Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample
The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.
Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.
The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.
I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. Continue reading →
I have finally gotten rid of my turkey hangover (to be clear, from food, not booze) and I am back to beer reviews. I asked if anyone was having anything special for Thanksgiving on Facebook, but I never answer the question myself. I had lot’s of homebrew along with today’s beer, Peak Organic Brewing Company’s Fall Summit Ale. I really enjoy POBC for their ability to capture a fresh, clean, and crisp hop nose.
Fall Summit Ale pours a nice orange amber color and has a full white head. It looks like a nice fall beer, the color matches the season. The nose has bunches of bright citrus hops. This beer doesn’t smell IPA hoppy, but the clarity shown by the hops is really nice. The hops really fill the nose and push everything else out of the way. In short, it’s wonderful.
There is a bit of malt up front which is followed by a good toasted, nutty malt flavor. The citrus hops do not stay at bay for long and flood in and wash out everything else. Unlike a lot of beers with a flood of hops, this is a nice transition and just leaves you wanting to take another sip.
I really liked this one. I wouldn’t consider it a fall beer as it doesn’t really have anything to do with season, but it is really enjoyable. Peak continues to live up to its name.
In the past few years I have heard a whole lot about Firestone Walker Brewing Company and how amazing their beers are. Until recently, they have not distributed to my area and I haven’t been to an area that they did distribute to so I was SOL. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing the shelves of the beer store and stumbled upon a whole bunch of Firestone Walker beer. Now I didn’t get to grab as many as I wanted, you know budgets and all of that, but I did grab a Union Jack IPA. I have been on a slight IPA kick recently, and generally west coast IPAs do a good job of filling my IPA need. Firestone Walker is located in Paso Robles, CA and a quick Google search shows that area being in the middle of Los Angles and San Jose, IPA country.
A nice orange colored liquid flows out of the stout bottle along with a fluffy white head. The nose is pretty sweet with a good mix of hop aromas. There was lots of grapefruit and pine to go around with this one. Union Jack IPA is 7.5% ABV and I didn’t get a single drop of that on the nose of this beer.
There is a light malt flavor on the front end of this beer which is then follow by a healthy kick of hops. They are mainly citrus in flavor. I found them to be a wonderful mix of crisp but also lasting. By that I mean that the beer finishes out, but a fresh hoppy aftertaste stays. This isn’t like some hops that just stay on your tongue and don’t leave, these hops are squarely in the aftertaste realm.
I really dug this IPA. I found everything about it refreshing. It was perfectly balanced and didn’t have a ton of piney hops. The hops really flowed in well and then faded out. I might have to pick up more Firestone Walker beers if this beer is any indication of the quality of beer they produce. Continue reading →
I am way behind on beer reviews, in fact, I had to save some of the fall beers for next year since it seems a bit silly to be posting pumpkin beers at this point in the year. I am committed to knocking out all of the winter beers before the winter actaully ends this year. On my last trip to State Line Liquors I picked up a hoard of winter beers. In fact I grabbed every winter beer I could find with the exception of some pricey 750 ml Belgian bottles. First Snow Ale by RJ Rockers Brewing Company was one of the last beers I saw.
This beer is brewed in Spartanburg, South Carolina and I’ve never heard of the brewery before so I was eager/leery of trying it. It seems fitting to post this tonight as snow is falling outside of my window. This winter offering pours a nice amber color and is accompanied by a fluffy, off-white head. It is crystal clear as I would of expected. The label says that honey and spices are used in the brewing of this beer. I noticed some honey sweetness on the nose, but no spices. I did get some slight grapefruit from the hops.
On the first taste I was surprised by the complexity of the beer. The spices tingle the tongue and the flavor is not nearly as hoppy as the nose suggests. There was also some nice bread notes to accompany the overall flavor. I was very happy with this purchase. First Snow Ale comes in at 6% ABV so it doesn’t rock your socks off, but it is a solid beer. I could see myself drinking this year round. It was refreshing and well balanced. I would recommend this beer to you if you see it. Continue reading →
I have a few more winter seasonal beers to get though but today’s review comes all the way from Yorkshire, England. It is Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale. I’ve had a few other Samuel Smith beers before and I have liked every single one. I think their Oatmeal Stout should be the standard of the style because it is just so perfect. Samuel Smith’s is also Yorkshire’s oldest brewery and dates back to 1758.
The beer pours a nice amber, copper color with a large fluffy head that quickly fades to a thin lace. It is perfectly clear and looks more the part of a winter beer than my last review did. The nose on the beer is full of a lot of fruity esters. In particular grape and dried fruit comes to mind. There is a bit of malt sweetness in there, but the fruit is the most prevalent smell. I didn’t get much in the way of hops on the nose though.
On the first sip, it tasted like an English pub ale with more than normal fruity esters. The fruit really comes through on the back-end of the beer. There was very limited malt flavor throughout the drink. There was also a bit of the hop bite on the end but it also finishes very crisp. The beer is extremely dry, perhaps one of the most dry beers that I have ever had. And the aftertaste is mostly biscuit and toasty flavors. It is an amazingly complex beer that really allows you to sample each layer.
This beer would be excellent for anyone who loves English ales. It isn’t hoppy at all and is packed with flavor. The flavors are not overwhelming, they are layered and a bit hidden. The more you drink it, the more things you find to taste. This ale comes in at 6% ABV. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this beer, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you like complex beers or English ales, this one is for you. Continue reading →