Liam Deegan

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

The Return of Something New & Beer Review: Castelain Biere de Garde

In Biere de Garde, Reviews on June 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Welcome to the new website.  By new, I mean it’s the same site with a slightly different address, as I was the victim of some apparent domain hacking.  After some additional camera difficulties, It’s now time for a new post.  Hope you still like beer.  Here’s my review:

A bottle from France that isn’t wine!  Biere de Garde is “beer for keeping,” as it is traditionally brewed in the winter and spring and let to mature in the bottle before drinking.  It is a similar style to Saison.

Pours a golden amber color with a fluffy white capping of foam.

The nose is mostly grain and straw, hay and dry grass.  There is a light fruitiness and a lemony hop presence lingering with biscuity malt.

The prickly carbonation creates a lively mouthfeel, that gives a fruity, almost Belgian-esqe candi sugar sweetness upfront, grain in the middle and lemon grass and herbal notes that finishes slightly dry and crisp.

This beer is reminiscent of a German pilsner from the biscuit and herbal, grassy hop flavors but with a much more assertive yeast strain that hints at a musty funk.  Very nice beer, will make a great cheese beer so even with cheese in France, you can skip the wine!

Style: Biere de Garde

ABV: 6.4%



Beer Review: Newcastle Founder’s Ale

In Reviews on February 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Been a while since something new, having some domain issues with the site as well as some camera trouble.  One thing that helps: free beer.  Heineken USA was kind enough to send me some of their new beer: Founder’s Ale is a classic Bitter, a traditional English Ale, although not bitter by today’s standards. Here is the press release for the beer:

“WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – January 11, 2011 – Newcastle Brown Ale, brewer of the legendary “One & Only,” today announced the release of its fourth Limited Edition brew, Founders’ Ale. Available nationwide for a limited time, this beer tips its hat to the heritage and tradition of Newcastle’s five founding breweries. The introduction also marks the expansion of all Limited Edition brews – Founders’ Ale, Summer Ale, Werewolf and Winter IPA – which are now available nationwide on a rotating basis throughout the year.

Available for the first time in the U.S., Newcastle Founders’ Ale is a full-bodied, drinkable brew with dry, hoppy and roasted flavors. The classic Bitter ale is balanced by subtly sweet aroma notes of caramel and fruit with a short, clean finish.

“The iconic five-point star on our label recognizes the five founding breweries of Newcastle, and this beer further celebrates the legend of our original, hard-working Geordie brewers and patrons,” said Charles van Es, brand director Newcastle Brown Ale. “With Founders’ Ale we are answering consumer demand by offering all of Newcastle’s Limited Editions nationally in 2012, giving everyone a chance to enjoy a bit of authentic English history.”

Brewed with premium malts and Styrian Goldings hops, Newcastle Founders’ Ale has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.8 percent with 20 International Bittering Units (IBUs).

Newcastle Founders’ Ale will be available nationwide from February 2012 through April 2012 in 6-pack and 12-pack bottles priced comparably to Newcastle Brown Ale. Founders’ Ale will also be available on draught at fine pubs in select markets.”

So if this beer sounds good to you, you have a chance to try it soon.  Here’s my review:

Pours a crystal clear burnt orange, tawny amber with an off white, soapy head.  Not a strong aroma coming out of the glass but some fruitiness, biscuit and caramel with toffee being the most dominant. Tastes of some breadiness, caramel and fruity malt with a barely there bitter snap and a very quick, tinged finish.

Not bad for a session type beer.  Offers flavor and I think it could be a nice gateway beer for people, just as the Brown Ale has been.  It lacks any truly assertive flavor though.  I’m not asking for palate wrecking flavor, but any flavor seems like someone shouting from a distance.  It would definitely benefit from more of the nice toasted malt and toffee flavors as well as the fruitiness it has that give a nod to the classics like Fuller’s ESB.  I will also add, I’m happy they are using a brown bottle for this one and not the clear Newkie bottle.

Style: English Bitter

ABV: 4.8%


Beer Review: Uerige Sticke Altbier

In Altbier, Reviews on July 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

A very old style of German beer and one of the few ales that the lager obsessed nation brews, Altbier is refreshing and full of flavor.  Here’s my review:

Uerige Sticke (sticke means it is stronger than the regular Alt offering) (ed. my German is nein what it used to be.  “Sticke” means secret. Thanks Luke!) pours a rusty brown with a rocky off white head that leaves chunky lacing.  Sweet fruity malt dominates the aroma with notes of raisin, brown sugar, and a wine like grape characteristic.  The taste is very malt heavy, with juicy and fruity flavors, nuttiness, with hints of grain and husk that seamlessly transitions to a flinty and mineral dry finish with a touch of sour funk and a bitter hop snap.

This was a very tasty and easy to drink beer, but don’t let that fool you.  It is seriously complex.  The flavors change at every point as it makes its way over your palate.  I may need another one as I ponder where the first bottle has gone.

Style: Altbier

ABV: 6%


Beer Review: Stoudts Pale Ale

In American Pale Ale, Reviews on July 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

This is one of my favorite labels, and just in time for me to enjoy around the Fourth of July.  While it is illegal to use the flag to sell a product, Stoudts represents this American Pale Ale beautifully.  Bud cans should take the hint around this time of year.  Here’s my review:

Pours golden honey color with a sudsy white capping of foam.  Bready pale malts and touches of caramel fill the nose with grassy and floral green hop notes.

It has a light and zippy taste from the bitter Cascade hops with a creamy malt base.  Fruit and grass meander until a bitter grapefruit peel snap finishes out the sip.

It has a creamy body with prickly carbonation that keeps it light and refreshing.

This is a great go to beer to be enjoyed in the summer months.  With a low ABV, it can definitely be your new lawnmower beer, or just a good excuse not to mow the lawn.

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5%


Beer Review: Stoudt’s Gold Lager

In Munich Helles Lager, Reviews on July 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Another new brewery in Louisiana! It’s a bit late of a post, but Stoudt’s has been in New Orleans for about a month, and I’m very excited.  They make a lot of great beers with a German focus, as those guys in Pennsylvania like to do.  This is the first one I cracked down in New Orleans.  Here’s my review:

Pours a clear golden straw color.

It is slightly sweet with mostly husky grain and pale malt, some breadiness, and hints of lemon and sulfur.  Very clean and straightforward. Beauty in simplicity.

It is light and bubbly.  Very crisp with clean bready grain that transitions to a hint of lemon from the hops then a quick, snappy slightly bitter and earthy finish.  Definitely Noble hops if I’ve ever tasted ‘em.

Very easy drinker, clean, simple and enjoyable.

Style: Munich Helles Lager

ABV: 5%


Beer Review Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weiss

In Berliner Weiss, Reviews on July 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

A very traditional German beer, the Berliner Weiss is a tart and refreshing beer.  It is often mixed with raspberry or woodruff (anise flavor) syrup to cut the tart flavors.  Here’s my review:

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a creamy white head.

Gives off lactic, sour funkiness from the Brettanomyces yeast.  There are also notes of lemon citrus, a touch of grassiness and musty barnyard that is also a result of the Brett. And Lactobacillus.  More funky green apple, then more dominant banana as it warms.

On the palate, it is dry at first, and slowly puckers with sour, yet creamy mid palate then it makes an abrupt 180 degree turn to champagne like dryness and the lemon and green apple come through for a dry yet tart finish that lingers and gives some earthy mineral quality.

The mouthfeel is mostly dry with spurts of juicy tart fruit.  Very complex and well-done beer.

Style: Berliner Weiss

ABV: 5%


Beer Review: Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence

In Belgian Dark Ale, Reviews on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Welcome to the neighborhood!  Ommegang will soon be available in New Orleans.  This is great news, as it seems more and more breweries are taking interest in the bourgeoning craft beer scene in New Orleans.  This beer was the first Ommegang beer I ever tried and I liked it so much I brought some down from Providence on my last trip.  It is, like all of Ommegang’s brews Belgian, but the special touch is Belgian dark chocolate in the brew.  Here’s my review:

Pours a dark brown to black color with a large head of sudsy khaki foam.

Gives off great coffee/espresso and dark chocolate aromas.  Notes of dry cocoa powder.  This one smells delicious!

Lively carbonation right from the start.  The taste begins as dry cocoa powder, with a transition to bitter coffee, then a fruit and nutty back end with ester and slightly bitter coffee finish that is pretty drying, not a cloying sweetness one would expect from a chocolate beer.  This is the result of the bottle refermentation done with many Belgian ales, which leads to heightened carbonation and a dry finish.

This is a really great dessert beer and a good sipper for chilly nights.  Can’t wait to have one for those few days of winter here in New Orleans!

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

ABV: 7%


Beer Review: Saint Arnold’s Divine Reserve 11

In Double IPA, Reviews on June 18, 2011 at 1:12 am

Saint Arnold, Texas’ oldest craft brewery has come out with a really great Double IPA, Divine Reserve 11.  This is my first taste of the Divine Reserve series, and I like it. Here’s my review:

Pours a sunset orange with a towering and creamy off white head.

It is fruity, grassy and piney from the hops with some sweet malt in the nose.

On the palate it is creamy and gives off hints of caramel and bready flavors, which fade to dominant grass and pine notes.  There are touches of tropical fruit (peach, mango) that come through, then more grass and pine dominance that holds on through a lasting hoppy finish with some warming alcohol.

This is a bright, floral, grassy and creamy malt treat.  Very drinkable Double IPA.  I really enjoyed this beer.

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8.9%


Beer Review: To Øl / Mikkeller Overall IIPA

In Double IPA, Reviews on June 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

One of my favorite breweries, Mikkeller has done it again in collaboration with another Danish brewery: To Øl.  They have done another take on the American Double IPA.  Here’s my review:

Pours a hazy, light orange, peach puree color with a stark white head.

Gives off a tropical fruity nose with mango, pineapple and peach.  Sweet citrus with touches of grass and pine.

Bright and sweet on the palate.  Hints of caramel and pale malt, then orange zest and bright carbonation give it some lift mid-palate.  Tropical fruits then come in and fade to a bitter, floral hop bite and a lingering, heavy booze finish.

Bright upfront and delivers the brawn of an “Imperial” style in the finish.

If the finish weren’t as heavy it would be very good with food, or for outdoor BBQ style drinking.  However, it is still a DIPA, a sipper and complex and deserves your full attention.

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 10.5%


Beer Review: Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout Lacto

In Milk Stout, Reviews on June 16, 2011 at 1:04 am

The Kiuchi brewery is a great Japanese brewery, making a small selection of craft brews and most well known for Hitachino Nest White Ale.  Here’s my review:

Pours smooth, black liquid with a capping of finely bubbled foam.

Gives off aromas of sweet chocolate, caramel, vanilla, coffee.

Light carbonation on the palate gives a prickle that leads to a sweet yet bitter dry cocoa, espresso and chocolate flavor mid palate followed by more coffee, some vanilla, and a caramel sweet finish.

This stout has a lingering stick, is sweet and slightly bitter.

Very drinkable stout and is very versatile, even good in warm weather.

Style: Milk Stout

ABV: 4%