Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hefe' for Breakfast

This weekend is considered the symbolic end of summer, although around here summer has a ways to go still, so I thought I should finally review a “summer-time” beer.* There is no summer-time beer I enjoy more than a nice fresh Hefeweizen.

*My first pozterisk (you'll have to scroll to the botom of that link). Most beer geeks like to drink a lighter beer, like Lagers, Pale ales, Wits, and Hefeweizen, in the summer and darker beers, like Porters, Barley wines and Stouts, in the winter. Personally, I drink whatever beer I'm in the mood for at the time, with the modern technology that is indoor climate control, season isn't as important as it once was.

Hefeweizen is a traditional south German beer made with at least 50% wheat and a special strain of yeast that gives the ale a banana and clove aroma. Since freshness is paramount to a good Hefe', and we know the freshness of imported beer from Germany is questionable at best, I like to stick to locally made examples like the one from Free State.

I picked up a growler at Free State last night so I would have a nice beer to drink while I embark on my Labor Day weekend list of chores. After finishing my morning mowing I poured a nice tall glass of the cloudy, golden straw colored ale with a thick white head to sip while I prepared my breakfast.

The aroma is thick with bananas, clove, and wheat malt – a delicious start. The first sip taste like fresh banana cream pie sprinkled with nutmeg and clove. The mouth feel is creamy and smooth with just enough heft. The wheat tartness kicks in in the finish and it has just enough hop bitterness to balance it all out.

This just might be the perfect accompaniment to eggs and bacon. There are a couple of other good Hefes out there and I hope to bring you some reviews of them before the summer really ends.

The breakfast of champions!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, 2008

Sorry about the long hiatus. I just moved into a new house and I've been a little busy with all that, plus a mild bout of laziness. I'm back now and I should have several new posts coming soon, there are lots of new beers available in Kansas now. Today we'll take a look at a seasonal favorite of mine, Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale.

Anniversary Ale is a IPA ale that Sierra Nevada releases every fall to celebrate another successful year. This beer is a lot more balanced than you might expect from a west coast IPA, it's basically a beefed up version of their regular pale ale.

It pours with a big foamy head and a brilliant copper hue. The nose is a mix of malt and hop aromas. The pine and citrus from the Cascade hops fight with the toast and caramel of the malts.

Taste is more of the same delicious balance, toasty malts balanced by the pine and citrus of the hop oils. Mouth feel is crisp with plenty of carbonation and a chalky, dry finish. Bitterness is there but not as overbearing as many IPAs can be.

Overall a really easy drinking IPA that doesn't blow you away with the hops. Instead, it impresses you with the overall balance, and flavor. If you don't normally drink IPAs you might consider giving this well crafted brew a try.