Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company - Liberator Dopplebock

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

Liberator is, local (to me) favorite, Hooker's take on the German double bock style. The beer pours a deep rich mahogany with a frothy and creamy light tan head. Sporting solid retention, the foam fades slowly leaving dispersed lacing as it receeds. Chocolate malts show prominently on the nose and play nicely minor coffee notes for a deep and rich aroma. A tinge of grassy hops push through, giving the beer a bit of a sharp edge.

The beer has a smooth and even mouthfeel, brought to life by satiny carbonation. Lagery malts are buttressed by earthy tones. A bit of the unmistakable base malt employed by Hooker shows through, but their specialty roasted malts add character with hints of dark chocolate and coffee. The beer packs plenty of body to match its depth of flavors, making it a very tasty and enjoyable brew.

Final Verdict: B

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Paulaner - Salvator Double Bock

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 330ml bottle, poured into a flute glass

The Salvator Double Bock, reportedly the world's first double bock, pours a light chestnut brown with amber highlights. The beer has a still appearance, but is topped by an airy head of light tan foam. The head retention is mild and leaves almost no lace behind as it hastily departs. The nose is light and malty with hints of candied fruits. The mildly sugary aroma contains hints of caramel and slightly earthy aromas.

The beer's flavor profile exhibits a damp woodiness with a mild acidity and earthy undertones. Vague caramel sweetness creeps in on the mid-palate, but the emphasis is clearly on the decaying funk of rain soaked wood. The beer is enjoyable, but very light, almost inconsequential. Mild alcohol heat tinges on the finish.

Final Verdict: B-

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Bruery - Mischief

Serving Type: 750ml bottle, poured into a 25cl glass

This Belgian-style Strong Pale Ale from The Bruery pours a hazy glowing orange body, very light in appearance. Light floating yeast sediment is bumped about by continually rising streams of carbonation. The airy white foam head musters excellent retention and leaves large chunky swathes of lace on the glass as it fades. The nose is sweet and very spicy. Sweet and tart grape-like notes contrast the cellary and dusty aromas.

The mouthfeel is light and airy with crisp, playful carbonation that leaves the beer almost evaporating on the tongue. Despite the robust nose, the flavor is very mild overall. Light malts are golden with a dusting of dry hops. A mild spritz of citrus refreshes the palate. The finish is tingling, yet dry and almost incidental seeming. A mild chest heat finishes off the beer. Despite the bold flavor profile the beer is mild and almost reserved.

Final Verdict: A-

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Brouwerij Corsendonk - Christmas Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 330ml bottle, poured into a snifter

In celebration of Christmas this year I chose to review, the very fittingly named, Christmas Ale from Belgium-based Corsendonk. The Christmas Ale is a seasonally released interpretation of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale produced by the well-known Belgian brewer.

The beer pours a deep chestnut body with a large, frothy yellowed light tan head. The foam retention is excellent and leaves sparse lacing on the glass. The snifter-concentrated nose is very dusty and dry. Definite cellar notes combine with mineral water to form a solid musty base. Dry, but potent, spices emanate late on the aroma and combine with dark smokey incense notes.

On the sip the mouthfeel is very smooth. Carbonation is light overall, but features pockets of bristling bubbles that prod the palate. Surprisingly bright fruits light up the flavor with minor orangey citrus and a dusting of apricot. There's even a hint of light mango or papaya. As the citrus fades the apricot opens the door to some darker Winter fruits that usher in a dash of candied sweetness. Spices play well with the fruity notes and lend a dryness on the back end. The finish comes across with a minor carbonation bite and a lasting, but receding, fruitiness and a satisfying chest heat.

An excellent beer for Winter drinking that proudly features bright flavors, often lost in the deluge of Winter Warmers and the like.

Final Verdict: A

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anchor Brewing Company - Humming Ale

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

Humming Ale, an American Pale Ale, from Anchor Brewing pours a hazy orangy straw body. The off-white head is healthy in its dimensions with a frothy consistency and excellent retention. Layers of chunky lacing adorn the top of the glass as the head slowly fades. Hops are pungent and stinky with heaps of low earthy tones. Mild malts underlie the bouquet with a customary sweetness.

The beer is light bodied and highly drinkable. Contrasting the beer's nose, mild hops are lightly fruity, matching the airy beer feeling. The contrast between the nose and the hop flavor is intriguing and lends itself to a pleasant drinking experience. Malts are somewhat grainy and pack a somewhat honey-like sweetness. This is an easy going beer for easy going people. A simple pleasure to drink and enjoy.

Final Verdict: B

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oskar Blues Brewery - Old Chub Scotch Ale

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

Old Chub, a Colorado-brewed Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy, pours a deep rubied brown body with a medium-large light brown head. The beer's foam is moderately creamy in appearance with healthy bubbles of air. The head fades slowly and leaves light lacing on the glass. The nose is malty, but light. Toasted malts are sweet with caramel and a light sugary candied edge. Very mild earthy tones underscore the brew's malt base.

A sip reveals, not unexpectedly, a sweet malt body with almost no hops perceptible. Mild candied stone fruits lend additional sweetness to the toffee caramel and contrast light coffee-like flavors. The beer is straight forward and malt-centric, true to the style, but not an overbearing malt bomb. Highly drinkable with a light robustness, this is a classic session ale. The finish is drying with hints of hard water and a bit of lingering sweetness.

Final Verdict: B+

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sixpoint Brewery - Righteous Ale

Serving Type: 16 oz. tallboy can, poured into a Becker pint glass

Righteous Ale from New York-based Sixpoint pours a deep auburn body with a moderate haze and a deep glow. The voluminous light tan head is large and frothy. Retention of the beer's foam is excellent and leaves layers of thin lace on the glass. Hops on the nose are pungent and piney with a slightly earthy undertone. The beers malts are sticky sweet and the addition of rye malt adds a distinct spiciness to the aroma.

The body is slick with a moderate crisp carbonation. Malts are sweet with some molasses, but also carry a spicy complexity. Rye malt is quite pervasive here. Hops hit on the mid-palate with a moderate dryness and bittering to match the beer's spice. The beer is fairly boozy, and seems a bit strong for 6.3% ABV. The finish is tight with some lingering malt sugar, minor bitterness, and a mild warming effect.

Final Verdict: B+

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Victory Brewing Company - Golden Monkey

Purchased From: Spiritus Wines
Serving Type: 750 ml bottle, poured into a goblet

Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing Company pours a light orange body with mild golden-yellow undertones. The body is hazy and topped by a creamy and voluminous white head of foam. The head has excellent retention and leaves elegant wisps of lacing on the glass. The nose is spicy with minor citrus aromatics. Coriander and a very modest clove mix with the beer's significant malt base and moderate sweetness.

Velvety crisp carbonation greets the tongue on the first sip and produces an airy mouthfeel that dispels some of the beer's alcohol. Big sweet malts are tempered by the traditional witbier-type spices and hints of cracked white pepper. Dry aromatic hops cut through the malts as well. Minor earthy tones meld with the dry finish and the beer departs with a minor chest warming feeling. The beer isn't bursting with as much flavor as many other tripels, but is a very solid entry from Victory.

Final Verdict: B

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sebago Brewing Company - Hefeweizen

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a Pilsner glass posing as a Weizen glass

This Summery hefeweizen from Sebago Brewing Company pours a yeast-clouded light yellow body. The medium sized white foam head is light and airy. Moderate retention keeps the head around just long enough to produce light wisps of lace at the top of the glass. A fresh and grassy nose is packed with wheat malts that are featured prominently. Matching the malts is a classic wheat beer spice profile. Light clove, coriander and a citric orange peel create the beer's aroma.

Crisp carbonation takes up the wheat malts nicely and produces an airy body. Wheat malts are sweet and pleasant without much weight. The beer's buoyant body leaves it incredibly easy to drink. Grassiness is moderate throughout and meets up with the spices on the mid-palate. The flavor is semi-fleeting. It is not quite, but almost leans toward inconsequential in this featherweight of a beer. The finish is mildly earthy with a somewhat meaty component, but very light overall. The beer leaves the tongue slightly dry.

Final Verdict: C+

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cottrell Brewing Company - State Line Handcrafted IPA

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

The State Line Handcrafted IPA is a private label beer brewed by Cottrell Brewing Company, based in Connecticut, for Trader Joe's. Essentially what you get is the quality of a Cottrell beer for the private label price. Worth checking out if your local Joe's has some in stock. The beer pours a slightly hazy orange-amber body. The medium-large head is a slightly yellowed tan head of frothy foam with a mild oily sheen. The beer's head retention is solid and leaves swathes of sticky lacing on the glass.

Resinous pine hops are prominent on the nose with a slight soapiness. The aroma is very fresh and strong, full of hops. The underlying malts add a base of caramel essence to the beer. The beer has a vivacious carbonation, producing a full-bodied mouthfeel when combined with the malt body. Hops are dry and palate-attacking, but give a slick, oily feel with moderately high bitterness. The malts are secondary, but not a second though. Breadiness is moderated by a molasses sweetness. The finish is somewhat dry and quite crisp. The beer is refreshing and highly drinkable. At Trader Joe's prices, you're getting a Cottrell brew for quite the bargain.

Final Verdict: B+

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New England Brewing Company - Gandhi-Bot Double IPA

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

Gandhi-Bot, the canned Double IPA from New England Brewing Company, pours a very hazy orange body with minor tawny notes. The head is smallish for a beer poured into a tulip glass, but the foam is a frothy yellowed off-white that sports excellent retention. The foam leaves a solid ring of lacing at the top of the glass and bits of foam on the glass walls. The beer has a very tight hop nose with a viscous oily pine resin quality. Minor earthy notes mellow the pronounced hops in combination with a minor alcoholic, but not boozy, sweetness.

The body of the beer provides a velvety mouthfeel. The beer remains crisp despite the substantial hopping that lends a slick and oily character. This beer is absolutely huge with a dominating pine at its center. Resin is key to the hop component, but a minor woodiness plays off the earthy malt tones that underpin the beer. The grainy malts of the beer are crushed by the hop profile, but the cracked grains lend texture and a sturdy malt base. The finish is warming and the beer leaves your mouth with a viscous coated feeling.

Final Verdict: A

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blue Point Brewing Company - Pumpkin Ale

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

The Pumpkin Ale from Long Island-based Blue Point pours a crystal clear light amber body with a moderate orange glow. The medium-sized light tan head is slightly creamy with moderate retention, but leaves almost no lacing on the glass. Pumpkin is big on the nose with mild spices the give the beer a pumpkin pie-like aroma. Spices are dusty seeming with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of allspice. A mild astringency tugs at the edges of the beer's nose.

The beer has a tight carbonation up front that produces a full-ish mouthfeel. Sweet caramel malts build the base of the beer and work with prominent pumpkin flavoring. The beer's crispness subsides to big notes of the spices found on the nose. Allspice and nutmeg are the primary standouts. The beer is sweet and almost tangy on the finish with a dash of pumpkin and lingering spices to match a hint of brown sugar sweetness.

Final Verdict: B-

Return to Posting

The blog has been dormant for over a month now, and I'm sorry for that. I'm hoping to get back to some regular posting, although it may not be on a daily basis. The blog's post frequency had been fluctuating for a while near the end of the Summer and through the Fall as my commitments changed. Then, with the beginning of October, my workload ramped up significantly and it's been difficult for me to keep to the habit of writing regularly, or at all. The one thing I have been doing, luckily, is drinking beer!

So, while the posting has dropped off, the beer tasting has not. Although I haven't been tasting new beers with the same regularity as previously, I've been building up a bit of a back catalog of beer reviews. I'm hoping that over the next weeks and months those beers will be making an appearance here on Musings.

If you're interested to see which beers I'm drinking on a regular basis, check out my account on Untappd. You can find that at You'll also notice that the beers appearing on Utappd usually make their way to the Musings Twitter account at You can follow these accounts to get an idea of my current tastes and maybe some sneak peaks at what may be coming down the pipeline.

For now, though, I anticipate there will be updates coming soon with a handful of beer reviews coming out each week. The first bunch might be a few Fall seasonal holdovers then the blog will be onto a variety of beers with some Winter seasonals sprinkled in.

Stay tuned. Drink beer. And Enjoy!