Posts Tagged caramel

There’s Copper and Gold in Them Glasses!

Ballast Point Nitro Copper ESBAs the Christmas holiday draws near, I think about what will warm my belly in the most seasonal way possible, while still providing some taste exploration. Ballast Point isn’t afraid to experiment with their beers, which is good for us consumers. Case in point: the Copper ESB on nitro (5.5% abv): It poured a rich copper color (duh) with a creamy cap of off white head. So thick was the head that not much made it through the foam in the way of aromas. The taste started off very mild, with a little caramelly sweetness. There was just a touch of bitterness into the middle. Almost no carbonation and a surprisingly light body did nothing to change the mildness. Not much else to distinguish it. A seriously benign drink.


To wake up my taste buds from such a sleepy start, I next tried the Schooner Wet Hop Ballast Point Schooner Wet Hop(5.5% abv): This one poured a deep golden color, with thin white head. It smelled grassy, floral and pretty refreshing. The taste was mild, with a moderate hoppiness and some of the flowers and grass I got from the smell. Mild through the middle, with medium carbonation and light body, it finished hoppy and somewhat sour, with flowers and grass lingering. I appreciated the change from hoppy to sour back to hoppy, but overall another mild one.



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Have a “Special” Christmas

Anchor 2014 Special Xmas AleIt has finally arrived! Christmas is here! Well, in a few days it will be here. There is just time enough to try this great addition to your holiday beer list: Anchor Brewing Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2014, or simply, “Our Special Ale.” This is the 40th year running that Anchor Brewing has released their “Special Ale” and the 2014 edition will not disappoint.

It poured a deep dark brown that reminded me of maple syrup. It had a medium layer of fizzy tan head. The aromas beganAnchor Special Ale top with very rich caramel, followed by some roasted malt and some spiced fig and plum. The taste was surprisingly mild, though it quickly presented its caramely character. This was followed by the spice and raisin flavors. The malts came in like a wave washing over the middle of the drink, but the fizzy kick of the carbonation broke that up nicely. The malts carried through to the finish with a warm caramel aftertaste and a slight hint of the spices.

This was a very pleasant beer that is sure to warm you up. Though it was not tremendously dynamic, it will definitely remind me of the holidays from here on out. I cannot quite give it a 5, but as close to it as possible:


As with the holiday that came before it, please have a safe and very merry Christmas.

Eat, drink and be merry.

Merry Christmas!

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A Great Holiday Sipp’r

Ninkasi Sleigh'r labelChristmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year: trees, lights, decorations…and Ninkasi’s seasonal beauty Sleigh’r Dark Doüble Alt Ale. It is in the German altbier style, which means it is brewed at a cooler temperature than other ales and uses top-fermenting yeast. This yeast imparts a fruitiness not normally seen in ales. Altbier is also matured at a cooler temperature than is usual for an ale, making it clean and crisp. This beer helps truly ring in the season for me. Come. Take the journey with me.

It poured a rich dark copper color with small, fizzy head that did not stick around very long. It reminded me very much of the way a lager pours. Not much in the way of aromas came from the glass at first, but then lots of caramel and fruity notes pushed through. It tasted light, with pleasant caramel and light sweetness. A bit of bitterness came toward the middle and persisted to the finish with some caramel notesNinkasi Sleigh'r with wreath to balance it out.

I really enjoyed this beer. At 7.2% abv, it makes a really good sipper for the holidays.

I would rate this beer:


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Dead Ringer!


My personal celebration of Oktoberfest 2014 continues, this time with a beauty from Ballast Point.

IMG_2129Dead Ringer is their Oktoberfest offering (duh) and it’s a good one. It poured a dark red-brown, which surprised me a bit, as I usually think of these beers as a bit lighter. It had light fizzy head that dissipated quickly. It smelled very caramelly, with a light fruity sweetness  and a little spicy undertone. I don’t mean that it smelled spicy, as if it were made with chili peppers, but more in the way a cider might be described as “spiced.”

The taste was heavy on the caramel up front and mild, with lots of malty flavor that didn’t overpower the other tastes that followed. The carbonation was enough to break that up a bit, even though the maltiness came back right after the tingle of the bubbles left my tongue. Then came the spice notes with a nice fizzy finish in the back of my throat.


I enjoyed this beer, as it was a great example of the many different takes on a beer style I thought I knew so well. While I expected the maltiness, the light-to-medium sweetness and carbonation were a bit of a surprise, but did not take away from the experience of this beer.

Overall, I would rate this beer:


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