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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Troegs Sunshine Pils (Citizen Review)

Troegs Sunshine Pils:

"A little more interesting than
a typical pilsner,
but not complicated"

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style Points: .50
Personal Preference: .85

Total: 3.35 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl

Friday, November 27, 2009

McKenzie Brew House Light Lager (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: McKenzie Brew House Light Lager 3.5% abv
Where: McKenzie Brew House (Malvern, PA)
November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "Best light beer ever. Supremely tasty--light color adn just a bit cloudy. Slight wheat haze gives a tiny taste of body."

Check out McKenzie's Beer Selection [Click HERE]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Beer Recommendations

Happy Thanksgiving! Another Ferment National Holiday is upon us, and El Presidente wishes every citizen the best of the holiday season. Sure, Thanksgiving is about family, and friends, and thankfulness, but let's be serious, what would Thanksgiving be without turkey, football, and beer? With that in mind, here are some Presidential picks for Thanksgiving beers to enjoy.

1. For early drinking, tailgating, and watching football at home, try Samuel Adams Longshot Cranberry Wit. [Read the full review]

2. For enjoying the Thanksgiving turkey, try Yards Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale. [Read the full review]

3. For dessert, try Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. [Read the full review]

As always, drink responsibly, high five heartily, and clean your plate! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unibroue Raftman

Unibroue RaftmanUnibroue Raftman:

Unibroue has a distinct yeasty palate. Raftman is brewed from whiskey malt. Read the bottle and you will be promised smoky whiskey bouquet and lingering aftertaste. I'm finding that the body of Raftman is pretry darn big--a little too big for the extremely light flavor. Make no mistake--this brew does not have the whiskey kick that one gets from aging brew in whiskey barrels. Maybe the delicate flavors are just too subtle for my palate, but I don't taste a whole lot of anything. Upon first pouring this beer into a tulip glass, the head fizzed up a little bit like soda. After a few sips, there was enough room to fit the rest of the beer, including the yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

The quality of the craftsmanship is quite evident in Raftman, but it doesn't suit me. If the beer is designed to be delicate and mellow, why make it so rich and yeasty? How about an amber ale in hand-pumped cask? Wouldn't the subtle flavors have a stronger voice? I like Unibroue's stuff. Their other stuff. This brew is a little unsatisfying, which is a shame because I was really looking forward to it. I knew it wasn't going to be too strong (a fairly mild 5.5% abv) but I was thinking a little less body and more whiskey pizazz.

Unibroue Raftman:

Representation: .75
Accessibility: .90
Style: .80
Personal Preference: .75

Total: 3.2 Flags

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bullfrog Brewery's Edgar IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Bullfrog Brewery's Edgar IPA 8.0% abv
Where: Bullfrog Brewery (Williamsport, PA)
When: November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "Floral, grapefruity, and bitter, but sturdier malt backbone than a typical IPA. Very smooth. I'm taking home a growler of this stuff. "

Check out Bullfrog's website [click HERE]

Bullfrog Brewery Edgar IPA
Compare to our other IPA reviews [click HERE]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Sierra Nevada Celebration 2009Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009:

This brew has a nice amber color and slightly fizzy mouthfeel. It's a celebration alright -- of hops. Earthy and bitter, not very floral ... like an IPA with some malty undertones but the malt flavor is buried deep beneath the herbal hoppy attack on the palate. The hops come on strong, then subside, then reappear for the aftertaste. Side note: A belchers delight, one glass of this brew can provide an uninterupted "Twelve Days of Christmas" if your breathing technique is slick enough.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale has a medium body and weighs in a 6.8% abv, providing a slightly warming sensation. I would definitely recommend pouring Sierra Celebration into a glass or mug to let it open up a bit. It's a sippin' tea that has a sharpness to it; pretty rich and flavorful so don't rush it. It's multi-faceted but not too complicated-- and deserves to be enjoyed in good time.

Like many holiday beers, this isn't a "brewski" that you slug down at a dive bar. Instead, set a dinner date with a hop lover, cook up some wurst and celebrate one sip at a time.

Unlike many holiday beers, the hops (with a touch of malt) dominate the flavor while the traditional mulling spices and other Christmasy trimmings do not appear at all.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .95
Style: .96
Personal Preference: .96

Total Score: 3.82 Flags

Read our other Sierra Nevada beer reviews

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Left Hand American Pale Ale (Citizen Review)

Left Hand American Pale Ale:

"Good and drinkable

for a pale ale not

challenging (which can be good

and bad)"

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style Points: .50
Personal Preference: .50

Total Score: 3.0 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl Selah

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We are Tweeting!

From the Office of the Vice President:

It has taken us almost two years to get the proper security assurances from Twitter.com. You have to understand it was a vital matter of Ferment National security. But finally, treaties have been struck, promises have been made, and The Ferment Nation is now on Twitter. We will be posting new reviews, new videos, new news, new everything. Check us out! [Click here to follow]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laughing Dog Pale Ale

Laughing Dog Pale AleLaughing Dog Pale Ale:

I suppose the difference between a pale ale and an American Pale Ale is the spicier, zippier, in-your-facier hops melting pot nature of the APA. APA's don't shoot for subtlety but rather for memorability. Perhaps, though, a pale ale is but remembered for being chilled out and uber drinkable. Laughing Dog Pale Ale seems to just miss the mark here: A little lighter on everything may yield a really nice pale ale.

I feel that the two Laughing Dog beers I've tried have been well crafted but not exactly to my liking. I don't mean that I disliked them, but they haven't blown me away. I've heard good things about the Huckleberry Cream Ale, so I'm willing to give that a shot. Also, look for an Alpha Dog review soon as well.

There are so many really great pale ales out there; consider these as well: Troegs Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale. If my memory serves me correctly, Grim Reaper makes a Deathy Pale Ale that lives up to its name, and Union Barrel Works (Reamstown, PA) may be the palest of all.

Laughing Dog Pale Ale:

Representation: .80
Accessibility: .85
Style: .80
Personal Preference: .85

Total: 3.30 Flags

*[Read a review of Flying Dog's Double Dog Double Pale Ale]
*[Read a review
of Stoudt's American Pale Ale]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout:

"This is awesome."

--Reviewed by Mr. Buddy

Two points about the quality of this Citizen Review:

1. You know when a beer is awesome and when a beer is complete garbage. This reviewer had the beer reaction response of a jaguar. He tasted........POW!......he pounced. A word to all our citizens: trust your instincts.
Hopppin Frog BORIS The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout
2. There is a serene balance produced by this review as the brevity of the content counterbalances the sheer weight of the oddly over-longish title of this beer.
Hoppin Frog Brewery
Check out some of the details of this beer as well as other brews by Hoppin' Frog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA (Citizen Review)

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA:

"I enjoyed this IPA at work with some beer-loving colleagues. When asked how it tasted by one of the aforementioned co-workers, I replied that it was crisp and refreshing, not overly hoppy, quite nice. Another co-worker chimed in with an added description of the citrus, namely grapefruit, taste prevalent in the beer. I did not think of grapefruit immediately myself, but my crisp and refreshing comment certainly complemented this description, and after having a second serving of this IPA and letting the beer acquaint itself with my palate more thoroughly, I, too, could taste the grapefruit. At 6% abv, this beer invites you to finish off a six-pack. Another fine product from Michigan breweries. I would definitely bet on this Dark Horse."

Check out more of Dark Horse's beer [HERE]

Dark Horse Crooked
--From the office of the Vice President

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale 2009

Holy Mackerel Special Golden AleHoly Mackerel Special Golden Ale 2009:

Well, I jumped the gun a little by drinking this one right away. Our friends from Gordash suggest cellaring this Belgian style gem for 2-3 years. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for Golden Ales, and the Mack delivers a nice treat: a delicious Belgian style chill out beer. It's a bit like Golden Monkey Light--just a pinch drier and less boozy, weighing in at 8.5% abv as opposed to V.G.M.'s 9.5%. I'm actually a huge fan of Victory's Golden Monkey and Weyerbacher's Merry Monks so to mention the Holy Mackerel in the same review is pretty high praise.

I would really recommend this beer to a non-beer-drinker--someone who "doesn't like beer" because it's bitter. This is just the opposite. You can bring this brew with you to a BYOB seafood place and drink it in place of white wine. Oh, and ladies usually have a more delicate palate but will love the mellow b-nanna-y flavors of this Golden Ale. I'm definitely going to grab a few more and put them away in my collection. 2-3 years from now I'll let you know how it goes.

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale 2009:

Representation: .925
Accessibility: .95
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .90

Total: 3.675 Flags

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ithaca Flower Power IPA (Citizen Review)

Ithaca Flower Power IPA:

"Definitely flowery, you can smell the hops immediately, and powerfully out of the bottle neck. You know how some beers taste and smell hoppy right out of the gate, but then the smell and taste disperses after a swig or two? This does not happen with this beer. I've had this on tap at Jose Pistola's in Philadelphia, too, and I am definitely a fan. Easy to drink, hoppy, nice."

Representation: .80
Accessibility: .90
Style Points: .85
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.45 Flags

--Reviewed by the VP (Vice President and Webmaster-at-Arms)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza Special Ale

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de CalabazaJolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza Special Ale:

This holiday gem is an ale aged in oak barrels, bottled conditioned for richness and complexity. The oakey flavor is subtle -- works nicely with the Flemish sour-style tartness. The spicing is the interesting part here -- the medley of fruits and spices conjure up images of sitting by the fire and sipping this brew with both hands wrapped around the glass. It reminds me a little bit of mince pie: cloves and cinnamon mixed with plenty of sweet-tart fruites like raisins and cherries, cranberries, figs, and orange peels. It would be spiked, of course, with some warming alcohol essence like brandy. Yummy and a little pungent.

I also picture a mulled wine ... again, the spices warm and comfort the jolly drinker with a dessert-like brew. This ale pours a deep reddish-brown color with a tremendously thick, foamy head.

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza is ultra rich and flavorful but overall remains a medium-bodied beer. Bottle-conditioning allows for continued growth and changes with the passage of time. Having already been barrel aged, the spices blend in with the brew in a most permanent way. But bottle-conditiong actually keeps the brew fermenting even while it waits to be drunk. The resulting mixture is spice-infused and richly complex. These are not ingredients flung together in a kettle and then sold to goobers who need their beer to be 30 degrees below zero to kill off any flavor that may be lurking at the bottom of the bottle! No, these are ingredients masterfully blended into a definite "sippin' tea." By the way, I think I just got a bite of ginger.

I would recommend this beer to Flemish Sour lovers (Monk's Flemish Sour, Duchesse de Bourgogne), fruit beer lovers (Dogfish Head Festina Peche and Raison D'Etre), and lambic drinkers (Lindeman's Framboise or Kriek).

I would not recommend Noel de Calabaza to anyone who thinks the beer might taste like pumpkin. It doesn't. It isn't very hoppy, though there is a certain dryness that is notable, especially in the finish. There is a nice malty base but the malt has neither the caramely brown taste like a doppelbock nor is it boozy like a Scotch ale.

Not for beginners, Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza is so flamboyant that it could be off-putting. It would take a pretty sophisticated palate to truly understand and enjoy this brew. I think that the European sours are a little too much for El Presidente, but this Michigan beer tickles my tastebuds. Maybe this makes sense: a cross between a Scottish ale, a Flemish sour, and a Belgian lambic. Oh, by the way, pour this brew into a snifter... better yet, make it two snifters and share a bottle of holiday cheer with someone adventurous. At 9% abv, drinking a whole big bottle by oneself is a little tricky.

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza Special Ale:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .85
Style: 1.0
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.7 Flags

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale 8.7%abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: October 14, 2009, 9:11 PM
What-have-you: "Stone 'Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale' ist just that. Grapefruity hops and toasted malt. 8.7% sippin' tea."

See Stone's information page.
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blue Monkey Tavern

Blue Monkey TavernRecently, the executive offices of The Ferment Nation were evacuated for an emergency bar review drill. This is a standard procedure for us as we always want to be prepared for that 3am call when it comes. Not a phone call, the last call. Preparedness is next to Godliness as far as The Ferment Nation is concerned.

So, El Presidente and the VP convened their emergency meeting of preparedness at a South Jersey gem of a bar, The Blue Monkey Tavern at the Collins House in historic Merchantville, NJ. With an impressive beer list, and hearty appetizers, it was a very productive meeting.

If memory serves me correctly, El Presidente started off with a Pranqster Belgian and the VP began the night with Magic Hat's Lucky Kat IPA. These were followed by a Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard for the Pres, a Weihenstefaner Hefe Weissbier for the VP. These tasty beers were used to wash down some eats provided by the Blue Monkey. When it comes to nachos, the VP is very picky. The Blue Monkey gets a A for effort by providing salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, but the refried beans made the center of the nachos quite a mush, not the best. However, the VP rated the chicken quesadillas highly: hearty and tasty, reasonably priced for the sheer weight of the dish.

Before the night was over, El Presidente could not resist a Southern Tier Unearthly IPA. Were international beer peace accords discussed? Not to my knowledge. Was a working budget established for 2010? Definitely not. Has a return trip the Blue Monkey been scheduled? It is only a matter of time.

--From the office of the VP

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Widmer Hefeweisen (Citizen Review)

Widmer Hefeweisen:

"Even keel hefeweisen--

not offensive, but not

that different from others

drinkable but not exceptional.

Reminds me of Hoegaarden.

Lemon makes it better."

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .50
Stlye Points: .50
Personal Preference: .75

Total Score: 2.75 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl Selah

The Brew Club features The Ferment Nation

Hey! Our friends at The Brew Club are letting us explain the story of The Ferment Nation. Check out what El Presidente has to say, and while you're at it, check out The Brew Club. Thanks!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Extra! Ale (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Extra! Ale 8.74abv
Where: The Pour House (Westmont, NJ)
When: October 26, 2009, 9:18PM
What-have-you: "Lagunitas 'lil sumpn extra' ipa at pour house. Very floral and drinkable. Sweet yet dry. Hops are lively!"

Lagunitas Lil Sumpn

See the label and Lagunitas' PDF press release [HERE]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Zombies at the Quarry House!

Zombie BeerAck! Zombies! When you walk down 13 stairs underground after passing through some kind of plywood canopy on some side street in Silver Spring, MD, the last thing you want to see are a bunch of zombies shouting "Brains!" at you.

That is of course unless it is Halloween time!

Self-described as "Silver Spring's favorite dive for over 70 years", The Quarry House Tavern, is located on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, MD. A delegation from the Ferment Nation on a purely diplomatic mission entered the unassuming bar in the midst of some kind of Zombie Bar Crawl I suppose. Lots of make-up and rotting flesh. At least I hope that was make-up. We started off with a round of beers on tap: Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison (see the red arrow below). At 7.7% abv, that round of Belgian beers got the party started off right. We eased into some other beers by perusing their impressive beer menu.
Beers at the Quarry House in Silver Spring
Some other highlights of the night were a hoppy "one-two punch" of Victory's Hop Wallop and Green Flash's Imperial IPA in a big bottle, Smuttynose's Pumpkin, Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils, Boddington's Pub Ale, PBR tallboys (yeah!), Pyramid's Audacious Apricot Ale, not to mention some shots of Tequila (I didn't ask what brand, but they cost $3.00 each, so I definitely should not ask now), Jack Daniel's, and Blonde-Headed Sluts.

Top those drinks off with a friendly wait staff and luscious, hot tater tots, and a good time was had by all. If you are not afraid to go subterranean in the D.C. suburbs, check out the Quarry House.
Beers at the Quarry House in Silver Spring