Union Balt Altbier

Later today, we have an appointment with another florist. This will be the third florist we’ve met with. Although a lot of people go crazy for flowers, it’s not something that I have a strong opinion about, as long as everything isn’t pink. My biggest concern is that if it snows, they’ll have trouble delivering them to the venue. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This German-style Altbier is our nod to an old world, old school ale. The word ‘Alt’ is German for ‘old’, and refers to the traditional style of brewing before lager yeast was discovered. Balt is a dark, copper colored brew with a creamy head, a gentle bitterness and a clean, dry finish. Prost, Hon!”

Random: This beer came in at 45 IBUs.

The beer poured with a three finger, loose, tan head that dissipated slowly. It left no lacing behind on the glass. The body was a clear, copper color with intense carbonation. The nose was filled with earthy notes of peat, leather, dirty and tobacco. It had a caramel and nutty aroma as well. The taste was very malty with underlying peat and nuts. Caramel and toffee came out along with leather and earth. It had a medium body with a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with caramel. A can of this was $1.83, which broke down to $.15 per ounce. I don’t get to try too many altbiers, but I enjoyed this one for a change of pace. I’ll be trying this one again next time I’m around DC.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Alaskan Amber

This beer is one that I’ve read about for years in beer books. It always makes top lists for the amber category. I even considered paying an online service so that I could finally try this beer. Luckily, I waited until I went out to Ohio and they had it on tap.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The name of this beer style comes from the German word ‘alt’ meaning ‘old’. This refers to the aging that alts undergo since they ferment more slowly and at colder temperatures than most ales. Slow fermentation helps condition the flavors in Alaskan Amber, contributing to its overall balance and smoothness.”

Random: One of my cats pulled a blanket down on the floor and is sleeping on it. For some reason, he prefers it on the floor as opposed to the couch.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of cream-colored head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear reddish-brown with light carbonation visible. The nose had lightly toasted grain with some nuttiness. The taste was lighter than I expected. It had nutty brown bread with mineral water. The mouthfeel was thicker than what I would have guess with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with brown bread crust. I can see why people say this is a classic beer. It was pretty crisp and had good flavor to it. Although I can’t get it in Jersey, I’m glad I finally got to try this classic.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Lagunitas Doppel Sticky

Although Lagunitas is owned by Heineken now, I’m still interested to try their beers. This is the first one I’ve tried since the takeover.

doppel sticky

ABV: 7.7%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Where do we go from here?” The words hung in the air like treacle. They flowed wantonly and dripped off of every horizontal surface oozing downhill as molten sugar is wont to do. ‘Dude, whatever you do, don’t go straight.’ All heads nodded, a different idea of ‘straight’ in each mind. This gathering of dreams stood at the very center of decision making, the epicenter, the geodetic center of the brewery. Everything hung in the balance and the treacle question caramelized from one layer of thought to the next until it cooled sufficiently to arrest its own descent. The answer was everywhere obvious. ‘Forward, never straight.’ Forward into the fog, into the spaces that no eye yet pierced. Only a fool would rush in where even angels feared to tread and still this was the way forward. In that moment of clarity they leapt the proverbial leap from the lion’s head. The yawning void accepted their courage and something new and unexpected was found. It is only upon the precipitous that freedom is gained, that liberty is earned. What’s it got to do with beer?”

Random: I really like the blue bottle cap on this beer. Maybe I’ll make a magnet out of it.

This brew poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly. It didn’t leave a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden-yellow with moderate carbonation. The scent was not at all what I was expecting. It had a marked hop with grass and citrus. After a few sniffs and searching for some other scent, there was a touch of yeast and wheat. The taste was also very hoppy. It had significant hop bitterness with grass. Then, yeast and banana came through with light sweetness at the end from the malt. It had a medium thick body with more than enough carbonation. The finish was lengthy and had the same strong, grassy hop note. A bottle of this was $2.50 ($.21 per ounce). I didn’t dislike this beer, but it was nowhere near what I expected from the style. I found it to be way too hoppy and that overwhelmed all of the other flavors for me. I’m glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Uerige Doppelsticke

So, I bought this beer at Half Time and was excited to try it since it’s always in beer books. Here’s the disclaimer for this review: beer is subjective. I totally understand that many people love this beer and I can respect that. But, I just didn’t like this beer. It’s my seventh beer of the style, so I don’t have a huge amount of experience with the style, but I’m going to keep trying and see if it’s a qualm with this specific beer, or the style (although the average rating I’ve given the style is 3.17).


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to germanbeerinstitute.com, “Doppelsticke (literally ‘double sticke’) is to Sticke and to Altbier what Doppelbock is to Bockbier and to Dunkel. At approximately 8.5% alcohol by volume, Doppelsticke is a super-strong (‘double’) Alt-style ale. It surpasses in strength even the approximately 7% alcohol by volume Doppelbock, Bavaria’s a ‘double’ strong lager. Doppelsticke is the creation of the Dusseldorf Altbier brewpub Uerige. It is imported in small quantities to the United States, where it is available in select specialty outlets during the cooler months of the year.”

Random: At least the bottle is cool?

This beer poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. A slight, white crown was left behind. The body was a cloudy, dark brown color with no visible carbonation. The nose had pungent booze, raisins and burnt sugar. On first sip, to me, the beer was borderline unpalatable. It had a very strong taste of booze. Raisins came through next with burnt white and brown sugars. It was intense sweet. It also had a nuttiness to it, but it was difficult to pick out because of the sweetness. It had a very thick and syrupy body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with caramel sweetness and raisins. This was $5.99 for the bottle ($.50 per ounce), which isn’t cheap. I’ve read in lots of beer books how great this beer is, and honestly, it’s just not a beer that I enjoyed and drain poured half of it. But, I would be open to giving it another try.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Off Color Scurry

Happy Wednesday! For most people, it’s the halfway point of their week. For me, it’s only my second workday of the week. My Ops Supervisor is off today, which means I get to close, which is always fun when I have a night load out. At least he’s back tomorrow. Anyways, this beer is another one picked up from Half Time. I thought the bottle was adorable, so it came home with me.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Just cause it’s dark and German doesn’t mean it’s an alt. Based on the obscure Kottbusser style of beer, this surprisingly dry beer retains all the aroma and nuance of honey (from bees) and molasses (not from bees) creating a perception of sweetness through cool, controlled fermentation. Because we’re sweet enough damn it.”

Random: Rumor has it that if the Eagles trade Barkley, they’re going to sign Tebow. Not a good idea.

This beer poured with a huge, thick three finger cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left no lacing. Body was a clear, dark brown color with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was very nutty with some caramel malt sweetness and some molasses that gave it a bit more depth. The taste was also very sweet and nutty. Specifically, molasses and honey came through with hazelnuts. Caramel was present too. It had a thick and creamy body with moderate carbonation. It had a long finish with hazelnuts and molasses. I really enjoyed this beer, which was surprising, given the fact that I’m normally not a huge fan of the style. I would highly recommend this one, despite it being on the pricier side at $3.49 a bottle, which broke down to $.29 an ounce. Grab this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Alt Route

It’s almost the weekend! It’s been a crazy week and the other half and I are headed to Connecticut tomorrow to visit her mother. It will be nice to get a change of scenery and I have a feeling that we’ll manage to come home with some more beer. Shocking, I know. Anyways, this beer is an altbier. I haven’t had a beer from this style in over two years. I’m curious to see how this one is and if I enjoy the style and more or less than the last time I had one.


ABV: 6.6%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: This was brewed in collaboration with Victory Brewing Company.

Random: I’m very excited for next Thursday. We get to wear football jerseys to work. I will be rocking some sort of Eagles jersey.

This brew poured with a two finger, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly. It left a lot of lacing on the glass and a crown as well. The body was a clear, dark sienna color with very little carbonation visible. The nose had some sweet grain with hazelnuts. The taste had more depth than the nose. There was some bitterness and hop character that quickly went into some grain and caramel and nuttiness. It had a thick body with light to medium carbonation. It had a long finish with the same caramel nuttiness that was in the end of the sip. There was nothing wrong with this beer, but given that it was a collaboration between Victory and Sierra Nevada, I just thought it would be amazing. This was definitely not the shining star of the mixed pack.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Otter Creek Copper Ale

I had this beer on Monday, when Katie and I went to Baker’s. I think that there is only one beer that I haven’t reviewed at Baker’s yet. They really don’t have a great selection, which is a bit disappointing. But, it’s the closest bar to my house and they have decent food. This is a beer that I haven’t had, despite seeing it around for years. I haven’t really enjoyed a beer from this brewery, so hopefully this one fares better.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: This beer was introduced in 1991.

Random: I’m watching old episodes of “The Walking Dead.” I think I’m obsessed. I mean, the show is really amazing. I especially like that it’s adapted from a comic book. It’s not fair that I have to wait until October for the new season.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left a decent amount of lacing on the pint glass. The body looked to be a clear mahogany color. Due to the lack of lighting in the restaurant, I really couldn’t comment on the carbonation. The nose had a bit of nuttiness and some caramel malt. But, the nose was a bit on the subtle side. I wish that it had more to it. The taste was disappointing at best. The body was too thin and the carbonation was lacking. It was incredibly watery. The taste also had some nuttiness, but the malt sweetness was missing. The only good thing? The quick finish. I really didn’t like this beer at all. The notes that were on the nose didn’t come through on the taste. It was a struggle to drink the beer. Avoid.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Long Trail Double Bag

I ended up at my local watering hole with my friend to watch the game and have a beer. Although they advertise that they have “20 craft beers,” I find that the bottles tend to be on the older side. Meaning, they always have seasonal beers that are out of season (although the beer that I’m trying isn’t a seasonal). Yet, since my options around my house are quite limited, I always tend to pick beers off of this list. So, here’s one of the Long Trail beers that I haven’t gotten to review yet.

ABV: 7.2%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, this beer was original offered only in the tasting room as a special treat to visitors. It was later released as a year round beer.

Random: I’ve only had 2 other altbiers, Long Trail Ale and Shiner Old Time Alt.

When this beer was served to me, I politely asked the server for a glass. She then rolled her eyes and handed me a pint glass. I love people that are happy with their job. Anyways, it poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated really quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly cloudy copper color with no visible carbonation. The nose was pretty muted (probably because it was served ice-cold and I had to let it warm up a bit) and I got notes of nuts and a hint of caramel. The taste was definitely nutty and followed up with maple, caramel and maybe even toffee. It definitely leaned towards the sweeter side of things, but wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. The nuttiness lasted on the finish with a hint of hops. This was a moderately carbonated beer. It said on the bottle that this was best by 2/2011, so I don’t know if some of the flavors deteriorated over time. For me, this beer was only alright, but I would be willing to give it another shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Shiner Old-Time Alt

I love Memorial Day weekend. Not only do I get an extra day off from work, but I get an excuse to drink beer and fire up the grill. Last night, I did, in fact, partake in not only one, but 2 beer towers for my buddy Joe’s birthday. At one point, he made a toast to craft beer and made a comment about a “macro.” I think we have a convert, folks. Anyways, I spent the morning running errands and I currently have a two-pound flank steak marinating that will be going on the grill in about an hour. To pass the time, how about a brew review?

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to BeerAdvocate, “A Düsseldorf specialty, an Altbier is a German style brown ale, the ‘alt’ literally translates to ‘old’ in German, and traditionally Altbiers are conditioned for a longer than normal periods of time. Other sources note that ‘alt’ is derived from the Latin word ‘altus,’ which means ‘high’ and refers to the rising yeast. Take your pick, but the extended conditioning mellows out the ale’s fruitiness and produces an exceptionally smooth and delicate brew. The color ranges from amber to dark brown, medium in carbonation with a great balance between malt and hops. ”

Random: I forgot how much I enjoy Magic Hat #9. I had it out of the beer tower yesterday and it was really enjoyable.

I don’t have a stange, so a pint glass will have to do for this beer. The brew poured a clear copper color with a lot of visible carbonation on the body. The head was about a full finger at the poor and dissipated to a slight crown on top of the body with little lacing left. I’m really not all that familiar with altbiers. The last one that I had was in July 2010 (Long Trail Ale) and I didn’t have a stange then either. That beer really didn’t stand out to me, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The nose was subtle with some caramel sweetness and nuttiness, but nothing offensive. The taste is much of the same, except I got a definitely floral note. The nuttiness was also a definite component and the carbonation made this a really crisp beer. There was a slight hint of bitterness, but the caramel sweetness takes the front seat. The finish was pretty quick and mild. This is probably the best Shiner beer that I’ve had to date. It was very drinkable and I could see newbies to craft beer really enjoying this. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Long Trail Ale

I bought a mixed 12 pack of Long Trail brews for the All Star game last night. This was what was left over.

ABV: 4.6%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: Long Trail Ale is the flagship beer of Long Trail Brewing.

Random: I don’t think I’ve ever had an altbier before. After some research, I find that these are German beers that were historically brewed in the Rhineland.

I poured this beer into a pint glass, as I don’t have a stange (which is pretty cool looking). This beer poured with a fluffy white head, which left significant lacing. The brew itself is lightly carbonated and a clear, mahogany color. I didn’t get much on the nose, except for some very subtle hops. On the taste, it’s very crisp. There is a bit of bitterness to it as well. I also got some caramel notes which lingers to the finish. This is a pretty mild brew and there’s really nothing strong or offensive about it. This is probably because the style of beer is “smooth and delicate” according to BeerAdvocate. But, there’s nothing with this brew to dislike or get overly excited about. It’s well-balanced and mild. This may be a good introduction to someone who has never tried craft beer. My opinion is that it’s a good brew, but nothing that I would rush out and get again. But, I think my qualm is with the style, so I’d be interested in trying other brews of the style before passing final judgment.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0