Friday, October 10, 2014

Sixpoint Sensi Harvest Ale





  
     Sixpoint Brewery; Brooklyn, New York.  When one thinks of a harvest ale usually intensely fresh hop flavors come to mind.  The freshness stems from the wet hopping these ales undergo.  This is simply using hops harvested right off the vines as soon after maturity as possible.  The hops undergo no processing whatsoever.  So time is of the essence with this practice.  They should also be consumed as soon as possible to ensure the best flavors and aromas.
     With that being said, let's see what Sixpoint has to offer to this category.  Sensi pours a light golden amber color with thick white head. Many of the bubbles were quite large.  After being in my glass for only a minute or two the head dissipated rather quickly.  Not much lacing on the glass afterwords.  Seems to have quite a bit of carbonation at the onset.  I noticed though that half way through my glass this one went almost flat for some reason.
     As far as the taste goes, this one is pretty much all hops as expected.   Nothing much on the malt end to speak of.  Even though this is the case it's not overly bitter at all.  Sensi is considered a pale ale, yet I have definitely had pale ales that are more bitter than this one.  So the usual citrusy and grassy floral notes are found here.  I also feel like it smelled fresher than it actually tasted.  The body was also very light.  This one could also be considered a session ale, as the ABV only clocks in at 4.7.
     I really don't have much more to say about this ale.  I kind of expected more out of Sensi considering how much I like other offerings from Sixpoint such as Resin and Bengali Tiger.  Both of which I would pick up any day over this one.  The one thing I can say is that it's very easy to drink.  To be honest, I feel like this could have been a lot better.  It feels like there's something missing.  It's not that it's undrinkable, there just should have been way more flavor for this style.  If you want a good example of a wet-hopped harvest ale, my choice would still have to be Northern Hemisphere Harvest by Sierra Nevada.  That is to me what a wet hopped ale should taste like.


American Harvest Pale Ale

Seasonal Availability

4.7% ABV 50 IBU

Style: 6/10

Personal Rating: 6.5/10      

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Old Forge Overbite IPA

          Old Forge Brewing Company; Danville, Pennsylvania.  The old saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" is very fitting for this very tasty India Pale Ale.  This is definitely not the most bitter IPA you will ever have as it is more of a malt forward offering.  This does not mean that there is no bitterness present because there is, it just isn't the most pronounced here.  What the label lacks as far as aesthetics go, the 16 ounces of this refreshingly tasty 7.5 ABV IPA make up for it. So once again, don't count this one out until you try it.  Seriously, what's there not to like about a 16 ounce can???

     Old Forge brewing company prides themselves as being true craftsmen in the art of brewing.  Their product is made in small batches in order to ensure freshness and quality that can only come from a hand-crafted brew.  They are also truly in-touch with the local community as their menu at their brew pub is all sourced from local farms and markets.  Even the woodwork, metal fixtures and custom tap handles are all produced by local artisans!

     So let's dive into this full pint of delicious ale!  Overbite IPA pours a nice dark gold/copper color and has nice thick off white head.  As the head recedes abundant lacing is left on the sides of the glass.  The aroma is only mildly hoppy as it is somewhat overwhelmed by the bready malts.  Pacific Northwest hops are used to provide a piney citrusy taste that almost holds up to the malts.  It can't be said that this is a perfectly balanced IPA but it is still a delicious one nonetheless.  The malts do somewhat take over even though the finish is slightly bitter as this one still clocks in at 75 IBU's.

     I would recommend this brew to both IPA drinkers and non-IPA drinkers as it has just enough bitterness present to satisfy most hop heads and is definitely malty enough as to not cause the "bitter beer face" on those who don't like bitter brews.  Overbite IPA is one of my "go to" IPA's when I'm not sure what I want to buy.

     India Pale Ale

     Year Round Availability 16 ounce 6 pack (cans only)

     7.5% ABV  75 IBU's

     Personal Rating: 9.6

     Style Rating: 9.0

     Price: $10.99 @ White Horse Wine & Spirits


   

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Magic Hat Brewing Company, Dream Machine Indian Pale Lager

From a brewery out of Burlington Vermont, Magic Hat has released a new year round  beer for the first time in 10 years entitled Dream Machine IPL. Combining the elements of an IPA and the yeasts and brewing techniques of a lager, Magic Hat has beautifully crafted this new creation that promises to satisfy the hop-head IPA drinkers out there and spark the curiosity of the smooth drinking, lager folks.

The Dream Machine pours with an amber color and a nice fluffy head also giving off a citrusy, piney aroma due to the dry-hopping method where Amarillo & Sterling hops were used. Without a doubt, the idea behind this off-shoot style brew is to combine two great beer experiences into one, and certainly Magic Hat has easily accomplished this. The concept of providing a unique drinking experience was their tactic and indeed.

Magic Hat delivers as promised. The Dream Machine is a beer that was specifically designed for my palate. Being a lager drinker for years and years, this IPL really provides the best of both worlds into one smooth drinking, mildly bitter beer. I find the idea behind the recipe of cross-pollinating an IPA with an amber lager as intriguing as the taste of the beer itself! On the front end, a crisp grapefruit, yet mild citrusy taste gives way to a smooth, lager finish on the back end with little to no bite. The Dream Machine is highly aromatic, but not quite as bitter as one might expect from the amount of hops used to produce it.

Magic Hat has hit this one out of the park with their Dream Machine IPL! If you’re an IPA lover, give it a whirl. It may not have the ultimate bitterly hop flavor you’d expect from a standard IPA, but it certainly meshes 2 very popular styles of beer into 1 that has, in my opinion, captured the best elements of both styles. If you’re a lager drinker much like myself, this would be a great beer to help crossover into the world of craft beer drinking. The Dream Machine IPL is a great session beer and an enjoyable change-up from the standard routine. Whether you’re and IPA advocate or a lager drinker, this beer appeals to either and will not disappoint. Cheers & enjoy!

India Pale Lager

ABV 5.7%

Availability Year Round: 6 packs, 12 packs, 22oz bottles, draft

Personal Rating: 9.1/10

Style Rating: 9.6/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at whitehorsewine.com


Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Verboten


Weyerbacher, the company that has brought us so many good beers including Merry Monks, Blithering Idiot, and their popular Imperial Pumpkin Ale have yet another one of their crafty brews in the archive known as Verboten, a Belgian-Style Pale Ale. Originally released under the name Alpha, it was later changed to Zoten (the Dutch word for fools) when it became a seasonal release, but it wasn’t until they received a cease & desist from a European brewery that they chose to rename this beer Verboten, which fittingly translates from the German language to ‘forbidden’. 

Founded in 1995 by Dan and Sue Weirback, Weyerbacher Brewing Company is located in downtown Easton, PA. After touring Long Trail’s brewery in Vermont back in 1993, Dan was inspired and decided to start his own craft beer company, and there his company was born in a livery stable in Pennsylvania.

Verboten is a Belgian-Style Pale Ale, medium-body, moderately hopped with a light, fluffy head. The combination of Pale, Carahell and Wheat malts in addition to a generous hopping of Cascade really  gives this Belgian-Style Pale Ale an interesting, distinctive character. Verboten has a crisp, refreshing  first sip followed by mild bitterness introduced by the abbey yeast strain. Mild carbonation and a slight, soured fruity taste individualizes this beer from the rest of the Weyerbacher family.

I found the balance of this beer to be almost close to perfect! Verboten hits the mark with all of the ingredients used in the formula, but what I appreciate the most is the simplicity of the product upon completion. Not one aspect was overbearing or overwhelming and they really took the time to create a European beer with an American twist yet still keeping their creation harmonious.

I gave this craft beer a higher rating than usual, but it is well deserved and rightfully earned. Verboten  is a great session beer and a perfect change-up from the IPA’s and summertime farmhouse beers. I highly recommend this beer to anyone that enjoys Belgian-Style Ales and is looking for something a little bit different from the norm. Weyerbacher has yet to disappoint me with anything they have released thus far. I have had many of their beers prior to trying Verboten, but I must say this one is in my top 3 from Weyerbacher. Well done guys! Cheers!

Belgian-Style Pale Ale

5.9% ABV

Package: 6 pack 12 oz. bottles

Personal Rating 9.2/10

Style Rating 8.8/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at whitehorsewine.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Great Ideas for Your Next Summer Barbecue

Summer at the Jersey Shore has officially arrived. The grills are hot and the waters cool. Here are some great ideas about what to drink and eat this Summer. Enjoy!

Big Bold Zinfandels made for BBQ
There is nothing quite like a big, bold Zinfandel (red of course) to go with your Summer BBQ. Juicy, jammy dry red wines like these go perfectly with pulled pork, spare ribs and burgers.

Try some of our staff favorites:

Monster Malbec, perfect with a big Steak
A big steak right off the grill and glass of Malbec is the perfect way to end a hot summer evening. The rich spicy, flavor of the Malbec paired up with the meatiness of the steak makes a perfect pairing.

Try some of our staff favorites:
Wonderful Whites Wines
The hot weather can make you sweat in no time, but a simple solution is a nice cold glass of white wine. There is nothing more delicious than a crisp, refreshing glass of white wine, but why stick to Pinot Grigio when there are so many different white grape varietals out there? Try some of our favorite white wines that are off the beaten path.

Try some of our staff favorites:

Craft Beers to Cool Off With
Stuck in front of the grill all day? Nothing beats a cold brewski to keep you cool. Don't pick up the same old boring mass produced beer, drink something unique and delicious. We are all big craft beer geeks here and we drink these all Summer long.
 
Try some of our staff favorites:
*Yards, Saison                          *Victory, Summer Love
5 Foods for a Fun-Lovin' Summer
1. The Market sandwiches:Swing by on your way to the beach and pick up a sandwich to go from the Market! Try the Prosciutto Mozzarella with homemade basil pesto and vine ripened tomato or the Fig and Brie with caramelized onions and arugula. The Market also has salads, fruit salads, and cold drinks available for take away.

2. Epic Pickles: Small batch company out of York, PA using all natural ingredients pickling kosher dills, carrots, string beans, asparagus, and okra! We love a handful of string beans in our Bloody Mary, New Orleans style.


3. Eat This Bacon Marmalade - Sweet, savory, and LOADED with bacon, this all natural marmalade from Pennsylvania can be used as a marinade or dressing for grilled chicken or meat and it's fantastic atop a grilled pork chop!

4. Bone Suckin BBQ Sauce - It wouldn't be summer without grilling and this BBQ sauce is legit! Get it in regular or thicker style.

5. Hanks Hot Sauce - Crank up the flavor on anything from eggs to steak with this local hot sauce from Sea Isle City!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Duclaw Brewery, Neon Gypsy IPA

DuClaw Brewing Company
Neon Gypsy IPA
www.duclaw.com
6.5% ABV
Package: 6pack 12 oz. bottles
Personal Rating 9.4/10
Style Rating 8.9/10

New for 2014, DuClaw has released yet another IPA to add to their already fantastic lineup entitled
Neon Gypsy! A citrusy blast of lemon and grapefruit with notes of pine hops blends very nicely with
their new creation and lends itself to fall in line with their IPA gallery, yet stand apart with its unique
attributes. This is a must have for summer time and has quickly become a best seller for DuClaw.
Dave Benfield, creator and owner of DuClaw, began brewing beer in college and soon after changed
his mind about following his major in school and pursued the world of brewing craft beer. DuClaw
was founded in 1996 outside of Baltimore, MD and within a few years time expanded to 4 locations
with state of the art brewing facilities taboot. With their catchy branding and marketing, they have
risen to the top and have become highly respected as a peer and competitor in the craft beer
community.

DuClaw has yet to let me down on any of their beers. Every brew in their catalog has a personality
of its own and characteristics that differentiate them. In the past, I have sampled multiple recipes
from one brewery and discovered only slight variances from beer to beer. However, DuClaw has
managed to really hit the mark in individualizing every beer they produce allowing them to cater to a
vast audience and truly stamp each beer its own distinctive role.

I am thoroughly impressed with the Neon Gypsy IPA. It’s a citrus bomb of grapefruit on the front
end blended carefully with piney hops and a well-rounded, smooth finish. Copper gold in color, the
Neon Gypsy pours with a nice foamy, white head followed by the perfect amount of carbonation. It
commands the rules of an IPA with its bitterness and also adds just a touch of sour providing an
atypical mixture that is quite enjoyable. I highly recommend this new creation from DuClaw. Some
have argued this is not a session IPA due to its 6.5% ABV, but I strongly disagree. For me, this is
exactly what I want in a session IPA and the alcohol content does not intimidate nor deter me in any
way. The Neon Gypsy is a very well balanced, refreshing, zesty beer, and lives up to the respected
reputation from DuClaw. Cheers and enjoy!

Wanna try it now? Order it online at whitehorsewine.com

Oskar Blues, Ten Fidy Imperial Stout


Oskar Blues Brewery
Ten Fidy
10.5% ABV
Imperial Stout
4 pack 12 oz. cans
Personal Rating: 9.3/10
Style Rating: 9.7/10
Availability: Seasonal

The guys that brought you the famous Dale’s Pale Ale, Old Chub, and Yella Pils also have devised this delicious, complex imperial stout entitled Ten Fidy.  This is an absolute must have for your craft beer collection and puts many other stouts I have had in the past to shame.  

Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout, it was inspired by the recipe used by brewers back in the late 1700’s.  Its history traces back to London, England and was created as a strong, dark beer used for export to the Russia Czars.  Among its other notable characteristics, its classification is mostly due to the high alcohol content.  Packed with enormous amounts of chocolate and roasted malts, the Ten Fidy boasts a bold malt character, high ABV rating, and almost a fruity or cherry finish on the tail end.  

Oskar Blues Brewery is a Colorado based operation that started roughly 10 years ago and has recently expanded their company into North Carolina allowing for 2 locations in which to produce high quality craft beer and also meet the demand of the public.  Owner/founder Dale Katechis runs an organic farm on premises where he harvests his own hop farm annually for use in his diverse collection.  The popularly known Dale’s Pale Ale is their staple beer and certainly has made quite an impact on the general public and craft beer consumers.  The Ten Fidy is only a seasonal beer from their repertoire (as stouts are mostly a fall/winter beer) but if you can find it out of season, it is absolutely worth a spin on the palate and promises not to disappoint.  

I did not find this pours with a big, thick, creamy head like one would expect from a stout even when aggressively poured, but its low level of carbonation is most likely the correlation between the two.  Either way, it did not affect the drinkability or overall presentation of this beer.  I am very fond of their commitment to canning over bottling.  I think their choice to stick to cans and shy away from flashy labeling on bottles allows the beer and recipe to speak for itself.  Though sold in 4 packs of 12 ounce cans, I would not suggest finishing them in one sitting.  I put the Ten Fidy in my personal category of dessert beers; to be enjoyed slowly after a meal.  

Be sure to try the Ten Fidy for all you stout lovers out there!  I thoroughly enjoyed the roasted malts and complexity of chocolate and cherries.  Cheers!