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Beer Review #67 Festbier

It’s the time of year when the fall beers are rolling out. I have about a dozen pumpkin, Oktoberfest, and fall style beer lined up so far, and that’s just from one trip to the beer store. Today’s beer is Festbier from Victory Brewing Company. Festbier is actually not a seasonal brew anymore, Victory brews this year round but it can only be found in bottles September through November.

Victory describes the beer as “a rick amber lager in the tradition of Oktoberfest.” They also brew this beer with a decoction mash, which basically means they take some of the wort out of the mash tun, boil it, and then throw it back into the mash tun. By doing the brewing method, you get a very strong malt component added to the beer.

Festbier pours a brilliant amber color and is perfectly clear. The pours with a thin white head that quickly fades to nothingness. The nose is very malty, which is to be expected as I mentioned earlier. There are some bread components in there as well. I didn’t notice any hops or ABV on this beer which isn’t super surprising.

On the first tasting you really get a sense of the malt component. The beer has a very nice body. Festbier is a slightly sweet beer, which, with all of that malt, should not come as a big surprise. There is a nice slight hop bite towards the end, but it is very approachable. I love beers that have a nice bread aftertaste, and Festbier delivers.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer. It comes in at 5.8% ABV so you don’t have to plan an afternoon around drinking this beer. It has a nice malty body and not a lot of hops. It should be a dream for a new comer to the craft beer world but is a solid choice for the seasoned expert. I enjoyed every drop and I am going to be getting another six pack soon. I can’t wait to have my patio door open and enjoy a crisp fall night while sipping this and watching my Phillies play in October. (more…)

Beer Review #40 2 Below Ale

Yet another New Belgium seasonal beer. I can’t help it, I generally like everything that comes out of that brewery. I was also super excited to find a seasonal brew in Lubbock, Tx. If you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you should know my struggles with finding seasonal beer in Lubbock. And for those of you who are new, Lubbock, simply put, is a hole. There is a complete lack of beer culture, but oddly enough they enjoy expensive wine. Go figure.

Anyway, I grabbed up a sixer of 2 Below as soon as I saw it. As most New Belgium Brewing Company beers have, the label was interesting looking. A nice picture of some freezing pipes with icicles coming down off of the top. Now onto the important part, the beer. It pours a light amber in color with a nice white head. The aroma is nice and strong with tons of floral hops. There isn’t much else to be found on the smell, mostly just hops and maybe some malt if you are really looking hard.

The taste is an explosion of hops, in a good way. The malt and the hops are balanced perfectly. The hops are clean and crisp. On the back-end of the beer there is a slightly bready flavor. You can also expect to finds hints of pepper and other spice in there as well. Unlike some hoppy beers, the hops goes through the entire beer and not just at the back.

2 Below has a light to medium mouthfeel with great carbonation. It is very drinkable but I kind of wanted something darker and richer tasting for a winter beer. The beer comes in at 6.6% ABV so it is not a “weak” beer but I want some more alcohol in my winter beer. The whole warming idea of a winter beer doesn’t really happen at 6.6%. It really is a great beer and I would highly suggest it if you have the chance. Again it is not my favorite winter beer, but it is a solid beer for anytime of the year. (more…)

Victory Brewing Company Hop Wallop Beer Review

I’m going to go ahead and bring it back to PA for this beer review, with Victory Brewing Comapny’s Hop Wallop. Before I go into it, lets see what Victory has to say about their brew:

We celebrate the pioneering spirit of old Horace ‘Hop’ Wallop and those who dare mighty adventurous things in this vivid, robust ale. As our annual homage to the hop harvest, expect loads of aromatic splendor and bitter beauty.

Malts: Imported German malts
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%”

Man-o-man is this thing good. They don’t call it a Wallop for no reason. This is a seasonal brew by Victory, starting in November and lasting for a limited time. Luckily, at 8.5% this beer can sit around for a bit and still be good (though the hops will fade a bit).

I was excited to get my hands on this. To start off with the beer has a nice hop/piney smell. There is a bit of citrus and alachol (not suprisingly) in there as well, but they are much more subtle. It pours a briliant oragne and as with most IPA’s, is very, very clear. There is a thick head that pours with the beer, and it stays through the entire drink.

When you take your first sip, you immeditaly notice the hops. The hop flavor carries through the entire drink and stays on your touge. There is a bit of malty goodness in the middle, but it is overshadowed by the ever-present hop. The hops do a nice job of hidding the alachol taste as well, as there is almost none present.

I could easily recommend this beer to any hop head. It might be too overpowering for someone not used to hops. The extreme hoppy flavors mixed with the slight malt gives a decent ballance. I know I keep going to local beers, but it is what I have the most access and experience with. The next review will be from much further away. Go try a Hop Wallop if you have the chance! (more…)