Archive for the ‘Flavored Brews’ Category


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: Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier

July 18, 2009

blackberryIt’s been way too long since I’ve had a beer review on here. Apologies for the delay. I have no excuse! (True, I’m studying fluid mechanics this summer, but what better fluid to study than beer!) I went to Kroger to find a decent beer to review and decided to review a beer I’ve been wanting to try a while, despite my general mistrust of fruity beers: Samuel Adams’ Blackberry Witbier.

Here’s a clip of what they say on their Web site about the beer:

By bringing the blackberries, orange and coriander together with an appealing malt character and a spiciness from the hops, we’ve brewed a flavorful beer with a smooth finish that’s both sweet and tart.

But more importantly (ha ha), here’s what I say…

The Pour
This pours to a 1-2 finger thick, off white head consisting of tight tiny bubbles. The beer itself is a nice orangey, copper color and is somewhat hazy. The head dissipates cleanly, leaving no lacing on the glass, and there is little to no carbonation visible in the glass.

The Nose
Blackberry blackberry blackberry. The first nose consists of no other aromas. It is a wonderful blackberry scent though. Additional forays into the bouquet, however, bring forward the spices, such as coriander, used in the brewing and some citrus notes. There is a slight sourness in the background as well, which will probably be picked up in the taste as the slight bitterness of the hops.

The Taste
The blackberry is more muted in the taste than the nose, but it’s definitely present. Typical witbier notes are also picked up, as are notes of citrus and spice. There are slight yeasty notes in there as well as slightly bitter hops.  This is a medium bodied brew (though it’s on the heavier side of medium) and has a crisp mouthfeel. The finish is slightly sweet and there is a good amount of carbonation, but the last note of the finish brings blackberry to the forefront again, where it lingers for quite some time afterwards.

Overall, I like this beer. There is one thing keeping me from loving this beer, and it’s the fact that I would like it to be more noticeable as a witbier. It comes across more like a lager to me. The blackberry part they got exactly right. On the nose it is very prominent and smells terrific and juicy. In the mouth, it is more muted but still there, and lets the other flavors share the stage. I just wish they had spent more time on the witbier aspect as well.

Recommended: It’s not bad….I wouldn’t think this would be something to drink frequently, but if you’ve been eyeing it at the store, give it a shot. It’s pretty tasty and not something you’ll regret trying.

Price: $7.99/6-pack

ABV: 5.5%


Beer Review: Buckbean Brewing Co. Original Orange Blossom Ale

July 6, 2008

Buckbean Brewing Company was founded in 2007 in Reno, NV. They can their beer instead of bottling it for environmental reasons. According to their press release package, microbreweries only bottled their beers initially because the aluminum canning lines were not designed for smaller production, so glass bottles were their only option. So people began to equate glass bottles with good beer. I was not aware of any of this but I definitely prefer glass bottles myself, not that I drink out of bottles or cans. I pour whenever I can to open up the beer and catch all scents and see the color and clarity.

Anyway, on to the Original Orange Blossom Ale…

About the beer
According to the press release package I received with the free samples, this is “a bright zesty ale built from Munich and caramel malts, American hops and orange flowers.” According to their Web site, “…this copper colored ale combines the flavor and aroma of real orange tree flowers with a well-balanced, full flavored ale to produce a real treat for the senses.”

The Pour
I’ve been drinking everything from my new pilsner glasses lately, but I wanted to try this from a pint glass. This poured with less than a finger of creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly. The color is very orange but it’s not completely clear. There looks to be some hint of cloudiness and it seems barely carbonated.

The Nose
There are floral hops present, but the dominating scent is citrus. It smells strongly of orange oils or orange zest. Smells clean and sweet.

The Taste
My first impression of this beer was that it was very light and shallow of flavor. You got the orange flavor and some malt and hop flavors and that was it. As I finished the first, and then the second, pint, I started appreciating this beer more. It’s very smooth and eminently drinkable. It is very light bodied, and the orange is the dominant flavor, but hops notes come through on the finish.

After the first couple of sips, I was preparing to come talk about how I wish it were fuller bodied and more complex, but in the end, I decided this was a uniquely tasty brew. It’s a very drinkable and refreshing brew, great for quaffing after you cut the grass or while grilling. The flavor is not that multi-layered but it is spot on. I’m already thinking about the next time I cut the grass and how good this would taste. In a nutshell, I am well pleased with the flavor and how refreshing it is!

Recommended: Yes. It is, at the very least, worth a first try. Drink a pint or two and see if the flavor doesn’t make you want more!

Price: Unknown

ABV: 5.8%


Beer Review: Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout

July 6, 2007

ydcs.jpgI decided yesterday that it was time for a new beer review. I had intended to go pick up a jug of Mississippi Mud, but I got to the store and they had none. I don’t know if it’s no longer available or that store just doesn’t sell it anymore. Instead I decided a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout sounded good, so I brought home a bottle and chilled it. The anticipation was killing me as it cooled in the dark confines of the fridge, nestled among the milk and the orange juice.

I’ve had this beer many times and is actually one of my favorites, but I thought I’d review it and share it with my fellow beer snobs.

Young’s is a brewery based in England, and according to their Web site they have been brewing beer since 1581! I’ve tried several of their brews, and you almost can’t go wrong with anything they brew. I say “almost” because I tried their Waggledance beer once, which is a honey beer. I don’t generally like honey beers.

Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout is touted on their bottle as being a dark ale with natural chocolate flavor added. The bottle also says:

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout has an intriguing twist. Chocolate malt and real dark chocolate are combined with Young’s award-winning rich, full flavored dark ale to craft a satisfyingly indulgent, but never overly sweet experience.

I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. Anyway, on to the review.

The Pour
I cracked open this nectar of the stout gods and poured it into a nice pint glass, giving it just enough speed at the end to raise a nice thick, rich and fluffy dark tan head with dense bubbles. The head dissipated slowly with very slight lacing. When drinking the beer though, the head left some good lacing on the side of the glass.

The ale itself was basically pitch black, or a brown as close to pitch black as possible, and basically opaque. I couldn’t see more than the slightest tiniest hint of light shining through.

The Nose
The nose is a wonderful dark chocolate bouquet. There are hints of coffee and licorice in the nose as well. It smells very full bodied….almost chewy. It smells like heaven.

The Taste
There’s much more coffee in the taste than in the nose. There is still dark chocolate evident, but it’s more noticeable in the finish. This is quite smooth with a good amount of body (on the heavy side of medium). The beer coats your mouth with coffee, chocolate and malty goodness. As it warms, the coffee and dark chocolate flavors sort of meld together and become one new flavor….almost a dark chocolate mocha.

In Summary
Overall, this is a terrific example of a stout, even though it’s flavored with real dark chocolate. Stouts are generally wonderful mixtures of coffee and chocolate flavors anyway. This brew just takes those flavor profiles to another level.

I drank this in early July, but it is best in late fall or winter, preferably sitting in front of a wood fire. This is definitely not a session beer, but something to be sipped and sniffed and savored.

Incidentally, I once spoke with a beer seller at one of my usual haunts who told me there was a couple who would come in and buy Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and a Cherry Lambic. Apparently they would, for dessert, mix the two. I suppose it was like drinking a chocolate covered cherry. I may try that some time.

Recommended: Absolutely, without question, YES!
Price: $3.99 for basically a pint
ABV: 5.2%