Monthly Archives: November 2011

New Holland Hopivore

New Holland Hopivore

Wet hopped beers might be the most difficult style to come by. With these beers, the hops are added to the brew no more than 24 hours after harvest. So rather than using dried and concentrated hops, you can’t get fresher than wet hopped beers. It gives a more complex hops flavor without adding more bitterness. Here is New Holland’s offer, Hopivore

First off, I love the color. A clear and sparkling light ruby. Not much in the way of head, but those hops flavors are there immediately. Grapefruit, pine, then grass and herbs at the end. With enough sweet malt to balance things out. At 55 IBU, there is some kick, but not so much that you’ll pucker. And that’s the beauty of the wet hopped IPA.

I think it’s very tasty. I’ll need to find more wet hopped IPAs to compare it to, but so far, I’m a fan.

Grade: B

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

I remember the Blackout of 2003 this beer is named after. I was in college at the time, came home to find my roommates freaking out that power not only across the town, but across the state and even across part of the country was out. A couple of them in particular were thinking it was another terrorist attack, since it wasn’t even two full years since 9/11. I figured it was no big deal. Guess who was right.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout has an intoxicating aroma. Full of chocolate, toffee, and coffee. And the color is exactly what you expect. Dark fruits push through the roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate. Creamy texture and a simultaneously sweet and bitter finish.  9% ABV adds a pleasing warmth but not much kick.

This is a little tamer than Imperial Stouts from Stone, Hoppin’ Frog, or North Coast, but it still has tons of flavor and great balance.

Another outstanding brew from Great Lakes. Perhaps I’m biased, but I really think they are one of the best overall breweries out there.

Grade: A

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Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey

While I don’t quite get where the name came from with Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey, I do get what they’re trying to do with the style.

To me, English IPAs focus a bit more on balance of malt and hops and aren’t simply out to destroy your palate. Spicy hops lead the way but there’s a distinct wheat breadiness. Also some of the hard water flavor found in a lot of English ales. Very unique mixture of hops including Magnum, Boadicea and Sovereign.

More punch than a Pale Ale, not as much as most IPAs. Respectable 6.8% ABV that adds just a touch of warmth.

It’s definitely good, but maybe a step below their porters, stouts, and the Good Juju.

Grade: B

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Southern Tier Mokah

Southern Tier Mokah

Southern Tier makes some rather tasty dessert style beers like Pumking and Creme Brulee Stout. Mokah is another stand out. The aroma of chocolate, coffee, and booze will draw you in from the next room.

Supremely creamy, the slightly sweet chocolate takes over at first then leading to strong coffee and a boozy finish. It’s like letting a strong chocolate rum ball melt in your mouth. Loads of caramel. Toasted, but not charred. Hints of raisin, too. The hops provide a necessary kick at the end.

Another delightful, and huge, beer from Southern Tier. They’re quickly moving up my list of top breweries.

Grade: A

 

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Buckeye Brewing Pumpkin Dead

Buckeye Brewing Pumpkin Dead

All season, I have been comparing pumpkin beers to Southern Tier Pumpkin. I think I’ve finally found a true rival with Buckeye Brewing Pumpkin Dead.

The color is remarkably clear. The aroma is full of pumpkin pie spice along with something unexpected, butterscotch. Warm spices at first back off to a nice blend of pumpkin and pie crust. That butterscotch is still in there, too. A hint of hops make their presence felt at the back end.

A great beer here. Big flavors, fantastic balance, excellent mouthfeel. I already want more!

Grade: A

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Estrella Damm Inedit

Estrella Damm Inedit

A Spanish beer billed as “…the first beer specifically created to accompany food. It is born from the conviction that a beer that could be paired with the utmost respect to the best cuisine was necessary. That is its aim and its virtue, and that is what makes Inedit different, special and unique.”

Hmm. The website is full of interesting videos, as well, that I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t watched. I’ll explain momentarily.

The beer itself looks like a standard Witbier, pale gold color, astonishingly clear, with a fluffy white head. It’s actually kind of fun to watch the bubbles race to the top. Smells of tangerine and wheat.The flavor is quite complex. Sweet grapes and lots of straw at first, leading to apricots and coriander. Very smooth. A tinge of anise in the finish.

As a witbier, it’s very good, but not quite great. Admittedly, I am not enjoying this as suggested; with food.

However, I think the concept is a bit too pretentious for me. Developed by sommeliers and chefs? It should be served in wine glasses and kept in a chilled bucket? Here’s how I’m interpreting all this. “Beer isn’t as good or as classy and refined as wine, so we’re going to make one that’s a close to a wine as possible, but still technically a beer.”

I’m likely overreacting (it happens), but I think this was made without embracing how versatile beer can be.

Had I not read the website, I’d give this a B. Let’s leave it at that.

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3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf

3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf

The Arctic Panzer Wolf displayed on the label is equally terrifying and awesome. But if I saw one of those in the wild, I might soil myself.

And here’s the thing with beers with names and images like this; they’ve gotta back it up. Pours a hazy gold and the aroma is powerfully packed with piney hops. It is, indeed, powerful. I think I have some goosebumps. I even let out an audible “whoa”. That’s what 100IBUs will do to you. Loads of oily pine hops with more citrus late. Extremely bitter and dry. No attempt to hide the 9% ABV, either.Spicy hops become more noticeable as it warms.

This is one of those brews with no middle ground. You’ll either hate it or love it. Those who love bashing, punishing, over-the-top-hopped-brews won’t be able to get enough.

Grade: B

 

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Wooden Shoe Oktoberfest

Wooden Shoe Minster Oktoberfest

I live in an area that’s not particularly craft beer friendly. While things are getting better here in Lima, in a lot of the smaller, surrounding towns, you can’t get anything that’s not from AB or MillerCoors. I’ve even been laughed at by a bartender just trying to get a Killian’s because they didn’t have anything “that fancy”.

So when you consider there is a craft brewery in a town of not even 3,000 people in this part of the state, you have to consider how many minds they have to change and what they’re up against. But Minster is a town proud of its German heritage and the Oktoberfest celebration really is something to enjoy. In honor of that, here is Wooden Shoe Minster Oktoberfest.

The color is a pale orange with almost no head. Aroma of sweet malt and grass. Light and crisp in the mouth, the flavors aren’t particularly pronounced. Grassy hops, lightly toasted malt, some hints of brown sugar and bread, too.

I wouldn’t call this a world-class version of the style, but it’s solid. And considering the brewery, I think it’s well done

Grade: B

 

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Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

The pour of Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout promises a velvety texture. The smell of boozy chocolate hints at a very complex brew.

It is, indeed, smooth. Roasted malt just at the point of being charred, but not burnt.The finish is an interesting mix of bittersweet chocolate and dark fruits. Not as much as an Imperial Stout, but enough to add another layer of flavor. Hops provide some bitterness and dryness as it warms. With oatmeal in the name, I expected to get more in the flavor, but it’s way in the background and does more with the superior texture.

Rogue doesn’t mention why Shakespeare is in the title. Perhaps a nod to being an English take on the style?

Can’t think of many ways to make this better!

Grade: A

 

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