Posts tagged ‘light’

Goose Island: Matilda

While Goose Island‘s regular rotating beers are pretty darn good, their special ones are absolutely spectacular. They are well worth the price if you can find them, and this Matilda is no exception. I actually first had this about 6 months ago or so on a trip to Peoria for the annual meeting of ASCLS-IL. A classmate of mine works at the original Goose Island brew pub and gave me a bottle of this to take home. Six months later I finally drank it.

and check out my fancy new staging thingy!

 

Style: Belgian Strong Ale. Similar to a Belgian Pale Ale but with a much higher alcohol content. A highly complex ale with a huge, billowy head. (I can attest to this—there was some spillage…) Fruit and hops flavors balance each other nicely.

Overall Impression: This is really, really good. Somewhat surprisingly, it went well with my spicy Thai peanut pasta. I would recommend sharing the bottle as the alcohol content (7%) is a tad high for a session brew.

Appearance: Beautiful coppery amber color with excellent head that receded into lots of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Fruit aroma–it tastes more complex then it smells.

Taste: Fruity, tarty, with spicy yeast flavors as well. You taste something new almost every time you take a sip.

Mouthfeel: Light with good carbonation. Smooth as well. Goes down easily.

Try this if you like: Brooklyn Local 1, Dogfish Head’s Faithfull Ale (and any number of Belgian beers but those may take some effort to find)

4 pints

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Leinenkugel’s: Lemon Berry Shandy

By popular request (meaning my dad asked me to) I present to you my review of Leinenkugel’s newest (and year-round!) shandy: Lemon Berry Shandy. As my regular readers know I am a HUGE fan of Summer Shandy. The beginning of Shandy Season is the highlight of my May. Or as was the case earlier this year, the highlight of my February 29th. Despite my love of that lemonade beer from Chippewa Falls, I hadn’t yet picked up some of this new brew. Possibly because I had only been able to find it in 12 packs and I’m just not that interested in 12 beers I may or may not like. But I found a six pack two weeks ago, and now I’ve finally gotten some time to drink one!

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer. This is really an unfortunate category because it lumps Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (not that great) with New Glarus Raspberry Tart (amazing.) And it includes everything in between. Basically, these beers taste like the fruit or veggie added to them and there isn’t much else in terms of malt or hops to speak of.

Overall Impression: Do you like lemon? Do you like berries? Do you like them even more together? This is like the Powerthirst (warning-video link) of berry lemonade. Honestly, I didn’t like it as much as Summer Shandy but it wasn’t bad. Definitely more of a summer beer than a fall. Also, it tasted like a Honey Bear (Berry Weiss + Summer Shandy) and while this, being in one bottle instead of two, is certainly cheaper, I wanted something new and a little more different.

Appearance: Ooo! It’s pink! Okay, well, it’s pink-amber but hey, close enough. Head dissipates very quickly. Cloudy–basically looks like you put Berry Weiss and Summer Shandy together. I think Leinie’s might be trying to capitalize on the Honey Bear phenomenon.

Aroma: Kinda smells like lemon cleaner–same as Summer Shandy. It’s VERY lemony. And then you are hit with BERRY! (See what I mean about this being like Powerthirst? Read my all caps type in the voiceover style.) It also kind of smells like an Astro Pop shot (Smirnoff Ice + grenadine, drop in a shot of UV blue–awesome.)

Taste: Berry! And lemon! And….not much else.

Mouthfeel: Light, lots of carbonation. It pretty much feels like it should.

Try this if you like: Summer Shandy (I mean, they’re basically the same), Leinie’s Berry Weiss, Naked Dove Berry Naked (hands-down the best fruit beer I’ve ever had), New Glarus Raspberry Tart (not quite a beer…but SO GOOD)

3 stars

Capital Brewery: Supper Club

I have a confession to make. I actually had a New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat before I drank this beer, but I cannot stand Hefeweizens. So there’s really no way I could have reviewed that beer objectively. According to BeerAdvocate it’s really good (averaging 96.5.) If someone wants to review it and send me the review I’d be happy to post it as a guest post!

But more about the beer I actually did drink. Today’s selection is from Capital Brewery in Madison, WI. Yes this is one of the beers I picked up on my latest trip to Wisconsin, why do you ask? Supper Club was recommended to me by my dad and just about everyone else I know in Wisconsin, but to be honest after drinking I don’t know why. Even the bottle claims it’s “not bad.” And it’s not BAD, it’s just not that great either.

I don’t know that I’d pay $2.29 for a bottle of this again.

Style: American Pale Lager. These are your standard American brews but they’re made without rice or corn like most American Light Lagers (think Bud Light or Miller Lite) are. They are sometimes called “all-malt” for this reason. They are usually still yellow and fizzy but are a bit more flavorful than the Macro Brew Lites are.

Overall Impression: “Meh” would be a good word to describe this beer. Would I drink this tailgating? Absolutely. Would I drink this at a reunion of the Monday Night Beer Club? Only if it were the best thing on tap. I’d still order this in a heartbeat over Macro Brew Lites; but I think that has more to do with it being a craft beer than the flavor. Don’t get me wrong: as I said above, this beer is not bad. But it’s nothing special and to be honest, Capital has MUCH better offerings. I’m giving this two pints though, because it is just a tad bit better than that Naked Lap Lager I reviewed many eons ago when I lived in New York.

Appearance: Dark yellow-gold, clear, very thin in appearance.

Aroma: Not much to speak of.

Taste: Somewhat malty–I can at least tell this is beer. There are no hop flavors to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, very bubbly. This might give High Life a run for its money with the “Champagne of Beers” moniker.

Try this if you like: Miller, Bud, Coors, Michelob, etc. This has a bit more flavor though. Also try Longboard Island Lager or Yuengling. New Glarus’ Totally Naked also falls into this category but it’s much, much better.

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

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

 

End of Summer: Otter Creek Brewing-Otter Summer

Even though it’s probably going to be about 90 degrees today, I’m doing my last summer beer review until probably next April or May. So here we go, with Otter Creek Brewing‘s Otter Summer.

Otter Creek Brewing is a Vermont-based brewery (apparently I really like Vermont beer) and by the beer selection on the website, it appears to be pretty small. There are 3 year-round brews and 3-seasonal brews (a Summer, Oktoberfest, and Winter.) I’d like to get my hands on the Oktoberfest, but for now, let’s talk about the Summer!

Style: American Wheat Characterized by a light golden color, high carbonation, and moderate bitterness. Not very fruity.

Overall Impression: All bite and no bark. Since this is a summer beer, I was expecting a little bit of fruitiness. It would have been a great balance to the otherwise hoppy flavor. Then again, it is pretty true to the style Otter Creek claims they are going for.

Appearance: Light golden in color, with easily visible carbonation bubbles. Little to no head retention.

Aroma: Mild hoppy scent, not much else to smell here.

Taste: Mostly hops. Not overly bitter, but there isn’t much else to taste here.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean.

Try this if you like: Sam Adam’s Summer Ale, Bell’s Oberon.

Long Trail Brewing Company: Blackbeary Wheat

And I’m back! Got internet on Friday, took off to Wisconsin for a friend’s wedding for the weekend, and now writing a beer review!

Today’s selection is from Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Company. Blackbeary (yes, that’s spelled correctly) Wheat is an American wheat beer with a hint of blackberry flavor.

As you can see, it’s pale gold in color, and is basically clear. It has a mild blackberry aroma, and a slightly stronger blackberry taste. It’s not very bitter at all–mostly tastes like you squeezed blackberry juice into a typical American wheat beer.

Blackbeary Wheat, because it is light and not bitter, is a great thirst-quenching session beer. It went quite well with the baked salmon I was eating along with it, but I wouldn’t eat it with anything that had a very strong flavor. I bet it’s good with tilapia.

While this was a decent beer, it wasn’t particularly interesting or memorable, so it only gets a 3-pint rating.

Try this if you like: American wheat beers, Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat, or Southern Tier’s Raspberry Wheat.