Beer Review: Harpoon Leviathan Barleywine Style

Harpoon LeviathanHad this barleywine quite some time ago and I wish I had another right now actually. I first enjoyed this beer several months ago when my friend tried it at a bar, I believe it was Taproom 307. After that my friend Christine was on an epic hunt to pick up a case of this beer. Naturally my amazing beer distributor had it and she was kind enough to save me one so I could give it a stellar review. Also make sure you pick up the right one because they have other beers called Leviathan but they are different styles!

Appearance: Copper/amber with a thin tan head; lots of carbonation and very cloudy.

Smell: Like any good barleywine it smells very sweet and fruity with a hint of malt.

Taste: A rich, malty ale mixed with delectable fruits and sweetness and just the right amount of hop bite. It fits that perfect complex flavor style of a barleywine with a finish that isn’t too bitter at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Harpoon Leviathan quickly became a favorite of mine. It fits in beautifully with the style and I find it’s easier to drink than other barleywines I’ve tasted. Usually you have to sip somewhat slowly or it’s overwhelming but Leviathan isn’t as powerful on the palate. It hides the alcohol well but watch out because it’s 10% and it will eventually hit you. Whether you’re in love with barleywines or are new to the style, I really recommend you try Leviathan.

Overall Rating: A-

Beer Is All You Need for Hurricane Irene

I’m reporting to you live from Flushing, Queens where we’re less than a day away from Hurricane Irene. This ho had to go and ruin all my party plans…okay I didn’t have much in the way of plans this weekend but she still forced me to evacuate my home. For those who don’t know me, I live on the south shore of Long Island and was ordered to leave. Some brave souls on my block are choosing to stay. Honestly, I don’t think my home will really be damaged but I did move all my important electronics to the second floor and got rid of anything off the floor.

I don’t anticipate my home being destroyed but still one wants to be safe. How do you decide within 24 hours what’s most important to you? Besides clothing, I took my two external hard drives, this shitty laptop so I can feel “connected” to the world, my stuffed panda, and my limited edition Lady Gaga album. (Yeah I know I’m a loser. But heaven forbid my home really was destroyed, I’d be devastated if it was lost to the horrors of this wench of a storm.)

But I knew I couldn’t very well leave without beer. I’m a beer blogger damn it! I had a bottle of Chimay Blue for months in my fridge. I know, I know, how could I not drink that by now? It’s a large bottle and I can’t down it all myself. So now it’s here sitting in my Aunt and Uncle’s refrigerator waiting to be slowly sipped and enjoyed. I shall most likely partake in it tonight. What better way to distract from the storm and not think about my kitties left behind at home than to get drunk?

I hope everyone else on the East Coast managed to pick up a few bottles of their favorite ales and lagers before all hell breaks loose. Just like I said for the May apocalypse, there’s no right or wrong beer for times like these. But I do believe now is the time to imbibe your best beer. Might as well go out with a bang.

Stay classy San Francisco…er I mean stay safe East Coast and drink well!

Preparing My Palate for Fall and Winter

I hate to be “that guy” that reminds everyone summer is dwindling down, but I can’t help but get excited for a new batch of seasonal ales. I have a love/hate relationship with summer anyway. I hate turning into a giant puddle of sweat but my body cannot handle temperatures below 40 degrees. Despite the heat, at least I can enjoy activities outdoors and I’m not afraid to wander the city for fear of frostbite. But I must admit that summer beers are not my particular forte.

When the season first starts, sure I could totally go for a beer that’s light and crisp and maybe has some nice citrus flavors mixed in, but my heart lies with the dark side. Give me pumpkin ales, chocolate stouts, and malty porters. As much as I don’t want winter to come, I am desperate for all my favorite bars to get in their fall and winter seasonal beers. Is there anything more delightful than sipping on an Oktoberfest or your favorite brewery’s pumpkin on a cool, crisp day (don’t forget to add pumpkin flavored sugar crystal on the rim of the glass! Yum!)? Just thinking about it makes me long for a hoodie and to hear the crunch of fall leaves under my feet.

Summer, you’ve been a blast but your beer just doesn’t wet my appetite quite as much as winter. Anyone else ready for some heavier beers? What is everyone looking forward to drinking next season? I’ve been dying to try Great Divide Hibernation Ale and Samichlaus Bier and I pray to the beer gods my beer distributor has it. Oh wait, I’ll most likely be living in Queens or Brooklyn by then…okay I hope my new local distributor has it!

Beer Review: Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale 2010

Smutynose Wheat Wine AleIf you haven’t read some of my reviews before, you might have noticed I really like Smuttynose and Samuel Smith because well, they are epically good. While still on my barleywine kick a month or so ago, I came across this larger than life bottle at my beer distributor. I had one of those “o_O” moments when I realized Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale combined delicious wheat ale with the oh-so-complex nuances of barleywine. My choice of purchase had been made.

Appearance: Orange/copper; somewhat cloudy; thin head; little carbonation.

Smell: Lightly fruity, possible smell of cherries, and malty. Definitely smelled more like a barleywine than a wheat ale.

Taste: It has a much richer, fruity/sweet taste of a barleywine but with more hops than usual. Despite it being a combination of two styles, I didn’t taste much of the wheat aspect. The ale also has a very bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy with light carbonation.

Drinkability: I was really hoping to taste more of the wheat ale but instead it just really fit the profile of a barleywine, which is all good of course. It is delicious nonetheless and not overly sweet, making it a bit easier to drink than other barleywines. There is a nice warming alcohol sensation. It’s strong and you have to sip slowly. This bad boy is 11% ABV. I would indulge again.

Overall Rating: A-

I Don’t Drink Pink Beer and Neither Should You

Molson Coors Animee BeerI’m a little late in the game for this one (only by 2 weeks) but it’s time for a rant. I am a woman and I drink craft beer. I do not need fruity, pink beer to entice me to pick up a six pack. The idea that women need something bright and shiny in order to make a purchase is just down right sexist. What is this pink beer I’m talking about? Molson Coors (the wretched people who own Coors, Keystone, and Blue Moon) have decided to use some “crafty” (get it!) ninja skills to increase beer sales among women by creating pink, clear, and yellow beer. Yes the yellow one looks like piss. (Really bad marketing move on their part.)

The beers will be “sparkling and crisp” with fruity flavors added to the batch. But that’s not all! They’re also low in calories for the weight conscious woman. I have to agree with The Beer Wench that this is an insult to women’s palates. I don’t need flavors of apples and pears to find something delicious. Not to mention I’m just sick of the fact that men don’t think women can “handle” beer. [expletive deleted] I’m sorry, did we time travel back to the 1950’s? Are steak and spicy foods too manly for my dainty taste buds as well? I will not be dragged into this category nor will I be put in the butch category either because I know what good beer tastes like.

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Beer Review: Samuel Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale

Old Brewery Pale AleI drank this beer quite some time ago and although I take pretty good notes, I hope I can still give you guys a good review. Bottom line, I remember really enjoying this beer so fear not beer imbibers! This is the third or fourth Samuel Smith I’ve tasted and I can say without hesitation that I really love and respect this brewery. It’s British so of course it rocks.

Appearance: Copper/straw color with a thick beige/light tan head and light in carbonation.

Smell: Fruity and malty (yum!).

Taste: A very crisp taste and not too complex. There is a very subtle bitterness, but what it lacks in hops it makes up for in sweetness. It tastes fruity and sweet with a nice malt flavor thrown in. It’s very refreshing. Simple, yet delicious. This is what a pale ale should taste like and not the mass market beers in 7-11. It’s so easy to drink that it’s hard to resist not chugging it.

Mouthfeel: Thin, almost watery –which is expected for the style– and light carbonation.

Drinkability: As I just mentioned, this is a very easy beer to drink. Perfect for switching people over to the dark side of craft beer. It’s mild and refreshing taste makes it a summer delight or if you’re not in the mood for a heavy beer. It lives up to the style and as I type this, I wish I had another.

Overall Rating: A