RJ Rockers The First Snow Ale

Beer-a-Day #352 RJ Rockers The First Snow Ale

This hearty American pale ale contains a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter’s night. Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew. Available only during the Winter season.

The D.C. area is about to be pelted with the biggest snowstorm since 1987. This seems an appropriate choice, then.

Golden yellow with just the slightest chill haze.  Creamy head. Cinnamon and nutmeg in the aroma. The spices don’t overwhelm the beer, though. I rather like that.

RJ Rockers

Saranac Season’s Best

Beer-a-Day #332 Saranac Season's Best

Brewed with a special blend of domestic and Belgian malts for a delicate nut-like character, you’ll love this Lager’s rich taste and signature hop aroma. The exceptional full-bodied taste reflects our Brewery’s extraordinary commitment to brewing beers of the highest standard of quality.

Medium-dark brown and clear. Rich aroma with a good bit of nuttiness. The flavor matches the aroma. I never would have pegged this as a lager. It’s good.

Saranac Season’s Best

Flying Fish Imperial Espresso Porter

Beer-a-Day #290Flying Fish Imperial Espresso Porter label

This robust dark brew has been created in conjunction with Crescent Moon to coffee to come up with a special five bean blend to bring out the depth of the beer. Originally produced to celebrate our 10th anniversary, this has now become our late-winter seasonal. Note the aromas of toffee, licorice and coffee roastiness. Then take a sip–there’s a malty richness on the palate followed by chocolate, coffee, spices and perhaps even some licorice character from the Mount Rainier hops. The beer finishes with a subtle black cherry/berry character from rare Ethiopian Sidamo beans. Oh yeah, it also packs a royal kick at 8% alcohol.

I love coffee, but I just can’t drink it like I used to. Decaffeinated coffee is a poor substitute. Perhaps this will make up for the lack.

Looks very much like coffee. So much so that if there had been steam coming off of it I would have been fooled. Head drops quickly. Aroma has, as I expected, a lot of coffee in it, but there is a nice underlying roasty porter in there too. Taste is hearty and a bit unusual (must be the licorice they mentioned). As I get through it, though, it’s really starting to grow on me.

Flying Fish Brewing

Magic Hat Roxy Rolles

magic-hat-roxy-rollesBeer-a-Day #250

The cap says: “Without hops the world stops”

We’re back to sweltering summer weather, but that little chill we had last week is a reminder that autumn is just around the corner. My favorite season.

It’s the color of dried apricot. Head is off-white with some staying power. Nice big grassy hop aroma. Medium body and plenty malty, but more “hop” than one would expect if one was thinking this was a typical märzen. I rather like it.

Magic Hat Brewing


Session #31: Magic Hat Wacko

The Session - Beer Blogging FridayThe Session is a monthly one-day event held by beer bloggers around the world, where they each post their thoughts on a unified theme.

This edition of The Session is sponsored Peter Estaniel at BetterBeerBlog.

Announcing The Session #31: Summer Beers

Which brings me to this months Session topic: Summer Beers. With the summer coming to a close, what was your favorite beer of the summer? It doesn’t even have to be from this summer. Is it a lager or maybe a light bodied wheat ale? Maybe you’re drinking anti-seasonally and are having a barleywine or Russian Imperial Stout. Why is this beer your favorite? Is there a particular memory associated with this beer? How about a city? Maybe there was a particular dish that made this beer memorable? Spare no detail.

Oh, so many memories. Hanging out on Andy’s screened-in porch. Getting busted. (Okay, so maybe they’re not all good memories.) In later years, lying in my hammock after a hard day’s worth of yard work. Celebrating Max’s 21st birthday down the shore and discovering Rich Meyer. Dennis’s famous summer cookouts. That crazy barbecue where I met the woman who would become my roommate and, later, my wife.

So many memories. And in all of them there was beer-a-plenty. The thing is, there is nothing memorable about the beer itself. No, the memories come from the people and places. Mostly the people. The beer was just that little extra spice.

That’s not to say I haven’t had some good beers, of course. If nothing else, my little Beer-a-Day project has introduced me to a lot of beer I might not have otherwise tried. I particularly like this time of year because the Octoberfest beers start hitting the shelves, but they’re not “summer” beers. Honestly, if there’s any beer that I particularly like I’ll drink it all year long (assuming I can get it).

Magic Hat Wacko (image © Christopher Vigliotti)

Magic Hat Wacko (image © Christopher Vigliotti)

A “summer beer” sounds like a seasonal to me. The summer is almost over, so I picked up a few before they disappeared.

The first of these is Wacko by Magic Hat. My brother Don (½ of the Hop Talk Advisory Council) has a special affection for Magic Hat’s offerings. He is consistently disappointed by the lack of witty text on the inside of other brewers’ bottle caps. I like their irreverence and adherence to their theme. “Wacko” is also something of a term of endearment in my family.

Besides, I had to have something for Beer-a-Day #247.

Here’s what Magic Hat has to say about it:

Crisp like the morning, cool like the evening and quenching all day long. It’s the beer that dances to the beat of summer. Pop the top and set your summer loose. Wacko is the liquid song of summer.

A delicious, beet-red summer beer with a big malty aroma, a subdued hop bite and a clean, slightly sweet finish.

Sounds interesting.

It’s…pink. It looks like some sort of cranberry soda. Head doesn’t stick around. Aroma is light. Slightly sweet (as they suggest) with an unusual “tang” in the finish. I can see how this would be refreshing on a hot summer day, but I think I’ll stick to my IPAs.

Oh, the inside of the cap says: “it’s Good to be Queen”

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Samuel Adams Summer Ale (photo © Christopher Vigliotti)

Samuel Adams Summer Ale (photo © Christopher Vigliotti)

Beer-a-Day #246

In anticipation of tomorrow’s Session topic (Summer Beers) I pulled this out of the fridge. It’s been actually chilly in the mornings the last few days, so I figured I’d better drink this before the autumn weather starts in earnest.

Samuel Adams® Summer Ale is an American wheat ale. This summer seasonal uses malted wheat as well as lemon zest and grains of paradise, a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body. The ale fermentation imparts a background tropical fruit note reminiscent of mangos and peaches. All of these come together to create a quenching, clean finishing beer perfect for those warm Summer days.

Pale blonde; slightly hazy. Head is white with tight bubbles. A lot of those fruity, peppery notes you get from wheat. Light, with a clean finish. Very refreshing.

Samuel Adams

Magic Hat hI.P.A.

Magic Hat hI.P.A.Beer-a-Day #227

hI.P.A. is a highly hopped India Pale Ale and the Spring SeasonAle. A medium-bodied beer with a fresh and fruitful nose of vernal vitality. It begins and ends with a big hop bite that is itself forever balanced on the brink by a steady rhythm of malt. Dry-hopped for extra quenching in the face of heat and beat, it’s an ideal accompaniment to chilling out, turning inward or sailing onward through the music of the night toward the dawn of the mind. It’s the liquid way to say be here now lest you never come this way again.

Medium amber with some orange highlights. A little perfume-y. Nicely bitter, but I’m getting a bit of soap in the flavor. I think it might be a little old; there is some unusual sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Magic Hat

Mendocino White Ale

Mendocino White AleBeer-a-Day #217

Our Summer Seasonal is an unfiltered and naturally cloudy ale. It features a thirst quenching blend of sweet orange peel and the subtle spiciness of coriander, topped off with a delicate twist of lemon. Summer is a time when we soak up the sun, and enjoy the goodness of life and friends. A time for parties and pools, barbecues and beer ~ A time for our crisp, refreshing White Ale.

Very pale with just a little cloudiness. Definitely get the orange peel and the coriander in the aroma. Pleasantly sharp from the carbonation. You certainly get the lemon in the flavor. Pretty good.

Mendocino White Ale

Redhook Sunrye Summer Ale

Redhook Sunrye Summer AleBeer-a-Day #196

One needs a light, refreshing ale to slay a summer thirst. Our golden-colored Sunrye fits the bill. Brewed with six barley malts and a touch of rye, it was practically made for trips to the lake and open-flame cookouts.

Bright golden yellow with not much head. Looks light, smells light; a little like sunflower seeds. The taste is light, a little nutty, with a pleasant bitterness. Not heavy at all. I’d have this again.

Redhook