Beer Review #2
Hello Fellow Beer Junkies! Welcome back for our beer review. For this round, Frank, our favorite beer geek, brought us a wonderful variety of beers. Frank is a local homebrewer that travels extensively for work and is kind enough to bring us back some of the beers that he is able to find. It was a pretty hefty lineup for this week, consisting mostly of darker beers with higher ABVs. We can’t lie, we were definitely feeling this tasting HARD afterwards. And although we felt like we had an immediate hangover, the beers were all awesome. For this beer review, we had the following.
- Aslin Beer Company’s Apizza!
- McEwan’s Scotch Ale
- Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
- Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout
- Guinness Imperial Stout
- Founders Bottle Shop Nemesis
Apizza! – 6.0% ABV
We started this beer review with “Apizza!” from Aslin Beer Company because we were so intrigued by the name. Beer and pizza are the ultimate food/drink pairing so how could anything possibly go wrong by combining the two into one drinkable monstrosity? Unfortunately, the beer itself is nothing like the name suggests and tastes nothing like pizza which, honestly, might not be the worst thing. But, if it was done right, a pizza beer could be pretty tasty – Crooked Run in Virginia produced a beer called “White Guys from Maine make the Best Salsa”; a beer that tastes exactly like salsa and is a tasty experimental gose.
Aslin describes “Apizza!” as a fruited sour with watermelon, raspberry, blackberry, mint, toasted coconut, and milk sugar. It had a subtle fruit aroma and a beautiful red color. Once we got past the name and started treating it as a fruited sour, it was very pleasant. There is a thicker consistency that we tend to like in fruited sours, and it has a lovely fruity flavor with a sweet coconut aftertaste that masked the 6% abv. The lingering coconut flavor may be a bit overpowering to some as it turns the finish a little bit too sweet – which some may think is a poor combination with the upfront tartness.
Overall: 3.1 / 5
This one was a tough one to judge. Overall, it was a fun and interesting beer but for the fruited sour style it was a bit disappointing. There are better fruited sours out there that I would recommend over this one. But 3.1 / 5 isn’t too shabby!
McEwan’s Scotch Ale – 8.0% ABV
Next on our list for this beer review was McEwan’s Scotch Ale. Right away the aroma was wonderful with hints of caramel, toffee, and breadiness. The flavor was nice and malty with a little bit of coffee flavor and a slightly sweet aftertaste. The more you drink this beer, the better it gets. As the glass (and beer itself) begins to warm up, the flavors deepen and become smoother with each sip. The creaminess made the 8.0% abv feel smoother than ever. We thought it was very mild for a scotch ale and definitely weren’t complaining. All of those delicious malt flavors combined with the smooth mouthfeel and 8.0% abv are a lethal combination.
Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel – 5.0% ABV
If you’re a dark beer drinker, you know that this one is a classic. And, even though we have had this beer plenty of times, it never gets old. We love dark lagers, especially dunkels. Ayinger’s Altbairisch Dunkel is a classic example with a beautiful color that glows golden brown when held up to a light and has a sweet, malty aroma. The flavor is malt dominant with bready, toasty notes. There was enough bitterness to counter the sweetness, but not too much to impart any bitterness on the tongue. It generally isn’t too difficult to find, so if you’re looking for a solid traditional Dunkel I would highly recommend trying this one.
Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout – 6.0% ABV
The Kalamazoo stout from Bell’s Brewery is one of their most well known beers. The Kalamazoo Stout is solid in flavor, body, and aroma. From the first sip we could tell it was bold, but the chocolate and coffee character helped balance the flavor. It had a nice dry finish with a bready aftertaste. It had a full, thick mouthfeel that you would expect with this style. Overall, this beer was solid but I wouldn’t consider it to be anything special.
Guinness Imperial Stout – 10.3% ABV
Even though we live within an hour and a half of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Maryland, we have never been. Not because we don’t want to see the brewery but because we hate Maryland. Anyways, this stout was developed at the Maryland location, and aged in bourbon barrels for 8 months. It had a rich, sweet aroma and the big bold flavor you would expect. The chocolate and roasted malt flavor was predominant with subtle hints of vanilla. The bourbon flavor was present but not overpowering at all. We thought it was a delicious compliment to the chocolate and roasted malt character. It had the smooth, creamy mouthfeel that you would expect from this style. It was overall a pleasant surprise, as I am particular on barrel aged imperial stouts.
Founders Bottle Shop Nemesis – 11.2% ABV and 75 IBU
This beer was not at all what we expected, but fun nonetheless. When we saw that it was described as a barleywine, we were expecting the fruity esters and high sweetness. If we were blindfolded, we would have guessed it was a Russian Imperial Stout. The aroma was of toffee, roasted malts, and sweet molasses. It had a big bold flavor, and a strong chocolate, caramel character. Unfortunately, it was unusually bitter. Maybe a little too much, to the point that it was beyond the point of balancing the malt sweetness and more like a black IPA. It has a thick, creamy mouthfeel and leaves a dry finish. Overall it is a good beer, but it was just too heavily hopped in our opinion. It drew away from the complex malt character and left a bitterness on the tongue that we would have preferred to have gone without.
All of the beers we had in this beer review were wonderful in their own way. While some were far from favorites of ours, they were still solid for their individual styles. If you do try any of these beers, please comment below and let us know if you agree or disagree with our beer reviews! And if you have any beers you suggest we try, please send us a message and we will do our best to grab it for the next tasting.