Archive for the ‘Ale’ Category


Beer Review: Goose Island’s Matilda

March 27, 2010

Goose Island Matila Belgian style ale

The bottle and the cool wood packaging in which it was sent

Goose Island is not a brewery I am very familiar with.  I reviewed their Bourbon County Stout last year, and it was a great, nuanced beer with neverending depth of flavor.  Recently, they sent me a press release about Matilda being available in the West, and they followed it up with a bottle of Matilda herself, to be reviewed on this blog.

About the brewery
When the first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. The craft beer industry was still in its infancy, with only a handful of brewpubs in existence in the Midwest. In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to do just that. (Source:

The beer, according to the press release:

Since 2005, Matilda has garnered accolades from food and beer critics around the world, medaling in both the prestigious World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. With an alcohol by volume of 7% and a shelf life of 5 years, the finished product is true to Belgium’s tradition of brewing with spicy yeasts. Harkening rich aromas such as coriander and allspice, Matilda is brewed with a rare yeast strain that also lends a slightly fruity flavor.

The Pour
This poured semi-thickly into the glass. An orangey amber color, this beer was quite hazy from the yeast that remains in the bottle.  The tiny head it poured to dissipated very quickly.  I was writing notes on the color of the beer itself when I looked back and the head was already gone. (I pour the first half of a beer with the glass at 45 degrees, then pour the rest at 90 degrees to try to generate a decent head without overflowing the glass.)

The Nose
This beer has a great yeasty and fruity nose.  It almost has some of the characteristics of a hefeweizen in the nose as well.  The fruitiness behind the yeasty, bready notes may be mango or some other less common fruit. 

The Taste
Upfront crispness, sweetness and bready flavors give way to a fantastic spicy (peppery, if you ask me) flavor on the back of the palate and lingering through the finish.  The finish also lets loose some slightly bitter hoppiness mingling with nice yeast.  I would say this is a slightly full-bodied beer, with a slightly cloying mouthfeel, though the first drink seems crisp and clean. 

Matilda is a lady, and what an interesting, sophisticated lady she is.  She’s sweet when you first meet her, but her spiciness and personality really shine the more you get to know her.  They say women are like fine wine…they just get better with age.  Matilda is a cellaring beer, suitable for cellaring for five years, but even now, freshly bottled, she is showing signs of her future elegance.

Yes, the spicy notes are terrific and this really feels like a peppery white wine, though it only contains about half the alcohol.

Price: This was a sample sent by the brewery/PR folks.

ABV: 7% ABV according to the press release


Beer Review: Schlafly Saison Ale

March 23, 2010

What to say about Schlafly…they are a brewery I am still unsure of at this point.  I really enjoyed their pumpkin ale, but I think I am generally just undecided about them right now.

About the brewery (from the Schlafly Web site)
In 1991, Anheuser-Busch had brewing plants in 12 cities and produced enough beer to fill 28 billion bottles. That same year, a burned-out building on the corner of 21st and Locust Street was resurrected as the city’s first new brewery in over five decades and Schlafly Beer was born. Unlike its much larger neighbor, The Saint Louis Brewery is dedicated to the notion that a local brewer can once again thrive in America’s brewing capital. And, although the brewery has grown steadily since its inception, it remains dedicated to the local market, brewing a wide range of traditional beers that pay tribute to the area’s great history. Read the rest of this entry ?


Beer Review: Founders Old Curmudgeon Ale

March 20, 2010

Founders Old Curmudgeon AleI love doing a beer review when I have no frame of reference for the beer.  I got this beer as part of a silent auction package I won last year, and it’s been sitting in my closet ever since.  I had heard of Founders Brewing Company before, as well as their Old Curmudgeon Ale, but hadn’t tried any of their products.  I hadn’t read about this beer either, so I was completely without expectation or preconceived notion when I first cracked this open. Read the rest of this entry ?


Flying Fish Brewing Company announces the newest entry in their Big-Bottle Exit Series: Exit 16 Wild Rice IPA

February 27, 2010

CHERRY HILL, NJFlying Fish Brewing Company (1940 Olney Avenue, 856-489-0061), is excited to announce the debut of their new Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA, the latest entry in their “Exit Series” of big-bottle beers honoring their home state of New Jersey.  Exit 16 bottles will be available by mid-March and will also on be on draft in limited quantities throughout the region. Read the rest of this entry ?


Beer Review: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

February 20, 2010

I first had this Pumpkin Ale over Christmas, brought to me courtesy of Bob Jarrett over at The Wine Tree in Evansville, Indiana.  He’s introduced me to several really good beers and is a member of my extended (through marriage) family.  He makes me look like a beer novice with his knowledge of beer.

I have had good and bad experiences with Pumpkin Ale, so I approach each one with trepidation. Will this one be overspiced or will it be a beautiful example of this variety? One never knows.. Read the rest of this entry ?


Beer Review: Biere Du Boucanier

January 14, 2010

photo courtesy

Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s episode of “Pirate Beers and the men who love them”! This beer came in a mixed variety pack of beers I bid on and won at a silent auction late last summer/early fall. They’ve been hanging out (aging? :D) in my closet for some time and I was finally able to try some of them recently.

This one was Biere Du Boucanier, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really, especially from looking at the bottle. I didn’t expect much, really. The bottle made me feel like I was about to enjoy a bottle of whole milk, not beer.

But then I tried it…

The Pour
This pours to a nice deep, dark ruby brown color. It has a nice thick, pillowy beige head. Looks promising…

The Nose
This smells of chocolate and roasted malt with hints of caramel. It smells very sweet but it also has a dryness on the edge of the nose. There are also hints of oak and dark, tart fruit.

The Taste
The malty sweetness of this brew is offset by a subtle sourness that really grows on you the more you experience it. Tastes a little like good tart cherries barely coated in chocolate. This is a very smooth, medium bodied brew. The mouthfeel is slightly oily but with a crispness on the edge of the tongue. There are slight hints of the higher alcohol content on the finish, which almost gives it a whiskey hint. This warms the palate nicely.

This seems far more complex than I was expecting, with a lot to enjoy and experience with each swallow. The sourness of tart cherries keep it from being overly sweet. After drinking this beer, I found myself craving more beers that show this sourness to their character. I enjoyed it a great deal.

Recommended: Absolutely! I can still, days later, taste the sourness of this beer, and I want more!

Price: Unknown (part of an auction package)

ABV: 9%


Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

October 8, 2009

Rogue's Northwestern Ale

Rogue's Northwestern Ale

I was in the market for some beer lately (imagine that!) and came across Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale.  According to the bottle, portions of the proceeds of this beer go to support the Fisherman’s Fund. The Captain Sig in the name of the beer, in case you didn’t know, is Sig Hansen, of the crab fishing boat The Northwestern. The Deadliest Catch is one of my favorite shows, and Sig Hansen is my favorite captain on that show.  So I had to try this.

By the way, if you like Deadliest Catch and the Hansen brothers as much as I do, check out the Northwestern crew’s Web site.

Rogue calls it an India Red Ale and it uses 2-Row Pale, Munich, Carastan and Chocolate Malts, Amarillo and Cascade hops, Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

The Pour
A good solid pour resulted in a massive, billowy and light tan, three finger thick head.  The beer itself is a dark caramely color and looks slightly cloudy in the glass. (Remnants of the Pacman Yeast perhaps?) The head leaves nice lacing on the glass as you enjoy this brew.

The Nose
This has a good malty nose. I can smell coffee notes and the freshness of hops with floral hints. It smells very clean and fresh. Repeated deep sniffs give you more of the hops, including the citrus and grapefruit usually denoting the Cascade hops. Good bitter and floral notes are found as well.

The Taste
This is one tasty brew! There’s a good roundness and well balanced flavor that give way to a nicely lemony and floral finish. The finish becomes more grapefruity as the beer warms, but as the hoppiness fades at the end of the finish, chocolate flavors linger. This starts off malty and sweet, but also brings clean and refreshing flavors to the party. This is a medium bodied ale.

Captain Sig Hansen should be proud to have his name associated with this beer, and with Rogue. Like Sig, Rogue doesn’t do anything half assed. They do what they do, and they do it big! This beer has a great depth of flavor and is just a very tasty brew.

Recommended: You bet! Very tasty and full of flavor

Price: $6.99 / 1 pint, 6 fl. oz. bottle

ABV: 6.2% according to Beer Advocate