Long Trail Cranberry Gose

Long Train Cranberry GoseThe first batch of Long Trail Ale rolled off the line in 1989. Back then the brewery, known as the Mountain Brewers, was a modest brew house tucked into the basement of the Old Woolen Mill in Bridgewater Corners. The goal was to brew an affordable, American-made alternative to the pricey German and English exports that filled the shelves.

Today Long Trail is a household name from coast to coast. Brewing over two dozen different beer yearly Long Trail has something for everyone! One of their newest additions to their year round line up is a Cranberry Gose, brewed with cranberries from the Bluewater Farms in Massachusetts.

The beer pours a cloudy light pink color. The thin white head dissipate almost instantly and leaves behind no real lacing to speak of. The carbonation is visible in the pour with tons of tiny bubbles rushing to the surface.

The nose offers mild notes of cranberry and lemon fruits. There is a hint of salinity as well as a non-descriptive “sour” note. Some coriander spice is also noticeable.

The palate delivers on what the nose promised. A refreshing cranberry note is discernible right away. There is a hint of citrus and a noticeable salinity as well. The coriander is less potent on the palate. There is an undeniable tartness but this beer is not as dry or sour as many others.

A great twist on a traditional Gose. This beer is further proof that Long Trail knows how to craft enjoyable and quaffable beers. Try pairing this one with Queso Fresco, shrimp and watermelon salad or lemon cranberry mousse. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5

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Anderson Valley Briney Melon

anderson valley briney melonThe Anderson Valley Brewing Company was founded in 1987 in Boonville, CA. In the beginning, they brewed out of a modest 10-barrel brew-house located in the lower level of their original brewpub, The Buckhorn Saloon. They quickly gained a cult following, and at the time, they were one of only 20 craft breweries in the country. Long considered one of the pioneers in the craft beer industry, in 2000 they moved to a larger facility about a mile down the road in order to keep up with the demand for their products. Nearly 30 years later Anderson Valley is still crafting amazing beers. One of their newest releases is a Gose style beer brewed with natural watermelon (and other) flavors called Briney Melon Gose.

The beer pours a hazy golden straw yellow color. The one finger dense white head dissipates rather quickly. Once diminished only a very light lacing remains on top the beer.

On the nose you’ll find aromas of watermelon and rind. You can also get a hint of salinity as well as somewhat non-descriptive funky and tart aromas. A hint of citrus backed by a bright coriander like spice completes the bouquet.

On the palate you will find a light watermelon note that is almost overshadowed by the tartness. While the beers sour nature is definitely front and center you can still find hint of watermelon and citrus fruit notes. There is a malt component that balances the beer and brings everything together. The finish is very dry.

A refreshing and different take on the style. A little more sour than salty, but the addition of the melon brings it all together. Try pairing this one with Chevre, bacon wrapped seared scallops or a light and simple watermelon and mint salad. 3 out of 5 Pints

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out Of 5 Pints

New Belgium Heavy Melon

New Belgium Heavy MelonIt seems like yesterday we were welcoming our friends at New Belgium to the Garden State! Hailing from Fort Collins, Colorado New Belgium launched in NJ 2 short months ago. In operation since 1991, New Belgium is one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the US. Their lineup consists of two dozen year round, seasonal and specialty brews. Their latest seasonal release is a fruit ale named Heavy Melon, brewed with watermelon and lime peel.

The beer pours a clear golden yellow color with rich honeyed highlights. The one finger dense white head shows good retention. Once dissipated light lacing remains around the perimeter of the glass.

On the nose you’ll find enticing aromas of juicy watermelon along with cereal like malt. There is a hint of citrus but it is non-descriptive. A light herbal/grassy note can also be found mingling with the watermelon.

The first sip greets you with the same sweet cereal malts that quickly transition into notes of sweet, juicy watermelon. The watermelon notes continue to gain strength through the mid-palate and transition to a slightly bitter rind like note on the finish, which also features a hint of lime. There is the slightest hint at the herbal and grassy notes from the bouquet but the watermelon is definitely the star here.

What says summer more than a slice of juicy watermelon? This is a great refreshing summer beer that would pair perfectly with Monterrey Jack, burgers and dogs, cream puffs and all the guests at you next BBQ or picnic! 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Rivertowne Sassamanash

Rivertowne SassamanashBack in 2002, an aspiring restaurateur and his family bought the original Rivertowne Brewing, nestled along the Allegheny River in Verona, PA. With over a dozen year-round and seasonal offerings, their wide range of lagers and ales are sure to please just about everyone. Their latest seasonal is Sassamanash, a Cranberry beer that is available in the early fall.

The beer pours a clear pale yellow color. The thin white head dissipates quickly and leaves a very light lacing atop the beer. The carbonation of the beer is notable with a steady stream of small bubbles rising in the glass.

The nose offers up a great deal of sweet fruit notes. Sweet cranberry, white cranberry, and strawberry are some of the fruity aromas. A funky yeasty note is also detectable through all the sweet fruits.

The palate offers up the same fruitiness that the nose promised. Sweet notes of berries flood the palate from the first sip. While you can tell that of the berries in the flavor profile is indeed cranberry, it is not the tart variety. A little funky yeast is also discernible on the palate.

Rivertowne’s Sassamanash is a very sweet, fruit forward beer. It is akin to some of the sweeter Lambics on the market such as Lindemans. Try pairing this one with Blue Cheese, spinach salad with bacon, red onion, cranberries and almonds or cranberry pound cake with orange glaze. Bottle King Beer Buyer Rating

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry Now one of the largest craft breweries in the country, Shipyard Brewing has its roots in the picturesque seacoast village of Kennebunkport Harbor. In 1992, entrepreneur Fred Forsley and master brewer Alan Pugsley started Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub, the birthplace of Shipyard ales. With an expansive portfolio of beers, Shipyard has something for everyone! Their Smashed Blueberry beer is one of the offerings from their “Pugsley’s Signature Series.”

The beer pours a deep dark, brown – almost black color. When viewed in the light there is a purple hue that emerges from the darkness. The one finger mocha colored head dissipates steadily and leaves behind minimal lacing.

Aromas of blueberry leap from the glass. The blueberry notes are both that of fresh blueberries and those of sweet cooked blueberries like those found in blueberry jam. Upon closer investigation, beneath the potent blueberry aromas, you will find notes of unsweetened baker’s chocolate, generously roasted coffee and a hint of char.

On the palate bitter chocolate and dark roasted coffee notes hit first and drown the taste buds in rich roasted goodness. There is distinct bitterness that is balanced by the sweet blueberry notes that emerge through the chocolate and coffee flavors. The hint of char from the bouquet makes a cameo on the palate as well. While the bouquet was dominated by blueberry, the palate definitely showcases the roasted notes of chocolate and coffee more than those of sweet fruit.  Decent weight and great balance are both notable.

Overall a great beer that shows some complexity without being overly complicated. Try pairing this with espresso crusted cheese, BBQ ribs or chocolate blueberry torte. 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale

Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale Terrapin Beer Company was formed when two brewers met while working together at a microbrewery in Atlanta. The two brewers, Spike and John, introduced their first Terrapin beer in April of 2002. Noted for their unique beer styles, Terrapin has captured the hearts of craft beer lovers all over the world! Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale is a seasonal offering that pays a clear homage to Georgia’s best loved fruit – the peach!

Pours a very hazy golden yellow color. The white two finger head is thick with impressive staying power. Once the head finally dissipates, a fine lacing remains.

Aromas of peach puree (like baby food peaches) and sweetened peaches (like canned peaches in syrup) hit you right off the bat. There are also notes of yeast and esters, although they pale in comparison to the strong peach notes. Rounding off the bouquet are undertones of clove and cinnamon spice that are rather muted and almost undetectable.

On the palate, there are overwhelming flavors of wheat laden bread and yeast. There are spicy notes of white pepper and earthy notes with a hint of “funk” that one would often see in a Belgian saison. The peach notes are more subdued on the palate than noted in the bouquet. The peach on the palate is more like a sweet artificial peach flavor, which is strange because Terrapin used over 10lbs. of fresh picked peaches per barrel produced. The finish is slightly bitter with a light dried grass note that lingers on account of the beer’s moderate to high carbonation.

All in all not a bad beer, however it seems as those the nose sets the drinker up for an expectation that is not realized on the palate. A decent summer refresher that would pair well with acidic dishes like fresh tomato and garlic toast or a summer salad with vinaigrette.Bottle King Beer Buyer Rating

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Founders Rübæus

founders rubaeusMike Stevens and Dave Engbers both had steady jobs when they decided to chase their dreams and open a brewery…which meant writing a business plan, quitting their jobs, and taking out giant loans. They figured if you’re going to live life, you ought to live it hard, without regrets. It seems like taking this chance has benefited the craft beer community the world over!

Founders is a reputable and well-loved brewery that has an amazing portfolio of craft beers. Their Rübæus Raspberry Ale is a seasonal specialty offering that highlights the star ingredient, raspberries! During fermentation fresh raspberries were added at five separate stages throughout the life cycle to achieve the ultimate raspberry ale.

The beer pours a cranberry juice red with deeper crimson hues in the center of the glass. There is a thin pink tinted head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves a slight lacing. The deep rich red color with the slight lacing actually looks elegant in the glass. The stunning appearance tells a tale of what is to come.

The aroma is dominated by raspberry. At first sweet raspberry notes are detected like in a raspberry jelly. There are also pure and slightly tart raspberry aromas like that of a raspberry puree. There is an ever so slight malt note underlying the raspberry but it pales in comparison to the overpowering aromas of fresh, juicy and lively raspberries.

The palate echoes the nose. This beer is just chock full of raspberry, raspberry and more raspberry! The flavor of pure naturally sweet raspberries like a puree created from the juiciest and ripest raspberries in the world is the flavor that hits first. On the midpalate a tarter raspberry note hits, knocking down the sweetness. The slightest hint of malts make a brief appearance at this point as if to remind you this is indeed a beer, but if you aren’t open to seeking it out, you will miss it as it is quickly drowned out by – you guessed it – more raspberry!

The finish showcases the mouthfeel of a malt laden beer with the flavor of tart raspberries. When you combine these two with a pop of the beer’s carbonation, you end up with a mouthwatering sensation similar to that of the finish of a very dry red wine. With the raspberries being so prominent, this beer could easily be paralleled to a Lambic but with two major distinctions. First, it is not overly sweet like many Lambics (such as Lindeman’s). The balance of sweet and tart in this beer is dead on. Second it doesn’t carry that syrupy mouthfeel that many Lambics have. The body of the beer is on the lighter side of medium and not cloying at all.

Overall a great beer. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in purity. This is in no way comparable to a Shandy or a fruit “flavored” beer. In the realm of fruit beers, Founders Rübæus is in a league of its own. The perfect beer for warmer weather or pairing with berry or chocolate based desserts. 4.5 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory