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Beer Tastes, Thoughts and Reviews

Beer tastes, trials and tribulations. Welcome to BeerTastes ® my on - line beer review page. This page will have different types of tastings; not just regular 'reviews' similar to many already being done. No, similar to the event review page, I will try to convey not only the actual tastes of different beers but also something different about the setting, purchase, availability or other cool details about each beer. Beer tasting is fun; reading about them should be too! The beer world is growing and so are the different tastes. Brewers are now aging beers in various barrels and with different woods. Sour beers are showing up at many events; and new styles are being brewed up all the time. I will try as as many new beers and old as time allows so, over time, this page will be a good reference source on good beers all over. I also vow to keep it fun and light; no beer snob types or going on about how bad big macro brewers are. Beer is all about good times and good people; let's keep it that way! Enjoy - Larry

Victory Hop Wallop Ale
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Ciger City Cedar Aged IPA

Cigar City Brewing Humidor Series Cedar Aged IPA

Purchased on the the trip to the Dunedin IPA fest; this was a great find. Cigar City is about 2 years old and really in the game when it comes to good beer and interesting 'new' beers. This beer comes unfiltered and bottle conditioned in a 750 ml bottle. It pours a dark orange color with a fluffy head. Pepper and citrus aromas are big. The pepper was a surprise but really made this beer different. As I drank it I could still smell pepper but it didn't dominate the taste. The citrus dominated followed by the well balanced cedar, hops and malts. The alcohol was not too evident which allowed the citrus (grapefruit) flavor to come out. The cedar aging is there but the citrus jumped out immediately. The cedar aging really worked with this beer. Compared to the base IPA, it became a mellower beer with more complex tastes.This is a great drinkable IPA; not like some of the west coast super hoppy IPAs that hit you over the head with the hops. I enjoyed it and now wish I had brought more home from the trip. Update: Cigar City is now available through out Florida and has many great beers to try.

Bear Republic (CA) Hop Rod Rye IPA

I have had several other brews from Bear but never tried this one. Rye has really come into use in brewing over the last 10 years. I saw this bottle in NC at Asheville's Brusin Ales and got it to try later. It was well worth it and once again I am enjoying a beer not in Florida yet!. The Rye IPA pours a deep copper color with fine bubbles. It continued to bubble, slightly for the first few minutes in the pint glass. The first nose is big on the rye; then hops. Upon tasting I could taste the rye and hops with notes of carmel. A slight sweetness was detected I couldn't say if it was honey or strawberry. It finished with a malty taste along with the alcohol. At 8% this has a good kick but not as much as something over 10% would. The bottle calls is a specialty ale; it could be in a category of it's own. It is medium bodied and very easy to drink. The hops are there but not overwhelming. On a second tasting the rye wasn't as dominant and the hops took over. This could be because the bottle was put away sealed and reopened about an hour after the first opening. This can have an effect but could tell how the entire bottle was not just the first pour. Over all I'm looking forward to my next visit north to get more. Bear Republic Website

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye Ale
Victory Hop Wallop DIPA

Victory (PA) Hop Wallop DIPA

I have enjoyed this beer before in North Carolina. I get a bomber bottle and have 2 pints at 'happy hour' and then have something mellower with dinner. Victory finally came to FL about a year or two ago and I welcome the new beers. The regular line up has 6 beers; each with it's own contribution to a solid line up. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see this in six packs at my local Whole Foods Market. The label says "A Very Hoppy Ale" and it delivers. I poured it into a pint glass and it got a short lasting head of 1 finger. The color is light for an IPA; orange to straw colors. The photo at the left is accurate. Notice that I am getting better with lighting; I found an old lighting bar, with 4 photo lights, from an old 8 mm movie camera. (Circa 1950's) By playing around I have been getting better results. The nose was very piney; not much hops. The hops waited until drinking. The piney taste is throughout; very hoppy and on the tongue and finish. This is so hoppy that the hops cover up whatever malt taste there might have been. That, of course, is as advertised. There is a bitter drying sensation at the end. The mouth feel was medium to heavy and the alcohol 8.5% is evident. Overall it is a decent DIPA; not my everyday beer but will be enjoyed again in the future. See Victory's website for many more good beers!

Weyerbacher Insanity - Ale Aged in Oak Barrels

That's all it says on the bottle. Upon checking their website I found that Insanity is Weyerbacher's own Blithering Idiot Barleywine, a fine English Style Barleywine itself, aged in oak bourbon casks. The regular stuff can be a bit rough; the oak aging really takes the edge off and the result is a really smooth drinking ale. This bottle was about two years old; I had forgotten it in the back of my refrigerator. So it was aged in cooler surroundings than some would prefer; I think it just slows the process down and didn't hurt this one. It poured complete with "flavor particles" suspended throughout the glass; that didn't detract form the drink at all. The color was dark copper to bronze; on the first pour I thought it was darker. What little head there was dissipated immediately leaving lace on the glass. The "musty" taste of aging was detected and a sweet taste and a whisky taste was there. Other tastes noted were: toffee, carmel and vanilla. I got a cherry nose at times; sometimes the nose was bourbon. Aging did good tings to this; as it warmed is also got better. That's when the whisky tastes really came out. Hops not a big part of this but that's correct for the style. it would be interesting to try an American style of this beer. The alcohol gave a warming feeling but is masked well considering it is 11 ABV. Overall a great beer that I will age and enjoy many more times. Weyerbacher Insanity Website

Weyerbacher Insanity Ale
Bridgeport Hop Czar Imperial IPA

Bridgeport Hop Czar Imperial IPA

I have had Bridgeport IPA before and it is a traditional British style IPA. It's a good one but really doesn't excite me. When I bring it home from NC I usually have a few and some disappear to the back of the 'fridge to be forgotten for months. So, when I saw that they had an Imperial version I was ready to give it a try. This time it worked in reverse; I drank 5 up in NC and only one made it back to FL; it's pictured to the left. I did like it more than the regular; it was bitter and had good hoppiness. It pours a copper color with hints of pine and citurs for the nose. Medium bodied it drank well. The hops stood out; it is a well balanced blend of 4 different hops. This was a pleasant surprise first noted when I had several on vacation. It's worth bringing home; as can happen I got the last 6 pack and they were out my next time in. I bought this and other beers at my favorite local beer store in Highlands, NC. Bridgeport Website

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale

This amber red ale comes in 22 oz bombers only. It is seasonal so I got it right away when I saw it at the local Whole Foods. It was made for the breweries' 13th anniversary and remade because it was a favorite. The first thing I got was a slight smell of apples. This was only as I opened the bottle and for the first few sips. The pour ended up with a solid finger of head which stayed around for the entire glass leaving lace along the sides. The apple yielded to carnal and hops. The hops really stood out after a few sips and got stronger as I drank more. As expected with a red ale there was some maltiness and that balanced well with the hops. This is a great easy drinking ale and the alcohol is hidden well The ABV is 8.56% and it doesn't show it. (I'm just wondering how they figure these percentages into 2 decimal places; could it be 8.57% or 8.55%? And how could they really know?) This was enjoyed and it's too bad they don't make it year round. I was able to score another and look forward to it. As with all Laguitas beers read the label; it always has something strange or funny to give you while you enjoy their high quality great beers. Happy Anniversary! Lagunitas Website

Lagunitas Lucky 13
Next: Magic Hat Blind Faith IPA
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