Saturday, 5 April 2014

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head Brewing Company is one of those companies in beer that people hear they absolutely have to try, and one of the biggest reasons for this is their 90 Minute IPA, an Imperial India Pale Ale that is often cited as the standard for Imperial IPAs. There's a reason behind this, and from start to finish this beer is top-notch. It's 9% abv, and 90 IBUs, making it a fairly strong and bitterly hopped beer. Perfect for an Imperial IPA.

It pours a wonderful amber-orange tint that's slightly hazy. It's one of those beers you have to raise up and look at every single time. There's a thick head on top, and it's sticky in the glass which leaves a ton of lacing. Without even tasting it you know this is a well-brewed beer. The scent is a little more malty than you might expect, but there it's the hops that take the lead with orange citrus smells that take it over the top. It can smell a tad boozy as well, but it's not overpowering.

The flavor in Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA is hop heavy as you'd expect from an Imperial IPA but it's balanced incredibly well with the malts. They use a "ridiculous amount of English Two-row barley" to make this balance, and it works very well. The hops squeeze your tongue like a hug and you really sense this beer. The citrus that comes through in the smell is present in the taste as well and makes this a truly great beer. It's light and smooth mouth-feel makes it even better, and it has some creaminess to it that takes it over the top.

Dogfish Head is almost always up to something interesting and great, and they hit the jackpot with their 90 Minute Imperial IPA, and they're letting us all have some. Isn't that nice of them?

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewing Co.
Location: Delaware

Style: American Imperial IPA

Rating: 89/100

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Piraat Ale

I'll be honest, the name of this one influenced my choice to order it. It also helps that I love Belgian IPAs, and this one lived up to its homeland's reputation for beer. Piraat is brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V., located in a village in Belgium's northeast.

It pours a wonderful golden-amber color, and looks fantastic in a classic goblet. It has the signature Belgian head; big and sticky that will stick around for quite a while. The aroma is strong and sweet. There are fruits such as banana, slight apple smells, and also some sweet honey. The ABV becomes apparent in the aroma as well, and at 10.5% it's not surprising. There is very little, if any at all, hop aroma.

It is very well-balanced, keeping the carbonation from being too much and creating a nice, silky mouth-feel. It coats the inside of your mouth and leaves the flavor all around. The taste isn't hoppy either, despite the IPA style. It's a medium-bodied, sweet ale that doesn't let its high ABV get in the way of amazing flavor. Flavors of apple, banana, honey, and sugar all are strong in its profile but they blend well with the malts so it doesn't taste like a fruit beer in any way.

This beer has all the aromas and flavors that would be around on the islands pirates would use for their fortresses; exactly what it should be given the name and label. It's really a great experience.

Style: Belgian IPA

Rating: 90/100

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Alaskan Amber

This altbier is brewed in the capital of Alaska, Juneau by the oh-so-creatively named Alaskan Brewing Company. Alaskan Amber is one of those American beers that is a must try in its genre. I first tasted it in Colorado at a minor league baseball game (doesn't that automatically make it taste extra special?).

It looks great in a glass. Alaskan Amber has a ruby brown color with a light off-white head. It's exactly what this sort of beer should look like, and its color makes it really inviting. Its aroma is very malty, with hints of caramel and spicy floral notes.

As expected, the beer is also tastefully malty with some minor hints of hops, just so you know they're there but not a major player. It leans toward a sweet maltiness, with the caramel leading the way. Amber isn't a heavy beer, but it's also not light. It sticks in your mouth a little, leaving some flavor behind which is great. This is a really refreshing beer because of the medium body and can be enjoyed any time of the year, and with an ABV of 5.3% it isn't overly alcoholic.

Style: Altbier

Rating: 83/100

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chimay Speciale Cent Cinquante

Chimay, Belgium is home to one of the most famous abbey breweries in the world in the Scourmont Abbey which produces the Chimay line of beers. Being their 150th anniversary they released Speciale Cent Cinquante in commemoration, and they have lived up to their legacy in every way.

Firstly, this will grab hold of your nostrils right when you pop the cork. There are cloves, light fruity banana smells, pepper and other spices as well, but definitely strong malts. Once poured it's a golden coloration with fine white laced head.

The taste is what really sets it apart though. There is some bitterness but it's mostly banana flavors, and some fresh green fruits. Apples, and some floral flavors complement the others really well making for a complex and interesting drink. There is a good dryness to this tripel balancing the sweet malts that lead. The 10% abv is deceiving once you've poured a glass and get a taste. You'll want to keep drinking and tasting Cent Cinquante, but will definitely feel in once you finish the bottle.

A classic Belgian tripel that could be lost in the long line of tripels that have hit the market, Cent Cinquante stands out from the others in all the right ways. If only it could be Chimay's 150th every year.

Style: Tripel

Rating: 90

Monday, 18 June 2012

Newcastle Summer Ale

Newcastle's summer seasonal isn't quite the same as many American craft breweries' seasonals. As an English bitter beer, it's less fruity and "summery", but that doesn't mean it's not a good summer seasonal. The color is a dark golden yellow, darker than the bright yellow star on the label. The aroma is malty, with a very subtle hint of citrus. There is almost no hop aroma at all on this one.

The taste is what you would expect from an English style beer, a slight bitterness up front, nuttiness coming through in the middle, and a tiny bit of hops at the end to keep it alive. The main thing that separates Newcastle Summer Ale as a seasonal is that along with the nuttiness there is a bit of lemon and other citrus flavors that makes it a pleasant experience during the warmest months. Overall, it is pretty similar to the classic Newcastle Brown Ale, but is lighter and has a great citrus flavor added. The only thing I can say is disappointing about this beer is discovering that it is not brewed in Newcastle anymore, but instead at the Heineken owned Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Style: English Bitter

Overall: 86

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Summer Squeeze

Bridgeport Summer Squeeze is a summer seasonal that incorporates yuzu fruit and lemongrass, making it a light, refreshing beer that is perfect for its season. It is golden like the sun, with a thick, white, cloud-like foam on top. The smell is wonderful, with the lemongrass coming out strongly along with some other citrus hints. There are some sweet and sour smells that accompany the citrus as well, which makes for a nice, complex aroma.

The taste is just as satisfying as the aroma, with the lemon and other citrus flavors leading the way. It's much like a beery-lemonade, but it doesn't taste like a cheap beer mixed with lemonade like some other summer brews. There's just enough hops to make sure it's refreshing and not too malty, but I believe Summer Squeeze still leans toward malts. The sourness of the yuzu fruit doesn't come out too much in the flavor, but that's okay as the sweet lemon and grains make it extremely refreshing and something that I look forward to all year.

Style: American Blonde Ale

Rating: 88/100

Friday, 11 May 2012

Peroni Nastro Azzurro

 An Italian staple beer, Nastro Azzurro is a solid Euro pale lager. It's a really pale, straw color and looks watered down in the glass. The aroma is light and balanced between malts and hop smells, with hints of grass and some green apple.

The taste is just as delicate as the aroma. It's more malty than many other similar beers, but the hops come out at the end of your drink. There are also some light, green fruit flavors that are just barely detectable. Overall, it's so crisp and refreshing that it's really hard to turn this down, and I imagine it's even better on its home court in Italy with the Mediterranean weather. There is a danger of skunking with the green bottle, as is so common in European lagers. It's one of my favorite Euro pale lagers, and you won't regret ordering one of these the next time you're out.

Style: Euro Pale Lager

Rating: 84/100