Thursday, October 31, 2013

Parkway Brewing bills Magella as a Belgian Dark Abbey Ale. I really enjoyed this beer. It pours deep brown with almost no head, and the aroma is fairly subtle. I picked up on molasses, bananas, and slightly boozy background notes. The taste is really big. Sweet and spicy up front, with cloves and rich malt, and then that big, yeasty Belgian finish. The ABV is just over 11%, but it isn't dominant in the taste. I will buy this again.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I really don't enjoy pumpkin beers, but I give a new one or two a try every fall. Tonight I had Foothills Brewing's Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale. It was OK. It pours a clear, muted orange with hardly any head. The aroma is bright and sweet. Lots of nutmeg and pumpkin. It’s all vaguely synthetic smelling, but it doesn’t smell bad at all. Kiinda like a pumpkin pie scented candle. The flavor is rich and slightly sweet. More of that pumpkin flavor that seems artificial but not unpleasant. I won’t have another one, but I didn’t mind this. Faint praise, I know ... but given that I have hated most of the pumpkin beers I've tasted, faint praise will have to do.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Starr Hill has some pretty good beers, but Boxcar Pumpkin Porter isn't one of them. It's dark brown, the small head fades quickly. The aroma is slight. I picked up on a little malt and some spice, maybe allspice. The taste is slight, too. This thing is watery. Nothing at all up front, but in the finish there is a little bit of pumpkin and spice. And I mean a very little bit. There is just nothing going on here. But at least it doesn't taste bad.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'd never tried one of these hard ciders before and decided to give it a whirl. Angry Orchard Traditional Dry Hard Cider pours like sparkling apple juice and smells like any other cider I've had. It tastes like tart apple flavored soda. There's no alcohol at all in the flavor. I guess this is something like a wine cooler, but that's just a guess, as I've never tried a wine cooler, either. This cider isn't bad, but it isn't really my kind of thing.

New Belgium's Accumulation is billed as a white IPA. It pours lemon yellow, slightly hazy, with little head. The aroma is great, a lot of citrus, pineapple, grassy hops. The flavor isn't as good, but it's alright. The hops are muted, the malt is too, and the finish is dry. I won't have this again, it's OK but I there are so many winter seasonals I like much more.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Devil's Backbone's Kilt Flasher Wee Heavy Scotch Ale is pretty good, but a little short of great. It's dark red in color with very little, quick fading head. Roasted malt in the aroma, with some vanilla and something like roses. The sweet, smokey notes in the flavor are nice. A little hint of apricot, too. But it tastes watered down. I get the sense that there's a better beer here, but it is being diluted somehow before it gets to my glass.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It occurred to me at the grocery store tonight that I'd never reviewed Red Stripe Jamaican Style Lager, and that's because I'd never bothered to try it before. So I tried it. This stuff has a bright yellow, urine like body with a lot of carbonation and head. There is a vague, slight ginger-ale aroma... maybe something like watered down ginger-ale. The taste is inoffensive. It doesn't anger or disgust me. This beer is very light and would probably be refreshing in great gulps after a long hot day spent doing something tedious in the sun. But so would water, and water is free.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Smuttynose Robust Porter is a fine porter, and the name suits it. It pours a rich, viscous brown with a medium head that leaves a ton of lace. The aroma is smokey malt, with slightly musty black walnut notes and a little bit of vanilla. The flavor adds a bit of baker's chocolate and a mild tingle in the finish. Delicious.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blue Mountain Barrel House calls Full Nelson a Virginia Pale Ale. It's bright, crisp, bitter and dry. The body is clear amber and it has a foamy head, and the aroma is sweet citrus. Strong malt in the taste, fairly aggressive, and it finishes dry and hoppy. Not bad.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Evil Twin's Falco IPA pours a hazy lemon color with a lot of carbonation and a lot of head. Bitter, grassy hops and a little grapefruit in the aroma. Mild malt up front on the tongue, with a bitter, citrus/floral hop twang in the finish. A little more bitterness shows up in the exhale. Not bad, but Every IPA Sierra Nevada makes is far cheaper and just as good or better. Falco didn't rock me, Amadeus.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Evil Twin's Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA is a real mutha. The body is hazy orange/gold color with no real head. The lace fades quickly. The aroma is strong, and reminds me of apricot brandy and rich, malty barley wine. The body is oily and viscous, I really do think of this as a barley wine more than an IPA, both in flavor and mouth-feel. The taste has some peaches and a little apricot and grapefruit, along with that strong, rich, forward malt that I associate with barley wine. Strong bitterness in the close, but more of a medicinal quality than a nice IPA sting. I won't have this again, the 13% ABV is a sledge hammer.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

According to, what separates an imperial porter from a stout is that the imperial porter doesn't have the overt roastiness of the stout. I'd think that makes Evil Twin's Lil' B Imperial Porter a porter in name only, because I picked up on smokey, rich, roasted malt in spades, here. This thing pours with no head at all, only a faint, mahogany-colored sudsy lace that fades to nothing at all after a few seconds. There was no lace in the glass as I drank it. The aroma is warm, with cherries and malt, and that describes the flavor, too. Boozy heat in the exhale, which is no surprise at 11.5% ABV. This reminded me of my favorite stout, Avery's Mephistopheles, but it isn't nearly as complex. That malt cherry flavor I picked up on in the front was nice, but nothing like the other flavors in Mephistopheles (raisins, baker's chocolate, vanilla, rum, etc) show up. Not bad, but I won't have it again at this price.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Green Flash's Green Bullet Triple IPA is a very well balanced IPA, given its high ABV and aggressive hop profile. It's a crystal amber color with an average head and fair amount of lace. The aroma is really outstanding. The best thing about this beer is getting a nose full of that aroma. Lots of floral and citrus, with something that reminded me very specifically of dehydrated pineapple, one of my favorite snacks. That is in the flavor, too, but it's more muted there. The hops are grassy and crisp on the tongue, and the malt is sweet and rich. Nice, strong, bitter blast in the finish, too; this is a true triple. The 10% ABV is a subtle component of the taste. This beer doesn't pound you over the head with alcohol. I am not in love with Green Bullet after one bottle, but I may come to feel differently as I work my way through this four-pack.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sierra Nevada really never disappoints. Their new sesonal IPA, Flipside, is delicious. It pours bright, copper red with a lacy head. The aroma is piney hops and rich caramel. Those tangy hops coast in the flavor over a really delicious, buttery, toasted malt. Big, bitter kick in the finish. The only bad thing about Flipside is that it's a seasonal and not a regular release.