Beers in Review: They can't all be winners

This BiR brings a wide range of emotions to this blog. Beers will be liked. Beers will be disliked. Let's find out which is which together.

The folks at Craft and Draft had a fun little tasting last week, pairing assorted beers from River Rat Brewery with specific types of candy. I tried River Rat's Broad River Red with a Kit Kat, and this initially generated a bit of a mental "taste" already, as the aromas of the beer matched the sweet cocoa and wheaty, biscuity notes from the Kit Kat. At least, they did in my head. Overall, the Kit Kat matched well with the Red ale and it's solid malt backbone with some spicy sweetness, and perhaps a dark cocoa hint...or was that the candy doing its job. Regardless, the Red is one of my favorites from River Rat.

Next up is Fandom Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Fandom is a hoppy ale being brewed for the Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar chain. Now, perhaps that fact should have been the first red flag when it came to this beer. Pouring a straight-up yellow, I got tons of piney and vegetal aromatics before even taking a sip. These notes carried through to the taste. Flavor notes included assorted grains, vegetal notes, and hoppy pine. There was a mild hop bitterness that tended to carry through a dry finish into the aftertaste. These flavors, though were shoved in your face quite harshly during the drinking experience, and I found the flavor combination to be not very appealing. This was a serious miss by Lagunitas. Or a major cleaning problem on the part of my local BWW.

On a much more positive note, we move to a brewery that has rarely, if ever, disappointed, Bell's Brewery. Roundhouse is an India Red Ale brewed with honey, and is a fall seasonal with availability in September and October ONLY, per their website. It pours a reddish color, and is quite bold in both hop and especially malt flavors. Sweet honey blends well with a sweet maltiness along with mild crackery notes. This is balanced by a mild hop bite, with just a hint of pine present. I found this beer to be a quick drinker--highly drinkable and highly enjoyable.