Beers in Review: With a Special Brown Ale

Before we get to the brown ale mentioned above, we turn to Baltimore's Duclaw Brewing Company and Fast, Faster and Disaster. A limited release IPA at 6.5% ABV and 62 IBU, I found this yellow-gold beer to be fairly light in both flavor and body. Almost playing like a sessionable IPA, though the alcohol level doesn't support that. Flavors found include assorted citrus notes (mostly orange and a bit of lemon), as well as passion fruit and maybe a bit of pine. Disaster has a moderate hop bite and a fairly clean finish. I found this to be a fairly straight-forward IPA.

Next up, I checked out this beer on Beer Advocate, and saw this beer rated just average (less than 3.5 out of 5). Now, of course a review website is FAR from scientific, and perhaps BA needs to revise their ratings descriptors, as a mere 0.51 score difference could mean the difference between an "okay" and an "exceptional" beer. There may also be some bias in that score, as many craft beer nerds tend to not think highly of brown ales, red ales, and similar styles. I mention all this because I think this may have been the best brown ale I've ever had. I can't speak much to the beer's color beyond "dark brown"--the local watering hole where I had this beer was pretty dimly lit. It checks in at 5.7% ABV, 32 IBU, and I found it to be REALLY tasty! There are plenty of caramel malt and burnt or toasted malt notes along with dark sugars and toffee, some grassy hemp notes and maybe some nuttiness, as well. I found it to be smooth and sweet, but not so high a sweetness that I couldn't enjoy 2 or 3 of these in a sitting.

Beers in Review: I'm not dead edition

Hi! How are you? I'm great. I was out and about across this great country of ours, and am ready to get back to the bloggery. I considered writing an editorial about Peyton Manning's blatant shilling for Budweiser post-SB50 (turns out he owns some distributors or something), but that's really become old news. So, let's just get into some beers, shall we?

We start with Uinta Brewing Company's Golden Spike Hefeweizen, which poured a deep orange and was cloudy (not unusual for Hefes to be unfiltered and cloudy). Most notable was the graininess; lots of bready and crackery notes going on, along some citrusy sweetness. Banana notes were also present. Overall, it hits a lot of the standard hefeweizen notes. It was maybe a little more grainy than I like my hefes, but that's a personal preference as much as anything.

A brewery that almost never disappoints (a trend that hopefully continues after their acquisition by Constellation Brands) is San Diego's Ballast Point Brewing Company. As expected, even something as "basic" as their Longfin Lager is better than most or all of the rest. Longfin pours a pale gold with little body but plenty going on, flavor-wise. Strong grainy and biscuity notes that mix with a hint of hops. There is also a bit of sweetness that points to its traditional German-inspired style. This is a beer that is crisp, clean, and easy to drink.

Finally, Duclaw Brewing Company's Dirty Little Freak. Labelled by the brewery as a "Coconut Caramel Chocolate Brown Ale", this beer pretty simply puts a hammer to that nail. It pours a moderate-to-dark brown but is translucent. Again, the flavors are pretty well spot-on coming from the brewers. Aroma-wise, the smells probably rate in strength chocolate-caramel-coconut. Flavor-wise, the chocolate notes are quite evident, with hints of coconut. The caramel tends to come through more at the end or in the aftertaste. The bottle also says it was brewed with vanilla beans, giving the whole thing an overall ice cream sundae type of flavor. They seemed to nail what they were going for, but it's a bit too sweet for my taste.