Monday, January 14, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing Company - Dortmunder Gold

The Midwest is full of great breweries: Bell's, Three Floyd's, Boulevard and the producer of tonight's beer, Great Lakes Brewing Company. Great Lakes has a vast portfolio of ales, lagers and cult offerings, but the beer that some argue that allowed the brewery to rise to prominence in the craft beer community is their Dortmunder Gold.
This Dortmunder Export pours a golden-copper color with very light and wispy head. The head retention is quite good with the one-finger width lasting an impressive length of time. When holding the glass up to the light their is a noticeable carbonation rising within the body. The body has impeccable clarity, its leading visual characteristic.
The aroma is comprised of two distinct qualities. First, there is an initial burst of malt sweetness. As the beer warmed, the sweetness settled creating a very balanced aroma with the second component. The second component, light-earthy hop presence, conjures up images of the rural backyard of my childhood home. Together, these aromas create a pleasant smell.
The taste profile mirrors the aroma. The sweetness from the malt coats the palate without any noticeable  cloying-residual sugars. This sweetness lingers, almost to long, but transitions to a herbal, earthy bitterness to balance the sweetness nicely.
At 5.8% ABV, this export lager is at the high end of alcohol content according the the Beer Judge Certified Program guidelines. I DON'T CARE! This lager is extremely smooth and very crisp making it perfect for new craft beer drinkers or for the seasoned aficionado looking for an award-winning and flawless lager.


Monday, January 7, 2013

St. Peter's Brewery Co. Ltd. - Old-Style Porter

Hello! Happy New Year Everyone! I am really looking forward to what 2013 has in store for the craft beer community: new beer releases, collaborations, growth and my own personal homebrewing endeavors.
Lately, I have been re-tracing my roots in craft beer, English ales, so I decided to begin 2013 with a classic English Brewery, St. Peter's and their Old-Style Porter.
This English Porter pours a deep-beautiful mahogany with a light, one-finger head. The head retention was quite weak leaving only wisps across the surface of the beer. When held up to the light, the beer is translucent, which was somewhat surprising. After doing some research on St. Peter's website, I found out this porter "blend of a mature Old Ale and a younger light beer – just as a true Porter should be. The marriage produces an extremely characterful brew which is dark in color..."This old ale component of this porter is probably why the beer allows light penetration.
The aroma of this beer is clean and uncomplicated. It contains an abundance of malty sweetness, most likely from the old ale component of the blend. This malt sweetness is balanced nicely with subtle roast and coffee notes. I was unable to detect a hop presence in the aroma. I think this is due to use of English hops, which can impart earthy notes that blend well with English style grain bill somewhat masking their presence. 
The taste is very similar to the aroma. A burst of malt sweetness instantly coats the palate. Once this sweetness fades, both bready and bitter coffee notes balance the taste. During my initial sips, there was no hop character, but as the beer warmed, the hops entered the taste profile creating a "full" beer. Also, the warmer temperature allowed the old ale component to really shine and dominate the flavor profile with notes of caramel. I can only imagine how good this beer would be on cask!
When this beer was served cold, the mouthfeel was thin and watery, but as it warmed it became more luscious and velvety increasing my overall perception of the beer. At 5.1% ABV, the sessionability of this beer is immense. I could easily see myself ordering this beer on cask in dark, traditional English pub or at a local beer bar for imbibing happiness. If you are looking for straight forward, uncomplicated, enjoyable porter then this may be right for you.