Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Beer Review, Part II

My last review was of a Hefeweizen from Germany. People swear by the Hofbrau House, but frankly, no brewery in Munich should be outdone by a brewery in Texas. It's shameful. Regardless, the Shiner Hefeweizen does not have the sourness of its Munich counterpart. The beer could use some more complexity, but is smooth and pleasant. Overall, I give this a 6.

My entire experience with Delaware has been the towns of Newark and Wilmington, in other words, the I-95 corridor. So, the concept of a beer brewed from Delaware-grown hops frightens me a little. But, since Dead Poets Society was filmed in Delaware, I know there must be some arable land somewhere in the state. Dogfish Head has always struck me as a pretentious microbrewery, with flavors such as raisin and chicory. However, I have enjoyed their Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale. This beer has a very fruity taste. The flavor is bold and hits you at once, mellowing into a nice aftertaste. However, the flavor is overly complex for the beer the brewery describes as its "most approachable." I give this one a six.

It is obvious why Weihenstephan has been around for a millenia. This was probably my first favorite beer, and while it no longer carries that distinction, the first sip still delivers a crisp taste that develops into a mild nutty flavor. The Weihenstephaner Original is neither too simple nor too complex and is eminently drinkable. Rank: 9.

Also from Weihenstephan is the Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier, a "crystal clear" beer. This beer is truly a magnificent experience. The aftertaste is lingering and slightly sour, but the beer itself, with its light and bubbly body and fruity taste, can be compared to a white wine. However, this doesn't mean it lacks any qualities of a fine beer. Another great offering from Weihenstephan. Rank: 8.

On a side note, Weihehstephaner is relatively close to turning 1000 years old. Anyone care to join me for Oktoberfest 2040?

Turning to Austria, and the Eggenberg Pilsner. This is a bitter beer, but bitter in a good way. Otherwise is has a very light and clean taste. Very drinkable. Rank: 7.

I am a recent convert to Mendocino Brewing Company's Red Tail Ale, which will be reviewed later when I can get a fresh bottle or twelve. Tonight, I tried their White Hawk Select IPA. This IPA presumes to be an old-style IPA. It is certainly hoppy, but has a sweet, caramel-like tone. And with the alcohol-contenct at 7 percent, it also packs a kick. I can see this beer being a definite contender as my favorite from Mendocino. Certainly one of New York's best. Rank: 8.

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