Monday, May 30, 2011

Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat

Continuing in the American line of beers, today I'm sampling what appears to be a wheat beer from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. It comes in a 12 ounce bottle, and has 4.9% alcohol/vol. The only thing that makes me nervous about this beer is that it advertises "beer with natural flavors". I actually had to laugh out loud at that line. I sure hope this beer has natural flavours (as opposed to artificial?).

The bottle was a twist-off. I was wise enough to attempt that before grabbing the bottle opener. I was hit in the face with the smell of oranges. Perhaps this is the "natural flavor" mentioned on the label. No head formed at all when poured, and the bubbles were hard to see through the yellow haze. There was still an orangey aroma to the beer.

The first sip was revolting. I did not have the words to describe how vile this "beer" was. In no way did it taste anything like beer. This was the first beer I had to flush down the sink. I also brushed my teeth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spoetzl Shiner Bock

Today's beer is brewed in Texas. The label claims it is hand crafted. As usual per the American beers I have sampled so far, there is no alcohol content on the label. It comes in a brown 12 ounce bottle.

The first thing I noticed after popping the cap off, is that it's a twist off. Oops. Guess I didn't have to grab my bottle opener. I can't believe it's taken me so long to come across my first twist off. The aroma from the bottle was sweet with only a hint of hops. When poured, there was almost no head. And lots of huge bubbles. The beer was of a light brown colour. The aroma was unchanged from that of being in the bottle.

The first sip, I could hardly tell I was drinking beer. It honestly tasted like fizzy water. There was no significant aftertaste. I'm not sure whether no taste is better than bad taste. At least with bad taste, it's obvious the brewer tried. With no taste, it's just carbonated dirty water.

It's beer like this that gives American beer a bad reputation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Yet another American ale. Today's brew comes in a 12 ounce brown bottle. There is absolutely no useful information on the label. So it's a bit of a mystery today. The skeleton sitting on the keg on the label might be a warning.

I could smell lots of malty goodness when I opened the bottle. When poured, almost no head formed. However, there were lots of large bubbles. The beer itself was deep copper in colour. And the aroma was malty, with only a slight hint of hops.

The first sip had very little flavour. There was a bitter aftertaste, though. I would call this beer exceptionally light on flavour, which is unfortunate since it had a lot going for it up until I tasted it. Overall, it's not bad tasting. I just wish there was more of it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Troubadour Blond

Today is an "off" day. Not my normal Monday/Wednesday/Friday day for sampling beer. So why am I drinking? Because today I learned that a friend of mine has cancer. I'm not going to go into any details, because the friend in question told me to keep it quiet, and I don't think I'm going to give anything away by mentioning as much as I just did. Hopefully, a fine Belgian blond ale will lift my spirits.

Today's beer, as mentioned above, is a Belgian blond ale. It comes in an 11.2 fluid ounce bottle, and weighs in at 6.5% alcohol/vol. There isn't much other information on the bottle, other than the large "ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY..." For some reason, I think I'm safe.

Upon opening, I noticed a wonderful hoppy aroma. I have a feeling I'm going to like this beer already. When poured, it formed a gigantic head, and lots of large bubbles formed in the beer. The beer itself is a cloudy yellow. As for aroma, the same hoppy smell I detected when I opened the bottle was there, only it was stronger. The head lasted a long time, and dissipated unevenly. After pouring, I noticed a lot of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. I guess this beer isn't filtered and keeps fermenting in the bottle, which would explain the cloudiness.

The first sip was a good one. It tastes like a sweet pilsner. Very hoppy, but not bitter. Generally sweeter, more than anything else, but not overwhelmingly so. There is a hint of spiciness to it. I would say this beer is very balanced. I could not detect any aftertaste. This is a very good strong beer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abita Ale Turbodog

As promised, today's beer is American. It comes in an oddly-shaped 355mL bottle, somewhere between a long neck and a stubby. It has a label on the back that gives a lot of information: pale, crystal and chocolate malts, willamette hops, and a "unique German alt yeast". It bills itself as a brown ale. Completely unknown alcohol content. There is also a section of the label reserved for a best-before date, but it is empty.

When the bottle was opened, I noticed the malty smell. No hops were detected. When poured, it formed a small creamy head that never fully disappeared but did get thinner. The beer was dark brown in colour, and needed to be held up to the light to see through it. It still had the malty aroma, but also had a very light hoppy smell to it.

The first sip was interesting. Up to this point, I had only had hoppy lagers (with a few notable exceptions). So this beer completely took me by surprise. It had a rich earthy taste. Slightly sweet and caramel-like. A hint of bitterness to it. I found this beer went down fairly easily, with only a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

American Beer

Just got back from Fargo. I now have a fridge full of American beer, so I'll be sampling some US microbreweries for the next few weeks. At least, I think they're microbreweries. I didn't check too hard.

I also bought some other brands that look interesting and are hard to come by.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slavutich Premium

Before I start into today's beer sampling, I have two important announcements.

1. I will not be sampling a beer on Friday.
2. I have started brewing my own beer.

Since I will be in Fargo this weekend, I will not have a chance to sample a beer. However, this weekend trip gives me an opportunity to buy beers that are not available here in Manitoba. In all likelihood, the next few weeks will be spent sampling premium American beers.

As for brewing my own beers, I just figured on a whim that I probably have enough experience in sampling beers at this point to have an idea of what a good beer tastes like. Or at the very least, what kind of beer I like. So I bought a domestic wheat beer kit. I have not started the fermentation process since time does not allow it yet. But I will start it up sometime next week and report on its progress on this blog. When I'm done, if anybody wants some free beer just drop me a line.

Without further ado, let's move onto today's beer sampling.

This Ukranian beer comes in a blue 500mL can with 5.3% alcohol/vol. There is not much English on the label. I had to hunt around to find the English translation of the beer's name in the fine print. I'm basically going into this beer completely blind. There is what appears to be a best-before date on the bottom of the can of May 25. I'm cutting this one close, so I probably shouldn't expect much.

Upon opening of the can, I was greeted with a strong floral aroma. Once poured, the aroma disappeared. The dark yellow beer formed a large head that disappeared rather quickly. There were lots of large bubbles.

The first sip was bland. It had a slight apple taste. But there wasn't much hoppy bitterness to it at all. There was also a slight metallic aftertaste, but that could be completely discounted by the proximity to the best-before date. Apart from the apple tones, there was not much memorable about this beer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Erdinger Weißbrau

We go back to Germany today to revisit one of the breweries I previously sampled. The first beer I tried was Erdinger Weissbrau Dunkel, and I loved it so much that I had to try another one of the beers from the same brewery. So today's beer is their "classic" Weissbier, or "wheat beer" in English. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has an alcohol content of 5.3%/vol.

Upon opening, I was greeted with a flowery aroma. When poured, it formed a huge long-lasting head, with lots of small bubbles. The colour was a hazy yellow. The smell after being poured was subtle, and consistent with what I smelled when I opened the bottle.

The first taste was heaven. This beer had very little hops in it, which makes it easy to drink for beer novices. The flavour was full, but subtle. There was absolutely no aftertaste at all. The more I drank, the more I noticed the wheat component, and it eventually started to taste like I was drinking a loaf of bread (but not overwhelmingly so).

Once again, Erdinger hit it out of the park. I highly suggest this beer to anybody, even non-beer drinkers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Faxe Royal Strong

Today's beer hails from Denmark. It comes in a 500mL can, with 8.0% alcohol/vol. Wowie! It has a list of ingredients: Water, barley malt, glucose syrup, maize, hops. GLUCOSE SYRUP?!?! MAIZE?!?! I'm already questioning this beer, and I haven't even opened the can yet. It has a best-before date of June 12, only 1 month away, so I'm closer to the end of this beer's shelf life than the start.

Upon opening the can, I didn't smell any distinctive smells. The beer smelled sweet (no doubt from the glucose and maize). When poured, it formed a thick head, and had lots of large bubbles. The colour of the beer itself was a bit anemic, it was straw-coloured. There were no added smells upon pouring, only the same sweetness as when I opened the can.

The first sip was horrible. The beer certainly didn't taste very sweet. If I was to name its taste, I would say aluminum. No doubt, the beer had been sitting in the can too long. Its aftertaste was even worse. I could find absolutely no redeeming quality to this beer whatsoever. If I was a weaker man, I would have poured it down the drain. But since I have a reputation to hold up, I had to finish it off.

Trust me, I would rather have thrown it out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dragon Stout

Today's beer hails from Jamaica. It comes in a 330mL brown bottle. The bottle itself is remarkable, because it looks, and feels, rather small in your hand compared to a typical North American long-necked beer bottle. As for alcohol content, it comes in at a whopping 7.5% alcohol/vol. There was a best-before date on the bottle of April 12, no year given. I hope the year is is 2011 and not 2010. I'd rather have fresh beer than expired beer.

When opened, the beer smacked me in the face with a fruity sweet malty smell. Upon pouring, it formed a thin head that disappeared very quickly. I could not see any bubbles coming up because the beer is so dark. I'd have to say it is black in colour.

I could already tell that this beer was going to be a large departure from all the other beers I've sampled so far. Not only that I knew this beer was an ale while all of my previous beers were lagers. The first sip was impressive. The beer went down easy. Once in my belly, I started to feel warm. A strong beer indeed! It tasted like sugar water, and had no aftertaste at all. Indeed, it reminded me a lot of dark rum. This is definitely a beer for getting drunk in style.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

I decided it was about time I sampled a brew from our neighbour to the south. Today's beer is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle, with 4.8% alcohol/vol. Not much else can be said at this point, because the rest of the bottle is covered in marketing lines (complete with (tm) symbols).

Upon opening the bottle, I couldn't smell anything. Not a good sign. The copper-coloured beer formed a thick head that disappeared quickly. There were lots of large bubbles. Once poured, I could smell something, but could not place it.

The first sip: Very strong. Very bitter. I actually enjoyed it. It has a very strong aftertaste. It is a much stronger and darker lager than the other lagers I have sampled. I can definitely see this being served in pubs, rather than on a hot and sunny day.

This American beer surprised me. I can see how it appeals to a broad spectrum of beer drinkers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Egils Gull

The beer today is probably the closest to Iceland I'll ever come. The label says it is best consumed within 100 days of being produced. Fortunately, it was made on January 13, 2011. So I'm just outside the window, but not by much. There is also a best-before date of July 13, 2011 which I am well inside of. The beer comes in a white and gold coloured 500mL can with 5% alcohol/vol.

The beer gave a strong hoppy aroma when I opened the can. When poured, it formed a large head that took a while to disappear. There were a few large bubbles coming up in the beer itself. The beer was a nice golden colour.

The first sip left me unimpressed. There was definitely a strong distinctive metallic taste to the beer. It was very hoppy, but other than that there wasn't much flavour. I seem to be having problems with (some) beers that come in cans, they generate metallic tastes. I was left unsatisfied.

I think this beer deserves a second chance. I will revisit it again some day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today's beer comes from Croatia. It comes in a yellow 500mL can, with 5% alcohol/vol. There is almost no English on the can, save for "Product of Croatia". There is also a best-before date on the bottom of the can (August 28, 2011). I'm basically going into this beer completely blind. But knowing the region it comes from, I can probably assume it's a lager of some type.

Upon opening the can, I was struck by its immediate sweet malty smell. When poured, it formed a thick head that disappeared relatively slowly. Lots of large bubbles flowed up through its dark golden colour.

The first sip was pretty good. It is a sweet beer. Very little hoppy aftertaste. I was very impressed by the amount of carbonation in the beer; the bubbles just kept on coming. Absolutely no metallic taste at all. This beer is very easy to drink. It made me wish I had a second can to crack open.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Krombacher Pils

This beer is a German pilsner. It comes in a 500mL aluminum can and has 4.8% alcohol/vol. It has an ingredients list that contains, unsurprisingly, water, barley malt, and hops. But there is also a "hops extract" listed, which makes me a bit suspicious. The can advertises this beer to be "No. 1 premium beer in Germany", and it is brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516. I was under the suspicion that all German beers were brewed under the Purity Law of 1516. So either I was incorrect, or the advertising on the label is redundant. There was also a best-before date on the bottom of the can: August 26, 2011. I was well in the clear.

When I cracked the can open, nothing happened. Almost no smell came from the beer. Once poured, it formed a huge head that lasted a long time. The beer itself was dark yellow to light golden in colour. As for bubbles, at first there were a few large bubbles floating up, but these disappeared rather quickly and nothing much else came up.

The first sip came, and went, without incident. It tasted like a domestic lager. And very flat. A slight hoppy aroma eventually gathered in the beer flute. The taste itself it not bad, but the lack of bubbles detracted from the experience. As far as the German beers I've sampled so far go, I would place this one near the bottom. If you wanted to try a good German beer, look somewhere else.