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Beer Review #289 Sprung

04-28-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company puts out a lot of really nice beer, and their selection is only growing. I recently had one of their barrel aged beers, which was a little sweet for my tastes. I have several other of their limited/season beers waiting to be reviewed and Srung happen to be up today.

Srung is an “ale brewed with hibiscus, chamomile, and honey.” It comes in at a nice, sessionable 4.9% as well. Sprung pours a light amber color and has an off-white head. There are some floaties in there which I wasn’t expecting but it is thanks to the yeast used to carbonate the beer. The nose is very pleasant, with some really nice bready/toasty notes. There is some slight honey along with some slight malt sweetness to be found as well.

On the first taste I was really surprised at the about of bread flavor to be found. I was expecting some of the additions to take a larger roll upfront, but bread wins out. A bit of honey can be found as well. Midway through the drink, a nice sweetness builds in on the backend of the beer. A slight hop flavor (just a bit of bitterness) cleans out the sweetness and end the beer.

I really liked this one. It is well balanced but still malt forward. It’s hard to find a beer that is malt forward without being overly sweet, but this one does it. The bread/toast flavor is very nice as well and really fills out the beer. Sprung is still on shelves so buy it while you can. (more…)

Beer Review #279 Hyve

03-30-02Uinta Brewing Company is quickly become a favorite of my. Everything that I have had by them has been quality. Peak Organic Brewing Company was my favorite “new” (to me) brewery for some time, but Uinta has taken its spot. I originally bought today’s beer, Hyve, for my wife as the bottle said “honey ale.” My wife loves honey and while I haven’t had a beer that has a strong honey flavor in my life, I figured that I could give this one a shot.

Hyve pours an orange copper color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin, off-white head. The nose is full of malt wonderfulness. It starts off as typical malt and then bleeds into biscuit and bread aromas. The nose is pretty sweet and there are some hints of honey in there.

On the first taste I was shocked by the malt flavor that comes out in this beer. It has a crisp bread flavor that melds with some good toasty notes. There is a slight honey flavor in the malt, but it’s not different from other malt sweetness that I have had in other beers. There is no hops to taste in this one, it’s malt or nothing. While this beer doesn’t really deliver on the honey end it is very solid. Honey is an almost impossible flavor to capture in beer as it is 100% fermentable and thus, doesn’t leave much in the way of flavor. The honey sweetness that I found in this beer is thanks solely to the malt bill.

This is just an awesome beer. I haven’t really been looking for malt forward beers, but this one makes me rethink that. The crisp biscuit flavor is endlessly enjoyable. Some might find fault with the lack of honey or hops, but this beer makes up for those items in so many way. For me, Uinta delivers again. I’ve actually gone back and purchased more of this beer in the past few days, a rarity for me. (more…)

Beer Review #263 Secret Spot Winter Ale

01-22-03We had a nice bit of snow last night here in northern Delaware, and by nice I mean a coating. It’s been a pretty dry winter thus far and I’m not happy about it. Secret Spot Winter Ale boasts a snowboarder on the logo and screams snowy winter. Brewed by Evolution Craft Brewing Company this beer is going to get snow to me. The weather works that way right? No? Crap.

Secret Spot pours a nice orange copper color and has a thin white head. The nose has a slight bit of citrus hops. As I took a deeper breath of the beer I found a lot of malt notes. You have your typical malt flavors along with a subtle toasty and bready odor.

On the first taste I got a really nice malt flavor. There are some light caramels but mainly a standard malt backbone. The hops then come in an provide a really nice citrus flavor. The hops are very clean and don’t bite like traditional hops. They gently mix in with the malt and slowly make themselves more apparent. The transition is very smooth and enjoyable.

For a normal beer I really like this one. It’s drinkable and a bit different. The hop transition is so smooth that it added a new layer of intrigue for me. This beer does not say winter ale to me. It’s no robust in any way and it is not a stick to your ribs kind of beer. As a beer I like it, but as a winter beer it doesn’t measure up. Change up the release time of this one to the spring and I think you have a real winner. (more…)

Beer Review #236 Amber 25

I’ve been a big fan of Stoudts Brewing Company for as long as I have been drinking craft beer. Stoudts was my local regional brewery in college and I have talked with the owner Ed Stoudt a few times. He’s a beer loving man who knows what he has, and doesn’t want to grow past the regional size. Stoudts Amber 25 is their 25th Anniversary Amber Ale. Yeah, they have been around that long. It’s funny to think that in the craft beer world, 10 years is a long time, let alone 25 years. There are only a few other industries that have such a short lifespan up to this point.

Amber 25 pours a nice amber color with a thin white head. This beer is perfectly clear. In my opinion, amber beers are my favorite type of beer to have be clear because as light pass through the clear liquid, it picks up a richness. The nose is packed with malty flavors. There are lots of great toasty and bready flavors in there, all of which I loved.

This ale starts with a nice malt flavor that features a few different degrees of caramel (no toffee). It then fades into some bready background flavors and exits. I didn’t notice any hop flavor to make note of. As the fall really starts to set in the flavor combination of strong malts really is a perfect fit. I can imagine sitting down on my deck outside as the sun is setting and the first cool breeze of the night sets in and sipping on this listening to some music.

This is a very nice beer. It doesn’t stand out if any particular way, but it is solid and drinkable. Congrats to Stoudts for being open for 25 years and here’s to another 25. (more…)

Beer Review #196 Blue Point Toasted Lager

Blue Point Brewing Company of Patchogue, New York generally seems to have one new beer each time I visit my local beer store. Their Toasted Lager is the most recent addition the shelves. Apparently this beer is only new to me though, as they consider it their flagship beer. It has also been honored with a silver and gold metal at the World Beer Cup. While I don’t take ratings or awards into much consideration when getting a beer (a post for another time), Blue Point is very proud of their awards as they are clearly displayed on the bottle for this lager.

Toasted Lager pours a nice light amber color and comes with and abundant white head. From my experience the head was very dense and thick for a lager. The nose had some slight lager sulfur along with some dull background hops. As expected their is a bready/toasted odor as well, which I found very pleasant.

There is some nice sweetness on the front-end of this beer which is quickly followed by a more defined sweetness of honey and light caramel. The toasted part of this beer’s namesake fades in very nicely and really provides a great depth of flavor. I didn’t get any hops on this beer. The toasted flavor and a light sweetness stay on the tongue a bit, but the flavor is nice and not overly cloying.

I enjoyed this beer and I could see myself enjoying a few of them at a sitting. It’s a bit sweet but the toasted flavor more than makes up for the sweetness. I would like to see a bit more in the way of hops to balance this beer out, but this beer delivers exactly what it says on the bottle, which is more than most beers can say. (more…)