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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FF Farmhouse

Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer
Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale:

When working clearing brush on the presidential ranch, I work up quite a thirst. One sure-fire way to quench that thirst is with a Farmhouse Ale like this one from Flying Fish. The citrusy twang complements the light body and pretty dry finish. In the pantheon of summer ales, Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale is the lightest I've encountered so far. Overall, the FF is the only summer I've tried so far without a wheat base. This takes the body to a lighter place and keeps the sunlight shining brightly through a golden hue (no haze at all).

This beer is a bit complicated in that it varies a bit from bottle to glass to draft. Too cold from a bottle, it's a little mealy and not quited as thirst-quenching. Poured into a glass is much better (I dig the tulip glass, but a pint is just fine), and draft seems to be the best.

This is one of FF's seasonal offerings I really look forward to. It is, in a word... refreshing. Really drinkable at 4.6% abv, this beer would be awesome on a deck or at an outdoor venue. Snobbier drinkers (like myself) may seek out an unfiltered wheat, but anyone can enjoy this golden beer. Slap that $3.00 bottle of slop out of your friend's hand and make him fork over the itty bitty extra cash for something decent. Have a good summer.

Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale:

Representation: .85
Accessibility: 1.0
Style: .85
Personal Preference: .85

Total Score: 3.55 Flags

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer of Sam

Samuel Adams Summer Ale:

There are lots of summer beers out there and they seem to get better and better. Sam Adams is sort of the successful big brother of the craft brew industry and usually keeps the level of competition pretty high. This Summer Ale has a nice golden color and slightly hazy complexion. The body is just right with a smooth mouthfeel, too. So flavorful and consistent. Get it in the bottle or on draft!

Honestly, there's not too much to say about this beer. It's pretty awesome. Craft beer drinkers can appreciate it for being tasty and refreshing. Beginners may see this as an opportunity to dip their toes into the "micro brew" ocean without getting put off by strong malty or bitter "over-the-topness".

I'm not sure about the public at large, but the Cabinet and I agree that Sam Adams' seasonals were a bit (just a bit) off about two years ago but this year's Winter and Summer offerings have stepped it up again. In fact, of all the summer ales I've tried so far, Samuel Adams Summer Ale probably tops the charts. I have some more tasting to do, so look for a page devoted to Summer brews in the next few weeks. Maybe even a podcast...

Samuel Adams Summer Ale:

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.8 Flags

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stoudt's at Elephant and Castle

My fellow citizens,
Knowing my reverence for Stoudt's Brewery and the quality of their offerings, you can imagine my anticipation of this opportunity to enjoy some regional treasures right in my own backyard. Mike Pearlman from Stoudts came equipped with plenty of beer and some cool swag, including a handsome Stoudts pint glass and window sticker. Our newest ally Ashleigh did a wonderful job of bringing the Stoudt's representatives and local beerficionados together at the Clarion Hotel by way of the Elephant & Castle Pub on Rte 70 in Cherry Hill, NJ. The food was well paired with the beer selections and a good time was had by all. Check out the menu:

Scarlet Lady Ale Herb-encrusted pork loin in a spinach and red pepper demiglace. Mesculin salad with prosciutto, California olives and feta cheese, in a rosemary red wine vineagrette

Stoudts Pils Poached whiting in a roasted tomato dill sauce

Stoudts Double IPA Penne pasta Diablo with pepperjack cheese

The food was tasty, and so was the beer. A brief review of the brew:

Stoudt's Pils: Representation: .90
Accessibility: .90
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .90 for a total score of 3.6 Flags.
Light and crisp. Awesome pilsner; This brew hangs with the best best pilsners out there, foreign or domestic.

Scarlet Lady ESB: Representation: .80
Accessibility: .95
Style: .80
Personal Preference: .85 for a total of 3.4 Flags.
Really drinkable with a medium body and mellow flavors. Classy.

Double IPA: Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .85
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .90 for a total score of 3.7 Flags.
That's a real IPA. Haven't had this one in awhile, but I'm going back for more. Not just hoppy; Lots of smoothness and integrity. Makes me smile.

The event wrapped up at the Elephant & Castle where two more Cabinet members joined the party to celebrate the return of Stoudt's APA to the draft lineup of E & C. This beer was reviewed not too long ago, then disappeared. Glad it came back so quickly! Count on seeing your favorite Fermentnation officials at Elephant & Castle fairly regularly. The draft selection (which we're glad includes Stoudts) is good and changes up fairly frequently.

Thanks again to Ashleigh and Michael who put together a cool event. We look forward to future Stoudt's visits as well as tastings from other craft breweries who recognize Elephant & Castle as a bastion of good taste. Rumors of another central PA brewery coming to town are quite interesting indeed...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

C'mon in, the water is great!

Smuttynose Summer Weizen Ale:

A little drier and crisper than a farmhouse ale and a little lighter than a traditional unfiltered wheat ale, this Smuttynose is a dynamite addition to the Summer lineup. It's a really nice cross between "summer" and "weizen".

The ale is hazy and kinda wheaty, so much better poured into a glass than straight out of the bottle. Not too crazy in terms of funky flavors; just enough citrus to quench a thirst and keep things light. I think this would go great with a big salad at a picnic. Maybe one with some chicken or citrus fruit in it. Won't fill you up or knock you out. Quite refreshing at 5.0% abv.

The body is pretty light but not invisible. Honestly, I'm a stickler for drinking beer from the proper vessel (or something approximate) but this beer would most likely taste just fine from a plastic cup shared among friends. It's worth drinking like that, as long as you get a taste.
Smuttynose Summer Weizen:

Representation: .90

Accessibility: .90

Style: .90

Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.6 Flags

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Diplomatic Mission

This is an official release from the office of The President of Ferment Nation.

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2008. Intrigued by the success of his reviews of Stoudt's American Pale Ale and Old Abominable Barleywine-style Ale, the President of Ferment Nation will be making a scheduled appearance at the Stoudt's Brewery beer tasting event at Elephant & Castle Pub in Cherry Hill, NJ on Thursday May 15th, 2008.

"In Grog We Trust."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

50 is the new 30

Hello Citizens,

El Presidente here saluting you, the readers of Ferment Nation's reviews and recommendations, and thanking you for your patronageatism. We have just gone over 50 postings on this illustrious web log. Naturally, I wouldn't have been able to do it without you. Actually, I would have; I just would have been talking to one or two friends as opposed to writing for an audience. In fact, some of these beers I would have probably drunk all by myself and not really had too much to say to anyone. At least now I have a reason to take pictures of the bottles without feeling like a complete weirdo.

Whether you have been able to learn some fun stuff from our reviews and recommendations or whether you are just bored silly at work, Fermentnation.com has given you a place to go to feel a sense of community. We all love beer. This is a nation of people who will seek out awesome beers and will pay more for quality. This is a nation of people who drive miles out of their way to find some obscure beer on tap that they heard of once. This is a nation of people who will pay damn near ten dollars for a Belgian draft rather than pay one dollar for a shiny bottle of crappy mass-produced swill. This is the nation of which I am proud to be El Presidente!

Special thanks go to the members of my Cabinet for their inspiration, information, and intoxication. And none of this would ever have been possible without my Vice Presidente. Nothin' or double, Jack. But of course, dear citizens, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Help us grow and serve you better by spreading the word. Please email our link to all your friends. The more visitors we have, the more we can provide in terms of services and content. Take care, citizens. Thank you for reading. Happy 50th!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Troegs Hop Back

Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale:

Listed as an amber ale, I think of Hop Back as an IPA by virtue of its crispness and hoppy bite. Actually, it doesn't bite so much as nibble gently. But the hops are most definitely present and as alive as any flavor in any amber ale I'v ever tasted.

There are spicy things going on during the entire tasting process here, though I can't put my finger on them. The gentle sweetness at the end allows the interesting finish that constantly keeps the drinker's eyebrows raised in pleasant surprise. Just this side of mild, its crazy Uncle Nugget Nectar lays in waiting, chained up in the attic.

If you were at Hopstown University, prepare to be educated by graduating from pale ales to IPAs, or in this case, amber ales that happen to be hoppy. Perhaps then this ale is the missing link! Either way, it's versatile (bottle or glass or draft) and mellow and very drinkable at 6% abv. The first one goes down really fast, so watch it. If you've mastered the pale ale and are looking for some adventure, this brew is perfect. Embrace Hop Back and you will be lurking in dark corners in search of more. Hop Back is soooo close to Victory's Hop Devil. Sooooo close...

Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale:

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style: .90
Personal Preference: 1.0

Total Score: 3.9 Flags

Summer in America

Anchor Summer Beer:

This is an awesome summer brew. The distinctly American taste is certainly wheat, but the body is even lighter than most wheat beers. Instead of a bready, unfiltered wheatiness, this clean taste and light body remind me of a farmhouse ale with a clean, crisp taste. I wouldn't be surprised if there were citrusy elements (maybe a little lemon zest) involved since Anchor Summer is quite thirst quenching. I guess that's what makes it a good summer brew, huh?

Anchor never seems to miss. I understand that here in the capital of FermentNation, this California beauty is relatively rare and here in limited release. Go out of your way to pick this up. Grab a warm case and save it for some choice barbecue. I recommend this beer for people with an interest in going a little lighter in the summer, but who don't like to sacrifice quality. But use it sparingly. Don't waste it on people who would drink it just because of the distinct bottle, or who only drink the nicer stuff when somebody else brings it, or who can't tell the difference between a true summer beer (with a beautiful golden color, rich frothy head, dry and satisfying flavor and light body that would go spectacularly with fish...) and the shiny cans in the styrofoam cooler.

No, save it for a beer snob bbq or for converting a truly willing candidate. Or screw 'em all and drink Anchor Summer all by yourself. Works for me.

Anchor Summer Beer:

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.8 Flags