Archive for the ‘Seasonals’ Category

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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 ?

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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 ?

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Beer Review: Buckbean’s Brewing’s Tule Duck Red Ale

July 29, 2009

As promised, my package from Buckbean Brewing Company did arrive, and boy was I happy to see it. I’ve been looking forward to this for 2 months! Along with the Original Orange Blossom Ale I have been eagerly awaiting, I received a tall can of Tule Duck Red Ale. Here’s what their Web site had to say about this beer:

This deep red, robust ale combines a silky smooth, rich body with a fruity, caramel malt flavor and a soft, herbal dry hopped finish. A full flavored, classic beer that pairs well with hearty foods of all types.

Sounds great, right? Well, I’ll be the judge of that!   ;-D

The Pour
This looked almost thick coming out of the can. It poured to a one finger head, which is a light brown color, somewhat like the color of brown rice lightened up a notch. The head was somewhat short-lived, and the lacing was of a decent amount. The beer itself is a reddish-tinged lightly chocolatey color and is quite opaque.

The Nose
There is a definite maltiness present, that gives the nose a caramel and roasted malt intro with woody hints. It smells very tasty, and clean and crisp but with a good (not overly cloying) sweetness.

The Taste
Something of a sweet coffee taste is what I noticed right up front. Roasty coffee and woody flavors linger a while on the finish in the back of the throat. As the beer warms and multiple swallows are taken, mineral notes and a pleasant mustiness make their presence known. Halfway through the can, and also as it warms, a little bit of floral hop flavor is also detected. This beer seems a tad shy of full bodied. It’s crisp but it does soften on the finish as the Buckbean Web site mentions.

Overall
I actually haven’t had a lot of red ales in my day. In actuality, the only red beer I can even think of that I’ve ever tried is Killian’s Irish Red, and that was so long ago I don’t even really remember what that was like. But this beer was not what I was expecting. But overall, I think this is a very good beer. It’s a good, malty brew with enough hoppiness to dry and crisp it up and avoid being nothing but malt. The depth of flavor comes through as you drink the beer, which is always a good thing. I liked this beer very much!

Recommended: Yes, if you can get this, it is worth every penny of whatever you have to pay for it. Buckbean Brewing Company comes across to me as a brewery that knows what it’s doing and does it their own unique way.

Price: Unknown (sample sent for reviewing)

ABV: Unknown, but from drinking it, I would have to say it is 6% or higher. Could be the fact that I drank it on an empty stomach, though.

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Beer Review: Schlafly Coffee Stout

March 31, 2009

I love my stouts….there’s nothing like a nice stout in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s day. The smoke of a wood fire complements very well the roasted malt, chocolate and coffee flavors of a good stout. So when I saw Schlafly Coffee Stout at the store, I was eager to give it a try. According to the bottle, “this oatmeal stout with natural flavor added uses locally roasted Kaldi’s coffee.” Let’s give this a try.

The Pour
My usual pour (the first half poured gently in a 45-degree glass, the other half poured vigorously into a glass straight up and down) gives the beer a two finger thick head that is beige in color and consists of dense pillowy foam. It dissipates relatively quickly, leaving a small bit of lacing on the glass. This is a very dark brown brew, with very faint tinges of red noticeable at the very narrowest part of the pint glass, where a tiny bit of light can peek through. This looks quite thick and full-bodied. After a couple of bottles, I noticed some floating particles at the bottom of the glass. Leftover coffee grounds from the brewing process? I’m not sure.

The Nose
There is definitely an oatmeal stout nose present, but with good coffee notes as well. Smells like a glass of freshly ground coffee beans. It has a good roasted scent and a very slight touch of sweetness, like hints of brown sugar or, more closely, molasses.

The Taste
My first taste was overpowering with coffee. It tasted like I was chewing up a bunch of espresso beans, then swigging from an oatmeal stout. It soon mellows, though, and the oatmeal stout flavor and the coffee flavors grow to balance each other. This is a full-bodied brew and starts off quite carbonated, but it mellows somewhat as it warms.

Overall
This is probably not something I’ll pick up quite often but it was definitely interesting. It ended up being better than I thought from my initial sip, but I prefer my stouts to have more subtle coffee flavors. I prefer the depth and character some stouts bring to the table, with a revolving cast of flavors from roasted malt to chocolate to caramel to hints of coffee. This coffee stout really kind of hits you over the head to remind you it is a coffee stout. It’s an aggressive beer, in the way some Rogue brews are aggressive in their flavors.

Recommended: If you like stouts but wish they tasted a LOT more like fresh espresso beans, sure!

Price: $8.29 / 6-pack

ABV: 5.7%

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Beer Review: New Belgium Brewing’s Mighty Arrow Pale Ale

March 7, 2009
Part 4 of a (now) 4 Part Series
Part I: Fat Tire Amber Ale
Part II: Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer
Part III: 1554 Enlightened Black Ale
Part IV: Mighty Arrow Pale Ale

Cheers,
The Beer Snob

Mrs. Beer Snob and I had some friends coming over for dinner one night last week, so I cruised on over to the new Kroger here in Spring Hill to see what sort of beer I could find that we could try, that I could also review. When I saw a new (to us Tennesseans, anyway) New Belgium beer, I grabbed it.

Mighty Arrow is one of their seasonal beers, a Spring pale ale. According to the neck of the bottle…

Mighty Arrow Pale Ale provides lots of pleasurable sniffs from Cascade and Golding hops, with a fetching honey malt base.

Incidentally, this beer is apparently named after a dog, hence the “sniffs” and “fetching” references on the neck of the bottle.

The Pour
A pour with the glass at 45 degrees, followed by the other half of the pour poured vigorously into the glass, results in a two finger thick, off-white dense head that quickly becomes loose and pillowy. This beer is a great coppery hue and is very clear. Very little carbonation activity is seen. The head leaves an average amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

The Nose
This smells first and foremost of grapefruit and honey, with hints of a slightly bitter floral hoppiness. Judging by the nose, you expect the beer to be full-bodied.

The Taste
The taste is much more about dry floral hops than the grapefruit and honey, though the honey is definitely present in undertones. The beer is medium-light bodied with a crisp mouthfeel. The finish is slightly hoppy and sharp but has a clean, refreshing feel to it as well.  

Overall
Overall, this is a good solid pale ale. It’s a good refreshing spring brew, meaning it still maintains some sweetness (through the honey malt base?) while also giving you the hoppiness you start to want as the days get slightly longer and warmer. As far as I’ve seen, with the four New Belgium brews I’ve tried so far, you really can’t go wrong with one of their beers.

Recommended: Sure! I would say they are a brewery that consistently (as far as I’ve seen so far) cranks out good to great beers.

Price: $7.99 / 6-pack

ABV: 6%

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Beer Review: Samuel Adams Winter Lager

January 30, 2009

samadamswinterlagerI purchased this beer to celebrate my passing an important test, allowing me to take upper level engineering courses. I have had Samuel Adams beers before, and generally like them fine, but I had never had their Winter Lager, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

According to the 6-pack packaging…

This rich and hearty lager is brewed with flavorful spices such as cinnamon, orange zest and fresh ginger. The character and complexity of Winter Lager add warmth to a winter evening, and is a welcome complement to any holiday table.

I didn’t notice until after I had finished at least my first bottle that the bottle refers to this as a “dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices”. Here goes the review.

The Pour
This pours to an orange-tinted maple syrup color. A very light tan head appears, about 1 1/2 fingers high, and leaves good lacing as it dissipates. This is a  very clear brew and looks to be at least somewhat crisp.

The Nose
This smells tasty. The nose doesn’t come right out with any strong aromas to me, which makes me feel better about purchasing this beer. That probably means it won’t be overspiced. I can pick up hints of cinnamon and possibly the ginger. There is some maltiness and an ever so slight roasted scent.

The Taste
The first thing I noticed in the taste was the ginger. Not that it’s overpowering because it’s not at all. This has a medium-full body with an interesting mouthfeel. It seems to be creamy and round but it crisps a bit on the edges. I can taste hints of the cinnamon and orange mentioned on the packaging. There is almost a maple syrupy hint in the nose and taste that becomes noticeable as it warms, and it gets a little stronger by the end of the bottle.

Overall
This is a very smooth and rich brew. It’s creamy and carries a sweetness but is not at all cloying or overly sweet. The flavor profile is complex and interesting. I was a bit surprised to see it’s a wheat lager. I think this is a very tasty and enjoyable winter beer!

Recommended: Yes, without hesitation. It’s very well suited to the winter season without being heavy.

Price: $8.79 per six-pack

ABV: Beer Advocate says 5.8%

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Beer Review: Flying Dog Garde Dog Biere De Garde

June 30, 2008

Flying Dog sent me this brew a while ago. I tried it but lost my tasting notes. Well, tonight I decided to get some beer to do a new review and saw this beer. Thought I’d finally review this for my blog. So here goes…

The Pour
This poured with a two-finger head that dissipated quickly with a decent amount of lacing. It pours, in a pilsner glass, to a burnt yellow-orange color. It’s quite clear and looks to be a crisp brew.

The Nose
The first thing you notice is the nice citrusy hops. Since it’s summer, the hops are quite appealing. Then some toasty malty notes come through, with hints of caramel sweetness. Kind of like a nice toasty biscuit but with caramel on the side.

The Taste
This is a medium bodied brew with light to medium carbonation. The first thing you notice is the citrusy grassy hops, but this fades and the malty sweetness takes over at the back of the tongue. The finish coats the mouth with nice caramel and citrus flavors.

Overall
I think this is a good transition beer. It is best in the spring, where it transitions you from the malty stouts and porters of fall and winter to the hoppy IPAs and pale ales of summer.

Recommended: Sure….this is a good beer to prepare for the mouth-puckering summer brews.

Price: $8.49 a six-pack

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: 27