Hunter's Beer gives reviews and descriptions of different beers that I sample and enjoy. I welcome all to sample, share, and comment with their own experiences of different beers. This blog will use many different styles and values of beer, from mass produced American beers to top of the line micro-brewers to historical brews from around the world. I present the information on the beer in a very informal and laymen manner, nothing you would find at a vineyard in France. So come, pop a top, and enjoy!

I will be using a 'cheer' system for quick ratings of the beer. The main factors I will use are taste, quality, lasting appeal and price.

5 Cheers - The best example of the quote by Ben Franklin "Beer is proof that God loves us and want us to be happy."
4 Cheers - Good enough to be remembered a week after drinking it, but falls just short.
3 Cheers - Only good enough to remembered the next day.
2 Cheers - Forgotten the next day, but good enough to be remembered in an hour.
1 Cheer - Forgettable.
Crickets - Skunked beer. Not even finished.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Founder's Double Trouble Double IPA - Founder's Brewing Company


Founder's Brewing Company in Great Rapids, Michigan is growing to be one of my favorite brewing companies in the United States.  Their Backdoor Bastard Ale, a thick high gravity beer aged in bourbon barrels, is one beer that I will drive to another town to get (you can get it at The Brick Store near downtown Atlanta, GA, that is where i first encountered it.)  Needless to say, I have high expectations for their double IPA.  Extra hoppy and  high gravity, these types of beers go beyond what a traditional IPA does and is turning in to a mark of quality  for a brewing company.  The better their double IPA, the better the overall brewing company is.

Sight - What a great head for this beer!  You can tell this beer is fresh as can be with the insane amount of carbonation that is happening within the glass.  Not even a Coke has this much carbonation, and this is a good thing.  This beer has a fresh from the tap sight, even brewing keg, and hopefully smell and taste.

Smell - Right when the cap of the beer is removed, the aromas of fresh hops is released, even before the beer is poured.  Smelling the beer straight like any other beer overwhelmed me and proved to be very potent.   I do not recommend do this unless you want your head cleared.  Overall, this smell again shows the freshness of this beer.

Taste - Be wary, beer drinkers, this is an excellent tasting beer but it is not for those who have no idea what an IBU (this beer stands at 86 IBU's, extremely high) is or have never had an IPA.  The bitterness of the beer hits you at first, but slowly sizzles out, more prominently in the after taste of the beer.  Once the intense bitterness subdues, the true flavor of the beer  reveals itself as a heavily hopped beer that means business.  The high gravity (or alcohol content) of the beer also hits with the bitterness, but is a welcomed relief.  It is an effective mix of alcohol, bitterness, and carbonation, just what people expect from a double IPA.

Overall - This beer is meant to sipped at a snail's pace.  The high alcohol content and IBU should ward away anyone who tries to down this in under 10 minutes.  Take an hour to drink this one, it gets better the more it breaths.  Plus this is a fresh beer that has not been setting on a store's shelf for a long time.  Its great taste should remain all the way through January, so go grab some now.

4 out of 5 cheers!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guinness Draught in a Can - Guinness Brewing Company


Guinness Draught
The legendary Guinness Draught stout.  Nothing shows to the world that you are a serious beer drinker, and perhaps a serious man, than ordering one of these on tap.  Sadly, living in Boone, fresh Guinness kegs are extremely hard to come by.  Because of this, I am forced to go for a can (sorry Arthur Guinness, you must be rolling in your grave).  The team at the brewing company does not simple can and ship, they supply the can with plenty of features to try and keep the stout fresh as possible.  This includes a little ball that sits right below the tap that guarantees a fresh tap that will produce the legendary head of Guinness.  But is this can worth the investment, or are you better off waiting for a fresh keg from Dublin hitting your town?

Sight - It's a can.  It looks appealing....but we will see.

Smell - Surprisingly, this can preserves the mighty smell of Guinness fairly well.  You know it is a Guinness from smell alone, but it is not as fresh as the keg.  The unmistakable barley that is used in stead of malts in this beer are preserved well enough.  It still has a slight flat smell to it, which is not good for the beer.

Taste - Sorry Arthur, your famous stout should just not be canned the way it is.  The taste is just insulting to the grand brand of Guinness.  The legendary head is just lost.  Completely.  One good thing that the can offers is the slight more dryness that the can provides due to extra fermentation that happens in a can over a keg or bottle.  The dryness maybe be a turn off though for people who never have had a Guinness before.

Overall -   If you have never had a Guinness from a keg before, do not buy this at all.  Go find a keg and enjoy!  If you are huge Guinness lover and there are no kegs around in your town, pick up a four pack of this and semi-enjoy!  This beer in a can fixes a hankering for a Guinness if you have one, but don't let it be your first.  Just like any other first,  it needs to be the best possible or be forever scarred for the rest of your life.

1 out of 5 Cheers!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holiday Cheer - Shiner Brewing Company

 Yes, I am reviewing a Christmas beer now.  It is about that time.  Anyway, this beer, called Holiday Cheer, comes from my favorite brewery in Texas, Shiner Bock Brewery.  It is a nice malty variation of their famous Shiner Bock beer that also includes peaches and pecans.   On top of all of this, the ingredients are roasted before entering into the beer itself, creating the perfect beer for a cold winter night, at least in theory.

Sight - The roasted malts are the very first thing anyone can see from this deep amber color beer.  Unfortunately, it does not carbonate well, but this can be solved easily by pouring the beer into a pint glass.    the only negative aspect of this beer is the head is rather flat.

Smell - Sweet, sweet peaches!  Not only does this beer have the smell of a sweet ripe peach, but also of the sweet smell of roasted malts.  This beer satisfies the senses and brings many flavors.  I can already recognize the craftsmanship in this beer.

Taste - As with the smell, this beer is sweet to its core.  You first taste the malts, but they quickly are overtaken by the peaches in this beer.  The peaches provide the strongest taste in this beer, and rightfully so.  The nutty aftertaste of the pecans appears slightly, but the peaches provide the best taste of this beer.  Do not think that the peaches make this less of a beer.  The malts and hops are still present with the taste of peaches and the hint of pecans.

Overall - I will be honest, this is one of my favorite beers, falling in love with it at my first sip,  (love at first sip?).  This was two years ago at Christmas time, and I still avidly look for this beer every year.  I hope you do the same and start spreading the cheer.

5 out of 5 cheers!!!!! (if not more!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale - Sierra Nevada


 Happy Autumn Everybody! Up here in the Appalachian Mountains, peak is just right around to corner, so to match the season, we are looking at the Tumbler from Sierra Nevada.  The brewing company takes some brewing style traditional done in the winter and applies it to this beer.  Fresh roasted malts are the primary ingredient, along with some spices that work well with this toasty main ingredient.  Is the roasted malts a good pick, or will they go up in flame?

Sight - Dark and full of flavor is this beer's appearance.  It does not carbonate well, but this helps to lock in the flavor of the roasted malts.  You can tell this from the size of the head of the beer, as a full pour into a glass gives almost no head.  A good start for this style of beer.

Smell - Malts! Malts! Malts!  Not only that though, but roasted malts!  It has a sweet smell of sugar, but also the scent of a roaring bonfire on a crisp fall night.  This is due to the various spices that are brewed within the beer.

 Taste - The first thing you taste is the sweetness of the malts, followed by the roasted flavor of beer.  This is not your hoppy beer, but a smooth dark beer that is perfect for any day in the Autumn.  The aftertaste is where the true roasted flavor lies with an explosion of the roasted malts.  The aftertaste taste like liquid bonfire smell.  It might be the best part of the beer.

Overall -  Grab this beer and go to the nearest bonfire you can find.  Make sure to bring a lot of them and that the sky is clear for the night.   Or go on top of a mountain on a windy day, sit, and watch the leaves tumble down with this one. This beer will satisfy any beer wants you have for a fall beer.  Go out and grab them NOW!

5 out of 5 Cheers!!! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jacked Pumpkin Ale - Uinta Brewing Company


      This is an interesting ale.  Not only is it a pumpkin ale, it is an aged pumpkin ale.  Not only is an aged pumpkin ale, it is an aged pumpkin ale in oak barrels.  Because of this aging process, the beer has a very high alcohol, at around 10.3%.  The alcohol cannot even be tasted in this beer, but at what cost does this come?

Sight - This beer happens to be the darkest pumpkin ale I have ever seen.  The barrel aged process in the reason for this.  The spices are allowed to age within the barrel, and the barrels themselves.  Oak barrels tend to leave beer darker than other barrels, outside of whiskey barrels.  You can also tell that the beer also carbonates well from the size of the head.

Smell - Surprisingly, there is a great smelling beer.  It has the aroma of not only pumpkins, but the fall spices that goes with pumpkin ale.  It does not smell any different from the other pumpkin ales I have reviewed, but it still has a that great scent.

Taste - Just as I stated earlier, you cannot taste the alcohol one bit in this beer.  It is smooth with a malty finish.  Yet, through out the entire beer is the taste of pure pumpkin, with just a hit of the spices you would expect in a pumpkin ale.  Since it was aged in the oak barrels, I was expecting an oaky finish to the beer, but that is lacking from the beer.  I am rather disappointed in this.

Overall - With this beer, you are paying for a very alcoholic beer that taste like light alcoholic beer.  This is quite a feat of beer craftsmanship, but the actually taste is just run of the mill.  It is good, but at the price you pay for one 750ml,  one should expect something to brag about.  A simple price drop would make this beer a classic, but it will have to suffer mundane status for now.

3 out of 5 Cheers!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Ale - Dogfish Head Brewing Ale

 Dogfish Head beer is not  for getting drunk.  There philosophy is that beer should be paired with a certain meal, to compliment the taste of the food.  This is their famous pumpkin ale and also their best selling seasonal.  They recommend lamb, duck, or stuffing to go with this beer.  I made some stuffing to go with this, but I will be reviewing the beer, not my cooking skills.

Sight -  This beer just looks like fall.  It has a cool crisp color that reflects an Autumn day of the same qualities.  It is fairly weak in carbonation, but a weak carbonation helps keep spices strong in beer.  The head of the beer is larger than any other pumpkin ale I have every seen.  It is full bodied, even having the spices in the head!

Smell - Cinnamon and nutmeg! This beer has a defined smell that differs from other pumpkin ales.  It is hard to pick up a smell of the pumpkins, but it's there.  This beer actually smells more like a fall spiced ale than a pumpkin ale.

Taste - As with the smell, this beer taste like fall spices, not pumpkin.  The guys and gals at Dogfish Head have created a great beer for the fall (goes great with the stuffing), but where is the pumpkin?  This beer is a huge let down given how great other Dogfish Head beers are.  It is 7% alcohol and you cannot not taste it, as the spices are in every part of this beer.  This shows master craftsmanship, but the lack of pumpkin is trouble some.  The spices are wonderfully mixed and brewed together for near perfection.  The nutmeg can be tasted within the first sip, but the cinnamon is deeper in the beer, lingering well in the aftertaste.

Overall - This beer taste good, but is mislabeled.  It needs more pumpkin!  Now comes the issue or price.  This is one of the most expensive beers I have bought, at about 8 or 9 dollars for a four pack.  For a beer that says what it is not, that is a steep price to pay.  If you are trying to drink a beer with a Thanksgiving style meal, then I would recommend this beer.  Beyond that, do not get this beer.

2 out 5 Cheers!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale - Carolina Brewing Company

 Ah, the pumpkin ale.  A delightful treat that happens only once a year.  A simple concept, yet hard to execute and in many from and fashions.  Carolina Brewing Company created this beer and made it extremely difficult to find.  But none the less, it is a beer brewed in North Carolina and its a pumpkin ale.  Seems like a double win, but what could go wrong?

Sight - To do a little twist on a Robert Frost poem, this beer is lovely, dark, and deep.  It is much darker and richer in color and texture than your standard pumpkin, giving it a character that distinguish itself from other pumpkin ales.  

Smell - With pumpkin ale, smell is keen difference among them.  Some are heavy on the pumpkin, while others are heavy on the spices, making them liquid pumpkin pies.  Cottonwood leans more on the pie side with a bounty of nutmeg and other cold weather spices.  There is still a whiff of pumpkin to it, but the star smell are the spices.  

Taste - The smell is important because in this style of beer, it predicts the taste flawlessly.  This taste more like pumpkin pie than actual pumpkins.  This is not a bad concept at all, as the higher end pumpkin ales are just like this. The taste itself is full of spice at first, then slowly turns in pumpkin at the end of the sip.  Delightful and enjoyable, a beer to simply drink one a chilled autumn night.

Overall - Cottonwood is a great high end pumpkin (pie) ale at a great price that is better than other pumpkin ales.  The only problem I have with it is its availability, because of its rarity.  It is hard to find beyond restaurants and bars.  Please tell me if you can find this beer on tap.  Anywhere.

4 out of 5 Cheers!