Ben Dean-Titterrell

Politics and beer

Tag: United States

1001 Beers: 15. Brooklyn Lager

Bottle

Brooklyn Lager

From: USA

Brewed by: Brooklyn Brewery

First brewed: 1988

ABV: 5.2%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

If you haven’t tried it you’ve almost certainly seen Brooklyn Lager. You see it everywhere, and you can almost guarantee that if a pub or bar sells beer by the bottle, it’ll stock Brooklyn. I must admit, this isn’t the first time ever I’ve had this beer, but it is the first time I’ve properly considered its merits rather than just casually sipping away.

Let’s start with that colour. Far darker than a typical lager, more amber than gold. Not that it’s too dark, it still catches the light well. Off the top of my head, it’s probably the most distinctiveness lager I’ve had in my time. I think if you were to show it to me without saying what it was, my first guess would be IPA.

I get a pleasant fruity hop aroma to the nose. This aroma’s strong and I might go as far as to say its stronger than the flavour of the beer. The flavour’s good; it’s sweet and malty and goes down really smoothly. I don’t think the intensity of the flavour is on the same level as the intensity of the aroma, but maybe that’s just me.

Cap

Brooklyn Lager is incredibly drinkable. It’s effortless, and from my limited experience in the world of beer that isn’t something that’s always guaranteed. Without a doubt, I’d have this beer again and I think it’d best suite a scenario where the beer isn’t the main reason for being where you are. It’s not a performance piece, its a companion. And sometimes that’s everything a beer needs to be. Four stars.

4 out of 5

Advertisements

1001 Beers: 14. Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

From: USA

Brewed by: Goose Island

First brewed: 1993

ABV: 5.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

I’d been looking forward to this one for some time. I’d seen and read and heard good things about it. So, it was with a sense of optimism that I went into this, with the abiding memories of my previous tasting from Goose Island positive ones.

The first thing that hits me: citrus. There was a strong citrusy taste that came immediately to my mind. Then came the hoppiness a mere moment later. To my taste, they were both strong and forceful, but they played off each other well. They complimented one another and balanced out nicely.

There was also a sharpness to this beer. From my very limited experienced IPAs can often have less of an edge to them, blunter somewhat they a crisp lager. But this one had a sharpness that I liked. It added to the refreshing nature of the beer.

Bottle CapAnother nice thing about this beer was the colour. It seems almost silly and unimportant but I really believe the colour of a beer adds a lot to how much you enjoy it. The glowing golden colour was a lovely thing to look at. Never underestimate colour in a beer.

This was great. (Though my memories of it, for now, might be somewhat soured by the fact I dropped and broke one of my favourite glasses while drinking it.)

Broken Glass

I could drink pints of this all night long. A certain four.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 13. Goose Island Matilda

Matilda

Matilda

From: United States

Brewed by: Goose Island Brewing Company

First brewed: 2005

ABV: 7%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

Matilda by Goose Island is, at first glance, unlike any other beer I’ve had before. That’s because it comes in a bottle ordinarily used for wine, not beer. Safe to say this Belgian Style Pale Ale was a brand new kind of beer experience for me.

First thing that you notice upon taking a sip of this beer is the fruitiness. The second thing you notice is the dryness. It was odd for me that a liquid could have such a dry taste. The dryness stays in the mouth from start to finish. Upon reading the bottle’s label I deduced that this came from the dry fruit used in the brewing process. After much thought I believe the fruit to be dried apricot, but I cannot know for sure.

Bottle Cap

The colour of the beer was something I noticed particularly here as well. My quite poor quality photograph doesn’t show it but this was a deep rich orange that had a strong haziness to it.

When I do these reviews I like to think of where I’d see myself most enjoying each beer. This example would best be had in a group. The size of the bottle and the general feel of the beer suggests to me it would be best suited as a social beer. I tried this beer in the company of a couple of other people, and the discussion about the beer greatly improved the overall experience.

This was another strong showing. I enjoyed this a lot. Four out of five pints.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 12. Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Steam Beer

From: United States

Brewed by: Anchor Brewing Company

First brewed: 1896

ABV: 4.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

A steam beer is apparently something that uses lager yeast but ferments at an ale temperature. Apparently all the rage many years ago, Anchor have been pumping this beer out for years to ensure it has a place in contemporary brewing.

It’s taste is full bodied and rich from the very first sip. The intensity of the flavours is apparent immediately and there is no delay in realising the strength of taste this beer has to offer. It’s also got a lovely strong sweetness to it. As a particular fan of beers that have an overall sweetness to them this was an certain positive.

Bottle Cap

The colour was something I noted. It was a dark coppery colour that glowed a deep orange in the path of direct light. It certainly seemed a halfway house between lager and ale in terms of its colour.

I also greatly appreciated how mellow in the mouth this beer could be with regards to how fizzy it was. It hit what I thought of as a good balance that made it ever more enjoyable. One of the best compliments I can pay this beer was just how drinkable it was; it was easy to drink, something that shouldn’t be undervalued in beer.

Really liked this one. A strong four.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 11. Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

From: United States

Brewed by: Boston Beer Company

First brewed: 1985

ABV: 4.9%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

Sam Adams. Another of the instantly recognisable beers that features in this project. Having heard good things in advance I went in with reasonably high expectations. The first sip starts of a path from a crisp fist taste to a rich finish. Its sweet and cold and refreshing at first, but it proceeds to feel rich and fragrant with a nice, palatable bitterness.

I particularly noticed the colour of this beer. It was considerably darker than I’m used to in a lager. That colour seemed to run in parallel with the overall taste. It felt a bit fuller than other lagers I’ve drank. It’s hard to pin down exactly what this difference was but it made the beer taste a little more substantial.

Bottle Cap

This lager was also something that I felt I could drink a fair amount of. I could sit for an evening and have several pints worth of this. It was relaxed enough to be consumed again and again in one night.

Hard to nail down what to give this. It’s certainly a good beer, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it great. Don’t get me wrong though, I recommend it. Three out of five.

3 out of 5

1001 Beers: 8. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

From: United States

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

First Brewed: 1980

ABV: 5.6%

Obtained from: Beerhawk 

This beer, according to my book, has a very important place in the contemporary history of beer. I try my best to ignore any kind of mythologising about the importance of the beers I try for this project, but its hard to avoid how much this beer is talked about in treading new ground in the realm of small, pioneering breweries.

Taking the beer on its own merits, it has an immediate freshness. The hoppy tastes are crisp and light. They sit loosely on the tongue while the fruitiness comes in. The fruity tastes are sweet and rich, they linger in the mouth long after every sip. It feels very summery, it would be best drank outside on a warm, sunny day.

This beer gives you all the vital elements you want in a pale ale. It doesn’t blow you away or change the way you think about beer in one can. But it does give you everything you want from a fairly strong pale ale. It feels like a real classic; something that you can absolutely rely on.

This beer is really good. It’s up there with the beers I’d have first off on a visit to a pub or a bar. A very respectable four out of five.

4 out of 5

1001 Beers: 7. Arrogant Bastard Ale

Arrogant Bastard Ale

Arrogant Bastard Ale

From: United States

Brewed by: Stone Brewing

First Brewed: 1997

ABV: 7.2%

Obtained from: Beerhawk

The first thing I noticed upon drinking this dark coloured ale was how forceful and intense the bitterness was. The writing on the can boasts of how strong and aggressive it is in a very self-aggrandising paragraph; with regards to the bitterness of the hop flavours it certainly tells the truth. The bitterness stays in the mouth and lingers a while after each sip.

Speaking of sips, this is a beer that must be consumed in small increments. Taking large gulps of Arrogant Bastard Ale would be too overpowering to be enjoyable. In such a large can this becomes a beer to drink slowly and thoughtfully, and at over 7% ABV each sip packs a punch. Despite its strength one can is unlikely to get you drunk, but I reached that point where you’re aware for some time that you’ve had a drink.

There are some very dark fruity notes to this beer as well. The fruitiness tastes most like some kind of dark berry. This brings a sweetness that in my opinion is much needed, if the bitterness was left unchecked it really wouldn’t be tolerable. This is a good bitter beer that even a fan of sweeter beers can enjoy.

I wouldn’t rush to get this beer if given the option but its still enjoyable and certainly makes its way into the list of beers I would drink again. All things considered I give this a well earned three pints.

3 out of 5