Friday, April 06, 2007


Here’s a handful of mini-reviews & rating of beers that I’ve tried over the past month that haven’t made their way onto this site:

HOEGAARDEN ORIGINAL WHITE ALE – An old standard, a great Belgian witbier on taps at many, many beer establishments across the US. Have had it a dozen times but never “critically” if you know what I mean. It’s a very crisp, dry, medium-carbonation beer with lots of yeast and a little floral action (i.e. it smells good). If you’ve never had a witbier, this is a great place to start, and if you have, chances are you’ve had this one. 7/10.

LEFFE BLONDE – Another well-distributed Belgian, and my first of these in a great long while. Good light, easy-finishing, very clean beer, with hints of banana and a “bready” taste. I like it, but not if there are other quality Belgians on tap. 6.5/10.

NORTH COAST BLUE STAR GREAT AMERICAN WHEAT BEER – Never heard of it before, but had it on tap at this funky art gallery/bar in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Mistake. This “American Pale Wheat Ale” has a strange and off-putting taste, very wheat-dominant in an annoying way, and quite acidic and unpleasant at times. This beats Coors Light and Heineken, but not much else. 4.5/10.

LOST COAST DOWNTOWN BROWN – When I first got hooked on craft beer 17 years ago this was a big favorite, and I still enjoy it to this day. A simple, unadorned American brown ale in the English style, Downtown Brown is a dark and quite dry “session beer” that has caramel and toffee tastes that are muted & just enough. This one’s for drinkers, not for dorks. I’m a little of both, so I give it a 7/10.

21ST AMENDMENT ST. MARTENS ABBEY ALE – Another hearty cheer to the 21A for trying all these Belgian styles, another disappointment that it was only OK. This is a strong dark ale, but lighter in alcohol than all the ones these fellas were brewing up during “strong beer month” in February. I found it malty and sweet but jarring at times, like someone overtipped the sugar container or threw in some bad hops or both. 5.5/10.

THIRSTY BEAR FRAMBOISE – I know this is not the official title, so it’s not going to do you a lot of good, but at THIRSTY BEAR in San Francisco they have this excellent blended beer that’s have framboise lambic and half something else – I think IPA. That’s what it tasted like anyway, and it was delicious. Light, exceptionally fruity and packing a real deceptive alcohol wallop. 7.5/10.


Scott said...

My lady had the same framboise (I think) last week. It was called Menage a Framboise. I asked about it and they said it was a rasberry porter. No Brett. Pretty amazing they got it to be that tart using only berries.

steve said...

How is the Thirsty Bear brewpub? I've been thinking about going there next time i'm in the bay area? What do you think about some of their other beers too?

Jay said...

Yes, it was the Meage a Framboise - that was it! Great stuff. Thirsty Bear is underrated. Their "off-menu" beers - their experimental ones, not the ones they've had for years - are excellent. I hope they get more credit for doing it so well for what, at least 10 years now?

Lee said...

Oh man, I love Leffe Blonde. Is there a difference between a "blonde" and a "trippel"? In any case, it's a style(s) I love. Affligem blonde is great, too.