Saturday, February 22, 2014

Of Monks and Ale.

Last week I was happy to find my local beer purveyor had in stock the new Spencer Trappist Ale.  This is the first Trappist Ale brewed in the USA and even more amazing, it's brewed right here in Massachusetts.

Spencer Trappist Ale

Only since December 10th, 2013 has the Abbey been making ale, it is certified as the first Trappist brewery in the United States.  This is the same Abbey that makes the delicious Trappist Preserves line of jams and jellies.  Those monks keep themselves busy!

The Spencer Trappist Ale is a blonde and comes in at 6.5%.  It's not cheap, a 4 pack was nearly $20, so I settled for one 12oz bottle for $4.95 (I believe, it was about $5).

I would say that it's good, but it's not $20 good.  I'm glad I got to try some, but also glad I didn't shell out for the 4 pack.  I found the ale to be nicely crisp, fruity and maybe a hint of citrus, although that last bit was disagreed upon by the folks I shared it with.  It's a good introduction to Trappist ales, if that's something you are not familiar with.  I do hope that after the novelty dies down that maybe the price will too, because otherwise, I won't be drinking this very often.  
It's worth trying, certainly, and I do want to support a local industry...but, it's not cheap.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brew Blast: Moa Brewing

I ran into this beer at the store I pop into on my way home from work, when I need to refresh my beer reserves.  It caught my eye because it was called Moa, since I've been to the land of Moa, beautiful New Zealand, I was intrigued (it's also got an eye catching black label and Moa embossed on the glass).

Moa Brewing: St. Josephs

St. Josephs is a Belgian style tripel, it's 9.5% alcohol and ran me $5.95 for a 12.7 oz corked bottle.  It's got a beautiful golden hazyness and creamy head.  It's a solid Belgian tripel style, tangy and sweet and a bit bitter.  It's very easy to drink, but this is also not a "I'm at a bbq!" kind of easy to drink.  I wish I could describe it better but my taste buds are not up to the task of such refinery.  It's a very affordable fancy beer, it's very tasty.  Now just trust your Uncle Good and go out and buy some!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Brew Blast: Old Fezziwig

I've been saving the two precious bottles of Old Fezziwig for a couple of weeks, I meant to have one on Christmas, but was too full after finishing a bottle of St. Bernardus.  Then I meant to have one at New Years, but never got around to it then either.
Well, today was a snow day so I decided not to wait any longer because if I blink again, it'll be Spring.

Samuel Adams: Old Fezziwig Ale

The last of the Sam Adams Winter Mix pack, this is one of my favorites.  I think it's just about become a tradition for me, a tasty festively spiced ale that tastes of Christmas.

Orange peel, cinnamon and ginger, oh my.  The alcohol percentage is 5.9%.  It's crisp and refreshing and somehow warming.  It's something I can easily imagine the titular character serving up at his Christmas party.  I think part of the appeal of Old Fezziwig is that it's limited, you only get 2 so you have to be sure to enjoy them.  I guess you can buy as many mix packs as you want, but that seems to cheapen the idea.  I like that I can only have a little bit a year, it makes it special and it makes me appreciate the ale that much more.
So, yeah, tradition.  Delicious tradition.

Happy New Year!  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brew Blast: Cherry Chocolate Bock

I'm back again with more beer!  

Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock

This is another special seasonal from Sam Adams that you can find in this years Winter Mix pack.  It seems that this year the brewers at Sam Adams decided to add cherries to their usual chocolate bock and the result is as tasty as you'd imagine.

It smells like maraschino cherries and tastes a bit like a cherry cordial.  It's not as sweet as you might expect from that description, I'm guessing since they used cocoa nibs instead of full on chocolate.  It's very smooth and goes down easily.

The whole mix pack usually runs around $13-$15, but there's generally one 2 of each beer.  Luckily this year is, so far, filled with lots of tasty treats, unluckily, you only get 2 per box and no way to get it otherwise, unless you find a pub with it on tap.  The bock also is an average 5%, nothing wrong with that.

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!