Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Two Brothers Cane and Ebel

It's not just the clever name of Two Brothers Cane and Ebel and intrigued me, but I'm starting to become a fan of Ryes, as well. And you might be thinking, "But Chad, it should be Cain and Abel, right?" Right, but the eponymous brothers of the brewery are Ebel. Like I said, clever.

Very attractive deep copper color with a decent, sticky head and tons of hops in the nose. It's not has heavy as you might think. The main flavor is a spicy rye with some subtle vanilla and a big hop punch at the end leading to a dry, tart finish. There's some orange in there, as well. I'm noticing some sweet, toasted bread, too.

The 7% ABV warms a bit, and this is certainly bold, but I really like the rye in here and the well balanced,complex flavors.

This is a good one and makes me want to try more from Two Brothers.

Grade: A

Monday, May 30, 2011

Magic Hat Wacko Summer Seasonal

As much as I love porters, imperial stouts, and the like, when it's hot and you're at a cookout, no one wants to be drinking those all day. That's when it's time for summer seasonals, like Magic Hat's Wacko.

The first thing that stands out is the color. It's pink. It's really the color of pink champagne. Not much head and it goes away pretty quickly. There's something familiar in the smell, but I can't quite place it yet.

The flavor is...odd. It's like sparkling grape juice, and beets. That's where the pink color comes from. Not really any hops. There's a sweet, dry finish. Some cherry in there, too.

As far as summer seasonal goes, it is light and crisp, but it's weird. I finished it, trying to figure it out the whole time. I wouldn't do this again. Sorry, Magic Hat.

Grade: C

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Left Hand Stranger Pale Ale

Left Hand makes a lot of tasty brews, and this is the first I have tried the Stranger Pale Ale. Light in color, the nose is full of hops and orange. But the flavor isn't has bold as the smell would lead you to believe. There is a bit of hop bitterness and character, but also a lot of grass and rye. A dry, spicy finish.

It's almost like a mild IPA. It's smooth and drinkable, even if the flavors aren't over powering. And at 5% ABV, it's a good session beer.

I don't think the Stranger is bad, but I'm not in love with it. Doesn't have enough to be an IPA, but maybe a bit more than what a standard Pale Ale should have. At least it's aptly named.

Grade: C

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

Just looking at the label, I have no idea what to expect from Lagunitas's Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale.

Pours kind of a hazy gold with a fluffy white head. Smells like honey, hops, and wheat. My first taste is about the same. It's kind of like a wheat IPA. There's some grapefruit, some grass, a little bit of malt sweetness, and long, dry, biting finish.

You'd never guess it's 7.5% ABV.

I definitely get more IPA than wheat, which is probably why I like it! Overall, it's different, certainly worth a try. Very drinkable, especially for its ABV. I'd do this again, but I wouldn't go crazy looking for it.

Grade: B

Monday, May 16, 2011

Avery Brewing White Rascal

After a brief tease of summer, I thought it might be nice to try something a little lighter with Avery's White Rascal. A Belgian White Ale, it's hazy, cloudy yellow with a thin white head. Smells of orange and coriander. Little bit of black pepper, too.

The taste is light and crisp. Bitter and a bit sour at first, some citrusy sweetness, then a spicy kick at the end.

I think it's a pretty good example of the style, and would be good in the right setting. Plus, at only 5.6% ABV, it's not going to blow you away.

Bonus points for the sweet label!

Grade: B

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brew Dog Dogma

Brew Dog is a Scottish brewery known for huge, aggressive beers. I'm talking not just beers around 10% ABV, but 30 and 40! This is my first try of theirs, Dogma. It's a spiced beer full of ingredients I've never heard of like guarana and kola nut.

The color is orange and a bit cloudy, like iced tea. The head is huge and fluffy (I may have been a bit overzealous on the pour). Smells floral with honey and hops. Flavor is quite bitter with hops, honey, pepper, and more floral notes in the finish. Maybe the floral is the guarana? Picking up some dried fruit as it warms, I'm assuming that's the kola nut.

I am still trying to figure out what all is going on and if I like it or if I love it. With the 7.8% ABV, and after a 22 oz bomber, you'll know you've had something quite unique.

Grade: B

P.S. Like my awesome Craftsman bottle opener?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Divide Yeti

A beer and a brewery I have been wanting to try for a while, Great Divide's Yeti is a multiple award winning Imperial Stout. Black as the abyss with a dark sticky head. The smell is roasty and a lot hoppier than I had anticipated. The taste is huge and complex like an Imperial Stout should be! Bittersweet chocolate, caramel and toffee, then finally a big, musty, dry, woody finish. It doesn't have that currant flavor that a lot of RISs do. Velvety texture and so drinkable you need to be careful that the Yeti's 9.5% ABV doesn't unleash your untamed side. Superior lacing, as well. Every sip is a little different. The hops are more noticeable as it warms.

Complex and curious, this isn't a beer to gulp, it's one to savor and discover. Try it!

Grade: A

Monday, May 2, 2011

Intercourse Brewing Blue Ball Porter

Another beer that is impossible to pass up based on name alone, Intercourse Brewing's Blue Ball Porter. While they'll have you believe the brewing is in Intercourse, PA, it looks like it's actually in Wilkes-Barre. But the fun they have with the name makes that a forgivable act of deception.

Blue Ball Porter starts like you want a porter to. Thick, dark, and a big dark head. More toffee and chocolate in the nose rather than roast, bit of alcohol, too. The first sip sets this porter apart and gives you the reason for the clever name; blueberries. Lots of blueberries at first. It's a little watery for a porter, but a bold finish with lots of roast, even some char.

Just a tad over 5% ABV, so it's not going to destroy you, either.

Not my favorite porter, but I'm kind of liking it. Props for doing something different!

Grade: B