Reviews

Brew Review: Widmer Brothers Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12

Widmer Brothers Raspberry Imperial Stout '12I stopped in at D’Vines in Columbia Heights the other day looking for something new to try.  I was hoping for something dark and strong to celebrate the cooler temperatures and found this beer.  I’m a fan of the Widmer Brothers Heffeweizen and figured that a Russian Imperial Stout would do the trick.

The beer pours black with almost no head.  There is some light fruity sweetness on the nose from the raspberry that is mellowed out by a bitter chocolate aroma at the end.  The flavor is mostly dark, bitter chocolate as expected from an imperial stout.  There is some fruit sweetness at the end whcih helps balance the lingering bitterness.  There is less  fruit taste than I expected from the aroma but that keeps the beer from being too sweet.  It has a surprisingly thin mouthfeel for a boozy stout, which I appreciated.

Overall, I enjoyed drinking this beer.  It is very drinkable for an imperial stout and wasn’t too sweet despite the raspberry.  The lingering bitterness keeps it from being a sessionable beer for me though.  Plus, at 9.3% ABV in a big bottle it could make for a short session.

-DK

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Brew Review: Maine Beer Company Zoe Amber Ale

Saving the whales at less than $0.08 per bottle!

Maine Beer Company Zoe: Happy, Hoppy, Amber Ale; Portland, ME; 16.9 oz @ 7.2% ABV

I found this bottle of Maine Beer Company’s Zoe Amber Ale at D’vines in Columbia Heights and hemmed-and-hawed over buying it, which was asinine because when in doubt, buy the damn beer.  The description on the bottle, “Our Happy, Hoppy, Amber,” is intriguing because “hoppy” and “amber” don’t normally go together (well, aside from the ol’ Nugget Nectar).

The story on the backside explains that beer is named after Zoe, someone’s daughter who smiled at the Whale Museum, and is supposed to put that same smile on the drinkers face. My guess is that Zoe’s smile didn’t involve semi-glazed over eyes or wasn’t caused by a surprise hops ambush, but anyways, this brewery donates 1% of Zoe sales to Adapt-A-Whale program. For X, this gives him one more reason to drink — “SAVE THE WHALES!”

Pour: Dark deep amber that looks brown. The head is white-creamish and lasts a while. After about five minutes and three drinks, it’s still about 5mm high. Additionally, there is lacing on the glass for a good while.

Aroma: Hops! They were correct — at least on the nose (so far) — that this is a hoppy amber. The aroma does have a little surprise sweetness at the end.

Taste: Awesome! The taste starts off small, simple, and just a little less sweetness than most ambers, but then you turn the corner and BOOM! the hops kick in. My taste buds have been roped-a-doped by this beer, but that won’t stop me from having some more. Thankfully, this beer comes in 16.9 oz bottles, so there’s MOAR to drink.

Body: Medium body, but as with any hoppy beer, it feels larger once the hops kick into the flavor.

All in all, it’s a great take on the amber style. Sessionable? Not for me since the hops seem a bit out of place and strong; that said, it is more sessionable than Nugget Nectar, and I highly recommend anyone that likes hops or trying new styles to give this a whirl.

 

 

 

 

 

— Shintern1909


Brew Review: Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale

Where's the yeast? "Ingredients: Water, Organic Barley, and Hops"

Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale; Olympia, WA; 5.5% ABV

Back in April, Squirrel took a trip to Portland to visit a friend and came back with several gifts for me, including Fish Brewing Co.’s Fish Tale USDA Certified Organic Amber Ale (Thanks!). I do love ambers (the reason she grabbed it) and am excited to try it.

Pour: The beer has a super-cloudy copper color with a small, off-white head. Maybe the cloudiness is intended to prove that you are drinking a beer made with “Water, Organic Barley, and Hops.” In addition to using, evidently, in0rganic hops, it seems weird that water isn’t organic… Anyways, I don’t give a rat’s ass so long as it’s good.

Aroma: Getting some organic sweetness on the nose from the barley, not much in the way of hops. It’s clear who the star of the show is going to be.

Taste: It’s not as sweet as it smelled and is quite pleasant but isn’t anything to blog write home about. After the initial sweetness, the beer gives a hint of bitterness from the hops.

Body: Very thin and barely carbonated.

Overall: It’s a good beer, and I could have several if I were inclined to do so. I am glad to have tried it and thankful to have been given the opportunity.

— Shintern1909


Brew Review: Widmer Citra Summer Blonde Ale

Widmer Citra SummerI recently wrote an App for my Blackberry to make reviewing beers more efficient.  It takes input of various aspects of the beer, allows you to take a picture and then emails all of this to you.  This was in effort to get myself to review more beers.  Well, the App works as intended but so far I haven’t been as successful in reviewing more beers.  I think it will help because it helps me from forgetting certain aspects of the beer.

The first beer I reviewed using my App was the Widmer Brothers’ Citra Summer Blonde Ale.  I love most beers made with citra hops so I had to give this one a try.  It poured a light light golden blonde color with quick fading white head; as to be expected from a blonde ale.  The aroma was all about the sweet citrus smells from the citra hops.  It had a refreshing feeling even before I took a drink.  The taste started with a sweet citrus flavor that faded into a crisp refreshing finish.  At 4.3% it is a very light and sessionable summer beer.  This is definitely a summer beer worth trying.

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Maple Wheat

Editors note: with several moves from the area and departures from the JStreet Team, we’ve added some new help.  DK will be joining the team as our newest reviewer.  Everyone say “Hi DK!”

Recently, I saw this beer on tap at RFD and decided to give it a try.  I’d had a few Harpoons and found them generally enjoyable but knew nothing about this beer.  The idea of maple in a beer seemed like an interesting twist on all of the summer wheat beers that are now available.  The name conjured images of frozen trees being tapped for syrup and snow being melted for beer which, in the middle of summer in DC, was a very tempting thought.  I was hoping for a mild beer with a sweet finish.  Sadly, the beer delivered none of these things.

The beer pours a caramel color with a medium head.  There is very little aroma at all.  The beer tastes like…actually, it’s hard to say.  It doesn’t have the mild flavor that I expect in a wheat beer.  It doesn’t have much maple flavor or any other sweet taste.  There is a mildly bitter aftertaste that could be burnt sugar, probably from the syrup, but not something that improved the flavor.

Aside from the slight aftertaste it’s a drinkable beer but not at all what comes to mind when one thinks maple wheat.  I guess I’ll just stick to summer wheats.

-DK


Brew Review: Widmer Brothers Dark Saison

Widmer Bros W’12 Dark Saison, 5.5% ABV

I have had a couple of Widmer Brothers beers since moving back to States in 2009, and, to be honest, the jury is still out for me. I’ve had a couple that I find delicious (usually the styles that are not cheap to make but easy to get right like barrel aged stouts) and a few (say, the lemongrass that was unique but not my mug of beer) that finished with the same “only a little bit more to go, just gut it out” facial expression as I have during that last mile of run. Consequently, I have decided to try and stick to their darker style beers for the time being.

Now, I picked up the Widmer Brothers Dark Saison as one of the 24 that I grabbed in the olio (means “mixture” and is a word that gets as much use in crosswords as a Miller Lite tap in a college bar) made possible by a Groupon.  Let’s see how it shook out:

Pour: Came out a rich brown color with traces of red. The little white head disappeared in about 10 seconds, and it had loads of carbonation at beginning but then nothing aside from very small bubbles coming up through the middle of the glass..

Aroma: It came off a little sweet with hints of dark fruit (like prunes), but there was a little spice towards the end of a deep inhale, too.

Taste: The Dark Saison was sweet for an instant at the beginning but finished with a mild tartness. The sweetness reminded me of banana chips.

Body: The beer has a nice thin body that has a surprising bit of carbonation, which I wouldn’t expect based on not seeing more bubbles in the beer, but maybe it’s quantity and not quality — lots of wee little bubbles.

In the end, Meh. I’ve had better saisons.

 

 

 

 

 

— Shintern


Brew Review: Florida Beer Swamp Ape IPA

I hadn’t tried any beers from Florida Beer so when I saw this pretty big (10%) IPA I figured I’d give it a try.

As you can see from the picture, it poured to a clear-ish light amber color with little to no head.  I gave it a smell…almost nothing, slight malt and even less bitter hop aroma.  I figured my nose was just playing tricks on me because there was no way a high percentage IPA would have this little aroma.  So I gave it to a friend to smell and he didn’t get anything either.  Not a good start.

The taste followed suit with the aroma and was a bit of a let down.  It started with a decently sweet hop flavor that progressed into a bland malt middle and a slightly bitter hop finish.

I was not very impressed with the first beer from Florida Beer.  The only thing I can say that it had going for it is that when it was cold it hid the alcohol well, but even that left once it started to warm up.

This is at best a mediocre IPA, but I’ll give it one hop out of three because it’s strong…I like strong beers.

-pyzocha