Andy's Beer Reviews

Reviews of popular and less known brands of beer.

The Reviews

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Carling Black Label

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Taking the style of this beer into consideration (American Adjunct Lager in this case), I try not to judge a beer on its style, but rather how does it compare to others of the same style, and how I would rank it accordingly. I fear too many give their reviews on their bias on how they feel about the style, I try my best to not do that.

Found this at a liquor store downtown Detroit shortly after a Tigers game and hitting up "American Coney Island" (an amazing hot dog joint). Brought some home, popped it in the fridge and it's been sitting for a while. Decided to FINALLY crack one.

Poured into a Pilsner glass giving me a three and a half finger wide head of bubbly white foam, similar to a soapy appearance. The color is pale straw, true to its style. The smell seemed typical of this style; grainy and sweet with a pungent smell of corn added for adjunct (boosts alcohol and shortens brewing time) with faint malts and fainter hops (typical to the style). Taste matches scent profile very well. Grains and sweetness are the first things tasted, followed by flavors from the malts and adjunct off-flavors, and finishing with very faint hop bitterness.

All in all, this is a very excellent example of the A.A.L. style. It has good flavor and balance, crisp mouthfeel, and good finish. Not the best example of the style, but pretty good. GLASS HALF FULL! CHEERS!

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Posted on June 4, 2011 at 2:17 AM Comments comments (0)

Ahh... Once again it is time for another Samuel Adams brew! I have begun to very much enjoy the offerings from Boston Beer Company, as they have not yet disappointed me! I had this on tap at Applebee's with my dad, and I didn't have a camera so I'm using a picture taken off the internet and the notes I jotted down on a napkin as I enjoyed this beer. This is Samuel Adams Noble Pils, a Czech Pilsener. It gets a B+ overall on BeerAdvocate and the Bros. also give it a B+. It gets a 4 out of 5 stars on The Beer In Me.

The waitress brought the beer out to me in the famous "Applebee's Brewtus" glass. It was a beautiful amber color with a moderate sized fluffy white head.

The smell is very easy on the nose: Crisp citrusy smell (a bit more lemon than orange) and a nice, light, floral aroma with the noble hops shining through.

The taste was fantastic: Sharp and grainy (not as in the texture but rather you could taste the grains) and very citrusy. Wonderful floral hop bitterness balances out the taste very well and paired quite nicely with my rueben sandwich.

Nice light-medium bodied, very refreshing, smooth and easy drinking pilsener. 

GLASS FULL!!!

Boulevard Single-Wide I.P.A.

Posted on May 14, 2011 at 9:31 PM Comments comments (0)

An American I.P.A. (India Pale Ale) from Boulevard Brewing Company; Kansas City, Missouri.

It gets 3 out of 5 stars on The Beer In Me and a B+ on BeerAdvocate and contains 5.7% ABV.

 

Poured the 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Gives a very large, 3 finger-wide, creamy, tan head. Color is very nice pale amber. Carbonation is about medium-high.

 

Smell is very nice, orangey, grapefruity and citrusy, mixed with some sweet smelling pale malts and ale yeast, with some piney, floral hop notes.

 

Tastes of sweet pale malts right up front and with some yeasty taste in the middle. The citrusy, floral hop note translates to the taste quite well. It's a nice bitterness upon swallowing.

 

Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and slightly dry. (not dry as in dry-style beer like Bud Dry, but rather like a nice dry red wine)

 

Overall I give this a GLASS FULL.


Michelob Honey Lager

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 3:38 PM Comments comments (1)

I had this beer while I was out at a friend's house, and I didn't have a camera with me at the time, so I jotted down some notes, and the only picture I could find on the net was this:

Michelob Honey Lager I know it's very large and not a real picture as far as showcasing the actual glass I had, but it was the only one I could find that showed what the beer actually looked like in a glass... My apologies. This is Michelob Honey Lager from Anheuser-Busch InBev. BeerAdvocate classifies it as an American Amber/Red Lager with 4.9% ABV and recieves a C- overall and an F from the Bros.

So it's a pry-off cap, so I needed a bottle opener. I poured this into a Pilsner glass, which is Michelob's recommended glassware for this particular beer. Poured a light amber color with a thick white foamy head. Also this beer had a very nice head retention.

The beer smelled very pleasant. Right up front there was the smell of sweet pale malts, followed by the smell of honey. A second smell reveled the scent of the bitter hops. To me this beer smelled like a standard, non-adjunct, pale lager with a touch of honey...

Taste was just like the smell really. You immediately taste the sweetness of the pale malts and the honey with a slightly bitter finish from the hops. This is a very sweet beer, but the sweetness balances very well with the bitterness from the hops and isn't a nasty sweetness, but rather a easy drinking, smooth sweetness. The taste to me seemed just like the smell; a standard, non-adjunct pale lager with honey added.

Overall to me this is simply an okay beer. I found it very refreshing, especially if it were a hot summer day and I had just finished mowing the lawn and was all hot and sweaty and you handed me a nice, cold, six-pack of this, I might down 3 or 4 of them before I even said thank you... it's that kind of beer. Very well balanced as far as sweet to bitter, but ultimately, this isn't a beer I would probably go out and buy. I won't say that if I'm at a friends house and they have some, that I wouldn't crack one open and drink it, but I don't think this is a beer I would ultimately purchase for myself.

I rate this beer overall GLASS HALF EMPTY. It isn't terrible, and it's definitely worth a try sometime if you ever get the urge, but it's just not something that I think the average craft-beer or mainstream-beer consumer would buy. It is definitely a niche' beer that will have a small following and that's about it.

Corona Extra

Posted on January 19, 2011 at 9:09 PM Comments comments (1)

Well, I had decided I wanted to do an import beer review, and I had decided on doing a Mexican beer. I toyed with the idea of which one of the many Mexican beers out there to do. The idea of doing Corona never even crossed my mind until I saw it in individuals at my local liquor store. Before this I had no intention of ever doing a Corona review because of the clear glass bottles that it is always sold in. If you know anything about beer you know that clear containers for beer is not a good thing because a clear container lets in light, and light getting into a beer bottle can literally DESTROY the taste of the beer. Any light, be it ultraviolet, fluorescent, or incandescent, will cause a beer to get that "skunky" taste. Brown is definitely the best way to go for beer bottles, followed by green, but clear is the worst container for beer. Well, when I finally saw this at my local liquor store in a container that it is impossible for light to get into, I decided it was time to give it a review.


Corona Extra 

Yes folks, I found Corona Extra in a can! There is NO WAY IN HELL that light is getting through an aluminum can, so as long as the date on the can says it's still fresh, then there should be no problems.

This is NOT my first time having a Corona Extra, however, the last time I had one it was in a CLEAR GLASS BOTTLE and God only knows how long it had been on the shelf, because when I opened it up and took a swig it was TERRIBLE. I definitely didn't want a repeat of that experience.

Well, I looked it up on Beer Advocate and it is an American Adjunct Lager (which most major American brewers are, whether they are North or South American) and it gets a D overall rating on there, and the Bros. give it a D-. Not looking good for this beer so far...

I cracked the beer open and gave it a very vigorous pour straight down the middle of the glass, something that would cause most beers to foam up tremendously. This beer, however, formed a very lackluster head for such a vigorous pour. I know I say quite often that "the head doesn't always make the beer", but in this case, with the way I poured this beer, it should have had a MUCH LARGER HEAD OF FOAM! Still not looking too good for this beer so far...

The look of the beer is extremely pale straw in color. Tiny amount of head remained after only a minute. Very lackluster amount of carbonation. This beer just keeps looking less and less like something I want to drink...

The smell is of pale malts, a mix of corn and rice adjunct, mostly corn, with a slight hoppy smell in the background. I just keep getting less and less impressed with this beer...

Alright! Tasting time! There is the taste of the pale malts in the front, mixed with this slightly sour taste that lingered in the back of my throat, and mixed with the hop bitterness. Also this beer very much tastes like it is made with corn adjunct. I smelled a faint amount of rice adjunct in the smell, but the taste is all corn. The sour aftertaste lingers still in the back of the throat and just doesn't seem to leave. I must say that among all these negative comments that it tasted much better out of the can than the bottle the first time I tried it, so there's a plus. 

The small amount of carbonation gave a surprising amount of crispness to the mouthfeel. This beer, like most Mexican beers, has a bit of a harsher flavor than its USA made cousins, and even a bit harsher than its Canadian made cousins as well. I attribute this to the water in Mexico (we have all heard the stories of why not to drink the water in Mexico). However since with beer production, that water has to come to a boil, it makes it safe to drink. It's not a terrible harshness that makes it undrinkable, and terrible, but it's not the best tasting beer in the world. 

Overall, my opinion of this beer is that it's nothing fantastic. There are MUCH BETTER MEXICAN BEERS! This just happens to be one of the most popular, although I don't know why... It is easy drinking, and that's pretty much the only thing going for it. Other than the fact it goes down easily and smoothly, it's not really worth the $2.50 I paid for the can. I rate this as a GLASS EMPTY. It was drinkable, but that was it. The taste was very lackluster and nothing special at all.


GLASS EMPTY

Bell's Lager

Posted on November 20, 2010 at 2:26 AM Comments comments (42)


I have been wanting to try this beer for a very long time, and now I have finally had the chance!!! This is Bell's Lager! "Lager of the Lakes" (the lakes being the Great Lakes, just for those that don't know... it is a Michigan beer after all)


An American Pale Lager (regular straight forward pale lager, no adjuncts!) with 4.5% ABV. It gets a B overall on Beer Advocate. I was extremely excited to try this beer, as I am a big fan of regular pale lager (adjunct lager, not so much though, but this is no adjunct lager).


Poured from the 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. It pours a pale yellow color and gives about a two fingers width of head. Light carbonation, but enough to make it refreshing.


The smell is very grainy and malty, with a slight hint of hops... Exactly what I would expect from a pale lager.


There is a lot of pale malts and a graininess that carries over from smell to taste, as well as the taste of lager yeasts with a nice slightly bitter hoppy finish. Nice and crisp mouth-feel, light bodied, perfect amount of carbonation.


Very drinkable, which many lagers are, but this one goes down real smooth and is very well balanced.


I may possibly do a video review of this one later, I liked it that much. 


GLASS WAY FULL!!!!


Boulevard Pilsner

Posted on October 2, 2010 at 2:46 AM Comments comments (0)

Ah, what can I say about this beer? It's very nice, crisp, clean and refreshing. This is Boulevard Pilsner from the Boulevard Brewing Company; Kansas City, Missouri.



It gets a B overall on Beer Advocate and is classified as a German Pilsner. 4.8% ABV.


It has a beautiful deep gold color with a very nice off white head that recedes partially and leave very nice lacing on the glass.


Smells of pale malts, lager yeast, and some grassy hop aromas.


Taste is a slight malt sweetness up front with some very nice earthy, grassy notes with subtle hop bitterness. Tastes of a nice vintage, classic American Pale Lager.


It had a terrific drinkability and was extremely refreshing. Overall, one of the best Pilsners I've ever had. 


I give it a very enthusiastic GLASS FULL!



Earthquake High Gravity Lager

Posted on August 3, 2010 at 1:06 AM Comments comments (8)

High gravity lager. A kind way of saying malt liquor. Malt liquor being a cheaply made, lager style, high alcohol beer. (see my FAQ for a full description of malt liquor) Malt liquor has a bad reputation as "bum juice" or "hobo juice". So when a brewer wants to brew a malt liquor style beer without the tarnish of the malt liquor name, they simply call it a "high gravity lager". High gravity meaning high alcohol basically.



Well let me just start out by saying that when a brewer creates a beer with a high alcohol content (usually of about 7.5% ABV or higher) it runs the risk of being too overly sweet, which is caused by the high amounts of alcohol. This stuff has 12% ABV!!! Beer Advocate gives it an F!


Earthquake High Gravity Lager from the Drink Four Brewing Company (makers of Four Loko Alcoholic Energy Malt Beverage Drinks) which is part of the City Brewing Company; La Crosse, Wisconsin.


The beer pours a darker color than most malt liquors. It's more of an amber color than pale straw. It foams up with a very large head which vanishes very quickly. In fact you can watch it disappear right before your eyes.


It smells very very boosy. You can literally smell the alcohol. I begin to wonder whether I want to drink this or not...


I take a drink. I taste nothing but a sickly, bubblegummy, nasty sweetness. Upon swallowing I exhale. I can feel a warming feeling in the back of my throat upon exhale from the high alcohol levels. I try one more drink, but I just can't handle the taste. I wound up dumping the mug and the rest of the can down the drain...


I give Earthquake High Gravity Lager a GLASS EMPTY. It's so empty that it crashes through the bottom of the glass and into the floor! (figurative of course) I would rather go drink Budweiser & Clamato Chelada again. 


Do yourself a favor.... STAY AWAY FROM THIS CRAP!!! It's good for nothing except getting totally trashed.

Samuel Adams Boston Ale

Posted on July 13, 2010 at 11:48 PM Comments comments (0)

It's time for another Samuel Adams beer! This is my third one ever! This time it's Samuel Adams Boston Ale!


This is an American Pale Ale (A.P.A) from the Boston Beer Company. This beer gets a B overall on Beer Advocate and the Bro's also give it a B. It has an overal ABV of 4.94%


It pours a beautiful amber color with a thick, creamy, white head. The head sticks around and remains as a film after it has gone down, leaving lacing on the glass.


Smells of toasted caramel malts and a sweet banana smell. Upon the second smell you get a nice hop presence. There were some other fruity notes in the smell, but a smell of banana seemed to be most prevalent.


Upon tasting this beer you get a surprise. From the smell you are expecting a sweeter tasting beer and the hop presence balances out the malts and fruity notes quite well. Very well balanced flavor. Sweet and toasty at first, balanced by a hop bitterness at the end.


Moderately carbonated and easy drinkabilty make this an ideal beer. It gets a GLASS FULL!

Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat

Posted on May 21, 2010 at 12:24 AM Comments comments (0)

IMG_0545


Had this on draft at a local bar, Pub 21, a favorite hang out for me and my pals. I had never had it before so I decided I would do a review on it. This is Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, which is only the second Samuel Adams beer I've ever had... 


This is a wheat beer from the Boston Beer Company. It has 5.4% ABV. It receives a B- on Beer Advocate, and is classified on there as a Fruit/Vegetable Beer (because of the cherry).


As I watched the bartender pour this from the tap I noticed it poured a hazy amber color, and was unfiltered. Typical wheat beer. The bartender added the cherries, to the glass. It had a pretty nice, white head on it, which receded after a few minutes, but never fully went away, and even at the end of the glass, left a very nice amount of lacing on the sides of the glass.


The smell was really of nothing but wheat and cherries. Nothing else really stood out, except for a slight, tiny amount of hops. 


The taste was of cherries and a wheat undertone with maybe a tiny hint of citrus in the background, but this was quickly masked by the slight bitterness from the hops. It paired quite well with the mini burgers I had for my dinner...


Good balance of cherry and wheat flavors make this a very nice, very drinkable, very refreshing beer. Smooth taste and very smooth clean aftertaste. I give it a GLASS FULL. I'm really starting to enjoy Samuel Adams beers, and look forward to trying more in the future.



Budweiser American Ale

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 11:17 PM Comments comments (0)


Here we have a macro-brewery "craft beer" from Anheuser-Busch InBev. An American Amber/Red Ale with 5.3% ABV. It gets a B- on Beer Advocate. I was very interested to see how a macro-brewery would do with one of my favorite beer styles... This is Budweiser American Ale. I figured it would at least be okay, remembering how the Bud Light Golden Wheat tasted. (which was just okay and received a Glass Half Empty [see review below])

The bottle reads: "Budweiser American Ale defines a new style of ale - The American Ale - created by Anheuser-Busch brewmasters to deliver robust ale taste that's full-bodied, but not too heavy nor too bitter." On the side it reads: "Carefully brewed with barley from America's Heartland and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest, this rich, amber-colored ale has robust flavor and a distinctive, hoppy finish."

It pours a nice amber color with reddish tints to it, with a nice off-white head. Smells of hops and some slight scent of sweet malts with a hint of citrus... The color is right and the smell is right for the style... Time for a taste.

Right away you taste the malts and the hops, which left a nice bitter finish in the mouth. A little bit of barley is also present in the taste. Very right for the style, however there was a sweetness there you don't usually find with this style of beer, but it wasn't something that was terrible and made it undrinkable. You can really taste some caramel malts in there as well. It has a nice hoppy bitter finish, which was very nice and not something you would expect from one of the big macro-brews. The head left a decent amount of lacing on the sides of my glass as well.

All in all i give this a GLASS HALF FULL. It was very good, and I see me drinking this more in the future, but it lacked something in the way of taste to be a full glass to me. It was slightly watered down, but it had a nice bold flavor regardless. Well done Budweiser... Well done. Exceeded my expectations.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Posted on May 15, 2010 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)



I have been wanting to try this beer for a while now, it is the first Samuel Adams beer I've ever had. It's been sitting in my fridge for a couple of weeks and now I've finally got around to reviewing it.

It is a Vienna Lager from the Boston Beer Company; Boston, MA. It has 4.75% ABV and gets a B+ on Beer Advocate.

Upon pouring this beer I noticed a darker coloring than what many people are used to with lagers. It pours a very nice amber color with a nice head that stuck around for several minutes and left a nice bit of lacing on my mug. 

The smell was that of hops right up front. Samuel Adams claims to use a pound of hops when brewing their beer. I believe it because you can really smell the hops. Once you get past the hops you begin to smell a very nice smell of caramel malts. Also perhaps a slight smell of sweet grains, but that may have just been my nose.

Upon tasting you get those caramel malts and sweet grains right up front. Then towards the finish in the back of the mouth when swallowed brings a bitter taste from the hops. There may be just a tad bit too much hops for my tastes, but not so bad that it made me give it a lower rating (I've had hoppier ales before... I don't know if it was the hoppiness mixed with the lager yeasts or what, but something seemed different in the hop character compared to a hoppy ale). This beer, even being on the strong side for hops gets a GLASS FULL from me. Very nice, excellent beer.


Budweiser & Clamato Chelada

Posted on May 7, 2010 at 12:12 AM Comments comments (0)



A chelada from Anheuser-Busch InBev. A prepackaged version of the popular drink "Red Eye". Budweiser & Clamato Chelada is 5% ABV and gets a D- overall on Beer Advocate. That's only one away from an F!!!


Clamato=Clam+Tomato A strange mixture of clam broth and tomato juice. Originally created as a quick broth for Manhattan clam chowder. People began mixing beer with it and it created a drink known as "Red Eye" to most people. It is a popular drink in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.


It pours a reddish pink color. The head foams up extremely fast, an vanishes as fast as a soda's head, with extremely large bubbles.


It smells of tomato, beer and clam juice. That's all you can smell really.


The taste is similar to that of a V8 juice. The clam however leaves this strange feeling and taste in the back of your throat that doesn't go away. I enjoy Manhattan clam chowder, tomato juice, and can stand Budweiser beer... but that combination was just strange. It was just not appealing to me. If you enjoy Red Eye then you would probably enjoy it. If you enjoy clamato then you will probably like it... Myself, I didn't care for it.


I give it a GLASS EMPTY


dsc00680

Bud Light Golden Wheat

Posted on May 4, 2010 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (0)

Golden Wheat

Well, I was planning to review this beer, but not right away. That, however, all changed when a buddy of mine showed up at my doorstep with this beer. My buddy's dad is a Bud Light drinker... That is the ONLY beer he drinks. Well, he decided he was going to try the new Bud Light Golden Wheat. Apparently he didn't like it. He heard that I was a wheat beer fan and decided to give it to me. So I figured, why not do the review now? No time like the present... I decided to try this macro-brewery attempt at a "craft beer", from Anheuser-Busch InBev.


I have never been a light beer fan, but I am a wheat beer fan... So I was curious as to how the two would go together... It gets a C overall on Beer Advocate and has 4.1% ABV.


"A light beer with coriander and citrus peels" is what the bottle says. It pours a hazy amber color. It is unfiltered, so all the yeast is suspended in the beer... Very true to the style. So far so good. The smell hits you right up front with the citrus and slight coriander. The wheat is there, but not where I think it should be for a wheat beer. 


The taste hits you right up front with the citrus and the coriander right behind it. The wheat is actually in the background, but it is there... Not what it should be. It is MUCH BETTER than regular Bud Light. It doesn't have that Budweiser flavor, which was very nice. It is a very refreshing beer, like most wheat beers are. It has a "watered down" flavor, very obviously a light beer, geared toward light beer drinkers. With that in mind however, it isn't the same watery flavor of most light beers... It has much more flavor than most, but is very light for a wheat beer.


All in all, I give this a GLASS HALF EMPTY. It isn't the best wheat beer in the world, but it's not the worst. It is very drinkable. If you are a wheat beer fan, this probably won't be enough for you. If you like Bud Light, or any light beer for that matter, give it a try, you might just like it. If you are interested in getting into wheat beers then this would probably be a good starter beer for you. It's okay. It's drinkable. It tastes good. But if you are a normal wheat beer drinker, it's going to be too much on the light side for you I think.

Schlitz Beer (1960's Formula)

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (2)

                        

Well, this is a review for Schlitz Beer. "The BEER That Made Milwaukee Famous" is what the bottle says. 


Now, a lot of people are probably wondering why I would even bother to review Schlitz. Well the answer is simple: It's worth the review. As far as American Adjunct Lagers go, this is probably one of the best out there. That's because a couple of years ago, Pabst Brewing Company (the current owners of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company) decided to go back to the 1960's formula that made Schlitz so famous to begin with. At one time this beer, not Budweiser, was the largest selling beer in the world. That all changed in the 1970's when Schlitz changed their formula...


But now "classic" Schlitz is back! I have been wanting to try Schlitz for a while now, and was quite happy when i came upon a 12 pack while browsing a liquor store. I was sold as soon as I saw it. 


This beer gets a B overall on Beer Advocate, which is probably the highest rating for an

American Adjunct Lager that I've ever seen. The beer pours the typical "pale straw color" of most American Adjunct Lagers. The head, about a finger and a half width receded in a minute, but lingered as a thin film on top of the beer. Smells of sweet grain, a bit of caramel and maybe the slightest hint of grassy hops. A very slight hint of rice adjunct, but very faint. You could really taste the sweet grains and malts. There was a crispness from the carbonation, but not overpowering, actually somewhat pleasant. There was a hoppy, bitter finish to the taste, but not an unpleasant bitterness. Not at all the typical, watery taste of most A.A.L.'s. Almost reminiscent of an ale taste from the sweetness, but it's very very faint. It's not at all the disgusting sweetness that alot of A.A.L.'s have. Very bold flavor, and yet very smooth at the same time.


This beer gets from me a GLASS HALF FULL, leaning towards FULL! Never expected that from an American Adjunct Lager! It has terrific drinkablity (much better than Bud Light whose slogan is drinkabilty...), Bold yet smooth flavor. Very good beer, worth the money, give it a try.




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