Brewdog, a Scottish craft beer company, has been a brewery that I’ve been wanting to try for some time now. I’ve heard about their great Punk IPA, and Tokyo, which is the UK’s strongest beer ever, and it was time for me to take a stab at one of their beers. Finally. I was going to go with their traditional Punk IPA, when I saw Dogma, and the description on the label sold me.
First Impression: The label fits all the other labels of Brewdog’s. It is dark with bold red writing (although if you go to their website it’s orange and the alcohol percentage is different…not sure what’s up with that). Their labels have always been pretty fun to me, and they aren’t overwhelming or too bland. Really just a perfect blend of information necessary to knowing whether you’ll enjoy it or not. The description is, “hops brewed with honey, kola nuts, poppy seed and guarana.”
Pour: Just the color and amount of head I was expecting for this ale, a light amber beer.
Taste: Pretty awesome, to say the least. It tasted very carbonated, but in a good way, and you could really taste the honey. It wasn’t a boring ale, and you could taste the nuts and poppy seed all in all. I was really happy that I chose to go with this beer as opposed to the (what I think to be) boring IPA. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to try the Punk IPA at some point.
ABV: 7.8% (although the website says 7.4%…am I missing something here?!)
First Impression: As with all beers from Oskar Blues, this Imperial Red comes in a can. The name, not the design, is what caught my attention and led me to purchase this beer from Longmont, CO.
Pour: G’Knight pours a reddish-burgundy, a color that is eerily similar to the Redskins burgundy logo. The head was pretty thick and it stuck around for awhile. A sweet and hoppy aroma accompanied the pour.
Taste: G’Knight would fall somewhere between a Red Ale and an IPA. This beer definitely hides its high alcohol and hop content very well with a nice balance of sweet, malty tastes. If you generally shy away from “knockout”, bitter IPA’s, but are looking for something equally strong, grab a G’Knight Imperial Red and enjoy it with pizza or a burger!
This week I tried the Strawberry Wit, a Belgian Style White Ale from Ass Kisser Ales. AKA is a small family owned brewery in San Jose, California established in 2010 and just beginning to make a name for itself in the craft beer industry.
First Impression: From the looks of the brightly colored bottle I got a sense that this was going to be a very sweet brew with an ambitious kick to it.
Pour: As the beer poured it emitted a glassy gold color and was surprisingly less dense than the brewer suggests. The head was a thin ring of white encompassing a sweet berry aroma.
Taste: I was pleasantly surprised to find that the beer didn’t scream of overwhelming fruit flavor. On the other hand it was almost difficult to pinpoint any fruit at all. There is an instant sensation of bitter wheat yet smooth after taste. My overall impression of the brew was that it could be easily compared to a Pilsner, light in taste and definitely easy to drink, but this one was a bit misleading in terms of the bottle. Although there will not be too much brown nosing coming from me for the Strawberry Wit I do have faith in Ass Kisser Ales and look forward to trying some of their other 4 flavors like the Vanilla Pale ale and the Smoke porter.
I would like to start this review with a short story about craft beer, Colorado and Dogfish Head. On a recent trip to Colorado, I happened upon Falling Rock Tap House, which happens to be an excellent place to grab a craft brew. A man wearing an old school Mookie Blaylock jersey approached me at the bar and struck up conversation. He was a fairly knowledgeable craft beer snob and the conversation quickly shifted toward our favorite IPA’s. When I mentioned Dogfish Head 90 Minute, he shot me a confused look. Here was a man who claimed to know the IBU’s of every IPA ever brewed, yet he had never heard of Dogfish Head Brewery? Just shows you how many amazing breweries are in Colorado. The dude probably never drank a beer that wasn’t brewed in the Centennial State. Now to the review…
First Impression: The standard looking Dogfish Head label. I really enjoy the concise description that accompanies the label of each Dogfish brew. I am also really into the feel of the Dogfish Head labels. Alright, enough label talk.
Pour: This beer has an overpowering aroma of caramel. A quite impressive head showed up when this brew was poured and its thickness caused it to hang around for awhile.
Taste: A near perfect balance of sweet brown maltiness, and bitter hoppiness. This brew is so smooth, and even more tasty. A must try!
I’ve got a confession to make, and I hope it doesn’t rub too many people the wrong way. I drank a Blue Moon today….and I actually enjoyed it. Ya, that “craft brewery” that is really a product of Coors. Let the hater parade come out in full force. Blue Moon’s seasonal collection is bursting with flavor and tastes nothing like its macro-brew relatives. If you’ve made it this far into this post without shouting obscenities at your computer (or smart phone) and bouncing out of the site, read my review of Agave Nectar Ale below.
First Impression: I, The Craft Beer Deer, am a beer snob. Therefore, when offered a Blue Moon this afternoon, I turned my nose and pretended it didnt exist. After I realized that was the only beer available, I figured I would give it a try. The only thing remotely interesting about the bottle was the name. Something about “Agave Nectar” sounds pretty nifty.
Pour: I didnt pour this beer, I drank it straight from the bottle (I know, I apologize). Due to my lack of sophistication when enjoying this brew, I saw or smelled no head on this beer.
Taste: This beer is agave-sweet and goes down extremely smooth and easy. There were very subtle citrusy notes, but this beer was overpowered with the sweet, wheaty flavor that Blue Moon has become known for.
I recently moved to Baltimore MD and I have been looking for a new place to buy my weekly craft beer when I happened stance on a beer store that had a tasting for Saranac Beer. They were offering a taste of 3 different brews. I have had Saranac in the past, occasionally enjoying the occasional Pale Ale or Adirondack Lager, but these beers really turned me onto the winter seasonal from this upstate New York brewery.
Big Moose Ale
First Impression: Crisp golden pilsner that I would gladly choose as a tasteful alternative to a rice beer.
Taste: Big Moose Ale was extremely refreshing and would be classified as a “lawnmower beer”.
First Impression: This beer pours like its namesake, white and hoppy. A medium toned head clung nicely to the rim of the glass as I enjoyed this hop devil.
Taste: As someone who really enjoys a hoppy IPA such as the Stone Ruination IPA (which apparently has become the measuring for hops in an IPA) this IPA was a nice full bodied and malty alternative. The hops don’t come out and kick you but they are there. I would call this a great beginner IPA that is not just for first tie drinkers but for anyone who wants the full bodied taste without the overpowering hoppy taste.
First Impression: At first smell of this brew I didn’t think I would enjoy it. It has a very strong caramel waft, almost like the World’s Finest Chocolate Caramel Whirls.
Taste: When I tasted it my reservations went out the window. This porter had a distinct roasted taste that really accents the natural flavor that Saranac uses to make your beer as tasteful as can be.
Tommyknocker is a favorite brewery of mine, it’s hidden up in Idaho Springs, CO and is a great destination for beer enthusiasts. The brewery is worth visiting, quite a few times in my opinion, and it gives you a nice break from the busy interstate of I-70 after a weekend of outdoor activities. Their seasonal cocoa porter is one that will warm you up after a day of skiing.
First Impression: The label is nothing that stands out from the other Tommyknocker labels. It has soothing tones that reflect on the Tommyknocker brand and fit perfectly with the style of the beer.
Pour: Very dark, chocolately color. It has very little head, but what it does have is rich and foamy.
Taste: The taste is of a rich chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee. The balance between cocoa powder and hops makes it an easy beer to drink that isn’t very filling and meant to be enjoyed on a chilly day. It goes down smooth and has a nice lingering taste.
Although this beer is only seasonal and in limited quantities, Tommyknocker’s has plenty of other beers that are more than worthy of trying, like their imperial nut brown ale and butt head bock.
After trying Evolution Craft Brewing Co.’s IPA as per recommendation from my good friend The Craft Beer Deer, my wife and I decided to pick up their Exile ESB ale. After a hard day of hitting the books I cracked open one and boy was I in for a surprise
First Impression: Evolution has an interesting, abbreviated logo. Exile ESB has a rather bland and simple, brown label. It is good that craft beers aren’t judged by their cover, because Exile would’ve failed.
Pour: A dark amber color with very little head.
Taste: At first sip there was a metallic taste that I just couldn’t put my finger on but as I got through the first one there was a nice caramel malty taste that lasted for a nice amount of time afterwards. I would strongly recommend this beer with a nice steak or any type of meat for that matter.
Always being a fan of Anchor Brewing’s beers, I had high hopes for their Christmas Ale. One of their traditions is that Anchor Brewing’s creates a unique Christmas Ale every year and the tree on the label changes as well.
First Impression: The tree in the middle is a fun, well balanced tree, portraying the beer in a great way. The label is just exciting, you don’t really know what it’s called unless you know that Anchor just calls their seasonal beer Christmas Ale. It makes it more exciting knowing this isn’t the same brew from the year before.
Pour: The pour was perfect. It was dark, rich and creamy. The head was lighter, but still just as full as one would expect from this dark beer. It looks like a perfect Christmas ale. This Christmas Ale has a strong smell of caramel and nutmeg along with some other spices.
Taste: A well balanced taste is the first thing to be noticed while drinking this beer. It’s full rounded, darkly spiced and this is a beer that would be good for years to come. It’s almost worth it to stock up on some of this beer to save it for the following years, but it’s also too tasty to keep around. Needless to say, this beer didn’t last long around me.
First Impression: The bottle is nice, crisp and the blue brings out the copy very well. Another label that just yells out Colorado on it with the skier and mountains in the background. Great Divide has always been a favorite of mine, so it was fun to try a seasonal of theirs. Just to verify, it was the English style old ale that I had, not to be confused with their barrel aged Hibernation Ale. Look for the blue label!
Pour: This beer is definitely lighter than some of the seasonal beers I’ve tried. It has a nice amber color to it, with a strong head to go alongside it.
Taste: Honestly, when I first tried this beer I didn’t like it. I wasn’t even going to review it. However, I had a six pack to drink…and after a few I decided that it was worth a review. It’s different than the others, it has a maltier taste that had a different hop flavor than I was hoping it would have. Still, a good beer nonetheless.