Saturday, December 30, 2017

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

As usual, when visiting the Long Island Joyces, (and Joyce adjacent folks) I stop in at Port Jefferson Beverage for some local beer. The guys at Port Jefferson Beverage are always very friendly and knowledgeable and willing to ply me with samples! My Dad was the first one to reveal the location of this jewel, and as the picture indicates, I convinced him to try some black lager.

Brooklyn Brewery has been around for a few years and brews a variety of ales and lagers. Black Chocolate Stout is an Imperial Russian Stout, a style that had its origins in the 18th century when English brewers sent some stout to Catherine the Great of Russia, jacking up the hops and alcohol content so that it would survive the long trip. But don't let the "chocolate" in the title confuse you: there's no actual chocolate. The masterful blending of American malts, including some malted wheat, give us some subtle chocolate notes.

Black Chocolate Stout pours a deep, dark, impenetrable black with a frothy tan head. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. I couldn't find the IBUs, but it has a nice hoppy bite. The 10% ABV provides a comfortable heat. In addition to the dark chocolate, there are hints of dark fruits, like figs, raisins, black cherries and plums, finishing of with some brown sugar and molasses.

This is an incredible brew, great for the cold winter months!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Samuel Adams Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal stout is one of those modern inventions that give some extra life to the venerable stout style. Oatmeal gives the stout an extra creaminess and body - more so than the ordinary stouts. It pours an almost-black, with a frothy brown head. The IBUs are 25, but it feels hoppier, with a nice bitterness punch. Suggestions of caramel, vanilla, coffee and molasses. The molasses adds a welcome sweetness to an otherwise sturdy brew. This is a well-deserved addition to the Winter Classics variety pack.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Bock, bock
Who's there?
(Sorry, that's all I've got for that setup!)

But, hey! We have another self-proclaimed bock in the Sam Adams 12 pack! I do want to point out that the label to the left is an old label, and describes the beer as ale, which is inaccurate, since bocks are a subcategory of lager. I think there was a least one major market that had beer labeling ordinances that were inaccurate as to the actual classification of certain beers.

This chocolate bock pours a deep mahogany brown with a thin tan head. Milk chocolate aroma dominates, with vanilla notes. Very creamy.  Despite the heavy presence of the chocolate, the underlying "beeriness" is still evident: it's a solid bock outside the chocolate goodness. Food pairings would lean toward desserts - cheesecake, chocolate mousse, coffee ice cream, tiramisu.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Winter Lager is another perennial favorite in the Winter Classics variety pack. I've never noticed before that they're calling it a "wheat bock". Bocks of course are a subcategory of lager, which don't seem to be restricted to  Spring any longer. The spices are the same as in Old Fezziwig: cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, however they seem to come on a bit stronger here. I'm not detecting anything that would tip one off to the wheat, but the maltiness does suggest a bock rather than a plain lager. In addition to the named spices, there is also a hint of licorice and caramel. Like many Sam Adams offerings,  the Winter Lager is not trying to be anything fancy, just a simple beer-lover's winter warmer. Try it with roast turkey, or a hearty beef stew, perhaps even some gingerbread or pumpkin pie.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Old Fezziwig Ale is a long-time standby in the Winter Classics variety pack, the base is brown ale with ginger, orange peel and cinnamon added to give it that holiday zip. Unlike many holiday ales and winter warmers, the spices all blend together seamlessly in contrast to those beers that, like a hoppy drama queen, all clamor for attention - me! me! taste me! Old Fezziwig is a perfect companion for roast turkey (or other fowl) and apple pie! For some reason they don't sell this as part of a six- or twelve-pack, they'd likely sell a few if they did.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Samuel Adams Amber Bock

Bocks traditionally have been Spring beers, the first brew after a long a search for "Bock" on this blog and you'll get more information. Despite the seasonal dissonance, I have no problem including Amber Bock in the Winter Classics variety pack. At 25 IBUs, it's just hoppy enough, but hoppy isn't really what a bock does. The color is a light...well...amber, with a thin white head. The main impression is a malty sweetness with caramel and toffee notes, but not overwhelmingly so; I am definitely on board with a beer being beer without any distractions. Food pairings include bratwurst, Cajun chicken, or even lamb curry. Pepperoni would not be out of place. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest pumpkin cheesecake as well.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Sometimes, when reviewing and checking out craft beers, the standards get overlooked. Why drink some ol' lager when you can have a Elderberry Sour IPA Stout Pumpkin K├Âlsch? But the basic lagers and amber ales are worth our time as well. Sam Adams' variety packs always include a couple of bottles of Boston Lager, so I'm starting off the reviews with the same.

Although they don't promote it as such, the style is definitely what's referred to as a Vienna Lager. The Vienna style originated in that Austrian city, but you'll find many examples among Mexican beers such as Negra Modelo and Dos Equis. Sam Adams Boston Lager, is a great example of the style. Pouring a light amber with a short off-white head, the overall effect is a mild malty sweetness, rather than the crisp cleanness of a Pilsner. The hoppiness is subdued at 30 IBUs, and there is a caramel aroma mixed with a breadiness that makes this more complex than most lagers. This is a great year-round beer and can be enjoyed with a variety of foods like burgers, fried chicken or even bruschetta. An IGB favorite.