Thursday, May 22, 2008

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

The Beer: Union Jack IPA
The Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. of Buellton , California
The Style: IPA
ABV: 7.5%
Brewer's Description: 70 IBUs. Simcoe bittering hops; Centennial, Cascade and Tomahawk for flavoring; aroma hops are described as a "blend of C's."
Color: Poured into Urthel stemmed glass. Bright polished amber with very thin white head that leaves lace.
Aroma: juicy mango and peach, fresh-cut flowers.
Taste/mouthfeel: fine bubbles sting the tongue, giving way to citrus oil bitterness that stings the sides of the mouth and lingers in the back of the throat. Touch of sweet caramel malt in the middle, just enough to keep this beer balanced.
Finish: Resiny, tongue-coating hop bitterness. Bitter, oily, hoppy aftertaste.
Notes: Purchased at BevMo! in El Segundo, CA. This beer comes from Great American Beer Festival's "Best Mid-sized Brewery". A classic American pale ale, with a touch more malt than some of the other west coast IPAs. This India pale is clean and bursting with hop flavor yet balanced enough to drink as a session beer or at a BBQ on a hot day. I'd suggest pairing it with spicy Thai/Indian food or a zesty salad.

Friday, May 16, 2008

21st Amendment Brewery

photo courtesy of my friend at: The Exploded View
On December 5th, 1933 the United States enacted the 21st Amendment which repealed the alcohol-banning 18th Amendment. Some 66 years later the 21st Amendment Brewing Company opened in San Francisco California.I recently took a weekend trip up to SF to visit this fine brewery. I ordered the sampler and began tasting the full spectrum of delicious ale.
photo courtesy of my friend at: The Exploded View
Southpark Blonde (Blond Ale, 5.1%, 17 IBU): quenching and clean with some mild butter notes in the finish. Very light bodied.
Water Melon Wheat (Fruit Wheat Ale, 5.5%, 17 IBU): Surprised by this one the watermelon flavors dominated this beer. Watermelon notes are fresh and crisp, not at all sweet. Very refreshing and enjoyable.
Summer Ale (American Pale Ale, 5.2%, 21 IBU): crisp and mildly hoppy pale ale. Hops are almost all in the flavor and aroma with little bitter finish.
Bitter American (Bitter, 3.6%, 40 IBU): Very interesting take on an English bitter, a style of beer meant to be low in alcohol to allow weary workers to consume many during some after-work hob-nobbing. This take on the style uses American hops for a very citrusy bitterness. Enjoyable, especially for a beer so low in strength.
21-A IPA (IPA, 7.2%, 78 IBU): Award-winning IPA, clean and bitter with tons of bursting citrus hops and a lingering, tongue-drying finish.
Repeal Rye (Rye Ale, 6.5%, 40 IBU): Hoppy, spicy, and dry. Rye flavors and hops blend very well. Some caramel malts in the body as well.
Myers Scotch Ale (Strong Scotch Ale, 8.3%, 23 IBU): Rich malt flavors with some caramel and toffee notes. Finish is slightly sweet. Very small touches of earth and smoky flavors. Impressively quaffable for a beer of such low hop bitterness and high alcohol.
General Pippos Porter (Porter, 5.6%, 45 IBU): typical, but enjoyable porter. Some mild roasted notes with ample bitter chocolate.

from left to right: Southpark Blonde, Watermelon Wheat, Summer Ale, Bitter American, 21-A IPA, Repeal Rye, Myers Scotch Ale, General Pippo's Porter

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bear Republic Racer 5

The Beer:
Racer 5 India Pale Ale
The Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Company of Healdsburg, California
The Style: IPA
ABV: 7.00%
Brewer's Description: This is a hoppy IPA. Did I say hops? Your brewer is a hop head! This is a full bodied beer using American grains. The goal was to create a base for showing off the unique floral qualities of two Pacific Northwest hops, Columbus and Cascade. Columbus is a new hybrid High Alpha Acid hop used mostly for bittering, but used heavily as an aromatic in this strong brew. Cascade is the balance that ties the malt and bittering hops together. It is a true specialty ale and is our brewer’s statement on this style. 2004 L.A. Commercial Brewing Competition, Silver Medal Winner; 2004 World Beer Cup, Silver Medal Winner; 2001 Real Ale Festival, San Diego, Gold Medal Winner; 2001 Real Ale Festival, Chicago, Gold Medal Winner; 1999 Great Amercian Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner - og 1.070, ABV 7.0%, IBU 69. California State Fair Bronze Medal, 1997 Beerfest Invitational. - og 1.070, ABV 7.0%, IBU 69.
Color: Poured into my poor, over-used Urthel beer glass. Pale copper with very small, tight, white head.
Aroma: mild tangerine and perhaps some hints of cranberries and/or currants.
Taste/mouthfeel: medium mouthfeel, moderate, fine carbonation, very slight caramel sweetness and some grapefruit.
Finish: stingy pine, lingering resin finish.
Notes: Purchased at BevMo in Torrance, CA. Yet another IPA from the West, this India Pale comes from the 2006 GABF Small Brewery of the Year. This is a drier IPA and definitely an above average one. Still, the aroma is not as pungent as I would have hoped for. The taste is certainly pleasing and quaffable, the alcohol is rather strong for the style, and hop bitterness is abundant. I found that robust citrusy and floral hop flavors were slightly lacking. Still, this beer will prove enjoyable for hopheads to be sure. This homebrewer would argue there are better IPAs to be had in the Golden State, however.