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

August 25, 2013

Blue Moon’s Valencia Grove Amber Ale Beer Review 8.25.2013

Blue Moon's Valencia Grove Amber Ale

Blue Moon’s Valencia Grove Amber Ale

TBR Reports on Blue Moon’s Valencia Grove Amber Ale
File Date: 8.25.2013

File Name: Wife Expands Horizons
The Beer: Valencia Grove Amber
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.9% ABV
Brewer: Blue Moon Brewery/Coors Brewing Co.
Web Site:
State/Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: We started Blue Moon and began brewing our first beers back in 1995 at the Sandlot in Denver, Colorado. The goal was to create uniquely-flavored, highly-drinkable, handcrafted beers. (And, of course, have a little fun along the way.) Well, it didn’t take long to strike gold. One of our first creations, Belgian White, made an immediate splash at the World Beer Championships 3 years in a row. More than a decade later, word has started getting around. But otherwise, not much has changed. Still just a bunch of friends having making great beer. What’s not to love about that?

Brewer Brand Hype: The First Sign of Spring. Maybe it’s not time to shed that winter coat just yet, but we’re hoping this beer gets you one step closer. Valencia Grove Amber is for all those in-between days when you try to coax spring out by wearing short sleeves or flip-flops. You’re still cold. We get it. Cozy up with roasted malts, Valencia orange peel, and a touch of wheat for a hint of citrus that’s ripe for the season.
Label: Seasonal Collection. This copper colored ale is crafted with roasted malts, Valencia orange peel and a touch of wheat for a smooth taste with notes of citrus. Our Valencia Grove Amber is crafted with roasted malts, Valencia orange peel and a touch of wheat for an uplifting orange, caramel aroma. It’s the advantage of the season.

The Brewski Review: My wife was shopping a couple weeks ago and picked up a six of Blue Moon’s Valencia Grove Amber ale. She had a hankering for a beer and thought this would be good. This is strange twist because she normally drinks Bud Lime when the warm days are long, but, it’s nice to know she’s not boxed in by her habits. The one I pulled out was the sixth soldier so I thought I better put pen to paper (or, fingers to keyboard) to share my thoughts. On the pour the head is a nice, tight cream colored foam and pours a beautiful copper color. There is a little sweetness to the taste but not overwhelming. There is a nice balance between the hops and malts so there is no lingering bitterness on the finish. Overall, a good brew and definitely worth a try when the sun is high and hot and the bottle is cold and wet.

Drinkability: Yes. Would drink again.
Appearance: Rich copper color with abundant head.
The Buds: Great balance and mild taste.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5 caps.

September 26, 2011

Tommy Brewski’s First Oatmeal Stout 9.26.2011

The Dark Goodness of Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout

The Dark Goodness of Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout

Tommy Brewski Knocks Back An Oatmeal Stout
File Date: 9.26.2011

File Name: Tommy’s First Oatmeal Stout.
The Beer: Oatmeal Stout
Type: Oatmeal Stout
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.9% ABV
Brewer: Otter Creek Brewing/Wolaver’s
Web Site:
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-otter-crk-insertBrewer Brand Hype:  Minimal brand marketing on the web.
Label: Certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. Since 1997 Robert and Morgan Wolaver have combined their passion for exceptional ales 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.

The Brewski Review: Very tasty and mild. I was expecting something a little more bitter but was pleasantly surprised. It looked like molasses on the pour and finished with very little mud colored head. It was a little on the creamy side but not too much. By the looks I would have expected more. This happened to be my first Oatmeal Stout so I rank it high on my list of types. I’m definitely gravitating toward the more malty beverages than the hoppy variety.

Drinkability: Definitely.
Appearance: One word: Molasses.
The Buds: Nice and malty. Very mild.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5 caps.

April 13, 2011

Goose Island’s India Pale Ale Beer Review 4.13.2011

Goose Island Beer Co.'s IPA

Goose Island Beer Co.'s IPA

The Brewski Report Reviews Goose Island’s IPA
File Date: 4.13.11

File Name: Industrial Brewer Pegged to Purchase Goose Island?
The Beer: Goose Island IPA
Type: English India Pale Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.9% ABV
Brewer: Goose Island Beer Company
Web Site:
State/Country of Origin: IL, USA
Brewer Info: In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to do just that. The key to building interest in craft beer, Hall decided, was to allow consumers to watch the brewing process – while providing them with the then-novel experience of enjoying a wide variety of distinctive beers that had been produced on-site. Hall wanted to not only cater to his customers’ tastes, but to challenge them as well. Goose Island’s brewers set to work crafting a diverse selection of unique beers – and on Friday, May 13, 1988 the Goose Island Brewpub was born. It turned out that John was right; Chicagoans palates evolved rapidly once Goose Island’s Brewpub opened its doors and introduced the city to distinctive craft beer. By 1995, the brewpub had become so popular that John Hall and his son Greg, who had by then become Goose Island’s brewmaster, decided to open a larger brewery and bottling plant to keep up with demand. Finding still more room for growth, in 1999 the father-son team opened a second Goose Island Brewpub just a stone’s throw away from historic Wrigley Field.

tbr-giipa2Brewer Brand Hype: Our India Pale Ale recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result is a hop lover’s dream with a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, and long hop finish.
Label: Recognized as among the world’s finest, Goose Island’s India Pale Ale has a spicy hop aromoa and an inviting fruity flavor. This exceptional beer is one you will not soon forget. Serve India Pale Ale in a tulip glass.

The Brewski Review: Spoiler Alert! I just read someplace where Bud/InBev is going to purchase Goose Island for somthing north of $35M.  If you were looking for a brewery to purchase your a day late and probably a dollar or two short. The purchaser classifies Goose Island as a boutique brewery. I’ve never had any of their more exotic brews but I look forward to trying them out – as long as they don’t change with the purchase by a large industrial brewer. The IPA was good. It was hoppy and bitter. Nothing deviating too far from the standard IPA classic taste. The fruity flavor didn’t jump out at me but there was some mild sweetness to it. Again, a good beer. Give one a try if your into hops.

Drinkability: Sure.
Appearance: Dark golden color.
The Buds: Hoppy and bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

This is pretty cool. If I could purchase a set of tiles I'd install this in my future kitchen makeover. My wife might not like it but I think my kids would.

This is pretty cool. If I could purchase a set of tiles I'd install this in my future kitchen makeover. My wife might not like it but I think my kids would.

November 28, 2010

Harpoon Brewery’s Winter Warmer Beer Review 11.28.2010

Harpoon Brewery's Winter Warmer

Harpoon Brewery's Winter Warmer

The Brewski Report Reviews Harpoon’s Winter Warmer Spiced Ale
File Date: 11.28.2010

File Name: Christmas Crowd Pleaser
The Beer: Winter Warmer
Type: Spiced Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.9% ABV
Brewer: Harpoon Brewery
Web Site:
State/Country of Origin: MA, USA
Brewer Info: Harpoon Founders Dan Kenary &  Rich Doyle started the Harpoon Brewery in 1986 because—like today—we loved beer and wanted more good choices.  While traveling in Europe after college, we drank many wonderfully diverse, fresh, local beers.  We also saw firsthand how important local breweries were to their communities.  After our travels, we asked each other, “why not bring great beer and that sense of community to New England?”  That was the genesis of the Harpoon Brewery. Twenty years later we still revel in making great beer and sharing that joy with our friends and neighbors.  The success that we have had running Harpoon is due entirely to the wonderful employees who brew, package, warehouse, sell, deliver, and market our beer and you, the people who drink Harpoon.  We hope that our sense of gratitude is reflected in both the quality of the beer and the spirit of fun and enjoyment surrounding our beer and breweries.

tbr-winter-warmer-tap-pullBrewer Brand Hype: Winter Warmer was Harpoon’s first seasonal beer.  It was designed to be enjoyed during the holiday season.
When you bring a glass of this dark copper ale to your lips to take your first sip you will notice the aroma of cinnamon.  There is no aromatic hop added that might overpower the distinct spice scent.  The medium body of this beer is formed from caramel and pale malts.  These create enough body to support the spices without making the beer excessively rich.  Bittering hops are added to counter the sweetness of the malt and spice.  The finish of the beer is a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg.  The combination of these two spices results in a balanced, pumpkin-pie flavor.
Label: Brewed since 1988, the flavor of Cinnamon and nutmeg in Harpoon Winter Warmer make this full-bodied, rich ale a classic holiday treat. Enjoy!

The Brewski Review: Ever watch ‘A Christmas Story’? I’m sure many won’t argue that it’s a true classic. What’s so endearing about this film is it’s period. It harkens back to a time when life was more simple. The only source of information was the nightly news and the local paper. You could eat whatever you wanted without fear of getting cancer. People took ownership of their actions and didn’t sue at the drop of a hat. Holiday shopping wasn’t so commercialized and over-hyped. There was no ‘Doorbuster Deals’ to trample people over. Kids played with Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and dolls. No expensive electronics. People enjoyed each other since they weren’t so detracted by cell phones and MP3 players. Life was slower than it is now: muscle your way to work and put in 10 or 11 hours, race home and shuttle the kids to their far-flung sports and hobbies, eat dinner on the run, come home, do laundry, go to bed, get up and repeat the process all over again. I know it won’t happen but American needs to revert back to these simple times. Then we could unravel our complicated lives and enjoy a nice cold one. This Winter Warmer is a nice choice: good taste with a nice seasonal flavoring. I’ve had better spice beers and will probably have even better in the future but this is worthy of drinking again.  Enjoy the Holidays! Maybe a few of these beers will help tame the stress that goes along with all the crowd fighting you’ll be doing.

tbr-harpoon-cap-bannerDrinkability: Sure. Good Beer.
Appearance: Amber color with a high head.
The Buds: Nice seasonal flavor but not too overpowering.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 caps out of 5.

A timeless Holiday Classic. If you've never seen it, do so.

A timeless Holiday Classic. If you've never seen it, do so.

October 17, 2009

Spaten’s Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen Beer Review 10.17.09

Munich's Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen Seasonal Beer

Munich's Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen Seasonal Beer

The Brewski Report Reviews Spaten’s Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen
File Date: 10.17.2009

File Name: Oktoberfest Education
The Beer: Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen
Type: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.9% ABV 
Brewer: Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau
Country of Origin: Munich, Germany
Brewer Info:  More than 600 years of brewing tradition in the heart of Munich. One of Germany’s most successful breweries, Spaten is deeply rooted in Munich’s venerable beer-brewing tradition, yet it remains modern and dynamic. Spaten has always been at the forefront of progress in brewing. It was at Spaten that Carl Linde developed his first refrigerator, and the Spaten ‘spade’ is one of the oldest trademarks in the world (1884), making the company a pioneer in the history of advertising.

spaten_logoBrewer Brand Hype:  Spaten Oktoberfest Beer, created in 1872, is the world’s first Oktoberfest beer, brewed for the greatest folk festival in the world. Every year, over and over again, countless Oktoberfest visitors share their enthusiasm about this beer.  Taste the Munich flavor.  Spaten Oktoberfest Beer is amber in color. This medium bodied beer has achieved its impeccable taste by balancing the roasted malt flavor with the perfect amount of hops. Having a rich textured palate with an underlying sweetness true to tradition.

The Brewski Review:  Six HUNDRED years of brewing!   For that fact, 600 years of being in business!  Started in 1397, Spaten has been around longer than the United States.  I wonder if they exported their beer to Spain?  If they did, maybe Christopher Columbus had some Spaten beer on board when he hit the Caribean beaches in 1492.  Or, maybe Juan Ponce de Leone stocked his cabin fridge with it when he went looking for a pub crawl on ‘La Florida’ in 1513.  Given the rich brewing history, I guess this would be THE quintissential Oktoberfest to be drinking if this was your favorite type of beer.  Anyway, Oktoberfest refers to certian beers made by brewers in Munich proper.  So, if you purchase an American craft beer named ‘Oktoberfest’ it’s not a true Oktoberfest beer.  I thought Spaten’s Oktoberfest was just, well, okay.    It wasn’t too bitter but it had too much aftertaste for me.  Maybe I’m just not a fan of this type.  I could see myself drinking it again but it’s definitely not on the top of the list.

Drinkability: Lots of roasted malt flavor.
Appearance: Dark Amber in color.  Large foamy head.
The Buds: Okay.  I haven’t been won over by this type of beer just yet.
TBR Cap Rating:  3.75 out of 5

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