Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wachusett California IPA

I'm sure not many of you have tried this because you can only get Wachuestt Brewing's new IPA in their mixed twelve packs. It's one of their new brews celebrating their 15th anniversary like the Hometown Haze.

You may be wondering how Wachuestt's California IPA is different form their regular one. The answer is it's an American style IPA, (a more passionate one). It pours with a medium head that quickly dissipates and you'll notice the head is fragrant hops. Taking a sip brings it up a notch because the hops on the palate has more of a bite instead of the floral version in the head. With the strong hops taste the body is crisp and you can feel it in the back of your throat as well. After swallowed and the zest resolves you’re left with a hint of the initial hops.
Wachusett’s new IPA is certainly better than their standard one and I can’t wait for them to put this in its own six pack. It’s a B (good) despite being a little simple because it’s easy to drink and enjoy unlike other intense American style IPAs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Clontarf Irish Whiskey Classic Blend

I'm obviously a fan of Irish whiskeys with my reviews giving Bushmills good grades. But when I ran out of stock I decided to try something different (and at a lower price point). The Clontarf was on sale so I brought it home and here's my review.

Compared to other liquors this has a rather simple and light nose. All I can detect is wheat, but it doesn't have the smell of burning alcohol. With my first sip I could tell this is a full bodied whiskey. The palate reminds me of many chardonnays actually with oak and vanilla, but the malty wheat is still present. Once swallowed it's quite smooth and you're left with the oak and wheat once again. The constant wheat isn't a bad aspect though. On ice the vanilla is brought out much more and the wheat is diluted.

It's rather simple but smooth and I enjoyed it so the Clontarf Irish Whiskey is a B (good). I recommend it to anyone trying to fill their cabinet with a decent Irish product at a good price.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shipyard XXXX IPA

I've reviewed another one of Pugsley's Signature Series from Shipyard before, the Imperial Porter. It was a very good porter (B), but the American IPA is a very competitive type. It seems every micro brewer has a version of it out. Lets see how Shipyard has done.

There wasn't much effort in opening this, it popped like a champagne bottle. Once it was open it poured a nicely retaining head that was more foamy than crisp like other IPAs and the hops were unavoidable. Besides floral hops citrus was found as well. It's taste was very different with strong hops as expected, but what was unexpected was grapefruit. I never would've thought of it but grapefruit complimented a strong IPA perfectly. A slight taste of yeast and malt was there and it ended with the dryness of hops. Somehow this beer has achieved what other brews have tried, "an intense IPA that isn't hard to put down".

A grapefruit IPA, I liked it. It did not take long for me to settle on grading this an A (excellent). Many would think "XXXX" in the title of an IPA would make it for those who dared to drink it. This is not a beer Shipyard tries to make as hoppy as possible. Watch out Dogfish.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sterling Vintner's Collection Riesling '07

Riesling wine seems to have a small space in stores and it's not a very common choice. It's a shame because it can be a nice change for those who are afraid of white wines that aren't chardonnays. So for those who want to explore, lets see if Sterling Vineyards is a good start to their expedition.

I think is a typical crispy, fruity riesling. It's fragrant with minerals, peach and a citrus acidic crisp. The minerals and peach return in the palate with honey and granny smith apples in the background. In addition to a light body this wine is dry as well, but not like sauvignon blanc. It's a crisp dry that seems to come through the apple and mineral notes. You don't have to worry about puckering while drinking this.

Dry wines can be an acquired taste but this is not. I give Sterling Vintner's Collection Riesling a B (good) because of its satisfying fruity taste, but I don't think it's anything special. For ten dollars it was a fair deal, but I bet there's better ones for this price.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sebago Lake Trout Stout

Sebago Brewing Company isn't just a fine brewer, but a great restaurant. They have restaurants in and around Portland, ME (my favorite item on the menu is the beer battered fish n' chips), and they're distributed through New England. So if you're passing through Portland or find this at your local beer supplier, pick it up. You won't regret it.

The midnight color and creamy head of this hints at the potent experience it gives you. It smells of toffee up front with coffee in the back and with enough movement, hops. Its thick, smooth and creamy body outdoes other stouts somehow, just more robust in a way. The palate tastes of roasted barley that mimics coffee and chocolate but there is hops as well to create an enjoyable equilibrium. This is a balanced stout.

Sebago's Lake Trout Stout is an A (excellent). There's no new approach or taste, just a well done brew.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peace Coffee Guatemalan Dark Roast

The name of this brand makes it obvious that it's a fair trade product and with a quick inspection of the label you find it's also organic, as most fair trade coffees are. This is all a great thing supporting the world market to have standards like those within America as well as keeping the unnatural pieces away. But you may have read before that I'm more concerned with how much I like it. So here are my thoughts on Peace Coffee's taste.

Wow, this may be my new coffee of choice. This coffee gives an inviting aura of dark chocolate with no bitter or sweet. There is also a smokiness with the chocolate but a "dark" nutty note also exists. The smoky chocolate returns in the taste but this time the bitterness of dark chocolate seems to have replaced coffees. Something else is there but it's hard to find any words that describe it. The best I could say is a "caramelized roast". Its aftertaste leaves you with the dark chocolate, but I want to say this is nothing like a flavored coffee.

I give Peace Coffee's Guatemalan Dark Roast an A (excellent) and will be a coffee I'll try to keep on hand (but I have 5 lbs of coffee already!) This is a great choice for those who want to ease into darker roasts because I found it easy to drink. There is little acidity.