Henry Weinhard’s Woodland Pass IPA

This is another beer that Kate picked up for me awhile ago and I just found it sitting in the fridge. Kate picked it up on a whim and I’ve never heard of this beer before. It’s rare that Kate comes home with a beer that I’ve never even seen before, so I was pretty impressed. Anyways, onto the pour.

ABV: 6%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Henry Weinhard (February 18, 1830 – September 20, 1904) was a German-American brewer in the state of Oregon. After immigrating to the United States in 1851, he lived in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and California before settling in the Portland, Oregon, area. He worked for others in the beer business before buying his own brewery and founded Henry Weinhard’s and built the Weinhard Brewery Complex in downtown Portland.”

Random: I’ve been watching this MTV show “Engaged and Underaged,” which shows couples from 18-22 getting married. Why would you want to get married that young? Some of my most fun and crazy years were from those times.

So, the first thing that I noticed about this beer was how boring and tired the label was. But, can’t judge a brew by its label. It poured a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left decent lacing on the glass. The nose had some floral hops and malt sweetness to it. Honestly, this was a bit too tame for my liking. The taste was a lot of cascade hops up front and very floral. The malt really wasn’t there as much as I expected. I think it got overwhelmed by the hops. After a few sips, I was able to pick up the malt. The body was on the heavier side with heavy carbonation. The finish wasn’t too long with a floral hoppy ending. This was definitely drinkable, but not an outstanding beer. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again. It was just very one-dimensional.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Tommyknocker Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale

Oh, fall. It’s the season where the leaves start turning and people start throwing pumpkin in freaking everything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of pumpkin flavored things, but I’m really not okay with the trend in the craft beer industry of pumpkin beer coming out in August. It’s still insanely hot in August and that’s not when I want to grab a pumpkin beer. So, if you’ve been reading, I held out until late September to have my first one. For the past two years, I’ve had six pumpkin beer reviews each year. This will be my third review for this year…let’s see how it goes.

ABV: 5%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A hearty brown ale brewed to celebrate the fall harvest season. Brewed with a hint of spice and a touch of molasses, Small Patch has a malty backbone rounded out by an addition of real pumpkin to the mash and brew kettle. Think outside the patch!”

Random: So, Kate and I have been watching that “Breaking Amish” show and the newest report that I’ve read is that the show is fake. What is reality television coming to?

This brew poured with a thin, half a finger head that was tan and dissipated almost instantly. The body was a cloudy, mahogany color with light to moderate visible carbonation. The nose had the usual notes of pumpkin and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. But, the one unique thing that came out was the molasses, which were pretty fragrant and just added this other dimension to the beer. The taste was almost as good as the nose. The molasses stood out, but died too quickly. The pumpkin and spices were also present, but the spices needed just a little more. A little more sweetness would have helped as well. The body was moderate thickness and slightly under carbonated. The finish was long with spice. This wasn’t a bad beer by any means, but there’s better choices for a pumpkin brew out there.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Samuel Adams American Kriek (Barrel Room Collection)

I know I say it a lot, but Kate is really cute. She bought me this from Spirits because she knows that I like oak aged beers. Apparently, she follows the blog. I’ve never had anything from the Sam Adams Barrel Room Collection, but I’m really excited to try it. In the last year, they’ve really put out some impressive stuff, so I’ve been holding them to a higher standard lately.

ABV: 7%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The intense black cherry character in this beer comes from Balaton® cherries, which were discovered in Hungary and are now grown in Michigan. These special cherries are prized for their depth of flavor. The tartness from the cherries is balanced by a rich, malty character with toasted oak notes added from the barrel aging.”

Random: I know, I’m using the wrong glass again. I’m thinking of just bringing my Dogfish Head glass there.

When I popped this brew open, I got a huge cork pop, but it was an absolute pain in the ass to get the rest of it out. Once I got it out, it poured with a huge four finger, slightly pink tinged head. It dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, reddish-brown color with huge amounts of visible carbonation throughout. The nose was a lot of sour cherry notes with little else. I didn’t really pick up on any oak until it got pretty warm. The taste was interesting. I got tart cherries up front, but they weren’t as overwhelming as in the nose. Some oak and soft vanilla notes came through as well with a hint of sweetness late in the sip. The body was medium thickness with lots of seltzer-like carbonation, which really worked for this beer. The finish was long with cherry and oak. There wasn’t any booze to this one either. The one thing that impressed me is that this wasn’t a fruit bomb like I expected. It was really well-balanced with all aspects of the flavor and it was really drinkable. I really enjoyed this one. If you see a bottle, pick it up!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ommegang Biere d’Hougoumont

Ommegang. A brewery that always puts out quality beers. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to really get into them, but the last few that I’ve had from them were truly fantastic. So, when I recently saw another on tap, it was an absolute no-brainer. I also haven’t had a biere de garde in forever (after looking, I actually had one in August)…well it feels like forever! And sorry for the picture, the light got in the way.

ABV: 7.3%

Style: Biere de Garde

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Limited Edition Biere d’ Hougoumont is brewed with traditional French ale yeast, eight malts, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on white oak and hard maple wooden staves. A traditional Biere De Garde style, this malty French-style farmhouse ale is brewed to be aged. The name honors the Hougoumont farmstead at the pivotal center of the Waterloo battlefield. Napoleon repeatedly failed to take the fortification, he then lost the battle and ‘met his Waterloo.'”

Random: If it was brewed to be aged, I guess it was a mistake to have on tap…? It looks like it was released in July of 2012.

So, the one thing I noticed about the brews that I’ve recently had on tap is that they’ve all had a half finger of head. That’s pretty odd, especially given that I had four different styles of beer, but whatever. This half a finger of head was white. The body was a hazy amber color with no carbonation visible due to the cloudiness and the low light in the restaurant. The nose was…different. I got dark fruits, brown sugar and Belgian yeast. This was very odd for the style. It reminded me more of a dubbel. Maybe this is because it was aged on oak and maple? The taste was exactly like a dubbel. I got burnt brown sugar, Belgian yeast and nuttiness. Some of that darker fruit made an appearance again. The body was heavy with high carbonation. This beer made no sense for the style AT ALL. The finish was long and booze. Although I really enjoyed this beer, if you gave it to me and asked me what the style was, I wouldn’t say biere de garde. But, try it if you see it, just ignore the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Goose Island Minx

I was lucky enough to try this one on tap recently and I’d never heard of the beer at all. It looks like this was a beer that was brought out of retirement from Goose Island, and you know that I love me a good Belgian IPA.

ABV: 8%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to beerpulse.com, “Minx beer description: Belgian style imperial India pale ale with an ample malt base, a fruity Belgian yeast aroma, and an alluring citrus hop flavor.”

Random: My cat is obsessed with sitting by the screen door, but on the few occasions that he’s gone out off the leash, he doesn’t go more than five feet away.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. I expected a little more head from this one. The body was a cloudy, burnt orange color with no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The nose was a lot of citrus up front, specifically Mandarin oranges and grapefruits, and then the Belgian yeast directly after. The taste was the exact opposite of the nose. The Belgian yeast was more pronounced than the citrus. The citrus was the same as in the nose, orange and grapefruit. There was also a little bit of mild clove to it. This was a really balanced brew and all the flavors just worked. The body was a little less thick than I’m used to for the style. It was also more carbonated than I’m used to. Although this wasn’t what I’m used to for the style, it was really nice. The finish was crazy long with Belgian-y goodness. One other thing of note was that the booze was pretty well hidden. I would definitely have this brew again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Carton Highlander Weiss

This was another beer that I had on tap and the second that I couldn’t find on BeerAdvocate. I’m a huge fan of berliner weisse, as is Kate. Which is quite shocking to me, given the fact that Kate really isn’t a beer fan. This was one of those styles that took me awhile to get into. The tartness of the beer style was really off-putting to me initially, but an aspect that I really enjoy right now.

ABV: 4%

Style: Berliner Weissbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Highlander is a 1986 fantasy action film directed by Russell Mulcahy and based on a story by Gregory Widen. It stars Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, and Roxanne Hart. The film depicts the climax of an ages-old battle between immortal warriors, depicted through interwoven past and present day storylines. Despite having enjoyed little success in its initial U.S. release, the cult film launched Lambert to stardom and inspired a franchise that included film sequels, television spin-offs, and an upcoming remake. The film’s tagline, ‘There can be only one,’ has carried on throughout the franchise, as have the songs provided for the film by Queen.”

Random: I blame the blurry picture on Kate’s phone…

This brew poured with a half finger of pure white head into a weizen glass. The head dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, light yellow color with lots of carbonation visible throughout. The nose was pronounced with notes of lemon and orange upfront. It was really crisp and really nice. The taste was lemon and orange, much like the nose. But, what came out that was interesting was tangerine. Taste was very citrusy and full for the style, but had a generous dose of tartness to it. The body was light with a huge amount of carbonation. The finish was really quick. Honestly, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this beer. I just wish that I had it during the summer because it would make for a great thirst quencher. I would definitely grab one of these if you see it on tap.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Weyerbacher Black and Orange

Last week, Kate and I ended up at Twin Light Tap House. I’ve gone on and on about how much I love that place and I saw that most of the beers that they had on tap were ones that I’ve never reviewed before. This was one that I never had heard of, but once I looked up what it was after I’d had it, it made total sense. Mixing one of my favorite pumpkin beers and a really good stout that I just reviewed? Yeah, definitely down with that.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Pumpkin Ale/Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: This brew is half Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale and half Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout.

Random: I had the mac and cheese appetizer at Twin Light which was really, really good.

This one came highly recommended from the waiter at Twin Light, so I had to try it. This brew poured with absolutely no head and no lacing left on the glass. The body was a dark brown color and due to the color, there was no visible carbonation. The nose was just amazing. I got all of the notes that I have come to expect from a pumpkin beer: nutmeg, cinnamon and the added bonus of ginger snap. A few of the stout characteristics came out with some roasted malts. Onto the taste. I got lots of pumpkin with nutmeg and cinnamon. The stout characteristics were a bit more muted in the taste. I got a little bit of dark chocolate and some roasted malts, but the pumpkin took center stage on this one. This was just really enjoyable to drink. The booze was invisible and body was medium thickness with moderate carbonation. It had a long finish with pumpkin and spices. I fell in love with this beer. This was a great take on a pumpkin beer and really delivered. I would definitely have this one again. If you can find it, definitely have a pint.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Maine Beer Company Lunch

I’m skipping a few beers in the queue to try this one. My parents brought me back a bunch of beer from Massachusetts that I can’t get here. They actually put the beer guy on the phone and he really hooked me up with a great stash. I’ve had one beer from Maine Beer Company and it was fantastic, so I’m stoked to have this one. It said to drink fresh, so this one is getting popped open immediately.

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our ‘East Coast’ version of a West Coast-style IPA.  Intense hop flavors and aromas of tropical and citrus fruits and pine dominate.  A subtle malt sweetness brings the beer into balance.”

Random: How did I miss the Monday night game? I completely forgot about it and now a New Jersey Senator is proposing legislation about replacement refs?

This brew poured with a huge three finger, fluffy head that dissipated slowly. It left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear yellow color with low-moderate carbonation. The nose was simply amazing, a hop head’s dream. I got heavy pine on it with some grapefruit, followed by tangerine and some tropical fruits. It just had this really nice, fresh citrus smell. The taste was even better than the nose. I got pine, fresh-cut grass and lots of bright citrus. I also got some pineapple, clementine and then some malt came through. A bit of spice came through as well. Lemon was also thrown in for good measure. Wow, this beer was just great. The body was perfect as well. It was medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. The finish was long with pine resin and some pithy grapefruit. I haven’t had a beer this good in awhile. I can’t find anything wrong with this one. This beer was just the perfect IPA. I wish we got this in New Jersey because this could be an everyday drinker. Get this one if you see it!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout

This is a brew that I’ve had sitting in the fridge for awhile. Katie bought me a few of these awhile ago and I just hadn’t gotten to them yet. I went onto the Weyerbacher website to get some information about the beer, and I have to say, the new labels are absolutely awesome. My bottle still has the old label though. Anyways, beer time.

ABV: 8%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Rich, velvety and deliciously complex, Old Heathen (8.0% ABV) is a truly distinctive stout. We use seven types of malt and two varieties of hops to bring forth this big brew. Quite robust and roasty on the palate, Old Heathen Imperial Stout has a wonderfully fruity nose and a moderately dry finish. The taste is highly complex – perhaps you’ll even discern notes of espresso or chocolate. Old Heathen Imperial Stout is our interpretation of a beer style that originated in the 18th century. Brewed in England and exported to Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, these beers became fashionable among the members of the Czar’s court. In order to survive long voyages they were brewed with high alcohol content to prevent spoilage. Like most of our beers, Weyerbacher Old Heathen is a perfect accompaniment to foods. Try it with rich stews, oysters, caviar or roasted meats. Old Heathen is also a perfect companion to chocolate desserts”

Random: I wonder how many seasons “The Walking Dead” is going to go for. I know, random thought.

This brew poured with a thick, one finger tan head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was an inky black color and because of the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation on it. The nose was big, lots of coffee and roasted malts. I also got some molasses and chocolate. The nose got me excited to take a sip. The taste was even better. I got a lot of roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate and even some dark fruits. There was a lot going on with this beer, but it all works. What made this brew even better was how velvety the mouthfeel is. It was creamy and had low carbonation. The booze didn’t make an appearance on this one, which could make it dangerous. The finish was long with coffee and bitter chocolate. I haven’t had a Russian Imperial Stout in awhile and this one really hit the spot. The flavors were spot on and it was a great beer to sip. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Fall is here! I love Fall…the weather, the sports and especially anything pumpkin flavored. I love pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream…and pumpkin beer. Throughout the couple of years that I’ve reviewed beer, I’ve had my share of pumpkin beers. I find them hit or miss. Either they’re spot on or they’re over or underspiced. So, onto the brew.

ABV: 6.1%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are in the mash, with pumpkin added to the mash, kettle and fermenter.”

Random: I’m trying to get through all of the episodes of season 2 of “The Walking Dead” before the season premiere on October 14th.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, burnt orange color with light carbonation. The nose was sweet. What stood out to me were notes of pumpkin, nutmeg and brown sugar. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the taste wasn’t as good as the nose. The pumpkin notes were light than expected and the spice was muted as well. I picked up the nutmeg and the brown sugar that I got in the nose with an addition of cinnamon. The body was too watery with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with a lot of nutmeg. This was only an alright pumpkin beer, which was disappointing because I really enjoyed the nose. I wouldn’t rush back to have again. There are so many better seasonal options out there.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0