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Beer Review #224 Koko Brown

I have reviewed a number of Kona Brewing Company beers in the past with generally good results. I rarely see a new beer from them on the shelves of my local beer store so I grabbed a few bottles of Koko Brown when I saw it. The bottle says that it is an “ale brewed with toasted coconut and natural flavorings added.” I’m not exactly sure what natural flavorings they are talking about but I have had a beer with toasted coconut before and found it rather enjoyable.

Koko Brown pours a clear light brown color with a thin white head that quickly disappears. The nose is packed with strong coconut. I didn’t get any hops or anything else for that matter, just coconut. I was expecting some malty sweetness, but the coconut outshines it if it is there at all.

On the first taste I got what the nose promised, loads of coconut. There was also a lot of  sweetness with a bit of caramel mixed in there. Again I didn’t taste any hops and this beer stays extremely sweet. I don’t have much else to say about the flavor of this beer as coconut and sweetness is really all it offers.

This is a one bottle beer for me. The coconut was over the top along with the sweetness. There was no balance to this beer. Instead of giving some hints of coconut this beer hits you over the head (repeatedly) with it. If they dialed back the coconut a good bit they would have a better beer. I think that I’ll stick to the normal Kona lineup as this one didn’t do anything for me. (more…)

Beer Review #128 Red Sky at Night

It wasn’t long ago that I reviewed Clipper City Brewing Company’s Heavy Seas Summer Ale.I quite enjoyed the beer and found it to be a nice beer to drink when the temperature is pushing 90 degrees. I have another beer from Clipper City Brewing Company today. This Baltimore, MD brewing company seems to have something new on the shelves every time I go to the beer store. Today’s ale is a Saison Ale style of beer and comes in at a respectable 7.5% ABV.

I’m assuming the name for this beer comes from old saying, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” This beer doesn’t exactly pour red, but rather a rich orange color. It is slightly hazy and has a nice, fluffy white head. The nose is pretty straight forward for a Saison. There are your typical Belgian spices along with some raw yeast aromas. There is some nice sweetness mixed in there as well. I thought that the nose was slightly grassy as well.

Upfront this beer offers a nice amount of sweetness.  The malty sweetness almost reminded me of a hard candy-like sweetness. I’m not sure if they used any Belgian candy sugar in this beer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. The sweetness then gives way to a spicy note that cuts through and dries the sweetness wonderfully. While this Saison is a bit high in ABVs compared to a “typical beer,” I found it surprisingly balanced. It was light in flavor but each component complimented the others.

I really enjoyed this beer. It was very subtle in most respects and shows a great deal of restraint by the brewers. It is really refreshing and I would be happy drinking this beer at anytime of the year. (more…)

Beer Review #38 Full Moon

I can honestly say that I don’t do “macro” brews on here very often. That is do to a number of factors, but the main two are that I like to support smaller breweries and that I think the smaller breweries turn out a better product. Full Moon is brewed by the Blue Moon Brewing Company, which is a spin-off of Coors. Blue Moon actually got its start at the test brewery for Coors located at Coors Field. As Dane Cook would say, “there’s a fun fact for you (an FF).” Is that still relevant, I mean really when is the last time you heard a Dane Cook joke?

And back to topic we go. My wife used to love this beer, and being that seasonal beers are tough to find in Lubbock, I’m willing to buy almost any seasonal, from wherever, and made by whomever. So we grabbed it. Full Moon pours a ruby color with an off-white head that quickly diminishes. It is crystal clear, if that matters to you. The bottle says the following, “this full-bodied ale is brewed with roasted malts and a hint of Dark Belgian sugar for a perfectly balanced taste.” OK then.

The nose on the beer is a malty sweetness, with a small bit of Belgian sugar. There is an ever so slight hint of the Belgian yeast, but you could easily miss it. The taste starts with a slightly malty tone, followed by some slight Belgian yeast. The candy sugar in the beer is the most apparent taste with some bready notes also buried in there. I’m surprised a Belgian beer could be toned down so much on the yeast ends of things. The taste is not super strong, but it does give a nice ending to the beer. There isn’t any hop flavor in there either, not that it should always be expected with a Belgian beer.

The body of the beer comes in light-medium and it is rather watery. Blue Moon puts this under an Abbey Ale while I have also seen it classified as a Belgian Dubbel. Which ever the case, it is a watered down version of a true representative of this style. It is drinkable, but for most craft beer drinkers I think this one misses the mark. It is a great introduction to craft beer though for a newcomer. While it is made by a macro, it is balanced enough to not turn someone off. This isn’t going to be for a Belgian beer lover, but as an introduction to the style, it isn’t bad. (more…)


Sam Adams Boston Ale Beer Review

09-28-04Sam Adams is one of the first craft brewers to really make a big success out of well made beers. Heck they are so successful that they even run TV ads, something that most, if not all other, craft brewers stay away from or don’t have the money to spend on. Sam does make some great brews with their largest success being the Boston Lager.

When I saw the Boston Ale in the six pack store last week I was a bit surprised, but I figured I would give it a shot and see how it was. It is part of their Brewmaster’s Collection and I have had good and not so good samples of that “line” of their beers. Anyway, the beer pours a light amber and appears to be slightly darker than the Boston Lager. By now you guessed that there are going to be a lot of comparisons to the Boston Lager right now and you would be correct in guessing that. There is a slightly off white head with large and small bubbles. The beer is perfectly clear.

09-28-02The smell on the nose is a bit more complex than what I was expecting. There is the malty sweetness, a bit of a rye smell (no idea where that came from), and some biscuit. I didn’t really pick up any hops or esters in it. I would expect some slight esters becasue of the ale yeast verses the lager yeast. Both can be done with or without esters however.

On my first taste I felt that the beer floated on the tongue and then crashed on the back of my pallet. There is some biscuit taste with some toasty flavors in there as well. The malt sweetness is mostly caramel and there is a bit of hop bitterness on the back. The malt and hop balance it tilted towards the malt side, but in a good way.

Boston Ale is a fully bodied beer that is extremely drinkable. I find that a lot of Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company) beers represent a style of beer that might to toned down just a bit, but are very drinkable and a decent example of the style they represent. For a newcomer to craft beer, their beers might open a door to a new style that they have not tried before. Boston Ale was just wonderful. I’ve actually gone back out and purchased two more six packs becasue I (and the wife) enjoy it so much. One of our later six packs must of been a bit older becasue it was a bit duller in taste and had some metallic undertones. I still really enjoyed to fresh version of this beer and I think most people would also enjoy it. (more…)