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

May 7, 2011

TBR Reviews Wolaver’s Pale Ale 5.7.2011

Otter Creek, er, Wolaver's Pale Ale? Will the real brewer stand up?

Otter Creek, er, Wolaver's Pale Ale? Will the real brewer stand up?

The Brewski Report Reviews Otter Creek’s Wolaver’s Pale Ale
File Date: 5.7.2011

File Name: Just a little past it’s prime.
The Beer: Wolaver’s Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Otter Creek Brewing
Web Site: www.wolavers.com (under construction); www.ottercreekbrewing.com
State/Country of Origin: VT, USA
Brewer Info: Located in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont, we shipped our first keg of Copper Ale in March of 1991. Four years later, after quickly outgrowing our original site, we moved into a new state-of-the-art brewery just down the street. In 1998, we began producing Wolaver’s Certified Organic Ales in partnership with Panorama Brewing Company. Both brands have flourished as beer drinkers throughout the northeast have enjoyed craft ales, and as the focus on sustainable farming and living has blossomed. In May of 2002, the Wolaver family purchased Otter Creek Brewing. Otter Creek remains a family owned Vermont company and produces all Otter Creek and Wolaver’s brands for distribution throughout the country. We brew and bottle all of our beers in small batches to ensure freshness and consistent quality. We use natural Vermont water, the best domestic malt and hops available, and our own top-fermenting yeast. All Wolaver’s beers are made with no less than 98% certified organic ingredients. Our brewery and our Wolaver’s brands are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. Otter Creek ales enjoy a complexity of flavor, natural carbonation, and a creamy texture that is favored by beer enthusiasts at pubs and restaurants throughout the United States.

tbr-wol-banner1Brewer Brand Hype: N/A.
Label: Since 1997, Robert and Morgan Wolaver have combined their passion for exceptional beers with their belief in the benefits of organic farming to create Wolaver’s: supurb handcrafted ales brewed with only the finest organic barley and hops grown by small independent farms. His perfectly balanced pale ale has a malty taste with a crisp, hoppy finish; blending Cascade, Cluster, and Hallertauer hops with Harrington specialty malt. For those who simply love great beer, Wolaver’s is a delicious choice – and know that every purchase supports a healthier environment for us all. Our products contain no perservatives, are not pasteurized and, like all fresh foods, will change over time. We print the date we bottled on for your information. Certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers.

The Brewski Review: I believe I purchased an old bottle APA. I checked Wolaver’s website (sorry, they don’t have one yet….just a facebook page which, to me, says their seriously weak on marketing their brand or image.) and the ‘American’ pale ale wasn’t noted – only India pale ale. Maybe the store had this in stock from a season or so ago? It’s hard to tell by the lot code – 2719. My guess is that it’s from the 271st day of 2009. If this is the case, my green beer was really green if you know what I mean. Taste was okay. Nothing to write home about. Hoppy bitter taste much like any other pale ale. But still not as good as many Austrian beers I’ve had that were brewed under the 1516 ‘Purity Law’ where only natural ingredients were used. I’ll still hold out hope that Wolaver’s (or Otter Creek – still can’t figure this arrangement out) have better tasting beers more to my liking (and, not as old).

Drinkability: Nah. Wouldn’t buy again.
Appearance: Light amber color.
The Buds: Hoppy, bitter, ho hum.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.50 caps out of 5.

I like the retro looking Wolaver Farmer logo.

I like the retro looking Wolaver Farmer logo.

November 20, 2010

Sam Adams’ Winter Lager Beer Review 11.20.2010

Not a Winter Warmer Like You'd Thing But a Bock Beer

Not a Winter Warmer Like You'd Think, But a Bock Beer

The Brewski Report Highlights Sam Adams’ Winter Lager
File Date: 11.20.2010

File Name: Retail Employees Don’t Get Paid Enough
The Beer: Winter Lager 
Type: Bock
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams)
Web Site: http://www.samueladams.com
Country/State of Origin: MA, USA
Brewer Info: Jim Koch founded The Boston Beer Company in 1984 because he believed that Americans deserved better beer. Today, we’re a team of about 350 people, and we all share a common passion for bringing great Samuel Adams® beers to beer lovers everywhere. We’ve worked hard for the many successes we’ve enjoyed over the years. The Boston Beer Company has been cited as one of the best companies to work for by Boston Magazine, one of the Best Entry-Level Jobs by The Princeton Review, and our beers have won more awards than any beer in history.

tbr-sa_winter_lager-adBrewer Brand Hype: Bold and rich, with a touch of holiday spice. The first thing one notices about a Samuel Adams® Winter Lager is the deep ruby color. Then comes the magical aroma which promises something special on the tongue. The cinnamon, ginger, and hint of citrus from the orange peel blend with the roasty sweetness of the malts to deliver a warming, spicy flavor. On the palate Samuel Adams Winter Lager is rich and full bodied, robust and warming, a wonderful way to enjoy the cold evenings that come with the season. Winter beers are still produced the way they were in medieval Europe: using more malt per liter to push up the potency of the beer, and to warm a beer drinker’s heart on long winter nights. Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a dark wheat bock.  Bock beers are traditionally strong dark lagers originating in the town of Einbeck Germany.
Label: For centuries, brewers have crafted special beers to celebrate winter. In this tradition, we brew our Samuel Adams to share with friends. This rich and hearty dark lager is one of the finer pleasures of a winter evening. Cheers! Seasonal Brew. A dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices. Ale in TX.

The Brewski Review: My wife told me a hilarious story the other day. She took our two kids to get new shoes at the local Stride Rite store. As she was focused on my daughter getting fitted our son was at the other end of the store pulling all the shoes off the shelves. (Many of the polite daycare employees have told us, quite diplomatically, that our two year old is ‘all boy’.) When my wife caught him in the act he throws his arms up and says ‘Uh no’ which is code for ‘what happened here?’. As he’s being approached, he smiles and runs. Of course, that isn’t the end of the story. In his mind if he’s going down, he’s going down BIG. As he’s running from the law (mom) he holds out both arms open wide to create as much collateral damage as possible. He pulls the slippers off the shelves and most of the socks. I’m sure it was the hardest pair of shoes the clerk had to sell all month. Oh yeah, the beer?  Tasty. A very mild bock beer with minimal aftertaste. The spices weren’t overwhelming by any mean – very subtle. It didn’t warm me up as other winter beers have done but it was good nonetheless. I believe this is a very worthy winter beer to add to you list.  Happy Holidays!

Drinkability: Will be drinking this one again.
Appearance: Dark, amber brown in color.
The Buds: A mild beer. No big aftertaste.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Jim hard at work sniffing out the good stuff.

Jim hard at work sniffing out the good stuff.

July 30, 2010

Bell’s Brewery Oberon Ale Beer Review 7.30.10

Bell's Brewery Oberon Ale

Bell's Brewery Oberon Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Bell’s Oberon Ale.
File Date: 7.30.10

 File Name: Scent Of Sunny On Sale Now!
The Beer: Oberon Ale
Type: American Pale Wheat Ale
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery Inc.
Web Site: www.bellsbeer.com
Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Bell’s Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably. Bell’s Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Although the “microbrewery” revolution began on the West Coast in the 1970s, the Midwest saw this brewing development much later. Bell’s Brewery stands as the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado. Originally self-distributed, Larry and crew brewed, bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company’s first four years. By 1989, Bell’s was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. After struggling several years to produce and sell robust, full-bodied ales against a tide of a mass-market domestic beer, Bell’s began to see the demand for craft beer grow dramatically. Bell’s soon ventured outside Michigan, continuing its solid growth and developing a reputation across the Midwest for the unique style and flavor of its Bell’s brands.

tbr-oberon-sm-labelBrewer Brand Hype: An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon.
Label: A short draft beer served at the bar. No labels.

The Brewski Review: I don’t really have much to say about Oberon Ale and it appears the brewer doesn’t either. Take a look at the Brewer Brand Hype noted above. ‘color and scent of a sunny afternoon’? Who wrote this uniquely undescriptive marketing tagline? Bell’s Brewery must have bartered some of their product with a local ad firm because they most certainly couldn’t have paid for this touchy, feely assembly of words. If this verbiage is printed somewhere on the label and I was fortunate enough to read it before purchasing, the limited sensitivity of my manliness would have prevented me from purchasing this beverage. The bottle would have slipped through my hand and exploded on the store floor while I stood, slackjawed and immobile at the mere thought of something so unnaturally beer-like. Who is the intended market for this brand: nuns and sweet old grandmothers between the ages of 60 and 80? Seriously, was there any vision here into gaining market share with this brand advertising? I’m just really at a loss on this. What does a sunny afternoon smell like? To me, the scent of a sunny afternoon smells like fresh cut grass in the spring, thick, muggy and humid air in the summer, a burning pile of leaves in the fall and crisp, burning notrils on a subzero and sunny winter day. What does the scent of a sunny day smell like to you? Most likely not like this beer. Oberon to drink was decent and drinkable but I guess I expected more than Bell’s was capable of delivering. Ultimately, I wouldn’t consider Oberon Ale a quintessential summertime beer if that’s what the ‘scent of a sunny afternoon’ is supposed to convey.

Drinkability: Sure. Maybe.
Appearance: Clear and medium to dark golden color.
The Buds: Good. But I expected more.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Why couldn't the caption be 'Beer for the Blue Skies and Warm Days of Summer'? This picture is pretty darn inviting.

Why couldn't the caption be 'Beer for the Blue Skies and Warm Days of Summer'? This picture is pretty darn inviting.

July 17, 2010

Southern Tier’s 422 Pale Wheat Ale Beer Review 7.17.2010

Southern Tier's 422 Pale Wheat Ale

Southern Tier's 422 Pale Wheat Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Southern Tier’s 422 Pale Wheat Ale
File Date: 7.17.10

File Name: Is ‘Green’ Beer all the rage?
The Beer: 422 Pale Wheat Ale
Type: American Pale Wheat Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.8% ABV
Brewer: Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.southerntierbrewing.com
Country of Origin: NY, USA
Brewer Info:  Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York, has been in operation since 2002. Founders Phineas DeMink and Allen (“Skip”) Yahn started the brewery with the vision of bringing small batch brewing back to a region rich in brewing tradition. In 2002 Skip and Phin purchased the defunct Old Saddleback Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. All the equipment was removed, brought back to Lakewood and set up at its new home located within the Stoneman Business Park. The Brewery began distributing regionally in February 2003. By 2005 sales covered the majority of New York State and the eastern half of Pennsylvania. In the beginning their two flagship brands were Pilsner and Mild Ale and they also brewed IPA. As it turned out the flagships were a flop and the IPA was a huge success! They next launched a line of seasonal beers which gained great success. Since the beginning, Southern Tier has experienced steady growth and after multiple expansions to keep up with demand a new building was built in 2009. The building was designed with the express purpose of brewing innovative, high quality beer for an expanding customer base.

I wonder if Southern Tier is a 'green' company. Do they use solar or wind power to brew? Or, do they use 'green' marketing to sell their brands?

I wonder if Southern Tier is a 'green' company. Do they use solar or wind power to brew? Or, do they use 'green' marketing to sell their brands?

Brewer Brand Hype:
Pour 422 Pale Wheat Ale into a pint glass, give it a long whiff and you’ll realize that this isn’t your average pale golden wheat. Preserved in its unfiltered state, 422 is a fantastic session ale in which flavors of wheat, barley and hops commingle to a refreshing and zesty conclusion. Hints of orange and sweet malts waft to the fore as a touch of bitterness contributes to a smooth finish. 422 is brewed as a tribute to preserving our precious planet and it’s environment. It is responsibly packaged with over 80% recycled consumer products and is completely recyclable. Enjoy 422 all year as to take one stride closer to an eco-friendly life.
Label: Make Everyday Earth Day

The Brewski Review: I haven’t been able to spend the quality time I need to finish our den. Most everything is done. The floors where a pistol to complete. The sand paper kept gumming up with shellac so I had to scrap the entire floor off with a paint scraper prior to sanding. That wasn’t a pleasant task I can assure you. Overall the floors turned out nice. There was one small area that used to house an electrical outlet (in the floor – probably for a window AC unit) which needed patched. To do the job I purchased a Dremel Multimax. There are other versions of the same tool. Fein, Rockwell, Rigid, Craftsman, etc. but I selected the Multimax because of the price – $99. Others were $109 and $119. Fein was a model I would have liked to have purchased but I would have had to miss a car payment in order to afford it.  The only downside to the Dremel was that it seems to be a light-duty version more akin to a hobby tool vs. an industrial use power tool. Still, it did the job. I’m sure I’ll find other uses for it around the house in the years to come. Check out the pictures of the nearly completed room. Maybe when it’s all done I’ll celebrate. Would I do so with a 422 Pale Wheat Ale?  Sure. Why not. It’s a crisp and mild, well balanced beer. I don’t know how the ‘green’ or Earth Day connection comes into play or even what the reference to the name 422 relates to but don’t let that deter you.   

Drinkability: Would drink it again.
Appearance: Pale gold color with plenty ‘o head.
The Buds: Decent beverage. Nice mild balance.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

The Dremel Multimax in Hand.

The Dremel Multimax in Hand.

The Multimax Kit

The Multimax Kit

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