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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Southern Tier Brewing Co. - Pumking (2012)


It's Sunday, the Buffalo Bills are on TV and it's only appropriate that I enjoy a Western New York beer with the game. Pumking is an imperial pumpkin ale from Southern Tier Brewing. Like nearly every other pumpkin ale, it is a fall seasonal and usually shows up in late August. This is the 2012 version.

8.6% ABV

Appearance
Pumking has a deep, golden color and excellent clarity, The thin, cream head dissipated almost immediately. Compared to previous editions, this year's installment is lighter, clearer and less carbonated.

Aroma
It has a spicy, nutty aroma. Most noticeable in the nose are pumpkin and nutmeg, with a bit of pecan. It's not as bready as before.

Taste & Feel
The taste is spicy and sweet. Lots of nutmeg, caramel, pecan and pumpkin in this medium-light bodied ale. It has a bold, but not overly aggressive flavor and a spicy finish.

Verdict
Very good. A bit more pumpkin than the last time I had one, which is an improvement. A- this time around.

Mikkeller 19

Mikkeller 19 is an American-style IPA brewed with 19 (surprise) varieties of hops. This is the first beer I've tried from the Danish brewery.

6.8% ABV

Appearance
This is a nice looking IPA. It has a deep honey color and translucent appearance, giving it a warm, welcoming glow.  Significant carbonation is visible, feeding into dense, beige head.

Aroma
19 has a light aroma, with evidence of a hops explosion waiting beneath the surface. Both citrus and pine hops are prominent, with some bready yeast notes.

Taste & Feel
The flavor of this medium-bodied IPA is dominated by grapefruit, start to finish. A big burst of carbonation leads off, then a bit of honey sweetness cuts into the citrus, making it very enjoyable. Then a dry, spicy hops finish kicks in.

Verdict
An aggressive IPA, but not over-the-top. I'd highly recommend it.

Also, very cool packaging.

Monday, September 10, 2012

21st Amendment Brewery - Back in Black


Back in Black is a black IPA and is part of 21st Amendment's year-round selection. Again, despite their site saying it's not available in NC, I managed to find a good selection of 21st Amendment beers at East Wake Wines & Craft Brew.

6.8% ABV

Appearance 
This beer is almost entirely opaque. Only by holding it up to very bright sunlight was I able to reveal a deep cola brown-black color. It is capped with a dense, tan head that leaves a thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma 
It has a very pleasing aroma. A rich, caramel malt with hints of dark fruit.

Taste & Feel 
This one is medium bodied and has a big, robust flavor. Dark roasted malts greet you up front. The flavor is a mix of coffee, with molasses sweetness, and a touch of black cherry. Earthy hops show up in the middle, before giving way to a dry, roasty finish.

Verdict
Excellent. I give it a solid A.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

21st Amendment Brewery - Brew Free! or Die IPA

San Francisco-based 21st Amendment is well known for packaging their craft beer in cans. Brew Free! or Die is one of their more popular offerings and is available year-round. This IPA is brewed with 6 varieties of hops.

Oddly, their website does not list North Carolina as one of the states where their beer is available. However, I recently picked up 3 of their brews, and saw Hell or High Watermelon available earlier this year.

7% ABV

Appearance 
Brew Free! or Die has a deep golden color and a translucent appearance.I held it up to an open window, and it glows in the sun like a tangerine lightbulb. Thin streams of carbonation rise up to form a thin, cream-colored cap.

Aroma 
I expected it to be very hoppy, but the malt is more prominent in an otherwise light aroma. It has a sweet, bready scent with notes of yeast and honey.

Taste & Feel 
This one is very sweet, with a bright, citrus hops character. Honey and orange flavors give it a mimosa-like quality. It has a light body and clean feel, with soft, velvety carbonation.  The hoppy, orange peel finish is a nice touch and perhaps the best indication that this is a west coast brew.

Verdict
It's good. Very balanced for a west coast IPA, which are sometimes so strongly hopped that they taste like bile. I'd give it a B+.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Brewery Ommegang - Adoration Special Winter Ale (2011)

I've been aging this bottle since Christmas. Felt like the right time to pop it open. It's still hot outside, I biked my ass off today, and I needed a bit of winter, even if it was just a winter beer.

Adoration is a Belgian strong dark winter ale brewed with coriander, cardamom, mace, grains of paradise and sweet orange peel. It comes corked & caged in a 750 ml bottle. I'm enjoying the 2011 edition.

10% ABV

Appearance 
This beer has a glowing, translucent appearance and a warm ruby color. It is heavily carbonated and small, sparkling bubble feed into a thin, tan head.

Aroma 
The nose is rather enjoyable. It has a sweet, sticky malt aroma filled with spicy notes and plenty of citrus. I'd best describe it as candied fruit

Taste & Feel 
The first sip is rather aggressively carbonated up front. You'll soon feel an army of fine bubbles disperse to coat you mouth in a soft, velvety blanket.

The flavor is a balance of rich, honey malt and citrus hops. It's pretty spicy. Coriander stands out at first, followed by orange. Cardamom peeks through toward the finish.

Verdict
Quite tasty. A classic Belgian ale with a spicy kick. Get some.