Historic Coney Island has been New York landmark for generations. Known for its amusement park, beaches, the annual Nathans hot dog eating contest and now a full-fledged brewery. What started as an off-shoot of the San Francisco based Shmaltz Brewing, was bought by the Boston Beer Company. Their Freaktoberfest is a different take on the ever popular pumpkin brews, brewed with espresso beans, giving a darker appeal and lovely aromas.
This beer pours a dark amber color with swirling carbonation. A little darker than some other pumpkin ales we tried. The head dissipates almost instantly leaving no lacing behind.
On the nose, the first aroma is nutmeg with some pumpkin spice notes as well. In the background there some nice malt with subtle fruit notes. There are traces of espresso that show, but don’t lead the pack.
The first sip holds strong fall flavors, nutmeg is out in front again but the espresso makes a bigger presence then on the nose. The spice is mild but still there plays well with the medium body and smooth maltiness. As the beer warms up, the nutmeg flavors start to mellow out while the rest of the flavors come together for a different take on a fall classic.
The Freaktoberfest combines fall flavors and light espresso notes to create a decent fall seasonal. Available in 6pks, drafts and of course at the new location on the Coney Island Boardwalk before taking a ride on the Cyclone in Luna Park. This can be enjoyed with a roasted duck, spicy chili or something creamy like flan.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out of 5 Pints
Great Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, was the first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio. What started as a dream between two brothers, has grown into 21st largest brewery by volume in United States. Important to Cleveland’s local identity, the brewery distributes over a dozen year round and seasonal brews. Oktoberfest is Great Lakes take on the German classic, with a beautiful amber color and mild carbonation.
The head is quite modest and eventually disappears completely with almost no lacing. Gives the appearance you would expect from a Marzen style brew.
The nose leans on the sweeter side, with aromas of nuttiness and toasted bread. There’s a dash of hoppiness with some roasted malts as well.
Up front the maltiness takes center stage, some roasted nuts and bread jump out the most. The sweetness doesn’t show until mid-palate followed by a smooth acidity. The finish stays somewhat sweet but manages finish clean. The hops make their presence known, adding some dryness and keeping the beer from being what some would consider overly sweet.
Overall this is a pretty straight forward take on a traditional brew that has been around since before the 16th century. The slight sweetness may not be for everyone but the rich malty flavors really give it that fall beer feeling. This would pair nicely with roasted pork, bratwurst or potato pancakes.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints
Founded in 1995, Dogfish Head could be one the most recognizable craft beer brands in the United States. Located in Milton Delaware and founded by Sam Calagione, they brew around 175,000 barrels of beer a year (that’s over 5 million gallons!). Known for their “off centered ales,” their wide ranging portfolio is geared towards unique and non-traditional recipes. Dogfish often collaborates with other brewers and people outside the beer industry and has been featured on several documentaries and T.V shows.
The SeaQuench Ale is a craft beer Frankenstein, combing 3 traditional German styles of beer: Gose, Berliner Wiesse, and Kolsch. All three are first brewed individually and then mixed in a fermentation tank to create the final product. This is also made in a “session” style keeping the ABV low.
This brew pours with a hazy golden color with a 2 finger, thin white head. The head dissipates quickly with almost no lacing left behind and has a nice bubbly carbonation to it. A really solid looking beer.
On the nose the lime is really prominent and runs right out of the glass. The background has additional aromatics of lemon, orange and a touch of coriander. A soft sweetness gives way to a light malty note.
The first sip gives way to a balanced sweetness, but has more of a lemon flavor up front. A little more malt then expected but not brash and is smoothed out by an earthy, almost briny characteristic. The tartness is mellow and crisp, while the lime and citrus leaves your mouth feeling refreshed.
Overall this is a really interesting brew. Dogfish is no stranger to mixing things up, and this continues with their new SeaQuench Ale. A great summer beer that’s refreshing and begs to be paired with fresh seafood. While this beer may be geared toward the summer months, we wouldn’t mind having a few in the winter when those summer days seem too far away.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Pints out of 5
The name for Two Roads Brewing stems from a divergence, a separation, that poet Robert Frost wrote about: the road more commonly taken from “the one less traveled by.”
Located in Stratford, Connecticut since 2012, Two Roads has an impressive portfolio that consist of nearly three dozen year round, seasonal, and specialty beers. One of their more recent seasonal releases is a double bock named after their CEO’s great-grandfather Henry.
The beer pours a clear copper amber color with some ruby highlights. The one finger light beige head shows average retention. Once dissipated a light and sporadic lacing remains a top the beer.
Aromas of sweet caramel malts are in no shortage here! Alongside the malty notes are enticing bready notes back by abundant aromas of dark fruits. The fruit notes are dominated by the dark dried variety including raisins and figs.
The palate echoes the nose rather seamlessly. Caramel and toffee notes hit right off the bat and are immediately followed with malty and bready notes. The rich dark fruit notes of fig, raisins and cherries join the party and meld perfectly with the other flavors. There is a light grassy hop note on the finish that provides balance. The finish is otherwise crisp and clean.
A great beer from the folks at Two Roads. This is a well-balanced and well-made beer. Try pairing this one with Gruyere, grilled smoked sausages or warm bread pudding.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5
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! One of their newer additions to their seasonal line up is a blood orange Belgian style ale.
The beer pours a slightly hazy light straw yellow. The fluffy white head dissipates at a moderate rate and leaves behind a light lacing a top the beer as well as a soapy ring around the glass.
The bouquet shows aromas of bright coriander and bready malts. Yeasty aromas mingle with citrus and floral hop notes. As expected, you can also detect aromas of sweet oranges.
On the palate you’ll find similar notes to those in the bouquet. Floral and citrus hops meld with malt and wheat notes. There is an earthy yeast note that also carries spice notes of pepper and coriander. Notes of orange flesh and juice provide sweetness and balance.
A great effort from Shipyard. Very refreshing and perfect for enjoying in warmer weather. Try pairing this one with Monterey Jack, Asian Citrus Salad or orange granita.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5
Bolero Snort Brewery is one of North Jersey’s latest entrants to the craft beer world. The brewery strives to create hand-crafted ales and lagers that are influenced by both traditional and emerging styles with their own bold spin. From their year round offerings to their specialty releases they keep turning heads in the craft beer community.
One of their newer releases is a Key Lime Session Ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla and of course key limes.
The beer pours a light and very hazy yellow color. The thin white head settles quickly and leaves nothing much in the way of lacing.
Aromas of key lime leap from the glass. In addition to the key lime you will find hop notes of citrus and pine. There is a non-descriptive sweet note hanging out alongside a hint of vanilla that helps to balance the lime and hop notes.
The palate gives you exactly what the nose promised with even more key lime goodness. The citrus and piney hop notes are discernible up front and sweet grain and vanilla notes make their appearance around the mid-palate. The finish showcases the key lime and adds a touch of the zest into the otherwise juice dominated flavor profile.
A balanced and delicious beer from Bolero Snort ,and a great pairing with blue cheese, grilled shrimp skewers or blackberry pie.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints
Located in Frederick, Maryland, Flying Dog has been brewing well received craft beers since 1990. The brewery boasts an extensive portfolio of over 2 dozen beers and while their year round and seasonal products are loved by many it’s their “Brewhouse Rarities” collection that has everyone talking.
With each new release Flying Dog pushes the limits, creating one concoction after the next that amazes feller brewers and craft beer lovers alike. They recently released a Mint Julep Ale in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Okay, so the big race is a few week behind us but we decided to relieve the glory of the race by tasting one of these bad boys.
The beer pours a clear golden yellow color with a dense 2 finger white head. The head shows better than average retention and eventually dissipates to a light lacing a top the beer. The carbonation of the beer is notable with a steady stream of tiny bubbles rising in the glass.
On the nose aromas of fresh mint hit right off the bat and dominate the aromatic profile. A sweet honey note is also discernible along with aromas of subtle spice. The bouquet is rounded out with a hint of malt and earthy yeast aromas.
The palate follows the nose rather seamlessly. You notice bright and fresh mint right up front. On the heels of the mint is a honey-like sweetness that pairs perfectly with the mint and helps to elevate it. The light malty and yeasty notes hit around the mid-palate but remain secondary to the mint and honey. The finish provides notes of spice and wood that hint at a bourbon flavor profile. Altogether this is a refreshing and creative beer that definitely make one think of a Mint Julep.
Flying Dog never stops showcasing amazing creativity and pushing the limits of what we think of when we think of beer. This Mint Julep Ale would be the perfect pair for Brie cheese, pepper and mint marinated chicken kabobs or Mint Julep Gelées.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints