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.
Started in 1867, Leinenkugel Brewing has deep roots in the upper Midwest. Ask most folks in the area, and I am sure they have heard of them, and especially their most popular (I would say) Sunset Wheat. Based out of Wisconsin, they are still relatively small, but since 1988 have been owned by SABMiller giving them a little bit more exposure. Lately they have been releasing smaller batch, higher alcohol brews, as is the case with this, their Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale.
Malts are the name of the game with this beer, and also style. Using a blend of eight different malts, this beer reaches malt levels that you are not normally going to find in a good beer. Once poured into your glass, the usual malt smells hit your nose. The appearance of the brew is a nice dark amber/ruby coloration, with a little head which dissipates quicker than I expected. Once the beer hits your mouth, the malt flavors show up once again. Lots and lots of malts flavor, which with using eight different types you would think it would be very complex. But in actuality, it is not. It balances nicely with a sweet, although heavy mouth feel, and finishes with a medicinal type taste. This would be attributed to the higher than normal 9.5% ABV. It is a good tasting beer, but heavy enough that you are not going to drink that many.
This is a quality beer from Leinenkugel, which was a little unexpected. Not a phenomenal beer mind you, but still very respectable. I really enjoyed this one, and plan on exploring this brand a little further. If you are into malts, I would definitely suggest this one for your palate. Check out their site here.