Posts tagged ‘domestic’

Sam Adam’s: Mighty Oak Ale

Part of the Samuel Adam’s Spring sampler pack, the Mighty Oak Ale was new this year. As I’ve said before, I view Sam Adam’s as a sort of craft brew-macro-brew hybrid, so you’ll never see a review of Boston Lager on here. But I do like some of their more interesting, crafty brews. See: Black and Brew and Infinium. This one was pretty good.


Style: American Amber/Red Ale. This, like many “American” beer styles, is a catch-all for ales that aren’t dark. It usually focuses on the malt flavors but can also be quite hoppy. This category also includes those faux-Octoberfest beers that are actually ales (not lagers.)

Overall Impression: Pretty decent beer. Would be a good session ale. This should appeal to fans of beer and novices alike. I’d tailgate with this. It gets a lower rating than taste alone would suggest, mostly because it’s just not that interesting.

Appearance: Reddish brown color, fairly clear. Not much head to speak of.

Aroma: Mostly malt notes in the aroma.

Taste: Somewhat sweet with a mild hop background. The oak notes really came through on the second (and subsequent) tastes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light.

Try this if you like: Fat Tire Amber Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale, Cascazilla

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Sam Adams Black and Brew

Yes, I know. It’s been awhile. Which is why this will be published as soon as I finish writing it, and not a minute later. 🙂

Anywho, tonight (this morning? It’s 12:38 am as I write this…) we are reviewing a coffee stout from Samuel Adams: Black and Brew. I don’t really consider Sam Adams to be a “craft” brewery; since they are one of the largest “microbreweries” around. That said, I do like to taste their craft-style concoctions such as this one. I’ve also looked at a few of their other microbrew styles. On to the review.

Style: American Stout.According to BeerAdvocate, “Coffee Stout” is not a style–it happens to fall under American Stout. Broad category if you ask me. Most of these are easy session stouts, with coffee or chocolate added for extra flavor. You may occasionally find one aged in bourbon or whiskey barrels (such as Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout.)

Overall Impression: *thinking to self* “Robin, I can’t wait to drink this!” And I was right to be excited. It’s quite a good example of a coffee stout.  Honestly, the only reason this gets a 4-star rating is because it’s a very typical coffee stout. Great beer, but nothing amazing going on.

Appearance: Deep, thick black with a creamy head.

Aroma: It really smells like the grocery aisle where you can buy coffee beans in bulk. If you like that aisle, try this beer.

Taste: Deep, rich (but not too rich) coffee/malt taste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but not very creamy with slight carbonation.

Try this if you like: New Glarus Coffee Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Lakefront Brewery’s Fuel Cafe, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout,

4 stars

New Glarus Brewing Company: Two Women

I love New Glarus Brewing Company. It’s a small craft brewery in a small town in Wisconsin, but its beers pack an amazing punch. If you are ever in Wisconsin, stop by and pick up a variety pack. You won’t be disappointed. Spotted Cow is a staple of my every day beer collection, and today I’m reviewing my new favorite: Two Women.

Two Women celebrates the long, proud history of women in brewing. You can read all about it at the link above. This beer is actually the result of a collaboration between New Glarus and Weyermann Malting.

sorry this isn't in focus. I had a better picture but can't find it.

Style: Two Women is billed as a “country lager”, but BeerAdvocate classifies it as a German Pilsener. This style is fairly light in color, with generous hop flavor. Typically brewed using Noble hops. Usually comes with a herbal or floral aroma and flavor. New Glarus recommends drinking this with trout, pork chops, or steak. (And since this is a Wisconsin brewery, they also recommend Gruyere, Provolone, and Colby cheeses.)

Overall Impression: Why wasn’t this made sooner? It’s fantastic. Light enough to be a session beer, but with so much flavor that you want to savor it.

Appearance: Caramel brown color, decent head retention (though you can’t tell that from the picture.)

Aroma: A hint of cider with some other fruity flavors, and a yeast-scented background.

Taste: Smooth. Fruity with not much bitterness (unlike most Pilsener’s.) The hops come through more as you finish each sip, giving some nice, bright crispness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Medium-bodied, goes down easily. Like drinking water. Smooth. Did I mention smooth?

Try this if you like: If you’re looking for more Pilsener’s: Prima Pils or Troegs Sunshine Pils.  If you’re looking to try more of what New Glarus has to offer, I recommend Spotted Cow, Totally Naked (an all-natural beer), Moon Man (an APA), or Cabin Fever (a honey bock.)

5 Stars

 

Brooklyn Brewery: Local #2

I’ve had this beer for a while and finally cracked it open about a month ago. I’m so glad I did, because this was fantastic!

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Higher in alcohol than your standard Belgian Dark Ale. Usually fruity with a mild dark malt flavor. Light on the hops and somewhat spicy.

Overall Impression: Wow! Given what I thought of the Raison d’Etre I reviewed previously, I wasn’t expecting to like this beer. But I did!

Appearance: Burgundy brown color, clear.

Smell: Fruity and slightly malty aroma.

Taste: Mildly spicy, just a bit fruity, and not too bitter. The hops help balance the fruit and spices.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but just a bit tingly.

Try this if you like: Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre, Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue)Tröegs Mad Elf, Hell Hath No Fury Ale

4 stars

Dogfish Head: World Wide Stout

Mmm….is there anything Dogfish Head can’t do? Probably not. This World Wide Stout is absolutely fantastic–a perfect winter warming beer.



Style: American Double/Imperial Stout. Inspired by Russian Imperial Stouts, but bigger and better! More sweetness, more hops, and more alcohol!

Overall Impression: Mmmmmmm…..this is fantastic. It went really well with the spicy food I was eating at the time–almost quenched it in a way. This beer is what stouts aspire to be.

Appearance: Black with great head retention (the picture was taken after it sat for awhile.)

Smell: This beer had a very strong roasted aroma.

Taste: Lovely roasted malt flavor with a kick of barley. There isn’t much bitterness but there is enough to cut back on the malt and give it some bite.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Each sip made me want more.

Try this if you like: Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee

5 Stars

New Holland: Sundog Amber Ale

There is nothing like a good amber ale, especially when it’s also cheap. And you drink it while tailgating. In the rain. And then your team loses 58-0. Ugh. But anyway! The best part of my trip up to Ann Arbor this year was discovering New Holland‘s Sundog Amber Ale.


Style: American Amber/Red Ale. This style is really a catchall for something that isn’t really “dark” but isn’t “light” either. These beers have a well-balanced mix of malt and hops, with a potential light fruitiness.

Overall Impression: Mmmm. Sundog has a mild bitterness which translated to a nice bite. As I mentioned above, I did tailgate with this beer so it’s a decent session beer. I had 2 of these and one Goose Island Harvest Ale. (Don’t worry, the review is based off of another bottle of Sundog I had a week or so later.) And it was also pretty cheap, so it’s got that going for it too. All of that said, it wasn’t anything special: just your typical tasty amber ale.

Appearance: Clear coppery/amber color.

Smell: Not a very strong aroma, mostly hops.

Taste: Mildly bitter, decent balance between hops and malt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well-carbonated. The taste does not really hang around on your tongue.

Try this if you like: Fat Tire Amber Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale

Dogfish Head: Raison D’Etre

Dogfish Head makes some great stuff–I’ve had a quite a few wonderful beers from that brewery. Drinking one right now as a matter of fact–watch for a review of World Wide Stout coming soon! Now, while I may have only reviewed one Dogfish Head beer previously, I really do love this brewery.

I will, however, be completely honest with you. I took one drink of this beer and hated it. So in the interest of non-bias, today’s review is brought to you by Eric, aka the boyfriend.

This one is called Raison D’Etre, and in a bit of a play on words, the primary fruit used in brewing this is: raisins! Dogfish Head bills it as the answer to “what beer should I drink with a wood-grilled steak?”

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale. A dark beer with a fairly high alcohol content. Quite fruity, and usually pretty light on the hops.

Overall Impression: Pretty decent beer. Definitely NOT a session ale, mostly due to the high alcohol content.

Appearance: Cloudy reddish-caramel color. Decent head but not great retention.

Smell: Has a fruity and mildly hoppy aroma. Kind of smells like a brown ale.

Taste: Fruity with slight hop notes. Medium body.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. The taste of the beer hangs around on your tongue for a while.

Try this if you likeTröegs Mad ElfHell Hath No Fury Ale

4 stars