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Beer Review #111 Hop Hazard

River Horse Brewing Company of Lambertville, New Jersey has been putting out some pretty tasty beers for awhile now. My favorite remains Tripel Horse but they make some other keeps as well. I’ve recently been on a hoppy beer kick, so an ale named Hop Hazard was just what I was looking for. Surprisingly, this beer is no an IPA, but rather an American Pale Ale. It is dry hopped however which, from my experience, can be a good or bad thing depending on how it is done.

Hop Hazard pours a burnt orange color and has a thin white head. It is super cloudy which is unexpected for an APA. The nose has some slight sweetness to it, but the grapefruit hops really shine. They are crisp and full. River Horse delivered on the hop promise as far as the nose is concerned.

On the first taste there was a decent hop strength. There are not a lot of definable flavors, but everything mixes nicely. There was a mild balance that made this beer more enjoyable. The hops cling to the backend of this beer, which I believe is a result of the dry hopping, but what do I know? Overall this beer was pretty good. There was a balance there, but I would of liked to see a bit more malt to bring it into a true balance. It comes in at  a respectable 6.5%, which is right where an APA should be in my opinion. Try it out if you have the chance, or a hankering for hops, but not IPA strength hops. (more…)

Beer Review #93 Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

One of the best parts about living on the east coast again is that I get to enjoy River Horse Brewing Company beers. I reviewed their Tripel when I was just starting this site and a few months ago I tasted their fall beer. When I saw their winter ale, Belgian Freeze, I grabbed it right up. I’ve had a few of their other beers that I enjoyed before starting this site and I have two of their current beers in the fridge, so needless to say, I enjoy the majority of their products.

River Horse is brewed in Lambertville, New Jersey and I really need to get up there for a tour. Anyway, onto the beer. Belgian Freeze is a Belgian style ale (shocker) that falls into the dark ale sect of Belgian beers. It pours a wonderful deep ruby color that has a thin, whiteish head floating on top. The nose is pretty sweet, with the classic Belgian spices in there as well. There is a slight roast, which is mostlikely where the color comes from and some heat.

On the first sip I was surprised how nicely the roasted malt flavor mixed with the Belgian spices. It was sweet, as the nose suggested, but it was not cloyingly sweet. There was some heat on the back-end for good measure. I really liked this one. For an 8% beer it goes down pretty easy. The highlight of this beer is the way that the roasted malt and Belgian spices mix. It was unique and interesting, which made me want to enjoy more of this beer. Too bad it is so high in the ABV department because I would love to drink this beer all winter long. (more…)

Beer Review #77 Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale

How can you not grab a beer named Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale? Perhaps that was the same thought that River Horse Brewing Company out of Lambertville, NJ had as well. To make it better, they made a hippopotamus out of pumpkins for the logo. I love it, creativity at its best. I’ve enjoyed a fair number of other River Horse beers with my favorite being their Tripel Horse.

This pumpkin ale pours a cloudy amber color with a thin, off-white head. I should mention that this beer is part of their brewers reserve and is batch 006 to be exact. On the nose I found a lot of pumpkin pie notes. There was a bit of brown sugar and heat in there as well. For a beer that comes in at 9% ABV, the heat wasn’t overwhelming. Again, I think it gets broken up by the spices a bit. The label says that it is “brewed with pumpkin puree and spices.”

On the first taste of Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale I noticed the heat, and a lot of it. The malt isn’t very prevalent and the spices are there in force.  Think of a normal pumpkin beer and double the spices and you get this beer. They are really out of balance with the rest of the beer. It does have a surprisingly nice aftertaste. This beer is also thick, chewy even.

I found this beer wanting to be really good, but it isn’t there yet. It isn’t balanced enough and the spices and heat come out a bit too much for my liking. I am wondering if I would of waited a few months for the heat to dissipate and the spices to lose their strength if this would of been better. I think the brewers are onto a good recipe, it just needs some tweaking. Maybe lowering the ABV down a bit and thinning the mash out would help, along with backing off of the spices. It has some good reviews on the major beer review sites but it wasn’t for me. Maybe you would like it better. (more…)

09-06-04-05

River Horse Brewing Company Tripel Horse Beer Review

09-06-04-06I have recently been getting into Belgians and River Horse Brewing Company’s Tripel Horse called to me at the six pack store. First off, I love the packaging. River Horse has funky packaging that mixes some old images with new graphic design, and I just love it. All of there beer labels have something in common but are also very distinct. That aside, lets get onto the beer.

09-06-04-05This is what the brewery has to say about their beer:

Notice a unique aromatic nose with a hint of vanilla esters, which comes from the Belgian ale yeast. Tripel Horse has a big body and rich mouth feel and finishes mostly dry with only a touch of sweetness. If you shy from some of the sweeter Belgian ales, we think you will enjoy this one. The palate improves with age, so keep some on hand and you can ride Tripel Horse down a new path with each opened bottle.

This beer rocking in at 10% which is not surprising for a Tripel. Right on the nose of the beer you get the yeast spicyness and alcohol. It pours an orangy color with a little brown. My camera does not acurarlty replicate the color. The beer is hazy when help up to the light, as expected, and you can see little particles floating throughout the beer, also as expected. It pours with a minimal amount of head that lingers around the side of the glass for the whole drink.

09-06-04-04On first taste there is an explosion of flavor. The yeast spice is obvious, but there is a ton of malt and a hint of sweetness. The back end of the drink is alcohol, but it isn’t super noticeable if you aren’t looking for it. It finishes dry in your mouth and leaves you wanting more. This beer is exactly what I wanted from a Tripel, it was high in alcohol, big in flavor, and had that Belgian wonderfulness that I have been craving. A few years ago I would of hated this beer, but my pallet has grown and gotten much better.

They say to age this beer as it will change a lot over time. I bought a six pack and drank the six pack within a week or so. It was just that good.

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