Sunday, March 20, 2011

018. The Bad Elf ain't that Bad...

I don't really like strong hops... at least most of the time they just seem to add bitterness for the sake of being bitter. In other words, most brew masters -- when they venture into the realm of the heavy-hops brew -- tend to be heavy handed and indiscriminate about adding hops.  Which is probably why I've been putting off sampling Bad Elf Winter's Ale.

Ridgeway Brewing in Oxfordshire produces this seasonal ale, and it was a pleasant surprise. I fully expected the hops to dominate the ale and give me a serious case of "bitter beer face," but it didn't. It has an understated hoppy flavor and hoppier aroma. Considering what it says on the label, this was a VERY pleasant surprise:

"'Tis a heavy hand what adds the hop to this festive golden ale.Truth be told, there's near to three pounds of hops in every barrel of this treasured brew. Pull up a sturdy chair, let's fill up yer best flagonwith the season's finest natural ale, and I'll tell you a dark tale of elf and woe. 'Ere's to your elf!"

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Color: Cloudy copper
Aroma: Complex Hops with a faint hint of citrus
Taste: Lighter than expected, especially after smelling all the hops. The hopes seem to deliver a nice, layed flavor that is more sophisticated than I expected.
Head: Thin and just barely average
Lace: Thicker than expected, considering the weak head
Carbonation: Light: dissipated quickly
ABV: 6%
Despite the lightness of the color, this is a hearty brew that is probably best suited for winter.
I give this a 7.5 out of 10.

Other reviews worth a sip:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hangover Report: Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale

Just thought I'd post a quickie update on the 12th beer I reviewed: Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale.

I was at a party this week and (I will not lie), the hostess had stocked up on this beer. I know it's seasonal, but I've still seen it around here and there. So, we both were knocking them back like I did in my college days on a week night (that is to say, not quickly, but steadily all night) as we and our spouses played a friendly game of Power Grid (that's a super-fun German board game -- if you're not familiar with it, you really should look into it).

So, I was drinking moderately. I didn't get drunk, but I did get a healthy buzz (fret not, my wife drove us home). Maybe the buzz is the reason why I came in third out of four players (but since my hostess had been drinking more than I had, and she won, I kinda doubt it).

Anyway, I didn't pay as much attention to hydration as I should have. Oh, I drank some water near the end of the night, and more before bed, but not as much as I should have to compensate for the amount of beer I had drank.

I'm please to report that I had no hangover effects whatsoever the next morning.  I can't guarantee you'll have the same response, but I faced the morning after with no regrets. Except for a few bone-headed moves I'd made in Power Grid, that is...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

017. Samuel Adams NOBLE experiment

Wow. A month since my last post? I wouldn't blame you people if you thought I went on the wagon. Truth is, I've been sipping without writing. Also, I've been buying so many beers that my wife is thinking about calling those people who do the Hoarders TV show.

With that said, it's time for me to do some quick, short posts to see if I can catch up before June. Not likely, but you never know...

Samuel Adams Noble Pils is in my cup tonight (sorry, no photo of the cup, but here's a shot of the six pack).

This is a light beer with an acidic bite that's not too harsh and brings a bright, cheery note just in time for spring. It has a nice, fluffy white head and a very pale brown/golden body. The aroma is a mixture of hops and citrus, which is just what I want in a spring libation.

What's funny is that I had made all the above observations before reading the text at the top of the neck of the bottle:

"Samuel Adams Noble Pils is one of the only brews made with all 5 Noble hops from the world's oldest growing regions. Its bright flavor and lively, citrus hop character reminds us that the warm days of spring are just a few weeks away. Cheers!"

For once, it appears that I'm right on the money with my analysis.

Thoughts from the Bottom of the Glass:
Color: Golden brown
Aroma: Hops and citrus
Taste: Light, bright, a nice balance of hops, malt and a hint of citrus
Head: Thick & fluffy, very thick
Lace: Thick and stays (rinse your mug before leaving it overnight)
Carbonation: Strong/Medium
ABV: 4.9%
I give it a 7.5 out 10

This is a perfect beer for Spring. This is something I could definitely drink again.

By the way, thanks to Brew Beat for their observations (and the photo I lifted) on this beer. And, in case you'r wondering, I always write my own reviews before going out there to see what other people have to say about it. In this case, I didn't notice any of the "Syrupy sweet malt character in the background" that they did.