Ballantine Burton Ale

Tonight’s beer is one that had been hanging out on the shelf awhile. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 11.3%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “First brewed in the 1930s, Ballantine Burton Ale was given as a gift to close friends and family of the brewery after being aged for several years in American Oak barrels. Master Brewery Gregory Deuhs has recreated the original recipe and cellared a limited number of cases to further develop its complex character. The maturation process transforms the taste of sweet malt into nuances of sherry, stone fruit and raisin, with the oak mellowing to a sweet, toasted vanilla-like flavor. We are making available our limited batch as a special holiday winter warmer for under your tree.”

Random: Ballantine was originally brewed in Newark, NJ.

The beer poured with a quarter finger of tan head. It went away rather quickly and left little lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown and slightly cloudy. I couldn’t see any carbonation. I let the beer warm up for a few minutes before trying it. The nose started with some booze and quickly transitioned into pine, dates and brown sugar with some wood and vanilla. The taste was intense at first. It started with the same booze punch, but didn’t seem to have the same pine note that I picked up in the nose. It went towards the sweeter side with brown sugar, dates, vanilla and sherry. The body was on the thicker side with low amounts of carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with sherry. A bottle of this was $2, which came to $.17 per ounce. This was an interesting beer with a lot of depth of flavor. I will be looking for this beer next Christmas.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

National Bohemian Beer

I’ve seen this beer every time I go down to Baltimore, but never tried it. I didn’t have high hopes for the beer, but let’s see if I was wrong.

ABV: 4.28%

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Today, Natty Boh has returned to the traditional recipe that made it the beer of choice in Baltimore and across the mid-Atlantic. Likewise, Mr. Boh continues to be a symbol of the community he so proudly represents and can be seen keeping watch over the city on top of the Natty Boh Tower. But he represents far more than a simple mascot, he is also the uncrowned king of Baltimore and plays a significant role in what makes Baltimore different from any other city in the world!”

Random: This was first brewed in 1885.

The beer poured with a quarter finger of pure white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but a small crown remained. The body was completely clear and straw yellow in color. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with some corn and dry grass. The nose was relatively mild. The taste had some biscuit and grass with grain, but nothing stood out. For a macro beer, it was inoffensive and easy to drink. The body was thin with huge amounts of carbonation. The finish was instant with dry grass. A bottle of this was $.83, which broke down to $.07 per ounce. This wasn’t a great beer, but better than the normal macros.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

McSorley’s Irish Black Lager

It’s almost the weekend! I’m getting a beer review out of the way before I get to see Katie and it’s another brew from the Irish six-pack. Again, it’s not actually a brew from Ireland, but it had the word “Irish” on it, so I figured that it would work. I had the other McSorley’s brew (The Irish Pale Ale) last January and really wasn’t thrilled with it.  As I mentioned in that post, this is brewed by the Pabst brewery for the iconic New York bar McSorley’s, which I have yet to go to. Hopefully the Black Lager fares better than its counterpart.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: According to, “Many notable people have visited McSorley’s, including Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Cooper, Boss Tweed, and Woody Guthrie. Literary figures like Brendan Behan, Paul Blackburn, LeRoi Jones, Gilbert Sorrentino, George Jean Nathan have been cited as regulars.”

Random: I got my tickets for the AC beerfest today. My sister and I are going, which should be an absolute blast. Although, I’m not allowed to tell her where we’re going because everytime we’ve planned on going to a beer festival, some one has either been hospitalized or died. So I’ve been referring to it as “the event that cannot be named.” True story.

I have to say, I’m really digging the bottle. It’s definitely got the retro feel, complete with the motto “Be Good or Be Gone” on the neck, coupled with a very cool bottle cap. The beer itself only poured with a hint on an off white head on top of a dark brown body. Light carbonation was visible through the brew. There was no lacing left on the glass. The nose had a bit of roasted malt with some smoke and a bit of chocolate and sweetness. The taste was more subtle than the nose. I got roasted malts, mild chocolate, with a bit of coffee. I didn’t get smoke on the taste like I did on the nose. The body was on the lighter side for a schwarzbier and had low carbonation. The finish was relatively quick given the flavors that came into play. I have to say, I had pretty low expectations for the brew, but I enjoyed drinking this. The mouthfeel was almost silky. I would definitely have this again. It blew its counterpart out of the water.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Pabst Blue Ribbon

This weekend was absolutely horrible. I really don’t want to go into details, but due to a family emergency, I couldn’t go to Philly for the beer festival. I’m obviously not upset about that, since family comes first. But, it was just an emotionally rough weekend. I did get a few beer reviews in, although nothing spectacular. Here’s the first one…

ABV: 4.74%

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “The company has historically claimed its flagship beer was renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon following its win as ‘America’s Best’ at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Whether the brand actually won an award in 1893 is unclear. Some contemporaneous accounts indicate that many vendors were frustrated by the fair’s refusal to award such prizes. One account says that the only prizes awarded by the executive committee were bronze medals, in recognition of ‘some independent and essential excellence in the article displayed,’ rather ‘than merely to indicate the relative merits of competing exhibits.'”

Random: The Phillies finally broke their losing streak. I was seriously getting annoyed at how pathetic they’ve been looking.

This beer has recently gained a lot of popularity, especially with my contemporaries, and I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because it’s not only a throwback, but it’s cheap? I had this years ago (I’m thinking in my early twenties) and nothing about it was exactly memorable. Let’s see if anything changed. It poured a clear straw yellow color with a one finger head that dissipated quickly. There was lots of visible carbonation on the brew. It looked like any other beer of the style, which wasn’t surprising. I got some grain on the nose with a hint of sweetness. On first sip, I got a hint of metal. There really was not much to this beer, a lot of carbonation and a bit of grain. For me, this beer was very light but crisp. But, as I expected, this was just not a brew I really enjoyed. There was really no flavor on it and it was pretty boring. It was drinkable, but I wouldn’t rush back to have again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale

This was another brew that I had with Chris at Firkin Tavern. I think I had this brew at a party years ago, but I don’t really remember much about the brew. Not the greatest picture of the brew (I’m still getting Chris used to taking the beer pics for me when we’re out because I have an old camera-less phone).

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Irish Red Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “McSorley’s Old Ale House, generally known as McSorley’s, is the oldest ‘Irish’ tavern in New York City. Located at 15 East 7th Street in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, it was one of the last of the ‘Men Only’ pubs, only admitting women after legally being forced to do so in 1970. The aged artwork, newspaper articles covering the walls, sawdust floors, and the Irish waiters and bartenders give McSorley’s an atmosphere that many consider, correctly or not, reminiscent of “Olde New York.” No piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910, and there are many items of “historical” paraphernalia in the bar, such as Houdini’s handcuffs, which are connected to the bar rail. There are also wishbones hanging above the bar; supposedly they were hung there by boys going off to World War I, to be removed when they returned, so the wishbones that are left are from those that never returned. Two of McSorley’s mottos are ‘Be Good or Be Gone,’ and ‘We were here before you were born.’ Prior to the 1970 ruling, the motto was ‘Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies’; the raw onions can still be had as part McSorley’s cheese platter. New York magazine considered McSorley’s to be one of New York City’s Top 5 Historic Bars.”

Random: This beer is brewed by Pabst Brewing Company…interesting.

This brew poured with a barely there white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body from what I could see (again, bad lighting), was a yellowish color. I also couldn’t see a lot of carbonation on the brew. The nose is grainy with a hint of metal. It almost reminds me of a macro. The taste is a lot of carbonation with a hint of hoppy bitterness, but this is very mild. This is definitely an easy drinker and would be a good session beer, but there’s really just not much to the flavor of this. I also got a bit of a metallic taste on the finish. This is just generally an unremarkable brew. I wouldn’t rush back to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0