38. Two Brothers – Atom Smasher

Well, Labor Day has come and gone. Which means Fall is here! Or at least the Fall beers. I’m having a hard time saying that Fall is actually here, since it’s nearly 90 degrees outside.

Anyway, we got in our last trip to the pool this past weekend, and it’s now time to start getting out the warmer clothing and settle in with a fantastic Oktoberfest.

I love Marzens. They’re malty and sweet, and slightly refreshing. They’re warming, not winter beer warming, but subtly warming. A nice transition beer.

I really like this time of year.

I got a hold of a couple Marzens this week to get me started. First, the Two Brothers Atom Smasher.

Sight: Deep bronze in color with a light thin head. Just like the leaves on the trees (that will be turning soon, I know, it’s too early).

Smell: Biscuits, malts, a nice light hoppiness, and a slight red wine aroma (grapes and wood). Very interesting for a Marzen.

Taste: Malty and creamy, a sudden rush of carbonation. It settles into a light spiciness (like pumpkin pie) and a mild fruit flavor.

My overall grade: B

A good start to Fall. I like what Two Brothers did with this one. Something a little out of the ordinary, but didn’t deviate too far.

Speaking of deviating too far…

Sight: Brown with a subtle orange tint. A thin white head.

Smell: Huge hop aroma, very floral, not really fitting for what I would consider a Fall beer

Taste: Malty and creamy to start out. There’s a subtle spiciness to follow and then an explosion of bitter hops. The finish is very dry.

My overall grade: C

I understand that with a name like “Hoptober” I should really know what I’m getting myself into, but it was just a little too much. I appreciate that New Belgium was trying to do something a little out of the ordinary, but I was hoping for more malts and less hops. A decent beer, but not for the season.

I’m off to pick up a few more Fall beers!

4. Ska – Euphoria

Fall is over, my friends.

It came and went in a flash.  Yesterday, I went to work in 50 degree weather.  It was chilly, but not too cold.  I went home in 40 degree weather.  Much colder, and the wind was especially brutal.  This morning, snow flurries.

It only took 24 hours.  You were such a good season, Fall.  I’m sad to see you go.

Another sign of the imminent Winter is that my office building locks down all of the doors that open to the outside and forces you to use the revolving doors.  This is definitely a good idea, so that there isn’t a huge rush of cold air blowing into the lobby (I’ll discuss the lobby to my building at another time).  The downside is that the revolving doors are at opposite ends of the building.  So, if you make a mistake and head for the regular doors (like I did yesterday) and find them locked, you’ve got a half-block trek back in the direction you just came to get to the revolving doors.  But, since it’s my first Winter here, I’ll be better at this next time around.

Also, this cold weather has started my hustle for warmth.  My windbreaker jacket isn’t going to cut it anymore.  So, where’s my Winter coat?  Who knows.  We haven’t quite gotten to that phase of the unpacking.  Hopefully I’ll find it soon.

Note:  I’m sure some of you are asking “What the hell takes you so long to unpack your stuff?  I mean, come on, you’ve been there for a month and a half.”  This is why:

See the look on her face?  That’s a look of a baby wondering why her father has stopped playing with her to take a picture.

In honor of the snow, here’s Ska Brewing’s Euphoria.  It’s Ska’s take on the Winter Ale, and since Ska loves hops, you know this Winter Ale isn’t going to be all cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sight:  A bright copper color that’s reminiscent of an IPA.

Smell:  There’s a mild sweetness to it.  Slightly spicy like cinnamon, and a bit malty.  And as expected, there’s a big grassy hop aroma

Taste:  It’s malty sweet with a creamy mouthfeel, at first it reminded me of an Anderson Valley Winter Solstice.  The sweetness quickly fades away and you get a big hoppy blast.  Very grassy and bitter.  Toward the end there’s a lingering nutmeg-like flavor that sticks around for a bit.

My overall grade:  B-

The Euphoria was an interesting beer.  It’s like taking a tasty Winter Ale and mixing it with a bitter IPA.  If you’re tired of the regular spicy Winters, this may be a good pick for you.