Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Wet Hop Ale

I rarely go to the movies. Since I have Netflix, I usually wait for whatever I want to see to come out there and watch it in the comfort of my own home. But, the other half really wanted to see “Catching Fire” in the theater. So, we went on opening night and we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Uno’s in Hamilton which had a really good beer list. This was my selection for the night that was left over from their recent Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover.

ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale is the beer that launched the ‘wet hop’ craze here in America. Brewed with wet hops plucked straight from the fields in Yakima, WA, and into our brew kettles within 24 hours of growing on the vine, Northern Hemisphere does not take shortcuts. Because hops are incredibly perishable, using hops ‘wet,’ or un-dried, preserves all of the precious oils and resins for a unique drinking experience.”

Random: Although I really liked the movie, it was very, very long.

This brew poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly, which left a good amount of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy amber color with moderate carbonation present. The nose was rather mild, but had notes of fresh grapefruit hops followed by some floral notes and sweet malt. The taste was even better. It started with juicy grapefruit notes and pine resin and quickly transitioned into sweet malt after. For a fresh hop, this was exceptionally balanced and rather malt forward, considering others that I’ve had. The bitterness wasn’t overwhelming and married well with the malt. The body was towards the light side of medium with moderate carbonation. The finish was rather quick with the sweet malt that was at the end of the sip. This was a really enjoyable fresh hop that I wish I could have all year long. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire IO

It’s almost Christmas. As usual, I’m leaving everything to the last minute even though I had all of these grandiose plans to have all of my shopping done before December. I’m stuck at work today, but as I mentioned before, this means that I have two weeks off after my shift today, which I desperately need. I picked this brew up awhile back (the girlfriend picked it out if I recall correctly) and tend to really enjoy Jolly Pumpkin beers, so let’s see how it went.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to, “Jolly Pumpkin’s Baudelaire Series – first introduced in 2010 – celebrates the deep, dark and often dangerous side of love, as a story of art and beer unfold. The series is created in the spirit of French poet Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821-1867). Widely-known as a controversial figure (much like his fellow writer, Edgar Allen Poe), Baudelaire’s name has become the epitome of literary and artistic debauchery. Through these distinctive beers, Jolly Pumpkin presents a liquid narrative, steeped in romantic tendencies – with just a hint of tragedy.”

Random: I hate that it’s so dark out already. It makes me feel more tired than I am.

This brew poured with a huge, four finger, off white head that took forever to dissipate. It left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy chestnut-brown (which I may add, is a bit dark for the style) with lots of seltzer-like carbonation visible throughout. The nose had a great deal of yeast with a touch of barnyard funk and some citrus notes following up behind. The taste was the nose, but amplified. I got the typical barnyard funk that I’ve come to expect from Jolly Pumpkin. Some sweetness came up behind it with some citrus zest and a touch of oak on the end. There was also a note of hibiscus that wasn’t apparent in the nose. The body was medium thickness, but had very intense carbonation. The finish was rather quick with a lot of yeast and citrus. Although I enjoyed this beer, especially as a sipper, the price point on it was a bit extreme, even for a Jolly Pumpkin beer. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again as a result.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Southern Tier Warlock

The score of the Philly game is now 54-11. This is one of the biggest blowouts that I have ever seen. I’m glad I stayed up to watch the game even though I have to get up at 5:45 AM tomorrow to get to work. I have to say, both the offense and the defense looked spot on and really need to keep it up next week. My girlfriend has been looking at menus of places to eat on our vacation during the entirety of the game. Anyways, this is a new offering from Southern Tier to complement their fall seasonal offerings. Let’s see how they fared.

ABV: 8.6%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Imperial stout brewed with pumpkins Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own and also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet. Dark and mysterious, the Blackwater Series is serious about high gravity. Reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation and spicy pumpkin pie aroma.”

Random: I was hoping the Eagles would wear their alternate jersey this week. Those are my favorite.

This brew poured with a three finger tan head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass, which was odd for the style. The body was a dark brown color with heavy carbonation. The nose had some pumpkin notes and then a weird dough aspect, very reminiscent of cookie dough. The taste had a lot of cookie dough with roasted malts and very little pumpkin or spice. I tried to find more flavors to it, but I just couldn’t get past the dough aspect of it.There wasn’t any booze warming with it, despite the elevated ABV. The body was thick with high carbonation. The finish was quick with cookie dough. This beer was straight-out odd to me, and not in an interesting way. I wouldn’t have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

As I’ve mentioned previously, my other half is not a football fan…at all. She is nice enough to let me watch the games when we get them, but does not understand why I get so into it. Once the game started, the yelling started as well. Although this game doesn’t really matter since we need to win next week, I still want them to win. As I was typing this, the Eagles just intercepted a Bears pass for a touchdown, so the score is now 47-11. Anyways, I picked this one up awhile ago after wanting to try it for a few years.

ABV: 6.1%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Fresh Hop is a labor of love meant to be enjoyed today. Brewed in the fall with wet, whole cone hops from the Pacific Northwest, Fresh Hop is the embodiment of seasonality. Don’t age it. Keep it cold. Drink it now. Savoring this delightful pale ale during harvest season ensures that its unparalleled grassy, citrus hop brilliance will remain uncompromised.”

Random: I haven’t had a Great Divide beer in awhile. The last one that I had was in April of 2013.

This brew poured with a thick, two finger, cream-colored head that was really slow to dissipate. It also left a lot of lacing on the pint glass. It had a clear, amber body with light carbonation present throughout. The nose had a lot of depth with grass and pine and then caramel malt to back it up right away. The taste was very earthy and grassy with a touch of pine. The caramel malt came quickly but there was not much pine present in the taste. Despite being billed as a “fresh hop,” it wasn’t very hoppy. The beer was very balanced, maybe too much so. It had a thick body for style and moderate carbonation. The finish was very long with caramel malt. This was a good beer, but definitely not up to the level I’ve expected from this brewery.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (Pugsley’s Signature Series)

Every year at the end of summer, I start looking out for pumpkin beers that I haven’t had. It seems like each year, there are more and more new pumpkin beers that come out. I try to sample at least 4 or 5 a year and this is one that I have been trying to find for a few years. I saw this one on a shelf and decided to give it a try.

ABV: 9%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: This was first brewed in October of 2009.

Random: My Eagles are leading 33-11 right now. I hope they can keep this up into next week.

This brew poured with a two finger white head. It was slow to dissipate and left little lacing on the glass. The body was a clear orange color with light carbonation. On the nose, I got nutmeg and booze as the dominant scents. As I continued to sniff, some pumpkin came as out well. The taste had a bit more depth to it. I got ginger snap, nutmeg and then lots of booze warming due to the 9% ABV. There was a pronounced lack of cinnamon, which tends to be prevalent in this style. Although the booze was present, the taste in general was lighter than I am used to for the style, although nutmeg definitely stood out. There was a lot of carbonation present to scrub the palate. The finish was long and warming with some nutmeg. Despite needing to integrate the booze a little bit better than they did, I would definitely have this one again, although it isn’t the best of style I’ve had.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Two Brothers Heavier Handed IPA

When we went to NYC a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at a few places to hang out and ended up going to some really good places to eat. I’m normally a Philly girl and I hate NYC, but with a tour guide who actually knows where they’re going, it’s not so bad. I still think Philly has a much better beer scene, but I can get some things in NYC that I can’t get in Philly. This was a beer I had in NYC because I was craving some hops.

ABV: 8.1%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This artisan beer is in celebration of the end of the hop harvest. Tons of fresh, wet hops from Washington State power through this stepped up version of our seasonal ipa.”

Random: My Eagles had a good first half. Let’s hope they can keep this up.

This beer poured with a two finger, pure white head. It was slow to dissipate and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, dark orange color with heavy carbonation visible throughout. The nose presented with tropical fruit, specifically passion fruit with pineapple and some grapefruit hops and lots of citrus zest as well. The nose was really fresh and nice. The taste luckily mirrored the nose with a bit of tropical fruit sweetness couple with lots of grapefruit hops and a pronounced lack of malt which really appealed to the hop head in me. The booze was well hidden and didn’t add a whole lot of heat to it. The body was thick with heavy carbonation prickling the tongue. The finish was long and hoppy. For a beer that I hadn’t heard a lot about, this was a really enjoyable DIPA, especially for the hop lover. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Brooklyn The Defender (2013)

As usual, my life has been crazy. Unfortunately, it’s mostly due to work. But, after tomorrow’s work day, I will be off for two weeks and will be going on vacation to DC and Maryland with the other half. I’m hoping that I can get some beer related “research” in while down there, but it will be really nice to just relax. This was a beer I had awhile ago when I was in NYC to see a musical (my other half wanted to go and was nice enough to take me to a beer bar to watch the Eagles).

ABV: 7.6%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Grab your capes! The New York Comic Con is almost upon us. And like last year we are celebrating by reimagining our very own Superhero inspired brew. The liquid portion of the Brooklyn Defender was designed by Brewmaster and certified Sci-Fi geek Garrett Oliver, the logo by vintage DC Comics logo designer Milton Glaser, and the hero himself by Cliff Chiang. We’re thrilled to have Cliff design the Defender this year, we’ve been admiring his design work for years, and his Wonder Woman run has been on our pull list every week. Cliff has given us a darker more contemporary Brooklyn Defender, willing to brave any bar to defend against his gallery of rogues the ‘Foam Jobs.'”

Random: My girlfriend is wearing her Eagles shirt like a cape. We’re winning, so I’m really not questioning it.

This beer poured with a three finger, light brown head that dissipated slowly. It left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose was filled with roasted malts and coffee with no real hops present. As soon as I thought that, I got a touch of medicinal note, but not much else towards the hops side. The taste was a little more hoppy than the nose with some mint present as well. Roasted coffee notes and milk chocolate were there as well and seemed to dominate the hop aspect. The body was medium thickness with moderate carbonation. It had a long finish with the roasted coffee. Despite needing a bit more balance, I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness

Some days, I think the Eagles live to frustrate me. Today, we’re playing the Vikings, who are without Adrian Peterson. This should a relatively easy game. So far, it isn’t. We’re losing and have already fumbled the ball (although we did recover it ourselves). Our defense is playing like garbage. I’ve even gone so far as playing the lucky Eagles song that we played last week when they turned they game around. Hopefully, they come out for the next half looking like a different team.

ABV: 5.7%

Style: English Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Filled with the howling of black dogs that haunt the long-forgotten shadows of the human soul. This dense liquid-silk summoned hope from hibernation and balanced winter’s endless white snows with a rich swirl of creamy black rapture.”

Random: As you can guess, this is from another Magic Hat mix pack.

This brew poured with a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep, dark brown color with heavy carbonation visible throughout. The nose had some dark roasted malts and burnt espresso. Given that it was a stout, the nose was relatively light. The taste had more depth than the nose. I got cocoa powder, roasted malts, dark chocolate and a touch of char from the burnt espresso at the end. The body was medium thickness with very intense carbonation. The finish was long with cocoa powder. Although I’ve tended to shy away from Magic Hat products lately, this one was a pleasant surprise that was very drinkable and I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

AleSmith Speedway Stout

One of the aspects of beer blogging that I’ve really gotten away from is the necessity of purchasing/consuming hyped beers. I’m lucky to live in the best distribution state for beer (going by sheer number of breweries we get) and there is no shortage of amazing beers that are not crazy hyped. This beer is one that gets a decent amount of hype that I found in Philly. Since we were getting into stout season, I decided to pick it up.

ABV: 12%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Jet Black, with an off-white head. Starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation, then fades to a multitude of toasty, roasty and caramel malt flavors. Clean and crisp, full- bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content lightens up the feel. You won’t fool your taste buds – this beer is HUGE!”

Random: It’s getting more and more rare that I get to add new breweries to my categories. It makes me happy when I do.

The beer poured with a three finger, light brown head into my Kane tulip glass. The head was slow to dissipate and left generous lacing. The body was a dark brown, almost inky black color. The nose had a lot of dark chocolate notes with burnt espresso as well. Anyone who follows the blog knows that I love a good nose on a stout and this brew was no exception. On the taste, I got baker’s chocolate with heavy coffee notes and hot booze warming on the end. I could only imagine how good this would be with some barrel aging. Although the booze was present and hot, it wasn’t as hot as the 12% would indicate.  The body was thick and viscous with light carbonation. The finish was long with coffee and bitter chocolate. This is one of those beers that I can completely understand why it got the hype it did. It’s a perfect example of what a stout should be, multidimensional, lots of flavors and some nice booze warming. Go grab this one for a cold winter’s night.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Uinta Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale

It’s officially football Sunday. Because my girlfriend has FIOS, we do not get the game on tv. She is really sweet and tries to find ways for me to watch it, but we’ve (and by “we,” I mean “me”) settled on having Gamecast on the computer and listening to the commentary through satellite radio. What I should also mention is that she is not a sports fan and refers to all sports as “sportsball,” so the fact that she is okay with me screaming at the television/computer/radio is quite adorable. As I settle in for the first half, this is a beer that she picked out while in Philly.

ABV: 4%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Malt and hops accented with roasted pumpkin and spices of the season. A subtle hint of vanilla and honey. Punk’n is a wonderful compliment to foods with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove flavors. Try it with roasted turkey, squash or pumpkin ravioli, peach cobbler, or pumpkin cheesecake.”

Random: Although Uinta is distributed in NJ, it’s a bit on the hard to find side. I’ll find a few beer stores that will have it for a month or two, and then I can’t find anything from them.

This beer poured with a finger of slightly off white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy dark orange color with moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose had a lot of spice, specifically ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg with some pumpkin at the end. The taste was brighter than the typical pumpkin beer. I got orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg with pumpkin puree. The body was lighter than expected with high carbonation. It had a medium long finish with orange zest and pumpkin notes. I really enjoyed this beer. The addition of the orange that I picked up made it just a touch different from every other pumpkin beer. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0