Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Glarus Totally Naked Review

The ingredients for most beers are: barley, hops, malts, yeast, and water. It's a very simple formula that is often tweaked to cater to different styles. If there is one word I could use to describe New Glarus' Totally Naked, it would be "basic." As a matter of fact, it doesn't even try to hide it but rather embrace it as evident by the description on the label. This is a barebones lager coming in at just 4.25% ABV.

It pours a very fizzy clear yellow color with an equally fizzy head that disappears rather quickly and looks like any other yellow fizzy American Lager.

The nose is mainly barley, pale malts, yeast and some very mild hoppiness. The same can be said about the flavor, which consists mainly of barley, pale malts, yeasts, and mild hops. The body is also fairly light and the carbonation is in between mild and moderate.

This is a beer that is out to prove that it has nothing to prove. It's basic, it's minimalist.....and it works just the way it is; I'm serious. The flavor may be stripped down (hence the name) but it's possess a good flavor for what it is and you know it's being made with quality ingredients and not some adjunct products.

Award Winning? No. Drinkable? Yes.

New Glarus Totally Naked - 7.5/10

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Review

Name: Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.4%

I'm going to be taking a break from reviewing New Glarus beers to focus on a beer that I have been wanting to try for a while. I'm of course talking about Hoptimum, Sierra Nevada's own Imperial IPA. Though it has nowhere near the amount of hype as say....Bell's Hopslam, it is still a very highly sought after beer and very well regarded in the craft beer community.

Though I will admit that the label, while very clever, tends to freak me out a little bit for one reason in particular. The hophead on the front of the label reminds me a "Clicker" from the video game "The Last of Us." I won't post a photo of the Clicker because I'm going to assume some of my readers are squeamish; Google it and you decide.

As for Hoptimum, according to the website, it was originally brewed as part of their Beer Camp Program. It's brewed with a variety of whole-cone hops as well as new experimental hops which aren't named. It also holds the world record for the most times the word "Hops" are mentioned on a single beer label. It's classified as an Imperial IPA with an ABV of 10.40%.

It pours a hazy orange color with a 1 finger width head. It sports some abundant lacing along the sides of the glass and has some mild carbonation activity visible.

The aroma consists mainly of citrus, piney, floral & dry hop notes, along with some grapefruit and caramel notes. If I didn't know better, I'd say the people who made this beer really enjoy their hops, but that's only speculation.

I'm finally tasting it.......aaaaaaaand it's hops. Lots and lots of............hops. Piney Hops, Citrus Hops, Floral Hops, Bitter Hops, Dry Hops! Oh and there are some caramel and orange notes in the back and the aftertaste is a bittersweet citrusy hoppiness., but who the hops cares, it's HOPS!!!

The body is heavy in weight with a moderate amount of carbonation which helps add to the flavor of DELICIOUS ALL-POWERFUL HOPS!!!!

Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops. Hops.

Oh, in case you were wondering, it's a great beer that exemplifies the Imperial IPA style and you really ought to drink it.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum - 9.5/10

I'm now on Twitter!!

Hey, I just wanted to give everyone a brief update before I head into work.

I caved in and finally decided to get a Twitter account. Yeah, I just made it so it look imcomplete but I will be working on finishing it off later tonight. For the time being, you should check it out.

You can find me at, I'll be putting a widget in later tonight as well

Oh and please, No Spamming. It's not cool.

Cheers, and have a great day!

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Glarus Black Top Review

New Glarus Black Top is probably the first Black IPA that I have ever had. At the time of trying it, I was not quite into craft beer and still getting used to the styles that I still considered "off-beat" at the time and this was no exception. I remember having this at a bar while visiting a couple of friends who were going to Marquette University in Milwaukee.

What was my initial impression of Black Top at the time, you ask? Let me put it to you this way: You remember that tire swing on the playground that you used to swing on when you were a kid; And when it got very warm and sunny, it had a that burnt rubber smell? Well, that's what I said it tasted like when I took my first sip of it. It wasn't my proudest moment because I ordered a Miller Lite after that and drank it like the curmudgeon-y college kid that I was.

Well after 4 years, I'm ready to give this another go thanks to my refined palate. Black Top is a Black IPA with an ABV of 6.9%. From my experience, Black IPAs are usually as a seasonal or limited release, according to the New Glarus Website it's a year-round offering.

Black Top pours a pitch black color with a soapy khaki-colored head. There is some lacing left on the side of the glass.

The nose has a pretty strong piney hop scent along with chocolate, licorice, roasted barley and malts. This is definitely one of the hoppier smelling Black IPAs out there.

As for the flavor, the piney hops are fairly prevalent upfront along with the licorice and chocolate notes. After that you have some roasted malt & barley flavors which rest on the back of the palate. The aftertaste is a bittersweet chocolate and hoppy finish.

The body is fairly moderate in weight and the carbonation is fairly moderate as well but allows you to experience the flavors without getting in the way too much.

Well, it certainly tastes alot better than I remember it! Looking back, I probably mistook the licorice flavor for "burnt rubber." To sum it up, it's a nicely balanced Black IPA with just the right amount of hoppiness and roastiness for anyone who's a fan of the style to enjoy and possibly fans of both IPAs and stouts.

New Glarus Black Top - 8.5/10

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Glarus Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale Review

I have not only been blown away with the selections that I've seen in Duluth, but I've also been impressed with what I have found in neighboring Superior, WI; which is right over the bridge from Duluth. You usually don't find too many Duluth residents over in Superior unless it's for work or it's a Sunday in which case you see Minnesotans flocking over to buy beer because liquor stores in Minnesota are closed on Sundays.

As for me, I see it as a way to get my New Glarus & Oskar Blues fix as well as trying out new beers in the process. I have found some pretty good beers so far and will be reviewing them when the time comes. For now, I'll be focusing on my next New Glarus offering: Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale....or Moon Man for short. It's classified as an American Pale Ale with an ABV of 5%

Moon Man pours a fairly clear gold color with a soapy white head. There's a bit of carbonation going on inside the glass and the lacing retention is somewhat spotty.

The nose has a distinct grapefruit and citrus hop scent upfront, along with pale malts, floral hops and yeasts. The flavor is pretty much the same as the nose with grapefruits, citra hops, pale malts, caramel and yeasts. The body is fairly light weight and the carbonation is rather moderate for what it is.

This was quite good. The flavor isn't quite as unique as the name and description say it is, but it has a great flavor and that's all this beer is trying to do. Give it a shot if you're ever in Wisconsin.

New Glarus Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale - 8.5/10

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Glarus Edel-Pils Review

The next beer in my New Glarus mix-a-six sampler is their Edel-Pils, which is a Pilsener with an ABV of 5.3% The label itself is a bit on the minimal side both in terms of design and color, which is quite sepia-esque.

The beer itself pours a slightly hazy golden color with a filmy head. There's a bit of carbonation along the sides of the glass.

The nose has some strong yeast, biscuit, floral hops, pale malt and grassy notes. The grassiness in this case is rather subdued and almost mild.

The flavor has a strong yeastiness upfront, backed up by some pale malts, barley, light floral hops and a very slight grassiness. For a Pilsener, it's surprisingly un-earthy.

The body is fairly lightweight, but the carbonation is rather stingy in how it feels and goes get in the way if you're giving the beer a thorough tasting.

Pilseners have usually been sort of a hit-or-miss for myself and this one is definitely more of a hit. The lack of any earthy notes helps the flavor a great deal and it's flavor is very well balanced and sweet; It almost reminds me of Victory's Prima Pils. Carbonation is a bit strong when you account for the flavor, but it's still a good tasting pilsener.

New Glarus Edel-Pils - 8/10

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Glarus Cabin Fever Bock Review

If there is one perk that I love about living in Duluth it is that I no longer have to travel 45 minutes to grab some New Glarus. That is because Superior, WI is right across the bay from Duluth and if I ever have a hankering for some Spotted Cow or need to make a Sunday beer run, all I have to do is hop in my car and make the 10 minute drive over to the Badger State. They also have a surprisingly good selection and with Dogfish Head making it's return to Wisconsin, things are looking even better!

While over in Superior, I put together a mix-a-six of New Glarus and will be focusing on reviewing my selection in upcoming reviews. The first beer I will be looking at is their Cabin Fever Bock, which is a Maibock style beer with an ABV of 6%.

Cabin Fever pours a mildly hazy golden color with a thin white head. There's a bit of carbonation along the sides of the glass and it finishes rather clean, only leaving behind a small amount of lacing.

The nose has a fairly strong honey scent upfront which are followed by yeasts, pale malts, caramel, and a mild floral hop notes. Reminds me a bit of Summit Maibock, but Summit is more caramel focused.

The flavor has a fairly strong honey & caramel sweetness right off the bat which is backed by a solid malty backbone, yeasts and floral hops. Pretty much the same as the nose....I like it!

The overall body is quite light and while the carbonation is a bit fizzy, it makes for a crisp and refreshing beer.

This is a very well rounded beer: It smells good, tastes great, and it feels very crisp and refreshing. As a Maibock fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this and this ranks up there with one of the best Maibocks I've had yet!

New Glarus Cabin Fever Bock - 9/10

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Third Street Brewhouse Rise to the Top Review

Third Street Brewhouse was formed recently by the owners of Cold Spring Brewing in response to the negative reception their beers had gotten, thanks in part to the outdated equipment they had been using. Well $12 Million was invested to create a brand new brewery and they are now found throughout Minnesota.

Rise to the Top is a Cream Ale with 4.1% ABV. Due to the positive response that Third Street Brewhouse has gotten, many fans of this beer have drawn comparisons to New Glarus' Spotted Cow; Which also happens to be a Cream Ale. Tonight, I'm gonna see if it's actually true.

To start, it pours a hazy yellow color with a soapy white head. Not really much in terms of lacing so it finishes pretty clean.

The nose consists mainly of pale malts, flaked corn, yeasts and barley. Doesn't smell quite as sweet as Spotted Cow but you can see where there are similarities. The flavor is yeasts, pale malts, flaked corn, and barley. Not as sweet as Spotted Cow and a bit grassy in it's taste but it's still quite drinkable.

The body is light in weight and the carbonation is quite mild. Like Spotted Cow, this is very easy to drink.

Is it as good as Spotted Cow? Not Quite. Does it have some things in common with Spotted Cow? Yes

It's not quite as sweet and it's a bit grassy in it's overall flavor, but it's still very drinkable and quite good. I had a 6-pack of this on the 4th of July so it makes for a decent session beer and it's good for a hot day.

Third Street Brewhouse Rise to the Top - 7.5/10

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lake Superior Deep Water Black IPA Review

In honor of my new home, I figured it would only be appropriate by kicking things off with a beer made here in Duluth. Lake Superior Brewing was one of the first craft breweries I tried out when I first got into craft beer back in college; If my memory serves me correctly, the first beer I had was their Mesabi Red which I picked up from Haskell's.

Lake Superior Brewing just released their newest beer called Deep Water Black IPA. And like many of Lake Superior's beers I've looked at, they are mum when it comes to giving us an ABV.

Deep Water pours an almost-black color that turns a clear dark brown when held up to the light. The head is rather thin and khaki colored that fades away fairly quickly.

The nose has a fairly strong citrus hops scent upfront followed by chocolate, roasted malts & barley notes. The flavor on the other hand has a strong piney/citrus hop profile which is backed by equally strong roasted malts, coffee, and caramel.

The body is fairly light and the carbonation has a slight bite to it so it helps add a bit of flavor to what some may already consider to be a unique flavor.

I consider this one to be very good. It's not a style that's for everyone but those who know and love the style will find something to like about this one.

Lake Superior Deep Water Black IPA - 8.5/10

Sunday, July 14, 2013

All Moved In and Couple of Annoucements

It took me a couple of days, but I finally did it: I'm finally moved in! I think I'm going to enjoy my time on the North Shore and the fact that Duluth (and Superior) have such a great craft beer scene will make me enjoy blogging even more.

Ever since I found out I would be moving up here, it has crossed my mind a couple of times that I change the title of my blog; Right now I'm kicking around the idea of changing it to The North Shore Beer Blog. My reason being is that since there is so much going on up here, it's only appropriate that I cover all that. This includes coverage of new breweries opening up & reviews of brewpub offerings in addition to my regular reviews. At this time, the name change is still undecided but my decision to focus on the scene up here on the North Shore is pretty much decided. Think of it as more opportunities for beer reviews!

Anyways, I start my new job tomorrow and be back with a brand new beer review so stick around and thank you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Boulevard Amber Ale Review

And now for the last beer in the Boulevard Brewing Sampler Pack, we have their Boulevard Amber Ale. This is, of course, an Amber Ale with an ABV of 5.1%. Since I have most of my stuff packed, I figured it was time to cap off the Boulevard Sampler Pack once and for all.

It pours a hazy amber/orange color with a filmy half finger head. There are bits of carbonation along the sides of the glass and it finishes pretty clean.

The nose has some nutty and light caramel notes to it, which are followed by yeasts, barley, and pale malts. The flavor is more caramel forward with floral hops, barley, nuts and yeasts. The aftertaste is a nutty/hop finish which comes off as a bit dry.

The body is fairly light in weight and the carbonation is pretty mild, so this is a pretty easy drinker and makes for a sessionable beer.

The flavor isn't terribly different from other Amber Ales that I've tried but it tastes good, drinks easy and that's all that should matter in this case. If you get Boulevard in your area, I would say give this one a try, along with their Bully! Porter if you can.

Now time to pack the rest of my stuff; Since I'm moving to Duluth, the All Pints North Beer Festival is this weekend. I will try to make it there this weekend and hopefully do a piece about it. Regardless, I will see you all next week!

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

Boulevard Amber Ale - 8/10

Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer Review

Onto the fifth beer in the Boulevard Brewing Sampler Pack, we have their Unfiltered Wheat Beer with an ABV of 4.4%. According to Boulevard, this is their most popular offering and the highest selling beer in the Midwest; Hmmm...........

To start off, it pours a very cloudy pale yellow color, so the term "Unfiltered" is very much warranted here. It pours a filmy looking head and the lack of lacing gives it a pretty clean finish.

The aroma is mainly pale malts, wheat, grassiness, and barley. It has a slight earthy-pils aroma about it, which is not to be unexpected. Flavor-wise you have your wheat, pale malts, yeasts and some mild hops; The aftertaste is a combination of wheat, pale malts and a slight grassy/earthy taste.

The body is fairly light and the carbonation falls just a couple spots below what some would call average. As such, it's pretty easy to drink and fits the flavor for the most part.

Wheat Beers in general have been always a polarizing style with me, they're either very good (Three Floyds Gumball Head, Lagunita's Little Sumpin' Sumpin') or taste like bile (Hoegaarden, Bell's Oarsman). This one falls in the middle: it's drinkable, tastes decent, and is somewhat of a sessionable beer. Are there better examples of this style out there on the market? Yes, but I can't really find any glaring problems with this beer aside from that it could've been more vibrant in terms of flavor.

Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer - 7/10

Boddington's Pub Ale Review

Boddington's Pub Ale is one of those beers that I've seen everytime I goto grab some beer but never really bothered with until I decided one day to try it out, plus it was reasonably priced for what it was. Upon looking at the can, I figured why I've seen this pretty much everywhere I went: Boddington's is brewed by Samlesbury, which is a subsidiary of AB-InBev so it's safe to assume that this beer has a very long reach in terms of distribution.

As for the beer itself, it's categorized as an English Bitter with an ABV of 4.7%, and as I've mentioned before, the English Bitter that most people are familiar with is Goose Island Honker's Ale.

Boddington's pours a clear pale golden color with a very filmy & creamy-looking head along with some abundant lacing.

The nose has some light honey notes, along with cereal grains, malts, and barley. Very dry smell and not much else. As for the flavor, you have light honey, cereal grains and barley; That's pretty much it, there really isn't too much flavor to this.

The body is light & creamy and the carbonation is light; It's very smooth and easy to drink, which is probably the best thing about this beer.

The flavor and overall experience are pretty much the exact same that I had when I had my first Old Speckled Hen, it was even served in a Nitro-Can just like Boddington's. It's a very smooth and creamy beer, but the flavor is quite dry and leaves much more to be desired. It could've been alot worse but I wouldn't recommend drinking this your options are very limited.

Boddington's Pub Ale - 5.5/10

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boulevard Bully! Porter Review

The fourth beer in the Boulevard Brewing Sampler Pack is their Bully! Porter, which has an ABV of 6.0%. I also think the Bulldog wearing the monocle and tuxedo on the label also looks quite classy.

Bully! Porter pours a black color with a brown tinge when held up to the light. The brown colored head is surprisingly foamy and high in volume with some good retention. The lacing it leaves behind is also very good as well.

The nose consists of milk chocolate, roasted barley & malts and cocoa. The flavor is pretty much the same as the aroma, except a little richer in flavor and it has a slight hop taste to it.

Body is pretty heavy in weight but the carbonation is mild. It's not what I would call smooth but this one goes down pretty easy nonetheless.

It's got a solid flavor and it's pretty easy to drink. It is definitely worth checking out and so far, it's my favorite beer that I've had from the sampler pack.

Boulevard Bully! Porter - 8.5/10

Boulevard Single-Wide IPA Review

The next beer in the Boulevard Brewing Sampler is their Single-Wide IPA, which has an ABV of 5.7%. According to the description, it was originally inspired by one of their Limited Release Smokestack Series Beers: Double-Wide IPA; which I have had before

Single-Wide pours a hazy wet straw yellow color. The head is very foamy, has very good retention and leaves behind some really nice lacing.

The aroma has some citrus & piney hop notes, along with pale malts, caramel and yeasts. The flavor has some moderate citrus hops upfront with a solid malty backbone, some yeasts and biscuit notes.

The body is fairly light and the carbonation is rather mild so this is pretty easy to drink.

As an IPA, it isn't too impressive but it's sessionable and drinkable. If you're looking for a hop fix, this might not be what you're looking for but if you're looking for something drinkable or are looking to finish filling your Mix-A-Six then it's worth checking out.

Boulevard Single-Wide IPA - 8/10

Boulevard Pale Ale Review

Next up in the Boulevard Brewing Sampler Pack is Boulevard Pale Ale, which has an ABV of 5.4%. It is, of course, an American Pale Ale. I've been doing reviews over the past couple of days so you're gonna see quite a few reviews coming at once.

To start out it pours a moderate hazy orange color with a moderate amount of carbonation and a good amount of lacing along the sides of the glass.

The nose consists primarily of Citrus and Floral Hops followed by yeasts and a slight caramel maltiness. Flavor is very floral hop and malt forward followed by yeasts and a slight grassiness. Aftertaste is a bittersweet citra-hop flavor.

The body is thick but moderate in weight and the carbonation starts off fairly strong but levels out after the first few sips.

Overall it's a pretty sessionable beer that's good for pretty much any occasion. It's a little earthier than usual but it doesn't get in the way. Check it out if you get the chance!

Boulevard Pale Ale - 8/10

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Boulevard Irish Ale Review

Before I ship off to Duluth, I will be going through a few Boulevard Brewing Beers that I've had with me for a while, namely from their Spring Sampler Pack. The first one I will be taking a look at first is their Irish Ale which has an ABV of 5.8%; Yeah, it's a Spring Seasonal and St. Patty's Day has come and gone so deal with it.

Boulevard Irish Ale pours a dark brown color with a strong haze. The head is a slightly off white color with a foamy appearance and decent head retention.

The nose gives off the impression of caramel, yeasts, light cocoa, barley and malty notes. Nothing that stands out too much but it's fairly pleasant. The flavor is a little more simplified; Yeasts, Barley, Light Floral Hops, and Caramelized Malts. Bodywise it's fairly hefty in weight but the carbonation is rather low so it's a pretty easy drinker.

It's a good tasting ale that doesn't take any risks and plays it safe. It's meant to be drunk when you're looking for something simple or something that you would drink after a long day at work. Either way, it's decent and drinkable and that's all that really matters.

Boulevard Irish Ale - 7.5/10

Surly SeVIIn Review

Every year Surly Brewing releases a beer to commemorate another year in business and it's always named after the years they've been in operation. Since I wasn't really into craft beer until after Surly Five came & went and I was living in Chicago when Syx was released, I had yet to try a Surly Anniversary beer.

That was until about a couple weeks ago when I picked up a bottle of SeVIIn from the store. That's right, I managed to grab one of the beers on my bucket list. SeVIIn is a Belgian Strong Ale with an ABV of 12.5%. I like the stained glass look of the bottle, particularly the centerpiece which invokes that gothic/mystic feeling. And of course, the glass portraits of Omar Ansari and Todd Haug on the opposite sides of the label.

SeVIIn pours a mildy hazy dark brown & red color with a brown head that extends to about a finger in width. There's also a moderate amount of carbonated activity going on inside the glass.

The nose can be summed up into one word: Bananas. Okay that's not 100% true but the strongest aspect of the aroma is bananas which are followed by cloves, caramelized malts, and a slight citrus hoppiness; Reminds me almost of a strong hefeweizen.

Flavor-wise it's much more balanced out. Upfront you have cloves, bananas and caramel; which are followed by rye, oak, and wheat. There is a very slight boozy feel to the flavor but it pretty much blends in with the flavor so it's pretty easy to miss.

The body is fairly light as well as the carbonation so it's pretty easy to drink and it allows you to enjoy the flavors in which the beer has to offer.

I'm glad I got a chance to try this out. It has an incredibly rich and vibrant flavor and the body allows you to savor the flavor. On top of that, it smells pretty good too! Any dedicated Surly or Craft Beer Aficionado will want to add this to their collection.

Surly SeVIIn - 9.5/10

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lakefront My Turn - Chad Barleywine

Lakefront Brewing has been doing a lineup of beers called the "My Turn" series. It's where the various brewers employed by Lakefront take turns releasing their own take on beer styles for release. The beers themselves have the namesake of the brewer on the bottle as well as their description of the beer itself. The series is supposed to have 3 releases a year, what I have here is #4 as shown on the label. So it's safe to assume this has been going on for a while and I'll have to keep my eyes open for the other My Turns out there.

What I have here today is Barleywine Style Ale (Or Chad Barleywine) made by Chad Sheridan, the lead cellerman employed by Lakefront. It's an organic barleywine and it has a fairly hefty ABV of 12.5%; Something which I don't see fairly often with the barleywines I usually drink.

Chad Barleywine what looks like a dark Brown/Black color but it turns into a mildly hazy Crimson color when held up to a light, The head has a filmy slightly brown appearance that has average retention.

The nose mainly consists of toffee, caramelized malts, mild citrus hops, rye and some booziness. The aroma in particular lets you know that what you have is a stronger caliber barleywine and says to you that it isn't messing around.

That is, however, until you actually start drinking it. The flavor has some nice caramel, butterscotch, toffee, citrus hops and malts. The booziness that was present in the nose is nowhere near as strong here, I would even go as far as to say it's quite mild and almost blends in to the rest of the flavor.

The body is surprisingly smooth and creamy thanks it's moderate thick body and mild carbonation. It may be a strong barleywine but it goes down fairly easy.

It's a bit rough around the edges but at the same time it's surprisingly smooth and flavorful. Even more surprising was that it tasted nowhere near as boozy as I had expected, so points for that as well. If you hate barleywine, this isn't the beer for you. Anyone who loves the barleywine style, however, should check this out.

Lakefront Chad Barleywine - 8.25/10

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summit Meridian Session Ale Review

Summit Brewing recently updated their label to give it more of a modern look, though their Summer Sampler and other beers still use the old label so I'm going to guess it's a more gradual process. To celebrate, they've launched their Union Series: Beers that will use new types of hops & yeast strains; They of course could also be combined with already existing ones. The first release in the Union Series is called Meridian Session Ale, a Belgian Ale with an ABV of 4.5%.

Meridian pours a hazy yellow color with a soapy head. Carbonation appears to be abundant in the glass and it finishes clean, leaving behind almost no lacing.

The nose mainly consists of lemon zest, peppers, yeast and pale malts. It has bit of a Pilsener and a slight Hefeweizen peppery aroma to it. The flavor is pretty much the same as the nose. It is surprisingly vibrant for what it is, but not what I would consider to be outstanding.

Body is fairly lightweight and the carbonation is mild but it feels very crisp upon drinking. Overall, it's an easy drinker.

Summit's aim was to make a sessionable, yet flavorful beer and they did a good job in succeeding in that mission. There's quite a bit of flavor packed into Meridian, impressive considering the lower end ABV. The only major drawback to Meridian is that it's fairly pricey for what it is, so it's a bit harder to recommend. Otherwise what you have here is a sessionable beer with a good flavor.

Summit Meridian Session Ale - 8/10

Special Announcement!!

Howdy everyone!

It's certainly been an interesting past few days for myself but now that I'm back from my trip from Duluth and having a few local brews in the process. Well, the real reason for my trip was that I accepted a new job offer in Duluth and will be starting in a couple of weeks. As such, I will be moving to the Duluth area next week and I will be conducting reviews through this upcoming Monday, after which I will be focusing on getting my belongings packed and moving throughout the week.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this opportunity and the chance to live in such a great city. Not to mention too that the craft beer scene in Duluth is absolutely vibrant and gaining national attention. In addition to my normal reviews, my plan is to also review offerings offered by the brewpubs located up there. So rest assured that the reviews will keep coming and all that I ask for is your patience as I make this move.

Thanks for your support and your understanding, I look forward to what the future has in store of me.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bent Paddle Black Ale Review

Bent Paddle Brewing Company is the latest brewery to open it's doors in Duluth, MN. There was alot of hype surrounding the opening of this brewery and for good reason. The mayor of Duluth, Don Ness, proclaimed Duluth to be the beer capitol of Minnesota. It's a rather bold statement but any beer lover in this state knows just how many breweries and brewpubs are operating in the Duluth/Superior AKA Twin Ports area (Hint: It's a lot!)

I'm currently in Duluth as of right now and on my way in, I decided to grab a six-pack of one of their beers for scientific purposes. I managed to grab a pack of their Black Ale, which has an ABV of 6.0%. Interestingly enough, it describes itself on the can as an "ale that bridges the islands of Porter and Stout." 

It pours a pitch black color with a pretty foamy brown head that has good retention. Lacing along the sides of the glass is spotty at the most so it finishes clean.

The nose is a mixture of roasted barley/malts, chocolate, cocoa, and black coffee. It certainly smells like a porter rather than a stout but at least the aroma is vibrant.

The flavor consists mainly of milk chocolate, roasted barley, malts, cocoa and vanilla. I can see more of stout here in the flavor, but it still retains it's porter characteristics mainly with the roasted barley flavor and aftertaste.

Body is moderate in weight and the carbonation is just a notch below moderate. It fits the flavor quite well and adds a dimension to the flavor.

I really hope that Bent Paddle does well enough to be available all over the state of Minnesota because I really enjoyed this and I think any Minnesota Beer Lover would grab this in a heartbeat. The flavor teeters between that of a porter and a stout and it strikes a good balance and it's very easy to drink. If you're ever in the Twin Ports area, do yourself a favor: Support the local beer scene and pick this up, you will not regret it

Bent Paddle Black Ale- 9/10

Cucapá Green Card Barleywine Review

A couple of weeks ago as I was grabbing some Miller Lite for a bonfire, I walked by the clearance section which contained primarily wine, a couple of spirits and a mix of winter seasonal & offbeat beers. As my eyes scanned the table, I noticed a few rows of bombers of beer from Cucapá Brewery in Mexico and the one that caught my eye was Green Card Barleywine for only $4.99. Since it was sitting next to the discounted Winter Warlock Barleywine, I deduced that it must've been around for a while and thus allowed to age, so I grabbed a bomber along with the Miller and headed on my merry way.

After sitting on it for a couple of weeks, I finally decided to try out my first ever Mexican Barleywine. I'll admit I was a bit excited and interested to see how a brewery from a country known primarily for Corona would handle this.

To start out, it pours an almost pitch black color that turns dark red when held up to a light. Head is rather soapy and only retains for about a minute before fading away.

The nose is very strong caramelized malts but the hop profile is extremely mild; The maltiness almost smells and feels artificial. There's also some plum and fruity notes in the aroma as well.

The flavor is very much like the nose, with strong caramelized malts, mild hops, fruity notes and mild spices. There is a very strong boozy presence in the flavor and the maltiness tastes artificial, almost like someone poured syrupy Malta Goya into the beer.

The body is fairly light and the carbonation is moderate, so in terms of drinkability, this one is pretty easy to drink; which is probably the only redeeming quality that this has to offer

Barleywines are one of my favorite styles of beer so what I'm about say are words that I never thought I would say: I hated this Barleywine. Up until having this, the "worst" barleywine I had ever had was New Glarus Thumbprint Barleywine, but it was at least decent and tolerable. This tastes like they took Malta Goya & a High Gravity Malt Liquor and mixed them together. Don't be tempted by the low price, avoid this at all costs

Cucapá Green Card Barleywine - 2/10

Monday, July 1, 2013

Miller Genuine Draft Review

Don't think you'll get away from me that easily, Miller Genuine Draft. Just because I reviewed your sister beer, Miller Lite, doesn't mean I forgot about you! Though that usually seems to be the case with alot of casual beer drinkers because the majority of the top selling beers in America are mostly lighter beers. In fact, MGD doesn't even break the Top 20. I snagged an MGD from one of our softball games for reviewing purposes and have waited about a week to finally review it.

When Miller Lite was introduced in 1973, I'm not sure if people realized it would go on to be one of the   highest selling beers of all time. It's younger sister, Miller Genuine Draft, didn't hit the markets until 1986 and I believe it was released in response to the growing popularity of Budweiser. Despite not being Miller's top seller, it manages to have a solid customer base and they have continued to make it for a while so let's have a look at it.

It pours a clear pale yellow color with a surprisingly foamy head, good lacing retention, and a high amount of carbonation.

The nose consists mainly of pale malts, cereal grains, corn and a slight yeasty scent. The same can be said about the flavor with more an of adjunct sweetness and a cooked veggie flavor. The aftertaste is fairly dry so there's no offensive taste lingering in your mouth.

The body is light but a bit heavier than Miller Lite and the carbonation, while still strong, is not as intense as Miller Lite's

If I had to choose between MGD and Miller Lite, MGD would be the clear winner because the flavor, smell and overall body are much better than Miller Lite's. Does that make it an outstanding beer? No, but it makes it preferable at the very most.

Like PBR and Miller Lite, drink it from the can; Trust me on this one. It's better that you don't get a whiff of the aroma.

Miller Lite - 4/10