Monday, January 27, 2014

Founders Brewing Co. Porter

The last few weeks have been some real winter weather, which has been good dark beer weather, beers that are fuller, malty, richer, and bigger. These are beers that could be and are described as ‘winter beers’. Well this beer, founders Porter, 6.5% ABV, with 45 IBUs (Intentional Bittering Units), from Grand Rapids Michigan. Founds has been brewing beer since 1997 and this one is one of their original beers. Founders Porter is and American Porter, and pours a thick black color with a barely two finger tan/beige head that stays around fairly well and leaves behind nice semi thick lacing. I found no light coming through the glass and not a lot of carbonation bubbles either. The aroma of this American Porter is big with some bits of chocolate, roasted malt notes and some coffee scents. The aroma has a nice richness to it that most pleasing. The taste on Founders Porter has a nice sweetness that is chocolaty and nicely roasted with a coffee flavor that has a pleasant bitterness around it. The bitterness doesn’t overpower the rest of the Porters flavors or take anything away from the eniter beer. Founders Porter finishes nice and sweet with hints of a roasted note and has a bittersweet after taste that is sweeter than it is bitter, but not as sweet as the first sip. There is an after taste if coffee and a slight chocolate. I found this beer to be enjoyable to drink. I would give this an A-. It was a solid American Porter, and it was well brewed, and well balanced. I also liked the fact that the ABV percent was at a decent level, 6.5% ABV makes it more enjoyable in my opinion. I found none of the flavors to be stronger or more overwhelming than another, and everything was balanced with each other. But I thought that it could’ve been just a pinch sweet to make it perfect, but that is miniscule. Founders Porter was great by me. So go out and try Founders Porter and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810

I don’t really see a huge variety of Austrian beers here in the US. There are some and plenty of American, Mexican and Central American breweries that brew Austrian style beers, mostly Vienna Lagers. Theses Austrian beers are somewhat similar to German beer styles, and are just as old. Here is one Austrian example, Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810, 6.3% ABV, a Kellbier/Zwicklebier. This is an unfiltered, unpasteurized lagers that date back to the middle ages.  Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810 pours a hazy orange color with a big four finger off white head that is very slowly dissipates and leaves big ropy lacing behind. I found very little amounts of light coming through the glass. But when held to the light the beer becomes more of a light copper color. I found tiny amount of carbonation bubbles. The aroma was light with a hay/straw aroma but semi sweet and faintly breaded. I also found the aroma to be strong with alcohol but just enough to be present. The taste on Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810 was strong up front with a slight bitter sweetness with a floral note that was slightly hoppy. This beer was tart as well, but not overly tart. The taste somewhat reminded me of a strong ale, but with hints of bittersweet breaded and doughy notes. The mouth feel is medium with a mildly strong bittersweet finish (more bitter that sweet). The after taste is like a strong ale but not as strong or alcoholic, but more like a unfiltered lager. Overall I found this beer to be not as good as I was hoping. I’ve had lots of great Austrian beers in the past, and this wasn’t nearly as good. Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810 gets a D+ here. I did think it really taste like a Kellbier/Zwicklebier to me like I’ve had before. It had to much bitterness for me, not that bitterness in beer is bad, but this had a bad bitterness, almost verging on sour. Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810 wasn’t so bad that I had to pour it out or couldn’t finish a pint, but I would have this again. Would I recommend Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810? Not really. So go and try Original Hochzeitsbier Von 1810 and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Highland Brewing Company Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

Brewer’s today use a vast array of ingredients to be many different types of beer, and more and more a experimenting with new ingredients to brew with. One of my favorite ingredients to use in brewing a beer is coffee. Coffee is generally used in Porters and Stouts, and rarely used in IPA’s. Here is a local North Carolina beer, Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, NC) Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, which uses fresh fair trade/organic coffee beans from Black Mountain NC’s Dynamite Roasting Co. Thunderstruck pours a deep black color with a two and a half finger beige head that stick around for a little while then forms thick ropes of lacing. I couldn’t see much light coming though the glass, but when held to the light the beer has dark ruby color. I also found no signs of carbonation bubbles. The aroma on Thunderstruck is like a fresh cup/pot of coffee. There is a big roasted aroma that reminds of fresh coffee beans/grounds. There is also a slight sweet scent. The taste on Thunderstruck is roasted like a nice cup of coffee with hints of faint sweetness and touches of bitterness. I found a nice hint of a chocolate note on the taste as well.  As this beer warms it beings to have less of a roasted taste and more of the sweetness comes through with more hints of bitterness. The mouth feel is full with a nice richness, and has a nice coffee like finish with little roasted sweetness. The aftertaste is like finishing a semi sweet cup of fresh coffee. I enjoyed this Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, so I am giving it A-. Highland Brewing really did a good job on brewing a solid coffee porter, and not some ‘coffee like porters’. Thunderstruck has good balance among the coffee flavors and the porter flavors, and really shines though on the aroma and the taste. I would love to have this again, and I do highly recommend this Thunderstruck Coffee Porter. So go out and try Highland Brewing Company’s Thunderstruck Coffee Porter as see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!      

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Belhaven Scottish Ale

You don’t see a huge selection of beer hailing from Scotland, but there is a beer style they are called Scottish Ale, some do come from Scotland and some are from the US and other countries. They can range from light, heavy, and export. In the nineteenth century Scotland, a nomenclature, based on the now obsolete currency system, was devised in order to distinguish each. 60/- (light), 70/- (heavy), 80/- (export), 90/- to 160/- for Scotch ale. This Scottish is imported form Dunbar, East Lothian Scotland. Here we have Belhaven Scottish Ale, 5.2% ABV.  Belhaven Scottish Ale pours a copper color with alight three and half finger tan head that fades slowly into big thick lacing. The aroma is slightly nutty with a biscuit aroma. There was the faintest touch of a light toffee scent as well. The taste on Belhaven Scottish Ale is slightly sweet with a nice touch of a biscuit flavor toward the back. There is a nice malty hop flavor that produces a nice nutty flavor. The mouth feel is mild to almost medium with a nice clean finish that leads into a nice after taste of nuts slight hops and a malted light biscuit flavor. This beer was a bit surprising to me. So I would give this an A. I though this beer was not over the top on one flavor character but rather balanced with all it’s flavors Belhaven Scottish Ale offered. I would most certainly have this beer again. It was easy to drink as well. So go out and give Belhaven Scottish Ale a try and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ridgeway's Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale

Yes I know that Christmas is over but I still had one Christmas theme beer left over. The beer I speak of is Ridgeway’s Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style ale, 10.0% ABV. This comes to use from Oxfordshire England. Criminally Bad Elf pours a deep cooper hue with a one and three quarter tan head that dissipates evenly. I found tiny amounts of light coming through the glass with great amounts of carbonation stream form the bottom to the top. The aroma on Criminally Bad Elf is big with touches of toffee, scents of alcohol bitterness. The taste is somewhat similar to the aroma. Criminally Bad Elf has a nice toffee flavor up front followed be a caramel taste that leads into a boozy bitterness on the backend.  There is a bitter orange/citrus flavor here as well. The mouth feel is medium; you can really taste the 10.0% ABV on this. Criminally Bad Elf finishes strong and bitter. The aftertaste is of bitter toffee and a bitter citrus orange. This Criminally Bad Elf is not that bad, so it gets a high C+. I enjoyed this beer, but I thought that the alcohol was to present here and should’ve been toned down a bit. But Ridgeway should not lower ABV, 10.0% is fine with me. Criminally Bad Elf just needs a little more with the toffee and caramel flavors to mask the big alcohol flavor and I think we’d have a darn good beer here, not that it’s bad now, but could be made better. Would I have this again? I might but I am not rushing out to have Criminally Bad Elf again.  So go out and try Ridgeway’s Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style ale, and see how you like it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Full Sail Session Black

Most dark beers tend to be high on the ABV (alcohol by volume) scale, and that can either be a good or a bad depending on who you are and what your into. But I think that most beer drinkers what a darker beer with a lower more sessionable ABV, and this beer fits that. Full Sail Session Black, 5.4% ABV is an Schwarzbier (black lager). Full Sail Session Black comes in a short stubby eleven-ounce bottle. Kind of looks like a medicine bottle. Full Sail Session Black pours a rich deep brown almost black color with a one and a half finger tan head that stays shortly and fade slower in decent lacing. I found very little light through the glass with a nice but small amount of carbonation bubbles. The aroma on Full Sail Session Black is malty with nice chocolate and roasted notes with hints of coffee notes too. This beer really has a wonderful aroma to it. The taste up front is big chocolate flavor that washes over the front of your mouth, then comes a slight roasted note that fades into a little coffee as it passed the back of your mouth. The mouth feel is mild but has a slight richness. The after taste of big chocolate and a tiny bit of roast stays on you taste buds for a while. Overall this was an outstanding beer! I’m giving Full Sail Session Black an A+. This beer is very tasty and easy to drink with a nice level of ABV. I would love to have this again and again. I found it to be mostly one flavor, chocolate, but that was excellent. I highly recommend trying Full Sail Session Black. So go and try Full Sail Session Black for yourself as see what you think of it.  Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!