Dirty Blond Ale Unfiltered American Wheat Ale

Adirondack Brewery, Lake George, NY


Stlye: Unfiltered American Wheat Ale
Pour: Small bubble two-finger thick head, white, fluffy. Carbonation is lively, a cascade of carbonation plumes from the bottom of the glass from all areas at the bottom of the Weizen glass. 

Aroma: The cascade and centennial hops provide a crisp, hoppy profile laden with citrus fruits such as orange and lemon-lime with a higher accent of grapefruit. The bitterness is high but doesn’t negate the wheat scents present.

Taste: Mild wheat with a slight citrus taste of grapefruit, lemon-lime, and orange. None overpower the other but they are distinguishable, which contributes to the overall balance of flavors. With this blonde all you’ll get more flavors from the ingredients than alcohol, which is low at 4.6% ABV which makes this brew a great session beer.

Palate: Leaves the tongue tingling with bitterness and wheat flavors. A very slight herbal flavor is present but doesn’t overpower or take away from the main flavors of wheat and citrus. Don’t expect large sweetness from the fruit flavors or the floral accents, sweetness is mild. You’ll taste sweetness quickly before it dissipates and gives way to the bitterness. The feel is bubbly, medium body. It’s not thin like most beers, which tend to contain a watered down taste. This brew also isn’t thick; it doesn’t leave a silky film within the mouth. Also, a mild after taste of wheat and sour fruit is present.

Reviewer’s Notes: Overall the hops used along with the yeast and grains blend together to create a brew that is very smooth. This isn’t a typical wheat beer with a focus on wheat tastes. This wheat beer is a blend of well balanced hops and wheat tastes. It’s drinkable, most beer drinkers, whether they prefer Coors or Sam Adams, could drink Adirondack Brewery’s Dirty Blonde Ale without cringing their nose at the bitterness or not finishing the beer due to sour fruit notes. A slight lace was left on the inside of the glass, but sip after sip the lace disappeared. Losing a lace isn’t negative unless visuals are just as important to your beer drinking experience as aroma, taste, and palate.

Brewer’s Notes (www.adkpub.com): 4.6% ABV• 25 IBU’s

Recently named “3rd Best Craft Beer in the Hudson Valley” by TAP NY, Dirty Blonde Ale is an all-American style wheat beer with a twist. Brewing this beer with American ale yeast keeps it light and refreshing. An enormous Cascade and Centennial dry hop gives this beer a strong grapefruit aroma and a pleasant citrusy flavor making it Adirondack Brewery’s Official Summer Beer. 

Dirty Blonde is an ode to the many summer romances that have taken place on the shores of Lake George since the early 1800’s

4 craft breweries in New York have made the top 50 list of craft beers based on sales. These brewers are:

# 8 Matt Brewing Company, Utica, NY (Saranac)
#11 Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
# 36 Blue Point Brewing Company, Patchogue, NY
# 37 Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY

There are more than 50 craft breweries operating in New York State and others upstarting. Years from now, purhaps, New York will have more represenatives in the top 50.

"In 2012, craft surpassed six percent of the total U.S. beer market, with volume and dollar sales reaching record levels,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Increasingly, beer lovers are turning to craft brewed beer from small and independent producers to satisfy their thirst for bold, innovative and flavor-forward beers.”

Read and see the entire article and list here:

"From Amateurs to Connoisseurs: Modeling the Evolution of User Expertise through Online Reviews"

I started to read this scietific study and once the equations were explained, I was lost. Basically what this study is trying to convey is wrapped up in the first few sentence of the study's conclusion:

Users’ tastes and preferences change and evolve over time. Shifting trends in the community, the arrival of new products, and even changes in users’ social networks may influence their rating behavior. At the same time, users’ tastes may change simply through the act of consuming additional products, as they gain knowledge and experience.

My conclusion, rate and drink the beers you like. If you're a beginning rater or "expert", rate the beer as you see fit.

Today is National grilled Cheese Day. So, what beers go good with grilled cheese? Depends on the cheese you're eating. Beer Advocate has a nice article on what beers compliment what cheeses.

If your're going to be in the Adirondack Region in Saratoga County, make plans to visit the Glens Falls Brew Fest at the Queensbury Hotel on May 4, 4pm-8pm. There will be New York craft breweries represented, such as Ommegang, Brooklyn, Saranac, Blue Point, and Olde Saratoga to name a few. Also, many out-of-state craft brewers will be there also such as Sierra Navada, and Samuel Adams. For more information, visit: Glen Falls Brew Fest
Imperial Iniquity Black Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY

Style: Black Ale
Glass: Tulip

Pour: Not much of a head grew during the pour. The ale poured thick like Port Wine. The small head that evolved, rims around the glass atop the beer surface, is beige.

Appearance: Black with slight dark purple hue.  Not translucent.

Aroma: Purple grape and yeast meld together creating an aroma similar to Port Wine. The difference is other fruits evolve such as plum and dark cherry. There are underlying scents of wheat toast, alcohol and oakwood.

Taste: The taste is similar to the aroma. The plum and dark cherry are the dominate tastes but give way to a sour grape taste. Oak and alcohol is the finishing tastes to this ale. Underneath all the flavors the hops break through along with a balance of malt. Coffee and wheat toast are also present but slight.

Palate: The mouth feel is thick, smooth, and tingly. Most of the taste sensors are stimulated. A slight tingle of sugar on the tip of the tongue similar to mild dark chocolate is present. Before the final taste, sour grapes is the forefront of the palate, a mild bitterness evolves and dissipates into the sour grape taste. 

Reviewer’s Notes: If you enjoy a mild Port Wine with oak wood characteristics, Imperial Iniquity Black Ale is suggested to drink in place of Port Wine. In theory, Iniquity could be drunk as a dessert beer or as a digestif as is Port Wine. However, if you’re matching it up with food parings, it could be either an aperitif and/or a main course drink. After finishing the glass, a slight lace was left clinging to the sides of the tulip glass.

Brewer’s Notes (via www.stbcbeer.com) : Iniquity, depravity, sin, wickedness. The opposition to goodness. Iniquity is an ale as dark as night, hops and malts conceding the victory over conventional standards with this unapologetic black ale. Why do we call it Iniquity? It’s to what one would expect from an IPA. A dark, malty ale with a huge hop profile seeping forward. A blackened ale, the antithesis of Unearthly.

FOOD PAIRINGS: Particularly tasty when paired with roasted or smoked foods, blackened fish, oysters, steak.
AVAILABILITY: Year-round / 22oz / 1/2 keg, 1/6 keg
STYLE: Imperial Black Ale
ABV: 9.0%
FERMENTATION: Ale yeast, two types of malt, four varieties of hops
COLOR: Black
EFFERVESCENCE: Light carbonation
NOSE: Roasted malts, dark fruits, coffee, cocoa, hops, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, coffee, piney, citric hops, burnt toast (in a good way)
BODY: Velvety smooth, medium-full body
GLASS: Tulip or pint glass
AVAILABILITY: Year-round / 22oz / 1/2 keg, 1/6 keg
ALLERGENS: This beer contains wheat

I didn't do anything fancy with this stout, it's basic. I used 6 pounds of dark liquid malt extract, 5 oz. chocolate malt, and 3 oz. of carmel malt. The grains I used was 4 oz of roasted barley and 3 oz. of specialy barley grains. I added a teaspoon of gypsum, 1 oz of chinook hops.

The taste reminded me of mixture between a porter and a stout. It was more malty for my taste and smokey. The roasted coffee flavors were very mild and as for any cocoa taste, that was stronger than I expect. I expected the coffee flavors to come through more than the cocoa flavors. I wasn't thrilled with the taste outcome but it wasn't something I'd dump out or not offer friends.

Well, back to experimenting. My next projects are going to be a Cherry IPA and a Double Gourd Ale (possibly pumpkin and butternut squash). 

Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold American Tripel Ale

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Pleasantville, NY

Glass: Tulip
Style: American Tripel Ale (a la Belgian Tripel and American IPA hybrid)

The Pour: Pours a four-finger thick and white and fluffy head with large bubbles (I admit I poured it too fast and created an overly large head). After the head diminished, a slight lace is left clinging on the glass. What little head is retained is about half-finger thick yet fluffy due to the large bubbles present.This small head remains until the glass is empty. After each sip, a large and beautiful Belgian, rather, American Lace was left clinging to the glass which didn’t fade after the next sip like other beers tend to do.

Appearance: Golden with a slight translucency, depending on the amount of background lighting, allowing your fingers or other objects to be seen through opposite side of the beer. A very, very slight haze is present but doesn’t take away from the golden body or clarity. The carbonation is lively; the discharged bubbles don’t just rise up the sides of the glass but also from the center of the glass. I thought maybe this is just the style of glass (tulip) but I know from reviews I’ve posted on Rate Beer, this doesn’t happen with all tripels, rather all beers in general.

Aroma: Freshly cut grass without the exhaust from a lawnmower. Also, the bittersweet aroma from fresh hay bales (I worked in a horse stall, I’ve baled hay, I know this scent) relaxes your senses to pick up other scents such as pine needles, lemon-lime, grapefruit, and orange zest. A mild yet typical wheat scent is picked up but isn’t screaming yeast as most wheat smells tend to accomplish (kudos on that last point).

Taste: Amarillo hops create a slight orange and lemon zest but combined with other ingredients I’m picking up slight apple and pear tastes. This American Tripel is slightly sweet with a balanced bitterness that doesn’t negate or overpower other flavors: bittersweet hay, honey wheat bread, and pine.

Palate: Very welcoming smoothness across the tongue. A sweet-bitter aftertaste of alcohol and said mentioned fruits combined, invite the next sip. A slight sour comes through as the tongue cleans itself, but it holds more of a green sour apple taste which I find pleasant. The body feel is thick which allows the beer to retain the tastes on your palate.

Reviewers Notes: Captain Lawrence is hard to find in Saratoga County, NY. But when I find a style, I grab it. I know I’ll enjoy each brew as I do with Ommegang and Saranac. There aren’t too many American Belgian inspired beers that I hold in esteem, but Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold American Tripel Ale is one of them. I rated this beer before I read the brewer’s notes (as I do with all beers). Captain Lawrence labeled their fruit profiles are tropical. I almost wrote the fruits tastes as: pineapple, banana, mango, and kiwi. But I thought that might have been a stretch in flavors. But now I’m certain I tasted those fruits over apple, pear, lemon, and orange. Or perhaps I found a brew with a cornucopia of all mentioned fruits. I used a tuplid glass over a goblet as suggested in the brewer’s notes. It’s debatable whether or not the glass type reflects or even changes the taste of the beer. I say take no chances, life is short, drink beer correctly. Next time I drink this brew, I’m using a gobbet.

Brewer’s Notes (via http://www.captainlawrencebrewing.com/): This beer is the result of the marriage between two very distinct beer styles; the Belgian Tripel & American IPA. We have taken the best qualities from both styles and allowed them to shine through. The fruity and spicy notes from the imported Belgian yeaststrain & the pungent flavors and aromas of the American grown Amarillo hopsflow seamlessly together to create this flavorful ale. Straight from theCaptain’s cellar to yours, we hope you enjoy.

SENSORY PROFILE: Enjoy in a goblet or wine glass. Tropical fruit and honey are the two biggest aromas coming from this lively brew. While the hop bitterness is not as powerful as an IPA, the hop flavor melds nicely with the fruity flavors created by the imported Belgian yeast strain used.

FOOD PAIRING: This beer goes great with roasted vegetables, fish and rotisserie chicken. And it can be used as a aperitif before dinner with shrimp cocktail.

Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, Amarillo
Malts: Belgian Pilsner Malt.
IBU: 33
ABV: 10%
OG: 19
Type of Glass: Goblet


Cooper’s Cave Sagamore Stout

Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, Glens Falls, NY

Glass: Nonic

The Pour: Pours a two-finger thick and tan/yellow head with large bubbles. The head dissipated quickly but the tan-colored lace left behind is large with pock mark residue left on the glass from the spent bubbles. However, the residual lace disappears with each sip afterwards.

Color: Pitch black. Non-translucent. Traditional stout appearance.

Aroma: The aroma of this stout is different. It's dominated by a musty and dusty scent, likened to an old cellar. However, there are the typical English Stout aromas present such as toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, and smokiness (each very slight but noticeable).

Taste: Light roasted coffee is the dominate taste with underlying dark chocolate (60-75% cocoa in terms of dark chocolate) and toffee flavors. Thankfully, the musty and dusty aroma isn't present in the taste.

Palate: The aftertaste doesn’t roll across each taste sense across the palate. Bitterness and sourness is basically the palate along with aftertaste of smoky light-roasted coffee beans. There isn’t much difference from the taste to the palate. This stout is thin and watery, which makes it smooth. The carbonation is light, adding to the smoothness. It’s drinkable but doesn’t turn your head from overwhelming tastes of bitterness or dark roasted flavors.

Saranac Dry Hop Lager
Matt Brewing Company, Utica, NY
Glass: Nonic 

The Pour: Lively, the carbonation explodes from the bottom of the glass forming a thick, three-finger head, white and foamy. The head quickly diminishes to the beer surface with a loud crackle as the bubbles pop. Left in the wake of the head breaking down is a one-finger thick lace.

Color: Copper red, slightly transparent enough to allow you to view the carbonation rising up the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Peppery, herbal, and earthy (wood, hay, grass), most likely created by the Opal and Mittelfrueh hops used. Slight notes of citrus accent the aroma but aren’t dominating. These scents of citrus (orange and lemon) compliment the peppery and earthy scents. 

Taste: Slightly bitter but not overwhelming, created by the combination of hops used to create this lager: Mittelfrueh, Perle, Saphir, Opal, Taurus. A bittersweet herbal taste of floral and citrus is the main taste profile. Underlying hints of herbs and pepper are tasted. 

Palate: The taste comes together with a slight sugary aftertaste combined with malt characteristics (i.e. bread, biscuit, white baking flour). Each of the four taste senses are triggered: Sweetness, salty from the herbal characteristics, very mild sour which doesn’t pucker your lips or does it negate your enjoyment of this lager, and finally a satisfying bitterness which all together creates an enjoyable lager with the taste profiles of a Pale Ale.

Reviewer Notes: A slight lace was left on the sides of the nonic glass. The aftertaste is pleasant; it doesn’t leave you wanting to clean your palate with food or a different style of beer. If you’re choice of lager is Budweiser, then Dry hop Lager is a good transitional beer into more dominate hop-driven craft beers.

Brewers Notes
(via www.saranac.com):
Saranac Dry Hop Lager is brewed with North American and German malt using Perle, Mittlefruh and Saphir hops in the kettle. In aging, we dry hop with Opal, a new variety known for its citrus and herbal characteristics, and Taurus, a unique new variety with wonderful aromatic qualities. Lagers aren't typically dry hopped, but we wanted to showcase a lager blooming with hop flavor and aroma. You'll experience a medium body with subtle malt notes to round out this uniquely hopped brew. Cheers!

Beer Style: German Lager
Malt Selections: North American 2 Row and German Specialty Malt
Hop Selections: Perle, Mittlefruh, Saphir, Opal, Taurus
Food Companions: Enchiladas, chili, white cheddar,
fruit trifles or cobblers
Alcohol By Volume: 6.0% 
Original Gravity: 14.0
IBUs: 30

I started this blog for one purpose, to stoplight New York State Craft Beers. I’ve found myself buying more West Coast craft beers over New York craft beers. Oddly enough, all my favorite breweries are located in my home state of New York (i.e. Ommegang, Saranac) and I’m not regularly buying their products on a regular basis. There are a great number of New York craft beers that deserve fair write-ups. Hopefully this blog will help promote New York craft beers on a larger scale once this blog grows and gains a following.

My reviews of beer will not be the typical rating system where I tell the reader what I hate and like about the beer. I’m going to describe what I see and taste. There will be no rating on a numerical scale. Numbers don’t describe tastes. No beer drinker should drink based on a number. A beer drinker should drink on tastes. A beer should be drank on taste. That is why I’m describing what I taste without a rating. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve ignore beers based on number ratings. Those beers I ignored but eventually tried and liked.

This blog will not be just ratings. I’ll share news on local beer events, brewery releases and news, and whatever is related to craft beer in New York.

Also, if you have news, reviews, etc. based on New York Craft Beers, submit your information via the contact page and we'll post it.

About the author:

Adam Lewis lives in the Adirondack Foothills. He writes and maintains New York Craft Beer Blog. Adam also has numerous book and movie reviews and fictional publications to his ever-growing writing career: byadamlewis.weebly.com

Adam just doesn't drink and write about beer, he also homebrews.