Draft Notes

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Archive for the category “Spiced Ale”

Virginia Beer Month 2015 – A Beer a Day

While conducting my usual review of all things craft beer on the world wide web, I ran across an article by Chris Lang of “The Burg” which peaked my interest.  Chris proposed I (and anyone else who was listening) celebrate Virginia Beer Month with a different Virginia beer each of the 31 glorious days. My immediate thought… challenge accepted and it will be the 2nd return of Draft Notes to feed the 4 or 5 parched individuals frequenting my mighty blog each day. So here we are.

I was inspired by Chris’ list, but unfortunately our state beer availability is slightly different. Here is my consumption list which I will continue to update through the month. Also keep up on Twitter.

Saturday August 1, 2015
Brewery: South Street Brewery
Brewery Location: Charlottesville, VA
Beer: Virginia Lager
Style: American Light Lager
Notes: Crisp lager to get the month started. Slightly malty and sweet, works well on the patio during a hot day. Not exactly an exciting beer, but would take it over the big macro options.

Jet NoiseSunday August 2, 2015
Brewery: Young Veterans Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Beer: Jet Noise
Style: Double IPA
Notes: Balanced DIPA which allows you to forget the 8% ABV quickly. Smooth, Nice hop aromas, sweet piney notes. Paired well with Jamaican Jerk Chicken off the grill.

Monday August 3, 2015
Brewery: Old Ox (Not to be confused with Red Bull)Ox
Brewery Location: Ashburn, VA
Beer: Year of the OX (2015)
Style: Double IPA
Notes: Beer created to celebrate the Old Ox’s 1st anniversary. Orange and grapefruit aromas. Grass and grapefruit notes. Bitter, boozy finish.

Tuesday August 4, 2015
Brewery: Heritage Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Manassas, VA
Beer: American Expedition
Style: Wheat Ale
Notes: This is a Honey Ginger Wheat which is extremely smooth and easy drinking. Really crisp and slightly sweet finish. Had this from the can, but in the past I had it on draft which was even better. Maybe I was just thirstier!

Wednesday August 5, 2015
Z damBrewery: Legend Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Richmond, VA
Beer: Z Dam
Style: Golden Ale
Notes: Limited aromas. Grass, ginger, and citrus notes. All very subtle. Dry mouthfeel. Interesting beer, but a little light for me.

Thursday August 6, 2015
Brewery: Champion Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Charlottesville, VA
Beer: Killer Kolsch
Style: Kolsch Style Ale
Notes: Crisp, bready, light hops. Another great summer beer. Champion took an ale and fermented it at cooler lager temperatures, hence the style is listed as kolsch “style”.

Ways and MeansFriday August 7, 2015
Brewery: Port City Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Alexandria, VA
Beer: Ways & Means
Style: Rye Session Ale
Notes: My hometown brewery and I dipped into one of my favorites. Spicy, full flavored work of art at 4.5% ABV. Holds up in all weather and I just had to throw it in the VA Beer Month mix.

Saturday August 8, 2015
Brewery: Blue Mountain BreweryOfest
Brewery Location: Afton, VA
Beer: 13.Five Ofest
Style: Marzen
Notes: A delicious Oktoberfest beer which quenches the thirst. Could drink it by the liter. As for the name, found this on the Blue Mountain website: What’s in a name? Only beer conforming to the “Stammwürze” law, which states a beer must have an Original Gravity of 13.5° Plato, can be served at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Sunday August 9, 2015
Brewery: Chaos Mountain Brewing
Brewery Location: Callaway, VA
Beer: Mad Hopper
Style: IPA
Notes: Big citrus aromas, all hops, no mercy. An in your face IPA.

Wildcat - Image from OBH website.

Wildcat – Image from OBH website.

Monday August 10, 2015
Brewery: Old Bust Head Brewery
Brewery Location: Warrenton, VA
Beer: Wildcat IPA
Style: IPA
Notes: Almost the opposite of last nights Mad Hopper. Still has the citrus, but a lot more balanced with sweet malts making their way through the hops. Great beer, but I definitely prefer the Bust Head English Pale Ale.


21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale

One of my favorite things about winter is trying winter spiced ales (warmers) as the breweries can really get creative with the style. I have been looking forward to writing a review on one of my favorites from last year, 21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale. In my opinion, 21st Amendment has solid beers across the board minus the Watermelon Wheat (My wife loves it though, so it has an audience).  The brewpub was founded in 2000 and is located a couple of blocks from the Giant’s stadium in San Francisco. Besides the fantastic beer, 21st Amendment is known for their creative art design (and names) on the beer cans (Check them out here: http://21st-amendment.com/beer).Fireside Chat Can Fireside Chat is named after president FDR’s depression era radio addresses which, per the brewery website, “were like a kick in the butt and a hug at the same time”. This spiced English ale has an ABV of 7.9% and an IBU rating of 45. Seven malts, two hops, and a top fermenting ale yeast were combined for the base ale and spices (probably cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and other secret ingredients) were thrown in the mix to produce the final product. Time to taste…

Appearance is dark amber brown with about a half-inch of tan head. Aromas I pick up include nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Pretty much anything you could think of in mulling spices, but nothing too overwhelming.  The tastes I encounter are nutmeg, cloves, sweet malts, chocolate, and a bitter finish which definitely lingers until my next swill. The mouth feel is lighter than I expected, but still a slight syrupy coating. Not much carbonation to speak of. Overall, I enjoy this beer quite a bit and the find the balanceFireside Chat Glass between spices, malts, and bitterness to suit me quite well. I am going to rate 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat 4 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale. One of my favorite winter spiced ales for sure, but probably not for everyone. So try it at a bar before you buy a 6 pack. I find that the number of ingredients in spiced ales can complicate the tastes and we all may pick up one spice (or malt) more than others. Therefore, I find it interesting to hear what others pick up or find to be the dominate taste/aroma.  If you happen to pick up a can or two, please comment with your opinions.

To learn more about 21st Amendment Brewery, check them out here: http://21st-amendment.com/.  Also, who is coming with me??? A winter warmer beer fest – http://www.ashevillebeerfest.com/  – a nice way to celebrate Australia Day on Jan 26th.

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