Archive for February, 2012

Another brew for the night. This is a beer that I’ve never heard of, but it’s another British beer for the week. They also make Old Speckled Hen, another British beer that I’ve never had, which I should probably seek out given the reviews that I’ve read about it. The bottle is pretty boring, hopefully what’s inside is a little better.

ABV: 4.4%

Style: English Pale Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Greene King is a British brewery established in 1799 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. It has grown to become one of the largest British owned breweries in the UK through a series of takeovers which have been the subject of some criticism. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 share index. It currently holds 2% of the UK beer market, although its share has been growing for some time.”

Random: Plaxico Burress said that he’d love to be an Eagle…what the hell? I seriously don’t want him on my team.

Clear glass…not a good start to trying this beer. I’ve never had a beer out of clear glass that I’ve fallen in love with. The head was about half a finger and pure white and dissipated quickly without leaving any lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear burnt orange color with very mild carbonation…it almost looked flat. The nose started with a bit of malt and caramel and then quickly transitioned into a floral, slightly unpleasant hop scent. Uh oh. This does not seem to be a good thing. The taste was pretty…awful actually. The floral hops definitely came through on the taste as almost skunkiness, making me think that this beer was way beyond its prime. I did get a hint of nuttiness and sweetness.  But, there was definitely a bit of skunkiness to the taste. The finish was pretty quick, thankfully, without a remarkable flavor. The body was towards the thinner side and almost flat. This beer was pretty horrible. I definitely wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

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What a day. Work was not fun at all today. Then, I went to the Academy and learned all about fire hydrants and water supplies. It was actually pretty interesting. The only bad part is that I still have 3 chapters worth of homework to get done this weekend. So, today we’re going to start with another British brew. I’ve had a few other brews from this brewery and this is one that always gets written up. Let’s see how it goes.

ABV: 9%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “The Yorkshire Stingo was a public house in Marylebone, London which was a significant landmark outside central London in the eighteenth and 19th century. Located on the south side of the Marylebone Road, it was a rural location when first built. An admittance charge was made, redeemable with the waiters, as a method of preventing those with no money from enjoying the facilities. Its name comes from a fashionable slang word of the 18th century for strong beer.”

Random: I usually am not a fan of Samuel Smith labels, but I really like this one. It’s retro, but not stale.

This brew poured with a one finger off white head on top of a dark and cloudy mahogany body. There was some strong, visible carbonation on the brew as well. The nose started with some oak, toffee, caramel and dark fruits. The scent of raisins was exceptionally strong. The taste started with a lot of oak and some booze and transitioned into plums and raisins. The oak wasn’t overwhelming, but really worked with the other flavors going on. The toffee and caramel took a backseat on the taste. The beer was medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The finish was long with booze and a bit of oak. Despite the fact that the booze was pretty apparent in the beer, the oak and raisin flavors really worked well for this, making it a very enjoyable winter drinker. I would definitely have this one again. This is my new favorite brew from Samuel Smith.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The second British brew for the night. I don’t know why I’ve avoided British beers. I mean, at least with IPAs I know why. I tend to really enjoy the bolder flavors of an American IPA compared to a British one, but in terms of other styles, I really need to start expanding. Let’s see how this one goes.

ABV: 4.7%

Style: English Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery, “London Pride, Fuller’s flagship beer, was crowned the Supreme Champion at the 2000 International Beer and Cider competition. London Pride was named Champion Best Bitter at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in 1995, and in 1979 when it also achieved the ultimate accolade of Beer of the Year. It also received the gold medal at the 2002 and 2001 International Beer and Cider competitions. Additionally, judges awarded the bronze medal to London Pride at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival in the Best Bitter category.”

Random: I hate when drag queens look better in a dress than me. It’s almost annoying…

The brew poured with a half a finger of off white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, mahogany color with very low carbonation. The nose definitely had some malt to it, coupled with some floral hops and a mineral scent to it. This was definitely more subtle of a pale ale than I was used to. The taste had a good combination of clean malt, dry grain, earthy hop and biscuit with a clean and quick finish. The body was thin with low carbonation. It was also very crisp and very clean. Although I prefer the American counterpart to the pale ale, this one was really nice and probably the best one I’ve had of the style. I’d definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

As I’ve mentioned before, I worked on a project where I compiled all of the data of styles and breweries that I’ve reviewed so far. What I found was something that I knew already. I tend to stay in my comfort zone and I favor American breweries and my favorite styles. So, what I’ve decided to do is start doing weekly themes for reviews. So, for this week, I’ll be reviewing some British beers, which I really haven’t had a lot of. The first one up is this bad boy…

ABV: 5.9%

Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “ESB’s reputation as the best British beer around is borne out by the amazing number of awards it has won. The US Beverage Tasting Institute named ESB ‘World Champion Bitter’ in 1997 and 1998. ESB received the Gold Medal in the Premium Ales category at the 2003 International Beer Competition and a Silver medal in the same event in 2004. In addition, ESB won another Silver in the Strong Bitter category at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival. And no beer has won more CAMRA awards, including Best Strong Ale in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1991, and Champion Beer of Britain in 1978, 1981 and 1985.”

Random: I haven’t watched much Ru Paul’s Drag Race until tonight, which is unfortunate, because this season it’s hilarious.

First of all, I really loved the bottle that this brew came in. It was definitely a bit different than I was used to. The beer itself poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, burnt orange color with mild, visible carbonation. The nose started with a bit of biscuit and toffee and some grassy hops. The taste started for me with a bit of a mineral flavor, but then went into some toffee and fruity hops. After a few sips, I also got a bit of toasted grain, which as I drank it became the dominant flavor. This was a very crisp beer and very clean. The booze was not a factor and the body was medium with moderate carbonation. The finish lingered with the mineral flavor and the toasted grains. This brew was amazing to me. The flavors were on point and really clean, which made this a really amazing brew. I really didn’t think that this beer would knock my socks off, and I was definitely surprised. Without question, I’ll be having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Sunday! The one day of the week that I usually have nothing going on. I don’t have Academy and I don’t have to work. It’s really quite the combination. I get to sleep in, have breakfast with my sister and usually do some FF homework and laundry and just get ready for the week ahead. Instead, today, my parents called and said they were coming down and I had to move stuff. This is definitely not a good thing given the fact that I am sore as hell from Academy yesterday. So, I figured I’d have a beer before I’m even more sore today.

ABV: 5.2%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pale Ale stands apart from the model of completely hop-dominated pale ales, offering a noticeable degree of malt body to counter the hop bitterness. A blend of floral & herbal hop notes provide the aromatic & flavor highlights, alongside the distinctive contribution of our house ale yeast. A crisp bitterness finishes the experience without being harsh.”

Random: My cat seriously loves salmon. I think it’s one of his favorite things other than bacon and chicken.

This brew poured with a half finger of white head that dissipated relatively quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body of the brew was a hazy golden-yellow with moderate carbonation. It also had a lot of visible “floaties.” The nose had a bit of what smelled like lemon and grainy malts. The taste was definitely a bit more on the hoppy side. I got a bit of grapefruit coupled with a bit of malt. The one thing that really is a put off for me with the beer is the almost metallic aftertaste that lasts for awhile. It was just really unpleasant. The body was on the medium side for a pale ale and the beer itself was pretty crisp. I just can’t get past the metallic flavor and the fact that the flavors beforehand are just nothing special. I definitely wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Another review from Bell’s. It’s always a treat to have a beer that isn’t distributed in your area. I’m watching Hoarders again and I have never seen houses this bad. I remember when I used to work on the road in EMS and I saw a few houses that looked like this. It was never fun going into houses like that. I wonder if hoarding is a newer problem because when I was younger, I never remember hearing about anyone with that issue. Anyways, onto the brew.

ABV: 5.8%

Style: English Brown Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown Ale is a mainstay in our fall & winter lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.”

Random: Pitchers and catchers reported, which means that soon baseball will be on. Luckily, I’m training the girlfriend to be a Phillies fan.

I’ve always found that Bell’s brews have pretty boring labels. This one is no different for me. It has an owl on it and that’s pretty much it. Hopefully what’s in the bottle is a little more impressive. The brew itself poured with about a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no real lacing on the glass. The body was a clear chestnut-brown color, complete with “floaties” in the brew and moderate carbonation. The nose had some nuttiness to it, a hint of roasted malts and even a bit of maple. The nose had a bit more sweetness than I expected from it. The taste was definitely all nuttiness, specifically hazelnuts, but the sweetness that I expected to get from the nose wasn’t there. It also had a bit more carbonation than I expected from it, coupled with a lighter body. It was definitely a pleasant drinker. The finish was relatively swift with some nuttiness. This was definitely a brew that I would have again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

And…I’m back. It was a crazy week at work, coupled with the Academy kicking my ass and entertaining an incredibly cute 4 year old. It’s been busy to say the least. I had this one at one of my favorite places to watch a game in New Jersey…Chickie’s and Pete’s. After some crab fries, I saw this one was on draft. I have to admit…I was curious, so I had to try it.

ABV: 5.8%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Shock Top Wheat IPA is no traditional beer. It’s a unique hybrid that combines the fresh flavor and smoothness of wheat beer with the crisp hop bitterness of an IPA. The result is a beer that is truly like no other. To serve, pour down the side of the glass until a half-inch is left in the bottle. Swirl the remaining brew and pour to produce a rich, thick collar of foam that releases the citrusy Cascade hop aroma.”

Random: I have a feeling that this isn’t going to be a great beer, but a lot of people will use it as a gateway brew.

The head of the brew poured with a thick two fingers full and a slightly off white color. It dissipated slowly and left significant lacing on the glass. Very surprising. The body was a very hazy orange color with no visible carbonation due to the haziness. The nose was pretty much all citrus, a lot of orange specifically…but nothing really indicative of an IPA. The taste was very similar to the nose. It was a lot of orange but not grapefruit, which I expected. I really didn’t get a lot of hoppiness…just a crapload of citrusy flavors that lingered until the finish. The body was thicker than expected with lower than expected carbonation. The finish was long with…you guessed it…orange. I definitely wouldn’t have this one again. It was a definite disappointment.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0