Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 Ahtanum IPA

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

Ahtanum, fourth in the series, also pours a matching deep amber body with a large frothy head, colored light tan. The same solid retention is present here with a nice show of varied lacing on the glass. Pine shows immediately on the nose with minor hints of vanilla. The hops here are pronounced, but seem to carry a delicate aire.

The sweet malts balance the hops right off the bat and accentuate the fruity citrus elements of the Ahtanum hops. The hop varietal seems very fresh and floral, packing tons of aromatics and maintaining a very flavorful body. The hops, while strong, are not drying, acidic, or even very bitter. The finish here is mild as the hops subside and blend nicely with the body of the beer.

Final Verdict: A-

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 Simcoe IPA

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

Third in the series, the Simcoe hop varietal Latitude 48 pours with the matching amber body with a large and healthy head of foam with a very frothy texture. The retention here is solid with varied lacing of layers both thick and delicate. Sharp piney aromatics come through on the nose with mild citrus. The pungent Simcoe hops completely dominate the malts on the beer's nose.

On the taste, the hops strike a balance with the malts. Hops are at the forefront, but work very well, complimenting the toasty malt flavors. Grapefruit is clear, but not overwhelming and works well with the distinctive pine elements. The hops are not harsh here, but commanding. The finish is tight, crisp and very refreshing. A true single-hop IPA.

Final Verdict: A

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 East Kent Goldings IPA

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

Second in the Deconstructed series is the East Kent Goldings hop variety. The beer pours a deep amber body with a ruby glow, matching, almost identically, the first version. The head of the beer seems a bit lighter, more of an off-white than a tan. The size is medium with moderate retention and thick, but somewhat sparse, lacing. The nose is bigger on sweet malts than Zeus. A lighter hopping, here, is very feint and mild.

The softer hops are apparent on the taste and allow the beer's malts and caramel sweetness to take center stage. Slightly grassy, the hops are mild with some floral notes, much more on aromatics than bitter flavor. The texture of the beer is the same as the first version and packs some tight hops on the finish, but allows the beer's sweetness to define it throughout.

While technically and nominally an IPA, this beer doesn't seem like one. East Kent Goldings is a hop varietal that doesn't stand alone in creating the full IPA experience.

Final Verdict: B-

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 Zeus IPA

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

First in the Deconstructed series, Zeus pours a deep copper body with a ruby glow, and almost purplish hints. The head is a healthy, medium-sized, light tan foam of large bubbles. The retention is solid and the lacing is light, but attractive. Earthy grains shine on the nose with prominent hops. The hop essence carries a lightly earthy edge with a mild, almost soapy, bitterness.

The mouthfeel is velvety and remains fairly crisp throughout. Pine notes are strong on the hop taste with a deep sappy resin. The bitterness is strong and just about overpowers the malts. A light toasty caramel sweetness rounds the malts and combats the prominent hops. However, the malts are far from the star in this brew.

Final Verdict: B+

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 Deconstructed IPA Variety Pack

Coming this week is the Samuel Adams Latitude 48 'Deconstructed' IPA variety pack from Boston Beer Company. This interesting and innovative sampler takes the conventional Latitude 48 IPA and splays it into its individual parts.

Each of the five hop varietals on Latitude 48's hop bill takes center stage in its own single-hop IPA. With two of each style, five of styles is a single-hop, showcasing the flavor profile and aromatics of the hops, while the sixth is Latitude 48, which combines each of the varietals into a single, coordinated, IPA.

I've reviewed Latitude 48 before, but this is another go around with a look at each of the constituent hops. My overall impression remains about the same, although refined. However, this variety pack was an excellent opportunity to gain an appreciated for each of the hops that go into the beer and a hands-on learning experience. If it is still available in a package store near you, I highly recommend picking it up, solely for the hop-tasting experience.

Stay tuned. I hope you enjoy this look at the Latitude 48 'Deconstructed' IPA variety pack!

Beerisms 19 - Julius Caesar

Beer..."a high and mighty liquor."
-Julius Caesar

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On the Road

I'm sorry to say that the blog is going to be fairly dormant for the next two weeks (as it has been for the past week). I'm currently in California and will soon be traveling to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. So far I've tried several brews in Oregon and there will be many more to come. I'll try to post thoughts and pictures when I have some time.

Thank you for bearing with me while I'm off exploring the American West. Check back soon for more brews.

Monday, June 6, 2011

American Craft Brew Fest 2011

On Saturday June 4, 2011 I attended the American Crraft Brew Fest in Boston, Massachusetts. The festival was held at the Seaport World Trade Center with over 100 brewers, hundreds of beers to sample, and thousands of attendees over three sessions and two days. I was there as a volunteer for one session. As a monitor I was able to get a look at most of the booths and try a bunch of beers during my breaks. It was a lot of fun and something I plan ondoingagain in the future. I wasn't able to take as many notes as I was hoping to and didn't get any photos. I hope that next year I will be able to get some better coverage.

Below is a listing of most of the beers that I was able to try with some of my short tasting notes.

Maine Brewing Company - Peeper Ale - Golden color with a lightly bitter hoppy nose. Malty and slightly earthy with a moderate bitterness. Crisp with a dry finish.

White Birch Brewing Company - Barrel Aged Elysium - Moderate flat brown with light hops, smoke, and a woodiness on the nose. Sweet with a slight charcoal bourbon component. Slightly boozy with a sugary finish.

Watch City Brewing Company - Oink Oink Bacon Beer - Deep brown body, but clear. Prominent bacon on the nose, smokey with a lightly sweet malty aroma underneath. The beer is highly smokey, but the flavor is medicinal and artificial. Mixed reactions from most tasters, but I had to toss the rest of mine.

Watch City Brewing Company - Lunar Shine Barley Whine - Deep brown with a malty aroma and big grapes. Strong and boozy with ample grape flavor. Grapes seem deep and sweet like concords with a slightly artificial finish.

Dale's Ale - Scotch - A very slight nose, with a malty sweetness and light caramel. Beer is lightly winey and smooth with a light mouthfeel and seemingly minimal carbonation.

Maine Brewing Company - Zoe - Hoppy, lightly smokey and earthy on the nose. A very crisp drying bitter hops component. The mouthfeel is slick with an oily hop resin on the finish.

Watch City Brewery - Toasted Ah Ah Pale Ale - Tawny brown with huge banana phenols on the nose paired with lightly toasty malts. The beer is sweet and big on the malts. The banana holds true and gives the beer a smooth mouthfeel.

Mendocino Brewing Company - Blonde Ale - Light honey colored straw. Light hops accent a clear and clean floral honey sweetness with a modest carbonation bite.

Surley Brewing Company - IPA - Light clear straw with moderate hops on the nose. Malts are clear and very fruity. The beer has a spicy Belgian profile. It is light on the hops, but very tasty. Slightly watery mouthfeel near the finish.

Cape Ann Brewing Company - Sunrise Saison - Slightly tawny hazy straw body. Banana phenols are prominent with a light spiciness. The beer is grassy, but sweet and fruity.

Cape Ann Brewing Company - Bavarian Wheat - Sweet and spicy, but slightly medicinal on the mid-palate. Tasty and refreshing overall.

Cape Ann Brewing Company - Tea Party - Fluffy head with an understated nose. Mild smokiness but medicinal and gross. Sweet and cloying.

Jackie's Pub and Brewery - Hocking Triple - Darkish hazy straw with a sweet boozy nose. The beer is boozy and leafy with a slight spiciness and a mild tea-like component.

Boulevard Brewing Company - Quadrupel - A modest brown with a deep amber glow and a surprisingly light nose. Minor dark fruits add sweetness to the boozy and strong beer. Tight carbonation, but silky with a slightly minerally water edge.

Lake Placid Brewing Company - Hefeweizen - Sweet and light nose with banana phenols and prominent wheat malts and spice. Malts are thin and watery. There's a nice, but light, spicy coriander edge.

Lake Placid Brewing Company - Ubu Ale - Deep, but moderate brown Toasty sweet and lightly earthy with moderate chocolate. Crisp finish with lingering hops.

White Birch Brewing Company - Wrigian - Hazy medium brown body. Brown sugar sweetness with wheat malt characteristics. Rye malts add depth and a pleasantly light spiciness.

White Birch Brewing Company - Hooksett Ale - Brownish, hazed amber with a citrusy hop aroma.

White Birch Brewing Company - Oak Aged Tripel - Sweet winey green grapes. Slightly tart and refreshing. Lightly boozy with a light and clear finish.

Stone Brewing Company - Russian Imperial Stout Belgo - Deep brown with an orangey glow. Lightly smokey with licorice on the nose. Smooth and smokey, clearly strong, but not overwhelming or alcoholic. Anise hints and a spicy Belgian yeast profile.

* - My notes didn't always include the full names of the breweries or beers, so some of the names may be incomplete or inaccurate. If I can, I will update this post with corrected names. This post is coming while I'm on the road, so double checking names and posting is more complicated.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coronado Brewing Company - Islander IPA

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

Coronado's Islander IPA pours a brilliant amber with gleams accented by the slope of the glass. The medium frothed cream head is off-white in color and speckled with yeast. The foam retention is solid and large chunky layers of lacing adorn the pint glass. The nose is tight and potent with abundant citrus hops. The beer seems very aromatic and sweet off the bat.

This IPA is very hoppy but clean. It remains crisp and refreshing from beginning to end, making it an excellent Summer-drinking beer. Citrus comes through with an oily orange peel edge. Lightly toasted malts are present, but understated. The finish is sweet and slightly floral with a slowly subsiding hop essence.

Final Verdict: A-