Friday, February 26, 2010

Ranger India Pale Ale - New Belgium Brewing

“I know you don't smoke weed, I know this; but I'm gonna get you high today, 'cause it's Friday; you ain't got no job... and you ain't got shit to do.”

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what this awesome quote from the movie Friday has to do with this week’s review. So with that I bring you week 7 and

Ranger India Pale Ale (IPA) by New Belgium Brewing

First let me say like I’ve said here before I’m not a fan of IPAs but figured I needed to at least review one. Now, New Belgium Brewery is one of the best in the craft beer market so I expected a very good quality beer.

The initial sniff lets you know immediately that you’ll be drinking a hoppy beer. I know, that’s kind of redundant, IPAs are brewed that way. You see, back when the British occupied India, British beer would get stale by the time it reach the soldiers stationed in India. Hops being the natural preservative they are (which is why they were initially used in beer) brewers decided to add massive quantities so the beer would stay fresh until its final destination in India, hence the name India Pale Ale. Ok, back to this particular IPA, it poured a very thin head but did manage to stay for the duration of the review. It has a nice golden translucent pour and if you use the New Belgium tulip glass with the bicycle etched in the bottom, you get a nice display of continuous bubbles floating to the top. The first taste gives you a good kick of hops buts gets surprisingly smoother as you continue to drink it.

Now with not being a fan of IPAs, I could probably only drink one maybe two of these every few months, but that is better than some IPAs which I can barely finish. This is as expected, a quality beer from a quality brewery, a hoppy beer in a hoppy style. So if you are the fan of IPAs, this is a good grab but if you are not a fan of hops, stay away from this and most IPAs. Have a good week beer freinds and lets all try something new.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Yuengling Bock Beer

Week 6 brings us “America’s Oldest Brewery”, yes people that would be Yuengling. American made since 1829, like baseball and apple pie, this beer is American! But I’m not reviewing the Traditional Lager, nope; I bring you Yuengling Bock Beer.

The first sniff brings a slight sweetness, hints of caramel mixed with subtle hop tones. It pours a deep red/brown with a nice off-white. Upon tasting you definitely pick up the caramel sweetness but it is surprisingly followed by the bitterness from the hops, making for a deliciously balanced beer. I’ll admit, Yuengling Traditional Lager is probably my favorite everyday beer. It has color, mouthfeel, and character not usually associated with your “normal” American lager, but lacks real “craft beer” characteristics, making it ideal for multiple consumption. So, to say I was expecting the Bock Beer to be mostly the same but just a bit heavier is an understatement. Boy was I was pleasantly surprised; this beer comes across as a real craft beer. It is just complex enough to keep one interested but not too much so that one gets over whelmed.

When I first tried this beer a few years ago on draft, I did some research and Yuengling said “it was a tribute to how beer used to be” and that “it was not going to be bottled and sold outside of bars or restaurants”. I guess they decided America needed to know how real beer used to be. I sure am glad they did. This is a nice little treat to enjoy at the end of a long day, or week.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Ok, so I realized this afternoon I was in a bit of a pickle; for those of you not familiar with baseball or not from the south, that means jam, tight spot, trouble, you get the picture. It was the blizzard of 2010 in Macon GA and I had no beer. Actually, that’s not all true, I had three different versions of an IPA but I’m not a fan of IPA so I was leaving them for when one of my wanna-be beer connoisseur friends comes over and says “hey man, what kind of weird beer you got today”. See, a true beer connoisseur would never say weird and beer in the same sentence. But back to my ‘pickle’, I decided I better run up to the store real quick and get some beer, some to drink and some to review.

Then I saw it, screaming at me with neon lights like we were in the Red Light district of Amsterdam.

Samuel Adams Spring Seasonal - Noble Pils 

I know what you are thinking, has he lost his mind, it’s snowing outside and he is going to get a spring seasonal beer. Yep, I was and I did, boy did I find a winner. The scent of hops galore, the slight scent of summer, I could hardly wait. It pours a beautiful deep gold with a nice bountiful head. Ah, and the first swallow, one were you have to wade your way through the creamy head; it actually gave me a beer stache…got beer? Immediately I get the nice crisp clean taste of a pilsner, then the bitterness from the hops, even a slight citrus tang on the sides on my tongue. I found the motherload!

This beer boasts of being only one of a select few that use all five noble hops ("The German hop varieties in Noble Pils are: Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter, and Hersbrucker Hersbrucker. The Noble hop variety from Bohemia in the Czech Republic is Saaz.") h/t The Beer Advocate. Each one of these adds a nice floral/citrus character to this beer, making it ideal for those warm summer days and why I felt it was perfect to brighten up my snow filled day. I even picked up one of those California Pizzas, conveniently located right next to the beer aisle.

Once again The Boston Beer Company aka Sam Adams hits a homerun, so if you want a head start on spring or summer, go out and give this beer a spin. If you’re not completely satisfied, I’ll take your leftovers.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Celebrator Doppelbock

Ok people, week four brings us a beer I have been waiting for a reason to try. No not just any ol’ night, something with a meaning, something special, aw crap, who am I kidding, any new beer is reason enough to try it.

So what we have is

CELEBRATOR DOPPELBOCK by Ayinger Brewery, product of Germany.

Pours a dark brown not quite black, could probably pass for a cola if I threw some ice in there. *Don’t do that kids, it ain’t right, it just ain’t right; there are other more appealing ways to get your beer cold. The head forms thin and disappears quickly, too cold, too much alcohol??? Maybe too cold but not too much alcohol, it is a doppelbock remember and 6.7% alcohol by volume is not overly high, especially in this day and age of “High Gravity” craft beers.

At first sniff you definitely pick up on the scent of alcohol that any good doppelbock will give. First taste comes as just an ordinary beer might, then you get the warming sensation as you swallow, almost like a sip of bourbon but not as harsh. I struggle to find any hint of hops or over powering malt flavors.

This being a German beer I am sure it will change flavors as it warms while I drink it down. So I let it sit for a moment or two to allow the flavors to release themselves. More alcohol is what I get, which I’m not saying is a bad thing, just making notes here. This is not really a gulping beer, but most of those are American Lagers (lawnmower beers) anyway and you wouldn’t expect that from a German doppelbock. Just a nice sip every now and then while you relax, like you would bourbon on a cold winter night.

This is not for the beginner or even the trendy. Nope, this is for the person that really likes to see what beer can bring. So, if you are up for the challenge, go grab one and enjoy, but remember, it’s not a race so relax.