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12-18-00

Beer Review #311 G-Thing

12-18-03The good folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their winter beers. The first was a return to the line-up in Heart of Darkness. I still really enjoy that beer and I’ve actually gone to seek out more on my own accord. Today’s beer is named G-Thing. When I read the label my first thought was “that’s an awesome gingerbread man” and my second though, well more of a song, was Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t Nothing But A G Thang. Yup, I went there.

G-Thing pours a nice deep dark brown that I half expected in a winter beer. There is a slight tan-ish head, but not a ton going on. The note of this beer is really interesting. You obviously get some ginger, and a good dose of it. Being the ginger there are some really nice bready notes. This beer surprised me in it’s ability to capture as much malt as it did. I wasn’t expecting that much malt to come through when compared to the ginger.

On the first taste I was very open to the malt flavors. They flowed in nicely and exhibited some nice dark caramels and bread notes. The ginger spice comes in about halfway through the drink and makes for a wonderful addition. I will full admit that I’m not much of a ginger fan, but this beer stays in balance. I didn’t get much in the way of hops but the beer finishes dry. It reminds me of an English style beer in that the malt and body are there until the end.

It was pretty easy to drink this beer quickly. It was refreshing and had a nice mix of flavors to stay interesting as it warmed. With the holidays quickly approaching this beer would make for a nice drinker during a holiday party. With the cold weather that we have had here on the east coast, I have found myself turning to this style of beer. I think it fits the season nicely and fulfills the goals of a seasonal beer.

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 #267 Rye on Rye

02-02-03As the cold weather settles in again my body craves big beers. Boulevard Brewing Company promised to fill my cravings. Rye on Rye is part of their Smokestack Series and it comes in at an impressive 12% ABV. The bottle says that it is “33% ale, 67% ale aged in rye whiskey barrels.” I’m always wary of whiskey barrel aged beers as they can be hit or miss. The hits are usually good but the misses are pretty bad. The bottle label also says that there were only 4,123 cases of this beer produced.

Rye on Rye pours orangish brown and is slightly cloudy. It comes with a solid, slightly off-white head. The nose is packed with whiskey odors. There is also some spicy hop aromas mixed with tobacco. I didn’t notice a drop of heat (unless you count whiskey) which shocked the hell out of me.¬†Usually these types of beers are drenched in heat.

On the first taste I got a really nice sweet malt flavor that quickly transitioned into a nice whiskey. There are notes of tobacco to be found in there as well. There were not really any hops to make note of but the spiciness of the whiskey and rye malt combination came through on the end. One thing I love about this beer is that it warmed on the whole way down. The warming feeling was gentle and slowly increased in perceived intensity.

This beer currently takes the cake for being my favorite whiskey barrel aged beer. It is super smooth and balanced in every way. While the whiskey is noticeable, it highlights the other flavors. For a strong beer, it doesn’t present any upfront heat. My wife, who usually hates this style of beer, fell in love with it as well. This is one of the more outstanding beers that I have had in a long time. If you are lucky enough to get one of these, treasure it. I loved it and I hope that I can find another bottle soon. (more…)

Beer Review #41 Winter Welcome Ale

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. (more…)

Custom Brewcrafters English Pale Ale Beer Review

09-02-19-05A friend of mine lived in upstate New York for the past few years and he brought me a bottle of Custom Brewcrafters’ English Pale Ale. He had previously brought me their Double Dark Cream Porter which I liked a great deal, so I figured this one would be on the same level.

09-02-19-02The bottle reads, “a well balanced amber ale with a smooth dry finish.” I opened the bottle to a nice pfff and it had a nice malty smell to it. There was a small bit of hops in there as well as a strange sour smell. I couldn’t put my nose to it, but there was something off. The beer pours a nice copper color but not super clear. There is a bit of cloudiness in there but as a homebrewer cloudiness is not a big deal.

Upon my first sip I couldn’t get very much mouthfeel. This beer felt very light and drinkable on basis of mouthfeel. Taste is another matter. There was not much malt flavor, the sour smell continued into the taste, and the hop bitterness stayed around just a little too long. The bottle was correct with the dry finish as the flavors drop right off of your tounge, but the bitterness lingers. It’s not a terrible beer by any strech, but it’s not a good one either. There was a little funk that threw this off. After checking around the net, it’s not just me that has had this problem with this brew. Maybe it is something they are trying to get into their beer, but it only takes away from it. If you are out and about and see this, pick it up if you have some extra cash, but better get a buddy give it to you for free like I did.

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