Category Archives: Ale

Sixpoint Righteous Ale

Six Point Brewery
Brooklyn New York
Righteous Ale
6.3% ABV / 57 IBU

I don’t usually include the ABV or IBU, but since they are so keen to include it on the can (along with SRM, no less), I figured I’d add it. Six Point has found their stride with recipes, and with their new can design branding, it looks good too.

The pour is surprisingly quiet though with a little help, a frothy faintly beige head emerges, maintaining at a half inch.

The clarity is low, but the beer is murky, not opaque. Reddish-brown mahogany and cherry wood colors predominate, letting some amber light through. It’s basically like an Irish setter, but it smells better.

The nose has a heavy wort grain aroma – rich and oaty with a bitter pop like an ESB. That segues into the hops, which are resinous and herbal, but not overly floral. The mouthfeel is good (though I think I poured this particular can when it was too cold). The woodsy hop character shows up gradually atop the palate, spreading outward with peppery rye and some clean lemongrass. A green apple skin tartness is accompanied by brown sugar maltiness.

The beer never cloys, but the finish has a slightly dank cling that hopheads and ale lovers will recognize and adore. The rye is relatively quiet, so it comes across more as an APA – and a good one – but I was expecting just a little more twang from the malt.

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White Birch Hooksett Ale

White Birch Brewing
Hooksett, NH
Hooksett Ale

This review is a few months old, but WordPress has been jamming me by not allowing me to upload photos, but it looks like we’re back. That said, I had to put the image at the bottom of the review and not in it’s customary left-or-right-of-the-color-description spot. It’s summer and I plan on drinking a lot of beer, so reviews should reappear with some regularity. Thanks for visiting, come back soon.

White Birch takes some chances, making small-batch brews with a wide variety of additional ingredients. They also take great pains to make sure you know exactly what you’re drinking, indicating, month and year of inception, and batch number of your beer. Once again, my beer hoarding has gotten the better of me as this beer was brewed March 2011 and, according to the bottle, “is not intended for cellaring”. As I recall, I bought this in August, so a few months shouldn’t be a huge deal.

Right from the get-go, you can tell there’s nothing decrepit about this beer. The carbonation is lively and crisp as an egg-shell white head rises up and crackles over crystal clear clarity. Very fine bubbles travel languidly up the glass, as though they’re stopping to enjoy the sunset-orange color of the ale.

The aroma is an interesting mix – the strong citrus aromas from the Cascade and Centennial hops take on a slight funk from the Belgian yeast, mixing to make an aroma that wavers between wet horse and cooked wild rice.

The mouthfeel is full, starting tart but slowing down a bit. Initially, the lemon, grapefruit, and pine bark flavors from the West Coast hops kick in on the sides of the tongue, traveling backwards with a small dose of whole grain bread bittiness which is really nice. Just when you think it’s a miniature hop-bomb, those grains flavors emerge at the back of the swallow as rye and caraway seed.

Almost no heat from the relatively high (6.5%) ABV, but this particular bottle probably calmed down a bit over the last year. I’ll have to give some fresh White Birch another try, but the addition of the cooked grain bitterness on top of the hops is awesome.

Heavy Seas Gold Ale

Clipper City Brewing Co.
Baltimore, MD
Heavy Seas Gold Ale

A slow, slightly glugged pour yields little in the way of head, though a lacy white honeycomb sits on top of this mildly carbonated ale. The clarity is just this side of glassy. There is some blush through the middle of the glass, but the color is otherwise a wonderfully tawny gold.

The nose is biscuity – warm bread crust and honey on top of some slightly floral hop perfume. A light vegetal smell sits beneath the slightly murky lupulin layer.

The mouthfeel is nice and even; soft at first as a mild ale should be, but opening up towards the back of the swallow with sweet tangerine and mandarin that carries just a faint tart pop. The finish hangs on for just a moment, coating slightly, before gradually dissipating into a slightly malty sponginess.

Again, this is a mild, though not entirely quiet session ale. I’d sit down with a couple more of these in front of me.

Lake Placid Ubu Ale

Lake Placid Brewing Co.
Utica, NY
Ubu Ale

As evidenced by the Lake Placid URL, it is clear this is the flagship brew. Advertised as an English-style ale, it seems like it’s going to be a take on those flattish British brews. However, a dense head the color (and size) of toasted marshmallows inflates quickly, and subsides slowly, leaving craggy lacing down the sides.

The color is nearly entirely opaque. It’s not quite black, but really a dense garnet that issues just the slightest cola-brown tints at the edges. The nose is perfectly balanced. Malt comes through as slightly powdery cocoa with a touch of baking bread. The hops are slightly citric along with some faint pine.

The mouthfeel is excellent – very full with fine carbonation. The first part of the sip is perfectly smooth, but roasted flavors come out without adding any char bitterness. That transitions into some resinous pine hop notes that are combined with a touch of grapefruit. There is no metallic unevenness, nor twang of alcohol. This is an awesomely even brew.

Woodstock Loon

Been down so goddamn long…

Looks like it’s up to me.

I apologize to all the BYC followers and fans out there – it’s not that I haven’t been drinking, I’ve just been lazy. Or maybe, not lazy in that I’ve been out of the house and thus not reviewing. Regardless, I owe reviews, so here we go.

In honor of Halloween and all you loons out there:

Woodstock Inn Brewery
North Woodstock, NH
Loon Golden Ale

Another Shipyard contract, Woodstock also makes Pemi Pale Ale, reviewed last February.

A puffy, pure-white head jumps up above the beer, accelerated by extremely active, fine carbonation. The clarity is excellent and the color is beautiful. It is a truly lustrous gold, with faint tints of ruddy straw glinting in the light.

The nose is malty, but on the dry side with honey and pepper emanating through the sweet, bready body. The mouthfeel is good – it starts of with some heft and thins out nicely with the help of all that delicate effervescence. Like the aroma, the flavor has trouble deciding whether to be sweet or dry, which actually proves to be more interesting than incomplete. There is an initial soft grassiness which doesn’t really bite, but segues nicely into a buttery finish, like morning toast.

The finish is clean and not cloying. This brew is a fine session ale with some complexity. More impressive, I think, than their Pemi.

Saranac India Copper Ale

Matt Brewing Co.
Utica NY
Saranac India-style Copper Ale

A rocky head emerges out of the bottle – off-white with just a hint of yellow and orange – and it exhales quickly, dropping down towards the top of the brew. That brew is deep mahogany and more red than brown, darker than amber or copper, and the clarity is low. It is translucent, but by no means clear.Saranac Copper

The nose is a nice chalky mix of grassy yet earthy malts that exude a bit of sweetness and hops. The malt is subtly sweet, allowing the green florals of the hops to emerge and complement that grainy background.

The mouthfeel is full and immediately even. Hops kick in first, biting into the tastebuds a bit with some tart citrus that is strong but is not astringent. The malt body soon comes forward, evening things out across the tongue with a sourdough tartness and chewiness. However, right at the end, that sourdough just becomes sour leaving a flavor like Pine-Sol in the mouth.

I ran into this issue with Saranac’s Rye IPA so I hope it’s my problem and not there. The way the label boasts that this is a malty take on a classic IPA makes me want something more akin to a Cascade Dark/Black IPA, or even a hopped-up amber like Boulder’s Flashback. Not what I was expecting though the aftertaste that I found bracing gets milder with each sip.

Uinta Hive

Uinta Brewing Co.
Salt Lake City, UT
Four+ Hive Ale with Honey

While I’m awfully skeptical about the prevalence of crappy products with honey added, it makes sense in beer, what with brewing’s relation to mead.

The pour is lively, with a very tightly-knit, cloudy white head that has just the faintest hints of orange. The head is active and the surface teems as fine carbonation swells up throughout excellent clarity.

Less yellow than I expected, this really looks like a jar of honey – amber thinned out by marigold and some faint dun tones. As the head recedes to just below a half-inch, it clings to the inside of the glass like a wet sheet.

The nose is wonderfully malty and reminds me of East Anglian pubs – there is an earthy smell of wet wood, flour batter, hay, and a little bit of lemon zest.

The feel is quite good – the frothy head helps – and cereal grains show up first, though more thinly than the smell originally let on. There’s an interesting moment when the (very) faintly sweet honey mixes with the grassy hops; it’s not a battle between the two, but they don’t necessarily get along at first. Rapidly though, the honey becomes less sweet, and more floral while the hops become a bit more like lemon soap.

All in all, a pleasant brew, and an impressively delicate session ale (not lager!). While I might not seek it out as something incredibly complex, it is interesting enough, and infinitely refreshing.