Tales of a Wayside Brewery

For those of you who read this blog, you know that my two favourite seasonals are autumn, and, especially winter. This one is especially dear to me as it comes from my first ever microbrew. I first tried this brewery’s offerings when I was skiing with my dad. Ever since then, we have enjoyed these beers from time to time. That is why I am reviewing:

Shipyard Brewing Co.: Longfellow Winter Ale

Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed the brew after a long day at school to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. The beer sat less than a week in the cellar and was drunk fresh from there in a five ounce tasting glass.

Eye: The beer poured a chocolate brown with a creamy pale tan head. The bottle had a Longfellows mug staring out at us with a purple-tan label over brown glass.

Nose: The nose was reminiscent of a masala chai with lots of spice notes, vanilla, and chocolate, as well as nice citrus notes.

Mouth: The beer was smooth on the front with lots of winter spice and a pleasant hoppiness right behind. In between there was a nice chocolate with a hint of mint, caradamon and vanilla. The taste was quite subtle, so I had to search a little.

Conclusion: I love porter and this is a wonderful example. Combine porterness with winter spice, and I think I’m in love. There’s way too much good beer out there to drink any one regularly, but this is one I’ll keep an eye out for next winter.

Here’s to a good pint,
The Scribe

Taking a Load Off

In general, my two favourite styles of beer are stouts/porters and Belgian sours. In general, beer comes in three (theoretically four) flavours: Lagers, which are top fermented with unroasted grains; Ales, which are bottom or middle fermented with unroasted grains; and Porters, which are bottom or middle fermented with roasted grains. Theoretically, we could have a top fermented beer with roasted grain, a sort of Continental porter, but I’ve never seen one. Any way, porters, so named because they were the preferred drink of, teamsters, drivers, and, well, porters, and tend to be quite dark. All of this is by way of introducing today review:

High Falls Brewing Co.: Dundee Porter

Tasting Conditions: I tried this ale after a day of getting my house back together after returning from my travels. It also happened to be a first short, easy day of school. I used a five ounce, straight sided tasting glass for the taste. The beer was at a cold room temperature and had been in the cellar about three months before tasting.

Eye: The beer was a dark, almost opaque, brown with a airy, almost soapy-looking head. The bottle was dark brown with a red, tasteful logo showing a porter with a stein of beer. This is slightly incongruous as Englishmen tend to drink from pint glasses, not German steins, but I’ll let it slide.

Nose: The nose is bready, as beer tends to be, but there is some subtlety here, and it smells more of ry or pumpernickel than wheat. There is also a bit of citrus and hops in the mix.

Mouth: Ah, the important part. This is interesting, and quite tasty. In many ways, it taste more like a sour ale than a porter. It has none of the expected bitterness. The first thing you notice is chocolate, backed up by a strong vanilla. On the finish there is a roundness provided by apple, orange, and perhaps cardamon.

Conclusion: This is an excelent beer. It came in a very inexpensive sampler case with five other Dundee offerings for under $10. If the rest of the Dundee brews are of similar quality, this is both cheap, and very good. See if you can find this brew near you.

It’s so good to be back,
The Scribe

The Session: The London Beer & Cider Festival, 2008

Hello all, and welcome to my blog. For those of you who are beer drinkers, and new to my blog, welcome. For those of you who are spirits and cocktail bloggers, and don’t know what The Session is, it’s basically the beer blogging world’s version of MxMo.

This week the topic of The Session is beer festivals. Being freshly legal at home, I haven’t really been to any beer festivals in the States. However, while I was in London, I did go the annual London Beer and Cider Festival. Let me just say what a blast it was. The festival was hosted by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. So-called “real ale” for those who don’t know, is ale that is unpasteurized and served out of the same container in which the secondary fermentation happens. The way this festival worked was there was an entry fee (£2.50 for non-CAMRA members), and you could either borrow a glass, or buy the festival glass for £3. The glass was really quite gorgeous, and it was large enough that there was room for head proud of the imperial pint line. Then there was a cost per beer.

Frankly, I would have much preferred a higher entry fee, like perhaps £10 or £20, and unlimited beer. I felt that charging by the half-pint meant that I was less willing to simply try beers, which I feel should be a large part of the festival, but only tried the beers that had flavor notes I liked and were types of beer I liked. While I tried a ton of different beers, I had a good recollection of two:

Enville Brewery: Old Porter – This was quite a nice mild porter. It had some slight sweet notes, with just a touch of bitter and lots of fruity complexity. I would love to get my hands on this fine porter.

Fox Brewery: Cerberus Norfolk Stout – This seemed like more of a porter to me than a stout, at least in comparison to Irish stouts like Guinness, Murphy’s, and so on. Nevertheless I enjoyed this beer immensely. It had nice chocolate and raison notes with just the barest hint of bitterness. It was also pleasantly light bodied for a stout, which is a nice change from the more traditional meal in a glass

Thanks for coming to my Session. Next week, I should be mostly moved in, and will be back to live posting.
Cheers!
The Scribe