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.
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.
I originally came across this beer one night at RFD. Unlike most of my trips to that Chinatown bastion of delicious beers, it wasn’t a Thursday night, and I was alone. While many people find it unusual to go out for a beer or two by yourself, I sometimes find it very appealing. You can chat more with the bartenders or not talk at all — just enjoy a couple of beers and some food and be on your way; it’s all up to you. Anyways, it was one such evening that I first came across Kona Brewing’s Koko Brown, and, man, I must say that it is one brown ale that you should try.
When I think of brown ales, I usually think about beers that are sessionable, smooth, and not too bitter or sweet — just something that’s tasty to drink, hits the spot, and right down the middle of the beer road. In other words, I really like a good brown ale but don’t expect it to have a ‘wow’ factor. The Koko Brown is something different, but then again, it should be considering that the Hawaii-based brewery decided to throw in some of their state’s main cash crop – (toasted) coconut.
Now, I have had coconut-infused beer before via Maui Brewing Company’s delicious (and canned) CoCoNut Porter, but much like when I had that beer, my first taste of the coconut brown ale left me a little miffed before I really settled in and decided that this was a good experimental beer. The more and more that I had, the more I was convinced that this beer was something everyone should at least try. For dark-er style beers, the sweetness of the coconut is a brilliant addition.
Color: The Koko Brown is, well, brown with a white/creme (more white though) colored head. The 1/4 inch of head I got from my pour didn’t really die down much over time. Again, as to be expected with a brown ale, there were not a lot of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.
Aroma: A touch of sweetness from the toasted coconut but nothing overly distinctive. Basically smells like beer
Taste: The beer is creme-er than the usual brown. The coconut is there but is not overly powerful, and the beer ends up being a pretty tasty brown ale, which usually have a good flavor but nothing uber-special. I really like this version.
Body: Smooth, but not as smooth as browns normally are. Perhaps that’s because I poured it cold – bbbbuuuuuuuttttttttt more likely due to coconut. As expected with a brown ale, there’s very little carbonation.
Overall, it’s good and definitely worth a taste, particularly if you can find it on draft. If you’re up for a full sixer, I’ve seen it crop up in the usual beer-centric places. I found my six-pack two weeks ago at Total Wine and believe it was available in their mix-and-match isle but don’t hold me to that.
Beer Review Wednesday!!! It’s a Leap Day Miracle!
As our readers know about five months ago, Tonzi moved to Chicago (check out his Chi-town tAles blog on the right hand side). Since then Pyzocha and I have kept him in supply of DC beers that he can’t find (120 minute, various Heavy Seas, some Flying Dog, etc). The nice thing about sending him brews? He fills up the box and mails some back. In the first batch he sent my way, he included some Three Floyds Jinx Proof Lager, and here are my thoughts:
Pour: The beer has a pale orange color, no bubbles, and no head.
Aroma: There is not much aroma, just a touch of sweetness
Taste: The Jinx Proof has good taste for a lager but nothing special; a little sweet but followed by a slight tinge of hoppy-bitterness.
Body: It is a little syrup-y, but that’s just getting nit-picky.
Overall, it was good, so if you can find it during the Summer/Spring, give it a try.
Thanks again, Tonzi!!!
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!)
It is becoming a somewhat common theme for me to either review Texas beers or ones that I find on my travels. This one, I found out at a great wine, liquor, and beer store called BevMo. Last time I was in California, Squirrel took me to this place, and I have to admit that I felt like a kid in a candy store. Seriously, this place is like an adult Toys R Us and reminded me of Specs in Texas, only with beer that I hadn’t seen back at home. If you have a chance to make it to one of these stores, do it.
Anyways, back to the beer. The New Belgium Mighty Arrow is a pale ale and was named Kim’s (co-founder) dog. It is made with Cascade, Amarillo and Golding Hops. I have recently been on a pale ale kick because I really enjoy the little bit of sweetness that comes with the crispness.
Must say it does look pretty good off the pour – a gold color with just a hint of orange and obvious carbonation. It has more bubbles than most beers but not as much as the heavily carbonated brews. The head comes in as nice white/cream but a bit closer to the white side and about 2 cm thick and has lasting power. I haven’t taken a sip out of the beer yet and the head is still like the beer was just poured.
With a whiff, I get a little bit of the sweetness that I expect from a pale ale and the hint of citrus that reminds me that the beer should finish crisp.
The taste is not as sweet as I had expected, but that is not a bad thing at all. The balance of this beer is pretty fantastic. The beer is has a bready, malty finish which is thicker and sweeter than I expected. Those final tastes also help to emphasize the overall body of the beer — a full body with a creamy feel.
It’s a good tasting beer; not my favorite pale ale or one that I will go out of my way to get, but it is a different beer to try when available.
P.S. Unless I hear a lot of requests otherwise, I will try to get back to area brews next week. It doesn’t really help DC beer drinkers to hear about beers they can’t get.
The next installment of Shintern’s Shiner run down.
Much like the previously reviewed Shiner Kosmos, Shiner Old-Time Alt has a limited production run and is available through the Shiner Family Reunion sixer (so, thanks again to Dr Boozenstein for hauling this back from the South). The back label describes the beer as: “This copper-colored, medium to full-bodied Dusseldorf-style Alt features a balance of malts and hops. A long-lasting, creamy head. And a dry, smooth finish. This small batch brew is our first brewer’s pride selection and we hope you savor every sip.” Sounds like a pretty awesome session brew, but does it live up to the marketing hype?
Sadly, not really. The beer does pour a nice copper/amber brown color, and it poured a decent head that actually did not seem long lasting. The beer was clear and didn’t seem to have a lot of obvious carbonation. The Old-Time Alt does not have a very strong, distinguishing smell, and the taste was pretty well balanced with a little bit of a bitter flavor that I actually enjoyed. I mean, the earth didn’t move for me when I had a sip, but then again, I didn’t want to spit it out or feel like I should have better prepared for some weird flavor explosion. Finally, the beer is indeed low carbonation and does have a dry (I call it ‘clean’) finish.
All in all, it’s a good beer, but I do not see this one making the shift from limited edition to regularly bottled.
I had been saving this bottle of Ziegenbock Amber for a very special day, and today is that day. Today (last week) is March 2 or as it is known in better parts of the world: Texas Independence Day. While this beer was originally a Texas-based micro and is only available in Texas, it is now produced by AB inBev. To make matters worse, it’s meant to be a competitor to Shiner Bock. This reeks of Coors’ Batch 19 as a competitor of micros. Thankfully, Shiner has actually thrived in the past decade.
Now, Ziegenbock Amber is not a beer that will blow you away, but for me, it tastes of college. It tastes of weekend parties with $65 kegs of Ziegenbock instead of $60 kegs of Keystone Light. It tastes of late Thursday nights on 6th Street at bars with $1 beers. It tastes of four straight hours of victory at the beer pong table. It tastes of a time when I could stay out till 2am Wednesday through Saturday night and still get up for morning class without a debilitating hangover. In other words, it tastes of a time when I was young, poor, and did not have any responsibility.
Color: The beer is a dark amber almost brown color with about a centimeter of cream colored head that doesn’t disappear quickly (let’s say it all together: “that’s what she said”)
Smell: Simply smells of college keg parties at my house — It’s beer. It’s balanced. No fruit. No chocolate. No bourbon. Just beer and that’s what it smells like.
Taste: Balanced, nothing spectacular, but that is why I love it. It doesn’t taste like crap. It doesn’t taste like grass. It doesn’t taste like bourbon (nothing really wrong with that). No chocolate. No citrus. It tastes like beer.
Body: Smooth and light for an Amber. There is a reason we used it for beer pong, flip cup, drinking games, and bongs.
All in all, it’s solid especially if you need a keg for a long session of drinking games.
A week ago, I made my first trip out to the West Coast, and while breweries were not part of the trip, I did reconnoiter (Ed. note: this is a big word for Shintern) the beers to help decide which breweries would make it on my tour list for my next trip. Now to be fair, part of these beers’ appeal is that they aren’t available in the DC area but that only served as the catalyst for why I ordered them. Consequently, I by-passed Anderson Valley, Bear Republic, and Lagunitas in order to try as many Russian River brews as possible.
Sadly, I was unable to document most of those beers because, well, I honestly didn’t feel like taking notes and instead wanted to enjoy the beers and the scene; however, I did manage to “Bandit” some of the beers back in my bag. One of which is the Russian River 6.10 % IPA, the Blind Pig.
The beer is a nice golden orange color with a decent white head. You can smell the hops and some solid citrus aromas. The beer instantly has the bitter taste of the hops with the taste hanging in the mouth. Overall the body is medium with the usual carbonation.
Overall, you should give it a whirl if you find it available especially if you like strong hoppy IPAs; however, I do remember having their Double IPA, Pliny the Elder, and thinking it had a better taste. That said, it’s still…