Archive for December, 2010


Ommegang Adoration by Brewery Ommegang

I would like to wish everyone out there who has been following along on my beer journey a very Happy New Year!!!

The last beer of 2010 will come from Brewery Ommegang.  Ommegang is from the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY.  Beer #33 is Ommegang Adoration, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale or as Ommegang likes to call it, a Special Winter Ale.  This brew checks in at an ABV of 10%.

The appearance was a dark cloudy brown with a two finger width tan head.  My nose went into the tulip glass and the first thing that hit me was booze.  I also picked up citrus notes and raisins all along with a spicy aroma and plenty of  malty sweetness.  Taste was sweet malts with orange and lots of spiciness.  It had quite the boozy finish with that warming sensation you get from higher alcohol drinks.  This brew was a bit syrupy and felt slightly thick in the mouth.  There wasn’t much carbonation going on.  This is definitely a sipper and probably great for cold winter night.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of my favorites.  I felt it was too boozy and a bit too sweet.  Not that it isn’t a good brew, definitely above average, it just wasn’t for me.  I did find it kind of grew on me as it warmed up.

Again…to everyone out there…Happy New Year!!!!

Rating: B

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Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Beer #32 is a Hefeweizen, a German wheat beer.  Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, ABV of 5.4%, hails from Germany and according to the label is brewed from the oldest brewery in the world.  Also of note on the label it mentions “Brewed Under The Purity Law of 1516”.  I would say the Germans must know a thing or two about brewing beer if there were laws about it back in 1516.

This beer had a lovely hazy honey color to it.  The head was huge and foamy, rivaling the head of Duvel.  It was a very fragrant brew with aromas of bananas & cloves & spicy yeast.  This made my mouth water just from smelling it.  Taste did not disappoint, the nose was exactly how it tasted to me.  Absolutely delicious!  Mouthfeel was excellent, silky smooth and slightly thick with great tight tingly carbonation.  This was highly drinkable.  It could easily be a session beer for myself.

This was easily one of the best beers I have ever had.  I have heard of people using the term balanced when it comes to beer, and to me, this is perfectly balanced.  Nothing is overpowering or understated.  One should go out of their way to find this if at all possible, I know I will.

Rating:  A+

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Brooklyn Pilsner by Brooklyn Brewery

Beer #31 is Brooklyn Pilsner by Brooklyn Brewery.  As you may have already guessed, it is in the style of a German Pilsner.  The ABV comes in at 5.1%

What better glass to pour this into then a pilsner and what better pilsner glass then one from Lenox, the china company, not the heating and air conditioning specialists.  True to form, this pilsner had a lovely golden yellow color with a huge white head.  That were hundreds of carbon dioxide bubbles rising to the top of the glass.  I wish I could capture that on film, it is really cool to see.  The nose was lemon and hay.  Yes, hay, smelled like a farm but in a good way.  Down the hatch it went and a bready malty flavor hit me first followed by the lemon and finishing crisp, bitter & dry.  There was also an aftertaste that kind of hung around.  Not horrible, it was just there.   There was a ton of carbonation going on in with this light bodied brew.  Very easy to drink was this pilsner as long as you like that style.

I am not a huge pilsner fan but this is better then the Beck’s and St. Pauli Girl pilsners I have had.  I wouldn’t turn it down but I also wouldn’t go out of way way to find it.

Rating: B

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Double Dog Double Pale Ale by Flying Dog Brewery

Today is a milestone for me.  One month into the 365 Days of Beer we arrive at beer #30.  Only 11 months to go or to put it into numerical terms, 335 more beers from far and wide to taste.  To be honest, I’m surprised I have made it 30 days.  There just are some days I really don’t want to have a beer (I know, seems impossible) let alone having to gather my thoughts and blogging about one.  With that said, onto to beer #30.

Beer #30 is Double Dog Double Pale Ale by Flying Dog Brewery.  I dare you to try and say that 10 times real fast.  Flying Dog is from the Maryland and this particular brew is an American Double/Imperial IPA.  This one packs a wallop with an ABV of 11.5% and an IBU of 85.

The color was a slightly opaque amber or copper with a small white head.  It smelled like any other IPA I have had, pine & citrus hoppy aroma, with one exception.  There was something sweeter going on in here.  I’m going to say the sweetness was from the malts.  It tasted just like it smelled, pine and citrus/grapefruit, but there was also that sweet component.  It finished off on the hoppy bitter side.  Mouthfeel was much heavier then I expected, almost syrupy.  You have to take your time with this one, the alcohol really starts to pack a punch and had me starting to feel quite happy!  You know what happens when I start to feel happy, OK, maybe you don’t but I do and so do the ones who know me best.  Good times for all!

Not a bad beer, maybe just a tad bit too sweet and syrupy for an IPA for me.  If sweet and bitter and syrupy are your thing, and you like Flying Dogs (I’m more a cat person myself…here pussy, pussy), then give it a go.

Rating: B+

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Thunder Hole Ale by Bar Harbor Brewing Company

Beer #29 is Thunder Hole Ale by Bar Harbor Brewing Company from the great state of Maine.  Thunder Hole Ale is an English Brown Ale with an ABV of 4.8%.  I’m not a big fan of Brown Ales but I am a fan of Bar Harbor and the surrounding area.  Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park, depicted on the label, is a very cool place to visit.

Into the pint glass it went with a very nice dark reddish brown color.  There was quite the tan head on this one.  Lacing was excellent as it clung to the glass for the whole 22 ounces of this beer.  The nose was filled by sweet roasted malts, some coffee and a bit of smokiness.  Malt, malt and more malt in the taste finishing off with a bit of coffee.  Mouthfeel was really nice, very smooth with a medium body and some nice bubbles on the tongue.  This brew is a very easy one to drink.  It would make a nice session beer.  Although I didn’t want another after this bomber.

Thunder Hole was an OK beer but kind of forgettable for me.  The real Thunder Hole in Acadia is quite the opposite.

Rating: C

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N'ice Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe

On a day when a blizzard is going to dump at least a foot of snow on us here on the east coast, what better way to spend the day then with a nice beverage.  Todays beverage of choice, beer #28, is N’ice Chouffe by Brasserie d’Achouffe.  This was  another Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 10%, very similar to yesterdays Mad Elf.

The color was very similar to the Elf, reddish amber hues but this had a much nicer head, big and fluffy.  There was some very nice lacing going on in the tulip glass all throughout the drink.  For those who are wondering what lacing means, it is the ability of the head to cling to the glass as the beer is being consumed.  The nose on this was also similar, dark cherries & sweet malt, but I also picked up that familiar Belgian yeast and some herbs that puzzled me.  A quick look at the label and then it hit me, the smell of thyme.  Taste was malty sweetness followed by dark cherries.  It finished with just a bit of bitterness.  The cherry lingered for a while in the mouth of this medium bodied drink.  Carbonation was fairly high.  This was another sipper due to the higher ABV.

I enjoyed this one from first sip to last drop.  Even though it had similar properties to Mad Elf, it was a completely different beer.  I bought another bottle to cellar until next year, as I did the Mad Elf.  N’ce Chouffe is the last of my Christmas week brews and it does seem I saved the best two for last.

Off to shovel more snow…at least I will be warm with N’ice Chouffe flowing through me!

Rating: A+

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The Mad Elf Ale by Troegs Brewing Company

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a goodnight!  After a few of these Mad Elf Ales, it will be a good night.  Beer #27 is by Troegs Brewing Company and is named Mad Elf Ale.  It is brewed in the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  This is one strong Elf indeed with an ABV of 11%.

This was poured directly from a growler purchased at Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet.  Into my Cowboy’s pint glass, go Cowboys!, was a beautiful amber reddish looking liquid staring back at me.  The head was very thin and disappeared before I could get a good photo of this brew.  Cherries are the most noticeable aroma along with some nice malty smells.  The alcohol was also very present in the nose.  This was delicious to me.  Cherries and a bit of honey all wrapped up in a slightly thick and smooth package with just a bit of carbonation.  Did I say smooth?  Smooth it was.  It finished off with that nice warming alcohol effect.  This is definitely a sipping drink.  I guess a brandy snifter would be a more appropriate glass for this brew.

This is a Kingly brew for a such great day.  The only thing I wished it had was a bit more of a hoppy bite to it but that is just the hophead in me talking.  Or maybe it is the Mad Elf or in this case multiple Elves whispering in my ear.  It is now time for a long winters nap.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Rating: A+

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Santa's Butt by Ridgeway Brewing

Merry Christmas Eve to all!  Christmas Eve is one of my most favorite times of the year.  It brings back great memories of when I was younger waiting for Santa to make his yearly stop at my home.  Good times!  It used to be hard for me to sleep that night but nowadays I barely can make it to the 11pm news.  Ahh the joys of getting older!

Speaking of Santa, beer #26 is Santa’s Butt by Ridgeway Brewing from England.  I know, I had a Ridgeway product yesterday.  I hoped this would be better than that one but hoping alone can’t get the job done.  Santa’s Butt is an English Porter with an ABV of 6%.  From the bottle, “in England, Butt refers to a certain sized barrel customarily used for beer – a very large barrel, in fact, holding 108 Imperial gallons.”  I like this one better “And Santa sat on his great butt, enjoying a hardy brew…”.

Color, like Lump of Coal, was a dark brown almost black.  The head was tiny and tan.  I was hoping it really wouldn’t smell like Santa’s butt and I am pleased to say it didn’t smell like butt at all.  As a matter of fact, it didn’t smell like much of anything.  This sounds like it is going down the road of yesterdays brew.  I asked my significant other to take a whiff and she got some faint coffee aromas.  I did get the coffee taste upon drinking it.  It reminded me of when my morning cup of java has been sitting around too long and gets cold.  Mouthfeel was thin with just a bit of carbonation.  This was also pretty easy to drink.

While not a totally horrible brew,  there was nothing with this that makes me stand up and shout for more.

Rating: D

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Lump of Coal by Ridgeway Brewing

You better watch out, you better not pout, you better mind your p’s and q’s, be good for goodness sakes.  Ah yes, be good for old St. Nick is always watching.  And what if you are a naughty little boy (maybe one who coaches a NY football team and has a thing for feet) or girl?  Well then in your stocking you will find a lump of coal.  Speaking of lumps of coal, beer #25 which hails from jolly old England, is Lump of Coal by Ridgeway Brewing.  Lump of Coal is a Foreign/Export Stout with an ABV of 8%.

Unfortunately, this truly is a lump of coal.  It looked like a stout, color was dark brown that was almost black with a tan head.  I took a whiff and was puzzled by the lack of almost any aroma.  I did get some very faint burnt roasted malty odors but that was about it.  This kind of reminded me of the Guinness aroma that I had last week.  The taste was a bit better with some coffee and a bit of chocolate.  Mouthfeel was on the watery side with just a bit of carbonation.  It is a really easy brew to drink even with the ABV of 8%.  That ABV is hidden really well.

Overall it was a pretty average stout.  This was better than the Guinness I had last week but there are much better stouts out there to be had.  I hope Kris Kringle doesn’t leave me any more of these in my stocking.

Rating: C

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Tsjeeses by De Struise Brouwers

Beer #24 is from Belgium.  Tsjeeses by De Struise Brouwers is their version of a Belgian X-Mas Ale.  This Christmas brew has an ABV of 10%.  Sounds like the perfect drink for a cold winter night.

Tsjeeses had a nice cloudy dark orange or amber color.  The head was fluffy white but on the small side.  The aroma was spicy &  fruity (maybe pear?) with the alcohol coming through loud and clear.  Taste was sweet malts followed by lots of spiciness and some fruitiness (again…I was getting something akin to pear) then finishing with alcohol.  Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.  With the high ABV, this was a sipping drink for me.  One too many of these and I would be dancing on top of the bar to Lady Gaga…Pokerface!!!  Wait, did I just say that (must be the high ABV working on me, I’m such a lightweight)?  Oh boy…I might not live that one down…ever.

Did I like this brew?  Indeed I did.  Please sir, can I have another?  I would recommend this one for the Belgian beer lovers out there (you know who you are!)…delish!

Rating: A

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