Posts tagged ‘import’

Guinness: Foreign Extra Stout

I know what you’re thinking. Guinness, Robin, really? But hear me out: in 2010 Guinness announced that they were going to start exporting Foreign Extra Stout to the U.S. And I got my hands on some of it.

Brewed by St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland; Guinness is probably one of the most recognizable beer brands. But to be perfectly honest, the standard Extra Stout is really not that good. This one’s different. Guys, this tastes NOTHING like the usual Guinness draught you buy by the four-pack to make Irish Car Bombs with. This is not the Guinness that squeaky girls drink to prove they like “dark” beer. In other words, this ain’t yo momma’s Guinness.

What all Guinness should taste like

StyleForeign/Export Stout. What this means is one of these beers is brewed like a normal stout except with an exorbitant amount of hops to keep it fresh for the overseas journey.

Overall Impression: Mmmmm….THIS is what Guinness should be. Regular old Guinness, you could probably drink buckets of. This stuff, this beer has some body to it! Drink it slow and savor it.

Appearance: Lovely black-dark brown color, beautiful head retention.

Smell: Roasted coffee/espresso

Taste: The bitterness doesn’t really come out until the second sip. At first you get roasted coffee with a hint of cocoa (as one would expect for a stout) , but then the hops hit you hard. And you like it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and fairly creamy. Textbook stout.

Try this if you like: First of all, if you really, really like Guinness Extra Stout, don’t bother with this. But if you recognize ES’s shortcomings, here are some other beers to look for: Fade to Black Volume 1 by Left Hand Brewing Company, Black Hole XXX Stout, Goose Island’s Honest Stout

5 Stars

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

Since it’s the end of summer, that means it’s time for that wondrous beer season known as “Oktoberfest.” Or at least that’s when every brewery in the world comes out with their fall beer which is usually named “Oktoberfest” or sometimes “Octoberfest.” There’s even Hoptober.

Today’s selection, from what I hope will be a long, long train of fall beers, is a traditional Bavarian lager (which I found at Trader Joe’s, of all places.) It comes from the Ayinger Brewery, in Aying, Germany (just southeast of Munich, the home of Oktoberfest.) And also, because the bottle caps were so neat, this beer gets TWO pictures!

Isn’t that a neat bottle cap? Anyway, on to the review.

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest. These beers are typically full bodied, and have a toasty/roasted taste. They will also have a higher alcohol content than your typical lager. These beers are usually copper to dark golden brown in color, with mild bitterness from the hops.

Overall Impression: A. maz. ing. I absolutely loved this definitive Oktoberfest lager. There may be more trips to Trader Joe’s in the future just to get it. If you can find this, GET IT!

Appearance: Coppery color, great head retention.

Smell: Mild hop notes with also hints of malt.

Taste: The hops float in and around the malt taste–so you don’t have much of a bite, more like a nice background bitterness. Excellent balance with the grains of the malt. Lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Thicker than you might expect if you’re not used to German lagers.

Try this if you like: Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Marzen, Hofbrau Oktoberfest Bier. Definitely try if you’ve never had a real German Oktoberfest lager!

5 Stars

Brauerei Schloss Eggenburg: Mac Queen’s Nessie

Ah, the elusive import beer returns to my guide. Thank you state of Delaware for having awesome beer stores.

Mac Queen’s Nessie is a whiskey malt red beer (or Scottish ale, if you want to be more general) from Schloss Eggenberg, an Austrian brewery. (You’ll have to translate that webpage, unless you speak German.)

The aroma of this beer isn’t much to speak of-it mostly smells of malt and grain. It’s just a tad cloudy with a pretty amber color. As you can see it pours with a decent amount of head. It is not very bitter at all, and tastes fruity with a bit of malt. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the whiskey anywhere in this beer, which was quite disappointing.

The beer also didn’t taste much like I’d expect a Scottish ale to. It could have used quite a bit more malt, and I’d really love to get some hints of whiskey! Overall this beer was good enough, but it didn’t have enough going on to keep me interested.

However, BeerAdvocate reviews of this beer keep mentioning something called Samiclaus. I may have to go searching for that.

If you’re looking to try a Scottish ale, go with Dark Horse Brewing Company’s Scotty Karate. It’s fantastic.

Wells and Young’s: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

True, it’s not winter anymore. Here in upstate New York it’s that weird season between winter and spring they don’t teach you about in school. But there’s still snow on the ground, which means I can review a stout!

Today’s selection is a yummy chocolate stout from Wells and Young’s in Bedfordshire, England.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout
As you can see, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is beautifully dark with an almost hint of ruby, and a nice thick head on it (if poured right.) When you first open the bottle, or inhale the aromas from the glass, you immediately get “chocolate.” This ain’t yo mamma’s chocolate stout, baby. As you sip, you get more and more of that wonderful chocolate taste, and the hops add just the right amount of bitterness. The best part is, if you don’t like coffee stouts, in this beer the roasted malt flavor does not come out strongly. It is definitely a chocolate stout–not an espresso stout.

Unlike most stouts, this one is only about 5.2% ABV–so one pint won’t leave you feeling like you just played a round of Flippy Cup.

All in all, this is a great beer, especially for those of us who don’t usually care for very dark beers. If you like chocolate and you like beer, you simply must try this at least once.

Try this if you like: Fort Collin’s Brewery’s Chocolate Stout

4 stars

Wychwood Brewery: Hobgoblin

While in Geneva, Eric and I stopped at the Beef ‘n Brew. It’s a fairly new restaurant, only been open two months, but their beer selection is to die for! They have about 15 beers on tap (mostly domestic mass-produced crap), but they have at least 50 selections in bottles. Probably more.

I decided to take a break from my normal light lager dinner selection and I decided to try an English Brown Ale by the name of Hobgoblin from the Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire, England. Yes, I picked it because of the name. It’s not often you find a beer that is so obviously aimed at the computer-gaming/fantasy/D&D type crowd. Which I happen to belong to. (What can I say, I love my fantasy-based RPG/adventure games.) On to the review.

Wychwood Hobgoblin
The creators claim this is a “ruby beer”. I agree as long as “ruby” means “cross between red ale and stout.” Which is exactly what it tastes like. My concern before the beer even showed up was that it would be too bitter for my tastes. It wasn’t. You certainly get the taste of the hops but it isn’t overwhelming. If you don’t like overly bitter beers, this one is a dark to try.  While you drink it, you get hints of chocolate, which I love. The bottle itself was very drinkable, but I think this is a one-and-done beer.

Drink this beer while you’re eating something beefy-be that stew, burgers, or steak. I happened to be eating fish and chips with it. Very English night for me.

Overall the Hobgoblin was very good, but what made it special was the label and the name, not necessarily the taste. I would certainly try Wychwood’s other creations if given the chance.

I’d give you a “try this if you like” recommendation but I don’t have anything that comes to mind. If someone else has a comparison, feel free to let me know.