Monthly Archives: September 2009

Port Brewing Hop-15 Ale Review

 

Hop-15 Ale is a big double IPA brewed by Port Brewing in the town of San Marcos, CA in the San Diego area. This 10% alcohol by volume beer is brewed using 15 different varieties of hops that are added every 15 minutes. It was originally brewer for the 15th Anniversary of Port Brewing but is now available year round.

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Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Mama’s Little Yella Pils is the latest addition to the canned beer offerings of Oskar Blues and their first canned lager. It was released earlier in 2009 just in time for the warm weather of summer. Speaking of summer this is a refreshing, crisp, malty beer that is perfect for warm weather.

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St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale Review

St. Peter's Ruby Red Ale Cask at The Jerusalem

On a recent vacation to London, a friend of mine, Allen, introduced me to The Jerusalem Tavern where we were in for a real treat: a full selection of St. Peter’s Brewery beers on tap and in bottles. One of the beers I tried was the Ruby Red Ale and although I drank it out of an acrylic pint glass, I was able to enjoy it outside with friends and it still tasted spectacular.

St. Peter’s Brewery describes Ruby Red Ale on their website as follows:

A tawny red ale with subtle malt undertones and a distinctive spicy hop aroma from Cascade. Ruby Red won a Silver Medal at the SIBA East Anglian Beer Festival in Bedford in October 2004.

Where I Found It. I had a pint of Ruby Red at The Jerusalem Tavern in London on August 11, 2009.

Serving Type. This beer was served from the cask into an acrylic pint glass.

Appearance. Thin off-white head with loose bubbles and does not last long. Clear red amber ruby mahogany color.

Smell. Ruby Red Ale has a sweet crystal malt aroma which is more sweet and roasted than biscuit-like. The fruity sweetness almost reminds me of watermelon, sweet and refreshing. The hop aroma is subtle and sweet.

Taste. This beer as a smooth sweetness with a kick of bitterness at the end. It has roasted sweetness with a flavor of vanilla. I also has a wonderfully unique flavor which is hard to describe. There is a hint of cocao which gives a slight dark chocolate flavor enhanced by the bitterness of the hops. This beer, to me, seems quite bitter, but at the time of writing, during my London trip, I have had several barely hopped English ales. So on the spectrum of English bitters, this beer is much more bitter.

Mouthfeel. Ruby Red Ale is medium bodied with low carbonation. It has just the right amount of thickness for the flavor. Not watery and not syrupy.

Drinkability. Delicious and a refreshing departure from the almost too easy to drink English ales.

St. Peter's Ruby Red Ale in an acrylic pint glass outside

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.0
  • Smell (20%): 4.5
  • Taste (40%): 4.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 4.0
  • Overall: 4.1

Information

  • Style: English Bitter
  • Brewery: St. Peter’s Brewery
  • Alcohol by volume: 4.3%
  • Hops: Cascade aroma hops
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.88 (as of September 18, 2009)

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Favorite Summer Beers of 2009

Drinking blonde bier in Dinant

For the September, BetterBeerBlog is hosting with the topic of Summer Beer for The Session #31. Peter asks the simple question, “what was your favorite beer of the summer?” On the surface, this is a simple question but for this topic the beer doesn’t even need to be a summer beer style, just your favorite beer of this or any other summer.

This year, I don’t have one favorite, I have 6 and I barely recall what all 6 were. I didn’t write them down, didn’t review them, and took maybe 1 picture one of them. In fact, I had to dig to get the names for this article. I just enjoyed them in the moment. These “favorite” 6 beers of the summer were the ones that were paired with a wonderful meal that my wife and I ate at Den Dijver in Bruges, Belgium less than 4 weeks ago.

Why these six beers? First and foremost, it was the memory of the situation: we were together in Brugge, a beautiful European Medieval town, the weather was perfect, we were eating lunch outside in a garden patio, the food was exquisite, the beer was delicious, and the pairings were perfect. The whole situation was very enjoyable and memorable.

The beer pairing, itself, was another reason why these were my favorite beers of the summer. Each course had exactly the right beer to go with the dish. One particularly memorable pairing was grilled sardines and a hoppy, bitter Belgian beer. Sardines have a very strong flavor but this hoppy beer held up and was a strong counterpart that complimented the fish. Another great pairing was an dry, tart oude geuze paired with a cheese for dessert.

Finally, the beers themselves were excellent on their own. We had the house beer, which I think was something by Halve Maan, the only brewery in the city limits of Brugge, Koriala from Brouwerij Lupiline, Steenbrugge Wit from Brouwerij Palm, Chimay Cinq CentsMoinette Brune from Brasserie Dupont, and Oude Geuze from Brouwerij Cantillon.

In summary, my favorite summer beers of 2009 and possibly all time were more centered around the circumstances in which we enjoyed them than the quality of each beer on its own. That is now to say, however, that these 6 beers are not excellent on their own but had I enjoyed any one of these beers in a different circumstance during the summer, they would not have been my favorite beers of the summer.

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Hangar 24 Orange Wheat Review

Hangar 24 Orange Wheat in front of tap handles

Over the summer while I was visiting Southern California I searched for a brewery in the area and found Hangar 24 Brewery in Redlands, California. I arranged for a visit and tried all of the beers on tap at the time. More on the brewery tour in a future post.

Hangar 24’s flagship and most popular beer is Orange Wheat, a wonderful summertime, or any time, American style wheat beer made with oranges. The oranges in this beer are organic and are sourced from local growers from the Inland Orange Conservancy. The oranges are pureed whole and added to the beer giving it a strong orange natural flavor.

Hangar 24 tap handles for Orange Wheat and Helles LagerWhere I Found It. I tried this beer at Hangar 24 Brewery in Redlands, California on June 6, 2009.

Serving Type. I tried Orange Wheat from the tap into a plastic cup.

Appearance. This beer has a pale yellow pastel color and has a cloudy appearance, as you would expect a wheat beer to be. The head was frothy and lasted a good amount of time, especially for a fruit beer. With the style of beer in mind, it has a refreshing appearance like grapefruit juice.

Smell. The aroma and bouquet of Orange Wheat is primarily related to the oranges in the beer. It has a strong smell of fresh squeezed orange  juice, orange rind, and orange rind. It has an inviting tangy smell accompanied by a hint of grainy and bready aroma.

Taste. Orange Wheat is exactly how I think that an orange beer should taste. It has the perfect blend of fresh natural oranges and beer and does not taste nor like orange candy like some other of the orange beers on the market. Just like the smell it has flavors or orange juice and slightly tart and acidic making it clean and crisp. The malt reveals itself as a slight grainy sweetness of wheat and barley while finishing more dry than sweet. There is little to no discernible bitterness in this beer.

Hangar 24 Orange Wheat labelsMouthfeel. This beer is light bodied with a refreshing amount of carbonation. Orange Wheat has a slight and pleasant orange aftertaste.

Drinkability. This beer is thirst quenching and very easy to drink. It has an ideal blend of orange and beer and tastes fresh both with regard to the beer and the oranges. It is crisp, light, and easy to consume several in one sitting. Although it might be best suited for a warm summer day, it is also great for any time of day in any California season.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.0
  • Smell (20%): 4.5
  • Taste (40%): 5.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 5.0
  • Overall: 4.6

A serving of Hangar 24 Orange Wheat

Information

  • Style: American Wheat, Fruit Beer
  • Brewery: Hangar 24 Brewery website, twitter, facebook
  • Alcohol by volume: 4.6% abv
  • Other ingredients: whole pureed oranges
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.83 (as of September 5, 2009)

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