Archive for October, 2011

Halloween Brews

October 28, 2011 1 comment

Here are a few Halloween-themed beer recommendations:

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Nosferatu

This beer will satisfy both the malt and hop lover in you. The taste introduces a rich malt front, followed by caramel with a slight nuttiness to it. Hopped with Simcoe and Cascade, a piney and citrusy hop bitterness arrive midway and lingers into the finish. An imperial red ale is fitting for a beer named after the infamous vampire. Be wary of the 8.0% abv though, as one too many encounters with the legendary Nosferatu may put you down.

Wychwood Brewery

Located in the United Kingdom, Wychwood Brewery seems to have the corner market on Halloween-themed beers. Hobgoblin is the self-proclaimed “Unofficial Beer of Halloween” according to their web site. The beer is an English brown ale, and the brewery’s description: “Traditionally brewed to produce a wonderfully well balanced blend of smooth, rich & satisfying flavours from chocolate & crystal malts combined with a crisp, refreshing bitterness from Styrian, Goldings and Fuggles hops.

Wychwood also makes Wychcraft, an English Pale Ale.
“A seductive blend of Pale, Lager and Cara Malts give a light and gentle base of delicious dry, biscuity flavours, while the addition of English Fuggles, Styrian Goldings and Cascade hops…”

I was less impressed with their Scarecrow, another English Pale Ale.
…combination of tart citric fruit flavours perfectly balanced by a rich biscuity maltiness and rounded off with a spicy bittersweet finish.

Newcastle Werewolf
The makers of Newcastle Brown Ale are branching out by introducing a line of seasonal beers for 2011. Werewolf is their limited edition fall seasonal. It’s a red ale brewed with rye malt. Supposedly it has a subtle berry flavor to it. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this on store shelves yet, but I haven’t been looking that hard for it either. Might be worth a try if you’re a Newcastle fan.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Another awesome beer that’s good anytime really. Dead Guy Ale is a Maibock, brewed in honor of the Mayan Day of the Dead, (November 1st, All Souls Day). It has a nice citrusy aroma with a hoppy floral boquette. Smooth front with a crisp textured finish. Sweet and citrusy upfront with a biscuity malt goodness. Flavorful finish from the Saaz hops is just perfect.

Unibroue Maudite
Luckily, you don’t have to pledge your soul to the devil to enjoy this Strong Belgian Dark Ale from Canada. Legend has it 8 lumberjacks struck a deal with the devil to get them home for the holidays. Maudite (the damned) pours a cloudy amber with a spicy yeast and fruity aroma. The beers has a sharp carbonation and a warming finish from the 8% abv.

Pumpkin Ales
If you throw a bottle cap this time of year in any good beer shop your bound to hit a sixer of pumpkin ale. There are too many to list here and besides each region has its own offerings. Some are more widely available than others. So seek out your local offerings. I feel pumpkin beers are truly a seasonal style, since for me anyway, they lose their appeal after Thanksgiving, but are enjoyable around Halloween and deep into Autumn.


Laughing Fox from New Glarus Brewing Co.

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

New Glarus has been on a roll lately. In the past couple of months they’ve released three new beers: Blacktop IPA, Laughing Fox, and a Chocolate Abbey ale under their Thumbprint series. Blacktop IPA is already making its mark, as it won a Gold Medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in the American-Style Black Ale category.

Laughing Fox started showing up on store shelves in Wisconsin around Labor Day. This wheat beer is a kristalweizen (essentially a filtered hefeweizen) and clocks in at a modest 4.5% alcohol by volume, which makes it a very sessionable beer.

Beer Review
The wheat ale pours a clear, dark copper in color with a thick light khaki-colored head, that eventually settles down. The aroma consists of bananas, with light chocolate or cocoa, clove, and spicy yeast. The mouthfeel is full-bodied. It has a softness to it with a tingling carbonation. Although, if you push the beer around your mouth, it still maintains a light airiness to it.

Laughing Fox starts off with flavors of wheat malt, banana & some slight chocolate, followed by a dusting of cinnamon. The satisfying flavor of the wheat malt really emerges in the middle. Cloves linger in the finish.

I was really impressed with this autumn release. When I think of Fall, wheat beers like kristalweizens don’t tend to come to mind, but the combination of 50% Wisconsin red wheat seems to work here and gives this beer a little heartier feel in both taste, and certainly appearance to match the cooler weather.

2011 Wisconsin Great American Beer Festival Winners

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

The Great American Beer Festival was held this past weekend (Sept. 29 -30) in Denver, Colorado. The festival offers guests the opportunity to taste hundreds of different beers. In addition, breweries enter their beers to be judged by an expert tasting panel. Winners are determined and gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to best in each of the 83 different beer categories.

Congratulations to the following Wisconsin microbreweries for winning medals this year!

2011 Gold Medal Winners
New Glarus Brewing Co. Blacktop IPA  – American-Style Black Ale
New Glarus Brewing Co. Raspberry Tart – Fruit Beer
Capital Brewery Co. Autumnal Fire – German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock

2011 Silver Medal Winners
Lakefront Brewery New Grist – Gluten-Free Beer
Vintage Brewing Co. Wee Heavy – Scotch Ale

2011 Bronze Medal Winner
Capital Brewery Co. Eisphyre – German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock

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