Friday, August 29, 2008


Whenever my HBJ “posting rate” falls behind my “new-beer drinking rate”, what happens is that rated beers build up within the HBJ ecosystem, and all of a sudden I’ve got more topics for posts and more reviews to write than there are "posting days" in the week. As I’ve said before, it’s not like I’m some beer dawg/lush either – if HBJ posts reviews 3 times a week, and every week I try 4 new beers (which often might be, and likely are, the only beers consumed during a given week), then after a few weeks we’ve got a little backup & clogging to get rid of. It’s not like I want to drink something and not tell you about it, you know what I mean?

Here are 5 recent tastes that I’d like to let you in on, so that you may learn and consume appropriately within your own beer-drinking ecosystem:

WEYERBACHER DOUBLE SIMCOE IPA – This big Pennsylvania IPA is a somewhat sweet, VERY well-balanced hoppy ale, one that I’d read about multiple times online. It uses Simcoe hops instead of the usual blend, and apparently that’s what lends it a slightly different feel & taste than the normal big-ass IPA does. I bought it in Washington DC to bring back in my suitcase, and I’m glad I did. 7.5/10.

HITACHINO NEST WHITE ALE – Hunh. This Japanese beer is like a glass of young, fruity chardonnay crossed with a mediocre Belgian witbier. Exceptionally sweet, like candy-sweet, and not very craft-beer-like, but tasty enough to stand apart from the macrobrews somewhat. That said, I doubt I’d ever order it again if there was also a “macro micro” on tap. 5.5/10.

SIERRA NEVADA ESB – One of those Sierra Nevada beers that shows up on tap handles for a month and then retreats. I was in the mood for something low-ABV that would allow me to drive home safely afterward, so pulled for one of these "early spring beers" one night in Oakland. It’s a delicious, classic English ale, very smooth and only mildly bitter. Well done. 7.5/10.

SWEETWATER 420 PALE ALE – 420, dude! This pale ale from Atlanta is a solid, smooth, low-hopped medium-sweet ale, one I enjoyed drinking and could see being a great go-to beer in clubs & whatnot. In Atlanta I believe it is just that – the flagship for the city’s largest brewery. I drank mine at a hotel bar in Atlanta, as fate would have it. Good choice. 7/10.

O’FALLON SMOKE – From a small Missouri-based brewery, this smoked porter is very thick and malty, with a “seared” taste of bacon and chocolate. No, really. It’s a dark caramel-brown color and is very thick on the tongue. There is really not enough other flavor to blot out that intense, heavy smokiness, so I honestly didn’t really dig this one all that much – a bit of a chore to get through even twelve ounces. 5.5/10.

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