I remember the first time I had this beer at a restaurant in Portsmouth NH after a day of golf. On that day it was one of the best beers I had ever tried and different than anything I had before. This was the first Hefeweizen and still is the best in my mind. When compared with the others I have reviewed this has a much more cloudy appearance as an unfiltered beer should have. Overall the aroma is great – taste is smooth and it is very easy to drink more than one. I was fortunate to find a 12-pack in a local grocery store and I would be surprised if they made it through the weekend. Be sure to drink this from a glass, add a slice of lemon and I am sure you will enjoy. Check out this video on how to properly pour a Hefeweizen (video link
)- because it is unfiltered it is important to drink from a glass and swirl to get anything that settled to the bottom of the bottle.
Pros: Easy to drink – great cloudy look and aroma
Hard to find in Maine
Brewers Website: Widmer Brothers
Meet the beer that started it all. Our naturally cloudy flagship brew starts with the highest quality wheat. It’s bold, clean flavor and pronounced citrus and floral aromas are what define American style hefeweizen. So pour yourself a cool, cloudy glass, finish with a lemon and enjoy the original.
According to Dogfish’s website this is a blend of a Scotch Ale, IPA and Brown Ale and it certainly makes for an interesting combination. Seems closer to a brown ale but does have a fair amount of hoppiness to it. Pours to a nice deep brown color with a tan head. The head disappeared very quickly and there was not a lot of carbonation. Very smooth to drink with complex flavors.
Pros: Very flavorful, easy to drink
Brewers Website: Dogfish Head
Forget about the car companies, this is the original hybrid, a cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale, and an American Brown. Our Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (magical). The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it; the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regiment of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion as our 60 Minute IPA
and 90 Minute IPA
s. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar.
Food Pairing Recommendations: Balsamic vinaigrette salads, smoked meats, duck confit, braised ribs, venison, prosciutto, stews
Tasting Notes: molasses, coffee, ginger, raisinettes, chocolate
This is another solid beer from Harpoon. I was a bit skeptical as an IPA with a 120 IBU rating and 10% alcohol is not usually something I would enjoy but this one had a nice white head that stayed throughout the entire beer leaving a nice lace on the glass. The brewer does a nice job offsetting the bitter hops with some sweat malt flavoring. At 10% ABV you can taste it and it is a beer that should be enjoyed slowly.
Pros: Lots of hops but still not overpowering
Strong (that could be a pro or a con depending)
Brewers Website: Harpoon
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA will challenge your senses and your palate. As the vibrant aroma rushes out of your glass you will notice the blend of piney and tropical fruit notes. At first sip, this big beer starts with a powerful hop bitterness up front and an aggressive hop flavor and character throughout.
Leviathan Imperial IPA is brewed with tons of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt body to balance the hop intensity. We used copious amounts of a variety of hops including Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo at various points during the boil to create a complex hop flavor and clean lingering bitter finish. We then fermented the beer with Harpoon’s own versatile proprietary yeast. Finally, we dry hopped at a rate of over 1 lb a barrel to produce this beer’s massive aroma.
If you enjoy your fall beer offering without a lot of spice or pumpkin flavor than this would be a good choice for you. Really there is nothing in this one that makes it a “fall” beer other than the very cool label and Halloween Ale name. Gritty’s makes quality beer that is best enjoyed in their brew pubs but the bottled offerings are not bad either.
Pros: Nice malt flavor – no strong aftertaste – great art on the label
Cons: Not sure what makes it a fall special – no pumpkin, spice or other special flavoring.
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
This is definitely the best pumpkin ale I have tried and probably the best color beer. It truly is the color in the photo, a nice bright orange. Has a light spice and pumpkin smell but not overpowering, excellent flavor with a fair amount of hops. Even if you usually do not like pumpkin beer you may want to give this one a try. Smuttynose usually does a nice job with their beer and you will be seeing more from them in the coming months.
Pros: Great color, perfect amount of hops and pumpkin
Bad picture on their site. Check it out – guess that is not too bad if that is the only bad thing I can say about this beer.
Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewing
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is our homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins in beer date back to early colonial times, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and “pompions.”
In that spirit, we brew our ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original.
Available in sixpacks and on draft from mid-August through October.
The first Dogfish Head review and it is not their best but certainly better than the last beer I had. This is the first in a series of high alcohol content beers made for sipping and not chugging. Having a full 8% alcohol content you can certainly taste the alcohol more than in the typical 4-5% ABV beers. There is a lot of flavor in this one and sip seems to bring something different. It has a great dark color, nice aroma and could be enjoyed with a meal or all by itself. I happened to enjoy this one in the evening after supper and I’m thinking it will be my last beer of the night.
Pros: Complex flavor, color, aroma
Cons: Strong alcohol taste
Alcohol Content: 8.0%
IBU (Bitterness): 25
We began brewing this one at our brewpub in 1996 (we began packaging and selling it sometime in 1998) as the answer to the question, “What beer should I enjoy with a wood-grilled steak?” Raison D’Etre fits the bill, tasty and as complex as a fine, red wine.
Food Pairing Recommendations: Steak, duck, game, wine-reduction sauces, Blue cheese, goat cheese, ham, mussels
pit fruit, decadent, winey, raisiney, malty
This one was a big disappointment. Not sure what I was expecting but it was certainly something better than this. I should have known when it was a twist top that the quality was not going to be good but the label made it appear to be a small brewer which apparently does not mean it is a quality beer. The smell was about the only good thing about this one as it did have a slight citrus smell after pour but the taste was mediocre at best, lots of carbonation and an aftertaste that 5 minutes after I am done is still lingering. I would not recommend this beer and am not looking forward to the Wingwalker Lager that I have in the fridge. Glad I only bought a single and not entire 6 or 12 pack.
Bad flavor, aftertaste, overly carbonated
Brewers Website: R.J. Wingwalker
Brewers Description: Ah…the master showmen of aviation acrobatics. Performing in an era when flight was freedom, these competitive daredevils performed breathtaking feats as they “one upped” each other with their signature tricks. Wingwalkers brought excitement to the County Fairs of the 1920’s as they whet the appetites of those spectators yearning for adventure!
“Wet” your appetite for adventure with one of the trailblazing beer styles in the R. J. King Wingwalker portfolio.