Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weihenstephaner Original

Today's beer is a German classic. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has 5.1% alcohol/vol. It is labelled as a "malt liquor", but I believe that is just some legal mumbo-jumbo. Weihenstephaner has a claim for the world's oldest brewery in continual existence (since the 700s).

Upon opening, I immediately smelled fruity hops. This aroma eventually gave way to some strong malt. The beer poured a pale yellow, with lots of tiny bubbles. There was a thin creamy head. The malt aroma had dissipated, leaving a whiff of hops.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer has a very soft feel in the mouth. The beer went down very easily with almost no aftertaste. A very light sweetness to it. I would put this beer down on my list as a "summer beer", and would definitely drink it again.

In other news, I am going to be away on vacation all of next week, so there will be no beer reviews. My beer fridge is also now empty so there may be a day's delay in my resumption of my ratings.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly

Today I opted for a Canadian beer. It comes from Chambly (hence its name), Quebec. It comes in a 750mL bottle with a cork. It also has a modest 5% alcohol/vol. It appears to be a (Belgian?) white ale. Good thing the label warns you of some yeast sediment during its secondary fermentation, or I would have been tempted to drink it straight from the bottle.

The cork came off rather easily, and a fine mist erupted. I could smell some lemon coming from the bottle, and not much else. The beer poured a generous white head that lasted a long time. Lots of huge bubbles rose up to keep the head going. The beer itself was a pale yellow in colour. The lemony aroma was still present, coupled with some malt.

The first sip wasn't terribly good. The beer had a harsh feel in the mouth (probably from all the bubbles). And I couldn't say I was a huge fan of the lemon. The beer has a slightly sour aftertaste. There is no way I would buy this beer again, but I couldn't see any reason why somebody else wouldn't like it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ayinger Celebrator

I'm excited today, because I'm going to sample a doppelbock. I also decided that I've waited on my first homebrew beer for long enough, and am going to crack one open. I won't do a review on it since it's not fully done carbonating, and it's not commercially available. :)

For anybody who knows a bit of German, they would be amused to see two goats on the label. The beer comes in a 330mL brown bottle, and has 6.7% alcohol/vol. It is also adorned with a small white goat pendant. Weird.

The first thing I noticed when opening the bottle was the rich malty aroma. Absolutely no hoppiness. When poured, it formed a thick head that disappeared rather quickly. It reminded me of a guiness, except the foam was made of large bubbles and dissipated. The beer was a dark brown in colour, and light could barely pass through it. As for the aroma, it retained its maltiness, and gained a slight fruity character.

The first sip reminded me of a guiness. The beer was soft in the mouth, and the rich malty flavour came on slowly. There was some bitter aftertaste, but not a lot. It also gave me a warm feeling in my throat. I could definitely see this as a good winter beer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Time for another Goose Island beer. This time it's an American wheat beer. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle with a yellow label. Of course there's no alcohol content displayed.

When opened, the bottle had a yeasty aroma. A bit of hops were also detected. When poured, it had a healthy creamy head that disappeared quickly. Lots of small bubbles formed up. The beer was yellow in colour. There was a bit of haze near the top due to the unfiltered nature of the beer. The aroma of yeast had completely dissipated, and I could only smell a bit of hops.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer had a slight lemony flavour, but without the sourness. Not very bitter at all, and only mildly malty. The beer had a soft mouth feel. The beer went down very easily.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spaten Premium

Back to Germany again. Today's beer comes from Munich. It comes in a 355mL green bottle. Since I bought it in the US, it doesn't have any alcohol content information. However, it does say "malt liquor" on it, which I believe is a legal term for anything over a certain percentage. So I'm going to guess it's a stronger-than-average beer.

When I opened the bottle, it was as if somebody was cutting their lawn. The aroma was very grassy (hoppy, but grassy). When poured, no head formed, and there were lots of large bubbles. Unfortunately, the bubbles didn't last very long, and pared themselves down to two streams rather quickly. The beer itself was an anemic-looking yellow. It still had its grassy hops aroma.

The first sip was smooth. It had a soft mouth feel, and tasted a bit corn-like. A very mellow flavour, with no bitterness. I couldn't find any aftertaste. I would call this beer a light lager. I couldn't think of anybody who wouldn't be able to drink it since it was so light.

I'm not sure if I would drink it again since I tend to prefer beers at either extreme (sweet or bitter). I could see a lot of people liking this though, as it tasted like a domestic mass-produced beer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Goose Island IPA

Today's is from Chicago, and one of my last American beers for the next while. It comes in a 12 ounce (355mL) brown bottle, with a green label. No alcohol content is given. The bottle looks slightly taller than the industry standard bottle.

When first opened, the hop aroma was a bit overpowering. It seems to be using a type of hops that I'm not familiar with, and am slightly intrigued by. If I had to take a guess, I'd say it was fruity. When poured, a large healthy head formed, and only a few large bubbles rose through the golden beer. The beer was a bit cloudy; perhaps there was sediment? (update: The cloudiness is due to unfiltered dry hopping) The hop aroma was still noticeable, and was urging me on.

The first sip was pretty good. The beer had a smooth feel in the mouth. The flavour was very hoppy and bitter. Probably one of the hoppiest beers I've ever had. I liked. As I drank, the head left behind a beautiful lace on my glass. I could not detect any malt flavour in the beer at all. I'll definitely look for this beer again when I'm in the mood for a hopped-up beer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canuck Pale Ale

I need to rush through today's beer sampling, because it's game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. I specifically chose a patriotic beer today, one that has "Canuck" in its name. It comes in a 650mL brown bottle (wowie!) with a foil wrapping around the bottle cap. It has 5.2% alcohol/vol.

When opened, I was overwhelmed with joy by the fruity hops aroma. It poured a thick foam that lasted a while, and had a lot of small bubbles. The colour was a beautiful gold. It didn't have much for aroma any more, certainly not the same hoppy smell I was greeted with when I opened the bottle.

The first sip was shocking. This was an incredibly bitter beer. There is almost no sweetness to it at all. The hops definitely dominated this beer. It was a bit too bitter for me, but I would definitely put it near the top of any hop-head's list. I used to think I was a hop head until I tried this beer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Anchor Steam Beer

Before I go into today's beer, I have an important announcement. I'm done brewing my wheat beer, and in two weeks I will have a homebrew ready to sample! Homemade beer is much cheaper than storebought.

This is a beer from San Francisco. It has 4.8% alcohol/vol, and comes in an oddly-shaped 355mL brown bottle. It has a best-before date of March 2013! A date this far in the future isn't a good sign, as it means the beer is loaded in preservatives.

The opened bottle gave a lightly hopped aroma, along with some yeast. When poured, it formed a medium-sized creamy head that was sustained by a non-stop flow of small bubbles. The beer had an amber colour, and retained the lightly hopped/yeasty aroma that it had when I opened the bottle.

The first taste was all bitter. The hops were barely detectable. The beer had a smooth feel in the mouth. At first I didn't like the beer very much, but it slowly grew on me. I'm not sure if I'd ever try it again as I believe there are better beers out there. But in no way did I find this to be a bad beer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Half Pints Stir Stick Stout

In honour of the Vancouver Canucks, who are playing Boston at this very minute, I have decided to forego an American beer in lieu of a local brew. Today's beer isn't your ordinary run-of-the-mill microbrewery beer. It's actually a hand-crafted beer. So I expect good things. It comes in a 341mL brown bottle. There appears to be some sort of wax seal on the bottle cap, I suppose it's for tampering detection. The beer is 5.6% alcohol/vol, and has 35 IBUs.

Though the bottle didn't look it, it was in fact a twist-off. Oops. I guess that's why the wax seal is there, so make sure nobody twisted it. When opened, I could smell a lot of sweet malt, and a strong odor of coffee. Possibly even a hint of chocolate? The beer poured black, with a thin head that lasted a while. I could not see any bubbles because the beer was so thick. There was a strong coffee aroma to the beer.

The first taste was radically different from any beer I've tasted before. It was bitter, and the flavour came on slowly. It is both sweet and bitter at the same time. There was a strong coffee flavour, and the aftertaste was overwhelmingly bitter. The beer has a very soft feel in the mouth, no doubt due to its natural carbonation. I'm not sure if I would drink this again, since it's such a radical departure from any beer I'd normally go for, but I would definitely recommend everybody at least try it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Today's beer comes from Chico, CA. No false advertising on its location! It comes in a 12 oz brown bottle that is slightly shorter than your industry standard bottle. It has 5.6% alcohol/vol. The label says it's naturally carbonated and there's a fine layer of yeast in each bottle. So I expect a bit of sediment at the bottom.

When the bottle opened, I was greeted with a fresh aroma of hops. When poured, it formed a small creamy head that lasted a while. The beer had lots of small bubbles, and a golden colour. The strong hoppy aroma dissipated quickly when poured.

The first sip was exceptionally bitter. Very hoppy indeed! Definitely not a single variety of hops, as its character is very complex. The aftertaste lasted a while, and was not unpleasant. I would avoid this beer if you aren't a hop head. I would put this beer near the top of my list.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Today's beer comes from Frederick, Maryland. It has a quote from Hunter S. Thompson on the label, so it is already starting off on the right foot. It comes in a 12 oz bottle, and has 5.5% alcohol/vol. It even has the IBU listed: 35.

When the bottle was opened, I was hit in the face with a strong hoppy aroma. When poured, the beer came out amber in colour. Not a lot of head (which disappeared quickly), and an average amount of large bubbles. The beer was fairly cloudy with sediment. The strong hoppy smell was still there, coupled with some malty goodness.

The first sip was pretty good. Hop-heads should love this beer. It had a rich flavour, with just a slightly bitter aftertaste. It reminded me a lot of the Czech pilsners I sampled. This is a beer I did not get bored of. Every sip was an adventure. By far, the best American beer I've tried. If there was anything I could complain about, it was that the aftertaste lasted too long (several minutes).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fischer Tradition Amber

Since today isn't one of my "regular" days, I feel free to sample any beer I want. Today's beer is French. It appears to be an amber ale judging by the label. It has 6% alcohol/vol, and comes in a whopping 1 pint, 6 oz brown bottle. The reason I bought this beer when I was in Grand Forks is because of the beugel top. I figured at the very least I could re-use the bottle with my homebrew.

Opening the bottle, it didn't "pop" as Grolsch does. It instead let out a huge "pfffft". The aroma is mostly malty. When poured, the name on the label did not lie. The beer was in fact amber. There was no head at all, and only a few large bubbles came up. The aroma was still mostly malty, with a hint of flowery hops.

The first sip was so-so. The flavour comes and goes very quickly, with a very carbonated mouthfeel. There is a very strong aftertaste reminiscent of soda water. This beer grew on me. I eventually got used to its subtle tones, and I enjoyed it. It's nowhere near the top of my list of beers though.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Redhook ESB

Today's beer comes from Washington. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle and has 5.8% alcohol/vol. The label says it's an ale. It also claims "liquid goodness since 1982". I think I'll be the judge of that today. ;)

When opened, there wasn't much aroma escaping the bottle. When poured, the beer came out gold with a few streams of large bubbles. Not a lot of head, but it looked a bit creamy. There is a slightly metallic scent from the beer, which is strange since it came from a bottle.

The first sip: The flavour came on slowly, but was distinctive. Not very strong, but not unpleasant. No hint of metallic flavour. There was only a very slight bitter aftertaste. There wasn't much malty flavour at all. An overall balanced beer, but a bit on the weak side.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tommyknocker Pick Axe

Today's beer comes from Idaho Springs, Colorado. It comes in a 355mL brown bottle. No twist-cap! As usual, there is no alcohol content information found on the bottle. There is some kind of date on the bottle, July 20 2009. I hope that's not the best-before date. In fact, I hope it's not the brewed on date either. I sincerely hope it's a mistake, or my beer would have been sitting on the shelves for 2 years.

When opened, the bottle immediately began to fizz up. There is a distinctive malty aroma to the beer. I had to pour it quickly lest I get head all over my desk. The beer had a copper colour, with a lot of sediment in it. I was afraid the beer was skunked. Just a hint of hoppy aroma to it. Very small head that dissipated quickly, and very few bubbles in the beer. Admittedly, there could have been a lot more bubbles but it was hard to see into the beer because it was so cloudy.

The first sip wasn't bad. The beer was light flavoured, but wow what a strong aftertaste. The beer tasted light and fruity, until the bitter aftertaste kicked in with a vengeance. This beer wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, it's in a style I don't particularly care for.