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Sierra Nevada – Pale Ale

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.60%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

Much unlike Snooki and Teen Moms (or any other pop trend for that matter), I’m glad that I can find this wherever I turn at all times. There’s really no escaping seeing this beer everywhere from your local liquor store to the Korean grocery store that you steal Slim-Jims from. It’s pretty much a staple for “gateway craft beer-ism” and is useful in transforming your Bud Light drinkers over to the dark side. Or pale side.

How are you enjoying these semi-outdated pop culture references and horrible puns? Since I can’t hear your response, I’ll just assume, a lot.

There’s a good reason why this is the best selling craft beer in America. It’s easy to drink and damn tasty to boot. It pours a wonderful clear golden color with a small white rim of head and some nice lacing to it. Quite impressive look for a pale ale. The smell can best be described as malty, grassy, piney, and citrusy. This is a great precursor to the big citrus and floral hops and slight bitter finish to it. I realize that description sounds like your drinking lemonade in a forest, but it’s nothing like that. Though that does sound pretty pleasant. The beer’s body is medium built, drier than my humor, and somewhat disappointingly low on carbonation.

Overall I can’t stress enough that this is a pretty solid choice if you’re hard pressed for something simple. Good beer for a good price is what I’m all about these days.

Overall: 4.0/5 – I heard you kids like your ales extra pale!

Sierra Nevada Brewing

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Brasserie de Rochefort – Trappistes Rochefort 8

Style: Dubbel
ABV: 9.20%
Serving type: Bottle into chalice

I’ll be completely honest in saying that I may be in over my head with this beer. As the number 2 rated Dubbel on BeerAdvocate, I might not have the sophisticated palate that seems necessary to fully appreciate a complex Trappistes ale. I figure maybe I’ll drink it now, and try it again in a year or so to see how my taste buds have evolved and matured. But as a casual craft beer drinker, here’s my honest take on this highly hyped beer.

The beer fills my glass with a real nice dark brown hue with two fingers of tan head that faded away relatively quickly.  The alcohol leaves a real nice clear lace curtain around the edges of the glass. The aroma is filled by malt, raisins, figs, and maybe some cinnamon or another spice I can’t quite pick out. My noob taste buds fail me again! Drats!

The taste is very similar to the nose with a slight booze kick to it. Dark fruits and malt are tasty, but it’s not blowing me away like I was expecting.
The medium creamy mouthfeel was a nice surprise as I thought it was going to be much heavier than what it turned out to be. It was complimented by lots of fizzy carbonation. Again, the alcohol warmth fits it perfectly.

Although I enjoyed drinking this and can see why it is a favorite amongst uber-geeks, I don’t believe I completely appreciated this yet. I will probably be giving the ‘6’ version a try to see if that’s more of my style as I think it’s supposed to be a little toned down version of this. Until then, I’d let this one cellar and try it again in a year or two. I’ll use that excuse instead of the $6 price tag which is enough to make me hold off for a little while on its own.

Overall: 3.5/5 – Dark, sinister, and boozy… aka Bobby Brown in a bottle.

Brasserie de Rochefort

Hacker-Pschorr – Hefe Weisse Natürtrub

Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.50%
Serving type: Bottle into weizen glass

Hi, my name is Mike and I’m addicted to hefeweizens.

I don’t know if it’s the easy drinkability or the nice wheat flavors that make me a sucker for anything hefe related. It just goes down so damn easy! Luckily ABV isn’t higher or I’d be the one going down easy!

This classic German offering starts off a classic murky orange complimented by a tremendously large, fluffy white head that slowly faded away to about one finger. Lookin’ good Hacker. Lookin reeeaaal good.

This was followed by a big wheat and yeast nose with a faint spice to it. Not as exciting as hefes of previous posts, but still a solid aroma that makes your mouth water in anticipation of the first sip. And when that first sip comes, you get some delicious bready and light malts as a reward. A very light citrus finishes up your taste buds on the end. The body is light and carbonated well. Very easy to put a few back, as most great hefes are known for.

I got to say that this is another good example of a solid German hefe. I still prefer mine with some more corriander and banana kick, but I really enjoy the style regardless.

Overall: 4.0/5 – I’d like Hacker-More! lolololololol

Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH (It’s all in German btw)

Founders – Dirty Bastard

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
ABV: 8.50%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

Well this beer isn’t exactly Scottish, but it’s a great American take on a Scotch Ale, or also known as “Wee Heavy,” which just so happens to be my favorite name of all the numerous beer styles. I liked the name “Dirty Bastard,” which recently caused such a ruckus in Alabama that they banned the beer from the state. As if they weren’t already ass-backwards on everything, they now add banning a beer due to its funny name to their list. It sucks for the Alabamians(?) who appreciate good beer, as this was a pretty solid offering and the 8.5% ABV would have had them kissing their cousins in no time!

This “Wee Heavy” poured absolutely beautiful! Much like a true Scotsman’s beard, this brew was a deep dark red color that wouldn’t allow any light to pass through it. The only difference was the nearly two fingers of tan head, where as a true Scotsman posses ten (or possibly nine) fingers and a pale-as-a-ghost complexion.

The smell was dominated by lots of toasty malts and raisins. It was definitely a unique scent that I enjoyed very much. The smell was followed up with a taste that had a nice blend of malt, dark fruits, and slight alcohol. The beer even has a hint of hops in the finish. It seems to hit square on the head all the flavors it was trying to convey.

The beer was pretty smooth drinking and possessed a medium body. A good amount of carbonation makes the drinkability outstanding.

I would say this was a beer that I could drink this all day! The flavors come together great, but the somewhat high alcohol volume keeps you from enjoying too many too quickly. If you’re like me, you could probably do two or three over a night out. If you’re like the “Dirty Bastard” on the label, you’ll pour this on your cereal.

Overall: 4.0/5 – I tilt my kilt to this beer

Founders Brewing Company

Smuttynose – Old Brown Dog Ale

Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 6.50%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

What more can I say about this beer that it’s name and label doesn’t already perfectly convey. Much like an old dog, this beer is reliable and can be your old trusted friend that you’ll always want by your side. I’ll give the beer an edge over an actual dog because it won’t hump your house guests or lose control of its bladder on your nice rug.

This Smuttynose offering pours a real lovely maple color but is actually more mahogany when it’s held to the light. It had one finger of pretty tan head that faded away rather quickly. It left some nice laced rings on the glass after sips.

Old Brown Dog Ale has some amazingly awesome malty scents with some lighter notes of fruits and roasted nuts. It’s basically what every brown ale aspires to be… or at least its what they should be aspiring to be. The smell translates very well to the taste which hits you with some sweet malty and brown sugar flavors. The body of this beer was a smooth medium texture and it had the perfect amount of carbonation to make it superbly drinkable.

Overall I really enjoy the American Brown Ale style a lot and especially this beer in particular. I would definitely search this one out again. Now go Lassie! Find me another one of these to drink!

Nevermind. Just keep sniffing that other dog’s butt instead. It’s a better use of your time.

Overall: 4.25/5 – One Brown Ale to rule them all!

Smuttynose Brewing Company