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Beer Review #34 Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55

11-12-05A few years  ago when I started to like the whole craft beer thing I bought a sampler case from the Brooklyn Brewery. At the time it was the most expensive case of beer I bought, coming in at $34.95. I have since passed that mark for expensive cases, but that really doesn’t mean much. A good beer can be found in a $25 case and a bad beer can be found in a $100 case. Price doesn’t really equate to quality in the craft beer world.

When I got that variety case from Brooklyn Brewery I loved the Pennant Ale ’55. Ever since I have been wanting to get just a six pack so that I could have it again. My local store carries Brooklyn Lager and occasionally Brooklyn Pale Ale, but I have never seen the Pennant Ale 55′. I walked in the other day, and there it was. I have got to tell you that I was more than excited. I quickly brought it and $8.99 and a short ride later and it was all mine to drink.

11-12-03Brooklyn Pennant Ale 44′ pours a golden amber in color with a slightly off-white head. The head is thick and lasting and a thin head will remain through the entire beer. There are a lot of small to medium bubbles and the beer is perfectly clear. The nose is very malty. Biscuit, toast, and bread were what I picked up in the malt area. There was a slight hop aroma, being slightly floral, but not overpowering and not bitter at all.

On the first taste the malt was the first thing that I noticed. There is a lot  caramel notes along with bread. A few other toasty notes were found, but they were not overpowering. The hop of course comes on the back-end and provides a nice bite to the caramel of the malt. It is not a overly hoppy beer, but has a strong finish. I also picked up a slight metallic flavor in there, that I didn’t remember from before when I had drank it. Perhaps I just had an old six pack as seems to be common for good beer here in Lubbock.

The mouthfeel is medium in body, but very round. It starts light and grows quickly on the tongue, and then leaves quickly. It finishes very dry. Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55 is named for the Brooklyn Dodgers and when they last won the Pennant. It is a very drinkable beer that is also enjoyable. If you like round body, caramel filled, dry finish ales, then this beer is for you.  I’ve probably had better from this style of beer, but Brooklyn Brewery makes a strong entry. (more…)

Beer Review #33 Ommegang Abbey Ale

11-08-02I thought I was out of my Belgian kick that I was on over the summer, but I found another reason to continue. Ommegang Abbey Ale is a Belgian Dubbel from Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY. I saw two options of bottling for this beer, a four-pack or a 750 ml corked bottle. I opted to go for the four-pack as it was a better buy and I didn’t have to drink it all at once.

I allowed the beer to warm up at cellar temperatures as it takes on a different feel when it is colder. The cold attempt I made I didn’t get much aroma, but a lot of sourness. Once I allowed it to warm on my next beer, I had a much better tasting beer. It pours a deep ruby color with a thick light brown head. The head on the beer is made entirely of tiny bubble (high carbonation) and a thin layer of head lasted through the entire drink. The Abbey Ale is pretty clear with some haze from the yeast and a few groups of things in suspension, as common with most Belgian beers.

11-08-03The nose was very fruity. I think the smell that stood out the most was a grape to sour grape smell. The yeast was also heavy on the nose with some hints of malt. No hops were detectable. On my first sip I was hit with the malt on the front, followed by a sourness, and then the Belgian yeast bite. There was a grapy aftertaste. As I kept drinking some bitter chocolate notes came though as well. The Belgian yeast had a slightly different twang than a normal Belgian yeast strain, it was much more sour. Most of the time you get a spiciness from Belgian yeast, there was some, but not as pronounced as other Belgian beers I have had.

The mouthfeel was medium and the high carbonation was wonderful. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. It is a perfect beer to drink slowly during a long period of time. As the beer warms to room temperature a host of new notes come out and make it more and more interesting. Ommegang Abbey Ale comes in a 8.5% which is on the higher end of ABV for Belgain Dubbels.

There were a few interesting notes on the back of the bottle as well. It says, “Part of the Duvel family of fine ales.” Brewery Ommegang was named after Belgium’s oldest medieval festival. This beer is also cellared at the brewery. If you like Belgian beers give this one a try, you will not be disappointed. It is wonderfully flavorful and complex. It really was a treat of a beer to drink. (more…)

10-18-02

New Belgium Brewing Company Skinny Dip Beer Review

10-18-02Skinny Dip is New Belgium Brewing Company’s summer beer. So why am I posting about it in the fall and not posting about Hotober? Well I have a bit of a backlog of reviews to get up and I just bought some Hoptober, their fall beer, so I realized that I needed to get moving on the beer reviews. Skinny Dip is classified as an American Blonde Ale and fits pretty true to form for the style.

It pours a dark golden color with a large, fluffy white head. The beer is perfectly clear as one would expect it to be. The nose is distinctly cascade hops with a little malt sweetness. There is an earthy smell to it as well, which I think is pretty common with New Belgium’s brews. There is also a bit of bread or cracker buried in the smell as well.

10-18-03The taste is nice and sweet, but there isn’t a whole lot going on. The hops from the nose are not very strong on the pallet and there is just a bit of spice on the back. Some of that bread smell is carried over to the taste, but not a lot. Skinny Dip is pretty light on the mouthfeel. The beer comes in light, fills the middle of your pallet, and then leaves off as light as it began. It is a solid summer beer, and here in Texas where it is still 75 in October, it was decent.

I bet this is much more refreshing on a hot day. Back when I first got this beer it was very refreshing. Today on the patio it was not quite up to snuff. It is light and easy to drink, surely a summer beer. I enjoyed the aftertaste it left in my mouth and it also had great lacing if that matters to you. It is worth a try on a hot day or if you enjoy lighter beers. (more…)

09-24-02

Left Hank Brewing Company Haystack Wheat Beer Review

09-24-02As I said before my wife has been on a wheat beer kick for awhile now. Haystack Wheat from Left Hand Brewing Company is the next wheat beer to add to the collection. I’ve had a few other Left Hand products before and I have enjoyed them for the most part. In particular I think their Milk Stout is amazing. With that said, let’s move onto the beer.

We finally got a wheat beer that looks like a wheat beer. It is straw in color, which shouldn’t be surprising with its name, and has a fluffy, off-white head. It is super cloudy and looks like what you would expect a wheat beer to be. The nose was wheaty (surprise!), sweet, and some nutmeg or clove type smell. There is a little yeasty smell on the back of the nose as well. I also got a little banana of further smells.

09-24-04The taste was light on the malty flavor, cloves and nutmeg, wheat, and lots of banana. Haystack Wheat is well balanced as there is no component that really outshines the other. All of the flavors mesh well and compliment each other. It is light to medium in the mouthfeel and goes down extremely easy. It is very drinkable and refreshing. Left Hand Brewing Company made a good summer thirst quenching beer.

A few other things I noticed is that the beer is bottle conditioned which means that it was either re-fermented in the bottle to provide for carbonation or alcohol, or that the yeast is present in the bottle. In this case there is lots of yeast in the bottle. There is a nice layer of yeast at the bottom which I swirled to mix back into the beer. Overall Haystack Wheat is a pretty good beer and delivers on what you would expect from a lightly colored German wheat beer. (more…)

09-15-02

Real Ale Brewing Company Full Moon Pale Rye Ale Beer Review

09-15-02I bought a sampler six pack from Real Ale Brewing Company 2 weeks ago and I’ve slowly been getting through their three offerings. On a side note, I love the idea of a sampler six pack and I wish more breweries would do something similar. Back to the beer at hand, Real Ale Brewing Company is based out of Blanco, Texas which is almost in between San Antonio and Austin. The company was started out of a basement brewery in 1996 and has since moved up to a 60 barrel brewery. There isn’t much on their website but they seem very community oriented and are willing to give away some free beer for a non-profit community event.

I am always more out to buy something from  a company that is willing to support its local community, but I digress. Full Moon Pale Rye Ale pours a nice golden amber in color and is perfectly clear. It is slightly darker than the typical pale ale but I believe that comes from the rye malt added in. It also has a nice fluffy head that, while it diminishes a bit, stays through the entire drink.  The smell of the beer is all hops with some malt sweetness but I did not detect the rye malt in there.

It taste like a typical pale ale with a slight rye flavor. You notice the rye more on the aftertaste. There is a great balance of hops to malt. I’ve seen a few reviews where people complained about too much hops but I did not find that, I thought the balance was pretty good. If they wanted the rye to stand out a bit more there should of been some less hops, but I enjoyed it on the aftertaste.

09-15-05

The mouthfeel was light and pretty thin. This was not a chewy beer. I’m not the biggest fan of pale ales (gasp!) but I enjoyed this one. The rye adds a bit of flavor that was different and nice. Now I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent. I don’t understand why rye and hops are being paired together some much right now. Michelob just released their Rye P.A. and I’ve seen a few other beers featuring hops and rye showing up on the shelves. The rye flavor is so delicate that the addition of too many hops blows it out of the water. I really enjoy a nice rye beer, just one that is not over hopped for the malt to carry through. I guess the brewers are trying to get a different malt character out of the beer but I prefer to have the rye shine a little bit more. Anyway this is a Texas beer and it doesn’t look like they distribute much further than Texas. It was enjoyable and something a bit different. If you are a pale ale fan try it out and see if you like the rye flavor on top of the typical pale ale. (more…)