is very clean with a great hop centerpiece. The hops stay through the end of the beer and leave on a clean, but slightly grassy end note.

I very much enjoyed this beer. I thought it was the right amount of different and showcased dry hopping very nicely. I love collaboration brewing and this is a solid example of how it can work out well. Grab em’ if you see them.

 

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…)

07-16-03

Beer Review #301 Imperial French Style Ale

07-16-02I’m always on the lookout for new beers and beer styles to sample and try. When I came across the Lavery Brewing Company’s Imperial French Style Ale, I just had to purchase it. It comes from Erie, PA and Lavery has a bit of a history of making some different styles of beer that you normally don’t find. I’m also a bit partial being from Pennsylvania.

Lavery’s Imperial French Style Ale pours a hazy straw color. This beer comes packed with carbonation which results in a thick white head. This nose has a slight hop around that was nondescript. A wet hay aroma cane be found along with some Belgian-like spice. A grassy note can also be found. It has a Belgian IPAness to it.

On the first taste I was really struck by how bright the hops were. The nose didn’t really let on that bright hops were to be found in this beer, but upon tasting, there they were. The hops are packed with citrus and have notes on lemon. There is a slight Belgian yeast note that comes out the more the beer warms. There is also a slight sourness mixed into the flavor that I rather enjoyed. All tolled, the malt wasn’t very powerful, but the hops and yeast notes make this an interesting tasting beer.

In my notes I wrote, “a very nice, confused beer.” It’s like a Belgian IPA with a funkier yeast than what you normally find. The hops are on par with other beers in the style by the yeast is more unique than others that I have tried. If you like IPAs, and more specifically Belgian IPAs, this will be an enjoyable, drinkable beer for you. I’m excited to try more of their stuff in the future. (more…)

05-12-03

Beer Review #291 Victory Swing

05-12-03We had our first set of warm days and it’s been pretty beautiful out for the last week or so. When it gets nice out like this saisons call my name. Swing brewing by Victory Brewing Company, is the first “session saison” that I have ever seen. It comes in at 4.5% and I believe that it is new to their line-up this year (though I’ve been known to be wrong before0.

Swing pours a cloudy golden color. It starts clear, but as the yeast get distributed, it becomes milky. A fluffy white head comes along with the pour and makes the beer look very presentable. The nose is really interesting as it has Belgian spices, sweetness, and some grassy hop odors. In addition, it has a touch of saison funk with some wet hay aromas. Really an interesting nose that draws you into the beer.

Upfront, this beer is super spicy with lots of Belgian spices, mainly clove, going on. Soon after a citrus hop flavor kicks in and adds a new dimension to the beer. The beer then transitions to include all three components of the nose to end out. I wrote in my notes that it has a “spicy/grassy/hoppy finish.”

This is by no means a traditional saison. It is much hoppier than you would normally expect out of a saison and doesn’t have a delicate body. It’s an interesting combination that works but it’s not something that I totally dig. Victory likes to hop everything and I think this beer would have been more enjoyable had it had less hops and more balance. (more…)

Beer Review #288 Brux

04-24-03I held off on buying this beer for some time. The local beer store had a number them sitting on the shelf for some time and I had a hunch that they would go on sale. Well they did (for $2 off) and I finally mustered the courage to buy one. Still cost $16 but that’s my limit for a 750 ml. Brux is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and, according to the bottle, this beer is “a dry and complex Belgian-style ale refermented in the bottle with Brettanomyces bruxellensis.” While the beer may have been brewed by Sierra Nevada, it’s actually a collaboration between them and Russian River. Sierra Nevada seems to be doing a lot of collaborating recently.

Brux pours a light orange color. It is hazy and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is sour/tart with a bit of a sharpness to it. There are some light bready malt notes but not much else to be found. It smells like the Lego candies that I used to get from the corner grocery store when I was a kid (Google it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about because you missed out).

On the first taste I was actually struck more by the carbonation than anything else. This beer is highly carbonated and the bubbles attack the front of your tongue. Once I got past the assault, I got into the sourness. UnlikeĀ  a lot of sour beers, this one is sour from start to finish, or what I wrote down as a “fill sourness.” There are some grassy notes mixed in there but the sourness dominates.A little funk is in there along with some peppery notes to boot.

This is an interesting beer. I would love to try it in a few years when the Brett has a chance to work its magic fully. One final note, this beer is a sneaky. It comes in at 8.3% but tastes nothing like that. I was shocked at how I felt after my first glass. I’ll get my hands on another bottle at some point in the future but for now, I have other beers that I want to try. (more…)