I came across a Schlafly special release beer at the beer store yesterday and I grabbed a six pack to try it out. Schlafly Golden Ale, brewed by the Saint Louis Brewery, is a Belgian Style golden ale that hits at a surprisingly high 7% ABV. This is their spring/early summer release beer and this style of beer ties in nicely with the changing of the season. I’ve been a big fan of Schlafly beers in the past which is by I purchased this beer over several other worthy competitors.
Schlafly Golden Ale pours a beautiful golden color. It is perfectly clear and has about one finger of white head that collapses relatively quickly. You really can’t get a nicer looking Belgian golden ale than this beer. It’s very photogenic and I may have spent too much time grabbing pictures of this one. The nose is full of Belgian esters, mainly banana and fruit. There is a little malt in there and some heat but the main thing that shines though are the esters. This beer smells like a Belgian ale in all of the best ways. It’s clean, round, and full.
The beer is nicely carbonated. I noticed a tickle on my tongue on when taking my first sip. The Belgian esters flow right from the aroma to the taste. They give the beer a great flavor that is fruity and estery at the same time. The beer gains a nice peppery flavor as well which really adds some complexity. There are some light biscuit and wheat flavors that the malt offers up to help add to the beer. This golden ale ends on a grassy, spicy hop note that cleans out the beer and makes it finish with all of the right things. The aftertaste left behind is wonderful. It’s fruit, spicy, and slightly sweet.
I enjoyed this beer a great deal. My only complaint would be that I would like to have just a bit more body. It seemed slightly watery to me, but that could just be my preference in a golden ale coming through. I really liked this beer from start to finish. It’s super drinkable and would be easy drinking in the late spring, early summer timeframe.
Another trip, another new Flying Dog Brewery beer. Seriously, these guys (and gals) make a ton of new beer on a regular basis. This beer is a double IPA and rocks in at 8.7% ABV. The bottle says,
Full disclosure: This beer came to fruition because we saw a gap in our portfolio and we wanted to increase our market share.
The Truth it is!
The Truth pours a nice clear orange color. It comes with a thick off-white head that eventually fades to a thin layer after some time. The nose is loaded with sticky-sweet hops. It LOVE the smell of this beer, it’s everything a hop forward beer should be. It’s loaded with citrus, tropical fruits, and pointed hop flavor that just screams “drink me.” Seriously, if I homebrewed a beer that smelled like this beer I would go pro in a heartbeat.
The taste is equally as wonderful. There is a nice round sweetness on the first taste that is quickly followed by a flavorful punch of hops. The citrus and tropical fruit flavor echoes to the aroma and the hops take on a spicy characteristic. I’m amazed by how much flavor the hops contribute to this beer. I truly dig it.
Everything on this one hits me just right. I wish that I were a paid spokesperson for this beer because I like it that much. I love this as a double IPA. The hops, malt, and carbonation all fall into the correct balance for me. I can’t say enough about this beer and I hope that it sticks around for a long time.
I have an oldie but a goodie up for review today. Bell’s Brewery out of Michigan is one of the most respected craft breweries around, yet I haven’t reviewed a single one of their beers yet. Part of it is that they are hard to find in my area and the other part is that I usually drink them before I can get a review flushed out. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is one of the “classic” craft beers in the US.
The beer pours a nice orange color and has a few floaties in it. A thin off-white head also accompanies the liquid below. The nose is very floral with some bright hops. The hops are slightly tropical with citrus but also have a nice dank aroma to them. The odor isn’t overly sweet like many IPAs and it captures the hops wonderfully.
On the first taste you don’t get a lot of malt. There is some sweetness but it isn’t well defined. The hops come in quickly and provide some wonderful flavor notes. Tropical fruits, citrus, and grapefruit dominate the flavor arena for a bit before a strong pine hop comes in and cuts any sweetness present. The piney note is an exclamation mark on the beer and really separates the beer into two areas, pre-pine and post-pine. The post-pine flavor is very nice and slightly spicy. I also got the slightest amount of heat towards the end of this beer.
Bell’s has done a wonderful job with this beer. The hops are shown off so nicely that it’s hard to fully explain with text. I love all of the different flavors and aromas of hops showcased in this beer. It is a pleasure to drink and I hope that I can experience more of their beers in the future.
We had our first set of warm days and it’s been pretty beautiful out for the last week or so. When it gets nice out like this saisons call my name. Swing brewing by Victory Brewing Company, is the first “session saison” that I have ever seen. It comes in at 4.5% and I believe that it is new to their line-up this year (though I’ve been known to be wrong before0.
Swing pours a cloudy golden color. It starts clear, but as the yeast get distributed, it becomes milky. A fluffy white head comes along with the pour and makes the beer look very presentable. The nose is really interesting as it has Belgian spices, sweetness, and some grassy hop odors. In addition, it has a touch of saison funk with some wet hay aromas. Really an interesting nose that draws you into the beer.
Upfront, this beer is super spicy with lots of Belgian spices, mainly clove, going on. Soon after a citrus hop flavor kicks in and adds a new dimension to the beer. The beer then transitions to include all three components of the nose to end out. I wrote in my notes that it has a “spicy/grassy/hoppy finish.”
This is by no means a traditional saison. It is much hoppier than you would normally expect out of a saison and doesn’t have a delicate body. It’s an interesting combination that works but it’s not something that I totally dig. Victory likes to hop everything and I think this beer would have been more enjoyable had it had less hops and more balance. Continue reading
Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample
The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.
Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.
The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.
I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. Continue reading