This past week has been quite busy, putting together a new website (still in progress at time of typing this review), dealing with four seasons of weather over a week in North Carolina and just the day-to-day living. My wife came with me this time to choose the two beers to review. First on our list was Westbrook Brewing‘s White Thai.
Wow. What a beer! On our pour, the body was a cloudy yellow with a pale head that lingers for a bit due to its Belgian Witbier roots. The aroma as the glass came up was sweet lemon and ginger, very light but quite intriguing. On tasting, a clean and bright citrus flavor hits your tongue, with mild herbal notes and a noticeable ginger bite on the back end. The flavors stayed on the tongue but was not over powering with the lemongrass and ginger. Westbrook did a wonderful job at adding an asian twist to a belgian witbier, and it paired well with foods of similar roots.
Recipe ideas: Possibly use this as part of the base in a lemon tart or to marinate tuna, prior to covering in sesame seeds and searing. Mmmm, seared tuna.
I know, it’s a bit late in the pumpkin beer season, but it has been cold and snowing here in North Carolina. The state has shut down (to 2-8 inches of snow) and a beer that can warm you is just want is wanted, which Weyerbacher has done wonderfully.
A rich caramel color body and a brief head when poured from a bottle, this beer lives up to it’s name. A sweet, pumpkin and spice nose lends itself to the taste of a well made pumpkin pie in a glass. Soft and smooth across the tongue, it finishes clean and leave a warm feeling in your chest.
This is what I would imagine my grandmother’s pumpkin pie would be if it was a drink instead of, well, a pie.
Such a great name for a brewery and steakhouse out of Kentucky! Against the Grain has produced a wonderful beer by the name of Fist Full of Kroners.
The color of this beer is a nice amber with a brief, pale yellow head. I was pleasantly surprised when bringing up the glass, I got a nose full of citrus and pine that carried into the first taste. With a slight lemon at the beginning, sweet across the middle of my tongue, this beer finished with a mild herbal hops bitterness on the back end. Drinking this crisp brew was quite refreshing.
Note: My wife wanted to add lemonade to make this a shandy. Might be worth the try.
Recipe ideas: Drink this with a white sauce pasta or with seafood. I may try to stew some chicken in it as well.
As a drinker of craft brew, I cannot just stay within one state’s listing, no matter how prolific the craft brew industry is. On that note, a good go-to that my friends and family pick up locally is beer from Leinenkugel, out of Wisconsin.
The most recent seasonal we’ve picked up is Big Butt Doppelbock. Once the quotes of Sir Mixalot were over, this was a mediocre beer that was still enjoyable.
The color is a nice dark brown with a nose that is mild, but sweet. Leaning heavy on the Bavarian-style advertised, it is malty with a sweet caramel taste, due to the five varieties of malted barley it uses in the brewing process. It’s smooth to drink, with a soft mouthfeel and seemed to pair well with spicy food as well as beef as well as a 5.8% ABV.
Rating: 2.5/5, it’s drinkable, but not one any of my group of friends would search for specifically.
Recipe ideas: Using this in a beef or venison stew to counter a heavy roux, this would be a good standby.
This is the third year that Wicked Weed Brewing has produced this wonderful seasonal. With 220 POUNDS of raspberries and French Broad Chocolate Lounge coco nibs, this was quite the experience.
When looking at this Belgian inspired brew, it had a minimal head on pour from my growler and a nice dark caramel color with a hint of color from the raspberries. Aromatically, you definitely can tell that they did not skimp on the berries as it hits you with both sweet and tart notes.
This beer was also met with mixed reviews by my group of friends, as it is not a “beer tasting” beer. With the tartness of the raspberries followed by a bit of a sour note, not everyone picked up on the dark chocolate bitterness on the back end. We all agreed that the mouthfeel was like thin, syrup and just as sweet.
Yet another that you should not drink straight from the fridge, it does mellow and the flavors become more complex. Comments shared were “I want more chocolate with this” and “I want this with pancakes or crepes!”
Rating was 3.5/5
Recipe ideas: Use as a glaze for fish or in desserts.
Author’s note: It really was delicious with homemade pancakes during a “breakfast for dinner” evening. Yum.
New beer review, new brewery to try.
For the first beer from AleSmith brewing that my friends and I have tried, My Bloody Valentine was met with mixed results.
When first looking at this beer on my kitchen counter, it looked almost brown, but when brought into better light, it was a deep red color with a lighter colored head. When bringing the glass up to breathe in prior to our first sip, we had a nice citrus note that was somewhat herbal, like lemongrass.
Flavor clung to the back of the tongue after starting off light and crisp, leaving a slight bitter taste on the back end. This carried over in how everyone described the mouthfeel.
Admittedly, most of my friends were not as fond of it as I, but did admit that it was better as it breathed a bit and warmed up closer to room temperature. This beer was reminiscent of a blend of a mild IPA and a red ale.
Recipe ideas: I would love to use this in a bread recipe!
We have some amazing friends! For those who have followed from the beginning, the temporary logo was definitely lacking. One of our close friends decided that she’d like a try and came up with something completely amazing!
She does requests for all sorts of illustrative work, so hit her up! Now if I could get her to open her own gallery website.
-Chris, First in Flights
What to say about Waterfront Blonde Ale? This brew is made by Shipyard Brewing Company in Maine under the auspice of Waterfront Brewing Company. There is not much in the way of web-presence, but it is still found even down here in North Carolina.
This blonde ale has a nice golden color, with a hint of darker tones and a bright, well formed head when poured from the bottle.
When you breathe in the aroma, a bright, slightly sweet, citrus note comes through.
The taste has a mild hop flavor, with the over-all impression of grapefruit that carries through to the slight bitterness on the back end, but not much in complexity.
Of my friends and family who tried this, all agreed that for an inexpensive beer, it was easy to drink, light on the palate with a clean, crisp finish. A good beer to start with when you are first exploring.
Recipe ideas: This would be an adequate beer to try making your own shandy out of, or to pair with fish.
First beer review for the blog! See what we think about Goose Island's Honker's Ale!