The last several Barleywines I've had have been fantastic. This is a style of beer I really got off on the wrong foot with somehow. I often tell people the same thing about Brooklyn Brewery, we just got off on the wrong foot and I was hesitant to try many of their beers after that. In the past couple of months I've picked up several Brooklyn beers and I've really enjoyed what I've had so far. Brooklyn and Barleywines have both impressed me recently so I figured I'd give this Brooklyn Barleywine a go.
I'm starting to appreciate living in an area where Brooklyn beers are available. I may have only had a few but they've been pretty good. My favorite so far has to be the Local 1 I had a couple weeks ago. It was a beer I've wanted to try for quite a while and it surpassed my expectations, it was really great. What I didn't know is that there is another Local big bottle out there, the obviously named Local 2. Local 1 was a light sort-of Tripel/Golden Ale, while Local 2 is a Strong Dark Ale with lots of Belgian flavor. I didn't hesitate to pick up Local 2 when I saw it at the liquor store last weekend.
Brooklyn beers have been out of reach for me until very recently. I stopped by a local liquor store to check out their craft beer selection and I saw this lonely bottle of Brooklyn Local 1 sitting at the end of the aisle. I'd always wanted to try the Local 1 so I didn't think twice about picking up this 750ml bottle. The bottle itself has a great style, it's modeled after New York Fire Department stations with their red, black and golden color. The style of beer inside the bottle is a Belgian Pale Ale, which can be a fairly nebulous term... I couldn't wait to get this bottle home and finally try it out.
Around Valentine's Day this year there were a number of chocolate flavored beers released. I picked up a bottle of each one but I didn't have time to get to all of them so I'm trying to empty out the chocolate stock in the fridge before it's warm enough to drink a Pilsner on the deck. Ommegang's Chocolate Indulgence caught my attention because it has a bold name, classy packaging and generally conveys a sense of "I know what I'm doing here." So, tonight I broke out the Ommegang goblet and pocked the cork on this bottle of "True Belgian-Style Chocolate Stout."
Every fall I look forward to the release of Pumpkin Ales. There are quite a few on the market now, more and more every year in fact, so I'm always excited to try one I haven't had before. Today I've got a bottle of Southern Tier Pumking. I've heard a lot of good things about this beer but I've only recently gotten my hands on a bottle of it. The packaging is a little menacing, it's got a sneering Jack-o-lantern on the front wearing a Southern Tier Imperial Series crown while black and orange bats fly around the bottle. At 9% ABV this is the strongest Pumpkin Ale I've seen on shelves and I'm anxious to dive right in.
I haven't had many of Schmatlz's beers. I remember liking the Messiah Bold even if it wasn't spectacular, so I was excited to try this Coney Island Sword Swallower. The name isn't very descriptive so I wasn't real sure what to expect from this beer. In the smaller print it says this is a "Steel Hop Lager" which still isn't a great description. Looking a little harder I notice the line "Dry Hopped IPA" ...great. Maybe it won't taste like a mouthful of hops... the label also plays up the malts used in this beer so it's probably more balanced than you'd thing.
I haven't had much luck finding a Saranac beer that I like... They all sound pretty good as first, look appetizing and smell like they've done everything write. It's only when I take a drink that it all goes south. I went into Saranac's India Pale Ale with fairly low expectations... Being an IPA from Saranac doesn't exactly strike me as a beer I'd be likely to enjoy. I tried to keep an open mind however, pouring this beer into tall glass to develop a nice head and bring out the aroma. What I found in this glass of Saranac was pretty intriguing.
This is the first He'Brew beer I've had. It's not like I've been avoiding these beers for any reason, I just wasn't able to find single bottles before and I tend to be wary of six packs of beer I haven't had before. I finally found a bottle of He'Brew's Messiah Bold today so I quickly picked it up and ran home to pour it in a pint glass. The first thing I noticed about this beer is that it's dark... really dark. I only mention this because the Messiah Bold is a Brown Ale not a Porter or Stout, but you'd never know from looking at it.
Nutmeg. Oak. Cinnamon. Caramel. There's a whole lot of Christmas in this beer. Dundee's Festive Ale is... just that, festive. This beer pours a deep copper color and develops a thin tan head. The dominant aroma in the glass is caramel but there are hints of cinnamon. When you take a sip of this beer you'll notice that it's flavor profile follows the aroma very closely. When Dundee's Festive Ale hits your palate you'll notice the sweet caramel and butterscotch maltiness right away. A counterbalance to all that sweetness is a cinnamon bite that takes your attention off the sweet malts before this beer finishes with a hint of oak.
Saranac and I don't have the best history... I've had a couple Saranac beers and they didn't come anywhere near my expectations. I don't think I have outlandish expectations or anything, I just think their beers were... well, bad. That hasn't stopped me from picking up another Saranac beer though. This time around I've got their Season's Best, a Nut Brown Lager with a picture of a lone snowbound log cabin in the foothills of the Appalachians. It's a nice setting, but if I were holed up in that cabin with nothing but sixers of Saranac, it probably wouldn't be long before I started reenacting scenes from The Shining...