31 August 2009

Beer Review, Untouchable Pale Ale

Speakeasy Untouchable Pale Ale
San Francisco, CA
5.5% ABV

Appearance: Orange-yellow with a slight reddish tinge, very hazy with suspended particles, small white foamy head. 4.0/5

Smell: Sweet, slightly citrus, strong clean hops. Cascade perhaps? 4.0/5

Taste: Yeastier than expected, somewhat sweet on the tongue. Notes of citrus. Actually quite refreshing. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thick for an APA, moderate carbonation, moderate-to-heavy on hops. 3.5/5

Drinkability: A pretty classic West Coast APA, perhaps a little yeasty for the style, but quite good, very drinkable. 4.0/5

Overall: 3.95/5

30 August 2009

Beer Review, Bosco's London Porter

Bosco's London Porter
Bosco's Brewpub, Cool Springs, TN
Unknown ABV

(Beer tasted on my recent vacation to the south. Notes transcribed verbatim.)

Appearance: BLack, opaque, slightly red at bottom. Minimal head leaves some lacing. 4.0/5

Smell: Somewhat sweet with chocolate malt, significant chocolate presence, slight dry roasty maltiness. 4.5/5

Taste: Sweet chocolate malt, roasted barley, hints of coffee, dry on finish. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, some hops, very dry. 3.5/5

Drinkability: Quite good, very drinkable. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.05/5

29 August 2009

Beer Review, Bosco's Wee Heavy

Bosco's Wee Heavy
Bosco's Brewpub, Cool Springs, TN
Unknown ABV

(Tasted on my vacation to the south. Notes transcribed verbatim below.)

Appearance: Amber, clean, slightly hazy. Small head. 3.5/5

Smell: Sweet, fruity, malty. Slight hints of yeast. 3.5/5

Taste: Very sweet, grainy, hints of cherries. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, low on carbonation, mild hops. 4.0/5

Drinkability: Very good. Not complex, but good. 4.0/5

Overall: 3.8/5

28 August 2009

Beer Review, Terminal Brewhouse O.P.P. ESB

Terminal Brewhouse O.P.P. ESB
Chattanooga, TN
Unknown ABV

(Tasted on my vacation to the south, on-tap at the Terminal Brewhouse. Tasting notes verbatim below.)

Appearance: Amber-orange, hazy. Head is foamy and leaves lacing. 4.0/5

Smell: Sweet, malty, hints of caramel, lots of grain. 4.0/5

Taste: Grainy, hints of barley and significant hop bite. Loads of sweet caramel. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, heavy carbonation, significant hops. 3.5/5

Drinkability: Very good, a nice stiff ESB. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.15/5

27 August 2009

Coburn on Health Care

"...ask your neighbors for help.

Want to know what's really disgusting about this video? The applause from that audience to those canned remarks he makes about government and healthcare. A woman in tears because she can't get the health coverage she desperately needs so that her ailing husband can eat and drink, and the Republican base cheers for the kind of response that would be inappropriate if she'd told him she had pneumonia.

Oh, and by the way, all of us are this woman's neighbors. What we're trying to do is to set up a system whereby there is a system in place where this woman can get assistance from her community, that is, from the collective weal of the USA. It's called "citizenship," and I think I know a few people who should give it a try.

Beer Review, Keweenaw Red Jacket Amber Ale

Keweenaw Red Jacket Amber Ale
South Range, MI
Unknown ABV

(Note: BA calls this an American Amber, but the can refers to itself as an "Octoberfest-style ale.)

Appearance: Hazy brown/orange body with slight yellow tinge at the bottom. Thick brownish head that dissipates to soapscum quickly. 4.0/5

Smell: Rich, malty, nutty. Quite dry. Very strong grains. 4.5/5

Taste: Sweet nutty grains on the front-end, with a bit of syrup on the finish. Some nice bitter hops, as well, and a dry aftertaste. Kind of a weird amalgam of styles, but somehow it works. Very much more like an Octoberfest than an Amber, so take that for what you will. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thicker than anticipated, very low carbonation, with no particular hop bite. Smooth but a bit thick. 3.5/5

Drinkability: I'm tempted to pound these straight from the can. A nice beer, very good at what it does. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.05/5

26 August 2009

Beer Review, Sweetwater IPA (Growler)

Sweetwater IPA
Atlanta, GA
6.7% ABV

(Had this years ago in bottles, reviewing the growler I purchased at Riverside Beverages in Chattanooga.)

Appearance: Dark red-yellow body, almost brown, with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. Nice presentation. I'm not taking any points off for the smaller head than the bottle, as that's almost certainly an artifact of the growler. 4.5/5

Smell: Nice crisp dry hops, strong citrus backbone. 4.0/5

Taste: Very sweet, fruity, with a dry hop finish that lets you know this is a nice IPA. Much more grapefruit than I remember from the bottles, but still delicious. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, coats the tongue, low carbonation. 4.0/5

Drinkability: This is a very different beer than I remember. Whether this is due to my changed palate since October 2005, or whether the brewery has tweaked the recipe, or whether it's just an artifact of the growler vs. the bottle, I can't say. In any case, this is a very good IPA, although the characteristics seem to vary widely between the bottle and the growler. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.3/5

24 August 2009

Beer Review, The Short Parade

Short's The Soft Parade
Belaire, MI
7.2% ABV

Appearance: Dark-hued amber appearance, more pink than red (due to the fruit), with a thick foamy pinkish-colored head that sticks around for a bit. 4.0/5

Smell: Yeastier than expected on the nose, with only hints of the raspberries and cherries. Slightly bready. 3.5/5

Taste: Ah, there's the fruit. Very tart, almost lambic-like, with a raspberry backbone and a strong sour finish. The alcohol is hidden nicely, and there's no real hop bite to speak of. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thick, foamy. 4.5/5

Drinkability: For a Fruit/Vegetable beer, this is top-notch. 4.5/5

Overall: 4.0/5

17 August 2009

Beer Review, Dragon's Milk Ale

New Holland Dragon's Milk
Holland, MI
9.0% ABV

Appearance: Opaque. Really opaque. Dark black body, no light shows through even when held up to a light source. Moderate head that dissipates quickly. 4.5/5

Smell: Hm, interesting. Lots of malt on the nose, hints of cherries with strong coffee and black malt undertones. Some astringency from the alcohol. 4.0/5

Taste: Intensely alcoholic, stings the tip of the tongue. Strong bready malts, lots of grains and a nice roasty dryness on the finish. Some malt sweetness present upon further sipping, hints of black cherries and other fruity esters. Very appealing. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Thick, but not overwhelmingly so. Carbonation is low, so are the hops. The alcohol gives it a bit of a burn on the way down, though. 4.0/5

Drinkability: Once you get used to it, this is actually a very drinkable beer. I think I'd like it with a touch more hoppiness for balance, but this beer's stellar reputation is pretty well-deserved. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.3/5

15 August 2009

Beer Review, Cold Hop British-Style Ale

Boulder Beer Company Cold Hop British-Style Ale
Boulder, CO
6.5% ABV

Appearance: Dingy red body, very hazy with suspended yeast, with a thin head that dissipates quickly. 4.0/5

Smell: Very malty, serious grains, with a very aromatic hop bite. Strong with caramel. 4.5/5

Taste: Very bready, grainy. Slightly sweet, hints of apples and with a dry finish. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thick and malty, moderate-to-heavy carbonation. 4.0/5

Drinkability: A good beer, solid and easy to drink, but doesn't really overwhelm the senses. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.1/5

14 August 2009

Beer Review, Denver Pale Ale

Great Divide Denver Pale Ale
Denver, CO
5.6% ABV

Appearance: Reddish-orange hue, very hazy with suspended carbonation, with a thick white bubbly head. Makes my mouth water just looking at it. 4.5/5

Smell: Crisp malts and hops, hints of caramel and probably Kent Goldings on the hop front. Some hints of citrus. 4.0/5

Taste: Some malty sweetness up-front, with a caramel backbone and a dry hoppy finish. Very nice, very clean, very refreshing. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Thicker than anticipated, heavy with carbonation. Hops tickle the mouth. Probably a bit thick as per style, but still quite nice. 4.0/5

Drinkability: One of my all-time favorite English Pale Ales, for sure. 4.5/5

Overall: 4.35/5

11 August 2009

Beer Review, Affligem Blond

Affligem Blond
Flanders, Belgium
6.8% ABV

Appearance: Yellow-orange body, very hazy, some effervescence from the bottom of the glass. Thick foamy white head that sticks around, leaves some lacing. 4.5/5

Smell: Sweet, tart, heavy with Belgian "funk." Some corn maltiness, which is odd for the style, but not at all unpleasant. 3.5/5

Taste: Very sweet up-front, nice Belgian tartness, some hints of citrus. A bit drying on the finish and strong with oranges on the aftertaste. It's actually quite refreshing and relaxing. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thick and foamy, but with only a slight carbonation. Somewhat chewy with suspended yeast. 4.0/5

Drinkability: I usually don't think of Belgians as "summer beers," but this one is a pretty good example of that concept. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.0/5

10 August 2009

Beer Review, Maharaja Premium

Maharaja Premium
Bangalore, India
5.0% ABV

My first beer from India. At least that's a milestone of a sort.

Appearance: Transparent yellow body, very slight orange tinge. Very minimal head that dissipates immediately, leaving only slight traces of soapscum. Not an auspicious start. 1.5/5

Smell: Very sweet, strong notes of corn. Uncomplex, but decent. Not spectacular, but sets the stage for what might be a decent pils. 2.5/5

Taste: This one is way off. Too sweet on the up-front, almost lip-puckeringly so. Unpleasant corn aftertaste. 1.5/5

Mouthfeel: Decent. Thin body, goes down clean like a pilsner should. Flat, with almost no carbonation. 3.0/5

Drinkability: Maybe this would go better with curry, or maybe it just doesn't travel well, but I'm very unimpressed. 2.0/5

Overall: 1.9/5

09 August 2009

Beer Review, New Holland Night Tripper Imperial Stout

New Holland Night Tripper Imperial Stout
Holland, MI
10.8% ABV

Appearance: Rich dark velvet color, slightly reddish tinge. Thin brown foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly. 4.0/5

Smell: Very dry, roasty, heavy with dark chocolate malts. Some hoppy bitterness buried in the backbone of the aroma. Hints of an almost caramel sweetness. Very rich, aromatic. 4.5/5

Taste: Strong with grains and malt. Some alcohol astringency on the tip of the tongue, especially on the finish and aftertaste. Sweet backbone, rich with chocolate and very heavy with coffee. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, no real carbonation, with that aforementioned alcohol astringency on the finish. Coats the palate. 4.0/5

Drinkability: Quite a nice beer. Very drinkable, especially considering the alcohol. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.3/5

04 August 2009

ESB Recipe

6.6 lb Amber Malt Extract
1 lb Vienna Malt
1 lb 60L Crystal Malt
1 oz Kent Goldings (60 min)
.5 oz Liberty (30 min)
.5 oz Liberty (15 min)
1 vial White Labs Burton Ale Yeast

I boiled the crystal malt and the Vienna malt for 30 minutes at 170F, then added the extract and the Kent Goldings. After thirty minutes, I added half of my Liberty hops, then after another fifteen, I added the other half. I let the wort cool, then added the yeast starter I made a couple of days ago with Pilsner DME in a half-gallon growler.

I'm aiming for something rich and malty, not too alcoholic and overall pretty relaxing.

03 August 2009

Beer Review, Lake Effect Pale Ale

Mishawaka Brewing Lake Effect Pale Ale
Mishawaka, IN
5.8% ABV

Appearance: Transparent yellow body, some bubbles from carbonation, but with absolutely zero head. 2.0/5

Smell: Much better here. Rich, malty, with caramel undertones. Strong hoppy aroma. Reminds me more of Dead Guy than any pale ale I've ever had. High marks for impressiveness, though. 4.5/5

Taste: Sweet with apples but quite tart, borderline sour, with a dry yeasty aftertaste. There's a lot going on here, but it's a cacaphony rather than a symphony. 3.0/5

Mouthfeel: Thin, but it does coat the palate on the finish. 3.0/5

Drinkability: This doesn't really work as a pale ale. I'd rather think of this as an amber. 3.0/5

Overall: 3.1/5