- Old Brown Dog Ale: Like Rogue, this brewery displays the smarts to know we, the consumers, also have smarts on things brewing. This info is included on the website:
VITAL STATISTICSI can read this and think - umm. This gives enough to start the homebrewer off to replicate their product. Why? I'd bet it's because they can figure it out anyway so why not make a pal?
OG: 1060, TG: 1016
Grain Bill: Pale Brewers, Munich, Crystal 60°L, Chocolate
Hops: Cascade, Willamette
IBU's: 15, ABV: 5.7%
Color/Number: Deep brown-amber, 25°
So what to make of the beer? I'd call it a lighter version of the American brown but still nicely balanced, a notch more than a mild ale. Nice fruity notes, too, almost cherry pie between the bisuity thing and the nutty notes. Nice pale tan head. I talked up the first one I popped over here. I would be very interested to compare it with the Brooklyn Brown, side-by-side, contemporaneously as it were. By gumbo, someday I will.
Smuttynose IPA: This is a good beer, definitely a north-east IPA with the big body and hop complexity that the style requires. Where west coasters may be classified as go big or go home, nor'easters like these are more like go to the sofa and have a good think. Vegetative hops as opposed to herbal. Maybe a bit of lime or lime skin as well which meshes well with the fruity pale malt. Advocatonians say grapefruit, which I can buy as well. It would be great with a plate of Sophat Vann's sweaty hair inducing Western Style from Cambodiana - sweet potato and hot hot chili. The water is a bit hard, salty under it all rather than soft. Last May, the New York Times named the Imperial IPA by Smuttynose the best of the 18 big bombs tasted. This is the little brother, but if I was going to sit and have a few rather than to try out what is new in extreme brewing, this one is for me. The label alone is worth it with the two old guys in lawn chairs: "finest kind" one says. I notice it is not listed on the brewery's web site so maybe it is a seasonal or maybe delisted.
- Shoals Pale Ale: A shoal is a place of danger and plenty, the shallow grounds off shore where you can find fish or you hull can meet rocks. I do not know how that relates to the beer. Temptation and danger? If so, what do the two old guys in old lawn chairs mean? Deliverence? Anyway, the brewery describes the beer as follows:
Our interpretation of a classic English beer style is copper-colored, medium-bodied and highly hopped. Its flavor is delightfully complex: tangy fruit at the start, with an assertive hop crispness and a long malty palate that one well-known beer writer has compared to the flavor of freshly-baked bread.A lighter version of the IPA reviewed above, this beer has much of the body with the hops dialled back. The hops, both North American varieties, and fruity pale malt combine again to give a nice citrus effect, but in this one more in the way of orange than the more assertive lime rind, zest and pith, found in the IPA. This is an every day beer of character. If you want less flavour your might go lighter but it's not the beer pushing you that way...its you. But you knew that. This yeast is nice, like pie pastry, but it is only when you back off the hops that it comes out. It is also a little cloudy with the yeast not being filtered out. The IPA had this as well. So it depends if you are a yeast scardy-cat if this is going to be a plus or a minus. I put trub on toast so that tells you where I am. You can find the BA reviews here.
OG: 1050, TG: 1012
Grain Bill: Pale Brewers, Crystal 60°L, Carastan, Wheat
Hop Selections: Cascade, Chinook
IBU's: 30, ABV: 5.0%
Color/Number: Copper, 10.5°
Portsmouth Lager: Pretty ok. I find lagers boring unless they are Czech. I have just played an hour and a half of soccer at 10° C and do not like coming home to less than interesting. This is less than interesting. I even put it in the fridge. I am a 20° C ale kind of guy and I expect flavour. Lager is stored and cold-fermented to keep down the flavours. That is why lager is a wee bit boring in my mind. But the good guys at Smuttynose brewed it and I ought to review it. The brewery says:
Named in honor of our hometown's 375th anniversary, Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager is a full-flavored, medium bodied continental-style beer - deep golden in color, featuring a mouth-pleasing maltiness subtly balanced with spicy imported Saaz hops. One taste of this fine lager tells you this is no ordinary beer: From its mellow, velvety body to its lingering, fresh hop finish, Portsmouth Lager is smooth, complex and satisfying.It needs another few pounds of hops to be a Continental lager...unless of course the continent you are referring to is Asia. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing bad about the brew. Just not enough of the good stuff. The beer advocatonians call it a Vienna lager but, as we learned yesterday, the marzen/Vienna/Octoberfest triad is a malty red-brown thing that is moving towards big. This is not big. It is not thin. This is the micro you give someone who as never had a micro. If they do not like it, you are not out anything. If they like it and drink all you have, you are not out anything. Here is a beer advocate who is pro-lager:
OG: 1.048, TG: 1.014
Malt: Two-row US pale malt, carastan, special "B."
Hop Selections: Czech Saaz
IBU's: 15, ABV: 4.5%
Color/Number: Deep golden to pale amber
For a lager, this beer struck me as pretty complex. Basically an orange amber in color, with a little head on top, but that vanishes pretty quickly and leaves no lacing. Sweet smells abound. Toasted malt and buttery biscuits come to mind. Very appetizing. Taste is the same, nice and malty, nice and biscuity. Mmmmm. Feels smooth and creamy in the mouth and is very easy to drink, I think I'll have another. Very fun lager. Cheers."Easy to drink!?!? People magazine is easy to read. I guess I like to drink Dostoyevsky when I can find it.