Thursday, October 27, 2011

Samuel Smith's Organic Lager Beer

This organic lager is a very pale, clear yellow. There is actually a ton of frothy, white head on this one from the first pour (maybe the mineral quality of the water helps this as much as the proteins in it), and it leaves tons of solid, spattery (my new word for the day) lacing.

There is a lot of mineral smell to it - almost chalky / limestoney- along with a bit of grain & honey. Maybe some light, fruity hops.

Hops come through subtly but nicely, more so as light fruit notes rather than bitterness. Honey's still at play, too... some light grass, and just the faintest hint of something white-pepper-like.

The body is light, and the finish / overall feel dry. It's a bit... strong, actually, in that the dryness & hoppy bitterness (light as it is) build a little and linger after you swallow. The carbonation - despite the impressive head - is pretty mild.

A solid lager, but not my favourite offering from Samuel Smith's.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gahan Pumkpin Beer - Tasted

Note the creepy Halloween lighting
So, Hogie (another Brewnoser & Aleander... look us up if you have no idea what I'm talking about) and I went down to The Gahan House tonight to try their new Pumpkin Beer. I didn't take any notes, like I normally would, but I did take a pic. We talked about the basics of the brew, and I think we came to a general two-man consensus.

It's good.

In more detail? The beer was a crystal clear orange-amber, with a finger+ of head. The smell started to match the flavour a bit as it warmed, but at the onset, it didn't tell you much. It just had - to me - faint notes of spice and maybe the yeast. Hogie thought it smelled like the inside of a hollowed-out pumpkin. The taste? It really was like liquid pumpkin pie. It had gentle / mild spicing, and a certain mellowness to it. A bit bright, but mostly smooth & mellow. Nothing stood out too much: carb, mouthfeel, any specific flavours. It was a solid, pretty-darn-well-balanced brew; more than I thought it would be.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Alpha%Dog Wet-Hopped Collaboration Ale

This is the second year that Sea Level and Propeller have put their skills together to release this wet-hopped IPA (using Cascade and Willamette hops from the Annapolis Valley). Last year, I missed out. This year, not so much, thanks to the understrait beer railroad (ie, Chris).

The head reminds me of Sea Level's brews right off the bat, but this one has more large pockets form in it, causing it to pull away from the sides and leave a moraine of creamy suds in the middle. Some sticky head clings to the glass. It's a fairly pale IPA. It has some deeper orangeness to it in its shadows, but, overall, it's more of a light apricot colour (maybe around a seven on the SRM scale).

I rather expected this brew (for whatever reason... maybe my recent Seal Level "luck") to be a bit of a lightweight. It's got a nice, hoppy smell, though, with some malt sweetness thrown in - like a mix of barley toy candy & oranges.

The flavour throws me off a bit - it's got this earth-pepper-grass-straw-wood thing going on that doesn't match the scent at all. There is some sweetness to it... like a muted barley toy note in there, some oats, and maybe some citrus, but it's a stretch. Might even be some wet dog... my God, I hope that's not where part of the title came from...

The carb is a little flat, and the bitterness is pretty high. The body is medium, and the finish bitter & a little slick.

I was looking forward to this one, but I can't say I'd be too gung-ho to pick it up again. The flavour isn't that great, leaving mostly just an impression of some oats and a not-too-likeable earthy bitterness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gahan Pumpkin Beer

I received an email today to inform me about a new beer The Gahan House is offering on Monday (why Monday?), the 24th of October.

It's a pumpkin ale, made with pumpkins from Marshfield, hops from Breadalbane (the Barnone folks', I'm-a-guessin'), cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and brown sugar.

Sounds good to me - just wish it was available this weekend instead!

When I get some, I'll let you know how it is.

Berkshire Brewing Company's Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale

The beer has a gorgeous colour - a bright, slightly-foggy honey. A modest, nearly-pure white head lowers fairly quickly to just a smooth film. There's a fair amount of widely-spaced strands of bubbles as the beer lowers.

The overall aroma is pretty interesting - some fruit (flat citrus, perhaps), yeast, grain/straw, and even a bit of nuttiness. Really, it almost smells a bit like a multi-grain cereal with a few other notes along for the ride.

The flavour is more of the same, and I can't say that I have ever had a beer that tasted so much like grain or whole wheat before. I swear, it's like Life cereal... but, instead of putting milk on it, someone poured just a bit of a saison on it and added a few little pieces of dried coconut and fruit. The lasting impressions in the finish (exhale and flavour) are the nuttiness and multi-grain aspects.

The feel of the carbonation  is very light - just enough to keep things feeling fresh and bright. The body is medium (the lighter side thereof), and is nice and smooth. The finish is fairly clean - a little wet & a little sticky, if anything.

I was expecting more of a bright, hop-forward pale ale. What I got was more of a cross of a pale ale and a saison... with some extra rogue malt notes thrown in. More interesting than expected, and pretty tasty. Like Berskshire's Lost Sailor IPA, it even grows on you.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Portsmouth Brewery's Gose

This is my first-ever gose, a fairly uncommon style of beer from Leipzig, Germany. It is made from a combo of approximately 40% barley malt and 60% wheat malt. A top-fermenting beer, it is seasoned with coriander and salt. Only a few breweries in North America are starting to tinker with this old, almost-forgotten style.

This brew has a surprisingly tall head, that looks quite white and creamy. It reduces fairly quickly, and most of the time the beer has just a few bubbles on top with a slim ring of foam. The beer is very clear and yellow, like an apple cider.

There are smells of wheat, and a bit of smoke, actually... which could be the salt playing tricks / giving it that slant. There are also some hints of fruit, similar to some triples.

The flavour is dominated by a fresh weissbier tang - a zippy kick of citrus (lemon). The salt comes into play here, again, too, with that smoky / salty tinge. It's a total dichotomy in the mouth... the fresh, light weissbier with this exhale and extra flavour of something darker and almost smoke-like... the combination of juxtaposed flavours puts me in mind of some other triples / saisons / strong Belgian ales.

The carbonation is ample without being too prickly. It's on the high side of a light mouthfeel, and a slightly viscous finish has a bit of stickiness. There is a tangy feel on the sides of the tongue, and some lightly salty burps... near the end, salt grows and plays on the tongue a bit more, too

Overall, a fairly cool style, even if it isn't strikingly different from others I am already familiar with... I'd liken it to Dominus Vobiscum's Triple with a bit of salt.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Samuel Smith's Pure Brewed Lager Beer

The huge, off-white head on this has the consistency of egg whites. The lumpy head leaves sticky patches of lacing as it lowers. The beer has kind of a pale honey or straw colour to it, and is clear.

The smell is nice, especially for a lager - puffed wheat, honey, oats, and some kind of straw/hay/grass combo.

There is honey in the taste as well as some straw. It tastes surprisingly... "golden". The water with its trademark mineral character takes, unexpectedly, a bit more of a backseat in this somewhat naked style... it's not as prominent as in their other beers, flavour-wise, but it still plays a good role and comes out more as it warms. As it warms, there also may have been some hints of fruit/citrus notes coming out.

The body is rather smooth and heavy for a lager... almost medium in feel. The carbonation is just a light tingle. The finish is actually a little sticky more than anything else... there is some dryness on the tongue, but stickiness comes through more.

This is one of the best lagers I've ever had - it was "full", so to speak, with good flavour, and no off-flavours common for the style. Loved it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cisco Brewers' Grey Lady Ale

A beer for old ladies? Mermaids? Sailors? From the look of the label, it could be any of the three. That being said, I do like the label. It has a "maritime historic" vibe about it. This ale is a light witbier, measuring in at 4.5% alcohol, and is my first beer from Cisco Brewers.

Witbier or not, this is one pale brew. In the glass it has a bit of colour, but coming out of the bottle, this ale was extremely pale. There is very little head. After a couple of minutes, all that remains is a thin cake on top and a ring of white. There are lots of active bubbles in the glass, though. Only some random dots of lace form.

It does have a decent smell. More than I expected. Light aromas of orange, coriander/cilantro, and some faint honey & wheat. It has a smell of Belgian yeast, along with some spice (clove, perhaps).

The taste is fuller than I wagered, too. This one has a bit of a zippy, tangy tinge. It's quite bright and refreshing, with lemon / orange notes, some pale / white pepper or spice / clove, light wheat / breadiness, and that Belgian / farmhouse / light funk personality.

The feel is light, almost bordering on watery. The finish is pretty clean, with, perhaps, just a bit of a stickiness.

This was a pretty cool beer. It's light and lightweight - making it easy to consume in larger amounts, were they available - but is also fairly complex and has quite a bit going on under the surface. A very well-made brew. Three cheers for old mermaid sailors!