I admit it, I like beer and this is my “big” beer list – not every beer I’ve ever had, just the ones worth commenting about. A lot of friends ask me about this beer or that beer so I created this page for them – and me so I can remember what I like. I’m going to put notes out about all the interesting beers I taste. I’ll try to keep it alphabetical – but sorry in advance if I screw that up. Hope you like it. I’ll evolve the page over time since I’m not sure how much detail I’ll put in for each brew. I’ll rate beers 1-5 with 5 being mind blowing good stuff.
Abita Restoration Pale Ale – 4.6 (08/05/12)
A straight up pale ale with a good strong caramel malt flavor that is not too sweet. The balance of the malt flavor really makes this an excellent beer to try out. Its got a decent hop kick which is probably why the malt sweetness is in control. Excellent brew!
Abita Wrought Iron IPA – 3.8 (07/24/2015)
A bottle conditioned IPA, Wrought Iron has a strong hop flavor with a nice and light body. This is a great IPA for the beach since it lacks a strong malt and body. The head is minimal and dissipates pretty quickly. I like the flavor – honestly I cannot name the hops that are used.Its 6.9 ABV so only a couple are advised unless you are home already :-).
Affligem Double 3.7 (06/06/2016)
A classic Abbey beer of Belgium, this golden hued beer is clear, crisp, and malty. Served in its traditional vase-like glass, this is a great beer for drinking in the summer of Antwerp (or your fav city of Belgium). The head is decent, but does dissipate in a few minutes. The brew does have some spice to it, can’t quite describe it, but its good. If you like your Belgian beers with less yeast taste then this is a good one for you.
Allagash Triple – 4.5 (10/07/10)
Ommengang is the most widely known US brewer of Belgian style beers, but Allagash is making a name for themselves. I ran across this beer in the local store and figured I would give it a try. I’m glad I did. This is a light colored, crisp, and refreshing ale in the classic Belgian style. Slightly sweet, but not so much to make you regret 750ml. I kept this one in the fridge for a few weeks prior to drinking. I probably had it a bit too cool, there was quite a healthy head on the beer.
Anchor India Pale Ale – 3.7 (01/22/2016)
Saw this in my local beer store. I didn’t know Anchor made anything other than their Steam ale and a Christmas ale. I gave it a shot. A amber beer with a bit of haze and an ivory colored head. In terms of taste – its kinda like a hipped up steam beer. A bit lighter and less malt in comparison I think. The head was a bit thin, but I might have had it too cold. The taste also has a carmel-ish flavor to it.
Anchor Steam – 4.5 (05/10/10)
I’ve been to San Francisco about 6 or 7 times and there no way I would leave that city without getting down a few Anchor Steam’s – an original style from San Francisco. A steam beer is essentially an ale made with Lager yeast. Anchor has a mellow carmel taste, great body, and a medium carbonation and head. To me the hop kick gives a good bitter counterweight to the carmel flavor, but does not have an “IPA”-ish flavor to it. The 4.5 rating is for the beer on tap in SF – in a bottle its not a 4.5. Anchor started the beer revival. It is your duty to drink many!
Ayinger Ur-Weisse Dunkel Weizen – 4.2 (06/27/10)
This is a classic dark and unfiltered wheat beer. I guess I should have been grabbing something Dutch, but yeah I drank this watching Robben sink a goal into the back of the net against Slovakia in the 2010 world cup. You’ll find few better examples of a German classic wheat beer. This is a pretty crisp beer – dry in character, but with good body and plenty of taste. This is no mushy wheat beer. I like to drink this beer fairly cold. When cold it keeps a good head on it.
Baden Baden Golden (Cervejaria) – 3.0 (01/14/2017)
Another classic Brazilian beer (aka a light pilsner), clean, crisp, and good flavor, for a pilsner style beer. Get it on tap (chopp) if possible. Golden in color and with a light carbonation. I’d have to say its better than most big market pilsner beers like Heineken, Coors, or Budweiser.
Ballantine India Pale Ale – 4.7 (04/06/215)
What???? Ballantine??? What’s next Turborg Gold??? Forget that – this is the real thing and what a beer it is. Rich – great head good malt, and quite a good kick of hops. This is an amazing beer. Hard to believe that it’s Ballantine. This is the original recipe from back before Prohibition, not their lighter Pabst rip-off beer. At 7.2% this is also quite a strong beer.
Ballast Point Big Eye IPA – 4.5 (06/06/12)
I got a growler full of the Big Eye IPA for my birthday from Luthien. The brewer was at Issac Newton’s for Philly beer week (yes the city celebrates beer for a full week!). Big Eye isa rich, full bodied, and fairly hoppy IPA with a high alcohol level. I got to enjoy this dry hopped ale on my back deck – great stuff with a nice foamy head.
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA – 5.0 (07/04/2013)
Ballast Point is top 3 in my book of American brewers and this beer is no let down. A bright golden color, ivory thick head, and a mouthfull of flavor are how I would describe this excellent IPA. I also think it is very drinkable and has a clean texture that also quenches your thirst unlike alot of beers that leave you looking for a glass of water.
Bass Pale Ale – 4.3 (07/25/10)
Proudly sitting in my Top 10 beers for a top notch drink at the Pig N’ Whistle in New York, Bass has been missing from my review list. I recently got a case of Bass and I see they’ve done some work on the labeling. Bass is not only the first Pale Ale, defining the entire genre, but also revolutionized beer with a heavily hooped ale to make the journey to India. Hope were added as a preservative, a controversial thing at the time. Their Pale Ale is one of my favorite beers – a real drinking man’s beer – I enjoyed one or two after mowing the lawn today in 93F weather. A dry medium brown ale with some hop kick, a Bass goes down smooth, has a great ale, and a nice caramel flavor topped off with a hop kick, but not too fruity as with many US IPA style beers.
Beamish Irish Stout – 3.8 (12/14/2016)
With deep burnt overtones, chocolate malt, and a smooth feeling Beamish is my favorite stout beer. If you like stouts then you surely need to have this beer. It is rare to get it on draft outside of Ireland and that is exactly where I had this beer on many occasions, passing up on Guinness to have it. Give it a try and I’m sure that you will agree it is a better beer than Guinness. Great head, silky smooth, and with more flavor. Great stuff!
Becks Beer – 1.2 (10/05/10)
I was returning from San Francisco. I had a headache because I was doing a red-eye with a stop over in Denver. I needed something, anything, to give me a chance of sleep. That thing was a Beck’s Beer. I like German beer, but drinking a Becks is painful – a grassy, skunky smelly thing from a can, when you crack open a Becks you think the guy next to you might have just committed an offence against god himself. ..the horror is that it was the beer. Once the smell dissipates a a golden coloured brew is revealed with a thin snow-like head that quickly melts away. Drinking the beer is somewhat better, clean, crisp, and fairly thin in taste its ok, but unfortunately its a fairly light alcohol beer so it didn’t help me get any Z’s even at 2 AM. Well it was better than that Dutch beer i love…
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale – 4.6 (02/12/2017)
It is heard to believe that I have not reviewed this beer here on Tarn Aeluin! A fantastic A-IPA (American style IPA) with rich malt and crisp Centennial hop finish, this is a great beer on tap, in a bottle, or in a can. This last bit is where many good beers fall down, Two Hearted is just as good in a can as on tap. Slightly cloudy and golden in color, the head disappears to a whisper thin on top. The beer is smooth with a fine carbonation
Brahma Chopp Pilsner Lager – 2.6 (01/18/2017)
Now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, this beer has been around since 1888 and is an excellent
“hot day” beer and at only 5% ABV you can down a number of these and still play pick-up football (soccer) with some friends in San Jose de Campos or where ever you happen to be in Brazil. Light, crisp, with good carbonation, but if you are into big flavor and/or hope this is not that kind of beer.
Brouwerij Bosteels Karmeliet Triple – 4.3 (10/12/2013)
An excellent Triple – crisp, sparkling, with a decent if fleeting head. Nice lace forms down the sides of a round glass (highly recommended). It has a complex flavor that I cannot adequately describe. It is slightly fruity, slightly sharp and bitter, and has the classic belgian feel to it. Quite enjoyable.
Budweiser American Ale – 2.5
A new type of ale? Well I think that is overstating it, but there’s no doubt that you will get a reaction from guests when you bring them a Bud and it is this 🙂 American Ale from Budweiser is a beer I like – I admit it. It is like a Sam Adams, but like it says on the bottle it is lighter and lacks the kick of Sam. That’s good and bad, but all in all I like this ale for its middle of the road appeal and you sure can’t beat the price either. I do wish it had a bit more hop to it. The Cascade gets lost I think. I do like the maltiness without a sweet taste to it – that’s good.
Bulmers Original Irish Cider – 3.5 (12/14/2016)
I remember sitting in Hoboken, NJ at Widow’s with my English and Irish soccer buddies. I’m drinking Guinness and they are downing cider’s like Woodpecker. Ick – I tried it and it was pretty nasty. Recently I was in Limerick, Ireland and ordered up a Bulmers cider. Big difference!
Yeah I know this is a beer list, but it was really quite good. Crisp, not too sweet, and bubbly. Not much of a head, but I’m not sure if that is expected in a cider or not. It will not be a regular thing I get, but for a cider I know what to get now! I had this one on draft at South Pub.
Charles Quint (Kaizer Carel) Ruby Red – 3.9 (6/6/2016)
A Belgian classic – this sweet, malty beer is a treat to be enjoyed on a late summer night. Be careful with the high level of alcohol in this one @ 9.0%. This red has a deep amber-red color, great malt taste, and a decent bitter hops finish make this a beer to look for. Its not a fruity finish, but a traditional hops finish as most Belgian ales have.
Coresndonk Abbey Pale Ale – 2.5
I think the average American will taste this and say ick. Corsendonk has a very striking aromatic and fruity taste. It has a strong carbonation. It is a clean mid-color wheat beer. Good stuff I think. You can get this beer on tap in lots of places in the USA. It is great on tap so go for it. It is a good summer beer. A better beer than Hoegaarden.
Coronado Islander IPA – 3.0 (1/4/2015)
This is a crisp and golden colored IPA, more like an LPA, with a good hop finish although a bit too much melon-mango flavor for me. Not much malt body and not much head to describe. I couldn’t quite pick up what the flavor was so I checked the label and sure enough I think their description is accurate. Not a bad brew, but not my favorite IPA
De Koninck Ale – 3.5
On my first trip to Belgium I stayed in Antwerp on the Groenplatts. Luckily I had some freidns to show me around. One of the first beers I had was the local De Koninck Ale. A top fermented Saas hopped medium brown ale, De Koninck is a staple of life in Antwerp. A good beer by itself or interspersed with the Trappist ales of your choice.
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA – 4.9 (12/28/2015)
Wow – packing some big punch in this IPA! A good balance between malt and hops – the body of this beer is right between a traditional IPA and an LPA – and the hops are really tasty. It says it is bottle conditioned, but I didn’t notice too much sediment in this beer. Good stuff from Portland!
Deschutes Pinedrop IPA – 4.5 (12/29/2015)
Another good brew from these guys in Portland. I rated it a bit below Fresh Squeezed because well it is a bit “pine-y”. I like it, but it is pretty sharp without the floral contrast that makes an IPA multi-dimensional in the flavor profile. However if you just like the sharp bang and cutting bite this might be the beer for you. A great summer beer with its lighter body – similar to Fresh Squeezed.
Dogfish 60 Minute IPA – 5.0
What can you say about this beer that hasn’t been said already. Probably the best American IPA you can get – if you have not had it get it. Hard to find on draft – but unlike many others this beer is good in a bottle too. The hops are tasty, but not overly acidic or bitter so you really can enjoy the fine taste and have another…or several. Between this and theHopFish IPA it is hard to pick, but I think for me I go for the next on the list. It is very close. I guess that’s why they have the 90 and 12o 🙂
A fairly high alcohol beer – so drink carefully – this golden/orange IPA has a robust and complex citrus flavor that I cannot adequately describe. I had a growler full of this stuff – its good. Decent head with good body. I like the beer – very drinkable; not too heavy for a double IPA. “Double D” is good :-).
Just bought some Duvel and I can’t believe this Belgian classic is missing from my list. Duvel is probably not a beer a lot of Americans are going to like. It is a classic Belgian pale beer with a slight haziness to its very light golden color and a bit of a yeasty taste combined with just a hint of the 8.5% alcohol. A must to have it the special “tulip” glass with its big thick head of creamy foam. Strong carbonation too – especially when served too cold.
Evil Genius Brewing – Evil Eye IPA – 2.5 (1/4/2016)
Had this from a bottle. The beer pours out a biz hazy. Tastes a biz hazy too – not sure I would really calls this an IPA. There is quite a bit of malt sweetness mixed with a good does of hop, but to me this is more of an American Ale or a brown ale. Decent head that leaves good trails on the glass if you are interested in that kind of thing. Personally I’m not convinced that’s a sign of a good tasting beer.
Fire Rock Pale Ale – 3 (08/10/10)
This pale ale is from the Kona Brewing Co. on the big island…but the thing I’m drinking is from Portsmouth, NH. I admit I have a pet peeve for all this contract brewing crap. I mean come on if you call yourself a small label beer and you claim this is important then how can you pretend that having the beer actually brewed 8,000 miles away probably by people you have never met and with a water that is totally different won’t make the beer taste different. yeah – not a problem just with Kona, but here’s my chance to rant a bit. There’s not much special about this beer…yeah its a pale ale with a decent flavor (a bit sweet for me) and it has some hops. Ok – but so what? Why would I drink it over the other 50 beers made in and around Portsmouth. Why would I pay a premium for this “Hawaiian” beer? No clue…glad I only bought a 6-pack of it. I guess I should read the labels more carefully.
Fish Brewing Hodgson’s Bitter End IPA – 3.3 (01/29/2017)
Casting aside the usual citrus overload that most IPA’s have, the Bitter End relies on pure bitter goodness to make its mark on your palette. Overall a slightly piney hop character. A medium dark brown beer with a decent head, that dissipates after a bit, the beer has a decent body without too much malty sweetness. I would say a medium-body feel and also a medium level of carbonation. This is labeled as an IPA, but to me this is more of an APA. Decent beer.
Flying Fish HopFish IPA – 3.5 (06/21/13)
This is a really great beer. If you are looking for a classic IPA that is not totally over the top with hops then this is your beer. Its right up there with Bass and Long Trail. Medium brown (or golden I suppose) with a decent head on it and a good hop finish. This beer has been dry hopped with Nugget hops so it has a really nice floral/citrus finish. One of my favorite beers and is listed in my top 10. UPDATE: I’ve reduced this rating. Something has happened to this beer and it is not really as good as it used to be. Rating taken down 1.5 points.
Founders All Day Session IPA – 5.0+ (05/29/13)
Breaking into my top 10 – this beer knocked my socks off. What a great beer – powerful hops, great texture, and a fantastic head. This is a very hoppy beer with a strong fruit/grapefruit flavor. Definitely drink this in a decent tulip glass or a glass like the Sam Adams glass. Nice color too.
Franziskaner Weissbier – 4.0
This is my favorite wheat beer. Clean, crisp, with plenty of punch. If you are thinking of giving a wheat beer a try, then go for this one. I like the let the beer sit in my basement fridge for a couple of weeks and then do a careful pour leaving the sediment behind, but it is also ok to go for it and dump the sediment all at once at the final pour. Make sure you get a good head and drink this beer from a glass with a decent mouth on it…like the glass above.
Free Will Brewing – Kragle IPA – 4.1 (05/08/2016)
A light colored and bodied IPA, this beer has a very crisp and hoppy taste that goes prefect with a lawn mower and a hard day’s work. Definitely a citrus hop taste and a clean finish on this beer. The head’s bubbles are pretty, but dissipate quickly leaving no lace on the glass. Well that’s ok; I like this beer quite a bit. Plus its a local beer to me – here in Bucks County, PA.
Fuller’s ESB – 4.5
This is a great beer on tap and in the bottle. I got a case of this and in the bottle it is nearly as good as from teh tap. I’m very happy with that. This is a straight ale – bitter but not fruity like an IPA. Great stuff and scream like Roger DAltry for old England. Too bad I’m of Scottish decent…lol. But a good beer anyway. A bit expensive tho…
Green Flash West Coast IPA – 5++ (08/13/2013)
Better on tap than in the bottle – in either case this is one of the best beers made in the USA. Difficult to find here in the Philly area, Green Flash West Coast IPA is a vibrant, hop-tastic, pleasure for your palette. Bright citrus hops with a big malt taste – you really just can’t get enough of this beer. A decent head and a golden color. A bit expensive, but very nice anwyay. Get a case and save it…or get it on tap at Fox and Hound in King of Prussia PA. In the bottle I find the hop flavors become a bit muddled probably due to improper handling. Joins Kasteel Triple as a top beer!
Goose Island IPA – 4.5 (09/20/2014)
On tap in the grotto – a great body to this beer; a decent head that does fade, but leaves a nice lace on the glass. This beer has a bit more malt character than most IPAs so if you are looking for that hop head kick , not your beer here. That being said there is a good solid quality here that results in a well rounded taste, a great color, and an overall outstanding brew. A great addition to the grotto.
Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple – 4 (12/24/2016)
A medium brown ale with quite a punch of flavor, I’ve never had a quad before. It is actually not as dark in color as the double. The falvors are so intense the y are a bit overwhelming and end up being a bit muddled. If you are into the malt tastes of beer then this is for you. Hop heads will not enjoy – I’m an equal opportunity beer guy so this is a good beer.
Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold – 4.5 (05/29/13)
A larger as they were meant to be. Fantastic crisp, clean, bitter, with a robust head. Great carbs – don’t get it too cold. Forget the Bud…go with the Hacker. A lot of the supposed “beer guys” disparage the German brews – they call them boring, looking for needles in the haystack, demean the German beer laws…screw those guys. Go have a “water ice” or a fruit pop…or a Raspberry Ice Tea. I’ll keep to good beer from Germany!
Hobgoblin English Ale – 1.5
I had high hopes for this expensive English Ale, but I was disappointed. I think I had this on draft at the Yard House in San Diego and it was great. So I grabbed a bottle at the local Wegmans and settled into my big chair to watch the Phillies smack the Yankees around. Not only did the Phillies lose, but I did too with this beer. A dark ale with little to make it stand out – mild on hops, mild carbonation, not much head. The tap head is really cool tho.
Hooker’s Hop Meadow IPA – 4.0 (07/10/10)
My wife and I like to tour through New England stopping where ever we can get good beer – how great a wife is that? One of the surprising beers I came across is Thomas Hooker‘s Hop Meadow IPA – a good rich tasting and hoppy IPA that really does justice to the category. There’s a lot of hop flavor here – and a crisp strong carbonation. However what I really like is the caramel-malt flavour – fantastic. Its a bit of Newcastle Brown Ale with a bit more hop. Really Liking this beer.
Kane High Head – 5++ (05/15/2015)
Head heads of the world make your plans now for the New Jersey only beer. What an amazing mouthfull of hop-tastic taste. This beer is self-distributed by the brewer, but is not available outside the state of New Jersey, per state law. Beyond the hops the body of this beer is light with a decent head – almost pilsner-ish.
Key West Sunset Ale – 2.4 (11/25/2015)
Well – when in Key West I figured I would try the local brew. Wasn’t expecting much, didn’t pay too much, and I got what I expected. A medium brown ale, not a lot of character, not a lot of head, served in a bottle. Eh. Got one and then went to Sam.
Kasteel Rouge – 2.5 (03/07/10)
Since I had already gone with a Three Philosopher’s (look down the page) I figured why not try another fruit beer. Kasteel is another one of my highly recommended Belgian beer brewers. This is a cherry beer and you should know from the label where it says “extra cherry extract added” that this is going to be a super-cherry beer. Indeed it is – pretty much like drinking a thin robitussin or something like that. Not really for me – but I can see how it could appeal to the same person that likes cranberry and vodka or something like that.
Kasteel Triple – 5.0 ++ (07/07/10)
This is a classic, fantastic Belgian Triple. What’s a triple? It means that they are using 3x the amount of malt as a “normal” beer. This means more flavor and more alcohol since there is more sugar, it also means there is a sweeter taste (perhaps) and a greater benefit to aging. Needless to say this is one my my favorite Belgian beers – it has a great clean taste with lots of different twists and turns. It has a good head and plenty of carbonation without a lot of the heavy sweetness that comes with most Triples. This is a great choice for any American trying to get a handle on Belgian beers and Triples.
So far this is my only “++” simply because…well I really like Belgium (the country and the people), respect its beer heritage, and this is a really great beer.
Kona Brewing Castaway IPA 4.2 (6/18/2014)
My first Kona beer experience was at the Polynesian at Disney in Florida. How cool – a Hawaiian beer! Then I took a look at the label…not exactly a Hawaiian beer. Bummer. Kinda bummed at a mediocre beer taste too. So when I saw this beer in a six pack that I got for my birthday, expectations were not high. Surprise surprise then when it was actually good – really good. A light golden colored hop-tastic taste. Clean and dry with great citrus taste. Still not brewed in Hawaii – but at least good!
Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ – 5.0 (12/1/2013)
Had this beer at a local steak house and wow! What a beer! Hops – bang! Killer flavor, nice body that is between an ale and a lager. The fragrance of this beer is great. I really like it. One of my tops.
Langunitas Brown Sugar – 4.8 (1/12/2014)
They did it again – one of the best overall brewers in the USA – the name sounds gross, but give it a shot. I’d call this a brown ale with some punch in alcohol (at 9.9%) and flavor. Not too heavy on the brown sugar, but you can certainly get the hint of it. Overall a clean and nice brown.
Long Trail IPA – 4.5 (07/24/10)
One of my favorite brewers, Long Trail comes thru with a crisp IPA that delivers a lot of flavor without the heavy quality that many US IPA’s have. There’s a decent hop flavor – I’m not sure I get the pine flavor as claimed on box, but that’s probably a good thing.
Long Trail Double Bag – 4.5 (03/22/13)
Grab both udders and squeeze boys! A deep brown and fairly high in alcohol beer, this is a classic. A good mix of malt, hop, and caramel flavor. Don’t cool it too much or you will loose the caramel flavors. A good beer for a cold summer night or any day during the winter.
Long Trail Limbo IPA – 4.6 (02/06/2016)
This beer pours out with a rush of copper and a decent foamy head that leaves lace on teh glass as you drink it. Fairly clear with a bit of haze, this beer is a happy mix of hop and malt. There definitely is a fruit-hop flavor, but not the usual floral hop kick that we all know with IPAs. I would say it is more of a bitter apricot – like from a dried apricot. Its good – and believe me I do not like fruit beers. It is a subtle flavor. This is a good brew.
Lancaster Hop Hog IPA – 2.5 (06/22/13)
I was out at Gettysburg this summer and stopped in for a few beers at one of Lancaster Brewing’s pubs. I was impressed with a number of their beers so when I saw a case of the IPA I grabbed it. This brew is a medium-brown IPA with a rich thick feel to it. However for my taste I think an IPA needs a strong fuggle/floral hop character – or I suppose a cascade might work. Maybe that’s just me. This IPA to me is more of a brown ale than an IPA. It is good, but pretty heavy. UPDATE: Grabbed a gallon in a growler – much better off the tap and boosting 1.0 point!
Magic Hat Blind Faith – 4.0 (05/10/12)
If you like a sharp citrus kick and some malt body, then this is a beer you will like. All the Magic Hat beers (IMHO) have a lot of similarities in terms of their hope character and malts. For my taste a bit too much citrus in this one. It does also start with a rich and think head that quickly fades away.
Magic Hat Circus Boy – 4.5 (12/10/10)
This is a real beer for summer, not doctored up with all that citrus crap, but steeped in favor and crisp beer goodness. A hefeweizen for the masses and for beer aficionados, Circus Boy has a crisp tight flavor with a wheat kick, but without the aftertaste that might turn off most people. It also dispenses with the cloud of yeast that most beer of this type carry. The label talks about lemon grass but I don’t taste that at all – and that’s s good thing.
Maredsous Brun – 3.5
This is a classic Belgian beer. Deep dark chocolate maltiness, but unlike a lot of american beer this is not heavy stuff that will make your stomach turn. Straight classic beer taste makes this a very enjoyable beer. I recommend a not too cold temperature with this beer or you will kill off the carbonation. I think it is best in a wide mouth glass too. Not too much sediment in the bottle so pour it all. At 8% alcohol it is a good drink – be careful 🙂
Maredsous Triple – 3.0
This is a straight-up triple with a sweet, but not too aromatic taste. A smooth drink with plenty of carbonation. A high-alcohol content too so be careful. This is not my favorite triple because, although it tastes good, it does not stand out really either. It is similar to beerse from Leffe – mass produced “abbey style” ales. Like the brun this beer is not bottle conditioned so pour it all out and enjoy.
Michelob Lager – 2.5
Since the sale of most of A-B to the Belgians, Michelob seems to have been transformed into a quality lager. Not a lager like Sam Adams, but with a bit more depth and hoppiness than before, this beer is really a nice classic German lager.
MOA St. Josephs – 5.0 (12/7/2013)
A Belgian style Triple, New Zealand’s best brewer (IMHO) delivers a fantastic and very approachable beer, just don’t drink too many – at 9.5% it packs quite a punch. Unlike most Triple’s this beer has a very crisp delivery and does not have that “triple” feel in your mouth (kind of like drinking syrup). I could (and did) drink a bunch of this on my recent trip to Las Vegas – and like I said quite a punch 🙂 Another nod to this beer – enjoyed a bunch at the Gordon Ramses Pub in Las Vagas (12/30/2014).
Molson Golden – 1.5 (10/10/10)
Had a Molson today…a miserable beer these days. What’s happened to Canadian beer? Ick – Bud tastes pretty good compared to this. Given you’re paying a premium for this over Bud, Coors, and Miller it should really be, um better…but its not. Save your money and get PBR.
Negra Modelo – 3.0 (06/22/13)
I generally do not care for Mexican beers because they are too light and tasteless, but this one at least has a bit of color, taste, and heft to it. It reminds me of a Becks or other German style beers that try to hit a balance between pilsner and ale. Decent beer.
New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA – 4.0 (05/01/2016)
I love those build your own six-pack things at Wegman’s. Now that they have them at Acme grocery stores I’m in beer heaven! I grabbed up a Rampant and really enjoyed the combination of hops and sweet malt. It is very different from the straight up IPA. It has a balance with the sweet flavor and then also a more balanced hop profile between the IPA style hop and the more traditional bitter hop. Medium-light body that is clean and crisp. This is not bottle fermented so be sure to pour it all.
Grabbed a 12 pack of this beer in Florida. A nice golden ale with a long lasting head. Lacey foam stays on the glass and the head does hold for about 20-30 minutes. Take your time with this one. Hop impact is great with a strong floral that mixes in a bitterness that is both light and potent. A drinkable beer for sure.
UPDATE: Grabbed a keg and it is even better on draft. Good stuff – the floral character really comes thru. A nice clean finish with not too much malt and body. Oh yeah – you can drink a bunch of these so watch out – this ain’t no session ale.
Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA – 5.0+
A friend hand delivered this Northwestern US IPA. A golden slightly orange IPA, this beer packs a ton of flavor into it. It carries almost a triple sweetness combined with a powerful hop kick that delivers a good balance of citrus and acid to counter the sweetness. There’s a good carbonation and head on this beer too – a good sized head that lasts. An excellent brew – if you get one hoard it! I’m going to bring the bottle to my local distributor and see if they can stock this.
Old Burnside Ten Penny Ale – 5.0 (11/10/2010)
After a crappy round of golf over at Elm Ridge in Eastern Connecticut I stopped in the clubhouse where I found a surprising assortment of beer: Dogfish, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, Hookers, and more. One of them was this fine beer – Ten Penny Ale. A smooth caramel malty goodness in a glass. An excellent beer that reminds me of Newcastle Brown Ale, but is smoother and has more flavor. A good amount of carbonation and head that lasts with a lacy set of bubbles on the glass. Now speaking of that glass – purple? Well I guess at least America is getting into the space with European brewers. A real treat – and kudos to Elm Ridge for a nice course and some good eats at the bar. This beer is generally only available in southern New England.
Old Speckled Hen – 4.3
An English beer that does not get a lot of press – the ‘ol Hen in the heavy bottle is a maltie, carmel, straight up ale with great body, bitterness, and balance. It reminds me a lot of Newcastle Brown, but IMHO is a cripser beer and has a carmel taste that can’t be beat.
Ommegang‘s Three Philosophers – 3.7 (06/26/10)
For those people out there who think American beer can’t meet the bar set by our friends in Europe, here’s a beer to try. Despite the fact that my experience drinking this fine Belgian style Kriek (cherry) was destroyed by the loss of the US team vs. Ghana in the world cup, I must say this is a good beer. The cherry flavour is very mild and mixes well with this medium-dark and fairly high in alcohol beer. A good drink, but don’t have to many. It is a fairly sweet beer too, which I’ll be honest does not really appeal to much to me. For A Kriek however this is a good drink.
Orval Trappist Bierre – 2.8
This is a medium brown top fermented and bottle conditioned ale in the classic Belgian style. You need to let Orval settle well or even age it like a wine for a few years. That’s pretty difficult to do, but a dark corner of a basement works well.
Piraat – 3.8 (01/17/2017)
A big surprise! I got this beer in a multi-pack Steenbergen from a local store. Warm, and really malty with a nice spice and hop finish! I really like this beer! The head disappears pretty quick even when served relatively warm (for the USA). Good carbonation in the glass that is pretty crisp like a champagne. Good stuff from Belgium!
Row House Red – Philadelphia Style Ale – 2.0
Generally I enjoy beers from the Philadelphia Brewing Co. – I frequent Porthouse in Lahaska Pa. that serves a bunch of good brews from them. However this is not one of my favorites. I’m not quite sure what a “Philadelphia Style” is, but this beer is reddish in color (thus the name?) and has a medium body to it that is not malty and not hoppy particularly. It has some kind of after-taste that kind of reminds – well – of diesel fuel in a way. That’s kind of harsh I guess and perhaps its the bottling process with this one. Certainly several other beers I enjoy on tap are awful in a bottle. Well – that’s it – not recommended.
Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL – 3.2 (12/25/2013)
This is an interesting beer – a lager hopped up like an IPA. Its pretty good. A very clean and dry taste coupled with a kick of good west coast hops. It has a nice light taste in the mouth, much like a session IPA. Crisp bubbles rise from the bottom thru the dark golden beer. The head dissipates quickly and leave a bit of lace on the glass. Good stuff from Sam.
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter – 2.8
Usually I find “porter” beers (of course no one knows really what a porter was since the original recipies are lost in time) to be heavy, overly malted, nearly syrupy messes that languish in my fridge until all other beer is consumed. However this porter is actually pretty good. It has a deep dark malty flavor, but is not heavy and thick. For a “porter” this is pretty good – although to me this is more of a dark brown ale. Good tho – thanks Jim..er Sam!
Samuel Adams Noble Pils – 5.0 (05/14/2011)
Listen to the ads and it sounds fantastic – and guess what it is. Hats off to Jim Cook and the guys in Boston. Great beer – my favorite pils and I would drink one anytime. I can’t do justice to describing it other than to say it has a great deep flavor for what looks in a glass from a distance to be a Bud. Get one – or as Joel my friend in Milpitas says “2 for 2 Beren?” I always say yes of course 🙂
Samuel Adams Octoberfest – 2.0 (10/20/2014)
On draft in Menegroth, this beer disappoints. It is kinda flat and tasteless. It does have a decent head, but otherwise it is a boring beer with little to no decent features. After having one of these, try a Hop Devil and your tongue will just tingle and dance with the difference. Anyway – nice try Jim, but please try again.
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale – 3.5 (12/30/2014)
Fezziweg is a seasonal beer for the holidays – works just fine as that. Dark, spicey, with a good heavy malt. Definitely a “one a day” kinda beer, but it works for time of year. Even better enjoyed in front of the fireplace or a fire pit. Definitely taste ginger, cinnamon, and some other things in there – not quite sure what they are.
Scaldis Noel – 4.0 (12/29/2013)
A deep amber/red ale from Belgium, this beer is brewed for the Christmas season’s rich meals. Delivering a strong malt and fruity yeast flavor, this beer is a great match with roast beef, frites, and mushrooms. Not much of a head and it definitely should not be too cold. Try it in a small tulip glass to get all the flavors. Enjoy this traditional beer of Belgium!
Shmaltz Genesis Session Ale – 2.5 (05/26/2013)
A middle of the road brown ale with decent malt and bitterness – not much flower or bouquet. Beers that are bottle conditioned should say so on the bottle. Not too thrilled with it and won’t remember it really.
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – 4.5 (01/04/2012)
A malty and hoppy heaven for holiday lovers – this is a great beer, period. Equally good on draft or a bottle, expect a rich and heavy beer with a good strong crisp citrus hop kick to it.
Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter – 4.0 (07/20/2015)
This is a super hoppy beer. I’m not sure I buy this “hop oil extracted in the field” crap, but this is a good beer. A bit heavy really – the hop load is impressive, but I’m not sure it is really enjoyable in comparison with others. Dark golden color, decent head on it, Sierra clearly knows what they are doing.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo – 4.5 (07/20/2015)
Ok – that date is kinda fake since I’ve been a repeat drinker of this fine IPA style beer. Hoppy, crisp, and full of flavor – this is a really nice beer from Sierra. Torpedo refers to SN’s dry hopping technique that is featured in this beer and in Hop Hunter. I nice golden brown color with a decent head that lasts. What’s nice about this beer is that you can enjoy a bunch without feeling like a whale.
Sly Fox IPA – 4.7 (05/04/2013)
A local beer here in the outstirks of Pbhiladelphia, Sly Fox make s a number of quality brews and this is one of them. A tasty and balanced IPA that has plenty of hops and malt in a balance that many breweries cannot really get right. A good head that lasts provides a creamy entre’ into this beer. Definitely a good beer for all occasions.
Smuttynose IPA 5.0 (01/10/2012)
Be careful when you pour this bottle conditioned ale, this one is good. A good rich malt with a nice hop kick. I think of this as an American IPA – different that a straight Bass interpretation. There’s a caramel kick combined with a complex palette that make it quite a bit different. the head starts out strong,but does fade away leaving a lace on the glass. Good stuff!
Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale – 4.2 (01/07/2012)
If you don’t normally like wheat ales then you should try this one. A drinkable wheat – unfiltered, but lacking a heavy sediment, this wheat beer has a nice golden color and a crisp light finish. A fairly thin head and light carbonation. A great summer beer and/or post lawn mowing beer.
Southern Tier Warlock Pumpkin Sout – 4.5 (10/12/2013)
I don’t usually go in for flavored, spiced, or fruit flavored beer, but here is one that I actually like. Its a stout and it is flavored with pumpkin and the normal “fall season” flavors, but it is done with a bit of reserve so that you are not choking on sweet sugary flavors. There’s a good head on this stout and a decent boy as well. All in all – not too bad an effort. You can also get it in a 24oz bottle so its twice as nice 🙂
Southern Tier Unearthly IPA – 4.2 (10-Jun-2012)
A rich, malty ale with five or six kinds of hops, including dry hopping with cascade, centennial, and chinook this is an IPA worth the $$$. I got it as a gift in a big 650ml bottle. Enjoy this one in a big fluted glass to concentrate the hops aroma. A bit thick and definitely only for those that are into the bitterness of hops and a slight sweet kick.
Spaten Premium Lager – 3.6
A bottom fermented Munich classic – this beer oozes German-classic lager. Sharp and dry with a touch of hops on the end. This is my favorite larger from Germany
Spaten Optimator – 2.7
This is a dark bottom-fermented double bock beer. It’s an ok beer – but too sweet for me. An occasional Optimator is nice on a cold dark winter night.
St. Bernardus Abt 12 – 4.0
This is a classic dark abbey ale from Belgium. A good drink – especially if you can let it sit in your basement for a few years, which sadly I cannot. Fairly heavy in alcohol. You do get a taste of hop coming thru this beer – at least to me although I admit I’m not sure if this is a hopped beer. There’s a fairly heavy yeast at the bottom so be sure to let it settle prior to pouring. This beer is also pretty heavily carbonated so you really should server it warmer that is customary in the USA. Leave it out of the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to opening and drinking.
Stone Arrogant Double Bastard – 4.0 (05/25/2015)
Well this is a heavy brew. No doubt about it – you better be sure you crave a heavy and highly alcoholic beer. At nearly 12% better enjoy just one, but it is a good brew. With a strong malt flavor and also a good amount of bitterness, this brew hits home as a brown ale. Kinda a weak head. Basically the taste is good, but overall its just too much so I give it a knock down.
Stone IPA – 4.2
A friend said I should give this beer a try, but at about $43/case I had to wait for a good excuse. Finally one came along and I got this one. This is a pretty good IPA – with a good fruity balance of hops and malt. Not too heavy either. This is a good beer in the bottle – where a lot of my favorite beers fall down.
Stone 18th Anniversary IPA – 5.0 (10/04/2014)
What a beer! A great IPA and a great brown together…never had anything like it before. There is a deep malt flavor and a great hop kick in one beer. Usually one over powers the other, but in this beer they work in harmony. The color is a dark brown and after pouring there is a rick and thick head that quickly dissipates to a lacy cover on the glass.
Titan IPA – 4.0 (12/27/2010)
This is a pretty hopped up IPA. There’s a lot of kick here, but to me its a bit overdone. The flavor comes thru with almost a pine flavor to it. There’s a decent malt balance to it so its still a good beer and many people might like it quite a bit. Overall I would look to others on my list.0
Tiger Lager – 2.5 (12/14/2016
Well it is true that I’m not much of a lager guy so don’t take teh score above to mean this is a crappy beer. Its a decent lager and certainly beats the big american lagers in terms of quality. It is clean and crisp with a decent finish. However it is fairly bland and has a head that disappears pretty quick. I had this one on draft in Limerick, Ireland.
Tongerlo Blond – 4.0 (6/6/2016)
2015 Beer of the World – and definitely a worthy winner. How can a beer be smooth and crisp at the same time? I don’t know, but this one is. Is also has a flavor that does taste of honey and it really works. This Abbey beer has a light copper color, medium carbonation, and a nice head that lasts. At 6% this is also as close as you’ll get to a session beer in Belgium so drink up!
Treaty City Harris Pale Ale – 2.5 (12/14/2016)
A local brew in Limerick, Ireland, Treaty is a medium brown pale ale in the typical style. A strong malty brew with decent hops, but nothing that is going to wake up a hop head (like me ). Its a good beer and highly drinkable, but despite the marketing spiel, I didn’t get a huge hop impression from this beer. Its decent.
Tröegs Nugget Nectar – 4.5 (03/21/2013)
An excellent medium body ale with great hop feedback. I don’t normally like beers with too much sweetness in them, but this one seems to work. It has a nice acidic finish to it – there must be a complex set of hops in it. I cannot quite place which ones…and it is cheating to look at the brewer’s site. A great head as well – and a clear golden brown color. I had this beer from a growler. Good stuff!
Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale – 4.0 (05/14/2011)
Troögs from the local town of Harrisburg – yeah the state capitol – has a wide variety of beer that I have for the most part not tried. This amber ale is a pretty decent beer – it has a deep brown color, a decent head, and a rich sweet malt. In terms of hops – to me they are overwhelmed by that sweet malt. There’s plenty of bitterness, but I can’t quite make out a specific hop flavor. Good beer anyway.
Tsingtao – 2.5 (12/28/2011)
Pure lager with not too much character – might as well have a PBR for a lot less. In general I think Asian beers are still stuck in the “be like Bud” days.
Victory 20th Anniversary Experimental IPA – 4.6 (07/04/2016)
Golden colored with a thin and vanishing head, this beer is a crisp and hoppy IPA for a hot summer day. The body and malt feel of this beer are as light as the color would indicate. Going along with the summer theme, the carbonation is high. Has much more of an IPL feel than an IPA. Think of this beer as a good tasting Bud.
Victory Prima Pils – 4.5 (06/03/11)
When you can’t get Sam’s Noble Pils what do you do – I guess settle for this beer. With that said – this is a great beer – less hoppy and flavorful than Noble Pils, nevertheless this is a good pils. Clean, crisp, with a good flavor, this beer is a great post lawn mowing refresher.
Victory Hop Devil Ale (4.7 (12/28/11)
Packed with flavor, hope, and malt this beer rocks! A crisp beer with a strong hop/citrus kick and also just enough malt flavor without killing you with sweetness. Deep copper brown color and a head that starts strong but dissipates pretty quick – this ale is one not to miss. Victory is clearly one of the best breweries on the east coast of the US.
This is yet another “double hoptastic IPA”. Its good – no doubt the Victory boys know their craft and yet there is also nothing all that great about it. Its a kind a – yeah we got that – kinda beer. Still quite good with a clean and crisp body, plenty of hop, and a head that starts off ok, but fades quickly. I prefer the devil…
Victory Hop Devil – 5.0 (01/05/12)
Those guys in Downingtown know what they are doing – strong malt and hop flavor combines for a winning beer that is also drinkable. nice amber color and a good foam head that sticks around. Don’t over-chill the beer or you lose a lot of the notes.
Victory Vital IPA – 4.0 (12/28/2015)
Another strong beer from Victory – I even liked this when it came in a can, but it is probably a better summer beer than an all around good IPA. Why? It is really light and golden – imagine a good beer after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day and this is that beer. Great hop bite, good crisp body.
Weyerbacher IPA #2 – 3.0 (07/28/2016)
This is more of a LPA than IPA. A very light golden – almost lager mouth feel – this is a decent summer beer, but if you are expecting a US/West Coast style IPA then you will be disappointed. That being said – not a bad beer after a hot summer lawn mowing event or a hard fought volleyball game.
Weyerbacher Last Chance IPA – 4.5 (08/05/11)
Help out man’s best friend and get a great beer too – this strong and quite hoppy IPA. You can’t go wrong. I can taste some cascade citrus and this brewer is a big fan of Simcoe. Good stuff! Update (12/28/2015): Recently enjoyed a keg of this @ House of Beor and it is quite tasty.
Weyerbacher Simcoe IPA – 4.5 (10/10/10)
This is a pretty pricey beer – so does it live up? Well I guess you saw my rating above. Lol…so yeah its pretty good, but it carries a hefty price. I gave this beer a 4.0, but I guess if this was a cheaper beer then the score would be higher. A premium price demands a tougher critic. Onto the beer – this is a hopped up beer that bursts with citrus flavor. Its a bottle conditioned ale so pour with that in mind. I tried it both ways – a full dump and then a careful pour. I prefer the latter, but not by much. It is a heavier IPA, has a good head, and leaves a lacy trail of foam on the glass. I enjoyed it. A case in PA runs $57…ouch.
Wolverine Massacre 2016 – 4.6 (11/09/2016)
Ok – I waited until after the “Election hangover” cleared up before trying out this beer a friend brought me from the wilds of Ann Arbor, MI (yes – yeah MI was a big part of that aforementioned hangover, but ok let’s get on with it. ). I’m not normally a dark stout/heavy beer guy – and this one at 13% is a serious brew (yes all you Belgian readers I said 13% in an American brew). This beer is dark, has a very strong chocolate stout feel, but is not thick and heavy. The head is thin and dissipates pretty quickly, leaving some lace on the glass. Its good and I like it – and that says a lot since I don’t normally drink this style. Great job to the brewer and if you get a chance to stop in at their place in Ann Arbor – do it. I’ve actually been there as well and its a great place with good people. They didn’t have the beer listed on their site, so I had to link to untapped…boo.
Yards ESA – 4.0 (09/08/10)
This is supposed to be a “cask conditioned” beer or at least taste like one. Well it does actually a bit. The carbonation is a bit too much it you cool it in a standard refrig in the US, but if you let it warm a bit prior to opening then it does re-create the style approximately. I’m not sure I like it really compared to real cask beers – there’s something missing but I can’t quite put my finger on it. This is a sweet malty beer with plenty of dark flavours.
Yards IPA – 3.5
From one of Philadelphia’s many quality breweries, this IPA has a great hop finish without going completely overboard as seems to be in vogue these days. A nice brown color – the head is a little thin – but a good tasting beer.
Yuengling Traditional Lager – 3.0 (08/06/10)
America’s oldest brewery and a local PA brewer to boot. This is a classic American lager in the style of Ballantine, PBR, Bud, etc. so if that’s not your gig then run the other way. However if you do enjoy one of these types of beers after mowing the lawn when its 90F+ out, then Yuengling (pronounced Ying-Ling) is a cut above Bud or Coors – more flavor, better body, and overall just a whole lot better.