Friday, August 29, 2014

Unibroue Raftman

Some beers are harder to find than others and that could be due to where that beer brewery is located or that they just do not distribute beer out of their local area and/or state. That could be cost or other reasons. Some beers might just be a seasonal release and some seasons are shorter than others, like fall. Well, I came across a seasonal brew from The Unibroue brewery in Canada, Raftman, 5.5% ABV, a Belgian Pale ale brewed with Peat smoked Whisky malt and also brewed with spices. Unibroue Raftman is brewed in memory of those bygone masters of the forest who were always amenable to settling their differences over ale and a shot of whiskey. I always enjoy Unibroue’s labels, they are always very interesting and they look like they tell some sort of story. Raftman pours a copper brownish slightly murky color with a big three and a half rocky white head that sticks around for a good while and fades into some nice white lacing. I found minimal light coming through the glass with little carbonation due to the murky like coloring. The aroma has the slightest smoky malt scent with a little yeast. The taste on Raftman is smoky like the aroma but just enough to let you know that there are smoked whiskey malts. I also get a little bit of a pepper spice on the middle of the mouth that really goes well with the smoked whiskey malts, and really lifts it taste up. On the back of the mouth, I get some nice slightly sweet vanilla flavors. The mouthfeel is full bodied with some richness to it, but not a lot. Raftman has a nice smoky finish that lingers into a nice slightly spiced and smoked aftertaste. This is a really an interesting take on a Belgian Pale Ale, I give Unibroue Raftman A+. I really like the smoked whiskey malts on this beer. They really did it well, it isn’t overdone or strong and it’s easy to drink. I highly recommend trying Unibroue Raftman, so go out and get some of it and try it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Highland Brewing Company 20th Anniversary American Saison Ale

More and more breweries are opening everyday, and some are growing in size, and there are breweries that are celebrating one, two, five, ten or even twenty-year anniversaries. Breweries tend to do something special for an anniversary. They might have a special party at their brewery or release a special beer. Well one brewery here in the mountains of North Carolina, Highland Brewing Company is having a twentieth anniversary, so they brewed a number (twenty to be exact, the number of years making beer) of special beers though out 2014. Here is one, Highland Brewing’s American Saison Ale, 5.8% ABV. This Highland brew is a hybrid of the classic Saison and the American Pale.   Highland Brewing’s American Saison Ale pours a bright orange color with a one finger thin white head that fades quickly into a thin head that then sticks around for a while. I found the littlest amount of light with a nice grouping of carbonation bubbles. The aroma is spiced and peppery with a slight yeasty note on the nose. Taste on this American Saison is citrusy with citrus hops, and orangey up front with a slight hop character in the middle and a peppery and spicy note on the back. The mouth feel is medium with a yeasty finish; the after taste is citrusy with a bit of pepper and spice. The flavors of this Highland American Saison do not seem to work well with one another.  I found that this beer has a harsher finish with the spice and seem like it just hits you out of now where on the finish. But this isn’t a bad beer though, so I say this is a C-. Not really what I was hoping for in a Saison but it wasn’t terrible. The spiced and peppery finish on Highland Brewing’s American Saison Ale wasn’t something I liked and it brought the beer down. Would I try this again? That is kind of a hard one, but I do not think I will be having this for a while. I don’t think it is quite as good as it could be, but still not a bad one. So go out and try Highland Brewing’s American Saison Ale for their twentieth Anniversary and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!   

Friday, August 22, 2014

Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy

During the summer months brewers try using fruits in theirs beers, some tend to use wheat beers as a base while other take more creative route and use more creative base ingredients. These fruity beers tend to have a lower alcohol level then some beers. The Harpoon brewery in Boston Massachusetts has a line of beers called UFO (Harpoons UnFiltered Offering) and they have one, Big Squeeze Shandy, 4.5% ABV. Big Squeeze is brewed with grapefruit juice. Big Squeeze pours a deep thick hazy orange color with an off white head that dissipates instantly as soon as you pour. I found no light coming through the glass with very little carbonation due do the deep color of Big Squeeze. I also found little bits of grapefruit floating in the glass. The aroma is citrusy and acidic with big amounts of grapefruits.  Big Squeeze has a big sweet and fresh ruby red grapefruit taste up front that hits you big time on first sip, and then as it pass over the middle of your taste buds it taste more like fresh pink grapefruit with tiny hints of citric acids and the sweet citric acid flavor become a bit more intense as it comes over the back of your mouth. As this beer warms you get more bitter grapefruit flavors and as you get to the end of this shandy the flavors are little bitterer and slightly more acidic. The mouth feel is medium with a nice grapefruit finish and an acidic citrus aftertaste that is a bit less sweet. There aren’t much of any other flavors to this shandy but it is still good. I enjoyed Big Squeeze Shandy; this Harpoon UFO gets a B. I would say this is a refreshing beer and would recommend this for a hot summer day, good for the beach, a day at the pool or the lake.  So pick up Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy now for your Labor Day holiday weekend activities now! It’s a good summer beer! Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Foothills Brewing IPA of the Month August (Coral)

More and more I drink IPAs the more I like them as a style. I found another Foothills IPA of the Month. This one is Foothills IPA of the Month August (Coral), 5.5% ABV and with IBU (International Bittering Unit) of 90. The last for months in the serious have been nothing less then great, so I’m thinking August might be just as good if not better. August uses Bravo and Jarrylo hops. August pours a deep orange color that is a little copper around the edges, and has a two and half finger off white fluffy head that sticks around for a while before fading into thick bubbly lacing. I found some sediment in the beer but not much, and there is not very much light coming through. I did see a little school of carbonation bubbles through the lacing. The aroma is much like a hand full of fresh hops and with a little grapefruit. August has a nice taste of slight honeydew melon that is covered with a faint piney and bigger grapefruit. But as the taste hits the back of your tongue the honeydew become more predominant and the grapefruit begins to fade slightly, as the bitterness shines though but just enough to let you know they are there and that is a an IPA.  The mouth feel is medium to almost full, and August finish with a nice touch of a fruity citrus bitterness that leads into a nice bitter grapefruit honeydew melon aftertaste with a tiny touch of a piney and some sort of a berry note. Foothills Brewing IPA of the Month August gets an A. This is a solid beer that keeps up with the previous months and doesn’t disappoint. But I don’t think this is the best so far. That would be either May or July. I would have to drink the side by side to choose the best. But August is good. I think is one has the highest IBU so far, but I never really tasted 90 IBUs, it was masked by the good flavors of this Foothills Brewing beer.  I do recommend Foothills IPA of the Moth August or any of the beers in this serious. So go out any this one or any of them! Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Triple C Brewing Baby Maker Double India Pale Ale

In the last year or so I’ve grown more of a liking to IPA’s (India Pale Ale), but I am not one hundred percent into them, but more than I was in the past. When it comes to IPA’s I can be a bit particular about them. But I was brought a local double IPA from Triple C Brewing here in Charlotte, NC called Baby Maker, 8.5% ABV with 80 IBU (international Bittering Unit). A double IPA is a stronger version of an IPA, with higher an ABV and IBU. The flavor tends to be bigger and bolder. Triple C uses a unique blend of malts to masks the high ABV while copious of four different hop varieties are used in the late kettle additions and dry hopping is also used. Baby Maker pours a deeper amber/copper color with a big three finger off white whipped head that leaves great lacing behind that fades kind of fast. There were tiny amounts of light coming though with a normal carbonation amount. The aroma on Baby Maker is a little sweeter than you’d expect for a DIPA, and there is a normal piney scent that is around a malted aroma. The taste isn’t huge like you when normally get from DIPA’s, but more of malt sweetness with a little bit of piney hop bitterness behind it. I didn’t get much alcohol taste with Baby Maker; it was masked by the sweetness with made this beer a little easier to drink. As this DIPA warms up the sweetness becomes more present as well as the hop bitterness, but the bitterness never gets overly intense, just a bit more present behind the sweet flavor and the alcohol comes through just little. The mouth feel is high medium with a nice bittersweet finish. The aftertaste is good with a little faint grapefruit that lingers for a second or two before quickly disappearing. I am not much into double IPA’s but this is not bad, it’s a B-. I felt that the sweetness and the hop bitterness were not balanced enough, it’s as if they are just there together in the same place not working together. But Baby Maker is a not bad beer though. It’s would be a beer that I would recommend if you like hoppy beers (DIPAs & IPAs). So go out and try Triple C Brewing Baby Maker Double India Pale Ale. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!