Sunday, August 17, 2008

Regular Guy Beer reviews: Brooklyn 55 Pennant Ale

I was an amateur beer reviewer for awhile, reviewing beers for an online ______ that many old visitors here will remember. There was a falling out last November, of sorts, and the free beers dried up, but the missus said I should just keep reviewing beers whether they are FREE or not. She is quite wise.
The disagreement? The falling out with ________? Well, I wrote that a beer from ____(a certain brewer)'disgusting bilgewater' and when a sixer of Chinese ale arrived from Beijing I refused to try it. Yuck, who knows what cr@p they put in there? That was strike two. The third strike was when I blamed the ________ editor for caving in to commercial interests, and PHHLLLBBBTT! The free beers were OVER.
I am the most unsophisticated beer reviewer on earth. My buddy Gord finds the reviews amusing though, because as he once said, "I don't want to hear that a beer tastes like gooseberries and grandma's undies". Good point, Gord.
OK, here's some background on my tastes.
I will try nearly any beer, but do not prefer beer with things like fruit or hot peppers in them. The hot pepper beer made me sweat although it was fun for a few sips, and I once had an apricot wheat beer from Ithaca beer, yes, my town, that made me feel they had wasted BOTH the apricots and the beer by combining them. I am also sick and tired of MACHO beer types who like stouts that are so strong they taste like a bag of charcoal and ultra-hopped beers that taste like stewed grass. Some favorites, sort of a general ground zero of flavors? I like Guiness draft in a pub can, Newcastle Brown and Bass Ale. Those are maybe 3 of the most popular beers on earth, and there is a reason for that.
OK, so back in the mid-90s I was visiting my SIL in Manhatten and stopped on second ave at a little storefront grocery for a six pack of local color, and got Brooklyn Brown. Unbelieveable, the BEST. Fantastic. Speed ahead to this summer. Beer prices have soared, and suddenly premium beers have doubled in price, esp. my all time favorite Boont Amber from California---I mean, that's a lot of gas to ship a six pack east, right? So, the beer store has a sale on 12 packs of Brooklyn ales--a mix of 4 different types: the brown, the lager, the Pennant Ale, and the IPA. The lager is good, the IPA is one of those strong hoppy guys that I like in a black and tan with Guinness, but oh. The Pennant ale.
A perfect pale ale--cloudy amber color, nice foamy head, a little malt taste, a little hops, all nicely balanced, like my old Maine friend Old Thumper, and the Boont, AND Harpoon's IPA (which is a nice pale ale, not too hoppy).
If you are a hometown booster and locavore, you say 'well, he doesn't live in Brooklyn! Close, but no cigar!!'. And I say wait a minute. Brooklyn Brewing is now doing some of its brewing upstate, in my neighborhood. THAT IS WHY the stuff, for me, is so affordable and fresh--it is brewed right here.
So, the regular guy gives this beer a 9+ big thumbs up out of ten. Nearly as good as Boont and Old Thumper, but almost half the price!


Anonymous said...

Bass Ale is totally my favorite. The husband drinks Guiness.

Anonymous said...

I think next time you should also post a photo of the beer in a glass, so we can get the full visual.

I had friends in college who home-brewed. They made an excellent batch of dark beer (likely a stout, but I can't quite recall). They called it "Chocolate" --a name good enough for me!-- but it also had the aftertaste of coffee. Oh, my. That was a wonderful beer.

Nowadays I pretty much have to stick with light beer. Middle age comes with such disappointments.

Gordo said...

Mmmm, beer. Grandma's underpants? Not so much. ;-)

gary rith said...

It is not easy to think about beer in the early morning, though.

Anonymous said...

Too much?

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

You lost me at "beer."


(I was always much more the wino type.)

Hey, if you're looking for California labels, try Stone Brewery, if you can get it (if not, why, let me know). My husband likes their Arrogant Bastard Ale. And, once a year, they produce a special Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale that Tom swears by.

Jim said...

When I saw the photo of the Brooklyn Pennant Ale, my first thought was "I wonder if that's the same brewery that makes Brooklyn Chocolate." Mmmmm, they do make some good beer. I I can't recall seeing anything from Brooklyn around these parts but I'll have to look around for that Ale.

You do have some nice wine in your area but I doubt that any of those wineries have distribution to coastal Rhode Island package stores.