If you go back to the early days of my blog you will see a lot of Sam Adams beer reviews. It was easy to by a variety 12 pack and get some inexpensive and decent craft beer to review. These days I rarely buy Sam Adams beer but I will grab an extra from my brother in law on occasion to review here.
Rebel IPA is their west coast style IPA which uses Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and Amarillo hops. Appearance is typical of a Sam Adams beer, crystal clear pale orange with a nice white head. Aroma was mild but pleasant with some pine and citrus hops present. Taste was better than the nose with more fresh hops than I expected; citrus and pine dominate. Finish is clean making for a very enjoyable beer.
Don’t be afraid to buy an IPA from Samuel Adams as this is actually quite tasty.
Pros: Nice hop profile and inexpensive Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV Calories: 198 IBU (Bitterness): 45 Rating: Brewers Website:Samuel Adams Brewers Description: Introducing Rebel IPA, the first West Coast style IPA from the same brewers that started a craft beer revolution in 1984.
My second beer from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and another beer from my box from Virginia. Unlike so many breweries that are canning Hardywood seems to use a very simple design on their cans. Contrasting colors and easy to read but no flashy designs like we see from Baxter Brewing, Bissell Brothers, The Alchemist and many others.
Capital Trail pours a cloudy copper color with a nice white head. Aroma is resiny pine and quite dank for a pale ale. Taste was more sweet than I expected with the hops taking a back seat.
A pleasant beer but nothing that stands out among a crowded field of quality pale ales.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 5.6% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 50 Rating: Brewers Website: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Brewers Description: Citrus peel, fresh cut grass and a hint of pine needles greet your senses as you approach this refreshingly balanced, dry-hopped American-style pale ale. This beer is dedicated to the hard work of the volunteers and supporters of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. Joining the historic and current capitals of Jamestown and Richmond, the Virginia Capital Trail will provide 50+ miles of cycling, running and walking paths through stunning cities, parks and wilderness in the heart of the Old Dominion. Your purchase of this beer supports the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.
Durty started out as part of Smuttynose’s Short Batch series. Apparently it was successful enough to make it into a seasonal beer available in 6 packs of 12 ounce bottles. I did not try the Short Batch version but heard plenty of good things and ended up picking up this bottle at Craft Beer Cellar in Portsmouth.
Smuttynose Durty is a hoppy brown ale with a fairly high 8.4% ABV. The beer is very dark brown with a solid tan head. Aroma may be the most interesting part of this beer as it has everything you would expect from a dark beer mixed with a solid amount of earthy hops. Very similar to a black IPA in the aroma. Taste I thought was an odd mix of chocolate, coffee, pine hops and a fairly bitter finish.
I’m not sure why but I did enjoy this beer more than I expected. As with everything from Smuttynose it is very well done.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 8.4% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 55 Rating: Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewers Description: Big, Brown and Hoppy. You never know what Mud Season is going to throw at you, so we brewed a beer that covers all the bases. We took the malty notes of a brown ale and balanced them with the hop aroma and flavor of a double IPA. Now we’re talking Durty!
I got this as part of a beer exchange with an attorney in Virginia that works in the beer business. He sent me a nice box of beer from the area and I sent a bunch of stuff from the Northeast. Unfortunately this beer was the low point of the box but all of the others were excellent.
This is a single hopped pale ale using Citra which should be right in my sweet spot but it wasn’t. I am not sure if the bottle was infected or just terribly over carbonated but pouring the beer was difficult and it left a huge head. Aroma was light possibly due to the too thick head, more malt than hops which surprised me.
Taste followed the nose with lots of malt and only a light citrus from the hops, was expecting a lot more from something named Anti Venom Citra. Overall this was not a bad beer and I may be too harsh since there is a possibility it was infected.
Pros: Cons: Way over carbonated (infected?) Alcohol Content: 5.6% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 45 Rating: Brewers Website: DuClaw Brewing Brewers Description: Venom American-Style Pale Ale, first brewed in 1997 and available year round, is medium-bodied, clear, crisp, and light amber in color with a fluffy white head, moderate 5.6% abv and exquisitely dry finish. The ANTI-VENOM Series replaces Venom’s signature mix of American hops with a different single variety in each new iteration to create new variations of our classic Pale Ale. The second ANTI-VENOM variant, hopped only with American Citra hops, adds strong notes of grapefruit and lemon to the beer’s nose and flavor profile, while keeping the same crisp, lingering finish as the original. ANTI-VENOM Citra; experience a whole new kind of bite.
Made my first visit to Fiddlehead Brewery on a trip to Vermont last month and I am glad I did. First they have really nice growlers and glasses. The pint glass pictured actually has little fiddleheads laser etched in the bottom of the glass. Second they make some excellent beer.
I came with a full growler of the IPA and a 32 ounce howler of their Hodad Porter (see my next review). The IPA is a straight up American IPA at a very reasonable 6.2% ABV and 53 IBUs. Nothing over the top about this beer but it is flavorful and easy to drink. Fiddlehead IPA pours a nice orange color with an off white head that leaves loads of lacing (see photo below).
Aroma has plenty of fresh citrus hops, again not huge but very nice. Taste follows with the citrus and a nice sweet balance with almost no bitterness. This beer was quite refreshing and certainly worth making the short trip south of Burlington to Shelburne.
Pros: Well balanced
Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 53 Rating: Brewers Website: Fiddlehead Brewing Brewers Description: This medium bodied American style IPA has an alluring golden glow and beautifully blends three strains of hops. While strong citrus notes ambush your taste buds halfway through the palate, the beer finishes very crisp and dry.
Took a trip to Limerick, Maine to visit Gneiss (pronounced nice) Brewing and brought home one full growler and three 32 ounce howlers. Opted for a full growler of their single hop IPA Au Nugget.
Gneiss is using at least 50% wheat in all their beer and a German Hefeweizen yeast strain. This makes for an interesting take on traditional styles. This single hop IPA uses all Nugget hops and is very easy drinking at 5.3% ABV.
Appearance is a nice unfiltered orange with a single finger white head. Aroma leans more towards the Hefeweizen yeast with some lemon but there was some spicy hops there too. The taste differed significantly as it warmed, when cold the yeast really took over and as it warmed the spice from the hops came through nicely. I originally thought they filled my growler with their Weiss beer instead of the IPA but as it warmed the hops were more prevalent.
Overall a very drinkable single hop IPA and certainly a different take than many other start-up breweries are taking. Pros: Appearance and very drinkable Cons: Alcohol Content: 5.3% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 57 Rating: Brewers Website: Gneiss Brewing Brewers Description: The second offering of our Single Hop Epoch, Au Nugget is a sessionable Wheat IPA single hopped with Nugget hops. Our house yeast works with the large hop bill to produce a more traditional piney, resiny hop bitterness with a zesty, lemon note. Light enough to crush at 5.3% ABV, but hoppy enough to savor at 57 IBU. Prost!
I had this beer after drinking the Backwoods Bastard and should have done them in the opposite order as Backwoods is the barrel aged version of Dirty Bastard. Because this one doesn’t have the bourbon character from the barrel I actually enjoyed it more than Backwoods.
Appearance is very similar, dark brown with a thin tan head that disappeared soon after it was poured. The aroma had a nice combination of sweet caramel and dark fruit. Tastes is similar but also has a nice hop finish which surprised me from a Scotch Ale. The 8.5% alcohol was well hidden.
Overall a tasty beer for a style that I do not drink often.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 50 Rating: Brewers Website: Founders Brewing Brewers Description: So good it’s almost wrong. Dark ruby in color and brewed with seven varieties of imported malts. Complex in finish, with hints of smoke and peat, paired with a malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to. Ain’t for the wee lads.
I know there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me on this review and they have every right to. I review beer by my personal preference and I generally do not like big bourbon tasting beers. Beer should taste like beer not bourbon so when I come across a boozy beer like this I sip it and try to enjoy the complex flavors but the booze is hard to ignore. The same goes for coffee flavored beer, I don’t like coffee so a beer that has big coffee notes is not going to do well by me.
This beer has a great dark color and a nice tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma has plenty of bourbon and alcohol. The taste is complex with some dark fruits, vanilla and the bourbon finish that just overpowers everything else. This is a good example of a barrel aged beer but not something that I enjoyed or would buy again. Giving it 3 stars as it is a complex well made beer just not my style.
Pros: Complex Cons: Bourbon overload Alcohol Content: 10.2% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 50 Rating: Brewers Website: Founders Brewing Brewers Description: Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.
Decided to open a few bottles of Founders last weekend. Since they are 12 ounce bottles it was easy to get through a couple each day and get reviews done. Started on the low end of the ABV spectrum with their Porter which checks in at 6.5% ABV.
I generally enjoy porters so was looking forward to this one. Not surprisingly this beer was very dark with a thin tan head. Lots of chocolate and other roasted malts in the nose but very little coffee which is a plus for me. The beer is very lightly carbonated but still has a bold rich taste with those same cocoa and roasted malts in the aroma but also a nice hop bite. I drank this beer after only an hour in the fridge so it was chilled but certainly not cold. Seems like this was a good temp for the beer as the flavors really came through.
Overall this was a very enjoyable beer and something I prefer to the huge barrel aged imperial stouts.
Pros: Quite tasty and drinkable Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 45 Rating: Brewers Website: Founders Brewing Brewers Description: Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders’ robust porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. Cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter.
This is another beer that has been kicking around the house for some time. Not even sure where I got it at this point but after my bad experience with the Infidel red ale I decided to open another. Fortunately this one was one of the better red ales that I have reviewed.
Pours a very deep and clean red with a small tan head. Aroma is almost all sweet malts but this may be due to the age of the bottle, if it had hop aroma it almost completely disappeared by the time I opened this bottle. The taste was a well balanced mix of piney hops and sweet malts. The hops were lacking in the aroma but quite apparent in the taste.
Overall this was a very nice from a brewery that I know very little about.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 45 Rating: Brewers Website: Heretic Brewing Company Brewers Description: This blood-red ale may not be what you might expect from a malty and hoppy craft beer. Evil Twin has a rich malt character, without being overly sweet. It has a huge hop character, without being overly bitter. It is a great example of a bold, rich, balanced craft beer, without being heavy and hard to drink in quantity. Our Evil Twin is only bad because it is too good to resist.
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