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07-18-03

Beer Review #302 Sum’r

07-18-03I usually don’t go out of my way to get seasonal beers, but if one strikes my eye, I’ll get it. Sum’r by Uinta Brewing Company was one of those beers that struck my eye. I’ve really been enjoying their beers since my local beers store started carrying their products and Sum’r was a new one for me.

Sum’r pours a pale golden colors. It comes with a medium white head, small bubbles, and a slight haze. The nose is very bready with some good wheat notes mixed in for good measure. In addition to the malt notes, a light citrus/lemon hop aroma is also clearly present.

On the first taste this beer begins with a light malt sweetness. The bread and wheat come out nicely in the malt and give some nice complexity for such a light beer. To my surprise, the hops that were in the nose didn’t really come out in the flavor at all. I didn’t find anything hop-wise to make note of. I really like how clean this beer drank. The malt comes and then goes and that’s it. No real lingering flavors and nothing off-putting either.

This is a very drinkable summer beer. It doesn’t have a ton of knock out flavor but what it does have is nice and crisp. I like it, but not love it. I bet a lot of new craft beer drinkers would dig this one. I want something with a bit more (any) hop bite. This was a rare miss for Uinta for my tastes. (more…)

Beer Review #239 Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah recently showing up in my local beer store and I grabbed a few bottles of their stuff based off of a suggestion from a friend (and their cool bottles). I’d never heard of Uinta before but I dug the bottle art and general feel of their product. I’ve mentioned several times that I’m a sucker for good marketing and their total package is a great example of good marketing. As a side-note I talk about design in my day job so I have a hankering to acknowledge good design.

I originally wasn’t going to get a pumpkin beer from the store as I’m avoid seasonal beers for the most part this year. But seeing as this was a new brewery to me, I figured it was okay. Punk’n pours a nice orange amber color with a soapy off-white head that quickly fades into a thin surface floater. The nose was outstanding in the fact that you can actually smell pumpkin meat (that term always grossed me out). Unlike those “pumpkin spice” beers, you can really get an idea that this beer was brewed with the real thing. There was a nice sweetness that was mixed in there as well along with a light pumpkin pie spice.

This beer tastes as close to a pumpkin pie as any beer that I have ever had. The pumpkin flavor is very noticeable and well balanced with the malt and spices. The spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and all spice,  come in at the end to act as hops and help finish out the beer. It really leaves a great aftertaste when it is all said and finished.

In my opinion this beer is everything that a pumpkin beer should be. There is real pumpkin flavor and the spices compliment the beer, not overpower it. I really like this one and I highly suggest it. (more…)

Beer Review #233 Summer Session Ale

The summer is quickly coming to a close, like in two days, but I wanted to squeeze one more summer beer review in before summer officially ends. I’ve been actively trying not to purchase seasonal beers to get a better selection of more widely available beers, but when I see a local brewery like Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD, I have to give it a try. Evo as they refer to themselves was originally located in Delmar, DE, but moved a few miles down the road to a much larger facility this year. My wife’s family lives just outside of Salisbury, so I’m a regular customer of Evo when visiting.

Summer Session Ale pours a nice golden orange color with a slight haze. There is a medium foam head sitting on top that slowly fades into a whisper of its former self. The beer has a nice summer smell with bits of orange and bread. It smells pretty sweet and I didn’t detect any hops in there.

On my first taste I was surprised that the sweetness wasn’t more. There is a very light malt component that gives way to some slight lemon and orange flavors. The bready smell carries through to the flavor as well and helps round out the malt flavor. There is a slight citrus hop on the back of this one but it’s not very bitter or assertive.

For a summer beer this one nice nice and very drinkable. I don’t think it is anything super special but it sure is refreshing. It also comes in at 4.6% so you can enjoy a few of these with no problems on a hot day. (more…)

Beer Review #197 Dig Pale Ale

I know that I said that I wanted to move away from purchasing seasonal beers, but I had no idea that today’s beer was the new spring seasonal of New Belgium Brewing Company. New Belgium seems to be putting out a lot of new seasonal beers now instead of sticking with returning classics. I suppose a lot of breweries do this and keep a seasonal in a rotation of a few years before another beer comes along to fill it’s spot. I have nothing against seasonal beers and I know that they are big sellers for the craft beer market, but I really want to focus on beers that are accessible year-round.

Dig Pale Ale comes in at 5.6% ABV and uses five different types of hops to achieve New Belgium’s desired bitterness profile. Two of the hops used (Nelson Sauvin and Sorachi Ace) I have never even heard of. This ale pours a light copper color and has a decent white head. The nose has a slight citrus and lemon hop odor. The classic New Belgium “earthy” smell is there as well along with a slight malt toastyness. I was expecting there to be a bit more in the way of complexity, but this beer’s nose is pretty flat.

On my first taste I was surprised by the amount of malt and body to this beer. There is some really good sweetness that kicks in right from the get go and carries through the whole drink. A very balanced citrus hop comes in about halfway through the beer and really cleans up the sweetness. There are some hits of tropical fruits in the hops, but they are only there for an instant before the cascade hops wash them out.

This is a nicely balanced pale ale that is darn drinkable. I wouldn’t consider it outstanding or anything to write home about, but this one is a solid pale ale that should stay in rotation for another year or so. (more…)

Beer Review #110 Shiner Spring Ale Dortmunder Style

I will give Spoetzel credit for pumping out a lot of seasonal beers. Their line-up of beers seems to really have expanded recently and for the most part I have really enjoyed what they have been doing. Their spring beer this year is a dormunder style lager. Basically the style comes from German and is golden lager with a clean flavor profile and has some biscuit notes thrown in there as well. I think this style is prefect for a warm spring day.

This beer pours a clear golden color and has a fluffy white head to boot. The nose is slightly sweet with some bready notes in there. I got a lot of sulfur as well. On the first taste I really was surprised by how sweet this beer was. I was thinking that it would be a bit dryer because the nose didn’t scream sweetness. Also, “lighter” beers tend to not be overly sweet. The sweetness was very nice though, and even had some honey-like notes. The beer also had an “earthy” component to it as it tasted a bit grainy to me.

Overall I enjoyed this beer, but the sweetness did surprise me a bit. I’ve never had another dortmunder style beer so I don’t really have anything to compare it to but I thought it was a bit out of balance on the malt side. Grab it while you can. (more…)