Lagunitas – DayTime Ale

Lagunitas has a wide variety of beers, but most of the ones I’ve tried have been IPA’s, but this will have been my first time trying a “fractional IPA.” Lagunitas has been around since 1993 and is based out of Petaluma California. Someone wise once said, “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere”. This is a good motto to go by if you want to do some day drinking, especially since Lagunitas recommends drinking this beer with breakfast or lunch.

Lagunitas describes their DayTime Ale as “Our “Fractional IPA”, Boldly Dosed with a Gloriou$ Fortune of Dry Hops and a Toasty Malt Foundation to satisfy your every need. But it still lets you stay in the game to do what needs to be done. Available in select markets all year long and soon to be released year-round nationwide. ” I can generally find a reason to drink at any time of the day, but will have to try this breakfast and lunch time beer around dinner time. This beer was purchased individually at a local liquor store. It is 12 fluid ounces (355 mL), rated at 54.20 IBU, and is 4.65% alcohol by volume. And to a degree, I’m impressed by the level of accuracy those measurements.

The beer has a smooth pour with a nice white head. There is enough carbonation to help the head linger around but it dissipated from how much there was initially. It is a nice clear golden color with carbonation rising throughout the beer. It smells slightly sweet and I can smell the hops but can’t pinpoint any other smells. The flavor is what I would expect from an IPA to be drank early in the day; refreshing and light. If you’re not a big fan of strong IPA’s, this is probably the beer for you. Or if you’re new to IPA’s and trying to ease your way in, this is probably the one to try.

Know a good IPA for a non-IPA drinker? Let me know in the comments!

Paulaner – Original Munich Lager

With the relatively short amount of time the United States has been around, whenever I look at European history and how long certain buildings and companies have been around, I’m always amazed. The Paulaner brewery has been around since 1634, and that’s a very long time. They’ve even been supplying Oktoberfest with beer since 1810. There are a lot of breweries in the United States, but none with that kind of lifespan. The United States declared independence from England in 1776 and the oldest running brewery, Yuengling, was only founded in 1829. So relative to the United States and our breweries, this one has a lot of history.

Lagers are generally crisp and refreshing, which is perfect on this hot summer day. From Paulaner’s website, “A true Classic. This beer is credited for being one of the most popular Munich lager. Moreover, our brew masters were among the first to bring Munich lager beer to the Bavarian taps. The recipe for success remains: A perfect balance of malty character and the light bitterness of hops. Our Original Munich Lager is a true classic with its clear and bright gold sparkling hue, crowned by a pure white head. A beer which always goes down well: mild, elegant malts, with a hint of sweetness and a soft hint of hops in the background. This Munich beer is ideal to accompany spare ribs and spicy dishes. Just try it!”

This beer was purchased individually at a local liquor store. It came in a 11.2 fluid ounce (331 mL) bottle and is 4.9% alcohol by volume. The beer has a nice pour without much head and a nice clear golden color. The smell is slightly sweet, with a little grain, malt, and hops. The taste is crisp, clean, and refreshing. There is a little bite at the finish but not too bad. Overall not a very strong flavor, but it’s enjoyable. Definitely a good lager, and with the history of Paulaner, I think it’s a pretty good beer to try.

Have a favorite summer beer? Let me know in the comments!


Brooklyn – Sorachi Ace

I’ve had several beers from Brooklyn Brewery in the past and all of them have been pretty good. They make a couple beers that at a time were rated at 100 points that I thought were excellent. They do make quite a few different styles of beer and having been open since 1988 has given them a lot of time to perfect their craft. Their brewery is located in Brooklyn New York as their name would suggest.

The Sorachi Ace from Brookyln is another one of their excellent beers. Their website has a lot to say about this beer, “Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, an unfiltered golden farmhouse ale with a wonderfully clean malt flavor and our hero, the quirky Sorachi Ace hop, standing front and center. Dry-hopping releases Sorachi Ace’s bright, spicy aromatics to tickle the nose before ascending into a fine harmony between pilsner malt and playful Belgian yeast. Named after the Sorachi region of Hokkaido, Japan, the Sorachi Ace hop was developed by a large Japanese brewery in the late 1970s. A cross between British Brewer’s Gold, Japanese “Beikei No. 2″ and the famed Czech Saaz, it had a unique lemony-herbal scent, but this hop was odd and ended up being quickly banished to a laboratory. In 2008, the Sorachi Ace hop was quietly revived by a family farm in Washington State. Less than a year later, we had made it the star of one of our favorite beers ever. Dry, sharp and crackling with flavor, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is reminiscent of lemongrass, verbena, dill and lemon peels. Originally a member of our limited Brewmaster’s Reserve series, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a beer we just couldn’t let disappear. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is sunshine in a glass, a shining example of the versatility of one of the world’s most intriguing hops. This beer is a superstar at the table, and we enjoy it with seafood dishes, fresh cheese, poultry, barbecue, and even tomato-based pasta sauces. All by itself it puts on a great solo performance too, and we can honestly say you’ve never tasted any beer quite like it. Go ahead, pour yourself some sunshine.” I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen another brewery write so much about their beer.

As stated on their website, this beer is a saison. They list the types of malts, hops, yeast, and even include a list of foods that will pair with this beer. I purchased this beer at a local liquor store in an individual bottle. It is 12 fluid ounces (355 mL) and 7.2% alcohol by volume as opposed to the 7.6% advertised on the Brooklyn Brewery website.

The beer has a nice pour with a head that starts to form immediately, and dissipates just as fast. The color is a nice gold with some haze like a wheat beer. The smell is a little citrus, some malt, and I think yeast. It’s definitely not your typical beer. It tastes mostly like it smells and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. My girlfriend also took a taste of this and instantly put the glass down and said it wasn’t for her, which makes me think the saison style may be more of an acquired taste. But this beer tastes good, has a lot of complex flavors, but goes down rather easily.

If you have a favorite saison, let me know in the comments!

Maui Brewing Co – Bikini Blonde Lager

I purchased this beer thinking I had never tried it before, but realize that it was due to a new design that I did not recognize it. If you ask my girlfriend Hawaii is my favorite place in the world, so their beer also interests me. A light and refreshing lager seems like the best type of beer to come from Hawaii. And the style of the new can reminds me of the Hawaiian Sun drinks you’ll find all over Hawaii and in Hawaiian restaurants on the mainland.

Maui Brewing Co rates their Bikini Blonde Lager at 18 IBU and it is 5.2% alcohol by volume. I purchased it individually at a local liquor store and it came in a 12 fluid ounce (355 mL) can. It is described as “A clean, crisp & refreshing Helles, perfect any time.” The can also states “Crafted with passion from the heart of paradise. We are an innovative and independent brewery. Welcome to the ‘ohana.”

The beer has a smooth pour with a good amount of head that dissipates rather quickly. It has a nice clear golden color with a little bit of carbonation rising. The smell is a little malty and slightly sweet but seems very crisp. The taste isn’t very strong and doesn’t linger. I can’t quite place any specific flavors, but it seems like the perfect beer to enjoy at the beach. I would say this is a nice light beer to enjoy on a summer day.

Have any refreshing beers you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Ninkasi Brewing Company – Vanilla Oatis

Ninkasi Brewing Company is relatively new to me but has been brewing beer since 2006. They are based out of Eugene Oregon and offer a select variety of craft beers with many more having been offered over the years. From their first barrel to now, they have grown quite a bit and are now the 33rd largest craft brewer in the United States. They employ over 100 people and are an independent brewer.

This first beer that I’ve tried from them is their Vanilla Oatis. It is an oatmeal stout, and according to their website; “A divine blend of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt notes swirl together to create a smooth Oatmeal Stout with a crisp finish. The true signature of this beer comes from the addition of whole vanilla beans to the final stage of conditioning—the same process we use to dry hop a beer. Slightly sweet with a rich complexity, Vanilla Oatis is decadent and delicious.”

The flavor is described as “Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout is characterized by a roasted front flavor, smooth rich oats, a touch of chocolate flavor, and a rich vanilla complexity imparted by whole vanilla beans. It is bigger than a traditional stout with more alcohol, body and a touch more bitterness to keep it balanced.” And according to Ninkasi, pairs well with “Desserts, Chocolate, Berries, Brûlées, Tortes, and Gelato.”

This beer was purchased individually at a local grocery store. It came in a 22 fluid ounce (650 mL) bottle and is 7.0% alcohol by volume. It is part of the Flagship Series, Ninkasi rates it at 50 IBU, offers it year-round, and has been producing it since 2009. Interestingly enough, Ninkasi even offers recipes using this beer as an ingredient.

The pour of this beer was smooth with a thick medium brown and slowly rising head. The color of the beer itself is very dark and lets little light through. The smell is very malty with what seemed to me was caramel and oats. The flavor is very smooth initially with some nice chocolate and malt flavors at the finish. I’m not sure I really smelled or tasted the vanilla at all. And I had to try hard to find the oatmeal flavor in it, but it’s still there. Overall a good beer that was still very good even as it began to get warm. Definitely looking forward to trying some more of what Ninkasi has to offer.

If you’ve had any Ninkasi beers and have some suggestions, let me know in the comments!

AleSmith – Speedway Stout

This is the first beer I’ll have had from AleSmith. AleSmith was founded in 1995 and is based out of San Diego California. They offer a wide variety of year-round, seasonal, and barrel aged beers. The name AleSmith makes me think of someone hard at work forging the best beers they can possible make. And just the way their products sell make it seem like they’re doing a good job. They look more like a bottle of fine champagne than a bottle of beer.

From AleSmith; “Speedway Stout’s ominous, pitch-black appearance has become a hallmark of this modern-day classic. Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the flavor, supported by notes of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. A healthy dose of locally-roasted coffee from Ryan Bros. Coffee, Inc. added to each batch brings out the beer’s dark chocolate flavors and enhances its drinkability. Despite its intensity, Speedway Stout’s fine carbonation and creamy mouthfeel make it very smooth and surprisingly easy to drink. This beer ages very well and will continue to mature for many years to come.”

I purchased AleSmiths Speedway Stout from a local liquor store, came in a 25.4 fluid ounce (750 mL) bottle, and is 12% alcohol by volume. AleSmith rates it at 70 IBU, recommends serving it in a tulip glass or goblet, and suggests it improves with age. The volume and alcohol content seems more like a barley wine or an actual bottle of wine rather than a beer and the bottle looks more like champagne. The IBU rating makes me think it will likely be bitter, but being an Imperial Stout with Coffee makes me think differently.

The beer pours smooth and very dark with a nice milk chocolate covered head. The amount of head seemed perfect and dissipated rather slowly. The smell is an amazing malty coffee smell with a bit of chocolate. It tastes even better than it smell and it definitely doesn’t taste bitter or like it has a high alcohol content. My first thought is that this beer is dangerous, especially with the volume. I suppose it would be better to share this beer with someone else, but it’s so good I want it all for myself. I ended up drinking it rather fast and realized quickly that the alcohol content is accurate. I really liked this beer, but think I need to find it in smaller bottles so I don’t get drunk. I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes a nice stout beer.

Have a beer you think could compete with AleSmith’s Speedway Stout, let me know in the comments!

Ommegang – Game of Thrones Bend the Knee

Since I’ve been watching Game of Thrones and knew that Ommegang produced Game of Thrones themed beers I’ve been drinking the new ones every chance I get. With the latest season starting recently, I purchased the “Bend the Knee” release to try. While I haven’t had every beer they’ve released for Game of Thrones, the ones I’ve had were very good. I did not even look at the beer other than to see that it was Game of Thrones when I purchased it. It is a Belgian strong pale ale and came in a 25 fluid ounce (750 mL) bottle and is 9.0% alcohol by volume. It was purchased individually at a local liquor store.

Before I make this beer seem like a terrible beer, I have to disclose that I’m not a huge fan of strong Belgian beers. I do try them, and this one was purchased more for Game of Thrones than the style. The beer had a smooth pour, but with a LOT of head. After pouring, the head was over a third of the glass and continued to rise and eventually made the glass overflow. It took a few minutes for it to settle down so I could start drinking something other than head. The color is a nice golden with some haze like what you would expect from a Belgian. The smell was gave a lot of yeast and some malt and wasn’t very sweet considering it has Honey in it. The taste was very similar to the smell and I can’t say I was a huge fan. This definitely wasn’t a bad beer, but not to my liking. I did finish what I had poured so that says something.

If you know any strong Belgians that even I may like, let me know in the comments!