Posts Tagged With: 2-and-a-half Pint Glasses

Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale

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Beer: Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Captain Lawrence
Locale: Elmsford, NY
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.5%

OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Hazy orange body with all of a centimeter of white head.

Smell: It reminds me of a health food store. Its smells like a cross between apple cider vinegar/kombucha and organic toothpaste.

Flavor: Picking up on the toothpaste note, the general flavor is slightly medicinal with some anise flavors and an odd peppermint cooling sensation. There is a trace of generic pumpkin flavor upon burp, however the second wave of flavor is that of from-old-NYC-pipes water and a hint of sugar.

Feel: It has a thinnish body with high carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I’ll start with the caveat that this is my second pumpkin beer all season. My dearest of friends brought some Post Road to a gathering the other evening, and if it weren’t for our years of friendship, I would’ve rather un-politely declined the aforementioned brew. Thus, Captain Lawrence’s pumpkin is my first true pumpkin beer in nearly two years. (I obnoxiously boycotted pumpkin ales last year, is my memory. No judgment, all, I know many of you are doing the same with PSLs every morning.) And to be frank with you the internet, I should’ve grabbed my go-to bodega beer, Stone’s Go-to-IPA, and resisted the overwhelming urge to review a series of pumpkin ales. CL, what a let down. The label states that it was brewed with pumpkin and spice. That’s nice, and I still want a pony. But I doubt that pony would be any happier cooped up in my small apartment than I am drinking this beer.

Categories: Pumpkin | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Beer: Winter Warmer
Brewery:
 Harpoon Brewery
Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 5.9%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Clear, dark mahogany body with a wispy head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: It smells like drinking a pumpkin ale while eating gingerbread cookies.

Flavor: It tastes like a watery pumpkin-gingerbread ale hybrid. To my knowledge that doesn’t yet exist, but it should.

Feel: Thin body with some carbonation. Weak mouthfeel.

Concluding Remark: I debated whether or not to drink, review, and post this after my week-long affair with ambrosial Belgian holiday ales (which, I know now, are some of my favorite beers). But, I bought Harpoon’s “Winter Warmer” (quotation marks added) to review earlier this month, and I’d never leave a beer behind.

So anyways. The brief description in the “flavor” section accurately sums up my experience with this beer. It tastes like a weak, watered down Pumpkin Ale that has been gussied up with some special winter holiday spices (ginger, allspice, cloves). It’s not the worst beer I’ve had this year, but it’s a completely subpar holiday ale that really should only be consumed if the other options on tap are Bud, Stella, and Coors Light.

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Samuel Adams White Christmas

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Beer: Boston Beer Company
Brewery: White Christmas
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.8%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Cloudy butter yellow body with a small white head.

Smell: Slight phenolic aroma (bananas/cloves). Other smells include lemon, sugar cookie, and pastry dough.

Flavor: Hmm this tastes like a Blue Moon served with an orange. White bread and orange are the, ahem, rather plain flavors that define this beer.

Feel: Medium, creamy body with medium carbonation. It’s a little chewy.

Concluding Remark: A sucker for anything called White Christmas (Bing Crosby, swoon), I couldn’t help plucking this from the  Sam Adams Holiday pack (a Wood family staple since the 1990s). It’s allegedly brewed with “holiday spices,” but those are nowhere to be found amid this mediocrity. Others disagree with me on the low rating, but I can’t be bothered to be bored right now. While White Christmas is more subtle and balanced than Coors’ Blue Moon, at least I don’t expect anything more from a Blue Moon. Sam could’ve amped up the holiday cheer in this beer; there’s nothing differentiating it from a standard witbier.

I guess I’ll stress that it’s NOT BAD, but there are so many better beers out there…of both the holiday and witbier variety.

Categories: Holiday, Witbier | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Harvest Moon New Brunswick Brown Ale

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Beer: New Brunswick Brown Ale
Brewery: Harvest Moon Brewery
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.7%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Harvest Moon Brewery, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dull dark brown body with a dense, yet frothy head.

Smell: Pretty uninteresting, flat roasted malt aroma.

Flavor: Roasted malts, dominant walnut flavor, with a bit of a hop bite at the end.

Feel: Medium body with low carbonation.

Concluding Remark: The New Brunswick Brown Ale is a completely average Brown ale from Harvest Moon. There’s little complexity to this beer; rather, it tastes like its underdone, that it needed to sit for awhile longer in order to cultivate some flavor. If you’re in the New Brunswick area, indulge in their Double Simcoe IPA instead–which is where I sought refuge after finishing this pint.

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Tommyknocker Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale

Beer: Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale
Brewery: Tommyknocker Brewery
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Dark, nearly opaque coffee body with a wisp of a head.

Smell: Rich roasted malts with thick molasses and raisin aromas. A hint of nutmeg, but all in all this is an earthy nose.

Flavor: In this case, this beer tastes exactly how it smells. Roasted malts dominate, but there are undertones of molasses, fresh pumpkin, and the slightest bit of allspice. Little to no aftertaste.

Feel: Watery with minimal carbonation. It’s a pretty weak mouthfeel.

Concluding Remark: Well, Tommyknocker from Colorado gets points for developing a Pumpkin Ale that differs from the others. This beer is the Pumpkin Ale’s dark, brooding younger sibling. It wears dark clothes and is a little eccentric, but it hasn’t quite figured out its identity yet. Yeah, the molasses adds a unique sweetness to the roasted malt base and the spices brighten the brew. However, the flavors aren’t as intense as they should be, and it just tastes weird. While it’s not as exciting as I was hoping it to be, the Small Patch Ale is a nice break from all of the light, pumpkin spice dessert beers. It’s worthy of a try, though, if you prefer your ales malty or if you’re looking to expand your Pumpkin Ale repertoire.

Categories: Pumpkin | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout

Beer: Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout
Brewery: Cape Ann Brewing Company
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 7.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: It looks like engine oil with a full tan head.

Smell: Overwhelmingly smoky, it almost reminds me of a Slim Jim (or, a Rauchbier in beer terms). A burnt, bitter dark chocolate is the other prominent aroma.

Flavor: As it smells, there’s a bitter chocolate note and a burnt malt backbone. It’s a little milky, a little smoky, and a lot of not tasting like pumpkin. If you look for it, you can detect a trace of nutmeg, but otherwise there are no Pumpkin Ale characteristics. A bitter rotting wood flavor develops at the end.

Feel: Thin body with full carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Well, I can’t say that I have ever had a Pumpkin Stout before trying Cape Ann Brewing’s Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout. Perhaps I’m not qualified to make a judgment call. However, I will. This is hands down the most bizarre Pumpkin-related beer I have tried. While I can imagine how a stout could be made more awesome by the addition of pumpkin and spices, something went awry here. Nothing about this Fisherman’s brew resembles a Pumpkin Ale. Clearly our Fisherman was caught in a storm at sea and missed Thanksgiving dinner.

Categories: Pumpkin | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer

Beer: Octoberfest Beer
Brewery: Harpoon Brewery
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.5%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear ruby body with a small but dense beige head.

Smell: This is a hop explosion. So much so that I had to double check the label to make sure I wasn’t about to drink an IPA. But, alas, it’s an Oktoberfest. Which leads me to the question…WHERE ARE MAH DAMN MALTS? I know we’re in America, but c’mon Harpoon….respect the German tradition!  It does mellows out eventually, but this smells like a pale ale.

Flavor: What. Is. This. It tastes just like a weak pale ale. It’s quite bitter upon first sip and then…nothing. As I keep drinking, there’s a hint of yeast and bread malts somewhere in this hop mess. Maybe a slight peach flavor, too, like a Boone’s Farm peach wine cooler weirdness.

Feel: Thinnish with very high carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Once again, I’m realizing that American breweries really don’t want to adhere to the German classics. Put down the hops and please, just serve us a real Oktoberfest if you’re going ahead and putting the brand on your label. The unfortunate part is that Harpoon actually puts out a relatively interesting beer, but as we judge on style, I can’t get this beer more than a 2.5. Also, they spell it “Octoberfest,” if that’s any indication of its authenticity.

Categories: Oktoberfest | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

Beer: Oktoberfest Märzen
Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 6.0%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Dull mahogany body with a full white, silky head.

Smell: Largely metallic and lemony aroma. A bit of caramel malt sweetness at the end.

Flavor: Shockingly watery tasting. As it sits, it becomes a pretty well balanced, straightforward lager. It’s not quite malty and not quite hoppy. It kind of lingers in this beer limbo. There’s a bit of an earthy soil taste, and at the bitter end, there’s a hint of spice from the Saaz hops.

Feel: Very thin, watery body with surprisingly low carbonation. Very dry finish.

Concluding Remark:  Oh, Paulaner. I hate to do this to you, but I have to be truthful to the internet. Your 2012 Oktoberfest has no flavor. It tastes like seltzer spiked with a Märzen. It’s not bad–and at 6%, it’s kind of amazing that this tastes as mellow and neutral as it does.

Paulaner is one of the original six Oktoberfestbiers. In reviewing our way through these festbiers, the current rank is as follows:

1. Spaten
2. Hacker-Pschorr
3. Paulaner
4. TBA
5. TBA
6. TBA

Stay tuned for the completion of the list as we find more of the originals in local beer stores. If you find an Oktoberfest Augustiner or Lowenbrau, please let us know!!

Categories: Oktoberfest | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Samuel Adams Oktoberfest

Beer: Octoberfest
Brewery: Samuel Adams
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.3%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Stein
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Cloudy amber body with a small head that disappeared instantly.

Smell: This smells like a generic amber lager. There’s an initial aroma of caramel and toasted malts. It doesn’t progress much past that.

Flavor: Slightly nutty and surprisingly bitter, not dissimilar to the flavor of burnt sugar. The backbone of the flavor profile is a caramel malt and it finishes with just a hint of Noble hops.

Feel: Medium-thin body with great carbonation.

Concluding Remark:  More flavorful than some German Märzens, Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest resembles more of a Vienna Lager than an authentic Oktoberfestbier. It has a pleasant enough caramel taste, but it’s missing a little of that German je ne sais pas. Uh, I mean, ich weiß nicht.

You’ll inevitably find it on tap anywhere in this country for the next month, so you might as well try it. But I doubt it will have you dancing on tables and singing “Country Roads” by the great John Denver. 

Categories: Oktoberfest | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Redoak Witbier

Beer: Redoak Witbier
Brewery: Redoak Brewery
Style: Witbier
ABV: 4.6%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Wheat beer glass
Drinking Establishment: Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe, Sydney, Australia
Primary Consumer: Ally
Secondary Consumers: Sue & the Australian Scientists

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Slightly cloudy yellow color, with a 2-finger fluffy, creamy white head.  Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Citrus, in the form of lemon, and yeast.  Although, according to one of the scientists, citrus aroma + yeast aroma = bile aroma.

Flavor: A very mild wheat flavor.  And that’s about it.

Feel: Light mouthfeel, almost watery, with mild carbonation.

Concluding Remarks:  So, Australia isn’t known for having great beer; in fact, it’s kinda known for having really, really bad beer.  However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and Redoak is one of them.  Its unassuming storefront a few blocks from Cockle Bay is deceptive; once inside, it’s a rather classy little joint with a grand menu of in-house brews.  And since I happened to be in Sydney during the month of the Witbier, the Witbier is what I ordered.

Thankfully, I ordered other beers too, because the Wit was rather boring.  (As Sue liked to point out, it was “boring like Brisbane.”)  The taste was much better than bile, but unfortunately, the taste was not much of anything.  There were no spice notes, like one would expect from a Wit; and there was not much in the way of any other flavor, except for maybe a slight resemblance to a cider.  We all agreed that it was a little too much like drinking water.

So if you travel all the way to Australia and find yourself in one of the only good breweries in New South Wales, don’t get the Wit; try one of the Framboise Froment instead, or get a tasting board with beer pairings.

And for future reference, there are two other beer-selling spots in Brisbane that are worth their salt: the Bavarian Bier Cafe (on the Eagle Street Pier) and Archive Beer Boutique (in the West End).

Categories: Witbier | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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