Archive for August, 2011

This Amber Ale pours a great golden brown, slightly hazy with a sizable cream head that dissipates quickly.  There’s really not much to the aroma of this one.  I was kind of expecting more from such a nice looking beer.  It’s kind of sweet and tastes mostly of malt and caramel.  I’m kind of surprised to find a California beer so light on hops.  There’s really nothing too interesting about this beer.  It’s not complex, or weird or anything like that, but it’s a good drink.  If I want to drink a nice local beer that I don’t have to think about, this is a great option.

Dead Guy Ale

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Maibock
Tags: , , , ,

Tonight’s a warm night in the Bay Area, so I’ve decided to open up some Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales.  This is a German-style Maibock, which is similar to other bock beers only lighter in color.  It’s a clear gold with a substantial, though short-lived head.  It’s sweet malty scent is exactly what I think a beer should smell like, though that may be my years of Shiner Bock consumption talking.  It’s amazing…I feel like I should be throwing darts or shooting pool when I smell this.  The hops really come out in the tasting of this one.  Not nearly as malty as I was hoping, but not overpowered with the hops.  It’s initially kind of sweet but has a bitter finish.  Kind of middle of the road for carbonation, and pretty well balanced in general.  Overall, I enjoyed this even though it’s a bit hoppy for me.  If you’re a fan of hops but don’t like being kicked in the teeth by them, give this a try.

This is my first time trying a barleywine.  I stumbled upon this one by Lagunitas at my local Safeway and since Lagunitas rarely disappoints, decided to pick it up.  Plus it said “limited edition” on the label and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.  Barleywines tend to the strong side and this one is no exception, coming in at 10.6% abv.

It looks amazing as I pour a glass.  A very deep translucent amber with a pale tan head that leaves some of the best lacing I’ve had in awhile.  The aroma is pretty sweet with some citrus fruitiness and just a bit of hops.  The citrus and hoppiness come out in the taste as well, but are joined by some significant pines.  It’s pretty similar to some of the IPAs I’ve had, but not nearly as hoppy.  It’s a smooth drink.  Not too watery, not too chewy.

Really this has all the deliciousness of a good IPA but without killing you with hops.  I definitely would prefer this over an IPA any day and it really makes me want to go out and find some more barleywines to see if I have a new favorite beer style.  If you know somewhere I can find a good barleywine in the East Bay/Napa, leave a comment and I’ll track it down.

Now that I’m back from my trip, I’m trying to update more regularly.  Tonight’s beer is Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  I really couldn’t find too much information on it aside from the fact that it’s British.  It’s a very black beer with some unimpressive tan foam that lasted almost as long as it took me to load this web page.  The aroma is very chocolatey, but not the good kind of chocolate.  It really smells more like the artificial chocolate scent added to things like lotions and soaps.  Not very appetizing for me.  The taste is mainly a malty dark chocolate with a very slight bit of coffee and some bitterness.  I’m used to stouts sitting a bit heavier and drinking like a meal, but this is much lighter.  It did seem a bit flat, and I’m not sure if it’s usually this flat or if it’s because I’m drinking it about 3 weeks after the “best by” date.

Given that this is past it’s “best by” date, I may have to give this another try in the future, though I’m not impressed by what I’ve seen so far.  The chocolate tastes too artificial and the flavor profile is fairly simple.  I won’t be in a hurry to try it again.

Well, I just got back from five weeks in Romania where, in the name of research, I drank as many different beers as I could find.  Several times if needed.  I did not take extensive notes on the beers while I was there, so this will be more overview than detailed review.

Pale lagers seemed to be the popular choice with the low end options available in 2 liter bottles at the supermarket for about $2US.  There were several Romanian beers, but most bars also served Danish, Turkish, German, and Belgian varieties.  Nearly every beer I ordered was served in a 500ml bottle, which makes keeping track of how much one’s had to drink tricky if you’re used to counting drinks in 12 or 16oz increments.  Also challenging my buzz maintenance was the palinca.  It’s a homemade brandy usually made from pears or plums that the smaller establishment kept giving us.  (though I was told that they were only allowed to give us three each due to the high alcohol content)  I did find a couple of dark beers that I did some extensive sampling of…you know, for research.

Ursus Premium was basically the Budweiser of Romania.  Their slogan is even “The King of Beers in Romania.”  It might have slightly more flavor than a Bud, but it was a very uninteresting beer.

Ursus Black was a much more interesting beer.  It’s a Schwarzbier with a very dark pour and cream colored foam.  It tastes primarily of chocolate and malt and is not nearly as heavy as other beers this dark.  I’d definitely drink this again.

Redd’s was a fairly controversial beer among my traveling companions.  Some people loved it while others thought it tasted too “girly.”  I went out with three friends and we drank the restaurant out of it the first night we tried it.  It definitely has a sweet fruity taste and is almost more like a wine or hard cider than a beer.  Some of my friends referred to it as the “champagne beer” and it was indeed quite carbonated, but in a way that worked with the other flavors.  I was really disappointed that I couldn’t smuggle any of this back in my luggage.  If you want something sweet, fruity, and refreshing, this is for you.

Ciuc Premium is a Czech Pilsner brewed in Romania and was very easily forgettable.  I’m only reminded of the fact that I had one by the picture of me with it in my hand.  I actually switched to wine for the evening after the disappointing bottle of Ciuc.  Avoid this beer if you don’t like fizzy yellow water.

Silva Bruna was a little harder to come by than some of the other beers here, but I very much enjoyed it.  It’s similar to the Ursus Black, but nuttier and with a hint of molasses and caramel.  After I had the one pictured above, I couldn’t find it again.  I highly recommend it.

Romania seems to be behind the rest of Europe when it comes to beer.  I blame Communism.