Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beer Tastings, Halloween 2012, Take One...

There are so many beers to review, and I am not nearly caught up, so here's a start. Keep in mind, ratings range from 1 (avoid at all costs) to 5 (world-class). Any beer rated a 3.0 or better is worthy, so taste them yourself. There are many bottle shops who sell singles for a dollar or three, so there's no excuse to not have a favorite craft beer. As always, support the independent and local breweries, not the multinational corporate leviathans! Down with corporate beer!

Sierra Nevada is a craft beer giant, and has a peerless reputation for quality brews at affordable prices. This is a special release in collaboration with a monastery in California, and seeks to unlock ancient Belgian traditions in brewing, but to limited success (at least on this particular brew). 

This large bomber pours a murky gold, with a thick head of white carbonation. Little trace of lace, though. Nose is fruity and spicy -- displaying a distinctly Belgian-style character. Nice. Flavor is spiced fruitiness (berry, orange), followed by a peppery zing. Alcohol (7%) is well-masked, and this is faithful Belgian-style, but not as interesting as I'd hoped.

Additional notes: The fruitiness (and a dry booziness) comes out more prominently as this one warms.

Ah, this has turned into a Summertime tradition at Goatsden HQ.

Clean gold, with a nice head of fine white bubbles. Big frilly lace. Beautiful. Aroma is grainy, lager yeast, and a little bready. There's a hint of fruit in there, and a little hint of hoppiness. Refreshing. Taste is smooth and rich, with some hint of spice, hops, and a soft tint of fruit underneath it all. Quite complex, especially for a 5.4% summer ale. Excellent, and a brew I always stock up on.

This new seasonal offering debuted in 2012 for the Fall, and I wasn't a huge fan. 

Rich ruby in appearance, with a huge head of sudsy off-white carbonation. Thick, delicate lace. Aroma is assertively strong and spicy hops, with a sharp earthiness. Taste is a melding of roasty malt tones with bitter hops smack at the finish. An unusual collision of styles, and not a bad beer by any means, but Red Hoptober is not my favorite of New Belgium's seasonals. I'll hold out for Snow Day and Somersault.

I've now tried several of this Indiana breweries' bottled beers, and haven't been a fan of any thus far, I'm sorry to say. 

Hmm, this "imperial brown ale", pours a very dark, almost black. Head is limited, and I get no lace whatsoever. Nose comes across as boozy at first (it is a sturdy 7%, after all), followed by some dark chocolate and fruit notes. Nice. Flavor is chocolate, with some roasted nuttiness in the finish, as well as a slight alcohol heat.  This heavy-bodied brown ale isn't bad, but left me unimpressed in the end. Not one I'd pursue again.

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