The Beer Savant

October 14, 2012

Wells Banana Bread Beer

Wells Banana Bread BeerDate: October 12, 2012
Cost: Not recorded
Brewery: Wells & Young’s Brewing Company, Bedford, UK
Alcohol content: 5.2%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass with snacks

I love bananas, but I usually don’t like banana-flavored foods and beverages. I know this doesn’t make sense, but there you have it. I had to make an exception to this rule when I discovered the Holy Grail of all beers, Ayinger Ur-Weisse, which has a delightful hint of bananas foster. (I need to write a review of that beer, but not today.)

Banana Bread poured a nice golden amber with slight foam that melted away quickly. It smelled of nuts and bananas and spices. My first mouthful tasted bitter, like they had used the inner peel of the banana to brew the beer. After several swallows, I warmed up to it a bit and enjoyed the malty, banana flavors and hints of yeast and hops. The carbonation was spot on.

This wasn’t a bad beer, but it wasn’t a fabulous one, either. I would certainly drink it again but wouldn’t go out of my way for it, especially with the far-superior Ayinger Ur-Weisse just up the street at BevMo.

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August 13, 2011

Red Tail Ale

Filed under: Ale,Amber,American — hikingsandiego @ 9:06 pm
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Red Tail aleCost: $3.99/22 fl. Oz. bottle at Henry’s
Brewer:  Mendocino Brewing Company, Ukiah, California
Alcohol content: 6.1%
Served: Cold in chilled glasses

As fortune would have it, I was waiting in a long line near the beer cooler at Henry’s Market. Slipping out of line for a moment, I grabbed a bottle of Red Tail and slunk back to my spot. That night, we popped the top and gave it a try.

Red Tail pours a light red/orange with nice lacing and slight foam. The scent is enticing. It’s pleasantly malty and hoppy with just a hint of yeast and a dash of caramel. It tastes a little sweet at first but leaves just a slight bitter aftertaste when swallowed.  The carbonation is just right for an amber ale.

If you’re looking for a solid, tasty, no-frills beer with some zing, Red Tail is an excellent selection. I will definitely buy this beer again. If Red Tail is indicative of the beers created by Mendocino Brewing Company, then I’m anxious to try more of their product.

July 15, 2011

Fat Tire

Filed under: Ale,Amber,American — hikingsandiego @ 8:39 pm
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Fat TireDate:  July 1, 2011
Cost: $2.99/22 fl. oz. at Vons
Brewery: New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, Colorado
Alcohol content: 5.2%
Served: Cold in a chilled glass

New Belgium’s winning streak has come to an end, and with their best-known beer, no less. Fat Tire poured a clear, amber color with decent foam on top. And there’s the key word…decent.

I was expecting a lot from Fat Tire:  Other beer enthusiasts give it rave reviews, and I thoroughly enjoy New Belgium’s Mothership Wit and Ranger IPA, but I found it only satisfactory, only…decent. There’s a slight malt flavor, a bubbly lightness, but that’s about all I can say for this beer. Drink it if it’s offered, but if you have other ambers to choose from, give something else a try.

June 21, 2011

Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale

Ballast Point Calico Amber AleDate: June 13, 2011
Cost: NA
Brewer:  Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, California
Alcohol content: 5.5%
Served: Cold from tap with seafood dinner at the Red Sails Inn

When you try a beer for the first time, the “where you are, who you’re with” factor can sometimes cloud your judgment. I tried my first glass of Ballast Point Calico Ale at a seaside table while dinning with my cousin and his wife from New Zealand, whom I had not seen for many, many years. It was a special evening.

The waitress brought me a glass of deep, clear, amber ale with the smallest of heads. I caught a whiff of grass and perhaps herbs as I raised it to my lips. It was love at first sip! My mouth was flooded with a rich ale full of malty flavors accented with hops and a slight bitter bite. It’s a complex tasting beer; each sip seemed to reveal additional nuances: a biscuity yeast, hops, maybe some citrus, caramel, etc.

As I mentioned, sentiment can wreck havoc on one’s objectivity, so to ensure a fair tasting, I ordered a second. I can swear without a doubt that this is one damn fine amber ale! I think I would find it no less satisfying if I were drinking it alone while eating a Big Mac following my best friend’s funeral.

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