Joined 15 years ago
From Washington, DC, United States
Last seen drinking
Beer is more than a drink to me, it is a true passion. I believe in trying as many different beer styles as you can, and when ever possible, trying those beer at the source. I'm on that never ending quest of trying new and exciting beers.
My first experience with Snow Goose was a joy, it was a rich, strong, buttery ale, with great malt character, and a warming, soothing burn. That beer had changed when Frederick acquired Wild Goose, and it was not a good change in my opinion, this beer had lost some character. I once visited the Frederick Brewing Company in Frederick, MD taking the tour, and tasting all of Frederick's products. I asked the brew master, who gave the tour, if they had changed any of the Wild Goose recipes. He assured me that they had not, but I don't think he was being totally honest with me. I asked if Wild Goose beers were still being brewed with ringwood yeast, and he said, that yes, they were. NOT. I guess he thought he was dealing with a beer novice, or I had no understanding of yeast, or the brewing process, but I caught him in his white lie. Anyone who knows anything about ringwood yeast, and has visited a ringwood brewery, knows that ringwood is a very vibrant strain, and open fermenters must be used. Frederick which also brews Blue Ridge and Brimstone beers, are not brewed with the ringwood strain, and the fermenters were conical. So that would make it virtually impossible to brew with ringwood, the clean up would be a night mare, and they would run the risk of cross contaminating with their other yeast strain. So I suspect that Wild Goose beers were brewed with the same ale yeast strain used in brewing Blue Ridge, and Brimstone beers.
Snow Goose suffered from this in my opinion. It was still a tasty beer, but paled in comparison to what it once was. I'm happy to say, that has all changed. Frederick did a smart thing, they hired the former brew master from the Great Lakes Brewing Company, of Cleveland, OH. He decided to tweak the recipe for Snow Goose this year, and this is the best it has been in my opinion,since I first had it those many years ago. Snow Goose will never be a ringwood beer again, but this beer now has a great hop character, as well as malt character. It is hopped with Cascades, Willamettes, and Fuggles.
Snow Goose pours to a deep brow color with a nice, creamy tan head, and a soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is the first welcome change. This beer has some really nice, fragrant hop aromas. Piney, citric hop aromas marry with aromas of sweet malt, toast, and caramel. The palate is a very firm malt backbone. Rich flavors of sweet malt, caramel, toast, and toffee coat the tongue. Really a muscular malt body, not too hefty, but satisfying. Snow Goose finishes malty up front then dries with a long, citric bitter hop bite that lingers, and a slightly warming burn.
Really a very well done winter ale. Really good balance of malt and hop flavors and aromas. I don't think it will ever return to the ringwood glory days, but this Snow Goose is the best I have had in the past two or three years. The big hop character is welcome in my opinion. I would match this beer with hearty fare. This would work well with roasted turkey or pork. I would even pair this with a nice grilled steak and baked potato.
Abita Amber is a Munich style lager, and it is a good one in my opinion. This beer has a really nice crystal malt character, and is quite balanced. Abita Amber pours to a deep amber color with a nice white head, and a soft carbonation. The nose on this beer has some really nice malt aromas, and is balanced with some nice hop aromatics. The palate is a firm malt backbone of crystal malt flavors, slightly sweet, and a touch toasty. The body is really smooth and round. This is a very drinkable beer. This beer finishes will more malt character up front, then in balanced with a nice short, hop bitterness.
Really a well done, balanced, smooth, drinkable, lager. Good malt flavors, and just the right amount of hop bitterness to balance. This beer worked very well with an appetizer of "alligator bites" which are battered and fried chunks of alligator meat, served with a spicy, Tabasco spike dipping sauce. This beer also worked well with an entree of Jambalaya, a rice dish loaded with spicy taso ham, andouille sausage, shrimp, and okra. Often I pair a very hop accented brew to stand up to spicy fare, but a malt accented, balanced brew such as Abita Amber, works well with spicy fare too. I switched up to Turbo Dog for desert though. Its chocolatey character made the perfect foil to cranberry bread pudding and whiskey sauce. I would also match Abita Amber is German fare, it would work well with grilled bratwurst, and roasted pork or chicken dishes.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale is a really wonderful, rich, malty, warming brew spiced with ginger and honey. It is perfect for sipping during the holidays, and the cold winter months. Christmas Ale pours to a beautiful, opaque caramel color with a nice white head and a soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is wonderful. Really big sweet caramel malt aromas marry with some ginger spice character, and peppery hints of alcohol. The palate is rich, and delicious. More big sweet malt flavor, a touch of toffee, a hint of chocolate, and traces of honey flavor. Honey gives this beer a nice warming alcohol boost, but in general honey really doesn't impart all that much flavor to a beer. The body is hefty, and slightly syrupy. This beer finishes with more sweet malt up front, then ends with some nice ginger spice and a warming, high octane burn.
This is a fantastic winter warmer. I would match this beer with desert. It would work well with mince meat pie, or ginger bread men. I look forward to this beer every Christmas. This beer is hard to find, it can only be found in Great Lakes market, which is a few Midwestern states. So if your lucky enough to get Great Lakes beers, keep a eye out for this one.
Foggy Bottom Ale pours to a deep golden/amber color with a nice white head and a good carbonation. The nose on this beer is really fantastic. Really great, piney, citric, hop aromas flood the nose. This beer is dry hopped, making the hop aroma very fragrant. The palate is a lean malt backbone, really good biscuit malt flavors with a touch of caramel malt sweetness. The body on this beer is lean, and this beer is very smooth and drinkable. This beer finishes with a nice, snappy, bitter hop bite, that lingers, but then fades quickly.
Really a great American Pale Ale. Lots of good hop character in the nose, good pale malt flavors, and a short, but snappy hop bite. I often find myself drinking a few pints of this on draught when in Georgetown, Capitol Hill, or where else, Foggy Bottom. I also like buying bottles of the whole line of Foggy Bottom beers for home consumption. I would match this beer with a nice juicy hamburger, and some fries doused with malt vinegar. Great all around beer, seek this one out if in the DC Metro Area.
"The sun never sets on the Empire". And indeed, in Britain's Empire days, it never did, Britain had colonies that spanned the globe. India was one such colony. British troops stationed in India needed their daily beer, and the pale ales of Burton on Trent answered the call. But India was a long way from England, pale ale would spoil on that long sea voyage, and trips over land. What was a brewer to do? The answer? Take that famous Burton pale ale, brew it to a higher gravity giving it more alcohol, and add generous additions of hops to act as a preservative. This hoppy, potent brew becomes very popular among the British troops stationed in India, and a sub style of pale ale is born. This beer is now called India Pale Ale.
The Burton Bridge Brewery, of Burton on Trent, in the village of Staffordshire, England brewes a historical version of India Pale Ale. Empire India Pale Ale attempts to simulate what this beer might have tasted like to one of those British troops. This beer is a very strong pale ale, with a really firm pale malt body, and a very aggressive hop character. This beer is a real ale it is conditioned for six months in the cask(the average length of the sea voyage), and then is bottle conditioned as well, with the addition of more yeast. This has to be the hoppiest British India Pale Ale, I belive I have ever tasted. It just explodes with British, EKG hop aromas and flavors.
Empire India Pale Ale pours to a deep orange color with a rocky, thick white head, and a very lively carbonation. This beer is bottle conditioned, you have to pour carefully, you do not want to pour any of the yeast sediment in to your beer. The nose is the first thing that really impresses. I could literally smell the very fragrant floral hop character as I was pouring this beer. This beer is dry hopped by the bail loads. The nose is very aromatic with hop character, coupled with some pungent yeasty aromas as well. The palate is a very firm malt backbone, really nice biscuit like pale malt flavors mingle with some sweet caramel malt flavor. There is also a vinous character to this beer on the tongue, and again, a slight back drop of yeast flavor. This beer finishes with sweet maltiness up front, then dries with some really nice zesty hop bitterness, and a soothing, slightly warm alcohol burn. This beer weighs in at 7.5% avb, the proper strength of India Pale Ale.
An exceptional British tribute to what India Pale Ale must have really tasted like in the Empire days. This beer would be perfect match to spicy Indian fare, and would work really well with fish and chips. I was very impressed with this beer, hands down, the hoppiest BIPA I have ever tasted. The only knock on this beer is it is a bit pricey. This beer is imported by Beverage United, and I paid $4.99 for a 22 oz bottle. I think a beer as rare and special is worth it. Treat yourself to a taste of the Empire, and seek this beer out.