Monthly Archives: November 2012

340. Sierra Nevada Tumbler

Well the days are getting shorter and with the time change occurring this weekend many of my pictures will now be inside which I hate. With the sun setting before 5:00 from now until February everything will be indoors other than the occasional Saturday/Sunday afternoon beer. Also this means it is time to clear out the fall beers and make room for the porters and stouts. I have a few that I am really looking forward to.

This is one of the last “fall” beers I have in the fridge so I decided to finish it off tonight. The beer is a brown ale but looks more like an amber/red with a very thin white head. Aroma is mild but pleasant with some toasted nutty malts. Taste is smooth and a bit watered down with plenty of malt character.

Overall not a bad beer but I am glad I only got a single instead of an entire 6-pack. Had I purchased a sixer I am certain they would have lingered far longer than it should have. 
Pros:
Nice toasted malt aroma and taste
Cons:
Watered down mouth feel 
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 37
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Sierra Nevada
Brewers Description: As the nights grow cool, the leaves on the valley oaks begin to turn and fall. In honor of this yearly dance, we bring you Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale and invite you to enjoy the show.

We use malt within days of roasting at the peak of its flavor to give Tumbler a gracefully smooth malt character. So pour a glass, and grab a window seat to watch as the leaves come tumbling down.

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339. Evil Twin Brewing Russian Roulette

I got this beer as a birthday present from my Sister-in- law and her husband, I believe they purchased it at The Vault in Lewiston. This is an interesting beer and a great piece of marketing from the two brewers that collaborated on this beer. Evil Twin is a brewer based on Denmark and OMNIPOLLO  is based in Sweden. The interesting twist is there are two versions of this beer; a traditional IPA and a black IPA and you won’t know which one you have until you open the bottle. Obviously I got the black IPA.

The beer is BLACK, no hints of brown or red it is just pitch black with a very thick head. The head is not a result of a bad pour as it happened again when I finished pouring the bottle. Fortunately it dissipates quickly to about 1/4 inch leaving great lacing on the glass. Aroma is an interesting mix of hops and roasted malts. Neither overpowers the other but both are present.

Taste is very good with plenty of roasted malts coming through but also a nice bitterness from the hops. The finish is  sticky and some pine lingers until the next drink. This beer is quite complex and very drinkable. Now I am curious what the IPA tastes like.
Pros:
Complex taste
Cons:
Huge head
Alcohol Content: 7.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Evil Twin
Brewers Description:Congratulations, you have just managed to get your hands on Russian Roulette – a rare kind of collaboration between Evil Twin Brewing (Denmark) and OMNIPOLLO (Sweden).
This beer would best be described as an IPA with a twist. A twist that will reveal itself first after you “bust some caps”. One thing remains sure however, if you like hops and the lush texture of a well crafted beer this will have you smiling as you face your destiny.
Good luck

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338. Oxbow Freestyle No. 8 (American IPA)

Took a trip to Newcastle on Friday to check out Oxbow’s new tasting room (see recap here) and brought home a growler of thei Freestyle No. 8 an American IPA. I love what Oxbow is doing with their year round beers, seasonals and then the Freestyle Series. A very solid line up for a small brewer.

Freestyle #8 pours a slightly hazy orange with minimal head and lacing. Aroma has plenty of citrus hops and is just a bit earthy. Taste is excellent with lots of hops up front, then the sweet malts kick in and finished slightly bitter. A very drinkable IPA from a brewer known for its saisons.  
Pros: 
Appearance, solid taste
Cons:

Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Oxbow
Brewers Description: The Freestyle Series is our ongoing creative outlet, showcasing beers that are generally only brewed once.

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337. Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale

Found this beer at the local IGA. They like to buy craft beer but apparently the masses in Mechanic Falls, ME do not enjoy it as much as they do so I can usually find some odd and old beers in their cooler. This is the 2011 version of Sierra Nevada’s Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale. Unfortunately this is a beer that should be enjoyed fresh but when I say the beautiful bottle with wax dipped cap I had to try it.

I have no idea what this beer would have tasted like last year but I assume it would have been much better than 1+ year on the shelf. I was encouraged by the pour as you can see it had a thick head with plenty of carbonation. No issues with the beer going flat but I am sure it lost something. Aroma was OK with some hops still present but nothing too exciting. Taste is where this one really seemed old. Very soapy taste and feel with the only positive thing being the sweet malts.

Overall this was probably a very good beer last year but not the variety that should be sitting around for a year. Will keep an eye out for a fresh bottle and update the post if I am able to score one. 
Pros:
Bottle
Cons: Old
Alcohol Content: 6.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Sierra Nevada
Brewers Description: Here in the sun-drenched fields of California’s North Valley, the black soil is rich with promise. In winter, rows of barley seed are laid in the freshly tilled dirt. In spring, trellises are set for hops.

From our fields comes a remarkable homegrown ale, made with organic wet hops and barley grown at our brewery here in Chico and one of the few estate-made ales produced anywhere in the world!

This Estate Ale is rich with the flavors of the valley—featuring hops with earthy, grapefruit-like flavors and layered spicy aromas and barley with mild sweetness and smooth, toasted flavors. Together, these crops grow alongside the brewery to make a truly unique brew.

Enjoy!

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Oxbow Brewing Tasting Room

Wednesday of this week Oxbow opened their tasting room so on Friday afternoon I made the trip to Newcastle to check it out and grab some beer. Oxbow is about an hour from Lewiston/Auburn so I don’t make it out there as often as I would like. Some say the brewery is hard to find but I have never had a problem. Google Maps will lead you right to it. The tasting room is the building to the right of the brewery when you enter. There are two doors and you can use either to enter the tasting room. Upon entering they have a small retail area with shirts, hats, onesies and glasses to purchase as well as bottles of their beer. They also have a very nice tap setup  with 5 taps (see photo to the right).

The day I was there they had; Farmhouse Pale Ale, Loretta, Space Cowboy and Freestyle #8 & 10 on tap. They offer a sampler of four pours for $5 and these are generous pours so do not hesitate. The person running the tasting room is a new hire for Oxbow but it is very obvious she has been around the brewery and is very knowledgeable about beer and the history of Oxbow.

She did a great job recommending we start with Loretta, Space Cowboy and Freestyle #10 and finish with Freestyle #8 as the hops will taint your palate.

To the right of the tap setup they have a complete list of beer with pricing and the current bottles available. There were bottles of Barrel Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale and their recently released Oxtoberfest blend. I grabbed a couple bottles of Oxtoberfest as well as a growler of Freestyle #8; both will be reviewed soon. With the 4 samples for you $5 you also have the option to take the glass home for an additional $5 (a $2 discount from the regular price) so I decided to do this as well.

The tasting room has plenty of space and there were probably 10 people there as well as others coming in for growler fills and there was room for plenty more. Geoff and Dash both stopped by to chat while I was there and we got to hear about all the great things happening at Oxbow. There is a small area for some barrels and their bottle labeling area is tucked in a back corner.

Overall the tasting room is a great addition for Oxbow. If you haven’t made the trip to Newcastle yet you should and if you have been in the past I would recommend you go again to check out the tasting room and all it has to offer.

 

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336. Hill Farmstead George

Continuing on my string of Hill Farmstead reviews with their brown ale. This one was brought back to me by a friend that took a trip to Vermont and was nice enough to grab me a couple of 750s and bottles while he was there. Always great having friends that enjoy great beer and are willing to help out.

Color is brown with some hints of red around the edges (if you click on the picture here you will see the full size version). Great tan head that leave tons of lacing on the glass. Just a great looking brown ale. Aroma has lots of roasted malts with maybe a hint of coffee. Taste starts sweet with plenty of malt character and then hints of coffee and chocolate come in. The coffee and chocolate are certainly in the background, this is not a coffee/chocolate beer. There are some hops here but they are masked by the rich malts.

This beer is very smooth, well balanced and fairly complex for a brown ale. Very drinkable and one of the better brown ales that I have reviewed. 
Pros:
Appearance, Complex flavor
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: George was our grandfather’s brother, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his 13 siblings.

George is our American Brown Ale.  Hopped, rightfully so, with Centennial, Cascade, and a touch of Columbus…

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