Monday, October 31, 2011

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Today I'm drinking Edmund Fitzgerald, a handcrafted porter brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I was checking out Walt Seng's illustration of a huge ship on the label guessing that is the Edmund Fitzgerald. Yep. The Edmund Fitzgerald was a freighter that sank in Lake Superior in 1975 with its entire crew of 29 dying and never being recovered. That's when I read the bottle label and found that the ship also frequently docked in Cleveland.

The neck label touts the beer and the brewery's environmental stance. "Thanks to our craft brewing process, when you take a swig of our Edmund Fitzgerald, it will taste smoky, robust, dark and bittersweet. Thanks to our environmental efforts, if you take a swig of Lake Erie, it won't taste smoky, robust, dark and bittersweet." Best served at 55 degrees F. Enjoy by 03/12/12.

Nice head. Roasted, nutty, cocoa powder aroma with a nice coffee shop smell to go along with those. Roasted flavors dominate the beginning, while a big dose of smoke takes you right to edge of burnt without quite getting there. I liked that part. Lots of coffee thoroughly coats your entire mouth--quite the thick and chewy full-bodied beer! Chocolate flavors are present but just in a support kind of role.

A nice bitter hoppy aspect shoots through the beer toward the end, adding some interest while breaking through the thickness a little. The ending is very smooth and clean with some bitterness and a nice roasted aftertaste hanging around. Really a terrific beer! Porters usually rub me the wrong way with out-of-place bitter harshness and burnt malty annoyingness. This had none of that and is one of the best porters I've ever had! Grab it when and where you can!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mendocino Oatmeal Stout

Today I'm drinking Mendocino Oatmeal Stout brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, New York. Don't bother telling me I'm wrong and this is from California. This bottle was brewed in NY. I just double checked the label. This brewery has been around a while, since 1983, to the point where they call themselves "A Pioneer Brewing Legend". Guess what else seemingly has been around since 1983? The labels for their beers, duh. This outdated 1970's davenport-brown and tan color scheme with the insanely boring hawk taking up space in the middle needs a serious face-lift. I bet a local artist would create something amazingly awesome and probably do it for free beer. Please!

OK. Label deficiency aside, the beer must still deliver. Here we go. Sweet milk chocolate aroma with a nice roast there too. Not too powerful but nice. Roasted coffee flavor starts with some chocolate and caramel right there along side it. Nice body coats the mouth. Creamy, silky texture and great balance. Some light burnt sugar and brown sugar flavors add some interest in the background as well.

As you near the end of the bottle, some smoke and light hoppiness enter the picture. The 6.0% alcohol begins to add just a touch of warmth. Carbonation is good, especially for the style. I don't like flat stouts in general so that was a plus. Fairly straightforward, nothing crazy. But this was a flavorful beer, easy to drink and quite enjoyable. I'm betting you will feel the same.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

25th Anniversary Vanilla Doubledog

Today I'm drinking 25th Anniversary Vanilla Doubledog brewed by Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana. Just had another beer a few days ago from a brewery that celebrated the same birthday. Man, everyone's getting old. Reminds me I'm almost 40 and getting old too! Thanks a lot! The front has a lacy pattern that looks like two dragon-wolves if you stare intently and closely.

The story on the back of Big 22 says the inspiration for this beer was their original Turbodog, which I liked yet haven't had in a long time (the story on that review is worth reading again if you have kids). So I am guessing this is going to be a brown ale with some twists. Genius guess from me, I know. You can read the rest of the story below.

Roasted and nutty aroma with a nice rich chocolate backing. Good body, decent, but I did expect something a bit more substantial based on the aroma. Chocolate, milky and smooth, a little sweet. The chocolate flavors are a little more on the cocoa powder side of things, not rich at all. Some light roasted malt and faint coffee contribute background flavors.

The vanilla component to the this beer really appears right at the finish and lasts on your palate long after each sip is gone. That's not a negative though the vanilla creeps up on you a little by the end of all 22 ounces. Creamy texture and at the same time this feels a little flat. Very dry finish as well. Overall, decent flavors, but a little thin. Very basic and not too interesting. Balanced to the sweet side of neutral. The 7% alcohol wasn't a factor. Here's to 25 more years, guys!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dortmunder Gold

Today I'm drinking Dortmunder Gold brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I believe the beer is named in for both its German Dortmunder style and its golden color. But what is also added to the mix is the fact that this beer is a perennial gold-medal winner (wonder what happened at the 2003 World Beer Championships. Silver. Pfft. LOL)! Even the label depicts a Gold Medal from the Great American Beer Festival as its focal point.

On the side of the label is a little history about the style. Enjoy by 12/5/11. Best served at 45 degrees F. Oh, and thanks to my buddy for recently getting me a few of these Great Lakes beers. They are not available in Florida yet. But I am hopeful.

Lemony and hoppy, floral aroma with a faint sweetness behind that. Beautiful toasty flavors open things up. Very smooth. A nice mild bitterness comes along next and balances the beer perfectly. Some light spicy hoppy nips are welcome and really work well with the medium carbonation. Very clean and refreshing. Good body. The 5.8% alcohol was nowhere to be found. Very pleasant aftertaste had me wanting a second and third bottle. It's great to see a beer of this style that is so perfect. No, it's not megalomaniac-extreme-in-a-dead animal burn your throat Betty Ford Bourbon-Barrel Aged kind of beer. It's an awesome lager! I highly recommend trying it if you can.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weyerbacher Harvest Ale

Today I'm drinking Harvest Ale brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pennsylvania. The label says they brew this with fresh hops harvested from their own local hops farm. Cool. The label has a very simple depiction of some hop buds on their bine. The drink by date on the neck is a smudge though I'm fairly certain this is fresh.

Light caramel and bready aroma with plenty of pine and black pepper spice there too. Bitter pine flavor is the dominant force in the beginning, and some spicy black pepper bite comes along right behind it. Grassy, zesty citrus rind. Quite the bitter little beer. There is some sweet bread dough balance somewhere around the middle, but mostly this is a hop-only beer. The bite, partly hoppy and partly from the 6.2% alcohol, is welcome and refreshing.

A little watery and thin, extremely simple and straightforward, yet with a nice flavor. Light alcohol and a dry finish at the end. If you like hops, give it a go, especially if you're a local in Easton.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moonglow Weizen Bock

Couldn't replicate the color of last year's pic. Lighting?
Today I'm drinking Moonglow Weizen Bock brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. This is one of their seasonal beers that's been on the shelves locally for a few weeks. I was recently reminiscing about the color of this beer, at least how it appeared in my review from last October. Simply amazing color!

There is a story on the side. It begins, "Haunting in its subtle complexity..." I'll let you read the rest, but I'm expecting a lot! There is a picture on the front, lots of glow over a small rural community. Either an enormous sunset or a really bad nuclear accident. I'm thinking the former. Enjoy by September 2, 2012.

Terrific aroma. Rich caramel, cotton candy, banana and yeast. Can't wait to drink it, so I won't. The flavors are very similar to the aroma. Caramel with just a touch of banana and a big yeasty component. What is much more pronounced is the huge spicy profile. Nutmeg and cloves galore, Oh My! The alcohol wastes no time introducing itself as well. Excellent bite and heat and burn from each sip.

Up next, a second wave of other sweet flavors--Fig Newtons and bubble gum. Once again, however, sweetness is checked by the grip of the alcohol and spices. Good body. Excellent creamy carbonation and mouthfeel. Starts sweet but is balanced toward bitter along the way. Really an unreal beer. Check it out before Victory starts shipping their spring stuff. The way breweries ship in advance, can't be too far away. LOL. Excellent job, guys!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Summit Silver Anniversary Ale

Today I'm drinking Summit Silver Anniversary Ale brewed by Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. For those that are clueless, silver stands for 25 years. Summit certainly didn't go all crazy with their celebration label. Just a tiny little photo of the brewery. Barely even a "Cheers to 25 years!" I guess they plan on having the beer speak for them. I have no idea what kind of beer I'm about to drink, for real. Enjoy by 01/03/12.

Peach and pine, spicy and fruity, hoppy. Nice aroma mix. Very hop-driven flavors. Aggressive pine and orange with quite the citrus zesty bitterness. Right behind that, some spicy black pepper digs at your palate, never relenting for the entire bottle. A light bready malt adds some sweetness to the background, just the right amount. The carbonation was strong and prickly, which I enjoyed and found to add to the beer's refreshment.

At the end, you will taste and feel a little warmth from the alcohol. A dry finish ensues. A sticky and resinous texture is left behind on the palate. Nice beer. I would certainly drink it again. It is way above average yet it's tough to stand out in a crowded class of awesome, readily-available IPAs. And yes, I did check online to confirm my identification as an IPA before publishing this. You don't think I'm stupid, do you?