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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.

 

03-13-00

Beer Review #318 Old Horizontal

03-13-02It’s no secret that I am a big supporter of Victory Brewing Company. They are one of my local favorites and I genuinely enjoy the vast majority of their beers.  They are in the process of opening up a second brewery as they cannot expand anymore at their current spot and they also have been releasing some new beers. Today’s beer is not new, but it has returned to production after missing the last year because of capacity issues, Old Horizontal. I have previously reviewed the oaked version of this beer, Oak Horizontal. Let’s see how the original stacks up.

Old Horizontal, get name, is a barelywine ale that comes in at 11%. For some reason my bottle is a 22oz and not a more responsible 12 oz. The beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a light tan head. The beer is perfectly clear and looks great through the light. The nose is complex and deep. The first thing that I got was a nice malt sweetness. The malt quickly gives way to an array of hops. They are piney and earthy in smell and hit the nose hard. It’s not IPA hoppy, but it’s hoppy for a barelywine. I don’t get any heat on the nose.

The taste starts light but finishes with a punch. The malt is present in this beer with a nice caramel and biscuit flavor that is distinct  and enjoyable. A heavy hand of hops comes in and knocks out any malt sweetness whatsoever. The hops are bright and pungent. I mainly get pine from them along with some pine sap flavors. There are some dark fruits hidden in the back but the hops really mask them. I also get a good dose of heat mixed in with the hops. This beer lets you know that it is in charge and lives up to its name. (more…)

08-06-03

Beer Review #306 Palate Wrecker

08-06-03Green Flash Brewing Company has been increasing their distribution to my area recently and I’m a happy guy because of it. When I saw a beer named Palate Wrecker on the shelves of the beer store, I just had to buy it. I’m such a sucker for a good name/label. I took a look at the bottle before purchasing and this one clocks in at 9.5%. I think Palate Wrecker is just part of what this beer wrecks on your body.

Palate Wrecker pours a orange color and it is perfectly clear. The head is super thick and off-white. The nose is packed with hops. Pungent hops. Palate altering hops. The grapefruit and pine is more than almost any beer that I have ever smelled. I love big hops, but this one seems over the top.\

I did get a slight malt flavor on my first sip but it was short-lived. The hop train came in and knocked out everything else that was there. The hops just wash over your tongue and blow out every taste bud. The hops start as a citrus flavor and then a hammer of pine comes in and cleans any other flavor out of your mouth. I know that hops are supposed to numb your taste buds, but this is the first beer that I have ever had that actually lives up to that tale.

I LOVE this beer. It’s big and bold and in charge. I’ve never had a beer that left my mouth feeling the way that this one did. I guess this falls into the double IPA range and it delivers on every end of that. The hop flavor and brutality of this beer are second to none. I highly suggest this beer. (more…)

09-05-28-03

Magic Hat Brewing Company Hi.P.A Beer Review

09-05-28-03Magic Hat Brewing Company has continued to produce some new beers. I recently saw their spring seasonal at the the six pack store, and I was in the mood for something hoppy, so I grabbed it. The bottle looks pretty funky, like something out of the 60’s. Then again, most of Magic Hat’s stuff looks a little on the funky side.

The beer comes in at 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs. I opened the beer and eagerly awaited the inside the cap message. My first beer said, “break the cage of the digital age.” I always enjoy a beer that has a message inside the cap. Particularly when it is something interesting and not just a list of their awards (Sam Adams).  Hi.P.A pours a cloudy orange color and has a great aroma. It smells almost like raw hops are in it. I don’t know if I got a fresh bottle or not, but it really suprised me. It had a nice head that lasted through the whole beer and had great lacing.

09-05-28-04On the first taste I caught some nice sweet malt with some hops. The hop aroma is much stronger then the actual hop flavor, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you are looking for. There is  a nice orangy zesty flavor in there. Overal nice and citerousy with good malt to back it up.

I think this is a pretty typical IPA. The hops are there but not overpowering and the smells are great. I might of actually enjoyed the smell more then the actual beer. Not that it is a bad beer, but it isn’t that different from any good IPA. If I saw this again at the six pack store I would probably look around a bit to see if there was anything else I didn’t try yet. I was good, but not great, but if you like IPA this would be right up your alley. (more…)

Victory Brewing Company Sampler Beer Review

09-05-14-05

A few weeks ago a few friends and I went to Victory Brewing Company for a tour as part of one of our brewery tour weekends. We actaully stopped a Victory twice during the day; once to grab brunch and again to grab a drink before heading home for the day.

Victory has recently redone their enitre eating area and it looks amazing. There is copper everywhere, the bar is amazing, and the beer selection is out of this world. On our visit there were over twenty beers on tap and six beers in casks. Yeah, that’s a lot of beer. I got a sampler to split with one of my friends and we chose six wonderful beers. We had three beers from the cask and three from the tap. 09-05-14-02

Tap

  • Old Horizonal
  • Wild Devil
  • Storm King

Cask

  • Hop Wallop
  • Hop Devil
  • Baltic Thunder

09-05-14-03I’ve had most of these beers before but there is something about drinking at 11 o’clock in the morning in a brewery with the smell of yeast around you that makes everything better. Later in the day I also had a pint of Moon Glow, which was wonderful.

A few quick notes about the beers. Old Horizonalwill kick you in the mouth and the alochol is super high, even in the taste. Storm King is much better when it gets a little warmer and the roasty flavors start coming out more. Baltic Thunder is a solid beer that is a perfect fit for early spring. You can see my notes on Hop Wallop here, but it is fantastic on cask. Hop Devil on cask puts the beer into a new category. Finally Wild Devil is basically the same as Hop Devil with a few minor differences. Victory gets very crowded on weekends, esipcailly around dinner time. If you visit, I would suggest going early, when the smell of yeast is still in the air and yuppy cologne is not.

09-05-14-01

If you don’t get the last image, you need to watch Entourage on HBO.