Browsing CategoryBeers

keegan-ales-mothers-milk

Keegan Ales began brewing in an abandoned brewery in Kingston, NY around 2003. Since then, their beer lineup (especially the Mother’s Milk) has been a major staple in the Hudson Valley and New York beer scene. They now contract brew some of their beer in Stratford, CT. I like pouring this milk stout from the bottle with some vigor, which creates a nice frothy head and gets all the Oedipus complex out. The stout is mostly black, with a rich brown layer of foam. The nose is more grassy and dusty at first but leads to some sweeter aromas like chocolate and roasted coffee bean as it sits. The flavor profile is kind of what you’d expect from a stout but with a sweeter finish. Toasted marshmallow and black coffee flavors stand out most. The best part about this beer is the thick “milky” texture and abundance of malt. This quality…

oktoberfest

I received this beer as a gift, unaware that Southampton Publick House even produced an Oktoberfest (Marzen) beer. Beers made in this style, and not just seasonally, are some of my favorite beers to drink.  The mild hopping, big maltiness, and slight sweetness of Oktoberfest beers work well in basically any situation that involves drinking beer. Southampton Publick House’s rendition this year is excellent and proper to the style. Although there may have been some spice/adjunct additions, the ale is a nice dull copper with hefty foam. The nose diffuses caramel malt, nutmeg, and an earthy quality of dry hay.  The texture of the beer is full and luscious. The milky texture carries a serious malt flavor reminiscent of unfermented beer wort. This makes sense as many brewers purposefully leave some residual sugars(derived from malt) in an Oktoberfest to balance out the big body and flavor of the beer. More roasty,…

brooklyn-blast

I first tried “Brooklyn Blast” ale at the Brooklyn Brewery tasting room in Williamsburg some years ago. I immediately fell in love. At the time, the beer was only available on draft and was not something often found outside of Brooklyn. It stuck in my mind as one of those powerful beers that just feels good to drink. It also happened to be the night of the “Pig and Pickle” event, where pulled pork slathered with hot sauce was served alongside the sourest pickles I’ve ever had. The ale, touted as a “rambunctious IPA” by the producer, seemed to cut through these particularly strong flavors and became the star of Brooklyn’s lineup in my eyes. Now, it’s available in bottle and is distributed more widely. The strong ale is an electric copper-orange color when poured, with thin white foam and lacing covering the beer. Obvious as a poisonous snake, the…

kelso-ipa

I bought this beer not knowing if I would really like it. Imperial IPAs are often overblown, out of balance and hard to drink. There are always a few solid go-to selections and Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Blast is the first that comes to mind. When done well, the style can be excellent and mouth-filling. They’re best alongside hearty meat dishes like pork shoulder or short ribs. I equate them to the California Cabs of the beer world. That being said, I’m rarely eating short ribs while I drink these beers so I appreciate a balance and quaffability in them as well. Kelso’s house-style is usually geared towards a more drinkable style of beer and it shows in their Industrial IPA. For an Imperial IPA, the brewer must use a serious amount of malt to provide the yeast with enough sugars to ferment the ale up to 10%ABV. To counterbalance the…

ommegang-fleur

The Fleur De Houblon (hop flower ale) from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY has been my favorite “summer ale” this season. Albeit not my preferred style of beer, summer ales are ubiquitous this time of year. Many of these ales eventually find my gullet out of pure thirst, oppressive heat and/or lack of a better choice. I like this beer because it isn’t limpid, over-carbonated, and shows more complexity than any other offering in its class. Poured gently to not disturb the yeast sediment, the ale glows a bright yellow-gold color with a pearl frothy head. Whole-cone Bravo hops (featured on the front label) show fresh apricot, lemon, and lilac on the nose. There’s also a familiar yeast aroma I associate with this brewery. It has an under-ripe banana aroma that I notice in a lot of Belgians, but more distinct. Ommegang actually use a “house yeast” that’s undoubtedly Belgian…

southampton-publick-house

Irish Ales or “Irish Reds” are rarely brewed on Long Island — perhaps because we aren’t in Ireland. Nevertheless, the borrowed style seems to have been almost ignored once people realized they could order a Bourbon Barrel Bacon Doughnut beer. The style has waned in popularity here in the United States, with newer and bigger beers coming along and dominating. It reminds me a bit of Counting Crows’ popularity in the 90’s. “But I always liked Counting Crows” you might say. Well good, me too. I also like Irish Reds. So I’m bringing it back to a beer I have liked for years, and I even found one made ‘round here. The ale pours an amber-red with a brown core and a finger head that barely leaves a trace. The nose is warm and sweet, with ginger, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar. There’s a strong starchy aroma that brought a vision of cooked…

port-jeff-ipa

On Wednesday, Port Jeff Brewing Company, nestled alongside Port Jefferson Harbor, released its first batch of Party Boat IPA in 12 oz. cans — the first time the brewery has brewed and canned a beer on Long Island. Why IPA in cans you might ask? Well, besides avoiding degradation of the beer from UV light exposure and lower costs than glass — it just feels right. We’re almost programmed to drink beer from a can.  Man buys can, man opens can, man drinks beer. Before the explosion of craft beer, you didn’t have to think about beer as much while drinking it. This beer reminds me of those days.  The back of the can explains it best. If I had poured it into a glass, I’d imagine it would smell like citrus, biscuit, tangerine and fresh pine. It would probably have a dark gold to orange color with a wispy…

ithaca-groundbreak

Ithaca Beer Company is one of my go-to brewers when I’m upstate (anywhere north of Westchester for us Long Islanders). They have a solid lineup, yet the brown ale and “Flower Power” IPA are always my favorites. This saison pours a dark yellow to orange color with champagne-like froth. There’s more haze and sediment than I would have expected from an American Saison, although its European counterparts are well known for it. Whatever particles aren’t stuck to the bottom of the bottle slide happily into the bath of ale (it’s ok, yeast is packed with vitamin B and B12). The nose shows ripe banana and grassy aromas typically associated with this style, but was lacking a definitive saison character.  The heavy dose of Amarillo, Crystal and Glacier hops dominate the nose, hence the distinguishing “American Saison.” It made me miss the funk and producer-variation of a good Belgian farmhouse Saison.…

2013-black-ops

According to Brooklyn Brewery’s website: [box_light]“Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout originally concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy…Supposedly Black Ops was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with champagne yeast.”  [/box_light] This stout is a limited production, vintage-labeled beer that is fervently sought after by Brooklyn Brewery enthusiasts. The Imperial Stout’s short supply and known aging potential creates a demand that evaporates Black Ops before it hits the shelves. I’ve had the opportunity to drink a 2008 vintage with four years of bottle-aging, and can fully attest to the complexity and softness this beer develops with time. The beer pours a dark brown to black with some brown persisting around the glass rim. There is a cappuccino-colored wispy head that dissipates but leaves a bit floating for the remainder of…

moustache-1

I recently visited the Moustache Brewing Co. during their ribbon-cutting ceremony and was able to taste through three of their current releases.  The One Drop Pale Ale, Everyman’s Porter and Ocelot 2.0 IPA were all impressive, but the IPA filled my growler and made the ride back home with me. The ale pours a bright orange-copper hue that just looks delicious. A bit too cold at first, the nose shows orange blossom, grapefruit rind and lemon. Once warmed, the aromatic hops are even more prevalent with a piney character taking over. A slight caramel note hints that the palate will have some malt character to balance, which it did. There’s some blood orange and grapefruit on the palate, with a lot of honeydew melon (I love tropical fruits in beer when you don’t put tropical fruits in beer). The bitterness is balanced, but very persistent, lasting long after you put…