Grunion

Beer: GrunionDSC_0701
Brewery: Ballast Point 
State of Origin: California
Style: Pale Ale
ABV%: 5.5%

Not a post about the fish, but about yet another delightful Ballast Point beer. In my opinion, it’s almost like the brewery can do no wrong. I’m not usually a fan of pale ales, but I was in the mood for something lighter and took a chance on Grunion. Bittersweet with a pleasant fruity (but not overbearing) taste reminiscent of clementines, the beer was pleasant to sip on and enjoy. Note: It tasted better straight from the can rather than a glass.

I always wondered why the Ballast Point beers are named for fish, so, I looked it up:

“…we named the beers after something many of us love almost as much as brewing—fishing. Today, many of the beers are named for fish or fishing terms, and the labels have fish on them as a reminder to always do what you love.” (Excerpt from: https://www.ballastpoint.com/how-it-began/)

Not a bad philosophy….

DSC_0714

A Sampling of Pumpkin Ales

With a month into autumn, after having devoured numerous pumpkin-flavored goodies, we thought we’d join in on the exploration of the various pumpkin ales. Although the selection was impressive, we chose several based on brewery, ABV, and name (clearly, a very scientific method.) Below, we describe our thoughts on five pumpkin-flavored beers: Evolution Craft Jacques Au Lantern, the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, 21st Amendment’s He Said Tripel, and Flying Dog’s The Fear.

Beer: Jacques Au LanternJacques Au Lantern
Brewery: Evolution Craft Brewing Company
State of Origin: Maryland
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 6.30

This mildly carbonated ale has a relatively subtle pumpkin taste. The spices are evident in the aroma and taste, but the caramel-colored liquid is more watery than creamy. While the taste is certainly not unpleasant, it’s also not very distinctive.

 


Beer:
 Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Company
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 8.00

This ale had a beautiful amber color. The spices, especially cinnamon, and pumpkin were definitely prominent, and the taste lingered on the tip and sides of the tongue. On first impact, the carbonation was strong, with the alcohol being slightly apparent (especially with larger gulps.) Overall, this ale is heavier on the pumpkin and spices than some of the other pumpkin beers on this list. It provides an enjoyable warmth on a pleasant autumn evening.

Pumpkin ales

Beer: Punkin Ale
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
State of Origin: Delaware
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 7.00

The Punkin Ale was considerably less spicy and more smooth than the Imperial Pumpkin Ale. It was also less carbonated and easier to drink. The color was bright orange and hazy, and the head was on the larger side. It was definitely enjoyable to drink.  If you’re looking for a tasty but smoother pumpkin beer that only hints at pumpkin and spice, then this ale is for you.

 

1025140045Beer: He Said (Tripel)
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
State of Origin: California
Style: Tripel
ABV%: 8.20

He Said is not a pumpkin ale, but it is brewed with pumpkin and various spices. Because of this, it is quite different from all of the ales on this list. The taste is very much that of a Tripel–bitter and acidic, with a particular bite and a hint of spice. The aftertaste is sweeter when gulping, while spicy when sipping. The pumpkin, however, is not very apparent.

Beer: The Fear1026140005a
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery
State of Origin: California
Style: Imperial Pumpkin Ale
ABV%: 9.00

Oh, so sweet! This ale is delightfully dark brown, with a large head, and tastes incredibly malty. It smells like spice, which creeps in slowly after the sweetness has settled all throughout the mouth. The beer is mildly carbonated and easy to drink. Although it’s an impressive 9.00%, the alcohol does not permeate the taste. If you’re a fan of malty, stronger beer, this is definitely worth a try. While the pumpkin is not especially noticeable, the spiciness and sweetness of this ale make it an enjoyable choice.

Tasting Adventure at DC’s The Big Hunt

We decided to try several different beers (without the unwelcome aftereffects of drinking several bottles of beer), and we figured that The Big Hunt would be a great place for such an adventure. TBH is one of the oldest bars in DC, and with 27 beers on tap and rotating frequently, the selection is impressive. Along with a friend, we tried 9 beers in total (in 4 oz. glasses). Here are our thoughts on the various brews.

My Imaginary Girlfriend
Brewery: Lost Rhino Brewing Company (VA)
Style: American IPA
6.10% ABV
This was a light amber colored and smooth beer. Hoppy but not overwhelming, and not overly light. A good summer beer!

Dogzilla Black IPA
Brewery: Laughing Dog Brewing (ID)
Style: Black IPA
6.8% ABV
This IPA had a striking dark malt presence. The liquid was dark, almost black, and went down smoothly. Although the beer was not a favorite among us, we did find that it had a particular taste, undoubtably an effect of the black malt.

Fun Fact: The laughing yellow lab in the logo is Ben, the “co-owner” of the brewery…with his family, Fred and Michelle Colby.

Stochasticity Project – Quadrotriticale
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co. (CA)
Style: Belgian Quadrupel
9.30% ABV
How intriguing! This new experiment from Stone features the grain triticale, which gives the beer its distinct taste and differentiates it from trappist ales. The medium-brown colored beer was smooth with a sweeter and spicier fruity aroma and taste.

Beer at TBH
Pop-Up Session IPA
Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company (MO)
Style: American IPA
4.3% ABV
It could have been the way in which the beer was stored, but we were unimpressed with this IPA. The beer was extremely watery with very light carbonation. The smell was not appealing, and the taste was nothing special. There were slight notes of citrusy hops, but no distinctive taste overall.

Fun Fact: “Session” beers have a lower ABV % and therefore can be imbibed with greater frequency in one sitting.

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Co. (OH)
Style: American Porter
5.8% ABV
This is a delicious, complex porter. The beer was slightly bitter, and tasted of chocolate, with a lingering spice towards the back of the mouth. The porter was a dark brown, almost black color. I enjoy porters, and I would definitely order this one again.

Bell’s Oberon
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery, Inc (MI)
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
5.8% ABV
This beer was definitely a wheat ale. It was cloudy with a yellow hue, not very carbonated, and smooth. The beer was not as hoppy as an IPA, and tasted of wheat as opposed to citrus. It is, as our friend calls them, a “conversational beer”–you wouldn’t refuse it at a party or gathering, but you might not go out of your way to get it at a bar. Unless you’re a big fan of wheat beer; in that case, this summer beer is for you.

Beers Stars

Born Sinner
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Company (DC)
Style: Barrel Aged Strong Ale
9.5% ABV
We all thought that this was very tasty, on the sweeter side, and nice to sip, and had pleasant notes of bourbon and chocolate. In fact, it was almost like eating a chocolate with bourbon filling. The beer is actually a blend of 3 Stars’ Pandemic Porter and Bourbon Barrel Aged Southern Belle.

Wine Barrel Aged Winter Madness
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Company (DC)
Style: Winter Warmer
10.2% ABV
Winter warmer indeed! The higher alcohol content of this beer was not overwhelming taste-wise, but was definitely felt. Much like the Born Sinner, the Winter Madness was chocolately with a smooth mouthfeel. The slight bitterness made it enjoyable to sip. Definitely a great beer for the winter.

Fun Fact: Winter warmers tend to have a distinctively large malt presence.

Citra & Lemon Peel Saison
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Company (DC)
Style: Session Saison
5.0% ABV
We were not very fond of this beer (although that could be because we tend not to prefer saisons.) We thought that it smelled a bit like a lemon-scented cleaning product. It was definitely citrusy and slightly spicy. The light mouthfeel makes it a refreshing beer.

Note: To taste each beer’s unique flavor, it’s important to have a palate cleanser when trying several beers in one sitting. You can use water and unsalted crackers or bread.