Had some good and not-so-good beers lately, and thought I'd put them all up together.
First, not-so-good: Samuel Adams Third Voyage double IPA (8.0%). Wanted to like this, had an interesting story about Captain Cook's 3rd Voyage (to New Zealand and the PacNW, where they got the hops for this twin-hemi hopped beer)...but while it had a spicy, fruity, piney nose, the beer itself was heavy, almost logy, and thick in the mouth. I know double IPAs are big, but the really good ones are much lighter on their feet than this.
Then, Samuel Adams turns around and delivers on the Belgian Session ale, at 4.3% (some details here), and it was wonderful. Skillful brewing got a lot of flavor out of the yeast, spices, and fruit peels in the beer, and that's what session beer brewing is all about. This one is a cross between a Belgian pale and a witbier, and it works quite well: the spicy notes mingled with light and creamy orange, and the whole thing finishes crisp and dry. This isn't me liking session beer, this is me liking a good beer.
I picked up two beers from Blatant Brewery in Massachusetts two weeks ago, and reviewed the Blatant Session here. I liked it, but I liked the Blatant IPA (6.5%) even more. The hops are firmly up-front, with an insistent pine-and-pith aroma and a captivating (and appetizing) bitterness on the tongue, and the whole of the beer trips lightly on the tongue, an agile dancer of an IPA that twirls and stamps. Delicious, and I wish I'd bought more.
I mentioned the newly reformulated Killian's Irish Red in my St. Patrick's Day post (you know, the one and only one), and it deserves further mention.I remember the way Coors originally did Killian's, back in the 1980s: a surprisingly estery ale, quite tasty, a beer I used to buy by the keg. Then they changed it...and it was bland, but still red, and propped up by plastic paddy marketing. This new beer is still a lager, I think, but the new Killian's is much more malty than the debased reddish-amber flab-bag it had become. It's slippery-smooth, with some juicy Vienna-like malt in the middle, and a good malt finish. Again, surprising. Definitely one I'd buy if I were out in a bar.
I also got a variety 12-pack of Genesee beers from my good friend Sam Komlenic for my birthday last month, and I cracked out two of them, too. 12 Horse Ale was an old fave, but...wow, not so much. Blunt, even coarse, to the point where I was thinking to myself, man, I hope this has changed, because I'd hate to think I once liked a beer like this. But the old reliable, Genesee Cream Ale, was a fun beer to drink! I wasn't expecting much after the 12 Horse wagon crash, but Genny Cream was sweet and light, showing the cream ale style that won multiple GABF gold medals (Genny Cream has more gold medals than almost any other beer; seven, I think). I'd happily order this again on a hot day in a shady bar.
Got some more, but I have to go sing. Maybe later.