Monday, October 30, 2006


The Master List Updated 02/09/2009

Many people ask me over and over again what my favorite beer is. My reply is always, "I have a lot of favorite beers." So the following is a list of my favorite beers for a given style. Sorry but I can not just name one beer. It all depends on if I'm drinking it with food, what the temperature is, how long I am going to be drinking and a myriad of other variables.

Kasteel Donker-Foncee (Brown) 750 ml:

This beer is one of my all time favorites. This rich smooth sweet brown Belgian rankes up there with Rochfort 10, Chimay Grand Reserve, and a fresh Zatte Bie. Dark brown in color this beers aroma is caramel, figs with a lightly tart fruit. The flavor is prune, caramel, raisin, figs, and cinnamon. Smooth, rich and sweet and at 11% it is kind of like the port wine of beers.

Brasserie des Rocs Blond 750ml 750ml:

This is an excellent example of the style. Deep gold in color with a thick persistent head. The aroma is of herbal and earthy hops. The flavor is lemon and pepper with a vague fruit mid palate with a spritzy dry finish.

Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse 500ml:

Classic Berliner Weisse. Tart, wheaty, with a light fruity esther.

Midnight Sun La Maitresse du Moine 22oz:

This is another Belgain style from our Anchorage friends at Midnight Sun. Loosely translated means “The Monks Mistress” This time she is a “Dark Strong” ale. It pours deep brown in color and the head is huge but settles into half inch topping of dense foam. The aroma is perfumey, malty with a whiff of dates. It has a medium body that fills the mouth but is not heavy. A bit of a sharp fruity (raisin) start, it moves into a sweet malty flavor with a hint of caramel. The finish has a spicy alcohol tinge and a slight hop bitterness. The beer maybe sweet and smooth but at 9% she could be a harsh mistress if not treated right. A damn fine beer that will only improve with age.

Beer Valley Owyhee Amber 22oz:

Owyhee Amber Ale is an easy drinking Amber that will appeal to many but has enough character to impress even this jaded old beer drinker. Brewed with 2-row barley, Munich, and crystal malts, this amber beer is a cleaner, crisper version of an ale reminiscent of an amber lager beer that has the most phenomenal body and mouth-feel. This just may be my new amber of choice.

Mad River Double IPA 12oz:

Hazy amber in color it pours with a small white head. The aroma is almost all hops with orange, pine and grapefruit. The sweet caramel malt flavors peek through but only for a minute. The hop flavor comes bursting through with a resinous orange quality with plenty of bitterness and a light balancing sweetness. The finish is dry and warming with 8.6%.

Chateau Lorane Vandal Gold 750ml:

I have always loved this exquisite offering from Chateau Lorane and this years bottling has top all pervious vintages. This traditional mead pours a deep gold / orange color. By far one of the darkest I have seen available. The aroma is bright and lively up front with a sweet mead character and woody earthy tones from the buckwheat honey. The flavor starts off honey sweet then the acidity comes in to balance it out it moves to those wonderful subtle buckwheat tones and finishes with just a hint of mint. This mead has a unique flavors profile. It is sweet but well balanced and has a nice body without ending sticky. A+

Innstadt Weise 500ml:

This Weise bier pours a cloudy yellow with an appropriately massive head. The aroma and flavor is crisp with wheaty lemon and ester banana. Yeasty with a smooth mouth feel just a mention of spice. I really like this one and go back to it time and again.

I know this is another Hefe on the list but I just can't help it. The Hale's is my favorite domestic hefe and Innstadt my favorite import hefe.

Hales El Jefe Weizen Ale 22oz:

This is a great expmple of a locally made Bavarian style hefe. Crisp wheat character along side of a nice fruity ester. Not real big on the spicy phenols which can be over done too easily. All in all a good “proper” wheat beer.

Gouden Carolus Grand Cru 750ml:

Whoa Mamma!!! This is everything a Belgian grand cru should be, that is strong - 10%, sweet, and a massive fruity ester. Tasting of figs, dark cherries and candied fruit. If you are a Belgo-phile like me you absolutely must get this one.

Golden Valley Tannen Bomb 12oz:

Now to me, this is what winter beers are all about. Out of all the winter beers I look forward to this one the most. It has a big malty fruity flavor that just does it for me. Not too hoppy, a light bitterness to finish well but nothing overpowering. The 8% alcohol is smooth but will warm the cockles of your heart. Best served only slightly chilled so as to bring out the smooth malt and play that against the fruity character. I always age a six-pack or so every year, this year I’m going for a case. This beer actually ages very well. On first sip you might not think that a beer like this can go long term but after about 8 months the malt starts to intensify and instead of it playing against the fruit character, it actually starts to accentuate the fruit and you end up with a more intense beer. I have to give props to Golden Valley for producing a winter beer like no other.

Full Sail Old Boardhead 22oz:

As usual Full Sail comes out with another fine vintage of Old Boardhead. Amber/orange in color with a small but tight head. Light fruity hop aroma with whiffs of caramel and cake. Soft and malty up front than moves into the fruity hop flavors and finish quite bitter. At the time of this review the 91 IBUs come shining through in the finish; this will calm down quickly in the next few months and settle into a more rounded finish.

Terminal Gravity IPA 12oz:

It is quite a happy day indeed; Terminal Gravity Brewing (of Enterprise Oregon) has finally got a bottling line. There are many (myself included) that think that TG makes the finest IPA in the state of Oregon. I am now happy to spread the TG word to the rest of the US. Sure there are more bitter beers and there are stronger IPAs out there but none seems to bring it all together quite as well as TG.

YUUUMMMMMM, You all know what I"m talking about. That hazy copper orange color, tight but not overly large head, floral citrus hop aroma and that light malty / fruity flavor that quickly gets overwhelmed by the wonderfully aggressive hop bitterness.

If you’re a hophead I suggest buying more than one bottle. If you only get one you will be heart broken that you have to wait another shipping cycle for more.

Wexford Irish Cream Ale 1 pt:

If you want smooth and mellow this baby tops it. Nitrogen charged with a malty, caramel, graininess with just a ting of fruitiness. For all of you Carffrey fans out there, this is as close as you are going to get here in the US.

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