Friday, December 12, 2014

Scotch Ale - Newcastle/Caledonia Brewery

This scotch ale is a collaboration between Newcastle, famous for their brown ale and Caledonia Brewing Company out of Edinburgh.

The ale poured a dark amber with a quickly receding three-finger head. There's a little smokiness, but not as much as one might expect from a scotch ale. Not too bad if you set the bar low.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Zipline Black IPA

Limited edition; get 'em while they last. This beer is a prime example of my adage: "Dark is just a color". Although Zipline Black IPA pours a black blacker than the blackest black, it isn't heavy, it's nothing that all of you dark beer haters out there think of when you think "dark beer". It's an India Pale Ale that forgot to use its sunscreen is what it is. I'm not detecting any coffee or chocolate or roasted malts or any of that dark beer stuff. Just some nice piney hops, a little bit of grapefruit, a hint of heat from the 8% ABV and just a damn good IPA that will put hair on your chest...or maybe take it off for the more hirsute among us. Slainte!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Goose Island Festivity Ale

Called Christmas Ale in year's past and Sixth Day Ale last year, Goose Island's holiday offering is usually a brown ale with some spices, and this year is no exception. I'll provide links to previous year's reviews below. Festivity Ale pours the color of dark brown sugar, and indeed there is some brown sugar and maple in the mix, along with cinnamon and nutmeg and some fig, raisin and black cerry as well. I believe that the recipe vcame out just right this year. The perfect winter warmer in my not-so-humble opinion.




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Found this little beauty in the orphaned beer section of The Still yesterday. I've tried a few Deschutes beer this year, including their Black Butte Porter. Obsidian pours a deep, deep chocolate, almost, but not quite, black, with a frothy three-finger head. Chocolate/coffee aroma right off the bat, and a bit of black pepper on the backbeat. Roasted malt and some milky sweetness round it all out. This is an A-1 8.5 out of 10 on the IGB scale.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shock Top Shockolate Wheat

AB continues to do well by their "cool" brand after an abortive attempt at pseudo-craft beers under the Michelob banner about ten years ago. While flavored beers are not at the top of my list, I can get behind them during the season that is bounded by Thanksgiving & Yule. Winter warmers, spice beers, chocolate ales, you name it - this is the time of year for such ale-imals. Shockolate Wheat poured a deep brown with chocolate and and even more so, vanilla, the predominant tastes. Hard to tell whether it's a wheat or not, or even detect the Belgian-ness in there, but I'm willing to cut it some slack! Surprisingly high on the IGB Beer-o-Meter: 7.5...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Anchor Winter Wheat

Typically, when you think of a wheat beer, the image is of a refreshing summer ale, light in color and mouthfeel, maybe with some coriander or lemon thrown in for good measure. Anchor's new winter brew is a wheaty version of the seasonal winter warmer. For the most part, the style is a dunkelweizen, i.e. dark wheat, with lots of depth and complexity. The top notes are coffee and pepper, A hint, but no more than a hint, of chocolate. The heaviness could almost cause one to mistake it for a porter, partially due to the rich chocolate hue and thick brown head. If you're a winter warmer guy or gal, try this one.!

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