Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey

As Jason mentioned in his Harpoon IPA post, IPA's have recently become one his favorite styles of beer. This past weekend he brought over a 6-pack of Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey, I must say, I fully support his new-found affinity for IPA's.

400 Pound Monkey pours a rich, golden color with about a fingers-worth of a white head. The retention and lacing were not spectacular, but not lacking, either. When you take in the aroma, there is no mistaking that this is an IPA, but there is a uniqueness to it. The hops are certainly there, but I noticed that the citrus note that is generally present in an IPA was very faint with this beer.

There is certainly no lack of hops bitterness in the taste, however, much like the aroma, the citrus notes I usually expect in an IPA were lacking. There is a noticeably malty flavor that is a bit grainy, earthy perhaps. Finally, it finishes with a bit of dryness, leaving behind the grainy malt flavor. This beer has a medium-to-thin mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

I wasn't totally blown away by this beer, but I definitely enjoyed it and I will certainly drink it again. Everything about it screams IPA, yet it's able to deliver an element of uniqueness that held my attention and kept me intrigued. 400 Pound Monkey is definitely worth a try if you haven't already.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Harpoon I.P.A.

I recently went to the store in search of a specific beer and was dissapointed to find they were out. However, I saw a Harpoon Winter Seasonal 12-pack and decided to give it a try instead. I've had several Harpoon brews and enjoyed them so I was confident my money would be well spent. So far, I'm satisfied.

This IPA pours with a brilliant copper color. Very little head tops the beer, and there's an equally small ammount of lacing on the glass whilst drinking. There is a noticeable floral, almost fruity aroma. There is also a definite presence of hops in the aroma, as there should be in an IPA, but it's not overwhelming. Harpoon's IPA has nice citrus flavor, but it's not as hoppy as some other IPA's I've had. It's a very well balanced, medium-bodied beer.

Harpoon certainly has my approval with this IPA. Beers like this are the reason the IPA is turning into my favorite style of beer.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Amber Ale

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of my grandfather's telling of his heroic battles during the War of 1812. To you, a rational adult (I presume) this sounds ridiculous. But, as as a six year-old child, I was neither aware of fact that there was such a thing as a "War of 1812", nor the fact that my grandfather was not that old. So, of course, I believed every word he said until, long after his passing, I realized that it had all be an elaborate hoax. Imagine my astonishment! Regardless, that is memory I will hold forever, no matter how silly.

Therefore, when I spotted Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Amber Ale at a local grocery store while on a recent trip to Rochester, New York, I had to have it (if for no other reason than sentimental value). I had never heard of Sackets Harbor Brewing Co., but I'm willing to give just about anything a try, so I picked up a six-pack. My enjoyment of this beer, though, extended beyond my mere discovery of it; it's a pretty decent beer.

I don't know that I would necessarily call this an Amber Ale, because the color is more golden than amber (my photo editing above may be a bit deceiving), but I realize I'm splitting hairs here. When I poured it into the glass, I got a small amount of off-white head that disappeared almost immediately and left no lacing on the glass. There is not a lot going on aroma-wise; malty with, perhaps, a hint of nut and very little hops. While this isn't the best tasting beer I've ever had, I do enjoy it a lot. It is sweet upfront with a slight fruity taste. I got a hint of toffee and caramel as well, but almost no hops. It has a fair amount of carbonation (despite the lack of head) and is a little on the light side in terms of mouthfeel. What this beer is truly lacking is a nice hoppy kick on the finish.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, and if I could get it locally I'd be inclined to buy it again. It's a very easy beer to drink, and it seems like a good one to keep on hand if you want something you can drink 2-3 of in an evening. While I'm not in any rush to drive another 500 miles just to get some more, I'm sure I'll get another 6-pack on my next trip to Rochester. And, while drinking my next one, I'll ponder what it must have been like for Grandpa in the War of 1812.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sam Adams Black & Brew Coffee Stout

With many of the Winter seasonal beers moving out of stores to make way for Spring offerings, this post is a little late to the party. However, this is quality beer that deserves mention. Sam Adams offered it's new Black & Brew Coffee Stout in the Winter seasonal 12-pack this year (and by this year, of course I actually mean 2011). The beer pours beautifully dark, almost black with an off white head. I had very minimal, albeit lasting, head, but I'll attribute that to a bad pour. The head, however, leaves little to no lacing, which is somewhat disappointing given the otherwise awesome appearance of this brew.

You can tell right away what you are getting yourself into with Black & Brew as the coffee aroma is very apparent. There is also a notable aroma of roasted malts and even a hint of chocolate. The first thing you will notice in the taste is, not surprisingly, coffee. It is not an overwhelming coffee flavor, but Sam Adams leaves not doubt that you are drinking a coffee stout. The taste finishes with a dry, dark chocolate bitterness and, perhaps, a touch of caramel malts. It has a very creamy feel and it is not as heavy as I would have expected given it's extremely dark color.

Like other dark beers, I find that Black & Brew Coffee Stout is better served a little closer to room temperature rather than right out of the fridge as the flavors really start to come to life. I like to drink dark beers, especially beers that use a lot of chocolate malt, with some sort of sweet treat. I enjoyed my Black & Brew Coffee Stout with a fresh-out-of-oven brownie, and it was a heavenly combination. Hopefully, Sam Adams will bring back Black & Brew in their winter seasonal packs next year because this is definitely worth another drink!

It's Been A While!

It has, indeed, been a while since I have written a new post and it feels good to get back at it. I will be making a better effort to write post on a more regular basis rather than let the blog go by the way side. Over the last couple days I have made a few change to Rough Draught, which you may have already noticed.

  • I have changed the look and feel of the blog. I updated the layout a bit and added a new background.
  • The Twitter page as also been updated with a new profile picture (above) and a new background to match the blog page, which you can check out here.
  • I have removed the "How We Rate Beer" page from the menu bar above. I decided that I didn't want to be so rigid when evaluating a beer. I felt that concentrating on a numerical value took something away from my ability to simply drink and enjoy (or not enjoy) the beer. Therefore, I'll go with much simpler good/not good method of rating beers.
  • I also plan to set up Facebook and Google+ pages so you'll be able to follow Rough Draught no matter what platform you prefer.
I hope you'll enjoy the new Rough Draught as much as I will. Also, if you have favorite beer that you think I should try, or you just want to know my take on it, let me know about it with the "Suggest A Beer" page above. Thanks for following and Happy Drinking!