Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Has anyone noticed my geography with breweries? Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are my microbrewery states. Today I’m expanding my horizons to Vermont with Otter Creek’s flagship Copper Ale. Let’s see how the last state of New England compares to the rest:

Before tasting I’d swear this would be an IPA. It pours a crisp and hoppy head while showing a color only slightly darker than a real IPA. Taking a drink is when you’re brought to the malts and yeast though. Hops is still very noticeable in the way of a classic IPA, not the newer bluntly crisp ones. When buying don’t forget that malts are a big part of the palate.

This is a versatile beer with its use of malts and hops. I’m giving it a B (good) and think it would be a great alternative to the light summer ales. Don’t think that Vermont is inferior to other states though, I know Otter Creak has some excellent brews.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saranac Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is a largely unappreciated drink. Little does the general population know that this classic concoction is a key to many cocktails, settles your stomach and makes ginger ale taste weak. I’ve reviewed a few others before, but today Saranac’s drink is on the line. Before opening the bottle I must note the price of a six pack is the same as a four pack of other ginger beers, a better deal.

I have a theory on why Saranac can sell cheaper though; they aren’t as intense as others. I’m not saying this ginger beer should be labeled a ginger ale though, it’s just easier to drink. There’s still the tingle on your tongue and the ginger snap aftertaste. This difference in consistency can be seen as well, it’s not a little opaque like other ginger beers I’ve had.

Saranac’s Ginger Beer has proven to be the best choice for making concoctions, but I’m reviewing the product alone. I give it a good solid B (good) and I know others would prefer this one over others due to its ease. If you haven’t had ginger beer before, this is a good one to start with.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream

St Patrick’s day is coming up (also my birthday)! So I think it’s time I get on top of some Irish choices, don’t you? Many simply refer Irish cream to Bailey’s, but little do they know there are much cheaper alternatives that I find acceptable. If you have the budget to spend $25 on a bottle of the name brand, fine. If you’re like me and want to explore while saving some money, here’s Saint Brendan’s.

Like a glass of milk, there is no smell or aroma to Saint Brendan’s. So straight to the palate. I might prefer this over Bailey’s due to a composure with more distinctive elements that aren’t a prime flavor like Bailey’s caramel or mint. Caramel is a big part of the palate though, and it works great with the dairy cream that’s heavier than Bailey’s. It’s not as smooth however, but I don’t think it’s such a bad thing: The nip at the aftertaste almost works as a counterpart to the heavy cream, so you don’t feel like your throat has a layer of mucus.

So I approve and give it a B (good). I’ll make sure that some will be left for the 18th so I can put some in my coffee for a creamer. Here’s a good robust cocktail to enjoy the 17th with and keep you up for the night, Irish Coffee:
• 2 oz Irish Whiskey
• 2 oz Irish Cream
• Strong black coffee
• Sugar to taste
Layer the cream on top of the spiked coffee on the back of a spoon. To do it right you must keep the tip on the edge of the glass and top of the liquid. Don’t stir and sip it through the cream.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Maté Factor Green Tea Ginseng

The Maté Factor has created a product with three super-duper healthy factors; green tea, maté and ginseng. You’re not a health nut if you don’t see the benefits of this. I don’t drink this just for my health though, I enjoy it. So if you’re interested read on and find out why I do.

Green maté is the prime trait in the smell and taste, “planty-green”. The green tea comes out through the body and aftertaste though; it gives it a bolder body and a vegetable quality. I’m guessing that the tea used is a sencha due to those attributes. I’m not sure that ginseng has a taste, but I can feel the effect.

With only a taste perspective The Maté Factor’s Green Tea Ginseng is a B (good). I would like to note the convenience of it though: You don’t need to steep maté in hot water, you can steep it cold. When I lack time in the morning, I put two bags in a thermos with a touch of honey and I have a nice boost when I need it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gosling's Black Seal

It bothers me that the general population sticks to Bacardi and Captain Morgan for rum with so many more, and better, rums out there. Drinking only light and gold rum is a limit of cocktails as well, so I’ve included a cocktail recipe at the end of the review for those willing to explore the dark. Gosling’s has always been my favorite dark rum, so I’ll show you why.

Being nearly solid black in color, many would imagine a bold and hearty rum. It is, but don’t relate those attributes to harsh. Gosling’s has a heavy body and a rich taste of brown sugar and spice. After swallowing you’re left with an aftertaste of the spice and a warm element best described simply as the rum, but not a burn of alcohol.

I don’t believe Black Seal was intended to be drunk straight, even though I do sometimes, but I’d recommend it on the rocks or with ginger ale. In my book Gosling’s Black Seal is a solid A (excellent) due to its unparalleled boldly smooth taste. Because of this it can make cocktails that no other liquor can. Here’s a good one:

Dark Side Daiquiri
• 1 ½ oz Gosling’s Black Seal
• 1 ½ oz amaretto
• ½ oz simple syrup (or ¼ oz sugar and ¼ oz water)
• ¼ oz lemon juice
• ¼ oz lime juice

Monday, March 8, 2010

Warre’s Warrior

What an aggressive name. Due to stereotypes, I’d think a drink with a label of warrior would be a port beer, not a port wine. Checking out the Warre’s website the explanation lies in a story about one of the family members being a soldier. But enough of the history, I’m here for the taste.

And the taste is juicy. It has little nose but what’s there is dark grape, and it comes back strongly in the palate. It’s full bodied, even for a fortified wine, and there’s other deep red fruits in the taste like un-pitted cherries. With a few more sips the spicy overtones of black pepper and cinnamon come in. Warrior reminds you of all this with a long aftertaste.

I can see why Warre’s has labeled this Warrior, it’s robust and enduring like fighters. For those who avoid shiraz and cabernet wine, stay away. If you welcome heavy wines like me, it’s a B (good).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rock City Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Everyone who drinks beer knows of micro-breweries, but it’s a shame that many who drink coffee don’t know of micro-roasters. There’s far more coffee companies than Green Mountain, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts. One micro-roaster I’ve already proven superior to big ones is Peace Coffee, but today is Rock City’s test of quality with Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.

The cup from this bean is on the verge of being a dark roast in my opinion. It gives off an aroma of a bold product, but the taste is where it shines. There’s a slight smoky or earthy note that compliments the semi-dark aspect, but it breaks the heavy trend with an acidic characteristic. You get this in the aftertaste but it’s also in the palate at the back of the tongue. The acid isn’t a negative attribute though, it creates a balance.

I like it to the degree of an A (excellent). Rock City is another in the evidence of micro-roaster being the cream of the crop. So for those that are tired of the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, find a micro-roaster like Rock City.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Troegs Troegenator Doublebock

Troges Brewery must be proud of this one, they have it named after themselves and the face on the label sticks out with the constipated face. Is it going to give me that face or make me come back for more? Well I’m here to find out.

It has a thick head with some retention and amber in color. The nose shows hops most, but some malt is apparent. Once in the mouth it’s not as heavy as any other bock but crisp hops will tingle your tongue. Malt is detectable again and works well with the incomparable hops that can be best described as “rye”, but nothing like floral, citrus or super sharp. Easy to drink for a beer so strong with flavor.

I’m leaving it with a B (good). As a comparative way to describe it I’d say it’s a malty red ale mixed with an IPA. Approach it as this, not a bock if you’ve had one before.