Posts Tagged With: 3-and-a-half Pint Glasses

Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi Ale

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Beer: Gift of the Magi Ale
Brewery:
 Port Brewing Company
Style: Biere de Garde
ABV: 10.0%

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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: Hazy auburn body with a medium-sized beige frothy head.

Smell: It has quite a complex nose: there’s an overall tanginess that is complemented with some sweet caramel malts, yeast, tangerine, and spice aromas.

Flavor: Despite the sweet nose, it is a hop bitterness that defines the character of this beer. There are notes of earthy hops, straw, grain, and basement mustiness.

Feel: Medium body with some carbonation.

Concluding Remark: The Gift of the Magi is a dry-hopped Biere de Garde that is bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast–or “Brett”–known for its “barnyard,” “damp wool,” “sweaty saddle,” or “horse blanket” flavors and aromas. Brett is appropriately used, given that this beer was created to commemorate the three Magi and the camels that transported them on their historic journey.

Biere de Gardes are known for being well-balanced with some toasted malts and hops, and have the added bonus of being pretty musty. So how does Gift of the Magi live up to its style? Well, I would say that the hops dominate the flavor profile, so it’s NOT well-balanced. However, the use of Brett renders this beer a little tangy, funky, and tart, giving it an overall musty flavor that is typical of the style.

While it’s a fine alternative to whatever beer you were going to drink today, I will say that it’s prohibitively expense ($10). While interesting enough to finish, it’s not interesting enough to ever buy again. Though, I have to give it up to Port Brewing  for using Frankinscense bark and Myrrh, which add to the authenticity of the beer. If only authenticity translated into THIS IS THE BEST BEER EVER…

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Categories: Bière de Garde, Holiday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale

Beer: Winter Welcome Ale
Brewery:
 Samuel Smith Old Brewery
Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 6.0%

winterwarm

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

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OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Clear amber body with a tiny white head.

Smell: This smells like a less sweet Martinelli’s Sparking Apple Cider. Apple juice and cinnamon are the dominant aromas.

Flavor: Its look and smell are quite deceiving. There is a strong, burnt malt flavor that defines the character of the beer, with hints of caramel, toffee, and apple.

Feel: Thin body with high carbonation, making for an exceptionally easy-to-drink beer.

Concluding Remark: In honor of the first day of winter and the alleged end of the world (are you sick of these references yet?), we present to you Samuel Smith’s WELCOME WINTER Ale. Welcome Winter is a Winter Warmer, which is an English-style malty brew produced during the winter months. Authentic English Winter Warmers (this is an example) do not add spices. If you find yourself drinking a spicy beer this December, chances are it is NOT a Winter Warmer, even if it states otherwise (examples soon to follow).

Sam Smith welcomes you to “contemplate its complexities by an open fire.” Hmm…honestly, that would be a waste of your time. The contemplating complexities part, not the open fire. While a completely pleasant and drinkable brew, the Welcome Winter Ale isn’t what I would call complex. It’s a solid welcome mat to the Holiday Ale mansion. I neither urge nor warn you to try this beer. It’s good! Do it! Or try something better, either of the elven variety or one of Sam Smith’s more distinguished ales.

Categories: Holiday, Winter Warmer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Fegley’s Rude Elf’s Reserve

Beer: Rude Elf’s Reserve
Brewery:
 Allentown Brew Works
Style: Spiced Ale
ABV: 10.5%

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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, bright amber body with a wee head that vanishes right quick.

Smell: It initially smells like WHOA THIS IS COUGH SYRUP and maraschino cherries. Then come those holidays spices…espeically prominent are cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.

Flavor: If this isn’t the sweetness beer I’ve ever tried….There are a ton of flavors tangled up in this beer, including but not limited to sweet maraschino cherry, raisin, plum, and loads of white sugar. There is also a typical “Belgian-y” flavor (bananas/cloves) from the Candi sugar and Belgian yeasts.

Feel: Thin, syrupy body with medium carbonation. There’s a noticeable heat from the insane ABV.

Concluding Remark: I’ll be honest, I opened up Fegley’s Rude Elf Reserve not to channel some holiday spirit, but to function as a night cap. At 10.5%, I had little doubt that after a long day of work, this Rude Elf would knock me unconscious. And it did! Thanks, Elf. As far as holiday cheer goes, the spices are somewhat subdued. Instead, Rude Elf tastes like an average Belgian Ale, with an extra serving or two of sugar that renders the beer cloyingly sweet.  If this was any less alcoholic, I would have given it a lower rating because it’s a slightly below average Belgian and a slightly underwhelming holiday beer. But, that’s not the reality in which this beer exists. It’s 10.5%, and that has to count for something or this isn’t The Year in Beer.

Categories: Belgian, Holiday, Spiced Ale | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Goose Island Christmas Ale

Beer: Christmas Ale
Brewery: Goose Island
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 7.3%

goose

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

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OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Cloudy, deep amber body with no head.

Smell: It smells like an overripe fruit basket, with prominent plum and cherry aromas. There’s an underlying note of alcohol esters.

Flavor: Okay, there are a number of intricate flavors swimming around in this beer. For one, there is a roasted malts and caramel profile indicative of its Brown Ale base. However, there is also quite a bite from the hops, as well a healthy dose of holiday cheer (aka spices and other seasonal flair). There’s a bit of a fruit cake thing going on, as well as hints of anise and mint. Complex is a word I would use.

Feel: Thin, syrupy body with high carbonation. The flavors would’ve been better grounded in a fuller beer.

Concluding Remark: Goose Island’s Christmas Ale offers consumers a plethora of little flavor presents (apologies–there are only so many holiday metaphors). While not a explosion of holiday spirit, we have here a Brown Ale that’s decently balanced with the added bonus of unique flavors such as cranberries, gingerbread, anise, and mint. As Goose Island changes the recipe every year, I cannot vouch for how many of these ingredients actually made it into the beer. However, I can guarantee that you’ll find at least some of these cheerful flavors in this Christmas Ale, an exploration worthy of a pint, I say!

funny elf

This is Keebler Elf-approved holiday beer.
Categories: Brown Ale, Holiday | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Brasserie d’Achouffe N’ice Chouffe

Beer: N’Ice Chouffe
Brewery: Brasserie d’Achouffe
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 10.0%

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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: Pitch brown body with a ruby tinge. It has a huge white head with high retention.

Smell: Admittedly unhelpful, it has a robust “beer” smell, like that of a Pilsner. It also smells like “sparkling,” as in sparkling apple cider without the apple cider-ness. There’s also a bit of orange peel and grape juice.

Flavor: Surprisingly prevalent coppery, metallic taste. Other than that, it’s a pretty mellow beer, defined by sweet malt and fruit flavors, a mild herbal hop flavor, and some caramel and brown sugar notes.

Feel: Thin, oily body with medium carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I don’t think I’ve ever described a beer this way before, but  N’Ice Chouffe is quite a quiet beer. The myriad flavors in this winter Chouffe are subtle. The special ingredients are thyme and curaçao peel, which are detectable but not overpowering.  While it doesn’t reek of holiday (i.e., spices and spruces), perhaps this is what a Belgian Christmas tastes like?  As it’s name implies, N’Ice Chouffe is a nice beer. I have nothing negative to say about its existence. That being said, it is pretty unmemorable. I wouldn’t call it a quintessential holiday ale, but I would be more than happy to drink it on someone else’s dime (@ $12/bottle).

funny elf

This is a Keebler Elf-approved beer.

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

Samuel Adams Merry Mischief

Beer: Merry Mischief
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Style: Sweet/Milk Stout
ABV: 9.0%

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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: Black as a rural night’s sky during the new moon. There’s a dense tan head that looks particularly scrumptious.

Smell: It smells a bit like rubbing alcohol at first, but it mellows out to a more appealing aroma, with notes of coffee, smoke, pumpernickel, and wet bark.

Flavor: The standard flavors you would expect from a stout are elevated with a slew of holiday spices, notably ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. There are some sweet cherry and plum flavors, too.

Feel: Dry, medium body with medium carbonation. It’s just a little burn-y from the high ABV.

Concluding Remark:  When I saw that Sam Adams’ seasonal release, Merry Mischief, was a GINGERBREAD Stout, I had my reservations. I was expecting something akin to Starbucks’ every growing line of holiday drinks: too sweet and too much artificial flavor. However, Sam Adams has kind of blown me away. They have created an (Imperial) Sweet/Milk Stout that is dense with both flavor and alcohol. Merry Mischief has a solid stout backbone and is amped up with a injection of holiday goodness. It tastes like a gingersnap cookie, with less sugar and more malts.

Overall, Merry Mischief makes for a pretty great holiday stout. At $9, it’s a little pricey for a Sam Adams–I might pick up a Belgian Christmas Ale instead–but it’s widely available and different than most beers you’ll be drinking this season. I say, go ahead. It’s not an excellent stout, but it’s a fine holiday beer.

funny elf

This is a Keebler Elf-approved beer.

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

Southern Tier 2XMAS

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Beer: 2XMAS
Brewery: Southern Tier
Style: “Double” Spiced Ale
ABV: 6.0%

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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: Crystal clear, deep garnet body with a small head that disappears after a few seconds.

Smell: Aromas are akin to the ingredients of a mulled wine: sweet orange, cinnamon, and a little bit of cherry cough syrup.

Flavor: Well, it tastes like a strong ale with a dose of cough syrup. The hops sort of balance out the intense sweetness, but the fruity, syrupy character is dominant.

Feel: Thinnish, oily body with some carbonation. It’s definitely a little hot from the alcohol. Like, the back of my throat is burning. Ow.

Concluding Remark:  Well, Merry Christmas from Southern Tier! This season, they have presented American beer consumers with a “double spiced” ale brewed in the “Swedish gløgg tradition.”  Fantastic, I say! I love tradition and I love gløgg (aka, mulled wine).  However, now more than ever, I know how much I like it not in my beer. While a cough syrup cherry flavor dominates, no cherries were used in the making of this beer. The intense fruity flavor comes from figs, orange peel, and other mulling spices. The more I sip on it, the operative word being sip, the move I can taste the orange and figs. It actually becomes quite enjoyable as it sits. SO LET IT SIT. I would suggest serving this on the warmer side as you would a gløgg, because it would seem that 2XMAS develops some depth and complexity in its warmer environment.

Overall, Southern Tier’s 2XMAS is quite sweet. Like, really sweet. It’s not my favorite, but it certainly will keep you warm on a cold night. Though if you’re also living in the NY area, you know that may not happen any time soon.

2xmaself

This is a Keebler Elf-approved beer.
Categories: Holiday, Spiced Ale | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tröegs Mad Elf

Beer: Mad Elf
Brewery: Tröegs Brewing Company
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 11.0%

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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 ruby body with no head. Little bubbles gather at the edge of the glass, though.

Smell: It smells like a Belgian Tripel: bananas, bandaids, cloves. With immense loads of honey and brown sugar.

Flavor: As I remember, Mad Elf is a syrupy punch in the mouth. It tastes like a combination between a Belgian Tripel and a Weizenbock–the latter evoked due to a similar fruity/estery flavor resulting from this guy’s insanely high ABV (11%). Prominent flavors are bananas, cherries, raisins, and brown sugar. It kind of tastes like a cherry danish, if I had to make a food comparison.

Feel: Thin but supremely carbonated–a godsend given the nature of this beer. It feels like vodka going down the back of my throat.

Concluding Remark: What can I say about Mad Elf other than this beer is exactly what a Mad Elf would drink…and then he would immediately overdose. It has one of the highest ABVs of the holiday season, making it a staple in many holiday shopping lists. The Mad Elf is a Strong Belgian Dark Ale. The Belgian character (i.e., the banana and clove flavors) is achieved from the use of a Belgian yeast. Tröegs puts on a twist on a European classic by adding Pennsylvania Honey West Coast cherries–a whole lot of them. The result is a sweet, fruity dark ale. Is it the most perfect beer of all time? No. But it’s surprisingly easy to drink given the high ABV and is guaranteed to give you some sort of spirit–holiday or not. As you keep drinking you become more and more infected but the Mad Elf Syndrome and you begin to care little about the nuances of beer…………………………..

As Troegs says, this beer will “warm your heart [literally] and enlighten your tongue.” It will also warm your brain and blood. The bottom line is is that if you can handle a little bit of sweet in your life, this is a perfect holiday beer. If you can’t, you might want to go looking elsewhere, and actually, avoid holiday beers and celebrations altogether.

funny elf

This is a Keebler Elf-approved beer.

Categories: Belgian, Holiday | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Beer: Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Brewery: Rogue Ales
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.2%

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

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Cloudy, deep amber body with no head.

Smell: This smells exactly like Life cereal and maple syrup. Really, there’s no need for further discussion.

Flavor: If Nutella and beer had a baby…as the phrase goes, this would be it. The resemblance to that divine nutty spread is uncanny. Other passing flavors include cream soda, dark honey, and maple syrup.

Feel: Thin with prickly carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Clearly we are taking liberties as to what we’re allowed to drink for “Brown Ale Month.” Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar is it’s own sensation–this is certainly not a tribute to Brown Ales past nor falls within the Brown Ale canon. This beer tastes like a bottle of hazelnut flavoring (think coffee flavoring) was dumped into an average Brown Ale. While the sweetness of the hazelnut gets old by the end of the pint, it satiates my fantasy of an alcoholic Nutella…and that’s good enough for me. Thanks, Rogue!

Categories: Brown Ale | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Voodoo Wynona’s Big Brown Ale

Beer: Wynona’s Big Brown Ale
Brewery: Voodoo Brewery
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 7.3%

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

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: This is the most unremarkable looking beer: murky brown body, no head.

Smell: Strong dark chocolate, dirt, and soy sauce aromas. There’s something in here that smells like a metal toy I used to own.

Flavor: It tastes exactly like it smells, but it’s not downright awful, as the combination of chocolate, dirt, soy, and wet metal should taste under any other circumstance. After you get over the likeness to the aroma, the bitterness of this Brown Ale comes as a shock. As I keep drinking, it actually tastes exactly like Dewars. Dewars and water, to be specific. In normal beer terms, it also tastes like malts. Loads and loads of roasted malts. Caramel, coffee, blah blah blah.

Feel: Thin body with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Well, Voodoo Brewery, your Wynona is one bewildering lady. I don’t really enjoy the flavors put forth in this beer, but I don’t really not enjoy drinking it. For one, it diverges from the other, sweeter Brown Ales of the month. In fact, there is very little sweetness in this (except for the sweetness associated with the Scotch flavor). Okay, well, actually there are moments of sweetness, but the first and last flavors are dry dirt and Dewars. WHY DOES THIS TASTE LIKE DEWARS? Oh Voodoo Brewery and your wacky magic. Though, by wacky magic I mean maris otter malts and a ton of Simcoe, Amarillo, and Northern Brewer hops. If I had to sub-classify this beer, I would say it is a Northern Brown Ale with an American twist (the twist being a million hops).

Also, in case you didn’t once own the Primus album Tales from the Punchbowl, you probably didn’t get the reference to their song, ‘Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.’ Perhaps this reference was used because Voodoo used maris OTTER malts? Oh, I don’t even know, too many references. More importantly: beer. This Brown Ale is weird. And alcoholic (7.3%!). And weird. So, do as the label says and get down with the brown…ale.

Categories: Brown Ale | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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