Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Full Sail Amber Ale

Style: Amber Ale
Brewer: Full Sail Brewing Company
Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
Alcohol: 4.8%

Utilizing a marketing campaign that targets outdoor sports, and boasting a co-op relationship between the owners and employees of the company, Full Sail Brewing Company is quite possibly the most telling beer of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, when you consider the activities portrayed on the brewery's seasonal ales, snowboarding, mountain biking and wind sailing, Full Sail seems like it would make the perfect addition to any wilderness-friendly activity that the Seattle lifestyle has come to represent. To be sure, this is Bill Gates NXNW, not Kurt Cobain.

The beer itself, however, is perfect for nearly any occasion, although I must admit, the presentation makes it seem like the quintessential summer brew. At once hoppy and sweet, Full Sail's Amber Ale is sort of a paradox; a hefty ale that is thirst quenching rather than filling. As a result, the Amber Ale goes great with thicker, spicier foods, like a nice Cuban burger with roumalade sauce.

Rating: 8.3

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Sam Adams Light

Style: New Style Light Beer
Brewer: The Boston Beer Company
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Alcohol: ?

I remember, and not too long ago, the days when heading northbound into Boston, drivers where greeted with a billboard that proudly claimed, "Never a Sam Adams light". At the time it was not only a witty musing, but also a heartfelt battle cry.

Well, as times and trends have changed so, undoubtedly has the Boston Beer Company's policy towards production. With the inflexion wave of new, lower carb brews flooding the market, I suppose it was only a matter of time before Sam Adams went on a diet. But that's where the bad news ends, for the most part, anyway.

Sam Adams Light is not just a lower calorie version of the popular Boston Lager, it is, in fact, a whole separate beer, as noted above by its style. It is brewed closer to a traditional lager than most other light beers. (For that matter, it is closer to a traditional lager than most non-light beers.)

So is it any good? Well, yes and no. When compared to the other beers that bare the Sam Adams monniker, it's average to below average at best. It's a little on the sweet side, but doesn't have the girth of flavor that is usually synonymous with the Brewer Patriot. However, when compared to most light beers on the market, SAL is pretty damn impressive. (Think Amstel, not Bud.)

Rating: 7.2

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale

Style: Pale Ale
Brewer: Flying Dog Brewery
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Alcohol: 5.3%

The namesake drink of the Flying Dog Brewery is mildly hoppy with an aftertaste that occasionally boarders on the sour end of the spectrum, especially when consumed from a glass. Because of this, I recommend drinking straight from the bottle. Goes great with pasta dishes of the non-acidic variety, such as a beef stroganoff.

Perhaps the best aspects of the Flying Dog series of beers are the labels, as each style of brew is decorated with it's own original painting by tab-dropping artist, Ralph Steadman.

Overall score: 8.1