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Archive for October, 2009

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Since today is Halloween, I think it is only right to start the day with one of my favorite seasonal beers, the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.

I have always enjoyed the fall. There is Halloween, my birthday, the changing leaves, the crisp and cool air, and last, but certainly not least, the seasonal beers!

Let me start off by saying this, I love all things pumpkin, but have never been a huge fan of pumpkin flavored beer, until now. This may have been because I was over exposed to seasonal beers like Blue Moon, that never really hit the spot. The day I tried the Punkin Ale by Dogfish Head, was the day my impressions of beer and pumpkin combinations changed forever.

The Punkin Ale has the classic Dogfish Head label. There is the picture of a shark at the top and text describing the beer and its ingredients.

It is a full-bodied, 7% brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The beer pours out with very little head. It is light amber and copper in color and has a crisp, light hearted aroma of pumpkin and spices. I knew after the first smell that this beer was going to be delicious, and I was right.

More often than not, in my opinion, pumpkin beers are completely overpowered by pumpkin flavoring. Dogfish Head does a great job of combining a brown ale with the natural flavors of pumpkin and spices that compliment, not dominate, the taste of the ale. If you like seasonal beers, and want to try a real pumpkin ale, look no further.

The Dogfish Head Punkin Ale gets it right. A very well balanced brown ale that is good on all levels.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Brewery website: http://www.dogfish.com/

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Prior 8 by St. Bernardus

Prior 8 by St. Bernardus

The Prior 8 is a Belgian Abbey Ale brewed by St. Bernardus. Their Abt 12 is one of my all time favorites, and I’ve been looking forward to trying the Prior 8 for quite some time.

I love the label of this beer, an orange background with a large picture of a jolly old monk holding a glass of beer.

The Prior 8 is a thick, dark beer, that is somewhere between brown and amber in color. It pours with a large, thick, creamy head that seems to never dissipate. It is highly carbonated and 8% alc/vol.

For a highly carbonated, high alcohol per volume beer, this one goes down smooth. The Prior 8 is a complex beer loaded with malty, nutty and fruit flavors. The varieties of flavors perfectly complement one another and leave a very distinct aftertaste. About half way through the bottle, I realized that I was grinning from ear to ear, just like the jolly monk on the label.

Everything this brewery creates is amazing, and the Prior 8 does not stray from tradition. The Prior 8 was an absolute joy from the first sip to the last. Drink this beer and I guarantee you too will be smiling like the jolly old monk.

Brewery website: http://www.sintbernardus.be/

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FedEx Field

FedEx Field - Washington, DC

I am a huge football fan (or should I say Steelers fan?), and this week I had the opportunity to check out the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles Monday night game in DC. I have been living in DC for a couple of years and have been to FedEx Field several times.

FedEx field is a monster stadium that seats 90,000+ fans, second only to the new Cowboy’s stadium that opened this year. The lot scene is always a good time. Considering how poor the team is this year, I was actually looking forward to the pregame party in the parking lot more than the game itself.

I went with my longtime buddy, and fellow beer lover, Ian. We decided to go with Newcastle, Stella, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA to quench our pregame thirst.

Well, the lot party definitely did not disappoint. The smell of grilled meat filled the cool fall air. The atmosphere leading up to the game was great. It was Monday Night Football between two division rivals and you could feel, hear, and see the excitement in the crowd.

Sitting in the club section, we had a couple of drink options near by as well as a great overall view of the field. Beer at any sporting event is overpriced, and FedEx Field is no exception, with an average price of $9. I decided to go with the Gordon Biersch Pilsner and Heineken for most of the evening. The beer was cold and decent tasting, although it was no Dogfish Head.

The Eagles took a quick 14 –  0 lead in the first quarter and all the excitement around us quickly turned to disappointment. It’s a sad situation in DC, a city that has passionate and knowledgeable fans who unfortunately route for a team whose billionaire owner doesn’t have a clue. By the 4th quarter, it seemed like half of the fans had either left or gone out to the common areas to drink away their sorrows.

There was an after party on our level with live music, Guinness, and more Heineken. I have been to more lively parties and I’m assuming that losing their 5th game out of 7 had something to do with the subdued atmosphere.

The passionate fans and great pregame parking lot scene made up for the disappointing football that was played that night. Live sporting events, good beer, and great friends, always make for a great time, and Monday night was no exception.

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Java Head by Troegs Brewery

Java Head by Troegs Brewery

The Java Head is the creation of Troegs Brewery, a group of eclectic brew masters from my home state of Pennsylvania. This savory brew is based off their traditional oatmeal stout recipe, but is also brewed with coffee and espresso beans.

The Java Head is only available in 22 oz. bottles. The label has an intricate design of coffee pots, pint glasses, and steam that form a skull and crossbones.

The Java Head pours out a smooth dark brown, almost black in color, with a minimal brown head. You can smell subtle hints of coffee, chocolate, with nutty undertones.

At first, I was not overly impressed with the taste. I think I was expecting a more robust coffee flavor. After spending a few more minutes with this black beauty, I really began to see this brew for what it is, a stout, and a pretty good one at that. The coffee and chocolate flavors are well balanced and not overpowering.

I found it to have a pleasant aftertaste, for having 7.5% alc/vol. Brewers often try to do too much with added ingredients and flavors. I am glad to say that Troegs did not wander down this unfortunate path.

If you are a coffee fanatic looking for an alcoholic coffee drink, you may want to look elsewhere. If you love a good oatmeal stout and want to try something different, try the Java Head. Troegs managed to put an interesting and
pleasant twist on the traditional stout.

Brewery website: http://www.troegs.com/

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Oerbier by De Dolle Brouwers

Oerbier by De Dolle Brouwers

For my very first blog post, I naturally chose to review the Oerbier by De Dolle Brouwers from Belgium. I have had the Boskeun from the same brewery and absolutely loved it, so I had very high expectations for their Oerbier.

The bold red label is unique, yet simple. There is a rather portly yellow “fellow” holding a beer in his left hand, and a brewer’s fork in his right.

At 9% alc./vol., the Oerbier is one strong and delicious beer. It has a brown color with a hint of amber. You can smell subtle scents of fruit, citrus, and a slightly nutty aroma. The flavor hits you like a speeding locomotive. There is definitely a bite to this beer, a bit tart, yet delicious. This is a beer that gets better with every sip. For having a tart, citrusy taste, it is an incredibly smooth beer. The explosion of taste makes you forget the fact that you are drinking a beer that is 9% alcohol per volume.

I was expecting perfection and I was not disappointed. In this world there things that are just right. This is one of them. If you love strong and flavorful beer, crack yourself an Oerbier, and enjoy.

Brewery website: http://www.dedollebrouwers.be/

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