Archive for category United States

Elysian and AB-InBev. Brewers not Nazis

inbev-logo-470x220elysian-brewing-2013-2

 

 

The betrayed are out in force on twitter. “Goodbye Elysian” “Last time I EVER drink Elysian Beer”

“Traitors!”  “Sell outs!”

It was as if the founder of Greenpeace had just joined ACME petrol-chemicals Inc. and personally dumped toxic, radioactive waste directly on a whale’s head while laughing maniacally!

I realise that the craft beer is more than just great beer, carefully brewed by bearded artisans in railway arches and barns behind a pub. It has become a political movement that reflects the campaigns against the 1%, a liquid counterpart to ‘farm to fork’ and locavore groups.

The best breweries not only make the best beer, but often become successful. They need to expand and become …… Big! Big is not a word that fits well with an industry that started as home-brewers selling their liquid gold as a nano or micro brewery. The reality is that as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are available around the world and Boston Beer Company required the Brewers Association to change their definition of ‘Craft Beer’  to maintain their good-for-marketing label. The other side of this success coin is that those that are a manageable mid-size, and enjoy cult status as well as high desirability have and will become targets for takeover. This is not new or exclusive to the brewing industry. T’was ever thus.

Elysian_new_loser-350x280

The accusation that owners Dick Cantwell and David Buhler have ‘sold out’ is tough. If you had built a business from scratch, worked evenings and weekends, cleaned out lauter tuns and fermentation tanks in the dead of night, drove from store to bar to sell your beer when no one was particularly interested, you might be tempted too. They can now keep on brewing, inventing great beers in their own brewery and know that their retirement and family are covered financially until the day they ‘call time’ on this mortal plane. Isn’t that the point of working hard all our lives?

You may be disgusted by their actions, and I am very disappointed, having visited Seattle many times and visited their bar and looked forward to every release that made it to the bar I managed in Vancouver. I do however, understand them.

Craft beer has evolved into quasi political movement, but not everyone is on-board with that!

So, boycott the beer if you must. (You’ll be missing out on some great brews!). Tell people of your disappointment. There is no point spouting hatred to the level that social media seems to propagate.

They are brewers not Nazis.

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

‘The Craft Beer Revolution’ by Steve Hindy – Book Review

 

WHITE BOOK

‘The Craft Beer Revolution’ by Steve Hindy

ISBN: 978-1-137-27876-0

Steve Hindy is the founder of Brooklyn Brewery, and is one of the great success stories of the American craft brewing industry. He takes us on a journey from the earliest days of enthusiastic home-brewers, MBA graduates and wealthy businessmen dipping their collective toes into the unknown waters of alternative beers. They were alternative because in the mid 60s there were no real options for the American beer drinker other than a bunch of similar tasting lagers of very little note. Steve Hindy knows all the protagonists, and has some interesting tales to tell!

If your vision of the craft beer revolution is a brotherhood of bearded home-brewers bravely taking the plunge together, helping each other, drinking one another’s beers and stepping forward, challenging the great ‘domestic’ mega breweries as one, then Steve Hindy’s history will be quite the eye-opener. Tales of  jealousy, marketing hi-jinx and raging arguments at beer festivals and various beery organisations are just some of the things that the ‘craft beer revolutionaries’  had to overcome.Together with bully-boy tactics from the large breweries with distribution, legal barriers and financial woes it’s a wonder that craft beer in the USA ever got going.

With stories from defunct pioneers like New Albion Brewing, and craft brewing success stories like Anchor, both who broke trail for many others, to the next batch of brewers like Matt Brewing, Pete’s, Sierra Nevada, Allagash and of course Brooklyn, the reader will enjoy the ups and downs of their favourite breweries. Influences from Britain, Germany and Belgium, as well as trailblazing creativity from the likes of Dogfish Head are all part of the story that will entertain any craft beer geek worth his hops!

Squarely aimed at the enthusiast, you don’t have to live in New York or Portland to ‘get’ this book. This is the story of how a few brave amateurs took inspiration from British, German and Belgian beers, added some American magic and ended up with a billion dollar business that has transformed the brewing industry the world over. The journey was not smooth by any measure and this book documents the bumps and grooves with entertaining style that makes it a great addition to your boozy library!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

500px-Flag_of_Cascadia.svgThanks to the litigiously minded Eli Gershkovitch at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, BC The name for that dark, top fermented beer, with full hoppy aromatics, created by the Cascadian varietals of  hops, has now effectively ceased to exist. Proud Cascadian brewers across the Canada-US border in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have been denied the chance to brand the style that was created and championed with the cross national region that takes its name after the Cascade mountains (a term first used  in 1825). In 1970 the term ‘Cascadia’ was first used to describe the surrounding region, and since then has been a popular name used by its inhabitants. Sadly the use of the word “Cascadia” and “Cascadian” has been trademarked for beer names and styles by a brewery that no longer produces the beer that once bore its name.  Sadly, as far as I know, this has not been tested in court, no doubt because these things cost money, and money is often in short supply within the world of  small craft brewers.

So it might be safe to assume that the battle to use the name for our region is lost for now, but that begs a new question: What should we call this style now? Black IPA seems popular but is a truly horrible contradiction (black and pale – oh please!!) So what are the options?Cascadia_map_and_bioregion

The American Brewers Association has plumped for ‘American style India Black Ale’ – with its US-centric attitude towards beer styles they have ignored the Canadian contribution to this beer as well as the uncomfortable use of ‘India’ within this name.

The American  BJCP, founded on principles of homebrew competitions, have yet to decide on a name for this style other than a speciality style, but debated the issue last year. (I can’t find any resolution on their site).

The British based World Beer Awards have gone for ‘Black IPA’ and the US based World Beer Cup with its record breaking number of sub-styles call it ‘American style Black Ale’.

One thing is certain, no one agrees!

The use of ‘American’ for me is problematic as it ignores Canada and its contribution to the development and popularisation of the style. The great thing about ‘Cascadian’ is that it crosses the border effortlessly without the ‘North American’ moniker.

iep

There is a genuine ancestor of this style that was brewed as a porter, but prepared for export to India with extra hops and dry hopping. This was called a number of things such as ‘India Porter’ or ‘India Export Porter’, or ‘Export India Porter’. This was predominantly hopped with English hops (but not necessarily exclusively) but resembles the CDA in the same way a British style IPA would resemble a North American style IPA – related, similar but not the same. The Kernel  Brewery in London have re-created the style (interestingly they also make a Black IPA). This gives us a start but ignores those that developed the Cascadian version and the use of Pacific Northwest  hops

 

Here are some options which I would be grateful for you, the reader, to consider.

 

North American Style India Porter

West Coast India Porter

West Coast Porter

West Coast Dark Ale

PNW (Pacific Northwest) Dark Ale

PNW Porter

Can-Am Black Ale

Obviously there are many variations (Black versus Dark etc) but you get the idea. Perhaps a shortlist can be assembled and some names voted on!

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Ommegang Three Philosophers is a Belgian style quadrupel dark ale, blended with an authentic kriek (cherry lambic). It has a dark reddish brown colour and a loose head that disappears fairly quickly. This beer has a powerful flavour that saturates my mouth as soon as it enters. The thick caramel notes and cooked, dried fruit are the main players, and it overwhelms the subtle (or is it buried?) cherry from the kriek. There are sherry-like armoas and a winey finsh that give this a bitter-sweet note that is good for strong cheeses.

I was a bit disappointed with it as I was expecting a bit more complexity from such a grand beer, and the cherry was just a hint, nothing more. On the whole though it is a very pleasant ale that is best enjoyed on a cold winter`s evening .

Serving: 750ml bottle

ABV: 9.8%

Best served: 10-12°C

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lost Coast Winterbraun

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

The Lost Coast Winterbraun is a strong dark brown ale brewed especially for the winter months. The label sports a Picasso-esque snowboarder with skin the colour of this rich and deeply hued brew;  the sweet, dark caramel and rye bread aromas that greet you are a comforting reminder of why we drink different beers when the nights draw in and there is a chill in the air.

The flavours are warming too, a hint of black treacle, roasted malt, baked dried fruit, and sweet caramel are all there and give this beer a cake-like appeal. This can be drunk with a rich beef and ale pie and gravy or on its own, some might enjoy this with desert, such as a steamed sponge pudding made with lots of dried fruit and a caramel flavoured custard.

ABV: 6.5%

Serving type: 650ml bottle

Best Served: 9 – 11 °C

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Kona Brewing Oceanic Belgian Style Saison

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Kona Brewing’s Oceanic Organic Belgian Style Saison is brewed on the Big Island using Belgian yeast and organic ingredients. It has a medium gold colour and if you tip the whole bottle out, the small amount of yeast inside will give it a slightly cloudy appearance, with an aroma of spice and citrus. The flavour is a touch one dimensional, but has a nice crisp refreshing flavour with a citrus note. There is a hint of the coriander and dry spice on the finish and is pleasantly drinkable. This seemed to get better as it warmed up, so if you don’t want to miss the subtle spiciness, don’t drink it too cold!

ABV: 6%

Serving type: 650ml Bottle

Best Served: 6-8°C

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat is sold by the brewery as a ‘Belgian Wit’  but this is no ordinary Hoegaarden imitation that some breweries, large and small churn out in the summer. This could be the fruitiest wheat beer on the market with the vibrant orange colour of the liquid echoed by the flavour. Sweet tangerine dominates the palate with juicy blueberry notes there as well. With a touch of sweet spice and a balancing note of bitterness, this beer is a great summer refresher.

Although simple, I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely have this again on a hot afternoon.

Best Served: 5-7°C

ABV: 4.9%

Serving Type: 355ml Bottle

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pretty Things Hedgerow Bitter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Pretty Things make beer with some interest, as opposed to just brewing standard styles to fill their portfolio. This time out they have used three Dwarf Hop varietals from England, Sovereign, Pioneer and First Gold, and made a well hopped British Best Bitter.  The hoppy flavours may not be familiar to those used to drinking North American IPAs, but these fairly new varieties give it a distinctly wild herbaceous twang.

This is certainly reminiscent of Bitters I’ve drunk in the UK but with an extra helping of hops. The Dwarf hops taste fresh and vibrant and leave a lingering dry aftertaste on the palate. This is an interesting, refreshing and drinkable beer if a bit one dimensional. This is great on its own or perhaps with a traditional fish and chips; the hops will cut through the grease and revitalise the palate.

ABV: 5.4%

Best Served: 8-10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style.  They tend to be strong and dark with a super-rich malt profile.

Lagers get a make over too with the German, and now Canadian specialty, Ice-Bock, giving fans of strong and malty dark amber lagers something to enjoy. Of course breweries the world over make all sorts of beers for the festive season and often they don’t fit easily into any specific style, but that’s what makes it fun – beer can be full of surprises!

.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

A Cascadian Revolution

Viva Cascadia!  So at last there seems to be some agreement on a name for a very hoppy dark brown to black ale made with Pacific Northwest hop varietals (see Northwest Brewing News). Those not from the great nation of Cascadia might not have had this mighty dark ale, but should definitely try this deliciously contrasting beer.  Hoppier than an American Brown Ale, as dark as a porter, this beer has had numerous names in the past, not all of which make sense!

“A black IPA please”  I hear in a crafty taproom.   “A dark  India Pale Ale for me!” …..”hold on, hold on”, said other more sensible folk ” How can you have a dark or black pale ale?” . So the term India Dark Ale was bandied about and the cries of indignation seemed to have been quelled, until some bright spark piped up “What’s this beer got to do with India?”

“er, nothing really, except the hops….”

“Hops?” came the reply, “Well hopping levels actually, the word India on a beer label really just means loads of hops now”

“really?”

Although the logic is clear, this means that we should have India Barley Wines, and maybe an India Russian Imperial Stout…..

“India Weiss Bier anyone?” – hmmm no thanks, let’s stop this now please. So thank goodness this beer, popular with brewers from the Pacific Northwest, AKA Cascadia, has a name we can all agree on. It uses the spicy, citrusy hop varieties grown in these parts (not just Cascade hops) hence the name, it’s dark, and it’s an ale. As the old British advert for a wood treatment product used to say “It does exactly what it says on the tin!” or in this case bottle.  So why oh why -at this moment of consensus did Phillip’s rename their Black Touque India Dark Ale – a Cascadian Brown Ale? Well there’s always someone who wants to be a bit different…..

Share

Tags: , ,

Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden in colour it is pleasingly sweet with hints of honey and muscat grapes but without the cloying sweetness of many meads (or bee vomit as I like to call it).  The nose has distinct notes of tropical fruit and the finish has a deliciously dry biscuity taste.

As there aren’t really any other beers like this out there I don’t have much compare it to but I think this beer would be a great one for ladies to try but anyone interested in exploring the myriad of flavours beer can create would do well to give this a go.

I’d pair Midas Touch with a Moroccan tagine or a mild Goan prawn curry with coconut milk rice dumplings.

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 8°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

New Glarus Black Wheat

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg tankard.jpg (Outstanding)

New Glarus Brewing is to be found in Wisconsin in the U.S., and is owned by the Brewmaster Dan Carey, who has spent a lifetime perfecting his craft, and oversees a brewery that makes lots of limited release seasonal beers that keep their fans on their toes and interested with an ever-changing line-up.

Their version of the traditional German Dunkelweizen is simply called ‘Black Wheat’, but this beer is far from simple. The deep brown-black liquid, topped by a foamy caramel tan head is a delightfully complex beer, that exhibits lots of nuances, and  never dominate one another. Notes of light molasses. cocoa bean, caramel, nutmeg, banana and prune combine and balance well, to leave a bitter-sweet finish that contains a touch of orange peel.

Try this beer with a well flavoured Mexican chili, it’s light enough to refresh your palate, but has enough strength to stand up to, and compliment all those rich and spicy flavours.

*

ABV: 5.7%

Best Served: 7°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Pyramid Snow Cap is the Winter seasonal offering from this popular Seattle brewery, and claims to be made in the “spirit of the British Winter ales”. At 7% alcohol, it certainly has the strength to warm the cockles, but does the flavour keep up? The combination of  English and Pacific North West hops give this Winter warmer a nice bitterness, but unlike many other North American versions of this classic Christmas brew, it has copious amounts of delicious malt to back it up and keep them in check. There are notes of cocoa bean and dark caramel on the palate, which leads onto the hoppy flavours; a touch of citrus, spice and a light floral taste give way to a rounded, balanced and smooth finish. This beer is a joy to drink and is a fantastic interpretation of a Winter Warmer, keeping true to the tradition, while maintaining its own Northwest identity. Drink this one with a beer-battered fish and chips, at Pike Place Market in Seattle, or in a London Chippy, it’ll feel right at home at either!

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale is a  Winter warmer with bite. It has a dark ruby-brown colour and a fairly creamy tan head that stays with the beer. There are some caramel flavours with some faint notes of banana bread. The unusual thing for a winter warmer, but not unusual for Rogue, are the obvious handfuls of hops used in the brew. They offer a pleasant bitterness on the finish that tastes a little grapefruity, and tends to last for a while after the beer has been swallowed. This is an enjoyable beer, but tastes like a good ESB to me. Rogue don’t seem to want to make a beer that has been lightly hopped, and perhaps are now victims of their own dogma, producing a lot of excellent but similar tasting products. I would love to see them do a really rich malty winter warmer, as they are brilliant brewers but are in danger of becoming just a bit one-dimensional.

ABV: 6.5% (approx)

Best Served: 12°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Anchor Brewing ‘Our Special Ale’ 2009 (Christmas Ale)

anchor2009Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Anchor Brewing famously change the recipe for their Special Ale every year, as well choose a different tree, a symbol of the Winter Solstice, to adorn the label. This version (2009), when held up to the light, has a gorgeously dense ruby colour and an almost creamy pale tan head. The aroma is full of malty molasses with a definite hoppy highlight. The flavours that follow fill the mouth, but don’t overwhelm it; the main taste that starts off is a strong malty one, that develops into a black molasses backbone to the beer. There are some laid-back spicy notes layered into the malt, perhaps nutmeg or a hint of cardamon, but the hit of a citrus hop gives this sweetish beer an assertive and refreshing finish. This Winter seasonal ale is a real pleasure to drink, and is not too heavy or laden with spices, so is good for  those who find the ‘big’ spiced warmers a bit too much!

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Flying Dog Porter

flyingdogporter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Flying Dog Porter comes from one of the most irreverent breweries around, with their “Good Beer, No Shit” motto, and anarchic Ralph Steadman artwork on the labels. The beer however, is mighty fine, and their porter will delight many a dark ale fan. Its colour is a rich black, with dark cherry highlights and a creamy tightly bubbled head. Sweet molasses and coffee bean dominate the aroma and the palate is also fairly full on. Burnt chocolate notes start off, and are followed by a nice molasses malt taste. This full-bodied porter’s flavour lingers on, creating a pleasant, long bitter-sweet finish. A well made porter that will pair nicely with a rich beef stew to keep out the winter cold.

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale

boontamber

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

Anderson Valley Brewing Boont Amber Ale comes in the large 650 ml bottles, and it’s a good thing too, as this is a rather quaffable ale. It is a nice bright mid-amber in colour, with a medium frothy head that doesn’t linger for too long. There is a hint of sweetish toasted malt on the nose and maybe a touch of hop, but not a whole lot else. This has a nicely balanced palate with the malt leading the way followed by some spicy hop notes. There is a bit of light fruitiness in the background but not enough to take away from the nice drinkable toasted caramel flavours of the malt. This is a well made west coast amber ale, and finds itself regularly in my mix of brews in the fridge! This would go great with a big plate of nachos or a juicy burger.

ABV: 5.8%

Best Served: 7°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Marin Brewing Co. Point Reyes Porter

marin-porter

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Marin Brewing Point Reyes Porter is a rich chocolate opaque brown and this is good indicator as to the flavour that follows the pour. Roasted coffee bean and dark cocoa are at the forefront here, and their rich bitterness is very satisfying and extremely moreish. There is a touch of chocolaty sweetness on the finish, but only enough to balance the enjoyable bitter notes that rounds this beer off nicely. This is a supremely drinkable porter that slips down without any trouble at all, so even the large 650 ml bottle seems to disappear far too quickly. Pair this with a dark chocolate dessert of some sort, or you could be adventurous and drink it with a rich chilli con carne!

ABV: 6%

Best Served: 11°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

palo-santo-marron

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is one of the leading exponents of extreme beer and craft brewing in the world, and its founder Sam Calagione is treated with deep respect by the micro-brewing community as a whole. In the Palo Santo Marron he has created a giant of a beer, that offers a wealth of complexity that rivals a good fortified wine. It is fantastically full-bodied with notes on the nose that remind me of a Malmsey Madeira. The palate is full of rich caramel and molasses with big hints of licorice, and deep undertones of vanilla. The finish is long, roasted, bitter sweet with a touch of minerality and perhaps a hop or two fighting to be heard! This is a beer that should be sipped and savoured as a digestif or accompanying a strong, aged, real cheddar cheese. This proves what can be done with malt, hops, water and yeast, (brewed in the exotic South American Palo Santo wood), and it shows that beer can be just as complex and interesting as wine.

ABV: 12%

Best Served 14°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale

celts_image

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Mediocre)

Moylan’s Celts Golden Ale is a slightly cloudy attractively coloured ale that pours with a nice light head that leaves almost no lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma has a nice yeasty note with a hint of hop underneath. The flavour doesn’t seem to follow the aroma as it is so lightweight that it doesn’t offer much. There are very subtle yeast notes, and maybe a touch of malt, but nothing to really get hold of. I know Golden/Summer Ales are supposed to be light, but really this is obviously aimed at the macro lager crowd, which is fair enough, but it doesn’t do it for me.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 6°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rogue Ales Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale

rogue22oz_captainsig

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Rogue Northwestern Ale is a punch in the mouth of a beer. I like hoppy ales so if you don’t, this one probably isn’t for you. It pours a very ruddy mahogany colour into the glass with a lively off-white head. The carbonation is not too high, and feels like a bottled British Ale. The biggest flavour is by far and away the Pacific Northwest hops. Cascade and Amarillo are used to bring this beer to a mighty 80 IBUs. Floral and grapefruit citrus notes abound, from the initial sip right through to the aftertaste. There are nice roasted malt notes in the background, but they never quite give way. I feel it just misses out as a slightly stronger malt character would have balanced the hops a bit better, but that is my personal taste. This is a love it or hate it beer, but it is true to the style of American interpretations of old world ale made on the West coast, especially in Oregon. Not only that, but it is a fine example made by a fine brewery, and so deserves the 4 Tankard rating.

ABV: 6.2%

*                                                            Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , ,

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

brooklynchoko

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout is an Imperial Russian Stout that weighs in at a mighty 10%, but the alcohol is well hidden by the monumentally full-bodied flavours that caress the palate. This stout’s colour is a deep inky black, and pours into the glass with a creamy caramel coloured head that slowly dissipates. You’d be fooled into thinking that there was real cocoa beans in the brew, but Garrett Oliver, the brewer, obtains that taste from malt alone! The dark bitter chocolate notes fill the mouth, but are balanced exquisitely by rich roasted sweet malt. Beneath the obvious flavours, there are hints of rich burnt fruit cake and licorice that comes to the fore on the finish.  This is a sumptuous stout and should be tried by every fan of the style. Pair this with a rich strawberry tart and double cream.

ABV: 10%

Best Served: 10°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lagunitas Sirius Cream Ale

lag-sirius

Wrangler Rating

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Lagunitas Sirius is a ‘High Gravity’ Cream Ale weighing in at 7%, which is not a common occurrence, but nor is a cream ale of this quality. Do not be fooled by the high alcohol, this is a supremely quaffable and refreshing beer as a cream ale should be. It is surprisingly light and well balanced. There are notes of banana and crisp grapefruit with a hint of pine in the background, but no flavour overwhelms the palate.  There is a touch of hoppy bitterness, that leads to a crisp finish and invites the drinker to take another gulp. This is a great evening aperitif beer.

ABV: 7%

Best Served: 6°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bud Light Lime

bud_light_lime_fullbottle

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpg(Poor)

This was brought round to a friend of the Beer Wrangler’s for a BBQ, so we could all try it, well chilled, on a hot summers day. The colour is very pale, like the regular Bud Light, but the aroma that hits you is one of citrus dish soap. The flavour consists of the same soapy lime, and has an altogether synthetic feel to it. I could detect very little, if any beer flavours in the drink, and it was a big disappointment. This tastes neither like a beer or a cooler/alcopop. If you like a mild tasting lager with a bit of lime for those hot summer days, pick a nice one and add your own fresh lime wedge, that’s what they do in Mexico!

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 4°C

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,