Thursday, December 26, 2013

Brew Blast: Christmas Ale

I picked this up a few weeks ago and put it under the tree for myself to save for Christmas night (I figured I'd need a stiff brew after the day with family ;)

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

This is a Belgian Abbey Ale, the St. Bernardus brewery started in 1946 and according to the label is made using artesian water pumped from a depth of 500 feet (fancy!).  The bottles can be aged up to 15 years, so if I had a cellar, I'd give it a shot, although I doubt I could wait that long to drink it.

This ale is very dark with a sweet fruityness.  The head is very thick and creamy as you can surmise from the picture.  I quite enjoyed it, but it took me a good while to polish off the bottle alone.  It's a hearty drink and considering the bottle is 1 pint, 9.4oz, there's a lot to enjoy, not to mention it's a whopping 10% alcohol.  I think $15 was a fair price for that much yum. 

Brew Blast: Gingerbread Stout

The holidays provide ample time to try all sorts of seasonal brews and this year I got to try a whole bunch.  

Samuel Adams: Merry Maker

Wow! What a difference from last years recipe!  I believe this was first available last year as a special seasonal.  I was disappointed to find it way too sweet and not enough gingerbread taste.  I decided to give it another shot this year and found that they have tweaked the recipe to perfection!  

Merry Maker smells and tastes like gingerbread and molasses, it's sweet but well balanced with some clove and cinnamon.  I was absolutely satisfied and this beer lives up to it's name.  Delicious!

The bottle was $6.99 and 9%.  I hope they don't tweak anything for next year, I think this is a keeper.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Brew Blast: Juniper IPA

Realizing that it was nearly Christmas and I had not had any Old Fezziwig, I grabbed a Samuel Adams Winter Mix pack on my way home from work and remedied the situation.

One of the new beers this year is:

Samuel Adams Juniper IPA

I was excited for this one.  I do enjoy juniper and I'm pretty satisfied with this.  It's a pleasant IPA, not too hoppy but definitely an IPA and the juniper adds a bit of Christmas to the mix.  It's lightly sweet, which according to the label is due to the berries themselves.  TinyDoom took a sip and declared it "too poisiony", she's against hoppy beers, I can't entirely disagree, I'm very particular about IPAs.  This one I find very easy to drink and is not so bitter that I feel like I need a glass of water after my drink.  

Juniper IPA is a welcome addition to one of my favorite seasonal mix packs, I'm sorry to see the Holiday Porter absent this year, but the addition of Cherry Chocolate Stout might make up for it.  I'll let you know!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brew Blast: Fireside Chat

Continuing the beers I bought myself for my birthday, I present to you a nice winter spiced ale:

21st Amendment Brewery: Fireside Chat

This San Francisco based brewery always has cans and the art is always fantastic.  I've had a few of their beers and some have been better than others.  Bitter American, their IPA was very drinkable, but I found their Summer Seasonal, "Hell or High Watermelon" a bit too sweet, but I digress, we're not talking about those today.  Today is about Fireside Chat, a pleasant hearty ale, perfect for a cold winter night.  It's a rich drink, nicely spiced (including chocolate nibs), with a malty caramel sweetness.  

I would say this is my favorite from 21st Amendment, at least so far.  It definitely makes me want to try more from them.  

I don't remember exactly how much the six pack was, under $10 at least and the ale clocks in at a respectable 7.9%.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Brew Blast: Winter Welcome Ale

We're well into my second favorite beer season, Winter!  Today I have a delicious ale from one of England's oldest breweries:

Samuel Smith: Winter Welcome Ale

Sam Smith doesn't make a bad beer, they've been around since 1758 so they know what they're doing.  I picked this up locally for about $4 for a pint, it clocks in at 6%. 
Malty, a bit creamy and smooth, lightly spiced and a bit of a toffee aftertaste.  This is a lovely ale to sip by a fire and a great winter beer.

I should come up with a rating system for these posts, if I do, this would score highly.  It's probably not too difficult to find, so seek it out and enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brew Blast: Field Mouse's Farewell

After a brief break (i.e.-I haven't had any new beers), Brew Blast returns.  I literally just got home from the store where I spent some of the birthday gift card that has been burning a hole in my pocket, on beer.  I picked up a few things for the blog (yeah, that's the ticket) and now I present the first:

Pretty Things: Field Mouse's Farewell

Pretty Things is a local brewery that makes some pretty interesting beers.  Their bottle artwork is pretty eye catching and generally quite beautiful.  Their beers tend to be artful also, sometimes a bit too artsy for me, but they rarely disappoint.  
Field Mouse's Farewell is their Amber Saison seasonal.  I'm not big on saison's, for some reason they tend to give me instant and harsh heartburn, so I try to stay away from them.  I didn't realize this was a saison when I bought it, I was kind of swayed by the charming art and name.  

That said, I have been drinking this for the past few minutes and so far so good.  It's citrusy and has a lot of orange spicy-ness, it's a hearty tasting brew, but I find saisons often are.  A pint bottle runs about $7 and is 7% alcohol.  It's pleasant and a bit sweet, but not overly so, with a hint of hops.  

I'm finding it hard to say anymore, since I'm not big on this style, but I am enjoying it, so I give it a thumbs up.