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Beer Review #247 Fall Summit Ale

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.

Beer Review #220 Hop Noir

If you have read this blog for a period of time you will know that I think very highly of Peak Organic Brewing Company. While I haven’t reviewed them in almost 100 beer reviews, they still rank up there in my books. When I was at the beer store a month or so ago I finally saw a new beer from them, Hop Noir. According to the bottle Hop Noir is a black IPA and comes in a 5.3%. There is some debate if a black IPA should be called a black IPA. I only have one other black IPA under my belt, and regardless of the name, the style is wonderful.

Hop Noir pours a jet black color and has a dense tan head. The nose is fully of fun smells. There are some great chocolates, both milk and dark, that jump out at first and then give way to a dull sweet roasted smell. When combined, all of these aromas have a cocoa feel. There are some distant hops hiding behind everything, but the malt is the real start here.

This beer starts with a gentle malt upfront that is fairly thin feeling, but then it gives way to a really nice roast chocolate combination. Unlike a lot of dark beers where the roast is the main player, the chocolate malt really thrives in this ale. About halfway through the beer the hops finally kick in. The bitterness is mildly strong for an IPA but it meshes perfectly with the malt. Unlike a lot of IPAs the malt is the real star of this beer and, from my experience, style.

This beer is damn smooth. It has a great balance of flavors and really just strikes a cord with me. The only problem that I found is that this beer is a sneaky SOB. It comes in at a shocking 8.2% ABV, but it doesn’t have even the slightest hint of heat. My wife really liked this one, and she is not a fan of hops (but she does know craft beer well). I will be picking up more of this beer shortly.  (more…)

Beer Review #130 Peak Organic IPA

In my last review of a Peak Organic Brewing Company I mentioned that I had plenty of their beers to still review for the site. Today’s review is one of those reviews. Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine knows how to brew in order to deliver a fresh, crisp hop flavors and aromas. I figured that an IPA from this brewery was a no-brainer.

Peak’s IPA pours a nice orange color and it is crystal clear. There is a very fluffy head to go with the orange liquid but I think I was a bit aggressive with the pour, so there is a lot more head than there should be. The nose on this beer is exactly what I expect from Peak. There are tons of bight citrus hops that smell very fresh and clean. There is a slight malt note as well, but the shinning star in this beer is the hops.

After taking a sip I again received what I expected. The hops are very bright and carry though the full flavor of the beer. While the hops are strong, they are well balanced with the malt. The hops are mostly grapefruit in flavor but there are some slight pine notes mixed in there as well. I really liked how clean this beer was. The hops come in, stay for a bit, and then leave. They don’t sit on the tongue for a long time, but finish a second or two after you swallow.

I really enjoyed this one. Peak is quickly becoming one of my go-to breweries. Each of their beers are crisp and fresh. Their IPA is no exception. When I think of an IPA, this beer is one of the examples that comes to mind. It is hoppy but balanced and at 7.2% is a sneaky SOB. I highly recommend this beer for anyone who enjoys a well balanced IPA. (more…)

Beer Review #124 Summer Session Ale

I have been on quite the Peak Organic Brewing Company kick lately. I’ve never heard of them until this year (even though I spent a number of days in Portland, Maine a few years ago), but since that time I have purchased a number of their beers. In each case, I have found their beers to be very crisp and fresh tasting. When I saw their Summer Session Ale on the shelves last weekend I just had to try it.

Like the yellow label suggest, Summer Session Ale pours a nice golden color with a fluffy white head. It is also perfectly clear which allows you to watch the bubbles dance up the middle of the glass. The nose isn’t super complex and is marked with their signature crisp hop aroma. These hops were strongly citrus and the malt or other flavoring kicked in some lemon odors as well. Overall it smelled very nice and straightforward.

Summer Session Ale is classified Pale Ale with some wheat malt mixed into the grain bill. On the first taste I was expecting something that tasted along the lines of a hoppy pale ale, but with a more complex malt character. What I got was a beer that didn’t have a major malt component. The crisp, fresh hoppy finish really dominates this beer. The hops are strongly citrus but I didn’t get any of the lemon flavor that was promised in the nose. There was some slight bread flavor in there but nothing to write home about.

Overall I liked this beer but didn’t find it very “summery.” Adding citrus flavors to a beer doesn’t make it a summer beer. However, Peak succeeded in making a very crisp and refreshing pale ale that I would be happy to drink during any period of the year. This beer is only 5% ABV so it does fit nicely into the session area. Try it out if you are looking for a different type of summer beer that is away from your typical wheat beer. (more…)

Beer Review #118 Espresso Amber Ale

When I reviewed Pipeline Porter a few weeks ago I talked about how much I liked a coffee flavor/odor in beer while I don’t actually drink coffee as a normal drink. I first had Espresso Amber Ale when I was visiting Max’s Taphouse in Fell’s Point, which is a “hip” area in Baltimore. My wife actually ordered it and loved it. I saw this beer at my local beer store not soon after our trip to Max’s Taphouse and bought a four pack of it. This beer comes from Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. I’ve reviewed several other of their beers and enjoyed them all. This, however, is my first non-seasonal brew of theirs.

This amber ale pours a nice amber color and is perfectly clear. It has a thin, off-white head to accompany the liquid. The nose is super roasty coffee. I didn’t get any malt or hops, just coffee. Like the Pipeline Porter, this coffee is very fresh and smells fantastic.

On the first taste I got a very slight sweetness on the front, but coffee dominates everything else. I really dig this beer. As a homebrewer I am still scratching my head on how they were able to get such a strong coffee flavor without giving it a dark color. This beer isn’t heavy either, like a coffee stout would be. It fits into the medium mouthfeel neighborhood and is something super unique. One other note with this beer, it is made with locally roasted fair trade coffee and comes in at 6.8% ABV. If you see this beer try it out, it is something totally different in a beer market that does not have a lot of standout unique ideas. (more…)