Browse Tag


Almost famous

DOG Brewing “Stillwater Artisanal” American Farmhouse Ale “Débutante” (Maryland) – Brewed with spelt and rye, flavored with honeysuckle, heather, and hyssop. And while this jumble of influences and confluences offers a lot to consider, ultimately the result is somewhat meandering…diffuse without being dilute. There’s some textural richness, some dried-citrus chew, some spice. That’s really about it. (9/11)


Victory “Helios” Ale (Pennsylvania) – In the back label text, they call this a Belgian farmhouse style. I’d call it a merging of pale American ale with hints of the claimed designation. It’s thin, it’s vaguely spicy, it’s not much more than momentarily diverting. (9/11)

Oude to a Grecian urn

Hanssens “Oude” Kriek Lambic (Belgium) – Oh, yes. Beautifully tart, but not so iconoclastically acidic that it becomes an Olympic-level challenge to struggle through. Here I suppose I reveal my long-time struggle with the Cantillon style, in which I have to warm up like a beer athlete to deal with the fierce lash of puckering sourness, and which even with said warmup I don’t always warm to. This is less aggressive, and maybe it’s less authentic as a result, but it’s far more to my liking. (9/10)

Old Manhattan

New Holland “Pilgrim’s Dole” Wheat Wine (Michigan) – A barley wine-style brew made, as the name indicates, with wheat. And – here’s a warning – a beverage for those who think barley wines are watery and light. Holy crap is this dense! Nearly opaque, as well. Comes as near as I’d want to drinking pure molasses (without the sugar). It’s fascinating, frankly, but I don’t think I’ll ever want this much of it again. Stylistically, it’s closer to the old Seppelt “Para Port” Liqueur wines than it is any beer of my acquaintance. Worth the experience, at least. (9/10)

Molecular brewology

Two Brothers “Atom Smasher” Oktoberfest Style Lager (Illinois) – Heavy. Good heavy, but heavy nonetheless. I’ll admit that no matter the tradition, this is the sort of style I always feel is (or at least should be) implied by the autumnal name, but is rarely delivered by most beers of similar designation. Weighty, somewhat bitter, somewhat refreshing, and definitely seasonal; one can almost taste the leaves crunching underfoot. Molten rocks. Definitely leaves an impression. (9/10)

Take me to the pilot

Lighthouse “Navigator” Doppelbock (British Columbia) – Dark, bitter, dark, spicy, dark, and dense. Very, very flavorful. And sorry, but I have to say it: this would be greatly improved with a little chill. The traditional ambient serving temperature does not suit this particular brew. (2/11)

Bobby Orr

Achel Trappist Bruin (Belgium) – Luscious dried-brown sap flavors, bronzed apricot, layers of ginger spice and easy appeal. Nice. (2/11)


Fonteinen Oude Gueuze Lambic (Belgium) – A fair balance of stink and snap, spiced and a bit gauzy. This is pleasant, and much more approachable than the extreme forms of lambic, but there’s a certain sacrifice of intensity necessary to achieve that. (2/11)

Up one

Hanssens Oude Kriek Lambic (Belgium) – Brittle and extremely cherried, offering not the slightest hint of mitigating sweetness or density, so that razor-sharpness stands out clearly and pointedly. Has a handle on all its “difficult” components. Pretty good. (2/11)


Hanssens Oude Gueuze Lambic (Belgium) – Completely overwhelmed by brettanomyces in both its stinky and Band-Aid™ forms. Spiky acidity. But the brett here, an essential player in a better-balanced lambic, is just way, way too much. Undrinkable. (2/11)