Tag Archives: Harpoon

What is Local?

In the beer community you often hear the mantra “Support your local breweries, drink local beer”. Well, what exactly does “local” mean? It has different meanings depending on who you ask, but that doesn’t mean that only one answer is correct. So… what is local?

Here in Rhode Island, we get beer from all over the country world. Most of it comes from the US. We get a lot from Europe, and even some from as far away as Japan. I’m not talking about beer that’s actually brewed in the US under license from foreign breweries. I’m talking about actually importing the final product from these other countries. It travels pretty far. Most beer geeks (I prefer the term geek) will seek out the best beer regardless of how far it traveled. Many prefer to support their local breweries. That’s where this question of “what is local?” comes into play.

Rhode Island is a small state. In fact, it’s the smallest state. We have four brewpubs and one production brewery. The beer to come out of these places is local beer for us. But being as small as we are, we are very close to many other breweries. Local has many meanings. It can mean in the town, in the county, or in the state. Well, New England states tend to be small. Maine is our only exception, though it’s nothing compared to some of the states west of the Mississippi River. New England has a very strong regional feel to it. When it comes to beer, at least in Rhode Island, local does not mean in the same state. We have to branch out to reach more beer than the five beer producers in this state. Once you add in Massachusetts, you add several more breweries and a whole bunch of brewpubs. Tossing in Connecticut adds in even more. These are all within about a 3 hour drive from most of Rhode Island. I’m not going to stop there, though. Local to me is anything produced in the six New England states. This adds in a ton of breweries from Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, all of which have several breweries. The reason all of these breweries are local is because they are all within a relatively short drive, a drive that would keep you within many of the larger states out west.

The larger western states might have a different definition of local. They might make it a radius from their location. They might consider it anything within the same county or state. I tend not to think of local in terms of a radius. The biggest reason for that is because of the ocean. While Southampton might be pretty close to RI as the bird flies, it’s not quite as easy to get to as some places farther away in northern New England. This differs from the western states because there’s no ocean between you and the next state. A radius makes more sense. My definition most likely differs from that of people from a place like Vermont where they have an abundance of breweries all over the state. It probably differs from someone from Boston or Portland, ME where there are multiple breweries right in town. Ultimately, local has a different meaning for each person, but it need not mean only beer from  your state/county/town.

Let’s consider something else – the purpose of local. Local is used in terms of environmentalism and economics. With environmentalism, it’s used as a way to reduce pollution of trucking goods all over the place. Your “carbon footprint” is lowered by consuming local goods. With economics, it’s stimulating the economy of your location, whether that be town, state, or region. The reason I bring this up is that with beer, it tends to be considered in terms of economics. Drinking local beer supports the local economy and breweries in your local area. It raises an interesting question when it comes to contract brewed beers, such as Narragansett. The company is located in Providence. The money comes into Providence. The beer is brewed in Rochester, NY. Is it local? In terms of economics, yes. In terms of environmentalism, no. Would I consider it local as far as beer is concerned? Most definitely.

No matter how you define “local” when it comes to beer, support your local breweries. They may not be the best breweries or make the most amazing beer, but they are still your local breweries. Show pride in your locale, whatever that may be, and drink local beer. For me, that means drinking a Harpoon, a Smuttynose, or a Long Trail. It means drinking a Newport Storm, an Allagash, or a Berkshire. It means that I support New England beer. It means that when I travel, I try to drink the local beers for that area by visiting a brewpub or ordering the local beer. And if I don’t know what the local beer is, I ask. When asked what I’d like to drink, I’ll ask “what’s local and good?” The waiter or bartender usually knows.

I’ll be in Seattle and Bellingham, WA in June, and I’ll definitely be drinking. So… What’s local and good?

St. Patrick’s Day Is Tomorrow…

… and you know what that means, right?

If you guess a bunch of idiots will get drunk over some fake holiday, you’re correct. Everyone is not Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. If you wanna get drunk, go for it, but at least do it on actual Irish beer or beer brewed in the proper style. Here’s a little guide to help you decide what to drink and what not to drink.

First, here’s a little info on the two major Irish beer styles.

Irish Dry Stout – You see the word “stout” and automatically think Guinness. Yes, Guinness is a stout, but it’s a certain type of stout (there are multiple). Irish Dry Stout was basically brought over to Ireland from England. It’s not an originally Irish beer style but it has become synonymous with Irish beer. Irish Dry Stouts tend to be a bit drier in flavor. They’re usually lower in alcohol (between 4 and 5% ABV). You’ll notice some slight roasted flavors, a little cocoa, and some coffee. No, coffee and/or cocoa are not added to the beer. These are flavors given off by the dark roasted malts used to brew the beer. When the uninitiated think “stout”, they think “bitter”. These are not bitter beers in the grand scheme of things, though they might be bitter compared to Bud Light.

Irish Red Ale – This style is lesser known. You’ve heard of Killian’s Irish Red. That’s not an Irish Red Ale. Heck, it’s not even an ale. But a real Irish Red Ale is a lighter beer. It actually is a bit red in color, though it’s really more of a deep, dark amber that gives it that red-looking color. The beer tends to be a bit sweeter, though, again, if you’re used to Bud Light, it’s going to be bitter. It’s definitely sweeter than the stout and not quite as dry. The flavor should have a slight hint of hops to it, and be mostly malt. It may have a slight toasted quality to it. This is my pick for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, if I celebrated.

Now here’s a little guide to the beers you’ll come across (obviously written more from a New Englander’s perspective) and what you should and should not drink to properly celebrate this “special” day.

Killian’s Irish Red – Don’t drink it. Why? Because it’s not Irish. Oh, but Killian is an Irish name, right? Sure, that may be true, but it’s brewed by Coors and was never an Irish beer. But it’s still an Irish style of beer, right? Wrong. It’s a lager… a pretty crappy one at that. It pretends to be an Irish Red Ale, an actual style of beer that happens to be pretty tasty when made properly. This is not an Irish Red Ale. If you’re going to drink crappy lagers, at least drink a crappy Irish lager, like Harp.

Harpoon Celtic Ale – Drink it. Why? Because it’s tasty. This one actually is an Irish Red Ale. It’s also brewed in Boston, a city known for being very Irish. Support your local-ish brewery and drink a real Irish Red (even if it’s not from Ireland).

Guinness Draught – I’m gonna catch some flack for this one, but don’t drink it. Why? Because it’s not that good, and you wanna be original, right? If you’re gonna drink a Guinness, make it an Extra Stout. You know the beer. It’s the one that comes in the normal bottle without the widget that releases nitrogen. It’s the better of the Guinness stouts that are available in the US, and it’s actually quite good. But if you really want that smooth creamy feeling of the nitrogen, keep reading.

Beamish Irish Stout – Drink it. Beamish is a lesser known cousin to Guinness. It’s still an Irish Dry Stout, but it has a whole lot more flavor to it. The only problem with Beamish is that it’s harder to find either on tap or even in the big nitro-cans. But if you find it, drink it. It’s tasty with some nice chocolate and roasted coffee flavors (they’re not strong and over-powering, but just right). The beer is smooth and creamy and the best of what I call the “Big 3 Irish Stouts”. In Providence, I’ve seen it on tap at Local 121, but I haven’t been there in a while.

Murphy’s Irish Stout – Drink it. Murphy’s is probably the second most well known of the “Big 3” and, in my opinion, the second tastiest. It’s easier to find than Beamish, though still not quite as easy to find as Guinness. If you’re in Providence, Murphy’s Deli downtown usually has this on tap.

Murphy’s Irish Red – Drink it. Coming from an Irish brewery and being an Irish Red Ale, it’s one of the most authentic Irish beers you’ll come across. Enjoy this one.

Smithwick’s – Drink it. Again, this is an Irish Red Ale, though a very dark version of one. Also, this beer is not pronounced like it looks. Say “Smidick’s” and you’ll be pretty close to the proper pronunciation. This one is brewed by the same people who make Guinness and Harp Lager (that’s right, Guinness is no longer an independent company). If your choice is this or Guinness, make it Smithwick’s.

Harp Lager – Toss up. I’m not a fan of Harp. It’s an Irish beer, but it’s not an Irish style. It’s a lighter lager and lacks much flavor. If you need to drink a lager because you can’t stand the bold flavors of an ale (and trust me, the beers I’m listing aren’t overly bold in flavor, but more nuanced), drink it. If you want to drink real Irish beer, go with an Irish Red Ale.

Samuel Adams Irish Red – Drink it. This is a quality Irish Red Ale from one of the best known breweries in the country. It’s brewed to style, it’s inexpensive, and it’s also somewhat local.

O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale – Drink it. This is another example of an Irish Red Ale that’s actually from Ireland.

O’Hara’s Irish Stout – Drink it. This is an Irish Dry Stout from Ireland. It’s tasty, though not as good as Beamish or Murphy’s.

I’m sure I’m missing a whole ton of other beers from around the world, but this is my blog and my guide, and I admitted it’s very New England-centric. Whatever you do, have a safe St. Patrick’s Day, and try to break from the norm. Try something different. It might just surprise you.

Recent Noteworthy Beers

Here “noteworthy” does not necessarily mean it was good.  It also means it was notably bad.  Since this is a re-cap of a lot of beers I’ve had, but failed to review, don’t expect full reviews other than some brief notes.

I’ll start out with one of the better beers I had, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire.  This is the first beer I’ve tried from Jolly Pumpkin, a brewery for which I have heard and mixed reviews.  The bottle calls it a dark farmhouse ale.  It’s basically how it tasted.  My bottle was aged a bit and the beer was fantastic.  It had a nice funky flavor with some sour notes.  I’ll likely try to seek this one out again.

We’ll come back to New England for the next one, Rock Art Double Smoked Porter.  This, as it tasted, is basically a beefed up version of their Midnight Madness Smoked Porter, another excellent beer.  The Double Smoked Porter is part of their Extreme Beer Series and it’s got quite the flavor.  It’s not quite as smoky as the Midnight Madness, but it’s full of flavor.  My bottle was probably almost a year old, and maybe some of the smoke had disappeared in the aging.  Lots of nice roasted flavor, some coffee and chocolate notes, and some dark fruit.  I need to get myself more of this one.

I’ll put the biggest disappointment in the middle.  Harpoon had announced a Chocolate Stout as part of their winter variety 12 pack.  I was very disappointed by this one, though Susan liked it.  It tasted like Hershey’s syrup with alcohol, only it was a very astringent Hershey’s syrup.  I managed to drink the whole bottle and it was, a bit better warmer, but I was not impressed.  That being said, I have heard from others who really liked it.

I’ll leave off on a high note with another good beer from Vermont.  Magic Hat Roxy Rolles is a great Amber Ale and a great winter beer.  It’s got a nice hops/malt balance.  It’s really just a simple beer, but nice and flavorful without being overpowering.  It’s nice to see Magic Hat brewing some better beers again.

Great International Beer Fest – A Review

I finally made it to my first real beer festival (though I suppose it’d be the second after Julio’s Springfest, which was free and had limited sampling).  I finally had a GIBF I could attend without something else coming up and getting in the way.  I only attended the first session.  We started our day later than we had planned, but had a good sized breakfast and then headed downtown.  We got in line right around 11:45 and met up with a couple friends in line.  Because we were there over an hour before the start, we spent a lot of time sitting there, but it was worth it.  There were a ton of people buying tickets at the ticket booth before getting in line.  I had my tickets waiting at the will call booth, which had no line.  Within the next half hour after arriving, the line filled up pretty quickly.  Being near the front, we were able to avoid lines at several tables after they let us in, but that didn’t last long.

The beer fest is setup kind of odd with breweries and other vendors mixed in with each other.  I would have preferred to have seen all the breweries together and the random other vendors in their own section.  I’ll go into the other vendors after I get through the beer.

To make the beer a bit easier, here’s the breweries we hit and what we drank (in no particular order, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some).

  • Trinity Brewhouse – Imperial Brown Ale, Scotch Ale
  • Blackstone Valley Brewing Supplies (a homebrew shop serving homebrews) – Barrel Aged Scottish Ale (cask), Porter (cask), ESB (cask), Irish Stout, English IPA, Altbier
  • St. John’s Brewers – Virgin Islands Mango Pale Ale
  • Gardner Ale House – Oktoberfest, Chocolate Porter
  • Milly’s Tavern – Porter, Pumpkin Ale
  • Woodchuck – Oak Aged Cider, Dark and Dry Cider
  • Harpoon – 100 Barrel Series Rauchfetzen
  • Saranac – Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Root Beer (non-alcoholic)
  • Paper City – Batch 108 Coffee Stout, Cabot Street Wheat
  • Watch City – Beejesus BPA, Bombed Blondeshelle Tripel, Kingpin Imperial Stout
  • Brooklyn Brewery – Local 1, Black Chocolate Stout
  • Newport Storm – Rum Barrel Oktoberfest
  • Offshore Ales – Nutbrown Ale, Hop Goddess
  • Pennichuck – The Big O Oktoberfest, Wassail Lager (cask)
  • Woodstock Inn & Brewery – Autumn Brew, Pemi Pale Ale
  • Shipyard – Barleywine
  • Olde Burnside – Ten Penny Ale, Dirty Penny Ale
  • Otter Creek – Wolavers IPA, Winter Ale
  • Haverhill Brewery – HaverAle, Eve’s Apple Ale
  • Rapscallion – Blessing, Honey
  • Sierra Nevada – Anniversary Ale
  • Spaten – Optimator
  • Berkshire Brewing – Cabin Fever
  • B&C Liquors (a store I believe) – Belhaven Scottish Ale

Most of those beers represent beers I have never tried.  My goal was to drink lots of beer that I’ve never had before (or can’t get).  I accomplished that, though I did have some beers I’ve had in the past.  The standout breweries were Watch City, Paper City, Gardner Ale House, and, even though it’s technically not a brewery, Blackstone Valley.  My favorite beers of the night were Cabin Fever, Gardner’s Chocolate Porter, everything I tried from Watch City, Shipyard’s Barleywine, and pretty much everything from Blackstone Valley.  Of course, I passed on some favorites while going booth to booth, but I was trying to avoid getting too drunk (and in that case, I was successful as I was not drunk).  The only brewery I had wanted to hit, but missed because we never walked by them in our 3.5 hours there, was Buzzard’s Bay.  I’ll have to plan a brewery trip some weekend.

In the course of the afternoon, we stopped by some other booths.  The Cabot Creamery booth was a nice break from beer and I love their cheese.  A company called Gerb’s Pumpkin Seeds had some good pumpkin seeds (I liked the roasted red pepper ones).  We got some food from Jersey Mike’s and Pizza Pie-er with a donation to the RI Food Bank (or something like that).  And we spent a lot of time (and money) at the Yankee Brew News table, mainly because we knew the people there (and bought 2 shirts a piece).

What I didn’t like… intermingled with the beer tables were Skoal, Gina’s Cigars, Port-o-pong (beer pong stuff), some random beer-related tshirt booths, the food I mentioned before, Capitol Billiards, HJY radio, and a basement finishing company (that was the only real oddball).  While I can understand having some of these places there (especially the food), I feel like they should have been place elsewhere in their own area.  Keep all the breweries together, put all the beer-related stuff nearby (Ale Street News and Yankee Brew News, for example), but put everything else somewhere else.  It was a distraction from the beer, which is what this show should have been about.

I also didn’t like the fact that there was a lot of empty space.  This could be a real first class beer event in our little state.  There was a row of port-o-johns on one wall, but no beer tables facing them even though there was a ton of space.  There were also some rows of booths that could have been extended.  This could have been done if more breweries were present.  I was disappointed that Mayflower Brewing wasn’t present, even though they were listed on the website.  The other disappointment is that breweries can enter their beers in the competition without actually being present at the show.  It would have been nice to try the beers that were announced as winners, but some of them weren’t there.  There were also a lot of “macros” present… Coors, Miller, Corona, Presidente, Diageo (Guinness)… and they all had some crazy games, causing the frat-ish boys to all yell, causing everyone else to yell.  That was a bit obnoxious.  Finally, the lines were all 20-30 people deep at the height of the show.  More breweries means shorter lines.  Shorter lines means easier access to the beer.

Overall, I enjoyed myself.  I got to try a lot of beer that I wouldn’t normally be able to try.  I was able to try a bunch of beer that I will likely now look for in my local liquor stores.  Finally, I got to hang out with a bunch of friends and chat beer with the reps and brewers.  It was a fun day, though we were exhausted and felt like it was much later when we got home.  Next year, I’m going to see if I can be a judge.  It’ll require me taking a day off from work, but I’d get into the fest for free and take a more active part in the beer world.

Harpoon Leviathan Series

Harpoon Brewery from Boston and Vermont recently started a big beer series, as many breweries have been doing lately (or for a while).  Until now, Harpoon had the limited release 100 Barrel series.  However, it can’t really be called extreme as many of the beers are pretty tame (though still really good, nothing wrong with a tame beer).  They wanted a piece of the extreme beer action and dove in head first.

The first beer of the Leviathan series was Triticus, a reworked version of their wheat wine brewed by Todd and Jason Alstrom, of BeerAdvocate fame (they’re the founders).  This version of it is 14% ABV.  It was not bottled.  I was lucky enough to be having dinner at Doherty’s in Pawtucket.  They had it on tap.  It’s a very dark color for a wheat wine.  This one was nice and sweet and pretty smooth.  There was a little alcoholic heat to it, but it was very flavorful with some nice fruity notes.  It had a nice thick, and somewhat oily mouthfeel.

The second Leviathan beer is an Imperial IPA.  Clocking in at 10%, it’s a doozy.  This isn’t simply Harpoon IPA on steroids.  This one rivals even some of the west coast double IPA’s.  It’s very hops forward with a nice malt backbone to give it just the right amount of balance.  It’s citrusy and bitter with a little sweetness to it as well.  Seek this out while it’s still available.  It’s worth it.

Harpoon has never overly impressed me (I do like their IPA), but they’ve gone balls to the wall with their Leviathan series.  I look forward to the next installment.  If it’s anywhere near as good as the first 2, I’ll be in heaven.

Infusco, Old Rusty’s Red Rye, and YuleSmith

The past 3 nights I had a bomber.  I shared most of them with Susan (though tonight was all me, which could lead to some typos).

Two nights ago, I had Infusco from Rock Art, one of the bombers I brought back from Vermont.  It’s a Belgian-style dark ale (or strong dark ale, I’m not looking it up right now).  It was quite different.  It was good, just different.  It had a flavor to it that I couldn’t place and have never had in a Belgian dark or strong dark before.  It was a malty beer with a nice mouthfeel and brown in color.  I liked it.  Susan liked it.  It was 2 nights ago and I just finished a whole bomber of YuleSmith, making it hard to recall.  If you see it, try it.  It’s worth at least a try.

Last night, we split the bottle of Old Rusty’s Red Rye Ale, the latest in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series.  I wasn’t impressed.  It had a slight spiciness from the rye, but nothing overwhelming.  It lacked a hops character and even the malt was kind of weak.  It was a fairly weak beer all around.  I had tried this on tap on our honeymoon at Mr. Pickwick’s.  The bartender was nice enough to give me a sample.  It was much better on tap than in the bottle.  It’s still worth a try, mainly because it’s local and something a bit different than the norm.

Tonight, I had (as I said before), YuleSmith from AleSmith.  This is their winter version that came out around Christmas.  I picked it up at Julio’s last Friday.  The beer is absolutely wonderful.  It’s a Double IPA, and a really good one at that.  It pours a nice deep amber color with a nice head (my head was huge on this one and I poured slow, even after pouring my second glass almost an hour later, it was a good sized head).  The aroma was of nothing but pure unadulterated hops.  It was bliss.  The beer was perfectly balanced with a lot of hops character.  It had a nice oily mouthfeel, but was very drinkable.  I’m pretty buzzed, but I wouldn’t have known I would be this way while I was drinking it (had I not looked at the bottle to see the alcohol content).  AleSmith is one of those breweries I need to try more often.  I have 2 of their beers in my cellar right now.  I should open them.  Perhaps I can talk Susan into splitting a barleywine with me soon (I have Old Numbskull waiting to be cracked).

Rock Art, Harpoon, Rock Art

I’ve been drinking more.  While that might sound bad, that just means I’ve been increasing my one beer per night to 2-3 beers per night.  The reason for this is I just have too much beer.  Since our honeymoon in Vermont, when we came home with about 3 cases of beer, we’ve kind of been on overflow.  An entire shelf in the fridge is dedicated to only beer (though there are a couple bottles of the Smirnoff Twist/Ice variety in the back).  I have beer that needs to get in the fridge lest it goes bad.  The worst part is, Susan, who had asked me not to buy a lot of beer since returning from Vermont sent me a message yesterday asking me to pick up some more!

Anyway, last night I had 3.  The first was Rock Art Whitetail Golden Ale.  It’s a nice light, crisp, and refreshing ale.  It has a nice sweet malty flavor with just enough hops for balance.  It’s crisp and dry and makes for a great summertime beer.  There’s a little fruitiness to it as well.  It’s a very easy drinking, yet nicely flavorful beer.

The second was Harpoon’s Weizenbock from their 100 Barrel series.  Susan and I split it with dinner.  It had a lot of banana flavor to it and was very bready.  It wasn’t my favorite weizenbock, that’s for sure.  I almost dumped part of mine, but I finished it.  I did not, however, help Susan finish her half of the bottle.  I just didn’t like it that much.

The third was Rock Art’s flagship beer, Ridge Runner.  It’s classified as an English Barleywine.  I thought it was just okay, but it definitely got better upon warming.  There were 3 in the mixed 12 pack I bought.  I left one in the fridge and I put the other one down to age for a bit and see what happens.  I imagine it will get a little better with age.

Samuel Adams, Boston Beer Co., Jim Koch, and Why They Matter

I’ve seen a lot of comments on the Beer Advocate forums lately that totally bash Sam Adams beer for being bland and not really promoting better beer. I’ve seen things like “They just give someone a slightly better bland beer to move to from their very bland BMC”. For those not in the know, BMC stands for Budweiser, Miller, Coors… the 3 major macro-brewers in the USA, known for churning out watered down beer mixed with lots of adjuncts, like corn and rice, to lighten the flavor of the beer and reduce the cost of production to help maximize profits. Sorry for the slight tangent, this is about Sam Adams, not BMC. So some of these BA’s (Beer Advocates) think that Sam Adams does nothing for improving the quality of beer and helping the movement for better beer because they put out a large amount of beer and it’s pretty accessible beer.

Let’s start at the beginning. Back when Sam Adams first started, they were mainly a Boston area and New England brewery, but they were one of the first to really get in on the craft beer world. I lived with a step-father who liked beer in the early ’90s when craft beer first really caught on. He would drink lots of Rolling Rock (which was good, but went downhill) and used to like Pete’s Wicked (before they were bought up) because his name was Peter. I was introduced to Sam Adams through commercials and some friends in college who liked good beer. Eventually, these were the first 2 beers I really drank a lot and found myself not able to drink the cheaper macros. By this time, Sam Adams was available in most of the country, while most craft brews were available only locally or within the region (Harpoon, for example). Sam Adams continued to grow (and they have no choice but to do this as they are a publicly traded company). However, they never lost sight of why they started. Sure, Boston Lager isn’t a hop bomb with 100+ IBUs, but it’s a far cry from Budweiser. Sure, their other beers aren’t exceptional, but again, they’re accessible without being cheap and without the adjuncts (though I don’t know what went wrong with the Cranberry Lambic, that’s just nasty). What Sam Adams represents is accessible beer. They aren’t trying to be something they’re not. What Jim Koch represents is the ultimate champion for better beer. He truly believes in the craft beer revolution and it shows with their special beers and even in their commercials. While the big breweries are putting out commercials like “Miles away from ordinary” (Corona, anything but extraordinary) with images of beautiful beaches or beautiful women and silly man rules or even gimmicks like the label turning blue when it’s cold enough (because that kind of beer needs to be extra cold to taste good), Sam Adams puts out commercials with information on beer, on why they use the bottles they do, on hops and malt, and on how they actually buy back old beer so that the customer always gets the freshest beer possible. Sam Adams holds an annual homebrew competition, Long Shot. They challenged people to think differently when they thought “beer” with their Triple Bock and Utopias. Their latest, the Hallertau Imperial Pilsner, is not your standard beer either. While it’s not crazy like Utopias, it’s got a higher alcohol content and a bigger, more complex flavor than most of their other beers.

Don’t consider Sam Adams, Boston Beer Co., or Jim Koch to be anything but true advocates for great beer. They work hard getting people to try something different. Sure, they gave in and released a light beer. It’s nothing like Miller Lite or Bud Light (though I do admit it’s not as good as regular Boston Lager). Even with their light beer, though, they’re still pulling people away from tasteless beers and into a whole new world of better beer. After all, that’s what this whole craft beer revolution is about, isn’t it? The more people we convert to better beer, the more craft brewers will make (both beer and money). I raise my cup (of Hallertau Imperial Pilsner to be exact) to you Jim Koch and the Boston Beer Co. Thank you for bringing me to the world of craft beer and for your continued efforts advocating for better beer everywhere.

Harpoon Oktoberfest

All I have to say about Harpoon’s Oktoberfest is WOW. I’ve had a few Oktoberfests now and this one is my favorite (so far, I’ve got 2 more to go from this batch, along with 2 pumpkin ales). It’s quite the full bodied beer. It starts out with a nice head and a nice amount of carbonation. There’s an awesome balance of hops and malt. The hops is the first note, but as the beer warms, the malt flavors come out. There’s a slight roasted flavor to it and it tasted like there were some spices added (cinnamon perhaps?). This is a nice smooth beer. Anyone looking for a good Oktoberfest should definitely try this.

After writing this, I decided to look it up on Beer Advocate and learned that it’s not actually a Marzen as the bottle says, but it’s really an American Amber/Red Ale. Interesting… it didn’t taste much like lager, I guess that explains why. It’s still an excellent fall beer regardless of the style.

Tomorrow I think I’ll continue with the Oktoberfests as a comparison.