A fabulous February fourth to you, my fellow fans of that fine, foamy fluid that facilitates flirtation and foolishness in folks frugal and flush alike! I’ve decided that this month’s theme is going to be alliteration, so strap in for a slew of synonyms superbly selected so similar sounds suffuse my sentences.
Victory Prima Pils – 5.3% – bottle
Golden with just a hint of haze and a long-lasting light foamy head, this beer smells like bread and yeast and mild hops. The taste is bitterer than I expected, with a light citrus flavor. Very effervescent on the tongue, and a clean finish. My previous campaign to enjoy stouts more by drinking a wide variety of them has worked pretty well, so I think I’ll work on pilsners for a while.
Victory Headwaters Pale Ale – 5.2% – bottle
Pours a hazy, pale amber with a finger and a half of off-white head that leaves heavy lacing. Aroma is mostly spicy and citrus hops, with a little yeast as well. The taste is light biscuit and caramel malts, . Hops aren’t as present here as they were in the aroma, though there’s a citrus hit at the end. The finish is clean and sweet. This is a perfectly pleasant pale ale, I’ll probably pick up a pack posthaste.
Santa Fe Brewing Imperial Java Stout – 8% – can
Pours a dark brown from the can with a slight light brown head. The aroma smells like straight coffee liqueur, very boozy. Taste is mostly of coffee, sweet with the addition of mostly roasty and toasty malts, and a touch of smoke and chocolate. Mouthfeel is very smooth, low carbonation, and a little dull because of it. Finish is fine, a little bitter. There’s nothing specifically bad about this beer, but it’s not really that good as imperial stouts go, and the coffee is a little over the top.
P.S. It’s worth noting that I had two cans of this, and the second one had much better carbonation, and the strong coffee liqueur character was considerably curtailed. They traveled to me from New Mexico, so maybe the seal was compromised on the first one.
Dogfish Head Piercing Pils – 6% – bottle
A very clear blonde beer with a dense foamy white head. It smells soapy and yeasty, and I can detect the pear in there as well. There’s a fantastic tartness from the pear, and the noble Saaz hops lend a floral sweetness that complements it well. The finish is a touch astringent – thanks to the tea, I’m sure – but clean and mildly bitter. A particularly palatable pint, this Piercing Pils.
Homebrewed Caribou Slobber – 4% – bottle
That’s right, I made a beer! A friend and I have just started homebrewing, and this is our first completed batch. We used an extract kit from Northern Brewer, and I’m pleased as punch with the result. It’s fairly well-carbonated, although the bottle-conditioned mouthfeel is different from the sharp, big-bubbled CO2 beer I’m used to. Also, we didn’t mix in the priming sugar quite as well as we should have, so the first few bottles were undercarbed, and I’ve had a few gushers from the last few. No infections though!
My wife does not like the name though, and has suggested we rename it Caribou Kiss. What do you think?
Stone Smoked Porter – 5.9% – bottle
Dark, red-tinged brown with a short beige head that fades fast. Its aroma has caramel malt and chocolate and a nice wood smoke quality. As you well know, I’m not the biggest believer in beers bathed in smoke, and this one is definitely true to its name, but it’s so well-balanced by the malts that it works for me. It’s not one I’d drink regularly, but it has the honor of being the first smoky beer I haven’t actively disliked!
And the winner is…
Piercing Pils! It’s strange, because after that soapy-smelling start I wasn’t expecting all that much, but it’s really very good. The pear flavors work so well with the Saaz hops and the light malts. This pilsner thing is working out more quickly than I ever expected.