Monthly Archives: November 2011

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – A Thanksgiving Weekend Pumpkin Special Series Cont.

smuttynose_pumpkin_ale

So it’s Thanksgiving evening now, which means it’s time for seconds, and another pumpkin ale.   This one is the Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale.  I’ve been pretty impressed with the beers that I’ve had out of Smuttynose Brewing lately, and their Pumpkin Ale is no exception.  The nose is bready and spicy, with cinnamon and nutmeg evident.   The middle is bitter from the hops and the pumpkin and slightly bready, and there’s a spicy bitter finish.   It’s got a light to medium body,  lighter than the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.  This is less of a dessert beer than the Dogfish Head offering, and more of the beer lovers ale.  It’s a very nice beer.


I give it a 4.2 out of 5. 

This is part 2 of a 8 part Thanksgiving weekend series.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – A Thanksgiving Weekend Pumpkin Special Series!

dogfish_head_punkin_ale

Happy Turkey Day!  Pumpkin ales are one of my all time favorite seasonal brews, so I’ve decided to do a special 8-part Thanksgiving weekend review of some pumpkin ales.   First up is my all time favorite, Dogfish Head Brewing’s Punkin Ale.  It’s the closest you can get (that I’ve tasted, anyway) to pumpkin pie in a glass.   It’s brewed with pumpkin, (of course!) as well as brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and all of them shine through.  The nose is bready and spicy, like you’ve walked into a bakery.   It’s got a medium to heavy body, and the pumpkin and brown sugar are predominant in the middle, fading back to a spicy finish with a hint of bitterness.  I really love this beer.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

This is part 1 of a 8 part Thanksgiving weekend series.

New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale

new_belgium_hoptober

Hoptober is brewed with pale and wheat malts, and, well, a whole bunch of different kinds of hops.  Five kinds in fact, according to the bottle.   It resembles a pale ale, with a lot of hoppy bitterness, but a bit richer and smoother and bready, which I’m attributing to the wheat.  Medium body, good bitterness, this is a nice seasonal from New Belgium.

I give it a 3.8 out of 5.

Redhook ESB

redhook_esb

I don’t know if ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is Redhook’s best selling beer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is since it seems to be the one that I consistently have the least trouble finding.  It’s a coppery-colored amber ale that doesn’t have much of a scent.  It’s got what I’d call a faintly metallic taste, with a balance of malt and hops that makes for a fairly mild taste, and a mildly bitter finish.   It’s a nice beer, but not exceptional.

I give it a 3.1 out of 5.

Kirkland Signature Belgian White

kirkland_signature_belgian_white

OpenCraftBeer.com has reached a milestone of over 100 posts!  For this occasion, I picked up a mixed case of Costco’s house-branded Kirkland Signature beer brewed for them by the New York Brewing Co.  (Ok, so I didn’t really choose it to mark the milestone, but it just happened to be what I had on hand when I sat down to write.)   There have been a couple of changes since the last mixed case that I bought.  The Geman Lager that I reviewed earlier is no longer offered, and one of the new beers is the Belgian White Ale that I’m reviewing today.  The bottle says that it uses a combination of oats, wheat, and barley malt and is flavored with coriander and orange peel.  There’s not much of a nose at all, and the flavor is that of a wheat beer with a *lot* of orange peel.  There’s not a lot of the fruit that I’d expect from Belgian yeast…Just a hint in the finish.  It’s more of just an ok wheat beer.

I give it a 2.8 out of 5.

Chimay Grande Reserve Ale

chimay_grande_reserve

I love it when I get to use my Chimay glass!  Chimay’s Grande Reserve is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, and strong, dark, and Belgian it is.  The Belgian yeast gives it that characteristic fruitiness, and this is heavy with cherry from the nose, through the middle, and into the finish.   The hops are subdued, and this is a rich, heavy beer that’s all about the malt and yeast.  It’s one of my favorites.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Big Boss Hell’s Belle

big_boss_hells_belle

Hell’s Belle is a Belgian Pale Ale, and the first beer I’ve had from Big Boss Brewing Company out of Raleigh, NC.  I really enjoy Belgian ales, and this is a fine example.  There’s a floral sweetness in the nose, and the middle is smooth and fruity, with a light to medium body, and a hint of peach in the finish.  It’s a sweet pale ale, typical of the Belgian style, but not overly sweet.  I’m finding it to be a very enjoyable beer.

I give it a 3.9 out of 5.