Dark Horse Brewing Company – Amber Ale – This beer is not one that I expected. I had never heard of this company. The restaurant that the lady and I went to isn’t exactly known as a haven for the beer drinker either. I always have high hopes when I suck down some malty goodness. This time around, I was not disappointed. In fact I was quite happy with it. Dark Horse says that what sets this amber apart from others isn’t the malt or small dose of hops but the yeast strain that they use. It’s similar to a Belgain strain of yeast. They also say that there’s clove & some fruit to accent the beer but I didn’t pick up on those hints. If that’s what they say, I agree because it is one of the best ambers I’ve had this year. Their beers are available in 11 states so you’ve got a one in five chance of being in a state that sells it. So go out and find it if you live in one of these lucky states.
Hofbrauhaus – Hefeweizen – Back when I was at Kent State, I had the good fortune to go over to Italy to study for a semester. During that time, I had the chance to go to Munich and go to thee Hofbrauhaus. It is one of the original beer halls of Munich and was established in 1589. I went up there with my friend Michelle. While touring the Dachau Concentration Camp, we ran into some of my friends from James Madison. We decided to meet up later that night at the Hofbrauhaus to enjoy some bier. It was the first time I’d tried this beer but I don’t have much of a memory of it. When I recently tried it at Wurst Und Bier, I got a nice reminder. It had the hazy yellow color and the freshness that hefeweizens do but it lacks the banana and clove punch that others do. It makes it a smoother beer and closer to a traditional pilsner. It’s always worth trying this one because if it’s longevity and good taste.
Imperial Cerveza – Imperial – There is just not much to say about this beer. As I mentioned with Singha Lager from Thailand, everyone tries to imitate Budweiser. Well, Imperial is that beer except it’s from Costa Rica. Congratulations, you imitated a watered down beer that has no significant flavor. Moving along.
Penn Brewery – St. Nikolaus Bock Bier – Despite the fact that this beer is brewed in Pittsburgh, Penn Brewery was not particularly popular in the DiFrango household. Probably because my parents rarely drink. The first time I’d seen my dad consume a beer was this past summer on the cruise. Even though they were established in 1986, I don’t remember it being available at any tailgate parties I went to with my older brother when he was at Pitt. I will try to make up for lost time though. For some reason, my girl’s father had it and I drank it in August. Not quite the right time of the year but it did give me a jump on Christmas beers. This beer was an interesting mix of malt and spices. Though I like the spices in hefeweizens, I generally think they are used with a restrained hand. With Christmas beers, the spices get to the point of some of the more hoppy IPAs in that they toss in too much. This beer road the line well between too little and too much spice. They have distribution in PA, OH, WV, GA, MD & VA so hopefully you can find it. This beer is worth taking on a taste drive but it’s not my favorite Christmas beer.
Do you want another list of Christmas beers? Head over to Drink Up Columbus for The 12 Beers of Christmas. I will review some of these on my own but it’s a nice list. Even though it’s not Friday, go out and enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer like I will at the Bluejackets game tonight. – Kevin