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Beer Reviews

This beer is a Blonde style.  Here is the description of an American Blonde Ale from BA(beer advocate):
“More or less a creation from the craft-brewery movement, and also reminiscent of the German style Kölsch. Pale straw to deep gold for color. Usually an all malt brew, well attenuated with a lightly malty palate. Most have a subdued fruitiness. Hop character is of the noble variety, or similar, leaving a light to medium bitterness. A balanced beer, light bodied and sometimes lager like.”

Smell: Straw, malt.

Taste: Light hop, tartness tapers to a sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: crisp, light, slightly flat

Appearance: Very light and clear, bright yellow, resembles an American lager.

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Overall: Not that impressed.  This beer does not stand out at all.  It is nice and light and would make a good summer beer, but I could also buy something less expensive to fill that role.  If you’re more of a Bud/Miller/Coors drinker, you’ll probably enjoy this for a change.

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Saga is an India Pale Ale from Summit Brewing who says this beer is “Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. With a divine tropical fruit hop aroma and clean, assertive bitterness.”saga

India Pale Ales are known to be hoppy or bitter.  There is a measurement scale for beer called International Bittering Units (IBUs).  Saga comes in at 80 IBU’s.  Just for reference, light American lagers rate 8-12 IBUs, and some of the highest ratings are over 100.  I did not like IPAs for a year or so.  A good friend of mine drank a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and I typically don’t refuse any beer that is offered.  I got used to the taste and now IPAs are one of my favorite styles of beer.

Smell: Malt, earth, citrus.

Taste: Pine, medium hop kick holds throughout.  Citrus. Not incredible, but a very good IPA.

Mouthfeel:  Alcohol warmness (6.4%) dry and fairly carbonated.

Appearance:  Light copper.  Not much foam retention (only poured 1/4″ of head so maybe bad on me)

Overall:  Very good beer for the price. One of my stand bys along with Sierra Nevada.  I really like IPA’s and those two are both solid beers in my opinion.  It helps that they are both often on sale at my local shop.

Since I started out with one of the worst beers I've ever had, I might as well follow up with one of the best, Abrasive Ale by Surly, ironically shown here in a pint glass with a Bud Light symbol on it. Served from a can, which, contrary to popular belief, is not a bad way to store beer. It cannot get light struck (overexposed to light), which is what will make a beer taste skunky. Clear or green bottles are bad news. Thankfully most of the beer that is in clear or green bottles should be avoided anyway.  Surly is highly regarded as a craft beer and only produces cans  You used to be able to get a growler from the brewery in  Brooklyn Center, MN until the nanny state bureaucrats decided to outlaw this practice with MN State Law 340A.301 This beer scores a 4.53/5 is at beeradvocate.com, which puts it at #29 on the list.  That is pretty prestigious and the highest rated beer that I have ever bought.  It goes for about $16 for a 4 pack, and is worth it if you like good beer. Smell: Apricot, grapefruit. Taste: Hoppy, but sweet. Citrus Piney finish Mouthfeel: Pretty warm (9% alcohol) Fairly carbonated. Appearance: A cloudy golden. Overall: Very good. The hops are more balanced than I expected for something called Abrasive. Highly recommended.

Since I’m pumped someone actually responded to my blog, and one of them requested a beer review, here we go.  To be honest I’m not that good of a reviewer so it’s probably fitting that I start out with a beer that’s not very good either.  Tailgate Beer IPA.

I found some of this for $6.99 a 6-pack and thought it might be worth a shot.  I was planning on doing some ice fishing, and bottles are kind of a drag out there.  I wasted a clean glass to check this stuff out.

"The Official Beer of Tailgating"

“The Official Beer of Tailgating”

The color was about right (copper), and it smelled way too malty for an IPA.  This stuff sorta tastes like an IPA, but a really cheap one.  Reminds me of malt liquor.  I would not recommend it.  I can drink it, but I’m not real picky.  It DID have alcohol in it after all….about 5%.

Since I could use some work on my beer review skills, I though we’d look to this article by Todd on BeerAdvocate.com to understand what we’re looking for.

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“There are five categories to evaluating a beer with your review:

Appearance – Note the beer’s color, carbonation, head and its retention. Is it clear or cloudy? Does it look lackluster and dull or alive and inviting?

Smell – Bring the beer to your nose. Note the beer’s aromatic qualities. Malts: sweet, roasty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty, nutty, caramelly, biscuity? Hops: dank / resiny, herbal, perfumy, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, citrusy? Yeast will also create aromas. You might get fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers, which will allow the malt and hop subtleties to pull through.

Taste – Take a deep sip of the beer. Note any flavors, or interpretations of flavors, that you might discover. The descriptions will be similar to what you smell. Is the beer built-well? Is there a balance between the ingredients? Was the beer brewed with a specific dominance of character in mind? How does it fit the style?

Mouthfeel – Take another sip and let it wander. Note how the beer feels on the palate and its body. Light, heavy, chewy, thin / watery, smooth or coarse? Was the beer flat, over-carbonated?

Overall – Your overall impression of the beer”
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Okay, that makes sense.  I suppose I could get used to thinking about all these things every time I try a new beer.  Though it always helps to have an example to see how the format is put into action.  Here’s an interesting review of Tailgate IPA from VelvetExtract in Massachusetts.
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“Appearance-Pours a hazy scorched orange. Huge, voluminous head. Bubbles rise frm the base of the beer to feed the foamy afro. Thick, sporadic lacing blotches.

Smell-Grimace inducing. Sweet and soapy. Honey and…soap. Oh yeah! There is also an abundance of…honey and soap.

Taste-Holy horseshit Batman! This is one of the worst beers I have ever slurped! Venom! Metal and sickening sweetness with a hint of remedial hops. Like sucking on a penny covered in that frightening green rust. The fact that I bought a six-pack of this makes me want to assault someone. Asswater.

Mouthfeel-I hate you Tailgate. Sticky and clingy.

O/D-In contention for the title of the prestigous “Worst of the Worst” award. Absolutely insulting. Quite easily the worst beer I have had yet. At least the plethora of bad Macro brews aren’t pretending to be craft beers. In terms of this beer: IPA = Imbibing Pungent Asswater.”
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So apparently VelvetExtract didn’t like it much either.  I don’t want to know what asswater is or how he knows what it tastes like, but unfortunately I know what it tastes like because I drank that beer!  Don’t make the same mistake.  I do have a few left which I plan to pawn off on unsuspecting friends who have not read my blog.