'Craftbrew Reviews' Category
I gave this beer 4 out of 5 stars. First time I had this beer was at Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver. It was cold and I had just come from the Rockies game where it was snowing. A good beer that would warm me up was definitely needed.
Sierra Nevada is the big player in West Coast brewing. With that title, I think it is hard for breweries to continue producing high quality beer that push the boundaries of brewing. Don’t get me wrong. Sierra Nevada makes some great beers. Its just been awhile since I last had a Sierra Nevada beer that became my first choice at quality bars.
Ovila by Sierra Nevada is now that for me. Pouring a cloudy brown, this beer smells amazing. Brewed in the Abbey tradition, yeast spice comes across the nose immediately with a hint of pepper and prune/raisin. The spice and fruitiness come through upon the first sip. Bread malt flavors with caramel towards the middle. Fairly sweet. Almost reminds me of cough medicine or something I took as a kid (I liked that stuff though).
This is a great American dubbel. Very drinkable, even at 7.5 ABV. Looking forward to finding more from the series by Sierra Nevada.
Sierra Nevada’s Description
Ovila Abbey Dubbel is brewed in the abbey tradition, and perfect for the rebirth of Spring. Clear and deep in color, this Abbey Dubbel has a complex and rich malty sweetness with hints of caramelized sugar. The aroma is a heady and layered mix of fruit and spice with hints of clove, raisin and black-pepper from the use of an abbey-style yeast. Released late March 2011.
You know, sometimes you just have to reach out and grab one of those foreign brews that don’t have the attractive label that our local breweries are getting good at making.
This is one of those beers that are probably found at most beer shops or any wine/liquor store that has a decent selection of beers. However, this is also one of those beers that you most likely passed up while grabbing your favorite local brew.
This weizenbock comes from the German brewery Ayinger. That may/or may not be their company website. It is in German, a language I have yet to learn. Sometimes I feel we get caught up drinking American brews. Rightly so, we do have the best beer in the world (I would love to here an argument otherwise). But to be a good homebrewer, and beer enthusiast, you must venture out to other continents.
This weizenbock pours a hazy-yellow color. Lots of foam that sticks around for at least 5 minutes. Lots of carbonation.
Some people are clove people or banana people. This one has a little of both in my opinion. Well balanced between the two. Also, includes bread like smell, coriander and citrus as well
Very smooth going down. A great beer for the hot summer months (even though it is 30 degrees outside my house right now). I think the citrus, banana, coriander, and yeast flavors could not be more balanced. Makes for a very drinkable beer that is soothing to the mouth.
This beer is great testament to German beers. A great example to why the German brewing method is world renown and keeping an old brewing tradition alive.
Ayinger’s Description (using Google translator)
Top-fermented wheat beer Stark
Original gravity: 16.5 °
The Ayinger wheat-consuming Bock is brewed using four different malts in the two-mash method. It offers a refreshing, slightly spicy flavor and the unique, traditional banana aroma.
The recency pleasant tingle on the tongue easily. The wheat beer is sweet initially dominant, and it fades in the finish quickly. The strength of the Ayinger wheat Bock you notice at first does not, but imagine the full flavor suggests that there probably more behind it.
From ProBier Club of wheat for Bock beer of the month of November 2008 was chosen. A great distinction,
to which we are very proud!
Available in 0.33 liter longneck bottle.
This is one of those beers that you see on the shelves but are afraid to try. And probably rightfully so.
Banana bread might be great. And beer even better. But banana bread beer?
Well, if that is what you are craving at the moment, then this banana bread beer by Wells is a good purchase.
Pours a caramel brown color with visible carbonation and lingering lacing. Stick your nose in there for a deep whiff and you will be taken immediately back to your childhood when your mom would make the most deliciously fresh, warm banana bread for the holidays.
Seriously, it smells just like the real thing. Only no soothing warmth comes from this beverage until you take your first sip.
The banana is very noticeable through out. Followed by the nut from middle to end. They even captured the bread/cake quality. The flavor just sticks around. Which is good since your do not want to pound a banana bread beer. I drank this with dinner and it lasted from beginning to end. Take a sip. Wait 3 minutes. Take another sip. Went well with the banana bread I actually had with my meal. But would go great with any holiday gathering.
I would not say this beer is very drinkable. While it is delicious and a must try for anyone looking for something different, I would not pull this out of the fridge after a long day at work. This is meant to enjoy with friends and family during the cold holiday season.
Alcohol strength: 5.2%
Pack format: Bottle
This unique brew combines all the traditional qualities and style of a Charles Wells beer with the subtle flavour of banana
Wells Banana Bread Beer is a popular beer in the Wells and Young’s range of ales. The beer has achieved a number of accolades including winner of “Beer of the Festival” award at CAMRA’s London Drinker Festival in March 2002. Available as a draught seasonal cask beer, Wells Banana Bread Beer can be found on the bar and, in its popular bottle format, in all leading supermarkets.
Tempting banoffee aromas tempered by a grassy, lemony nose all leading to a finely balanced, fresh, delicate flavour of peppery hops with a lingering dry finish.
Bear Republic Brewery
A brewery out of Sonoma County, California. Founded by who else, but homebrewers, Bear Republic has risen to the top of my list for best craft breweries in the state of California or the country.
Brewers Richard R Norgrove, and wife Sandy, Richard G Norgrove, (Brew Master) and wife Tami, have developed a style that is characteristic of their brand. I think I could identify any style from Bear Republic in a blind taste test. They have produced a specific flavor that is unmatched and flows through all their beers.
Red Rocket Ale
I believe this is a common ale that can be found throughout much of the United States. It has won many awards including:
- 2009 California State Fair – SILVER
- 1999 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales or Lagers – SILVER
- 1998 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales – SILVER
Bear Republic Profile Of Red Rocket:
American Amber Ale
ABV: 6.8% IBU: 67 Color: Deep Copper Red
Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale that traces it’s origins to our homebrew roots. This full bodied and hoppy brew finishes on the palate with sweet, caramel malt flavors.
12oz. 6 pack | 22oz. | keg
My Personal Review
Appearance: Thick foam head, that sticks all over the glass refusing to fall. Beautiful reddish brown color that screams drink me. Some floating particles can be seen when held up to light.
Smell: Strong hops with hints of citrus, toasted malt and a little alcohol.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation and full creamy body. Strong bitter taste that holds on throughout and after. Toasted malt and caramel hold there own on the back of the palate. Hop oils or something dry your mouth while keeping your salivary gland wanting more.
Notes: Packs a lot into it without being in your face overwhelming. Would go great with a juicy steak and hardy meal. That foam head never leaves the side of you glass. How do they do that?
Serving type: 12 oz brown bottle
Bet you can’t guess the main ingredient of this beer? Okay, so maybe that was too easy a question.
What is great about brown sugar is that yeast love the stuff as it is almost entirely fermentable, lightens the body while providing an extra kick.
Upon pouring this beer expect a reddish clear tone from the darker crystal malts. The foam just loves to stick around the rim of the glass during the entire session. Streams of bubbles also flow consistently throughout the drink.
Toasted brown shugga smell with a hint of cereal and old rotten fruit. Not in a bad way though. I think that is referred to as fruity esters. I also get some hops coming off the top and the high alcohol presence is noticeable.
The malt is the main flavor of this beer, with a blend of toasted and caramel profiles. The hops steps in to keep the sweetness in check creating a balance that is hard to achieve.
This is a very drinkable beer. The smooth thick body with moderate carbonation keeps the 9.9% in check. So be careful. What does not seem present in this beer will become noticeable upon drinking a second.
Brewery Description/Beers Creation:
Brown Shugga was originally a failed attempt to make our Olde GnarlyWine Ale way back in 1997. Boatloads of Brown Sugar were added to the boil in an attempt to rescue the batch. The result was quite different from the Olde GnarlyWine we were looking for, but the Accidental Release of Brown Shugga that year was the beginning of an annual rampage caused by a beer that follows no style guidelines and can best be described as…. Irresponsible.
My wife bought this at Mondo Vino in Highlands outside Denver as a bomber.
I have never heard of Uinta Brewing Co. You would never guess where this 11.1% alcohol by volume comes from…
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
Salt Lake City, Utah of all places!
This beer pours a fuzzy amber color that shows clear when held up to light. The lace faded fairly quickly, but creates a ring around the glass when tilted.
The smell is my favorite of any beer. Bourbon, caramel, with hints of maple or date esters. The woody flavor and smell of the bourbon barrel is very noticeable. Toasted grains come out towards the back. Vanilla throughout but not dominate. Alcohol is definitely present and actually gave me the shivers (as in when you take a shot of whiskey) when I let it just sit in my mouth for a few seconds.
This is an amazing brew. Utah should be proud. Who said they don’t have good local beer? Not me…anymore.
Perfect beer for a cold winter night. Will warm you up quickly. Share with a friend or loved one. All beer should be after all.
Uinta Brewing Co. Description
Launch into the exquisite flavors of bourbon with splashes of vanilla. Watch for currents of dark chocolate and dried fruit. Generous amounts of hops and malts make for a smooth journey from start to finish. Decadent desserts and aged cheeses make superb companions.
I first heard about O’Dell during a ski trip to Colorado. I stopped by New Belgium for a tour and they told me it would be a 3 hour wait but I should check out another brewery in the time being down the street. This was in 2009 and their brewery was small.
Only a year later in 2010, I returned to O’Dell. Wow! They grew a lot and expanded their brewery a great deal. Time to take them seriously I thought. And so should you.
Placed in the ‘Classics’ category of their beer, 90 Shillings is a year round craftbrew from O’Dell Brewing Co.
It reminds me of Sierra Nevada. It is to Colorado what Sierra Nevada is to California. You can count on this beer being a tap at almost any bar in Colorado. But like Sierra Nevada, this isn’t a beer to be mocked.
This classic beer from O’Dell Brewing pours a clear amber, copper color. The lace holds its own on the side of the glass but doesn’t last too long on top.
I get a mint and evergreen smell with malt included. Fruit and citric hops stand out. It is very moderate body with equally moderate carbonation. I think this makes it very drinkable. The hops and malt are equal parts; they come and go alternating as the beer passes down your throat. The citrus hops are very noticeable. Kind of goes from sweet to dry in the end.
I would not say this beer is anything to go crazy about. I would probably only get this beer if I plan on having large amounts of guests over to my house or its the best choice on tap and the local dive bar. 90 Shillings has another category that stands out if you are interested in having more experimental beers. However, it is crafted for maximum drinkability. It is a ‘classic’ example of an American Amber ale.
At 5.3% this is a great beer to put down at your favorite bar during a Sunday football game. Just do not expect to be wowed by anything but the game.
O’Dell’s Description of 90 Shillings
We introduced 90 Shilling, our flagship beer, at our opening party in 1989. For a while, we’d been wondering what would happen if we lightened up the traditional Scottish ale? The result is an irresistibly smooth and delicious medium-bodied amber ale. The name 90 Shilling comes from the Scottish method of taxing beer. Only the highest quality beers were taxed 90 Shillings. A shilling was a British coin used from 1549 to 1982. We think you’ll find this original ale brilliantly refreshing, and worth every shilling.
5.3% Alc. By Vol.
I came across this raspberry brown ale, by New Belgium, just after Thanksgiving. It is seasonal and brewed around that time as the wreath on the label suggests. Since I love a good sour beer and know New Belgium has come out with a few great ones lately, I thought I just must try it. Why not?
It pours a dirty ruby color and you can immediately smell the raspberries. But the brown ale really comes in nicely with a malty, breadiness aroma.
Frambozen is more malty then I expected. But the raspberries provide a tartness later that I much appreciate. The combination and playfulness of the flavors really make this an interesting beer to drink. I love the balance between the brown ale and the tartness from the fruit.
To finish it off, the bubbles from the carbonation make the experience of drinking this beer similar to a soda. Very refreshing. At least it is only 6.5%! Drink up.
For anyone looking to move into the fruit beer genre (fruit, lambics, krieks) I would highly recommend this as a gateway beer. The raspberries provide that sour kick but the brown ale keeps it in check for those less willing to venture too far into the sour beer field.
New Belgium’s Description
Frambozen begins with the aroma of fresh red raspberries, followed by the ripe seductiveness of a fruity brown ale with depth and delicate malt notes. It is deep ruby in color, with flavors just as rich. Every year, New Belgium sends a delegate to the Pacific Northwest to oversee the process of turning freshly picked berries into a pure juice to be added in fermentation. The coming of Thanksgiving at New Belgium is ushered in with the first sighting of our cellar operators scuttling about, covered head to tow in a festive crimson berry wash.
My beautiful wife picked up this beer for me while in Denver at the Mondo Vino in a six pack.
The label looks a little old fashion with a winter horse and carriage arriving at a mountain villa estate or hotel. Another original design that is unique in the Avery collection. Good thing they have the big red ‘A’ to make their beers easily identifiable.
This beer pours out a deep red with foamy head that dissipates quickly. Hold it up to the light and you will notice the spectacular clarity with very few bubble coming off the bottom.
Take a huge whiff of this ale and you will smell hints of mahogony, roasted malts and slight alcohol presence.
Alright already! Time to take the long awaited taste. Yes, its been 5 long minutes since I started writing this review. But well worth the wait.
Upfront nothing special. But fairly quickly the chocolate, or perhaps its the mahogany, flavor hits you mid way down with a bitterness from the hops. As quickly as it comes it goes though. I wish it stuck around for the party a little longer, but that only makes me want more. The party begins again.
Medium to low in carbonation. Could use more in my opinion, but perhaps the low carbonation makes it more reminiscent of a winter ale. Drink this one with steak or a hardy meal. At 8%, it is high for the average drinker but I don’t think comes off that way. Definitely calls for you to take another sip…and another.
I wouldn’t say there is anything that amazing about the brew. However, Avery has created another fine beer that is a perfect if you happen to be in front of a fire place or just coming out of the cold. I can not wait for it to snow so I can enjoy this one after a long ski day.
Our winter ale has a gorgeous mahogany hue, a hint of hazelnut, and a finish reminiscent of mocha and toffee. No spices, just a perfect blend of five specialty malts. Cellarable for 3+ years. Brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, hops and yeast.
The Story Behind The Beer
This beer has a lot going for it besides a killer name.
A full-bodied brown ale, this beer is filled with intense pumpkin and spice flavors. Brewed with real pumpkin ‘meat’, organic brown sugar and spices, it is the perfect beer to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner or to enjoy during the fall season. This is your watered down version that most breweries make when attempting pumpkin ales.
The name Punkin and the beer have a bit of history as well. It was actually named after an event in southern Deleware called the Punkin Chunkin. During the event they catapult pumpkins some 4,000 feet through the air. Farthest wins…I guess. They even have a Miss Punkin Chunkin Pageant!
Punkin Ale made it’s debut at this event as it claimed first prize in the 1994 Punkin Chunkin Recipe Conest , some 6 months before Dogfish Head opened its door.
Brewed every Fall and released around September, you must try it. One of my favorite beers this time of the season. By as much as you can as it will go fast.
Appearance: Semi-murky over steeped tea color. Good lacing that lasts throughout.
Smell: Major pumpkin pie aroma. In a blind taste test, you think you were smelling an actual pumpkin pie that was being baked. Spicy with some alcoholic esters to boot.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and a bit creamy in the medium body. Sizable malt flavor, biscuity and sweet. A touch yeasty in the back with expressive esters in the front. The spice flavor helps the hops to balance out the sweetness. Finishes sweet and spicy.
Notes: The best pumpkin brew I have had to date. Dogfish Head knows how to make flavored beers that smell and taste just like they should without being too overwhelming and undrinkable. For someone like myself that can’t eat enough pumpkin pie, I for sure can not drink enough of Punkin.
Serving type: 12 oz brown bottle