Cigar City Cervezas Frescas: Horchata Ale

Happy Halloween everyone! I’m not a big fan of the holiday. Normally, I’m stuck at work until late and we used to live in an apartment complex that didn’t have many kids. This is our first Halloween in the house and there seems to be a lot of kids in the neighborhood, so I assume we will get a decent turnout. The cats are also going to be dressed up. I’m sure they will not be thrilled at that.

horchata

ABV: 7%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Horchata is based on the classic aguas frescas drink that is usually served in Mexican bodegas. The traditional storage vessel is heavy, ribbed glass jar filled with ice. The drink is ladled into glasses and served to thirsty patrons.”

Random: As I was drinking this and describing the flavors, Val kept giving me this weird look. Finally, she asked me if I ever had a horchata, and when I said ‘no,’ it made sense why I was so surprised at all of the flavors in it.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick, white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had notes of vanilla and cream soda with cinnamon as well. The taste was really creamy with vanilla and cinnamon. Having this beer on nitro was really nice. It had a medium, creamy body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with vanilla and cinnamon. This beer was really unique and really tasty. This is another standout from Cigar City.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Mikkeller Citra Imperial Pale Ale

So far, we watched the first episode of “Minority Report.” We lasted all of three minutes before deleting it. We also watched the pilot of “Scream Queens.” It was alright, but I’m not sure if I’m going to keep watching it. We go through this every year. We always record all of the new Fall TV and then delete the series that we don’t like. I’d be curious to see how many new shows last until the next season. Anyways, here’s the other beer that I had at Churchville Inn. Let’s see how it went.

mikkellercitra

ABV: 8.9%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A super fresh single hop IPA for all ya’ hopheads out there. Discover what all that hoppy Citra fuss is about.”

Random: I wish NJ still got Mikkeller distribution. Although their beers tend to be on the more expensive side, they are usually quite tasty.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy orange color with no visible carbonation because of the cloudiness. The nose had a lot of grass and pine resin. Lemon was there as well. The taste was filled with lemon peel, grass with light, fresh pine. There was a touch of booze that came through at the end of the sip. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was long with hops and citrus. This was a nice beer that I would have again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Renaissance Stonecutter Oak

Val and I tried a new place for lunch that looked like it had a really good beer list. When we got there, the service was exceptionally slow and every beer I tried to order, they magically didn’t have. The food was alright at best and they screwed up our order. Needless to say, I’m going to think twice about going back there.

stonecutter

ABV: 7%

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Nine malts are blended together to produce layers of caramel, toffee, liquorice, chocolate and smoky flavours. These layers are balanced by a tart, raisiny fruitiness that give this dark beer a lingering dry finish.”

Random: Every time we go out to eat, it seems like there is always a problem. I really wanted to like this place because it seemed like one of the few gastropubs in the area and the menu looked great. Alas, it was not meant to be.

This brew poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, cloudy brown color with no visible carbonation due to the haziness. The nose was strong, filled with peat, smoke and scotch notes. The taste was really nice. I picked up a lot of oak and vanilla up front. Then, peat and smoke came through. Finally, some sweet nuttiness came through at the end up the sip. It had a thick and chewy body with low carbonation. The finish was long with oak and peat. This beer was really nice and the oak aging of the beer really enhanced the flavor. I would definitely have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Terrapin Maggie’s Blueberry Cobbler Imperial Farmhouse Ale

Now that we have three cats, it’s an interesting dynamic. The kittens are a bit of a handful and Angel is still getting used to them. They have a lot of energy and seem to get into everything. It’s definitely been fun so far. Anyways, let’s talk about this beer. It’s a limited release from Terrapin. It’s the first one from them that I’ve been able to try.

terrapin

ABV: 8.55%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Maggie’s Blackberry Cobbler Imperial Farmhouse Ale is made with fresh blackberries and graham crackers for a taste you won’t soon forget. Reminiscent of the smell in Granny’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, this beer is liquid dessert for any home cooked meal.”

Random: Although I appreciate why breweries encase the tops of bottles in wax, but it’s still a pain in the butt to get off.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. But, it left a slight crown on top of the body. The body itself was a hazy, dusky brown color with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of bread and light coriander. There wasn’t much fruit to speak of on the nose. The taste started with yeast and then transitioned into light berries that didn’t offer any sweetness. There was light coriander and white grape as well as apricot. The booze was well-hidden. It had a moderate body and had high carbonation. It had a medium-long finish with yeast. It was $11.99 for the bottle, which came to $.55 per ounce. This beer wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. I wished it had more fruit to it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

This was the second beer that I had at Isaac Newton’s. At this point, it was getting really crowded and the population was bordering on belligerently wasted. I felt bad for the bartenders.

oktoberfest

ABV: 6%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A German-American collaboration on the classic festival beer. We’re on a mission to explore the roots of Germany’s festival beers. Each year, we’ll partner with one of a handful of incredible German brewers to create a traditional take on the most famous beer style in history. This year we’re working hand in hand with Brauhaus Riegele of Augsburg. Together we created an authentic Oktoberfest beer, true to the roots of the festival, that’s deep golden in color and rich with complex malt flavor from the use of traditional German Steffi barley.”

Random: This is a new seasonal beer for Sierra Nevada.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly, but left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, mahogany color with moderate carbonation. The nose was sweet with caramel malt and toffee. Some bread was there as well. The taste was also sweet, without being cloying. It had the same caramel malt and toffee as the nose, but also had some almond and hazelnuts. The beer had nice balance between the flavors and was really drinkable. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with sweet malt and nuttiness. I really enjoyed this beer and I was really glad I got to try it. It’s one of the best American interpretations of the style I’ve had.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Spring House Braaaiins!

The other half and I headed to Isaac Newtons for some lunch and to watch College Football. We didn’t realize that it was the same day as their beer fest, so the place got crowded very quickly. This was the first beer that I had while I was there.

springhouse

ABV: 7.1%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our pumpkin ale is brewed with generous amounts of real pumpkin blended into the mash. The subtle fresh pumpkin flavor is enhanced by the addition of a touch of traditional autumn spices and sweet dough, thus creating a beer with an orange amber color, warm pumpkin aroma, a bold malt center and a crisp finish. We are proud to offer you a balanced and delectable fall treat. Suitable for zombies.”

Random: I’m really not that into “Fear The Walking Dead.” Initially, I thought it would be an interesting concept, but I’m just not connecting with the characters like I did the original series.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright copper color with mild carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of vanilla notes with some cinnamon. Just from the nose, it seemed like this would be a different take on a pumpkin beer. The taste was just like cream soda up front, with lots of vanilla notes and nutmeg. It then went into pumpkin and cinnamon and ginger spice. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. This finish was lengthy with vanilla. This was a really enjoyable Fall beer and the vanilla notes gave it a nice depth that made it stand out from the other seasonal offerings. This is worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Avery Raspberry Sour

I’m really enjoying what Avery is doing lately. I first saw this beer on someone else’s table awhile back in Philly. I found a bottle of this at The Craft Beer Outlet and had to have it. Let’s see how it was.

raspberrysour

ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to beerstreetjournal.com, “Avery Raspberry Sour is joining the brewery’s line of wild and sour ales. A part of Avery’s Barrels & Botanicals series, Avery creates a sour ale with ripe raspberries. Luscious ripe red raspberries are elegantly intertwined with a bountiful amount of lactic acidity and delicate barrel nuances to cultivate this stunning sour ale. Avery Raspberry Sour is now available in 22oz bottles, year round. At least initially, Avery Raspberry Sour will be limited to just a handful of the brewery’s markets.”

Random: Our DVR is down to being 56% full. I think that’s the lowest in recent memory.

This beer poured with a one and a half finger, off white head that dissipated slowly. It left no lacing on my new Tree House Teku glass. The body was a dark mahogany with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had lots of acidic notes and lactobacillus. The raspberries came through with a hint of oak. The taste was assertive and acidic with raspberry juice. Lacto was there as well. At the end of the sip, a touch of vanilla and sweetness came through with the oak. It had a long finish with oak and tart raspberry. The beer was $18.99 for the bomber, which came to $.86 per ounce, which was a bit on the expensive side. Despite this, it was a really nice beer that had a generous amount of tartness and the oak gave it a lot of depth. I would definitely have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Port City Derecho

I really like when a beer has an interesting story like this. It could have been a complete and utter failure and they could have dumped the beer, but instead, they made a new style. I first read about this beer in 2013 on another beer review blog, where they reviewed it favorably.

derechocommon

ABV: 4.8%

Style: California Common/Steam Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mid-Summer, 2012, a violent derecho windstorm barreled through DC, leaving one million people without power. Our brewery was out of power for five days, which left us unable to control the fermentation temperature of a tank of lager. We were determined to save our beer, the tank fermented at a higher temperature than intended. As a result, the beer changed from a lager into a California Common beer. DERECHO COMMON is deep golden in color, and has toasty, biscuity malt flavors. It is medium bodied with an assertive hop profile. It is hopped with Centennial hops, which give it a spicy, citrusy hop kick on the finish. The storm’s gift was this DERECHO COMMON.”

Random: I was incredibly excited to see this in the mixed pack that Val brought me home from DC.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger, slightly off white head. It left a lot of lacing on the glass and was slow to dissipate. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation. The nose had some grassy and earthy hops (which was surprising to me, because it was a very strong scent) with cracker and bread notes. The taste first presented with a lemon note and then quickly went into a bready note. Toffee made an appearance as well. The body was on the light side with high carbonation. It had a lemony and bready finish. This single was $.199 down in DC (which broke down to $.17 per ounce). This was a nice beer that was a pleasant change from all of the IPAs I’ve been having. This would make for a great barbecue beer and I can see why it is their summer seasonal.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Chapeau Fraise Lambic

Since I write the posts so far in advance, this will be old news by the time you read this, but I’m stuck home for a few days because I had surgery. I’ve never had surgery or been put under before, so this was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. I also can’t drive for a few days because of the prescriptions they’ve put me on. I’m also a really crappy patient according to Val and I suck at relaxing. I also can’t drink until I’m done with the meds, so I guess this is a good time to get through my backlog.

chapeaufraises

ABV: 3%

Style: Lambic – Fruit

Trivia: The website doesn’t offer much information about the beer, except that you can drink it 2 years after bottling.

Random: I have started watching some new shows since I’ve been home. I really like “Public Morals” and went through 5 episodes last night.

When I opened this bottle, the one thing that worried me was that the cork was soaking wet. I popped the cork and took a sniff and it smelled okay and quite fruity. It poured with no head on top of a pink-tinged body with moderate carbonation. The nose had fresh strawberry notes with vanilla and toasted wood. The taste had more of the fresh strawberry notes with a touch of the same oak that was in the nose, but no vanilla came out. It had a thin body with light carbonation. The finish was swift with strawberry. This was $6.99 for the bottle ($.41 per ounce), which wasn’t insanely expensive for an import. This was a nice lambic that went down easy. I would have this again. What was even more surprising, was that Val really enjoyed it and finished the entire glass.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Woodchuck Out On A Limb Cheeky Cherry

The other half picked this cider up awhile back. It’s another selection from Woodchuck’s Out On A Limb series. Let’s see how this one was.

cheekycherry

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “They started with the delightful combo of Chocolate and Raspberry, and then moved on to aging ‘spitters’ in bourbon barrels. This time? Well, they got a bit cheeky. When our Cider Makers went Out on a Li,b. not only did our tanks go tart, but they brought back one of our most highly reviewed Cellar Series styles. Formerly known as Sour Cherry, we’re excited to announce the Out on a Limb Cheeky Cherry! Cheeky Cherry features a combination of dried cherries and cherry juice in our small batched cider. The dried tart cherries from Michigan are infused directly into the cider base, and then Belgian cherry juice is added to the final blend, bringing forward those tart and sour notes. Crafted with both common eating apple varieties and bittersweet cider fruit, this style will be sure to excite those taste buds.”

Random: I’m really getting into ciders. It also helps that Val really likes them.

This cider poured with less than a finger of white head that dissipated instantly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, deep ruby-red color with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of red cherries with a touch of apple. Some apple skins came through as well. The taste was much more towards the tart side of cherry with sweet red apples. Cherry juice came through too, but the taste was more towards tart than sweet. The body was light with moderate carbonation. It had a long finish with tart cherry juice and apple skins. This was $2.29 for the single, which came to $.19 per ounce. This was a nice cider that balanced its tartness well. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0