317. Hitachino Nest White Ale

317. Hitachino Nest White Ale

This is yet another Belgian-Style ale. I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits along with Tripel Karmeliet. The beer came in a brown 11.2 oz. bottle with a red owl on a blue background. I let it warm to approximately 50°F, and served it in an imperial pint glass.

This is a Witbier, a Belgian style. Witbiers are cloudy Belgian wheat beers that are hazy because they are unfiltered and have a high protein content. Witbiers are lightly hopped and are spiced with coriander, orange peel and sometimes other spices. A good description of the style and its history can be found here.

Appearance (4.0): This beer pours a very hazy golden color; it almost seems to emit light. The beer is moderately carbonated, with a few soda-like bubbles sticking to the side of the glass. The beer is topped by a thick white head that diminishes quickly.

Smell (4.0): I get a dominant sour apple aroma, with some citrus and yeast notes.

Taste (4.0): The flavors at the front of the palate are masked by the carbonation, but I get spicy notes, with a slightly medicinal flavor. Sweetness makes a brief appearance at the center, but is overtaken by a citrusy sour character. The beer finishes dry with a lingering bitterness. Hops are present throughout the palate, but are mild and restrained, becoming most evident in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.5): The carbonation is tingly, but only moderately so. The beer is on the medium side of light-bodied. It has a creamy almost oily feel.

Drinability (5.0): This is a nice beer, the flavors good, and it's really refreshing. The beer is definitely easy to drink.

Overall (BA: 4.15, TC: 4.225): I enjoyed this beer. The spices are nice without being overdone, and as mentioned above, the beer is very refreshing.

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Beer Tasting and Rating

What rating system do I use?
I use the tasting and rating system that Beer Advocate uses. The beer is rated on a scale of one to five in five separate categories. Each of these categories is weighted differently when calculating the overall score:
  • Appearance - 20%
  • Smell - 20%
  • Taste - 40%
  • Mouthfeel - 10%
  • Drinkability - 10%.
This system seems to be fairly standard. Rate Beer uses a similar system though their weighting is different. They use the classier sounding terms 'Aroma', 'Flavor' and 'Palate' instead of 'Smell', 'Taste' and 'Mouthfeel'. Their 'Overall' category includes 'Drinkability', but seems broader.
  • Appearance - 10%
  • Aroma - 20%
  • Flavor - 20%
  • Palate - 10 %
  • Overall - 40%
I use Beer Advocate's rating system because I think the 'Taste'/'Flavor' category is under-weighted for Rate Beer, and because I think Rate Beer over-weights 'Overall' and leads to a more subjective final score (not that reviewing beer isn't inherently subjective). Beer Advocate has these descriptions for the following numerical ratings: 1.0 is 'awful', 2.0 is 'not impressed', 3.0 is 'average', 4.0 is 'good' and 5.0 is 'exceptional'.

How do I decide when to assign numerical ratings?
How well is the beer served? I'll take tasting notes, but won't assign a numerical rating to a beer if it is served directly in a bottle or can without being poured into a glass, since it's hard to rate on appearance when you can't see the beer. I will rate a beer if it isn't served in 'proper' glassware. If the beer is served too cold, but I allow it to warm up appreciably I will assign ratings.

Is the beer good? If a beer is obviously spoiled I won't assign numerical ratings. My main indicator here is the presence of a skunky aroma. If the beer is skunked I won't give a numerical rating.

How big is the sample? If a beer is served in a sampler size (4 oz.) I won't assign a numerical rating. A 4 oz glass can be enough to give you a decent impression of the beer, but I don't think it's enough to accurately rate a beer. I think 8 ounces is a good approximate minimum.

How much am I drinking? If I'm planning on drinking several beers at a bar I typically won't rate them. This rule is flexible. I wouldn't hesitate to assign ratings to the first beer in a series, though I may not always do this. If I feel that I can objectively rate subsequent beers I will. If I'm drunk I won't assign ratings.

What am I eating? If the flavors in the food overpower a beer I won't assign a numerical rating. Spicy foods are a big offender here. I'll only rate a beer that I'm eating with food if the beer overpowers the food, or if the beer and food match particularly well.

Do I feel like assigning numerical ratings? This is self-explanatory.
What do I look for in each of the different categories?
Appearance: What color is the beer: is it golden, amber, brown, etc? Is the beer clear, hazy, or almost opaque? What is the head like, what color is it, how big is it, what's its texture, how long does it stick around? How much carbonation is there? Rating the appearance of a beer is one of the most subjective aspects of reviewing a beer in my opinion. Usually I try to rate a beer's appearance in comparison to other beers of the style.

Smell: I first sniff the undisturbed beer, try to determine some of the major aromas, and then I swirl to bring out more aromas. I look for aromas from malts, hops, microflora, and spicy and fruity aromas. Malt aromas can range from bready to coffee, depending on the roasted barley used. Aromas from hops tend to be floral, citrusy or herbal. Microflora, yeast and bacteria involved in fermentation, tend to give more earthy smells. Spicy and fruity notes are typically byproducts of fermentation and will vary depending on the strain of yeast used. These can include cloves, bananas, and bubblegum. When rating the smell of a beer I again consider the style. I take off points if there is an unpleasant aroma to the beer, and I look favorably upon complexity. I also try to consider how the different elements blend together.

Taste: When rating taste I like to consider how the taste changes as you hold the beer in your mouth. What is the initial flavor? How does the beer taste at the center of the palate? How does it taste at the end, and what is the aftertaste? I pay attention to many of the same elements when rating a beer for smell and taste. These include spicy and fruity notes, and roasted or sweet malt flavors. Since the aromas and flavors that hops impart are quite distinct I also pay attention to any bitterness imparted by hops. When does it appear in the palate, and how long does it linger? Additionally I pay attention to how dry the beer is overall. Unpleasant flavors get points off, while complex flavors are a bonus. As with smell, I try to consider how the different flavors interact.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel describes the body of the beer, along with other tactile sensations. Is the beer light, medium or full-bodied? What is the texture of the beer, is it creamy, is it watery? What is the carbonation like? In this category I rate mainly on the texture and carbonation since different styles will have different bodies. A beer that seems watery won't be rated as highly as a beer that has more substance. Carbonation has to be considered along with the body of the beer.

Drinkability: This category is somewhat self-explanatory. Is the beer easy to drink? Would you or could you have another? I mostly base my ratings on how easy the beer is to drink. If I'm dreading the next sip the beer obviously gets a low score. If, after finishing a beer, I want another this will positively affect the score.

Overall: The rating for this category comes from the weighted average of the ratings in the above categories. I like to consider how the beer stacks up to other beers of the style, and I like to consider what other styles the beer reminds me of.

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316. Tripel Karmeliet

316. Tripel Karmeliet

Continuing on my Belgian beer kick, tonight I purchased a bottle of Tripel Karmeliet at Downtown Wine & Spirits. It comes in a 11.2 oz. brown bottle, which says "'3 grain' beer, still brewed after a 17th century recipe from the old Carmelite monastery of Dendermonde". I chilled this while I ate dinner, and then let it warm to approximately 50°F. I had this at Ali's so I didn't have my normal glassware. I served this in a rather odd conical glass from The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

This beer is a Tripel. I originally understood 'Tripel' to mean that a beer was fermented three times. However most sources I've seen seem to point to a variation in the amount of malt used in brewing. Beer Advocate gives the most explicit definition, which can bee seen at the link above. The style is typically golden in color, with spicy and fruity notes in both aroma and flavor. These beers are also very high in alcohol.

Appearance (3.5): This beer looks like a standard Tripel. It pours a hazy golden that appears almost orange at times. The beer is topped by a mountain of white head that recedes, but still leaves a layer at the surface an eighth to a quarter inch thick. The beer leaves nice lace on the glass.

Smell (4.5): There are spicy, almost peppery notes here, along with fruity and malty aromas.

Taste (4.5): Up front spicy/peppery notes are prominent. Sweet fruity flavors emerge in the center, along with a bready yeasty flavor, but the spiciness remains. This beer finishes sweet with an alcoholic warmth. The presence of hops is subtle.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Smooth and medium bodied. The carbonation is prickly, but not overdone.

Drinkability (4.5): This is a delicious beer. I could have a few of these.

Overall (4.25): This is a really nice example of the style. The flavors are complex, but well-balanced.

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313-315. Beer at The Publick House

Ali and I made a trip out to Brookline to visit The Publick House in order to buy tickets to the Beer Advocate Extreme Beer Fest. I checked up on their beer selection, and counted 155 different beers (the slight overlap between draught and bottles lowers this number). Of these I've only had 61. The selection is really amazing. Check the menu to see for yourself. As Ali mentioned in her entry we were going to get dinner there, but seating was limited due to a private party. All tasting notes come from what I've written down in my tasting notebook. I'm looking forward to going back to the Publick House for more beer, and for their food, which looked delicious.

This was in the Men's room:

313. Ommegang Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend

I began with Three Philosophers because I'm a fan of Ommegang beers, and because I wanted to try it without investing in a 750 mL bottle. It was served on tap in a Three Philosophers wine glass. Three Philosophers is a blended Belgian Style Quadrupel, it consists of a strong dark ale blended with Lindemans Kriek (Cherry) Lambic.

Appearance: This beer is dark with a deep red color. When it got to me there was only a thin ring of carbonation around the glass.

Smell: The smell was very subtle. Most of what I caught was light fruitiness, mostly cherries and raisins.

Taste: The carbonation dominates the front of the palate. There was a dryness in the center along with roasted malts that reminded me of a stout or porter. The finish was tart with warming alcohol and spicy notes. The fruitiness of the cherries remains throughout.

Mouthfeel: The beer first seems thin, but then seems to expand into a medium body.

Drinkability: Despite the carbonation this is a smooth beer. It was easy to drink in that respect, but the high alcohol content, along with the strong flavors make it hard to drink a lot of.

Overall: This is another fine offering from Ommegang. It's a nice beer to have a glass of, but it's not as drinkable as Ommegang or Hennepin.

314. Affligem Blond

I decided to stick with Belgian or Belgian Style Ales for the night so I decided to go with Affligem Blond. This was served on tap in an Affligem chalice. It is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, as is La Fin du Monde a favorite of mine.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a thick white head that dissipates down to a thin film.

Smell: The aroma is very strong, fruity with strong clove notes.

Taste: There's a sweetness at the beginning of the palate. Bitterness and spicy notes, especially clove, emerge in the center. The finish is dry with an alcoholic warmth. It has the particular flavor that all beers of this style have that I like, and Ali doesn't.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied beer, though it almost seems to evaporate off the tongue.

Drinkability: This is a nice beer to drink, but again the alcohol and strong flavors make this a tough one to drink a lot of.

Overall: I'm a fan of the style, and this beer has all of the characteristics of Belgian Strong Pale Ales that I like, but it falls short of some of the others that I've had.

315. Vichtenaar

I wanted to stick with the Belgian theme, but move on to something different. Ali had already started her tasting of this beer so I decided to follow suit. The bottle features two lions on either side of a coat of arms. It was served in an oversized wine glass. This is a Flanders Red Ale.

Appearance: This beer pours a clear brown with red hues. A thick head builds and then quickly dissipates.

Smell: The smell reminds me of a wine that an old roommate brought home from Europe, very nutty and buttery.

Taste: Sweet at the outset with definite cherry flavors. Sourness becomes evident in the center, and the beer finishes dry and sour.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light-bodied, with mild carbonation. It almost reminds me of a wine, aside from the carbonation.

Drinkability: Again, a pleasant but strong flavor would prevent you from drinking a huge amount of this.

Overall: This is a nice Sour Ale. The pronounced cherry flavors, and the mouthfeel remind me of a Kriek Lambic.


Ali and I had a cheese board with Morbier, a french cheese. I really liked this cheese. It was soft, had a mild flavor and was slightly sweet. Read Ali's post for more cheese details.

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Ali's Publick House Post

Tonight Thomas and I tried to go to The Publick House for dinner. It was too busy (private party) so we had dinner elsewhere, and then returned for our beer tasting. Thom's entry will be posted tomorrow.

Golden Monkey Tripel

I began with the Golden Monkey Tripel because of its name. It is a Belgian style Tripel. The beer was served in an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Poured with a thin head that disappeared quickly and left no lace. It was a hazy brassy/golden color.

Smell: There was a super sweet aroma with a sort of sweet corn smell.

Taste: There is a tingle on the tip of the tongue that lasts through the end. There was a sweet almost caramel center and a sweet bready finish with some alcohol warming. There wasn't too much carbonation.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This was light and smooth and I could definitely drink a lot of it.

Overall: I liked this beer, it was tasty.


My second beer was recommended by the bartender after we were informed that they were out of Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red Ale. It was called Vichtenaar and it, like the former, is a Flemish Red Ale. It was served in a white wine glass. The bottle's label showed a coat of arms with lions.

Appearance: This beer was red in the light but brown in the dark, and was clear. This beer had a thick, bubbly head that quickly dissapated to a thin film.

Smell: Yeasty, with nutty and buttery notes, almost like a red wine. It kind of smelled like a tree branch.

Taste: Very sweet in the beginning, like a lambic. Sweet and fruity through the middle and a sour finish, with metallic undertones. Mild carbonation.

Mouthfeel: This was also smooth, but heavier than the Belgian Tripel.

Drinkability: I could drink one or two bottles, but no more - it has a strong flavor.

Overall: I really liked the sweet/sour of this beer, very interesting for the palate.


We enjoyed a cheese with this beer; Morbier from France. This was a mild flavored, but stinky, cow's milk cheese. There was an ash layer in the middle of the cheese to separate the early from the late milking. The cheese was white, soft and creamy with a hard, edible rind. It had a "farm" flavor and went well with the Vichtenaar. The spicy mustard from La Chouffe complemented the cheese very well. We liked the cheese best when eaten on top of sourdough bread coated with the spicy mustard. We both liked the flavor of the mustard seeds popping in our mouths. The cheese was also served with yummy sweet pickles.

A song came out of tonight called "Public Urination" sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic
Chorus: Public, Public Urination
Ali: Causes me much consternation
Thom: It's my favorite occupation
Chorus: Public Urination

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312. Trappist Achel 8º Brune

312. Trappist Achel 8º Brune

I've been a fan of Belgian and Belgian style ales since I first had Chimay Grande Réserve and La Fin Du Monde. I've also been fascinated with Trappist beers, which are beers brewed by monks. Currently there are seven Trappist breweries in the world, six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. They are: 1) Sint-Benedictusabdij (Achel, Belgium), 2) Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont (Chimay, Belgium), 3) Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Orval (Orval, Belgium), 4) Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy (Rochefort, Belgium), 5) Abdij Trappisten van Westmalle (Westmalle, Belgium), 6) Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren (Westvleteren, Belgium), 7) Abdij van Koningshoeven, (Koningshoeven, Netherlands). The term "Trappist" can only be applied to beers produced at these Abbeys, and only these breweries may use the Trappist logo. Similar beers not produced by monks are called "Abbey Ales" rather than Trappist, and not all beers produced by monks are Trappist.

I've had beers from Chimay, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle, so I decided to pick up an Achel beer at Downtown Wine and Spirits. I let this beer warm for about 45 minutes (serving temp 45-50ºF) before serving it in a Chimay chalice.

This is a Dubbel. Dubbels are typically dark beers made with pale and dark malts. Malty flavors tend to dominate over hop bitterness. They also often contain dark candy sugar, or caramelized sugar. These beers have hints of spice and fruit. They tend to range from 6.5 to 9% alcohol.

Appearance (4.5): This beer pours a dark red that almost appears brown, the red becomes very evident when held to a strong light. The beer is hazy almost opaque, though the dark color may make the main contribution to the opacity. It's topped by a persistent creamy beige head. This is a gorgeous beer.

Smell (5): There's a sweet fruitiness that dominates. Additionally there are hints of clove and breadiness. With swirling I'm getting what I can best describe as a tart aroma.

Taste (4): Caramel and malt flavors are evident first. There's a fruity sweetness in the center of the palate. It finishes with alcoholic warmth evident, and with a lingering but not overpowering bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Smooth and creamy. This almost masks the carbonation. I like the interplay here.

Drinkability (4): This is a good beer, easy to drink. Though the high alcohol content may lead you quickly to drunkenness (not a bad thing).

Overall (4.35): This is a very nice beer. It has all of the complexity of aroma and taste that I love about Belgian beers.

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311. Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto)

311. Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto)

The orange owl on the Hitachino Nest logo has always caught my eye, but I've avoided picking one up because my experiences with Japanese beer have consisted of substandard macro-esque lagers. I decided to pick this one up at Downtown Wine & Spirits today on a whim. This was unrefrigerated so I chilled it in the fridge for about 30 minutes (serving temp 50-55ºF) before serving it in a San Francisco Brewing Company pint glass.

This is a Sweet (Milk) Stout. Sweet stouts contain more unfermented sugars than regular stouts in an attempt to balance the roasted flavors that come from use of heavily kilned barley. Milk stouts (sometimes called cream stouts) contain milk sugars, which cannot be fermented by yeast, adding sweetness to the beer. These beers tend to have low alcohol content since not all sugars are fermented. This one is 3.9%.

Appearance (4.5): This beer is very dark brown, nearing black. There is an evident haziness when pouring. A thick beige head that slowly dissipates tops the beer.

Smell (2.5): There's a slight sharpness, but most evident is a sweet aroma and some roasted coffee notes. The interplay of the sweetness and the roasted aromas creates an odd smell.

Taste (3.0): It's malty and sweet at the center of the palate. The sweetness fades into a roasted, almost coffeeish, bitterness at the end. There's an odd flavor here that I can't place. Bitterness from hops is hard to detect.

Mouthfeel (3): There is a tingle of carbonation up front, but otherwise the beer feels very thick, almost viscous.

Drinkability (2.5): This is a really heavy beer, it would be good for pairing with food, but on its own it's somewhat overpowering.

Overall (3.15): The sweetness is a little too much. There are roasted flavors, but rather than providing balance the milk sugars overpower them.

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310. Long Trail Ale

310. Long Trail Ale

I had two 12 oz. bottles of Long Trail Ale, an Altbier, at a Bio-Grad happy hour event. Three happy hours are held during January when the first year students are deciding on labs to rotate in. As a member of the Amon Lab I was expected to attend this week and answer any questions prospective rotators might have. After fielding questions from one person I felt my duty had been fulfilled so I spent the remainder of the happy hour talking to people I know from the Horvitz Lab. This won't be a full review since I won't be able to describe the beer's appearance, as they didn't provide the glassware needed for a proper beer tasting experience.

Appearance: Unable to rate, however the bottle described its appearance as amber.

Smell: Floral hop aromas, with sweet bready notes as well.

Taste: Throughout there's a nice hop bitterness, that's balanced well against the bready malt center and the lightly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: There's nothing spectacular here. Light carbonation, smooth and light-bodied.

Drinkability: It was easy enough drinking two of these. I probably could have had a few more. This would be a decent beer to keep around for a night of drinking.

Overall: This is a decent brew. There's nothing spectacular here, but it's nice enough.

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The Brewmaster's Table

Due to the novelty of blogging I have an overwhelming desire to write about something. I originally intended to go out and buy a new beer this evening, but my overwhelming desire to not go out in the cold won out. Instead I'll attempt to write a book review.

In late November or early December I received an unexpected package from Amazon. Upon opening it I discovered two gift-wrapped books with happy birthday notes from Win (Thanks Win!). I assumed that this was an early birthday present. Win, however, informed me that it was actually a late birthday gift. Included were Bringing Down the House, and The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food.

The Brewmaster's Table was written by Garret Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery. I actually saw Oliver at the Brooklyn Brewery's booth at Beer Advocate's Art of Beer Festival in May 2004, he served Ali a beer. I heard someone tell him how much they loved the book, and I think this is really the first time I became aware of the book. I've only had two of Brooklyn Brewery's beers, Brooklyn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Lager. I recall both being tasty. I've never explored Brooklyn's offerings further since I tend to pick up singles when I go to the liquor store, and because I haven't seen it on draft much around Boston.

The book is quite hefty, weighing in at about 350 pages. Brewmaster's Table contains brief chapters about beer making, beer history and proper beer service. However, the bulk of the book is dedicated to different styles of beer and the food that the beer best compliments.

The book begins with a short introduction in which Oliver talks about his discovery of real beer when he lived in London after college. Similar short snippets from Oliver's personal experiences with beer are interspersed throughout the book. These are always relevant to the style of beer that Oliver is discussing, but occasionally he seems to be tooting his own horn. Given that the man certainly knows his beer and food, I can't fault him too much.

One of the great strengths of the book is its thoroughness. In addition to the chapters mentioned above, there are seven chapters dealing with different brewing traditions. These include: Lambics, Wheat Beers, British Ales, Belgian Ales, Czech-German Lagers, American Craft Brewing and 'Unique Specialties'. Each chapter is divided into sections dedicated to different styles of beer that fall under that brewing tradition. I'm hard-pressed to think of a single style of beer that isn't covered. These sections include: a brief history of the style; a description of the style in terms of appearance, taste and aroma; a discussion of the style's strengths and weaknesses with particular foods; and descriptions of notable beers of the style organized by producer (Brooklyn Brewery is occasionally mentioned in these sections).

The discussions of pairing beer with food describe the major characteristics of the beer that should be considered, as well as pairing suggestions. Oliver also discusses the characteristics of a beer that will overpower or be overpowered by particular foods. Additionally he describes more subtle aspects of pairing, including how subtle flavors in the beer compliment the flavors of food. The descriptions of notable beers of the style are, in essence, tasting notes for those beers, and include suggested food pairings.

The Brewmaster's Table focuses on beer and food pairings, for which it is a great resource. However, it's also a great place to start if you're curious about different beer styles, and it gives a nice list of beers to try if a particular style stirs your interest. If you're interested in beer, or beer and food I'd pick this book up.

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309. 3 Monts

309. 3 Monts

This is my first Bière de Garde. I'm not familiar with the style so I'll hold off on the numerical ratings for now. I purchased this at DW&S along with Boon Framboise. It came in a standard 750mL brown glass bottle. The cork was held in place by a metal bracket that I had to pry off with a pair of needle-nose pliers, the cork then had to be removed with a corkscrew. I let the beer warm for about 45 minutes (ideal serving temp 45-50ºF), but once again it was probably closer to 40ºF. I served the beer for Ali and I in my two New Belgium snifters, which I felt were a reasonable substitute for the recommended tulip, or oversized wine glasses.

Thom: It pours a hazy golden color, with a champagne-like carbonation. A thick white head tops the beer, and slowly diminishes to a thin layer.
Ali: The beer is a golden color, with a thick, creamy, white head that recedes leaving lacing on the glass. There is a lot of carbonation.

Thom: A sweet aroma with a very subtle hint of apple.
Ali: An earthy aroma. Also, an almost undetectable aroma of apple.

Thom: Spices upfront, with a light bready sweetness at the center. The sweetness carries to the end. A warming sensation from the alcohol is also evident at the end. There's a mild bitterness throughout.
Ali: Initially tingly and tart. There's a complex-carbohydrate sweetness in the center, with a bready finish. It makes me want to eat a strong cheese.

Thom: Has an initial prickliness that gives way to a smooth, medium bodied feel.
Ali: Prickly and smooth, light, but heavier than water.

Thom: Smooth, and refreshing. This beer would be easy to drink a lot of.
Ali: The strong taste would limit me to a glass or two.

Thom: This is my first Bière de Garde. I think the bottle might have been a little old. Maybe I would have been more impressed with a fresher bottle. I do like the complexity that isn't present in other light beers.
Ali: I've never thought this much about how a beer tastes, but I like this because it's sweet, almost savory and has a nice finish.

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308. Boon Framboise

308. Boon Framboise

This is a Fruit Lambic, specifically a raspberry lambic. I purchased a green 12 oz. corked bottle at Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis Square. After letting it warm up for about half an hour I served it in one of my New Belgium snifter-style glasses. I decided to pick this up while browsing to broaden my experience in Lambics. Next I have my eye on a $30 bottle of Cantillon.

Appearance (4): Pours a hazy reddish-orange color, with soda-like carbonation that clings to the side of the glass. A short white head rises, then quickly diminishes to a ring.

Smell (4.5): The aroma is sweet and fruity, mostly raspberries, with a subtle earthiness.

Taste (4): Raspberry sweetness hits the palate up front, followed by acidic tartness, and then a slightly dry finish. There's a slight hop bitterness here, but it's not a strong presence.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Smooth and medium bodied, light prickly carbonation

Drinkability (3.5): Drinkable, but a little too dry to be something you could drink bottle after bottle of.

Overall (4): I don't have a lot of experience with the lambic styles. This is only the second Framboise lambic I've had. I prefer it to Lindeman's on it's own. I find that it's not as sweet and just seems more well balanced, though I think Lindeman's wins as far as potential for pairing with desserts.

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I've been drinking beer regularly since my freshman year at Texas A&M, but I didn't really get into it until my senior year. It's hard to say exactly what beer it was that "opened my eyes" to beer, but it was probably the first time I had Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse at Cricket's in Waco. I started keeping The Beer List my last semester at A&M, and I've added almost 300 new beers since then, which averages out to about 100 new beers per year.

I'm starting this blog because, while I know what I like about beers, I sometimes have a hard time describing what exactly it is about the beers that I like. So I plan to post any tasting notes that I take for each beer here, which will hopefully get me into the habit.