Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Carhartt Woodsman: Barrel-Aged Pale Ale

The new kid on the beer block does it again. The Carhartt Woodsman is a barrel-aged pale ale. Pouring an apricot hue with a thin lacy white head, this ale gives you a snoot full of hops before it ever touches your tongue. The ABV is fairly low at 4.4% (maybe why it's a pale ale and not an IPA) but it's very hoppy-seeming, although the IBU's are about 33. The oak from the barrel aging is not particularly evident at first, but as it warms up, you can detect its subtle effect. This is a pretty good beer...7.8 on the IGB scale

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Modern Monks Pumpkin Bomb Pumpkin Pie Ale

Modern Monks, a fine Lincoln brewery associated with Misty's Steakhouse here in Lincoln has been flying under the radar beer-wise. Mainly due to being available for so long only in the restaurants. With the cans now being available in fine liquor and grocery stores (and those not-so-fine as well) for some time now. Modern Monks is marching into the spotlight. It seems to me that the best pumpkin ales out there have vanilla in the recipe somewhere. Autumn Bomb has some roasted pumpkin, spices as well as molasses and vanilla. The vanilla gives it a creamy smoothness, while the molasses adds a heavy sweetness that makes it perfect for cool evenings around Samhain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Boulevard Entwined Ale

Entwined Ale is one of those experimental beers that brewmasters like to play with. Muscat grape juice mixed with pale malt; it came out looking like a pear or white grape juice with a small white head. It tastes kind of like a dry white wine. It doesn't appear to have any hops in it and is assigned an IBU number of 6.9 - a number that I have never seen before. As exotic and different as Entwined is, it is pretty light and refreshing and quite different than what I imagined.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale & Gingerbread Spiced Ale

We're not to Halloween yet and already the Christmas beers are out! These are a pretty decent brews - I normally stay away from the flavored beers, but these is a great ones to have on hand for the holidays. The Cinnamon Horchata tastes very similar to a Rumchata and the Gingerbread is a typical spiced Christmas ale. I'd recommend having some in the fridge for family gatherings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lakefront Brewery's Imperial Pumpkin (Aged in Brandy Barrels)

When I picked out this beer I was just looking for a new, previously-untried pumpkin ale and didn't noticed until I opened it that it was aged in brandy barrels, as was the beer I last reviewed. Before I even get rolling, I have to announce that Lakefront Imperial Pumpkin has dethroned Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin as my favorite pumpkin ale. Wow! This is some good stuff! Pours a autumny cinnamon hue with an all-but-invisible head. The mouthfeel is very creamy, with the various spices, pumpkin flavor, cinnamon and brandy overtones all vying for attention. the 8% ABV combines nicely with the brandy flavor to supply a wonderful warmth that makes this an incredibly apt choice for the cool Fall nights.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Empyrean Big Old Red Ale (Aged in Brandy Barrels)

Brilliant! Bottling the Carpe Brewem limited addition ales was a stroke of genius. Big Old Red pours a frothy (I mean frothy, dude) ruby tinged amber with a gigantic head. Very sweet, with black cherry and apricot predominating, with perhaps a little fig and caramel. This brew was aged in brandy barrels, so the alcohol heat from the 8% ABV combines with the brandy notes to provide a smooth, yet smoky finish. There's a 44 IBU hop hit in the mix as well, tarting things up, while being nicely balanced. It reminds me in some respects of a Belgian Dubbel. Carbonation is very high, the beer spilled over even after setting quietly in the fridge for several hours. Overall a good choice for a nightcap!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guinness Blonde - American Lager

Weird. That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this on the shelf today. Granted, Guinness couldn't live forever as a one-hit wonder; they've done alright with the black lager, even if it did scare off the ignorant who "don't like dark beer" (because "dark" is a flavor....right?) and the Harvest Red from last year. But really, what's the point of a Guinness lager? That being said, not a bad beer. It's in the Vienna style (think Sam Adams Boston Lager, Yuegling or Modelo) so it's not very hoppy, but smooth and a little sweet. Really, nothing special here though. Marketing...branding...