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Beer Review #89 Stoudt’s Winter Ale

Stoudt’s Brewing Company is one of my local favorites. I reviewed their Oktoberfest last last year and enjoyed it a good bit. Their Winter Ale is another beer that has a different recipe each year, much like Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale. I’ve had the 2008 and 2009 versions of this ale and enjoyed them very much. This year’s version comes in a little lighter in ABV, sitting at 6.0%.

Amber is the color that this ale pours. It is perfectly clear and has a nice off-white head that goes along with it. The nose is nice and complex. It is hoppy with some slight heat, which is surprising for a 6.0% beer. I got a lot of dried fruit with some hidden caramel notes. There is also a nice roasty aroma that sits in the background. The more this beer warms up the more complex it gets.

The taste is very malty upfront, which is something that Stoudt’s does with all of their winter beers. There is some heat in the flavor as well. The end was hoppy and spicy. I’m not sure if the spice came from the hops or if it was added in from a third party source. The malty flavor is pretty close to what the nose has to offer. This beer is pretty thick as well. I found it pretty drinkable and it serves as a good example of a Stoudt’s beer. I might be a bit biased, but I haven’t had a bad beer from this brewery, ever. (more…)

Styles that don’t agree with me

10-20-01Look a that, my first rhyming blog title. Anyway, I was thinking the other day about beers that I really just do not enjoy. No matter how good they are, I just can’t seem to like them. I think I got the idea while reading Pennsylvania Breweries 3rd Edition by Lew Bryson during my break at work. Lew seems to really enjoy a quality Pilsner and often recommends them while doing his write-up about a brewery.

My problem is that I really don’t like Pilsners at all. Maybe it was from my early college days when the American Light Lager ruled my drinking choices. That type of light, watery, sometimes hoped beer just isn’t for me. I’ve had plenty of well regarded Pilsners, and I can get the flavor differences and all of that, I just don’t like it that much. Stoudt’s Pils is probably my favorite of the style that I have sampled, but I would much rather have any host of other beers in front of me.

For my wife she can’t stand too many IBUs. Well let me correct that, she can’t stand anything that doesn’t have a malt backbone to support the IBUs. In particular she is always wary of IPAs because so few actually offer a good balance. A hoppy stout or porter will also leave her wanting something different. I’m also not really a Labmic guy. I’ve have three of them in my short beer experience, but the sourness just doesn’t do anything for me. If I had a homebrew that turned out like that, I would be very disappointed. I am not one for Warheads or any of that candy stuff that is super sour either, so that might be partly to blame.

Will I steer away from styles I generally know that I don’t enjoy. The answer I want to is no, that I will try any new beer, just to try it. The real answer is that I probably would steer a bit away from styles I don’t really like. That is why there are not many Pilsner reviews on here or American Light Lagers. I don’t enjoy them so I refuse to spend money on them. At a brewpub, I am a bit more willing to try things I don’t like becasue I always get a sampler. And if I don’t care for a particular beer, I only have to drink 4-5 ounces of it. Is anyone else like me in avoiding beer styles they don’t care for or are you one to try anything even if you know you will not like it.