Friday, February 25, 2011

This is Beer?

Leinenkugel Berry Weiss 
I picked up Leinenkugel Berry Weiss because of the "weiss" in the name; I tend to be big fan of wheat beers. However, a true wheat beer this is not.  What I actually got was a fruit beer which is closer to a malt beverage (i.e. Mike's, Smirnoff, etc.) than a beer.

Appearance= 3
This beer looks good but it doesn't look the way I would my beer look.  Not surprising, it has a reddish-brown color and has about one finger worth of light pink head.  The head disappears almost immediately and leaves no lacing on the glass.  There is a slight haze but not as much as I would have expected or liked.

Aroma= 2
Berry Weiss has an overwhelming berry aroma, but the berries don't smell authentic.  There are some traces of honey as well, and small amount sweet malt aroma but no hops.  This beer smells overly sweet, almost like candy.

Taste= 3
Just as Berry Weiss does not smell authentic, it does not taste authentic either.  Although the bottle says that the beer is brewed with berries and honey, it taste like artificial flavors were added later. The beer is good, but overly sweet with minimal malt flavor and no hops taste at all.  It's not bad, it's just not "beer."

I would give this beer another shot, but probably when I felt like drinking something other than beer.  Leinenkugel Berry Weiss is closer to a wine cooler than a beer.  In fact, I'm not sure if I just drank Leinenkugel or Bartles and James.

Verdict= Worth Another Drink (perhaps)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Warsteiner Dunkel

I'll keep this post rather short I don't have much to say about this beer.  Simply put, Warsteiner Dunkel is one the worst beers I've ever tasted.  That's not to say it's a bad beer; I'm sure it appeals to some.  I, however, found it to be rather awful.

Appearance= 4
I have to give credit where credit is due; Warsteiner Dunkel looks great.  It has a rich, dark brown color and at least three fingers of head.  The head doesn't last long, but does leave a decent amount of lacing on the glass.  This is where the fun stops, though, unfortunately.

Aroma= 1
This beer smells bad.  I really hope I just had a bad bottle, but I suspect that's not the case.  To me, this beer smells like what you smell on highway when a skunk has been ran over.  That may be a harsh critique, but accurate.

Taste= 1
I was really hoping Warsteiner Dunkel would taste better than it smells, but it doesn't.  It is thick and creamy, which isn't a bad thing, but it tastes just as skunky as it smells.  I even let it sit for 15-20 minutes because darker beers typically taste better at warmer temperatures, but this made only a marginal difference.  I couldn't finish it and I dumped more than half of it down the drain.  Therefore, I have to rate Warsteiner Dunkel as "undrinkable."

Verdict= Undrinkable

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Liquid Gold

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Dortmunder Gold

Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland OH doesn't call this beer Dortmunder Gold for no reason.  Not only is the name indicative of its amazing color, but it is also an allusion to its gold medal-winning potential.  Dortmunder Gold has won countless awards, and for good reason.  This is an outstanding American Lager that is incredibly drinkable.

Appearance= 5
This may be the most delicious-looking lager beer I've seen.  It has a very rich golden color (as the name suggests) that is free of any cloudiness.  When poured into the glass, it has about 2 fingers of head that dissipates after a few seconds, but leaves a thin layer over the top.  This beer leaves a surprising amount of lacing on the glass for a lager beer.

Aroma= 3
There is nothing too special to report about the aroma.  It basically smells like a typical lager; a slight malty sweetness, a bit of grainy, bread-like smell, and bit of hoppiness.  It smells good, but I'm not that impressed.

Taste= 4
This beer is good.... really good!  It has a very good balance of malts and hops.  It starts out with a malty sweetness and finishes with just the right amount of hops bitterness.  It has a medium level of carbonation, but it is very smooth and very drinkable.  The best quality of this beer, however, is its drinkability.  I could easily drink several of these without the taste getting old.

Dortmunder Gold is everything a great American Lager beer should be; complex taste but no overwhelming and very drinkable.  It is easy to see why Great Lakes Brewing has won so many awards for this beer; it's outstanding.  In fact, you should go drink one...right now!

Verdict= Victory

Friday, February 11, 2011

Franziskaner Weissbier

Franziskaner Weissbier

I've always been a fan of wheat beer, but after drinking a Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, a Belgium wheat beer, I think I have found my true beer-love.  Therefore, when I took a trip to Kenny Road Market in Columbus last weekend, I was on a mission to find other similar beers.  This Franziskaner caught my eye, and it most certainly did not disappoint!

Appearance= 5
Typical of Belgium wheat beers, this beer has a cloudy appearance with a rich orange color.  When poured, it has a lot of long-lasting, frothy head.  As you drink this beer, it leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma= 5
The aroma of Franziskaner Weissbier is very similar to Weihenstepahaner Hefe Weissbier, which is to say it smells great.  It has a strong citrus and malt smell with a hint of spice.  This is a very sweet-smelling beer, but there is a slightly detectable scent of hops.

Taste= 5
The similarities to Weihenstepahaner Hefe Weissbier don't stop at the appearance and aroma.  It also tastes very similar, and that is in no way a bad thing. It is extremely smooth and a bit creamy.  The citrus taste is strong with hints of malt and a bit of spice.  It finishes with a slight hops taste, but overall this is a relatively sweet beer.  It is very drinkable; I could have several of these before I would get bored.

Each time I drink one of these Belgium-style beers I like them even more, and this one is no exception.  Franziskaner Weissbier is instantly near the very top of my list of favorite beers.  I think this may be a must-buy for me on my next trip to Kenny Road Market.

Verdict= Flawless Victory

Related: Weihenstepahaner Hefe Weissbier

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take Your Favorite Beers Everywhere

Have you ever had a really great beer at a bar or at a friend’s house, then you try to get that beer later and can’t remember it’s name?  This is no longer a problem for Android phone users.  Remembeer is a free app for Android that allows users to record and track beers.  The main screen has inputs for the beer name, the container in which it was served (draught, bottle, can, or growler), when you drank it, and any notes you may want to take.  Once you enter a beer and save it, you can come back later and rate it. Remembeer also tracks your history and provides you with drinking stats such as number of beers drunk, number of different beers drunk, favorite beer, most drunk beer, and even favorite drinking hour.  It will also track the number of beers you have had in the past week, month, and year.  Another great feature of Remembeer is its ability to post your entries directly to Twitter so you can let your friends know what you’re currently drinking.  As an Android user, I’m sure to get plenty of use out of this really cool app.  You can download it for free from the Android Market or visit

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter

I don't have much of an introduction for this beer other than to say it is a beer that I have been wanting to try for a while.  Jason tried it while ago and said it was a winner and I usually trust his judgement.  I happened to find it at World Market and I picked one up.  It was a treat, indeed.

Appearance= 3
The Vanilla Porter pours rather thick with minimal head that disappears quickly.  It is incredibly dark, almost black, with brown highlights when held up to the light.  Although the head doesn't last long, there is good lacing on the glass as you drink.

Aroma= 3
This beer smells OK, but I would rate it higher in aroma if it actually smelled like vanilla.  It has a very malty smell with a bit of chocolate and molasses.  It smells like a typical dark, porter, and nothing about the smell really stands out to me.

Taste= 4
First thing I'll say about the Vanilla Porter is that I don't particularly think it tastes like vanilla at all.  Having said that, it's still delicious.  My recommendation, though, is not to drink it cold directly out of the fridge.  Mine was ice cold and the first few sips were awful.  However, as with most porters, it is best served closer to room temperature.  I let my glass sit on the table for 15 to 20 minutes before I finished.  At this point, each sip is better than the last.  As the temperature of the beer increases slightly, the flavors really begin to flourish.  It still doesn't taste vanilla, but it wins, nonetheless.  It's very malty with a mild hops taste that increases with the temperature of the beer.  It's not what I would call "full-bodied," but it is a bit creamy and very smooth.

While I think the beer is a bit of misnomer because I couldn't detect much of the vanilla taste, it is an excellent beer that gets better with each sip.  This is a beer that I would definitely buy again.

Verdict: Victory

Similar: Atwater Block Vanilla Java Porter

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Pyramid is no Wonder of the World

Pyramid Breweries
Apricot Ale

When I picked this beer up at the store I was excited to give a try and I had really high expectations.  The interesting combination of fruity apricot and wheat ale flavors peaked my interests.  Unfortunately, I may have set my expectations a bit too high because I was left a bit disappointed.

Appearance= 3
Pyramid Apricot Ale has a fantastic golden-orange color, but that’s pretty much where the excitement ends.  It is an unfiltered beer, but doesn’t have the same beautiful fogginess of, say, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier.  The relative transparent-ness of the beer is a clue to how tame it is.  There was also a noticeable lack of head when the beer was poured.

Aroma= 3
There is nothing special overly special about Apricot Ale’s aroma.  It smells good, but it is overly fruity and doesn’t particularly smell like beer.  If I were drinking a cocktail or fruit juice, it would get a 4 or a 5.

Taste= 3
This beer doesn’t really taste bad, but not at all what I expected.  The apricot flavor is very noticeable, if not a bit overbearing.  It’s a bit too fruity for beer, but again, if I were drinking a cocktail, it’d be great.  It is also overly sweet with almost no hops bitterness which gives it an almost juice-like taste.  Finally, there is about as much carbonation in this beer as a flat soda.

I can’t really complain about this beer other than to say it doesn’t really taste like beer.  I’m usually a big fan of wheat beers, but Apricot Ale left me a bit disappointed.  I did have very high expectations, and perhaps they were too high, but I didn’t really feel like I was drinking a real beer.  Having said all that, this is a very smooth, drinkable beer.  I would drink it again if it were available, but I don’t think I’d go out of way to get it.

Verdict= Worth Another Drink