|Highest Rated||Fixed Gear (75 / 100)
||Average score||67 / 100 (Solid)|
|Lowest Rated||Rendezvous (58 / 100)
58 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Slowbeer and given to me for Christmas by Sam.
Pours a clear and rather vibrant amber colour, quite light and fluid. Head is a slightly bubbly ring, larger at the start, but ultimately just a minimal edging to the glass. Carbonation is fine. Looks decent enough, but not very exciting.
Nose is worty, a little sweet but savoury, and with a slightly brusque odour of BO. Some rustic spice and a touch of roastiness, weirdly. It's perhaps a little oxidised as well, giving a slightly flat papery character. Hmm.
Somewhat chewy grain character on the front, just a hint of spice. Slight sweetness as well, a little candy and caramel. Old lemon skin and a definite wet cardboard oxidised character. BB date is 05/14, but even now it's tasting a bit old. Feel is pretty smooth at least: it accentuates the caramel, which is a bit of a shame, but allows some of the aromatics to come through on the finish. Hints of melon and pepper, perhaps.
Overall, this is okay, but I don't think it's in its prime to begin with, and I'm not convinced it really has the chops to be good even when fresh. Still, it's nice to have tried it at least.
70 / 100
22oz bottle purchased from Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA. No freshness date on the label itself, but the Ledger's sticker notes delivery was taken 4-13.
Pours a pleasantly hazed, but bright golden yellow colour. Head forms a fizzling, rather unpersistent crown of white, that eventually burns out to almost nothing. Carbonation is fine, and there's some weight to the body, despite its relatively low ABV. Looks decent enough: the lack of head is slightly disappointing.
Nose is extremely pleasant. It's a subtle use of rauchmalz here, providing a slightly sweet smokiness to an otherwise solid basis of crisp German malt. There's a good lager basis to the beer: slightly grainy, crisp, light and slightly fragrant, and it's set off nicely by the Bamburg beechwood smoke. It provides a little campfire wood, some sweet, bacon notes and an earthy wholesomeness. Lovely stuff.
The taste is a lot more subtle, especially from the smokiness side, but it's much like the Schlenkerla Helles Lager in this regard, which is not heavily smoked. Indeed, this has more smoke aroma on the nose than it did. On the palate, this is light, slightly crisp, but slightly fuller bodied than it needs to be. Weak malt provides the basis, while a slight medicinal character provides a dull counterpoint over the top. Some smoke comes from the aroma, and the finish is a little empty, but not particularly crisp.
Overall, this is nice stuff. I like the dose of smoke on the nose: it provides a pleasant quirk to an otherwise solid beer, and does so in a meaningful and well-integrated manner. It ends up being clean, light and easy to drink, and despite some little kinks, it ends up being a pretty compelling package.
75 / 100
Purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a gorgeously coloured red-amber hue with a frothy, but not particularly persistent head of off-white. Lacing is decent and rather solid. Body is full and firm. Looks very nice indeed.
Nose is warm and full-bodied, with a relatively sweet malty tone cut through with a pleasant bite of citrussy hops. Hint of copper as well. From the depth in the sweetness to the classic hoppy characters, it appears canonically American.
Taste is smooth but relatively light. Grainy entry, spiked with a little lilting lemon hop character, before a faintly sweet, slightly carbonic mid-palate. Finish is dry, with a slight metallic twang and a hint of earthy yeast. Feel is smooth and pleasant, but the lightness is a little disappointing.
A decent brew with a good amount going for it. Drinkable, and stylistically pretty good. Certainly good enough to make me keep my eyes open for other Lakefront beers.