This beer has been peering out at me from the back of the fridge for a couple weeks now... I think this beer is a survivor of a craft beer house party we had two months ago, but (like any good house party) I don't really remember a whole lot of details about that night. I knew no other details about this beer, other than the fact that Lucky Bucket is somewhere in Nebraska, so I decided to open this bottle up in case the beer inside wasn't meant to age more than a few months. What I found inside was definitely evil...
My goal this summer was to try and find a Pale Ale that I genuinely liked. So I've been trying more than a few pales to see if I can find one that will change my opinion about pale ales. Tonight I decided to have Schlafly's Dry Hopped American Pale Ale. This has been sitting in my fridge for a little while, it isn't often that I drink a pale ale so when I acquire one it tends to sit around for a while. First impressions were pleasant. This APA is hoppy up front, but that's to be expected with a pale. It wasn't too hoppy... but hoppy enough to overshadow the malt and finish a little bitter. This beer tastes a lot stronger than it actually is. At just under 6% it isn't a terribly light beer but it tastes more like it'd be closer to 8%. This beer is called Dry Hopped because Schlafly adds extra hops to the beer after it's brewed to kick up the flavor... and it works. The beer does taste a little dry, not as much as a Sierra Nevada (which I think is too dry) but when that dryness combines with the bitter hops in your mouth it can be a bit much.
The Boulevard Pilsner is Boulevard Brewing's newest beer release. Actually, at the time I'm writing this the Pilsner has been on sale to the public for about three days. I first had a taste of the Pilsner back in February after a tour of the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City. At the time I thought to myself, "Pilsner? Really? If there is one style of beer that I absolutely do NOT associate with the craft beer industry it's the Pilsner." That doesn't mean Boulevard couldn't make a good Pilsner, it just seems like they'd be fighting an uphill battle considering the "competition." Pilsner, to most craft beer drinkers, is synonymous with Budweiser, Miller and Coors' flagship beers. These light colored, light bodied and light in taste beers have left a bad taste (pun definitely intended) in mouths of many beer drinkers. So with a stigma like that, why put a whole lot of effort into a beer that will surely be compared to Budweiser, Miller or Coors by everyone who try it? Well, if you can beat the big three at their own game maybe you can expand your base and get the Pilsner drinkers to try some of your craft beers.
I really tried to like Boulevard's Saison-Brett. I did. This beer just doesn't do it for me though... Despite it's relation (no matter how specious) to George Brett and it's closeness in style to the Belgian beers I love so much, the Saison-Brett just isn't a beer I enjoy as much as I want to. My main complaint with this beer is that it is too spicy, it's borderline bitter which is something I don't like in my Saisons. I prefer the more sour, citrusy and creamy beers in this style. In my opinion, the Saison-Brett is too strongly hopped and too carbonated. The beer loses a bit of it's smoothness because the hops are so up front and the bubbles distract from those sour and citrus flavors that are hidden behind all that bitterness. As I said before, for a Saison, this beer isn't bad. It's still a little sour and a little sweet, not as much as I'd like but it's still there... If I were looking for a Saison to take to dinner, the Boulevard Saison-Brett wouldn't be my first choice.
Guinness has defined Stout style beer for most people. The signature characteristics of a pint of Guinness has to be the jet black body, light tan head and the pseudo-geological sediment show that takes a few minutes to play out after your pint arrives. After the pint has gotten good and settled you'll notice that the head is still quite thick and very prone to lacing. If beers were all about looks Guinness would be at the top of the list. The flavor of the Guinness Draught is quite a bit different from most of the popular mass market beers. Instead of a crisp light lager, Guinness is a dark and bitter creamy stout. The bitterness of stouts like Guinness aren't for everyone, but I happen to like it.
To me, Anchor Steam Beer is the reason why I try not to judge a beer before I drink it. I put off drinking Anchor Steam for the longest time because I was convinced it was a hoppy California IPA. I don't remember why exactly, but I probably just confused Anchor with Sierra Nevada... Anyways, when I finally had my first Anchor Steam Beer it was something of an epiphany. There were not angels singing or trumpets or anything like that, but it was a real surprise. This beer wasn't super hoppy and it didn't taste like dandelions or pine cones. I've had a few more Steam Beers since then and every time I drink one I like it even more.
I'm not sure what to make of this beer... I originally picked it up without paying much attention to it. This was one of those beers that I grabbed to finish out a six pack sampler. In some ways it was an impulse purchase. I just assumed, based off of the name, that this beer was a Brown Ale. So as quite a surprise when I was pouring this beer into a pint glass and glanced at the bottle to notice it was 9.8% alcohol. Taking a whiff of the beer in my glass it smelled a bit like what I expected, but with more than a hint of piney hops. Still, I was intrigued by this beer and dove right into this pint glass.
First, you should know I'm not a coffee drinker. I don't like the temperature or the flavor of coffee. I find it too bland or too bitter, so I just don't drink it. I do like Stouts and Porter style beer, even when they are a little more bitter than I'd like. The dark flavors in these beers are often compared to coffees so I guess it only makes sense to brew a beer with real coffee flavors. I've had a number of Coffee Stouts and Espresso Porters but I've never taken much of a liking to them. Usually I'll just take a sip, say it tastes like coffee and move on. I have yet to find a coffee flavored beer I genuinely like.
I'm nearing the end of my New Glarus stash and it's bittersweet, the moment... not the beer. Toward the end of summer I received a sizable quantity of Wisconsin's most sought after product (as far as I'm concerned). It seemed like each beer was better than the last. The Spotted Cow was good, the Moon Man was great and the Enigma was amazing. I've opened up a bottle of Fat Squirrel this afternoon to make some room in the old fridge and finally wrap up these New Glarus reviews. Like most New Glarus beers, this is the first bottle of it that I've had and I don't know much about it. In fact, I didn't even know they made this beer before I got them... All I know is this is a Nut Brown Ale and all the New Glarus beers I've had thus far have been delightful. Not a bad place to start.
This bottle of Lilja's Sasquatch Stout has been in the basement beer fridge for over a year now. There's no date on this bottle but seeing as how this beer is a Stout, I think it'll be just fine. There's actually quite a lot of stuff on this label, but not much of it is of any use... There's a line about the "Cheddar Curtain" and "Your Darkest Side" but you won't find the alcohol content of this beer or the date on which it was bottled. It may not be useful, but it's still a decent label even if I don't know who or what Lilja is...