Monthly Archives: March 2013

Green Flash Friendship Brew


Friendship Brew is a Black Saison and the second example from a unique collaboration between Green Flash Brewing Company of San Diego, California, and Brasserie St. Feuillien, of Belgium. It’s brewed with Belgian yeast and spices, but the real story here are those spices. The nose reminds me of potpourri, and the middle is loaded with earthy herbal flavors and a bit of toasted rye. The middle is quite dry, but there’s a hint of chocolate sweetness right at the end of the finish. This is a really interesting, really unusual beer with a lot of character.

I give it a 4.1 out of 5.

Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale


Third Coast Old Ale from Bell’s Brewery of Michigan is a big aged barleywine. They call it bitter, earthy, and malty, and it absolutely lives up to the description. The nose has toffee and caramel and earthy notes. The middle has heavy oak and vanilla, some caramel and deeply roasted grainy flavors. The finish has more vanilla, raisins, and pine. The body is heavy, and the alcohol is high at 10.2% ABV. This is a fine drink to wrap up a cold winter’s night.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Unibroue Éphémère Apple


Éphémère Apple is a white ale brewed with apple must, curacao peels, and coriander from my favorite brewers in Quebec. The first thing that strikes me is that it isn’t sweet. This is not a cider-y apple beer, or a dessert-wine-like fruit beer. There’s definitely some strong apple flavors, but none of the sugars to speak of. The first flavors on my tongue are apple peel and coriander, and there’s some strengthening citrus notes towards the finish from the curacao. There’s an malt backbone throughout that’s understated as wheat usually is. This is a really nice, different fruit beer. Well worth a try if you enjoy Belgian lambics, or other fruit-based beer.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Natty Greene’s Buckshot Amber Ale


Today I’m trying a North Carolina beer; Natty Greene’s Buckshot Amber Ale, by Natty Greene’s Brewing Company out of Greensboro, NC. The nose is yeasty and strong. The middle is toasty, and there is some light caramel in the finish. This is definitely malt forward, without any strong hop notes anywhere. It’s a fairly reasonable rendition of an amber ale.

I give it a 3.6 out of 5.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA


90 Minute IPA is a continually-hopped Imperial IPA, and one of my all time favorite beers. The nose is bready and sweet, reminding me of oranges and sticky buns. The middle has a sharp hop bite offset by sweet oranges and heavy grapefruit, with some caramel towards the end. It has a heavy body that causes it to linger on the tongue. It’s a fabulous ale that’s perfect for just about any occasion.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

New Belgium Shift Pale Lager


I’ve got another light, refreshing drink on the menu today. New Belgium Brewing’s Shift Pale Lager is a hoppy, crisp lager and it is quite delicious. The nose has a lot of orange and floral notes. The middle has lemon and a bit of pine and bread, and the finish faintly reminds me of rye. This is a really well executed hoppy lager (though not nearly as hoppy as Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL) and I really enjoy it.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL


This beer came as one of the “new” styles in this year’s Samuel Adams spring mixed pack, and I have to admit that I didn’t look closely enough at the bottle before opening, because I was expecting a standard American IPA. At first taste however, what I got was a super light-bodied wildly west-coast style beer that the Boston Beer company actually calls an “IPL” (India Pale Lager.) I have to say that I love this concept, and the execution is excellent. The heavy grapefruit and pine of west coast hops matches beautifully with the well carbonated light body lager. It’s not a big beer at 5%, and the signature IPA bitterness, while there, is tempered, leaving a fantastically tasty and refreshing beverage that could easily be my go-to game day beer.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Open Craft Beer has a new home!

After more than two years on, the announcement that Posterous is shutting down at the end of next month meant it was time for Open Craft Beer to move.  I’m now hosting it privately on WordPress, and I’ve migrated all posts of the posts but unfortunately, not the comments.

The move was not unexpected, and though it’s been a lot of work it gives us far more flexibility to grow the site now that we’re not constrained by the limitations of Posterous.   There may be issues, of course, and if you come across any errors or broken links, please let me know at

Also, please continue to submit new reviews and content to

I’m really looking forward to the future for Open Craft Beer and everything that’s coming, and I hope you are too.

Best regards,


Widmer Brothers Falconer’s IPA (Rotator IPA Series)


I’ve previously reviewed one of the beers from Widmer Brothers Rotator IPA Series, the Spiced IPA, and today I’m trying the Falconer’s IPA, named after the Falconer’s Flight hops blend this brew uses. This is a muted, maltier IPA that reminds me more of the English variety than the American one. The nose is grainy with a bit of lemon, the middle is heavy and malty with some pine and spice underneath that strengthens in the finish along with a bit more lemon. The head is nice and heavy and sticks around until well into the glass. This is a really nice IPA that’s a bit different from the huge hoppy west-coast style IPAs. It’s far and away better than the Spiced IPA, and one that I could see myself drinking regularly.

I give it a 4.0 out of 5.