Well I have come to the realization that there are some breweries out there that I just don’t like, because I don’t like the majority of their beers. Case in point Southern Tier Brewing Company in NY. I only like their Crème Brûlée Stout. I find their other beers to be strong and somewhat too hoppy. Here is Southern Tiers Compass, 9.0% ABV, a bottle conditioned imperial sparkling ale brewed with rose hips and citrusy hops. Compass pours a deep straw color that is almost orange with a three and half finger off white head that sticks around for a little while which leaves behind some lacing, but nothing note worthy there. I found a big amount of carbonation there with very little to almost no light coming though the glass. The aroma is like grapefruit and light grassy straw. The taste on Compass is bitter and strong up front with little effervescent. They said it was effervescent on the side of the bottle, I guess that is a misprint. I would not say that compass is overly bitter is a medium bitterness that really hits you with grapefruit and a grassy like note with the faintest biscuit note, it’s almost not there. Well there is another misprint. The taste is fruity with notes of light lemon, big grapefruit, and slight orange. There aren’t really any floral flavors to this, which I didn’t really find. Oh look another misprint. Southern Tier really has to work on or stop misprinting thing on there bottles. More I drank Compass the more it taste like a hoppy pale ale (extra pale ale) and not so much like a sparkling ale. The taste on Compass was what I thought it was going to be when I bought it. That is kind of misleading. There is a bit of some piney flavors to this on the back end with no really presents of and good malt flavors. The mouth feel is medium and Compass finishes a bit on the hoppy side with a hoppy aftertaste of bitter grapefruit and faint oranges. Overall I was not impressed with Compass and it lead to believe that I might not like most Southern Tier beers. So Compass gets a D. I think it is just too much, too much hoppy flavors and to much alcohol. Why does this need to have a 9.0% ABV. That is the way I think of almost all of Southern Tier’s brewers. I like their Crème Brûlée Stout, which is a good beer. I don’t really recommend Southern Tier Compass. I wouldn’t buy it again. I don’t know what it is trying to be, an IPA, a double IPA, Pale Ale, or Imperial Sparkling Ale. I don’t know, nor would I want to know. So if you think you might like Southern Tier Compass, go and try it for yourself. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!
Thursday, June 12, 2014
It’s that time again for another month, Foothill Brewing IPA of the Month, June 2014 (Jasmine), 5.8% ABV and 64 IBU. Foothills is using Caramel malts, an infusion of five different hops, in which I could not find on the bottle or on the Foothills website, A unique double dry hop of Mosaic, Simcoe, and Chinook. Well let’s see if this month, June is as good as May. June pours a hazy light orange color with a slight hue of light yellowish copper on the edges, with three and a half fingers of bright white fluffy head that sticks around for a good while then fades into great thick whips of lacing. I found there to be a nice amount of light coming through the glass with a little amount of carbonation there. The aroma on June is like a grapefruit and lemon with nice subtle hints of honeydew melon with a hoppy grass note too. Now the taste on this June IPA of the Month is similar to the aroma, at first you get a hit of grapefruit with some lemon and a slight grassy note, but the on the middle of your tongue you get a just ripened honeydew melon with a slight and yet somewhat faint malt character, and on the back of your mouth you get a hoppy grassy and piney flavor. But overall you taste more of the grapefruit and lemon; they stand out more here and shout a little. The mouth feel on this Foothills IPA of the Month is medium and has a slight fruity bitter finish with a slight tough of a malted character. The after taste is bitter from a combo of nice grapefruit and lemon and a quick and light taste of honeydew melon. I was really looking forward to this due to how great the others in the series have been but this wasn’t as good as May but was as good as April. So I would give this an A. I really couldn’t find the amount of Caramel malts they Foothills said were here on the side of this bottle. But I found a little bit though. But a solid IPA nonetheless, and yes I do recommend try Foothills IPA of the Month June (Jasmine). Try the whole series if you can I recommend that too. This is a good way to explore the world of IPAs and hops. Cheers! Please drink responsibly!
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Using spices in brewing beer isn’t anything new; brewers and breweries have been all different kinds of spices for sometime now. Some spices coincide with a particular season, like nutmeg and gingerbread during Christmas, pumpkin and allspice during fall especially during October, and pepper, peppercorn and ginger during spring and summer. Spices can be mixed with other ingredients and all together they create a bigger taste that could make a beer good or bad. But that is up to ones taste and taste buds. Well I have one example of this type of beer from Fullsteam Brewery here in Durham North Carolina. This is Cack-A-Lacky, 5.0% Abv. This Cack-A-Lacky, which is a slang way of Carolina, is a ginger pale ale. I like ginger; it is a good tasting root spice in my opinion. Cack-A-Lacky pours a deep kind of darkish gold like color with a two and a half finger of a white head. I found some light coming through with nice amounts of carbonation bubbles racing to the head. The aroma is pretty strong on Cack-A-Lacky with ginger and little light whiffs of grassy hops. But the ginger really overpowers your sense of smell, it’s like a ginger root has been shoved in your nose. Not a bad smell, but after awhile the gingery power gets a bit much. Taste on Cack-A-Lacky is huge with ginger up front, a little to much to the point where it becomes a bit bitter towards the back of your mouth. There is a bit of a tiny hop flavor on the back as well that adds just a pinch of bitterness to it, but nothing harmful or overpowering. Cack-A-Lacky has a slight spiced and bittersweet finish and you get nothing less than a slight bitter and gingery aftertaste that linger for just enough time to let you know that this is a ginger flavored beer, as if you didn’t know that already at this point. This beer is mostly ginger but it somehow works as a pale ale. I am not saying this is the best beer. I am saying this is a B- beer. Fullsteam should have not used as much ginger with this and used a little more malt to help balance Cack-A-Lacky out, not that it isn’t balanced. Cack-A-Lacky doesn’t have that down perfectly. I kind of liked this, but I wouldn’t have bought a six-pack of Cack-A-Lacky nor would I rush out and by this again right now. Would I recommend this? Not off the top of my head. Shiner Ruby Redbird is much better and easier to drink. Try them both and see what you think of them. Cheers! Please drink responsibly!
Saturday, June 7, 2014
One traditional method that brewers and breweries have been using for centuries is barrel aging. The Belgians are the best at this, but some of you many to agree but never mind that I am not here to be that argument up on the table. When you age a beer in a certain type of barrel the beer tend to pick up little flavors from the barrel, that barrel could be anything from a whiskey, bourbon, rum, white/red wine, oak, or some other type of wood. But there is no set amount of time in which a beer sits in that barrel. That is up the beer brewery and its brewers. Well that sounds all neat and fancy. Take that wine makers. Here is one example, Allagash Curieux, 11.0% Abv. Curieux is a Tripple ale that has been put into an oak bourbon barrel and aged for eight weeks in Allagash’s cold cellars. Curieux was bottled on March 21st 2014 and there are only one thousand case bottled. This beer sounds a little rare. The aroma on Curieux is nice with touches of a peppery like spice and hints of coconut. Now the taste of Curieux is a bit like a white wine but with a hint of soft peppery like spice. The coconut from the aroma is there but much less present along with vanilla. There is the strong alcohol on the back of your tongue. But the alcohol isn’t huge, nor is it really in your face, its just sort of there and say hello as you take a sip. The mouth feel is close to the bottom end of medium. Curieux has a nice sweet and slightly spiced vanilla finish with a nice hint of the 11% abv. The after taste is an extension of Curieux’s finish with a touch more of smoothness. Over all I thought this beer was good so Allagash Curieux gets a B+. The only thing keeping it from an A is the 11% abv. It really has a tiny amount of bitter flavors to it but nothing that would keep me from having Curieux again. I would recommend you try Allagash Curieux and see how you like it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!
When it comes to summertime and summer beers you tend to think of light crisp refreshing fruity beers that are easy to drink. That is generally what you will find on store shelves. Many different fruits are used with a myriad of ingredients, such as ginger, wheat, rye, bittering hops, regular hops, somewhat rare yeast strains, and/or a verity of malts. Some are better than others. Here is Rübæus, 5.7% abv, from Founders Brewing in Michigan. This is a Malt beverage fermented with raspberries. Rübæus pours a hazy reddish color with a reddish white two finger head that dissipates quickly. There isn’t much light coming through due to the hazy nature of the beer and I could barely see any carbonation bubbles there. The aroma on Rübæus is tart with touches of sweet raspberries and raspberry musk. The taste is sweet at first followed by a tart fruity raspberry flavor that becomes a bit more tart as it hits the back of your tongue. It has a nice refreshing quality to its taste. The mouth feel is light to almost medium and has a nice tart and somewhat sweet raspberry finish. The after taste is a touch more tart with little less sweetness there and then end with a fade of some raspberries. Nice beer for a nice warm summer day and is refreshing with an easy to drink quality. I would say this is somewhat similar to a Belgian Lambic beer. So Rübæus gets an A, a solid fruit beer that is refreshing. I would love to have Rübæus again and I do recommend Rübæus. So go out and try Founders Brewing Rübæus for yourself and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!