40. Southern Tier – Harvest Ale

It’s October, which means it’s MLB playoff time!  A fun time of year, if you have a horse in the running.

My beloved Red Sox were beyond miserable this season, and I wrote them off in late August.  It was a sad season.  So, I’ve been rooting for my adopted team, the Nationals (I lived in DC for nearly 10 years, it’s okay).

They’re currently on the cusp of being eliminated, and I’m fairly certain that them shutting down Stephen Strasburg is going to be a big mistake.  I know the argument is that by sitting him, it’ll give him years and years of healthy productivity.  My argument is this:  How often to teams make the playoffs?  I know teams like the Yankees or the Cardinals are perennial playoff teams, but what about mid-level market teams (like the Nationals)?  They’re always fighting to make it, and more often than not, failing to do so.  Why would you stifle your chances?  It’s not every season that you’ll be running on all cylinders and your entire team meshes together.  Why sit a guy who almost always gives you a win (or at the very least gives you a great chance of winning)?  Especially when the reason for sitting him (playing it safe after Tommy John surgery) has no evidence of actually helping.  If the Nationals fail to win the World Series, you will never hear the end of this conversation.  Sports writers are currently churning out arguments for playing Strasburg and they’re storing them up, just waiting to inundate you with them until Spring.  It’s gonna suck.

This week I tore through the Southern Tier Harvest Ale and the Two Brothers Victor’s MemoriAle.  Both quite tasty.

Southern Tier Harvest Ale

Sight:  Gold brown, like fried potatoes

Smell:  Grassy hops with a little light biscuit aroma.  Subtle though, nothing too crazy floating around in there.

Taste:  Malty flavor throughout with spicy grassy hops settling lightly on top.  The finish is clean and a little thin and the ends slightly bitter.

My overall grade:  B

As I’ve said before, Southern Tier tends to be hit or miss for me.  This beer’s a hit.  I really enjoyed this one.  They’ve created a highly drinkable beer with a lot of flavor.  Nicely done.

Two Brothers Victor’s MemoriAle

Sight:  Dark brown in color with the slightest bit of ruby red shining through.

Smell:  Molasses and coffee.  It’s like an old school breakfast.

Taste:  Thick and creamy mouthfeel with mild chocolate and burnt coffee, bitter but slightly sweet with a thick heavy finish.

My overall grade:  B+

Another of Two Brothers’ 15th Anniversary beers and this is a great one to remake.  A good setup for the colder weather too.  Thick and a little boozy.

Well, I’m off to put on my Nats cap and hope they can force a game 5 tonight.

29. Four Beers!

So, I missed another week.

Is anyone surprised at this point?

Last week was a little too hectic for me to write up anything.  We had a major phone upgrade project at work that kept me in the office until 1:30am.  Not my ideal situation.  So, as always, my penance will be writing more beer reviews today.

I’m not going to sugar-coat this post.  So, my one upcoming highlight is I get to go to Whistler up in Canada next Thursday for 9 days (YAY!) for work (BOO!).  So, be prepared for me to miss another post or two.

No more delays!  Beer reviews!

Central Waters Belgian Style Blonde

Sight: Bright golden color that crystal clear.  There was a thin white head that didn’t stick around too long

Smell: Belgian yeast.  That same aroma you’d find in almost every light Belgian beer.  Slight tangy sour aroma.

Taste: Light and sweet, but subtle.  Light tanginess and subtle sour finish.  It’s very delicate.

My overall grade: A-

I was pleasantly surprised with this beer.  I didn’t think it was going to turn out well, but I’m really starting to trust what Central Waters is putting out.

Lakefront Big Easy Imperial Maibock

Sight: Golden in color and slightly opaque, not much head to speak of.

Smell: All sweet malts and biscuits.  Like breakfast at the Pancake House.

Taste: Sweet malty flavor, but not overpowering.  A light citrusy hop flavor sneaks in at the end to round it out.

My overall grade: B+

Very tasty beer.  It’s strong, but doesn’t seem to crush you with the flavors.  I could enjoy a few, and then realize too late that they’re 7.7% each and pay for my eagerness.

Southern Tier 2X Stout

Sight: Deep, dark brown color, nearly black with a light white head

Smell: Coffee aroma with a light malty sweetness mixed in.  There’s a slight sour aroma due to the lactose.

Taste: Lots of coffee and chocolate that flows quickly into the lactose sourness.  The finish is slightly bitter.

My overall grade: B-

I’m always a sucker for milk stouts, and this one was good, but I wouldn’t put it near the top of the list.  If you’re picking between milk stouts, Left Hand and Duck Rabbit still rule the roost.

Pipeworks Close Encounter

Sight: Black like the midnight sky (assuming you don’t live in the city, cause that would be kinda yellow), with a creamy tan head

Smell: All grassy hops, which will alarm you if you didn’t read the label on the bottle.  Mild coffee notes mixed in there.

Taste: Chocolate and coffee throughout with a huge grassy hop flavor at the finish which ended up surprisingly clean.

My overall grade: B+

This thing is listed as a double stout, but there’s a lot of hops in there.  It’s like a double IPA and an imperial stout joined forces.

I’m off to start organizing my things for my Whistler!