284. Cambridge Brewing Company's Hefeweizen

284. Cambridge Brewing Company's Hefeweizen

Jadyn and I went to CBC for drinks on Saturday afternoon (I think). I had the CBC Hefeweizen, which I had had before, but didn't remember trying.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: Hefe Weizen, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a brilliant, straw-golden color with a thin white head that eventually fades completely.

Smell (3.5): Banana fruitiness, with some grain and yeast on the swirl.

Taste (4.0): Sweet banana and bubblegum upfront. Moves into a citric flavor in the center, and ends with husky grain and yeast flavors.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth.

Drinkability (4.5): Definitely a nice summer brew. It's thirst-quenching, and pretty easy to have a few of.

Overall (3.95)

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672. Ugly Pug Black Lager

672. Ugly Pug Black Lager

This came from another Rahr six-pack that Bryan sent me in a trade. I let this warm to 45º F or so and served it in one of my NERAX pint glasses.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Schwarzbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, dark, ruby-brown with a thick, beige head that retains well, leaving patches of lace.

Smell (4.0): Malty with roasty notes and a light fruitiness.

Taste (3.5): Malty upfront with a light toasty element, which quickly becomes roastier. Sweet through the center with hints of fruit before being met by more roasted, bitter flavors in the finish. There's also a light graininess in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel (3.0): Light-bodied, high-carbonation, but a tad watery.

Drinkability (4.0): Flavorful and balanced.

Overall (3.7)

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670-671. A Night Out/In

I believe that this post covers Thursday the 10th of May. After I finished teaching my recitation sections Jadyn and I met up and went to The Burren in Davis Square for 2 or 3 beers. After the Burren we stopped by my place because she wanted to have one of the beers in my stash. I decided on a bottle of 16 because I know she likes the style.

670. Unibroue 16

This was served in my Duvel tulip glasses after warming briefly.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Unibroue
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a hazy, amber that's a little dark for the style. It's topped by a thick, persistent, beige head.

Smell (4.0): The aroma is very fruity, particularly bananas. There are also notes of pepper, yeast and alcohol.

Taste (4.0): Initially sweet malts and fruity bananas are evident. This moves into peppery and alcoholic spicy notes, followed by a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-bodied, high carbonation, but smooth.

Drinkability (3.5): Spicy and strong, but surprisingly drinkable.

Overall (3.8)

671. Mojo IPA

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Boulder Beer
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

We left my house and walked to Jadyn's. Being a warm night, it was more pleasant outside than in. We split a bottle of Mojo IPA and drank it outside while laying down on the trampoline in their backyard. I was fairly intoxicated at this point so I don't remember much other than this tasted like an IPA.

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NYTimes: A German Beer Trail

Evan Rail has a new article in The Times about German beer that does a good job of discussing various regional German beers including those from Berlin, Cologne, Leipzig and Bamberg.

There's this mouthwatering description of Berliner weisse:
She was right: it was bitingly sour, partly from the unusual use of lactobacillus in fermentation, the same type of bacteria that produce yogurt, in addition to the regular brewer's yeast. After a very light sweetness in the mouth, there was a sharp, yogurt-like sour finish that made the drink surprisingly refreshing.
There's also Kölsch in Cologne, including a bit about the history, culture and German law behind the beer:

By German law, only beers brewed in Cologne may be called Kölsch, and they must be served in the tall, cylindrical glasses called stange. The Kölsch waiter, known as a Köbes, is almost always clad in blue and is universally known for a sharp tongue. (Request a glass of water instead of beer and your Köbes will probably ask if he should bring soap and a towel, too.)

I managed to get my first Kölsch without much hassle, handed over by a burly Köbes swinging the traditional round tray called a kranz, or wreath. The beer was not unlike a Pilsener in color, but the taste was much less bitter, with a nice grassy note in the mouth and a delicate fruitiness to the finish. I had more trouble getting the second, and when it came, I noticed the Köbes brusquely called me “du,” the informal word for “you” that an adult might use to address a child.

Leipzig is home of a style called Gose, "a deep orange brew flavored with salt and coriander," which has only been revived in the last 20 years.
The Gose was amazing, with a mild taste of salt immediately noticeable in its thick, mousse-like head. Its body was light and slightly spicy followed by a remarkably bright finish — more crisp than the most crisp riesling, sharper than the sharpest Chablis, and a better match for tricky citrus and vinaigrette than any wine I'd ever encountered.
In Bamberg there's the smoked-malt rauchbier:
Swooning from the intense flavors even more than the alcohol, I tried to catalog the tastes: caramel, acacia and notes of smoked meats ranging from ham to Alaskan salmon and sweet unagi, Japanese eel. It was liquid bacon, sure, but it was also as peaty as a fine single malt — Ardbeg came to mind.
It's an interesting, well-written article that really makes me want to go to Germany.


661-669. NERAX 2007

I went to the New England Real Ale Exhibition on Wednesday the 2nd. NERAX is an annual real ale event held in Somerville, MA. All beers at NERAX are cask conditioned, and are served by gravity or hand pump. I'd been the previous year, and it had slipped my mind that it was coming up. Fortunately, I passed by the Dilboy VFW Post on my way home to do laundry and noticed the sign. It's only about three blocks from my apartment so I walked over at 5:45, but wasn't able to get in until 7:15 because of limited admissions.

The Dilboy Post

The firkins

I stuck to half-pints this year, except the last beer I had which was a pint. Overall it was a pretty good fest, a little expensive, but the beer was good. I wore my Cantillon shirt and counted eight comments from other people.

661. Portsmouth American Mild

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Portsmouth Brewery
Alcohol: 4.80%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: English Pale Mild Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy copper with a thin sudsy head. The aroma is nicely hoppy and citric with toasted malts and a heavy fruitiness. Malty upfront with toasty, bready and caramel flavors. The finish has a lingering resiny and citric hop bitterness. Light-bodied with low carbonation, and a touch oily.

662. Martha's Smoked Porter

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Martha's Exchange
Alcohol: 6.20%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: American Porter, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a dark black with a thin, dense, brown head that fades quickly. The aroma is dominated by smoke, with some evident coffee and chocolate notes, swirling brings out fruity and hoppy aromas. Mildly sweet upfront that is a mix of fruit and chocolate. The finish is smoky with a nice roasted bitterness.

663. Hop Back Crop Circle

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hop Back Brewery
Alcohol: 4.20%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a lightly hazy golden with a thin, white film for a head. The aroma is grainy with a bit of sulfur, as well as yeastiness and a hint of sour apple. Grainy with some sour apple fruitiness as well as a nice grassy bitterness in the finish. Light-bodied, moderate carbonation with a dry finish.

. Hop Back G.F.B.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hop Back Brewery
Alcohol: 3.50%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: English Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours an almost clear copper with a sudsy white head. The aroma is much the same as the Crop Circle, with a hint of sulfur and some grassy aromas. The taste is also similar to Crop Circle, but a bit more bitter. Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation and dry in the finish.

665. Hop Back Summer Lightning

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hop Back Brewery
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: English Bitter, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a clear golden-copper with a relatively dense, sudsy, white head. The same hint of sulfur gives this beer a characteristic "Hop Back" aroma, but the graininess is diminished and a hint of caramel takes its place. Sweet and fruity upfront followed by a significant grassy bitterness. Medium-bodied, low carbonation and smooth with a grassy dryness in the finish.

666. Hop Back Odyssey

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Hop Back Brewery
Alcohol: 4.00%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: English Bitter, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy amber with a sudsy, off-white head. The aroma is yeasty grassy and hoppy. Toasty malts upfront that become lightly sweet in the center. The finish is a nice mild herbal bitterness. Low-carbonation, light-to-medium-bodied.

667. Dark Star HopHead

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dark Star Brewing
Alcohol: 3.80%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: English Bitter, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a lightly hazy golden with a sudsy white head. Piney, resiny hops dominate the aroma with some graininess that appears upon swirling. Malty upfront, only lightly sweet, with a nice resiny hop bitterness in the finish. Light-bodied with low carbonation.

668. Harpoon Brown Session Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Harpoon Brewery
Alcohol: 4.30%
Serving: Cask, Half-Pint
Style: American Brown Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy, amber-brown with a beige head. The aroma is malty with notes of caramel as well as a nice dose of hops. The flavors are malty with notes of caramel, fruit and nuttiness. The finish is nicely hoppy. Light-bodied, low carbonation.

. Moat Mountain Brown Spruce

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Cask, Pint
Style:Herbed/Spiced Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a dark brown with a half-inch, beige head. The aroma is malty with nutty and caramel aromas. The taste is much the same with a lightly bitter finish. The spruce is evident, but becomes much more noticeable towards the end of the pint. Light-to-medium-bodied, low carbonation.

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659. Bucking Bock

659. Bucking Bock

I got three Rahr & Sons six-packs in a trade with Bryan. After my trip to Belgium he wanted to try Gueuze, but wasn't having much luck finding any in his area. I put together a shipment of 5 or 6 bottles and sent it his way. I'd asked for some Rahr beers in return since I haven't tried any before. I originally tried this one a few weeks ago, but only got around to trying it again to review it tonight. I let it warm a bit and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Maibock/Helles Bock, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a lightly hazy golden with a thin, sudsy, white head that persists for a while as a thin film.

Smell (2.5): Light aromas of grains with a bit of grassy hops.

Taste (3.5): Light breadiness, some sweet malts, citric tartness with a hint of spiciness going down. The finish is a light, grassy, hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light-bodied, high carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Light in flavor, but pretty drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden.

Overall (3.3): This seems like a decent shot at the style. It really suffers because of the lack of a significant aroma.

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The Session #3: Milds

This is my first time participating in The Session. Work in lab has, unfortunately, prevented me from spending a lot of time on beer the past few months. Jay, at Brookston Beer Bulletin, picked English Mild Ales for this month's style, which happily coincides with CAMRA's "Mild Month." There's a summary post up at Brookston, which is hosting this month. Check it out to see how other bloggers fared in their quest for a Mild.

Milds aren't a style that I've had any experience with. Most of my experience with English Ales is with Pale Ales, Browns or Bitters. Milds aren't widely brewed so they're difficult to find, but I'll admit that my lack of experience is, at least, partially my fault. I've spent quite a bit of my time lately seeking out so called "Extreme Beers" or Belgian beers. I feel like I've neglected session beers in favor of stronger brews, though lately I've been trying to keep the fridge stocked with beers that are more session friendly.

There's a great post about the style at Brookston. CAMRA also has a page about the syle that gives some nice information about the style and its history:
So what is Mild? It is a beer which has tastes and textures all it’s own. Basically it is a beer that is less hopped than bitter, etc. The darkness of Dark Milds, such as Greene King XX Mild, comes from the use of darker malts and/or roasted barley which are used to compensate for the loss of Hop character. "Chocolate ", "fruity", "nutty" and "burnt" are all tastes to be found in the complexity of Milds. However, not all milds are dark. Yorkshire brewed Timothy Taylors Golden Best is one of the best examples of a light coloured mild, as is Bank's Original, the name changed from Mild to try to give it a more modern image. In Scotland, 60/- ale is similar to mild (Belhaven’s being a good example).

Milds today tend to have an ABV in the 3% to 3.5% range, with of course some notable exceptions. In fact, a lot of the Microbreweries who try their hand at mild are bringing the alcohol content back up somewhat! Mild wasn't always weaker though. In the latter half of the 19th Century, milds were brewed to about the same strength as bitters as a response to the demand for a sweeter beer from the working classes and in those days most bitters were around 6 to 7% ABV.
I had assumed I wouldn't be able to find a mild due to their rarity. Fortuitously, John Harvard's currently has their version of a Dark Mild, Midlands Mild: A Spoonful Weighs A Ton (another Flaming Lips themed name), on tap. I was able to have a few pints last Friday when I went to John Harvard's. According to their menu:
Not all ‘light’ beers are light in color, or flavorless; not all ‘dark’ beers are overpowering in flavor or alcohol. Mild ales from England’s Midlands region are a little known example. A so-called ‘cloth cap beer,’ these drinkable session ales sustained farmers through the harvest season. Dark, mellow, flavorful and surprisingly complex at 3.2% alcohol by volume, this is the perfect ale to debunk popular beer myths.
I was disappointed that there was only one mild on tap at the first NERAX session on Wednesday. It was an American version called Portsmouth American Mild Ale, which tasted more like a Bitter than a mild to me. I'll hold off on posting a review until I write up my NERAX post since I'm not sure that it's to style.

660. Midlands Mild "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton"

Beer Stats:
Brewery: John Harvard's Brew House
Alcohol: 3.20%
Serving: Tap
Style: English Dark Mild Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, dark, ruby-brown with a thin, beige head that fades to a shiny film, leaving patches of lace that cling to the side of the glass.

Smell (4.0): Very malty. Notes of caramel, toffee, dark fruit and burnt sugar. I may have detected an almost smoky aroma as well.

Taste (4.0): Very nice maltiness that's sweet, but never cloying. There are notes of caramel, dark fruit, a little bit of burnt sugar as well as a mild graininess. Mellow, but flavorful.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Light-bodied, low carbonation. Incredibly smooth.

Drinkability (5.0): Very flavorful, but nothing is overpowering. The low alcohol makes this ideal for a session.

Overall (4.15): The description on the menu is very accurate. There's not much else to add... I really enjoyed this beer.

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