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Archive for April, 2011

Catamount Maple Wheat (Session 35) by Harpoon Brewery

Beer #153 is Catamount Maple Wheat (Session 35) by Harpoon Brewery. Harpoon hails from the glorious state of Massachusetts.  This beer is an American Pale Wheat Ale with an ABV of 6.8%.  This is part of Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series in which a different Harpoon brewer chooses a different recipe every month and brews a limited run.

I finally get a chance to use my Harpoon glass that I received from Cavie (fellow beer blogger http://cavalierbeer.wordpress.com/) for this pour.  Just look at that beautiful color…a nice clear amber with a small off white head.  I loved watching this beer in action…there were a ton of tiny little bubbles rising to the top of the glass.  The nose was subtle but pleasant, an aroma of maple was present but it wasn’t overpowering.  There were also some wheat and bread like aromas. That maple was the first thing that hits you in the taste.  It was also grainy with a noticeable wheat flavor.  A good way to describe it would be like liquid bread.  Again though, all of the flavors were very subdued.  It had a lot of carbonation and a medium body.  This was really easy to drink.

Overall a nice beer.  I enjoyed this one on my back deck while soaking up the springtime rays.

Rating: B

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L'Exploratrice Hoppy Porter by Brasserie Trois Dames

Beer #152 is L’Exploratrice Hoppy Porter by Brasserie Trois Dames.  This beer hails from Switzerland and is brewed in the style of an American Black Ale.  The ABV checks in at 5.3%.

This swiss beer was brown and atop that brownness was a little white head.  The nose was muted to say the least with faint aromas of roasted malts and citrus.  The citrus had more of an orange scent that kind of surprised me.  The taste was more pronounced than the nose.  The malts came through first and foremost with a sweetness of caramel and a slight bitterness of coffee.  Near the end of the sip the hops could be found with that familiar pine like flavor.  It did have a bit of an aftertaste not unlike coffee.  Medium body, sort of slick, and light carbonation made up the mouthfeel.  Pretty drinkable beer we have here.

This was OK…nothing really spectacular here.  It did not live up to the Hoppy Porter that was indicated on the label.  For me it was missing the smoky intense roasted malt flavors of chocolate and coffee that I think of when I think Porter.  It also wasn’t very hoppy at all.  All wasn’t for naught though, I’m glad I had a chance to try a beer from Switzerland.

Rating: C

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Nils Oscar India Pale Ale by Nils Oscar Bryggeri

Rain rain go away come on back another day.  And that means you too Mr. Tornado. Tornado warnings here in NJ today…crazy.  I bet they don’t have tornadoes in Sweden.  Sweden you ask?  Well I mention Sweden because beer #151 is from that exact country.  Nils Oscar India Pale Ale by Nils Oscar Bryggeri is an English IPA with an ABV of 5.3%.  This is my first beer from Sweden…cool!

A cloudy amber was the color of this brew except for the off white kind of fluffy head.  The nose was quite different from American IPA’s…it was much more malty smelling (caramel) with the hops (pine) taking a huge backseat to the malt.  The taste is mostly dominated by the sort of sweet caramel malts but near the end comes that familiar pine hoppy bitterness, flavor, and bite.  The hops in the taste are very much toned down compared to American IPA’s.  It had a medium-heavy body with a kind of sticky mouth coating feel.  The carbonation was on the low side.  Quite drinkable if you don’t enjoy very hoppy and bitter brews.

This is a pretty good brew indeed.  It wasn’t what I was expecting when I saw IPA on the label but it still was enjoyable to drink.

Rating: B

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Der Weisse Bock by Mahrs Brau

I figured I would have a beer from Germany tonight to toast a friend who has gone on to hopefully bigger and better thing career-wise.  You know who you are…you have proof-read my blog numerous times and for that I’m quite thankful.  Cheers to you!  Good luck in your new job!

Beer #150 is Der Weisse Bock by Mahrs Brau.  This Weizenbock is brewed in Germany and has an ABV of 7.2%.  A Weizenbock is a strong German beer or bock brewed with wheat.

I love Pilsner glasses, so into one went this brew.  I know…it probably isn’t the correct glass…oh well…at least it went into a glass and not a plastic cup.  The color was a dark brown with a decent tan head.  I got a bit of sweet cherry in the nose along with dark roasted slightly burnt malts.  The cherry was a bit odd for me but I was kind of digging it.  It was quite tasty with some dark fruit flavors…it reminded me of raisins…but not quite.  Sweet molasses and wheat flavors rounded this out.  It finished off very smooth.  It had a medium body and some lively carbonation.  The alcohol was hidden really well.

This is my first Weizenbock and I thought this was a pretty good beer.  Plus I loved the label on this…a ram licking a glass of beer.  Not too shabby.

Rating: B

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Lionshead Pilsner by Lion Brewery, Inc.

Short and sweet tonight as I have company over.

Beer #149 is Lionshead Pilsner by Lion Brewery, Inc from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.   Brewed in the style of an American Adjunct Lager, it has an ABV of 4.5%.

I broke out the Lenox pilsner for this pour.  It was a clear gold color with a nice frothy white head.  The nose was grassy, grainy and slightly skunky.  There was a bit of a lemon aroma there too.  It mostly had a malty bread grain like taste with a bit of lemon.  None of the skunky smell was present in the taste.  The mouthfeel was very light and crisp…dare I say refreshing?  This is really easy to drink…almost too easy as the bottle was gone very quickly.

This brew was OK…not great and not a down the drainer.

Rating: C

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Humboldt Brown by Nectar Ales

A ho-hum, day brings me to beer #148, Humboldt Brown by Nectar Ales from Paso Robles, California.  This interesting American Brown Ale is brewed with hemp.  It has an ABV of 5.7%.  Hemp as you may or may not know is the soft fibers that comes from plants in the Cannabis family.  Cannabis…interesting. Another interesting note is that hemp contains less than 0.3% THC.  THC is the stuff in marijuana that makes one wacky.  Alcohol and THC…okie dokie now.

It had a nice brown color with a very nice tan head.  The aroma was very floral and clean (don’t ask me to describe clean…that was just the first thing I thought of on taking a whiff) would be the best way to describe it.  There was a bit of a semi sweet roasted malty thing going on in the taste.  It also had an iced tea like flavor…odd.  I could only assume that was the hemp.  It had a nutty aftertaste that lingered on for quite some time.  It was pretty light in the body with a nice amount of carbonation to tickle the tongue.  Easy drinking was this brew…5.7% ABV you say…I couldn’t find it.

Alas…an average beer at best for this ho-hum day.  I guess the hemp would be the thing that lures one into trying this, it did for me…along with the cool bottle cap which depicted three hummingbirds.  Onwards to #149.

Rating: C

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Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish Head

Happy Easter to any who celebrate today!  And a beautiful Spring day it is…good enough to break out a lawn chair and drink this brew in the great outdoors of my front yard.

Why look who made an appearance into beer #147’s photo, the Easter Bunny. Cute little fellow…no?  Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish Head is an American Brown Ale with a killer ABV of 12%.  It is aged in Palo Santo wood barrels from Paraguay…I have no idea what that is…but sounds interesting to me.

Another dark beer was this…dark brown…almost black.  There was a tan ring around the top that could be considered the head.  Wow…heavy malts from the nose along with molasses.  Strangely for the high alcohol content, there was no indicator of it in the nose.  The taste was again heavy dark roared malts, caramel, a bit of vanilla (stronger as it warmed up), sort of sweet (almost to the point of being sickening), and a smoky presence (must be from the Palo Santo wood).  It had a nice warming sensation from the high alcohol content.  It was a bit on the heavy side coating the mouth and tongue.  It was a sipper for me for sure partly because of the high alcohol but mostly from the peculiar sweetness that doesn’t always sit too well with me (similar to how barleywines affect me).

Not a bad brew…just not one of my favorites from Dogfish.  It was quite enjoyable to drink this outside today on this very beautiful relaxing day.

Rating: B

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Coffee Stout by Long Trail Brewing Company

Lets head to Vermont for beer #146, Coffee Stout by Long Trail Brewing Company.  This American Double Stout/Imperial Stout is part of their Brewmaster Series.  The ABV clocks in at 8%.

Black was the color…how much more black?  The answer is none more black (props if you know what classic movie that is from…).  No head…damn, though I may have poured it too gently.  Coffee, coffee, and more coffee in the nose.  There was a smell very similar to coffee grounds after a good cup has been brewed.  I also got a bit of alcohol.  Again, the coffee was upfront (with just a hint of chocolate…reminded me of a mocha from Starbucks) in the taste along with some roasted malt flavors and a bit of caramel.  There was a nice smoky, slightly bitter finish to this.  This wasn’t as creamy as I was expecting (a bit on the harsh side) and not nearly as heavy as the appearance leads one to believe.

What we have here is an excellent beer.  Coffee fanatics (which I am) would absolutely love this.  I just wish it was more creamy and had a bit more of those chocolate hints to the taste.

Rating: A

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Stone Levitation Ale by Stone Brewing Company

I would like to thank everyone who has visited this site since I started it in late November.  Just the other day I went over the 10,000 hit mark.  I really never thought I would get anywhere near that amount.  I’m glad someone is actually reading this and hopefully in the process, discovering some great beer. Thanks again and Cheers to all!

Beer #145 is Stone Levitation Ale  by Stone Brewing Company from Escondido, California.  Classified as an American Red Ale or an Amber Ale, this beer has an ABV of 4.4%.

Red Ale indeed…it had a nice reddish brown color with a head that just wouldn’t quit.  It took forever for that head to settle so I could get a decent photo.  I have heard the term floral hops before and after smelling this, I now know exactly what that means.  It had a distinct flower like smell.  That made me smile as it reminded me of warm spring days.  It was also heavy with pine and citrus aromas…very hoppy but what else would you expect from Stone?  There was tad bit of sweet caramel malts buried in there also.  The floral flavors hit me first followed by the citrus and then the pine but one thing I noticed was the malt flavors were a bit more pronounced then they were in the nose.  There is plenty of bitterness here but not nearly as much as in some of Stones other brews such as Ruination Ale or even their IPA.  The mouthfeel was nice, it had a medium body with the carbonation slightly stinging the tongue.  Good drinkability for me but, like some of Stones other brews, I could see the bitterness turning people off.  The low ABV makes this a good choice for a session beer also.

Very good beer here…absolutely nothing wrong other than maybe this wasn’t quite what I would consider an Amber or Red Ale.  I thought it was more like an IPA but then what do I know.  I am no expert, just someone who enjoys a good beer and I believe this is a very good beer indeed!

Rating: B+

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Ramstein Classic Wheat by Highpoint Brewing Company

Beer #144 is Ramstein Classic Wheat by High Point Brewing Company from Butler, New Jersey.  This beer with an ABV of 5.5% is a Dunkelweizen.  A what you may ask?  Why a Dunkelweizen which is a German wheat beer brewed dark.  Sounds good to me…lets give it a taste.

OK…I was shocked when I was pouring this into my glass.  I was expecting something very light in color (just figured wheat beer…must be light colored).  What I saw was a dark brown with a reddish tinge to it.  The head was tan and nicely sized.  The first thing I got from the nose was a nice smoky aroma.  Again…quite unexpected.  There were also some dark roasted malts and a bit of nuttiness.   I didn’t get much aromas of wheat at all.  It had a sweet caramel flavor first and foremost.  Lots of roasted goodness going on here along with a slightly burnt and smoky flavor.  It finished off a bit like coffee with just a touch of bitterness.  The smokiness lingered on in the aftertaste.  It had a medium body and just the right amount of carbonation for me.  Very drinkable did I find this.  I really dig the smoky aspects certain types of beer can have.

This was pretty good…not too shabby for a Jersey beer.  I think I will need to investigate Dunkelweizens in the future based on this.  Prost!

Rating: B

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