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Beer Review #153 Secret Stash Harvest Ale

Flying Dog Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland has been putting out a ton of beer recently. Two weeks ago I reviewed their Dogtoberfest, their take on an Oktoberfest style beer. I have yet another fall beer to review from Flying Dog. This beer is pretty special in the sense that Flying Dog uses a lot of local and unique ingredients in the making of this beer that “celebrate the season.” The bottle only indicates that this ale is “brewed with honey and spices,” but that’s not the whole story. This beer also has sweet corn, potatoes, green peppercorns, and grains of paradise in it as well. It sounds more like an ingredient list for a meal than a beer.

Secret Stash Harvest Ale pours a nice golden orange color and comes with a fluffy white head. The nose is really interesting as it changes as the beer sits for a bit. I first got some grapefruit, but not hops grapefruit. Some distant spice characteristics then came in but I couldn’t put my finger on the exact spice (probably peppercorn though). Finally some fresh honey entered the picture. All of these odors really mixed well together to create something that I haven’t smelled before.

On my first taste the hops were again not present, but the honey really hits. It is a light flavor, but once you notice it, you cannot stop noticing it. The spices then come in and judging from my notes, I thought it resembled nutmeg.This beer has a Belgian quality to it.

This ale comes in at 5.5% and it is something that I have never tasted before. I think it’s a pretty decent beer with lots of things going on. The spices really start kicking in as you get further into the drink, but not in a bad way. If you want to try something totally different, give this one a shot. (more…)

Beer Review #149 Southern Tier Harvest Ale

I’ve had a number of Southern Tier Brewing Company beers in the past, but none have appeared on this site until now. I am constantly surprised by the number of beers that I have had, but have not reviewed for this site yet. In any case, Southern Tier is located in Lakewood, New York and they recently put onĀ  a major addition to their brewery. I expect to be seeing a lot more of their beer in the stores soon.

Their Harvest Ale says clearly on the label, “4 varieties of hops and 2 different malts.” I guess this one isn’t going to be a malty monster full of caramel notes. This fall beer pours a nice light amber color with a fluffy white head. It is crystal clear if that matters to you.

The nose has loads of bright hops in it. They come off as floral and grapefruit. I was shocked at how fresh they smelled. It almost reminded me of a Peak Organic beer. I didn’t get anything other than hops in the aroma arena.The first taste has some nice sweet malt up front. The hops then kick in and take over. The same flavors promised in the aroma are there. Lots of grapefruit flavors flood over the sweet malt. The think that I found really interesting is that the hops don’t bite like a normal hop would. They rather melt into the malt than bite. It was an interesting experience and it really worked well.

This beer is clearly hop forward, but because of the way the hops come in the beer has the impression of being more balanced than it is. The bright hops made this one wonderfully drinkable and made me want more. I think I’m going back to the store to grab another sixer of this beer, I liked it that much. (more…)