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03-31-00

Beer Review #323 Viridis Lupulus

03-31-03I always try to support local breweries in addition to other craft beer and I came across a new beer from Weyerbacher Brewing Company, a local brewery, and I decided to go for it. They make some outstanding beer and I was excited by the image of hops on the label. This bad boy comes in a 750 ml bottle and drinks at a healthy 7.5% ABV.

Viridis Lupulus pours a muddy orange color and has a medium off-white to light tan head. The beer isn’t clear at all but light does pass though and you can see a thicker-than-normal layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle. The nose is solid hops. They are mostly piney with some good citrus hints. The hops are sticky and super aromatic. The only other thing that escapes the hops is a slight bit of sweetness on the front-end.

On the first taste I got a slight bit of malt sweetness. The malt wasn’t very complex and didn’t leave a lasting impression. The hops roll in quickly after the forgettable malt and start slow and build to a sharp pine bitterness. It’s almost like a wave of hop bitterness. The wave starts with a slight citrus/tropical note and builds quickly to pine and then proceeds to wash out everything else. The climax of the wave is pointed and dominating.

I rather enjoyed this beer. The high carbonation mixed with the bitterness helps wash the beer off the tongue and leaves you wanting more. I would of liked to see a bit more complexity in the malt but the hops are really nice. This beer edges on the strong IPA to weaker double IPA realm of things. Drink this one up if you have the chance. (more…)

03-06-00

Beer Review #316 Blithering Idiot

03-06-03As I mentioned in my last review, I’m kind of on a barleywine kick right now. This winter is just making me crave the stuff. Today’s beer has one of the best names in all of beerdom, Blithering Idiot. I first had this beer back in college when I was first starting to get into craft beer and I loved it then, but for other reasons. At 11% you could have two of these in a night and be pretty well off. Now, I drink one of these over the course of several hours and enjoy how the beer changes as it oxidizes and warms.

Blithering Idiot is brewed by the Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton, PA. This beer pours a nice brown color and has a slight haze to it. There is a light tan head that quickly fades into the beer below. The nose is big and malty and filled with rich caramels. There is some roast to be found as well. I didn’t get anything on the hop or heat end of the aroma for this beer.

On the firs taste I was greeted with lots of great malt. It’s not overpowering, but you can tell that it is there and wants to be know. Unlike a lot of barelywines that can be a little sweet and simple, this beer has a lot of great malt flavors. On top of the caramels there are some nice roasted notes as well as a great biscuit flavor. The hops are there, but I would like a bit more complexity from them.

For a barelywine, I don’t think that they get more drinkable than this beer. At 11% you could easily get into trouble before you realized that the beer was this strong. The alcohol is hidden so well that you have to be careful. I really like this beer. While it’s not one of my top barelywines, it’s a good starter barelywine that provides a great introduction to the style.  (more…)

Beer Review #272 Verboten

02-20-03This will be my last Belgian beer review for a bit. I’ve done four over the last week and a half and I think that it is probably time to change it up a bit. Today, we have Verboten by the Weyerbacher Brewing Company. The bottle says that this is a bottle conditioned, Belgian-style pale ale. It comes in at a nice 5.9%. Belgian pale ales are one of my favorite types of beer. They often have a nice mix of complexity, hops, and Belgian yeast ester to make them interesting and drinkable. There are a lot of examples, both good and bad, out there. Oddly, I could not find a single Belgian pale ale when I was in Brussels two summers ago.

Verboten (German word, but a small part of Belgium does speak German) pours a nice orange color. It has a white head and has a good bit of haze to it. The nose is packed with Belgian yeast esters. There are some spice hops at the end along with a little sliver of sweetness.

The flavor on this beer is complex and balanced. It starts out with an array of Belgian esters. The malt comes in there and provides a nice dose of sweetness that helps mitigate the spiciness. Soon after a good hop flavor comes in and, you guessed it, mitigates the malt. The ending on this beer is very spicy with contributions from both the yeast esters and the hops. The two really play nicely off of each other and provides a nice shot of complexity.

I really liked this one. It actually might be my favorite Belgian pale ale to date. The balance is just right and I really like how spicy this beer is. It makes me want to drink more while being flavorful and refreshing. This one is a winner. (more…)

Beer Review #264 Winter Ale

01-24-03After my last experience with Weyerbacher Brewing Company I made it a point to go out and try more of their beer. Since it is FREAKING COLD OUT, a winter ale seemed appropriate. While this beer’s label reminds me more of Christmas, I was still happy to see the sight of snow. At 5.6% this beer is on the low end for the normally high alcohol winter beers.

Winter Ale pours a nice brown to dark caramel color. It’s wonderfully clear and it looks wonderful in the light. The light tan head that comes with the pour quickly fades to just a thin layer. The nose is packed with rich malt. In particular I noticed lots of caramels and toffee. There are some bread tones in there as well. Finally, a winter beer that smells like a winter beer!

The taste follows what the nose promises. On my first taste I get lots of caramels and sweetness up front. There is a flat bitterness on the back end that was nondescript. The bitterness does not totally balance this one out and it stays a little sweet. The beer finishes with a note of bread, which I always enjoy. What I did find interesting in this beer is that it tingles on the back of the tongue.

This beer is more along the lines of what I think of when I try a winter beer. Rich and malty and a slow sipper. It’s not packed with alcohol and that’s cool in my book. I really like a malty, fully flavored beer in the winter. It just gives you a warm, full feeling that is enjoyable when it is FREAKING COLD OUT. (more…)

Beer Review #258 Rapture

01-08-03I have a super beer for today’s review. For that I am sorry. Rapture comes from Weyerbacher Brewing Company out of Easton, PA. The beer is an American Wild Ale and was fermented and aged 18 months entirely in  pinot noir wine barrels. As a note of comparison, most beers that use barrels are aged in barrels, not fermented in them. It’s an interesting story and it must have been a pain in the ass to do.

Rapture pours a nice ruby brown. It is perfectly clear until the dregs at the bottom start getting mixed in. It has a nice light tan head that slowly collapses on itself. The nose is packed with sour smells. There is a light oak wood odor, but a winey sour flavor really dominate the nose on this one.

The taste is tart, but not anywhere near as tart as the nose suggests. It is a very clean tartness that flows nicely from front to back. There are lots of berry fruits that compliment the sour flavor. There are also notes of cherry and wine in there. Rapture dries out quite well at the end and cleans up well.

This is a very nice, drinkable sour beer. Being that it’s so rare, it’s hard to judge the beer properly without getting a little excited. I can tell you that it’s not the best sour that I have ever had, but for a wild ale that is made entirely in barrels, it has a hell of a story. I would be happy to have this one again. (more…)