Browse Tag


Champlain of the world

Snow Farm American Traminette (Vermont) – Piercing, even a bit sour acidity with a rubber soul of wrenched, thin fruit that clearly wants to be, but isn’t, spicy and aromatic. There’s plenty of sugar left over, but it doesn’t substitute for getting the grapes ripe. I appreciate the enthusiasm of a winery that wants to situate itself on Lake Champlain, but things don’t always work out like one wants. (8/09)

Beer czar

Otter Creek “Imperial Series” Russian Imperial Stout (Vermont) – Sweet and sticky. Burnt sugar, espresso bean oils, molasses, thick malt, etc. (4/09)


Wolaver’s “Ben Gleason’s” White Ale (Vermont) – Bitter for no beneficial reason, more like an orange rind beer than a true white ale. The texture’s right, but the flavors are all wrong. Wolaver’s is usually a very solid label (more solid than the owner Otter Creek), so this result is a little surprising. (4/09)


Long Trail “Brewmaster Series” Double IPA (Vermont) – I don’t normally like the hoppier styles of beer, and the one thing that bothers me about Long Trail’s regular ales is that they’re a bit strong with the hops. This one, however, works. It does because it finds that ideal point where the sweetness and aromatic excitement of the hops doesn’t simply burn with bitterness, but instead layers the ale with complexity. Impressive. (4/09)

The San always shines on TV

Otter Creek “World Tour” Japanese-style “Otter San” (Vermont) – Brewed with sake yeast. This is vile. It may be authentically something or other, but it tastes of all the worst qualities of cheap sake and homebrew wheat, combined in one sickly package. Ugh. (4/09)

Here’s mud in your eye

[label]Otter Creek “World Tour” Mud Bock (Vermont) – Billed as a seasonal ale, which is wise, because this is incredibly heavy, overwhelmingly spicy, and tastes of grade C syrup boiled down to a balsamic concentrate. Mud, indeed. (3/09)

Otter Creek “World Tour” Otter’s Dubbel (Vermont) – While I wouldn’t exactly call this beer “lively,” there’s a certain verve to it, despite the weighty baked apple and stickiness inherent in the style. Or maybe it’s just overly light. I do like it for a while, but each glass after the first is progressively less interesting, and that’s never a good sign. (3/09)

A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

Long Trail “Brewmaster Series” Coffee Stout (Vermont) – They got the coffee part right, lending just enough of it to meld without dominance. Unfortunately, the stout portion is a little lacking; it’s wan, without the heft it needs to bring enough substance to the mix. Just OK. (3/09)

Wolaver & play dead

[label]Wolaver’s (Otter Creek) “Will Stevens’” Pumpkin Ale (Vermont) – One of the better pumpkin ales I’ve had in many a year, because while it tastes very clearly of pumpkin, it neither lets its spice run rampant nor forgets that it is still supposed to taste like an ale; too many beers in this category taste like mulled pumpkin mead. Not for the purist, perhaps, but a great deal of seasonal fun. (10/08)

At sunset

Otter Creek “White Sail” (Vermont) – It attempts to be a Belgian-style white, but never gets there; the spice elements aren’t intense enough, and the underlying beer isn’t…well, it isn’t much. This is usually a very solid brewer, so it’s disappointing to see them continue to fail with this bottling. (10/08)

Yes, I sea the otter

[label]Otter Creek “Sea Otter” Baltic Porter (Vermont) – I’m not quite sure what’s “Baltic” about this, but as a Porter it’s a good one, if salty (maybe that’s it), with a range of browns and a certain malted crispness. (6/08)