Sunday, November 30, 2008


Two items that I would like to bring to everyone's attention. The first is this fascinating (if lengthy) article about the growth of craft beer generally, and the success of extreme brewing at Dogfish Head brewing specifically. As any returning reader knows, Dogfish Head is one of my very favorite brewers and the biggest inspiration for starting to brew my own beer. So take a few minutes and check out this writeup that appeared in The New Yorker this week entitled "A Better Brew."

Secondly, I am pleased to report that there is yet another site out there promoting the Great State of Maine's excellent craft beer scene! Please take a minute to check out the various contributors to the Maine Beer Writer's Guild.

Sadly, as a Massachusetts resident I am not eligible to join... but I hope to join forces with The Guild to combat discrimination against the clearly superior beers of our northern neighbor. As you will notice in the coming weeks, I am also going to make a better effort to share the writings of my fellow beer bloggers by linking to their sites. So enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just a wolf in sheep's clothing? Bud American Ale

Okay, I'm not a fan of Budweiser, or any of those macrobrewers. And not just because they are evil multinational corporations. Mainly because their beer is flavorless, soul crushing, gruel. That said, I have been genuinely interested as each of the big boys attempts to get a piece of the quickly growing craft beer market.

Coors has its wildly successful Blue Moon line. Michelob (Anheuser-Busch) has had a range of craft beer styles for a while I believe, but now they are really trying to sell it. Budweiser has tried this before with its Shock Top Belgian White, Redbridge Lager, and Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale. But the King of Beers really seems to think it can cash in with its latest, most patriotic beer yet. Let's see if there are any redeeming qualities to this beer, or if it is just a wolf in sheep's clothing? Look for this to be a reoccuring segment with the Michelob line on-deck.

Budweiser American Ale
Bottle -- Luke's, Rockland
it is worth noting that i really did try to go into this with an open mind since i had heard some good things... i mean i went to the lengths of actually buying it! well, i thought originally that this was supposed to be a pale ale, but it is actually an amber. appealing copper/orange color. wow, a lot of hops in aroma... sweet malts too. good start. it falls apart with the flavor though: weak malts, no hop flavor, only a slight unpleasant bitterness. very, very watery -- no surprise. if this marketing campaign is really trying to siphon off craft beer drinkers, it is not going to work. more likely, they are trying to shore up their loyal customers, and perhaps steal a few of those frat boys and sorority girls who really wish sam adams summer was available all year round. maybe a little harsh, but most definitely fair.
Score: 3
Verdict: Just a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Poll results: Pumpkin Ales

The results are in to my first beer poll! Here are the tallies in response to the question, What is your favorite Pumpkin Ale?

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale - 40% (6)
Dogfish Head Pumpkin' Ale - 26% (4)
Cape Ann Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout - 20% (3)
Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale - 13% (2)

Congratulations, Shipyard!

Next question: Which is your favorite Sam Adams seasonal in their Winter Classics Mix Pack?

A. Black Lager
B. Cranberry Lambic
C. Holiday Porter
D. Old Fezziwig Ale
E. Winter Lager
F. I refuse to buy the mix pack since the Cranberry Lambic just sits in my fridge for months on end...

Let the voting begin!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Updated ratings! By my count, the list surged over the 500 beer milestone to 553. Over 175 different brewers as well...

Beer, Score (1-10)

Abita Christmas Ale, 7
Abita Jockamo IPA, 4
Alesmith Old Numbskull, 7
Allagash Black, 7
Allagash Grand Cru, 10
Allagash Tripel Reserve, 10
Allagash Victoria Ale, 9
Allagash White, 10
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
Andrew's English Pale Ale, 6
Andrew's St. Nick Porter, 8
Arcadia IPA, 5
Arcadia Scotch Ale, 4
Asahi Super Dry, 3
Atlantic Brother Adam's Bragget Ale, 5
Atlantic Coal Porter, 5
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, 7
Atwater Voodoovator, 6
Avery 14er ESB, 6
Avery Ale to the Chief , 9
Avery Karma Ale, 5
Avery Out of Bounds Stout, 9
Avery The Czar, 5
Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA, 9
Avery The Reverend, 9

Bar Harbor Acadia Pale Ale, 9
Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout, 10
Bar Harbor Harbor Lighthouse Ale, 8
Bar Harbor Thunder Hole Ale, 9
Bass Pale Ale, 6
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, 10
Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, 9
Belfast Bay Lobster Ale, 4
Belfast Bay McGovern's Oatmeal Stout, 5
Belhaven Scottish Ale / Export / 80 Shilling, 7
Bell Lager, 2
Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter, 9
Berkshire Draymens Porter, 8
Berkshire Imperial Stout, 9
Berkshire Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, 8
Berkshire River Ale, 5
Berkshire "Shabadoo" Black & Tan Ale, 8
Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, 4
Berkshire Traditional Pale Ale, 7
Berkshire Springs Stock Ale, 4
Bison Organic Chocolate Stout, 5
Black Bear Pail Ale, 5
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 Black Chocolate Stout, 10
Brooklyn Brown Ale, 8
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, 5
Brooklyn Lager, 7
Brooklyn Local 1, 10
Brooklyn Winter Ale, 6
Brooklynator Doppelbock, 5
Buzzards Bay Alt, 4
Buzzards Bay Black Lager, 5
Buzzards Bay Hefeweizen, 2
Buzzards Bay Pilsner, 6

Cambridge Amber, 8
Cambridge Arquebus, 3
Cambridge Bitchin' Bitter, 8
Cambridge Blunderbuss Barley Wine, 9
Cambridge Charles River Porter, 8
Cambridge Espresso Stout, 9
Cambridge Half Wit Belgian Style Wheat, 7
Cambridge Hefe-weizen, 9
Cambridge Tall Tale Pale Ale, 7
Cambridge Tripel, 6
Cambridge Tripel Threat, 7
Cambridge You Enjoy My Stout, 7
Cape Ann Fishermans Brew, 8
Cape Ann Fisherman's Brew IPA, 7
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
Chili Head Lager, 5
Cisco Gray Lady Hefeweizen, 6
Cisco Moor Porter, 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

Davidson Brother's Dacker Authentic Adirondack Ale, 8
Davidson Brother's IPA, 5
Deschutes Bachelor ESB, 8
Deschutes Black Butte Porter, 10
Deschutes Cinder Cone Red Ale, 9
Deschutes Green Lake Organic 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 120 Minute IPA, 5
Dogfish Head ApriHop, 7
Dogfish Head Immort Ale, 9
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 8
Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir, 8
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, 10
Dogfish Head Pangaea, 7
Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale, 7
Dogfish Head Raison D Etre, 8
Dogfish Head Red and White, 8
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, 6
Dos Equis XX Amber, 5

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, 6
Endurance Glacier Gold, 6

Fish Tale Organic India Pale Ale, 6
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, 5
Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat, 2
Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter, 7
Fort Collins Kidd Lager, 8
Fort Collins Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat, 4
Fort Collins Rocky Mountain IPA, 7
Fort Collins Z Lager, 5
Fosters Lager, 2
Founders Breakfast Stout, 10
Founders 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, 9
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
Green Flash Hop Head Red, 8
Green Flash West Coast IPA, 9
Gritty McDuffs Best Bitter, 7
Gritty McDuffs Black Fly Stout, 6
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, 4
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 Old Rusty's Red Rye Ale, 7
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
Kennebec River Magic Hole IPA, 5
Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, 1
Kuche Kuche, 1

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, 9
Lagunitas Pils, 8
Lagunitas Sirius Ale, 9
Lake Placid 46'er Pale Ale, 7
Lake Placid IPA (Frostbite Ale), 9
Lake Placid Ubu, 6
Lakefront Fuel Cafe, 3
Left Hand Black Jack Porter, 4
Left Hand Milk Stout, 9
Legacy Hedonism Ale, 7
Legacy Nor'easter, 7
Leinenkugels Oktoberfest, 4
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 Belgian White, 4
Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat, 7
Long Trail Double Bag, 8
Long Trail Hefeweizen, 5
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
Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, 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
Mayflower Thanksgiving Ale, 3
McMenamins Concordia Pale Ale, 5
McMenamins Hammerhead Ale, 5
McMenamins Nebraska Bitter, 7
McMenamins Ruby, 3
McMenamins Terminator Stout, 7
Mendocino Black Hawk Stout, 4
Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale, 2
Mendocino Red Tail Ale, 5
Mendocino Saratoga Lager, 8
Middle Ages Beast Bitter, 7
Middle Ages Kilt Tilter, 4
Modelo Especial, 3
Moat Mountain Hoffman Weiss, 8
Montana Brewing Whitetail Wheat, 8
Mosi Lager, 1

Nashoba Valley Bolt 117 Lager, 4
Nashoba Valley Heron Ale, 5
Nashoba Valley Oaktoberfest, 4
Nashoba Valley Wattaquadoc Wheat, 6
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 ACME California IPA, 8
North Coast Blue Star, 8
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, 10
North Coast Pranqster, 7
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

Oak Pond Nut Brown Ale, 8
Oak Pond Oktoberfest, 6
Oak Pond Pale Ale, 4
Offshore India Pale Ale, 7
Olde Burnside Dirty Penny, 9
Olde Burnside Ten Penny Ale, 6
Ommegang, 8
Ommegang Hennepin, 9
Ommegang Three Philosophers, 8
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
Owen O'Leary's Black & Tan, 4
Owen O'Leary's Dave's Blueberry Ale, 4
Owen O'Leary's Golden Eagle Ale, 5
Owen O'Leary's I.P.A., 4
Owen O'Leary's Irish Sunsetter Red, 6
Owen O'Leary's Summertime Wheat, 3
Oxford Hefeweizen, 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
Paper City Riley's Mother's Milk Stout, 9
Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale, 8
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
Portsmouth ALTernator, 9
Portsmouth Bottle Rocket IPA, 8
Portsmouth Dirty Blonde Ale, 7
Portsmouth Oatmeal Stout, 8
Portsmouth Smoky Dunkelweizen, 5

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
Riverhorse Tripel Horse, 6
Rock Art Magnumus Ete Tomahawkus ESB^2, 8
Rock Art Vermonster, 8
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 Brutal Bitter, 5
Rogue Chipotle Ale, 2
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, 4
Samuel Adams Winter Lager, 6
Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout, 5
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout, 10
Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale, 4
Samuel Smiths 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 Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008 (Royal IPA), 8
Shipyard Blue Fin Stout, 7
Shipyard Brown Ale, 3
Shipyard Export Ale, 9
Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale, 8
Shipyard Prelude Ale, 9
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, 8
Shipyard Summer Ale, 6
Shipyard Tremont Ale, 8
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 Wheat Wine Ale, 6
Smuttynose Winter Ale, 7
Southampton Double White Ale, 9
Southampton ESB, 10
Southern Tier Back Burner, 7
Southern Tier Big Red, 7
Southern Tier IPA, 8
Southern Tier Jahva, 6
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
Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, 9
St. John Brewers Virgin Islands Pale Ale, 2
St. Pauli Girl Lager, 3
St. Pauli Girl Special Dark, 3
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, 8
Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, 9
Stone India Pale Ale, 9
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, 9
Stone Pale Ale, 9
Stone Ruination IPA, 8
Stone Russian Imperial Stout, 5
Stone Coast 840 IPA, 8
Stone Coast Knuckleball Bock, 6
Stone Coast Sunsplash Golden Ale, 2
Stoudts American Pale Ale, 9
Stoudts Double IPA, 8
Stoudts Fat Dog, 8
Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB, 6
Sunday River Black Bear Porter, 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
Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, 10
Thomas Hooker Blonde Ale, 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 6288 Stout, 7
Tuckerman Pale Ale, 8
Tusker Lager, 2
Two Brothers The Bitter End, 7

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

Victory 12, 4
Victory Baltic Thunder, 9
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 V Lager, 6
Victory Whirlwind Witbier, 4

Wachusett Blueberry, 5
Wachusett Octoberfest Ale, 3
Wachusett Summer Breeze, 4
Wachusett Winter Ale, 7
Watch City 38 Schilling Scottish Ale, 6
Watch City Biking Bob's Bohemian Pilsner, 4
Watch City Bombed Blondeshelle Belgian Strong Ale, 5
Watch City Dubbel Belgian Ale, 6
Watch City Hops Explosion IPA, 9
Watch City Kingpin Imperial Stout, 7
Watch City Moody Street Stout, 7
Watch City Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale, 6
Watch City Shillelagh Irish Red Ale, 5
Watch City Titan Brown Ale, 9
Watch City Totem Pale Ale, 8
Watch City Uber-Okto-Lager, 6
Watch City Wheat IPA, 7
Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, 8
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion, 7
Weyerbacher Merry Monks' Ale, 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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Most Wanted List

When my parents and fiance hound me about what I want for Christmas, I typically respond with the word "beer." Apparently this wasn't specific enough, so here is a list of the ten (plus) beers I most want to try. I focused on beers accessible in New England... but that doesn't mean I would refuse a beer from Russian River, Three Floyds, or one of Sam Adams Utopias!

10 Most Wanted Beers

1) Allagash Interlude (or Curieux, Musette, Fluxus, Victor, Hugh Malone)

2) Avery Mephistopheles' Stout

3) Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (or Racer 5 IPA)

4) Dogfish Head Raison D'extra (or Burton Baton, Chicory Stout, Fort, Black & Blue)

5) Lost Abbey Lost & Found Abbey Ale (or any other beer from them)

6) North Coast Old Stock Ale

7) Oskar Blues Ten FIDY

8) Shipyard Tremont Winter Ale

9) Smuttynose S'muttonator (or Farmhouse Ale)

10) Stone Vertical Epic '08 (or Old Guardian)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breakfast stouts!

That is right: stout for breakfast! Yes, your friends will probably think you have a problem, but the right stout (think coffee, oatmeal, or even chocolate) will put any mimosa to shame!

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
22 oz -- Cork's Fine Wine & Liquors, Mansfield
moving your friends at 9 am on a saturday is an occassion that definitely calls for a breakfast stout. this was a good one too. great smell of coffee beans, vanilla, and a general roastiness. taste is very similar, with just the right ammount of coffee flavor and a slight alcoholic edge (although the 8% abv is very well hidden...) flavor definitely deepens as this beer warms: roasted coffee beans, cocoa, dark chocolate. you can really drink this beer at room temperature. texture is quite velvety, and with medium body and carbonation drinkability is quite high. i'll definitely be getting this one again!
Score: 9

Legacy Nor'easter
750 ml -- Luke's, Rockland
an oatmeal stout. overly carbonated upon opening... not good. rich, heavy aroma that fills nostrils. taste is quite dark: oatmeal, molasses, coffee, chocolate. mouthfeel is a little weak: thin, grainy, and not especially smooth or creamy. a good beer but i probably wouldn't return to it as a breakfast stout.
Score: 7

The Ultimate Breakfast Stout:
Founders Breakfast Stout
750 ml -- Luke's, Rockland
first of all, it is actually called a breakfast stout! secondly, this is unquestionably the best label i have ever seen: a little kid with a bib housing a bowl of oatmeal. standard stout pour that lets no light through and produces a big tan head. the smell hits your nostrils as soon as you pull off the bottle cap... very sexy. sour mash of many of my homebrews gives way to... spanish olives?! that is a first. on closer inspection roast, sweet chocolate and faint hops emerge in aroma. fitting for a breakfast stout, you taste the coffee from start to finish, accompanied by generous hops and some dark molasses. there is a sharp edge to the flavor, but it isn't an off-putting alcohol like you find in many imperial beers. smooth and creamy going down, but meant to be savored; i literally spent 2 hours drinking it! as the #15 beer on beeradvocate, this is the highest rated beer i have drank. i completely agree and cannot identify a single blemish in this beer. i cannot think of a better way to start your day!
Score: 10

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cleaning out the fridge

Here are twelve new beers that I have drank over the past few months, ranging from those last few smooth drinking summer beers to fall seasonals. There are a few high end, big bottles that I would recommend here as well...

Andrew's English Pale Ale
Bottle -- McKean & Charles, Waldoboro, ME
grassy hops on nose... up-front bitterness... fairly smooth. closer to an ipa than a pale ale if you ask me. i preferred andrew's st. nick's porter, but their pale ale is quite quaffable.
Score: 6

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Bottle -- Supreme Liquors, Quincy
warning: 21% alcohol by volume! foggy ruby in glass... aroma is off-the-charts sweet and alcoholic... taste is again very sweet, with fruity hops, and a staggering amount of alcohol... oily mouthfeel. obviously an extreme beer, but better than expected. probably not worth the $10 you have to shell out for it though...
Score: 5

Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale
Bottle -- Luke's Liquors, Rockland
a pumpkin ale. good aroma, pumpkin and spice... flavor is well-balanced -- not too much pumpkin... very solid. a surprisingly typical pumpkin beer; dogfish head is usually a little more adventurous than this. one of the best pumpkin ales i have had though.
Score: 7

North Coast Pranqster
Bottle -- Luke's, Rockland
a belgian strong pale ale that is golden, slightly orange. yeast and fruit on nose: white grape and orange. taste is lots of yeast, mild spice and hops... sour. not my favorite, but nicely brewed.
Score: 7

Rock Art Magnumus Ete Tomahawkus ESB^2
750 ml -- Luke's, Rockland
from rock art's "extreme series." i guess it is the high abv (8%) that makes this an extreme beer... a cloudy copper beer with lots of fresh, sweet hops on nose. bitterness up front, but surprisingly soft on pallet.
Score: 8

Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale
750 ml -- Cork's, Mansfield
from smutty's big beer series. my first wheat wine -- you don't see many of these around. lots of lacing on snifter glass... smells of sweetness and alcohol... taste of alcohol, dark fruit. seems like more wine (as in barleywine) than wheat here.
Score: 6

Southern Tier Big Red
750 ml -- Cork's, Mansfield
an imperial red. fruity boquet, hops, a little alcohol. bitter, fruity, sweet. smooth, slightly sticky. a good beer, but hard to see how this is a descendent of a red in any shape or form. i gotta say, the allure of southern tier is kind of fading away for me...
Score: 7

Stoudts Fat Dog
Bottle -- Luke's, Rockland
an imperial oatmeal stout. dark brown pour that coats glass thoroughly... smell is of alcohol and even soy sauce... alcohol comes out again in flavor, equal in strength to the coffee present... surprisingly light in body. this is my fourth beer from this good pennsylvania brewer.
Score: 8

Sunday River Black Bear Porter
Bottle -- Florian's Market, Auburn, ME
everyone knows about the skiing at sunday river, but not everyone knows you can get a freshly brewed pint as well. cola smell of many porters -- just as i feared. watery too, i could tell just from the pour. sharp bitter coffee taste. very average.
Score: 6

Thomas Hooker Blonde Ale
Bottle -- McKean & Charles, Waldoboro, ME
this was sold to me as a "good lawn mower beer." i think that is a good description since some hot summer days you just need a light, thirst quenching beer. aroma is very fresh, of sweet hay and hops. flavor has mild bitterness, but is above all else, drinkable. recommended.
Score: 7

Victory 12
750 ml -- Gordon's, Waltham
a quadrupel courtesy of dan. smells just like apple juice. flavor is more of funky yeast and alcohol. softens as it warms, but not my favorite.
Score: 4

Take a pass:
Wachusett Octoberfest Ale
Bottle -- Bolton Road House Bar & Grill
thought i would switch it up from my typical pick of the best beer of the bunch. here is the one i would skip. a really weak example of an octoberfest. much closer to a scotch ale. a very bland, mindless beer. Score: 3

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cooking with Beer: Beer Brats

Surprise, surprise, when it is my turn to cook, I am starting to experiment with using beer as an ingredient. Beer can be used in cooking most any kind of food: stews, vegetables, breads, sauces, desserts, and, most often, meat. It is most useful in the last case since beer helps to sanitize, tenderize, and flavor meat. I will be sure to report back on the successes as I play around with cooking with beer. My first attempt this past weekend was a definite victory: bratwurst cooked in porter.

(I adapted this recipe from one I found off of a decent list of beer recipies at

Beer Brats

1/2 bottle of porter
5 bratwurst sausages
1 large sweet onion
2 tsp butter and/or olive oil

Brown bratwurst in butter until golden brown. Chop onion into rings and saute in remaining butter and olive oil. Once onions are limp and golden add the brats and the beer. Cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to syrup. To keep the sausage juicy, I continually spooned the porter over the brats as they were cooking. Serve on bun or as side along with carmelized onions and remaining sauce.

The beer:
I used my homebrewed Promised Land Porter to cook the brats in. I would recommend a dark beer (porter, bock...) but I have seen brats cooked with just about every mass-brewed lager. Really, any beer will give the brats more flavor than cooking them in water. Dark, malty beers with high alcohol are really ideal, while hoppy beers are more difficult to cook with. My porter worked well to flavor the brats, and the remaining sauce and carmelized onions were especially tasty. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Watch City Seasonals

The activity of the weekend was trying tapas for the first time at Solea Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Waltham. It was quite fun, and definitely recommended. Most shockingly, it was even the highlight of the night over one of my favorite local breweries: Watch City. While the brewery had a new range of seasonals as always, each beer fell a little flat...

Watch City Biking Bob's Bohemian Pilsner
Sample -- Watch City Brewery, Waltham
dark color for a pilsner for sure. aroma is of sweet, candied apples. flavor is mostly sweet grains with some light grassy hops. i found nothing really appealing about this beer but it is worth noting that my friend dan had this rated significantly higher.
Score: 4

Watch City Bombed Blondeshelle Belgian Strong Ale
Sample -- Watch City
note: sold to me as a belgian strong ale, recorded on beer advocate as a tripel... appearance is a hazy orange and aroma is floral hops and again candy-sweet malts. yeast and skunky wheat form backbone of flavor, but powerful alcohol overwhelms both. 10% plus was too much for this brew...
Score: 5

Watch City Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale
Sample -- Watch City
if you like heavily spiced pumpkin ales, this is a pretty good standard for the style. cinnamon, nutmeg, even ginger (i think) make their presence known in both aroma and taste. pumpkin is pushed to back of taste but is there. drinkable, as most pumpkin ales are.
Score: 6

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prolific Beer Blogger Now Based in Brockton

I was a little surprised to find my name in my local paper, The Brockton Enterprise, a couple of weeks ago. They ran a little blurb about my blog (without ever asking me...) under the title "Prolific Beer Blogger Now Based in Brockton." How did they even find my blog do you ask? Why that would be this (much better written) article that a student up at the University of Maine Orono wrote about my blog. Zach did a pretty good job of hitting the high points of our conversation, and while I don't quite carry a notebook of the beers I have drank, I think he did a good job of capturing how out of control this hobby has gotten... I mean, 500 beers?! Anyhoo, here is Zach's article.

Beer Police gets a sidekick
By Zach Dionne

Cracking a fresh Pumpkinhead and striking the keys on the newest edition of this column, I can say I'm having a good time - with the column, not just the beer. This one's especially exciting as it's not limited to the questionable opinions of my not-quite-veteran palate. This edition focuses on Josh Smith, originally of Mt. Vernon, Maine. He runs a blog at and recently championed more than 500 beers rated and described.

Josh keeps track of every beer he samples in a notebook. He devotes "the bulk" of his purchases to tasting new items. Nearly limitless styles and different brewers keep him interested. "You could drink beer for the rest of your life and not try everything that's out there, you know?"

Yes, I know, but Josh Smith is a hell of a lot closer than me.

He segued into microbrews with Samuel Adams. "Those are pretty drinkable," he said. He now prefers Portland's Shipyard to Boston's Sam Adams. Geary's and Allagash are his choice Maine breweries.

"Geary's has been a longtime favorite. Very balanced, very flavorful - two things I really look for in a beer," Josh said.
Although Josh now lives in Brockton, Mass., he considers Maine home and still cherishes the state's quality brews. "I'm always defending Maine beers down here. They think I kind of boost the scores for Maine beers. It's not just the beer; it's the experience. It's fun sampling local beers."

Bar Harbor Brewing Co.'s Cadillac Mountain Stout, the highest rated beer in Maine, is an esteemed favorite of Josh's. "I like a lot of the dark beers. I think that's something Maine does really well. Maine really has a very good reputation among the beer community."

Josh began brewing his own beer recently and feels the experience gives him new insight into tasting and appreciating other brewers' work. For mainstays, he leans to Cape Ann Fisherman's Brew or Geary's Pale Ale. I put him in the tough hypothetical situation of only having $5 and needing some beer. His answer: "If I'm not going to put the money into a microbrew beer, I'll honestly buy PBR. I find it very easy going down."

Score! The Beer Police and veteran Josh Smith are on the same level in one regard.

We are not on the same tier of succinct tasting vocabulary, however. It takes practice.

"They used some words like 'bready malts' or 'piney hops,' and it's like, really? I don't see that," Josh said of his early days rating and describing beer for pleasure. "At first, I thought people were just kind of full of it." Josh is now fine-tuned to appreciate the subtleties and intrinsic shortcomings of the best and worst brews, the "deeper levels of complexity," in his words.
After the inspirational, craving-inducing interview, I made haste to Burby & Bates to compare taste with him. Consider our takes on the Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout:

Josh's blog: "Perfect black pour, with tan head of tight bubbles and decent retention. There is a lot going on in this aroma: chocolate malt, free coffee and figs. Taste is of semi-sweet chocolate and roasted coffee รข€¦ Slightly astringent and gently hopped. Silky smooth mouthfeel and fairly heavy."

My notebook: "Creamy, great consistency, terrific taste." Hmm.

"I think a lot of people would look at this and think, 'oh, he's a beer snob.' I'm amazed at how much there is out there. You might not like beer, but there's probably a style you'd think, 'hey, that's pretty good,'" he said.

Josh uses the blog to keep track of what he's tried and to express his personal beer tastes; he doesn't purport to be an authoritative source on the absolute merit of individual beers. When I questioned his rating of Sea Dog's blueberry ale (a sad 3 out of 10), a wildly popular Maine brew, he responded: "My fiancee loves that Blue Paw, and I couldn't be happier. Hey, she's drinking beer."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Week of Beers, From A to P

Alesmith Old Numbskull
750 ml -- Cork's, Mansfield
the celebratory drink on election night as a tribute to... you guessed it, our outgoing president. a pretty standard barleywine if you ask me: nice looking, big aroma, very alcoholic flavor, and thick/syrupy mouthfeel. i have enjoyed the alesmith brews i have tried, but at $13 a bottle i am going to have to deduct a point here.
Score: 7

Leinenkugels Oktoberfest
Bottle -- Weymouth
ah, the brewers of fruit loops, so we meet again! this is as bland as the other one is obnoxious. sweet crystal malts and very watery. never would have guessed this is an oktoberfest.
Score: 4

Mayflower Thanksgiving Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
i had never heard of this until i found it on tap at union brewhouse in weymouth. very muddled taste with unknown unpleasantness hidden towards the back... think oak, smoke, vanilla, and whiskey. yeah, it didn't really go together. i like the concept of a beer tailored for thanksgiving, but not the final product.
Score: 3

North Coast ACME California IPA
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
kind of a high abv for an ipa at 7+% but i didn't really pick it up in the flavor. hops in this ipa are definitely citrusy in nature. very refreshing and smooth. i still haven't met a beer from north coast that i haven't liked...
Score: 8

Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Wemouth
espresso in an amber ale? another awesome idea. huge smell of espresso and flavor is overwhelmed by coffee beans as well. however, the flavor is so intense that this beer doesn't have the drinkability i might have hoped for in an amber ale. i'd like to play around with this concept as a homebrew further
down the line...
Score: 8

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three cheers for Jeff Merkley (and that Obama guy too...)!

I could not have been more confident in an Obama victory last night. I have been following this race every day for two years and knew the poll numbers and electoral scenarios inside out. Obama was going to win. And yet, I didn't sleep the previous four nights. And after voting on election day, I found myself back at home, hyperventilating, rocking back and forth in the fetal position, surrounded by 30 pages of maps and electoral counts.

In times like these, you need a sure thing, a beer that that is going to deliver an all-around pleasant drinking experience. I had just the ticket, thanks to my friend Heather Angell's visit to the Great State of Oregon. Heather brought me back three beers from the beer heaven that is the Pacific Northwest: Deschutes Black Butte Porter, one of my very favorite beers; a new organic ale from Deschutes; and a new IPA from Fish Brewing Company in Olympia, WA.

(As for the title of this post, Jeff Merkley is my one-time landlord and now junior U.S. Senator from Oregon, after defeating incumbent Republican Gordon Smith by the narrowest of margins. Congratulations, Senator Merkley, and I'll drink to that with a good Oregon beer! And hooray for you too President-elect Barrack Obama! My friends know I am not one to get too political, but... for the last eight years -- my entire political life -- I have watched with increasing desperation as Bush and his band of thieves have run this country into the ground without any regard for the general welfare of its citizens. As someone who follows politics closely and cares deeply for this country, it was too much for me to take; I am a beaten man. But our long national nightmare is over. Put it on your calender: Saturday, January 17th, 2009 will be my Bad Bush, Good Beer party! This is a serious cause for celebration...)

Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Bottle -- Portland, OR
black butte porter appears at the top of one of my first beer posts as a perfect 10... but nothing further is said about this beer. let me do so here. first things first, deschutes puts out some very appealing, simple labels that really draw you in. (also: purchase before date clearly printed on label, a feature that should be common, but isn't.) a dark brown, kind of mysterious pour. lots of roasted malts, a little sweet caramel, and faint hops on nose... a full aroma for sure, and avoids cola-like smell of many porters. malts are more burnt in taste, and finish is coffee. could not possibly be more perfectly balanced by bittering hops. very smooth, healthy carbonation, and medium-bodied. full aroma and taste, easy drinking... not much more you can ask for. i was very glad to discover that this beer withstood the test of time and my changing tastes. just as good as i remembered; if i had to drink five beers for the rest of my life, this would be one of them.
Score: 10

Deschutes Green Lake Organic Ale
Bottle -- Portland, OR
this is an amber ale... and a deschutes beers that i had not tried yet! dark copper in glass... aroma of hops jumps out at you, both citrus and piney... very nice. malts in up taste are up front, followed by those delicious hops. superbly balanced. very smooth going down and quite sessionable. i love the hop flavor in this one, and really it is the best organic beer i can remember trying.
Score: 9

Fish Tale Organic India Pale Ale
Bottle -- Portland, OR
hazy orange, thick head. floral, piney hops on nose. flavor is of grapefruit hops and very bready... bitterness is mild at best. easy drinking but the flavor wasn't my favorite. not bad at all, but there are much better ipa's out there.
Score: 6

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Portsmouth Brewery

After a great morning of knocking doors for Obama in New Hampshire with my friend Heather, I made my first visit to Portsmouth Brewery. Portsmouth Brewing has been on my to do list for some time now, and the good things I heard were all true. Cool decor, solid food, and nine fresh beers on tap (five of their own, three from their sister brewery, Smuttynose, and the last from another small, local brewer.)

DISCLAIMER: In the past on this blog I have rated beers from 3 oz. samples. This is not ideal since beers do change as you drink them (and as they warm to room temp), but I have always used this blog as a point of reference -- both for myself as well as for you -- not an official rating. Anyways, I say this since the sampler paddle at Portsmouth was in large shot glasses, probably 1 oz. Point being: there is even greater margin for these ratings than usual.

Portsmouth Bottle Rocket IPA
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
powerful, citrus hops really linger in your mouth. still quite balanced and drinkable. i really enjoyed this beer, but probably would only recommend it to hop heads.
Score: 8

Portsmouth Dirty Blonde Ale
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
yup, cloudy blonde appearance with lacing that stands up. nice aroma of wheat and grains come through in taste as well. i think i liked this more than most people. a tired name, but a solid beer.
Score: 7

Portsmouth Oatmeal Stout
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
a black beauty, with appealing aroma of coffee and chocolate. taste is sweet, with molasses and general roastiness shining through. appropriate 6% abv. biggest flaw is mouthfeel; very weak carbonation and body is thin. otherwise, nice take on one of my very favorite styles.
Score: 8

Portsmouth Smoky Dunkelweizen
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
so opaque i thought for a moment that they had served me the cider on tap. i may be on my own here, but aroma and taste was defined by a cough syrup / bubblegum sensation. i am only going to give them credit for a little smokiness too, no more than you would find in a scotch ale. obviously, i wasn't feeling this one.
Score: 5

Moat Mountain Hoffman Weiss
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
guest tap at the brewery. a hefeweizen and my first beer from this previously unknown brewer. aroma is sweet and yeasty... taste is more in the banana / spice mode. chewy in body. impressive.
Score: 8

My Favorite:
Portsmouth ALTernator
Sample -- Portsmouth Brewery
the brewery called this a double alt (beer advocate, just an altbier...) deep malty, nutty aroma. flavor is sweet, dark fruity... at 7.5% abv has a well-hidden kick. i don't usually like these heavy malt beers, but i found the alternator to be very well crafted.
Score: 9