Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, February 16, 2007

Speaking of Sam Adams...

Check out these photos of "BigDog" Mike, Chris, Shridar and me when we took the Sam Adam's brewery tour a couple of months ago. One of the beers they let us taste was the Boysenberry Wheat, a LongShot winner from 2006, which was MUCH better on draft than it was from a bottle. Sadly, I didn't write a review for this tasting.


That's me and the guys having a toast over a few fresh glasses of Sam. The tasting room was standing room only at this point, but of course we had "front row seats" right by the bar. In fact the tour guide/bar tender snapped this photo.

Here's Chris pouring a glass of the award winning Boysenberry Wheat as Mike looks on...

From left to right: Chris, "BigDog" Mike, Shridar, and me in the Sam Adams brewery tasting room.

That's me and a sloppy pour, I was a little over eager to partake in the goodness. The brewery tour had my mouth watering.

Mike and Chris toast over a couple glasses of fresh and delicious Sam Adams Boston Lager.

Me and two empty pitchers of Sam... That's the tour guide in the background, he has a great job!

I'm planning on making another run up to the Sam Adam's brewery, followed by a jaunt across town to the Harpoon brewery. Two brewery tours in one day, with a great city full of great bars for afterwards. What could be better than that? Stay tuned!!!

Samuel Adams LongShot Mix Six-Pack Featuring Winners of 2006 American Homebrew Contest

Looking for something new at the package store this weekend? Why not try the Sam Adams LongShot six-pack? Sam Adams released this special edition sixer featuring the winners from their 2006 Homebrew Contest.

Jim Koch is really trying to bring the joy of Homebrewing into the mainstream, and he's giving the average joe the chance to get his or her own 15 minutes of beer making fame.

The collection includes Old Ale by Don Oliver of California, a Dortmunder Export brewed by Bruce Stott from Massachusetts and a Boysenberry Wheat, submitted by Samuel Adams employee winner Ken Smith from Colorado. Don Oliver and Bruce Stott were selected out of more than 1,500 homebrewer contestants.

I can't help but wonder how many out of that original 1,500, were just rotten beers. Much in the same way that American Idol has some real losers in the first few rounds... You think there were any Natural Lite quality beers in the early rounds of judging?

"It was tough choosing the winners, but our panel of judges decided that the Old Ale and the Dortmunder Export stood apart from the rest in taste and adherence to style guidelines. As for Ken's Boysenberry Wheat, it is also truly exceptional," said Samuel Adams founder and brewer, Jim Koch. "I'll never forget the feeling I had when Samuel Adams Boston Lager was first sold on shelves nationwide, and I'm excited to share that experience with all three winners."

Check out the reviews that "BigDog" Mike and I did on the LongShot beers, by selecting the links above... Our first attempts at reviewing beers...

If you have any hopes of getting your homebrew in next year's LongShot sixer, you'll need to act soon! Entries need to be in between April 15 and May 1, 2007 and the winners will be announced in October at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. Details



I'm not ready, I'm still a novice, by my goal is to be good enough to enter in 3 years... That's right, I want to make a beer for the 2010 LongShot sixer, but I have a lot to learn in the mean time...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sam Adams - Dortmunder Export

Beer: Sam Adams - Dortmunder Export
(2006 LongShot Homebrew Winner)

Style: Dortmunder / Export Lager

Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: Made popular in the 19th century in Dortmunder, Germany, these pale golden lagers exhibit a classic clean character with notes of biscuity malts. Bitterness is akin to a German Pilsner with an aromatic aroma. Mouthfeel is firm and even, with an overall dry tone.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-6.0%

How was it served? From a bottle Glass: Standard pint glass

Location of tasting: "BigDog" Mike's house

Reviewers: Bryon & guest reviewer - "BigDog" Mike

Bryon's Review

1. Appearance - Sam's Dortmunder Export is a very inviting clear and golden beer with a light head.

2. Smell - Sam's Dortmunder Export produces a malty biscuity aroma. I was reminded of the pleaseant smells that would come from Mom's kitchen after a round of baking. If only Mom baked me up a batch of beer once in a while... (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt...)

3. Taste - In keeping with the baked goods theme, this beer literally tasted like home made bread, or perhaps cake. You can definately taste the malts as the beer moves from bitter to sweet. The overall flavor was a bit overpowering for me, too sweet, almost like the beer equivilant of a desert wine.

4. Mouthfeel - Course, medium in body. The carbonation was moderate to flat. Not overly satisfying.

5. Drinkability - Drinkable? Yes, but certainly not a favorite, it's the beer that tried too hard. Good for 1 or 2 at most.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: 5

Sam Adams - Boysenberry Wheat

Beer: Sam Adams - Boysenberry Wheat
(2006 LongShot Homebrew Winner)

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: An Americanized version of a Hefe Weizen, these beers range within the pale to golden range in color. Reminiscent of a Hefe Weizen in appearance, unless filtered. Long-lasting head with a light to medium body, higher carbonation is proper. German Weizen flavors and aromas of banana esters and clove-like phenols will not be found. Most use a substantial percentage of wheat malt. Hop character will be low to high but most are moderate in bitterness. There may be some fruitiness from ale fermentation though most examples use of a fairly neutral ale yeast, resulting in a clean fermentation with little to no diacetyl.

Often served with a lemon wedge (popularized by Americans), to either cut the wheat or yeast edge, which many either find to be a flavorful snap ... or an insult and something that damages the beer's taste and head retention.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%

How was it served? From a bottle Glass: Standard pint glass

Location of tasting: "BigDog" Mike's house

Reviewers: Bryon & guest reviewer - "BigDog" Mike

Bryon's Review

1. Appearance -
Sam's Boysenberry Wheat had an inviting golden bown color, with a cloudy or hazy quality. I was dissapointed with the moderate head, but that may have been due to my pouring technique.

2. Smell - Sam's Boysenberry Wheat has a sweet fruity smell. Pleasant enough, but not what your average beer drinker would come to expect from a typical pint. (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt...)

3. Taste - This beer can best be described as a buttery boysenberry pancake in a bottle. The berry favoring was good, not overpowering, but any more would have been. Visions of berry muffins danced in my head. The beer's creator did a solid job of balancing the berry and fruity undertones with the beer's mild bitterness.

4. Mouthfeel - Creamy and toasty with a healthy amount of carbonation. Not heavy, but bordering on chewy, which goes hand in hand with my pancake and muffin analogies.

5. Drinkability - A drinkable beer, if you don't mind the berry undertones. I'd have more than one if it was being served, but this isn't something I'd drink on a regular basis. The novelty of the berry flavoring may get old.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: A strong 6.

And for a second opinion...

"BigDog" Mike's Review

1. Appearance -
Cloudy but inviting, complemented by a splendid head.

2. Smell - Sweet and fruity, with a delightful herbal quality.

3. Taste - Full flavored, bruity but exciting. Balanced with a taste of Spring in mind.

4. Mouthfeel - Chewy and fruity - fully balanced.

5. Drinkability - Very fruitfull!

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: 8

Sam Adams - White Ale

Beer: Sam Adams - Whte Ale

Style:
Witibier

Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: A Belgian Style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that's used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other odd ball spices or herbs in the back ground. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the US have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you'll ask for yours without one.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%

How was it served? From a bottle Glass: Standard pint glass

Location of tasting: "BigDog" Mike's house

Reviewers: Bryon & guest reviewer - "BigDog" Mike

Bryon's Review

1. Appearance -
Sam's White Ale had a very pleasant dark golden color, with a cloudy or hazy quality typical of the style. Pouring the beer from the bottle into a nice clean pint glass produced a moderate head, which didn't last long. More head would have been better. (Insert your own inappropriate head joke here...) Sam's White Ale had a fair amount of carbonation and an over all inviting appearance.

2. Smell - Sam's White Ale had a pleaseant sweet and fruity smell, not in the least overbearing. I also detected a slightly roasted or toasty quality mingling with the smell of the variety of spices that came through. Could that have been the famous "grains of paradise" I detected? (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt...)

3. Taste - A very refreshing and satisfyling sweet flavor. A pleaseant and distinct taste that reminded me of butter. The beer goes from smooth to a light and toasty taste, featuring crisp citrus highlights and a slight twang in flavor.

4. Mouthfeel - A medium bodied beer that is light enough for a warm Spring day, but satisfying enough for any time of year. The level of carbonation gives the beer additional substance, yet remains light enough to refresh the drinker as it moves from a gentle creamy start to a crisp ending.

5. Drinkability - This is a very drinkable beer. Satisfying, but won't leave you bloated. The perfect treat for a hot Sping or Summer day in the back yard.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: A solid 7!

And for a second opinion...

"BigDog" Mike's Review

1. Appearance -
Sam's White Ale was robust, cloudy, alive and inviting.

2. Smell - Sweet and roasty with both herbal and fruity elements.

3. Taste - A good flavor, although, slightly bitter.

4. Mouthfeel - Not flat nor over carbonated, goes down like water.

5. Drinkability - Yes, I would have another, it's drinkable.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: 7

Monday, February 5, 2007

Guiness is seeing RED?

Did you hear about the new beer Guiness is testing? It's red...

Guinness, the dark Irish beer known to generations of drinkers as the "black stuff", is turning red in some pubs this month as the brewer kicks off a trial of the beer first brewed by Arthur Guinness in 1759.
This new twist on an old friend will still have the same world famous head of the traditional Guiness, and also the same 4.1 percent alcohol level, but it will also have a less bitter taste thanks to the half roasted barley that will also give it it's color. According to Guinness, the traditional black Guinness already has a reddish hue and by using half roasted malting barley the reddish colour is merely highlighted in the new version of the old favorite.

I sure would love to try a pint, but sadly it's only being tested in pubs in Ireland British pubs at the moment. Hopefully it's good and sticks around long enough to get imported to the states so we can all give it a try!

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