Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Almaza Pilsener Beer

In my "drink as many different beers as I can" quest, I sometimes pick a beer up just because I have never had one from a particular place. This is one of those beers. It wasn't rated particularly well, but I had never had a beer from Lebanon before... plus, the chap at Premier was willing to pull one from a case for me, so how could I resist?

Overall, it's just an average beer in every way. Are there many green-bottled beers out there that aren't?

It was a clear, bright yellow colour. It had a respectable, decent, little head, but it didn't last long.

The smell... kind of skunky, no surprise (being in a green bottle). There is something a little hoppy or fruity about it, which is a plus... but it's pretty faint.

The taste... not so skunky, thankfully. Kind of refreshing (but faintly so, like the smell), kind of straw-like, kind of cardboard-like. Not as bad / cardboard-like as the Birra Morena I had a while back, though.

The mouthfeel of it was fine. Nothing stuck out as particularly bad or good.

This Almaza was not a struggle to put down, but the only reason to put one down is to say you've had a beer from Lebanon, or to have the bottle in your collection. (reviewed in, and saved since, September)
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Innis & Gunn Original Oak Aged Beer

Even though this beer is available on PEI, I picked this one up (well, my sister-in-law did) as part of a holiday gift pack in New Brunswick, because we won't get the pack here on PEI. The box contains an Innis & Gunn glass (as you can see), a bottle of their original beer, a bottle of their Rum Cask beer (although I think it's not aged as long as the original), and a new "Winter Warmer", their strongest beer yet. Keep checking back for reviews on the latter two as the holidays approach.

Now, this beer is one of my favourites from my early days of trying out new brands and styles of beer. I've got an attachment to it. That being said, it has been a little while since I had one, and expected it to not live up to my memories. So... what did I think of it?

Well, it has the same nice amber colour, with only a small head. The head leaves a thin, creamy layer of itself on top. It's a very clear beer, with some random lacing (only on the side you drink from).

The smells are of muted vanilla, toffee/butterscotch... it's bright. Almost like a port; a bit of sweetness, like grapes or figs.

The taste is brighter than I remember, too, and sweeter. Maybe a bit too sweet. I do pick out a bit of the earthiness and the oak, but not as much as I remember from previous tastings. I miss that.

The feel of it is OK overall. Perhaps a bit watery.

The drinkability is still good, and, overall, so is the beer. Not as good as previous ones (at least according to my memory), but still worth a try if you've never had one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brakspear Oxford Gold

I'm busier than a one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest these days, but thankfully I have a few reviews saved up in the ol' archive. Here's one from September.

I think this is my first Brakspear brew. I'll have to check my list to be sure.

This English beer has a cloudy, deep honey colour. A little head disappears soon, leaving some lacing to the bottom.

The smell is good, but I liked the smell of it better from the bottle before I poured it. A bit of citrus and... graham cracker? That could be honey coming through, too.

The taste has just a hint of peppery spice, which is nice. A bit of citrus (grapefruit / more orange). It starts tasting a bit like a Sam Adams' Summer Ale as the bottle wears on.

The carbonation is a bit sharp if held in the mouth for a couple of seconds. On regular sips, it's fine. A bit of a bitter / dry finish. Not watery.

Overall, quite a drinkable beer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bitburger Premium Pils

Another "available on PEI" offering.

It pours with a nice, light, yellow colour. A foamy head dimples a bit as it lowers. The lacing is rather streaky.

In the smell, honestly, is a hint of "country air" (some of you will know what I mean). There is some... grain? Grass? Apple?

The flavour is fine. Pretty much the same as the smell, without the "country" component.

The feel is OK. It's light, but not too watery. Its finish is dry, and the carbonation is just about right.

Nothing fantastic... overall, though, it's a decent beer to sit and have a few of.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

BrewDog Rip Tide Stout

This BrewDog brew one said it'd be good 'til April 16th of 2012, but I couldn't resist tonight. I thought I deserved to try a little treat. Who knows when I'll crack and finally open this one.

Between the bottle and the glass, it has a kind of chestnut red colour. In the glass, it's deep and dark with bits of chestnut-coloured light on only a few edges. It has tons of head... I couldn't even pour the whole bottle out at once. The head slowly retreated, leaving big, creamy dimples and bubbles on top... like a half-done pancake in the pan. There was solid lacing the whole way down.

It has malty smells of date squares. It also had a bit of a hoppy / fruity smell... really, it's like someone took a bit of a strong IPA and mixed some of it in with this stout.

The flavour is nice. The 8% is almost completely buried in taste and feel. Most notes are standard stout ones... chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a bit of dough / bread. The slight alcohol and hoppy notes give it a tinge that's kind of like an IPA, kind of like a red wine.

The feel is not too thick, and not too watery. Just about right. The finish is sticky.

Overall, this is a very drinkable stout that has a unique trait or two. I wouldn't say it's exactly "merciless" or "twisted" (in a crazy sense) like the bottle says, but that's kind of what I expect from BrewDog; good, interesting beer that's well packaged and covered in all kinds of bravado and character.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ruedrich's Red Seal Ale

The golden-brown-orange colour reminds me of my beloved Red Racer IPA. The head clings to the glass a bit as it swirls during the pour. Not much head forms, and what does doesn't last long. It has only light lacing.

The smell is nice, but not strong. Fresh and citrus-y. Not too much of the pine and juniper notes from other hop-strong beers. Its subtlety is nice, but I would like something a bit stronger.

The taste is good, too, but like the smell, subtle. Refreshing. It has a bit of orange and/or grapefruit that comes out from the hops. The malt plays second fiddle, but it is there.

It's a little viscous in its feel... a little thick, which makes it smooth and, again, refreshing. It's not very bitter at all, which, with the subtlety of the rest of it, gives it a lack of punch. That subtlety makes it go down easily, though.

Overall, a good-tasting and well-balanced beer that is rather subtle in all its traits, making it easy to drink several of these at once, if you wanted to ("sessionable").
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alfa Lager

OK, so... my mind was pretty much made up about this one as soon as I laid eyes upon it. It was just going to be some run-of-the-mill "Euro-lager", probably just like every other plain pilsener and lager out there. I'll admit... the style(s) can be refreshing, but I don't find examples of them to be very interesting or different from one another.

This one is a Greek lager, the second beer I've had from Greece (as far as I can remember... the other one being Mythos). My wife recognized it as a new one at whatever
PEI LCC store she was in.

This one had a bit more head at first than I thought it would. It was pretty much all gone within seconds, though. The colour is as expected... pale, clear, & golden.

The smell is pretty much what I predicted... green bottle skunk, some malt / grain, corn, & maybe a bit of honey.

The taste... more of the same. A bit skunky, light malt flavour, some corn / rice, and something fresh... honey / wheat notes, I guess. A bit of an unpleasant aftertaste.

The feel is normal / average. Lightly carbonated, a bit watery, with a dry finish.

It's fairly drinkable, but why bother? I can't see why the local LCC would add such a beer (it must have good profit potential, ie, be cheap) to their listings. The only interesting trait of this Adjunct Lager From Away is that it's new-to-us and foreign.