Last week at the Sharp Edge, we got some bad news. Alas, but the popular Half Off Craft Drafts, the virtues of which we have much extolled, has been reduced to a single draft at half off on Wednesdays. Apparently, the PLCB has determined that having all the craft drafts on sale at one time is simply too much cheap beer available to the public, and so Sharp Edge is only allowed to offer ONE beer at half off on Wednesdays.
Watch out, PLCB… home-brewing may be on the horizon.
But in the meantime, the Ladies Beer Circle has been contemplating its brews with a little more depth. I have been soliciting the opinions and observations of our members as they sip their beers in effort to develop a more concrete narrative of our experience.
Oh, and so we remember what beers we liked and didn’t.
Last week, when the half-priced drafts were still flowing freely, we tried a variety of brews. For the first round, Dayle had the Abita Satsuma Harvest. She said that it had a nice wheatiness and a light body, but that the orange flavor made it a bit sour. I had the Duck Rabbit Milk Stout, which is one of my favorites at Sharp Edge. I like that it has body that is somehow at once full and light, it is crisp and yet smooth… full of contradictions, I suppose. Sabrina had the Weyerbacher Merry Monks, which she finds to be a great approximation of a “Belgian-style” golden ale (i.e. because it’s not actually made in Beligium) with a good kick and mouth-feel, and she enjoyed the foaminess.
Then I asked Ted about his beer… and my hand got tired writing.
Ted is Sabrina’s husband, and President of our Men’s Auxiliary to the Ladies Beer Circle. He is also very verbose and thorough in describing his beers, and so I think he forced us all to step up our game in beer description thenceforward.
Ted’s first beer was the Stone Imperial Stout. He decreed that it has a nice head, it’s malty with hints of chocolate and smoke. It has more carbonation that you might ordinarily expect from a stout. It had a chalky finish and Ted found it bitter at the back of the tongue. All in all, a little too sweet for his taste.
Next up, Ted had the Dogfish Head Chicory Stout. Ted found it to be a pleasant but not great stout. To its credit, it had a nice balance between the typical stout heaviness and a spiciness. Overall it was not too heavy, and had a somewhat clean, predominantly coffee flavor, but was ultimately not very complex. If given the opportunity to drink this one again, Ted would pass.
Phew… I guess the next round came while I was still jotting down Ted’s observations. No wonder he’s president of the Men’s Auxiliary.
Next up, Dayle got a Horny Goat Belgian Wheat. She observed that it didn’t have much head, tasting very light, clean and crisp. She detected hints of ginger underlying the traditional wheat flavor and said it hits the spot if you’re looking for something light.
So that Dayle would not be alone in the lasciviousness of her brew, I ordered the Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA. It had a medium head, and the flavor balanced bitterness with a crisp citrus quality. Typically I enjoy a softer IPA, and this one wasn’t especially soft, but I also did not find it abrasive in the way that I sometimes do when I dislike an IPA.
Sabrina continued drinking her Merry Monks, while Ted moved on to a 21st Amendment Saison (anyone else notice that Ted’s getting ahead of us, here?). He found it to be a light saison, a little watery in terms of mouth feel, and the taste “kinda pleasant.” He also observed that a touch of ginger works well in the front end of this beer (perhaps a trend, the ginger?), and that finally it had an aggressive carbonation… not sure if that was a good thing?
Finally Ted had a Troeg’s Sunshine Pils (it should be noted that while it seems like Ted is drinking more than the Ladies, Sabrina was matching him round-for-round, but they were all Merry Monks). Perhaps his observational skills were petering out by this point, because the best I could get out of him work a while was that he fond the flavor “sunshiney,” but finally he said it was medium bodied and citrusy with more lemon than orange flavor. He liked the sharpness in its finish, and he would give it a thumbs up in any circumstance where you could get it at $3 or less.
We returned to Sharp Edge the following week, but to our dismay, discovered that the half priced craft special had been reduced to one beer! Luckily the mystery beer was also on special, so we had more than one option. In some ways, for the sake of beer notes it turned out to be boon, because I could collect everyone’s observations on two beers.
The craft draft was Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale. Sabrina, in general, is a fan of Bell’s, in part from the time she spent in Michigan. She calls the Two Hearted her go-to-IPA. It has all the hoppy bitterness you’d expect from an IPA, but without being over-powering. She described it by saying you don’t get a “sucked-in face” from drinking it. To boot, she says it’s one of the most beautiful beer labels around. It was a little on the hoppy side for my preference, but palatable and drinkable.
More folks weighed-in on the mystery beer. Nik, another member of our Men’s Auxiliary, found it to be a wonderful, slightly light porter with a little bit of a nutty flavor. Overall he said that it made his “stomach happy.” Ted called it a more carbonated than typical porter, watery at first with a good mouth feel, and confirmed a flavor of nuttiness in the finish.
Dayle said it had a light coffee taste, a nice aroma, light-bodied, light flavored and over all a nice porter. Sabrina agreed on the coffee flavor upfront, and ends with maple notes. The taste, she said, changes front to back and declared it to be a good porter for the summer.
Hopefully the keg will kick soon so we can find out what it is!