Harpoon Brewery Winter Warmer Review

Harpoon Holiday

When the weather starts to get cold and the holiday spirit starts to dominate you know one thing is certain. No, not a fat man in a red suit jumping down your chimney. It’s the holiday beer selections that add some spice and flavor to the season. They don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing. Harpoon Brewery has their holiday entry with their Winter Warmer, a holiday ale flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg.

The beers pours a deep copper color. It almost has the color of iced tea. There was a light tan head that rose to a little under one finger at its height. It looks fairly appetizing with very little carbonation seen through the dark color.

The aroma offers notes of cinnamon and nutmeg along with notes of malt and bread. However, the aroma was very feint.

The first sip follows the nose. There are notes of cinnamon and nutmeg with a slight bready finish before a feint cinnamon aftertaste. There are some slight bread notes that poke through as well as a sweetness that is slightly caramel in flavor. The mouthfeel is just a shade on the medium side but it finishes smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. The spices definitely dominate the flavor profile and cinnamon predominates the aftertaste.

The flavor stayed consistent throughout the session. There was very little lacing on the glass as it drank. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavor profile definitely dominated the brew so if you don’t like these flavors this might not be for you. There was also a sweet taste that reminded me of biting a peach. It was an overpowering sweet but rather subtle and blended well with the beer.

Overall, this beer is pretty good. It is kind of your typical holiday beer with its myriad of spice and flavors. It doesn’t stand out among the other holiday beers but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a fun beer that would be good during the holiday season and at 5.9% ABV you won’t end up being the loud, obnoxious relative at your family gatherings. This is worth the try if you like cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Cigar City Brewing Maduro Brown Ale

Cigar City Brown Ale

Cigar City Brewing is based in Tampa, Fla. and offers quite a few good beers, some of which have been reviewed on the site previously. Up for review today is their Maduro Brown Ale.

The beer pours a deep brown with a thick, tan head that stood over two fingers tall at its height. If you are a fan of Brown Ales then you will appreciate the appearance. The beer almost looks as dark as coffee and looks delicious. There is no carbonation seen through the dark color.

The aroma is one of malt, toffee, caramel, and a touch of chocolate and coffee. Nothing truly sticks out on the nose and the aroma isn’t very strong but it is nice when you get into it.

The first sip offers notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, coffee, and malt. There is very little hop flavor here but some notes do come through. The mouthfeel is light and smooth and finishes smooth and dry. It makes you want another sip.

As the beer drank there were notes that reminded me of a cigar and I couldn’t tell if my taste buds were being tricked by the can which features a cigar on it or if there was a slight earthy, tobacco note. Either way it was pleasant and relaxing. The beer was consistent and there was some light lacing on my mug as I drank it. I did keep going back for more sips and even though the taste was consistent the flavors that introduced themselves up front sometimes changed. For example, on one sip you would hit more toffee and caramel notes followed by malt and coffee. On another sip the coffee note was more forward followed by the toffee and caramel and so on. The profile was consistent though.

Overall, I liked this beer. I could imagine myself drinking this while enjoying a cigar or even on its own. I am a fan of Brown Ales and this one was a little adventurous and slightly different from some other Brown Ales. It clocks in at a very manageable 5.5% ABV so this could easily be a session beer. It is certainly worth a try if you enjoy this style brew.

Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde Review

Blue Moon Iced Coffee

Blue Moon isn’t exactly an unknown beer by any stretch these days but they have been branching out with different flavors, some of which are quite good. Up for review today is their Iced Coffee Blonde which they advertise as a “golden-colored wheat ale made with Fair Trade decaf coffee beans.”

The beer pours a hazy gold with a thin, white head that doesn’t stick around long. There is some carbonation seen rising through the haze. The color was a little brighter than I expected for something made with coffee beans. The aroma offers a slight note of coffee, again not as much as one would expect for something brewed with coffee beans. There is also a slight note of bread and malt on the nose but that is quickly pushed out by an artificial sugar smell, like coffee creamer.

The first taste is surprisingly sweet for a beer. The sweetness evolves into a malt and bread flavor like you would expect with a wheat ale. The coffee notes are faint, very faint. You almost have to search for them with your taste buds. The flavor isn’t bad. The sweetness isn’t overwhelming and plays nicely with the bread and malt flavors. The coffee should be more forward here in my opinion, however. You notice it more on the aftertaste and not so much on the sip.

The beer was consistent throughout. There was no lacing on the glass as it drank. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium but still in the medium category, very similar to your typical Blue Moon. It finishes smooth and somewhat creamy.

Overall this is an interesting beer. I don’t know how I would have felt about a lot of coffee in the flavor but I think I would want a little more than what I received. The sweetness played with the bread notes well and made it feel as if I was eating a pastry with my coffee. Although I think this beer misses on a few points it isn’t a bad drink at all and I would have it again, especially as a lighter dessert beer. This could be a session beer if you are into sweeter things and it only clocks in at 5.5% ABV which is manageable. I do wish they didn’t use decaf coffee beans though as the caffeine would be a nice touch.

Magic Hat Barroom Hero Review

Magic Hat Barroom Hero

Magic Hat Brewing Company teamed up with the band Dropkick Murphys to create Barrom Hero, an English Brown Ale. Their website states that proceeds from this traditional pub ale benefit the charitable foundation of Dropkick Murphys, the Claddagh Fund. Drinking beer and supporting a charity is a win-win.

Barroom Hero pours a dark brown, almost as dark as a cup of coffee but not quite. This is definitely darker than your typical brown ale. There is an appetizing tan head that forms and rose to just over a finger. The aroma is one of bread, toasted caramel, some brown sugar or molasses, and just a hint of hops and malt.

The first sip somewhat follows the nose with forward notes of toasted caramel, malt, and bread with a little hops and citrus on the back end without being overpowering. There is also a tinge of chocolate towards the end. The finish is warm and toasty, a comforting embrace that makes you want another sip. The carbonation is light and almost smooth, perhaps creamy is a better word.

I don’t know if I would classify this as a traditional English brown ale. It certainly has some characteristics of one but this seems slightly more adventurous. The flavor stayed consistent throughout the session which was an overall enjoyable one. There was some lacing on the glass as it drank.

Overall, this is a fairly good, slightly different take on an English brown ale. It is inviting and flavorful. Don’t come at this with preconceived notions about brown ales. This could be a good session beer as it clocks in at only 4.2% ABV. This is a good beer and some of your money will go towards charity so it makes you feel good in several ways.

Eli Manning Really Has Been the Man All Along

Eli Manning

Eli Manning has made news quite a bit this season. He was benched after a Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. There were a ton of news stories about whether the Giants would trade the former two-time Super Bowl MVP. Then, rookie Daniel Jones suffered an ankle sprain and Manning was thrust back into the starting role for Week 14 and 15. Then, Eli made news again after the Giants’ Week 16 win against the Washington Redskins after Eli and Jones were seen partying with other teammates at a Hoboken, N.J. bar.

Following the appearance of Manning and Jones having fun, former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes told ESPN that Manning had a “beer guy” in every NFL stadium. The “beer guy” would be responsible for getting a six pack or twelve pack for Manning to share with veteran teammates on the bus to the airport.

“It was unbelievable,” Tynes told Ian O’Connor. “He had a guy in every fucking stadium in the league to get him that beer.”

Manning has always been a kind of loveable guy, never really making news with one exception regarding game-used memorabilia. This news, however, endears us to Manning. He has always been a private individual and this recent footage of him partying with teammates is the first real footage of Manning doing something outside of a football environment. It was also awesome. To see Manning and Jones partying like brothers among other teammates with pitchers of beer around after a good win was a sight any Giants fan should love. This news that Manning had a beer guy in every stadium only makes us love him more.

Eli Manning has made news twice this week for beer and partying and neither have been negative. That is how you drink beer, you do it responsibly. We tip our caps to you Eli and raise a glass for never making a negative headline when beer is involved.

Here is to Eli, whose lasting memory with the Giants will be two Super Bowls, a fun party video, and a fun win against the Miami Dolphins during a bleak season. Wherever Manning goes next season we will be rooting for him. So raise a beer to the best quarterback the New York Football Giants have ever had and celebrate a great career. Thank you Eli!

Narragansett Fresh Catch Review

Fresh Catch

The Narragansett Brewing Company was founded in 1888. In 1890 they produced their first beer and in 1891 they were officially incorporated and had produced 28,000 barrels of beer. By 1914 they were the largest brewery in New England. These days they continue to produce their variety of beers, one of which is Fresh Catch which is up for review today.

Fresh Catch is, according to their website, “a supremely refreshing blonde ale that’s dry hopped with citra for a crisp grapefruit finish.” It is meant to be paired with seafood, as evidenced by the lobster on the can. This looks and sounds as New England as you can get.

The pour is a slightly hazy, yet vibrant yellow. There is a soapy, white head that rose to about two fingers as its height. A fair amount of carbonation is seen reinforcing the surface. The aroma is not overpowering but offers hints of grapefruit and citrus as well as bread.

The flavor profile follows the nose with hints of citrus and grapefruit evident but not overpowering. The bread finish is noted but a slight hop flavor lingers after the first sip. Again, nothing is overpowering in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is light and crisp and finishes dry. The flavor profile was consistent throughout the session and the lacing on the glass was solid and consistent as well. You don’t have to be a fan of hops to enjoy this as the hops don’t overpower but rather play nicely with the rest of the profile.

Overall, this beer is a pretty good beer. It isn’t heavy so you can have a couple while enjoying a clam bake or steamer pot on a nice summer’s eve. Or you could pair it with some fish and chips or bowl of chowder on a brisk winter’s day. Clocking in at 4.2 percent ABV this beer won’t sneak up on you either. Drinking this does make me want to dive into a huge lobster with melted butter.

Einstök Icelandic Doppelbock Review

Einstok Doppelbock

Einstök is the number one craft beer in Iceland and is slowly emerging all over the United States. Up for review today is their Doppelbock, a limited edition brew for the holiday season. Their site describes the beer as “malted barley and chocolate tones define the traditional style, while the robust aroma and long, mellow finish make this the perfect companion for holiday adventures.”

Icelandic Doppelbock pours a dark, chocolatey brown with a firm, tan head that rose to just about two fingers at its height. The aroma of chocolate, caramel, barley, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. Very little carbonation can be seen due to the darkness of the beer. This is a dark, rich looking beer.

The first sip definitely follows the nose with notes of barley, chocolate, caramel and malt. There is also a hint of butterscotch, which might be the aroma I couldn’t quite pinpoint. It is absolutely delightful. There is a slight alcohol taste mixed in, almost like a smooth whiskey on the backend that really gives this beer a nice profile. The amount of carbonation is on the lighter side, a perfect complement to the beer. There is a slight vanilla, oak finish like you would get from a whiskey barrel which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel is almost syrupy on the tongue but smooth at the same time. It finishes smooth. The flavor profile stayed consistent throughout the session which only invited you to take yet another sip. There was some lacing on the glass to mark your progress but it wasn’t going to remind you of your grandmother’s table with the lace.

At 6.7 percent ABV this beer will warm you during the cold winter months and give you a nice rosy glow in the cheeks. It really would be a pleasant sipping beer any time of the year. I could see myself drinking this around a fall campfire or by the fireplace during the holiday season. I could even drink this on a warm summer night, a perfect nightcap to a good day being outdoors.

Overall this is a really good brew. Einstök has produced some really tasty beers and this one is no different. The one problem I have with it is it is a limited holiday release. If you are a fan of this type of beer, like myself, then you will be happy. It is a rich, smooth offering that lives up to the Doppelbock standard. This is a fun beer and another home run by Einstök.

Blue Point Pinstripe Pils Review

Pinstripe Pils

Blue Point Brewing, a Long Island brewery, has introduced a beer for Yankees fans called Pinstripe Pils. As you might have gathered from the name it is a pilsner and is sold in select stores in the New York metro area as well as Yankee Stadium and sometimes at their minor league affiliates in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The beer pours a nice yellow straw color with a white, soapy head that stood around one finger tall at its height. The nose offers notes of grass, lemon, and malt though nothing is overpowering. The nose is kind of subdued. The carbonation looks to be moderate with some nice bubbles rushing to reinforce the head.

The first sip follows the nose to a degree. There are slight hints of lemon and malt which lead the flavor train here. There are also hints of cracker or bread towards the back. It is very smooth, crisp, and refreshing. No one flavor dominates, though if I had to pick one it would be subtle malt. The head didn’t last long but there was some attractive lacing left on the glass. The mouthfeel is light but not far from the medium side. It finishes smooth and refreshing with just enough of a dryness to make you desire another sip. The carbonation is just right for this beer and makes it an enjoyable experience.

As the beer drank the flavor profile stayed consistent and nothing surprised you. The slight lemon zest you do notice is refreshing and perfect for a day out at the ballpark.

Overall, this beer is not exceptional but it is exactly what you would look for while spending a day or night at the ballpark, a light, refreshing brew that doesn’t fill you up. You could easily make this a session beer and at 5 percent ABV it won’t bite you back. Nothing will wow you about this brew but you also will be far from disappointed.

Blue Point Shore Thing Review

Blue Point Shore Thing

When it comes to New York, at least southern New York, there aren’t many breweries that stand out. However, Blue Point Brewing, a Long Island beer company, has to factor in to any conversation when it comes to New York brews, regardless of its origins.

We have reviewed Blue Point before but today we tackle Shore Thing, a lager they advertise as “Anytime, Anywhere.”

Upon pouring Shore Thing you will notice a nice cleat, golden pour. It almost seems like you are pouring one more famous beers like Budweiser or Miller. The aromatics, however, tell you that this won’t be your average beer. There are notes of salt, bread, and yeast. The underlying aroma of salt reminds you of the beach and a salty sea air, pretty much spot on with what you would expect from a southern Long Island brew that features a light house on its label.

The pour featured a head of just above two fingers with aromatic notes of salt and bread. There wasn’t a lot to the nose but salt and bread dominated.

The first sip followed the nose in a pleasant way. There was a nice note of saltiness that mixed with bread and yeast to give this beer a satisfying flavor. The beer almost resembled a soft pretzel that one would get on the streets of New York City or one the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore or Long Island shore.  The beer laced like a fragile wedding gown, lightly decorating the glass as you progressed but not stealing the show from the overall production.

This is a beer that is pretty drinkable, like your typical Budweiser or Miller or Coors but with a little more character and flavor. The hints of salt and bread do remind one of a soft pretzel bought at any number of shore eateries but also offers a hint of originality. There is a nice flavor profile that would suit almost any beer drinker so long as you don’t mind a little salty bread. This is a beer I would order again but maybe wait until summer to do so, even if offered year round. Blue Point says “anytime, anywhere” but this lager is definitely a summer beer when you can truly enjoy being outside and really participate in all its flavors. It really would go well with just about any seafood.

Flying Fish Brewing Farmhouse Golden Ale Review

Flying Fish Farmhouse

Flying Fish Brewing Company was founded in 1995 by Gene Muller who sold his beer on the internet, making him one of the first internet entrepreneurs. In 1996 he moved operations to Cherry Hill, N.J. Today, Flying Fish is located in Somerdale, N.J. and is one of the largest, if not the largest, microbrewery in the state. You can check out the reviews of some of their other offerings by clicking here. Up for review today is their Farmhouse Golden Ale.

Farmhouse Golden Ale pours a pale, yellow gold with a white, foamy head that stood just over a finger tall. The aroma hints at a Belgian ale but with a distinct American flavor. There are notes of cracker and malt, some bread notes also prevail. The overall aroma is faint, however.

The first sip teases Belgian ale but drifts back to more of a standard brew. By standard I mean something you would expect from a macro brewery like Miller or Budweiser. That isn’t a bad thing. Some people prefer those beers. There is an exotic tease at first with a little spice noted before finishing with a slightly bready finish. The beer had a moderate amount of carbonation and is light in the mouth. The finish is kind of smooth and crisp at the same time. It also teases a hint of fruit from the hops at the end. The glass laced fairly well which was surprising since the head disappeared rather quickly.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It isn’t one of their best as far as complexity goes but it is highly drinkable. Let’s be honest, it takes a lot for a beer to not be drinkable. Seriously, this is a good beer but it might not be for everyone. Choosing a microbrew is tough and expectations are high. The flavor profile on Farmhouse Golden Ale lacks a lot of complexity and that might turn some people off. However, it is still a decent beer that you could easily make a session beer, especially since it clocks in at only 4.6% ABV.