Fruit Beers

[Beer Reviews] Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Overpacked Mixed 15 Pack

Back when I first got into craft beer and drove to an area with vastly different distribution than what I’m used to one of the first brewiest I latched on to that weren’t readily available to me was Southern Tier. Of course, my first introduction was the wildly popular Pumking, but I also really dug releases like Live, 2XIPA, and their oak aged Unearthly. To this day when I find myself face to face with some of my favorites and new releases I do not hesitate to bring some home with me. Most recently I stumbled across their “new to me” mixed 15-pack jam packed with all new beers or new recipients I hadn’t had the chance to try–with the exception of Tangier. So with all that new, how could I resist the urge to chat/write about them?

Instead of deep diving into each beer like I would normally do with a full on beer review, this will be a collection of quick observations based on my own notes as I worked my way through this pack. Before we even begin I’ll lay down an unnecessary spoiler alert that if you can get this, then get it. Each beer is well worth introducing to your taste buds regardless of the fact that they might not redefine the beer landscape. 

2xSmash – I’ve never been one interested in following much a unified strategy when I sit down to enjoy multiple different styles of beer in a sitting. So naturally the first out of the pack is the single malt, single hop Double IPA. Pouring deep gold with a fingers worth of head and settling beautifully in the glass. Lots of malt and grapefruit on the nose which transitions nicely into the beer’s actual flavor profile. The initial smack of grapefruit smooths out over the palate finishing with a mostly pleasant malty backbone. A very balanced first impression of the pack that–for my taste–allows the malt to take over more than I generally look for. Rating: B

German Pils – Anyone who visits regularly (which lets be honest, is wishful thinking) may have noticed a bit of a drought on the page in recent months. The reasons have been two-fold. One is more of a focus on personal life (which includes work and my beautiful 18-month old daughter). The second is a bit of fatigue–both in other commitments with my movie opinions and with my tastes in craft beer. Over that time I’ve rekindled a love of the delights within light lagers. ST’s German Pils is a delightful take on the style that pours transparently golden with a soapy head. Visually the carbonations bubbles satisfyingly slide up the glass giving it a refreshing appearance. Light aramatics include noble hops and biscuity malts. The flavor profile is more hop forward than your traditional German Pilsner, but remains crisp, crackers and crushable–reminiscent of another American take on the style, Pivo, from Firestone Walker. Rating: B+

Citra Hopped Live – Fresh ST Live was a euphoric experience way back when I first had it. It became harder and harder to locate bottles within anything resembling why would be considered fresh whenever I was looking to buy some. Much to my delight I came across this pack with their updated recipe and well within the fresh threshhold. More of the same in its appearance. Golden beer with a soapy head and crisp citrusy nose–pineapple coming through predominantly. Much of the same on taste. Light mouthfeel, pineapple and crisp citrus finish. Refreshing, but maybe not quite as memorable as it once was even with the addition of one of my favorite hops. Rating: B (Sorry guys/gals. Must have forgot to get a pic of this one–I’ll update if I find it)

Tangier – I finished off a six pack of this well over a year ago and remember being uninspired by the overall drinking experience–again, not quite as fresh as I would have liked. Opening this I wasn’t expecting a lot having already had some preconceptions. However, fresh it has much of the same running theme of the pack overall–crushable. This is a relatively straightforward IPA with lots of sweet orange aromatics and present with the flavor profile. Finishes slightly bitter with some rind notes on the back end. Rating: B

Nu Skool IPA – To round out the pack it seemed right to finish it off with one of their newest offerings. This beer has strikingly similar appearance to the rest and the aromatics as well as the flavor profile comes together like aF rankenstein monster of all the other beers combined. A grapefruit citrus cocktail with a hint of crackery malt to carry it through, but with a stereotypical bitterness that lingers. An interesting take on their style of IPA that’ll certainly have its place poolside, but nothing that’ll blow your socks off and is a statement point for what you’re in for with all the beers in the pack. Rating: B

Overall – All rock solid beers, but it’s gettin’ hot around here so gimme more of that pilsner!

There ya go. Some hot takes on the five tasty beers in Southern Tier’s Overpacked mixed 15 pack. What say your beer drinkers? Have you had a chance to try all these? If so why are your favorites? Lemme know!

Beer Review: Poolside Ale by Bell’s Brewing Company

bellspoolside_tgofI’m not always open to venturing outside of my comfort zone when it comes to beer styles I enjoy on a regular basis. In my efforts to change that fact I’ve discovered a few things about myself while also finding some beers that I had been missing out on. One of the things I found out about myself is that there are few beers as addicting or supremely as a well made Pilsner.

While that has absolutely nothing to do with the beer up for review, it’s at least worth noting at the top here leading in to the review (it is my prerogative after all until someone else starts calling the shots). A second thing I found out is that I might also have a thing for Belgian Wits. Bell’s Poolside Ale fits comfortably in that category and like Avery’s Liliko’i Kepolo, it injects an intense fruit component that’s super refreshing during the summer months.

Now, I have yet to crack one of these bad boys open poolside, but make no mistake, it would taste mighty refreshing floating around on a lazy summer afternoon whether it be in a pool, lake, ocean or just chilling in your tub in the air conditioning. (more…)

Beer Review: Chocolate Ale with Raspberry by Boulevard Brewing Company

 

tgof_blvd_chocalewraspBoulevard Brewing Company has not been one to shy away from experimenting when it comes to their Smokestack Series. Their Imperial Stout line has been an example of that- especially late in 2015/early 2016 so far. Perhaps the most divisive of their experiments has been the yearly release of their Chocolate Ale, a collaboration with chocolatier Christopher Elbow. There have been years with infected bottles and on more than one occasion even when the beer isn’t infected, the quality is often in question. A fan myself, have too felt that there is a distinct QA issue when it comes to certain batches/bottles and to how the beer tastes on draft- still, every year I have to indulge at least once in both formats.

This year, the prolific brewing company turned some heads by releasing the beer with a specific twist- the addition of raspberry. If nothing else it is a move that should boost sales for craft beer lovers looking for a decadent indulgence around the holiday of love, Valentine’s Day, as an alternate to gorging on boxes upon boxes of Russell Stovers. It certainly got me to open my wallet once again, although as of writing this I’m still on the lookout for to try the draught version.  (more…)

Beer Review(s): Triple Dose of The Traveler Beer Company

tgof_forbiddentravelerHere at Tall Glass of Film I’m still trying to work out a balance of beer and movie reviews. I’m also working on trying to be equal opportunity and not just checking in with beers I have mostly positive things to report back with. However, let’s face it, you’re not going to be seeing any Bud Light reviews or any of their horrid Lime-A-Rita abominations. The same can most likely be said about Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and Shock Top. That being said, should Sam Adams or Boston Beer Company be included in that freeze out? The Traveler Beer Company, formerly known as The House of Shandy Beer Company, is conceived by Boston Beer Company’s Alchemy and Science “craft brew incubator.” Their goal seems simple enough; focusing on craft shandys to compete with Leinenkugel’s chokehold on the market.

I’m all for easy drinking beers, like a shandy, during the summer months, but that’s generally where my interest in them ends- with the exception of sessionable pales and IPAs. Shandy beers generally only have use for me when it’s super hot and I’m hanging out on or near a lake. So while my practical drinking patterns are not tailored for their existence, I’m ok with someone coming out and giving more options as far as shandy flavors go. So just how well do The Traveler Beer Company’s shandy releases stack up to the competition. (more…)

TGoF’s Year in Beer – 2014

IMG_5433Well, another stellar year of beer drinking is in the books. Four beer fests, several trades and a number of new breweries entering the market it’s entirely safe to say that I had my fill. So, with another 365 days in the rear view- well 325 if you include the 40 days of lent where I took a beer sabbatical- I thought it was time to reminisce on my highlights this year.

I won’t get into too much detail except to list of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time this year. Maybe even highlight a local brewery to watch out for that opened in 2014. Either way, if you see something below you haven’t tried, it’s safe to say I’d recommend you finding a way to get it in your hands in the near future. Cheers to an equally fulfilling 2015! (more…)

TGoF’s 2014 Beer Outlook

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In terms of beer, 2013 was a HELL of a year for me. I got the chance to try a ridiculous amount of new beers, which compared to a lot of more hardcore beer nerds out there is probably barely a drop in the bucket. So looking forward to what’s in store for the new year I wanted to touch on some new breweries that have come to my attention and other beers I’m looking forward to trying to track down this year.

Before that though I want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time in 2013 and hopefully won’t be the last I see of them. (more…)

2013 Great Nebraska Beer Fest Recap

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My first official beer fest is in the books and one thing is certain- it will not be my last. I had a blast walking around and chatting with fellow beer lovers, enjoying beer with some friends, but most of all getting to try a whole bunch of new and exciting beers all in a span of a few hours. A few things kept me from getting to everything I wanted to try, the biggest being the unrelenting heat that chased me into the A/C next door to the tent area after about an hour and again another hour or so after venturing back out. I did get around to all the beers I for sure wanted to mark off my list before I put up the white flag and left the fest and I’m so glad that I did.

In my preview of the fest I expressed my excitement to try the beers that Cigar City, Firestone Walker and Stone were bringing and that excitement was certainly justified. I had earlier in the week attended a Stone Pint Night at a local craft beer bar and had a few of their beers I hadn’t had and also picked up a few at my local bottle shop knocking out most everything they were bringing except for their 2013 Russian Imperial Stout which I though was quite good and very boozy, but also not something that stood out at least for me when all was said and done. However, unrelated to the beer fest I tried for the first time Stone’s Ruination IPA both on tap and in a bottle and immediately after expressed that it would probably be in my top five of IPAs that I’ve tried. (more…)

Beer Review: Thomas Creek Brewing’s Chocolate Orange IPA

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I spend a lot of my free time stalking beer lover’s Instagram pictures, Untappd check ins and other beer blogs, but every now and again I’m still surprised by something new by just simply shopping at my local bottle shop. Granted I received a tip via email that the beer I’m talking about here had arrived in store, but my awareness to having it in hand timespan was a much shorter window than usual.

Chocolate and fruit seems to be the theme of the passed week in my beer adventures as within 6 days I’d tried both Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale (review forthcoming) and this posts focus, Thomas Creek Brewing Company’s Castaway Chocolate Orange IPA. This is a much different monster to Rogue’s experiment and I will admit straight off that Castaway would win if forced to pick one over the other. That’s beside the point seeing as they are two different styles of beer.

Right off the bat when pouring Castaway I was not necessarily shocked to see the dark color, but almost more disappointed that it didn’t have a clearer orange IPA color. It’s possible after all to have a chocolate beer with a clear color- I refer you back to my review of Great River’s Dirty Blonde Chocolate Ale. Color aside it still doesn’t hit stout or porter blackness and still very much sells IPA especially in the nose. The smell on the other hand didn’t do much for me at first, but the more I drank it, the more the smell started to come through to me as citrusy orange and a bit of dark bitter chocolate. The smell does indeed sell what the beer ultimately tastes like which is basically a malty and hoppy Blue Moon.

I tried Castaway poured into a glass as well as out of the bottle and there was a difference between the two. In my snifter glass the dark chocolate taste stood out way more than the citrus, though the citrus was present at the back end. When drinking right out of the bottle, I was getting a much more pronounced orange/citrus taste mixed well with the dark chocolate taste that comes from the malts. Both ways the beer had a smooth taste to being with that finished off with more of the hoppy bitterness.

If I had to suggest a way to enjoy this I would have to say the best way is straight from the bottle- the initial taste is a little more refreshing that way. I was able to get a hold of two single bottles at my bottle shop as opposed to the 4 pack something I’d personally try to seek out. If you enjoy it enough it may be worth the $10.99 price tag for the 4 pack, but for me a single bottle or two is perfectly fine for me. Overall, the Castaway Chocolate Orange IPA is unique enough to give a whirl, but beyond that I can’t say there’s anything overly exciting about it- yet I wouldn’t dare turn it down if someone offered it to me.

Rating: C+