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3xB: Legend Tripel

This week’s Big Bottle: Legend Tripel

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Brewery Tour – Port City

PORTCITYSIGN

A few of us reviewers and some friends visited the Port City Brewing Company’s facilities in Alexandria the weekend before last.  It was a brief tour and we were provided with five five oz. samples for five dollars.   The brewery has their tasting and tour schedules available on their website.  You can take a virtual tour here: http://www.portcitybrewing.com/about/brewery-tour (if you’re afraid of leaving your home).  However, with the in-person tour you get to taste the IPA before it fully matures, and you can ask the tour guide some in-depth questions about their brewing process and future plans.  The pineapple that sits atop their entrance sign is a symbol of welcoming that mariners used to indicate they were receiving visitors.  I was the designated driver, so I didn’t partake too much in the sampling.  I liked the Monumental IPA the best.  Freshness of the beer aside, the Essential Pale ale and wit were good, but not exceptional.  A good way to kill a few hours on a Saturday before your evening revelry.  Pick up a reasonably priced growler of brew and some Port City swag while your there.

X’s and Shintern’s take on the beer and tour are below.

-Donny V

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3XB Firestone Walker – Walker’s Reserve (Porter)

This Week’s Big Bottle: Firestone Walker’s Reserve

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Brew Review-Schlafly Dry-hopped American Pale Ale

Pours a cloudy golden orange.  Little head and good lacing.  Good hoppy citrus smell.  Fruit flavors of grapefruit (Cascade hops) and tangerines hit first when tasting, but are balanced out by a solid biscuit/cracker malt backing.  Some pine hop flavor.  Nice mouthfeel for an APA.  Very drinkable.

Cheers,

Don Von Matterhorn

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Brew Review-Yards Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale

This is another historical recreation brew from Yards.  This spruce ale is based on one of Ben Franklin’s recipes.  It pours a deep amber.  Quite frothy and creamy head.  Thin mouthfeel.  The nose smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and spruce.  So, holiday spices basically.  Fruit flavors hit the pallet first and the herbal earthiness is balanced out by a molasses backing.  The finish reminded me of an herbal cough drop’s medicinal flavor.  A good beer for cold weather.  I could not see drinking more than two in one sitting.  I doubt Ben Franklin did either.  He probably had a draft or two.  Then old Ben went off inventing stuff and entertaining ladies of a liberated disposition.  Let freedom ring!

Don Von Matterhorn

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Brew Review-Breckenridge Avalanche

This  amber ale  is made in Denver, Colorado.   Starting the brewery, Richard Squire became well known for his oatmeal stout he brewed for his friends.  I plan to try that when I get chance.   This beer was only slightly above average for a craft brew.  If I had not gotten it for 3 bucks at a Flyer Saucer Pint Night, I might have been a little bitter.  Not the good hoppy bitter, the bad Manning Face bitter.  The beer has a blend of pale and caramel malts for sweet and hoppy taste.   Basically a blend of an English Pale ale and an American amber ale.  The fruity hops are rather subtle as the sweet maltiness is the essence of this beer.  Also, the yeast character of this beer is really noticeable.

Cheers,

Don Von Matterhorn

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Brew Review-Yard Philadelphia Pale Ale

Yard’s Philadelphia Pale is described as a non-traditional pale ale because it features some unique aspects.  It is a crisp and hoppy ale with a strong citrus nose and taste. The pour leaves a hazy golden brew with decent lacing.  The malt base of light crystal or carapils malts balance out the strong lemon and apricot citrus flavors.  Despite its description, I didn’t find it all that hoppy.  However, I still enjoyed drinking it.  It’d make a great summer beer and is very sessionable for other occasions.   For someone trying to break into craft brews and pale ales, this would be a good place to start.

Cheers,

Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

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Brew Review-Yards Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale

Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale is a strong ale (8% alc by vol) based on Jefferson’s original recipe.  It’s like a more sessionable Belgian Triple.  The appearance is a cloudy copper orange with a healthy head.  The nose is spicy and has notes of fruit and caramel.  The aroma reminds me of barleywine.  Taste has a a lot of malty sweetness, mild citrus flavors (e.g. lemon), little spicy kick, and caramel.  Finish is rather toasty.  Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.  Quite an enjoyable brew with an interesting backstory.  Mr. Jefferson was indeed a man of many talents.

Cheers,

Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

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Brew Review-Long Trail Harvest Ale

Long Trail Harvest Ale is a seasonal English style brown ale brewed in Vermont, and it is available from September through November. After the pour, there was a  about a finger width worth of froth head.  Its appearance is mostly auburn in color.  The nose has roasted malts, caramel, earthy, and a fruit aroma in the background.  The taste is for the most part dominated by toasted malts, but it also has a nutty caramel flavor with a little earthy kick from the hops.  Thinner and lighter mouthfeel than I was expecting.  A good drinkable beer to get if you are in Vermont or elsewhere in New England, but there are better options in this category.

Cheers,
Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

Rating:


3xB: Schlafly Bière De Garde

This Week’s Big Bottle: Schlafly Bière De Garde

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Brew Review-Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.’s Bruegel Amber Ale

This amber ale pours a true amber with a glint of red.  The nose has honey, apples,  molasses and vinegar notes.   Medium carbonation with a head that settled quickly and left decent lacing.  Taste has sweet caramel malts, biscuit malt, touch of hops, apples, and citrus fruits.  It has a crisp and dry mouthfeel.  The finish is a little sour and hoppy.  5.2% alcohol by volume so it’s one of the lighter amber ales, at least in my book.  A good choice if you have just downed a strong craft beer or just want to take a little edge off your day.

Cheers,
Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

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Brew Review- Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.’s Piraat Ale

The Belgian IPA pours a slightly cloudy golden and light amber color.  10.5% alcohol by volume which you can smell on the nose along with caramel, but it does not have a strong alcohol flavor except a little in the aftertaste (could be dangerous).  It is a bottle conditioned/living beer and produces quite a bit of head.  Taste has herbal hop flavor, earthy notes, bitter citrus, and a tart dry finish.  Good mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation that comes with bottle conditioned brews.  Overall, very drinkable, but be responsible.  Too much and you may start committing acts of drunken piracy.

Cheers,
Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

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Brew Review-Yards India Pale Ale

I didn’t choose this beer, but some guests were kind enough to leave some of their leftover beer at my place.  I’m used to folks leaving behind macro brew trough swill so this was a pleasant surprise.

It pours a nice gold and has a copper hue when the light hits it.  The head is full and I picked up some floral smell right off the bat along with the rest of its fantastic hop nose.  Good carbonation with a medium body.  The taste is crisp, sweet, and biting.  The citrus fruit flavors hit first.  Then there are some buttery British biscuit and hearty malt flavors.  There are some tea like tannin flavors that are a bit hidden.  The finish is long and bitter, which some people that are not fans of IPAs will not a like.  However, this is a part of what makes this brew a serious IPA that I can appreciate.

I must say that I was impressed with this beer and will be checking out Yards’ other 8 offerings.  Since they are based out of Philly, I expect they will be fairly easy to come by in the D.C. area.

Cheers,
Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

Rating:


A Trip to the Schlafly Brewery

About a month ago I took a strip to Saint Louis.  While there I had time to stop by the Schlafly Bottleworks, St. Louis’s first new production brewery since the end of Prohibition.  It was finished in early 2003 so it was about damn time.  The Bottleworks has a nice yet casual sit down restaurant where you can sample or buy all their brews with your meal or to go.  The restaurant often has live music in the evenings.  The evening I was there had an acoustic/blues/folk duo outside and a bluegrass/slamgrass/indie band inside.  Both bands were talented and played to the crowd well so I assume the manager or whomever books the music knows what they are doing.  I’m not just saying that because one of my college friends happened to be part of the duo.  Along with some tasty food, I managed to sample three of their beers.  The saison and oktoberfest were on tap, while the tripel was bottle conditioned.  My waiter thankfully knew his stuff.

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3xB: Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes

 

This Week’s Big Bottle:  Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes

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Brew Review-Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest Märzen

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Leinenkugel’s or “leinies”) is a mid-sized/regional brewer that I became fond of when I was at University. Their beers were often more than reasonably priced, easy to find in stores, and they offered a variety of alternatives in the mostly Annheuser-Busch dominated market. This week I take a look at the their seasonal Oktoberfest Märzen.

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Brew Review-Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale

This pale ale pours a golden copper with a nice head that is thicker than my photo suggests (I drank some).  It has decent lacing and carbonation at about a month out from its production date (six pack).   In terms of mouthfeel, it  is light to medium body and very drinkable.

The taste is very dry and hoppy.  The beer starts off soft and has an aggressive bitter finish.   It has a caramel and crisp biscuit malt flavor that balances the hops.   I tasted, in order of prominence, grapefruit, apricot, and raspberry flavors that likely came from the some of the 43 hops used.   Overall, doggone tasty.   Gulp a glass down if you get a chance.  Like the label says: “Life is uncertain, don’t sip”.

Cheers,
Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn
Vice-Chairman
Revelry and Recreational Sports Division
Von Matterhorn Industries International Unlimited Global Inc.

Rating:


3xB: Stillwater Autumnal

This Week’s Big Bottle:  Stillwater’s Autumnal

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3xB: Stillwater Stateside Saison

This Week’s Big Bottle:  Stillwater Stateside Saison

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Brew Review-Bob’s ’47 Oktoberfest

This Munich-style lager has a medium body and amber appearance.  My pint from the tap was very carbonated with a lot of head, but the head dissipated very soon afterwards.  The aroma is both sweet and bread-like.  Flavor-wise, caramel is the most prominent with additional flavors of toffee, fruit (my guess some tart apple variety), butterscotch, maple syrup, earthy (the hops), and notes of some nut I couldn’t quite place.  The finish is crisp and bitter-sweet.  Not among the top Oktoberfest brews I have had, but it is very drinkable and reasonably priced.

Cheers,

Donald “Don” Von Matterhorn

 


3xB: Stillwater Cellar Door Saison

This Week’s Big Bottle: Stillwater Cellar Door

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Brew Review-Gordon Biersch – FestBier

Gordon Biersch restaurants feature an on-site brewery where  Brewmasters create their house beers, as well as seasonal brews.   Their Festbier is one such seasonal brew and is available from August through October.

The Gordon Biersch Festbier is dark gold/light amber in color with a white head.  It has a lighter body than a Marzen and more hoppy flavor and aroma.   The malt character expressed itself as primarily pils malt flavor.  Adding to the complexity, the Festbier includes dark-roasted Munich malts which gives it a more toasty and lightly caramelized flavor.  Hop bitterness is balanced and moderate.  Because I got a liter serving size and was in no hurry, the beer warmed appreciably to further bring out the malt flavor, which made it taste a little sweeter.  If you don’t want that to happen, get their half-liter size, which is a little over 16 ounces.   You could also buy bottles, but a big part of drinking a Gordon Biersch brew is that they are very fresh if you get them at one of their restaurants.

There is one on F Street in NW DC.  On a related note, all the food I had was quite good.


An Oral trip to Cream City

I had the good fortune to visit the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee a few years back, and I have been a casual supporter of theirs ever since.  It’s  a great tour if you’re in “the Good Land” (and trying to kick a nasty hangover from Summerfest).  Unfortunately, Lakefront brews are hard to find in the DC area, so I usually pick some up when I am traveling.  I cannot say where in case the man is reading this, but it’s a place that rhymes with brew dork witty.    I hear Philly liquor merchants carry them as well.  Anyways, on to the beer…

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Brew Review-Leffe Blonde Ale

I had this abbey beer served to me on tap in a very americanized Irish pub.  Overall it lacks the pizazz of other Belgian ales that I have had, but it is very drinkable.  I happened to be pre-gaming for a wedding reception when I had it, but I took a little more time with this brew.   The color is a deep amber gold  that is a little cloudy.  This blond ale has a crispy, light, and sweet maltiness.  The hops don’t hit you till the finish, which is both fruity and sour like one of the more subtle lambics.  By subtle, I mean I certainly didn’t feel like I was drinking a carbonated sour patch kid berry smoothie and scrambling to find some starch to get the tarty tang out of my mouth, an experience I have had with some intense lambics.   I also picked up a clove flavor that stood apart from the fruit flavors, which I liked.

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