Top 10 beers in the world press
Black Pale Ale, Bronx Brewery, NY
Chris Morris, writing for New Jersey’s nj.com chose New York’s Bronx Brewery’s Black Pale Ale as his beer of the week, which he said had an “inviting” aroma of roasted, coffee, chocolate and piney hops.
He said: “Bronx Pale Ale pours a opaque black, with a fairly large, 2 inch, off-white head. Retention and lacing are both spot on. The aroma is impressive. Roasted, coffee, and chocolate malt smells with earthy, piney hops mixed in. It’s very inviting.
“The taste builds on the aroma nicely. Coffee and roasted malts hit the tongue up front, followed by some bitter chocolate resting on the roasted malt base. Some earthy hops come through to balance what would otherwise taste like a light stout, then come through even more in the aftertaste. The medium body is supported with medium carbonation, leaving a creamy, although somewhat thin, mouthfeel.
“Overall, this was an extremely impressive beer. An unusual style (it’s probably, sadly, the first beer I’ve had called a Black Pale Ale) does stop this beer from being unusually good. What appears to be a dark, roast beer is balanced nicely with earthy hops, making the black pale ale title seem all too appropriate.”
American Black ale, 6.3%
Blue Moon Belgian-style wheat ale, MillerCoors, USA
Greg Ray, writing for Australia’s Newscastle Herald, reviewed big brewer Miller Coor’s Blue Moon Belgian White Ale, one of its craft beer labels, which Ray said was “perfectly pleasant.”
He said: “Most giant brewing conglomerates have their “craft” labels. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if the brewers are honest about it. Arguments rage back and forth about whether this or that brewer might be dishonest by pretending a particular drink comes from a small outfit when it’s really the product of a giant transnational. These are entertaining debates but, at the end of the day, most drinkers only care about whether the beer is good.
He added: “Apparently it’s copped a fair bit of flack in the US for allegedly trying to masquerade its origins. It also had to change its label in response to a lawsuit by Belgian brewers who demanded MillerCoors stop calling this drink a “Belgian” wheat beer. The Yanks settled out of court and now call it “Belgian-style”.
“Blue Moon has been around a fair while. This wheat beer was introduced in 1995 and is still the most popular in the label’s line-up. It pours a very cloudy golden-tan with not much trace of a head. The aroma is pleasant and tangy. Flavour-wise it’s fairly interesting, though simple. Orange peel dominates pretty much all the way, from the first sip to the mildly sour aftertaste. Basically it’s a zesty, citrus-driven beer, easy to throw back and perfectly pleasant. It won’t excite beer snobs but I’m not knocking it.”
Belgian white ale, 5.4%
Funky Buddha Vanilla OP Porter, Funky Buddha Brewery, Florida
Evan Benn, writing in the Miami Herald, recommended this limited edition vanilla porter offering from the Funky Buddha Brewery in Florida.
He said: “Available for a limited time starting Thursday at the brewery’s Oakland Park taproom, Vanilla OP Porter is a twist on Funky Buddha’s roasty, malty year-round porter that’s brewed with lactose for a smooth, creamy feel in the mouth. An addition of vanilla gives it a Little Debbie’s Swiss Roll flavor.
“While a vanilla porter is an easy pairing with sweets, savory foods also benefit from the brew’s bitter sweetness. Vanilla OP Porter is an ideal match for a brie and ham mini cupcake from the Batter Co. Cupcake food truck, parked outside Funky Buddha most Friday evenings.”
Porter with vanilla, 6.3%
Local buzz honey-rye golden ale, Four Corners Brewing Co., Dallas
Tina Danze, writing for the Dallas Morning News, picked this “light, balanced, easy-drinking” ale which she said was a good introduction to craft beer for “lager loyalists.”
She said: “Made with rye and locally sourced honey, this crowd pleaser is perfect for the long stretch of warm days ahead. Honey lends a hint of sweetness to the lightly floral aroma. The ale shows a good balance between malty sweetness and bitter hops. It has a nice, honey-grain flavor laced with spice notes. Dry and refreshing with a pleasant finish, it’s an easy-drinking ale.
She added: “This is one of three ales that Four Corners recently began offering in novel can packaging. The brewery is the first in Texas to pioneer cans with fully removable lids, made by Crown Holding Inc. By popping the entire top from the can, you can appreciate the beer’s aromas; it’s more like drinking from a glass. The cans are great for picnics, pools and other outdoor events.”
Honey-rye golden ale, 5.4%
Printemps Houblon Ale, Mother Earth Brewing Co., North Carolina, US
Brandon Hernandéz, writing for the San Diego Reader, recommended Mother Earth’s Printemps Houblon Ale (spring hops ale).
He said: “Good beer and craft brewing camaraderie are worth celebrating, but there’s something else to love about this beer — its packaging. Each 22-ounce bottle features a beautiful hand-drawn scene of a desert rife with cacti as well as a waifish young woman with long, flowing hair adorned with spring flowers. It’s a fantastic design that makes the bottle well worth keeping long after its contents are consumed.”
Belgian-style tripel, 8.2%
All Day IPA, Founders Brewery, Michigan, US
Michael Bates, writing for York Press, reviewed this all say session ale from the Founders Brewery in Michigan which he said had a “delightful, heady aroma of passion fruit, lychee, and tangerine peel.”
He said: “The concept behind this beer is to give the intensely aromatic, refreshing hoppiness of an American style India Pale Ale without necessarily clubbing the drinker, or their tastebuds, senseless. In other words, it’s an American pale ale, but All Day IPA at a much more sessionable strength than most, making it ideal now that Spring has apparently sprung.
“Pouring a brilliant copper, a tight white head unfolds with a delightful, heady aroma of passion fruit, lychee, and tangerine peel. Light bodied, crisp and clean, the malt only comes through as a touch of initial sweetness, and a brief flash of burnt toffee before fading beneath a blanket of juicy late-hopping.
“A gentle peppery bitterness lays the groundwork for subtle spice and pine to play across, a sappy sharpness cuts through, and a little mango rounds out the finish. A crisp and moreish American pale ale, perfect for those long days in the sun we probably won’t get for another few months.”
American pale ale, 4.7%
Spencer Trappist Ale, Spencer Brewery, Spencer, Mass.
Todd Haefer, writing for usatoday.com, tried out the first beer offering from the Trappist monks of St Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachussetts – a 6.5% “session” beer.
The abbey is also known for its production of jams and jellies which help support the abbey and various charities.
He said: “St. Joseph’s is only the 10th brewery in the world to be able to carry the Trappist designation. Such beers have to be made within the walls of a Trappist abbey. Others include Chimay, Orval, Achel, Rochefort and La Trappe — all of them producing some of the greatest beers in the world.
“Although there is no specific Trappist beer style, the beers tend to follow traditional Belgian styles, such as golden ales, duppels and trippels. Spencer is a fine first effort that the brewery describes as a patersbier, or session beer. Its slightly cloudy body (from yeast left in for secondary fermentation) was a golden hue with an inviting glow to it. The banana-bubblegum esters typical for many Belgian beers were present in the aroma of the 6.5% abv ale. The flavor also was in line with the style — light bready malt, but not overpowering, mixed with a background of pear and apricot fruit notes. The mouthfeel was creamy and solid, with a refreshing carbonation and a slight dryness at the end to provide a clean finish.”
Belgian-style golden ale, 6.5%
Proto Gradus, Penrose Brewing Co. of Geneva, Illinois, US
Jason Baldacci, writing for The Chicagoist, recommended this Proto Gradus, a blonde ale brewed at the newly opened Penrose Brewing Company in Geneva, Illinois.
He said: “The nose on this beer comes with a healthy dose of earthy hops and tangy yeast. On the palate, Proto Gradus is almost as dry as can be, and that hop profile turns from earthy to floral and herbal, reminding us a bit of oolong tea. The malt presence is crisp and bready, but the yeast involved here is wonderfully spicy, fruity and definitely stands up a little taller than all of the other ingredients. Overall the first offering from Penrose is nicely balanced with impressive minerality. At 4% alcohol content, Proto Gradus is not only unique, but incredibly sessionable and a no brainer selection when you see it on a draft tower in the coming months.”
Blonde ale, 4%
Saison de Lente, The Bruery, Placentia, California, US
Nathan Borchelt, writing at pastemagazine.com, picked this Belgian-style saison ale which he said was perfect for springtime and had a “heady mixture of bright hops and rustic Brettonomyces.”
He said: “The label promises an almost spring harvest-like experience with its heady mixture of bright hops and rustic Brettonomyces. And its light blond color denotes the future bloom of dandelions in May, with a slightly carbonated, inviting effervescence. Surprisingly, you don’t get a burst of funk on the nose; it creeps in slowly as the beer warms, but for a beer with a fair dose of Brett, the barnyard aromas are surprisingly reserved. Instead, the nose remains rather low-key—fresh and reserved, but not overwhelming. That subtly carries through on the first sip, with pineapple, apricot, the tart element of lemon, all tempered by floral hops. Then the funkier elements creep in, like a quiet drumbeat that starts to build but never reaches crescendo, leading to a crisp, refreshing finish.”
Black IPA, Blacks Kinsale Craft Brewery, Kinsale, Ireland
Doerthe Woltermann is vice president of the Dublin Ladies Craft Beer Society. This week she recommended this Black IPA, writing on lovedublin.com, which she said was “amazing.”
She said: “You would almost expect it to taste like a stout, but it tastes a lot lighter and hoppier than you’d think from looking at it. You might also think that it’s stronger than “normal” IPAs, but it’s only 5%. Ladies, don’t be put off by the colour of this brew. Trust me, keep reading and you will see why the Black IPA has been a favourite for all of us at the Dublin Ladies Craft Beer Society ever since it was launched. At first, you taste the citrus notes you’d expect from an IPA. Orange is at the forefront in this one. But after a while when the beer has become a bit warmer, in comes the surprise: chocolate and coffee! These come from the malts and make this beer taste absolutely fantastic. It’s like a dessert in a pint, almost like a dark chocolate bar with orange and coffee in it. Don’t expect it to be sweet though, this is an IPA after all and as we’ve seen for the last 2 beers, the citrus and the malt balance each other out perfectly and create a lovely, not-to-sweet and not-too-bitter taste experience. It’s less carbonated than other IPAs, which makes the finish feel a little bit like a stout, lovely and smooth. So there you have it: Something that looks like a stout, but tastes like oranges, chocolate and coffee while being smooth and easy to drink at 5%. Believe me, this beer is amazing.”
Black IPA, 5%