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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Harpoon Celtic Ale

5.4%

Bottle

Pours a nice amber red (surprise surprise it is an Irish red.) Smells of carmel malt, a bit on the bland side, but not too bad. Sugar, caramel and malt dominate the flavor but the mouth feel is a bit light. A little bit of metal on the after taste.

Impression: This is pretty sweet, but a bit of a solid wheat bread on the end of it. It is not the best irish red on the market but it is not the worst. It tastes good, but at the same time it is hard to not wish for a bit more while you drink it. It is a bit paler than I would hope for an irish red, but as usual I tend to like a bit more flavor. This is easily a beer that you could get a growler of and kill it in one night. It is fairly easy drinking, but not horrible, just not great.

Grade: B-

Kennebunkport Brewing Co. IPA

6.2%

Bottled

Pours pretty standard for an IPA, a bit on the amber side but not too dark. Nose is butterscotch, hops, and just a tiny bit of something that could be almost like cognac. It tastes like an IPA plain and simple. Pretty light for an IPA.

Impression: This is an IPA, not a lot to it. It is not horrible, it is not great. If you are in a store and want to pick something up for cheap this is not too bad. The big draw to this beer is that it is sold at Trader Joe’s for pretty cheap. There is not much there, but there is also not too much offensive about it. If you are looking for a nice strong IPA it will leave a bit to be desired. If you  need something and you are not too concerned, go for it, it is not going to kill you.

Grade: C+

Long Trail Hibernator

5.6%

Bottle

Pours a bit lighter than expected, much closer to an amber than the brownish I would have expected. Very little smell, but there is a nice chamomile, bread, and sweetness to it. Taste is a little bit sweet, not too much, with a bit of bread and a strong taste of tea.

This is one of the better offerings from Long Trail in my mind. There is a very nice malt flavor to it, while not being overwhelming. Almost no bitterness to speak of, but it makes a very good winter beer. The flavor is very warming and makes a great beer to pick up when you roll in off the slopes. You can drink it on the warmer side with no problem. While this may not be the most complex beer in the world, there is something very comforting with it. It is very soothing and quite good. If you are in Vermont and can get it on tap make sure you give it a try, it shines even more when it is super fresh. This is definitely a beer that you should give a try, especially if you are in New England.

Grade: B+

 

Squam Brewing Golden IPA

8.5%

Bottle

Pours very cloudy, a fairly light color, even if waiting for the clouds to settle it persists. Smells strongly of hops, but not quite the expected floral or bitterness, something a bit fruity. The taste starts strong pulling the hops throughout the mouth, but it finishes a bit of an odd metallic.

Impression: I usually love a very hoppy IPA, especially one that is a bit stronger like this. Unfortunately this one does not quite cut it for me. The metallic aftertaste is something that is very offsetting. In addition to this the fruitfulness of the hops, while not a deal breaker in and of itself, but the aftertaste kills an otherwise very good beer. The biggest problem with this beer is that the taste up front is so good that you keep drinking it so to keep yourself from getting the aftertaste. That can become a bit of a concern because the beer is so strong. I want to like this beer, I really do, but it just does not cut it. This is not a horrible beer, and if you buy it it is definitely worth finishing, but it just isn’t quite there.

Grade: C+

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

6.6%

Bottled

Reddish amber, good clarity, smells heavily of pine and citrus. Taste is very similar to the smell but a bit stronger. Great amount of hopiness but then you pick up the spice of the rye.

Impression: Great amount of flavor in this beer. It may not be the most complex thing in the world but it is really good for what it is. A fairly big, in your face IPA with a little bit more on the back end with the addition of the rye. The spice in this drink is the real winner in this drink. The rye shines through and keeps it form being another boring IPA churned out at pretty much any craft brewery. Outside of the rye the flavor profile in this is nothing special, but once you add the rye it makes a much more interesting beer. Pick it up if you see it for sure.

B+

Narragansett Porter

7%

Can

Dark, nearly black, very slightly translucent. Smells a bit burnt, but mostly you pick up the chocolate roast of the malt. Tastes buttery, chocolaty and there is a little bit of coffee.

Impression: If you go to buy this beer the first step is ignoring the name on the can. It is easy to keep Gansett in your mind as a cheap beer,  as an alternative if you cannot find a Pabst anywhere. This is not a watery, weak yellow thing people call beer. The Gansett porter is actually quite a strong offering. It may not be the best porter you have had in your life, but for a dirt cheap, good porter it is hard to argue. There is way more flavor than you would expect out of this beer, and it is actually quite good. The taste doesn’t linger for too long in this, if you are looking for a solid aftertaste you won’t find too much here. Eventually you are left with a bit of a mocha aftertaste. One of the other great things about this is you can get it in a 6 pack of tall boys for fairly cheap, and it is not too hard to come by. For sure a beer I would recommend.

B+

Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale

7.7%

Bottled

Pours nearly black, somewhat translucent. Burnt roast malt smell, a bit of sweet bread scent. Taste is a lot smother than the smell would make you think. Very creamy, a bit on the sweet side, with just a tiny bit of smoke. Starts lighter than you would expect from the alcohol, than warms a bit on the back end.

Impression: This is a pretty good offering, not the best wee heavy on the market though. It is a great beer to throw one or two in if you are mixing a six pack, but I would not go out of my way to find it. If you throw it into a pack of lighter beers it will be a good one to mix it up. Like many of the beers from Great Divide it is on the better end the styles, but stays away from the very top. The wee heavy is a good style to try if you want to get into stronger beers but are not quite sure where to start. The Claymore is a bit on the pricey side, but if you are getting a decent wee heavy you are not going to find one that is dirt cheap from the start. Throw down the extra cash to try this, it deserves that much, but don’t go too far out of your way for it.

Grade: B