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Peter LaFrance

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Taste of Rahsaan Roland Kirk Stritch Stout

Angel City Brewing,
Torrance, CA (USA)

Preface: This is the third selection form the musical line of Angel City brews. Thanks to the folks at Angel City for send me this sample of their special brew. And, for the record, I do not read the promotional materials sent with beers or the information from any of the sites listed in these tasting notes before I taste any brew.

Appearance: Actually crystal clear, this deep dark garnet red brew is topped with a thin head of large bubbles that fall quickly into a thin layer of small creamy bubbles. The Belgian lace is thin.
Aroma: The first aromatic sensation is of rich burnt malted barley. The second impression brings some coffee/ espresso notes to the front. The final exploration brings the coffee notes to the forefront.

Mouth feel: This is a mouth filling brew. The flavors are far ahead of any carbonation influences.

Flavor: First impressions, following the initial refreshing sensation of cool brew, is a strong coffee/barley flavor speared by a spike of sharp metallic tang. The second sip reveals a touch of dry astringency that softens the metallic tang. The third dip into the pint brings a bitter, non-metallic cover to the coffee and astringent touches of the dry flavor from what I believe to be patent malt.

Finish: There is a real rush for the door by the major parts of the flavor profile of this brew. Then there are a few traces of vegetal green flowers and sweet barley. In the end the finish takes enough time to pass so that the rest of the brew isn’t chugged.

Comments: First of all, what is a “stritch” stout? Next, is it my imagination or are stouts getting less dense? First comes the “see through” Guinness product… then Guinness 250(Guinness Porter) and now Angle City with this “yes you can see light through the glass” brew.

This is not necessarily a bad thing… I’m just wondering if I am the only one noticing this.

I would do this brew a world of good to become acquainted with some low-and-slow truly buried-in-the-pit smoked pig… yes a whole pig. Which means a few cases of Rahsaan Roland Kirk … or even better… a keg… and a sandy beach… and a sea breeze… and crystal clear aqua water as warm as a…. but I digress.

The Brewery site: http://www.angelcitybrewing.com/beer.html

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Follow up: The Angle is now an Angel... and I grasp a "stritch" sax.... what is a "stritch" stout?

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Taste of… Pugsley’s Signature XXXX IPA

Shipyard Brewing Co.,
Portland, ME (USA)

Preface: Thanks to the folks at Shipyard for send me this sample of their special brew.

Appearance: A crystal clear copper penny colored brew with a carbonation of very small bubbles. The head is a very light sandy tan rocky head of large and creamy small bubbles that tat some of the fanciest Belgian lace I have seen in a long time.

Aroma: First impression is floral hop cone fresh almost peppermint. Second impression picks up a prune and a bit of roasted grain. The third time reveals the rich malt barley aromas.
Mouth feel: This is a big assed (seriously) brew.

Flavor: The first is a refreshing sensation followed by a very sweet sensation of grain and burnt sugar candy. The second sip has the hops in the front with a vengeance. There is also warmth that can be attributed to the 9.25% alcohol by volume. The third quaff was bitter hop spikes skewered by the alcohol into a serious spike of metallic flavor.

Finish: The finish takes so long that the finish of the first sip was still saying goodbye when the third swallow pushed it aside and left its calling card and lasted for a long time leaving an almost anis finish.

Comments: I am not a big fan of extreme brews and this is a big beer. If it were late in October I might suggest this as an afternoon warm-me-up brew, sipped slowly before supper. As it is a summer morning I feel as if it is out of its element and yet I just might let the next hour or so slip by as I actually finish this 225 ml bottle.

In the chance of being repetitive, I think a bowl of shelled walnuts and three or four samples of local cheddar cheese would do this brew no harm.

The Brewery site: http://www.shipyard.com/

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Friday, June 26, 2009

A Taste of Red Chair IPA 2009

Deschutes Brewery,
Bend, OR (USA)

Appearance: There is a bit of a chill haze to this burnished copper colored brew. The almost white head of loosely knit medium and large bubbles tat a fine Belgian lace as it slowly recedes.

Aroma: The sensation is a crisp hop flower sensation… the second pick up some toasted malt but just a trace. The third deep aromatic reception brings more of the malt to the front.

Mouth feel: This is a fairly full bodied brew but not flabby.

Flavor: The moment between first is a refreshing sensation followed by a sweet burnt candy flavor that is rushed out of the way by the spikes of hop flavors. These hop notes are aggressive but not offensive. The second sip revealed how well the sugars and bitters blended. The third swallow asked for another but not too soon.

Finish: The finish takes some time to finish its job. Actually it is long enough that you don’t want to dive right back in… rather relax and enjoy.

Comments: The grounds staff were mowing the lawn in front of this building so I was “sensually distracted” until the window was closed. However, the flavor profile was nicely balanced. The long finish lends more to contemplation than quaffing.

A bowl of shelled walnuts and three or four samples of local cheddar cheese would do this brew no harm.

The Brewery site.: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/splash/default.aspx

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What they say...

Deschutes Brewery Releases Newest Member of Bond Street Series: Red Chair IPA

BEND, Ore. – The newest member of the Deschutes Brewery Bond Street Series is set to debut in mid-May: Red Chair IPA. Like the other beers in the Bond Street Series, Red Chair IPA began at the community Pub on Bond Street in downtown Bend, Oregon. These hop-centric ales are available only on tap and in 22-ounce bottles. The Bond Street series also includes Hop Trip, a fresh hop pale ale, and Hop Henge IPA, an experimental IPA.

All beers in the Bond Street series were initially available only at the downtown pub in Bend, which has gained a reputation as a venue for Deschutes’ brewers to experiment with innovative recipes. Brews that become wildly popular with the locals eventually make it into bottles, and Red Chair IPA is a prime example.

Brewer John Abraham describes Red Chair as a juicy IPA. “You will find no cloying, mouth-puckering bitterness here. In its place is a straight-up, succulent, citrus punch to the nose. This is due to the experimental nature of some of the hops, as well as how late in the process they were added.” (Read Abraham’s blog post about Red Chair IPA.)

Red Chair IPA is named for the oldest operating chairlift at Mt. Bachelor: a classic, old-school double that locals seek out on fresh powder mornings. “When I first tasted this beer, it didn’t have a name yet,” says Bobby Martin, Deschutes Brewery bartender and avid snowboarder. “I thought, ‘This beer is so good it’s just like a powder day at Bachelor with nobody around, and you’re riding the old rickety red chair. That’s it! Let’s call it Red Chair!’ Fast forward a few months, and here it is: my favorite beer ever, perfected and ready for public enjoyment.”

Red Chair IPA will be available throughout the western U.S. from May until September in retail establishments that carry the Bond Street Series.

Beer Geek Information:
6.4% Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
55 International Bittering Units (IBUs)

Cooking with Beer:
The brewery team recommends pairing Red Chair IPA with hot-n-sour soup, enchiladas with mole sauce, or thin crust Margherita pizza.

Best Setting for Consumption:
The long, slow ride up the Red Chair lift at Mt. Bachelor. If you don’t live in Central Oregon, a front porch swing will do.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Taste of… Howling Wolf Weizenbock

Grand Teton Brewing Co.,
Victor, ID (USA)

Appearance: This is a cloudy copper colored brew with plenty of carbonation. The head is a dense, well packed foam of small bubbles that leave a thin Belgian lace.

Aroma: The first aroma is similar to the traditional weizenbier… slight banana and some cloves. The second aromatic impression has the slight hint of toasted barley joining the initial aromatics. The third aromatics blend the first two sensations with a hint of hop floral.

Mouth feel: What we have here is a mouth-feel that is almost obese.

Flavor: Between lip and sip there is a rush of banana and then the rush of refreshing coolness followed by a tsunami of banana and bubble gum. The flavors are intense… The second impression follows the first in specifics but with a warmer sensation. The third impression is more intense than the first two… I’m afraid to take another sip.

Finish: It has been almost a full minute since I finished this tasting and there is still a coating of flavors on my pallet, slowly leaving a sweet, almost viscous sensation.

Comments: This is one intense brew. It has the character of the Bavarian brews but the heft of a fast-food eating, live in their auto when not on the couch American. It must be noted that more is not always better.
This is a sipping beer that would be best served in small tasting glasses after a big meal.

Grand Teton Brewing Co.: http://www.grandtetonbrewing.com/

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Taste of… Lester Young Porkpie Hat Dark Lager

Angle City Brewing,
Torrance, CA (USA)

Preface: This is the second of a series of four brews bottled by Angle City.

Appearance: A deep dark red garnet colored brew with plenty of carbonation. It is topped with a sandy tan colored head of small to medium bubbles that fall leaving a good Belgian lace.

Aroma: First impression is a coffee/caramel aroma. The second take turned into a prune/coffee sensation. The final take confirmed the second impressions.

Mouth feel: This is not a big bodied brew. However, it is no light-weight either.

Flavor: A wall of roasted malt hits you first, followed by a speed-bump of hops. The second go around revealed a bit of prune and then some bitterness from the shy hops. Finally the third sip leaves you convinced that there are a few layers to both the prune notes and the deep roast of the barley.

Finish: This brew, as noted in the Mouth Feel notes, is no heavy-weight and the flavors that linger leave quickly and cleanly.

Comments: Recent tastings have been served a bit warm. The temperature that this brew was served probably could have been on the colder side. However, being a dark lager with 5.7% alcohol by volume, it would not be at its best served chilled to 40F or so. I believe that this would make a fine session beer on a brisk autumn or crisp spring afternoon. A soul soothing macaroni and cheese would be the perfect pairing.

Angel City Brewing Company: http://www.angelcitybrewing.com/beer.html

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Taste of... Audacity of Hops 2009

Mayflower Brewing Company,
Plymouth, MA (USA)
Special for the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference

Preface: The Brewers Association commissioned this beer and it was brewed at Mayflower Brewing Company by brewers from Cambridge Brewing Company and members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild. The label notes that it is 8.5% alcohol by volume, 60 International Bittering Units and had an Original Gravity of 1.072 SG… "The Audacity of Hops Symposium Ale represents New England as an existential bridge to the Continental Motherland and the Western U.S. brewing. It makes the point that we’ve started a few revolutions of our own! An audacious hops charge is balanced by pale, aromatic malts and complex Belgian yeast character."

Appearance: The crystal clear, golden bronze, highly effervescent brew is topped with a pure white rocky head of medium to large bubbles. The head falls into a fine Belgian lace.

Aroma: The first impression is almost a floral perfume pushed aside by a pronounced toasted grain aroma. The second “nosing” finds more of a balance and by the third return an undertone of unbaked bread appeared. Between lip and sip there was a touch of hop floral.

Mouth feel: There is a lot of body to this beer and there is a creamy carbonation that fills it out even further.

Flavor: The first impression is warmth. Then a grain and toasted grain flavor becomes more pronounced but that heat just will not let up. The second impression brings the hops to the front but that warm caress as it is swallowed is sensually notable. The third swallow brings the malty sweet heavyweight out to battle the hop hero of huge proportions and let the rumble begin…

Finish: My flavor receptors staggered to a neutral corner as the prize fighters left the building in better shape than they found it. Clean and crisp…

Comments: The temperature that this brew was served probably could have been on the colder side. This would have settled down the carbonation and let the fruit develop from a cool place rather than springing out fully developed. This will be tended to calm down the boisterous flavors. However, as it was commissioned by the beer godz I figured I would serve it at 50F. When I finish it I am leaving for a long walk to a long lunch. If this was the brew waiting for me I would be lunching of a thick, rare steak.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Taste of… Sam Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Ale

Melbourn Bros.Brewery
Stamford, Lincolnshire, England

Preface: This is a recent arrival from the folks at Merchant du Vin. It came accompanied by a bottle of Cherry Ale and Raspberry Ale. The decision to taste the Strawberry was made because the Raspberry was too cold to appreciate. This bottle of Strawberry Fruit Ale was opened at cellar temperature.

Before I get to the actual tasting I must note that fruit beers are not my favorite brews. However, all beers have a time and place.

Appearance: It looks like traditional ale but it smells all of strawberry… The brew is crystal clear and topped with a very fragile head of tan bubbles of impressive dimension.

Aroma: As noted above there is a significant aroma about this brew as soon as it is uncapped. The first serious aromatic exploration revealed a rather fresh scent of the berry. The second exploration continued the fruity notes and so it was time to sip…

Mouth feel: There is a surprising light mouth-feel to this brew.

Flavor: Between lip and sip there was hint of berry but not unpleasantly so… the first cool impression is then filled with a rather authentic flavor of ripe strawberries. The berry flavor is spiked with a carbonation that starts out creamy and then lends that flavor of sharp almost citric character. The second sip revealed more of the creamy sensation and less tang. The final swallow was less than perfectly balanced.

Finish: The final flavors are fresh and fleeting… there is only a touch of the berry left in the end.

Comments: The temperature that this brew was served probably could have been on the colder side. This would have settled down the carbonation and let the fruit develop from a cool place rather than springing out fully developed. This will be tended to when the other two bottles are tasted.

Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches would be a rather urbane accompaniment to this beverage.

Company Site: http://www.merchantduvin.com/pages/5_breweries/samsmith_organic_fruitbeer_varieties.html

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Friday, June 19, 2009

A Taste of… Keelhauler 22

Full Sail Brewing
Hood River, OR (USA)

Preface: Once again I reach to the back of the fridge and find what might be a relic… I can’t find any promotional literature or sell-sheet. There is no “Best By” date on the bottle. However, it does note that the contents are in the style of a Scottish Ale and the alcohol by volume 6.8%... and so another Friday begins.

Appearance: The crystal clear almost red amber brew is topped with a very rocky light tan head of rapidly collapsing large and medium size bubbles. They tat a very loose Belgian lace

Aroma: The first impression is a touch of sugar candy with under-notes of prune. Next comes a toasted malt aroma, followed by that prune note. Finally the aromas blend together and the sugar candy wins with the toasted malt and prune falling away.

Mouth feel: There is a surprising light mouth-feel to this brew.

Flavor: Between lip and sip there was hint of sweet malted barley and then the warmth and tawny sherry flavors exploded. The second sip woke up the hops and they came late to the table but you know they are there. After the third sip the flavor receptors have been overcome and you could be convinced that this is fairly light bodied brown ale with a bit more alcohol than expected.

Finish: The last impression is slightly metallic and hovers between sweet and dry but can’t make up its mind.

Comments: First impressions are always important and this brew comes in as homely a label as I have seen in a long while. I do note that it is a vintage Brewmaster Reserve. With relatively high alcohol content I imagine this could take a bit of cellaring to reach its peak flavor.

The pairing of this brew with a crumbling hard salty cheese or rich Stilton would do it no harm.

Company Site: http://www.fullsailbrewing.com/default.cfm

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Friday, June 12, 2009

A Taste of… Charlie Parker Pale Ale

Angel City Brewing Company

Torrance, CA (USA)


This is the second of four bottles sent to me by the folks at Angle City Brewing Company. It has been kept at cellar temperature.

Appearance: A crystal clear, golden, almost burnished bronze brew is topped with a very rocky head of larger and medium sized bubbles that fall slowly into a serious Belgian lace.

Aroma: The first impression is a hint of yeasty bread, but just a hint. The second impression is of cool and refreshing sensations as it takes time to find any striking aromatic. The third round of sensory impression reveals a British biscuit (we call them crackers, the food, not the people) note.

Mouth feel: There is a very full mouth feel here...

Flavor: Between lip and sip there was hint of sweet malted barley before a sharp spike of hops speared the senses and relaxing only slightly to let a bit of toasted malt sweetness appear. The second sip had me looking for an alcohol content… at 6.8% abv it was tasted a lot warmer. The third round went to the traces of bourbon flavor that clung to the rear of the pallet.

Finish: The finish is a last sweet bourbon sensation followed by the lingering sensation of a new mown lawn.

Comments: There is nothing on the bottle label to tell about ingredients, fermenting process or ageing process so my sense of having noticed traces of bourbon might be echoes of memories of listening to “Bird” and drinking way too much bourbon with friends as we solved the problems of the world… as only twenty one year old intellectuals can.

Seriously … I find that the flavors of this brew would be right at home on the table in any high end steak house. It might even be enough of a match for grilled lobster.

Company Site: http://www.angelcitybrewing.com/beer.html

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Taste of Lost Continent Double IPA

Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Victor, ID (USA)

Thanks to the folks at the Grand Teton Brewing Co., this bottle arrived in good shape. It has been kept at cellar temperature. There is no “Best by” date on the bottle. Surprisingly enough, there is no mention of this brew on their web site.

Appearance: This copper colored, effervescent brew had minute “floaters”… The head was light brown foam of medium to small bubbles, tatting significant Belgian lace.

Aroma: The first impression is of floral sensations of no identifiable hop nature. The second impression picked up an undertone of sweet caramel or brown sugar. The third impression was similar to the second, with little change.

Mouth feel: The mouth feel is very full, bordering on the obese. There is a very thick impression that I cannot attribute to any specific cause.

Flavor: Between lip and sip there was a slight increase in the sweet sensations in the aromas. The first flavor is caramel sweet and it takes a moment for the hops to make their way into the event. The second flavor impression is more tuned to the hops and these hops are as aggressive as can be imagined. I was almost afraid of the third taste impression but soldiered on… by now my mind had wrapped itself in enough sensations to find a balance, but it is tenuous. There is a flavor similarity to dry sherry.

Finish: The lingering tang of hops and the equally long lasting caramel note last longer than some might consider comfortable.

Comments: Not too many years ago I received a sample of one of the first canned microbrews that had similar mini-floaters and an almost viscous character. Therefore I am going to hold any other comments in reserve until I can contact the brewery and see if I might obtain another sample.

Stay tuned… as they used to say in the days of radio.

Company Site: http://www.grandtetonbrewing.com/

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Attached is today's blog tasting notes for Lost Continent... has anyone else noticed these characteristics?

Did I perhaps get a "phunky" bottle?


Peter LaFrance

----- Original Message -----
From: Chuck Nowicki, Sales and Marketing Director
To: Peter LaFrance
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: From P. LaFrance - BeerBasics.com

Are you in reference to the “floaters”? These are bottle conditioned and have yeast in the bottle.




So that's what I saw! The possibility did cross my mind when I wrote those tasting notes. I checked the bottle and there was no mention of "bottle conditioned" and so I assumed the worst. Pouring an unmarked bottle-conditioned beer can give the pourer fits... messes with the mind... I'm glad it was all a dream.

Thanks for the information...


Peter LaFrance


Case solved!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Taste of… Twilight Seasonal Ale

Deschutes Brewery
Bend, OR (USA)

Thanks to the folks at the Deschutes brewery, this bottle arrived in good shape. It has been kept at cellar temperature and, according to the “Best by: date of 09/18/09, it is quite young.

Appearance: A sparkling clear golden brew with a fine carbonation is crowned with a white head of medium to large bubbles resulting in a rocky head with a good Belgian lace.

This is a very clear, clean red copper colored brew with a head that is well constructed and slightly tan. The glittering bubbles knit together into a rocky but not too thin head.

Aroma: The initial aroma is classic roasted malted barley. The second sensation introduces a hint of fresh green grass and a hint of orange. The final aromatic exploration reveals a classic hop flower aroma.

Mouth feel: The mouth feel is a pleasantly creamy sensation. No surprises here.

Flavor: Between lip and sip there was a distinct impression of the malted barley aromas intensifying. First flavors to arrive are the emphatic sensations that the classic hop aroma suggested. The barley is there in a solid supporting role. The second sip, since you have already been introduced to the massive hops tang and the buxom barley, allows the two to relax together. By the third sip they have settled down as a flavor duo and seem to really like each other.

Finish: The final sensory suggestions left by this brew are relaxed remnants of the major players in the aromatic and flavor dance… malted barley and classic (non-Cascade) hop aromas and flavors, that in the end leave neither a noticeable sweet or dry coda.

Comments: Twilight is a name suggestive of end-of-the-day relaxations. If that was the marketing departments’ goal it worked with me. After finishing (Yes, finishing…) this bottle I just might call it a day… At five percent alcohol by volume I can’t blame it all on the alcohol or hops…

This is a beer that would go well with a sandwich of thin sliced baked ham and a touch of smooth mustard on lightly toasted rye bread. It would also go very well with an hour or so of good conversation.

Company Site: http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/splash/default.aspx

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A Taste of… Angel City Vitzen

Angel City Brewing Company
Torrance, CA (USA)

This brew, accompanied by three others, came as a pleasant surprise last week. I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Bowe, president/brewer of Angle City Brewing at the Craft Brewers Conference in Boston this year. On the heels of the Anderson Valley Beer Festival he took the liberty of forwarding this bottle of Vitzen, along with Charlie Parker Pale Ale, Lester young Porkpie Hat Dark Lager, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk Stritch Stout. I am interested in the story behind the names of those brews.

The label notes on the Vitzen note: “Angel City Vitzen is a true German style hefe-weitzen, decoction brewed with over 60% wheat malt and our own proprietary German yeast strain.”

The tasting notes for the Vitzen follow…

Appearance: In the style of a traditional Bavarian wheat beer, this is a hazy bright copper colored brew with a finely knit head of sandy bubbles that leave a well defined Belgian lace.

Aroma: The initial sensation had hints of cloves and a bread undertone. The second sensation is almost citric with the cloves still in front. The third impression is yeasty and still the cloves hang in there.

Mouth feel: The initial mouth feel is pleasantly effervescent, for such a well toned finish. There is no “flab” to this brew.

Flavor: After the first refreshing sensation the flavors of bubblegum and banana cut a sensual swath followed by less bubble gum and more banana.

Finish: The finishing flavors are echoes of the first flavors with a slightly sweet note lingering after the identifiable flavors depart.

Comments: This is one of two wheat beers brewed in the United States that I could wrap my taste and mind around and appreciate as a well made example of the style. I believe that most wheat beers brewed in the United States are not meant to be in the Bavarian or Belgian style and celebrate a style unique to North America. That said, I would enjoy this brew as an accompaniment to a serving of grilled firm fleshed fish and charred veggies. Throw in a steamed lobster and I would be a most happy fellow.

Angel City Brewing Company: http://www.angelcitybrewing.com/beer.html

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Friday, June 5, 2009

A Taste of… Wacko

Magic Hat Brewing Company
South Burlington, VT (USA)

This is not the first time I’ve encountered this Wacko…

On a recent road trip through New England I stopped in at the brewery in South Burlington and met Matt Cohen, the brewer of Wacko and the rest of the Magic Hat line of brews. The initial part of the tour was given by the Curator of Curiosities, Krissy Leonard, an articulate and able guide.

At the end of the visit we were presented with two growlers of Magic Hat brews. One was Wacko. Both growlers survived two days in a car and hotel rooms.

When the Wacko Growler was opened it was well chilled and it was a hot Saturday afternoon. I did not keep notes for that tasting but I do remember it being refreshing enough to result in a rather short shelf life.

Today’s more analytical notes…

Appearance: (The label lets you know there is “beet juice color” in this brew.) What we have here is a slightly hazy (chill?) golden brew with just a hint of ruby (think cranberry). The head is a slightly sandy construction of large and small bubbles resulting in a rocky foam that leaves very nicely knit Belgian lace.

Aroma: As soon as this bottle was opened there was an aroma of malty beer. The first impression is slightly confusing due to the slight pink and the anticipation of something citric or fruity. Thus the first impression is that of new mowed lawn with a whiff of malted grain. The second and third impressions pick up a fleeting image of cranberry (blame that on the color). From lip to sip the impression was unchanged.

Mouth feel: The initial mouth feel is pleasantly effervescent and then the first flavors kick in…

Flavor: Initial impression is a dry sensation and a quick spike of unidentifiable hop tang. The second impression is almost citric but without a sharp spike sensation. The third impression has no argument with the previous two.

Finish: The last sensation is a memory of the first flavor sensations. It finishes fast and fleeting.

Comments: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m sure, the folks at Magic hat constantly amaze me. There range of beers is both amusing and entertaining. I’m never quite sure what I’m getting, but it will be interesting.

Magic Hat Brewing Company: http://www.magichat.net

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Taste of… Odd Notion Summer 2009

Magic Hat Brewing Company
South Burlington, VT (USA)

Preface: This sample was provided by the good folks at Magic hat, arrived in good condition and has been kept refrigerated until an hour before opening. It is marked “Please drink by the end of the month notched – Aug 09.

Appearance: A very crystal clear, sparkling, golden brew is topped with a thin, white head of closely knit small white bubbles.

Aroma: The initial aromatic sensation is slightly phenolic with unusual undertones to a sweet malt. The second impression shifts the phenolic hints to a more herbal impression (not hops). Finally, when you get the deepest aroma impression it brings the malt to the front and the initial impressions remain in support roles.

Mouth feel: This is a well defined body with a creamy sparkling impression.

Flavor: After a refreshing cool impression the first flavor is familiar malt flavors with undercurrents of gingerbread spicing. The second impression is includes sharper sensations of drying mint or spice. (These unfamiliar flavors in this “beer/ale” are driving me nuts…)The third quaff was so refreshing I didn’t try to identify flavors… just enjoyed.

Finish: The finish was quick and left little more than a trace of the flavors and aromas on a dry palette.

Comments: The folks at Magic hat constantly amaze me. Their web site tell me that this brew is brewed with pale malts, Apollo hops, with 5.9% abv., 17 IBU, yeast: Belgian ale… in their words “Golden in color and light in body this low hop bitterness ale is refreshing to drink and finishes with a subtle spicy complexity from a very unique Belgian yeast strain… Belgian candy sugar.”
In short… don’t think about this beer… just drink and enjoy.

Magic Hat Brewing Company: http://www.magichat.net/oddnotion/

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