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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Abita Tubrodog

5.6%

Bottled

Pours dark, almost opaque, a very very dark amber when held up to the light. Smells malty with a bit of a coffee note, maybe a tiny bit of cinnamon. Starts out a bit sweeter than expected, but still nice and light. Finishes with a bit of toffee, and a good strong coffee flavor.

Impression: A one-off beer that Abita decided to turn into a year round beer after people went crazy for it. Turbodog is a nice flavorful dark beer, that is still very light. It is a good brown ale, nothing that will blow you completely out of the water, but a very good beer to pick up if it is around. This is a perfect example of a middle of the road beer. It will hold its own in most discussions, though it may not win out over more interesting beers. It is a good session beer, you could easily put back a few of these in a night, and not feel as stuffed as you may with other brown ales.

Grade: B

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Slumbrew My Better Half Imperial Cream Ale

7.2%

Bottled

Pours a dark honey color with a very mild smell, just a little bit of sweetness. At first taste you may be a bit shocked by this one. The sweetness really kicks you in the teeth while the creaminess holds you down. It fades quickly though, and you get to the aftertaste.

Impression: Once you get to the aftertaste this beer comes into its own. The sweetness at its start fades quickly, once you expect it, it is actually pretty nice. As it lingers a bit, you get the creaminess, the sweetness, and just the tiniest bit of acidity. It all blends together, and after a while, we decided it tasted like you just took a bite of key lime pie. Not to say that this beer is a dessert, but the similarities are there. The cream, the sugar, and just that little bite at the end, and next thing you know you think you are eating pie. Now, don’t judge this beer to harshly because of my round about description, it mellows out as you drink it. Overall this may not be the best beer in the world, but it is FAR from the worst. I may not drive half an hour to get this beer, but if I drove there for something else, and this was sitting on the shelf next to it, I may well pick it up.

Grade: B

Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro

6%

Nitro-Bottled

Pours black, mildly translucent if you hold it up to light. Smells a lot like the traditional Left Hand Milk Stout, but not quite as strong. Smells a bit like a Guinness, but without any harshness to it, a bit smoother. Once you taste it is coats the tongue a bit. A very nice traditional stout flavor that gets that little bit of milkiness to it.

Impression: The Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro bottle has been getting a lot of press recently. Left Hand has been touting themselves as the first craft brewery to bottle with nitro and today marks the roll out of the brew throughout Boston for the first time. The reason that this one is so big is the lack of a widget, most breweries that use nitro add a little widget to break up the nitro as it pours, the main example of this being Guinness. Left Hand spent millions to keep the widget out of their beer, and still have the nitro work. What it does give the beer is an intense creaminess that you don’t get in the standard milk stout. I was really big on the milk stout when I first had it last year, but I think this takes the cake. The best part about it thought is that Left Hand has decided to keep both CO2 and Nitro versions available. That is great news for anyone who may like the more effervescent  quality of the CO2, and folks who like the smoothness of the new Nitro version. The smooth back-end makes this one of the most drinkable stouts you will find. Left Hand will be rolling out this beer across the country for the next month or so. If you can’t make it to the Boston area to find this one, just be patient.

Grade: A-

Widmer Brothers Reserve Galaxy Hopped Barleywine Ale

9.5%

Bottled

Pours a very dark amber, almost a deep purple color to it. The smell is almost off-putting-ly sweet at first, than mellows into a hoppiness.  Very sweet, almost maple at first, with a nice hop aftertaste, not as strong as you would expect for Galaxy Hopped title, but still there.

Impression: The first thing you will notice with this is the sweetness on the nose. Barleywines can be pretty sweet and get away with it, but at first smell this doesn’t seem like it will. If you have ever had the misfortune of trying maple whisky you will feel right at home with the nose on this one. At first sip it is nowhere near as bad as the nose suggests when it comes to the sweetness goes. Don’t get me wrong this is still a very sweet brew, but it is not sickly sweet like it smells at first. The real kicker for me is the bite of the hops that comes just after the taste. The immediate aftertaste still leaves a bit of the sweetness, but as you let it fade it turns into a nice florally hop flavor. Much like a slightly sweeter version of the aftertaste of a Longtrail IPA, though the hop lingers a bit longer here. I usually do not like sweet beer, and as much as I wanted to like this beer, once I smelled it I figured it would never happen. A funny thing happens with this though, if you give it the respect it deserves as a 9.5% brew, it will grow on you quickly. Before you know it you will feel that nice blend as the initial taste fades into the aftertaste growing on you, and the brew as a whole will.

Grade: B+