Tag Archives: beer review

Brewing an Education: Porters and Stouts (Part III)

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Continuing on along our education of stouts and porters, we have come across our first porter. Now, from everything I have read, porters are a bit of a mystery. Once, a long time ago, porters were an extremely popular form of beer of which stouts a type. But, along the way, porters fell by the wayside and, eventually, people stopped making them entirely. The last porter brewed was by Guinness and they stopped in the mid-seventies. Then, after a good twenty years, people decided to bring back porters based on half-forgotten recipes and old myths of what porters were supposed to be.

As a result, there’s not a lot of consensus of what a porter should taste like, because, in truth, no one knows what one should taste like. Different breweries try their hand at porters and they all come up with different answers to the question: what is a porter?

Today, I tried Zywiec‘s Porter and if all porter’s taste like this, I would drink them more often. It has a very hearty, fruity aroma out of the bottle and the taste followed suit. It tasted like dark cherries, sweet and heady and full of flavor. It had a very smooth and full mouthfeel without being thick and syrupy.

For a type of beer with close ties to stouts, I was surprised to find how refreshing it was. It was clear and strong and wasn’t overwhelming in either texture or taste.

It was very decadent, sweet without a lot of bitterness. I would serve it with a dessert, but a less rich dessert like a white cake or  some vanilla ice cream  It was a great beer, maybe not one that you would all the time or one after the other, but definitely a beer that you would have every once in a while as a way to remind yourself of how different beers can be from one another and how good those differences can be.

I would give this one three chocolate covered cherries and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

This rating system might prove to be prophetic considering an entry I have planned down the line.

-D-

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Beer Review: Harpoon’s Leviathan Imperial IPA

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There are two big breweries based in Boston proper; Samuel Adams and Harpoon. The Sam Adam brewery is only for small batches and experimental brews, while the Harpoon brewery is in full production.

I’ve taken tours of both facilities and while I was initially a bigger fan of the Sam Adams tour, I’ve started to lean more toward Harpoon. Their tasting portion is much more extensive; you have fifteen minutes to try any of the 7 or so beers they have on tap, as opposed to the three beers that Sam Adams gives you.

This is how I first came across the Leviathan Imperial IPA, in room surrounded by Harpoon merchandise and the Harpoon staff after imbibing six or seven tiny glasses of beer. I loved it.

But I decided to subject it to a more objective judgement. I bought a four-pack of them and poured them into my Harpoon-brand tulip glass. It smells intensely like an IPA; that hoppy, sweet smell that you either love or hate. The first sip and your taste buds are taking a brutal bitter beating. The Leviathan Imperial IPA is one of the more complex and well-rounded IPAs I’ve ever had. A lot of IPAs can leave you gagging on that signature bitterness long after you’ve finished the beer.

This one cuts it short, most likely through wizard magic, and the aftertaste is surprisingly minimal considering the hearty strength of the initial flavor. Out of the many IPA’s I’ve had over the last few years, this is one of the best, even though I still can’t claim to be an expert. It has a color that would put an amber ale to shame. Its flavor is complex and layered without being overpowering. And it packs a punch with the alcohol.

In short, if you can get it, you should.

I give it Two Bakers Chocolates and One Cup of My Coffee.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Happy Halloween

I’m drinking a beer called Vampire Slayer (brewed by Clown Shoes). This isn’t a review, I’m just letting you know that I have a dark, flavor rich beer and you should get some yourself.

No, really I’m just here to say, Happy Halloween. We’ve spent a lot of time together, you and I and it’s been a hell of a ride. There were conventions and philosophizing on fear and beer and apple picking and more philosophizing. And, now, it’s drawing to a close. Soon, people will be slapping pictures of hand-turkeys on the walls and throwing cornucopias everywhere and eating way too much food. The time of reveling in horror and monsters and goblins and scary things is drawing to a close.

I’m a little sad, but mostly relieved. I can talk about other things now. I can review beers that don’t taste like pumpkins. I can watch movies that aren’t just boobs, blood and bad guys. I can pontificate on politics or work or Sprint’s terrible service.

But, just one more time, I’m going to watch a horror movie, drink a Halloween themed-beer  and relax for the last night before….

 

 

NANOWRIMO.

 

See you tomorrow.

And have a Happy Halloween!

-D-

 

PS If you need some spooky fun, check this out. It’s an audio dramatization of my story, The Song and Dance Man. Thumbs up.

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn

I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn

I love free things. We all love free things. If you see something in the store and it comes with something FREE, it triggers the same gut reaction as when you saw the free prize inside label on a cereal box. You HAD to have that cereal. Since I have the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old, this kind of marketing hits me hard and fast and I’m suddenly 15 dollars poorer for it.

I was in the store looking for any kind of Fall-themed beer when I saw something sitting on the shelf that arrested my gaze. It was a single beer….sold with a stein. For the low, low price of $13.00, I could buy a genuine, brewed in Munich, Oktoberfest Ale AND it came with a stein!

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It was packaged in both the only way possible and in a way that’s instructive: When you get home, the beer goes inside the stein. Not the other way around. I was in awe. It’s so…big. This is no mere pint glass. This is not for some bad day. This is for a bad WEEK, a week defined by a thousand irritations and exacerbations and mind numbing tediums and monotonous combobulations.  THIS is the glass you crack out when almost every aspect of your week has gone haywire and you will be goddamned if you let it ruin your weekend night.

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I realize now I gave you nothing to compare the size. Rest assured, that is not a normal sized beer can. That can holds a quart of beer. A quart. Like my new beer stein will also hold a quart of beer.

I don’t even want to review the beer. Who cares about the beer? This is about volume. This is about quantity. This is about having a glass you can slam onto the table and say, I want more! and the very world will shake beneath the blow. To Hell with bad days and bad weeks. Drink long and proud from you disturbingly large glass, because tomorrow is Saturday.

I give it a Hell Yeah.

Hell Yeah.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Blue Moon’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale

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I know Blue Moon entirely through their Belgian ale, which I do not like. To be honest, I don’t like any Belgian ales, on any level. So I took a chance here, a deep personal risk, to try their Harvest Pumpkin Ale. For all I knew, it was a Belgian that tasted like pumpkins. And no one wants that. Not even people that like Belgian ales would like that.

So I cracked it open and I sat it on the kitchen counter and I stared at it for a good five minutes, not even daring to pick it up. That’s when I realized, that the only thing worse than a Belgian ale that tasted like pumpkins, was a warm Belgian ale that tasted like pumpkins. I took a deep breath and swigged it down.

It’s a very pleasant, yet complex enough pumpkin ale. It’s a little sweeter than some of the other ones I’ve tried and the flavor is round and mellow, without any real sharp tang to it. The spice flavor, while present, is also not as strong as some other pumpkin ales I’ve had and more compliments the slight pumpkin and beer flavor than overpowers it.

All in all, a good pumpkin ale and one that I would recommend to people who haven’t had one yet and might be frightened off by the burly and strong flavors of Pumking or one of it’s ilk.

A pleasant fruity little ale and it finally gives me a Blue Moon product I can get behind.

That’s not Belgian.

I give it five waffles and a sprout.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Wachusett’s Octoberfest Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Wachusett’s Octoberfest Ale

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Since I needed a break from pumpkin ales, I decided to go back to our old friend, the Oktoberfest Ale. It was while I was drinking this particular ale that I realized that I really don’t know what defines an Oktoberfest ale. What separates it from other ales? Age, mid-range alcohol content and an amber color apparently. Oh, and it has to be brewed in Munich, otherwise it’s not an authentic Oktoberfest beer.

Which might be why Wachusett went with a slightly different spelling of Octoberfest here. Their beer is definitely amber in color, a nice red-orange glow that would look at home on a pumpkin ale.

It’s light and airy and crisp, a perfect complement to a Fall day. It’s flavor is a little tart, a little sweet and very refreshing, if not overly complex. Unlike some other ales I might mention, it is not bland or lacking definition, but manages to find a balance between a light and pleasing flavor without sacrificing all of the complexity.

I definitely recommend it for people who don’t really want to chug down a lager or any darker, more mysterious beer filled with things hiding in the abyss. This is a beer made for sitting and relaxing on the porch while the first Fall leaves begin to fall from the trees.

I give it a smiling scarecrow, a goofy dancing skeleton and a couple of ears of corn.

Also, you can probably only buy it in New England.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Spoooky Beer Review: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale

 I’m taking it upon myself to review as many Octoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as I possibly can during the Halloween Season. All while listening to “Thriller”.

Next up: Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale

For whatever reason, I’m incapable of not drinking pumpkin ales. It’s becoming a struggle for me. I use the reviews as a cover, but, deep down, I would drink the pumpkin ales anyway. Do you know how many I’ve bought to review and then just made disappear before even managing to snap a blurry picture of them with a monstrous spider in the background? A LOT.

At first glance, it has the same orange-y hues that most pumpkin ales have, but it’s deeper and darker, almost red. It smells a lot like any other pumpkin ale, but maybe with headier blast of spices.

It tastes a little like a subdued Pumking. No, that’s the wrong word for it. Not subdued. More subtle, not as bold a pumpkin flavor. But just as complex. Maybe MORE complex. Both beers are great pumpkin ales. They both deliver on spices and pumpkin and make you think of Fall with a beer, which is really all you can ask of a pumpkin ale.

But Imperial Pumpkin Ale is more spice than pumpkin and is quieter and more sly. If you have a friend who thinks Pumking is too much for him, then go with Imperial Pumpkin Ale. They’re both royal. They’re both imbued with the power of Halloween. And they’re both really great pumpkin ales.

Let me put it this way, before Imperial Pumpkin Ale, I thought Pumking was going to be the the best all season, but Imperial Pumpkin Ale has shaken my faith.

I give Imperial Pumpkin Ale five Pumpkinhead-era Lance Henriksens.

-D-

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