Friday, December 28, 2007
Terribly sad news. We may be jumping the gun as the beer may still be made - during bankruptcy proceedings and perhaps after a restructuring of the business.
Still, there is always a chance that the brand won't survive. Goudenband is one of my favorite beers ever. I have always liked their fruit beers since they used an Oud Bruin as a base instead of lambic or, increasingly, a bland wheat beer.
It looks like I'll have to go find some Gluhkriek just in case.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
One last entry in this series and for the last entries I picked one of my all-time favorites. According to the bottle, this winter ale is brewed with spring water, barley, hops, dried orange peel, thyme (?!?) and "a lot of candy sugar". Guess that candy sugar helps boost the alcohol content up to 10% ABV. The bottle also suggests that this beer may be aged up to 5 years. This version is from 2004, three years of age on it.
It pours an opaque nutty brown with a enormous, frothy head. Tons of thick lacing. A very spicy nose and not just sweet spice. There a bitterness and peppery quality to the aroma.
Although this is a big beer, there is nary a hint of alcohol in the mouth. Nor is this beer overly sweet like so many big ales from Belgium. The body is thinner than you might expect, though not too thin, and the spice and hops really shine through. It's a nice balance that makes this enormous beer quite the easy drinker. The spice and hops create an interesting bitterness, especially in the finish. Is it the thyme? I think so. The orange peel flavor is there to giving that dryness to the body. It's a really interesting beer and takes awhile to wrap your head around.
One thing for sure is that this one's a one of a kind ale. Go get some.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Taste is malty and sweet, much maltier than I remember this beer being before. Fruity undertones with hints of citrus and cloves. Medium bodied and sticky with a caramel and molasses aftertaste with a moderately hoppy finish to balance it out. Very drinkable with a suprisingly full body.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Against my better judgement, I put a bottle of Celebration in the cellar for a number of years. I have heard of other people doing this and while I don't typically don't lay down IPA's, my curiosity outweighed my prudence. It does have nearly 7% ABV and is bottle conditioned so you never know. This bottle has been in my possession for 4 years.
Monday, December 17, 2007
In the mouth there is still some alcohol present and it is surrounded by the swirling flavors of dark fruit, vanilla, oakiness and big rich caramel malt. Also it is sugary and sweet. However the finish is relatively clean.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Another old winter favorite takes the stage next. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is an annual ritual and one of the better aging beers I've experimented with. Upon release it needs a good year in the cellar before it really shines. At 10%, it's sometimes a little hot right away. This bottle is three years old, the 04-05 version.
Pours like motor oil with a quickly dissipating light brown head. Smells chocolatey with hints of alcohol esters. There are aromas of dark fruit from oxidation and a hint of vanilla.
The taste is sweet and chocoaltey with almost no hint of alcohol. Lightly bitter with smooth mocha flavors. A big sweet sticky mouth. There's some light oaky and black currant flavors from oxidation. Sticky finish with some estery alcohol in the finish.
It's a good one. Throw a couple in the basement.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Pours opaque ruby brown brimmed by a frothy and dense tan head.
The aroma... Rich maltiness and caramel malt, strident spiciness, perhaps from the yeast. Lightly fruity almost like tart apples.. Some hops seem to be present in the nose. Crazy.
Flavor is very malty, fruity malt and caramel malt, considerable spice, some bitterness, tastes like hops but may be a product of the spice as this style usually doesn't display hops lightly sticky sweet finish and aftertaste.
That is one tasty abbey ale. Good stuff.
Brasserie St. Feuillien
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
It pours a clear reddish-orange and is topped by a thin ivory head. Smells lightly spicy and fruity.
Don't expect your typical Belgian abbey but it's pretty good stuff.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The next beer is a three year old sample of of Delirium Noel, the christmas beer in the Delirium line, brought to you by Brouwerij Huyghe in Melle, Belgium. It's a big one at 10% ABV but there's not much more information about the beer to be found. So let's get to drinking!
Taste is all that sweet fruitiness. Spiced apple and cherry, black currant and raisin. Still a bit boozy. Is there licorice in the finish? There's certainly something bitter but certainly doesn't taste like hops.
The age seems to have taken the stickiness out of the finish. It does seem to have improved but this one remains a once a year affair for me. But I will report that if you finish one of these by yourself, you may begin to see the pink elephants march right off the label.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The mouth is filled by the flavors of the rich dark malt and it dominates the taste buds. Slowly, the sweet spice mentioned before becomes apparent. It finishes with some piney flavors, much more pine than in the mose, and woodier in the aftertaste. Its a very full mouth, a bit sticky but an offsetting piney aftertaste as the beer goes down.
First, The Brew Site checked in and let me know that they too are doing a "Beer Advent Calendar" this month so that ensures I'll be checking in to see if our lists overlap!
Second is a site that is so excellent it is unmissable. The blog on The Belgian Beer Board is outstanding. It's full of information about new beers, new cafes, new breweries and beer festivals - all in Belgium and written by a very knowledgeable Belgian, Filip Geerts. Indispensible if you are planning a trip to the beery motherland and downright addicting even if you aren't.
Shut Up About Barclay Perkins is an entertaining read about an English ex-pat living in The Netherlands and his various pubs that he has the pleasure to visit. Even more interesting than that though is all the historical information about beer that he manages to dig up (including the Whitbread gravity book) that is quickly putting some myths about British beer styles soundly to bed.
Delving even further into the beery history (primarily) of Great Britain is Zythophile. Lots of great posts that are impossible to stop reading once you start.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Pours a nearly opaque reddish brown with a wispy thin tan head. No real lacing to speak of. Smells very malty. Sweet with some sweet spiciness some alcohol in the nose
Wow. I was not real impressed with this beer when I had it fresh but it's outstanding now. Is that the aging or simply a different point of view two years later? I don't know but I'm sure a fresh sample will help solve that dilema.
Avery Brewing Company
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Smuttynose Brewing Company
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In the interests of science, (yeah, right) I have always wanted to try Anchor Small. Why? First, it the only beer where the brewery admits it make the wort from second runnings of another beer. Second, it it made from the second runnings of one of my all time favorite beers, Old Foghorn. Third, it's really rare to try a good low alcohol craft beer in this country. So let's get to drinking!
This one pours very pale copper with a frothy ivory head. Smells surprisingly malty for a beer so light. Sweet caramel malt with underpinnings of floral hops.
Initially, lots of carbonic bite in the mouth. Very, very carbonated without a lot of body to offset it. You can taste some caramel malt in here but it is, as expected, quite thin. Very fizzy, very crisp and very light.
If the carbonation was backed off a little bit, this would be a pretty tasty and refreshing ale. The ample carbonation, however, serves to overpower the rest of the flavors instead of enhancing them. I'll have to give it another try sometime but this one is pretty disappointing.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Poured: September 2007
Filled my Troegs growler while passing through Harrisburg, PA on Labor Day weekend.
Pours a nearly opaque dark brown with mahogany highlights. Smells of roasty and sweet malt but clearly a lot of spicy hops aromas as well.
The hops bite right up front. Certainly the hoppiest regular porter I've ever tasted. The only other porter that would rival its hop profile would be Flying Dog's Imperial Porter and that's saying something. Anyway, after the hops it's creamy smooth and some sweeter flavors shine through. The finish glows with hops and the hops linger long after the beer has entered the gullet. There's an odd yeasty profile too, somewhat English in character but I can't really put my finger on it.
Definitely a unique porter but plenty tasty. I had no trouble finishing off the growler!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
As a rule, I never even attempt to age any sort of IPA even doubles and triples. IPAs are meant to be drunk sooner than later in my opinion.
However, this one was so hoppy and so hot that I thought it might defy convention so I gave it a shot. Really, it drinks more like a blonde barleywine so it's a good candidate. This bottle has been in the cellar for two years.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I never really addressed this story about the Georgia Legislature making changes to what is allowed in brewery tours in the state. The change that's really sticking in the brewers' craw in the provision that would make it unlawful to charge admission and then serve beer. Now I don't agree that this would "cripple" the brewers' as Fred Bench from Sweetwater says. I've been to plenty of tours and I can't think of one that charged me a cover to get in. I mean, there are other business models out there that allow for tours and samples that would be OK under this new law.
But really, what's the big deal? Is this practice that is done by three breweries in the state and makes up a mere fraction of a percent of GA's beer drinkers really worth all this consideration? For being such a Republican state, Georgia is sure inhospitable to small business sometimes...
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The mouth is surprisingly crisp with the light caramel malt. A bit sticky in the finish though. This is pretty much a mess. Take a pass.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The opening of the Terrapin Brewery in Athens draws ever closer. (They have primarily contract brewed up to this point...). The target date for the first brewery tour is October 18th. Also, the fall seasonal Big Hoppy Monster is set for release and the India Brown Ale, originally a one-off for the brewery's fifth anniversary, will now be a year-round offering. More at TerrapinBeer.com
Sweetwater's latest addition from their recent "Catch and Release" series will be a big hoppy barleywine called Donkey Punch! It will be released on September 21st in liter bottles, perfect for the cellar. More at SweetwaterBrew.com
Friday, September 7, 2007
Anyhow, this past weekend (September 1) I was passing through Harrisburg and went to tour the Troeg's brewery as well as to fill up my old Troeg's growler with some tasty beverage. I arrived about 15 minutes early for the tour but they were serving free samples so I decided to partake. The first beer I tried was a very spicy tripel they had brewed called Scratch Beer #3. It clocks in at 10% ABV and showed it a bit in the taste but a very nice tripel for sure. Also sampled some of their new fall seasonal, a porter named Dead Reckoning. Very hoppy for a porter! I ended up filling my growler with that beer so more on that at a later date.
Chris Troeg, one of the two brothers who are the brewery's namesake, gave the tour and it was fairly informative without getting too technical and going over the heads of the non-beer geek crowd. What was interesting to me is how small Troegs still is. You see their beers all over Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania so you get the impression that they would be a bigger operation. Their bottling line in downright tiny!
Anyway, it was a typical brewery tour. They are building some new, bigger fermenters and looking to expand a bit. The most unusual part of the tour is that when it was done, Chris let us basically have the run of the place so we could take a look around. It was then that I found (where the new fermenters were going to be located) several new oak barrels with names of beers scrawled in chalk. There was the name of a beer and then a date (ex: Naked Elf 071407) I did not know that Troegs barrel aged any of their beers so it was quite a surprise to find these.
On my way out, I was paying for my growler and Chris was nearby and I asked him if they were releasing any oak aged beers in the future. He said that no they weren't and that those barrels were holding beer that was being treated with wild yeasts as an experiment. You mean like brett is being added? Yes, he replied. Cool.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Poured: August 2007
More from my trips out west this summer:
I was curious to see Goose Islands take on an Irish Red. I am a fan of their Honkers Ale and IPA but this beer should be malt focused, not on the hops. Hmmmm....
Pours more of a deep orangish-copper than red. Topped by a wispy ivory colored head. Smells of fruity english type of malt. Bready aromas and british hops. Sweetish malt smells.
This beer is fruity and spicy in the mouth. There's light but distinct dark roasted malt flavors. A quite bready malt profile and decent balancing hops in the finish. Sweetish mouth but not overly done. Quite a nice and drinkable brew.
Does Goose Island make a bad beer? This is not even a style I am particularly fond of but the guys at Goose Island do it up right. Recommended.
Goose Island Beer Company
Friday, August 31, 2007
In 1992, at the age of 21, I bought a hardcover copy of his 1988 revision of The New World Guide to Beer and, at the risk of sounding completely sappy and geeky, it truly did change my life. My new found interest in "microbrews" was pretty enthusiastic but now I had a beer bible! Styles I had never dreamed of, brewing processes, origins and producers of the great classics were now revealed in glossy pictures and words that breathed life into those pictures.
My favorite quote: "It's a perilously drinkable brew." That was in reference to De Konninck but I'm sure he used it elsewhere.
I loved his writing style. He was sometimes criticized for being too easy on beer that was less than stellar. People sometimes missed the subtlety in his jabs at soulless, corporate beer but Jackson was a beer ambassador more than a pure critic. His writing was pure beery poetry.
Mostly, Michael Jackson inspired me to seek out the beer. My tendency to road trip or plan entire vacations or incorporate beer hunting into vacation or business trips is directly attributed to Jackson. (I actually call those entries in my blog "Beer Hunts".) Getting the beer at the source is very rewarding on many levels.
So, to Mr. Jackson I'll raise a pint or three today. But every pint I've had up until now and every pint I'll have after will really be in his honor.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Poured: June 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I picked this coaster up in the early 90's, probably at one of the Sam Adams pubs in an airport.
Nothing really great about this coaster but it does feature the old stoic Sam Adams instead of the newer mug-raising "party patriot" Sam Adams that graces the bottles now. I prefer the version pictured above.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Empyrean Brewing Co.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I used Beer Advocate's BeerFly to locate some good beer stores along the way and hoped for the best.
That night I ran out to Luka's a few miles away as fellow Beer Advocates had deemed it the best place for beer in Kansas City (at least on the side of town I was on). My plans of just picking up one six-pack were quickly dashed as I wandered the aisles of beer. They had make-your-own sixpacks, a rarity in Atlanta, so I was guaranteed to have to get one of those and they had a lot of Bell's beers which I had not laid hands on in nearly two years so I was going to have to get a sixer of one of their stouts. In the end I got a mixed six of various Bell's and O'Dell beers, a sixer of Bell's Java Stout and a bomber of O'Fallon Smoke (I'm a sucker for smoked beers). I could've bought a lot more but was already over my self-imposed limit. La Folie? I wandered the aisles, scanned the shelves but there was no sign of it. If this store didn't carry it, who would?
On our way home, we stopped by Taylor's Pantry in Sioux Falls, SD to see what was there. The answer was: Not much that you haven't gotten elsewhere on this trip. I did get a mixed sixer of beers from Big Sky, Schell's, Boulder and more Spanish Peaks.
We stopped in KC once more on the way home and I had to go to Luka's just one more time. This time I walked out with a case plus of beer. I got some more Bell's Java Stout, O'Dells Imperial Stout, Goose Island Demolition, Anchor Small Beer and a mixed sixer with Schafly, O'Dell and Flying Monkey.
Some very nice scores on this trip. Reports on the actual beer to follow.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
The Waterworks Pub in Rockland poured brews from the (now defunct) Rocky Bay Brewing Company including the wonderful Viking Plunder in the winter. Good brunch there too. Since Dave lived just north in Camden, this made a natural spot for the occasional pint. And the nearness to Rockland Harbor didn't hurt either.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Date Cellared: Oct 2004
Poured: June 2007
One of the more unusual combinations you'll ever taste is Middle Ages Tripel Crown which they bill as a "British Style Tripel". Actually, you'll likely never taste this brew if you haven't already as they discontinued this beer in 2005.
This beer shines a luminescent hazy orange topped by a dense but thin ivory head. Fruity aromas, spiced apple, sweet spice and alcohol in the nose.
More toffee and vanilla than I remember from the fresh tasting and still quite a bit of alcohol flavor. Much less spiciness with the age on it and not quite as carbonated as I recall either.
Has it improved? Hmmmm. Not sure but it certainly has mellowed a bit. I'm not sure if I would want to age the alcohol flavors down any further but it has enough heat that I certainly could let it go another 6 months to a year. I have two left so I think I'll check back in a few more months.
Middle Ages Brewing