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Beer Review #98 Grand Cru Winter Reserve

I have three winter beers to review before Spring hits and till the March Brewness starts. Today’s review comes from Flying Fish Brewing Company of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This beer has one heck of a name with it, and the packaging offers little explanation. The bottle hints at what is sure to be inside, saying, “bottle conditioned Belgian style ale.” Sounds wonderful to me.

The ale pours a nice cloudy straw color and has a nice wispy white head sitting on top of it. The nose is full of the normal Belgian spices and also is pretty yeasty. There are some slightly sweet aromas coming from there as well, but nothing overpowering.

The taste is very yeasty. The spices are there but I was surprised but the yeast character to this beer. There is a slight sweetness to it along with some biscuit flavors, but neither are very strong. The mouthfeel is pretty creamy, which I found a bit surprising. Grand Cru Winter Reserve rocks in at 7.2% ABV, but you would never know it from the taste or smell. I found this beer to be very un-winter like. I would love to drink it on a warm spring day, but not the winter. It was a good beer, but another winter beer that lives in the wrong season. (more…)

Beer Review #87 Yule Tide

The winter beer train keeps rolling in on Brewery Reviewery. This beer comes from Clipper City Brewing Company out of Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve had a number of beers from this brewery, in particular their Heavy Seas line, and I dig what they do. They make some solid beers that deliver on everything they promise. When I saw Yule Tide, I knew I had to taste it.

Yule Tide is a 10% Belgian Tripel. It is also part of Clipper City’s Heavy Seas line. The Heavy Seas line has the tag line, “big beers in small batches.” Excellent. This ale pours a dirty straw color and is slightly cloudy. It has a nice fluffy white head which you should expect to see on a Belgian Tripel. The nose has some heat to it, along with your typical Belgian spices. There are also some sweet and fruity aromas coming from the glass which added a nice bit of complexity to the nose.

On the first taste I really picked up on the Belgian spices. It had a nice sweetness upfront that helped balance the spicy end. There was some heat on the backend as well, which I enjoy in this style of beer. Overall I think this is a solid Belgian Tripel. It has a high alcohol percentage which helps warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Yule Tide is another solid beer from Clipper City Brewing Company and I highly suggest that you grab this beer or any of their other offerings. (more…)

Beer Review #63 Anchor Summer Beer

Now that I am finally settled into my new living quarters I can start getting back to my long neglected beer blog. Today I have Anchor Brewing Company’s Anchor Summer Beer. This beer was actually first brewed back in 1984 and over 50% of the malt is composed of wheat. Clearly this beer has to have something behind it or they would not of continued to brew it for the past 26 years.

It pours a golden straw color and is perfectly clear. For some reason I was expected to see some haze if not a lot of haze because of the amount of wheat malt used in the making of the beer. But it is perfectly clear and has a fluffy white head to boot (the head is a direct result of the wheat malt). The nose is slightly malty, with a lot of biscuit and bread components. There are not really any hops to be found. This beer smelled like something my wife would love. When the biscuit is in the aftertaste she loves that beer. This already has it in the nose.

The first flavors in the beer mimic the smell very nicely. The bready/biscuit flavors are all there. Again there are no real hops present in the taste. The backend has a slight spice to it, which I would normally attribute to hops, but it was a different kind of spice. It is very light and watery in the mouth. The carbonation was where it should of been as well.

Overall this isn’t something that I would normally drink a lot of. It is light and not packed with flavor. It does deliver perfectly in the summer beer department. While light, it is super refreshing. I can see sitting out on a hot summers night and sipping down a few of these. If you are a summer beer fan this one is for you. It is not going to knock your socks off, but it will provide a quality craft brew to help cool you down. (more…)

Beer Review #59 Woody Creek White

Sorry for this post going up a day late. I start work in the late morning so I generally write up my posts after I get up in the mornings before I go to work. On this morning I found that my internet and TV service were down. When I got home from work they were both working, but I had the Philadelphia Flyers game on DRV so that took all attention away from beer blogging. My apologies.  Today in the week of Flying Dog we encounter Woody Creek White, which is their take on a Belgian Wit.

The beer ours a straw color and is cloudy. It also comes along with a nice fluffy white head. Everything about the look of this beer is spot on for what you would expect in a Belgian Wit. The nose is yeasty with slight hints of the Belgian yeast spice (clove, coriander, and some orange) along with a touch of malt sweetness. It almost has a musty feel to it, which is right up my alley.

On the first taste your taste buds are greeted with the clove and other parts of the Belgian yeast. It is pretty light on the malt but it is very sweet. I also got some slight bits of lemon in there as well. There are also some bready notes in there that stay on the aftertaste. In general the beer is nicely balanced and lets every part come though nicely. The mouthfeel is light and a bit watery, which should be expected.

I found this beer light and very drinkable. At 4.8% ABV and 18 IBUs it is very sessionable. I could see myself sitting on a deck drinking a few of these during a hot summers day. Speaking of which, it is supposed to be 106 F tomorrow, 106! So I may have the few of these that I have left and down them. If you enjoy Belgian Wit’s this is a great example of one. It is solid all the way around and would be a treat to anyone on a hot summer’s day. (more…)

Beer Review #53 Brooklyn Local 1

My little hiatus from posting has not stopped my love of Belgian beers in the slightest. Today’s Belgian beer comes all the way from Brooklyn, NY, home of the Brooklyn Brewery. Don’t you love it when the brewery’s name and location match? Anyway I don’t think that it any secret that I love most of the beers that I have ever had from the Brooklyn Brewery. On this site I have only reviewed their Pennant Ale ’55, but I have enjoyed a great number of their beers that we hastily drank before the appearance of this blog. I have also read their book, which is also wonderful if you were wondering.

Brooklyn Local 1 comes in as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, which essentially means it is a Belgian beer that has a high ABV and hops that are stronger than you would expect on a normal Belgian beer. It pours a straw color and is 100% cloudy. Lots of sediment to be found and a delicious fluffy white head to go along with it. This beer looks the part of a wonderful Belgian. On the nose the Belgian yeast stands out, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is a slight sweetness that is on there as well which I found refreshing.

On the tongue I first noticed the Belgian yeast and the spicy flavors that go along with it. As I dug more into the beer I noticed the malt more and more. It was very sweet. Perhaps that comes from the German malts that are used in making the beer instead of the typical Belgian malts. The hops also come from Germany. Local 1 is a very clean beer. The hops, Belgian yeast, and the malts balance each other out nicely and the hops really help clean your tongue from any left over flavors. The aftertaste was also a nice mix of lemon, grassy flavors, a slight hop bite, Belgian yeast, and some warming alcohol.

For a beer that comes in at 9.0% ABV this beer really did not feature much in the way of heat. It was very hidden and only noticeable on the aftertaste and a bit when the beer really warmed up. The body was in the medium range but it was highly carbonated, so it was tough to get a really sampling of what it would of been like had it had normal carbonation. The beer is something that I think any Belgian beer lover would love. It is clean but features everything a Belgian beer should. Perhaps the most surprising part is how well the ABV is hidden. If you are not careful this beer could easily sneak up on you. It also comes in a caged and corked bottle which added to the “must buy” factor for me.

The Brooklyn Brewery also makes Local 2 which I have had in the past and really enjoyed. It is another Belgian style beer, but much darker and much more bold. If you see anything with Brooklyn Local 1 or 2, get it and I don’t think that you would be disappointed. (more…)