Seasonal Selections

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

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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


3XB: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale

"Aging" another way of saying "Forgot about"

Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ale, 6.7% and 1 pt 8oz bottle; circa 2011.

I picked up this beer sometime last year on a trip with Squirrel to D’vines on 14th and Irving NW. The Northern Hemisphere came highly recommended when I tried it and didn’t let me down, so picking up it’s little brother was an easy decision. The beer is an American-style IPA from the west coast brewery (re: I’m expecting hops), Sierra Nevada (re: I’m expecting more hops). On top of all that, Sierra Nevada flies three types of hops from New Zealand that are used to fresh-hop the beer (re: This could easily be a hop-bomb).

Sadly, this big bottle made it’s way to the back of my fridge until a couple of weeks ago. Letting a fresh-hopped beer go that long without drinking was bush league but does allow for an unique tasting of this beer. Let’s get this show on the road!

Pour: The beer comes out a cloudy/creamy amber brown color. Head starts off strong and slowly goes down. You can see the bubbles  rise through the cloudy and continue to do so, at least, for as long it took me to down this brew.

Aroma: The scent is actually not as biting/pine-y/grassy/citrus-y as I expected; instead, it has a bit of sweetness from the malt, which helps to mute the fresh hop smell (bit of grassy) that is evident.

Taste: It’s mellow at the beginning then goes into a nice little bit of bitter and ends mellow again. Aging may have mellowed it out a bit but can’t really say for sure since I haven’t had it fresh. You can taste the bitter fresh hops in the middle that were in the aroma. It’s almost like having a mild pine-cone in your mouth.

Body: This beer comes with a full body that seems to fill your mouth. It doesn’t finish clean but with such a balanced/mild last taste, that’s perfectly fine.

Overall, I look forward to trying this one again when it’s re-released, which should be soon, and recommend that you do the same. Now, I need to look in my fridge and make sure there aren’t any other ‘aging aka forgotten’ beers in the back.

Good

— Shintern1909


Brew Review: Shiner Holiday Cheer

Too late now but for future reference

Shiner Holiday Cheer, Dunkelweizen, 5.4% ABV (Was on draft at RFD)

Note: It’s a Leap Day miracle!!! Multiple beer reviews! Now to convince Sir James Wilson to give me beer for tears.

My first impression of this beer was severely tainted by Pyzocha and X. I was away visiting Squirrel in SF and enjoying some very, very delicious bourbon when they informed me that Shiner was on tap at RFD.  At first, I was pissed off at missing Shiner on tap, but then they said it was Shiner Cheer, the winter draft.

My love of Shiner has basically revolved around their one, solid beer — the Bock. Every time, I find one of their new brews, it becomes my first beer at the bar. Unfortunately, Shiner has let me down. Again. That said, I know loads of people that really, really like their winter

Pour: The Cheer poured an amber color with a very thin cream-colored head. There was very little evidence of carbonation due to lack of bubbles and the low head, but that was not unexpected with a winter beer.

Aroma: Honestly, my first thought upon smelling this beer was ‘Sour Patch Kids’. I swear to God, to me, Shiner Cheer smelled exactly like a bag of Sour Patch Kids. Once that delicious candy was in my head, I couldn’t get past it and unable to report any hint of anything else. (To be fair, everyone else I had smell the beer thought the same thing.)

Taste: Put it simply, it did not taste like bhat said, it tasted like it smelled — like fruit-flavored gummy candies.

Body: The beer had nice thin body that coated the mouth. The body wasn’t bad for the beer, but it wasn’t great either.

Overall, I was disappointed by this beer. I do respect that other people enjoy this beer and invite their thoughts and notes in the comments. In the end though, I have to give it a “Meh” as the best news about Shiner Cheer is that Shiner Spring (Dortmunder) is right around the corner… along with another beer review.

— Shintern1909


Brew Review: Shiner Oktoberfest

Good, but not outstanding

Apologies for not having an actual picture, just pretend it was poured in a Shiner Bock glass with my fridge and the Longhorn magnet in the background... Marzen, 5.8% ABV, 12 oz Bottle

I’m back, b*tches! Many, many things have happened since our little pause in posting, including the start of football, most of summer and just about all of Autumn – hell, even Thanksgiving has almost passed, and OccupyEverything; however, something’s never change such as the fact our economy is yet again on the verge of collapse thanks to the refusal of Elephants and Donkeys to compromise…

Thankfully, it appears that J Street writers have awaken from a beer-induced slumber/haze and are back to bloggin. Frankly, it’s been entirely too freakin’ long since I posted anything here; I almost forgot what we were doing and how we reviewed beer, but Pyzocha reminded me that I had this left over. So apologies for the delay (so much so that while it was available in the District, it’s not anymore), but here is my review of… Shiner Oktoberfest (seems fitting and a nice way to ease back into the show…)

The beer pours a nice bubbly off white head with orange/brown/bronze color and lots of visible bubbles. It doesn’t seem anything special, but sometimes that’s ok or preferred to something smelling awful…

The beer gives off a nice smell of mild malt sweetness, which makes me think of a sweet lager/pilsner.

As for the taste, it’s about what I’d expect – nothing special, although there is a slight sweetness as it is swallowed with hints of Shiner Bock.

The beer has a medium to light body with good carbonation but not quite that clean of a clearance.

On the grand scheme of things, this is not a terrible Shiner Seasonal/non-Bock beer (re: Shiner Summer). In fact, it’s pretty drinkable and seems to go with the season. That said, there are better Autumn/Oktoberfest beers around, but this one is definitely one of the more sessionable ones, so I wouldn’t put ‘meh’ and will go with ‘Good.’

— Shintern1909 (back in the saddle!)


Brew Review: Epic Hopulent IPA

I’m becoming a big fan of Epic Brewing so when I saw this bottle I just had to try it.  The Hopulent is an IPA that Epic is changing throughout the season.  They are changing the grain bill and they are doing everything over the top, lots of hops and lots of malt.

This particular Hopulent was the Release #13.  Epic has a website describing when each beer was brewed and which ingredients were used.  The #13 was brewed on February 13, 2011 using Premium Briess Two Row with a nearly equal amount of Ultra Premium Maris Otter as the base malts.  Briess Munich Malt and Weyermann CaraMunich finish off the bill nicely. Next the hops:
In the Boil: Columbus, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and more Simcoe. The Dry Hops: Chinook and Centennial.  (Now us homebrewers need to figure out how to clone this one)  This grain bill resulted in an 8.4% ABV beer.

The pour was light and cloudy with a very small white head.  The aroma was exactly what I like in an IPA: very sweet hops and lots of them.  The taste followed the aroma with very sweet hops upfront, but then a solid malty middle and a slightly bitter finish created a beautifully balanced big beer.

Now unfortunately this is a limited release beer and I’m not sure how many are around, but if you can find one definitely try it.  This was an awesome beer!

-Pyzocha


Brew Review: Alaskan Summer

The Alaskan Summer caught my eye with its orca tap handle; being a beautiful summer day didn’t hurt either.  This particular summer brew is based on the Kölsch style.  Seemed like a great light summer beer.

The pour was a clear golden-light color with a slight white head.  The aroma was not very strong but had mild scents of grass and just a little bit of citrus.  The taste was a very slight barley malt start that transitioned into some sweet citrus flavor.  The finish was crisp and refreshing, but something was a bit off.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but it left a bad taste in my mouth (figuratively and literally).  At 5.3% this beer would be a great refreshing light beer if it wasn’t for the finish.

Now I’m not sure if maybe the keg that I had it from was bad, but based on my tasting, I thought it was decent.  Definitely some room for improvement.  Having an east coast bias I’d recommend trying it.

-Pyzocha