Monthly Archives: January 2009

Beach Chalet Pumpkin Spice Ale Review

When I was at the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant, in San Francisco, recently, I tried not only the Fleishhacker Stout but also the Pumpkin Spice Ale. Unfortunately, I was unable to find very much information about this beer so this review will be a little shorter than my standard reviews.

Where I Found It. I had this beer at the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant in San Francisco, CA.

Serving Type. When I sampled this brew, it it was served from the tap into a pint glass.

Appearance. The head is a light, off-white, tan color but does not last very long. The color of this Pumpkin Spice Ale is a nice bright orange color that is complementary to the fact that this is a pumpkin ale. This beer is crystal clear.

Smell. The aroma of this Pumpkin Spice Ale is slightly sweet, malty, and mild. The bouquet has a just a hint of pumpkin pie spices such as nutmeg, cloves, and a dash of cinnamon. There is another sweetness present like that of concord grapes but in a good way as if it will be refreshing. I also noticed the grape-juice-like scent in the Beach Chalet stout, which makes me wonder what is causing that scent.

Taste. The pumpkin pie flavor is very subtle and is by no means in your face. There are flavors of a dash of nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon alongside some cloves. I also experienced a vanilla flavor but not as strong as a cream soda. There is definitely malt sweetness present and the balance is in favor of the malt over the hops. After a while, the slight vanilla flavor takes on a light caramel flavor.

Mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is smooth with a slightly spicy aftertaste. This pumpkin ale is a light to medium bodied ale. It is not too watery and not too thick.

Drinkability. This is a wonderful beer to try especially if you like a pumpkin ale that is more subtle than in your face. Personally, I prefer to have the pumpkin spice flavors to be pronounced. It is quite possible, however, that this batch has mellowed over time.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score. The overall rating is calculated exactly the same way as Beer Advocate.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.0
  • Smell (20%): 3.5
  • Taste (40%): 3.5
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 3.5
  • Drinkability (10%): 3.0
  • Overall: 3.55

Information

  • Alcohol by volume: unknown, I’ll guess 5.6% like most of their other beers
  • Style: Pumpkin Ale
  • Brewery: Beach Chalet Brewery
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.55 (on January 26, 2009)

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Beach Chalet Fleishhacker Stout Review

Fleishhacker Stout Beer LabelThe Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant is located in San Francisco “where the Park meets the Pacific,” on the edge of Golden Gate Park across the street from the beach. It is a great location to have a locally brewed beer. I’m not sure what stores carry Beach Chalet beers but the brewery/restaurant has a long list of styles to choose from on their website and on their leaflets. They brew everything from stout to hefeweizen and they even have an altbier.

The Beach Chalet describes Fleishhacker Stout as follows:

Medium-boded stout with chocolate notes & a rich, smooth finish.

This description, however, does not explain what Fleishhacker means. It turns out that Fleishhacker refers to the Fleishhacker Pool, which was the largest swimming pool in the United States located in San Francisco, CA near the zoo. With this knowledge, the beer label, which depicts a woman diving into a pool, makes more sense.

Where I Found It. I had this beer at the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant in San Francisco, CA.

Serving Type. When I sampled this brew, it it was served from the tap into a pint glass.

Appearance. The head has a cappuccino color. Although the head was nice and foamy coming out of the tap, it did not last long. This might have been because the bartender seemed a little impatient with the head settling and overfilled the glass several times. Flieshhacker Stout has a black opaque color that you would expect from a stout.

Smell. The aroma of this stout is of very dark roasted malts and chocolate. The hop bouquet is very slight and has a hint of citrus and a more faint hint of concord grape juice.

Taste. Fleishhacker Stout has a nice flavor of toasty, dark roast coffee. There is also a noticeable bitterness, which was more than I expected. The bitterness, however, is balanced well against a pleasant malty sweetness. The flavor also has a hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel. As described by the brewery, this is a medium bodied beer and I personally prefer a stout that has a fuller and creamier body. In fact, I think the mouthfeel is a bit watery. The aftertaste has a hop bitterness that lingers on back sides of the tongue. Finally, there is a slight chalky texture to this beer, which I also do not like.

Drinkability. Fleishhacker Stout is a smooth beer that can be consumed all year round. It does not, however, give a warming feeling that a winter warmer style beer does and that’s okay.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score. The overall rating is calculated exactly the same way as Beer Advocate.

  • Appearance (20%): 3.0
  • Smell (20%): 3.5
  • Taste (40%): 3.5
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 2.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 3.0
  • Overall: 3.2

Information

  • Alcohol by volume: 5.6%
  • Style: American Stout
  • Brewery: Beach Chalet Brewery
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.77 (on January 24, 2009)

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Pyramid Snow Cap Ale 2008 Review

Snow Cap Ale is winter seasonal beer available from October to January from Pyramid Breweries, which is located in 5 locations on the West Coast. Both the brewer, Pyramid, and Beer Advocate list the style of this beer as a winter warmer. Pyramid goes on to say that this beer is crafted in the British tradition:

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Beer Review 3×5 Note Cards

Since I’m frequently gathering feedback from friends about the beer that I am reviewing on this website, I wanted to gather the feedback in a more organized manner. I also wanted an simple format to review beer myself without having to carry around a small notepad or notebook. I recalled that I have several blank 3″ x 5″ notecards laying around and figured that would be a manageable size for my purposes.

The result is the attached PDF file. I printed out a few of these, printing on both sides of the notecard, before sharing some Pyramid Snow Cap with some friends. The cards worked out great. I know exactly who wrote what and when and I can quickly include their feedback into my next post. Now I plan on using these whenever I think or know I will be reviewing beer.

Some tips:

  • Get Adobe Reader to view and print the file
  • Set your paper type to 3″ x 5″
  • Use note cards that are blank on both sides
  • Print in portrait mode and insert the note cards in a portrait orientation
  • Do a test run of double sided printing on one card before doing several
  • Print on side 1 first
  • Reload the notecard and print on side 2 second
    • For my inkjet printer I do this by placing the printed side up with the top of the card going into the printer first. This should very likely be the same for most inkjets.
  • Enjoy

Click here to download beer_review_notecard.pdf

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Gouden Carolus Noël 2008 Review

 Gouden Carolus Noël is a winter seasonal ale from Anker brewery, Brouwerij Het Anker, in Belgium. This beer is classified as a Belgian dark strong ale and it certainly fits the bill weighing in at 10.5% abv. According the the brewer’s website, this beer contains three different types of hops, all Belgian, and six different herbs that are added at different stages of brewing.

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