Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holydaze craft beer roundup!

The time is finally here for more beer reviews. I hope to catch up and post several more months worth soon, but meantime, here are some craft brews worthy of your attention, taste buds, and hard-earned cash. My rating scale goes from 1-5, with 1 being awful and 5 being awesome. As you see, nothing here was outright crap. Support craft beer, and especially your local craft brewers. On we go...

GOOSE ISLAND - PERE JACQUES 2010 (Chicago, IL) - 3.5
This bottle-aged, living beer is a Belgian-style ale, and it pours a rusty amber (with visible sediment) and a minimal head. I get virtually no lace, either. Not really impressive. The aroma is boozy, with hints of dried fruit esters and yeast. The flavor is similar, with notes of candied fruits and crusty bread. It's pleasant but heavy on the palate, and with a strong alcohol kick (8%), this one's a sipper. I like Pere Jacques, but wonder what it would taste like with a few years of aging to smooth it all out.

This hazy amber ale pours with medium carbonation and only a half-finger of lace on the glass. Nothing spectacular in the presentation. The nose is spiced, malty, and rich. Not bad. Upon tasting, I get more spice, and some tones of fruit and nuts, with a slightly bitter finish. Boulevard has captured some appropriate flavors for the holidays, and this ale is solid, if unremarkable.

Ah, Widmer rarely disappoints my taste buds, and this clean red/amber ale pours with an impressive head and a luxuriously thick lace on the glass. The nose is caramel malty with some definitely hoppy flair tucked in there. Impressive. The flavor seems malty at first, but with a clean hops finish that places this more in line with a pale ale. Delicious and worthy!

BELL'S WINTER WHITE ALE (Comstock, MI) - 4.0
The respected Bell's presents their venerable Winter seasonal here, and it's a Belgian-style wit beer. This one pours a hazy yellow-orange with plenty of fine, white carbonation and a little retention. The aroma is definitely spices (I get a little clove) and citrus (namely orange). The taste is balanced and mild, with sharp wheat notes and orange zest playing leisurely with a little spice for warmth. Pleasant and enjoyable.

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