Welcome to Tap Talk, the beer review blog from White Horse Wine & Spirits in Absecon, NJ. Here you will find reviews on various beers that we sell in the store. We hope our reviews will help to educate you, and more importantly, aid you in selecting a great tasting beer. The world of craft beer is immense; there are over 100 different styles of beer in the world. Knowing what flavors to expect before purchasing can help you quickly discover your favorite style.
We will first rate the beers on our personal taste, 1-10, 10 being the highest. Then we will give another rating out of 10, based on the style. This will help you to see through any bias towards certain styles (....we love HOPS!!!).
Saturday, March 31, 2012
For all intensive purposes, I consider this beer an Imperial Stout more than anything else… maybe a strong ale. But let's keep things simple, it's a stout!
Poured into a pint glass, Old Viscosity has a thick opaque black color with a huge four inches of caramel colored head. This stuff looks super thick, beads of beer are sliding through the foam on the sides of my glass. After the head recedes some, there is a lot of sticky lacing left.
The aroma is chock full of sweet boozy alcohol, dark fruit, and a nice whiff of bourbon. Dark chocolate, vanilla, leather, and hints of coffee also make their presence known.
The taste is boozy alcohol up front, sweet figs and plums, followed by a smoothing oak character (leather, cocoa, vanilla, charred wood). The finish has a noticeable hop bite with a roasted coffee flavor that lingers for quite a bit.
My god this is an insanely smooth beer. Sweet and boozy, full bodied and syrupy with a somewhat bitter finish. Port is really proving their worth as the new hot beer in town. They make great IPA's, as a San Diego brewer should, but Old Viscosity shows they aren't a one trick pony. My fridge is full of stouts right now, and this one blows them all away.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Poured into a pint glass, the head stacks up very high, probably 3-4 inches of big fluffy off-white head. This ale has a moderately hazy orange/amber hue with tons of thick soapy lacing after the head recedes. This beer looks awesome.
The aroma is a nice blend of sweetness and bitterness. Citrus fruit is very noticeable, the likes of tangerines and grapefruit, as well as apricots and mangos. Sweet malt is backed with a definite hint of maple; not overpowering sweetness in any way, just that unrefined natural sugar aroma. A hefty swirl releases a bit more of a floral Cascade hop aroma.
The taste starts off with a fairly strong citrus hop punch. It's a bit spicy and floral, backed with the classic grapefruit flavor we all crave. Hints of pine resin fade in through the back end, while a deliciously smooth malt also creeps into the finish. The earthy flavors from the maple syrup smooth out the bitter finish of this beer perfectly. It's like the beer starts as 60 Minute, then finishes as 90 Minute.
One of the best features of 75 Minute IPA is the mouthfeel; it is out of this world. Light-medium in body with bright biting carbonation that builds into a velvety froth that goes down incredibly smooth.
Now I'll be honest here, I've never been a fan of 90 Minute IPA. It just seemed like a malt bomb, which isn't a bad thing, but I wanted more hops from it, since it's an IPA and all…. With that in mind, I almost didn't buy 75 Minute IPA when I heard it was a blend of 60 and 90, but man am I happy I did. This beer is the best of both worlds. It's super hoppy up front, but it maintains a great malt body, and the maple syrup addition is genius.
Better get this one while it lasts, we only have a couple cases!
Personal 9/10 for the style 9/10
Poured into a Stella chalice, Saison de Lente has a mostly clear golden-amber color with a fluffy 3 finger head. The foamy head falls to about a cm where it seems to have settled, while leaving plenty of sticky lacing along the way.
After a good swirl, the aroma gives off lots of grassy and lemony hops. Hints of peppery spice, powdery soft yeast, flowers, and a very slight hint of tart barnyard funk round out the nose.
The flavor starts off spicy and hoppy: citrusy, grassy… all in all, very lemony hop flavor. The middle introduces a bit of grainy and bready malt to the flavor, but still kept quite light and crisp. The finish is where Saison de Lente really shines. Mildly tart Brett yeast flavors become noticeable, while mixing perfectly with the hops, as well as more standard belgian-style yeast flavors. Although not bone dry, the finish is definitely on the dry side, think belgian pale ale, but a bit lighter.
Saison de Lente is only the second saison I've ever had, the other being Saison Rue, also from the Bruery. And if I'm being honest, I'm setting the bar for saisons way too high. The style always seemed a bit boring and high priced to me, since it's more of a lighter spring/summer style. But Saison de Lente does not disappoint! There is plenty of hop flavor, while maintaining light/crisp drinkability, plus the Brett yeast that adds an extra dimension of funkiness that we all love. At least I know I do. Mix things up, give this one a try.
Personal 7/10 for the style 8.5/10
Saturday, March 10, 2012
This next beer up for review is the Sculpin India Pale Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company, based out of San Diego, CA. While I don't know much about Ballast Point Brewing, I have heard plenty of hype about how "world-class" this IPA is. It certainly seems that San Diego is quite a hotbed of IPA brewing super powers though.
Poured into a chalice glass, Sculpin has a translucent pale golden color. The foamy white head piles up nicely at first, but recedes quickly to a moderately thick ring around the glass with some surface foam. While there is some lacing, it's definitely not the full on spider web effect that Stone IPA has.
After a good swirl, the aroma is all hop, not surprising since the beer is so pale. Fruity apricots, citrus, mango, grapefruit, as well as some bittering pine resin, pack a serious punch of hop aroma that is mouthwatering. This is seriously one of those beers that smells so good you wish you could have it as a candle or air freshener.
At first sip, Sculpin actually has a bigger malt presence than I anticipated. While not exactly "malty," there is definitely some sweet malt upfront to lay a bit of a foundation before the onslaught of hop deliciousness. The hop flavor starts out very juicy and sweet with lots of mango, apricot, pineapple, and grapefruit. Bitter and crisp grassy and pine hop finishes it out with a slightly dry finish. Even with all that bold flavor, Sculpin is remarkably light in body, extremely crisp and refreshing. Yes, many of us like our IPA's backed by a serious malt bill, but this one is truly special for packing such a punch, while maintaining the easy drinking mouthfeel of a pilsner. Not an easy feat!
It must be said that at my first sip, I thought this beer was a little watery and not all that special, but about 3 sips in, I realized how wrong I was. Not only is Sculpin IPA worthy of it's position at the top, but it's also just a regular IPA, not a DIPA. And to judge it against other IPA's truly proves how awesome it is. A great showcase of hops.
Personal 9/10 - for the style 9.5/10