Posts tagged ‘new york’

Warhorse Brewing Company: IPA

I normally don’t drink IPAs because I’m not a fan of the strong bitterness. That’s why you don’t see too many of them on this blog-I find it difficult to review them objectively. But I gave it a shot with this one from War Horse Brewing Company (soon to be famous.) I’ve also reviewed their Riesling Ale and their American Black Lager.

Style: American India Pale Ale (IPA). Pale golden to reddish amber color. High bitterness and high citrate flavor. Usually balanced by a malty background.

Overall Impression: A pretty decent IPA. Nothing special but it gets the job done.  This went really well with the Indian food I was eating at the time.

Appearance: Clear with a pale brown color. Decent head retention.

Smell: Mostly the hops come through in the aroma.

Taste: Excellent bitterness. Everything you’d expect from an IPA. And like many IPAs, you don’t taste much beyond the hops.

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp.

Try this if you like: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, HopDevil Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

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

Brooklyn Brewery: Summer Ale

Yes, yes, I know. It’s August, and that means the Oktoberfest brews are coming out…and here I am reviewing a summer ale. Well, it was 80 degrees in Chicago today so I feel justified. Plus…this beer was really good. But you all have to wait till next April to get it. 😛

Tonight’s selection comes from the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, NY. This summer ale is available from April through July, and I definitely recommend picking one up when you can.

Style: English Pale Ale. I’m not convinced EPA is the best descriptor of the style of this beer, because it is not as bitter as one might imagine, but it works. These are characterized by good clarity, good head retention, and gold to reddish color.

Overall Impression: First thought: “Wow! This is really good!” And that impression continued throughout. It’s a great summer beer: refreshing and would be good in a session.

Appearance: Clear golden color, good head retention. The above picture was taken about 5 minutes after I poured it.

Smell: Very nice fruity/hoppy/spicy/malty aroma. Characteristic of EPAs.

Taste: Quite good! It is crisp but not overly bitter, and has a slight lemony taste. You can also taste the malt, and it is really quite excellent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with an almost creamy texture.

Try this if you like: Boddington’s Pub Ale, Samuel Adam’s Summer Ale

4 stars



Middle Ages Brewing Company: Swallow Wit

Of course, I finally get around to reviewing a Syracuse beer after I’ve left ‘Cuse. (In my defense, I had tonight’s selection from a keg at my going-away party…and then bought a bottle so I could review it properly.)

I’m also going to try a slightly new format for the blog. I want to stay accessible to those who don’t know much about beer and who want to branch out, but also to fall more in line with traditional beer reviews. I’ll be following Beer Advocate’s reviewer guidelines. You’ll have to let me know if you like the new format.

Tonight’s selection is Swallow Wit, a typical Belgian Witbier, from the Middle Ages Brewing Company in Syracuse, NY.

Style: Belgian Witbier. These beers are pale and cloudy (which means they are unfiltered,) and generally spiced with coriander or orange peel. I’ve reviewed quite a few of these style beers (this might just be my favorite style, actually) and they are very popular in America. And–American breweries tend to be very true to style with these beers.

Overall Impression: This beer is great. It’s fairly mild and with a low alcohol content, so it would make a great session beer. It would probably be good with hot or spicy foods (like my favorite bar food, buffalo wings.)

Appearance: As you can see from the photo, Swallow Wit is a cloudy, gold beer. Good head when poured, but doesn’t retain. Mildly carbonated.

Smell: You can tell this is a Witbier even without looking at it. It has that spicy/fruity aroma which is so typical amongst these beers.

Taste: Excellent. It has a mild initial bitterness which fades as you sip. It tastes exactly like it should: a wheat beer with orange and coriander.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light. Doesn’t linger on your tongue (no aftertaste.)

Try this if you like: Blue Moon, Indian River Light, Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, Great White, Partly Sunny

5 Stars

Naked Dove Brewing Company: Berry Naked

Imagine my surprise to discover this excellent beer was from a tiny town not far from Syracuse: Canandaigua–where one of my coworkers just happens to be from. Naked Dove is a tiny, fairly new brewery (less than a year old!) And tonight’s selection is only their fourth beer.

Well, congratulations, Naked Dove, Berry Naked is awesome!

Ignore the Saranac glass. I was at a bar, what do you want?

Berry Naked is a black raspberry ale with a gorgeous reddish-purple color. It had a strong aroma of raspberries and a slightly less strong flavor of raspberries. The black raspberry flavor was a great choice–I’ve had raspberry beers before that just didn’t quite cut it (Southern Tier’s comes to mind.) This ale was a nice balance of fruit flavor and bitterness–smooth, crisp, and very tasty.

This ale is a tasty example of what fruit beer can be if done correctly.

Try this if you like: Great Divide’s Wild Raspberry Ale, Dark Horse’s Raspberry Ale

5 Stars


War Horse Brewing Company: American Black Lager

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have been wholly unmotivated of late—and I’ve been drinking a lot of Summer Shandy, and I can’t write multiple reviews about the same beer.

Tonight’s beer of choice is another one from the War Horse Brewing Company in Geneva, NY. I’ve already reviewed their excellent Riesling Ale, so it was time for another of their great beers.

The American black lager is a creamy beer with a mild chocolate/espresso scent and a slightly hoppy, espresso-y taste. It is smoky like a stout–but with a clean, crisp finish because it’s a lager. Perfect for those of you who like dark beer but don’t always like the heaviness of most dark beers. It would even be great for curling up with around the campfire with some S’mores. Or perhaps I just want to go camping. Either way, this is a pretty decent beer.

Try this if you like: dark beers, or any beer with a mild bitter/chocolate taste

Ithaca Beer Company: Partly Sunny

Well, it’s been more than partly sunny here in Syracuse and I’ve been enjoying the wonderful weather. To celebrate, I cracked open a summery beer from the Ithaca Beer Company. (Yes, we’re back to NY beers…)

Partly Sunny is a classic Belgian Witbier brewed with coriander and other spices, as well as hints of orange.

Sorry there’s no pint glass picture…I was drinking this on my balcony and I really just wanted it right out of the bottle. The beer is a lovely cloudy straw color (as is typical of Belgian Witbiers.) The aroma of the beer is mild wheat with spices, and the taste is just the same. Honestly, this is basically a slightly better version of a Blue Moon. It was good but not too exciting or different. This is a “hanging out with your friends, grilling burgers” kind of beer.

Partly Sunny is a perfect sunny-day beer: light, refreshing, and just enough interesting flavor to keep you wanting to drink it.

Try this if you like: Blue Moon, Heartland Indian River Light

Bell’s Brewery: Batch 9000

The best part about being a beer snob is when you have friends who are too.  Thanks to Jenn and Paul, I got to try two excellent selections. The first is from Bell’s Brewery: an American strong ale called Batch 9000.

That lovely dark color and good head is just the first indication that this is going to be a good beer. Served in a goblet, the aroma of molasses nicely sits just above the head in the glass. On first taste, you’ll be surprised that it doesn’t taste as heavy as it looks. It’s not a beer you’d want to have four of in a row, but a bottle won’t make you feel tired. The flavor is molasses and a hint of chocolate, with a fruitier sweetness, probably from the raisins and plums used in the brewing. The bottle also claims that there is licorice flavor, but I didn’t taste any. (Which was fine. I hate licorice.)

All in all, this was an excellent beer. Unfortunately it’s limited release and not available anymore…but maybe you can find a friend who’s got some they are willing to share.

Try this if you like: Bell’s 25th Anniversary Beer, Sam Adam’s Utopias, Great Lakes Nosferatu.

5 Stars

Middle Ages: Grail Ale

In case you haven’t noticed, I like beers with fun names. I’m also a HUGE fan of Monty Python. So buying this beer was a no-brainer. Middle Ages is located right in Syracuse so it’s quite accessible to me now. After I move to Chicago in August–not so much. (Side note: I’ve been reviewing a lot of NY beers lately. I’ll try for a different state on the next review.)

This was quite a nice beer. It’s a classic amber ale, perfect for relaxing on a Sunday night.  The aroma is a combination of malt and hops, and the taste is the same. It’s quite smooth–very balanced flavors. The taste of hops lingered on my tongue for a few seconds after each sip.

Grail Ale was crisp with a nice mouthfeel–not too heavy and just the right amount of effervescence. It was extremely easy to drink.

Try this if you like: Leinenkugel’s Classic Amber, other red or amber ales

4 stars

Southern Tier: Raspberry Wheat Beer

I don’t normally go for fruit beers. Most of them are not done very well: you get all the fruit flavor and none of the beer flavor. Sometimes, however, you get one that combines the fruit and beer flavors nicely. Today’s selection is a good example of the latter. Southern Tier is another New York microbrewery found in the city of Lakewood in the southwestern corner of the state.  This is my first taste of any of their beers.

The first thing I noticed about this beer was the scent. Holy raspberries, Batman. But I looooove me some raspberries (best fruit ever-hands down) so I was quite excited. Upon first taste I got raspberries + hops + wheat. Raspberries and hops is an interesting combination of flavors. I’m still not sure how much I like it. I did take a while to finish it though–maybe that’s my answer.

The beer itself is very effervescent–feels tingly on the tongue. I probably wouldn’t buy this again, but it wasn’t half bad. (I gotta tell you though–I haven’t had a better fruit beer than Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat. Hopefully a review of that comes soon.)

Try this if you like: Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat, Sam Adam’s Blackberry Witbier, Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat