THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

September 20, 2009

Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale Beer Review 9.20.09

Buffalo Bill's Seasonal Pumpkin Ale Beer

Buffalo Bill's Seasonal Pumpkin Ale Beer

The Brewski Report Reviews Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.
File Date: 9.20.09

File Name:  Carve Out A Place For Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
The Beer:  Pumpkin Ale
Type:  Pumpkin Ale
Serving:  Bottle
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: Buffalo Bill’s Brewery
Country of Origin:  Hayward, CA USA
Brewer Info:  In the early 1980s, beer enthusiast and famed photojournalist Bill Owens envisioned opening an authentic brew pub similar to those that existed in England. It would serve up homemade, hearty libations with character and integrity. At the time, California law prevented the joint operation of a brewery and pub, and true beer lovers had few alternatives to watery, mass produced beers, unless they could figure out how to make their own homebrew.  But the law changed in early 1983, giving brew pubs the green light to draft their own beer on the premises. Owens, a pioneer in the early brewpub movement, poured himself into making his dream a reality, and opened Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward California. It would be the second oldest brewpub in the country (the first had opened just a couple of weeks earlier), and the oldest in the Bay Area.  Today, Buffalo Bill’s stands as a shrine to microbrew lovers worldwide, and a gem of Hayward’s local entertainment scene. This year, we toast to 25 years on the microbrew frontier, quenching the thirst and soothing the souls of those who truly appreciate great beer.

buffalo-bill-pumpkin-labelBrewer Brand Hype:  Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale is the most sought after seasonal beer.  It is believed that George Washington brewed beer using this bright orange squash.  In modern times, Buffalo Bill’s ‘Pumpkin Ale’ is a true original microbrew that uses baked and roasted pumpkins.  Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are added to create what has been described as, “pumpkin pie in a bottle”.

Label:  Ale Brewed with Real Pumpkin and Natural Spice Flavor.

The Brewski Review: If I haven’t written it before, I’ll state it now: I love fall.  This year it came faster which makes me wonder if we’ll skip right through fall and head into winter, which I don’t really care for.  But fall is cozy to me.  It’s great to have an outdoor fire in the fall.  Smoke is in the air.  Leaves crunch under every step and the crisp air is refreshing.  And who doesn’t like Thanksgiving?  All the food and drinks?  Yum.  Nothing like laying on the couch with a full belly and the only ambition you have it to try and get up to eat more.  That what was driving my desire to find my perfect fall beer.  Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale comes close.  It’s tasty, just like a pumpkin pie.  I’ve read other reviews on it and many don’t have good things to say.  I disagree.  Perhaps there are better versions of Pumpkin Ale available but this one is pretty darn good.  It’s the closest taste to fall I’ve had so far.

Drinkability:  Goes down smooth.  No aftertaste.  Not bitter.
Appearance:  Dark golden in color.  Almost an amber color.
The Buds:  It does taste like pumpkin pie.  Yum.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Breckenridge Brewery Autumn Ale Review 9.20.09

After Rakin', it's Breckenridge Brewery's Autumn Ale

After Rakin', it's Breckenridge Brewery's Autumn Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Breckenridge’s Autumn Ale.
File Date: 9.20.09

File Name:  Professional Drinker?  No.  Professional Cart Pusher?  Yes.
The Beer: Autumn Ale
Type:  Old Ale
Serving:  Bottle
Stats: 6.7% ABV
Brewer: Breckenridge Brewery
Country of Origin: Breckenridge, CO USA
breck_brewery_logo1Brewer Info:  Back in the 1980s our founder, Richard Squire, had a dream – to ski all day and drink great beer every night. Since he lived in the snow-kissed Rocky Mountains, fulfilling the skiing portion of his dream was easy. But the great beer part – at a time when a “microbrew” was a rarity – that was another story. So Richard started brewing his own, more flavorful beers for himself and his thrill-seeking ski pals.  His homebrewed creations were a hit, and soon Richard was spending more time brewing than skiing. So he chased after another dream – making exceptional beer for a living. In February, 1990 that dream became reality when Richard opened the original Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Richard’s ski bum days were over, and so were the days of bland beer for the folks in Colorado’s ski country.

Brewer Brand Hype:  Breckenridge Brewery’s fall seasonal combines the malty goodness of a German lager with the clean crispness of an American ale. Brewed with Munich malts and a delicate blend of Bavarian hops, our Autumn Ale is a full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains. A pre-winter winner.
Label:  Munich Malts & Bavarian Hops.  Deep Mahogany Fall Season Ale.  Warms the Soul, Soothes the Spirit.

The Brewski Review:  I went shopping at the local market the other day with my wife and kids.  Normally it’s a race to get the necessities and rush home before the toddler meltdown begins.  Today was no exception but I did make the effort to check out the wine section.  Yes.  Believe it.  I like to consider myself a cultured individual but I in no way consider myself a serious professional like others (Yes Matt, I’m referencing your pro-athlete status for the buy-it-by-the-case ‘Three Buck Chuck’.).  Unfortunately, my hankering for a bottle of red was left unfulfilled after checking the Brewski household stock of vino: 0 Red, 7 White.  No base hit here.  As Bob Uecker would say….’Juuuust a bit outside.’  As I strategically perused the aisles I was careful not let my infant son, Mr. Grabby Hands, get within arms reach of anything breakable.  Since I wasn’t in the boxed wine section (What I won’t do is buy my wine by the carton – part of the pleasure in drinking from the bottle is that I can fist the neck and pound it.  Just kidding.  But the pour, like beer, is part of the fun.) this was rather difficult.  But, I did happen to pick up a couple of nice bottles.  We’ll see how they taste.  Maybe I’ll write about it.  I’ve done cider so let’s just do all alcoholic beverages.  Maybe we can do moonshine as well.  Anyway, I never did drink that bottle of wine.  Instead I popped open this Breckenridge Autumn Ale. ‘After rakin…Autumn Ale” so says the label.  It was tasty and enjoyable but it wasn’t what I had in mind.  It was a worthy Old Ale, one that I would drink again, but I was on the bench for something more ‘fall-like’.    

Drinkability:  Worthy.  Not for the adjunct lager crowd though.
Appearance:  ‘Dark Mahogany’ color as noted by BB, but I’d say closer to black.
The Buds:  Thought it was tasty but just I’m not sold on Old Ale just yet.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5

September 12, 2009

Strongbow Dry Cider Review 9.12.09

Filed under: Ciders — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Tommy Brewski @ 6:46 pm

Yes.  I know it's not beer.

Yes. I know it's not beer.

The Brewski Report H.P. Bulmer’s Strongbow Cider.
File Date: 9/12/09

File Name: My Therapist Says It’s Okay to Like Cider And Not Soccer.
The Cider: Strongbow
Type: Dry Cider
Serving: Bottle, Clear
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: H.P. Bulmers Limited
Country of Origin:  UK (England)
Brewer Info:  Bulmer’s is the worlds largest cidermaker.  The company was founded in Hereford, England in 1887 by Percy Bulmer, the son of a local clergyman.  Bulmers makes 65% of the five million hectolitres of cider sold annually in the UK.  Bulmers was first granted the Royal Warrant in 1911 and continues proudly today as Cider Maker to her Majesty, the Queen.  Cider remains the ‘core’ of the Bulmers business, its main brands, Strongbow, Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack, are all market leaders.  Strongbow stands at No 8 in the Top Ten Chart of UK best selling long alcoholic drinks, more popular than most major lager brands.

Founder Percy Bulmer

Founder Percy Bulmer

Brewer Brand Hype:  Strongbow is a crisp, premium imported cider from the U.K. which delivers maximum refreshment in an authentic, traditional English recipe. Strongbow is built on the promise of maximum refreshment of body and mind.  With its clean refreshing taste and striking livery, Strongbow appeals to import beer drinkers everywhere.  Served chilled, Strongbow delivers a  full bodied, refreshing taste.

Label:  Strongbow – The Authentic English Cider With A Dry & Refreshing Finish.

The Brewski Review:  Okay, so it’s not a beer.  I thought I’d do something different and mix things up a bit with this review.  Actually, I didn’t pay much attention to the label before I popped the cap and poured.  Needless to say, I was a little miffed at the lack of a nice, foamy head.  When I did read the label I cursed the retail lacky that thought stocking cider with the beer was appropriate.  Yes, it’s a golden color and it’s an alcoholic beverage but it’s not beer. 

That said, I need to go on record that this is a tasty beverage.  The brewer touts the popularity of this beverage in England so it must be good huh?  I certainly can’t qualify the European taste buds as superior to those of the North American variety so it must be that A): cider isn’t as popular in the USA; or, B): their marketing campaign needs some girls in skimpy outfits to goose sales.  Maybe it can be equated to soccer: this is also a European import that’s not as popular here as it is back home.  Then again, I don’t like soccer.

Drinkability:  A tasty cider beverage worthy of a try.
Appearance:  Pale golden in color.
The Buds:  Well recieved apple flavor.
TBR Cap Rating:  3.75 out of 5

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