Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Beer score: 7.9
Web site: Ayinger
Has a cute little white plastic ram hanging off a red string tied around the bottle's top, almost like a Christmas ornament. From Aying, Germany. The drink is strong, but not thick like a stout. Too much carbonation. A little sweetness mixed with some sour and bitter. Dark and heavy. Only truly experienced beer drinkers need apply.

Killian's Irish Red

Beer score: 6.7
Web site: George Killian's
Killian's Irish Red is owned by the Adolph Coors Co. This beer has a smooth taste from beginning to end. A very good beer, especially when you consider the price. If you are drinking Budweiser or Miller, you should be drinking this instead because you can get it for roughly the same price in bottles. Of all the so-called "red" beers on the market, this is one of the best if not the best.

Leinenkugel's Northwoods Lager

Beer score: 4.3
Web site: Leinenkugel's
Has a wet, sweet basic lager flavor with a bit of fruity smell. Kind of plain except for the sweetness. Not overly exciting, but doesn't completely suck.

Michelob Golden Draft Light

Beer score: 2.0
Web site: Michelob
This beer has even less taste than the non-light version (if that's possible), but a lot more carbonation. A little harsh going down.

Pete's Wicked Maple Porter

Beer score: 6.6
Web site: Pete's Wicked
This brew actually tastes like maple syrup, except it's bitter instead of sweet (if that makes sense to you). This brew is so thick it should almost be called a stout instead of a porter, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. It has a nice maple smell to it. As an aside on brewing history, in 2000 and 2001, Pete's Wicked changed its recipes for its beers, and I've not had a Pete's Wicked since before then, so my scores might well be different today. I've not heard good things about the newer versions of the Pete's Wicked brews, but I won't personally comment as I've yet to taste them. Once I do, my scores will be adjusted one way or the other.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saranac Black Forest

Beer score: 6.9
Web site: Saranac
This is a good beer for beer snobs who have moved just beyond the novice stage. It's hardy and has good, strong flavor. Still, I wouldn't say this beer is anything overly unique- a typical dark beer, if there is such a thing, but a good dark beer.

Fraoch Heather Ale

Beer score: 5.5
Web site: Williams Bros. Brewing Co.
Heather ale is a Scottish brew made of heather flowers and Scottish malt. The bottle's label is interesting; it's painted to look like ancient stonework with a stone cross on the front of it. The brew itself has a slight vinegar smell but not much of that's in the taste. Has an interesting mixed flavor of sweet and bitter with a flowery taste also. Not a super brew, but not for the non-initiated beer taster. Worth tasting for its uniqueness, but don't add it to your regular drinking brews.

Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel

Beer score: 8.4
Web site: Franziskaner Weissbier
Stronger, fruitier and a little sweeter than the non-dunkel version. Definitely worth trying. Too complex for non-beer snobs; they might not even know this is beer.

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Beer score: 8.3
Web site: Franziskaner Weissbier
This wheat beer is brewed by Spaten-Brau of Munich, Germany. Just the right amount of fizz here. Has a cool, fruity flavor with a touch of sweetness. Smooth enough that real beer tasters could drink this all night and still enjoy it in the morning.

Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss Bier

Beer score: 5.7
Web site: Leinenkugel's
Just the right amount of sweetness with a little fizz. A good thirst quencher. A good wheat beer for just drinking or with sea food.

Michelob Golden Draft

Beer score: 3.6
Web site: Michelob
You would think Anheuser-Busch wouldn't need to add one more watery, tasteless drink they call beer to their lineup, but here it is. This beer is so weak it makes Corona look strong. Still, it is smooth enough and wet enough to be a good thirst quencher for days when you are working in the yard. There is just a little sweet taste that dies quickly. The smoothness and wetness raise this beer's score, because there sure isn't enough taste to do it.

JW Dundee's Honey Light

Beer score: 6.2
Web site: Dundee
One of the few light beers that tastes very much like the original, non-light version. Sweet, to the point of growing slightly annoying after you've had several, and somewhat fizzy (as can be expected from a light brew). You folks drinking a premium light beer should turn to this stuff - it costs the same and tastes much better.

Killian's Irish Honey

Beer score: 6.5
Web site: George Killian's
As expected, this beer has a slight sweet taste to it, but the honey texture is just right, not overpowering nor too weak. This beer goes down smooth and pretty wet. There's a little fizz but not enough to be annoying. Killian's Irish Honey is owned by the Adolph Coors Co. Unfortunately, I believe this is another decent brew that's no longer on the market.

Pete's Wicked Honey Wheat

Beer score: 6.2
Web site: Pete's Wicked
According to Pete's Wicked, you are supposed to swirl this beer in the bottle before you pour it - I did but I don't really know if it helped or hurt. This is a great beer for people who like sweet beers. The froth is also tasty. This brew isn't very strong, except for the honey taste. Not bad, but apparently the Pete's Wicked folks no longer make this one.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saranac Black & Tan

Beer score: 6.8
Web site: Saranac
If you don't know, a black and tan is a mixed stout and lager (at least in this case). Here the stout overpowers the lager, but this is a common fault of black and tans (and can't be overcome unless maybe you used very little stout). Traditionally black and tans have to be made at a bar and don't come mixed, as they do here in the bottle, but there's nothing wrong with these brews mixed in a bottle. This would be a good drink for heavier foods, like steak and potatoes. Not a bad brew at all. Those who like heavier beers will enjoy this one.

dog days golden ale

Beer score: 3.6
Web site: Flying Dog Brewery
This has a cheap-beer taste to it, as if it were a premium beer (like one of the many out of Milwaukee, for example). All the carbonation makes it hard to swallow. This beer was brewed by Broadway Brewing, LLC, of Denver, Colorado for Flying Dog Brew Pub in Aspen, Colorado, when I tasted it back in the 1990s, but apparently it is no longer being made.

Rolling Rock

Beer score: 6.0
Web site: Rolling Rock
I have been told by more than one source that this beer was the official beer of Ohio University from the mid-to-late ’80s. Any of you alums want to comment? Anyway, this beer is very wet and a good thirst quencher. It has a frothy taste that stays with you. This isn't a real exciting beer but it is very agreeable. Normally I wouldn't say this is a beer snob's beer, but the taste is so smooth. I've had several beer snob buddies tell me they are shocked to see me score so high what they consider a premium beer, but each of us has to have our little peculiarities, right? I guess this one's mine. I like Rolling Rock, so sue me.

Orval Trappist Ale

Beer score: 7.4
Web site: Orval
This Belgian brew has a lot of carbonation and a strong alcohol flavor, almost as if you're drinking a weak Scotch whiskey instead of an ale. Some sweetness here and very unique flavoring. Not something I'd want to drink often, but worth tasting from time to time. Leaves a bitter flavor in the back of the throat. Very pricey. Hard liquor drinkers would like this. One of the most unique beers I've ever tasted.

Cave Creek Chili Beer

Beer score: 4.1
Web site: Chili Beer
As you might have guessed, this is an extremely spicy hot beer because there's a green pepper sitting in the bottom of the bottle. This isn't a match I care for, but you pepper fans might enjoy it; I just want my beer to taste like beer and my peppers to taste like peppers separate from one another. The drink's texture is smooth and the flavor might be worth trying if you didn't have the pepper taste to cope with. Worth trying if you like Mexican food and/or peppers, but not worth drinking on a regular basis. This stuff is made by the Black Mountain Brewing Co. of Cold Spring, Montana, and Cave Creek, Arizona. This beer came from Crazy Ed's Microbrewry in Cave Creek, Arizona, when I tasted it.


Beer score: 3.5
Web site: Beck's Beer
This Bremen, Germany, beer is wet, weak and watery. Has a very mass-marketed taste with just a touch of extra strength. Might make a decent drinking beer. Basically, this brew is for folks who like to think their elitist but who really don't know anything about good beer.


Beer score: 4.8
Web site: Heineken
This beer from Holland is fairly weak and a little fizzy. It's wet. There is nothing special here. This is one of the most over rated beers on the planet. It's not an awful beer, but why buy this when there are so many better beers available for the same price or even cheaper.

Latrobe Bohemian Pilsner

Beer score: 7.4
Web site: Rolling Rock
Has a strong bitterness for a pilsner. More strong than your typical pilsner. Wet with a flat texture faintly similar to a bitter, though stronger. Not a bad brew.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saranac Adirondack Amber

Beer score: 6.9
Web site: Saranac
The initial flavor is what makes this beer, but unfortunately that flavor doesn't stay around too long. The initial taste is a strong, caramel (but not too sweet) flavor. The caramel hangs around a little while in the aftertaste, but not much. Thirty seconds after you take your last sip, you can't tell if you were drinking a Saranac or a Miller Lite. Still, an impressive beer. My score for this beer would be higher if that fine flavor lingered longer. Thanks to the fine people at Saranac who allowed me to use their logo on my old Web page, “Ty’s Page for Beer Snobs.” Also, for those of you with an interest, the Saranac beers were the first ones I ranked way back in December of 1997. And the quality of the Saranac brews has remained top-notch ever since.

Sapporo Draft

Beer score: 3.5
Web site: Sapporo
Sapporo Draft is a Japanese beer. There is lots of carbonation here, but the drink is fairly smooth. The taste is very American, meaning mass marketed. Worth trying once, but not anything you would want to drink regularly.

Pete's Wicked Helles Lager

Beer score: 6.2
Web site: Pete's Wicked
The creation of this beer was inspired by the lagers of Munich, Germany, according to the label on the bottle. Incredibly honey sweet on the first taste, but then the fizz overpowers the flavor some unless you take a big swallow and hold it on your tongue. Not the best around, but definitely worth tossing back a few, though I believe this brew is no longer in production.

Michelob Dry

Beer score: 3.7
Web site: Michelob
Goes down smooth at first but the fizz seems to grow the more you drink until it becomes annoying. A little sweetness in the aftertaste. Not much else.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Original Flag Porter

Beer score: 7.9
Web site: Darwin Brewery
The Darwin Brewery of England brings this fine drink to us. Of interesting note: the recipe for this porter is apparently from the 19th century, but even more interesting is the fact that the yeast used to make this brew was "salvaged from a sunken vessel in the English Channel" and the vessel was sunk in 1825, or so says the bottle. This drink has a smooth burnt-syrup flavor and a nice, frothy head. Smooth enough for regular drinking. Give it a try.

H. C. Berger Whistlepin Wheat Ale

Beer score: 6.6
From Fort Collins, Colorado, before the brewer went out of business. There's a honey sweetness here and a little fizz that dominates. Goes down pretty easy and the sweetness isn't too strong.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Beer score: 7.6
I expected a cinnamon-esque taste here since this is sort of a holiday brew, but instead I got a surprisingly soft sweet taste. The sweetness grows with the number of drinks. The bottle says this drink was brewed at Yorkshire's oldest brewery. Beers so good they don't even need a website.

Ayinger Ur-Weisse

Beer score: 4.7
Web site: Ayinger
Very smooth with a light sweetness that builds the more you drink, almost turning into a sourness going down. Nice to try, but nothing worth drinking regular. Not the best Ayinger beer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pete's Wicked Bohemian Pilsner

Beer score: 7.4
Web site: Pete's Wicked
This is kind of strong in color and strong in taste for a pilsner. This has just the right mix of wet and fizz. Smooth going down, but not the first pilsner a novice beer snob should have. One of my favorite brews from the Pete's Wicked people.

Castle Eden Ale Draught

Beer score: 3.7
Web site: Camerons Brewery
Brewed at The Castle Eden Brewery in Cleveland, England. This "bitter"-style beer is extremely smooth but weak tasting. It has an almost flat Dr. Pepper taste to it, especially as it goes down. Has a nice foamy head.

Dock Street USA Amber Lager

Beer score: 4.0
Web site: Dock Street Brewing Company
Sorry, folks at Dock Street Brewing Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but this tastes like a premium beer that's only been given a little bit of extra oomph. Typical beer drinkers could guzzle this stuff down. True beer snobs should take a short taste, realize it's nothing great, and move on.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beamish Irish Stout Draught

Beer score: 5.4
Web site: Beamish
One of the smoothest stouts available, but unfortunately not very strong. Pretty flat with a little stoutesque kick on the way down. Different from typical stouts. Not the best stout I've ever tasted, by far, but a distant cry from being one of the worst. Worth trying.

H. C. Berger Red Banshee Ale

Beer score: 7.0
One of the stronger amber ales that's worth your time. Pretty powerful and wet. Sadly, this brew and its brewing company are no longer with us.

Killarney's Red Lager

Beer score: 3.8
Web site: Anheuser-Busch
This liquid refreshment is Anheuser-Busch's very late attempt to market a red beer. I don't know why they even bothered since this beer didn't come out until early 2001 and by then the most recent serious U.S. beer craze was long dead by at least three years (if not even longer). Anyway, it's a little sweet at first and wet, kind of like a brown ale. Non-beer snobs will think it's something different. I don't expect this brew to be around very many years, so try it when you can, I guess. Can you tell this beer doesn't excite me? Still, I've had worse.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Samuel Smith Taddy Porter

Beer score: 9.0
Extremely strong maple, burnt flavoring that lingers in the mouth long after you've swallowed. Goes back very smooth, almost as easy as water. Definitely only for people with specialized tastes in beer. Premium beer drinkers wouldn't know the difference between this and motor oil (hint: motor oil is thicker and tastes like a lawnmower engine).

JW Dundee's Honey Brown Lager

Beer score: 6.7
Web site: Dundee
This nice brew comes to us from the Highfalls Brewing Company of Rochester, New York, or at least it did when I tried in about 10 years ago (year 2000 or so). This is a fine, sweet beer that goes down smooth. This is proof that good beer doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg - since this stuff costs about the same in bottles as many premium beers. This is a good drinking beer and somewhat reminds of Newcastle Brown Ale, except this beer is sweeter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pete's Wicked Amber Ale

Beer score: 6.7
Web site: Pete's Wicked
This drink has a very slight fruity taste to it, but it is a hardy, stout drink. Pretty smooth and wet going down.

H. C. Berger Rauchbier

Beer score: 6.1
Wet with a strong mixture of bitter and sweet. The sour turns sweet the more you drink, to the point of being annoying. Not a super great brew, but the best of several H.C. Berger beers that taste somewhat similar, or at least they did until the company went out of business..

Keystone Premium

Beer score: 2.0
Web site: Coors
"Premium" must be a word in beer language that means "cheap and tasteless" since so many bad brews have the word either on the label or in some logo or jingle. This is no different. This drink is wet and easy on the throat. Vaguely reminiscent of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Steel Reserve Triple Export Malt Liquor

Beer score: 2.3
Web site: Steel Brewing
Wet and bitter. That's it. There's nothing else decent about this skanky brew. Has no sweetness whatsoever. The bitter flavor is far too strong, and it's a nasty bitter like from the bottom of a garbage can, not a good bitter like from a good stout. The Steel Brewing folks, owned by Miller last I heard, are bold enough to make this liquid, put it in a can and sell it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Great Divide Whitewater Wheat Ale

Beer score: 6.4
Web site: Great Divide Brewing Co.
This Denver, Colorado, brew is light and wet with some sweetness, as many good hefeweizen beers should be. A pretty good drinking brew as long as the sweetness doesn't grow too strong on you. Update: Unfortunately, the brewer has stopped making this decent beer.

Michelob Classic Dark

Beer score: 3.6
Web site: Michelob
I remember drinking this back in the early ’80s and thinking it was great beer. Who knew better back then? Nothing real special here. You can give this to your non-beer snob friends and they'll think it's something really exotic. A little sweetness and caramel in the taste. Not a bad beer for drinking or for a beginning beer taster’s first time out. For better or for worse, Michelob has discontinued this beer, which makes sense because they've gone off into so many sort of specialty beers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

Beer score: 10.0
From Samuel Smith Old Brewery, Tadcaster, N. Yorks, England. The best beer on the planet, in my opinion. You've died and gone to heaven if you are drinking this stuff. Not the smoothest beer, but still pretty smooth. Without a doubt, the best-tasting pale ale ever, but not as strong as many pale ales. The flavor and texture make this beer so great. Very little sweetness here, but there is a hint of caramel bitter. As of this writing, in June of 2010, this is the only beer I've ranked that has a perfect score of 10.0

Oregon Original Nut Brown Ale

Beer score: 7.9
Web site: Samuel Adams
All of the Oregon Original beers were craft brewed by the Oregon Ale and Beer Company of Portland, Oregon, when I tasted them, but more recently these beers are owned by the Samuel Adams folks, so I'm not so sure. This brew has an excellent bitter taste and it goes down wet and smooth. One of the best nut brown ales I've ever had.

H. C. Berger Kolsch Ale

Beer score: 4.6
A slight sweetness with some beer-like bitterness. Tastes just like three or four other H.C. Berger beers, but since the company no longer exists, it's kind of a moot point.

10 Magazines for The Beer Aficianado


Plenty of beer enthusiasts are familiar with the BeerAdvocate website for its never-ending reviews of thousands upon thousands of beers and all the other beer-related info on the site, but many don't realizeBeerAdvocate also is available as a print magazine. Obviously each issue of the magazine can't contain the ton of beer reviews available at the online site, but there will be some reviews as well as information about beer culture and style. If you're interested in beer advocacy, this magazine is right for you.

Beer Magazine

The title says it all. It's a magazine. About beer. What more do you need to know? Beer Magazine, and its website, cover just about everything concerning beer, from craft brews to brewpubs, from Budweiser to Belgium lambics. It's all there. A few articles are quite indepth about the beer industry, but many are more casual and will let you know what you want about good beer, or for that matter about cheap beer.

American Brewer

American Brewer, The Business of Beer Winter 1994American Brewer comes out quarterly, and it's one of the most popular trade magazines for the professional brewing industry. For the most part this magazine's focus is upon the beer industry, so casual beer drinkers might not be too interested. But then again, maybe they will be. Here you can find lots of inside information about the companies that actually make your favorite brews, which is not bad information to have.

All About Beer

All About BeerNo offense is meant to any of the other fine magazines listed here, but this might be the best of all of them, or at least it's my favorite. All About Beer covers just about everything having to do with beer, from the brewing industry to homebrewing to distribution and everything between and above and beyond. If you can only read one beer magazine regularly, I have to suggest All About Beer. It really is "All" about beer.

Draft Magazine

News. Promotions. Reviews. Interviews. All related to beer. That's what you'll find in Draft Magazine, along with plenty of other information about beer. One feature of this magazine I really like is called "Beer Town;" each issue has an article focusing on one city and all about beer in that city. The "Beer Town" article is nice to peruse, but it's also great for planning vacations and trips. Yes, you can plan a vacation around beer. I've done it.

Brew Your Own

Brew Your OwnIf you're a homebrewer, this magazine is right up your alley. Here you can find all kinds of indepth tips about making your own beer at home, plus plenty of news about beer from the homebrewers' point of view. And if you happen to be one of those homebrewers always looking for new beer recipes to try, this is the place to look.


For a long time, this magazine was a sort of home for the late beer consultant Michael Jackson (no, not thatMichael Jackson), so Celebrator definitely has some credentials. Not only does Celebrator offer the usual news about beer and the beer industry, but it also has one of the best calendars around for upcoming beer events, festivals and the like. Celebrator also does an exceptional job of keeping up with regional brewpubs and breweries.


Zymurgy is the Journal of the American Homebrewers Association. If you are a homebrewer, you should probably check out this periodical. Some of the articles are about the beer industry, but most of it focuses upon the homebrewers, those working hard at having fun making their own brews in the kitchen, or the garage or the basement, etc. Also, if you're a homebrewer, you should consider joining the American HomebrewersAssociation. The worst that could happen is you learn a lot more about beer.

Modern Brewery Age

This bi-monthly magazine focuses on the brewing industry and the wholesale beer business. It's been around nearly 80 years, so the writers and editors must be doing something right. This magazine offers plenty of information, including interviews with top people in the beer industry, profiles of folks in the business, a job bank for the beer industry and much, much more. Even if you don't work in beer, you can learn a lot from this magazine. And who knows, but you might land a beer job once you are in the know.

Imbibe Magazine

ImbibeImbibe is about more than just beer. In this magazine you can also find information about wine, whiskey, bourbon and other alcohol drinks, as well as more than a few recipes. Beer snobs who want to find out about other drinks, or who already enjoy other drinks, can turn to Imbibe in print or online for all their basic informational needs.