Monday, May 13, 2013

Beer: Brooklyn, Victory, and Widmer Brothers

And more beer yet to come. This is just skimming off the top. This installment, some fine brews from some respected breweries. Read on, and have a craft beer today (reject the watery corporate toilet-water)!

Brooklyn is known for making some of the best American-made craft lager (Brooklyn Lager), as well as the superlative Black Chocolate Stout. This is their heavyweight barleywine.

This is a vintage 2010 bottle, so over 2, nearly 3 years aged.
Pours a murky red-amber, with only a small amount of carbonation and almost no lace whatsoever. Nose is big and syrupy-rich, with notes of dried fruit (figs, plums, raisins) and a sharp grain-malt tone. Taste is big and heavy, as to be expected. There's more of the rich maltiness and dried fruit. The intense hops are dialed way back here, and what results is a complex, rich, and rather smooth drinking experience. 

The alcohol kick is definitely there, but this beast gets friendlier with age.

Victory is also known for making one of America's finest lagers, Prima Pils. This is a new saison that's got some mixed reviews elsewhere, but I liked it.

Pours a pale golden, with a vibrant, robust white head. Extravagant lace! Nose is spicy, herbal, and fruity. I get some definite citrus and clove. Very nice! Taste is zesty and spicy, with a tangy twist of sour citrus hops at the finish. 

A very enjoyable ale.

Widmer is one of my trustworthy favorites, despite being partially owned by corporate interests (AB owns 32% of the Craft Brew Alliance, which also includes Kona and Redhook). This is their take on "steam beer" (aka California Common).

Pours a lovely, rich amber, with fine a tri-finger head. Lovely spoke-style lace, as well. Nose is crisp grains and grassy hops. Perfect aroma for a proper lager, so points here, too! Taste is very palate-pleasing, with a light body but full of flavor. I get enough citrus hops and bready malts to be an ideal balance for a session-style spring lager. 

Very enjoyable and well-done!

Part of Widmer's Rotator series of rotating, seasonal IPAs, all of which have been enjoyable thus far.

Pours a clean amber, with a frothy tan head. Superlative lace. Nose is grapefruit, pine, and lemon hops. Very nice. Taste? Pleasantly hopped, with more of the citrus/grapefruit tones. I get a hint of bitterness at the finish. 

Not a hop bomb, but still pretty well enjoyable.

Another part of the Rotator series, this one with the addition of rye malts.

Pours a rich amber, with nice head. Thick, detailed lace. Nose is crisp citrus and floral hops. Very appealing.Taste is nicely hopped, but with enough malts to prevent any acidic or bitter followthrough. The rye shines through with a sharpness, but it's subtle.

Overall, a drinkable and enjoyable IPA -- not overly memorable, but certainly solid.

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