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.

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!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saint Bernardus Whitbier - St. Bernarud Brewing Company


 Saint Bernardus is one of more well known Belgium brewers in the world.   The happy monk mascot has been an icon in the beer world since the refounding of the brewery in the mid 19th century.  This is a traditional whitbier, or wheat beer.  Make sure not to confuse this with the German style wheat beer, as the Belgium wheat beer is different.  Let us see how this beer stacks up.

Sight - This beer carbonates very well! It is much lighter in color than other wheat beers, especially from German style wheat beers, which can be a darker amber color.  Because of the way the beer carbonates, it produces a great head for a beer with wheat in it.

Smell - Unfortunately, this beer does not have the scent like other wheat beers.  This could be because of it is a Belgium wheat beer, or simply could just the be the beer itself.  The wheat is not as prominent as in other styles of wheat beers.

Taste - While other wheat beers are crispy and often have some zest to them, St. Bernardus does not. This beer is heavy in taste for the light amber color it has.  One word that comes to mind to describe it is 'muggy,' in contracts to the usually crisp taste. It is a full flavor beer that never loses its taste throughout the entire drink, which is a great indicator of quality.

Overall - This is a beer that has a very small niche of people who would enjoy it.  If you have ever had a beer from Belgium and liked, you must try this one without a doubt.  I  would encourage anyone to sample it if they get the chance to, as it is hard to come by in states.  It is a historic beer that many people has drank since the Middle Ages, when the monasteries brewed beer to make fasting easier.

3 out of 5 cheers!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ayinger Oktoberfest Beer - Ayinger Brewing Company


 This beer is the second time I have drank a beer form the Ayinger Brewery.  If you remember, I did their Celebratory double bock, giving it a 5 out of 5 cheers.  Just in time for the Oktoberfest season, Ayinger brews a traditional märzen beer that is served at Oktoberfest. Märzen is like a lager, but with more malts and a smoother finish.  How does this relative new brewer stack up against tradition for the biggest beer fest in the world?

Sight - This is German beer, at least by appearance.  It has an amazing head that carbonates well after the beer has been poured.  A good attribute for a  beer that will take some time to drink due to the volume of the beer.  It has a cool amber color, perfect for an autumn beer.

Smell - Smelling like a true märzen, the beer smells sweet, due to the malts used in it.  It is simply the basic smell of a lager that defines this beer, allowing tradition to follow in crafting it.  

Taste - Here we go!  One sip gives the slightest taste of bitterness, but that is quickly washed away by the sweetness of the beer.  It is not sweet like a dessert beer, but an enjoyable beer to drink anytime of the day.  The idea of 'full body' beer is best explained here, being drinkable all the way to the bottom.  It has a very distinct style and taste that no other beer comes close to matching.

Overall - Every wanted to taste the beer they serve at Oktoberfest, but do not have the time or money to go there?  Get this beer.  A beer that follows the traditional märzen to the letter.  I do not really have problems with this beer because it embraces the traditional aspects of this beer type and does not divert from the tradition.  

5 out of 5 cheers!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale - Rogue Brewing Company


Rogue Brewing Company is one of the best micro-brewers in the United States.  They have a wide range of  beers with many different beer types, even crafting some of their own.  This beer type, India Red Ale, was not created by Rogue Brewing, but it is the most wide spread version of it.  This is my first time drinking this type of beer, so this will be a learning experience for the both of us.

Sight - This ale is very full headed beer.  This is the ale part of the beer.  It is amber and dark in nature.  You can really see where the 'red' part of this ale come in when you hold it up to a light.  Without drinking this ale, you can tell that this a mix between two different beers with the large head and the red color.

Smell - Wow.  With all the build up of from the sight from a slick amber ale, the 'Indian' part of this ale comes out in its smell.  The scent of a hoppy IPA come out in full force.  This beer just got complex from the difference in sight and smell, so the taste of it should be very interesting.

Taste - To begin, this is a very heavy beer. That fact right there is the simplest part of this beer.  First comes the bitterness from the hopes in the 'Indain' side of this ale.  It is not overwhelming, like an IPA, just a little bitterness to tingle the tongue.  This bitterness is swept away by the sweetness  as quick as possible.  Just as with the bitterness, the sweetness is slight. Then the sweetness goes away for a second wave of bitterness.   That is right.  A three wave beer, and a very tasty one at that.

Overall - This is a great beer.  It is dark, yet light.  Bitter and sweet.  This beer sets a high standard at the beginning, then exceeds them all throughout the enter drink.  It has a great price at around four dollars for a twenty - four oz. bottle.  The only problem with this beer is the contrast between the smell and the taste.  They are very different and do not work together for a truly amazing experience.  The smell is actually rather deceiving, following more of an IPA scent that does not show any sweetness that is in the beer.   

5 out of 5 cheers!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steelhead Double Indian Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company


 Double IPA's should be called dangerous IPA's instead of the double nickname.  Mad River Brewing Company craft a slick beer with a strong 8.6% alcohol to it.  This ale has more to it that just a higher alcohol content though.  A high amount of hops adds an extreme bitterness to it.  This beer is not for weak of heart.  But can these details overcome the alcohol content?

Sight - Much more thick and hearty looking than a standard IPA (Indian Pale Ale),  this beer just looks like a one and done beer.  It has an extreme bitterness to it, as you can tell by the actually hop pulp that is in the beer.  The head of the beer is also extreme in its size.  One of the biggest heads I have ever seen!

Smell - With a beer that looks so fierce, the smell is nothing close.  It is weak and hard to pick up.  It smells like like an IPA, but with double the bitterness hops, you would expect more from the smell.  There just no character to this beer, other than being an IPA.

Taste - You would think with a great alcohol content in this beer you would taste it, but very surprisingly, you do not.  Bitterness is the key taste here, and nothing really else shows itself.  That is not a bad thing, because that is how the double IPA is designed.  There is not an after taste, just bitter than beer.  Nothing too fancy, just a basic double IPA.

Overall -  If you are looking for a good double IPA at a good price look no further.  Do not be put off by the ten dollar price tag, there is more quality and alcohol in this six pack than a case of some cheap mass produced beer.  There are higher quality double IPA's out there, but at a higher price.  The only problems I have with this beer is the lack of smell.  It needs more power to it to make it a truly great beer.

3 out of 5 cheers!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spaten Oktoberfest Beer - Spatan Brewing Company


This is the second beer that I have reviewed from Munich, Germany.  This Oktoberfest beer, just like others, is only brewed once a year for the biggest beer festival in the world.  Oktoberfest was original a wedding party between two royal members of the Munich monarch.  It was such a success that they had the same party the next year for their anniversary, and the tradition continues today.  Spaten is one of the six breweries that is allowed to serve at Oktoberfest, and they create this brew just for this festival.  How does this tradition hold up?

Sight - Darker than their standard beer, Spaten Oktoberfest sets a standard for how a Oktoberfest beer should look and taste.  This is evident through the wide range of Oktoberfest style beer made in America this time of the year.  It carbonates well and appears to be very robust and drinkable.

Smell - One sniff of this beer brings the very faint smell of malts, which is a good thing for this beer.  There are more malts than other beers in this, so you should smell them, but only a whiff.  Other than that, this beer does not have the best smell, but German beers are not too well know for their smell.

Taste - Any problems with the smell are thrown out by the taste.  Like any good beer, there is a one-two taste punch.  Although you cannot smell them, the hops offer a great taste with the first sip.  It is not a hoppy beer, just a nice surprise.  Any bitterness that the hops creates is quickly taken away from the sweetness of the malts.  This last throughout the entire beer.  It is a satisfying drink from the first drop to the last.  It is not a complex drink, but a beer does not need to have multiple layers to be enjoyable.

Overall - This beer not only follows tradition, it creates it.  This is a classic beer that any person that calls themselves a beer drinker should know and love.  First drank by the royalty of Munich, it is now available to everyone in the world.  Plus, it is not hard to find, you just have to know where to look.  Prost!

5 out of 5 Cheers!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale - Anderson Valley Brewing Company


While not in season right now, this winter beer is highly sought after in the winter, and to find it now is rather hard, particular on the east coast.  Anderson Valley Brewing Company is located in Bonneville, California and tends to have most of their beer stay on the west coast.  A hard beer to find in the summer for sure.  Is it worth the treasure hunt?

Sight - Being a winter beer, the dark amber color is very fitting.  It could be compared to a warm crackling fire.  If the beer is a fire, the the head is the smoke, as it rises quick and is completely white.  Perfect setting for a beer on a cold winter night.  At least it looks that way.

Smell - Malty!  The amounts of malts in this beer can be solely told from its smell.  There are so much malts in it that this could well be a dessert beer.  This is almost be a problem as all you smell is the malts, not of any of the holiday spices that have been added to the beer.

Taste - Now the problem between the malts and the spices are in full fold once the beer is sipped on.  Malt at first, malt in the end.  The only difference between the taste and the after taste is the slight, slight hint of nutmeg in the aftertaste.  At least the spices come out of the beer in some shape or form, if only for a small window of time.

Overall - The beer is nothing more than a supplement to a dessert, not too be enjoyed by itself.  This really hurts it in the long run, as most people do not want to drink beer and eat cake at the same time, especially in the winter time.  Really, if you see this beer, do not get it unless to cook with or to drink with holiday cake of some sorts.  I enough the company's mascot though, a bear with antlers.  (Jackabear?)

2 out of 5 Cheers!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Ruby Redbird - Shiner Brewing Company.


 I am going to be honest here.  I am biased for anything from Shiner Brewing Company, as there basic Shiner Bock beer is my favorite beer.  Brewed in a small town in Texas with the same name as the company, Shiner Bock was one of the first beers I ever drank.  This is their summer seasonal brew, made with grapefruit.  It is different from there traditional bock beer in many ways.  This beer is a lager, not a heavy dark bock.  How does Shiner's lager stack up to its legendary bock?

Sight - One detail that is noticeable from the first pour is how well the beer carbonates.  Even while I am writing this review, my beer is still bubbly a good ten minutes after pouring it.  This is a sign of great craftsmanship within the beer.  One part of the beer that seems to be lacking is the head.   As you can see in the picture, the head is horribly small.  The head is forgettable if you are able to sip it fast enough before it disappears.
Smell - Even though the beer has grapefruit in it, the beer has a nice hoppy aroma with just a hint of grapefruit.  One smell reveals a crisp refreshing beer that is perfect for the summer.  The hops and grapefruit work in tandem together for a perfect smelling beer.

Taste - One sip gives a one-two bunch of taste.  The first punch is a crisp refreshing hoppy beer that is sure to cool off any hot summer day.  The second is the sweetness, yet with just a hint of bitterness, of the grapefruit that is in the beer.  From crispy to sweet, this is the perfect beer to drink when the summer days get too hot.  A very fitting taste from a beer brewed in Texas.

Overall - This beer is good.  If you are reading this in the summer, go out and get in now.  Reviewing it, though, reveals a few flaws that are present within the beer.  These are very minor, but flaws nonetheless. Having experienced Texas summers a few times, I understand why this beer was crafted the way it was, for the almost Hell like summers of Texas.
4 out of 5 cheers!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Session Black Lager - Full Sail Brewing Company


Full Sail Brewing Company has quite a large variety of beers that they brew.  I recently went to a tasting of theirs, sampling 6 extremely different beers, which is just a fraction of what they produce.  I purchased their Session Black Lager, cousin to their famous Sessions Lager.  Being my first black lager I have ever drank, let us see of how this beer stands up.

Sight - They were not joking when they call this black.  It has the same color as a double bock, or even Coke!  It makes me wonder how this color could be a lager, but we will get to that soon.

Smell - This is defiantly a lager, as the smell reveals this instantly.  The malt can be recognized from just opening the bottle.  To make this beer 'black' they add more than enough malts to the beer early in the brewing process.  This is shown through smell of the beer, as normally  malts are hard to find in the smell of a lager.

Taste - One single sip releases malts into your mouth, a very tasty and delightful malt.  Even as a 'black' lager, it still is a heavy drink, yet it is sweet as a lager can be.  I did find it overwhelming almost as if I was drinking a Coke with a hint of alcohol to it.  Yet there was still a bit of bitterness from the hops, reminding you that this is a beer.  A good combination that is very easy to drink.

Overall - This is good choice of beer if you are looking for something different, plus it is rather cheap for micro brewery beer.  You will not be blow away by this beer, just pleasantly surprised.

3 out of 5 cheers!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kellerweis - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company


Sierra Nevada is a very well respected brewing company on the west coast of America with most of their seasonal beers and special reserves winning awards around the world.  The Kellerweis is a German inspired wheat beer with banana and cloves brewed in it.  It even is brewed with Munich hops that come from, well, Munich.  Does Kellerweis exceed the expected tradition of the hefe weisse, or does in fall flat?

Sight - Kellerweis is light for a hefe weisse, or wheat beer, in color and apperance.  It is amberish yellow, where other wheat beers are a bit darker in color.  This could be because of the bananas added to the beer.  The head is frothy and big, a good sign for a wheat beer.

Smell - Even though there are bananas and cloves in this beer,  the wheat is the main star of this beer.  It shows in the smell of the beer.  The cloves and banana can not even be smelt, because there are more of a spice added than a main ingredient.  One big sniff reveals overwhelming wheat, with just a hint of the bananas and cloves.

Taste - Just as with the smell, wheat is the main taste, while the bananas and cloves play a very nice supporting role.  This is not a fruity malt beverage, this is a beer, a complex yet tasty one.  It is refreshing and sweet, anyone would like this beer.  The aftertaste leaves a nice bitter feeling, but it is not overwhelming like other bitter beers.  It makes the sweetness of the next sip more sweet because of the slight bitterness.

Overall -  A good beer for a hot day sitting on a porch.  It is a good way to cool down and enjoy excellent weather.  Although made year around, it is best drank on the summer, but really anytime of the year is a great time to drink this.  What holds it back is the rather lack of bananas and cloves you can taste.  You really have to search for it, but again, this is not a banana beer.
4 out of 5 cheers!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rolling Rock - Latrobe Brewing Company


 Rolling Rock is a 'pale lager' that has been brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania since the 19th century.  It is a fairly cheap beer that can be bought almost anywhere where beer is sold.  It is a mass produced beer, own by Anheuser Busch.  Does Rolling choice quantity over quality, like many other mass produced beers? 

Sight - Once poured, Rolling Rock appears to be a straight forward lager, similar to Budweiser or Busch.  It has a large head, but you want to avoid the head with this beer.  It carbonates very well, but this does not add much to the overall experience.

Smell - Every walked into a room where beer was left open and overnight?  That smell is just like Rolling Rock, stale beer.  At least you will not have to worry about the beer going stale as you drink it.

Taste - Despite the smell of this beer, the taste is crisp and refreshing, as long as it stays cold.  It taste its best when first drank right after it is poured.  There is not much more to it than that.  There is no aftertaste, and the head should be avoided at all cost.  Yet, Rolling Rock does not necessarily a bad beer for this, it is just simple and easy to drink.  

Overall - Rolling Rock is a classic example of an American Beer that has withstood the test of time.  It goes well with ballparks and hot dogs, anything that is American.  This does not mean it is an outstanding beer, it is just easy to drink.  No one really remembers how great Rolling Rock is, just that they drank it.  If you are going for a cheap beer, Rolling Rock is a great choice.

2 out of 5 cheers!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boddingtons Pub Ale - Boddingtons Brewing Company


 Reviewing this beer breaks a rule for a beer to be reviewed. Usually the beer has to be in a bottle, but Boddington's does not come in a bottle, so I have excepted this slight change.  Boddington's comes from Britain and follows a traditional British Ale.  It is famous for its 'Creamy and Smooth' head, which is written on the can itself.  Is the head the only star, or is the whole package worthwhile?

Sight - The bigger the head you create for this beer, the better it will be in the long run.  It make look that a big head is damaging, but it works wonders.  Watching this beer turn from nothing but head to 1/4 head and the rest beer makes the drinker just want to start on this ale.  It is best if you let the beer breathe for a good minute or so after pouring, so the different taste can come together.

Smell - Boddington's is known for its creamy, honey head and bold, crisp ale.  The smell represents this ideal, as the head is ripe with honey while the ale is simple.  The beer is of ale, nothing more and nothing less.  You could not ask for more simple smell in an ale.

Tate - The two stark differences in this ale work amazingly together.  The creamy honey head complaints the smooth yet flavorful ale.  After waiting for the head and the ale to breathe in the beginning, you should drink this rather fast for a good beer, because once the head is gone, the relationship between the head and ale is ruined.  Not necessarily a bad thing to happen, but it does cause the drinker to drink faster than normal.

Overall - I would recommend this beer to anyone who wants a classic beer from a tap.  When you pour this beer, it is just like a beer from a draft at a bar or pub, which is great since it comes in a can.  It is so good, that after I finished it for this reviewed, I opened another to enjoy while writing it.  The only problem with this beer is that once the head is out, the ale is not the best as it lacks a full bodied beer.  Since most people drink beer for the beer, and not the head, this will hurt its overall score.  Drink it fast or not at all.

3 out of 5 Cheers!

Hefeweisse - Hirschbrau. Bavaria, Germany

Visiting the Hirschbrau Brewery again in Bavaria, Germany, the heffeweisse is an important beer to any German brewery.  Roughly translating into 'wheat beer,' this traditional beer is heavy yet refreshing, bitter yet crisp.  this style of beer is drank in the summer mostly.  Let us see if this heffeweisse follows this tradition.

Sight - This beer has an amazing head!  It appears to be cool and crisp  which is different for most heffeweisse, but not unheard of.  The color of the head is lighter, but, again, not too odd.  The actual beer itself looks more like a pilsner more than a heffeweisse, which has a more brown color than amber.  With these differences in mind, this beer sparks a lot of interest in me.

Smell - With so much hype generated by the mere sight of this beer, the smell is a huge let down.  It does not smell bad, but the beer has an extreme lacking of one.  Even after being allowed to breathe for a bit, the smell is just not there.

Taste - Forget everything you have ever tasted a heffeweisse before because Hirschbrau is completely different.  The best way to describe the beer is sharp in its taste; it is there, then it is not. It is very hard to pick up on because of the sudden changes in taste.  The quick taste you do get in the first part of the sip is refreshing and nothing short of a good beer, but it does not last.  A mere flash of good tasty beer.  The rest of the sip if completely forgettable.

Overall - This is the second beer I have reviewed from the Hirschbrau Brewery, and the second time they have let me down.  They just cannot make beer on the same level as other brewers in Germany, nor can they follow tradition very well.  This beer is just low quality overall.

1 out of 5 Cheers!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Purple Haze - Abita Brewing Company


 Abita Brewing Company is one of the most beloved brewers in New Orleans, keeping the different pubs and bars in New Orleans supplied.  They have a wide range of different beers that can fit into anyone's taste range.  Purple Haze is a raspberry wheat beer, similar to Blue Moon and other wheat beers. But is this beer good enough to be served in the Big Easy?

Sight - Thick and heavy, just like other wheat is the appearance that Purple Haze has, but with a twist.  It has a, well, purple tint to it, which can seen better when pouring or held up to a light.  This hue gives the beer a very recognizable character, even when poured and no label anywhere.

Smell - Raspberry.  Raspberry.  Raspberry.  With a hint of beer.  Need I say more?

Taste - As with the smell, raspberry the main focus of the beer, but the wheat part of the beer is not forgotten, which is wonderful for the drinker who wants more than an alcoholic raspberry drink.  The first part of the drink is raspberry, followed by the sweetness of the wheat in the beer.  It is a winning combination that Abita has crafted.  The taste of both raspberry and wheat continues all the way to the last sip of the beer.

Overall -  Purple Haze is cool and refreshing when it is burning hot outside, a perfect beer for the hot summers of New Orleans.  What keeps this beer from being a truly wonderful beer is the smell.  It smells more like a malt beverage, such as a Smirnoff Ice, than a beer.  It may be a small problem, but it does make the drinker forget sometimes you are drinking a beer.  If you want a fruity beer when you have to survive a hot day in the Big Easy, look no further.

4 out of 5 cheers!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sweet Water Extra IPA 420 - Sweet Water Brewing Company


 Sweet Water is one of the best brewing companies on the eastern coast of the United States.  It has a wide range of beers, including seasonal beers and year round beers that can fit into anyone's taste.  The Extra IPA 420, which is a major road in Atlanta, G.A., is one of the flagships beers that is available year round.  Is it worth going off the mainstream of beers, or will your adventure sink?

Sight - Once poured, a frothy head is first to be revealed.  It appears to be rich and large, a good sign for an IPA.  The beer itself is a pleasant amber that carbonates well.  All show excellent qualities in an IPA.

Smell - Usually IPA's have a very strong and recognizable smell, but 420 does not have an odor that can be identified easily.  It has a smell, but it is a weak odor that could not be picked out from other beers.  The smell is the bitterness that often follows with any other IPA, so it is really nothing to write about.

Taste - A taste of this beer gives the traditionally bitterness that comes with any other IPA, in the after taste.  What sets this beer apart is the first taste, not the traditional after taste.   It is a hoppy and well carbonated beer that radiates craftsmanship.  Not only is this beer just an IPA, it is a damn good beer in general.  This is most likely were the 'Extra' in the name comes into play.  A great beer to drink any time of the day or night.

Overall - Sweet Water has won many awards with this beer, including "Best New and Small Brewery."  It successfully blends a delightful hoppy beer with a bitter IPA.  It is apealing to the eyes and the mouth, but it lacks in its smell, but that is the only problem. If you are looking for a good IPA with a bit extra to it, look no further.

4 out of 5 cheers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock - Ayinger Brewing Company


If you are are able to get your hands on on of these hard to find beers, you have many reasons to celebrate.  Brewed in Bavaria, this beer is a douplebock, a thick heavy beer with more alcohol content than most.  It has been brewed since the eighteenth century once a year.  The tapping of these kegs is the second biggest beer celebration in Munich, next to Oktoberfest.

Sight - A dark, dark beer, one can only see through the beer when held to a light.  The darker, the better for a double dock.  The head is also dark, both inviting the drinker to drink, but to take our time at the same time.

Smell - One attribute that Celebrator double bock that makes it different from all others is the smell and the spices that are used in making it.  When poured, you not only smell the dark beer, but the aroma of Christmas cake.  The sweetness of the cake and the bitterness of the beer give this beer a very distinct character.  

Taste - One sip gives a sweet satisfaction to the drinker.  Once swallowed, the bitterness of the double bock is brought forth, a complete opposite to the sweet taste beforehand.  Add the creamy head that this beer carries, and you have a dessert beer that can also be enjoyed any time of the day or night.

Overall - This is one of the best beers I have every tasted.  Ever.  From the first sip to the last, the beer goes down smooth and satisfying. It will also bring forth potent reminders that there is a good amount of alcohol in it.  Half the beer is enough to get you a good buzz.  The only complaint I have for the beer is the price.  Nearly fifteen dollars for four beers is a very steep price and turns away lots of people.  A beer for anyone who loves beer, and if you do not love beer, leave for those who do.  Plus, it comes with a free Christmas ornament with every bottle.  Prost!
5 out of 5 cheers!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blue Moon - Blue Moon Brewing Comany

 Blue Moon Belgium Wheat Ale is a well respected beer.   I know many people that drink this beer to celebrate or to just relax.  It is there go to beer for a good time.  Backed up by millions of dollars in ad campaigns, Blue moon is one of the more recognizable beers on my blog to this date.

Sight - Blue Moon follows a traditional Belgium wheat ale that has been crafted for centuries in Europe.  It is a bit on the lighter side of others Belgium, but that is not too problematic.  It shows character more than anything else. It does not carbonate as well as other beers by appearance.  The head is weak.  As you can see in the picture, it disappears right before your eyes, like a cheap magic trick.

Smell - One sniff reveals nothing.  A second nothing, and a third sniff still gives does not give off any smell.  Not a hint of beer or wheat, one of the main ingredients in this beer.  It is one of the biggest disappointments when a beer has no smell, because first it may mean there is no taste, and even worse, a lack of character.

Taste - Any fears that the smell may of brought forth are relieved with a sip of this beer.  A sweet symphony of wheat and hops plunge into your mouth, delighting any one who drinks it.  Yet, after it is done, there is no after taste, as there are with the majority of other Belgium Wheats.  It is also much lighter in taste and in alcohol content than most Belgium Wheats, which is a huge down fall of Blue Moon.

Overall - Blue Moon should not be called a Belgium Wheat Ale due to its serious flaws.  It looks like one, but that is all that is has gong for it.  It has no smell.  While it has a good taste, it is not what a Belgium Wheat Ale taste like.  I mentioned that I do not review beer based on image, but when the beer is mislabeled, I have to take this into consideration.
1 out of 5 cheers!   

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Castle - Summer Ale


Launched with a new ad campaign for Newcastle Ale, the traditional version of this summer ale is an attempt to expand Newcastle to American markets.  There are many summer ales that can be found in America, all following a certain pattern of hoppy and fruity beer.  Newcastle summer ale takes a different approach, but does it work?

Sight - If there is one thing that Newcastle Summer Ale has going for it is it's appearance.  A bit lighter in color than the traditional ale made by Newcastle, which is a good choice by the brewery since this is a summer ale.  It still carbonates well, just like a Newcastle.  Lastly, the head is well crafted, and stays with the beer until the drink is done.

Smell - As soon as you open the beer, the scent of Newcastle is released, but not as potent as the traditional ale.  It is more refreshing than heavy, but still has the character Newcastle carries with it.  Pouring the beer does not release this scent as it does with other beers.  You really have to get close and sniff hard to smell the hoppy, cool scent of the beer when it's in a glass.

Taste - One sip reveals the bitterness that Newcastle is known for.  The difference between the two ales is that the summer ale is far more drinkable for people who are not heavy beer drinkers.  It is still a heavy ale that is bitter, but it is not as heavy and bitter as the traditional ale.  What makes this a summer ale is the hoppyness.  It makes the last sip as good as the first, which is followed by the bitterly aftertaste.  It is a nice aftertaste that reminds you that is beer means business.  It is light and refreshing, while still maintaining the traditional taste of Newcastle.  This beer is perfect for a hot summer day to sip on while enjoying the sunshine.

Overall - Newcastle can be a hard beer to drink, but with the release of their new summer ale, Newcastle is starting to branch out beyond a select small group of beer drinkers.  The Summer Ale delivers to a wider audience while still being able to satisfy the lovers of  the original Newcastle.  A well crafted and well thought out beer.  I must say that the first few sips are rather bitter, but when allowed to breath and carbonate, you will be well rewarded with an amazing beer.

5 out of 5 Cheers!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bavarian Double Bock - Hirschbrau


A simple brewing company from Bavaria tries to make a classic double bock, a more alcoholic dark beer that focuses on malts more than on hops.  It has been brewed in Bavaria since the sixteenth century, so there is a lot of history behind this style of beer.  Does Hirschbrau do justice to the tradition of a double bock?

Sight - A very appealing drink, Hirschbrau's double bock lets you know for the start that it means business.  The lack of carbonation alters the drinker to the strong malts, instead of hops, used in this beer.  A strong head gives off the idea that there is even alcohol in it.  With the beer at a 7.2% alcohol level, it most likely does.

Smell - When you pop the cork (yes there is a cork to this beer), the single smell that comes out of the bottle is malts.  As with any bock, malt is the key ingredient.   But with so much malt in this beer, it seems to lack the smell of malts that other double bocks seem to bolster well.

Taste - One sip of beer, as with any other sense, reveals malts.  Overpowering malts that do not let any other part of the beer be tasted, except for the large amount of alcohol in it.  The beer maintains this taste throughout it.  It is a tough beer to drink, switching from sweet in the beginning of the sip, to a bitter after taste.  Usually, I would welcome a changing in taste in a beer, but this does not work as well.  It is driven purely by the malts, while most taste changes have to do with two different ingredients.

Overall - There are better double bocks on the market that this one, even at a better price than this one.  Although there are worse beers than this one, you will still get your money's worth.  I would recommended this beer to anyone who has not tried a German double bock, but if you have, there are better beers that this one.

2 out of 5 Cheers!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mythos - Mythos Brewery


Mythos is a beer brewed as an attempt to inspire Greek nationalism.  The brewer calls the beer "Hellenic Lager,' inspiring classical Greek tradition that was once wide spread all over the world.  Along with this tradition comes the love of wine, not beer.   Beer was seen as barbaric in ancient Greek.  Let us see if Mythos makes beer civilized, or if its just a mere legend.

Sight - Mythos cannot be more of a truer looking beer.  It has the tint of a lager, a nice hoppy yellow.  This tint just appeals to the sense, altering the drinker that he or she is about to drink a beer, and a good one at that.  Many other beers could learn from this color.  The head appears to be very full and flavorful, adding to the idea that there is a beer in front of you.

Smell -  One sniff of this beer,as with the sight, tells the drinker that there is a beer in front of them.  Although not as strong as other beers, its odor is of beer.  Nothing more and nothing less.  A beer does not have to have a strong smell to be good, just an odor that can be recognized.

Taste - One sip is beer bliss.  From beginning to end, the beer keeps a constant, hoppy taste that has amazing carbonation.  It is just smooth enough, but not letting you forget that you are drinking a beer.  The head is standard for a lager, finding similar taste and texture in other lagers, such as Budweiser.  It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it would of been nice to see more character from a beer outside the country.

Overall - Mythos is a wonderful beer that many other beers could take lessons from.  It does not create a new standard of beers, just meets, and sometimes exceeds, the standards set by other brewers.  For a beer that is trying to start a new culture in a wine dominate country, it is not a bad concept to follow.  It does seem to have a lack of character, but still a good choice for someone looking for American standards in a foreign beer.
4 out of 5 Cheers!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Land Shark - Anheuser-Busch

 Land Shark is an island lager brewed by Anheuser-Busch, the biggest brewer in America.  The label presents itself as a cool, refreshing drink.   Being tied to Jimmy Buffet and Margaritavilla, Land Shark encompasses relaxing and island attitudes.  Let's see how the actually beer stacks up to these ideas.

Sight - The most outstanding part of this beer is the head that is created when poured.  It stays throughout most of the beer, how a good lager is suppose to be.  The color screams beer, only asking the drinker  to start drinking as soon as possible.

Smell - One sniff of this beer removes any idea you would be on an island.  It does not smell bad, but it does not smell like an island lager.  It is more comparable to Rolling Rock or Budweiser than to Red Stripe or Crib.  Saying that, it's smell reveals the use of good hops and excellent malts.  It's what one would expect from Anheuser-Busch.

Taste - One gulp from this beer, just as with the smell, takes the drinker away from the island.  This does not take away from the overall quality of the beer  It offers a cool crisp taste that will satisfy any hot thirst. I have a serious problem with the beer, though. Being presented as an island lager when it's not.  It is a standard American lager, but a good one at that.  The beer has a good balance between hops and malts, adding addition and welcomed carbonation.  What keeps it back is the possibility of making a more true island lager, using more hops and perhaps a bit more alcohol content, (just a bit).  It is almost too smooth for a beer, as it is almost too easy to forget what you are drinking.  A good beer lets you know its a beer, all the time.

Overall - As I have mentioned before, there is a distinct difference from how Land Shark is presented to how it actually is.  But in my welcoming message, image is not of one of the items I judge on.  I review the beer, not the image.  The main theme that Land Shark has going for it is that its refreshing and easy to drink.   A good choice on a hot day overall.
3 out of 5 Cheers!