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All year long, I will be drinking one beer a day -- no more, no less -- with no repeats. Join the discussion and help me discover and share new beer!

Archive for Beer a Day

May
16

Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (1)

UFO beer has nothing to do with little green men, but I’m starting to think I should have consumed this hefeweizen last week before I saw the new Star Trek movie. I’d have been able to litter this review with puns about Captain Kirk and busty, green women; and UFO Hefeweizen wouldn’t have been in the unenviable position it’s in now — batting cleanup after a Double Pale Ale and an Imperial Stout!

So if this beer didn’t come from outer space, why do they call it UFO?

The initials are used because the beer is Harpoon’s “Un-Filtered Offering”, a line that started with Hefeweizen and has expanded to include a UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen and UFO White, the newest.

Full disclosure — my bottle of UFO is almost exactly one month past its best-by date. With that in mind, it wasn’t too bad.

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May
15

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

Imperial is all the rage. American palates yearn for bigger and bolder flavors — more hops, more alcohol, more fruit, more roasted malt — and craft brewers have satisfied that market, to the extent possible, by blurring the style-lines and stretching the context of familiar beers.

The word “Double” has been used to designate these bigger beers, presumably keying off the Belgian “dubbel” style, typically double the average abbey ale strength (yesterday, my beer for the day was a Double Pale Ale). But with a few notable exceptions — such as Harpoon’s “Leviathan” Series — most souped-up, bolder beers are described as “Imperial” styles.

The name comes from a strong stout crafted in the late 1700’s by Englisher brewer Thrale’s, for export to the court of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. The strong “porter” became known as the Imperial Russian Stout, and that name is still used for malty, decadent stouts with a high ABV percentage. But outside of a stout, the “Imperial” description is merely used for convenience — like the word “Double” — to describe a BIGGER version of a familiar beer style. And of course, inside of a stout (with apologies to Groucho Marx) it’s too dark to read.

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May
14

Double Dog - Double Pale Ale

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (3)

I dare you to dislike the aroma of this beer. In fact, I Double Dog dare you!

The best thing about Double Dog is its nose; this beer’s got a bold beak that rhinoplasty couldn’t tame. A “double pale ale”, Flying Dog’s brew exhales a sweet aroma that’s fruity and citrusy, yet dark and brooding. It’s a combination that has me imagining a grapefruit reciting Hamlet; or the musings of a maligned peach, plotting revenge against the fly sullying its fuzz.

If yesterday’s Sierra Nevada Pale Ale defines the style, then Double Dog pushes pale to its limits. I’ve had the other Flying Dog Canis Major beers; each has been big in taste and quite strong, so I was expecting a significant contrast between Flying Dog and the easy-going Sierra Nevada.

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May
13

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (2)

Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale defines the style in my mind. Pale and caramel malts create a smooth, sweet canvas upon which Cascade hops express a spicy creativity.

I chose this beer as the first of my “drink along” beers because Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is a venerable classic that’s relatively easy to find — and even easier to enjoy, even if you aren’t a beer fanatic. Some pale ales push the envelope with hoppy bitterness; these aren’t bad beers (in fact, I really enjoy many of the super hoppy pales), but they can be off putting if you are just learning to drink flavorful beer. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale strikes the perfect balance between malt and hops, flavor and drinkability.

My bottle came as a big, 24 ounce bomber, so I used a hefty English pint glass and the initial pour was all creamy foam. The aroma was delicious; spicy hops, citrus, and mellow malt. Though I’ve had this beer in the past, the aroma had me expecting a bitter taste — but when the foam finally settled and the copper-orange beer rose to my lips, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale spread across my tongue as warm malt with citrus highlights. It grew into an understated bitterness, radiating sweetness and a spicy bitterness through the finish.

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May
12

Abita Turbodog

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

My last Abita beer — the Purple Haze — was a flop. I understand it is a popular beer (I took some heat for the poor review), and perhaps I simply got a bad one, but I generally felt it was a waste of my “one a day” rule and expressed dismay that I had already purchased two other Abita brews.

Two of the email responses recommended I try Turbodog to give Abita another chance, and I decided to use American Craft Beer Week as an excuse to take one more crack at this New Orleans area brewer. And I’m glad I did.

As soon as I opened the bottle, I could tell / smell that I had a much better beer in front of me. It poured such a dark brown that it looked like a stout, with just the barest ruby highlights. My initial pour created the barest of beige heads, and the foam barely lasted long enough to capture a picture — but after taking a few sips, a vigorous swirl brought the head back. In fact, this second foamy head was bigger and more sustainable than before.

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