Sunday, October 7, 2007

Four New Tasty Brews to Talk About

It's a been awhile since I've posted anything on ye ole blog, so I'm hittin' up the page with some news on four new tasty brews I've had the pleasure of sampling.

Wrote a post about 'em, wanna read it? Here it go...

First up is a selection from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was the movie, "American Beer" that inspired me to want to track down some beers from Bell's. Lucky for us in Gainesville, Florida, they just got distribution here. Hooray! The Bell's beer I'd like to tell you about is called, Oberon. It's their summer beer offering. It was a tasty wheat ale certainly fit for summer with it's light body and citrus aroma. The beer poured nice and created a nice creamy head. I was thinking it would be a bit more foamy than creamy, but nonetheless, its appearance of a cloudy golden hue matched well with the silky head.

The Oberon featured an aroma filled with fruit, mainly banana and some citrus. In this particular bottle the orange smell was front and center, a perfect scent for a summertime grill out. A nice big burger would do well with this one.

The flavor followed suit, heavy on the citrus, and extremely smooth. Personally I thought the carbonation level on this beer was too low. I think a bit more of that bubbling refreshment from more CO2 would've added a better finish to this summer brew. Overall though, I have to say the beer was a good introduction to Bell's and I look forward to trying more of their beverages as they become available here.

My overall score for Bell's Oberon: 3.25 out of 5.00

Beer number two is Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale.

Now who am I not to celebrate the anniversary of a great craft brewer? I'm a big fan of the Sierra Nevada brews, and this beer did not disappoint at all. With a gorgeous amber body and wonderfully full and foamy head, this beer introduced itself to the glass with class. This was like that amber they found the mosquito in for Jurassic Park... just beautiful.

The aroma? Lordamercy! Can you say Cascade Hops? This beer can... and with a blast of pungent citrus and floral notes, this ale was screaming at me to drink it! So I did. It's been said before, but this beer truly does represent the perfect marriage of hops and malt. It seemed less hoppy than their Pale Ale, and thus was a nice change of pace for a Sierra Nevada ale. It had a great malt character and lovely sweetness that made each sip taste like a gulp of joy. This beer does not have the bite that the Pale Ale does and thus you don't get that dry mouth feeling so often associated with hoppy American Pale Ales and I.P.A.s. All in all, this beer is certainly a worthy addition to their beer line up, and definitely something worth celebrating.

Overall score for Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale: 4.5 out 5.0

Third beer? I thought you'd never ask. It's from another brewery that just started to distribute to our area. It's Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale. Wowsers! This beer makes me happy.

The Imperial Red coated the glass with a dark copper/brown liquid fit for a king. A thick solid head that could stand the test of time greets your nose as you lift the glass. I'm pretty sure you could float on that head like you were vacationing at the Great Salt Lake. The aroma was a magical mixture of sweetness and hoppiness featuring another citrus blast with a creme brulee finish.

Drink it down I say! And I did. This brew has a serious malt character that offers up some serious sweetness that is balanced well with the hop bitterness. This beer is a smooth and thick like gravy ale that would be a perfect after-dinner drink. This is not the type of beer you'd sit and drink a sixer of. In fact, based on my aroma thoughts above, I'd say this beer would actually match perfectly with creme brulee. I just may have to try that one of these days.

There's a bit of that dry I.P.A.-like aftertaste, but that sort of effect fits this beer style well.

Overall score for Lagunitas Imperial Red: 4.25 out of 5.00

The fourth and final beer is from Terrapin Beer Company in Athens,GA.

The beer was their Golden Ale. This was actually the first of the four I tasted, but what the hell, you get to read about it last. This beer is a great introduction for those not acquainted with the craft beers of the U.S.A. It's a light bodied ale with, you guessed it, a warm golden color. It produced a light and fluffy head when it hit the glass, and actually had a very welcoming appearance with some serious carbonation adding to its golden color. I just love watching those little bubbles make their way up through the drink.

The Golden Ale had a light aroma to match its body. A slighty fruity smell was present, but nothing too overwhelming. The flavor followed suit, easy to drink, smooth with a slightly biting aftertaste. It actually reminded me more of a German lager than an ale, but overall it was satisfying.

I think if you are going to try a beer from Terrapin I'd first recommend the Rye Pale Ale for those who enjoy their craft brewed beverages. However, if you are a begginer, this ale is a nice place to start and ease your way up to the fuller, hoppier beers that are available.

Overall score for Terrapin Golden Ale: 3.5 out 5.00

Okay, that's all for this installment. Check back soon as I try some of Germany's Oktoberfest selections. Man, what a great time of year it is for beer!


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