Michelob Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat

The other half and I had a busy Sunday. We spent all day looking at houses. As much as I love living in an 800-something square foot apartment, we definitely need more space. We saw a few houses that we liked, but I will say, going to open house after open house is tiring. After we saw all the houses, we ended up at a local bar and grill for a few snacks and the other half got this beer so that I could review it.

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ABV: 5.2%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to greatbeernow.com, “Shock Top, the Anheuser- Busch InBev division known for its Belgian style brew, has a new beer available on limited release and just in time for National Pretzel Day on April 26. The beer is Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat, a Belgian-style unfiltered wheat ale that delivers the delicious taste and aroma of bakery-fresh pretzels. Pretzels are commonly consumed with beer and Shock Top brewmaster Jill Vaughn feels this new beer represents an ideal marriage between a beverage and food that are natural accompaniments. ‘As a brewmaster, having the freedom to experiment with quality ingredients means that I can create beers that are as unique as the fans that enjoy them,’ said Vaughn. ‘Pretzels are everyone’s favorite beer snack, so we thought Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat would be a fun and approachable twist on unfiltered wheat beer for festival goers to enjoy … and just in time for National Pretzel Day.’ Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat is brewed with wheat, caramel malt, orange peels and a rich pretzel flavor. The beer features a dark caramel color and contains 5.2 percent alcohol by volume. This limited release beer can be found on draught at more than 150 beer festivals nationwide, at Shock Top special events, and select retail locations for a limited time. At some events, Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat will be served in limited-edition pretzel cups, for added authenticity and fun.’

Random: I’m really happy this is a short week. I think the other half and I are going to go to the beach for the 4th.

This brew poured with a two finger, off white head that dissipated quickly with a little bit of lacing left on the glass. The body was a hazy, deep mahogany with light carbonation visible, which was surprising for the style. The nose had definite notes of pretzel, which was an odd smell for a beer, but had light toasted malts and salt as well. The taste had notes of dark wheat with pretzel and bread and a touch of salt. It had a medium thick body and was definitely under carbonated. It had a quick finish with pretzel. Although this beer was definitely interesting, I found it a bit gimmicky and I would find it hard to have more than one.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Triumph Hefeweizen

Last night, the other half and I decided to go to Triumph in Princeton because she wanted a burger. We have a running joke that whenever we go out, the service is just awful and this didn’t normally happen to either of us before we started dating. As usual, the service was awful and I didn’t like my food, which is disappointing because it’s such a convenient spot for us. I think we’ll be taking a break from Triumph for a little bit. Anyways, let’s see how the beer was.

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ABV: 5%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Made from a 50% wheat mash and fermented with a special strain of yeast, its complex flavor, with notes of clove, banana and smoke, is unique in the world of beer.”

Random: I just ordered a weizen glass since I don’t have one at the house.

This brew poured with a quarter of a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the pint glass. This by the way, slightly annoyed me as I was really hoping for it to be served in a weizen glass. But, I digress. The body was a very hazy, light yellow color with moderate visible carbonation despite the cloudiness. The nose had notes of banana, clove and bubble gum. The taste had even more notes of banana and bubble gum. The clove spice was a little less than in the nose. There was also some orange present as well. What I didn’t get was the smoke, but I was definitely okay with that, because it may have been odd in the brew. The body was medium thickness for the style with moderate carbonation. It had a medium long finish with banana and clove. Given that I find Triumph beers to be mostly middle of the road, I really enjoyed this one and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Left Hand Homefront IPA

I’ve been wanting to try this beer for awhile. If you follow the blog at all, you know I love baseball, so even though a beer that’s aged on baseball bats sounds gimmicky, I was all for it. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 6.6%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Burnished copper color with a creamy white head. An aggressive aroma of pine followed by a nice citrus finish reminiscent of lemon curd and orange peel. Biscuit, honey, and grapefruit pith notes play ball on your tongue, followed by a memorable dry bitter finish. Nearing the end of the beer’s fermentation, orange zest and maple bats are added to the tank. Louisville Slugger sends each participating brewery specially engraved bats to add to the aging process. Originally developed in 2011 by Fremont Brewing Co. and Center of the Universe Brewing Co., Homefront IPA will be released by seven additional breweries this year: Left Hand Brewing Co., Cigar City, Perennial Artisan Ales, Sly Fox, St. Arnold’s, 21st Amendment, The Phoenix Ale Brewery, and Stone Brewing Co. All sales of Homefront IPA will go towards Operation Homefront, a national non-profit providing emergency assistance to military families and wounded warriors. Left Hand is the only participating Colorado brewery and will contribute 55 barrels to be sold in bottles and on draft nationwide. In 2014, a minimum of $150K from the sale of beer from participating breweries will be donated to Operation Homefront.”

Random: I’m thinking the Phils are going to trade Dom Brown before the deadline. We’ll see if I’m right.

This beer poured with a two finger, relatively thick, cream colored head. It dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark copper color with high carbonation visible. The nose had some light wood with fresh grassy hops and some grapefruit notes as well. The taste was more mellow than the typical IPA. There was grass, grapefruit and some floral hops as well. Orange zest was present as well. It was almost as if the wood from the bats mellowed it. The body was light with high carbonation prickling the tongue. It had a long finish with grapefruit and lightly toasted wood. This brew was decent, but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing, which was really disappointing because I wanted to love it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

To Øl Black Ball Porter

I’ve almost purchased this beer a few times at the store. I haven’t heard much about it, but it looked interesting and I can really get down with a good porter. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 8%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Black Ball is a potent porter, boasted with dark cassonade sugar and a good heap of American hops to rebalance the edgy and full-flavoured malt profile. You will find notes of chocolate, caramel and sulphur. This results in a porter with a broad and delicate mouth feel, capable of a good kick and does not leave the mouth voluntarily. Black IPA? No way! Hoppy Porters is here to stay! For a perfect evening, Black Ball blends perfect with a Black Rocket from the Pivovar Matuška brewery and Mikkeller Black Hole (Royalties to Theis!)”

Random: I have a basil plant on the balcony and it has been looking really sad. I watered it yesterday and it’s starting to perk up.

This brew poured with a two finger, relatively thick tan head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass, but not as much as I would have thought. The body was almost black with no visible carbonation due to the color. There was a bit of tan-colored detritus throughout the body. The nose was fragrant with dark chocolate, roasted malt and peat and smoke coming through as well. The taste was more intense than I expected. I got coffee and roasted malts with lots of smoke and burnt chocolate as well. There was some alcohol burn at the end of the sip as well. The body was thick with light carbonation. The finish was long and smoky with smoke and chocolate. This brew was really well done and I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

DuClaw Bourbon Barrel Aged Serum

It’s Sunday morning, which for me, means that I can get some chores done and update the blog before the other half gets up. I’m watching “Weird US” (which was a show by the same guys who wrote Weird NJ) and have already gotten a load of laundry in, dishwasher is going and the recycling is taken out. Not bad for 8:30 AM. Anyways, let’s see how this offering from DuClaw that I had last week was.

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ABV: 9%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The first beer we brewed was back in 1996 and it was a Marzen. We called it Mad Bull Marzen. It is long gone and luckily, so is the name!”

Random: Every time I go to the beer store, I manage to see another DuClaw beer that I’ve never had.

This brew poured with a relatively thick, two finger, ecru colored head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing. The body was a hazy dark chestnut color with light carbonation visible. The nose was exceptionally pungent with oak, bourbon and vanilla with lots of booze. There were no hops to speak of on the nose. The taste also did not have any hoppiness to it. I got lots of harsh bourbon along with heat. Vanilla and oak were present along with caramel malts, but this was the beer equivalent of licking a bourbon barrel. If you didn’t tell me this was a double IPA, I would have pegged it more as a barleywine. The body was thick with light carbonation, making this a definite sipper. It had an insanely long finish with oak and bourbon. This beer was decent, but this was definitely a case where the bourbon barrel aging definitely overshadowed any other flavor that was in the original beer. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Hitachino Nest White Ale

It’s finally Friday, which means that I only have one more day of work to get through. Today was a long day. I didn’t get home until after 9 and the other half is still stuck at work, which is never good. Our schedules have been really off, so I haven’t seen her as much as I’d like. At least we can spend all of Sunday together. Anyways, this is a brew that I’ve almost bought countless times. I love the bottle and I’m hoping the stuff inside is just as good.

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ABV: 5.5%

Style: Witbier

Trivia: This is the flagship beer from Hitachino.

Random: I’m on the last season of “The Wire.” I’m sad that after this, I’ll be done with the series.

This brew poured with a two finger, pure white fluffy head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a very cloudy, dark yellow with very high carbonation. One of the other things that struck me while pouring this beer was the large amount of yeast left in the bottle. Anyways, the nose was strong with clove and allspice and orange peel. The taste was not as spice dominant as the nose implied. I got some orange and citrus peel along with clove and wheat. It had a hint of ginger as well. The body was on the thicker side of the style with generous carbonation. It had a long finish with wheat and spice. This was a really enjoyable beer that I would definitely have again. It’s definitely worth a try and it has a cute owl on the bottle.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Green Flash Road Warrior Imperial Rye India Pale Ale

I always get so excited when a new beer from Green Flash comes out. The stuff that they put out is so good and incredibly flavorful. So, when I saw they put out a new rye DIPA, I had to try it.

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ABV: 9%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Imperial Rye IPA is brewed in the name of our Road Warriors—the sales team who tirelessly hit the streets, traveling from town to town and pub to pub sharing the Green Flash experience. Road Warrior™ charges full flavor forward. Columbus and Mosaic hops, rich crystal and spicy rye malts pave the way for Mosaic and Amarillo dry-hopping to boldly shine through in the finish. Raise a glass to those who never settle!”

Random: I can’t wait to go on vacation. I am seriously getting burnt out.

This brew poured with a three finger, tan head that dissipated very slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, clear, mahogany color with light carbonation visible. The nose had marked rye spice along with some grapefruit hops and pine resin as well. There was also some caramel malt, but the hops were dominant on the nose. On the first sip, I got a lot of rye spice and bready malt along with pepper. The alcohol was definitely present on the taste and it almost drank like a barleywine. The body was incredibly thick with light carbonation. The finish was long with a lot of rye spice. This beer was really enjoyable, although this would be more of an after-dinner sipper for me. If you’re into hops and rye, this is definitely a beer you need to try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Dyckman Brew Pilsner

So, I have two weddings to go to in the month of July. I haven’t been to a wedding in forever, so it should be interesting, especially since I have to find a dress to wear. I hate shopping, so I’ve been putting this off for awhile, but I have to find a dress and shoes. I have a few coming to the house via the interwebs, so hopefully I like one of them. Anyways, this was a brew that the other half picked up for me. Let’s see how it went.

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ABV: 5%

Style: Czech Pilsener

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “With a deep golden color and thin white head, Dyckman Brew’s slightly sweet aroma is characterized by an undertone of pale malts and citrus notes. This premium lager is cool fermented and aged for six weeks to create an exceedingly balanced malty-sweet flavor with a spicy finish. It boasts a smooth, rich, and refreshing feel. Una Vaina Bien.”

Random: I haven’t had a beer of this style since October 2012.

This brew poured with a two finger, pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. A slight crown was left on top of the golden-yellow, clear body with insanely high carbonation. The nose had some light, floral hops with bready malt. The taste was really clean with some bready malt and a bit of sweetness that manifested as honey. The body was light with really high carbonation. It had a quick finish with the honey sweetness. This brew was really light with some really clean flavors. It’s not the best of the style that I’ve had, but it was really solid. It’s worth a try if you see it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy

Another day of work over and only two more to go for the week. The other half is working late again tonight, so I’m parked in front of the couch finishing up Season 4 of “The Wire.” The Phils are playing and just tied up the game, but as usual, we don’t get the game…yet another reason to hate FIOS. Anyways, this is another brew that the other half liked and let me have one for “review purposes.” Let’s see how it went.

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ABV: 4.5%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “When we first started thinking of a UFO summer seasonal, we knew we had our work cut out for us. We loaded up the vans for the beach and spent days ‘researching’ every combination of fresh fruit juice and beer we could think of until we discovered a combination that made our decision easy. Sweet with a hint of tartness, UFO Big Squeeze Shandy is perfect for all of your summer adventures!”

Random: This is the newest UFO seasonal from Harpoon.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated almost instantly. There was no lacing left on the glass. The body was an insanely cloudy dark orange with very little carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of citrus with lots of grapefruit juice and grapefruit pith specifically. The taste had a lot of grapefruit, which was balanced by lemonade notes, so it did not get too bitter. The body was on the more bitter side with high carbonation. It had a long finish with grapefruit juice. I liked this beer for what it was. It wasn’t overly complex, but if you like grapefruit, it’s definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Horny Goat Laka Laka

I’m now watching the London portion of the travel DVD that I got on Netflix. They’ve visited a few places that I’ve been to in London, which is always cool to see. Anyways, this was a brew that the other half picked up a sixer of that she was nice enough to let me review. Let’s see how this one went.

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ABV: 5.1%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A refreshing and unique take on traditional German style wheat beer. Laka Laka has strong banana and clove notes from the yeast, a soft mouthfeel from the high wheat content in the malt bill, and pineapple juice added post-fermentation.”

Random: I’m curious to see if the Phils trade anyone before the deadline. They seem to be playing better lately.

This brew poured with a two finger, pure white head that dissipated while I wrote my intro (so, it was rather quick). There was no lacing left on the glass. There was a white crown left on the beer and was about an eighth of an inch high. The body was a warm yellow color that was very cloudy. It had moderate carbonation visible, despite the cloudiness. The nose started like a normal hefeweizen with banana, a touch of bubble gum, clove and wheat. Right at the end, fresh pineapple juice came through, but it didn’t overshadow the other flavors. Unfortunately, the nose was much better than the taste was. It started with banana and overly sweet pineapple juice. There was some clove there, but it didn’t work with the pineapple, making the brew very off balanced. Wheat was also present, but the major player here was pineapple juice. The body was on the thicker side of the style with high carbonation. It had a long and fruity finish. I really wanted to like this beer because I really enjoy pineapple. But, it was just too off balanced for me and I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0