Monday, September 28, 2009

New England Brew Lovers

Sharing the news: more info @

28 Breweries, 91 Brews, 1 Great Cause
Sample some of the finest craft beers, enjoy great food and music, and support the Prescott Park Arts Festival!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Two Sessions: Noon - 3:00 PM and 5:00 - 8:00 PM Admission - $25 advance / $35 Day of Fest Redhook Ale Brewery, 35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth, NH

Admission includes entry to the event, 4oz souvenir sampler cup, beer samples, and live music and entertainment.

Enjoy some of the best craft beer, great food and music, and support a great cause.
Get ready for some great sampling! Here's what you'll find:

Allagash Brewing Co. -Allagash White, Allagash Curieux

Long Trail Brewing Co.-Long Trail Ale, Blackberry Wheat, Traitional IPA, Harvest Ale

Boston Beer Co.-Oktoberfest, Boston

LagerDogfish Head Craft Brewery-Punkin Ale, 90 Minute IPA, Palo Santo, Raison D'Etre Pennichuck Brewing Company Inc -The Big O Oktoberfest Lager, Engine 5 Red Ale,

Pozharnik Espresso Russian Imperial Stout Cask

Redhook Ale Brewery-Longhammer IPA, Winterhook 2009, Treblehook Barley Wine, Schmidty's Vise

Shipyard Brewing Co.-Shipyard Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Pugsley Signature Series XXXX IPA
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.-Drifter Pale Ale, Hefeweizen

Tuckermans Brewing-Tuckerman Pale Ale, Tuckerman Headwall Alt, Tuckerman 6288
StoutMartha's Exchange-Oktoberfest Lager, Dark Rosaleen Stout, Another Ale

Smuttynose Brewing Co.-Pumkin Ale, Big A IPA, Star Island Single, Robust Porter

Otter Creek Brewing-Oktobergest Autumn Ale, Copper Ale, Quercus Vitis Humulus,
Wolaver's Will Stevens Pumkin

AleKona Brewing Co. -Longboard Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Pipeline Porter

Cambridge Brewing Co. -The Great Pumpkin Ale, The Wind Cried Mary, Youenjymystout, Golden Ring Abbey Pale Ale

Magic Hat Brewing Co. -#9, Lucky Kat, Roxy Rolles, Odd Notion

D L Geary Brewing Co. -Geary's Pale Ale, Geary's Hampshire Special Ale

Woodstock Inn Brewery -Pigs Ear Brown Ale, Pemi Pale Ale, Red Rack Ale, Autumn AleGritty
McDuffs -Halloween Ale, Original Pub Style, Gritty's 21 IPA

Sebago Brewing Co. -Frye's Leap IPA, Midnight Porter, Runabout Red Ale,
Single Batch Series - Local Harvest Ale

Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing -Moat Octoberfest, Moat Brown, Moat Weiss

Portsmouth Brewery -Dirty Blonde Ale, Bottle Rocket IPA, Octoberfest Lager

Kennebec River Brewery -SledHead Red, India Pale Ale, Penobscot Porter

Lowell Beer Works -Octoberfest Lager, Pumpkinhead Ale

Boston Beer Works -Wet Hop Ale, Harvest Ale

Elm City Brewing Co Ltd -Roggen Beer, Tilt yer Kilt, Cream Ale, Leaf Peeper Amber Ale

Gardner Ale House -Oktoberfest Lager, mas Altbier, Chair City Pale Ale,

Naked StoutMilly's Tavern -Milly's Pumpkin Ale, Farmhouse Saison, Hopzilla Imperial IPA,
Endless Summer British AlePeak Organic Brewing Co. -Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale, Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale,Peak Organic Pale Ale, Peak Organic Maple Oat Ale

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout

Brewed by Cape Ann Brewing Company, Massachusetts

Ok -- maybe it is my Irish roots coming through, but my favorite way to enjoy a pumpkin beer is to turn it into a black and tan. Yes -- that's right. Float the golden, fall essence on top of a dark, creamy Guinness. Well the Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout gives me everything that I want without having to over explain myself to the bartender.

The Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout is a meal in a glass; espresso, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg glory in a rich, creamy beer good enough to eat.

I sipped its goodness alongside a slice of sweet potato pie and floated away to food/drink coma-ville.

I give this guy an A- for two reasons:

1) It gives this Irish gal all she has been looking for and

2) The beer is not a partay starter, you cannot drink it all night. This is a one-two max brew .. skip dinner and go for the gold. Compare it to red wine, or my inability to hang at my old age, but after two, creamy, delicious beers I was ready to be put to bed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There can be only ONE!!!

THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT PUMPKIN ALE CONTINUES!!! Now, I just have to say how I'm really enjoying this Blog. I hope all of the readers are too!! By the way, the results are in after I posed the question: "What is your favorite beer season?" 30% enjoy Summer beers while 70% are more into the Fall/Oktoberfest variety. Although, perhaps its this blog that swayed the vote slightly seeing as we are currently all about Fall beers. But I have to agree - this time of year is definitely my favorite!!

Kate and I will try and give everyone a new question each week to keep you coming back for more. And don't forget to sign up to be a BEER411 FOLLOWER on the right side of the page!!

Anyway, last Thursday, we decided to put our pumpkin palates to the test. I convinced several brave souls to join me in a blind pumpkin ale tasting. No bottles or breweries or brand names to sway our votes... no price tags or popularity...not even the size of the bottle would sway our vote!! (get your mind out of the gutter, we're talking beer here!) The conditions were that everyone participating was asked to bring (1) 6 pk of Pumpkin Ale. I moderated so that no one brought duplicates.

Initially, I thought that we would have 3 or 4 different kinds btw the few people that showed up. Then, what started as 3 or 4 grew into 8!! Ultimately, here was the lineup that we ended up tasting:

Now, I'm not going to go through each and every beer that we tasted (However, all of the information on each one is listed below...FYI.) I want to inform everyone on the way we went about this tasting. What we liked, what we didn't like - and how each pumpkin ale compared to the other. I will say that each one of these ales was very drinkable... just some more than others. You'll also notice that there were several NOTABLE varieties missing... No Dogfish Punkin... No Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale... No Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (new this year)... No Heavy Seas Pumpkin Ale (also new this year)... It's also worth pointing out that everyone's tastes are different. But the results were needless to say... interesting.

8 unmarked beers were poured into glasses and placed in front of us... we compared the smell, color, taste and finish of each one. Some were spicy... others bland... some didn't have much of a smell... others had a VERY pungent Pumpkin smell...

After everyone had a chance to sample... we started by each picking out our favorites. (The envelope please...)

Ladies and gentlemen, this year's 1st annual Impromptu Pumpkin Ale tasting award goes to...

...Post Road Pumpkin Ale.

Yes, this was one of my favorites. Out of the 6 people that were there, 3 picked the Post Road, 2 people picked the Shipyard Pumpkinhead and 1 picked the Weyerbacher. I'd have to say, it was tough, because I also REALLY liked the Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale. (See - I TOLD you it was good this year!!)

So what the heck does all this mean, Tone?! You tried a bunch of Pumpkin beers. Yeah great. What's in it for me?! Ah, grasshopper... here's my advice. If you are looking to spice up your beverages for a party this fall season, here are the 3 beers that I suggest you go with:

1. Post Road Pumpkin Ale
2. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale
3. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

However, if you are someone that enjoys a more "complicated" taste and you aren't too afraid of a higher ABV%, jump into the world of Weyerbacher. I have to say, it was a very good beer too... but drinking a few of these might render your brain a little dumb.

Lastly, the one beer that really was in a class of its own... the Southern Tier PumKing Ale. In this type of tasting, it really did not go at all with the other beers we had. The smell was OVERPOWERINGLY Pumpkiny... and the taste was almost "buttery" or "creamy". I have to say when I had this beer about a week ago, it was very very good. However, I feel like in this sort of scenario (with all of the other beers being tasted at the same time), it caused the PumKing to get a low score on everyone's sheet. Moral of the story... if you go with this beer, make sure you start with it and don't plan to have a lot. Because if you stray from this variety and then go back (which most of us did during this tasting), I think you'd be overpowered with spices and texture. Recently, I read a description on a random beer blog that kinda hit the nail on the head. Drinking the Southern Tier is like Pumpkin Pie WITH the Whip Cream. There you go.

As for the other beers that we sampled... they were good. Just nothing to write home about. Saranac, Sea Dog, South Hampton... good, not great. Of course - the results could be TOTALLY different if it was out of the tap. :)

~Happy Hunting~

(From Left to Right)
Brewery: Weyerbacher
Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 8.00%

Brewery: Smuttynose
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 6.00%

Brewery: Saranac
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 5.40%

Brewery: Sea Dog
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 5.00%

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 5.00%

Brewery: South Hampton
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 5.5%

Brewery: Shipyard
Style: Pumpkinhead Ale
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 4.50%

Brewery: Southern Tier
Style: PumKing Ale
Size: 22 fl oz.
ABV: 9.00%

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen

Brewing Company: Paulaner Salvator Thomasbraeu AG Germany
Style: Oktoberfest
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 5.80%

In lieu of my cousin and I’s fall drinking experiment, I have jumped ship from my normal U.S. October suds to sample Oktoberst from its roots, the Paulaner Salvator Thomasnraeu Oktoberfest, bottled and brewed in Germany. Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Germany. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with some six million people attending every year.

Since I won’t be making the trip via plane this year, I will experience it via palate.

The Paulaner Ocktoberfest has a nice combo of sweet and hops, a strong nose of cinnamon, and a slight licorice finish. As far as fall beers goes, it has good weight -- not too heavy, but thick enough to keep you warm on a crisp fall day. All three friends in company that ordered it liked it, but didn’t get another one, which leads me to score it as a B. If they toned done the sweetness just a tad, I think we would have ordered another round.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Brewing Company: Shipyard Brewing Co.
Style: Pumpkin
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 4.50%

What better way to start off this blog, than with Shipyard's most famous seasonal favorite this time of the year... Pumpkinhead Ale. Maybe it's just because it's the time of the year but this beer is simply AWESOME this season. About two months ago, my girlfriend, Michelle and I took a trip up North to visit family in Maine. As luck would have it, we had some time to check out the Shipyard Brewing Company up in Portland, ME. A GREAT place to visit - but this isn't about the Shipyard Brewery... it's about their Pumpkinhead Ale. Needless to say, our visit certainly planted the seed in our minds of what was to come when the Fall rolled around...

So fast-forward to about two weeks ago... and their it was. Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, sitting in the cooler, chilling to perfection. Like a long lost friend that you hadn't seen in a year. And if you ask me (and well, you ARE reading this so technically you ARE asking me, haha), it has lived up to the hype. I found that it doesn't knock you over the head with an overpowering pumpkin flavor. It also isn't too sweet which can be a MAJOR downfall when it comes to flavored beers. (If I wanted candy... I'd eat candy!!) The hints of cinnamon and nutmeg are subtle. Very easy to drink - which can be bad, but at ONLY 4.5% ABV (Alcohol by Volume), it's not going to end your night early.

Overall Grade: A-

Welcome to Beer411!!!

After much deliberation on Facebook with my cousin Kate and I, the time has come to put all of these great ideas to PRINT!! That's right. What's the best Pumpkin Ale you ask? Where can I get a really good draft? Who's got the best Oktoberfest? We have your answers here. Welcome to Beer411!!

Over the next several weeks, you'll be getting reviews/stories/testamonitals of all types of seasonal favorites. (Don't you just LOVE this time of year!?) And if there's something out there that you HAVEN'T tried yet and want us to give it a go... LET US KNOW!! Our hopes that you can refer back to this website before you hit the packy so Kate and I can steer you right!!

Also, we want to hear from you and here YOUR reviews!! YOUR STORIES!! I encourage you to comment on a particular favorite... or ask questions on what seasonal favorite you might want to go with!! Bottomline is that this website is for you guys... Kate and I vow to give you our best reviews from all types of beer that is particularly in season. And if we can get enough interest in this site... perhaps we'll extend it to the Holiday favorites!!

Welcome to Beer411!!!