This week I’m reviewing a pair of Sam Adam’s finest; the last new offering from the spring variety pack today, and later this week will be the first new offering from the summer selection. The last of the spring bunch is the Maple Pecan Porter, and boy does this beer live up to its name. The head is thick and creamy, and the nose smells like pecan pie drenched in maple syrup. There are some spices in there as well, maybe some cinnamon and cloves. The body is medium to heavy, as you’d expect from a porter. There’s more sugary sweet syrup in the middle along with a bit of coffee, and it fades to a pleasantly bitter roasty, nutty finish. This is kind of a gimmicky beer and there really isn’t a lot to it other than the signature ingredients, but it’s fun and tasty and unique. The flavors are strong and different enough that it isn’t going to be for everybody, but it’s worth a try to experience it and hey, you may find out that it’s the perfect beer for you.
I give it a 3.7 out of 5.
My Antonia was reviewed on this site several years ago, but I’ve never added my thoughts, and it’s about time I did so. Generally, I agree with Scott’s opinion in the earlier post. As a Pilsner (of the Imperial variety in this case) this is a more accessible beer for traditional macro drinkers than most of the rest of what you’ll find in the Dogfish Head line up. That said, as Scott alluded to, this beer does have more character than what you’ll get in the Pilsners served up by AB InBev or MillerCoors. There are more hops, and the lack of mild adjuncts (such as corn or rice) mean that the flavors of the malted barley aren’t tempered. The nose is citrusy and sweet, with orange and honey notes. The middle is hoppy with citrus, but mild, and not particularly bitter. The malt shines in the finish with toasted grain and light brown sugar. This is an excellent example of a what a Pilsner can grow up to be, and a fine intro to craft beer for masses.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Imperial Red Ale is a limited release red ale from the Lagunitas Brewing Company that they say is a reconstruction of the very first beer they ever brewed. It’s a big malty red ale, and the nose is heavy with earth and honey. It’s a full-bodied ale, and sticky sweet in the middle with caramel and honey, and the finish lingers on the tongue with orange and ginger, with the first hint of bitterness this beer offers, with just a touch of rind. The bottom line is that this is a delicious malty treat.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
I love rye ales, and I love Bell’s, so this beer was destined to be good. Smitten is an American Pale Ale brewed with rye, as it’s name indicates. It starts by pouring a beautiful unfiltered golden hue. The notes are of grain and toast with some floral and pine in the background. There’s a lot of malt in this beer but the hops are in the forefront. There’s orange and pine, withe hops coming through as bread and caramel. The finish is slightly sweet and this is where the flavor of the rye really shines. Overall, the flavor has some very nice components, but could use a little more complexity. A very enjoyable beer for the hoppy-pale ale fan, and the rye is a nice twist on the style.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
A nice cold apple lambic is the perfect prescription for a warm spring evening. The bottle is capped and corked, so be sure to have both a bottle opener and a corkscrew handy if you’re planning on enjoying one of these. The head is typically light and fizzy and disappears fairly rapidly. The nose is heavy with the wild yeast that marks the style, and the taste is big, very tart apples that fade into a sugary finish. There’s not as much complexity here as is some of Lindeman’s other offerings, but it’s a straight-forward enjoyable drink from the fruity end of the beer scale.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
Kashmir IPA from Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company is an English-style IPA, which more spice and less pine than you’d find an American west-coast style IPA. The scent is of toasted grain and lemon, and there’s quite a lot of citrus (predominantly orange) in the flavor as well, all the way through the finish which has warm, bitter orange rind notes. It’s a fairly full bodied beer, but with a relatively low alcohol content at 6% ABV. It’s not as bitter as some IPAs, but it’s definitely bitter and a really well crafted English IPA.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
One of the beers in the Sam Adams spring variety pack this year is a Belgian White Ale called White Lantern. As one would expect with a white beer, the base is quite mild and the bottle tells me that the flavor comes from tangerines and orange peel, and coriander and Grains of Paradise. There is a bit of tangerine, and a bit of spice, but not really a lot. There’s a good bit of butteriness, which makes me wonder if this beer’s not just a bit off. In any case, I’m not terribly impressed.
I give it a 2.4 out of 5.
Sisters of the Moon is an India Pale Ale from Mother Earth Brewing right here in North Carolina. This is a good all-around American IPA with a good bit of bitterness but a a lot of sweet juicy citrus to balance it out. There’s honeysuckle and yeast in the nose, and tons of sweet orange in the middle followed by the bite of bitter rind, with a little more sugar at the end. This is a really nice classic IPA.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
New Planet Beer Co. is a Colorado brewer specializing in gluten-free beer. Off Grid Pale Ale is a pale ale brewed with sorghum extract and brown rice extract for malt to those end. The head is fairly heavy and never quite goes away, leaving a remnant that quite reminds me of sea foam. The nose is sweetish, with a bit of cherry and molasses (which is another of the ingredients in this beer.) The middle has some hoppy notes, a bit of orange and pine, and the malt flavor is grassy and herbal. The finish is quite dry and papery. I don’t know that if I were looking for a gluten free beer this would be my first choice.
I give it a 3 out of 5.