Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beer-stravaganza

My brother once commented that people are going to think all I do is drink. My reply? I do it for the readers. I'm punishing my liver and adding to the girth around my middle so you don't have to. I'm out there, on the front line, trying beers and equally bettering and battering my tastebuds so you can go into your local packie well-informed, ready to make a decision on what adult beverage to take home and enjoy. I'm doing it for Johnny, man! (RIP Darrell Curtis). I'm selfless like that.

And since my last beer review in July...JULY!?!...man, this post is gonna be loaded (pun most certainly intended). Anyway, since my last review in July, I have been a busy, busy man. Oh sure, I've had favorites in the fridge at all times: Torpedo (if I turned you on to this fantastic Extra IPA, I'll expect some sort of thank you in the comments), Sam Summer, Harpoons of varying style, and so on. But I've also been trying out some other micros and regional offerings. So, let's get to it, shall we?

Woodstock Inn, Pemi Pale Ale: I've taken to trusting the recommendations of the clerk at the liquor store at the bottom of the hill from our house. He has noticed that I like the hoppier brews on the market and, if I'm appearing undecided on a particular Saturday afternoon, he will make some suggestions. Recently, he mentioned Pemi Pale Ale from Woodstock Inn Brewery. The Brewery is part of the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery in North Woodstock, NH. The Brewery also offers brewers weekends during which you get hands-on instruction in the fine art of beer making. Anyway, I thought this a good opportunity to try out one of their many offerings - we will be in that area for Thanksgiving - before we visit. The description on the web site is rather thin: Best Pale Ale in the Northeast and second overall in the Country at the United States Beer Tasting Championships. Pale amber in color with O.G. 1.057 / 56.4 IBUs / 5.7%abv. Um...ok...guess I'll just have rely on my own description. The Pemi pours a deep amber, bordering on red, color and has a full head that dissipates rather quickly however. It has an aroma that is citrusy with a hint of pine. The hops are also present and there is a faint odor of malt; somewhat bready but not a prominent or powerful aroma by any means. The fruity/citrussy qualities are again present in the first sip, but they are blunted by the presence of hops and their bitterness that immediately follow.  Malt is there as well, but only subtly and is entirely gone on the finish. It's nowhere near has hoppy as the Torpedo or some other bolder IPAs (that's evident in its IBU of 56.4), but it is a solid offering nonetheless. I can say that this beer intrigued me and I am looking forward to popping into the brewery in November - their newest brew, Through Hiker Double Rye Pale Ale, has peaked (ha! get it? hiker...peaked? yeah, I know.) my interest.

Newport Storm, Kim (Cyclone Series): I see Newport Storm everywhere and, yet, have never tried it. As the breweries roll out their fall/Octoberfest offerings, I figured I would give this Märzen style a try. During this time of year, if you were to open the "beer fridge," you would find Sam Octoberfest or Harpoon's offering of the same name lining the shelves. Honestly, as far as beer seasons go, I am in my glory now. This is the time of year for heavier, bolder choices - a time of year when crisp and refreshing are supplanted by warming and comforting. Kim does not disappoint. Dark orange, sort of rusty color with an off-white head, Kim appears to retain some of its yeastiness near the bottom of the glass - it gets hazier the lower you go in the glass. It has aromas of malt (natch) and caramel. There is also a nuttiness that is faint but present, as well as a mild hoppiness - I don't get as much on the hops side as other reviewers have, though. I can taste the malts right away which is to be expected - it is a Märzen after all. But I was surprised by a taste that was hoppier than expected. Not that I mind. It's fuller, breadier, in the mouth and that tones down the 7.9% ABV meaning no "alcohol burn" going down. Overall a very nice lager - if you see in a store near you, pick it up - it won't be around very long.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis: For fans of authentic (read: German) hefeweiss (hefeweizen, Hefeweißbier), you usually have to search far and wide for a decent liquor store that stocks offerings with -brauerei on the label. I've tried enough American offerings to feel comfortable saying, "Meh, they're okay, but they didn't wow me." Not anymore. Sierra Nevada (which is quickly becoming my brewery di tutti breweries) has unleashed upon the world Kellerweis "the only American Hefeweizen made using the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation." Well, slap me on the ass and call me Shirley. Thank. God. The Kellerweis pours a big yellow to orangey color with a nice, frothy head. Be sure and follow the directions on this one: pour 2/3 into a glass, swirl and pour remainder - that way you are sure to get every bit of yeasty goodness. The aroma always takes me back to Capo's in Neu Ulm where I had my first hefe: bananas, spices (cloves in particular), yeast, malts and citrus. Taste is nearly the same but with a faint note of hops as well. This is a complex brew, make no mistake about it. All-in-all an admirable weißbier entry from Sierra Nevada - certainly among the best (if not the best) American offerings.

3 comments:

Always Home and Uncool said...

I've had a few of the Newport Storms. The Scotch Ale will burn your innards but the Amber has a nice heft for the cooler weather.

TwoBusy said...

Very nicely done, sir. I actually finished off a 6 of Newport Storm RI Blueberry Ale last night, which was quite nice (and, as you noted, signaled the end of the summer drinking season) -- but I'll keep my eyes open for the Kim.

Whit said...

A SN I haven't tried! I loves me the Hefes.