Thursday, March 31, 2011

Narragansett Brewing Company - Light Lager

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 16 oz. "tall-boy" can, poured into a Becker pint

Having reviewed all of the other beers from Narragansett (the Lager, and the three seasonals) I felt it necessary to round out the bunch with the Light Lager. The beer pours a light straw body with moderate-to-high visible carbonation. The head is a stark white with an airy and voluminous consistency. The retention is moderate with a light crackling as the head fades away. There is little-to-no lacing to be found here.

The nose is high on sweet sticky malt and grain. There's a light bit of mustiness, with barely a hint of hops, as well. The mouthfeel is crisp but unrewarding. It's way to the fizzy side, far from robust. The taste is sweet and slightly sour. Light, watery grains define the beer with only a thought of hops. Solid as light beers go, but nothing special.

Final Verdict: D

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wychwood Brewing Company - Scarecrow

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 500 mL bottle, poured into a Nonic pint glass

This certified-organic beer from Wychwood pours a glowing orange body with a substantially-sized off-white head of thick, frothy foam. The retention is great, but the lacing is minimal. The nose is fresh and malty with light biscuity tones. There's a light English-style bitter aroma from the hops, which have a crisp and citrusy edge.

The beer's mouthfeel is satiny with an effervescent carbonation. Very clean tasting, the beer has a distinctive herbal bent with a light bittering that is both fresh and somewhat tart. Light apricots come in mid-palate providing some light sweetness and a slightly sugary feel that combat the well-balanced hop profile. On the finish, the beer is drying and slightly bitter. The finish is tight and almost cheek-pinching.

Final Verdict: B+

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brouwerij Huyghe - Delirium Nocturnum

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 750 mL bottle, poured into a snifter

The darker cousin of Tremens, Delirium Nocturnum is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, that earns its name well. It pours a deep chestnut brown body with a slight auburn tint. The head is a light tan with a creamy consistency, although there wasn't much retention on my first pour. The nose is smooth and earthy. It's lightly nutty with chocolate tones and almost a bit rubbery. There are some winey notes and this beer's strength is readily apparent.

The flavor is complex with a dry, raisin-like lead in. The sweet maltiness shines through and keeps the beer seeming fairly light. In contrast to the chocolatey tones on the nose, the beer is not overbearing, although still substantial. A bit of black cherry rounds out the mid-palate. Alcohol heat develops late. It is clear, but in check. A bit of almost-smokey roasted malt comes through with a slight coffee character on the finish.

Final Verdict: A-

The head of the beer - When I refilled my glass I gave the beer a much more vigorous pour. The resulting head was considerably more impressive than the original pour. While it still faded fast for a head of such considerable height, the initial appearance of the beer was great.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brouwerij Huyghe - Delirium Tremens

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 11.2 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass

This Belgian Strong Pale Ale is named after the condition called delirium tremens, a condition resulting from the withdrawal from alcohol use. The beer pours a moderate sparkling gold with a haze of floating yeast. There's a ton of rapidly rising carbonation, constantly refreshing the large, fluffy white head, which is slow to fade. The beer has a strong effervescence, but leaves relatively little lacing.

The nose has huge green grape notes that are clean and fresh. A bright apple juice character is backed up by a moderate spiciness of coriander and hint of citrus. The citrus rind shows up strong up front while the foamy head adds some extra body to the beer's crisp mouthfeel. There's a very mild tinge of alcohol near the finish that adds a bit more edge to the herbal spiciness of the beer. A bit of honey sweetness develops and lingers through the dry, persisting, finish.

Final Verdict: A-

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beerisms 12 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"God made yeast, as well as dough and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brouwerij Lindemans - Cassis

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 750 mL corked, capped, and foiled bottle, poured into a fluted glass

This black currant-flavored beer is another fruit-infused Lambic from Brouwerij Lindemans of Belgium. The beer pours a rich purply-maroon, very reminiscent of a red wine. The deep beet-like color is eye-catching and extremely consistent. The frothy head is pink and massive in size. The beer retains its head for sometime and the wispy lacing is elegant.

There's a definite cellary must to the nose with a prevalent dryness. The sweet fruitiness comes through extremely strong on the nose. A clear indication of what's to come. The black currants are extremely prominent and tasteful. The carbonation is way on the high-end, almost champagne like in texture. The sweetness is very strong, but not cloying. The finish is sweet, with a tart edge and very crisp. Like its Kriek cousin, this beer leaves your teeth feeling a big sugary. Another solid fruit beer with great potential  for non-beer drinkers.

Final Verdict: B+

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Raison D'Être

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a goblet

Can Dogfish's "Raison D'Être" really live up to its self-prescribed position as a reason to live? It's a tall order, but seems more like a clever play on words, just to let you know that it's brewed with raisins. The beer pours a rich mahogany with a ruby glow. The head is a thin, light tan that is similarly light on retention and lacing.

The nose is quite sweet, but carries some earthy tones as well. The raisins are notably present in the nose, assuring your of their presence. Teaming up, a bit of dark cherry perfume makes it through the malts as well. The mouthfeel is initially silky, but quite subdued and very light on carbonation. There's a brown sugar edge to the beer which is prominent, but straddles the border with cloying. There's a clear Belgian influence here. As the beer rounds out a bit of spice and alcohol develop on the finish.

Final Verdict: B-

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lancaster Brewing Company - Milk Stout

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a mug

Lancaster's Milk Stout, undoubtedly fortified with lactose sugar for smoother dairy-like texture, pours a very dark, nearly black body. The head is an even brown with a thin cream consistency. The retention is moderate, but there isn't much lacing at all. The initial aroma carries a definitive, fresh whipped cream element with bits of roasted coffee and huge chocolate notes.

The adjunct milk sugars show through prominently with an effortlessly smooth mouthfeel. A light tingling carbonation is underlying, but is clearly second to the polished texture of the beer. The beer is very aromatic up front, showcasing its well-rounded chocolate and coffee components. The sweetness blends nicely with the roasted barley smokiness of the beer.

Final Verdict: B+

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brewery Ommegang - Rare Vos

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass

After the Abbey Ale and Hennepin, Rare Vos, the Belgian Dark Ale from Ommegang, promises another great performance from the New York-based, abbey-inspired brewer. The beer pours a hazy copper brown with a radiant orange glow. There's a healthy head of yellowed foam with a creamy consistency. The lacing was light overall, but elegant in its presentation. The nose is highly aromatic with spices and a mild dustiness. A minor clove element plays with a light, but floral, hopping and mild phenols.

The beer is sweet and fruity up from. The carbonation is huge and tingly and makes the beer extremely crisp and drinkable, but avoids reducing the overall flavor. The clove and spices come through from the nose nicely and mix with mild banana for a very tasty beer. The finish has an interesting, almost coarse texture and supports a mild, slowly growing heat.

Final Verdict: A

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brewery Ommegang - Hennepin

Purchased From: Beltway Fine Wine
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass

Ommegang is back with two more beers this week after making a brief appearance during the first week of this blog's active life. Today is Hennepin, the Belgian-inspired Saison from the New York brewery. The beer pours a hazy, light yellow straw with a huge, rushing active carbonation from the center of the glass. The airy white head is massive with large carbonation bubbles for a light and fluffy consistency. The retention is excellent and leaves thick and chunky lacing on the glass.

The nose is spicy and complex with a cellary must. The Belgian-influence is abundantly clear, making for a very promising American take on a traditional style. The beer is very spice oriented off the front, with an extremely crisp mouthfeel. Mid-palate the beer seems to turn silky allowing its delicate and nuanced notes to shine through. Lemon and citrus make the beer extremely refreshing. The beer is dry for the finish and its alcohol seems to peak late. It comes through a bit stronger than I would've liked, even for a 7.7% ABV. While it seems like the heat could be managed a bit better in such a distinctive beer, this remains an extremely solid American Saison-style beer.

Final Verdict: B+

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mendocino Brewing Company - Imperial Barleywine Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a snifter

This California Barleywine comes from Mendocino Brewing Company, majority ownership in India, brewed in New York. Talk about a global concern. In fact, their Saratoga Springs brewery is responsible for one of the leading Indian-branded beers in America, King Fischer. It is no serious accomplishment, by any measure. Luckily, this beer, unlike its Indian-inspired cousin has a lot more going for it.

The beer pours a hazy, ruby-tinted, flat brown with a moderate glow when held to light. A vigorous pour produces only a modest head, of creamy consistency, in an off-white hue. The head disappears quickly, common among barleywines and other strong ales, and leaves no lacing on the glass. The nose is characterized by a piercing sweetness reminiscent of dates, with a light spice and a moderate alcohol burn.

The beer comes across a bit on the thinner side as far as mouthfeel goes. There are immediately noticeable layers of flavor. Almost acidic fresh grapes combine with cherries up front, but meld nicely with sugar-rich dark fruits like dates and figs on the mid-palate. As the finish approaches the beer dries out considerably. It develops a slightly gritty character and seems almost a bit salty. The finish is boozy, but is tempered considerably as the beer warms. Finally, the aftertaste arrives with an interesting, almost sour character.

Final Verdict: B+

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beerisms 11 - Martin Luther

"It is better to think of church
in the ale-house
than to think of the ale-house
in church."
-Martin Luther

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Gimmick - Green Beer!

In honor of St. Patrick's I also experimented with making Green Beer. It's about as low-tech as you can get. Add a few drops (1-2) of green food coloring to the bottom of a glass and add beer.

What's it worth? Just about nothing. It might look interesting, but it doesn't add anything to the beer. All you'll get is green teeth, a green tongue, and probably some green food coloring stains on your fingers or your favorite shirt.

If you choose to make Green Beer for your holiday party, take this advice: Don't.

Irish Black and Tan for St. Patrick's Day

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day I decided to skip a normal, non-Irish review and go for a special. Today is an Irish Blank and Tan. Instead of Guinness I used, my preferred, Murphy's Irish Stout. I was thinking of going with Harp, but wanted something a bit more flavorful than a Euro Pale Lager that just happens to be Irish-made. I went with the ever solid Smithwick's. Although it isn't exactly 'tan' the Irish Red made for a good mixture of flavor in my Black and Tan. Unfortunately, the color differential was much more understated than a pale lager would've been.

What's required? Two delicious beers, a glass (I prefer a pint glass, or taller), and a spoon (slotted works best in my experience).
Pour the first beer into the glass, filling it about half way. I've only ever poured the lighter beer first, leaving the stout for the top of the glass. I'm not sure that this is a hard and fast rule, so feel free to experiment.

Next, add the second beer to the glass. Pour it slowly over the back of the spoon. As the beer is dispersed by the spoon it floats on top of the first beer with only a thin layer of mixing.  I added a bit of light behind the glass to help showcase the difference in color. With a lighter lager the contrast would be much more distinct.
Finally, sit back and enjoy your delicious and eye-catching beer.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Drink beer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - 60 Minute IPA

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

Dogfish Head bills their 60 Minute IPA as their flagship and sessionable IPA. While I'd say 6% is right on the border, it's certainly the most sessionable out of the 60, 90, 120 Minute family of IPAs. The beer pours a light gold with a glowing straw hue to the body. The head is a generous, sticky foam that musters excellent retention and some varied and extensive lacing. The nose is super pungent with tons of hops. It's very earthy with a deep aroma and a sharp, piercing note of dry bitterness in the end.

The beer has a velvety mouthfeel that matches up nicely with the ever persistent and airy foam. The beer is crisp, but only light on the refreshing side. The 60 minutes of continuous hopping makes this beer very hoppy with a considerable level of dryness, but avoids going overboard on the bitterness. The beer is extremely well-balanced. It competes with West Coast hopping, but employs an even handedness that gives the beer a keen East Coast mentality.

Final Verdict: A

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lagunitas Brewing Company - Censored (The Kronik)

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

Whether the beer's decidedly banal, but underhandedly provocative name is a marketing stunt or not, I approve. The beer's color lives up to its subtitle "Rich Copper Ale" with the coppery body holding a fine yeast suspension. The head is a medium-sized white foam with a creamy consistency. The malts of the beer carry a caramel sweetness, doughy bread, and vanilla. A hint of alcohol sneaks its way in, but subsides gently to a vague nutty aroma.

The mouthfeel is satin with a light crispness, but a prevailingly smooth tone. The beer is high on it's maltiness. Despite the prominent grain profile, the toasted sweetness is held in check. The flavors are earthy and gritty, tempered slightly by hints of mild, dried apricots. The bittering is gentle. The hops here are clear, but understated. This is a very unique and highly delicious Amber Ale worth checking out.

Final Verdict: A

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lagunitas Brewing Company - IPA Maximus Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass

This American Double IPA from California-based Lagunitas pours a vibrant glowing copper with a mild visible carbonation. The head is moderately sized with a frothy, off-white consistency. Overall a bit smaller than I was expecting poured into a tulip, but the retention is solid and the beer produces great, thick swathes of lace. The grapefruit is huge in this beer's potent hop nose. Right off the bat it seems quite serious. There's a light toffee sweetness along with a mild astringency and slight alcoholic esters.

The beer's sweet malts are utterly crushed by the hops. The beer is quite hoppy with rounded earthy notes. The hops keep a drying and biting edge going from start to finish that keep the drinker on his/her toes and the palate on alert for the next onslaught. This Imperial's alcohol stays well hidden with only a slight betrayal of the beer's strength at the last second.

Final Verdict: A-

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Genesee Brewing Company - Bock Beer Special Edition

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. can, poured into a fluted glass

On the same day I bought a six-pack of 'Gansett Bock, I couldn't resist the ultra-value Bock from Genesee in it's awesome eye-catching packaging. Maibock season has clearly arrived. I welcome it with a glass raised high. The color here is much deeper, Genesee Bock pours a medium brown with a mild amber glow. The foam head is large and airy, colored in light tan. The retention is moderate as the head rests above a beer with huge active carbonation, continuously rushing upwards.

The nose is musty and lagery with a hint of caramel sweetness. This beer is super crisp right up front, but it detracts from the flavor a bit. The toasty malt flavor is clearly there, but it comes across a bit thin. Unlike truly good beers, a bit of warmth doesn't help the beer in developing its flavor. Luckily, a bit of warmth doesn't ruin it either. The aftertaste is a bit minerally. It's feint, but lingering.

Final Verdict: C+*

* - Like the Bock from Narragansett this beer provides excellent value. In fact, this came in at only $8 for a 12-pack. That's tough to beat. This one almost makes the bump, but I don't think it's really good enough to be pushed over the edge to a B- just because it's cheap. Still worth checking out, solid for the price.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Narragansett Brewing Company - Bock Lager

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 16 oz. 'tall boy' can, poured into a Pokal glass

The third and final seasonal (let's hope they don't dream up some fruit beer as a summer lager any time soon), Narragansett's Bock is here right in time for the slow emergence of Spring. The beer pours a crystal clear deep straw with amber and copper hints. The head is large and fluffy, carries great retention, and produces light wispy lacing along the length of the glass. The nose is nicely rounded with sweet toasted malts that produce a slightly bready aroma. It seems very clean with a definitive spicy note.

The mouthfeel is voluminous and airy. The beer has a big malt identity and it comes off crisp, but with a slight, and interesting, Port-like character. The beer is extremely drinkable and quite refreshing. The finish is dry and very tasty. This is another hit from 'Gansett, which offers this beer at a reasonable price. Their seasonals are all a bit more pricey than the Lager and Light varieties, but when you're buying a six-pack of tall boys, the value is clear.

Final Verdict: A-*

* - The A- really comes, in large part, because of the incredible value that this beer provides.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Victory Brewing Co. - HopDevil India Pale Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

HopDevil, Victory's American India Pale Ale pours a deep copper with amber highlights and a very mild cloudiness. The head is a large creamy tan foam with great retention and solid lacing. The nose is quite hoppy and earthy. There's a slight visible hop oil sheen in the foam. The hops are verdant and fresh with a bready underlying malt. There's almost a hint of anise or licorice to the aroma as well.

The mouthfeel is initially silken, but the malts provide a more complex gritty texture. The hops are somewhat piney, but there's a clear focus on citrus. It's not the prominent grapefruit of other big hop AIPAs, but the citrus component is robust. Near the finish the hops develop a minor spiciness, tempered by a very mild honey sweetness.

Final Verdict: A-

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Victory Brewing Co. - Prima Pils

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a fluted glass

After the home run that was Storm King from Victory, it's shocking that it's taken essentially since the first week of this blog to try out another beer from the Pennsylvania brewer. Prima Pils pours a moderate straw body with a slight haze and a mild grassy green tint. The head is a thin white foam, but produces some great lacing around the top of the glass. More than expected from the initial appearance. The nose is very fresh with a classic pilsner malt character. There's a hint of tried and true Noble hop bitterness, but the hopping seems prominently herbal.

The carbonation ramps up nicely on the mouthfeel. The 2-row malts are almost a bit obscured, but they pervade nicely providing a refreshing malt grain background. The beer seems considerably hoppier than a typical German Pilsner, but it plays nicely. The finish is on spot with the characteristic dandelion bitterness and a dry, but clean finish. A great beer that makes me yearn for the warmer days of Spring that should be coming soon.

Final Verdict: A

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boulder Beer Company - Mojo India Pale Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a Mark Twain pint glass

Boulder's Mojo IPA pours a bold straw body with yellow, almost chartreuse, glow. There's a slight haze to the otherwise clear liquid. The head is large with an airy foam consistency. It's got insane lasting power with a sticky quality that produces extensive lacing on the glass. The earthy and floral hop aroma is initial noticeable followed by a slight grapefruit perfume.

The mouthfeel is velvety, padded by mild malts. Soon, the strong hops battle back the tamed malt body. The hops are higher on bittering than aromatics, but they create a well-rounded presence. The hops almost reach a level of tartness as they can be felt on the inside of your cheeks. A bit of alcohol comes through on the finish, but it is understated and easily tolerable.

Final Verdict: B

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boulder Beer Company - Never Summer Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

Never Summer Ale, the hinting, but slightly deceptive name packs a significant and tasty Winter Warmer. It pours a clear and glowing red-amber body with hints of glowing brown. The head is large and creamy with excellent retention and lacing. Caramel and hints of cinnamon come across up front on the nose, followed shortly by dry hops and biscuity malts.

Brown sugar sweetness is prominent off the bat with a creamy mouthfeel and a minor vanilla extract tinge. The body is slightly woody and earthy with a subtle spiciness combined with roasted chestnuts. The rich and deep character slowly fades to a dry finish with a condensed tightness that carries a slight bitterness.

Final Verdict: B+

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blue Point Brewing Company - Hoptical Illusion India Pale Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

You can't usually tell the quality of a beer by it's name, but often it betrays at least some of the character of a brew. This seems often to be true with IPAs, which more often feature interesting and inventive names. For this, Hoptical Illusion can't be forgotten, bearing a playful name (which functions as a great pun) and it's matching, highly symbolic, label design. The beer pours a light straw body with moderate active carbonation and a head that borders on diminutive. The body is definitely lighter than many of the stronger IPAs out there.

The foam retention is modest with lacing to match. The nose comes though, lacking substantial strength, but with some praiseworthy depth. The hop aroma is clear with plenty of citrus notes. Hints of vanilla dance among the beer's underlying malty character. It comes across very crisp with an airy mouthfeel. Despite the light feeling, the beer is fruity with considerable bitter hops that come across with a distinctly aromatic edge. The malts are biscuity and work to temper the dry and lasting finish.

Final Verdict: B

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beerisms 10 - Alexander Pope

"The clamorous crowd is hushed 
with mugs of mum,
Till all, Tuned equal, Send a general hum."
-Alexander Pope 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

North Coast Brewing Co. - Scrimshaw

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a flute glass

This lager inspired by German Pilsners, pours a brilliant and sparkling golden straw with moderate active carbonation. The head is white and modest in size, but somehow manages commendable retention. The lacing is light and elegant, but adds to the appearance of the beer nicely. The nose is understated, with a slight yeast to match the beer's fine and fresh malts. The hops seem very feint and take the backseat on the nose.

Despite their seemingly minimalist impact in the aroma, the hops shine through much more in the body of the beer. They create a quite-floral bouquet more or less uncommon in Pilsner-style lagers. While the Noble hops are evident, they seem to take on a transcendent character in this setting. The beer is incredibly crisp and refreshing with bright and clean malts. It's delicious and highly drinkable. A must try for any lager lover.

Final Verdict: A

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - World Wide Stout

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a snifter

World Wide Stout is an 18% ABV monster from the folks at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, known for their beers that are often both delicious and daring. The beer is a very dark brown, which easily approaches black poured into a snifter. The head is moderate to generous in size and carries a light brown hue. The retention is modest and the lacing is minimal. This is common for higher alcohol beers, and what is managed seems impressive for such a strong brew.

The nose is sugary sweet, potent, and floral. Slight hints of roasted barley and coffee make it out from the overbearing attack of alcoholic esters. Despite the strength of the nose, there's no initial sweet or alcoholic bite to the beer. Heaps of roasted malts produce a strong and bold espresso-like flavor. The strength of the malts is tempered slightly by a moderate caramel sweetness that fades nicely to smoke. The rich smokiness could easily be likened to a very dark French roast.

Finally, the alcoholic strength of this impressive beer sweeps in to cleanse the palate and reduce the impact of the impressively hearty barley. As the heat from this beer builds a mild lingering smoke can be detected on the finish. It carries even more of the coffee flavors of that malt that remain both pleasant and persistent.

Final Verdict: A-

Thursday, March 3, 2011

North Coast Brewing Co. - ACME California IPA

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

After my minor disappointment with the Acme California Pale Ale from North Coast, it is time for redemption by the California IPA. The beer pours a medium hazy straw with a minor orange tint. The head is large and frothy with huge carbonation bubbles. There's tons of lacing to be found here and the slowly fading head makes for great retention. The hops are earthy and make me think Chinook with hints of pineapple, but I could be way off without seeing the hop bill. The mild malt sweetness is understated on the nose.

The mouthfeel is great with a determined crispness. There's also a bit of texture that seems like flavorful mineral water. The malts are grainy and coarse exuding a bready character. The hops provide a delicious bitterness, but remain in check. They're consistently prominent, but never overpowering. The finish is clean and refreshing with a flavorful aftertaste.

Final Verdict: A-

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat - Maredsous 10 Triple

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 11.2 oz. bottle, poured into a goblet

The number 10 Triple weighs in at a strong 10% ABV, but retains its flavor and drinkability nicely. The beer is a muted copper brown in hue with a slight yeasty haze. The head is generous in proportion with a frothy, off-white appearance. There's a light crackling as the head recedes and the sticky foam clings to the glass. The nose is quite mild with a yeasty and dusty edge lingering above a light sweetness and vague notes of alcohol.

The beer is undeniably strong and boozy, but it's still highly drinkable. Hints of figs and apricots prevail lending a pleasant dried-fruit-sweetness. The beer is minor herbal, but quite aromatic. The heat builds gradually, but is continuously tamed as the beer itself warms. As with many high-alcohol brews, this one deserves to be consumed at cellar temperature. As it approaches room temperature the understated flavors develop and the harsher edges begin to mellow graciously.

Final Verdict: B

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sebago Brewing Company - Local Harvest Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

From the Sebago Brewing Company comes their Local Harvest Ale, an American Pale Ale distinctly in the California tradition. The body is a medium to dark brown, very hazy, with a muted tan head. The foam is frothy and of considerable size. The retention is excellent and there's great lacing right off the bat. The nose is hoppy with hints of citrus and pine. There's a slight earthiness that reminds me a bit of a black tea. Finally there's a slight bit of sugary sweetness.

It seems like there is a bit of a delay of the impact of the flavor, but it comes through soon enough. The beer is full-bodied with coarsely cracked malted grains that produce a mild toasty sweetness. Grapefruit defines the citrus hops and they have an incredibly fresh and leafy character to them. The beer seems highly herbal and carries a mild candied finish. Hops linger making this a highly enjoyable APA. Definitely one to try.

Final Verdict: A-