Dogfish Head Saison DuBUFF

I grabbed this one out of the fridge since I’m trying to do a “first in, first out” type of deal. I’ve had both of the Victory and Stone offerings prior to this, so I pretty much know what to expect. So far, I think Victory is better than Stone’s. But, we’ll see if this one beats the prior two.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the DFH website, “Sam Calagione is the founder and President of Dogfish Head. Sam got the brewing bug back in the early 1990s while working at a bar in NYC that featured microbrewed beer. After a number of homebrew batches, Sam put his English degree to the test while writing the brewpub business plan. Sam is the brainchild behind all the wacky things that happen at Dogfish Head. He’s often on the road promoting Dogfish Head through beer, song, dance and words!”

This beer poured a golden color, but clear with lots of carbonation. The head was about two to three fingers, white and fluffy, as to be expected. On the nose, there are hints of spice, like rosemary and parsley, with overwhelms anything else that might be present. On the taste, again, it’s all spice. I can’t get anything, just lots and lots of spice. Well, that and carbonation. This isn’t nearly as well-balanced as the other two. The finish is much of the same, long and spicy. I like the concept of a spiced saison, I think it makes this pretty unique. But, there has to be more than just spice. After having all three, the choice is easy: Victory, Stone and DFH. If you get a chance, try all three. But, if you only get just one, try for Victory’s.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Cricket Hill Nocturne

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back. Due to being in school, I can’t promise daily posts, although the extras on the weekend should hopefully make up for this. I’ve also been drinking more wine, which is odd, as I don’t like it as much as beer, but a little change is always good. This beer was on tap at the growler station at Cranbury Buy Rite. Everything else that was on tap, I either have tried already or wasn’t all that interested in.

ABV: 4.5%

Style: American Amber/Red Lager

Trivia: According to the Cricket Hill website, “Our beers are all designed as session beers that are as gentle in style as can be. They are full-bodied beers that deliver classic flavors in the middle of your palate then fade away to nothing with no bitter aftertaste. We are not trying to make a statement, or blow you away with a hop or malt bomb, we are simply showing the world what great beer tastes like!” So no crazy high ABVs here.

Random: I would think this beer is a little too dark to be classified under an amber or red lager, but maybe they had no other place to put it.

This beer poured out of the growler with a crazy amount of head. So, after drinking that one and pouring a decent one, I got two fingers of off white, fluffy brown head that left significant lacing. The body is a dark mahogany, almost black, but definitely clear. Due to the color, I couldn’t see any visible carbonation. On the nose, it was mostly roasted malts with a hint of caramel. There was also another sweet smell that I couldn’t really place. I also got some nuttiness. On the first sip, it’s definitely a malty lager. There is a decent amount of caramel with a hint of hazelnut. Everything that I got in the nose, I could get in the taste. The finish of the brew was much of the same, quick and malty. This would be a nice to beer to session if you’re looking for something with a little more body than a typical lager. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Magic Hat Hi.P.A.

Another long day, but at least Monday’s over with. It was a productive day at school and at work. I even got some homework done, which is always nice. Tonight’s offering is another Magic Hat brew, courtesy of the fall variety pack. This is the current IPA on tour, which is also available in cases.

ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to Brewers Connection, “The Columbus hop is a relatively new variety that is becoming increasingly popular. Also known as Tomahawk, it is a bittering hop bred and selected from the Hopunion breeding program. It’s orgin is owned by HUSA-CEZ, LLC, a joint venture between Charles E. Zimmerman and Hopunion USA, Inc., making it a patened hop. It has been considered similar to Zeus. It is plentiful in Lupulin, makeing it an exceptional bittering hop with a very good flavor. Although it is mainly bred for its high alpha, it is also popular for its oil profile, making it’s aroma pleasantly pungent. A good hop for IPA’s, Pale Ales, Stouts, Imperials, and even some lagers.

Random: This beer uses Columbus hops exclusively. Interesting…

The beer poured with a fluffy two finger white head that left significant lacing. The body is a clear straw yellow with visible carbonation. This doesn’t look like a Magic Hat beer. On the nose, there is a lot of fresh pine, but not a huge amount of citrus. This doesn’t smell like a Magic Hat beer either. On first sip, a lot of pine comes to the front. The carbonation is moderate. The beer is almost silky. Wow, this doesn’t taste like a Magic Hat beer either. I’m impressed, as you could probably tell. This is a solid IPA. It’s got enough hops to satisfy a hop head, but it’s not obnoxious about the hops either. The finish lingers for a while, and it’s almost a little oily and it hangs around a little too long. This would be my only complaint about the brew. I would definitely have this one again. It’s easily sessionable and hoppy enough for my taste.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Magic Hat Hex

The Eagles won, the Jets won, what more could I ask for from Sunday? Perhaps the Giants to lose, but I won’t push it. For tonight’s selection, Magic Hat’s seasonal. I got this in their mix pack for fall, but they’re also putting this out in cases, which surprises me. I didn’t know that this was that popular to warrant it.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “In mathematics and computer science, hexadecimal (also base 16, or hex) is a positional numeral system with a radix, or base, of 16. It uses sixteen distinct symbols, most often the symbols 0–9 to represent values zero to nine, and A, B, C, D, E, F (or alternatively a through f) to represent values ten to fifteen. For example, the hexadecimal number 2AF3 is equal, in decimal, to (2 × 163) + (10 × 162) + (15 × 161) + (3 × 160) , or 10,995.” An alternate meaning to the beer name.

Random: Magic Hat says that this is their Oktoberfest style beer, so I assumed that the  style would be a marzen. But, as is usual with Magic Hat, what they say the style is never seems to match up with what anyone else says.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that quickly dissipated with no lacing on the glass. The body is a clear reddish-brown with lots of carbonation. On the nose, I get some sweet caramel smell, but not much. The first sip presents with lots of caramel maltiness and carbonation. The hops make a brief appearance on the end of the sip, but they are very subtle. I would agree with BeerAdvocate’s classification. This doesn’t taste like a marzen, there’s not enough spice to it. It’s definitely more of an amber. The finish is also slightly sweet and lingers for a bit. While the beer looks watery and thin, it’s actually thicker than I expected. This isn’t a bad brew, but not one that I would look for again. It’s just a little too boring for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Abita Purple Haze

This was the second beer that I had at Court Jester. I’ve had this beer more times than I can remember. It used to be my favorite beer before I expanded my horizons into IPAs and the like. So, I have a pretty good idea of what this tastes like and how much I’ll enjoy it.

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable beer

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “‘Purple Haze’ is a song written in 1966 and recorded in 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and released as a single (Hendrix’s second) in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It appeared on the US release of their 1967 album Are You Experienced and on subsequent re-releases of the album. ‘Purple Haze’ has become one of the ‘archetypical psychedelic drug songs of the sixties’ and is often cited as one of Jimi Hendrix’s greatest songs, and for many is his signature song.”

Random: I see this beer everywhere now. It seems to be really popular. It’s also less in alcohol than I thought it would be.

The brew poured with a two finger white head with an orange, cloudy body. There was no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. There was a lot of fruit, mostly raspberry, on the nose, which is to be expected. There is some lacing left on the glass. The first sip is a lot of raspberries, but a lot of carbonation. I’ve had this before, and this is not what it tastes like. Something is missing. It almost tastes like raspberry seltzer. There is definitely something wrong with this beer. It’s so watery and weak. This pint is definitely not reflective of the beer itself. Normally, the beer is a nice mouthful of raspberries with a hint of wheat mixed in. It goes down quick and it goes down easy. Not this one. I think perhaps I got a bad pint. Anyways, Abita Purple Haze is an easy session beer with some great flavor. Just don’t try it at Court Jester.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Blue Point Toasted Lager

After spending the day brewing beer (this was my birthday present from Nic), we stopped at a local bar and grill to have lunch. The bar boasted having 30 beers on tap, but there wasn’t much that was intriguing. It annoys me when a place advertises the number of taps they have as a way to say they have craft beers. If 27 taps are macros, it doesn’t help. I went to a bar last night that said that the special of the night was $3 craft beers. I asked what craft beers they had and the waiter looked at me like I was crazy. I’ve had the beer before and enjoyed it, but I’ve never had it on tap.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Trivia: This beer won gold at the 2006 World Beer Cup.

Random: I’m watching Steel Magnolias and I love Dolly Parton more and more.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that left moderate lacing on the glass. The body was a clear golden brown color with visible carbonation. On the nose, there was a hint of sweetness/malt but not much else. On the first sip, there is some smooth butteriness to it, and then a bit of nuttiness. There is also some carbonation on the taste. The finish lingers for a bit. The thickness of the beer is perfect. It’s an easy sessionable beer. There’s nothing remarkable about it, but it goes down easy and has a nice bit of flavor to it. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Fall seems like it is finally upon us, which means one of my favorite flavors: pumpkin! This means pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, and of course, pumpkin beer! This was the first pumpkin beer that I picked up this fall. I’ve had some great offerings from Smutty, so I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

ABV: 6%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Weigh-off competitions for giant pumpkins are a popular festival activity. 460 pounds (208.65 kilograms) held the world record for the largest pumpkin until 1981 when Howard Dill (of Nova Scotia) broke the record with a pumpkin near 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms). Dill patented the seeds used to grow this giant pumpkin, deeming them Dill’s Atlantic Giant seeds, and drawing growers from around the world. Dill is credited for all of the giant pumpkins today, most of which are borne from crossing and re-crossing his patented seed with other varieties. By 1994, the Giant Pumpkin crossed the 1,000-pound (453.59-kilogram) mark. The current world record holder is Christy Harp’s 1,725-pound (782 kilograms) Atlantic giant pumpkin, which won the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers annual weigh-off in Oct 2009.”

Random: Angel licked the condensation off the glass of this brew.

This beer poured with a two finger off white head that left significant lacing on the glass. The body of the brew is a burnt orange color with visible carbonation on it. On the nose is definite spice and pumpkin notes with a hint of hops to it. On first sip, I’m surprised at the hop character that seems to come out. It’s by no means overwhelming, just a little more than one would expect. The carbonation dances on the tongue. Hints of spice and pumpkin come out, but it’s more subtle than the nose would imply. The finish is slightly bitter and lingers for a bit. The only complaint that I have is that it could be a little more balanced with some more pumpkin and spice, but otherwise, very easy drinker and great session beer. Go grab a six-pack before the season ends!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ramstein Blonde Wheat Beer

Another day…I finally got home from the gym. I slept like absolute crap last night, so my workout was pretty pathetic, but at least I got a workout in. I also just ordered some sushi for dinner (my favorite!) and am finishing the end of Watchmen. What goes better with dinner and a movie than a brew, and a Jersey brew at that.

(The DFH glass was a birthday gift from Lisa. I’m finally breaking it in)

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Ramstein Air Base (IATA:RMS, ICAO: ETAR) is a United States Air Force (USAF) base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installation. Ramstein is located near the town of Ramstein, in the rural district of Kaiserslautern, Germany.”

Random: I first had a Ramstein beer at Stuff Yer Face and Nicole really liked it. This was a left over from a six-pack I bought her a while back.

This beer poured a cloudy yellow color with some visible carbonation and sediment throughout. The head dissipated almost instantly, even before I took the picture. When it was first poured, it was less than a finger of white head. On the nose, it smells like a typical hefe, some banana and spice come to the front. On first sip, there’s a lot of refreshing carbonation and then the banana, citrus and spice flavors come out. The citrus is mostly lemon and orange. This is a hefe where I can really taste the banana. The spice isn’t as apparent as in other hefes, but it’s pleasant and it works for the brew. The finish is quick and unremarkable. My only complaints about the beer is that it could be a touch thicker. It’s bordering on watery. But, a nice summer brew that would go down easy at a barbecue.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

River Horse Hop-a-lot-amus

I’m having a craving while watching Monday Night Football. That craving is for hops. I went to the gym and watched the Jets while I worked out. Nic is not going to be happy when she gets home. I’m watching the Chiefs and they look sick. Since when did they get good? I also won my game in fantasy football this week. I played Nicole, so she’s probably not happy about that either. Anyways, onto a nice hoppy local beer…River Horse Hop-a-lot-amus.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: A hippo is also known as a “river horse.” The logos make so much more sense now.

Random: River Horse really needs to update their website. They show all of their beers with the old labels and their front page says that they’re “getting around” to updating it.

I got to break out the new tulip glass from Flying Fish that I got over the weekend at the brewery. Woo hoo! This brew poured with a two finger head with lots of thick, off-white head that leaves serious lacing on the glass. The beer itself is cloudy, which is probably due to it being unfiltered, per the label. The body is a burnt orange-y brown color. The nose is all piney hops with a hint of booze coming out. A bit of citrus also comes out on the nose. It doesn’t smell like a typical double IPA. On first sip, there’s a some hops to the beer, as to be expected, but there’s also some sweetness. A lot of sweetness, considering that it’s an IPA. The citrus character also comes out at first. The bitterness comes towards the end of the sip and along with the prickly carbonation, lingers at the back of the tongue. The booze is pretty well hidden, and is only really apparent on the nose. It’s a good beer, but confusing. When I see “imperial IPA,” I fully expect to be smacked in the face by hops. This definitely doesn’t do that. But, it’s definitely got character and I would have it again. But, not my favorite imperial IPA.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Leinenkugel Oktoberfest

This was the last beer of the night. Now, if you follow this blog, you know how much I am not a fan of any of the Leinenkugel’s beers that I’ve had. The summer shandy is gross (although a lot of people like it) and every other brew I’ve had from them is underflavored or watery. Hopefully, this beer changes my opinion of Leine’s, but I’m not all that optimistic.

ABV: 5.1%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to a newspaper article that I found, “Leinenkugel Brewing, with roots dating back to 1867, was purchased by Miller in 1988. It posted volume sales of 465,000 barrels in 2007, making it the nation’s fourth-largest craft brewer, according to trade publication Beer Marketer’s Insights. Last year’s sales increased 24%, with continued growth of its Sunset Wheat brand driving much of that increase.”

Random: So, their Sunset Wheat is gross, how is that driving much of their increase? And, they’re basically married to a macro. Interesting.

This poured with one finger of off-white fluffy head with no lacing. The body is an orange-brown color, clear, with moderate carbonation. The nose was majorly muted, maybe a hint of spice? Perhaps a touch of bread? I’m reaching, I know. The first sip hits you with a lot of carbonation and that’s pretty much it. There’s a little bit of caramel malt and no real spice. This is yet another brew from Leinenkugel’s that I dislike. It’s boring. Even the Honey Moon had more character.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0