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Beer Review #237 Responders Ale

16 Mile Brewing Company is becoming on of my favorite local breweries. Sure they don’t turn out the volume or variety of their neighbor Dogfish Head, but they do turn out quality, drinkable beers. The owner of 16 Mile, Chad Campbell recently did an interview with the guys from the Better Beer Authority, check it out here.

Responders Ale pours a clear golden straw color. It has a nice dense white head that does not quickly fade. The nose has a good helping of malt along with a complimentary citrus odor from the hops. There are also some hints of honey mixed in there.

A nice light malt flavors kicks this beer off and is followed by the additional malt notes of honey and bread. The hops come in at the end and provideĀ  a small kick. They scream citrus and do a nice job of balancing out the malt. I still think this beer is a bit malt forward, but there is nothing wrong with that.

This beer comes in at 4.1% so you can easily down a few of these. The beer was designed as a thank you to emergency responders. I really liked this one. It has a fresh quality that can only come from a locally brewed beer. I think this one fits in perfectly into the summer beer category. I wish that I would have tired this earlier so that I could have enjoyed more of them. (more…)

Beer Review #216 Urkontinent

Today I have a new limited release beer from Dogfish Head called Urkontinent. To make this beer DFH asked people what ingredients they would like to see used in a beer. They then narrowed down the choices to five. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “ale brewed with wattle seed, amaranth, rooibos, myrica gale, and honey.” I have no idea what any of those things taste like except for honey so this review is going to be fun. O yeah, I forgot to mention that this beer comes in at 8% ABV.

Urkontinent pours a nice brownish color with hints of ruby near the light. It has a medium tan head that quickly collapses on itself leaving just a hit of what was there. The nose is very malty with a lot going on. To be honest, I couldn’t identify all of the smells, but a nice malt sweetness was the big winner with some nice deep dark chocolates in the background. I love trying new and different beers but I hate when I hit a roadblock on describing flavors and smells. DFH does a good job of confusing my tastebuds.

On the first taste I thought this one was a little strange. There is a slight fruitness to the beer along with some heat. The chocolates from the nose are well mixed into the background. There was a slight “Belgian grape” flavor that ran throughout this beer. One thing that kind of threw me off about this beer was how thin it was compared to the ABV. I was expecting something thicker, but this one was water thin. I wish it had a bit more chew to it, but I did find it refreshing.

I apologize for not properly describing this beer, but I just don’t know how to react to it. There are a number of subtle flavors that a better tongue could identify, but I just can’t. I do know that I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if I enjoyed the taste or the experience/challenge more. I guess this is one that you have to try for yourself.


Beer Review #215 Pistil

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The nice folks at Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me another sampler of beers, this time for their summer line-up. Later this week I will review the other beer they sent me, but today’s beer is Pistil. Pistil is a beer brewed with dandelions, that’s right dandelions. They have always been a strange beer ingredient to me, but my buddy Pete has brewed a few beers with dandelions with varying degrees of success. According to Magic Hat’s website, there are a number of other ingredients that are used in this beer that make it a bit strange.

Pistil pours a light golden color and it is super cloudy. A thick white head comes out of the beer but quickly fades back into it leaving just a trace on top of the liquid. The nose is sweet with hints on honey. I got a light toasted smell on my second whiff. There were no hops to speak over and nothing that would alert the drinker that they were about to try something brewed with dandelions.

On the front end of the beer you get some light malt flavor; raw and grainy. It then carries into a light fruity flavor. A slight spicy hop kicks in right at the end to help finish out the beer. I found the end of this one to be slightly grassy. Along with the all of the other flavors, this beer is slightly sour which really works well with everything else going on. I don’t know what dandelions taste like in beer, but I’m not sure if I could detect them even if I did.

This beer isn’t bad and would make an excellent light summer beer. It’s a bit different than your typical summer beer which is nice. I would give this one another one a try when the summer decides to turn the outside thermostat up a few degrees. Generally these types of beers I find to be a bit “gimmicky” but this one was actually very drinkable. This is a perfect transition beer for someone just getting into craft beer or someone who has never had a craft beer before. (more…)

Beer Review #196 Blue Point Toasted Lager

Blue Point Brewing Company of Patchogue, New York generally seems to have one new beer each time I visit my local beer store. Their Toasted Lager is the most recent addition the shelves. Apparently this beer is only new to me though, as they consider it their flagship beer. It has also been honored with a silver and gold metal at the World Beer Cup. While I don’t take ratings or awards into much consideration when getting a beer (a post for another time), Blue Point is very proud of their awards as they are clearly displayed on the bottle for this lager.

Toasted Lager pours a nice light amber color and comes with and abundant white head. From my experience the head was very dense and thick for a lager. The nose had some slight lager sulfur along with some dull background hops. As expected their is a bready/toasted odor as well, which I found very pleasant.

There is some nice sweetness on the front-end of this beer which is quickly followed by a more defined sweetness of honey and light caramel. The toasted part of this beer’s namesake fades in very nicely and really provides a great depth of flavor. I didn’t get any hops on this beer. The toasted flavor and a light sweetness stay on the tongue a bit, but the flavor is nice and not overly cloying.

I enjoyed this beer and I could see myself enjoying a few of them at a sitting. It’s a bit sweet but the toasted flavor more than makes up for the sweetness. I would like to see a bit more in the way of hops to balance this beer out, but this beer delivers exactly what it says on the bottle, which is more than most beers can say. (more…)

Beer Review #191 Alpine Spring

Whenever I want to buy a case of beer on the cheap I generally turn to a variety pack from Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company). Recently I picked up their new variety pack which had three new beers in it, Alpine Spring being one of them. According to the bottle Alpine Spring is, “a bright citrusy unfiltered lager.” I’m assuming that this is the new Spring Seasonal from Sam Adams as you can also buy single cases of this beer.

Alpine Spring pours a light orange color and has a fluffy white head. The unfiltered part is immediately visible as this beer is hazy. You can see though it around the edges of the glass, but you cannot make out anything in the middle of the beer. The nose is full of citrus odors. They are not as bright as an IPA for instance, but they are very pleasant. I also noticed some slight sulfur mixed in which is very common in lagers.

This beer begins with a nice citrus hop on the front end. Usually you flow from malt to hops, but I got hop right away on this one. After the hops faded out of the picture a lot of really nice bready notes came into the scene. Some slight honey mixed in there as well. All of the flavors mixed well .

This is a very drinkable beer. The citrus addition to a lager is an interesting one. My wife loves this beer but I’m not entirely sold on it. I think it is a good beer, but the citrus lager mix just sit totally right with me. The malt component to this beer is great. I would love to try this beer with a traditional German hop and see if it agrees with me more. (more…)