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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 #295 HiCü

The nice folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their summer beers for this year. There are two new beers to this year’s summer sampler and one returning beer, Elder Betty. Elder Betty now comes in cans, pictured below. You can read my full review of the beer below but I still like this one as a good, light, summer beer. My wife really digs it. Today’s beer, HiCü is a new one to me. The bottle immediately caught my eye because it says the words “cucumber” and “hibiscus.” I knew I was in for an adventure before opening this bottle.

06-10-0706-10-03HiCü pours a nice orange color with a thin off-white head. There may have been some slight haze in this one, but my glass fogged up pretty quickly (thanks stupid warm weather) and I couldn’t get a clean look. The nose is cucumber. It’s crazy to say but this beer reeks of cucumber. I’ve never smelled a beer like it. My wife has face wash that smells pretty close to the nose of this beer. There really isn’t much else in the way of hops or malt, just a concentrated cucumber smell.

On the first taste I got a bit of sweetness upfront followed by an odd bitterness. Perhaps it was the hibiscus, but the bitterness was not only hop based. It has a strange twang to it that I’m not totally sure if I enjoyed or not. The cucumber flavor comes in at the end and cleans up the beer nicely. I really liked the aftertaste on this beer. The cucumber flavor is so different for a beer that it makes you want to keep drinking it to see if you are really tasting it.

This is a really interesting beer. There are only a few beers that I can truly say surprised me with interesting flavors, and this is one of them. I really wish the bitterness was toned down a bit. Doing so would make this beer super drinkable. I felt like I had to fight though the weird bitter flavor to get to the good part of this beer. This one comes in at 4.2% so it’s sessionable. Try this one out if you get a chance and see if you can pinpoint the bitterness for me.

Beer Review #215 Pistil

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The nice folks at Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me another sampler of beers, this time for their summer line-up. Later this week I will review the other beer they sent me, but today’s beer is Pistil. Pistil is a beer brewed with dandelions, that’s right dandelions. They have always been a strange beer ingredient to me, but my buddy Pete has brewed a few beers with dandelions with varying degrees of success. According to Magic Hat’s website, there are a number of other ingredients that are used in this beer that make it a bit strange.

Pistil pours a light golden color and it is super cloudy. A thick white head comes out of the beer but quickly fades back into it leaving just a trace on top of the liquid. The nose is sweet with hints on honey. I got a light toasted smell on my second whiff. There were no hops to speak over and nothing that would alert the drinker that they were about to try something brewed with dandelions.

On the front end of the beer you get some light malt flavor; raw and grainy. It then carries into a light fruity flavor. A slight spicy hop kicks in right at the end to help finish out the beer. I found the end of this one to be slightly grassy. Along with the all of the other flavors, this beer is slightly sour which really works well with everything else going on. I don’t know what dandelions taste like in beer, but I’m not sure if I could detect them even if I did.

This beer isn’t bad and would make an excellent light summer beer. It’s a bit different than your typical summer beer which is nice. I would give this one another one a try when the summer decides to turn the outside thermostat up a few degrees. Generally these types of beers I find to be a bit “gimmicky” but this one was actually very drinkable. This is a perfect transition beer for someone just getting into craft beer or someone who has never had a craft beer before. (more…)

Beer Review #124 Summer Session Ale

I have been on quite the Peak Organic Brewing Company kick lately. I’ve never heard of them until this year (even though I spent a number of days in Portland, Maine a few years ago), but since that time I have purchased a number of their beers. In each case, I have found their beers to be very crisp and fresh tasting. When I saw their Summer Session Ale on the shelves last weekend I just had to try it.

Like the yellow label suggest, Summer Session Ale pours a nice golden color with a fluffy white head. It is also perfectly clear which allows you to watch the bubbles dance up the middle of the glass. The nose isn’t super complex and is marked with their signature crisp hop aroma. These hops were strongly citrus and the malt or other flavoring kicked in some lemon odors as well. Overall it smelled very nice and straightforward.

Summer Session Ale is classified Pale Ale with some wheat malt mixed into the grain bill. On the first taste I was expecting something that tasted along the lines of a hoppy pale ale, but with a more complex malt character. What I got was a beer that didn’t have a major malt component. The crisp, fresh hoppy finish really dominates this beer. The hops are strongly citrus but I didn’t get any of the lemon flavor that was promised in the nose. There was some slight bread flavor in there but nothing to write home about.

Overall I liked this beer but didn’t find it very “summery.” Adding citrus flavors to a beer doesn’t make it a summer beer. However, Peak succeeded in making a very crisp and refreshing pale ale that I would be happy to drink during any period of the year. This beer is only 5% ABV so it does fit nicely into the session area. Try it out if you are looking for a different type of summer beer that is away from your typical wheat beer. (more…)

Beer Review #121 Blue Point Summer Ale

In the spring I reviewed Blue Point Brewing Company’s spring beer and found it to be a solid brew. Blue Point is brewed in Patchogue, NY a.k.a. Long Island, NY and they have been making a large variety of beer recently.

Blue Point’s summer offering pours like most summer beers; golden in color, clear, and a fluffy white head. The nose has some similar notes to most summer beers, like a honey-like sweetness, but also has some other components. I noticed a bit more hop odor than a normal summer beer has along with a nice biscuit aroma.

The taste is pretty straightforward and not overly complex. There is some sweetness followed by a slight hop flavor. The overall taste was pretty nondescript. Now this isn’t always a bad thing. If I had this beer in the winter I would be highly disappointed, but for a summer beer, it is light and refreshing.  It might not be packed with flavor, but it does a good job of quenching your thirst. I believe that there are better summer offerings out there, but this one might be good for a newcomer to craft beer or someone who has never had a craft brew. (more…)