Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Beer Tasting At Slinky's - 3 New Beers

Hello everyone!  I'm still going strong on my goal to drink 365 new beers in 2011... a little ahead of pace actually, although there's a little lag time in what I've drank to what I've had the chance to write about!  This past Tuesday I headed to Slinky's for a beer tasting with Jay and a new friend Matt.  After a warm-up drink, something new called Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown, it was time for the tasting.  Slinky's does tastings every second Tuesday of the month, usually for a good price (this one was only $12) and you get to keep the glass!  I used to go a good bit but it had been a while before this one.

The tasting lineup featured 6 beers, 3 of which I had tried before and 3 new ones... that's good enough for me!  Up first was the Veldensteiner Pilsner... which may sound familiar because I've already tried 3 new beers this year from Veldensteiner.  Fortunately neither of them were the pilsner, so here goes.

We received our choice of Abita Select "stange" glasses or Stone pint glasses.  Since I have more pint glasses than I know what to do with I went to the Abita glass.  The "stange" is a traditional German style glass, tall and cylindrical and designed to concentrate a beer's aroma into a smaller opening rather than a glass that tapers out at the top.  

This beer is a pale yellow color, large frothy white head, but really an average looking beer.  The smell is a lot sweeter than one would expect for Pilsner, strong malts and not a lot of hops. Weird, but I like it.  The taste is more balanced, the pilsner hops are there in more force and it's not as unusually sweet.  Decent mouthfeel, crisp and easy to drink... an unusual but good pilsner.  A good start to our tasting for sure.

My Rating: B

After the Veldensteiner Pilsner we tried two of the previous Veldensteiner beers that I had tried before... the Lager and the Weissbier.  The general consensus was that the Weissbier was the winner of the Veldensteiner brews, and I agree, it's still their leading beer in my book.

After the three German beers came a pilsner from New Zealand, Monteith's Pilsner.  I've seen a few beers from Monteith's around town at beer stores but hadn't picked any up, so I was pretty happy to see it as part of this tasting. 

This pilsner pours an orange color, with a big head, not bad looking at all.  (The head was bigger before I took the picture!)  The nose is definitely earthy, a little citrus hops in there and an earthy malt presence.  The flavor is very bready, and sweet, with no boldness of hops at all. Pretty weak really, but crisp and easy to drink.

I'd expect a little more out of a truly good pilsner, so this one falls into the average range for me.  It really could be better, but I've had worse beers for sure.

My Rating: C+
BeerAdvocate: C+

Up next was a pair of beers from the Mendocino Brewing company in the states.  The first was the Red Tail Ale, which is a pretty good amber ale that I had tried previously.  Unfortunately it didn't count towards my resolution, but that's alright.  The second Mendocino beer on the list was the Blue Heron Pale Ale, which IS a new one for me! 

The Blue Heron Pale Ale pours a slightly hazy orange color with a thick creamy head... best looking beer of the tasting.  (Note to self... do a better job of taking pictures right after the pour, not after I take my notes!)  The aroma is flowery, with hints of honey and caramel and a good blend of hops. Not bad at all!  The flavor has more of a hop presence than the nose, and not as much balance and not as tasty as I was hoping based on the aroma.

The ale is medium bodied, decent mouthfeel but the lack of balance hurts.  It really doesn't have enough balance to really have me going back for more, but it's still an above average beer to me.

My Rating: B
BeerAdvocate: B-

And that concluded the beer tasting, bringing me 3 closer to my goal, and putting the 2011 total at 16.  Look for me at the next Slinky's beer tasting, should be the second Tuesday in February!


Pilsner on FoodistaPilsnerAmerican Pale Ale on FoodistaAmerican Pale Ale