Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Category: Beer Reviews (Page 35 of 93)

Green Flash – Stout

I received a few Green Flash beers in a trade (Thanks Heather!) and I was delighted to see that in addition to Le Freak (which is creeping up my list of favorite beers) that there were a few others in the box. One of which was creatively named…. “Stout”

With this no-nonsense attitude towards the name I hoped that it would also be a very down to earth beer. It pours out with a nice sturdy head… dark, opaque and slightly viscous. The smell is very chocolate- the kind of smell you want on one of those first New England fall cold snaps. Reminds me of winter and trying to keep warm.

The taste (which only gets better as it warms) coats the tongue with almost a gooey chocolate taste – the malts here are slightly smoky but very smooth. The carbonation is low enough to allow for it to really taste like silk. This is a very high quality stout, and I think it would be a shame to pass this one up because it doesn’t have a cute name or fancy label. I noticed that Green Flash is distributing out in my neck of the woods, and I’d say that this is a great example of a stout that’s not bitter but just plain good – it has a hint of sweetness, a hint of depth, and is very easy to drink.

This is my first stout review of fall, and I’m glad to start off on such a strong note. Cheers!

Rising Tide Brewing Company – Ishmael

After complimenting The Great Lost Bear (a beer bar in Portland, ME) on their new website, I received a tip that they had just acquired (and were chilling) some Rising Tide Ishmael, the brand new, as-of-yet unreleased beer in Maine. Rising Tide Brewing Company has been making progress over the summer and will officially launch their brews on October 1st. I’d been watching their progress with great anticipation.

I received the beer at The Great Lost Bear in a 22oz bottle that was soaking wet – I can only assume they had chilled it on ice – so the picture I took of the label design was less than flattering. As a result, I’ve replaced it with the actual label art (see right).

The beer was also too cold to drink immediately but I poured it into a glass to admire its color. A dark copper color with an off-white head, it looked very promising. Billed as an “American Copper Ale” it is described as being inspired by altbeirs, and is brewed with Munich malts – though keeps its foot in the US by using American-grown hops. The smell was initially of piny hops with a nice malt background, though as it warmed the malts came through a bit more. Once it was at a better temperature I dove in.

I admit, I’m always nervous to try a brewery’s first beer. I mean, what if it isn’t good? What if my first impression is that it’s forgettable or, worse, not good? Do I have faith that they’ll improve with time or do I give up forever?

Well, thankfully I have none of those dilemmas to face with this beer – it rocks. It has a hoppy front end with a nice twinge of bitterness before fading into some really earthy malts. The aftertaste and the finish on this one are a delight – and you don’t really get this level of depth too often. This isn’t your typical session beer – its well done, malty with a firm taste that lingers and gives one the feeling of contentment and satisfaction. I feel like this is a very grounded beer – not too lofty or refined, but just solidly there. This may not replace your go-to pale ale or lawnmower beer, but nor should it. This is the type of beer you could drink after a long day of hard work, to reflect on your accomplishments. Its strong, assertive and stays with you – long after you’ve taken the last sip. I caught myself smiling after each sip. That’s a very good sign.

As for the brewery, they’re launching their line on October 1st, so stay tuned for the buzz about that. So far, they’ve been effectively using social media as well, and I have to note that they’re the first brewery I’ve ever seen to include their twitter handle (@risingtidebeer) on the label. Their motto, written in tiny font in a corner under their logo, is “beer first.” I can tell that, so far, they’ve been sticking to that. Keep up the good work – and I look forward to trying more brews soon.

The DeCapper

The DeCapper is a unique bottle opener that opens the bottle by being placed on top of the bottle and pressing down. It’s a completely different shape then I’d ever seen – I received one of these an embarrassingly long time ago, and admittedly have neglected to review it, so with some outside help, here is the long-overdue write-up.

Part of my hesitation to review this gadget is that I couldn’t quite describe its function – so I enlisted some help. My guest reviewer, Mike Lauter (that’s his real name, by the way) is an engineer and very eloquently described the DeCapper’s correct function:

“It takes some getting used to, but works very well with a refined procedure. The first key is to make sure it is completely settled a deep as it can on the bottle. The second key is to use firm steady downward force to pry open the top. Too quickly will just bend the cap. If it does not open fully on the first press, simply rotate the De-Capper and press again.”

The DeCapper (right) compared to other bottle openers.

As for its internal workings, Mike couldn’t tell me without breaking it to find out, so I skipped that. I know it involves a spring. That’s about as specific as I can get.

Compared to other bottle openers, Mike had this to say:

“Its better than most keychain openers (which do a lot of bending but don’t always take the cap off), better than the church keys that are also not always effective. As long as you think for a second and apply the ‘correct procedure’ the DeCapper performs better than these styles. However, a well-dimensioned handled bottle opener still wins, if even by a small margin.”

I’d have to agree on all counts.

The DeCapper itself is available in many different styles to suit many interests or hobbies – but is definitely marketed towards sport and hunting fans (with football, moose, Labrador Retriever and shotgun cartridge shapes among the choices). I can easily see this fitting in many of the “man caves” out there – and basically it’s a must for anyone who drinks lots of beer and gets bored with the traditional church key.

Personally, I find the device to be fun, but a little ungainly. Mine is a stainless steel one, and it looks really spiffy sitting next to my stainless steel appliances. I’m not sure how I’d fare with some of the other shapes, though – it seems to need to be applied straight on, and I don’t know how you can apply steady and even pressure to a moose head.

If you have a beer fan in your life that’s “seen it all” this might be just the trick. Especially as that perfect addition to a man cave or sports bar. More info on this interesting beer gadget is available at www.thedecapper.com

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