Friday, June 28, 2013

Atwater Brewery – Vanilla Java Porter

So, Atwater is located in Detroit so that’s about the only thing you can visit there in current times unless the Flint Tropics have a Megabowl goin on. They started up in 1997 and pride themselves on brewing lagers in such a traditional style that they import all their equipment and ingredients directly from Germany. On the other hand their specialty ales only use American hops so that’s where this one falls in line.

I’ve had a bunch of coffee/vanilla beers and some are just way to overpowering in flavors to really enjoy, but the guys at Atwater got this one right. It’s a smooth, dark and creamy porter, which surprisingly is very light on the body. It’s well balanced and very roasty but not a burnt roastyness you get with some porters. With that goin for it, the subtle hints of coffee and vanilla, and an ABV at 5.5%, I wouldn’t call this a session beer, but I could see myself pounding 3 or 4 of these without even noticing.

It would be great for an after meal treat and won’t get you beggin for a nap after.  I think this bad boy cost me $2.50 at my local bottle shop, so a really great deal for a specialty beer.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 7.25/10

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lakefront Brewery's Eastside Dark Lager

Crack it Jack!

Eastside, southside? Same G.D. difference.

So this is another beer from Lakefront Brewery. You might remember us drooling over their Fixed Gear here; so if you need any information on the brewery click on that crap! And unlike that review, I will not bring up the 1987 Detroit Tigers.

So the first thing to note is that this is a dark LAGER; so it isn't going to be as malty as a carton of Whoppers or anything. In fact you might see some similarities to this or this. Oh that last "this" didn't have a hyperlink? That because it was supposed to direct you to Sessions Dark Lager, which we've drank and recently discovered, we never reviewed. But it would be in that category.

So let's get down to business; shall we?  This guy here, well, as mentioned before, it isn't malty like a stout or porter, but surprisingly crisp in traditional lager taste. So if you are going for a thick, malty beverage this is not the booze for you. For a dark lager this is a fine beer though; however, I find that audience somewhat limited.

It's got a solid dark, rich flavor as as you slosh it in your gullet, you'll find a malty, foamy, chocolately, bittersweet goodness. One the whole, however, in typical lager fashion, this beer is relatively flat and loses its off-white head in a matter of minutes, again, representative of lagers.

Is got a bittersweet chocolate aroma which is deceiving to the crisp, clear taste it provides. You could slam a bunch of these real fast, but soon find out it leaves a bitter, dry taste in your mouth. I'm not suggesting to chug the ever-living crap out of these..but at 5.6% ABV it couldn't hurt.

As far as dark lagers this brute is right in line with anyone in the market; which only strengthens my opinion of Lakefront. It is a good after dinner beverage. It doesn't fill you up and it leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth that only ten handful of Fritos can eliminate.

I wouldn't necessarily order this again only because dark lager aren't my steeze. But it is quite pleasant. I;d drink this before a stout or porter after a large bbq'ed dinner for a rich, malty treat. But typically, I might run to another variety of beer in that occasion. If I was in the situation of getting a dark lager, it would be on the top of my list given that it wast about $11 a 6er.

Drinkability: 7/10
Taste: 7/10
Value: 5/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 6.25/10

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing Company - Christmas Ale

Better late than never. A Christmas Ale review in June. I can truthfully say that this bottle has been cared for and stored in the refrigerator since December and is to the utmost quality. So jack this, brother!

So this is Great Lakes Christmas Ale. It gets released in November and will be off the shelves before you have time to unwrap your coal. This beer has a few good things going for it. First of all, my buddy bought this for me so it was free (score!) and second of all, it's 7.5% ABV, so if your sucking these back at a family holiday gathering you be night and blitzed fast so you don't have to listen to your Uncle Harold rattle on about gun laws because you'll be blind, stinking drunk about about 6 of these. Actually, a 6-pack of these is a good thing to bring anywhere where you don't wanna be sober for long. Whether it be a family get-together or a midnight mass; it works.

It's a clear, crisp beer with a lot of flavor. It's got a sweet, honey bouquet with strong hints of ginger and cinnamon. For as clear and crisp as it is, it certainly is heavy.  I would suggest not chugging the crap out of these and I find work great as something to sip on to avoid talking to people. That way you can drink 'em real fast AND it's functional.

It's got a strong, sweet scent and malty flavoring making for a pretty tasty treat. It might be difficult to slam these all night, so they are better to share (in the Christmas spirit) but for as special as these are, I'd trade em for something good. If someone tries to trade a Bud Light for one you can respectfully tell them to go to hell. It runs about $11 for a 12 pack, so at that alcohol level it makes it pretty affordable. I wouldn't get a similar tasting beer any time during the year but it makes for a nice yuletide treat.

Other Great Lakes Beer Reviews
Alchemy Double IPA
Lake Erie Monster IPA
Conways Irish Ale
Commodore Perry IPA
Eliot Ness Lager
Rye of the Tiger IPA

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 6/10

Overall: 5.75/10

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brewery Ommegang's Chocolate Indulgence Belgian-Style Stout

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh muh-gang.

Ommegang Brewery has been around since 1997 and is located just south of Cooperstown, New Yawk. It used to be a hop farm has has been growing like wildfire. It distributes to 45 of the continental United States AND Hawaii and Alaska, that's pretty impressive. So fast, in fact, some of the founders sold their shares to Duvel and they helped brew Ommegang for about three years in the early 00's.

They have 6 regular beers in their arsenal and come out with about 6 seasonals a year (some repeating, some not). This girl debuted in 2007 and has been going pretty strong since.

It's got a real sweet aroma, with hints of bitter chocolate. It's a thick, brown consistency and darker than Bill Belichick's soul. It's a heavy, bitter taste.  The bittersweet flavor nips the sides of your tongue and goes down  as hard Sidney Crosby after taking a puck to the mouth and is just as pleasurable. It's smooth and malty and makes for a nice heavy dessert after a tough day in the coal mine. It's got some serious, tan foam action and leaves a pretty serious build-up on your glass.

I'll say a few things about this beer. First of all, these guys seem to really get dudes. I mean it looks pretty badass, like your a total "player". Like babes would totally get with you if you ripped this mother out of a paper bag. They'd be like "well, hello mister man". So your already a smooth operator if you have this AND it's 7.0% ABV so you can totally get wasted drunk after a few of these. I wish my wine bottles looked this smooth.

The one thing I do not like about this beer is that it's as bossy as a prom date.  It says "serve at 50 degree Fahrenheit". Uh, I'm pretty sure I'm gotta serve this at the same temperature as my fridgerator. Or the cooler at the local 7-11 (if I'm in a hurry). I guess bossiness is what you gotta deal with if you wanna be classy.

This baby ran me $10.99 as the local part store for a 750 mL bottle. Quick math with tell you that about a 4 pack of Amstel and about fifty beers worth a flavor. It's a pretty great beer to share with your buddy as you have stogies on the front steps or if you really wanna look cool in front of a babe or dude. For a Belgian Style Stout, you don't really get too much of the tart, Belgian style hullabaloo and you just get a tasty, rich beer. But don't scale any tall fences or run from the cops, or you're out of luck, Chuck.

Drinkability: 5/10
Taste: 9/10
Value: 6/10
Curb Appeal: 8/10

Overall: 7.0/10