Saturday, February 09, 2013

Beers #1-9 of 365

My first beer of 2013 was, appropriately named, First by East End Brewing in Pittsburgh.  This amber ale was the first beer brewed at East End's new location (they moved from Susquehanna St. to Julius St.), and I picked up a growler on a weekend trip Dana.  East End's new location is terrific - much more room to move around, and you can also enjoy/buy Commonplace Coffee while you're there.

1/365: East End First:
Wonderful spicy and floral Cascade aroma. Great hoppy nose with a bit of sweet and nutty malt undertones. Dark amber, almost brownish, hazy body with thin beige lacing head. Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Starts with mild caramel sweetness and light carbonic acidity. Big hit of hoppy flavor and bitter character. A bit of fruity character, too. Overall, very easy drinking amber with nice dry hopped profile. Bitter finish with lasting bitter after and a bit of nutty astringency.   Amber Ale 78/100

The second was sort of a flagship beer for a new brewery in Millvale, Draai Laag. They're focusing on higher gravity Belgian-inspired brews at the moment.
2/365: Draai Laag Aureus:
Fruity and subtle sweet nose. Light tripel-like yeasty notes with some orange, vanilla, and coriander. Hazy golden amber with creamy-foamy white lacing head. Medium heavy body with medium carbonation and light warming. Starts and stays sweet with fruity character and notes of orange, honey, coriander, and a bit of vanilla. Carbonic acidity with a fruity acidic note, too. Sweet until the finish with mild hop bitterness and a light lasting fruit rind bitter after. Dregs add more fruity acidity - pops up front, then dull bitterness.  Belgian Strong Ale 78/100

Beer #3 was a Coors offering, the new Blue Moon Proximity which is a wheat ale brewed with sauvignon blanc grapes.
3/365: Blue Moon Proximity:
Light Belgian wit nose with a note of oak and white wine of some sort. Fairy faint nose. Dull golden clear with thin white dissipating head. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Starts sweet, sweeter than Blue Moon. Notes of chardonnay or similar white wine, with mild acidic bite. Fruity, finishing fairly smooth with a bit of white wine profile and watery bitter after.   Fruit Beer 48/100

Next up was a cider, a bottle of Woodchuck with some Belgian witbier flair. It's been available on tap in town at the Coney and the Coventry Inn, as well as in bottles.
4/365: Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White:
Faint apple cider sweetness with orange peel and coriander notes. Dull dark amber clear with light haze and no head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts tart and fruity with nice apple juice and cider taste. Juicy. Has a bit of orange peel and coriander to the taste, and the finish is fruity and acidic. Tart and not overly sweet. Fruity tart after.  Cider 62/100

Back to Blue Moon for the fifth of the year, the Impulse, brewed with cabernet sauvignon grapes.
5/365: Blue Moon Impulse:
Light cabernet sauvignon nose with a little wheat sweetness. Deep pink/rose clear with thin pink head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Sweet grape juice with wine tang. Predominant red wine flavor with mild wheat sweetness and light tannic bitter after.  Fruit Beer 58/100

The next two beers of the year were enjoyed at Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. The first was The Copper Nugget, a single-hop American Pale Ale with Nugget hops.  The second was their Abbeygale, a take on an Abbey Dubbel.

6/365: Rivertowne The Copper Nugget:
Roasted malt and sweet caramel. Medium-strong fresh Nugget aromas, resinous and piney. Dark coppery amber clear with mild haze, topped with a thin off-white foamy lacing head. Medium body with heavy carbonation and fizz. Starts somewhat dry with tons of fresh Nugget hop flavor. Mild caramel sweetness, carbonic acidity and big bitter finish. Lasting smooth bitter after.  American Pale Ale 72/100

7/365: Rivertowne Abbeygale
Mild sweet malt aroma. Brown sugar, candy sugar, light sweet tang and no glaring hop character. Like a dubbel in the nose, but a bit subdued. Dark hazy coppery brown with foamy-creamy white lacing head. Medium-heavy body with high carbonation. Starts and stays sweet. Roasted malt, caramel, and candy sugar. Carbonic bite with light sugar tang in the finish. Clean, smooth.  Abbey Dubbel 70/100

Beer #8 was another East End offering, brought to me in a growler by the owner of the Commonplace (thanks for saving me a trip to the Burgh!).
8/365: East End Steelcut Oatmeal Stout:
Roasted and smoky patent malts, chocolate, molasses, coffee; woody with vanilla. Mild acidic smoky notes. Dark black opaque with cocoa-colored foamy lacing head. Heavy body with medium-high carbonation. Starts fairly dry with tons of roasted-bitter malt, chocolate, molasses sweetness and light acrid bitterness. Big rich bitter chocolate and smoky sweet finish with light bitter coffee after. Smooth.  Stout  82/100

The final beer for this post (#9), was a brand new offering from Straub in St. Mary's, PA. They made a German Altbier for their 2013 Groundhog brew. I do love a good Altbier and this was pretty good.
9/365: Straub Groundhog Brew 2013:
Thin adjunct-corn tang with dusty grain nose - pretty similar to an authentic Düsseldorf altbier aroma if I recall. Coppery amber clear with thin off-white foamy head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts medium sweet with dusty grain, medium caramel sweetness, light sugar tang and a noble-style hoppy character. Reminds me a lot of Diebels Alt. Clean after.  Altbier 70/100

Up next ... a lunch trip to Titusville

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