Long Trail Sick Day IPA

Long Trail’s Sick Day (A)IPA is 6.8 ABV and 65 IBU.  The appearance is dark amber and the nose malt spice and pine hop.  The palate is quite deep and has those sweet caramel malts and spice finishing earthy pine bitter.  I don’t equate Long Trail with hopped up ales but they pull this off, especially by keeping those spicy sweet wintery characteristics.  I might not give it an A+ but it works and Long Trail continues to be a personal favorite and darling of New England.  Try one before spring starts.



Smithwick’s Brewery Winter Spirit

Winter Spirit from Smithwick’s Brewery (Now part of the London HQ’d Diageo just like Guinnes) is a 4.5 ABV English Dark Mild Ale.  The appearance is dark amber and the nose caramel malt and some spice.  The palate fairs very similarly, strong on the sweet caramel malt with some spicy undertones.  The finish is smooth and without much bitterness.  Overall mouthfeel is moderate and a bit too caramel sweet even though it’s a little watery.  Nothing great but drinkable.


Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique

Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique is a 6.9 ABV 77 IBU Belgian IPA.  The appearance is light golden orange and the nose yeast and citrus hop.  This is quite the hopped up Belgian, those yeasts come through very clearly and the finish is long and bitter.  The mouthfeel is a little light and the carbonation moderate.  Stone is a top notch brewery with a very high bar so I’m giving this a B+.  The lighter mouthfeel belies the big hop bitterness.  However, if the goal was to combine a Belgian ale with a big west coast hop IPA than mission well accomplished.


Shock Top Shockolate Wheat

Shock Top’s Schockolate Wheat is 4.3 ABV and according to BA an Herb / Spiced beer.   The appearance is dark brown with a large head and the nose cocoa and vanilla.  The taste has a sweet chocolate syrup character with notes of vanilla and some fruit.  The chocolate is very sweet, fortunately, the light texture and mouthfeel stop it from being too much.  It’s really uninspiring but the bar is pretty low for AB so it’s not that bad.  And at so low an ABV it goes down very easy.


Hofbrauhaus Traunstein Weissbier Dunkel

Hofbrauhaus Weissbier Dunkel,  or Dunkelweizen, is 5.5 ABV.  The appearance is hazy dark orange with a large head and the nose yeasty spicy wheat.  The palate is yeast and wheat with touches of spice and banana and finishing with a mild bitterness.  The mouthfeel is smooth and mellow but shows decent complexity.  This is my first beer of the month selection and I’m quite pleased despite this being delivered in March with a clear best by date of 1/15.


Oskar Blues Old Chub Nitro

Oskar Blues Old Chub is an 8 ABV Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, this variation adds the Nitro widget.  The appearance is dark ruby brown and the nose sweet dark fruits.  The palate is similar to the regular Chub, boozy dark fruit and some chocolate notes finishing without much bitterness.  There is a streak of raw alcohol that could stand to be more hidden.  The nitro does add a creamy nature to the mouthfeel but I can’t say it takes this beer to soaring heights.  Just as recommendable as regular Old Chub but nothing extraordinary.


Genesee Bock

Genesee Bock from Genesee / Dundee Brewing is a 5.2 ABV.  The appearance is amber copper and the nose caramel malt.  The taste is your basic bock with a strong and sweet caramel malt finishing only lightly bitter.  It’s mostly clean with a moderate carbonation and almost creamy mouthfeel.  Genesee’s Bock is totally cheap and one dimensional but serviceable for what I’ve come to discover as Trader Joe’s bottom shelf lineup.  Genesee is a local (Rochester) mainstay so I’m not sure of the availability of this outside of central NY.  It fairs better than other cheap TJ offerings but I can’t give it any further praise.


Minhas Name Tag Lager

Name Tag (American Pale) Lager is 5 ABV and brewed by Minhas for Trader Joe’s.  The appearance is golden bubbly orange and the nose light earthy hay.  The taste isn’t great but it’s light.  It starts out grainy and ends with a mild bitter and  stays mostly clean.  Mouthfeel and carbonation are light and bubbly respectively. It’s a middling if boring retro lager type and offered very cheaply at Trader Joe’s from what I remember.  Like most of these types it gets exponentially worse as it warms so plan on chugging it down quick.  Not recommended to anyone except for fellow completists, yet still a touch better than your macro light lagers.


Westbrook Gose

Westbrook Gose, a style using unfiltered wheat, lactic acid, coriander and salt is 4 ABV and 5 IBU.  The appearance is hazy yellow and the nose citrus and spice.  The flavor is bright sour citrus and salt with coriander spice.  This is my first Gose and I’m glad this old style from Leipzig is making a resurgence.  Westbrook’s Gose is super crisp and refreshing and is truly a unique style of beer.  Very highly recommended.


Einstök Ölgerð Icelandic Pale Ale

Einstök Ölgerð (Akureyri) Icelandic Pale Ale is 5.6 ABV and technically an APA.  The appearance is dark orange with a foamy head and the nose malt and citrus hop.  The flavor profile runs malty molasses sweet and earthy finishing mildly bitter.  Objectively speaking it’s a middling pale ale, clean, crisp and drinkable, but nothing great.  I’m reminded of being in the Akureyri Hot Springs just 60 miles from the arctic circle adding a purely subjective sentimental and personal value.