40 Beers

40 Beers for 40 years

So I was supposed to be a New Year baby, but stayed in the womb longer than expected and came into this world a week later.  This great year of 2014 was a milestone mark for me, the big 40.  My best friend got me one of the best birthday gifts a beer lover could ever want, a basket of 40 beers to mark the 40 years.  Cleaver, I know…  Andie and I have been partners in crime for half of those years, man has she pulled me out of some gutters along the way….and she loves sharing those stories.

Several years ago a group of my friends started brewing beer as a hobby, once a week for several months.  We made some good and not so good beers during that time, but what I learned from the experience was a new appreciation for the awesomely bubbly ever so refreshing BEER!
So over the next few weeks I will get to taste 40 different flavors of beer and I thought I would share my tasting experience along the way with some notes from the crafters/brew masters of the beer if available.  Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a professional taster by any means, I just love beer!

New Castle Brown Ale
Tasting Date: May 5, 2014
Brewed by: Caledonian Brewery - United Kingdom
Style: English Brown Ale
Flavors: Caramel malts, Nuts
ABV: 4.7
Rating: :( /10
Color: Brown with red tints
I am not stranger to New Castle, definitely prefer this as a draft slightly chilled like a Guinness to bring out the caramel flavors. The pour creates a nice foamy head that sticks to the side of the glass as it dissipates. It has a slight skunk flavor, but not a skunk smell to ruin your overall experience. Unfortunately I read an article after drinking and writing this review that has changed my overall rating to a frowny face.  I have removed this beer from my list of beers to drink on occasion. Here's an article worth reading that provides some insight on what can be found in 8 beers you should stop drinking: http://www.organics.org/8-beers-that-you-should-stop-drinking-immediately/ 

Abita Jockamo IPA
Tasting date: April 20th, 2014
Brewed By: Abita Brewing Co. - Louisiana
Style: Indian Pale Ale
Flavors: Hopped and Dry Hopped, Crystal Malts, Citrus
IBU: 52
Color: Copper
Rating 8/10
The pour was beautiful, copper with a foamy head that slowly receded. The smell was that of a citrus garden. Taste was not a  hop it to your face like most IPA's, it was light and didn't seem bitter or hoppy at all to me. This was very smooth and drinkable. I enjoyed this beer to the very last drop. I hope to find this on draft somewhere soon...

Magic Hat #9
Tasting date: March 26th, 2014
Brewed By: Magic Hat Brewing Co – South Burlington, VT
Style: English Ale (not quite pale ale)
Flavors-n-hops: Pale, Crystal, Citrus
IBU: 20
ABV: 5.1%
Rating: 9/10
Color: Light Orange-Yellow
The pour was very clean with a light foamy head that dissipated quickly.  I found this beer very refreshing and similar to my palate. Crisp, but not heavy or bitter in any way.  A friend once compared my pale ale to this beer, but alas I didn’t believe him and never tasted this beer until now.  I was pleasantly surprised at how similar the taste was, albeit I believe my homebrew had a much hoppier aftertaste.  This libation went down dangerously smooth and easy.  It was slightly sweet with citrus undertones reminding me of pink grapefruit.  Me likely long time….

Sawtooth Ale
Tasting date: March 25th, 2014
Brewed By: Left Hand Brewing Co – Longment, Co
Style: Amercian Style ESB
Flavors-n-Hops: Pale 2-row, Crystal, Munich Wheat and Black Malt
IBU: 27
ABV: 5.30%
Color: Amber
Rating: 9.10
Cheers on the pour, it was such beautiful Amber color with a thick tan foam head that slowly faded, it was sexy! Yup, I would have probably dated it when I was a singleton. This was very easy to drink, smelled wonderful, crisp flavors like a Jonathan apple with a caramel creamy middle, and a perfectly sweet finish.  All I can say is why haven’t tried this beer before.

Tasting date: March 11, 2014
Brewed by: Brouwerij van Hoegaarden – Belgium (also by InBev)
Style: Witbier (Belgium white aka unfiltered wheat)
Flavors:  Wheat, orange, coriander, lemon
AVB: 4.9%
Color: Hazy Yellow
Rating: 8/10
My beer basket is on a role…  I have seen Hoegaarden on draft at many local bars, but have never tried it. This beer pours beautiful like a ray of sunshine; visually it is partly cloudy with a light straw yellow color and an airy foam head that sticks around for a while.  This is a light micro-brew full of flavor, but not body.  It was like a sunny spring day in a glass and was perfect for the 83° weather we had this day.  I am so glad I drank it when I did because the temps dropped 50° overnight and it snowed first thing in the morning.  Gotta love STL weather, we can have all 4 seasons in less than a week.  Back to the beer, I really enjoyed the hint of wheat and orange flavors, I like earthy beverages and this was very refreshing.  It made me miss summer more than ever.  

Tasting Date: March 10, 2014
Brewed By: Guinness & Co.  – Diageo, Ireland (Originally brewed St. Francis Abbey Brewery – Kilkenny)
Style: Irish Red Ale
Flavors: Ale Malt (biscuit and caramel, Aroma Hops (floral notes), Roasted coffee
AVB: 4.50%
Color: Copper Red
Rating: 8/10
 I have enjoyed Smithwick’s at Seamus McDaniel’s in Dog Town on many occations.  Smithwick’s (pronounced Smit-icks if you know better) has an amazing history around it.  This beer is not too hoppy with a strong bitter aftertaste, making it one of my favorites.  The flavor to me starts with a slight acidic barley tingle and finishes with some toffee/caramel tone that isn’t too sweet.  This beer doesn’t rate too well with other drinkers, but if you like a bitter beer, this is one worth a taste. When looking up the beer specs I found they introduced a Pale Ale in 2011, Yes Please!  That’s right up my alley.

Blue Paddle
Tasting Date: March 6, 2014
Brewed By: New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, Colorado
Style: Pilsner Lager
Flavors: Sweetish Malt, Slightly bitter, clean, floral
IBU: 33
AVB: 4.8 %
Color: Clear Gold
Rating 7/10
A huge fan of the Fat Tire, I have only tried the Pumpkick from New Belgium Brewing believe it or not.  Blue Paddle poured very clear and clean, it was beautiful.  It had a bitter slow start with a crisp and flavorful hop finish. It reminded more like a Kolsh than a Pilsner, especially with that overly clear and clean pour.  I enjoy every last sip of this beer, perfect beer to have after cutting the grass on a warm summer day or to drink while eating just about anything for dinner.

Avery Old Jubilation Ale
Tasting Date: February 25, 2014
Brewed by: Avery Brewing-  Boulder, Colorado
Style:  English Old Ale/Winter Ale
Flavor: 2-Row Barely, Special Roast, Black Chocolate, Victory
IBU: 45
AVB: 8.3 %
Color: Dark Amber/Brown
Rating: 4/10
This beer poured darker than any beer I have seen and it came with a lot of chunky sediment.  Sediment is that light brown sludgy layer at the bottom of some bottled beers, especial non filtered beer. The sludgy goo is actually dormant yeast and some assorted proteins and minerals.   I am not afraid of sediment; in fact I enjoy many beers that slide sediment into your glass as you pour and to me it hosts more flavor.  Because this beer was so dark, the sediment was almost white looking…like floating cottage cheese and it turned me off right away.  The favors were all over the map for me..  Burnt coffee, brown sugar, back to coffee, then caramel, I think I got some sort of a fruit or flower taste in there.  I read other reviews on this and many mention nutmeg, I did not get that flavor at all.  This beer would probably taste better slightly chilled or a room temperature draft like the ever so great Guinness Stout.  I would give this beer a second try, but until then I only give you a 4.  

Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
Tasting Date: February 20, 2014
Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery – Oregon
Style: Pale IPA
Flavor: Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carapils, Pilsner, Carastan
IBU: 60
AVB: 6.2%
Color: Dark Amber
Rating: 9/10
This beer was awesome! It was full, but not heavy. Tasty malt goodness with a hint of honey….not too sweet, perfectly carbonated with a great hop finish.  It smelled like a good microbrew should.  How come I have never tried this before? I don’t usually drink too many IPA because the hop flavors are instant when they hit your mouth, but this beer did not do that.  I was sad there was only 1 of these bad boys because I was ready for a second glass.  I have a new beer to add to my list of favorites.   I hope to find a place that has this bad boy on draft.  Yummmmm…..

Kona Big Wave Golden Ale
Tasting Date: February 13, 2014
Brewed By: Kona Brewing Co. – Hawaii
Style: Golden Ale
Flavors: Malts Pale (premium 2-row, caramel)
BUI: 21
ABV 4.4%
Color: Gold
Rating: 2/10
I just didn’t like it..  the 2 is for the beautiful and clear gold color.  I am not sure if I was just not in the mood for this style of beer, but after four drinks I dumped it.  Yeah…you read that right…  call it a “party foul”, “cardinal sin”, or send me to beer hell… just don’t make me drink this beer ever again.  It came off overly skunky.  I am not a fan of Heineken, but this beer was more skunky than that to me and what was odd to me is came from an amber bottle.  I would not recommend this beer to anyone, unless of course they like beers like Heineken.

Murphy’s Red Ale
Tasting date: January 29th, 2014
Brewed by:  Murphy Brewery Ireland Limited
Style:  Irish Red Ale
Flavor: Caramel maltiness, mild bitterness, with a crisp finish
Hops: N/A
Malts: Malted barley, chocolate malt
Color: Copper/Orange tint, very clear
ABV: 5.0%
My rating: 8/10
Tasting Notes: The aroma reminded me of why I love brewing.  My first sip came off bitter, but the second sip was refreshing and made me come back for more. This red is light in body and very clear with a creamy head pour.  I kind felt like I was drinking a freshly brewed iced tea on a hot summer day, which was a much needed visual after this crazy winter we are having.  This would be a staple in my imaginary beer fridge.

Avalanche Ale
Tasting date: January 27th, 2014
Brewed by: Breckenridge Brewery Fine Colorado Ales
Style: American Amber
Flavor: Caramel maltiness with a slight hop character.
Hops: Willametle, Chinhook, Palisade
Malts: Two row pale, caramel, carapits chocalate
Color: Amber (light and Clear)
BUI: 19
ABV: 4.4%
My rating: 7/10
Tasting notes: This amber did not disappoint me, as advertised on BB website it slides down easy. The flavors reminded me of my Amber Ale, which was my very first batch of home brew.  This beer went well with our dinner, which was Spinach Parmesan Ravioli, but I think with its smooth taste it would go with any meal because it is not a heavy beer. It is most definitely an anytime beer. I gave this beer a 7 out of 10 only because my favorite anytime beer is a Fat Tire, and that is a hard one for me to compete against.  I will be drinking this beer again!

1 comment:

  1. what a great idea. Hope you have a great time with all that beer. :)