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03-17-00

Beer Review #319 Cultivator Helles Bock

03-17-02Even though there is another snowstorm smacking parts of the Mid-Atlantic today spring is right around the corner. Spring means that it is helles bock season! One of the newest helles bock beers, or simply helles for short, is Cultivator Helles Bock by Troegs Brewing Company.  I was at their brewery in Hershey about a month ago and I had no idea they were going to be releasing a new beer.

Cultivator pours a nice yellow orange and has a thin white head that fades to just a covering. The nose has a slight bit of sulfur along with the typical “lager smell.” It also has a great honey-like sweetness along with a crisp biscuit. I really like the combination of odors going on in this beer. I didn’t get any hops as expected.

On the first taste I did notice the flavor at first, instead I noticed how nicely this beer drank. The flavors are wonderful, but this beer took me back to my trip to Germany. It’s darn authentic and lovely. Past the nostalgia, Cultivator is big everything a helles should be. It starts with a nice light sweetness that is intertwined with biscuit and wonderfulness.  The hops come in an provide a nice bit of balancing but still leave it a bit more on the sweet end of the scale. The hops taste fresh and floral.

I could seriously drink this beer all day. It’s wonderful and makes me want to sit down with some German meatloaf, potatoes, and a fried egg. Yup, it really did take me back to Germany. I will be purchasing more of this beer shortly. (more…)

05-06-05

Beer Review #290 Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

05-06-03On my last visit to the beer store I saw a large display of a new beer to the area, Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Ga. I never tasted their beer and a Rye Pale Ale sounded delightful, so I picked up a six pack along with a few other beers.

This Rye Pale Ale pours a light copper color with a thin white head. It is perfectly clear and looks really nice in the light. The nose didn’t give me the sense of hops. I got a strong dose of honey-like sweetness and some bready notes. There was a slight rye malt, but not as much as what I was hoping for. After a bit more smelling, I finally found a light citrus hop odor. I like my pale ales a little more malt forward, so this one fit the bill.

The honey carries over to the flavor and the rye/honey combination really plays nicely. The bread also comes in and adds a nice roundness to the taste of this beer. Hops come in at the end and provide a light hop bitterness. I mainly got pine from the hops and oddly no rye spiciness. I know that some say that rye doesn’t deliver a spicy component, but I would argue that it does, especially when given a proper hop profile to work with. It’s one of those flavors that can be masked or enhanced depending on what is around it. This beer doesn’t add to the spicy notes that I’m used to at the end, but it does allow for the rye to shine upfront.

This isn’t a bad pale ale, but I do wish it had something more to it. There is a lot of potential there, but it tastes a bit watered down to me. I’m going to contradict myself from earlier and say that I wanted this beer to be more aggressive with the hops. Malt forward is great, but in a pale ale, the hops also need to shine. I have a few other beers from this brewery to review but I think I will pass on this one next time around. It’s not a bad beer by any means, it’s just not one for me. (more…)

Beer Review #289 Sprung

04-28-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company puts out a lot of really nice beer, and their selection is only growing. I recently had one of their barrel aged beers, which was a little sweet for my tastes. I have several other of their limited/season beers waiting to be reviewed and Srung happen to be up today.

Srung is an “ale brewed with hibiscus, chamomile, and honey.” It comes in at a nice, sessionable 4.9% as well. Sprung pours a light amber color and has an off-white head. There are some floaties in there which I wasn’t expecting but it is thanks to the yeast used to carbonate the beer. The nose is very pleasant, with some really nice bready/toasty notes. There is some slight honey along with some slight malt sweetness to be found as well.

On the first taste I was really surprised at the about of bread flavor to be found. I was expecting some of the additions to take a larger roll upfront, but bread wins out. A bit of honey can be found as well. Midway through the drink, a nice sweetness builds in on the backend of the beer. A slight hop flavor (just a bit of bitterness) cleans out the sweetness and end the beer.

I really liked this one. It is well balanced but still malt forward. It’s hard to find a beer that is malt forward without being overly sweet, but this one does it. The bread/toast flavor is very nice as well and really fills out the beer. Sprung is still on shelves so buy it while you can. (more…)

Beer Review #279 Hyve

03-30-02Uinta Brewing Company is quickly become a favorite of my. Everything that I have had by them has been quality. Peak Organic Brewing Company was my favorite “new” (to me) brewery for some time, but Uinta has taken its spot. I originally bought today’s beer, Hyve, for my wife as the bottle said “honey ale.” My wife loves honey and while I haven’t had a beer that has a strong honey flavor in my life, I figured that I could give this one a shot.

Hyve pours an orange copper color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin, off-white head. The nose is full of malt wonderfulness. It starts off as typical malt and then bleeds into biscuit and bread aromas. The nose is pretty sweet and there are some hints of honey in there.

On the first taste I was shocked by the malt flavor that comes out in this beer. It has a crisp bread flavor that melds with some good toasty notes. There is a slight honey flavor in the malt, but it’s not different from other malt sweetness that I have had in other beers. There is no hops to taste in this one, it’s malt or nothing. While this beer doesn’t really deliver on the honey end it is very solid. Honey is an almost impossible flavor to capture in beer as it is 100% fermentable and thus, doesn’t leave much in the way of flavor. The honey sweetness that I found in this beer is thanks solely to the malt bill.

This is just an awesome beer. I haven’t really been looking for malt forward beers, but this one makes me rethink that. The crisp biscuit flavor is endlessly enjoyable. Some might find fault with the lack of honey or hops, but this beer makes up for those items in so many way. For me, Uinta delivers again. I’ve actually gone back and purchased more of this beer in the past few days, a rarity for me. (more…)

Beer Review #273 Saint Saltan

02-26-03Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

Magic Hat Brewing Company was nice enough to send me some samples of their spring seasonal variety pack. Included is today’s beer, a Rye IPA, and a second yearer Pistil. I’m not going to re-review Pistil as I have already done it here, but it was much more flavorful then I remember it being. I remarked last year that it would be nice on a warm day, but I had it while it was sleeting out and found it very quenching. Anyway, on to today’s beer, Saint Saltan which is a Gose that comes in at 4.6%. The brewery has the following to say about the beer:

A pious piece of a seldom-brewed German style, Saint Saltan is tart, light and crisp. Salt and coriander combine with traditional Hallertaur hops to create a holy and sessionable sipping experience.

Saint Saltan pours a nice golden color with a slight haze that clears as the beer sits. There is a thin white head that also fades as the beer is allowed to breathe a bit. The nose is nice and bready along with some honey malt odors. It is actually a little grainy and smells fresh. I didn’t get any hops or anything else to make note of. The earthy grain smell is wonderful on this one.

On my first taste I was actually surprised to taste a nice bit of salt. Usually I’m not a fan of salty beers (especially in IPAs) but this beer’s salt component is minor, but noticeable. The slight salt then fades into a mild sour note. As I continued to drink the beer the salt and sourness faded away and some really nice malt flavors came out. Nothing on this beer is super assertive in the flavor department but each piece says quiet and comes out in stages. It was really interesting to taste the flavor progression on this one. You usually don’t get sour notes that fade away, but they really do on this one.

This beer is easily drinkable and enjoyable. At 4.6% you could easily knock a few of these out in a sitting. It’s not my preferred beer style per say but I did find myself disappointing that they send a limited number of samples. If anyone from Magic Hat is reading this I would like to demand more free samples /sarcasm. This beer is pretty solid and I think that I would enjoy it while watching my Phillies fail in Spring Training. (more…)