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.

April 20, 2011

Avery Brewing Co.’s IPA Review 4.20.2011

Avery Brewing Co.'s India Pale Ale

Avery Brewing Co.'s India Pale Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Avery’s India Pale Ale
File Date: 4.20.2011

File Name: Same ‘o, Same ‘o thing.
The Beer: India Pale Ale
Type: American IPA
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 6.5% ABV
Brewer: Avery Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.averybrewing.com
Country/State of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: Since 1993 our brewery has been committed to producing eccentric ales and lagers that defy styles or categories. Our products are thoroughly American at heart: blending Old World tradition and expertise with ingenuity, creativity and boldness. We are dedicated to making beer from the inside out: we brew what we like to drink – with utter disregard for what the market demands – and search out fans with equally eccentric palates (We learned long ago that expressing your true self is much more fulfilling that giving in to outside pressures. Don’t you agree?) If you think your taste buds can keep up with our brews, we invite you to check out our entire lineup of more than twenty different beers. Peace to all and follow your dreams! The Avery Brewing Crew.

tbr-averyipa2Brewer Brand Hype: In the 1700s one crafty brewer discovered that a healthy dose of hops and an increase alcohol content preserved his ales during the long voyage to India (as depicted in our label) to quench the thirst of British troops. Today, we tip our hat to that historic innovation by brewing Colorado’s hoppiest pale ale. Avery IPA demands to be poured into your favorite glass to truly appreciate the citrusy, floral bouquet and the rich, malty finish.
Label: Our IPA demands to be poured into your favorite glass to truly appreciate the citrusy, floral bouquet and the rich, malty, yet dry finish.

The Brewski Review: Super hoppy IPA worth a try if your into this sort of thing. I don’t really care for the bitterness so I may tend to down-rate my review based upon my negative preference for mucho bitterness. That isn’t to say this isn’t a good beer. I’m sure there may be quite a following for this brand. I’m just not one of them.

Drinkability: Probably not.
Appearance: Deeper golden color.
The Buds: Whoa! Hop city.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

April 17, 2011

Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA Review 4.17.2011

Bear Republic's Racer 5 India Pale Ale

Bear Republic's Racer 5 India Pale Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing
File Date: 4.17.2011

File Name: An IPA like any other IPA
The Beer: Racer 5 India Pale Ale
Type: India Pale Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7% ABV
Brewer: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.bearrepublic.com
State/Country of Origin: CA, USA
Brewer Info: Bear Republic Brewing Company (Bear Republic) was founded by third and fourth generation Sonoma County residents. From the humble beginning of home brewing to the demanding process of commercial brewing, came the realization that to produce the distinctive flavors and aroma we found appealing required the founding of our own Brew Pub. Through this process owners Richard R Norgrove, and wife Sandy, Richard G Norgrove, (Brew Master) and wife Tami, developed the style and mark of Bear Republic’s award winning, hand-crafted lagers and ales. Located in historic Healdsburg, California, where hop kilns from another era are still visible, our products are brewed and aged using the traditional “art” of the masters. Bear Republic’s family business is unique, from the mother who greets you at the door, to the son who brews the ales, the father who pulls tap and the daughter-in-law who keeps the books. The Norgroves invite you inside for healthy food and drink for the enjoyment of the whole family. Our goal is to create and cultivate a Brew Pub and Restaurant that the locals can call their own and that makes visitors feel at home. We work hard at fostering a sense of loyalty and tradition from eras gone by.

tbr-racer52Brewer Brand Hype: This hoppy American IPA is a full bodied beer brewed American pale and crystalmalts, and heavily hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. There’s a trophy in every glass.
Label: Racer 5 is an aggressive styled India Pale Ale. Handmade from a brewery whose motto is “Bigger is Better.” This golden, well hopped, bottle-conditioned ale demands your attention. Try the next generation of I.P.A. Racer 5…Go..Go..  Keep cold, respect life, don’t D + D, real ale is alive, yeast is good, serve at 45 – 50 F.

The Brewski Review: Nothing outstanding about this IPA as compared to some of the others I’ve tasted. Hoppy bitterness abounds for this type of brew so you’d be well to expect it. I’m not a big fan of the bitterness but you may be. It’s a decent beer so grab one and taste it up.

Drinkability: Good. Would drink again.
Appearance: Tight foamy head. Cloudy deep golden color.
The Buds: Hoppy and bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

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: www.gooseisland.com
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.

June 20, 2010

Dogfish Head’s Aprihop IPA Beer Review 6.20.10

Plenty O' Fish Head On This Beer

Plenty O' Fish Head On This Beer

The Brewski Report on Dogfish Head’s Aprihop India Pale Ale.
File Date: 6.20.10

File Name: Dogfish Brings Their B Game
The Beer: India Pale Ale 
Type: American IPA
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7.0% ABV
Brewer: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Web Site: http://www.dogfish.com
Country of Origin: DE, USA
Brewer Info: The story of Dogfish Head began in June of 1995 when we opened Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, the first state’s first brewpub opened in the resort beach community of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The plan was to bring original beer, original food, and original music to the area. With the popularity of the pub growing, it was quickly apparent that the 12–gallon brewery would not keep up with demand. We built a new brewery and underwent a thirty-fold expansion of the brew house! We outgrew our distributing brewery in a couple years and in the summer of 2002; we moved our entire production brewery up the road to Milton, Delaware into a 100,000 square foot converted cannery. Around the same time (just to keep thing interesting), we built a distillery on the second floor of our Rehoboth Beach brewpub, so we could make vodka, rum and gin.

Brewer Brand Hype: Aprihop is our fruit beer for hopheads! It is antbr-aprihop-logo1 American IPA brewed with Pilsner and Cystal malts massively hopped in in the continuous fashion. The flavor is complimented by the addition of Apricots. After fermentation the beer is dry hopped with irresponsible amounts of Amarillo hops. The beer is hoppy in the aroma with the apricots playing a supporting complimentary role. The flavor is rich with late hop flavors and it’s bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricots. This is one of our most popular seasonal beers and we’ve been brewing it each spring for quite a while now. We release the beer each March and you should find it on the shelves through May.
Label: A Serious India Pale Ale Brewed With Real Apricots.

The Brewski Review: I thought this would be a winner when I pulled it off the shelf. I like apricot jam so why not beer? Would the flavor blow me away? As the beer rolled across my tongue I sensed a little sweetness and a faint apricot taste but nothing that rang my bells. Overall this was a decent IPA but when it billed itself as a ‘serious India Pale Ale brewed with real apricots’ it elevated the game. On this one I don’t think Dogfish Head Brewery bought their skillsets to the court. As noted, it’s a decent beverage but I don’t see the ‘Apricot’ adding much. It reminds me of Abita’s Strawberry beer – It’s probably in the beer, but the taste isn’t coming across like you would expect – you know, since it’s advertised. That is, at least not for my buds.  Maybe you’ll have different feedback. So, I most certainly won’t discourage you from at least trying it if you like apricots.

Drinkability: Will try some other IPA before drinking Aprihop again.
Appearance: Medium amber in color.
The Buds: Slight presence of apricot flavor.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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