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06-10-03

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 #132 Victory Summer Love

I’ve reviewed a fair number of Victory Brewing Company beer on this website. Part of the reason for this is that it is one of my “home” breweries. In college I lived 45 minutes away from Downingtown, PA, home of Victory. By the grace of God I was able to get their beers in Texas and now that I live in Delaware, the brewery is only an hour away. I was at their brewery two weeks ago and saw Summer Love on the tap menu. I never heard of it so I grabbed a six pack on my way out. Apparently this beer had previously been released a few years ago, but they recently had a re-release party.

Summer Love is styled as an American Blond Ale or Golden Ale. It pours a surprising </sarcasm> golden color with a wispy white head. The beer is perfectly clear as well. The nose is pretty intense for the style. By that I mean that it is super hoppy. I find a lot of Victory’s beers tend to be on the hoppy side of the style, but this one is really hoppy smelling. There is a lot of citrus/grapefruit hops going on. A light touch of biscuit can also be found, but the hops really dominate the flavor profile.

As much as the hops smell like they will overpower this drink, they don’t in the flavor arena. The hops are strong, but balanced enough with the malt to make this beer very drinkable. I found a nice honey-like sweetness mixed with some bready flavors in the front end of this beer, followed by a solid hop punch. The hops linger around a bit longer than I wanted on my tongue, but I think that is more do to personal preference.

Victory Summer Love comes in at a 5.2% ABV rating. It is nice and refreshing as any summer beer should be. I like that it doesn’t follow the typical orange Belgian flavor profile that is so prevalent in summer beers. I love the artwork on the label of this beer. It is slightly nostalgic in the way it is presented, but also shows a slew of summertime activities; camping, fishing, baseball, fireworks, etc. I feel like they also did some things just for the local area on the artwork. The Liberty Bell is on there along with some baseball themes. Obviously the Phillies have been a summertime tradition in Philadelphia and that trend is only growing. Philadelphia’s City Hall is on the back label as well. As a homegrown Philadelphian, I appreciate a brewery that acknowledges that locals. There is still a month left of summer, so try this on out while you can. (more…)

Beer Review #64 Summer Bright Ale

We have another summer beer to review today. This one comes from the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. This is another wheat style summer ale as well. Wheat lends itself to summer beers because wheat adds some unique flavors that work really well in a lighter beer. Summer Bright Ale comes in at a nice 4.5% which makes it very sessionable as well.

The beer pours with a thin white head and is slightly cloudy. The cloudiness is expected because of the wheat malt, but I would of expected a larger and more long lasting head. Wheat adds natural proteins to the beer that promote head retention. Generally wheat beers have big heads and many beers will have a slight bit of wheat malt in them to just promote a good head. Golden or straw is where I would place the color on the beer.

The nose has some slight biscuit with some malt. There was some bitterness, but no a normal hop bitterness that you usually get on a beer. Overall there isn’t a lot happening on the nose of the beer. The taste is a bit nondescript. There is not much malt or hops. There is some slight lemon or citrus in there, but not a ton. The finish of the beer is probably my favorite part of it. It is nice and bready which is a flavor that I like to have in a beer.

The mouthfeel is light and watery. This is a drinkable summer beer. It is light and not packed with flavor, but it is super sessionable and a foot into the craft beer world. I would recommend that you drink this beer cold as well. Unlike a lot of craft beers, this one doesn’t really open up to anything new when warm. It is much more refreshing cold as well. If you like lighter beers that don’t have a ton of flavor but are still considered craft beer this one is for you. Also, if you are looking to get into the craft beer world, this is an easy beer to tackle and would be enjoyable for you. (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 Calendar problem

I got the “365 Bottles of Beer for the Year Page-A-Day Calendar 2010 ” for Christmas this year. I have really enjoyed it as far as offering a different type of beer and also as far as exposing me to new beers. I have run in to a few issues with it though. My biggest problem with the calendar is that they put seasonal beers in the wrong season. In January there were a few summer beers. And now that it is spring there are a few fall beers in there. Why? It doesn’t take an editing genius to decide that seasonal beers should go with the season they represent.

My only other problem with the calendar is that beers they love, I tend to dislike. In particular there are a lot of light lagers that they call “refreshing and relaxing” where I would just plainly call them poor. I am sure that it is personal preference but when you are comparing great beers (because they do have plenty in there) to beers that just don’t measure up, it takes away from the quality as a whole. Alright, I am done my little rant for today, but I am sure you can understand the frustration especially with the whole seasonal thing.