Beers in Review: Giving "The High End" a try

For today's BiR, I unintentionally have two members of AB-InBev's High End series lined up for review. Which is fine--despite my near-constant criticism of Budweiser & Friends, there is absolutely some worthwhile stuff in that High End line up.

But before we get to them, I have another 21st Amendment Brewery beer to check out. Brew Free or Die pours a clear golden color. Brew Free brings piney hop flavors and a bright, slightly juicy mouthfeel, and a very slight hop bite that blends with a mild maltiness. Flavor-wise, the beer almost plays like a session beer; everything is present and well-balanced, but on the milder side overall. The ABV is certainly not sessionable, though, clocking in at 7%.

Next is one of the long-time standard wheat beers, Hoegaarden. And "standard" feels like an apt overall descriptor of this beer. It's hazy and pale yellow in the glass, and got served with a lemon, which I immediately dumped. Hoegaarden has a generally mild flavor profile, with typical spice notes--cloves, coriander--along with some wheat notes and graininess. A hint of citrus and citrus peel is also present. There's nothing earth-shattering about Hoegaarden, but it does a fine job hitting all of the notes expected out of a wheat beer.

Finally, I felt the responsibility to try a real pumpkin beer before Halloween passed, so a couple weekends ago, I ordered a Night Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company. Now, my aversion to pumpkin beers is well documented (keep in mind, this was before Monday's Warlock tasting), but I just wanted to see if my palate had changed at all. Needless to say it hasn't. Night Owl pours a rich reddish-brown to bronze color, and reminded me of straight-up pumpkin pie. I detected tons of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and other spices. I found it to be quite sweet, pushing towards the boundary of sickly sweet, to me. Now I'm sure this is exactly what the folks at Elysian were shooting for with this beer, but it is absolutely not for me.

Beers in Review: Here We Gose

Frankly, I spent all my brainpower coming up with a witty title. That up there, that's what you got. We'll get to the gose in a bit.

But we'll start with another offering from Rogue Ales. Charlie 1981 is an American Strong Ale (and it shows, sporting an ABV of 9.1%) that pours a reddish-brown mud color. I found this beer to be quite tasty. Vanilla notes, specifically vanilla bean ice cream, lead the flavor profile, giving way to lots of cherries, some plum, and other fruits. There was a slight note of straight-up alcohol that affected the flavor profile a bit, but otherwise I found this beer to be delicious.

Next is Prairie Flare Gose from Prairie Artisan Ales. As I poured it, it had a massive amount of head (at least 2 fingers in an 8 oz. glass). With a fair amount of bubbles rushing up through the glass, and the color, it very much reminded me of sparkling wine, though it was maybe a tad more yellow than most sparklings I've seen. This gose has a nice flavor balance of sweet and salty. The winey look carries into the flavor a bit, and the mentioned coriander is evident in the finish, while the orange/citrus note floats over the entire tasting experience. Fairly tasty, with no overpowering flavor note.

Finally, Elysian Brewing Company's Blood Orange Pale Ale. A hazy orange-gold color, the Blood Orange Pale is bright and citrusy with a very mild hop bite. There is also a hint of pine hoppiness, with a juiciness that opens up as it warms up a bit. There is also a citrusy sweetness that opens up later, as well. A decent pale ale, overall.

Beers in Review: A pair from the West Coast

Hello, again, everyone. There will be a video review later this afternoon. But first, a quick jump into a couple of beers from the West Coast of the U.S.A.

Leading off is a beer from San Diego-headquartered Green Flash Brewing Company's Hop Odyssey series. The Styrian Golding Single Hop Pale Ale uses only the hop of the same name, Styrian Golding. Styrian Golding is an aromatic hop grown in Slovenia and Austria, and based on my research, is not used a lot in American beers. The beer pours a slightly hazy golden color, and is pretty well carbonated. The beer opens with bright citrus notes, and lots of earthiness. There was a building hop bitterness as I drank, and that bitterness lingered briefly after drinking, but quickly went away. The unique hop ingredient made for a somewhat different flavor profile than I am used to.

Next is Space Dust IPA from Elysian Brewing Company. The beer pours a rich, dark gold color that is perfectly see-through. A generally mild flavor profile brings some dank hop notes along with a hint of orange and possibly other citrus. Also present is a mild to moderate hop bitterness that ramps up as it warms. Pretty much a spot-on IPA.