Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Rental: surprisingly welcoming

I got a sample from East Coast Beer Co. back in December, their Winter Rental schwarzbier. I was all "ho-hum, another New Jersey contract brewer," because these outfits haven't had a great track record. (Anyone remember Coffaro Beer? Diving Horse Lager?) It's brewed at Genesee, as you can tell by the "Rochester, NY" on the label, where they've done a great job on the Narragansett seasonals, but...to be honest, I wasn't in a rush to try it.


But then I needed to get some tasting notes together for a column I do in the local weekly paper (nice source of pocket money), so Tuesday afternoon I popped it. Okay, I'd made a mistake waiting this long! The beer smelled rich and malty from almost a foot away, but it was not thick and sweet on the tongue: smoothly refreshing (sounds like a 60s beer ad, I know, but it is), a little hop bite up front that swooshes into lightly chocolatey malt with a slight crunch of roast; saunters off into a clean finish.

I have to apologize to you: shouldn't have waited so long on this one. If you like schwarzbier, get out and give this one a shot. It's 5.6% ABV, and quite tasty.

17 comments:

RICH said...

Wow. Never heard of the stuff. NJ, huh? Definitely haven't seen it around here.

And what weekly local paper?

Lew Bryson said...

I started doing it for the Bucks County Advance about three years ago. Just a 50 word weekly beer review. And it got picked up in all their papers: Princeton Packet, Bristol Pilot, and so on. Fun, I get to talk about beers I like, and it's some easy money, frankly. Not a lot, but I like having a local presence too, even though it is pretty small.

Steven said...

Wait, a slight crunch of roast?

That's a new descriptor to me! I guess it's no different from Jackson describing Märzen as "chewy."

Lew Bryson said...

Well, you know, it's all metaphorical! Roastiness makes me think of crunching roasted malt (or coffee beans).

Lew Bryson said...

Come to think of it, Jackson also described a Vienna lager as "juicy." A beer? "Juicy"? More than a different beer?

Kurt Epps-The PubScout said...

You guys in Pennsy will probably be late to your own funerals...when the brewer's your former student, like Tom is mine, you get advance notice of good beers like this. Have you guys heard of iPads yet? ;)

sam k said...

The folks at High Falls(not Genesee anymore) make the best remaining affordable porter IMHO (in the absence of the late, lamented Stegmaier porter), though it's only available these days in their Dundee's variety pack.

Not surprising then, to me at least, that they can make a great schwarzbier.

And yes, I remember both Coffaro and Diving Horse, though very vaguely for obvious reasons.

Lew Bryson said...

Actually, Sam... It's Genesee again.

Scoats said...

Genessee's lager yeast is really first rate. I'd happily drink pretty much any lager brewed there, no matter who's name was on the can or bottle.

steve, no n said...

These guys aren't your normal contract cash-grab. They're making solid beer. High Falls brews it, but it's from their recipe. The main Beach Haus beer isn't half bad, either. A pilsner that's probably not hoppy enough to satisfy the geekirati, but it's a good, thirst-quenching summer beer.

sam k said...

Lew, I honestly had no idea it had reverted back to Genesee. Good news as far as I'm concerned! Own your legacy.

Scoats, that lager yeast is indeed first-rate, to the point that they will not let another brewery's yeast into the plant. Straub contract brews their canned product there, and they must use Genny's yeast. No encroachers!

jb said...

Sam K, Since we're piling on with corrections, it is redundant to say "reverted back."

Agree about the dundee porter and the lamentation. Here's a tip for you-- check out, if you can, narragansett porter in cans. 7% but top rate and brewed in - you guessed it - Rochester, NY.

Lew Bryson said...

Zing, Sam: he gotcha!

Concurred on the Porter, absolutely, and keep an eye out for the Bock, too: http://lewbryson.blogspot.com/2011/03/happy-st-patricks-day-with-surprise-in.html

jb said...

I have had it. This may be an upopular verdict, especially among beer geeks (I love riling up that sect), but I find genesee bock superior to gansett bock, and at half the cost. There is something unique about the taste that I really enjoy. Genny bock has proven extremly popular with my non-geek beer drinking friends that they are what I call devoted drinkers.

Lew Bryson said...

Well, I haven't had -- or seen! -- Genny Bock in years, so I can't offer an opinion. I remember the Dundee Pale Bock, though, which was freakin' great.

jb said...

Head up to the midstate Lew and you'll find it next month, or to the NE. It'll be around in your travels. It is what it is. If you dont mind corn (I dont) and dont expect it to be $40 a case beer and just enjoy it for what it is, you wont find a better beer for the price. Makes a great alternative to lighter stuff out of the cooler in warmer days, too.

Jeff Linkous said...

Winter Rental is a good beer. Merk gave me some back in October, I put it up against Guinness black lager ...

I found nothing to like about the Guinness; metaphorically, GBL was like waking up to Monday; WR was a Friday night going out.

It's a pleasing beer.