Beer Review: Blue Moon Grand Cru Limited Edition 2009 8.2% ABV

Originally handwritten on January 5, 2010 with a Pilot VPen F point with light blue ink in a Writer’s Bloc small notebook with dotted lines.

Blue Moon (owned by Miller, though Beer Advocate categorizes this as owned by Coors) is one of the beers I order when out and about. More and more restaurants and bars are carrying this even if their average brew is your Coors or Budweiser-type of beer. Of the Blue Moon varieties out there, I think Full Moon is my favorite. Tonight’s review is on the limited edition Grand Cru 2009.

This poured a hazy, light yellow-orange. Very light head with light lacing. Nose was a typical witbier with bouquet of yeast, citrus, and a little spice. I could taste the orange with faint spice. What makes this stand out head and shoulders above the typical Blue Moon fare was the very definite alcohol bite, as evidenced by the 8.2% ABV. Any warmth I got from this was without a doubt from the alcohol. This might put off a lot of drinkers, but not me. There was a bit of a bitter aftertaste but fortunately it dissolved quickly into the typical witbier I so like.

Beer advocate reviewers gave it a B- (worthy). I’m going to give it an A- or 4.25 mugs.

Beer Review: Bell’s Third Coast Ale 10.2% ABV

Originally handwritten January 3, 2010 with my beautiful yellow Pilot Vanishing Point F nib with Diamine Majestic Blue ink.

Coming back to Bell’s Brewery, this time I tried their seasonal (November to April) brew, Third Coast Ale.

This beer pours a cloudy reddish brown color. I am a big fan of unfiltered beers, so I’m already anticipating that I’ll like this beer. There was a thin head but there was decent lacing down the glass as I drank it. There are flecks of sediment suspended throughout.

The nose is a little sweet. There’s a thick mouthfeel to this beer, and I get a strong hoppy/bitter character to it, but it recedes quickly. It doesn’t have the strong alcohol taste as DFH World Wide Stout or Fort (does anything?), but there’s a definite warmth here.

Beer Advocate reviewers gave this an A- (very good). I found this beer quite tasty and would love to drink more of it in the future. Bell’s consistently makes good beer. I’m giving it an A or 4.5 mugs.

Beer Review: Rogue Chocolate Stout 6.0% ABV

Originally handwritten January 2, 2010

Rogue is another of my favorite breweries. This time I gave their Chocolate Stout a try.

This beer pours thick and dark with a brown head that retains some bubbles and lacing. Something that is fun about developing a stout palate is whenever I pour one, it’s always very pretty to watch.

This is a strong tasting beer. I don’t detect any chocolate (boo), but neither do I taste coffee, which is always a danger with stouts. While the beer tastes good, it does have a strong aftertaste that will take some getting used to.

Beer Advocate reviewers give this an A (outstanding), while the brothers give it an A+ (world class). For now, I’m giving it a B+ or 4 mugs. I will likely try this beer again as my palate develops.

Beer Review: Bell’s Sparkling Ale 8.2% ABV

Originally handwritten on December 24, 2009

Coming back to one of my favorite breweries, Bell’s released a Sparkling Ale (no link at the Bells website, unfortunately) this fall. The staff at the Manassas Total Wine gave it a good recommendation.

The ale poured a very clear light golden-orange color. It was effervescent with a bit of a hominy smell. It had a slightly bitter aftertaste, so likely too much hops for my liking. I ended up drinking the whole six pack over a period of a few weeks and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It is a drinkable beer but the hominy smell may be putting me off too much to truly enjoy it.

Beer Advocate reviewers give this a B+ (very good) rating. I am going to give it a B- or 3.5 mugs.

Beer Review: Ommegang Witte 5.1% ABV

Originally handwritten on December 22, 2009

Ommegang is one of my favorite breweries. No surprise there as their specialty is the belgian-style beer. My favorite of the brew is again, no surprise, their Witte ale, though I’ve enjoyed all their year-round brews and would love to try as many of their seasonals as possible, especially the Chocolate Indulgence.

The Witte beer pours a standard cloudy, pale yellow characteristic of witbiers. It has a lot of carbonation with a slight citrus, classic wheat bouquet. The taste is light, crisp, and very refreshing. I tried this beer originally at a beer festival held at the Maryland Zoo in 2009 and fell in love with it. I have bought it several times since then and will continue to as long as they produce it!

Beer Advocate reviewers rate this B+ (very good) overall, whereas the brothers rate it as a B-. I’m giving it a higher rating of an A or 4.5 mugs.

Beer Review: Unibroue Blanche de Chambly 5% ABV

Originally written on December 8, 2009.

Canada’s Unibroue always has interesting sounding beers every time I see the label in the stores. I have three to review, one of which is Blanche de Chambly, categorized as a white ale, so odds are I’m going to like it!

The beer poured a pale, golden yellow, fairly clear. It had a clean finish, nice carbonation, with a bit of tartness so it reminded me a little of a cider but without the sweetness that comes with most ciders. While I didn’t find the taste unique, it is quenching, satisfying, and I would happily drink again (have one in the fridge now as I write this).

Beer Advocate reviewers give this a B+, and the Brothers agree, rating it a B+, as well. I will also give it a B+ or 4 mugs.

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Fort 18% ABV

Originally written on November 22, 2009 with an updated tasting on January 6, 2010.

My first impression of Dogfish Head’s Fort was similar to the same brewery’s World Wide Stout the second time around—a serious alcohol bite. And at 18% ABV, that’s no joke. This beer poured an amber orange, slightly cloudy color. DFH says they brewed this as a Belgian ale base with a ton of raspberries. They aren’t kidding. This is one of the few beers that I can smell and detect something other than beer. It smelled like delicious raspberries.

The first taste is of unsweet raspberries followed by the alcohol burn that travels to the tummy. The taste reminds me of a modified Mind Eraser shot we used to drink that replaced the Kahlua with Chambord. Halfway through my bottle of this (I was an idiot and didn’t think 18% was that much and in size like a wine bottle, that’s quite a buzz), my husband returned from running errands and brought me home a banana split Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Serendipity! Drinking Fort with something sweet cut back the alcohol burn quite a bit and brought more sweetness to the raspberries.

For my second tasting earlier this week, we were at Dogfish Head Alehouse in Chantilly VA where they had it on tap. The bartender poured the beer into a snifter glass. It looked much redder and less cloudy here.The first taste was sweeter than I remembered, which actually makes this beer even more dangerous than I originally thought. With such a fruity, wine-cooler look and sweet taste, it’s easy to forget that this is not a beer for wimps. You need a designated driver for this one! After two Forts, I was glad I had my husband to drive me home. Despite it being quite cold outside, the Fort kept me mighty warm all night.

All in all, I find this a dramatic, beautiful, interesting beer. Dogfish Head suggests that this is a good beer to lay down, and as such I have a bottle in the fridge for any sort of Fort emergencies, and one in reserve. Beer Advocate reviewers give this a B, the Brothers give it a B+. I love fruity, Belgian, high alcohol beers so this is an A+ or 5 mugs.

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