Goose Island Festivity Ale

Goose_Island_Festivity_AleWhen the Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. John Hall decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to introduce his beers. It turned out that John was right, as Chicagoan’s palates evolved rapidly once Goose Island’s opened its doors and introduced the city to distinctive craft beer. One of their seasonal beers is Brown Ale called Festivity, brewed to celebrate the holidays and the recipe changes slightly from year to year.

The beer pours an opaque amber brown color with dark ruby highlights when viewed against the light. The two finger light brown head dissipates at a moderate rate and leaves behind an ample lacing.

Aromas of sweet fruits, malts and spices leap from the glass. The fruit notes in combination with the spice is reminiscent of fruit cake. Notes of sweet toffee, caramel and creamy vanilla are backed by a toasted nut aroma.

Nice toasted malts up front along with sweet fruit notes. Roasted nuts, brown sugar, toffee and caramel notes follow on the heels of the fruits and malts. Piney hop notes hit around the mid-palate and carry through to the finish adding a slight bitterness.

Goose Island’s Festivity Ale is certainly a great way to ring in the holidays. A great pair for aged cheddar, roasted pork with cherry compote, or fruitcake. 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

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Smuttynose Durty Mud Season Hoppy Brown Ale

Smuttynose Durty Mud Season Hoppy Brown AleSmuttynose was founded in 1994 by the folks who started the Northampton and Portsmouth Breweries. Their beers are distributed from Maine to Florida and as far west as Wisconsin. Located in the historic seaport city of Portsmouth, Smuttynose offers seven year round beers and fourteen limited release and seasonal brews. The Durty Mud Season Hoppy Brown Ale is their spring seasonal.

The beer pours a murky deep chestnut brown with auburn highlights viewed in the light. The one finger frothy head is tan in color and recedes slowly. Once the head has dissipated, an elegant lacing remains atop the beer.

On the nose there are roasted nut aromas of almonds and hazelnuts combined with roasted coffee notes. Aromas of cocoa, vanilla and spice are also notable. Sweet malt and bready notes add complexity to the bouquet and aromas of piney and earthy hops take it to the next level.

The palate echoes the bouquet but with the focus turning towards the hops. Bitter hop notes of pine and grass are noticeable from the very first sip. Pepper and citrus hop notes can also be detected. Underneath the hops you will find all the brown ale flavors hiding. Light roasted nuts and coffee coexist with notes of sweet malts, caramel and cocoa. Citrus, pine, grass and pepper notes return with a bang and offer a lingering bitter finish.

This is the perfect marriage of two styles of beer. It is the clash of a Brown Ale and an IPA. Well balanced and intriguing. Try this with Gruyère cheese, chicken satay or a lemon hazelnut tart. PintRate-4

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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The Bruery Autumn Maple

The Bruery Autumn MapleThe founding of The Bruery started as the first homebrew by Patrick Rue, his brother Chris, and his wife Rachel. Patrick started homebrewing as a diversion in his first year of law school. As the years went by, his skill and passion came to a point where the only thing he wanted to do was make beer. Thus, money was raised, grey hairs were formed, and the rest is history.

Autumn Maple is The Bruery’s fall release, brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup.

The pour yields a rather hazy dark amber beer with rust hues. The two finger tan head is frothy and shows decent retention. Once the head dissipates there is a light yet resilient lacing. Also notable is the beer’s viscosity. Although it isn’t overtly thick or sticky when the glass is gently tipped and returned to an upright position it is evident that this beer has “legs.”

The inviting nose is offers up a distinct vegetal aroma of yams. Sweet smells of molasses and brown sugar mingle with the spice notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and creamy vanilla. Earthy Belgian yeast and crisp malt aromas add complexity and round out the bouquet.

The first sip drops a bomb of sugar, spice and everything nice. Notes of molasses, sweet maple, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and dried dark fruits hit you right off the bat. While most of these notes remain through the mid-palate they are met, and almost overtaken by, notes of yams, bready malts and lightly roasted nuts. The finish is slightly earthy and bittersweet as the Belgian yeast notes that cut through the sweetness linger.

The Bruery’s Autumn Maple offers a true taste of the fall. The use of yams in lieu of the more common pumpkin is a pleasant change. A complex yet balanced beer that would be a perfect pair for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. 4 Out Of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale

Cabin Fever Brown AleJason Spaulding and Brett VanderKamp, college buddies, founded New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Michigan in 1996. After 16 years of creating noteworthy craft brews, New Holland Brewing has secured a place in the craft beer community.

Cabin Fever is a hearty brown ale that is offered by the folks at New Holland Brewing during the winter months. The beer pours a rich, dark brown with bronze hues. The head is frothy, tan in color and displays some staying power.

The first whiff is laden with roasty grain and coffee notes. Diving a little deeper you’ll notice aromas of caramel drizzled raisins and chocolate malt. The aromas of the sweet raisins and chocolate are built on the original toasty notes that remain throughout.

The palate echoes the nose but in a different order. First to hit the palate are the caramel and raisin notes. They are met on the midpalate by slightly bitter notes of roasted grains (primarily rye) and coffee. The toasty notes are elevated by a hint of chocolate. The finish is surprisingly smooth, clean yet pleasantly persistent.

New Holland says, “excellent with roasts, stews, caramelized onions and snowfall,” which is nothing but the truth. This is a great snow day fireplace beer. Another winter selection that is warming and satisfying without being overdone. One sip will make you want to put on your PJ’s backwards and hope for a snow day! PintRate-4

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Blue Point Brewing RastafaRye Ale

RastafaRye AleWE BE JAMMIN’ and drinking! After this latest weather you may want to transport (mentally) yourself to the islands and get away from this cold. Well this RastafaRye ale can help you do that. Now this beer though it sounds very Jamaican actually comes from a different island; Long Island. The Blue Point Brewing Company has developed this rye ale to try and give homage to the Rastafarian life style.

In the glass the beer is a slightly dark amber color due to the use of rye grain and holds a nice bright white head. Rye is not often used in beer but is a fantastic grain for beer making. It gives the beer a heartier malt taste giving the beer more body allowing brewers to use outrageous hops to try and counter balance the malt. The hops in RastafaRye are freshly picked West Coast hops which give the beer a nice bite resulting in an IBU level of 48. The ABV of RastafaRye is 7.5%.

Another important fact about this beer is that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Often Cry Outreach program. This program improves the lives of children in the Caribbean by providing mentors, sports programs and improving educational programs. So if you want to enjoy a beer that has great flavor and it helps others in need you should definitely try this beer!

4 out of 5 PintsThe Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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Sixpoint Brewery Brownstone

Sixpoint Brewery BrownstoneSixpoint Brewery was founded in 2004 in Brooklyn, New York. With six core offerings, 12 seasonal and rotating offerings, and dozens of specialty concoctions, Sixpoint has something for every craft beer drinker. Their Brownstone is brewer Shane Welch’s take on a Brown Ale.

The beer pours a hazy, murky medium brown with a creamy head. You immediately notice the high carbonation level in the glass, which makes the beer appear to be more viscous than it actually is.

The nose is dominated by floral and pine hop notes. There is a slight under pinning of roasted malt and all the aromas that are associated with that profile like nut, caramel, and coffee. You really have to try to block out the overwhelming hop notes to detect the underlying roasted, malty ones.

The initial entry is that of a typical brown ale. Notes of caramel, toffee, coffee, and roasted nuts are evident, but only briefly. By the midpalate, all those brown ale notes are taken over by piney hop notes. Hops, hops, and hops linger on in the extremely lengthy finish.

At only 45 IBUs this beer is not bitter, like most hop dominated beers. The sweeter nutty caramel notes balance the hops but it is still the hop notes that dominate the palate. The carbonation level makes the beer seem fuller bodied than it is and helps to create a finish that just doesn’t quite.

This was an interesting brew. The style can be described as the love child of an IPA and a Brown Ale. All in all not a bad beer, but not a session ale as the brewery claims. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5

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Big Muddy Monster India Brown Ale

Big Muddy Monster India Brown AleFounded in 2009 in Murphysboro, Illinois the Big Muddy Brewery is first brewery in Murphysboro in over 50 years. It was worth the wait! The Big Muddy Brewery makes some great brews, and with a wide range of beers there is something in their portfolio that is sure delight just about everyone!

The Monster India Brown Ale is a very different beer that meshes a brown ale with the hop notes of an IPA. On the pour the beer is murky amber with copper hues. The head is thin with staying power and sandy in color. The viscosity is medium to low.

On the nose there is a slightly fruity aroma of fermented berries that is barely discernible through the hop notes that dominate. The aromas are mostly reminiscent of an IPA.

On the palate the carbonation is notable but note overwhelming. Notes of bitter hops are balanced by sweet caramel malts and a slight nutty flavor. The midpalate echoes the initial flavors. The finish lingers with a profile that goes from bitter to slightly sweet back to bitter where piney, hoppy notes remain.

All in all a good a beer, especially for someone looking for an alternative to an India Pale Ale. Not super complex, but a great session beer. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory