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Archive for August, 2011

Nut Brown Ale by Michigan Brewing Company

The next few beers I will be having were a birthday present from my mother and brother.  They know I like beer, so they got me a three month Beer of the month club.  The first month just arrived and with it are 12 beers.  Two selections from Michigan Brewing Company and two selections from Shipyard Brewing Company with 3 beers of each selection.

Tonight for beer #276 I will be trying Michigan Brewing Company’s Nut Brown Ale.  This English Brown Ale is brewed in Webberville, Michigan and has an ABV of 5%.

This beer had a dark brown color with red highlights.  The head was a decent size, about two finger width, with an off-white color.  The nose was on the light side but I was able to pick out some toasted caramel malts, a bit of chocolate, and a nutty earthy aroma.  It opened with those sweet toasted caramel flavors with maybe a bit of brown sugar.  Those flavors it opened with faded fairly quickly into a something very much like cold coffee.  It had a medium body, low carbonation, and was bordering on being creamy except for a slight harshness.

Overall this was better than I was expecting it to be.  It was pretty tasty and satisfying and made me want to drink the other two.  Now I’m looking forward to their other selection, their version of a Hefeweizen.

Oh yeah…a big thank you to my mom and brother just in case they are reading this!!!  I love the present!!!

Rating: B

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Orval Trappist Ale by Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Absolutely nothing of interest when on for me today…

Beer #275 is Orval Trappist Ale by Brasserie d’Orval S.A. which is brewed in Belgium in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale with an ABV of 6.9%.  Brewed by the Trappist Cistercian monks of Orval, they only brew two beers and one of them is not usually for sale, (they also make cheese) to support their monastery in the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval.

This brew poured from the very cool shaped bottle a cloudy amber with a bit of orange to it.  The head was magnificent…huge (almost filling up the Duvel tulip glass), fluffy & white.  Oh how do I love me some nice head…floating atop a tasty beer.  The aroma was quite hoppy…lots of pine filled my nose and was quite yeasty.  I also picked up on some apples and pink grapefruit juice.  Wow…it wasn’t sweet at all in the taste department, I wasn’t expecting that.  It was quite earthy with a nice pine hop thing and a bit of spice like pepper.  It had a nice bitterness and finished up very dry.  Highly carbonated with a medium body made this quite drinkable for me.  No trace of alcohol was noticeable as I was enjoying this.

This was an excellent beer that I savored as I sipped it.  To the Trappist Cistercian monks of Orval…this is some good stuff!  Op uw gezondheid!!!

Rating: A

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Partly Sunny by Ithaca Beer Company

The day after Irene brings repairs and cleanup and beer #274, Partly Sunny by Ithaca Beer Company.  Their version of a Witbier has an ABV of 4.9%.

Partly Sunny poured a cloudy pale gold with quite the frothy white head.  The nose was lemon and wheat and spices like coriander and cloves.  Those aromas carry over into the taste with the spices of cloves and coriander followed by a nice almost mouth puckering lemony flavor.  It finished dry and with a nice hoppy bite.  It had a medium-light body with some nice, not overpowering carbonation.  It was quite crisp and refreshing.

I like Witbiers and I liked this version.  This would make a nice summer beer that even non-craft beer drinkers would enjoy.

Rating: B

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Hurricane Irene walloped us with a ton of rain. So much that our basement was flooded with 18″ of water at the high point. We also have no power…but a neighbor was nice enough to let us plug our sump pump into their generator. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime, I drank beer #273, Double Wit (ABV 7%) by River Horse Brewing Company from Lambertville, New Jersey while standing in freezing cold brown water while emptying out our basement of things I don’t want destroyed.

So no review or picture today but I was able to keep the 365 going by blogging this on my HTC Trophy smartphone.

Lets hope PSE&G gets our power restored soon. Until tomorrow….stay safe and stay dry.

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Extra Special Bitter Ale by Climax Brewing Company

I took one last venture out to make sure I have all of the essential supplies I will need for the oncoming hurricane.  Ice – check…beer – check…potato chips & onion dip – check, looks like I’m good to go.

Beer #272 or today’s jug ‘o beer as I like to call growlers, is Extra Special Bitter Ale by Climax Brewing Company from Roselle Park, New Jersey.  Their version of an Extra Special/Strong Bitter Ale has an ABV of 5.5%.

The color of this ESB was a nice amber with one finger width off-white head.  The nose was interesting, very yeasty smelling and bread like with a citrus (orange) aroma, grass and sweet caramel malts.  I thought I may have picked up on grapes in the nose too.  The caramel malts kicked off the taste and about halfway through the hops kick in with a fruity, almost spicy flavor.  Odd that the fruit wasn’t citrus but more like grapes that I picked up in the nose.  It finished with a toasted bread taste.  It had a nice bitterness at the end and finished up a bit dry.  There was ample carbonation in this medium bodied brew.

This was another really good beer that I will be enjoying for the rest of the afternoon.  After all, there is no sense in letting the growler go to waste.   Climax Brewing Company is, in my opinion, one of the best craft brewers in New Jersey.  If you happen to be lucky enough to be where they sell their growlers or find their beers on draft…give them a try.

Rating: B+

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Hopsun by Southern Tier Brewing Company

Lots going on today as I am getting the house ready for the hurricane so this will be short and sweet.  I did find some time for a 14 mile bike ride on some nice twisty, rooty, and rocky singletrack in Pennsylvania (Nockamixon State Park) also…again…priorities.

Beer #271 is Hopsun by Southern Tier Brewing Company from Lakewood, New York.  This American Pale Wheat Ale has an ABV of 5.10%.

It poured with a hazy dark golden color with a decent foamy white head.  The nose was wheat, grains, and lemon.  The taste was heavy in wheat as it should be but also had a nice mixture of lemon and pine flavors from the hops.  The bitterness on the back end was on the low side of this light bodied brew.  There was moderate amounts of carbonation in the crisp, refreshing beer.  This was highly drinkable and would be quite the session beer.

I enjoyed this quite a bit and think this would be a great beer on a hot, humid summer day as it was quite refreshing and pretty tasty.

Rating: B+

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Ridge Runner by Rock Art Brewery

As Hurricane Irene approaches, I sit here drinking a beer instead of getting the things I may need…water, batteries for the flashlight, etc.  What the heck is wrong with my priorities?

Anyways…on to beer #270.  Ridge Runner by Rock Art Brewery is an English Barleywine brewed in Morrisville, Vermont.  The ABV comes in at 7.5% .  Rock Art uses my favorite “icon”, Kokopelli.  I don’t know why I like that little horn playing deity of Native American cultures from the Southwestern United States…I just do.

Now to the beer, it poured a dark slightly reddish brown with no head whatsoever.  The nose was earthy and smelled like raisins with caramel and brown sugar thrown in for good measure.  It was a quite light nose wise for a Barleywine.  Lets taste it shall we?  I know you can’t taste it…unless you have it on hand that is.  The dark fruitiness of the raisins mixes well with the caramel and brown sugar.  There is a nice hop kick in there also providing a nice bitter bite.  It was not nearly as sweet as some Barleywines I have had and I liked that.  It had a slight alcohol kick near the end of it that intensified slightly as it warmed up.  It had a medium body and fairly higher amount of stinging carbonation.

Not to shabby…I would get this again.  And now I’m at a loss for words…

Rating: B

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Longshot Honey B's Lavender Ale by Samuel Adams

Another day…another beer, beer #269 that is.  Today’s beer is Longshot Honey B’s Lavender Ale by Samuel Adams.  Brewed in Boston, Massachusetts, this Herbed/Spice Beer has an ABV of 5.5% and it part of the Sam Adams Longshot series Sam Adams hombrew contest) created by Caitlin Declerco, a Sam Adams employee.

The color of this brew was a clear gold with a white head.  The nose was herby and floral with a touch of honey and a bit grassy.  The aroma of lavender was unmistakable.  The honey hit me first in the taste and all throughout the mouthful was the lavender…almost too much of it as it was sweet to the point of being sickening.  There was a nice underbelly of malts in the flavor of toast all throughout.  It had a body bordering on being heavy and syrupy with a moderate amount of carbonation.

I wasn’t a fan of this, sorry Caitlin.  The sweetness of the lavender wasn’t my thing but I will giver her props for trying something different.  I did enjoy the honey and the stickiness of this brew though.  So it wasn’t all bad.

Rating: D

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Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin by River Horse Brewing Company

Earthquake day here on the east coast.  A 5.9 quake centered in Virginia was felt as far away as New Hampshire from reports.  I was at work (on my lunch break tinkering with my new bike) at the time and I didn’t feel a thing.  My co-workers said it lasted for about 30 seconds and the building was doing some odd things.  Again…I felt nothing.  Deep down inside, I wanted to feel it…but no such luck.  Oh well…maybe next time but to be quite honest, I’m not sure I want a next time.  At least I got out of work early.

On my way home I stopped at the liquor store and noticed quite a few brewers have their Pumpkin Ales ready for purchase.  So I decided to try one.  Beer #268 is Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin by River Horse Brewing Company from Lambertville, New Jersey.  This Pumpkin Ale has an ABV of 8.1%

Into my River Horse pint glass I poured.  I was greeted by a nice dark amber brew with one finger width cream colored head.  The nose was kind of lame.  I love just about everything pumpkin and all I really got from the nose was brown sugar.  Where is the pumpkin and nutmeg (or any spice for that matter)…I guess I was hoping this would smell like liquid pumpkin pie.  A deeper whiff also revealed an alcohol presence.  I took a sip and the taste that stuck out most was caramel.  The alcohol also made an appearance.  It wasn’t a horrible tasting beer by any stretch but I think if you gave it to me without me knowing it was a Pumpkin Ale, I would be hard pressed to identify it as such.  The body was nice, it had a medium feel with the carbonation on the low side making this quite creamy.

I was disappointed, I wanted pumpkin but didn’t get it and for that alone, I say give it to the peasants!

Rating: D

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Green's Dubbel Dark Ale by DeProef Brouwerij

Beer #267 is another first for me…a gluten free beer.  Green’s Dubbel Dark Ale by DeProef Brouwerij from Belgium is a beer that DOES NOT contain wheat, barley, peanuts, crustaceans, eggs, fish, soy beans, milk, lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, sulfur dioxide, or sulfites.  OK…what does this Dubbel with an ABV of 7% contain?  Why it is an ale brewed with millet, buckwheat, rice, sorghum, hops, & yeast.  This is also one of the few beers I have seen that has the calorie content on it…and that is 118 calories per serving of which there are two.  Why am I getting a bad feeling about this?

Into my pint glass it went with a dark brown color with a very large and frothy tan head.  The nose was sweet with a hint of dark fruits.  A brown sugar sweetness hit me first in the taste with a tiny amount of roasted malts.  To be honest it tasted…odd and it had a funky, almost tart aftertaste.  It was quite thin body wise with some decent stinging carbonation.  It was not drinkable at all.

I didn’t even finish a serving…and dumped the 2nd.  This wasn’t wasn’t good at all…yuck.  Gluten free…not for me.

Rating: F

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