Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ok ok, I get it.

All of you (9) have spoken loud and clear! And that message? There needs to be a rating system outside of my subjective (and oftentimes beautifully poetic) taste tests.

So, without further ado, I introduce to you the Little Boy Brew Mug-O-Meter!

Think of this as a supplement to my reviews. As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome and encouraged! Let me know, my denizens of drink, how does this rate? Ohhh I can't ever pass up a pun.
Well, it's beer.

Ya know? I could pass on another.

Hmm...I'm down for the cause.

This beer comes with high regard.

Can I get this in an IV form?

Cursed be ye who sip from this cup!

Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Location: South Burlington, VT
Name: Hex
Type: Ourtoberfest...cute
ABV: 5.4%
Like other fest beers that I've come across this is not a marzen. I can't say that I'm terribly shocked as Magic Hat doesn't really seem to stray too much from a particular formula. That formula? Produce okay beers with clever names and packaging. Hex is no exception to their rule. The beer wound up being a color similar to a dark apple juice. Not apple cider, as you can see through Hex. A foamy head is quick to disappear and does very little to hang onto the sides of the glass. There wasn't a whole lot going on in the bouquet department. I managed to come up with very faint traces of malt and a whiff of tangy yeast. Reaching I did come across some slightly sour notes as well. Carbonation is a strong suit but that's not an award winning characteristic. The taste was fairly unremarkable. Malt flavor is but a ghost and it quickly gives way to an unpleasant bitterness. Some traces of earth and then yeast at the end. Skip this one unless you've tried every other "fest" beer this fall.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Royale with cheese? much better.

Brewery: Williamsburg Alewerks
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Name: Cafe Royale
Type: Imperial Stout; Aged in bourbon barrels
ABV: 8.0%
This label has 2 of my favorite words on it: stout and bourbon. Before getting into this beer I had a strong feeling that this beer would be nothing short of sublime. My dad acquired this through a friend who actually helps out at the brewery. I am indebted to a prolonged period of gratitude for it! Cafe Royale poured our thick and malty. It's color is that of a strong black coffee topped off with a head of dark caramel. It was love at first sight. My response was Pavlovian...drooled quite heavily. The bouquet was phenomenal! If I had to make a new word to describe the nose it wold have to be "boozeilicious." You get big notes of bourbon straight away with coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar notes playing backup. This beer is to be appreciated at or slightly below room temperature. I know what some of you may be thinking but trust me. The flavor profile of this stout is so wonderful that if it were to be too cold you would lose out on most of the awesome flavors. Cafe Royale packs a punch! Low carbonation allows for you to focus most on what matters: flavor. You get whiskey immediately (yum!) that eventually melts into strong, full throttle coffee. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt bring up the rear. It's like a beer that tastes like Irish coffee. Bliss. Every drink of this beer was awesome and left me wanting more. If you're a whiskey fan you owe it to yourself to seek this out. If you're a stout fan you can not pass this up. Cafe Royale is everything a stout should be (to me): a vortex of liquid shadow, bold in its flavors, and so delicious you want to squeeze your glass to wring the very last drops of it out into your mouth.

I need a network of pipes run throughout my house so that I can have water fountains set up that dispense this!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A trip to Scarborough Fair

Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Location: Milton, DE
Name:Saison du Buff
Type: Saison, clearly
This beer was created by DFH as part of a three brewery collaboration with Stone and Victory. Tessa picked it out while treating me to a stirring rendition to the song "Scarborough Fair," which was about the ingredients in this beer, apparently. According to some investigatory journalism, BUFF stands for Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor as this pact was created in 2003 by the three breweries finally coming to fruition in beer form in 2010. Buff pours a hazy, straw the sun setting in San Francisco on a Tuesday afternoon. Much to my shock this beer foamed up MASSIVELY. The 2 inch thick foam peaked stark white and eventually dissipated back down. The label wasn't kidding. First whiff of the bouquet and you get sage and rosemary. For those not in the know, this beer was brewed with sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Yep. All of these herbs make for an incredibly complex flavor. You get the rosemary full force and a ton of thyme in the aftertastes. Mild citrus hops come up in the back end. To be honest, I was intimidated by this beer. I knew it wasn't going to be traditional, not that that is what scared me. What scared me was that I had no idea how these herbs would play out in any liquid form other than a soup base. Roast turkey would make a great accessory for this beer. However, this was not for me. The more I drank of Buff the less I liked it. The herbs weren't sitting well with me as it had a strong resemblance to gin. Gin and I never got a long. It is pretty interesting and is definitely worth picking up if you're feeling adventurous. I did not get the Stone or Victory versions of this beer, and for me, that's not what I'm calling a loss.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Look at me, Damien!

This is allll for you!

And for you, I mean me. To consume and grade.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A bountiful haul!

Brewery: Souther Tier Brewing Co.
Location:  Lakewood, NY
Name: Harvest
Type: ESB (Extra Special/Strong Bitter)
Initially I was skeptical about enjoying this beer. I didn't like the description that was given to it on the card at the beer store, however, at Tessa's behest I picked it up. I am glad that I did! This was the first ESB I've ever had and I assumed it to be an American Pale Ale due to the massive amounts of hops. What I discovered has left me wanting more! Harvest pours out a slick honey and copper color which produced a massive, egg shell colored head. Lacing began instantly as the head melted back into the glass. My mouth watered almost instantly as I stuck my nose into the bouquet. Holy hops! I got notes of both pine and citrus immediately and further digging produced a sneaky scent of sweet malt. This blended together rather nicely. 12 ounces of pure flavor then attacked my palate. Pine and apricot with a touch of floral showed up to the party first and then immediately at the door behind them was their caramel friend. Earthy tastes showed up. All of that left behind a bitterly hop filled aftertaste. I could drink a lot of this. A lot. It has a great mouthfeel with an adequate amount of carbonation. Each drink left me wanting another and I was disappointed to finish this one off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

To the victor goes the spoils.

Brewery: Victory Brewing Co.
Location: Downingtown, PA
Name: Festbier
Type: Oktoberfest Lager
Victory makes great beer. There. I said it. Festbier is no exception. This rich amber colored beer is probably one of my favorite Oktoberfest beers. It pours nice and smooth and is capped off with a fairly thick, creme colored head. A whiff of this makes me happy. Malt is ever so present as well as a mild hint of caramel and nuts. Add to that the smell of grains and it sounds like it could be an awesome bowl of cereal. Underneath all that is a faint hops smell. A nice amount of carbonation wakes the palate up. The mouthfeel is very light and that's not a bad thing. There is a mild maple flavor that comes through and a subtle amount of spice, almost like pepper and perhaps nutmeg. I also picked up on a bit of an earthy taste which was surprising and not at all off-putting. After taste is a nice balance of grain and toffee...makes for good burps. I'm sad that I was only able to get one bottle of Festbier this year. If you see it and are in the mood for a good example of an Oktoberfest/Marzen type beer then I recommend you celebrate with a Victory. I couldn't make it without a pun. Dammit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let it begin...

Folks, I'm going to get real honest with you. Fall and winter provide me with the greatest beer joys anyone can have. Starting with the fest beers and pumpkin ales, supported by celebration ales and rich stouts, and topped off with winter warmers...I'm a big fan of it all. With that being said, I would like to welcome all of you to the two Best Beer Seasons of the 4 Seasons! Fall and Winter for those who weren't paying attention.

Brewery: Starr Hill Brewery
Location: Crozet, VA
Name: Festie
Type: Oktoberfest Lager
Ah, a local! Hard to believe that this is my first Virginian beer post but there will be more to come, I'm sure of it. Festie surprised me. Right out of the bottle it poured an orange-y honey color. I know I use a lot of sunlight imagery but this one fit in with that theme matching the color of the sky as the sun hits the horizon. It produced a nice foamy head that stuck around for a second and then melted back to whence it came. The nose is fairly malty back with a tart, citrus tang. Not the astronaut's choice, however. Upon diving in I was expecting more of a malt flavor but I should have known that the color of this beer would take me down another path. I was greeted quickly with a crisp and tart fruit-like flavor which eventually turned to a fleeting malt flavor and then finishing up with yeasty goodness. I couldn't help but to keep sticking my nose into the glass trying to decipher the bouquet, I kept coming with green apple. Odd. This was not at all what I was expecting out of my first "Octoberfest" beer experience. I wouldn't be surprised if you put this in front of me at a cookout in July and told me some story about how this was an amazing summer brew. However, I did enjoy my time spent with Festie. It's a nice way to celebrate drunkeness for the folks who aren't big on a robust malt flavor!
Brewery: The Brooklyn Brewery
Location: Brooklyn, NY (duh?)
Name: Oktoberfest
Type: Octoberfest Lager
Coming off of Festie, this Brooklyn offering seemed to fit the bill of what I was used to with a fest beer. At first blush this is what a fest beer should look like; rich amber and copper with a light cream colored head. The bouquet does not disappoint giving up a nice dose of malt being backed up with a slight tart after-smell(?). Hop heads be warned, this beer gave no indication that those little nuggets of pine and citrus were even used in the production of this beverage. Malt dominates the flavor right off the bat. You can pick out some caramel flavor but don't expect to be wowed by it. To be perfectly frank there is very little that is amazing on complicated about this flavor profile, it's a perfectly suitable beer. The mouthfeel left something to be desired. I found it to be somewhat watered down with the slightest hint of carbonation. I can't say that I would feel terrible if I ordered something new over this but it is a fairly decent beer. I almost feel like this would be a nice beer to pair with some sort of wurst based meal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh my gourd!

This one requires interaction!!

Just a quick question for ye faithful readers... With the Halloween/Fall season moving full steam ahead, what I would like to know is simple. What is your favorite pumpkin ale? Post a response in the comments section!