Demented Astarte

Tonight’s beer is from another New Jersey brewery I haven’t visited yet. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Cream Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In documented mythology the creation of strawberries is attributed to the ancient Goddess Astarte, more commonly known by her Greek name Aphrodite. Legend says that upon the death of the mortal Adonis that the Goddess wept with such passion that her tears fell to the ground as small red hearts. We started with a traditional Cream Ale, light and crisp with a great mouthfeel… Then we added fresh strawberries to give it an incredible nose, and slight tart finish. With just the right amount of fruit to make it noticeable but not overpowering, this spring/summer seasonal is a perfect offering to the celestial mother of love.”

Random: I find the first few hours before sunrise very peaceful.

The brew poured with a half a finger of thin white head. It dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was straw-yellow and completely clear. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose of the beer was grain with some floral notes. I couldn’t pick it out as specifically strawberry. It also had a slightly tart note, which was a bit off-putting. The taste started with grain and then had a mineral water note. The strawberry manifested more as flowers and there was also a tart note, which was just as weird as it was in the nose. It also didn’t have a vanilla or cream note. The body was on the thicker side with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick and tart. A pounder can was $3.25, which came to $.20 per ounce. I had high hopes for this beer, it just didn’t deliver.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Key Helles Lager

I’m watching Live PD while Val takes a shower. We just got a delivery from Ikea for the rest of the furniture for the guest bedroom. Since I used to work in home delivery, it really annoyed me that the delivery team forged her initials on the POD. In addition, one of the things that we ordered is completed dented. I marked the heck out of the POD and will be calling later to complain about this. A beer will definitely help calm me down.

ABV: 4.7%

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A medium-bodied, golden-in-color lager with a clean malt flavor start and a slightly sweet and spicy hop finish.This beer is clean and crisp for an easy and refreshing year-round drink.”

Random: This beer comes in at 24 IBUs.

The beer poured with a thick, one finger, tan-colored head. It went away quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was clear and a bright straw yellow color with generous amounts of carbonation. The nose was grainy, as expected, but had a touch of caramel malt along with grassy hops. The taste was more hoppy than I expected with some grass. The grains came through next with a touch of honey sweetness. The body was on the light side with lots of carbonation. It had a quick finish with grain. I picked up this can in the DC area for $2, which came to $.17 per ounce. This was an easy drinker that didn’t pull any punches. I would use this beer to introduce people to craft beer.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

River Horse Juiced IPA

Whenever there is a Harry Potter marathon on, Val and I feel the need to watch it, despite the fact we’ve all seen the movies at least 100 times. This was a beer that I could enjoy while watching any of those movies.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This New England style IPA tops the list as our most dry-hopped beer with 3 lbs of Citra and Lemondrop hops per barrel. What you’re left with is our hazy, juicy IPA, with a lemony-citrus sweetness up front, rounded out by a dry finish. 8.5%”

Random: The pounder can is a perfect serving for this beer.

The beer poured with a thick and large, four finger, cream-colored head. It took forever for it to go away, but only left limited lacing on the glass. The body was murky and bright orange with no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The nose was filled with citrus hops up front. It had orange and grapefruit juice along with some lemon balm. Grass came through as well and then a significant malt sweetness. The taste was much of the same. The citrus overwhelmed everything else. It had significant bitterness, but muted the lemon balm that I got in the nose. The name of the beer was definitely accurate. After a few sips, some malt came through, but not much. The beer was on the thicker side with lots of carbonation. It had a lengthy and hoppy finish. Since I picked this one up from the brewery, I don’t remember what I paid for it, but it was one of the better IPAs that I’ve ever had from River Horse. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Kona Lemongrass Luau

I had this beer at my local bar while having a weekend lunch with Val. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Lemongrass Luau is a blonde ale brewed with wheat malt, ginger, and lemongrass. The earthiness of the hops complements the spicy flavor and aroma of the ginger and lemongrass, and what’s left is a crisp summer beer that makes you want to lie in a hammock and never leave. As the sun sets over the mighty Pacific Ocean, a beautiful Hawaiian luau celebration begins. In view of the bright blue waters of Kailua Bay, just steps from our Kona Brewery, tiki torches are lit and the mouthwatering scent of kalua pork rises from the imu pit oven as the ti leaves are removed. The swaying motion of hula dancers falls in perfect rhythm with the music, telling tales of the ancient gods. This is how Hawaiians celebrate life’s joyous events—a big beachside feast shared with friends and family, our ‘ohana.’ Even if you’re not at the beach, gather your ohana around a great meal, share this Kona brew, and have a luau of your own.”

Random: Some of the best meals I had as a child were in Hawaii.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It went away quickly, leaving no lacing on the glass. The body was clear and bright orange with lots of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with wheat and lemongrass. After a few sniffs, I also picked up some ginger as well. The taste was very similar to the nose. It had a lot of grain and wheat and quickly transitioned into lemongrass with a touch of lemon. White tea and ginger came through next, but the overwhelming flavor was the lemongrass. The body was on the light side with high carbonation. The finish was quick with lemongrass. Conceptually, this beer had a lot of promise, it just needed the flavors in better balance.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Dark City Circuit

Today is my wedding day! I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot more about the planning since I post about 4-5 months in advance. But, When we decided on the venue, we picked some place historic with a lot of charm out in Pennsylvania. They also said that we could choose the beers that we wanted and specifically asked them not to serve Yuengling because of their stance on gay rights. Apparently it’s not uncommon to ask venues to pull that beer. I was on the search for a beer that was low in ABV but super-flavorful that we could serve. Spoiler alert: this wasn’t the beer.

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Cream Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our smooth, well-balanced, session American cream ale hopped untraditionally with Jarrylo & Pekko to provide refreshing notes of apple/pear.”

Random: This beer came in at 11 IBUs.

This beer poured with half a finger of pure white head. It was loose and dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had grain, cream and vanilla. I didn’t pick up much else. The taste was clear and very light. It had notes of cream, grain and some pear skins. The body was almost too heavy for the style with not enough carbonation. The finish was instant with pear skins and grain. A pounder can of this was $2.83, which came to $.18 per ounce. This beer just missed the mark for me. It was too heavy and it needed a bit more flavor. I wouldn’t have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

B. Nektar Oh My God, They Killed Zombie!

As much as I love beer, I love a good mead from time to time. B. Nektar’s Zombie series has always impressed me, so I was excited to crack this one open.

ABV: 11.2%

Style: Mead

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hey guys, what do you get when you have half Zombie Killer, half Zombies Take Manhattan, and half spiced Imperial Zombie Killer? You get Oh My God, They Killed Zombie, you bastards! Now, respect my authority and believe me when I tell you that this stuff is delicious. I’m seriously. Thanks for picking up the bottle, what a terrific audience. Now screw you guys, I’m going home.”

Random: I used to watch “South Park” when it first came out, but I never got past the first few seasons.

The mead poured with no head on top of a clear, reddish-pink body. The mead was still. The nose had a lot of spiced apples. Specifically, I picked up clove, cinnamon and some nutmeg. There was also sweet apple juice along with dark cherries. The taste was very sweet. It started with honey and sweet red apples. It quickly went into cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg. It had a slight cherry tartness along with vanilla oak. The body was very smooth and it wasn’t cloying at all. The finish was lengthy with sticky honey and spiced apples. A bottle of this was $18.99, which made this $1.58 per ounce. I thought this was a solid mead and had a lot of depth. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Union Old Pro Gose

Tonight’s selection is another beer that I picked up during a DC trip. Union puts out some solid beers and I’d never tried their gose. Goses have been increasing in popularity every year and they are super-drinkable especially in the Spring and Summer. Let’s crack this open and see how it was.

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Gose

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A dash of salt. A touch of tart. That’s what makes this unique German-style wheat beer a seasoned professional at serious summer thirst quenching. With its glowing golden color, peach & citrus nose followed by a prickly mouthfeel that leaves a gentle tartness and a dash of salt on the palate, the Old Pro never fails to bring you back for another sip.”

Random: This beer came in at 10 IBUs.

The beer poured with a three finger, white head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left no lacing on the glass. The body was incredibly cloudy and bright yellow. I couldn’t see much carbonation due to the cloudiness. The nose was tart with lemon juice and lemon zest. The taste had significant tartness and lemon balm. It had some citrus segments, specifically lemon and lime. There was a light salinity to it as well. The body was on the lighter side with generous carbonation. The finish was quick with tartness. A can of this ran me $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This was a solid gose that I would have no qualms about bringing to a barbecue.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Great Lakes Hop Madness Double IPA

The wedding is only a few days away. Since I preschedule all the posts, you’ll still see reviews during all of the wedding madness, but I will be away from the blog for at least a week or so. This beer is a seasonal from Great Lakes. I can’t think of a bad beer that I’ve had from them. Let’s get to it.

ABV: 8%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Beware, drinker! Hop hysteria could happen to you! Especially after indulging in our dry-hopped Double IPA’s shockingly intense tropical aromas and hair-raising bitterness.”

Random: This beer comes in at 80 IBUs.

This brew poured with a gigantic, three finger, yellowish-tan head. It hung around for awhile and left a significant amount of lacing on the glass. The body had a slight hazy to it and was yellow. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose started with some malty sweetness. It went into pine and stone fruit, specifically peaches and apricots. The taste was more malty than I expected. It gave the beer a sweetness up front. It transitioned into apricot, peaches and grapefruit. There was a touch of pine oil at the end of the sip. There was a touch of alcohol as well. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with booze and stone fruit. A bottle was $3, which came to $.25 per ounce. This was another outstanding beer from Great Lakes that I would definitely have again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Stillwater Wavvy (Batch 1)

Tonight’s beer is one that I picked up because I thought the can looked interesting. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 8%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Within its first year, Stillwater Artisanal was ranked #2 in the ‘Best New Brewers In the World’ category by international beer rating resource RateBeer.com. Building on this esteemed first-year accolade, Stillwater has remained in the global ‘Top 100’ ever since and has seen praise from such media outlets as NPR, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Food & Wine, New York Times, and more. The rapid success generated great demand for Stillwater Artisanal and the beer is now distributed in more than 40 U.S. States as well as Canada, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. What makes Stillwater ‘Artisanal’ though? Many craft products these days use similar terminology, but for Stillwater, here is where the story runs deep. As brewing took the place of Brian’s musical career, the need for a creative release was only partially met. In fact, Brian considers Stillwater to be more of an art project/collective where collaborations with other like-minded visionaries leads to boundary pushing concepts and creations. BeerAdvocate Magazine once stated ‘Stillwater is a vehicle for unconventional thinking’ – a statement Brian proves true with the constant evolution of the brand.”

Random: Stillwater has some of the best labels in the business.

The beer poured with a two finger, ecru colored head. It took forever to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and bright orange with some carbonation visible. The nose had some hops to it and they manifested as citrus fruit and lemoncello. There were also notes of grapefruit and pomelo. The taste was intensely hoppy. It started with mango and citrus. The lemon liquor note was there as well. There was a touch of sweetness at the end of the sip, but the hops overwhelmed the sweetness. The body was thick and chewy with a decent amount of carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with hops. A pounder can was $3, which broke down to $.19 per ounce. I liked this beer a lot and the hops gave the beer a lot of depth. Yet another standout from Stillwater.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Evil Genius Stacy’s Mom

Tonight’s beer is one that I got on the way back home from a trip to NYC. We stopped at a restaurant that has been advertised as a great beer bar. When I got the beer menu, it took a few tries to find a beer because so many of their selections were tapped. I ended up with this one. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “One of the juiciest and most fruit forward IPAs we’ve made! Brewed with American barley & wheat, with a healthy dose of British malted oats. Hopped in the kettle with Warrior & Zythos, conditioned on pineapple, mango, passionfruit & grapefruit puree, and then dry-hopped intensely with Citra & Mosaic. This beer is about as dank as they get.”

Random: American Barley is the malt in this beer.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a bright yellow color with moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with lots of fruit from the Citra hops. I picked up mango, pineapple, grapefruit flesh and grapefruit pith. There was a touch of malt at the end. The taste was the same as the nose. It was filled with citrus and tropical fruits. The most prevalent were the mango and grapefruit. Grass clippings and orange segments came through as well. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with citrus. I liked this beer, but I wish it was more than just an assault with hops.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0