All posts in Brew Review Thursday

  • Brew Review #11: Oakshire Watershed IPA

    SONY DSC

    SONY DSC

    I just found my new favorite beer. Okay, it might not be my all-time favorite, but the Watershed IPA by Oakshire Brewing really took a hold of me. If you’re not familiar, Oakshire is a brewery based out of Eugene Oregon that started up back in 2006. If you’ve read my previous beer reviews, you’ll know I like my hops; but only if there’s just as much accompanying flavor. This beer is one of those perfectly balanced IPAs: loaded with hops up front and backed by a piney/citrus finish.

    If you’ve ever had the Heady Topper, you’ll know what I mean by balancing the beer’s punch with a palatable overall taste.  The Watershed IPA does just that. It’s not super bitter like some IPAs that leave much to be desired. If you see a 6er of this at your local vendor of  adult beverages, I’d highly suggest giving it a shot. If you’re looking for a geekier review of this beer, I’d point you to Google – there are a ton of beer nerds out there, I just enjoy sharing my favorites. Cheers.

    -B

  • Brew Review #10: Lagunitas Little Sumpin’

    lagunitas little sumpin

    lagunitas little sumpin

    This is definitely my favorite beer from Lagunitas. I came across the Little Sumpin‘ the other day at the store and being a “hop head”, I had to give it a try. I think it was ten bucks or so for a six-pack but trust me, it’s well worth it. The ale is hoppy yet balanced with a pretty complex aroma.  I’m not one to get too technical when it comes to my beer; I either enjoy it or don’t. But if you’re like me and tend to prefer IPAs or pale ales, or if you’re a fan of wheat beers, then you’ll probably love the Little Sumpin’. Flavorful hops, 7.5% alcohol and a pin-up…what else do you need?

    -B

    More Brew Reviews

  • Brew Review #9: Pretty Things Jack D’Or

    pretty things beer

    pretty things beer

    Man, I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last brew review. I’m gonna try to get this going again, and what better beer to welcome you back than the Jack D’Or by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project. The beer was a Christmas gift from Chris and a really great one at that. The glass you see there was also a gift, this time from my sister (pretty much my whole family, aunts included, got me beer related gifts). Pretty Things likes to describe themselves as “gypsy brewers” as they don’t have a permanent brewery they call home. Instead, they’re tenant brewers which gives them the flexibility of brewing a huge variety of beers.

    The Jack D’Or is their flagship beer and is described as a Saison Americaine. Saison, or “seasonal” beers originated in Belgium during the late 19th century and were typically brewed between November and March. They ended up strong and clean enough to properly age through the summer. A big thing that defines saison-style beers is the yeast used. Most are brewed with a red wine yeast which tolerates very high fermentation temperatures, making it the perfect choice to combat summer heat. While the Jack D’Or isn’t a true Belgium saison, it’s definitely a unique beer. It’s bitter at first but then opens up with an array of plant and citrus-like flavors. I’m no expert here, but I know what I like and this beer was certainly a pleasant surprise. I imagined it being similar to a flavorless Belgian wheat ale but its complexity was a real treat. Highly recommended.

    -B

  • Brew Review #8: Great Lakes Eliot Ness

    great lakes eliot ness beer

    great lakes eliot ness beer

    Damn, well here’s the best amber ale I’ve had to date. I got to go visit my folks this past weekend in New Jersey and this Eliot Ness along with another beer from the Great Lakes Brewery were waiting for me. Being that my family and relatives are all originally from Ohio, I usually only get to drink Great Lakes beers during our annual pilgrimage to Cleveland for Thanksgiving. The beer is one of the more flavorful amber ales I’ve had; and by flavorful I mean fairly hopped with a grainy, slightly citrus-y finish. Named after the infamous prohibition agent, I imagine this would be one of my first choices of beer if this guy was reincarnated and somehow resurrected anti-alcohol laws for another 13 years. What I’m trying to say is it’s good.

    So if you happen to come across this beer, or any beer by Great Lakes I’d highly suggest grabbing a couple sixers. Check back for another beer from these guys next week and be sure so check out the other 7 beers I’ve reviewed.

    -B

  • Brew Review #7: Southern Tier Hop Sun – Summer Wheat Beer

    southern tier hop sun summer beer

    It’s been a while since I’ve done a Brew Review, but the Hop Sun by Southern Tier definitely warrants some praise. Summer beers aren’t always my first choice, but the fact this one’s called Hop Sun caught my attention. The first one went down easy with a light feel and a slight bite.  The beer is brewed with 3 varieties of malts and a single strain of hops, making for a more interesting summertime beer and a nice alternative to other offerings. While I sip on my second, I’m noticing a variety of subtle pine, lemon and citrus flavors…still a nice, light feel but the flavor proves to be pretty complex.

    Highly recommended.

    -B

  • Brew Review #6: Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero

    clown shoes chocolate sombrero review

    Damn, what a beer this was. The Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero is Mexican-style chocolate stout, a brew I don’t usually lean towards, but was pleasantly surprised with nevertheless. “Roasted dark malts plus extra chocolate malts plus ancho chile plus cinnamon plus vanilla extract plus a chocolate loving, beer drinking, Clown Shoes wearing, multi-limbed, gorgeous and glorious Mexican wrestler on the label. That’s the recipe for a Chocolate Sombrero!

    That’s how the label describes it, and I’d say they’re spot-on. I didn’t really get a taste of the cinnamon or chile flavors, but that’s likely due to the fact that I’m not a seasoned stout drinker. This beer was a gift, and I think it just might have opened up a new door of beers for me. Here’s to the dark side.

    -B

  • Brew Review #5: Stone Pale Ale

    stone pale ale

    This week I was given a couple Stone Pale Ales out of a good friend’s 6er and was pleasantly surprised with this beer. I’ve experienced a few beers by Stone Brewery including the Ruination IPA, The Arrogant Bastard, and the standard IPA and have loved each and every sip, but this Pale Ale struck me as more of an English-inspired ale, being very malty, yet still crisp and refreshing – as all pale ales should be.

    Beer snobs give this beer a score of 88, but isn’t that just right speed to activate the flux capacitor? Perfect score if you ask me. I’ll definitely be purchasing some more of these beers soon, it’s always great having another reliable pale ale to add to the rotation.

    Happy Friday.

    -B

  • Brew Review #4: Sierra Nevada Estate

    sierra nevada harvest estate

    Back to the IPAs, this week I was lucky enough to try the Sierra Nevada Estate – Homegrown Ale: a flavorful American IPA brewed organically with wet hops and barely from Chico, California.

    This beer was a gift, which has me unsure if that contributed to how good it tasted, because I really liked the Estate. The first glass went down pretty quickly – the flavor had me taking big sips. This beer is definitely different than their Pale Ale or Torpedo, I’d say it’s taste is a bit more refined, yet satisfyingly hoppy and complex. It doesn’t come on as strong as the Torpedo, but leaves a similar crisp finish. This beer has more of a hoppy citrus flavor than pine.

    If you come across this beer I’d say give it a try – I’m currently on the lookout for another bottle.

    -B

     

  • Brew Review #3: Newcastle Brown Ale

    newcastle brown ale review

    I know this beer appears to be mostly full, but I assure you it was all gone before I wrote this review. The Newcastle Brown Ale is a solid, reliable brown ale with a strong malty smell and smooth taste. I don’t usually drink a lot of brown ales as I usually opt for hops (IPAs), but when I do I’ll go for Newcastles – the caramel / malty blend really hits the spot for me sometimes. Though, it’s definitely not the most flavorful beer. There are definitely a few distinct but subtle flavors, which has me wondering if the clear bottle is to blame? It’s possible these guys start their life with much more complexity.

    I’m sure many of you have probably had the Newcastle, but do you have any brown ales you’re particularly fond of?

    -B

    Previously: 

    Brew Review #2: The Alchemist Heady Topper 

    Thursday Brew Review #1: Sixpoint Resin

     

  • Brew Review #2: The Alchemist Heady Topper

    the alchemist heady topper

    yeah…this was meant for yesterday, but hey, I was drinking Heady Toppers.

    This beer right here is nothing new to me. It’s been my hands-down favorite for some time now, ever since a friend of mine generously gave me my first can. Since then, I’ve never been able to accept one for free, as I know how valuable they are in both taste and skrill.

    The beer I’m talking about is The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, an American Double IPA so full of flavor that once the can pops, everyone in the room will know you’ve got some heady beer – and at least one will make a joke about it smelling like hippies. The Alchemist used to be a seven-barrel brew pub located in Waterbury, VT, but has since had to shut their doors due to damage from Hurricane Irene. However, the beer lives on! They’re currently focusing on producing one beer only (that being the Heady Topper) at their new 15 barrel, small-production cannery also located in Waterbury; and they’re doing it damn well.

    As far as the beer goes, it’s one you must try if you’re in VT or have a friend who’d ship some to you. If you’re a fan of hops, and IPAs that reek of flavor, then this beer is a sure win. I’ve tried a long list of IPAs and too, and many come on so bitter at first that the flavor gets lost as you continue drinking it. The Topper has such a complex flavor that really engages your taste buds, start to finish. Oh yeah, it’s 8%. Happy Friday.

    -B

  • Thursday Brew Review #1: Sixpoint Resin

    sixpoint brewery resin

    I was thinking the other day about how many fine beers we see here in Burlington, VT and said to myself “Why not share what I’m drinking each week?” Yeah, why not? (disclaimer, I’m no expert – I just like beer)

    So the first beer I’d like to feature is Sixpoint Brewery of Brooklyn’s “Resin” – a hoppy & potent brew that’ll really creep up on ya. While trying to make a decision on beer earlier this week, I convinced myself that $8.50ish for 4 16 oz cans quality beer was a deal. Well when I got home, I realized I’d purchased 4 12 oz cans but after the first sip, I was immediately reassured that I still got a deal; this beer was worth it.

    At 103 IBU & 9.1% ABV for just a 12 oz can, this beer will get you loose. Don’t get me wrong, it has flavor too. The beer is dry hopped with the most mature of hops.  Once they’re plump and swollen with resin they’re added to the mix, releasing essential oils and resins into the brew. The first few sips remind me of a double IPA with a strong “citrussy” flavor.

    I definitely recommend this beer to you if you’re a hop lover or an IPA head craving a little more flavor. Overall, I’d have to say this is one my favorite beers yet (only second to the locally-infamous Heady Topper). Check back next week to see what I’m drinking then or if you’ve got any good suggestions, shoot me an email: culturecycles@gmail.com!

    -B

    hop cone