Archive | June, 2012

Brew Review: Bridge Burner

20 Jun

Brew: Bridge Burner

Brewed by: Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI)

Style: American Strong Ale (8.0% ABV)

 

The Bridge Burner, it has a ‘special reserve ale’ mention right on the label but no designation of what type of beer it really was so I went into it not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Turns out its an American strong ale, which means it was supposed to have plenty of hop characteristics but still pack a powerful malt backbone. Hopefully Lakefront pulls through here.

The Bridge Burner poured out a deep dark brown through the thick middle and a bit more orange and light red around the edges. Looked more like a light brown ale than anything. It also had a decent 1 inch head which rose off the brew that was a light tan color.

The aroma up front was mostly dominated by malts and sweet overtones. The hops came out a bit at the end, there was some faint floral and fruity-ness that shone through but nothing very strong. A faint bitterness pulled through but it was very minor. The aroma was dominated by sweet malt.

The taste was almost the same. It came out right away with sweet candy or caramel malt flavors that were very sugary. Once again those faint hops also played a very minor roll on the side but nothing to intense. For the most part this was malty once again. There was a little smokey aspect to it which was intriguing but nothing more than a hint. It was also a little syrupy which led to a poorer feel in the mouth. Mostly sweet and malty.

I can’t really put a finger on this brew. It was sweet and a big malty beer but I don’t think it was supposed to be like that. These malts were not really balanced and I think the hops that were present might have played a bigger role at one time and their effectiveness had diminished over a period of time. I did not open this bottle and drink it right away and I think the hops would have definitely played a more pronounced roll had I been more prompt on my drinking of this brew. Might have to go back and find this one again to try it fresh.

 

Final Grade: B-

Brew Review: Lyndale Brown

14 Jun

Brew: Lyndale Brown

Brewed by: Rush River Brewing (River Falls, WI)

Style: American Brown Ale (7.0% ABV)

 

Another Rush River experience, this time I got to try their brown ale. I have been reasonably pleased with Rush River in the past. Their Amber Ale, the Unforgiven, is one of the more solid amber’s’ I have tried in the last couple years. Their Double Bubble IPA, however, not good really so they have hit both ends of the spectrum. I was hoping for something more along the lines of the amber ale and I was confident that this brewery would be able to hit on a more classic style like a brown ale over their misfortune with their attempt at a more recent popular and maybe a bit more difficult style to hit on like a double IPA.

The Lyndale Brown poured out a reddish brown color, a little murky but overall pretty much nailed what a brown ale should look like. There was also a light loose off-white head that bubbled up but didn’t last very long.

The aroma was perfect. Sweet malts mixed with a hint of floral hops. There was caramel and toffee that blended perfectly with what I am guessing was some dry hop additions to the fermentation as they were hints of flowery hop cones. Overall a great aroma with a perfect dry hop addition.

The taste was something I was really looking forward to after that aroma that I thought was spot on. The sweet malts start out the first sip and I noticed that this was a fuller heavier brew than I was expecting. I think the dry hop addition fooled me into thinking that this was going to be a lighter brown but thats the beauty of a dry hop addition is that it only lightens the aroma and doesn’t really do much or the flavor as the hop oils are only around in a way that their aromatic qualities are preserved. The thick full bodied brown brought be back to the brown ale state of mind and let me appreciate the next things that happened with the creamy aspects shining through as well as the slight bitterness that stuck around at the end that cleansed the palate in a very pleasing way and didn’t leave any sticky-ness in the mouth.

Rush River has done it again in my book. They have really capitalized on a traditional brew and done a wonderful job. Couldn’t have really asked for more especially in the aroma aspect.

 

Final Grade: A-

 

 

Brew Review: Velvet Rooster

13 Jun

Brew: Velvet Rooster

Brewed by: Tallgrass Brewing Co. (Manhattan, KS)

Style: Belgian style Tripel (8.5% ABV)

The Velvet Rooster came out with a fair amount of hype later on in 2011, I don’t really know why. Maybe it was the first tripel in a can, maybe it was Tallgrass’s first Belgian style beer? I couldn’t really tell you why this beer was so hyped up. Either way I passed it up the first few times I saw it but then I figured why not see what the deal was with this beer whose release was apparently a big deal. Didn’t really go into it expecting much as I was just sort of curious about it and didn’t know much more than that.

The Rooster poured out a clear straw color. A bit yellow which was surprising. I have seen tripels from Belgium like Rochefort that were brown and much darker because of the roasted grain bill. So seeing this tripel it was definitely not the color that I was expecting and definitely much clearer than I would have ever imagined. It also came with a thick 1.5 inch white head that billowed up and looked like a big fluffy cloud or pillow.

The aroma was more of a Belgian Saison in that it was peppery and earthy. Once again not the first smells I would think of when I thought of a tripel. However after minute of getting past the pepper I caught a glimpse of the sweet malts that I associate usually with a triple ale.

The taste was also not typical. I got a solid malty taste right off the bat, which I was figuring and hoping for, something that would bring this beer back to what it was supposed to be. However, as I kept drinking this beer was not very heavy or bold, it was more light bodied and tasted more like Cynic Ale from Surly than anything. It had the Belgian farmhouse funk and peppery characteristics. There were some light hops that graced me with their presence for a brief moment which left the beer crisp but then faded almost as quickly as they came.

While not going into this beer with many expectations as I didn’t really know what to expect I got nothing like what I figured would come at me because of the style it was labeled as. Produced or marketed as a tripel but really drank more like a saison. It was light and crisp whereas a tripel usually packs a serious malt sweetness and body. So it was different but I might have labeled the beer as something different so that it didn’t really take people out of the experience even before their first sip.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Brew Review: Mountain Standard

11 Jun

Brew: Mountain Standard

Brewed by: Odell Brewing Co (Fort Collins, CO)

Style: Double Black IPA (9.5% ABV)

 

A new brew from Odell. Their excursion into the world of the black IPA which was a definite trend in the craft world for a while. This, I believe, is the only Double BIPA that I have had, didn’t really know what to expect for the double portion of it since it would seem that the grain bill might minimize the hop addition that a IIPA would contribute. Only one way to find out.

Mountain Standard poured out a deep dark brown, not quite black, there was some red and amber notes lingering on the side of the glass. There was a light tan head. It was quite thick and rose about an inch off the top of the brew. Not quite a Black IPA but it was pretty close, I will give them that one.

As for the aroma, right off the bat there were plenty of piney hops that blasted out at me, really had me thinking that this was going to be more on the IPA side of the black IPA style. On the next couple of whiffs I got more of the grain profile and picked up on some chocolate as well as some roasty notes, I really liked this part of the aroma as it balanced out the hops that I got right away. After that initial grain aroma they faded away to the power of the hops and I was going to have to wait for them until I took my first sip.

Upon the first sip I had been waiting for I got a pleasant mix of robust roasty grains and a bitter tinge of hops. The bitterness lingers for a while on the back end of the first sip. The mix/balance lasts through the whole 12 ounces which is surprising I was expecting the hops to be in the drivers seat for this brew from the aroma and the fact that it is a double IPA. Its not as bitter or hoppy as a double should be but then again I keep tasting a mix of the hops and the grains which definitely cut into the bitterness.

The high ABV does not come through in any way, this could be a dangerous brew if you had a 6 pack of them. It is also creamy on the tongue which is very pleasant and adds a certain easy drinking sensation whilst sipping this brew. I was hoping for a bit more on the hops side, I think I have been ruined by Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous in terms of a hop profile for a Black IPA. Not a bad brew by any means but falls short of this hop-heads needs when it comes to hops.

 

Final Grade: B