Archive | October 2013

#7 Double Take Belgian White

Double Take Belgian White

 

#7 Double Take Belgian White

Type: Witbier
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5.4%
Sticker Price: $6.99/6-pack of bottles

I used to hate wheat beers of any type but I’ve learned to like them, as they tend to be my lovely wife Shilpi’s favorite style. We’ve tried a lot of Double Take’s wine (and been unimpressed) so I thought I’d give their brews a try. Inoffensive and cheap for a white, this would be good to bring to a party but I’m not keen to buy another six pack soon. I do have a bread recipe that uses beer. The other four bottles might find a better use there…

  • Rating (5=best): 2
  • Nose: Corriander, celery, aluminum, bit of citrus
  • Flavor: Sweet malty notes, corriander, orange peel bitterness, all muted and blended with a creamy carbonation
  • Finish: Bitter citrus rind (not peel), tiny bit of grapefruit on the end of a short finish
  • Notes: Pleasant but unremarkable. Overall impression is of a watered-down witbier, certainly not the “head snapper” it’s billed as.
  • Shilpi: Unenthusiastic: “It’s malty; darker tasting than a white beer.”
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#6 Coors Light

Coors Light

 

#6 Coors Light

Type: Pale Lager
Container: Bottle
ABV: 4.2%
Sticker Price: $5.99/6-pack of bottles

I don’t know anything about light beers. I never drink them and I frankly don’t understand the point of a light beer, besides allowing you to drink a lot to get drunk without feeling full. If that’s the goal (and it shouldn’t be), I wouldn’t drink beer. Anyway, I figured I would start with one of the biggest selling brands. Maybe I’m missing something here but I’m not looking forward to the next light beer in the aisle.

  • Rating (5=best): 1
  • Nose: Metal, tiny bit of grain.
  • Flavor: Club soda, very watery, bitter but not from the hops, more from the carbonation. Tiniest bit of corn sweetness.
  • Finish: Dry, stale beer taste. Like what a ballpark smells like after the game.
  • Notes: Very smooth and refreshing but not really a beer flavor. Sadly, Natty Ice had more flavor.
  • Shilpi: With a very confused expression: “I don’t not like it. It’s bright but slightly sour and sparkly on my tongue.”

#5 New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA

New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA

#5 New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA

Type: Imperial India Pale Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 8.5%
Sticker Price: $12.99/12-pack of assorted flavors

I find I like a lot of what New Belgium puts out. This style is new to me: an Imperial IPA. I looked it up on BrewWiki: “Imperial IPA is a very hoppy, high alcohol strong ale approaching barley wine in strength, but without the maltiness of barley wine.” This one surely meets that definition. More than just an attempt to put more alcohol in their beer, there’s a lot to like here.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Mango, peach, grass, floral and piney hops.
  • Flavor: Sweet malts, toasty flavors. Warm bitterness. Alcohol blends well.
  • Finish: Pleasant and smooth hop bitterness, wood, grapefruit. Lingers for a while.
  • Notes: Very smooth and pleasant IPA. While there are definitely plenty of hops, they are rounded out by a malty sweetness that makes this very enjoyable. I’d be happy if the alcohol volume was less just so I could drink more without feeling tipsy so quickly. Approach with caution!
  • Shilpi: She didn’t get to try this one. There were only two in the pack and I drank both of them.

#4 New Belgium Ranger IPA

New Belgium Ranger IPA

 

#4 New Belgium Ranger IPA

Type: India Pale Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%
Sticker Price: $12.99/12-pack of assorted flavors

I find I like a lot of what New Belgium puts out. If I were to get a big rubber stamp that said “IPA” and slapped on a beer, this one would be covered in ink. This is a very obvious, simple and strong expression of an IPA: not for the hop-haters. It has its place on a hot summer day but I wouldn’t drink it regularly.

  • Rating (5=best): 2.5
  • Nose: Big on hops. Floral, dandelions, little bit of evergreen.
  • Flavor: Soft but strong hoppy bitterness, grapefruit.
  • Finish: Bitter hops, not much else. Reminds me of biting down on a grapefruit seed. Plenty dry and long-lasting.
  • Notes: You have to be in the mood for this hop hurricane. Drink it too fast and not only will the high-alcohol content floor you but the bitterness might upset your stomach. BUT on a hot day at the beach or around the grill this would almost hit the spot.
  • Shilpi: With a face like a 2-year old tasting her first lemon: “I don’t like it. It’s very bitter and sour and all the things I hate about alcohol.”

#3 New Belgium Giddy Up!

giddyup1

#3 New Belgium Giddy Up!

Type: Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6%
Sticker Price: $12.99/12-pack of assorted flavors

I find I like a lot of what New Belgium puts out and I especially like darker beers in general. This one is for the coffee lovers. There’s so much coffee in here it’s almost not a beer! I love coffee and the lemon that shows up in the finish here keeps this one interesting. While I’d usually prefer a heavier body to the coffee-flavored beers, the lemon works well with the light body of this brew. Surprisingly crisp.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Coffee, cream, roasted, sweet malt
  • Flavor: Strong espresso, roasted grains, malt, smooth, creamy, butter, lemon cake. No trace of hops: all the bitterness comes from the coffee.
  • Finish: Gives way to light bitterness, hint of the lemon at the end. If you wait for it, almost a lemon cookie flavor.
  • Notes: Good if you like coffee. Wonderfully fresh and crisp for a coffee beer.
  • Shilpi: Surprised she liked it! (She doesn’t care for the darker beers and really doesn’t like coffee.) “I had two!”

#2 New Belgium 1554

new-belgium-1554

 

#2 New Belgium 1554

Type: Black Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5.6%
Sticker Price: $12.99/12-pack of assorted flavors

I find I like a lot of what New Belgium puts out and I especially like darker beers in general. This one has a lot of the malty, earthy characteristics I like in dark beers and scotch yet is surprisingly light and easy to drink. Maybe a little too light in the body but that keeps it refreshing and less demanding.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Yeasty dark bread, coriander, dried fruits
  • Flavor: Roasted grains, malt, smooth, surprisingly light
  • Finish: Dry, espresso, slightly bitter chocolate at the end, even a little smoky
  • Notes: Very drinkable, good introduction to darker beers. Not too heavy keeps it refreshing but still has those great dark flavors.
  • Shilpi: “It’s bitter, like coffee. I’m not a fan. Take it away!” (She doesn’t care for the darker beers.)

#1 Natural Ice

Natural Ice

#1 Natural Ice

Type: Lager
Container: Can
ABV: 5.9%
Sticker Price: $8.99/12-pack

I had to start somewhere. This beer is awful so I won’t spend too much time editorializing and will just give the notes.

  • Rating (5=best): 1
  • Nose: Almost non existent; subtle white wine, grainy, yeasty, corn
  • Flavor: Crisp, slight malt and corn flavors, very watery, no hops
  • Finish: Dry, vanishes without a trace
  • Notes: Thirst quenching but thoroughly uninteresting; waste of the money and calories
  • Shilpi: Strong negative reaction. I’ve never seen her react so negatively to anything, let alone a beer: “You could have bought any other beer and I would have been happy. That is the worst beer ever.”