Archive for January, 2016

On a cold night, I crave a good porter or stout. When I found this beer hanging out at the back of the fridge, I knew it was the perfect night to crack it open.

mayflowerporter

ABV: 5.5%

Style: English Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mayflower Porter is a rich, complex brew that is smooth and full-flavored. Five varieties of malted barley provide notes of roasted coffee beans and bittersweet chocolate with a hint of smokiness.”

Random: This is the first beer I’ve had from Mayflower. I’m going to have to pick up more when I’m in their distribution area.

This beer poured with half a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color with no visible carbonation as a result. The aroma was incredibly strong. It had notes of cocoa, roasted malts and smoke. What surprised me about the beer at first, was that it had a lot of smoke for a porter, not that I was complaining. The next flavors that came through were generous amounts of roasted malts and cocoa powder. As the beer warmed, there were noticeable vanilla and oak flavors that really added to the depth of the beer. It had a thick body with light to moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with smoke and roasted malts. A single of this was $1.67, which came to $.14 per ounce. For a lower-ABV beer, this was incredibly flavorful and had a thick mouthfeel to it. It is one of the best porters that I had and I found myself finishing the glass all too soon. If you get a chance to try this, do so, as this beer is truly outstanding.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

One of the spices that Val doesn’t like is pepper. I’m the exact opposite. I throw pepper on everything I can when we’re not sharing something. This beer, which features peppercorns, sounded really interesting to me. It’s also another beer which isn’t distributed to New Jersey.

sgtpepper

ABV: 6%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Farmhouse Ale with Peppercorns. First brewed in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, and #23 is coming up soon – May 12, 2012! It was April Fool’s Day, 1989, when Phil ‘Brewdaddy’ Bannatyne first opened the doors to what would become one of the preeminent breweries in the country. Sgt. Pepper has been brewed with Pilsner, CaraVienne, and Rye malts, plus Magnum and Spalter hops. But the driving force behind this beer is the contribution from whole Black, Green, White, and Pink peppercorns. Added to the brewkettle, these four fab peppercorns harmonize with spicy hops while the malted rye and our Belgian yeast hold down the backbeat. It’s far out with food and guaranteed to raise a smile. Sgt. Pepper is now available in 22oz. bottles at CBC and at better beer stores throughout Massachusetts.”

Random: This is the 10th beer I’ve tried from CBC.

The beer poured with a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, amber color with almost no carbonation visible. The nose was dominated by peppercorns. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer with peppercorns as the main note. After I got through that, there was spicy rye as well. I didn’t pick up the normal yeasty saison notes. The taste was very spicy and again, dominated by the peppercorns and went from my tongue right to the back of my throat. The rye came through as well and just added to the spicy profile. Cracker came through at the end, but this beer was overwhelmingly spicy from the peppercorns. The body was on the thicker side of the style with light carbonation. It had a finish that lasted forever and the peppercorns would not leave the back of my throat. A bomber of this ran $7.99 ($.36 per ounce). I wouldn’t have this one again. It had absolutely no balance to it.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Today, we’re reviewing another beer from the state of Maine, and it’s the second beer in a row. This beer gets some really good reviews and was plenty expensive, so time to pop this one open.

midnight brett

ABV: 7.3%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Midnight Brett gets its name from the Midnight Wheat we brew it with. The dark wheat gives it a deep, dark chocolate color. The aroma opens with fresh berries and sour cherries, and ends with a warm roastiness. Each sip offers smooth drinkability met with the zip of tart fruitiness on the palate. We brew this beer with 2-row, Midnight wheat, raw wheat, and rye malt. It’s hopped with a blend of Perle, Glacier, and Simcoe hops. We then add our house strain of local, wild Brettanomyces yeast. The yeast works its magic over the next eight months where the beer ferments in a stainless tank. Midnight Brett begs to be shared no matter the hour on the clock.”

Random: This was first brewed in November of 2013.

When I popped the cork on this bottle, I fully expected major overflow from it. I was surprised when all of the liquid remained in the bottle. This beer poured with a thin, light khaki colored head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on my Teku glass. The body was a dark brown with high carbonation. The nose was filled with brett, tart cherries and then transitioned into a musty note with leather. The taste had brett as well, but it wasn’t as intense as the nose and the beer wasn’t all that tart. The berry note was also more pronounced with the same tart cherries and blueberries. There was a tinge of a roasty note as well with cocoa powder. The body was on the thicker side with intense carbonation, which was a bit overwhelming. The finish was quick with roasted malts and cocoa powder. This was $18.99 for the bottle, which came to $1.50 per ounce. No one can argue that this was a complex beer, but given the price tag, the transitions weren’t seamless and it could have used more tartness and less carbonation. I’m glad I got to try it, but I won’t be searching it out again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

One of the flavors that I’m really starting to like in beer is the addition of pine or spruce tips, especially in the colder weather. I don’t know if it’s because it brings me back to a Christmas flavor or what, but when a beer utilizes the flavor well, I really enjoy it. This beer was one that I first sampled at the brewery during my vacation and absolutely fell in love with the beer.

greenwarden

ABV: 5.6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pale ale with spruce tips added. An ale of mythical proportions – heroically brewed with Maine-foraged spruce tips. And infused with the dauntless vitality of northern trees.”

Random: I should have brought more of this beer home with me.

This brew poured with a dense, one finger, pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dusky straw color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had caramel malt with fresh pine needles as well. The taste was just outstanding. It started with the same sweet, caramel malt and transitioned into fresh pine and pine sap. There was an earthiness to it as well with some juniper notes at the end. The body was medium thick with just enough carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with the same pine sap. A single of this was $2.17, which came to $.18 per ounce. I really liked this beer. The pine was bright and fresh and every sip made me want another. If you’re ever in Biddeford, Maine and Banded Horn has this beer, make sure you grab some.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

This beer was also highlighted on social media as well, but because most people who bought it complained about the high pricetag and the fact that it was a huge letdown. I’m hoping they were wrong…

vapricot

ABV: 9.05%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “When you can’t see the smoke through the hazy, reach for a beer that cuts right through. Two neightboring breweries in the South, Cigar City and Terrapin Beer Co., introduce ‘Vapricot’ Apricot Ginger Imperial IPA. Brwed with apricot puree and ginger for a sweet and spicy profile, this multidimensional beer will help you see things more clearly.”

Random: Thie beer uses CTZ ADHA 529, Simcoe, El Dorado and Equinox hops in the boil while dry-hopping with Equinox, El Dorado and Citra.

This beer poured with a one finger, slightly off white head. It dissipated rather quickly and left a modicum of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, hazy orange with light carbonation visible. The nose was very strong with ground ginger. It wasn’t pleasant. The taste was medicinal with a lot of ginger. There was even more than the nose. There was some sweetness with golden fruit as well. There was some hop characteristic to it, but as soon as it came out, it again got overwhelmed by the ginger. Some lightly toasted malt came through as well. There was alcohol present on the back of the sip. The body was on the thick side and bordered on syrupy with light carbonation. It had a long finish with the same ginger note that pervaded every aspect of this beer. This beer was quite expensive at $4.00 per single bottle ($.33 per ounce). Despite the price, I wanted to like this beer because I really enjoy apricot and ginger, but the ginger overwhelmed everything. I wouldn’t have this beer again, even if it were half the price.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

The kittens are getting really big. Simcoe is looking like he’s going to be bigger than Angel (and he’s a really big cat). Citra looks like he’s going to be a little bit smaller. They’re still running around like crazy and getting into things, which is to be expected, but they’re also learning that they really like the couch and the bed to sleep on. Anways, time for the beer, which uses neither Simcoe nor Citra hops.

hopselection

ABV: 8.4%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Yearly showcase of our favorite hop! ‘Hop Selection’ Single Hopped Imperial IPA is a celebration of our favorite hop from the current harvest. Whether it’s an old classic, a new variety, or an experimental standout, this beer will continue to change yearly showcasing our favorite hop of the season.”

Random: The hop for 2014 was Ella. It also used 2-Row Pale, Vienna, CaraPilsner and Honey malts.

The beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, dark orange with moderate carbonation visible. The nose wasn’t as intense as I would have assumed. It had citrus peel, but quickly went into sweet malt. It was almost like an orange gummy candy. The taste started with lemon and orange pith. It also very quickly went into floral hops along with a significant caramel sweetness from the malt. The alcohol was noticeable and astringent. The body was on the lighter side of the style with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sweet. A single of this set me back $3.50, which came to $.29 per ounce. This was a decent beer, but it was way too sweet for my liking. I wouldn’t have it again. There are too many better examples of the style out there.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Val brought a six-pack of these cans home for me. I’ve been seeing people give this beer high marks on social media, so I was excited to try it.

funkcitrus

ABV: 6.9%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A crisp and aromatic West Coast IPA made with a clean malt base that allows the grapefruit, orange and pine flavors of the hops to be showcased in both the aromatics and the taste.”

Random: The can art for this beer was well done. It definitely would jump out at me on a shelf.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark yellow color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was bright and fragrant. Notes of grapefruit flesh and pith permeated from the glass. There wasn’t any perceptible malt on the nose. The taste started with the same citrus brightness and transition into notes of orange peel as well. At the end of the sip, it had very slight sweetness from the malt. Despite the higher ABV, there wasn’t any booze that I picked up. The body was light and crisp with generous carbonation. The finish stayed on the tongue for awhile with the citrus pith. A can of this was $2.17 ($.18 per ounce). I liked this beer a lot. It went down really easily and given the ABV, could get you in some trouble after a few because it almost drank like a session IPA. This is an IPA that I would throw in my cooler for a party.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0