Commercial Craft Beer

August 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’ve been trying a lot of different craft beers lately, and I’d like to remember what I thought of them, as the flavors are already starting to blur in my mind.

Who am I that feel qualified to rate beer? I’m just someone who enjoys drinking good beer. I also brew my own. I was delightfully surprised to find that homebrew can often be better than good commercial craft beers. I am not a professional brewer, nor a master brewer, nor am I qualified by the BJCP to be a judge in beer competitions. I just know what I like, and I want to remember. Because life is too short to drink bad beer.

Here’s my rating system. It is entirely subjective. My ratings may differ wildly from yours.
5 = Truly excellent. I must drink this again before I die. Nirvana.
4 = Great. I’d gladly pay good money for this beer. I’d give this to people I like.
3 = Good. Not my top choice, but enjoyable in a pinch. I’d stock it in my house if I were short on cash or if what I really wanted wasn’t available.
2 = Eh. If I bought it, I’d finish drinking it, but I’d never buy another.
1 = Bad. If I were a guest in someone’s house, and this is the only beer they had, I’d choke the first one down with a smile and drink water henceforth.
0 = Truly terrible. The drain is the only place for this. I question the sanity of anyone who drinks this on purpose.

Here they are, in no particular order.

Wasatch Beers, White Label (Belgian Style White Ale): 4.5
Very, very good. Everything I want from a Witbier. Somewhat fruity, light, flavorful, smooth, distinctive … a joy to drink.

Boulder Beer Company, Kinda Blue (Blueberry Wheat Beer): 2.5
The beer itself is so-so, and the blueberry flavor is mild. It would be a 2.0 if not for the novelty.

Bear Republic, Red Rocket Ale: 3.5
A nice balanced flavorful beer. I prefer Retro Red (New Belgium Brewery) to this, but Red Rocket is a decent red/amber ale. I probably wouldn’t regularly stock it, but I’d pick it up occasionally.

Left Hand Brewing Company, Milk Stout: 4.0
Wonderfully smooth, slightly sweet stout. Just enough bitterness to make it not too sweet. Creamy. Want more.

Left Hand Brewing Company, Good Juju (Beer Brewed With Ginger): 2.0
The beer is forgettable, and the ginger is barely noticeable. I’m trying to not let this put me off other beers accented with ginger.

Widmer Brothers Brewing, Hefeweizen: 4.0
Very good hefeweizen. Possibly the best I’ve had in a bottle that wasn’t a homebrew. I’d have to do a taste test to compare it with Lake Placid Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen.

Lake Placid Brewing Company, Hefeweizen: 4.0
Very good hefeweizen. Possibly the best I’ve had in a bottle that wasn’t a homebrew. I’d have to do a taste test to compare it with Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Hefeweizen.

New Belgium Brewing, Mothership Wit (Organic what beer brewed with spices): 3.5
Good, but disappointing compared to Wasatch. If it were the only wit around, I’d drink it and enjoy it.

Shock Top, Raspberry Wheat: 3.0
Very fruity! I can barely taste the beer. If you don’t like beer very much and want something cold and fruity on a hot day, this is for you. Not my preference, but I’m giving it a 3 since it’s very good for its style (very fruity, light and refreshing).

Nimbus Brewing Company, Pale Ale: 3.0
A good, balanced pale ale, but I prefer Sierra Nevada a bit more.

Bell’s Brewery, Oberon Ale (American wheat): 2.0
The taste is more like an Eastern European lager, not an American summer wheat beer. If I wanted that flavor, I’d get a Pilsner Urquell. Not to my taste.

New Belgium Brewing, Sunshine (Wheat beer brewed with spices): 3.5
A nice American wheat beer. J would give this a 4.0, and I might, too, if she left any around long enough for me to taste. ;-)

Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Firestone DBA (Double Barrel Ale): 4.0
Very nice! It’s a very flavorful pale ale that pushes the boundary of enjoyable bitterness, but doesn’t cross it. A very interesting American pale ale. It beats out Sierra Nevada for my money. (BTW, Sierra Nevada is about a 3.5 on my scale, possibly 4 if it’s very fresh and cold.)

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