Monday, July 19, 2010

Samuel Adams' Long Shot 2010 Winner: Mile High Barley Wine

Each year, Sam Adams runs a homebrew contest, and the top three winners get their beers brewed by the Sam brewery and get sold in a six-pack together. This year's winners were Old Ben Ale, Lemon Pepper Saison, and Mile High Barley Wine. Our first tasting was the barleywine.

Migh High was brewed with citrus-y hops, plum, and caramel. The caramel taste comes out almost immediately, with the plum waiting in the wings. It's got a bitterness to it, for sure, thanks to the hops.

Jeff's Review
This beer was great. But sadly I only drank about half. Every sip was causing heartburn. Not good. Anyway, It smelled fantastic, had a great color (of course, I didn't get a great look, as we did have it in a bottle), great carbonation, and really had a great taste. What I drank I was very impressed with. I got the hint of caramel, but no taste of plum. Maybe if I physically could have had more of it, I would have had that taste. I can't believe I had to drain-pour this! Seriously good, just unfortunate I couldn't finish the bottle.

Kate's Review
Unlike the Sah'tea from the day before, this Barleywine smacks you in the face with alcohol taste. It wasn't my favorite, for sure, but it was still definitely drinkable. Unfortunately for me, I definitely had beer face going on with this one (much to my friends' enjoyment). Hops and I just are not friends. The saving grace for this beer, in my opinion, is that it's got enough sweet, caramel taste to counteract the beer face phenomenon. Could've been worse...

Beer Fast Facts!
Beer type: Barleywine
ABV: 9.8%
Jeff's Grade: Three and a half wishes out of five.
Kate's Grade: two beer faces out of five (zero being best, five being worst)
Beer Advocate link: BA's Article about this year's winners

Dogfish Head's Sah'tea

Sah'tea is, according DFH's website, a "modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer. Made with rye and juniper berries, it's got some fruity hints, with a nice warm caramel color. We picked this one up at the local Wine and Beverage shop over the weekend.

Jeff's Review
Where to start. Looked great. Unfortunately, I didn't pour properly so the head disappeared very quickly. Kate didn't have that problem. So, the taste... One word: SODA. This was 9% ABV, really Dogfish Head? I seriously couldn't tell the difference between this and Sprite. I got a small taste of the juniper berries (which gave off a minor hint of gin). I definitely tasted some tea. But, just on taste, I wouldn't have guessed it was so aclohol-laden. I basically chugged the beer without even realizing it. I also didn't feel the effects of it at all. The saddest thing is that I have been dying to try this beer. All I can muster is a "meh" when I describe it. Would I drink it again? Probably.

Kate's Review
It was definitely a nice beer. Sweet, but not too, with a smooth feel in your mouth. Here's another great beer that left me without a hint of beer face. (Again, that tells you there's something going right with this one.) Go easy, though, because here's a beer that masks its alcohol taste almost entirely. If we'd had more of it, I'm sure there would have been Jeff and Kate shaped blobs found on the living room floor the next morning, and us with little explanation to offer. It certainly made for an amusing few rounds of Scrabble Slam, though!

Beer Fast Facts!
Beer type: Rye, Sahti
ABV: 9.0%
Jeff's Grade: Three Sprites out of five.
Kate's Grade: Four Scrabble Slam wins out of five!
Beer Advocate link: Sah'tea

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Anchor Steam's Liberty Ale

Welcome to our new beer blog! We've been becoming bigger and bigger beer snobs, and Jeff had the idea to spread the beer love. We'll be posting about the beers we taste that leave an impression. (Good and bad.)

We're opening this new blogging experiment with Anchor Steam's Liberty Ale. We purchased the beer at a local place with an excellent selection. As we were walking through the aisles, we stumbled upon more than a few interesting looking options. But, seeing as how it was July 4th weekend when we bought the beer, Liberty Ale seemed like the obvious choice.

Jeff's Review
Well, we drank this right from the bottle, so we didn't get a chance to fully appreciate the head and all the aromas that go with it. However, I don't think it really detracted from the beer. The flavor was really BEER with an undertone of hops. Really well balanced. I was very impressed with the small bubbles in the carbonation. It's definitely a perfect beer for a warm summer day. When it's ice cold, it tastes great. When it warms up from the heat of the sun, it tastes better. This beer was not in incredibly bitter, but it had just the right amount on the finish to keep it interesting. The only negative thing I could think of was the amount of burping that took place. It started right about halfway through, and didn't end for a good 10 minutes after the beer was complete.

Kate's Review
Like Jeff said, we didn't go through the usual "proper beer tasting" steps, choosing instead to drink this one by the side of the pool. Even missing out on the sniff test and color test, though, this was a pleasurable experience. The taste is sweet, with what I thought might be a faint hint of wheat. It goes down smooth and easy. It really is a perfect summer beer. And one of the most impressive things for me is that I don't make the "beer face." As we go on, my lack of "beer face" will be a big indicator of how awesome the beer really is. And like Jeff said, the only really bad thing about this beering experience is the sheer amount of beer burps. A few of them were truly impressive, though, and it made for quite a lot of giggles.

Beer Fast Facts!
Beer type: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%
Jeff's Grade: four burps out of five.
Kate's Grade: zero beer faces out of five. (That's really good!)
Beer Advocate link: Liberty Ale