Wednesday, January 27, 2010

St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

Alright, I'm starting to catch up on all these reviews from pre-Christmas... and once I catch up completely I'll have to break my diet every now and then to try some new beers!  I found a 6-pack of these (or maybe it was a 4-pack?) at the Bet-R store by the Perkins overpass.  There's a surprising beer selection there for such a small local store.

Next up is the St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale.  This one comes from McAuslan Brewing up in Quebec, Canada.  While a lot of Canadian beer is categorized as 'moose piss' I've found several really good beers from the French Canadian side of the country.  Unibroue is certainly the most popular, but they're not alone when it comes to great beer from north of the border.

Now on to the beer... you can see the pour, from an 11.2 oz. bottle in to an imperial pint glass.  The beer is a clear golden-orange color with a thin white head. Quick to dissipate, lots of bubbles, looks like a lot of carbonation.  Almost has more of a cider look to it than a beer, but I'm not all that prejudiced against ciders, so I'll reserve judgment for now.

The aroma is strong on the apricot, dominant even.  It's not bad, just nothing else there.  The taste is a little better balanced, but still dominated by the apricot flavors. There is a little malt up front, but it's quick to be overpowered by the fruit flavors.  Light body, lots of carbonation... it's not a bad fruit beer but it's nothing TOO special.  Solid and drinkable.  I'll definitely give McAuslan another try if I see their beers around town, but I don't think I'll go out of my way for more of this one.

Taste: B-
Value: C+

Monday, January 25, 2010

Samuel Smith's part 3 - Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

And now it's time for part 3 of the Samuel Smith's review.  If you checked out parts 1 and 2 recently, you'll know I'm a sucker for beer gift sets that include glassware.  Every year around Christmas I inevitably pick out a few for myself, Merry Christmas to me!  The final beer from this trio of products from England is probably their most popular and well known, the Oatmeal Stout.

I poured it from the 550 ml bottle into a Sam Smith imperial pint glass.  The beer is a dark chocolate color, creamy tan head, great retention. Looks awesome.

Smells of chocolate, a hint of oatmeal, a little sweet.  The taste is more of the same, chocolaty malt, a little bitter on the aftertaste, just a hint of oatmeal. I was expecting a little more oatmeal flavors and sweetness, but it's still a very good stout.

Medium bodied, superbly easy to drink. A top example of the style and an all-time classic beer.  In fact, this is the highest ranked oatmeal stout on BeerAdvocate, making it one of the few 'best of the style' that I've had the pleasure of trying and reviewing.  (Although I do have a few on deck for reviews soon to come...)  I highly recommend this one to anyone looking to get more into darker beers. 

Taste: A (I gave this the same rating as the Nut Brown Ale)
Value: B+

In other news, I'm making another trip with Jay and others to visit the Parish Brewery on Wednesday... apparently Andrew has some new beer for us to try and critique, so I'm looking forward to that visit and hope it's as good of a time as the first trip.

Oatmeal Stout on FoodistaOatmeal Stout

Friday, January 22, 2010

Samuel Smith's part 2 - Old Brewery Pale Ale

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

In part I of this threesome of Sam Smith beers, I reviewed the Nut Brown Ale, one of my all-time favorites.  I wasn't as familiar with this pale ale of theirs, but eager to give it a try.

I poured into the Samuel Smith imperial pint glass that came with the three beers. It's darker than I'd expect for a pale ale, golden brown color with a ridiculously creamy off-white head.  Certainly has a good look to it.

Not much aroma at all... just the slightest hint of some hops.  The taste is more malty up front, very light in body, more light malt flavors on the back end. Not picking up many hops on the tongue so I'm guessing that what I smelled was added late in the brewing process.

Very drinkable... just tasting it for reviewing I'm halfway done with the glass... goes quick!

Not the best Samuel Smith beer, but still pretty damn good.  Certainly a worthy part of the 3-pack, but I don't think I'd buy too many of these on its own.

Taste: B
Value: B

Friday, January 8, 2010

Samuel Smith's part 1 - Nut Brown Ale

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

So a few weeks back (obviously) I was doing some Christmas shopping at World Market and I happened to notice a Samuel Smith's beer pack.  It included three 16.9 oz. bottles, a Samuel Smith pint glass, and some coasters.  Now, I'm a sucker for any beer pack that includes custom glassware, and I know that Samuel Smith is a damn good brewery, so I had to put this in the basket as a Christmas gift to myself. 

A few days later I broke out the beer, starting with the Nut Brown Ale... the beer is a lighter brown color, creamy off-white head with great retention and lacing. Clear, so obviously filtered but a great looking beer nonetheless.

Smells of malts, caramel, definite nuttiness but it's hard to pick out the exact flavor. Still very good.  The taste follows up well on the smell... malt up front, a little bit of hops in there, the nutty flavors are more on the back end of each sip. Fairly light in body, really easy to drink, smooth going down and each sip leaves me waiting for the next one.  A fantastic English Brown Ale, in fact after checking out BeerAdvocate on this one it's rated as the best in the world of the style!

Check back soon for thoughts on the other two Samuel Smith beers in the pack, their Old Brewery Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout!

Taste: A
Value: B+

Brown Ale on Foodista

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: Stone IPA

File this one under:

This is a relatively new one to the Louisiana market... and I'm thrilled that Stone and their beers are here.  They have a reputation as one of the best West coast breweries, which are typically known for their hoppy IPAs and extreme variations.  I picked up a 6-pack of this one at the Bet-R store right by my place after trying one with Andrew, Jay and friends while checking out the beginnings of the Parish Brewery.  I didn't have a chance to really review it then so it needed a second try and it didn't disappoint one bit.

You can check out the appearance in the picture... hazy golden color, not too big of a head.  It smells strong of floral hops. I love that slightly sweet smell to the hops on the nose. Not much else though, as to be expected from the style.

The taste is what you'd expect based on the smell and the hype. Sweet hoppiness up front, lingering hoppy bitterness, well balanced between in each sip. Good carbonation and no bad aftertastes.  All in all a very well crafted IPA.  This is one of the best examples of the style to be found, so if you like the hops, or want to try something different and see if you like it, pick up some of these guys!

Taste: A-
Value: A

In other notes... I've been debating turning this blog into just beer reviews and beer thoughts.  I enjoy scotch, wine, bourbon and other liquors, but it might be best just to focus on beer.  Thoughts anyone?

India Pale Ale on Foodista