Friday, September 18, 2009

BridgePort Brewing Co: Ebenezer Ale

It's been a long journey but I finally found a beer. Not just any beer but a BridgePort brew. Why was I searching for a for this brand of beer? Well, let me be incredibly ridiculous and quote myself: "As you've probably noticed, I like to try to hit at least two beers from the same source so as not to make a snap decision on a brewery before sampling a couple of their craft." - Me, 801onTap; 1/23/09. I still hold to that belief and I was reserving judgment on BridgePort's quality of brew until I found another one of their offerings. Well, as you've probably figured out by now, I couldn't get my hands on another BridgePort craft since I sampled the brewery's IPA. Until now.

I was originally attracted to BridgePort in September of 2008 because they prominently advertise their bottle conditioning on their IPAs. At the time I was looking forward to my own bottle conditioning with my home-brew and I figured I'd give this Portland company a shot. But I didn't think it'd be a full 12 months until I was able to find this brewery again in California. Many liquor stores claim to hold BridgePort's Haymaker Extra Pale Ale, but it was all talk. As you can see, I finally found their Ebenezer Ale.

The Ebenezer Ale is a winter warmer. So this seasonal six pack must be left over from last year. My theory is supported by the fact that the sixer was on sale for $4.99. That's just fine for me as I've specifically been searching for the brewery. As for the taste, it's a little lighter and sweeter than expected. Don't get me wrong, it's clearly a winter warmer because it has a little bit of spice, a decent alcohol flavor, and a dark amber color. But the most prominent flavor is the sugary candy taste. Overall it's a ok beer but I'm glad I found Ebenezer in September. I myself prefer something a little spicier or thicker around holiday time. But overall, I'm just glad I finally found it. Cheers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Russian River Brewing Co: Redemption

I'll first start off by offering an apology to Russian River Brewing Co. I most recently purchased their Redemption Blonde Ale, one of the Belgian style brews that this Santa Rosa company creates. Printed on the back of the bottle is a nice picture of a classic conic pint glass with a big fatty 'X' over the image. As I mentioned in my last Russian River post, this brewery is located up in California wine country and has a viticulture tradition. Thus, Russian River Brew Co wants their customers to enjoy their European ales and their barrel aged craft the way they are meant to be sipped: from a goblet. As you can see from the photo, instead of going with the chalice I poured into a tradition pint glass.

Even though I apologized, I don't think RRBC will be that upset with me. Redemption is a little different than most Russian River brews. It's a lighter ale with a off-yellow coloring and only weighs in at 5.65% alcohol by volume. Most beer created by Russian River hovers around 7% and has a darker hue from aging in wine casks and barrels. Thus I felt didn't need to search for the appropriate glassware to open up hidden flavors and went straight to drinking. The initial smell and taste reminds me of a classic Belgian style beer with strong yeast aromas. The brew is quite tart with an citrus flavor that is more orangey than lemony. The finish is a little bitter and very dry. So dry that it raises the tastes buds on the tongue and drys out the mouth a little. The opposite of an American 'thirst quencher'. The mouth feel is pretty light and there is plenty of carbonation. Combined with the average avb is quite drinkable and I easily plowed through this 750ml bottle.

If you are looking for a Belgian style beer that lacks the punch of some traditional abbey based brews this is a good foray into the genre. Redemption has many of the same flavors but is light enough to provide the opportunity to easily try a whole bottle. Overall its a tasty American version of a Belgium beer that would be great in any drinking session. Even if you don't have proper glassware. Cheers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.: Drifter Pale Ale

Along with Pyramid, Widmer Brothers is probably the main reason for a surge of interest in the Hefeweizen genre in America over the last few years. But while Widmer may have set the bar for domestic hefs, they have been slow to make a name for themselves outside of that one genre. Recently, however, they released their take on the American Pale Ale.

Unfortunately, Widmer's pale is a bit of a disappointment. A la Sierra Nevada and Anchor, Widmer opted to imbue their pale ale with a distinct citrusy taste. However, while the two veteran breweries seemed to appreciate the need to offset the citrus taste with a good dose of hops, Widmer has let the citrus flavors run wild. In the absence of a strong hop presence, this beer takes on an almost sour flavor, which combined with the fruity sweetness makes for a rather odd combination. You get used to it by the bottom of the bottle, but I found the first few sips rather unpleasant.

Otherwise, this beer has a pretty light mouthfeel and is also light on the carbonation, which gives it an almost watery consistency. The malt flavors are perhaps a bit stronger than your typical pale, but that could just be a byproduct of the reduced hoppiness. In conclusion--no endorsement here. There is a glut of pales available these days, so try something else.