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Beer Review #162 Snow Day Winter Ale

Almost a year ago I reviewed New Belgium Brewing Company’s 2 Below Ale. I remember liking it but I didn’t think it fit the winter beer idea very well. I was excited to hear that they had a new winter ale this year that was on the “darker and richer” side of the flavor spectrum.The story of this beer comes from a snowstorm a few years ago that shut down Fort Colins, Colorado for several days. And really, who doesn’t love a snowday? I think I appreciate them more now as an adult than I did when I was a kid.

On my first pour of the glass I got a beer that looked exactly like what I had imagined. It was a deep dark brown with a slightly off-white head. I  have no idea if it was clear or not because of the darkness. The nose was pretty hoppy, considering I was expecting on the richer end. I really didn’t get a lot of malt but rather lots of grapefruit hops.

The taste was a mix of rich malt and cutting hops. I found the malt to have a good amount of caramel that also featured some tones of chocolate. Most of the sweetness was then cut by the hops. The hops gave a crisp and spicy feel to the beer that I rather enjoyed.

This beer was a nice balance of malt and hops. I would of liked for it to be a bit more malt forward, but what can you do. This is more in line what I was thinking for a winter beer than their previous winter seasonal. I know there were some who were big fans of 2 Below, but New Belgium offers a number of beers that are pretty close to 2 Below, so it isn’t really necessary. This beer isn’t on the “go out and buy now” list for me, but I would pick it up again if I was out and saw it. (more…)

Beer Review #35 Hoptober

Last month I reviewed New Belgium Brewing Company’s Skinny Dip. I was a tad late on the review of their summer offering, but I am right on time for their fall beer, Hoptober. Hoptober is classified as a Golden Ale and was quite the steal at $7.49 a six pack. Don’t you just love sales. I happen to love New Belgium’s beer labels becasue they are always a bit new age, and odd. This one is no exception with outlines of people dancing around a fire. How does that relate to fall or hops, who knows? But it looks neat.

11-15-02

11-15-03Anyway the beer pours a brilliant golden color as you expect from a beer labeled Golden Ale. It is perfectly clean and has a think white head, with tiny bubbles. The head sticks to the top of the beer throughout the entire drink. On the nose, floral hops dominate. There is also a nice helping of sweet malt, and some almost, honey notes. There is a bit of pine smell in there as well. Generally I don’t like the piney hops, but this is in smell only.

The taste of the beer is mainly hops, hops, hops. Not that it is an overwhelming hop flavor like some IPAs, but rather a nice punch of them that compliments the malt very nicely. The malt has a strong enough backbone to support the hops and you can still get that sweetness from it. There is also a slight biscuit taste at the end of the beer. It finishes very nicely and crisply. There is a bit of an earthy flavor that can be found in the beer as well. I have found that to be pretty common with New Belgium’s beers as well.

11-15-04On the drinkability scale this one comes in pretty darn good. It is not nearly as hoppy as the name suggests that it would be, but there is a good punch of it. The hops are very bright and fresh tasting. This beer might not be for the new craft beer drinker or someone who does not like anything other than the American light lager, but most craft beer people will find this pleasing.

For a fall beer I was hoping for something a bit darker, with some richer notes. Hoptober comes in at 6% ABV in case you were wondering. It has a great aftertaste and just reeks of freshness (as should all seasonal beers). I really enjoyed it, but I have had beer fall beers before. If you like fresh hops and a good malt character, you will totally love this beer. Again it is not as hoppy as the name suggests, but it is super drinkable and enjoyable. My wife, who hates hoppy beers, even enjoyed this seasonal from New Belgium. (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…)

What will I be drinking for Inauguration?

Today brings a new president to the American people in Barack Obama. The country seems to be pumped for a change and it looks like the Inauguration is going to be an event in and of itself. So with all of this hype, I’ve been trying to pick out what beer I would enjoy best.

I’ve been doing some researching, and Obama is a beer drinker! There have been numberous news stories of him stopping in at local bars on the campaign trail and I think that’s pretty cool. So what does Obama order when he goes out, according to this story, it was Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). I said the guy was a beer drinker, not a good beer drinker.

So that leads me to my choice, and I’ve narrowed it down to two beers. The first is Fat Tire from the New Belgium Brewing Company. I have two reason behind this choice, one becasue the brewery’s name have New in it and the second is becasue it is a damn good beer.

My second choice is Obama’s favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’m really not a big fan of the stuff, but it’s the man’s day, I might as well drink his beer. PBR might also go down a bit easier if you play the Barack Obama Drinking Game (you can see the rules below). What are you drinking on Inauguration Day?

Barack Obama Drinking Game

Take a drink everything Obama does or says one of the following things:

  • Says hope
  • Says change
  • Talks about a hatchet or scalpel
  • Anything about war
  • Mentions Michell Obama
  • Uses the word partisan or bi-partisan
  • Complements Joe Biden
  • and finally, if you really want to get crazy, drink every time he takes a long pause or uses slow but direct hand motions