Saturday, May 31, 2008


Well, here it is, a complete list of the beers I have rated. Cataloging these beers has been suggested to me by several people, and honestly, with my poor memory I really need it as well. I know that I will be using this on my next trip to the bottle store and I hope that you will print one off as well. (And in case you are wondering, there are 431 beers in all here!)

Beer, Score

Abita Christmas Ale, 7
Abita Jockamo IPA, 4
Allagash Grand Cru, 10
Allagash Tripel Reserve, 10
Allagash White, 9
Amnesia Copacetic IPA, 8
Amnesia Desolation IPA, 7
Amnesia The ESB, 7
Anchor Christmas Ale, 4
Anchor Liberty Ale, 6
Anchor Old Foghorn Ale, 5
Anchor Porter, 8
Anchor Steam Beer, 5
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, 9
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, 8
Andrews St. Nick Porter, 8
Arrogant Bastard Ale, 9
Asahi Super Dry, 3
Atlantic Coal Porter, 5
Avery 14er ESB, 6
Avery Karma Ale, 5
Avery Out of Bounds Stout, 9
Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA, 9
Avery The Reverend, 9

Bass Pale Ale, 6
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, 10
Belfast Bay Lobster Ale, 4
Belhaven Scottish Ale / Export / 80 Shilling, 7
Bell Lager, 2
Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter, 9
Berkshire Draymens Porter, 8
Berkshire Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, 8
Berkshire River Ale, 5
Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, 4
Berkshire Traditional Pale Ale, 7
Berkshire Springs Stock Ale, 4
Blue Moon Belgian White Ale, 5
Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, 6
Blue Point Honey Moon Summer Ale, 6
Boddington Pub Ale, 2
Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused, 7
Boulder Beer Mojo IPA, 8
Boulder Beer Pass Time Pale Ale, 3
Boulder Beer Planet Porter, 6
Boulder Sundance Amber Ale, 4
BridgePort Blue Heron Ale, 6
BridgePort IPA, 8
BridgePort Ropewalk Amber Ale, 6
Brooklyn Brown Ale, 8
Brooklynator Doppelbock, 5
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, 5
Brooklyn Lager, 7
Brooklyn Winter Ale, 6
Buzzards Bay Alt, 4
Buzzards Bay Black Lager, 5
Buzzards Bay Hefeweizen, 2
Buzzards Bay Pilsner, 6

Cambridge Amber, 8
Cambridge Blunderbuss Barley Wine, 9
Cambridge Charles River Porter, 8
Cambridge Espresso Stout, 9
Cambridge Tall Tale Pale Ale, 7
Cambridge Tripel Threat, 7
Cape Ann Fishermans Brew, 8
Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout, 8
Carling Black Label, 3
Carlsberg Brown (Malawi), 4
Casco Bay Brown Ale, 4
Casco Bay Carrabassett Pale Ale, 5
Casco Bay Pale Ale, 7
Casco Bay Riptide Red Ale, 9
Casco Bay Summer Ale, 8
Castle Lager, 1
Castle Milk Stout, 6
Cerveja Super Bock, 2
Chibuku Shake Shake, 0
Cisco Gray Lady Hefeweizen, 6
Cisco Whales Tale Pale Ale, 3
Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3, 8
Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night, 7
Concord North Woods Ale, 7
Concord Rapscallion Creation, 4
Cooperstown Back Yard IPA, 5
Cooperstown Benchwarmer, 8
Cooperstown Nine Man Ale, 4
Cooperstown Old Slugger, 3
Cooperstown Pride of Milford Special Ale, 7
Cooperstown Strike Out Stout, 5
Corona Extra, 3
Cottrell Old Yankee Ale, 8

Deschutes Bachelor ESB, 8
Deschutes Black Butte Porter, 10
Deschutes Cinder Cone Red Ale, 9
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, 10
Deschutes Obsidian Stout, 9
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, 9
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA, 10
Dogfish Head ApriHop, 7
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 8
Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir, 8
Dogfish Head Pangaea, 7
Dogfish Head Raison D Etre, 8
Dogfish Head Red and White, 8
Dos Equis XX Amber, 5

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, 6
Endurance Glacier Gold, 6

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, 5
Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat, 2
Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter, 7
Fosters Lager, 2
Founder's Centennial IPA, 6
Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA, 6
Founders Reds Rye, 9
Full Sail Amber Ale (USA), 9
Full Sail IPA, 8
Full Sail Rip Curl, 8
Full Sail Session Premium Lager, 9
Fuller's London Porter, 7

Gearys Autumn Ale, 9
Gearys Hampshire Special Ale, 9
Gearys London Porter, 9
Gearys Pale Ale, 7
Gearys Summer Ale, 8
Gearys Winter Ale, 6
George Killians Irish Red, 6
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, 9
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 9
Great Divide St. Bridgets Porter (St. Brigids), 7
Gritty McDuffs Best Bitter, 7
Gritty McDuffs Black Fly Stout, 5
Gritty McDuffs Christmas Ale, 8
Gritty McDuffs Halloween Ale, 9
Gritty McDuffs India Pale Ale, 9
Gritty McDuffs Lions Pride Brown Ale, 5
Gritty McDuffs Original Pub Style, 8
Gritty McDuffs Raspberry Wheat, 5
Gritty McDuffs Scottish Ale, 7
Gritty McDuffs Vacationland Summer Ale, 8
Guinness Draught, 7
Guinness Extra Stout (North America), 3

Hansa Pilsener, 3
Harpoon Ale, 5
Harpoon Brown, 6
Harpoon Hibernian Ale, 5
Harpoon IPA, 6
Harpoon Smoked Porter, 6
Harpoon Summer Beer, 3
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen, 7
Harpoon Winter Warmer, 3
Heartland Big Belgian Blonde Ale, 6
Heartland Buffalo Bock, 5
Heartland Cornhusker Lager, 2
Heartland Farmer Jons Oatmeal Stout, 7
Heartland Harvest Wheat, 3
Heartland Indian River Light, 3
Heartland Indiana Pale Ale, 5
Heartland Red Rooster Ale, 5
HeBrew Messiah Bold, 7
Heineken, 3
Henry Weinhards Blue Boar Pale Ale, 6
Henry Weinhards Private Reserve, 7
Hook and Ladder Golden Ale, 3
Hoppin Frog BORIS The Crusher, 9
Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi, 10

Ipswich Dark Ale, 9
Ipswich India Pale Ale, 7
Ipswich Oatmeal Stout, 10
Ipswich Original Ale, 8
Ipswich Summer Ale, 4

Jacks Pumpkin Spice Ale, 6

Kelso Nut Brown Lager, 7
Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, 1
Kuche Kuche, 1

Lagunitas Pils, 8
Lake Placid IPA (Frostbite Ale), 9
Lake Placid Ubu, 6
Lakefront Fuel Cafe, 3
Left Hand Milk Stout, 9
Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat, 3
Liberal Cup Alewife Ale, 8
Liberal Cup Backhouse Bitter, 7
Liberal Cup Bug Lager, 6
Liberal Cup Tarbox Cream Stout, 8
Long Trail Ale, 7
Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat, 7
Long Trail Double Bag, 8
Long Trail Hibernator, 5
Long Trail Hit the Trail Ale, 6
Long Trail India Pale Ale, 5
Lucky Labrador Dog Day IPA, 8
Lucky Labrador Hawthornes Best Bitter, 7

Mackeson XXX Stout, 7
Magic Hat #9, 7
Magic Hat Fat Angel, 6
Magic Hat Hi.P.A., 7
Magic Hat Hocus Pocus, 6
Magic Hat Irish Red Ale, 7
Magic Hat Jinx, 6
Magic Hat Roxy Rolles, 8
Magic Hat Y33, 3
Mash Tun Alberta Pale Ale, 2
Mayflower Pale Ale, 7
Mayflower Porter, 7
McMenamins Concordia Pale Ale, 5
McMenamins Hammerhead Ale, 5
McMenamins Nebraska Bitter, 7
McMenamins Ruby, 3
McMenamins Terminator Stout, 7
Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale, 2
Mendocino Red Tail Ale, 5
Middle Ages Beast Bitter, 7
Middle Ages Kilt Tilter, 4
Modelo Especial, 3
Montana Brewing Whitetail Wheat, 8
Mosi Lager, 1

Negra Modelo, 6
New Belgium Fat Tire, 8
Newcastle Brown Ale, 7
Newport Storm Gloria, 6
Newport Storm Henry, 6
Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale, 4
Newport Storm's Irish Red, 3
Newport Storm Regenschauer Oktoberfest, 6
Ndovu, 1
Nile Special Lager, 1
North Coast Blue Star, 8
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, 10
North Coast Red Seal, 9
Northampton Black Cat Stout, 6
Northampton Maggies Wee Heavy, 8
Northampton Old Brown Dog, 6
Northampton Pale Ale, 8
Northampton Redheaded Stepchild, 6
Northampton Steamer, 7

Offshore India Pale Ale, 7
Olde Burnside Dirty Penny, 9
Olde Burnside Ten Penny Ale, 6
Ommegang, 8
Ommegang Hennepin, 9
Opa-Opa Steakhouse Red Rock, 7
Orlio Organic Black Lager, 5
Orlio Organic Common Ale, 6
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale, 10
Otter Creek Copper Ale, 4
Otter Creek Otter San, 3
Otter Creek Pale Ale, 5
Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale, 3
Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, 5
Otter Creek White Sail, 4

Pabst Blue Ribbon, 4
Paper City Batch 108, 8
Paper City Blonde Hop Monster, 8
Paper City One Eared Monkey, 2
Paper City PC Blue, 2
Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale, 3
Pearl Street Canal Street Stout, 9
Pearl Street Lake Effect Pale Ale, 7
Pearl Street Trainwreck, 4
Pennichuck Bagpipers Scottish Ale, 5
Pennichuck Black Lager, 8
Pennichuck Engine No. 5 Firehouse Red Ale, 6
Pennichuck Halligan RyePA, 7
Petes Wicked Strawberry Blonde, 5
Port Brewing Wipeout IPA, 8
Primus, 1

Redhook Blonde Ale, 4
Redhook CopperHook Spring Ale, 4
Redhook ESB, 7
Redhook Long Hammer IPA, 3
Redhook Sunrye, 5
Ringwood Old Thumper (USA), 6
Rock Bottom American Dream IPA, 7
Rock Bottom Improper Hopper IPA, 5
Rock Bottom Lumpy Dog Light Lager, 1
Rock Bottom Mad Cow Milk Stout, 6
Rock Bottom Munich Gold, 4
Rock Bottom North Star Amber Ale, 2
Rock Bottom Off-Kilter Scotch Ale, 5
Rock Bottom Pumpkin Ale, 6
Rodenbach Classic, 8
Rogue American Amber, 6
Rogue Chocolate Stout, 8
Rogue Dead Guy Ale, 9
Rogue Mocha Porter, 7
Rogue Shakespeare Stout, 7
Roots Organic Burghead Heather Ale, 7
Roots Organic EXXXcalibur Imperial Stout, 8
Roots Organic Pond Turtle Pale Ale, 8

Safari Lager, 2
Sagres, 6
Samuel Adams Black Lager, 9
Samuel Adams Boston Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Boston Lager, 9
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, 4
Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, 1
Samuel Adams Cream Stout, 8
Samuel Adams Double Bock, 8
Samuel Adams Dunkel Weiss, 7
Samuel Adams Hefeweizen, 5
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, 8
Samuel Adams Honey Porter, 2
Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner, 6
Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale, 6
Samuel Adams Light, 5
Samuel Adams LongShot Grape Pale Ale, 3
Samuel Adams LongShot Weizenbock, 9
Samuel Adams Octoberfest, 8
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, 5
Samuel Adams Pale Ale, 4
Samuel Adams Scotch Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Summer Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Triple Bock, 1
Samuel Adams White Ale, 3
Samuel Adams Winter Lager, 6
Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout, 5
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout, 10
Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale, 4
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, 8
Sapporo Premium Draft, 3
Saranac Adirondack Amber, 4
Saranac Black and Tan, 5
Saranac IPA, 4
Saranac Pale Ale, 5
Saranac Pumpkin Ale, 4
Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale, 3
Sebago Fryes Leap IPA, 7
Sebago Hefeweizen, 3
Sebago Lake Trout Stout, 9
Serengeti Premium Lager, 1
Sheepscot Valley Bold Coast Pemaquid Ale, 6
Sherwood Forest Archers Ale, 5
Sherwood Forest Sheriffs IPA, 8
Shipyard Blue Fin Stout, 7
Shipyard Brown Ale, 3
Shipyard Export Ale, 9
Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale, 6
Shipyard Prelude Ale, 7
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, 8
Shipyard Summer Ale, 6
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, 7
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, 9
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Early Spring Beer, 7
Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Porter, 9
Sierra Nevada Stout, 8
Sierra Nevada Summerfest, 7
Singha, 4
Smithwicks Ale, 4
Smuttynose Big A IPA, 10
Smuttynose IPA, 3
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, 6
Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager, 6
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, 6
Smuttynose Robust Porter, 10
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, 9
Smuttynose Summer Weizen Ale, 6
Smuttynose Winter Ale, 7
Southampton Double White Ale, 9
Southampton ESB, 10
Southern Tier IPA, 8
Southern Tier Phin & Matts Extraordinary Ale, 6
Southern Tier Porter, 8
Southern Tier Raspberry Porter, 5
Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat Beer, 3
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale, 5
St. John Brewers Virgin Islands Pale Ale, 2
St. Pauli Girl Lager, 3
St. Pauli Girl Special Dark, 3
Stone India Pale Ale, 9
Stone Pale Ale, 9
Stone Ruination IPA, 8
Stone Russian Imperial Stout, 5
Stone Coast 840 IPA, 8
Stone Coast Knuckleball Bock, 4
Stone Coast Sunsplash Golden Ale, 2
Stoudts American Pale Ale, 9
Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB, 6

Taj Mahal, 2
The Tap American Pale Ale, 7
The Tap Bock, 7
The Tap Chocolate Porter, 8
The Tap Haverale Cream Ale, 6
The Tap Hewitt Brown, 6
The Tap Irish Stout, 7
The Tap Leatherlips IPA, 9
The Tap Nut Brown, 7
The Tap Whittier White, 7
Tiger Beer, 2
Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Lager, 3
Trinity Belgian Gold, 6
Trinity Brown Ale, 6
Trinity Hefe Weizen, 5
Trinity Larkens Irish Stout, 7
Trinity Rhode Island IPA, 8
Trinity Russian Imperial Stout, 9
Trinity Special Kolsch, 8
Tsingtao, 2
Tuckerman Pale Ale, 8
Tusker Lager, 2

Uganda Breweries Pilsner Lager, 1
Union Station Belgian Tripel, 4

Victory Festbier, 6
Victory Golden Monkey, 9
Victory HopDevil, 9
Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, 4
Victory Prima Pils, 8
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout, 10
Victory Whirlwind Witbier, 4

Wachusett Blueberry, 5
Wachusett Summer Breeze, 4
Wachusett Winter Ale, 7
Watch City Hops Explosion IPA, 9
Watch City Moody Street Stout, 7
Watch City Titan Brown Ale, 9
Watch City Totem Pale Ale, 8
Watch City Uber-Okto-Lager, 6
Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, 8
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion, 7
Weyerbacher Winter Ale, 4
Widmer Brothers Drop Top Amber Ale, 8
Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, 9
Widmer Brothers Snow Plow, 7
Widmer Brothers W06 NW Red Ale, 8
Windhoek Lager, 3
Wolavers India Pale Ale, 7
Woodstock Inn Pigs Ear Brown Ale, 5

Young's Oatmeal Stout, 9
Yuengling Traditional Lager, 8

Z Street Mocha Java Stout, 8

Friday, May 30, 2008


Okay, time to talk about a few beers that have been forgotten in the shuffle. Here are my notes on a few random beers sampled over the past several months.

Casco Bay Brown Ale
Bottle -- Kappy's, Malden
dark pour... sweet and roasted malts in aroma... flavor again of sweet malts, some nuttiness, and molasses -- kind of boring really... syrupy texture... another one-dimensional brown.
Score: 4

Newport Storm Gloria (Cyclone Series)
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
a pumpkin ale. good size head on pour... heavily spiced aroma -- think pumpkin pie... sweet malts, cinnamon, even some finishing hops in taste... lively mouthfeel... surprisingly good.
Score: 6

Newport Storm Regenschauer Oktoberfest
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
a marzen style lager. nice looking amber pour... odor of sour grain and yeast... taste is of toasted malts, and maybe a little skunky... slightly bitter finish. has many of the characteristics of a mild belgian. not bad.
Score: 6

Sam Adams Triple Bock
Bottle -- Liquor Warehouse, Fall River
okay, so in the interest of full disclosure i started with high expectations for this one... although i think that is fair since an 8 oz bottle cost $10. however it wouldn't have mattered how low my expectations were since this was absolutely horrendous, totally undrinkable. all you taste is alcohol and soy sauce. dan, his brother matt, and i (all of whom appreciate a good brandy) could not finish the bottle. i think it is still on top of his fridge. mercifully, jim koch actually retired this one.
Score: 1

Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
minimal aroma... i was surprised to find caramel and toffee malts dominating the flavor -- bland overall... watery body. i like my extra special bitter's bitter; simply too malty.
Score: 5

Wolavers India Pale Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
translucent, golden, thin whispy head... tempered hop aroma... tangy, piney, bitter hops and fruit in taste -- very flavorful. this is one of the best organic beers i have had.
Score: 7

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Drinking in Fall River

As I prepare to move out of Fall River, I thought it would be fitting to share my experience of drinking on the South Shore. Of course there are plenty of bars in Fall River, but you would be lucky to find a Sam Adams, forget about a decent microbrew. Having lived here for over a year, the best I could find is Barrett's Alehouse (some Vermont seasonals: Magic Hat, Long Trail, Otter Creek, Orlio) and the St. James Irish Pub (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap, at one time Buzzards Bay Black Lager, and free fried food on Friday night's...)

The good news is that decent bottle stores are far more accessible. Cardoza's Wine and Spirits has several stores in and around Fall River, and provided many of the beers I have written about on this blog. Great selection of 750ml bottles and elite California and Colorado brewers. People's Liquor Warehouse is just down the street from my house and went from having literally no microbrewed beers to a whole aisle jammed with six-packs in a matter of months. Chris Gasbarro's Wine and Spirits in Seekonk and Swansea, however, takes the prize. With a huge number of brewers, and well-organized, clearly priced singles, Gasbarro's is a must visit. Here's what I picked up on my last trip there.

Abita Jockamo IPA
Bottle -- Chris Gasbarro's Wine and Spirits, Seekonk
clear orange-copper pour with healthy head... notes of citrus, hay, and sweet malts in aroma... bitterness and some orange rind hits tongue first... followed by nothing at all -- no finish... unpleasant lingering mouthfeel that is sticky with some butteriness... this is definitely out of the mainstream for ipa's. take a pass.
Appearance: 3/5, Aroma: 6/10, Flavor: 3/10, Palate: 2/5, Overall: 8/20, Total: 2.2
Score: 4

Boulder Pass Time Pale Ale
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
an english pale ale. minor floral hop aroma... bitter, slightly skunky taste... watery texture. not much to this one, very weak.
App: 2/5, Aro: 3/10, Flv: 4/10, Pal: 2/5, Ovr: 7/20, Tot: 1.8
Score: 3

Boulder Planet Porter
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
there was no aroma at first but i chalked this up to the beer being too cold... sure enough, after warming it with my hands a roasted chocolate aroma emerged... roasted malt, slightly sour... kind of flat, dry, light and watery... i enjoyed this beer (especially compared to the other two), but this was really an average porter.
App: 3/5, Aro: 4/10, Flv: 6/10, Pal: 3/5, Ovr: 12/20, Tot: 2.8
Score: 6

Boulder Sundance Amber Ale
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
caramel malts and nutty flavor... no hop presence... very bland and watery... totally uninspiring. i was excited upon buying this mixed pack of boulder for a party, but wound up thoroughly disappointed. the brewers reputation took a real hit with me here...
App: 2/5, Aro: 4/10, Flv: 3/10, Pal: 3/5, Ovr: 10/20, Tot: 2.2
Score: 4

Lakefront Fuel Cafe
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
a coffee stout from wisconsin, interesting. head disappears instantaneously... not a good start. it didn't get any better either: aroma of sickeningly-sweet molasses, flavor of burnt coffee, syrupy, overly-carbonated mouthfeel similar to drinking a soda. i was decidedly unimpressed.
App: 2/5, Aro: 4/10, Flv: 4/10, Pal: 1/5, Ovr: 7/20, Tot: 1.8
Score: 3

Middle Ages Beast Bitter
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
golden/orange, big frothy head. sweet malts and floral, citrus hops on aroma... a great smell! flavor is less exciting, but pretty well-balanced. smooth, textured mouthfeel. good.
App: 3/5, Aro: 10/10, Flv: 6/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 12/20, Tot: 3.5
Score: 7

Lagunitas Pils
Bottle -- Gasbarro's
light gold color, thin head... sweet raisins and grassy hops on nose... flavor is mostly fruit: citrusy, tangy... malts thicken it out to a medium-bodied brew, with a slight stickiness... this reminds me a lot of a white wine. i don't know if this is what bohemian pilsners are supposed to be like, but i enjoyed it.
App: 3/5, Aro: 8/10, Flv: 8/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 13/20, Tot: 3.6
Score: 8

Cream of the crop:
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
Can -- Gasbarro's
big head, very carbonated... even the aroma is balanced, with both big pine and citrus hops and sweet malts coming through... in the flavor, malts again check hops to create a nicely balanced, flavorful beer... very smooth. i very much like the concept of providing a quality microbrew in a can for outdoorsy occasions, so definite bonus points there. search this one out.
App: 4/5, Aro: 9/10, Flv: 9/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 19/20, Tot: 4.5
Score: 10

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Few Foreign Beers

I have mentioned this before, but I have very intentionally been focusing on trying beers from domestic microbreweries rather than foreign brewers. From my limited experiences with beers from other countries I have come to believe that American brewers are far stronger than many give them credit for. While domestic microbrews interest me more right now, I am looking forward to trying more European beers, and am really saving them for later when I start to run out of new, accessible American beers.

Of course, I don't turn down a foreign beer when it is put in front of me. Most of these were provided courtesy of my cigar-chomping, Lebron James-loving friend, Dan... so thank you, and better luck next year. Since I really just stole a few drinks of most of these, I'll limit myself to just a couple of comments but I would like to get my initial impressions down here.

Boddington Pub Ale
Tap -- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
hazy gold with unpleasant skunky smell... tastes the same way, with some biscuty malts... very bad.
Score: 2

Cerveja Super Bock
Bottle -- Sagres Restaurant, Fall River
very watery, flavorless... rival portugese brewer sagres is much, much better.
Score: 2

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale
Bottle -- British Beer Company, Walpole
chocolatey with some fruit in the background... creamy and thin... unlike anything i had tried before -- not bad.
Score: 6

Fuller's London Porter
Bottle -- British Beer Company, Walpole
i thought this was watery and weak flavored... my expectations were really high for this one too. not sure what happened here but i will try it again.
Score: 5

Mackeson XXX Stout
Bottle -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
impressive dark pour... definitely a sweet stout... and quite strong. (note: this british standard was brewed by sam adams brewery in cincinatti...)
Score: 7

Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
Bottle -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
some dry chocolate and lots of roast here... it conjured up flavor of smoked ribs to me!
Score: 8

Smithwicks Ale
Tap -- St. James Pub, Fall River
malty, bland... meh.
Score: 4

Young's Oatmeal Stout
Bottle -- Stoneforge Grille, Easton
dark roast and chocolate... nice.
Score: 9

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Battle of the Porters

Summer is coming so time to drink up those dark beers. I don't totally buy this conventional wisdom since I love porters and stouts enough to drink them year round. That said, on a cold spring night these really hit the spot! But which hit the spot more is the question? Here we go, Smuttynose's Robust Porter versus Great Divide's St. Bridgets Porter!

Smuttynose Robust Porter
Bottle -- Chris Gasbarro's, Seekonk
wow, what a great looking beer: very dark with tan, churning, one-finger head. strong -- even robust -- aroma of roasted chocolate and hops. the first thing that strikes you in the taste is an astringent (i.e. dry and biting) bitterness. savory burnt coffee and chocolate sweetness tastes come next. pleasing bitterness softens to finish creamy and full-bodied. awesome label too. balanced, flavorful -- this is a great, well-rounded porter!
Appearance: 5/5, Aroma: 10/10, Flavor: 9/10, Palate: 4/5, Overall: 17/20, Total: 4.5
Score: 10

Great Divide St. Bridgets Porter
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Dartmouthfairly similar pour to the robust porter: dark brown with frothy off-white head. i caught a good amount of chocolate on the first whiff, fading to a general sweetness and fresh hops. taste is of a pretty standard porter: burnt malts, molasses, and chocolate. you do taste some hops in the background, but it plays a much smaller role here. body is a little watery, with the slightly syrupy texture found in many porters that kind of turns me off. a good beer from a good brewer; st. bridget just happened to run up against a ringer, that's all.
App: 3/5, Aro: 6/10, Flv: 7/10, Pal: 3/5, Ovr: 12/20, Tot: 3.1
Score: 7

Winner: Smuttynose Robust Porter

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Weekend Out

This past weekend I tried some new beers while out with friends. One was Union Brewhouse in Weymouth which I have spoken of before (and was less impressed with this time...) The second was Pour Judgement in Newport. Not exactly an extensive list of brews, but very high quality -- a good mix of local and Colorado brewers. And you could get a burger, fries and beer of $8! Need I say more?

Cisco Gray Lady Hefeweizen
Tap -- Pour Judgement, Newport, RI
cloudy yellow body with smell of orange and yeast... this was the moment i realized that this was a belgian ale, not a hefeweizen. taste of banana confirmed my suspicions. fairly lively mouthfeel. not bad, but i had to take off points for mislabeling this a hef...
Score: 6

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
750 ml -- Pour Judgement
copper body and big, thick head on pour... great earthy hop aroma... sweet malts followed by citrus and bitter hops... chalky, dry finish... i split this bottle but still felt the 9% abv... not as extreme as most double ipa's -- i enjoyed it very much.
Score: 9

Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
golden with very faint smell of yeast... fairly typical belgian taste but with less fruit than usual... and not as much warming alcohol as i would expect for 8% abv either... don't get me wrong, this wasn't bad at all, but there are definitely better belgians out there.
Score: 7

Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse
my last choice of the night, and a mistake... dull, cardboard-like aroma... equally bland taste of grains with some harsh bitterness on finish... skip this one.
Score: 2

Berkshire River Ale
750 ml -- Towers Liquor Mart, Weymouth
a brown ale. presence of wheat malt is unmistakable -- what i did miss was the supposed nutty flavor. very sweet. the rare forgettable brew from bbc.
Score: 5

Best In Show:
North Coast Red Seal
Tap -- Union Brewhouse
an american pale ale that pours a reddish-copper with thick lacing... i couldn't detect any aroma (but that is probably more a product of the brewhouse than the brew)... hops balanced easily by malt profile... earthy/chewy texture, but still smooth... this would be a great session beer and is another fine offering from north coast brewery!
Score: 9

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rock Bottom and the Big-Box Brewers

I like breweries. When going out, whenever possible, I will choose a brewery over a bar. Even if that means choosing a Big-Box Brewer. If this term sounds like a slight, it kind of is.

Generally speaking, I would definte Big-Box Brewers as large chains of brewpubs that serve their own microbrewed beer. In previous posts I have rated several Big-Box Brewers: McMenamin's of Oregon, Heartland Brewery of New York City, and John Harvard's of Cambridge, Mass. I have not been to the biggest of the Big-Box Brewers, Hops Restaurant, Bar, Brewery, but I have been to its runner-up: Rock Bottom Brewery.

As you will see by my ratings below, I have not been overly impressed. (In fact, I haven't been impressed with any of the Big-Box Brewers that I have been to thus far...) In the case of Rock Bottom, they change what is on tap often enough, but the beers themselves are pretty simplistic and dull. I appreciate brewers trying to make beer drinkable, but Rock Bottom seems to have just dumbed everything down with watery brews.

Rock Bottom American Dream IPA
Sample -- Rock Bottom Brewery, Braintree, MA
the best rock bottom had to offer. earthy aroma of grapefruit and hay. malts undreneath prevent the brew from being too bitter. pretty good.
Score: 7

Rock Bottom Improper Hopper IPA
fresh, aromatic hops up-front. downhill from there though. weak, watery taste. hops almost disappear.
Score: 5

Rock Bottom Lumpy Dog Light Lager
a ridiculous beer. this is flavored water.
Score: 1

Rock Bottom Mad Cow Milk Stout
no aroma, roasted malt taste. a very light stout, to the point of being wholly unsatisfying. great name though...
Score: 6

Rock Bottom Munich Gold
thin, one-dimensional beer: overly malty and no hop presence. ho hum.
Score: 4

Rock Bottom North Star Amber Ale
another light gold, malty brew. so watery i could drink it all night without feeling a trace of alcohol.
Score: 2

Rock Bottom Off-Kilter Scotch Ale
caramel, toffee, and sweet malts. drinkable, but not really true to style...
Score: 5

Rock Bottom Pumpkin Ale
bready, spiced -- actually quite good. kelly got this one with whipped cream and brown sugar on the edges though, so not really a fair test.
Score: 6

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Is In My Fridge -- May

Anchor Christmas Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
dark brown, murky really. first thing that jumps out at you is wateriness. then flavor comes through: overly spiced, roasted. i didn't like this one.
Score: 4

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
amber body with big frothy head. sweet caramel malts and raisins aroma, with nutmeg/cinnamon, dark fruitiness/cough syrup, and alcohol emerge to create very full flavor. chewy yet smooth and light-bodied. i found this to be a really interesting beer.
Score: 8

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
Bottle -- People's Liquor Warehouse, Fall River
dark pour and the sizeable head quickly dwindles to some spotty lacing. aroma dominated by malts with a hint of brown sugar. i tasted the roasted malts, molasses, alcohol, and bittersweet chocolate on the finish. lively, full-bodied, with a velvety feel going down... to the point of being kind of syrupy. this unusual brown reminded me more of a hoppy porter -- quite good.
Score: 8

Harpoon Hibernian Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
reddish copper pour with a nearly flat head... minimal aroma of sweet, caramel malts and cherry cough syrup... flavor is more of the same... thin, quiet finish... lacking in character, attitude.
Score: 5

Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fall River
interesting ruby-brown color. scent dominated by raspberries, chocolate in background. sweet, syrupy raspberry taste... and metallic taste you get from drinking soda out of a can. very little chocolate, or malts for that matter. thin, watery body, and kind of acidic mouthfeel. not nice.
Score: 3

Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fall River
very strange pour with essentially no head. smokey smell and roasted coffee taste, with a little sweetness and bitterness. kind of thin, yet syrupy. i am going to go against some friends here and say i was not too impressed.
Score: 5

Port Brewing Wipeout IPA
750 ml -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
my first beer from the acclaimed port brewing, formerly pizza port. surprisingly pale and translucent with thick, active head. (note: the second pour is very cloudy with all that yeast on the bottom... oops.) pungent, piney hops on nose. flavor was kind of typical: lots of hops and some caramel malts. but what i found most interesting here was the palate. medium-bodied, dry and resiny... yet creamy. worth trying.
Score: 8

Samuel Adams Double Bock
Bottle -- Cardosa's, Fall River
nice ruby-brown color with smell and taste of sweet malts, grape/raisins, and alcohol. i find dopplebock's to be a very bold style and the alcohol in this one is impossible to miss, very warming. definitely one of sam's better beers.
Score: 8

Sierra Nevada Early Spring Beer
Bottle -- Haverhill
hazy amber/orange pour... sweet, grassy/earthy hop aroma... bitter hops complemented by toasted malts -- and grapes?... it was a little thin, but that only gave it high drinkability, like all sierra nevada beers.
Score: 7

My favorite:
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
a barley wine with many of the characteristics you would expect from an ipa. ruby color, frothy head with very sweet, hoppy aroma. taste also is both bitter and sweet: piney hops, background fruit and malts, bitter finish. a strong beer both in terms of hops and alcohol (although it mellows some as you keep drinking.) overall, this is a great beer. i've been meaning to try aging a few beers for a couple of years and think that this would be a good one to try.
Score: 9

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rebecca's Alternative Point-Of-View

I didn't like beer the first time I tried it.

Of course, I have come around on beer. But I still have many friends who do not like beer. I understand that beer isn't for everyone, but it is also an acquired taste that takes some time to appreciate. I have also come to believe that with so many different styles of beer out there that whatever your tastes, there is one for you.

Of course, that belief has led me to try to win my friends over from the dark side, typically with lighter, fruity beers. This has had generally poor results and I am thinking I would like to try a more thorough taste testing with some more sophisticated belgian ales and sweet stouts and such. Let's see if this ever comes to fruition...

Here is what I am driving at: everyones tastes are different. Beer "experts" typically like more extreme styles: ridiculously hoped IPA's, imperial stouts, barley wines, etc. I usually tack a couple of points onto beers that have "drinkability" but am still undoubtedly out of the mainstream. For that reason, I would like to occassionally offer alternative points-of-view from some of my close friends.

So today's guest blogger is Rebecca (pictured below at her bachelorette party...) It is worth noting that Rebecca likes beer, just not the beer that I like. Also, I do not intend to mock Rebecca's high rating of Bud Light (I too like Budweiser and will choose it over the other macrobrews.) In Bud Light, Rebecca has found what she is looking for in a beer, and I respect that. But it doesn't mean that I won't try to get her to like a Czech pilsner...

Harpoon IPA
Tap -- Cask'n Flagon
ooh, i don't like that. it tastes like i'm drinking... poison. the more you drink, the better it gets though.
Score: 2

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale
Bottle -- British Beer Company
a little bit good. almost chocolaty.
Score: 3

Founder's Centennial IPA
Tap -- British Beer Company
very bad. does not even taste like beer.
Score: 1

Her favorite:
Bud Light
Bottle -- Everywhere
looks cold, tasty, and fresh. the aroma is minimal; it smells like frat boys. fantastic, refreshing taste. not hoppy, not sweet, just the right amount of beer taste. delicious, i even like it over a coke. totally what i am looking for.
Appearance: 5/5, Aroma: 3/10, Flavor: 10/10, Palate: 5/5, Overall: 20/20, Total: 4.3
Score: 10

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Good Beer Bars

Finding a good beer bar is not as easy as you might think. Most bars stick to the mass-brewers, with perhaps a couple of solid, if unexciting options (think Sam Adams or Magic Hat #9)... that is, if you are lucky. Of course, what I am looking for is an extensive beer menu with a mix of local and elite national brewers. Over the last few months I have found three such bars that I can recommend in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The first was Union Brewhouse in Weymouth: With 100 bottled beers and another 17 on tap, the selection was excellent. Of course, not all 100 were in stock, and I kind of wonder how quickly they turn-over their inventory. Nevertheless, a nice, cozy bar that I will certainly be returning to.

I also rounded up a group of five college friends to make the trip down to Yesterday's Ale House in Newport, Rhode, Island: 36 microbrews on tap here, with a great focus on brewers from the region. The schooner ships they serve the sampler's in are pretty awesome too.

Rounding out the list was the British Beer Company in Walpole, which I visited last night. A huge menu of beers, most from the UK, but also from the States. I especially liked that they had some really hard to find (but expensive) 750 ml bottles from some of the very best breweries. Interesting food, live bands, ambiance: this place has it all. There are a few of these on and around the Cape, and I definitely recommend a visit.

With most of my readers living in or around the Bay State, I would guess recommendations of good beer bars will be one of the most useful things I can provide on this blog. So I will try to be more diligent about recording my trips to new beer bars in the future. For now, let me talk about a few of the beers that I tried in these bars, but have not yet ranked on the site.

Victory Golden Monkey
Bottle -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
oh, i liked this one... abbey tripel's have really grown on me. cloudy, golden pour. smell of spice and belgian yeast. note of honey and lots of yeast in taste, but i liked this yeast strain. smooth and, at 9.5% alcohol abv, warming in mouth. very well crafted.
Score: 9

Magic Hat Irish Red Ale
Tap -- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
nice reddish color with notes of coffee in aroma. pleasant caramel and roasted flavor. smooth drinking and very textured. i liked this a lot.
Score: 7

Magic Hat Y33
Tap -- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
a very light pilsner that was brewed especially for this bar. watery, flavorless... what you would expect.
Score: 3

Newport Storm's (Thunderhead? Spring Ale?) Irish Red
Tap -- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
malty but very thin and watery. blah.
Score: 3

Redhook CopperHook Spring Ale
Tap -- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
weak malts and corn... thin... very middle of the road.
Score: 4

Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA
Tap -- British Beer Company, Walpole
picturesque head... pungent hops on nose... taste of citrus hops... chalky texture. i usually find this style too over-the-top to even drink, but this was very good.
Score: 9

Founder's Centennial IPA
Tap -- British Beer Company, Walpole
floral aroma. sharp, bitter hoppiness, but also some maltiness. yeah, there is some balance but the flavor still fell flat for me.
Score: 6

Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused
Tap -- British Beer Company, Walpole
after avery's double ipa and founder's centennial ipa this almost seemed watery. it really wasn't though, with good flavor, less biting hops, and a smooth texture. good.
Score: 7

Stone Russian Imperial Stout
Tap -- British Beer Company, Walpole
whenever i see a beer with a perfect rating on, i am drawn to it. however, i probably shouldn't be, since beer aficionado's usually pump up extreme, almost undrinkable beers. this was no exception. dark and thick as motoroil... way too sweet... very strong, but alcohol is fairly well hidden... unpleasant sticky mouthfeel... well brewed in its complexity, but not worth the high pricetag.
Score: 5