The Beer Savant

May 30, 2011

Woodie Gold

Filed under: American,Pilsner — hikingsandiego @ 7:38 pm
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Woodie GoldDate: May 27, 2011
Cost: $7.99/6-pack at Vons
Brewery: Karl Strauss Brewing Company, San Diego, California
Alcohol content: 4.6%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass

The jury is still out for me on Karl Strauss beers, and Woodie Gold is no exception. I don’t dislike Karl Strauss brews, but I’m not crazy about them, either. I was hoping this one would change my mind.

Woodie Gold pours a beautiful, clear dark gold. It’s very inviting to look at, and if appearance was all that mattered to me in a beer, I would give it an A+.  The taste is uneventful; nice, clean, but not a lot going on. I wouldn’t describe it as memorable. However, its lack of distinct flavors works to its advantage in respect to its being a good complement to most foods. It’s not going to overpower the grilled steaks your brother-in-law spent so much time and effort perfecting.  It’s a decent beer for a hot summer day, but I would wait for it to go on sale before purchasing.


May 15, 2011

Shock Top

Filed under: Ale,American,Wheat,Witbier — hikingsandiego @ 9:39 pm
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Shock TopDate: May 13, 2011
Cost: NA
Brewer:  Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri
Alcohol content: 5.2%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses, side of unsalted peanuts

I’m usually cautious when presented with a “corporate” beer. Corporate beers are kind of like Chips Ahoy Cookies: technically, they’re a cookie with small lumps of chocolate, and they’ll do in a pinch when your sweet tooth demands satisfaction. But craft beers and microbeers are like a hot Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie: a divine experience…a confectionary nirvana.

Shock Top is a product of the King of Corporate Beers, Anheuser-Busch, so  with a touch of trepidation I flipped off the bottle cap and poured my first glass. The beer pours slightly hazy with a soft lemony color. So far so good. The packaging describes it as containing coriander, orange, lemon, and lime peel with wheat. At first sip, I didn’t taste much of these and, well, it tasted pretty much like most corporate beers. Then I cut a wedge of fresh orange, squeezed it in the glass, and poof! The beer came to life! Orange juice is to Shock Top what that ol’ top hat was to Frosty the Snowman: the one element that brings it to life. But I digress.

Orange added, Shock Top has a delightful, citrus taste that is refreshing with a nice, tart aftertaste. It’s clean and not filling, making it another fine beer for a sweltering summer day. Like Corona, it’s an uneventful beer without an added squeeze of citrus. Really, you can look at that as a plus…there are far worse ways to get your vitamin C!

May 12, 2011

Mermaid’s Red

Filed under: Ale,American,Red — hikingsandiego @ 8:02 pm
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Mermaid's RedDate: May 6, 2011
Cost: Not available
Brewer:  Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado, California
Alcohol content: 5.7%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses

I have had a long love affair with this ale. I drank it first at the company’s brewpub on Orange Avenue in Coronado, accompanied by a large, fresh soft pretzel. Good times, my friends. I love the Coronado Brewing Company’s restaurant: the atmosphere is A+; there’s usually a nice, laid-back crowd of regulars and tourists; the menu is varied and the food delicious; and the beers…aahhhhhh.

Mermaid’s Red Ale is a dark, full-bodied, hoppy red with a touch of malt, caramel, and a kick. It’s a little cloudy, like a wheat beer. That’s fine with me. This ale has a lot of flavor and goes well with most foods or as a standalone. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’re in San Diego or planning to visit, the Coronado Brewing Company’s restaurant and beers are worth a trip across the bay.

May 10, 2011

Mothership Wit

Filed under: Ale,American,Wheat — hikingsandiego @ 9:05 pm
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Mothership WitDate: April 30, 2011
Cost: $7.99/6-pack at Vons
Brewery: New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, Colorado
Alcohol content: 4.8%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass

The two macho guys in line ahead of me at Vons were quick to inform me that they didn’t like Mothership Wit. Being a fan of New Belgium’s Ranger IPA, I said I was willing to give it a chance (they agreed with me on the merits of Ranger). I’m glad I did. Mothership Wit is light in color and nicely light in taste. I found its flavor smooth and refreshing: a perfect beer for a summer picnic or hot evening sitting on the porch swing, wiping sweat off your brow. The label describes it as an “organic wheat beer brewed with spices,” but I swear I could taste a little citrus.

I’m becoming a fan of New Belgium’s; I like their environmentally conscious, employee-owned company culture, and I really enjoy their beers. I’m eager to try more of their products.

And the moral of this story is, don’t listen to guys in the checkout line. Try the beer for yourself!

May 8, 2011

Coastal Fog IPA

Coastal Fog IPADate: April 23, 2011
Cost: $3.49/22  Oz. bottle at BevMo
Brewer:  Hermitage Brewing Company, San Jose, California
Alcohol content: 5.6%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses

I was in the mood for a West Coast beer, so after mulling over the wide selection at BevMo, I settled on Coastal Fog IPA. This beer is darker than most IPAs I’ve tasted; it was almost an amber ale. I noticed immediately that it had a yeasty taste akin to what you’d experience drinking someone’s first attempt at homebrew. (Well, maybe not that bad.) It was drinkable, but I don’t think I’ll buy it again, not with so many really good IPAs on the market. You can safely skip this one with the assurance that you’re not missing anything.

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