Dipping back to a familiar style, the IPA has re-entered my household. While usually I stick to random craft beers, I spotted one a while ago that I had never seen before by the name of Henry Weinhard’s. I left it on the shelf for another day, and out of the blue my brother in law brought some over for Halloween. Looks like a craft beer, so it must be one right? Hold on just a minute…
First a history lesson: Henry Weinhard is an actual person. Much like Cincinnati’s own Christian Moerlein, Henry was a brewer from the old days, who actually spent some time here in the area before settling down in Oregon. For a long time, he crafted beers under his own name, and at one point, as it sometimes happens, his company was bought by another larger company. This “craft” beer just happens to be made by the folks at SABMiller, but for some reason they don’t want you to know that. Well, they are not advertising it at least. Anyway, lets see how this IPA stands, enter the Woodland Pass IPA:
The beer pours like a normal IPA, with a good looking copperish hue. Smell wise I am picking up mostly pine aromas, and not much else. Taste wise, this beer is surprising. Right out of the gate, you pick up a nice hop flavor, but not overpowering like most IPAs that you will find nowadays. It is mild, but nice. Mixed with the hops, you will notice quite a bit of malt flavors, which mellow out the hops even more, and the beer finishes a little bitter. This IPA is lighter than most, and that is not a bad thing. This would be a good, cheap, grilling out type of beer.
Overall, I like this beer. True, it is not a real craft beer. True, it is more along the lines of a pale ale than an IPA. This is a beer that you could drink a few of and not find yourself without your pants the next morning. Not that that is a bad thing, or that it has happened to me. Well done Henry Weinhard’s, err…SABMiller, not great, but not a bad start.
I am not going to lie, I am excited. If you have read this blog before, you know that I like random, craft beers. Bonus points if they are local. Anyway, I caught wind of a new up and coming brewery based out of Listermann Brewing Co. a while ago, and I have been looking for some of their products to sample. For some reason, maybe it’s my ADD when it comes to beer purchases, but I would get side tracked by another brand. Triple Digit was always in the back of my mind though, with the thought that if I ever saw a bottle, it was mine. Luckily, while out at a craft beer store in Kenwood, I laid my eyes on a bottle and the rest is history. Or at least just this review. Enter Triple Digit Brewing’s Aftermath:
The Aftermath pours a good looking dark copper brown, with a race car style head. I say that due to the head blasting out of the bottle, and receding quite quickly down to nothing in your glass. This all happens in a matter of seconds, which is a little odd in my opinion. The scents off of this one hit you like a strong Scottish style ale, sweet but with touches of alcohol in there too. For taste, this beer is interesting. I am picking up a bit of bitterness in the beginning, which fades to a nice malt sweetness. Rounding out the flavors is that high alcohol burn that finishes this beer in a great way. Who doesn’t like high alcohol content right? The carbonation level is pretty high, a little more than I expected. Not that it ruins the beer, the flavors shine though and make this one very enjoyable.
One thing to note; after my first glass, I noticed a recommended serving temperature of 50 degrees is written on the side of the bottle. For my second glass out of the 22oz bottle, I left the beer out of the fridge to give it a chance to warm up. This slowed the head on the pour quite a bit, turning it from a race car style head to more of a cheetah. Big difference in speed there. The flavors, once warmed kicked the carbonation back just a tad, and made this beer even more enjoyable. My suggestion would be to take this one out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before you plan on drinking it, just to let it warm up.
Overall, this is a solid representation of the style. A little high on the carbonation when it is too cold, once warmed a tad it is the bee’s knees for a Scottish style ale. As I stated earlier, I am really excited for this brand, and I cant wait to try more from them. Especially since I drive by their home base everyday on my way to and from work. Well done Triple Digit, cant wait to try some more!
Based out of the woods outside of New Orleans, Abita Brewing is a bit of an enigma to me. I have only had 1 or 2 of their products before, but I had always assumed that they were based on the West coast. Turns out, they use Pacific Northwest hop varieties. That would explain my confusion. Anyway, this nice can of beer showed up during some bicycle wrenching time, thanks Eric! Enter the Jockamo IPA:
This IPA pours a very good looking amber/orange with a respectable head left over. Once the beer is poured, pine scents hit your nose to remind you that you are about to drink an IPA. Once you start to drink this one, you will find that it goes down very smoothly. Those hops from the northwest show up with some nice citrusy flavors, and mix with an almost bread or biscuit like malt, to create a fine beer. Not extraordinary, but good nonetheless. This is a very respectable IPA, and it comes in a can, which that automatically makes me a fan.
This beer usually hangs with the $8.99/six pack crowd, which is a great deal in my book. Sometimes it is nice to not be drinking an imperial double American style IPA from hell, and just head back to the basics with a smooth, classic IPA. That is what this one is. Well done Abita!
Fall is in the air, well at least a little bit, but regardless of mother nature Octoberfest beers have started to hit the market. One of my favorites every year is from Sam Adams, with their Octoberfest. This was one of my first favorite craft style beers, let’s see how it fares now. Enter Octoberfest:
This beer pours into you glass a nice dark copper color, with a larger than normal head. The smells that come off of it are, like described, a “Malt lover’s dream.” Taste wise, this beer follows suit. Lots of malt flavors hit your tongue, but not overly sweet type malt flavors mind you. The beer is very rich, but not so rich that you can’t drink a few over a sitting. This is a great beer to introduce your “not into beer” friends to a decent seasonal beer.
If you are looking for a quality fall seasonal brew, I’m sure that you will be able to find this one, as it seems to be everywhere. And for the price, it is very hard to pass up. I usually pick it up quite a few times in the fall season. Well done!
Fall is in the air, well, at least in my home. So you know what that brings, right? Darker beers! After my recent dances with IPAs, I noticed the changing of the seasons in my local beer aisle. Smuttynose Brewing is one of my recent favorites of the past year for their “Big Beer” series of brews, which are always at a great price point. Factor the price with the quality craft beer, and that equals a winner in my book. That said, let’s walk this goat together. Enter the S’Muttonator Double Bock:
This beer pours out of the gate a very nice looking double bock, in a darker hue with a tan head. The head races out of the bottle like a pissed off goat chasing you out of his domain, then recedes ever so slowly as to let you know who is boss. Can you tell that I have been chased by a billy goat before? True story. Back to the beer: This is a classic for a double bock. Malts are your best friend with this one. Sweet malt flavors hit you in the front, with a hint of dark fruit making itself known. The beer finishes with a touch of alcohol flavor, since it does weigh in at 8.5% ABV. That is big for a double bock. Like the other Smuttynose beers that I have had, this beer is on my list to buy again.
Double bocks are a great way to usher in the colder temperatures. While there are quite a few on the market that are worthy of your time, I would say to give Smuttnose a shot at your bock beer time, you will appreciate every moment with this goat. Well done!
For some reason, Michigan has become one of the bigger craft beer markets. Quite a few breweries are gaining traction in the beer world, while being based out of the state up North. One brewery that I have not really heard too much about is out of Battle Creek, called Arcadia Ales. Since I have been on an IPA kick as of late, a farewell to summer if you will, I decided to take a walk with their version of a double IPA, called the Hopmouth.
This beer looks like an IPA, and smells like an IPA, so it should be an IPA right? Yes, yes and yes. The beer pours a perfect looking IPA, just a little darker red than normal. Some IPAs rush right to the top of the glass when poured, but this one came out of the bottle perfectly. For the record, I pour every beer the same, right down the middle of the glass, no tilting. Tilting is for cans or kegs. That is another rant altogether. Back to the beer. Once in the glass, the beer smells a bit of pine, and a little fruity, but not as powerful as you would expect. Taste wise, this beer is excellent. Hops meet your taste buds at the gate, then fade away to a few different malt flavors, one that jumps out at me is a bit caramel like. The hops do not make an encore, and the beer finishes nice and dry, with a touch of alcohol, which clocks in at 8% ABV for those who care.
This beer was a great pick, unfortunately for the Hopmouth though is that it had to follow Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum in my beer que. Overall, this is a solid beer, a little maltier than I expected, but a nice change for a double IPA. If you see it, you should try it out. Well done!
Once again, I dig deep into the wonderful vault of Sierra Nevada. One of the early craft brewers, they consistently toss out beer after beer that ranks very high in my beer opinion. Very rarely do I have a drink from them that I do not enjoy. Their stout does come to mind though. Anyway, let’s pick the vine of Hoptimum, in their words, “the biggest whole cone IPA” that they have ever produced.
This beer pours like every IPA wishes they could, in a beautiful amber with an off white head that sticks to your glass. The aromas are what you would expect from a beer with 100 IBUs; hops, glorious hops. The smell is very flower like as well, with a touch of pine. Start to drink this, and you will be bombarded with the amazing hop flavors. This beer almost has a thick feeling, with the hops taking center stage, followed by an almost sweet grapefruit like taste. I am not one for grapefruit, but this I do enjoy. Another touch of pine at the end, and this beer goes down way smoother than you would expect. One thing that I was surprised that did not show up in the taste was the alcohol. This beer clocks in at 10.4% ABV, so I expected to taste that. However, it stays nicely hidden, with no noticeable alcohol burn. That is a nice touch.
This beer goes down smoothly, and I would say almost too smooth. This is the type of beer that gets me into trouble, as I finish one, and go straight for another. Next thing that I know, I am in the basement peeing on the floor, thinking that I am in the bathroom upstairs. Strange things happen with high quality beer. Anyway, this beer is a classic in my book, and I am now putting it in my group of favorites. Well done!