Gowanus Brewery

Gowanus Strength German Wheat – Kegged by Jeremy
June 19, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, kegerator, review, wheat

Last weekend I dumped the Gowanus Strength German Wheat into a keg and hooked it up to the keggerator.  Result:  tasty beverage.

The beer, which had a final gravity of 1.006, is fairly light and has the distinct banana and clove characteristics of a German wheat beer.  It is cloudy and gold in the glass and retains a tall creamy head.  Overall it’s very good and refreshing, but I’m sad to say that I’m having trouble picking out any flavor or aroma contributions from the honey or hops.  Maybe a side-by-side with commercial German wheat beer without honey is in order.

If in the future I decide to make another batch of strong wheat ale and have the opportunity to make batch of beer like this again, I think I would experiment with a different yeast and other adjuncts.  This is a good beer, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t think the German wheat style does it for me.

Fortunately, we have a couple folks coming over for the Mermaid Parade this weekend, so I will have plenty of help finishing off this brew.

Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale – Reviewed by Jeremy
May 5, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, raspberry wheat, review

The verdict is finally in on the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale: damn good.

Sunday was our first warm sunny weekend day this season, so I celebrated with a couple hours of yard work and a nice long bike ride down to Brooklyn’s famous Prospect Park. By the time I got back from the bike ride, I was tired, hot, sweaty, and looking for just one thing: an ice-cold, refreshing beer. I found it in the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale.

Just as planned, it’s light, tart, and dry. The wheat and raspberries are present in the aroma and flavor. The mouthfeel is thin but, at least for those bottles that are carbonated well (not all of them are), champagne-like.

A drawback I’m realizing to a beer that is so thin is that, once it warms up and loses that carbonation, it becomes really unappetizing. That’s no big deal, though. This type of beer is at it’s best nearly frozen anyway.

Gowanus Wheat Beer Goes Over by Jeremy
April 6, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, recipe, review

I served up the Gowanus Wheat beer at my buddy’s studio opening party last night and, aside from a little confusion over the name, it went over well.

Q: Cow anus?

A: No. Gowanus.

The only real difference between this brew and the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale is the mash temperature and duration. For the raspberry wheat, I lowered the temp and lengthened the mash to make a lighter, drier beer. But I don’t think those are necessarily positive characteristics for a standard wheat beer. There’s certainly a place for that sort of thing, but I think lagers are always going to be my preferred thirst-quenching summer beer. Next time around, my wheat beer will be full-bodied, as it should.

Chinook Me – Revisited by Jeremy
March 3, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, ipa, review

I just revisited the Chinook Me that I brewed in November last year and it’s still great, maybe better than ever.

It pours brilliant amber, with rocky foam that lasts a good while. It has a powerful, piney hop aroma and flavor that is, to my nose, unmistakably characteristic of Chinook hops. It has a great malty backbone, medium body, and a lot of carbonation.

Did I say a lot of carbonation? I should say too much carbonation. The bottle in the pictured popped like a champagne bottle when I flipped the top. Last month, I had one that gushed and half the pint flowed away in a river of suds before it was done. I had one bottle actually explode on me!

Usually, over carbonation occurs for one of two reasons. Either the beers were bottled too early or too much priming sugar was added at bottling. The likely culprit here is too much priming sugar, because this beer sat for a full five weeks following the initial fermentation. The gusher, though, had less to do with over carbonation than it did with the beer being too warm. Carbon dioxide is less soluble in warm beer than in cold, so carbonation tends to rush out of beer the warmer it is.

I have two or three bottles of the Chinook Me sitting around the apartment. If they don’t detonate first, I’d really enjoy having another.

Dogfish Head Fort – Reviewed by Jeremy
February 29, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, review, strong ale

Fully caught off guard by the Dogfish Head Fort. Fully.

This is not just a raspberry beer, which was my and my girlfriend’s thinking when we pulled it off the shelf. For that matter, it’s not just a beer. I would call it a cross between a strong ale and a fruit beer. It’s basically a barleywine-style ale, but with a ton of raspberries tossed in.

A ton, literally.

The brewers at Dogfish Head added over a ton of pureed raspberries from Oregon and Delaware in small batches during fermentation to allow for “more of the true berry flavors and aromas to be present in the finished beer.” I can’t say whether the amazing concentration of sour raspberry pucker is attributable to the brewery’s small-batch technique or the sheer quantity of raspberries, but Dogfish Head has definitely succeeded in packing an unusual amount of flavor into this beer.

Bottled in 2007 and served cool, the aroma and flavor of the beer I had were both dominated by the 18% ABV alcohol bomb this beer packs. Behind that, it’s tart and sour. It pours a cloudy brown and red and has a medium body, with essentially no head and little carbonation. Overall, the Dogfish Head Fort is strong and would be great for a celebration, but is too much to get into for no reason at all.

See community reviews at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer.

Brauerei Pinkus Mueller Hefe-Weizen – Reviewed by Jeremy
February 26, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, review

Yes, as Barry was quick to point out, it’s a mouthful. How about just Pinkus Hefe-Weizen?

This beer, certified organic by the USDA, would be an excellent mid-summer session brew. It pours hazy yellow, with a tall, bone-white head. The aroma is mild, with cloves, lemon, and a wheaty background. It tastes similar to how it smells and is, especially for a wheat beer, surprisingly refreshing. It’s crisp and clean and could be perfect with a big BBQ cookout. It has light body and no shortage of carbonation, though it’s slightly on the watery side.

Overall, the Pinkus Hefe-Weizen comes short of inspirational for somebody in the middle of brewing his own wheat beer, but there is definitely a place in my fridge for this beer. That it’s also an organic beer is a great bonus!

Come summertime, I would be a happy man with a six-pack of Pinkus Hefe’s with me poolside and the hot sun above.

Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale – Reviewed by Jeremy
February 24, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, review, strong ale

This Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale is my first wheat wine and I have to say I liked it more than the more-popular barley wine-style beers I’ve tried. In the interest of full disclosure, this bottle actually had dust on its shoulders when I picked it up earlier, so any shortcomings are probably the result of sitting too long on the shelf. That being said, the beer smelled great with a sweet nose that was almost raisiny, and definitely malty. Oddly, there wasn’t any hint of hops up front. It tasted sweet and bitter, but much less so than, for example, Brooklyn Brewery’s Monster Ale, a barley wine-style beer that just about knocks your teeth out. Both the nose and flavor pack a mean alcoholic note that, unlike everything else, appears not to have mellowed over time. The Wheat Wine Ale was red and amber and slightly cloudy. It was viscous and slick, with little carbonation and less head. Overall, I think this would be really good after a huge spicy plate of pasta or a big steak as a sipper, but it’s too intense to drink without that sort of company.

This is one of Smuttynose’s Big Beer Series, so the recipe is subject to change from year to year. There are some notes, though, at the Smuttynose site regarding earlier versions of this brew. It’s interesting to note that this beer is probably, unless the recipe’s really changed since then, dry hopped and I noticed barely any hop characteristics. Plus, it has medium toast French oak chips, which I didn’t look out for but makes sense after the fact. The first batch, brewed in 2005, also had pilsner malt, golden promise, cara wheat, wheat malt, cara hell, and cane sugar. It called for warrior hops for bittering, liberty for flavoring and aroma, and horizon for dry hopping. And the alcohol by volume was 11%.

The BJCP doesn’t seem to have a category for wine ale specifically, but it would probably fall under Strong Ales. See other reviews at Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.

Santa’s Private Reserve Ale – Reviewed by Jeremy
December 27, 2007, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, red ale, review

Santa’s Private Reserve Ale, one of Rogue’s holiday ales, is not only distributed in an awesome bottle splattered with glow-in-the-dark paint but it also tastes delicious. I really enjoyed this beer, a double-hopped red ale, although it was unlike the few other holiday beers I’ve tried.

I sampled Santa’s beer in a pint glass at fridge temperature. It poured crystal-clear and red- or brownish, copper. Up until the first gulp, it held a tan, one-finger headstand that quickly receded to the corners and left thin sheets on top. The aroma was hearty, smelling of dark malt and citrusy, American hops. Despite being a seasonal beer, it was only moderately malty and toasty. The finish showed the hops again, with some bitterness. There was good carbonation and a medium-bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this brew is a great ale and drinkable to no end, but it didn’t feel like a holiday beer, which I would expect to be richer, thicker, or spicier.

In the description of Santa’s Private Reserve at rogue.com, I gained some insight into what makes this beer seasonal:

Rogue’s annual holiday offering, Santa’s Private Reserve, is a variation of the classic Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops–including Chinook, and Centennial, and a mystery hop called Rudolph by head brewer John “more hops” Maier!

That’s right, Rudolph hops! That’s Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, and obviously fitting for this red ale.

Rogue’s tasting notes for this beer are available online and there are hundreds of reviews at BeerAdvocate.

Eight Days O’ Wheat – Reviewed by Jeremy
December 24, 2007, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, local, review

Sadly, what you see here is what I found in the Sixpoint growler I picked up during the week at the Whole Foods Market.  It’s flat as a pancake.  The friendly woman who poured this for me had to tap a second keg to top off my growler, so, I’m guessing, the last of the first keg was in pretty poor shape. What a bummer.

The Eight Days O’ Wheat beer was introduced in November and is the result of a collaboration between Sixpoint Point Craft Ales, a local brewery, and Whole Foods to produce a house beer for Whole Foods Market’s beer rooms, which are sprouting up around NYC.  Reviews should start accumulating at Beer Advocate soon, but for now there’s only one, which describes this brew as “decent.”

My initial impression of the pint of Eight Days O’ Wheat, based in part on total disappointment over the quality of the pour, was less than decent.  Far less.  The aroma and taste were dominated by an unpleasant, intense combination of wheat and hops.  The mouthfeel was thin.  And the finish was bitter.  Anyway, the experience, I have no doubt, would be totally different on a second try, so I’m just not going to review this beer until I can get my hands on some fresh stock.  It’s officially a do-over on this one.

Guido, a Belgium with Character by Jeremy
December 21, 2007, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, review

This is a “Regenboog Ale brewed with honey and raisins.”  It’s a Belgium beer, 8% ABV, and  Served in a small tumbler.  I picked this up in the Manhattan Whole Foods beer store.

I’m nearly at the end of the beer and I still can’t pick up on the honey, but the raisin is there.  Unfortunately, I don’t particularly care for raisins and, truth be told, I picked this beer up for my (lovely) girlfriend. I’ll review it anyway.

Between the raisin and sourness, which I think is the diacetyl, I can’t say I love this Guido, but it does have an interesting, original flavor.  It is raisiny and slightly sweet, and finishes with sour apples.  By the way, it smells just like it tastes, sour and raisiny.

There is a pretty substantial, big-bubbled headstand, but it disappears pretty quickly, leaving patterns on the glass, foam in the corners, and some thin whispy stuff on top.

Interestingly, I think this beer has the color of raisins.  Not the dark store-bought stuff, but the homemade or specialty kind that still have some color.  It’s golden-brown and yellow and only slightly translucent.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this beer out of personal preference, but I have to give it extra points for an awesome label.  It’s reminiscent of the Red Meat webcomic, which is also unusual.

Click through for Beer Advocate reviews on Guido.